I recently bought a cheap copy of the Woodstock 4disc Director’s Cut DVD – a longer cut of the film proper (with a sensational, and fabulously filmed ‘new’ Canned Heat performance the standout) plus a couple of discs of extra: a nice set of featurette interviews and 2+ hours of unseen performances (mostly very good, sometimes great, bar a bloody interminable load of rubbishby the Grateful Dead).
I couldn’t sleep a couple of nights back so poured a whisky or two and watched some of the film. It got to the bit where TYA play ‘I’m Going Home’. Dear me. I seem to recall thinking this was quite exciting when I first saw it on TV sometime in the 80s – and my friend Carol From Luton only yesterday told me it’s her fave bit in the whole thing – but, my goodness, I thought on this recent rewatching, this is boring. And self-indulgent. And uninspired in every way – or at best one minute of in-the-moment ad-libbery stretched to ten times its limit bubbabubbabubba-reddressonreddresson-goinhomegoinhome-bubbabubbabubba-OW!!!-homebabygoinhomebaby-OW!!!-gngngngnnnnnnnnnnnn [ad infinitum]
The bonus disc interviews make it abundantly clear that the director/editors were forensic in choosing the most impactful moments, lyrically (this was a bigger deal than one might have thought) and socially, etc. So at one point in history people REALLY thought this 11 minutes needed to be in the film, even after Warner Bros demanded cuts (getting it down to 3hrs-something from 4hrs-something).
Don’t get me wrong, TYA’s ‘Can’t Keep From Crying’ in the same-period Isle of Wight film is majestic – but ‘Goin’ Home’ is boredom in triplicate.
My question is this: did anyone who saw this film at or near the time it was released (1970) think ‘ Wow! TYA – amazing!!!’ or did you think ‘Jeez, get on with it – enough already – just go home, would you…’?
I have a feeling this, like ‘The Goon Show’ and ‘Monty Python’, is just one of those things that ‘you had to be there’ for. The impact (assuming there was one) just hasn’t survived the intervening years.
The funny thing is, though, that this one performance bought then a five-year career of incessant US touring.