Five Great Woodstock '94 Performances

Woodstock ’94 sometimes gets lost in pack. But here are five of those performances worth revisiting from the now 20-year-old event.

Woodstock ’94 sometimes gets lost in pack. It obviously didn’t — and could never have — carried as much weight as the original, which in 1969 blazed a trail for modern music festivals and left us with a wealth of unforgettable performances. Nor did it digress into the nightmarish, post-apocalyptic hellhole that Woodstock ’99 did. In some ways, 20 years later, Woodstock ’94 -- which took place on August 13th and 14th -- seems like an afterthought. But, when you dig into it deeper, it hit the sweet spot between the classic-rockers/folk-revivalists/returning-veterans and the names that were then at the forefront of popular music. They even got Bob Dylan, who turned down a spot at Woodstock ’69, to perform. In honor of the middle brother Woodstock's 20th birthday, we decided to remember five great performances that are worth revisiting/discovering, and are readily available in their entirety.

5. The Allman Brothers Band

The Allman Brothers Band has had a long, hard road — most notably due to its leader and one of the greatest guitarists of all time dying at the age of 24 in 1971 — but the band always seemed to be able to pick up the pieces and press on. Woodstock ’94 was five years after group decided to reunite. In ’89, it brought in guitar prodigy Warren Haynes to exchange lead licks with founding member Dickey Betts. By the time they got to Woodstock ’94 they were clicking at face-melting levels. And Greg Allman’s gritty growl and Betts’ urgent country croon still sounded unbreakable.

4. Metallica

The self-titled "Black Album" is always going to be a touchy subject when talking about Metallica. It smoothed out the group's sound and made it bigger than it had ever been, which pissed off longtime fans. It also marked Metallica's fall from studio glory. Three years after the release of the "Black Album", the band was still touring on it and one thing’s for sure: love or hate that record, it was still killing it live.

3. Joe Cocker

The guy’s voice just seems unstoppable. A veteran of the original 1969 Woodstock, Cocker’s vocals 25 years later were probably stronger than the performers half his age that played before and after him that weekend. The Band, Santana, Crosby, Stills and Nash — all of whom I actually like and listen to more than Cocker — were among the other musicians who played both the original and ’94, but the electricity of Cocker’s performance is so captivating that it trumps all the others.

2. Green Day

“What is this free-hippie-love shit? How are you doing, all you rich mother fuckers?” This statement, which he said right before his band started its set, earns Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt the award for most-clever smart ass. (And also the award for making me spit beer on my computer in laughter, since, prior to writing this, I forgot he said it.) Nineteen ninety-four was the year for Green Day. It released Dookie. It broke into the mainstream. It was in prime form live. And its members got into a literal mud-slinging competition with the crowd at Woodstock ’94.

1. Nine Inch Nails

“On the way to the stage there was a little accident”, Trent Reznor told MTV backstage after the show. “It turned into kind of a mud wrestling thing that escalated into a full-scale mud riot…I accidentally tripped Danny [Lohner] and pushed his face into the mud. And then he retaliated by body-slamming me.” Then, you know, they played for an hour and a half, covered in mud. It’s an adrenaline-fueled, barbaric, and somehow still brilliantly focused performance. It was perfect.





12 Essential Performances from New Orleans' Piano "Professors"

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.


Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

By the Book

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.


Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold Celebrate New Album With Performance Video (premiere)

Mark Olson (The Jayhawks) and Ingunn Ringvold share a 20-minute performance video that highlights their new album, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation. "This was an opportunity to perform the new songs and pretend in a way that we were still going on tour because we had been so looking forward to that."


David Grubbs and Taku Unami Collaborate on the Downright Riveting 'Comet Meta'

Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.


On Their 2003 Self-Titled Album, Buzzcocks Donned a Harder Sound and Wore it With Style and Taste

Buzzcocks, the band's fourth album since their return to touring in 1989, changed their sound but retained what made them great in the first place

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.


Country's Jaime Wyatt Gets in Touch With Herself on 'Neon Cross'

Neon Cross is country artist Jaime Wyatt's way of getting in touch with all the emotions she's been going through. But more specifically, it's about accepting both the past and the present and moving on with pride.


Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.


Sondre Lerche and the Art of Radical Sincerity

"It feels strange to say it", says Norwegian pop artist Sondre Lerche about his ninth studio album, "but this is the perfect time for Patience. I wanted this to be something meaningful in the middle of all that's going on."


How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.