Woodstock: Massive 38-Disc Box Set Due

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Rhino Records has announced the Aug. 2 release of Woodstock 50—Back to the Garden—The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive, a huge, 38-disc boxed set containing nearly every note played at the 1969 Woodstock festival. The set will include 432 tracks, 267 of which have never before been released. Only three songs performed at the festival are not included. The set will even include the stage announcements that arrived between acts.

The package will also include a Blu-ray of the director’s cut of the Woodstock film, a hardcover book written by original festival promoter Michael Lang, and various collectibles, including a replica of the original program, a guitar strap, replica posters, photos by Henry Diltz and more. The material will all be housed in a screen-printed plywood box with a canvas insert.

The set will be released in a limited, numbered edition of—very clever, Rhino—1969 pieces. The retail price of the box is set for a whopping $799.98. Pre-orders are available here.

Watch Creedence Clearwater Revival perform “Green River” at Woodstock

For those whose pockets aren’t quite that deep, or who don’t feel the need for 38 discs of Woodstock music, Rhino released, on June 28, 10-CD and 3-CD versions, as well as a 5-LP vinyl version.

Related: Where are the 1969 Woodstock artists today?

According to an article on the set in Rolling Stone, “Complete performances of the Who, Joe Cocker, Sly and the Family Stone, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and others, along with acts who weren’t in the movie or the original Woodstock album, like the Band, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Janis Joplin, will be available for the first time. The tracks are also arranged chronologically, by day and set times, from Richie Havens’ opening set that August Friday in 1969 to Jimi Hendrix’s festival-closing set on Monday morning. To ease the overwhelming listening experience, each act is accorded its own disc.”

Watch the trailer for the boxed set

The Oscar®-winning documentary and the original pair of soundtrack albums created a popular mythology surrounding Woodstock, one that only paints a partial picture of what actually happened. Project producer Andy Zax writes in the liner notes that it is intended to let people hear the festival as it really happened.

“Michael Wadleigh’s film tells a story of Woodstock, but it doesn’t tell the story. This 50th anniversary archive – which presents nearly all of the audio from the festival in something approximating real time – tells a different kind of story. All of the mythology of Woodstock is here in this box; or at least, everything that would eventually create that mythology. The reality is here, too. And neither invalidates the other.”

The time-consuming challenge of reconstructing the concert audio began with locating the more than 60 multi-track reels recorded by Eddie Kramer and Lee Osborne, as well as the 100 or so soundboard reels recorded by the onstage crew. Sorting through those tapes – some of which had been edited, mislabeled or lost – and then reassembling them properly was a process that, in some cases, took years to complete.

Zax says he, sound producer Brian Kehew and mastering engineer Dave Schultz avoided interfering with the tapes as much as possible in order to preserve their authenticity. “It’s not surprising that other producers’ first reaction to these tapes over the years has been ‘uh-oh,’ immediately followed by ‘we’ve gotta find a way to fix this.’ I’m not unsympathetic to that approach, but if there’s a single overriding lesson that Brian and I have learned since we began working with the Woodstock tapes in 2005, it’s this: you can’t fix them… That’s less grim than it seems, because once you’ve accepted the idea that there is no way to make these recordings sound slick, you realize that these tapes are the sonic equivalent of heirloom tomatoes – slightly imperfect, but delicious.”

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4 Comments so far

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  1. Jimmy Eight Cats
    #1 Jimmy Eight Cats 9 May, 2019, 00:20

    So, what are the three songs that are missing?

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    • Chief Kurtz
      Chief Kurtz 17 August, 2019, 21:15

      Two Hendrix tracks: “Mastermind”, and “Gypsy Woman”/”Aware of Love”, and one from Sha Na Na “Teenager In Love”.

      Reply this comment
  2. Bob Sled
    #2 Bob Sled 9 May, 2019, 10:37

    Obviously the video doesn’t match up with the audio.

    Reply this comment
    #3 LANG, A PIG WITH NO SHAME... 13 May, 2019, 01:20

    This greedy pig of a man can’t get Woodstock 50 to line his pockets so he’s gonna sell old shit from 50 years ago in hopes that people will buy it. Everyday he loses money on a festival that he can’t sell tickets to which is supposed to start in about 3 months. No permits, no ticket sales & no bands (everyday bands drop out). Who is Mike Lang? A greedy old pig trying to cash in, again, on Woodstock but this time it’s falling apart so he wants you to buy his old music & announcements which anyone over 20:years old could give a shit about. Don’t buy this garbage. It just regurgitated crap from 50 years ago that he selling to line his pockets with your money. After this whole Woodstock fiasco is over, none of us will ever hear of Michael Lang again & thank God for that….

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