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Brian Setzer Orchestra


Sheryl Crow




Collective Soul

Dave Matthews


Alanis Morissette

James Brown


Counting Crows

Kid Rock

Limp Bizkit

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....The blazing fires and destruction of Woodstock '99 are far from whatWoodstock Logo will stand out in my mind from the otherwise peaceful music festival. The Woodstock I will always remember is an amazing experience that made me realize that hate and intolerance are a waste and peace and respect are what truly matter. Think about it. There are not many other events accommodating more than 200,000 diverse people with artists performing everything from rap and funk to folk and metal. And everyone came together, forgot their differences, and had a good time. Those people who broke out in ``riots'' were just a few hundred of the thousands and thousands who attended. They spoiled it for everyone else by giving the festival a bad reputation. What the world witnesses in the news -- the flames and injuries -- is what they will remember when they think about Woodstock '99. But I won't, because I was there. After meeting some of the nicest people and listening to excellent performances, I feel lucky to know what Woodstock was really about. .Whether old-school or new-school (typified by the body piercings and tattoos), the chief feeling was that a counterculture was alive and well -- and that harmony can still reign at these mass ventures. ``This is a gathering of the tribes -- whether they're Lollapalooza kids, Furthur Festival kids, or Ozzfest kids, they can all get along,'' said Woodstock promoter John Scher. ``People ask me what the personality of this festival will be -- and I think that's it.'' Alternative lifestyles predominated, from the punk skateboarder skating nude on the ramp at the ``Action Lounge,'' to sliding in the mud,staying up all night to techno DJ superstar Fatboy Slim, who spun records, scratched turntables, and headed a ``Rave'' in the wee hours yesterday that drew more than 80,000 fans in a mind-altering, strobe-lit show run by uber-producer Matt. E. Silver.

As 90-degree daytime temperatures finally gave way to a pleasant night at Woodstock '99, more than 200,000 fans crowded onto the site of the marathon, three-day music-and-camping festival at the former Griffiss Air Force Base. .Official kickoff of the 30th anniversary of Woodstock featured surprise guest James Brown, the `"Godfather of Soul,'' who was resplendent in a blue suit and fronted a bow-tied band that won over the crowd with a hearty professionalism. ``Everybody out there -- get your hands over your head!'' Brown the showman shouted to the assembled throng in front of the east stage, which moshed to his music just as it moshed to the rock and hip-hop that followed for another 12 hours. Today is the heaviest musical day of the weekend with the Dave Matthews Band, Alanis Morissette, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, and Metallica playing consecutively on the 500-foot-wide east stage. That stage, designed by hippie artist Peter Max, continued to draw raves with its impossibly bright, psychedelic images splashed together like John Lennon's imagery in "Strawberry Fields". Max, who is attending the fest with his daughter, Libra, explained, ``I wanted something euphoric. That's why there are birds, doves, and spaceships along it. I wanted an intergalactic consciousness.'' Whatever you want to call it, the fans responded to the mood by trying to recreate some of the same elements at previous Woodstocks -- namely starting a mud-bath scene when pipes burst near one side of the east stage. ``I've already got my money's worth and this is just the first day,'' said a mud-caked Christina DiToma, 21, of Philadelphia. Back home, she works with mentally handicapped children, so ``Woodstock is my release.'' ``I think it's great. This gives people a chance to express themselves and enjoy themselves without being edited in any way,'' said Calvin Vandermeer, an aide de camp to funk star George Clinton, who played an irresistibly rhythmic set last night at the west stage.

