In his book, Mitch says that just about everything on film of Jimi is awful!
He’s not far wrong but some interesting footage is out there however and a great amount has been
made available over the years on video cassette, laser disc, DVD and Blu-ray.
This a list of various titles which have appeared many times on different labels.
1. OFFICIAL CONCERT FOOTAGE
3. OLD LASER DISCS & VHS
4. TRIBUTE DVDS
5. UNOFFICIAL DVDS
6. BIOGRAPHICAL MOVIES
1. OFFICIAL CONCERT FOOTAGE
In orde of performance
LIVE AT MONTEREY ♥♥♥♥♥
Killing Floor (Burnett), Foxy Lady, Like A Rolling Stone (Dylan), Rock Me Baby (King/arr. Hendrix), Hey Joe (Roberts), The Wind Cries Mary, Purple Haze, Wild Thing (Chip Taylor)
+ A Second Look (alternate angles of some numbers)
+ “Stone Free”, “Like A Rolling Stone” – February 25, 1967 at Chelmsford Corn Exchange, England!
+ American Landing (23 minutes of interview extracts with various famous participants which leads into the concert)
+ Music, Love and Flowers (7 minute interview with Lou Adler)
This is the ultimate Jimi Hendrix Experience film, with the band setting out to show who’s the boss. Jimi is in exuberant form as “The Wild Man Of Rock” and puts on his whole show, pyrotechnics and all. Most of the footage had been available on videocassette and DVD prior to this but this edition was quite an event in October 2007, coinciding with a CD re-release of the show. The film was shown in theatres with even Mitch, Billy and Gary Moore playing live as an added attraction.
The original Pennebaker footage has been enhanced (and is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1). The soundtrack features new 5.1 surround sond and 2.0 stereo mixes by Eddie Kramer from the original eight-track live recordings which were made at the concert by remote engineer Wally Heider. So, clearer than the old “Jimi Plays Monterey” video cassette.
The bonuses provide extra interest of course, even if they are rather meagre. Most important is the “Second Look”, an interactive feature which enables you to switch between previously unseen camera angles ! This is quite unique for a film of this age. This is made possible because there was a 6 camera crew filming The Experience, so for a few of the songs you can watch the sequences of the show from this side, that side, from out in the audience, from Noel’s point of view (or just watch Noel if you are into bassists !). Distant shots are a little hazy and on occasions the camera you are on might wander all over the place but overall it does work quite well. Interestingly, on the “Wild Thing” second look (which is only a single alternate view), you can see that after the guitar smashing, Jimi remained on-stage a short while, distributing many peices of his guitar to the audience.
Also of interest on this DVD is the unreleased live (black and white) footage of The Experience performing “Stone Free” and “Like A Rolling Stone” (incomplete) on February 25, 1967 at Chelmsford Corn Exchange, England. These performances are part of what looks like a local TV film which begins with a 1967 interview with the manager of the famous military clothes shop “I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet”. Interestingly he is wearing what he says is the only Royal Huzars jacket in his stock and it turns out to be exactly the same famous lavishly braided jacket that Jimi wore on-stage. The film of the two songs is fascinating and it’s the oldest live footage of the band in action ! The audience seem so young and innocent with their straight clothes and haircuts, and making Jimi appear so other worldly (which he was).
As for the other bonuses, “American Landing” is simply a 23 minute introduction (and coda) to the Experience show with bits of interviews (John and Michelle Philips, Lou Adler, Derek Taylor, Chris Stamp, Chandler, Mitch, Noel… etc.). The same old thing basically. It briefly talks of Jimi’s rise before concentrating more on the organising of the festival. “Music, Love and Flowers” is just a 7 minute interview with Lou Adler about the festival. It’s interesting but not really a tasty bonus. The “Gallery” of photos is also rather limited. Full marks however for the Digipack style packaging with its 24 page booklet !
Note that “Can You See Me” is absent from this film (it is on the new CD) as Pennebaker had put his team on hold to save film for the end I believe. For “Jimi Plays Monterey”, that song had been used at the beginning as a soundtrack to a spectacular Denny Dent wall painting (you can see that on YouTube). It’s a pity that this time, crowd scenes or even stills weren’t used for “Can You See Me”, even as a bonus feature for example.“Purple Haze” was incomplete on the old video cassette but here the gaps have been filled with some unreleased footage (which doesn’t always match the visuals though).
In an edition of Univibes, writer/artist/photographer John Byrne Cooke said the Monterey soundcheck was filmed and recorded by a member of the Pennebaker team (Richard Leacock). I contacted John to find out more and he told me that it wasn’t filmed and he couldn’t think why he had said it had in the Univibes article! So just to be sure, I contacted Pennebaker’s son Frazer (who looks after the archives) and he in turn contacted Leaclock who confirmed that it was NOT filmed or recorded. What a shame. You can’t believe everything you see and hear, can you.
> The interior and 24 page booklet of this and the CD are very nicely done.
> Re-released for the first time on Sony in October 2017 (identical to the Universal version)
The previous DVD version:
JIMI PLAYS MONTEREY ♥♥♥♥♥
Olympia Theatre, London 1967, “Christmans On Earth” Continued: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Wild Thing (Incomplete)
Monterey 1967 : Killing Floor (Burnett), Foxy Lady, Like A Rolling Stone, Rock Me Baby, The Wind Cries Mary, Wild Thing, , Purple Haze (Incomplete) –
The previous version on DVD was coupled with Otis Redding’s performance at the festival (just like on the old 1970 vinyl album).
As previously stated,”Can You See Me” is included here but we only hear it at the beginning as artist Deny Dent performs a spectacular wall painting of Jimi. The incomplete”Purple Haze” is tagged on at the end of the film, with the closing titles. At the beginning there is a short commentary by John Phillips (of The Mamas & The Papas) who had organised the festival, plus a film montage over “Monterey”, the song by Eric Burdon.
This version also features bonus footage of The Experience performing “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Wild Thing” at the “Christmas On Earth Continued” all night event, at the London Olympia 22 Dec 1967. This is from a long lost film titled “Watch Out For Your Ears” made by Tommy Weber. He had reportedly shot 12 hours of Hendrix footage* (probably including the other artists at the event) but has nearly all been lost forever it seems. Another song, “Foxy Lady”, has survived and can be seen on YouTube. Why it wasn’t used here is a mystery. Another chunk of footage from London Olympia can be scene in the official “Behind The Scenes – Bold As Love” video, where you can see Jimi playing his Flying V and Noel with a Stratocaster, so they must have been playing “Red House”!
Watching the songs, you can see that Jimi had overdubbed his vocal parts after the event (poorly recorded on the night we imagine), so it shows how important this event was at the time. Let’s hope we will see more of this important concert at a later date.
* Source: the book “A Day In The Life” by Robert Greenfield
The previous videocassette editions of Jimi Plays Monterey:
The historic set by The Experience can also be found here
on this collection of all the surviving footage from the famous
1967 festival (arious artists).
