Concerts

Fanning the Flames: The Top 10 Performances at Woodstock 99

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7. James Brown

The surprise opener for the massive three-day festival was none other than the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. As surprise performances go, they really don't get much better than that. The hardest-working man in show business got the concert started properly, by getting the incredible mass of people smiling and dancing right off the bat. We miss that guy.

6. Chemical Brothers

It wasn't all guitars and mike stands at Woodstock 99. There was also a massive rave tent, allowing concertgoers to participate in one of the continent's largest electronic music performances in history at the time. The Chemical Brothers were enthroned as one of knob-twiddling's biggest mainstream successes in '99, and their aggressive set served as an irresistible invitation for thousands of teens and young adults to cram themselves full of drugs and spin glow sticks all night.

Today, the footage is a cool reminder of a moment in time for a pop-rave culture that has evolved into something else entirely in the intervening years.

5. Beastie Boys

R.I.P. MCA! The Beasties were at the height of their live performance powers in 1999, fresh off their Hello, Nasty arena tour and the Tibetan Freedom Concerts that Adam Yauch helped to promote. "Sabotage" absolutely sizzled, the recording of which serves as a far more pleasant reminder of the festival than Adam Horovitz's denunciation of the widely rumored incidents of sexual assault during the concert months later at the MTV Video Music Awards show.

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Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith