Woodstock 99 left behind far more negative vibes than positive, but if you want to forget the negativity and hear what the bands sounded like (probably in a far more comfortable environment than in the midst of a seemingly endless crowdof sweaty, moshing humanity, Hybrid/Elektra now offers you the opportunity. The two-CD Woodstock 99 set offers the crash and burn rock of Korn, The Offspring, Lit, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Creed, Megadeth, Bush and Live, while disc two tones things down a bit with Dave Matthews Band, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Jewel, Alanis Morissette, G. Love & Special Sauce, Chemical Brothers, Rusted Root and Bruce Hornsby.

Will this set leave the mark on a generation that the original Woodstock concert did? Probably not. This concert wasn’t particularly innovative in design, and we’ve become jaded over the past 30 years by mega-concerts. But this CDcollection does certainly give a good cross section of today’s pop and rock acts in concert.

Iron Maiden - Ed HunterIron Maiden may be one of the first acts to use the Internet to its logical advantage. The three-CD Ed Hunter collection features a career retrospective of 20 songs that, according to the back of the CD, were "selected in order of votes received on the Maiden website in a contest run Dec. 98 for the Top 20 Maiden tracks of all time."

This is truly, then, an example of giving fans exactly what they want. And not only does the set offer Iron Maiden’s top 20, it includes the "Ed Hunter" CD-ROMgame which came out a year or two ago. The game is a standard shoot-em-up (you’re Ed Hunter in a 3-D "dirty streets" environment and you basically shoot everything that moves before they hit you), but it’s a nice bonus to a greatest hits set. The songs include "Iron Maiden (Live)," "The Trooper," "Number of The Beast," "Fear of the Dark," "Wasted Years," "Run To The Hills," "Stranger in a Strange Land," "Tailgunner" and more.

 

Dennis DeYoung - Ultimate CollectionDennis DeYoung is probably better known as the singer of "Lady," "Babe," "Come Sail Away" and "Mr. Roboto," with Styx, then as the solo artist who scored ‘80s Top 100 hits with "This is the Time, "Desert Moon," "Call Me," and Don’t Wait For Heroes." But the Dennis DeYoung Ultimate Collection, on Hip-O Records, collects the best material from the South Side singer’s three solo discs in the ‘80s, Desert Moon, Back to the World and Boomchild (sadly, it does not include anything from DeYoung’s 1994 10 On Broadway collection issued in the ‘90s).

DeYoung’s solo career never took off to the heights of Styx — after a Billboard Top 10 with the title track to his first album, Desert Moon, his next three singles charted in the upper half of the Top 100, and none of the three tracks included here from his third disc, Boomchild, charted at all. But his second solo disc, Back to the World, was a near-perfect work of adult contemporary pop (all but two of its tracks are included here) and his solo singles "This Is The Time," "Desert Moon," and "Don’t Wait For Heroes" rank among the best songs the singer has recorded with or without Styx. And every Chicagoan should own a copy of DeYoung’s ode to the southern half of I-90/94, the rockin’ "Southbound Ryan."

For fans who already have all these tracks on LP or CD, DeYoung offers a special bonus — a newly recorded version of Styx’s "The Grand Illusion" backed by an 85-piece orchestra. The song is included in the new IMAX film Siegfried and Roy: The Magic Box, which opened in Chicago last week. DeYoung notes of this version that "I’ve always thought of this song in symphonic terms - with Styx as the orchestra. Now 23 years later, I have that orchestral version and it is spectacular."

Maybe this will lead to a new phase in the ever-dramatic singer’s evolving career — he’s done rock, ballads, written a musical and performed in the touring company of Jesus Christ Superstar. Could the future find him fronting an orchestra?

Ted Nugent released Great Gonzos! The Best of Ted Nugent back in 1981, offering his manic ‘70s rock hits "Cat Scratch Fever," "Just What The Doctor Ordered," "Free-For-All" "Dog Eat Dog," "Wango Tango," and more all in one place for the first time. Now Epic/Legacy has re-released the album with two bonus tracks from the ‘70s ("Yank Me, Crank Me"and "Homebound") that didn’t appear on the original release, as well as "Give Me Just A Little," a brand new fireball rocker featuring Nugent’s Damn Yankees bandmates Jack Blades and Deen Castronovo as well as Journey’s Neal Schon. With 20 years of separation between the new song and the rest of the disc, it doesn’t exactly fit here (aside from Nugent’s stylistic growth over the past two decades, rock recording technologies have improved substantially so the entire sound of this track is different from everything else on the CD), but it does show that the great Gonzo can still rock.

  While Nugent may still be rockin’, Eric Clapton has spent the past 15 years reinventing himself from rock guitar pioneer to adult contemporary balladeer. Clapton Chronicles: The Best of Eric Clapton on Reprise documents that growth by putting his ‘90s hits "Tears In Heaven," "Layla (Unplugged Version)" and "Change The World," together with his ‘80s light rockers "Pretending," "It’s In The Way That You Use It" and "Bad Love." The disc opens with a new Diane Warren-penned ballad from the Runaway Bride soundtrack, the easy listening "Blue Eyes Blue" and closes with a new Clapton-penned song from the movie The Story of Us. "(I) Get Lost" is a particularly strong departure for Clapton — it’s a disco-beat number with a touch of Spanish guitar and a wash of symphonic backing.