Purple Haze, Wild Thing (Incomplete) – Blackpool Opera House – 25 November 1967 – colour
Hear My Train A Comin – solo acoustic – London film studio 1967 – colour
Wind Cries Mary, Purple Haze – Popside, Stockholm, Sweden – 24 May 1967 – b/w
Red House, Sunshine Of Your Love – Konserthuset, Stockholm – 9 janvier 1969 – b/w
Wild Thing (Incomplete) – Olympia, Paris – 9 october 1967 – colour
Hey Joe – London – January 1967 (mimed promo film) – colour
Dolly Dagger – (90s promo video) – colour
This in not the Albert Hall ’69 concert film of the same name but a collection of various bits of footage tagged onto an old short film made for the BBC in 1968 by Peter Neal (which was originally titled “See My Music Talking”). It’s an interesting collection as it concentrates mainly on 1967, before and after Monterey. Narrated by Alexis Korner, Neal’s film is a little cranky but features a few interesting moments such as a superb “Purple Haze” and an incomplete “Wild Thing” from Blackpool (April 67), “Hear My Train” (Jimi solo on 12 string acoustic in a film studio), as well as an amusing montage where Mitch and Noel pose Jimi a few silly questions. That Blackpool sequence, although frustratingly short, is as essential as the later Monterey footage, catching the band just six months after their creation.
There are a few brief audio interviews with Jimi who talks about two very important influences on his life: his Native American roots and his army parachute experiences.
The DVD is padded out with various bonuses. There is the original and very early “Hey Joe” promo film (shot at The Saville Theatre with inadequate lighting it seems), a black and white “Wind Cries Mary” / “Purple Haze” from a Sweedish TV show (“Popside” May 67 – superb), a great but incomplete “Wild Thing” from Paris Olympia (Oct. 67) and “Red House/Sunshine Of Your Love”, again in monochrome, from the Konserthuset, Sweeden in January 1969, where can you see that the rot had set in within the band (see Unofficial Releases page about this gig). The compilation finishes with a rather silly and out of place “Dolly Dagger” video made in the nineties (which uses matched in footage of Jimi performing the song at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970).
> Peter Neal came back to Hendrix in 2020 to put together a film length documentary titled “Starting At Zero” (to accompany the Hendrix interview book of the same name). See further down.
The old videocassette edition
MIAMI POP FESTIVAL 1968
See the “Hear My Train A Coming” film, further down.
LIVE AT WOODSTOCK [The Deluxe Edition] – 2 DVD ♥♥♥♥
Experience Hendrix 2005
Message To Love, Spanish Castle Magic, Red House (edited), Lover Man, Foxy Lady, Jam Back At The House (Beginning), Izabella, Fire, Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze/Improvisation/Villanova Junction, Hey Joe (Roberts)
– The Road To Woodstock documentary
– A Second look (black and white video camera fooage from side-stage including Hear My Train A Comin’
– Press conference at Franck’s Restaurant, Harlem on September 3, 1969
– Nashville Roots (Billy Cox and Larry Lee recall their early 60s “chilin’ circuit days” with Hendrix as backng musicians for R&B artists)
– Recording Woodstock (Eddie Kramer describes the challenges of recording the concert)
A fascinating film of Jimis short-lived bigger band at the legendary Woodstock festival. The band were supposed to close the three day festival on the Sunday night but because of the storm, things ran late and they ended up playing early on Monday morning! That is why you can see large deserted areas of the site.
So this is just after Noel Redding had left The Experience (last concert at Denver Mile High Stadium, Colorado 29/06/69) and Jimi takes the stage with his new band called Gypsy Sun and Rainbows (“…or just A Band Of Gypsys, anything you like…” he said on stage that day). Mitch Mitchell is still there but the rest of the band are mostly some of Jimi’s old buddies. Billy Cox, Jimi’s pre-Experience touring partner plays bass and extra musicians are Larry Lee on rhythm guitar (and occasional lead guitar and lead vocal on the day), Juma Sultan (percussion) and Jerry Velez (congas). They had rehearsed together at a rented house near the festival site before hand, but they really were thrown in at the deep end here. It was a tatty band but luckily, Jimi was on top form.
For the updated double DVD release, all the surviving footage was restored and the soundtrack remastered. This gives us “Foxy Lady”, “Message To Love”, “Hey Joe”, “Spanish Castle Magic” and “Lover Man” for the first time (the Larry Lee performances of “Mastermind” and “Gypsy Woman” are still absent).
We also see many alternate camera angles of the familier songs. A real treat is seeing Jimi dancing back and forth while Larry Lee takes a solo on “Lover Man”! Like with the raw bootleg recordings, one realises how well Eddie Kramer had cleaned up the show for the MCA double CD. Here, it’s warts and all, but it does give us a clearer picture of what it was actually like to be there on that cold Monday morning.
An interesting bonus is the “Second Look” at the concert, made up of alternate black and white video footage of every performance on DVD 1 (intercut with more colour angles) plus “Hear My Train A Comin”, which is absent on the first disc. Also included is an interesting interview with Jimi at a press conference held two weeks after the festival (Harlem Sept. 3, 1969). He looks like an Afro-American President. Other bonuses are a documentary about the show featuring interviews with band members and organisers, an interview with Cox and Lee about their early days with Jimi, plus Kramer’s anecdotes about the problems of recording the concert.
The previous cassette/DVD was a better “film” perhaps but this is a treat for hungry Hendrix fans.
The previous DVD version:
JIMI HENDRIX AT WOODSTOCK ♥♥♥♥
Message To Love, Fire, Izabella, Red House, Jam Back At The House, Voodoo Chile (Slight return)/Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze/Improvisation/Villanova Junction/Hear My Train A Comin – (some songs edited down)
The previous, shorter presentation of the band’s performance at the festival.
THE DICK CAVETT SHOW ♥♥♥
Experience Hendrix/Sony Legacy 2011
Hear My Train A Comin, Izabella, Machine Gun – USA TV studio 1969
This is interesting as the programmes were recorded just after the split up of the Experience and around the time of the Woodstock concert.
Some extracts of the main interview here had already appeared on “A Film About Jimi Hendrix”. On this release we have the complete interviews and Jimi’s live-in-studio TV performances.
The first interview is great. We discover a shy, witty and modest Hendrix in an unreal context. He also plays a sparse arrangement of “Hear My Train A Comin” on electric guitar, standing all alone on stage, backed by Cavett’s off-camera house band! He seems a little self conscious and out of place.
On the second Cavett show, Jimi admits that he is (and looks) very tired, and as a result the interview is cut short. With Cox, Mitchell and Juma Edwards this time, Jimi goes through embryonic versions of “Izabella” and “Machine Gun”. The performance is not special but it’s fascinating and catches Jimi in transition.
We even see an extract of a third programme where Jimi failed to turn up because of the running late of the Woodstock festival. Instead we see a disappointed Cavett surrounded by The Jefferson Airplane, Steve Stills and David Crosby. There is also a documentary at the end featuring recent comments by Mitchell, Cox, Juma Edwards and Dick Cavett himself.
