Woodstock '94, Part Five

Bob Dylan - Santana - Red Hot Chili Peppers

August 13-14, 1994

First Appeared in The Music Box, May/June 1995, Volume 2, #5

Written by John Metzger


In the last moment's of Woodstock '94, the promoters made their most idiotic move: Bob Dylan and Santana were scheduled for overlapping times on the two different stages. Fortunately, it only impacted those who were in attendance at the show since pay-per-view was bright enough to film the Santana set and broadcast most of the missing pieces later that evening.


Dylan took the stage with a surprisingly mellow tone, performing powerful versions of Jokerman and Just Like A Woman, before exploding into a blistering All Along the Watchtower. Yes, he was in fine form this evening, playfully altering the lyrical phrasings of his songs and giving his band plenty of time to masterfully tangle the melody. It seemed as if the poet would never let up, plowing for nearly an hour through song after song with a driving intensity. Even his mini-acoustic set was potent and magical, featuring a rather tender, bluegrass tinged Don't Think Twice, It's Alright; an emotional Masters of War; and a positively stunning version of It's All Over Now, Baby Blue.

Meanwhile, on the other stage, Carlos Santana and company served up a spicy set in its customarily classic style. Unfortunately, there were some technical problems, and Santana's guitar initially was lost in the mix. Nevertheless, Jimi Hendrix's Third Stone from the Sun was still quite amazing, as were the usual gems Black Magic Woman and Tito Puente's Oye Como Va.

Next, the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage wearing some bizarre, space-age outfits that employed light bulbs for heads. Weird. The band pounded out a number of its psychedelic metal-funk songs, including a blistering Blood Sugar Sex Magik that trailed off into a space-y jam before landing in the all-too-weird theme song for Flea (called Pea). Under the Bridge displayed the group's softer side and showcased Anthony Kiedis's fine vocals.

The weekend closed with Peter Gabriel and his spectacular road show. Once again, pay-per-view totally missed the boat and covered only the last 45 minutes of his set. This was a major disappointment because what was broadcast was nothing short of spectacular. Gabriel's band still featured bassist Tony Levin, who has played with just about everyone, and singer Sinéad O'Connor.

All in all, the festival certainly had some high points musically, but overall, it couldn't shake its "corporate" feel. That's where the whole event really fell apart and didn't even come close to the spirit of the original Woodstock.

Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four


Copyright © 1995 The Music Box