....Yesterday there were hundreds of cases of heat exhaustion, but none requiring hospitalization, according to producer Michael Lang, whose 12,000-member staff struggled to get more cases of water onto the site. ``With these additions, we feel there's enough water on site,'' Scher said. ``The problem is getting people in their mid-20s to realize they need to put sunscreen and hats on.'' He noted that 1,200 EMTs, doctors, and nurses on hand. Still, the day flowed remarkably smoothly (except for the cancellation of Sugar Ray due to illness) and only three arrests were reported by police, two for minor offenses and one for speeding and driving while intoxicated. Part of the fence enclosing the north side of the site's 1,400 acres was knocked down early in the morning, but quickly repaired, said Lang, who added that gate-crashing -- a tradition at the first two Woodstock festivals he produced -- is not an issue this time. A total of 5,000 media personnel are covering the festival -- and, like everyone else, they had to walk along the tarmac for 30 minutes to get from the west to the east stages. As a consequence, most fans stayed by the larger east stage, where Sheryl Crow (who performed at Woodstock '94 as well) was the afternoon highlight with her gritty, self-determination rock. The evening stars were Korn (whose industrial-metal angst drew the day's largest crowd) and punk-rockers the Offspring, who stirred the crowd by bringing out lifesized balloons of the Backstreet Boys and clubbing them down goofily with plastic bats. Hey, it wasn't Hendrix doing ``The Star-Spangled Banner,'' but it was funny. Sadly, the west stage -- nearly a mile away that might as well have been 10 in the heat -- had only several thousand fans at any given time, except for the last day Sunday when the west stage blasted with Collective Soul, Sevendust, Boston's Godsmack and Reveille (making a surprise appearance) endind with the heavy metal group Megadeth.

The live performers also had their minds blown during the weekend. ``It's so amazing to be here,''said singer Alanis Morissette who told the crowd at her show on Saturday. Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit: remarked "We really could only see the first 10,000 fans, after that it seems to be almost like looking at a painting.'' ....Woodstock '99, held at a stark, sprawling former Air Force base (versus the bucolic hills of previous Woodstock sites), was marked by 37 arrests as of yesterday, more than 1,000 cases of heat exhaustion, one birth, several weddings, and one death -- Scott Stanley, 44, of Hyannis, who had undergone heart surgery about 10 days prior. He had come to Woodstock with his 16-year-old foster son and friends. Last night, as the concert was wrapping up, several bonfires on the grounds erupted into blazes and looting, bringing out firefighters and police. Several moshing injuries were also sustained during the concert -- one at Bizkit's set when moshers almost knocked down the sound tower and the show had to be temporarily stopped. Shortly before, Bizkit's Durst had asked the crowd to ``reach down and bring some positive energy'' to the night. While positive energy ultimately carried the weekend (copromoter Ossie Kilkenny also said that the festival may actually make money this time, as opposed to the last two), the conflicted emotions at this new-generation Woodstock were evident. The bands that drew the biggest crowds were the anti-authoritarian metal acts. Rage Against the Machine late on Saturday launched a chant ``[Expletive] you, I won't do what you tell me!'' during its incredibly powerful set. Metallica followed by opening up with `"So What.'' ( Metallica performed inconsistently -- not as well as it did at Woodstock '94 -- but festivity returned afterward with a 20-minute fireworks display that lit up the sky.) ``The loud, aggressive bands were what many people came to see,'' Yesterday felt anticlimactic after Saturday's mega-headliner day. Elvis Costello teetered and tottered, and Jewel did her overblown flower-power tripping, though inspired sets came from the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Our Lady Peace. The main criticism musically is that many acts didn't veer from their regular song lists. The Red Hot Chili Peppers closed the festival last night (with band member Flea performing in the nude) with a Jimi Hendrix song, followed by a video tribute of Hendrix playing the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock in 1969. There weren't any declarative, career-making sets here, as there were at Woodstock '94 with Green Day and the Cranberries. The closest bids this time came from the Offspring and Kid Rock, who even did John Fogerty's ``Fortunate Son.'' But there were excellent, surprise collaborations, such as Erykah Badu joining the Roots and Boston's Gigolo Aunts joining the Counting Crows. ``It's not 1969, nor should it be,'' said Mickey Hart, the only performer here who played at the original fest -- as part of the Grateful Dead. ``Music is a badge of a generation -- and this is a new generation with their own hopes and their own fears, all of which you've seen here.''
....................................................................................By Randy Cohen

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