> Three days after his first Dick Cavett Show, Jimi appeared on the Jimmy Carson Show. He was interviewed by Flip Wilson and performed “Lover Man”. The footage has unfortunately been lost.
BAND OF GYPSYS ♥♥
Experience Hendrix/Sony Legacy 2011
1. Hendrix: Band Of Gypsys (documentary)
2. A Second Look – Live At The Fillmore East, January 1, 1970 – Who Knows (incomplete), Machine Gun, Them Changes, Power Of Soul, Stepping Stone, Foxy Lady, Stop (incomplete), Earth Blues (incomplete)
3. Resume (a totally pointless shortened version of the documentary)
This is really a documentary about Jimi’s Band Of Gypsys project, built around some interesting footage of the band at the Fillmore East. We in fact see very little of the gigs in the documentary but the whole thing is very well put together, with some informative comments from all concerned. Funny though, for an hour or so, the film builds the band up to be something extraordinarily brilliant, only to abruptly admit that it wasn’t working. The Band Of Gypsys were superb. The Band Of Gypsys were a failure. One of rocks most intriguing accidents.
Interesting comments from Mitchell, Cox, Miles, Kramer, Gerry Stickells, The Ghetto Fighters, Slash, Vernon Reid, Lenny Kravitz …
The “Second Look” part of the set presents almost all of the first show on New Year’s Day 1970. The source for this is some rather fuzzy black and white video footage (from two cameras) but the sound is fantastic with the new 5.1 surround sound mix. I only have twin speakers in the TV den but at high volume it’s terrific.
Luckily we have the incredible opening performances of “Who Knows” and “Machine Gun” which Jimi had selected for his “Band Of Gypsys” album back in 1970. Great to see Jimi actually playing those legendary songs with top sound quality (rather than streaming on YouTube) but the footage is blurry and in black and white. The rest of the show doesn’t attain the same heights but remains fascinating as always. This was not the best of the four Fillmore East shows despite the brilliance of those two opening numbers and the DVD underlines again the paradox of the Band Of Gypsy’s Fillmore concerts with awesome moments right up alongside some rather awkward ones. As I have said before, despite many weeks of rehearsals, the band hadn’t yet really gelled and Jimi was still trying to get to grips with his new compositions. “Stepping Stone” goes a little astray and Miles does his old school R&B thang on “Them Changes” and “Stop” and although Jimi does put in some fabulous guitar playing throughout the set (despite the drummers uninspired metronome thrashing) at times one can see and hear that they weren’t really working all that well as a unit.
“Burning Desire” is missing and three songs are infuriatingly incomplete (“Who Knows”, “Stop” and “Earth Blues”) with the gaps left in! Absolutely stupid! They could have at least let the music play on and filled the spaces with still photos for exemple (like on the superb Led Zeppelin double DVD compilation).
> The 2011 re-release had no new footage.
JIMI PLAYS BERKELEY ♥♥½
Experience Hendrix/Sony Legacy 2012
A terribly shoddy montage of scraps of footage of Jimi’s two sets at the Berkeley Community Center (30 May 1970) and far too many scenes of student protests, useless interviews with anybody within reach outside the hall. It’s all over the place with lousy editing, out of focus shots, you name it. It doesn’t work either as a concert movie or as a documentary.
John McDermott does point out (in the nice little 12 page booklet) that the footage was never intended for theatrical release. The film crew were sent there by Mike Jeffrey just to get some concert footage. The guys didn’t even have enough film to cover all of the performances or even many complete songs, which explains the frustrating inadequacies of the material presented here. The footage was left in a refrigerator until just after Jimi’s death when Jeffrey decided to gather it together in order to make a movie out of it. Many attempts were made to edit it into something coherent but evidently they failed due to the cruel lack of musical footage and lack of vision. It’s a pity that for this new edition some of the songs weren’t dressed up with slow motion passages or stills over the music, to keep the songs complete. To compensate all of this, like with the previous edition, the entire second set is included on the disc as an audio-only bonus.
For this Sony DVD/Blue-ray up-grade they went back to the original negative for and the final product is a big improvement over the previously released version (and certainly over my old 1991 blurry video-cassette!). Some previously unreleased footage was added this time. As it says on the box, there are 15 minutes of extra footage, although some of that is simply film of students and riot scenes but there are some fine new concert sequences that have been edited into the old film (and not just tagged on as bonus features).
The only “special feature” is a seven minute or so interview with Abe Jacobs who was a sound engineer for many Hendrix concerts including the Berkeley gigs. There is a silly error in the opening 3D lead-up to the menu. We follow some guitar cables along the floor which take us up to a black Fender…. Telecaster! Ooops. Also, the outer jacket and all the booklet photos do not show Jimi at Berkeley! The cover photo is in fact from Dallas – 20 April 1969). The back cover is also a little misleading, giving the impression to the inattentive buyer that all of the set second is featured (well it is but only as the audio-only bonus).
In the booklet, McDermott also states that despite the extra footage included on this new version “…Unfortunately, none of the film’s prized outtakes were turned over to the Hendrix family by the previous administration”. So who knows, maybe in the future those outtakes (if they really do exist) might see the light of day and find their way onto a further re-edition. Keep in mind however that it does say in the booklet that Peter Pilafian’s skeleton crew only captured “portions” of the two sets and that the director “can offer little solace” to the Hendrix fans lusting for missing parts of songs, which “escaped the grasp of the crew”. The booklet also says that it was “the lack of concert material -“The (Hendrix performance) material was very skimpy” – which led the filmmakers to patch in all those Berkeley riot/street scenes (purchased off another cameraman who was unrelated to their coverage of the gig).
Despite the many problems with this film, it does feature some stunning footage of Jimi in action, putting on the whole show for the cameras. If you have never seen “Jimi Plays Berkeley”, it is a must for Hendrix fans and if you already own the previous version, this one is better.
First of all, the opening of the film has been slightly altered with somebody’s dialogue over the limousine scene (which is slightly longer) followed by about a minute and a half of “Machine Gun” from the soundchecks (though only 30 seconds of Jimi visuals).
The good news is that “Hear My Train A Comin” has been considerably extended to clock in at over nine minutes! Infuriatingly, that’s still about three minutes shorter than the actual performance but the new footage is a treat and it makes it a much more satisfying sequence. This is important as it is one of Jimi’s best ever live performances.
You won’t find it in the menu but “Purple Haze” is followed by five minutes of previously unreleased footage of “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” from the first set! Unfortunately the extracts of the song are fragmented due to some snippets of interviews with fans and a doorman! That’s a shame but the images are superb with Jimi playing to the crowd using all of his famous stage tricks. He jumps in the air, goes down on his knees, plays his Strat under his leg, punches an effects pedal off with his fist,… just great. Then after a little country riff he goes into a call and response passage between his left hand and his teeth! You’ve never seen Jimi like this before.
Unfortunately for the second set, “I Don’t Live Today”, “Hey Baby” and “Lover Man” offer nothing new and are still infuriatingly fragmented. However “Machine Gun” is a little extended with some blurred 8 mm film long-shots and yet more street footage of students and police.
So in fact the complete numbers are still only “Johnny B. Goode” and “Star Spangled Banner”/”Purple Haze”.
Here are the timings of the songs as they appear in this new version of the film:
Johnny B. Goode – 3′ 40″
Hear My Train A Comin” – 9′ 45″
Star Spangled Banner” – 2′ 17″
Purple Haze – 3′ 38″
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) – 5′ 09″ (cut into several small sequences)
I Don’t Live Today – 2′ 13″
Hey Baby – 2’20”
Lover Man – 1′ 17″
Machine Gun – 9′ 12″
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) – 9′ 15″
> The album “Live At Berkeley” also had a re-release on CD and a double 200g vinyl version.
The previous releases of the original film:
ELECTRIC CHURCH (Atlanta 1970) ♥♥♥
Experience Hendrix/Sony Legacy 2015
Fire, Spanish Castle Magic, Red House, All Along the Watchtower, Freedom*, Foxey Lady, Purple Haze, Hey Joe, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Stone Free, Star Spangled Banner, Straight Ahead (+ an animation of Room Full of Mirrors)
After a long wait, an update of the Atlanta videoappeared with this DVD/Blue-ray which features all the usable concert footage of Jimi’s performance at the festival on the 4th of July 1970. This was been put together from the original negatives and Eddie Kramer did the stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes direct from the original master tapes. So obviously a vast improvement over the old laserdisc/VHS release of the 90s.
Like with the Monterey DVD, the concert footage is sandwiched between two documentary sections which I find quite tedious (the same old story we’ve heard before about how great Jimi was and how a festival is organised and what a mess it is afterwards).
Right from the word go it’s annoying when the opening titles say it was Jimi’s biggest US audience (correct), then “2 months later he was gone forever”. Oh great, thanks for bringing that tragic thought up at the beginning of the evening’s entertainment. Then it says “The festval was filmed but never released until now”. Wrong – we’ve had most of it before in the 90s (although in lesser quality of course). While the heads talk, we see exciting glimpses of Zurich 69, Flushing Meadow 69, Newport 69, Generation Club jam (with Buddy Miles on drums) – perhaps little teasers of things to come (although no multi-track recordings exist for those performances).
Then as they always do, the interview snippets give way to Jimi out there in the darkness and boy is it dark! One of those interviewed did say that they had insufficient lighting and it really shows. At least Jimi is well defined most of the time but we can plainly see that he wasn’t all that comfortable up there and he is in pretty bad spirits all the way through the gig. It was very, very hot that July night and in those conditions guitars easily slip out of tune – which was always a problem anyway for Jimi with his extreme, string-bending whammy bar distorted playing – and it wasn’t as if a guitar roadie was running on-stage to give him a freshly tuned instrument for each song (a luxury afforded to today’s high profile guitarists). The fact that Jimi could hardly see any of the audience in all that darkness might also have contributed to his bad mood. So a relatively static Hendrix isn’t much “fun” but it’s a good opportunity to watch those huge magic fingers at work.
As early as “Spanish Castle Magic” (third song that night) you can see that Jimi is displeased. A change of guitar for “All Along The Watchtower” but he unfortunately begins in the wrong key and turns to Mitch and Buddy to get back in gear. The rest of the gig goes well thankfully and Jimi plays very well throughout. There’s a nice moment when Jimi looks up at the fireworks exploding above him as he plays “The Star Spangled Banner”. Ridiculously, at the end of “Straight Ahead”, the final song presented here, the bloody lights come on! Looks like they finally got them wired up correctly. A shame that the performance was just drawing to a close! Hell, Jimi really was jinxed as far as live footage is concerned. We see Jimi wander off to the rear of the stage and it’s all over (we don’t get to see Jimi’s dreary, out-of-tune instrumental coda of “Hey Baby”). Then the film goes back to the interviews to conclude.
The songs which weren’t caught on film were “Lover Man”, “Hear My Train A Comin” and “Message To Love”. There are a few scraps of footage of “Room Full Of Mirrors” presented here as the only “bonus”. It’s in fact a fast-cutting montage of photos from the gig mixed with a tiny bit of the surviving film.
Despite the nit-picking, this is a pretty good DVD and all of this concert footage is interesting, fascinating even and it’s great to have it in the collection. However it’s a far cry visually from the bright and bouncy Jimi of 67/68 and it’s a shame that we haven’t got more on film from that golden period of his short career (the Miami footage was a miracle, although too short).
A couple of things which are annoying about this release: it is attributed to The Jimi Hendrix Experience (which Jimi had abandoned when Noel left – though the name was maintained for the 1970 tou without Cox on bass). “Electric Church” was a concept that Jimi had nurtured during the 1969 tours (there were even concert programmes with that name on the cover – below) and he also liked to call outdoor gigs “Sky Church”. For the 1970 tours however, Jimi was using “The Cry Of Love” as a theme/concept for the band, the tour (which is why that title was given to the first posthumous collection of final studio recordings).
The 1969 “Electric Church” tour program (nothing to do with the 1970 U.S. tour).
The nineties video cassette and laser disc releases featured all the songs that are on the new release except “Freedom” and the snippets of “Room Full Of Mirrors”.
Also, in 1992, more footage from the Atlanta concert had surfaced in a half-hour documentary produced by Alan Douglas, titled “Mojo Working – The Making Of Modern Music”. In the documentary there was a four minute extract of Jimi playing “Red House”.
JOHNNY B. GOODE ♥♥
A montage of various concert extracts from Atlanta 70 and Berkeley 70 for this old video cassette which accompanied the shoddy album of the same name.
Are You Experienced (80s promo), Johnny B. Goode, All Along The Watchtower, Art Attack*, Star Spangled Banner, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return).
* “Art Attack” is the Denny Dent wall painting scene previously on “Jimi Plays Monterey”.
NEW YORK POP FESTIVAL, Randall’s lsland 1970
See the “Hear My Train A Coming” film, further down.
MUSIC, MONEY, MADNESS – Jimi Hendrix In Maui ♥♥½*
2020 (Experience Hendrix/SOny Legacy)
SET 1: Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)/In From the Storm, Foxy Lady, Hear My Train A-Comin’, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Fire, Purple Haze
SET 2: Dolly Dagger/Villanova Junction, Ezy Ryder, Red House, Freedom, Stone Free
*A low rating for a general public release but for hard-core fans, this is a MUST.
This Blu-ray only disc included with the Maui live album, presents a documentary about the making of the Rainbow Bridge movie (absent from the disc) and all existing footage from Jimi’s live performance. Don’t expect a full concert on film as only fragments of the concert were shot and that is why this hasn’t been issued as a stand-alone video release.
The over-long documentary titled “Music, Money, Madness” tells the story of how the whole Maui event came into being. Some parts are interesting but the film spends far too much time on the dealings of Mike Jeffrey and Chuck Wein. In fact a great part of this is a documentary about Wein himself and his counter-culture movie project Wave, which became Rainbow Bridge. Things get far more interesting when the film talks about the actual concert and the problems related to the soundtrack album that Jimi was supposed to have delivered.
On concert day, the film crew wasted too much footage on crowd scenes before the band came on, so to economise their film, they put their cameras on hold during many songs! Those instances are evident here with a horribly intrusive still slide that keeps popping up saying “ALL CAMERAS STOPPED”. It’s awful and one has the impression of watching an internal company test montage and not a finished product! Why the hell they didn’t have the imagination (or money?) to fill ALL the gaps with slow-motion and photo merges is beyond me. Hell, this is a precious document of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. A very lazy and disrespectful attitude from Experience Hendrix.
The fragmented concert footage is however fantastic and give us about 38 minutes of the first set (with approximately 7 or 8 minutes of still screen gap-fill) and 33 minutes of the second set (with a similar amount of gaps).
So what is new here, in relation to the “Rainbow Bridge” movie and the circulated Maui bootleg footage? There are new parts in Hear My Train a Comin’, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Fire, Dolly Dagger/Villanova Junction, Ezy Ryder, a complete Red House and some of Freedom and Stone Free!
The picture quality is a big improvement compared to the grainy Rainbow Bridge movie, especially for the second set with crystal clear, close-up HD footage of Jimi performing. There has never been anything like this before. He’s in great spirits and giving it everything he’s got. It’s a joy to see the near complete Dolly Dagger and all of VIllanova Junction Blues and Red House. A far cry from the dreary, dark aspect of the other 1970 shows at Atlanta, New York Pop Festival and The Isle Of Wight.
Unfortunately, the HUGE gaps with that annoying panel make this a pretty frustrating viewing experience for the most part, so this isn’t really adequate for the casual fan, the general public but at the same time, it’s an absolute MUST for any hard-core Hendrix fan!
> The scene in Rainbow Bridge where Jimi has a spaced-out chat with Chuck Wein and Pat Hartley is not included here.
> The dark footage taken by a film student (over which he some annoying trippy effects – known as “Strange Day On Maui”), is not included. If that student had done a double exposure at the time, then no raw footage would remain anyway.
The first appearance of the Maui footage:
RAINBOW BRIDGE ♥♥*
This is NOT a Hendrix movie and there’s very little concert footage to enjoy. It’s Chuck Wein’s shambolic 1971 film following protagonist Pat Hartley to the Rainbow Bridge Occult Meditation Center on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Manager Mike Jeffery produced this mess and roped Jimi into playing on the slopes of the Haleakala volcano. Jeffrey, who was frustrated with Jimi’s slow working pace and reluctance to tour, saw theatre movies (of Berkeley and Maui) as a way to generate cash.
This is rambling hippie nonsense and it is a long wait until we finally see extracts of Jimi’s performance on the island. On the day, before he played, the rather stoned crew used up nearly all the film, shooting Wein leading a chant with the equally stoned audience (to create the right vibe, man). As a result, we only get a fascinating 15 minutes or so of the gig, in a shoddy montage at the end of the film. There is hardly one complete song! Wonderful images however, of the band playing on a makeshift stage with the sky behind them and flowing coloured flags everywhere. Jimi in fact played as part of what was called a “Vibratory Color/Sound Experiment”. I remember seeing this “Foxy Lady” in the early seventies on “The Old Grey Whistle Test ” (the legendary late-night, BBC rock programme) and being completely blown away by it.
Jimi’s music also accompanies many other scenes in the film (some songs with earlier mixes than on the album of the same name) and he also makes a brief appearance in a pretty spaced out conversation with Pat Hartley and Chuck Wein (an extract of which appeared on the inner sleeve of the soundtrack album). According to Mitch (in his autobiography) “Jimi wanted to have a bit of fun with the people involved; basically he thought that they were a bunch of wankers. Except I don’t think it comes across that way on the film, it seems very serious, it wasn’t meant to be”.
Mitch said that the film is so boring that he fell asleep at the film premiere! He was right, it is awful. Thank God for the fast-forward button.
> In his autobiography, Mitch said that the “magnetic forces” between the two volcanoes affected the the equipment: “When I came to re-mixing it, I discovered that only eight out of sixteen tracks had worked at any one time”.
Some other jackets for the film on videocassette and DVD
BLUE WILD ANGEL – LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT ♥♥
Visual evidence that this was a bad night for Jimi. This dreary concert happened a month after the surreal Maui performance. What a contrast for Jimi, Mitch and Billy. They hadn’t played together or rehearsed since the Hawaii concerts and they were thrust on stage at about 1 a.m.
The performance has one or two good moments but overall, it’s a painful, raggedy show, with Jimi seemingly lost at times. We see him throw his guitar down in disgust and exhaustion at the end. It is moving to see his occasional smiles but I do find the whole thing just too depressing to watch.
This performance had a very bad effect on Jimi’s image as it gave the impression that he was burnt out by mid 1970 (which was simply untrue as Maui, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Fehmarn Island performances, all show him to have been as hot as ever).
> One release of this film featured the CD tracks as a bonus.
Previous, shorter version on videocassette and DVD
LOVE & PEACE FESTIVAL 1970 – Fehmarn Island, Germany
See the “Hear My Train A Coming” film, further down.
A FILM ABOUT JIMI HENDRIX– 2-disc Special Edition ♥♥♥
Warner Brothers 2005
Originally a cinema movie released in 1973 (by Joe Boyd, John Head and Gary Weis), this rockumentary features various interviews (Pete Townsend, Jagger, Clapton, Lou Reed, Little Richard, Mitch, Buddy,…) plus many concert clips from The Marquee, Monterey, Berkeley, Woodstock, Fillmore East and Isle Of Wight. There is also the famous sequence (from “Experience” initially) with Jimi singing “Hear My Train A Comin” on 12 string acoustic guitar, which became the film’s symbol.
Back in seventies Britain, footage of Jimi appeared rarely on TV, so theatre movies like this were a God-send to Hendrix fans – no video in those days kids. We’ve had so many Hendrix documentaries over the years that this one has lost some of its appeal. Still, there are some interesting interviews here and there.
The 2005 re-release by the Hendrix Estate was completed with 74 minutes of bonus footage! There is a 63 minute section called “From The Ukulele To The Strat” – a title which is a little pretentious as it gives the impression that it’s a documentary about Jimi’s life from his childhood, right up to the end of his short life. It’s simply a collection of the parts of the interviews for the film that ended up on the cutting room floor – interviews with Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox, Buddy Miles, Eddie Kramer, Eric Barrett, Gerry Stickles, H, Al Brown, John Hammond Jr, Linda Keith, Al Hendrix, Freddie Mae Gautier and Fayne Pridgon. Although the footage is in a pretty poor state (scratches, creases and cuts) and with pointless overlayed graphics, it is crammed with interesting anecdotes. This alone makes the purchase worthwhile.
Other bonuses are an (unedited) 6 minute version of “Stone Free” from Atlanta 1970, the black and white video tape recording of the Band Of Gypsys playing that historic version of “Machine Gun” and another 6 minutes featuring Eddie Kramer at Electric Lady Studios in 1972 as he explains the mixing of “Dolly Dagger” (previously heard on the bootleg “Magic Fingers”).
The soundtrack was not released as a CD which is a shame. The old vinyl soundtrack album was excellent.
Previous, shorter version on videocassette and DVD
THE UNCUT STORY ♥♥♥♥
Rottin’ Rolling Films 2005
Written and produced by Steven Vosburgh, this had no participation from the Hendrix estate but it’s an excellent documentary.
It’s available as a 3 DVD set or all on one disc. Three hours divided into three chapters: 1942-1961, 1961-1967 and 1967-1970. There are interviews with Jimi, with Chandler, Kramer, Etchingham, Stamp, Mitch, Noel, Leon Hendrix, Joe Hendrix and other relatives, old school friends, his football coach, you name it. I have read quite a few books about the man but I did learn a few things watching this. A must-have for Hendrix scholars.
There is no Hendrix music at all in the film but some clever Hendrix-style guitar playing in the background and it works in quite well. Here are the musical credits:
Original music: Shawn Allen Klaiber
Original guitar: Ray Rae Goldman
Additional music: Stix Darko
AT LAST…THE BEGINNING: The making of Electric Ladyland ♥♥♥
Sony Legacy 2008
Experience Hendrix celebrated the 40th anniversary of the greatest album of all time with this special DVD release (December 2008). The DVD was also available with the CD in a nicely packaged deluxe edition.
This is in fact a re-release of the “Classic Albums” film but with an extra 40 minutes of interviews etc. Every song (except “Come On (Part One)”) comes under scrutiny with Eddie Kramer at the mixing desk together with comments by Chas Chandler, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding, Buddy Miles, Stevie Winwood, Chris Wood, Mike Finnegan, Jack Casady, Chris Stamp and Gerry Stickells. There is also a short sequence about the instrumental “South Saturn Delta” which was worked on during the “Ladyland” sessions and it features comments from the producer who worked on the song with Jimi, Larry Fallon.
Those who already have the “Classic Albums” DVD might hesitate to buy this but it is a must for any fan. It’s very informative, nicely edited and visually rich with many clips of Jimi on stage and various portions of promo footage of varying quality.
> The title of the DVD “At last…the beginning” comes from the working title of “And The Gods Made Love”.
Re-released as part of the Blu-Ray disc
in the Electric Ladyland 50th Anniversary box set.
The front cover is from the old Electric Ladyland Part One album
The shorter, original DVD
from the “Classic Albums” series.
WEST COAST SEATTLE BOY – “Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child” ♥♥♥
Sony Legacy 2010
This film was also included in the CD/DVD box set “West Coast Seattle Boy”. It’s not a definitve documentary but a narration (by Bootsy Collins) using Jimi’s own words, which is a nice idea. A few extracts of interviews with Jimi are also edited in. It works very well and is never dull. There are some never before seen snippets here and there, such as parts of “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” and “Hear My Train A Comin” from Berkeley which eventually re-surfaced on the up-dated “Jimi Plays Berkeley” DVD/Blue-ray.
HEAR MY TRAIN A COMIN ♥♥♥
Sony Legacy 2013
Released at the same time as the live album “Miami Pop Festival” comes this American Masters (PBS) life story documentary directed by Bob Smeaton (who put together the Monterey and Woodstock DVD films).
The film lasts over two hours and is nicely paced, with expert use of Jimi’s music, live footage (some of it very rare), home movies, interviews with a whole array of fellow artists, friends, family, lovers,… It’s never dull but it’s not something that one would choose to return to very often. This is of course tailored for the general public so it will seem rather superficial to the hardcore fan. One thing that wasn’t emphasised enough I thought was Jimi’s strength as a songwriter and lyricist, as the film tended to simply underline his six-string prowess (as usual).
There are however some tantalising rare snippets of film in there – Saville Theatre 67, Stora Scenen 68, Flushing Meadow 68, Madison Square Gardens 69 – as well as new footage related to films that we already have. There are also a few audio excerpts of outtakes that we haven’t heard before. So these little things leave us hoping that more interesting archive releases will be on the way in the near future. How about a box set of outtakes/alternate takes including a DVD of rare film sequences?
Of main interest to Hendrix fans are the bonuses !
1. MIAMI POP FESTIVAL 1968
“Fire” (excerpt), “Foxy Lady,” “Tax Free,”, “Purple Haze” (excerpt) + interviews with festival promoter Michael Lang and Eddie Kramer- 5.1 Stereo.
This is like a mini documentary about the festival but features footage of a few songs. “Fire” and “Purple Haze” offer only a few of views of Jimi but “Foxy Lady” and “Tax Free” are complete and reveal him in full flight. Simply awesome to see Jimi in his 1968 hat period and full of himself. Mitch is very impressive also.
We get basically two (full-frame) camera angles with great close-ups and superb head-to-toe long shots. “Tax Free” is fabulous and it is a rare chance to see the man and the band in free-form improvisation. There is even a little central drum solo from Mitch. A pity that we didn’t get more of these great Miami concerts. Damn!
NEW YORK POP FESTIVAL 1970
“Message To Love,” “Lover Man,” “All Along The Watchtower,” “Purple Haze,”, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” 5.1 Stereo.
Here we find Jimi on his last US tour, a couple of weeks before the Maui performances. We have seen a rough copy of this footage on YouTube in the past but this is pristine and looks like they got it from the original film. The stage lighting was inadequate so it is very dark in places but it’s nice and crisp with superb images of Jimi bathed in red and blue light. His mood is quite sombre (like at Atlanta), his playing is inspired but the songs here don’t give him much room for intense exploration and there is no “Red House”, dammit (it was one of greatest performances of the song). Still, it’s great to have this other part of the puzzle.
> There is footage of Jimi playing “The Star Spangled Banner” at this concert, at the close of the documentary “The Day The Music Died” (Bert Tenze 1977). Unfortunately, Jimi had sound trouble towards the end – which must be why Experience Hendrix chose to omit it for this disc.You can see the performance here.
LOVE & PEACE FESTIVAL 1970
Newly discovered footage of the Isle Of Fehmarn concert:
“Killing Floor,” “Spanish Castle Magic,” “All Along The Watchtower”, “Foxy Lady”, “Hey Joe” (excerpt)
Jimi’s very last concert performance of course and it is absolutely fascinating to finally see some film of him in action at this island pop festival. It’s all very fragmented and uses a great deal of boring crowd footage as filler. Jimi was booed by some irate bikers as he came on and we see him gesture to them saying “I don’t give a fuck if you boo, as long as you boo in key…you mothers” then hits them with “Killing Floor”. The real highlight here is “Spanish Castle Magic” with a good steady sequence of film with Jimi on top form. That is what is interesting here. We see that Jimi was keen and very alive, far from the weary performer of the Isle Of Wight and the Aarhus catastrophe of a few days earlier. Bootlegs and photos show that he was also on blistering form in Copenhagen (KB Hallen) three days earlier, so we can forget the wrongly accepted idea that Jimi was burnt out by mid 1970. He had a few bad days and a few problems to sort out (drug, legal and domestic) but there is all the evidence to show that he was as alive and kicking as ever.
TOP OF THE POPS
“Purple Haze” (March 30, 1967) – black and white mimed with a live vocal
This is nice little last touch. It’s great to see the band on film at this early stage of their career, just a month after the Chelmsford Corn Exchange footage that we discovered in the bonus section of the Monterey DVD. The band are miming here but Jimi sings live.
Janie Hendrix had mentioned in an interview that footage from Newport 69 might also be included as a bonus but she must have confused it with New York Pop. She is seen in the documentary film (commenting about the first time she met Jimi) but she is announced as Jimi’s “sister” but that is an error of course, she is of Japanese/German descent and was his step-sister.
STARTING AT ZERO
A film by Peter Neal who had directed the short “Experience” back in 1968 (see near top of page). This was produced by Alan Douglas before he passed away and he and Neal published a book with the same title back in 2013. I think they had planned to release the film at the same time as the book but held it back because the Hendrix Estate had released the Hear My Train A Comin DVD that year.
From what I can gather, like the book, the film is entirely in Jimi’s own words and spoken by a narrator. This had already been done back in 2010 for the “West Coast Seattle Boy – Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child” DVD with Bootsy Collins narrating, which worked very nicely as he sounds like Jimi), however this new film the voice used sounds more like any old white journalist (from what we see on the new films website).
As this film doesn’t come from the Hendrix estate, I presume that none of Jimi’s music will be featured (like with The Uncut Story listed above).
> I think this was only viewable on-line in 2020. Not sure if it will get a cinema release or if it will come out on DVD-Blu-ray.
HENDRIX AND THE BLUES
In the UK, Universal put out a special edition of the Jimi Hendrix Experience box set with a DVD included. It was a 30 minute film titled “Hendrix And The Blues”. This was originally screened in the USA as a 15 minute programme and part of the Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues series. There were also these three songs as bonus videos: “Johnny B. Goode” – Live at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, Ca., May 30, 1970 – “Red House” – Live at Isle Of Wight, England, August 30, 1970 – “In From The Storm” – Live at Isle Of Wight, England, August 30, 1970.
> The official on-line store (authentichendrix.com) at one time offered this DVD free with a $50 minimum purchase.
> This documentary was re-released (in a slightly expanded form) as a bonus DVD with “Jimi Hendrix :Blues”.
TH LAST 24 HOURS
What a load of garbage this is. A string of utter nonsense, with all the facts wrong in a sensationalist attempt to make it seem like Mike Jeffrey was ex-secret service (which he wasn’t) and that he had Jimi murdered (which didn’t happen because Jimi was alive in the ambulance).
The TRUTH about how Jimi died is here.
3. OLD LASER DISCS AND VHS
Laser discs are collectable if you have a player:
VHS videocassettes are collectable (if you have a player) and not bothered about the inferior quality):
ON THE ROAD – The Ulitmate Experience Live!
Purple Haze (Blackpool 1967), Hey Joe (Monterey 1967), Wild Thing (Monterey 1967), Johnny B. Goode (Berkeley 1970), Jam At the Back Of The house (Woodstock 1969), Woodstock Improvisation (Woodstock 1969), Land Of The Rising Sun (Rainbow Bridge 1970), In From The Storm (Rainbow Bridge 1970), All Along The Watchtower (Atlanta 1970), 10. Red House (Atlanta 1970), Voodoo Chile (Berkeley 1970)
This rare official compilation of various footage was directed by Peter Neil, Christopher Mould and Alan Douglas.
Rock Me Baby/Foxy Lady (Monterey), SSB/Purple Haze/Improvisation/Villanova Junction (Woodstock), Fire/Red House (Atlanta), God Save The Queen/Machine Gun (IOW).
Yet another Alan Douglas era compilation video released on VHS.
THE JIMI HENDRIX CONCERTS VIDEOGRAM
Fire, Little Wing, Wild Thing, Hey Joe, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Hear My Train A Comin, Bleeding Heart, Star Spangled Banner
This 1983 released curiosity was also produced by Alan Douglas. It features only glimpses of Jimi in concert.
4. TRIBUTE DVDs
THE MUSIC OF JIMI HENDRIX
A collection of top musicians get together to express their love of Jimi’s music, at the Jazz-Open, Stuttgart. Pharoh Sanders, Vernon Reid, Jack Bruce, Cassandra Wilson, Jean-Paul Bourelly*, Terry Bozio, and more.
I saw this on T.V. a while back, it’s not bad and features some good interviews along the way.
* Bourelly also put out his own Hendrix tribute album which is excellent – see “Tribute Albums” section
ULI JON ROTH 1 FRIENDS – The SpiritOf Jimi Hendrix
Ex-Scorpions and UFO guitarist (and ex-companion of Monika Dannemann) Uli Von Roth has a Hendrix blash with Jack Bruce (again), Randy Hansen, Simon Phillips, John Wetton, …
POPA CUBBY – Electric Chubbyland
Popa follows up his excellent 3CD Hendrix tribute album “Electric Chubbyland” with this performance from The File 7.
> See Tribute Albums section for details about his album.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Double Trouble: Come On (Let The Good Times Roll)/Voodoo Chile/I Don’t Live Today – Indigenous: Hear My Train A Comin – Living Colour: Power Of Soul/Crosstown Traffic – Eric Gales: Purple Haze – Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy D. Lane & Double Trouble: Bleeding Heart/Killing Floor – Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox & Andy Aledort: Freedom – Paul Rodgers, Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox, Andy Aledort & Kenny Olson: Stone Free – Buddy Guy, Andy Aledort & Double Trouble: Hoochie Coochie Man – Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, Andy Aledort & Double Trouble: Five Long Years – The Ensemble: Voodoo Child (Slight Return) – Robert Randolph & Double Trouble: Purple Haze – Mick Taylor & Indigenous: Red House – Eric Gales, Billy Cox & Buddy Miles: Foxy Lady
This DVD from the Hendrix Estate was fiilmed in San Diego Street Scene and at the Paramount Theater, Seattle. Mitch, Billy and Buddy were there along with Paul Rodgers, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Double Trouble, Living Color and the old Rolling Stone ace guitarist Mick Taylor for “Red House”.
GARY MOORE – BLUES FOR JIMI
Purple Haze, Manic Depression, Foxy Lady, The Wind Cries Mary, I Don’t Live Today, My Angel (sic), Fire, Red House, Stone Free, Hey Joe, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
Ace guitarist Gary Moore (Thin Lizzy) attacks Jimi’s music with his usual panache and vigor.
Guest appearances by Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox!
5. UNOFFICIAL DVDs
LIVE IN SOCKHOLM
Excerpts from this first set from the Konserthuset, Stockholm, 9th January 1969, appeared on the “Experience” compilation listed further up and a little of “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” cropped up on the “Band Of Gypsys” documentary. The audio recordings of the two sets that night were recently the subject of the lawsuit between Experience Hendrix and Purple Haze Records. Yes, this video unfortunately features the lousy first set where the band and the sound crew just didn’t get it together. It’s the worst ever filmed performance of the band! Interestingly however, this was shot on video tape, giving us very crisp images and the close-ups give us an opportunity to study Jimi’s long fingers in action. Jimi is totally static and the band seem to be in a very bad mood. Fascinating stuff, even if the set was a disappointment. The second set was a little better than this but the film crew had already packed up and left!
The DVD pictured also features “Wind Cries Mary” / “Purple Haze” from the Sweedish TV show (“Popside” May 67) which are on the official “Experience” DVD aswell as a documentary titled “The Making Of Modern Music”.
ROYAL ALBERT HALL 1969
The Experience’s UK farewell concert filmed at the Royal Abert Hall (24 February 1969) by the directors Gold and Goldstein. The film was only screened once or twice, then legal wrangles have left it in the can all these years.
A pirate video has circulated, revealing as usual, a very sloppy montage, repeating the same crowd scenes over and over for exemple. I don’t know what the directors or film editors were on, but it certainly wasn’t suited for film-making. For example during “Gettin’ My heart Back Together”, as Jimi sings “I’m gonna leave this town”, we are treated to extensive footage of the back of a car, as it takes Jimi…out of town. Creative stuff. The rest of the film features great footage of Jimi on top form at The Royal Albert Hall and by this time adopting his more static, studious approach to performing but he still lets loose at the end for the good of the occasion.
I have been listening to this gig on the many releases that have appeared over the years and it was just awesome to finally see the film. At this stage the band were in such complete control of their music, taking it to such a high level that after their demise, Jimi would never again achieve the same balanced perfection in live performance. His playing is of a breathtaking precision and beauty, as you can hear on all those “Experience” soundtrack albums. Compared to his Monterey character, you can see how much Jimi’s attitude to live performance had changed over the years, and at times he seems almost embarrassed to be up there. We also see Traffic members Chris Wood and Dave Mason appear with Rocky Dzidzornu for the jam on “Room Full Of Mirrors”. At the climax guitar smashing, a riot practically ensues in the clamer for souvenir guitar parts, and as a result, the last image shows Jimi backstage evidently quite upset about all the mayhem.
Soundtrack recordings were put out as early as 1971 and the audio rights have since been haphazardly leased to numerous budget labels, resulting in an over exploitation of these fine performances.
The film also features a brief apartment interview with Jimi plus an improvised “Hound Dog” performed on acoustic guitar.
> We continue to wait for the official release of footage of the Royal Albert Hall concerts.
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
I think two above are re-releases or pirates of the “On The Road” compilation.
THE LAST EXPERIENCE
This is in fact built around a film called “Bold As Love”. It was written and directed by Richard Driscoll. It begins with the audio of the first set of the Stockholm 69 gig over some fascinating footage of The Experience performing in what looks like 1966 or very early 1967. Jimi is wearing his velvet double breasted suit. Then the film talks about Jimis life in a messy way with interventions by biographer Steve Roby. At one point he says that the rhythm and blues period from 1963 is one of the best! Not sure about that Steve. There are images of Jimi at the height of his fame over the pre-Experience period also. The thing is full of inaccuracies. Stones co-manager Tony Calder says that he saw Hendrix in the Café Wha? with Linda Keith and Andrew Loog Oldham. He says that “…he played all the hits, with his guitar behind his head, the lighter fuel, everything”. Totally wrong, Jimi hadn’t released any records at that stage and wasn’t playing his future hits! He didn’t burn his guitar until 1967 in London! This DVD is a waste of time.
The bonus features are:
– an interesting (audio only) interview with Jimi in Sweden in 1967. He talks in length about his chittlin’ circuit days and the early days of The Experience
– a dreadlocked guitarist who shows us some Hendrix techniques on guitar. Awful.
– an interview with Paul Adams (of the “Hendrix Fellowship”?).
– some shoddy hand-held footage of the Blue Plaque ceremony in front of Jimi’s old Brook Street apartment. A home movie really. It goes on to talk of Noel’s later musical projects.
– a stupid audio mix of the 1967 Stockholm radio show (“Stages 67”) with stadium size audience noise behind it. Utter nonsense. There is also “Little One” which is retitled “Acoustic Rock” with the audience still cheering away !
A total rip-off.
JIMI HENDRIX BY THOSE WHO KNEW HIM BEST
“An unauthorized documentary film packed with exclusive interviews” – that is what it says on the cover. It’s on YouTube.
This features an interview with Gerry Stickells, Ed Chalpin and Geno Washingon. It includes a 32 page booklet “and much more”. Perhaps no full performance footage. The CD that comes with it is made up of Lonnie Youngblood and fake tracks.
Simply a pirate of the official “Experience” DVD.
Google is your friend for finding out about other unofficial DVDs.
6. BIOGRAPHICAL MOVIES
Released in 2000, this movie was made by Claudio Chea, telling Jimi’s life story and with Billy Zane, Wood Harris and Vivica A. Fox.
This was not the first attempt at portraying Jimi’s life. In the seventies, Richie Havens once planned (or staged) a rock musical about Jimi titled “Electric God”. Also in the seventies, Bob Calvert (of Hawkwind fame, he wrote “Silver Machine”) staged a play in London called “The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice”. In the eighties a film was on the cards, with the late and great Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy penciled in for the leading role.
JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE
This is a bizarre, dreary 2013 movie by John Ridley (who directed the acclaimed movie “12 Years A Slave”). It takes place in the one year time frame from Jimi’s liaison with Linda Keith in New York 1966 up to his booking for Monterey. It’s really all about his relationships with Linda and Kathy Etchingham, set to the backdrop of the rise to popularity of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. However it never gets to grips with those relationships and merely projects a series of caricatures and inacuracies which are infuriating for the Hendrix fan. The viewer with little knowledge about the man could find this moderately entertaining but in the end it’s rather a bore.
André 3000 does put in a fine performance as the shy, soft spoken, off-stage Hendrix but the sequences of him in performance lack atmosphere and credibility. André did confess that he didn’t feel at ease playing left-handed and he does appear a little stiff (like the movie). Chas is quite well portrayed by Andrew Buckley and the most interesting parts of the film feature him. Mitch’s character is given little attention as is Mike Jeffrey’s and there is no sign of Track bosses Lambert and Stamp.
Little things are annoying – for example the Noel Redding character is shown with a full volume afro when he first met Jimi, which of course wasn’t the case. Jimi on the other hand is shown with greased-down, processed hair when Linda discovers him at The Cheetah Club – wrong again – photos of Jimi at the Club show him already sporting his Dylan-style afro. Also, at that stage, Jimi was past being an obedient side-man and was beginning to develop his own stage personality (and even singing, as the Georges Club 20 tapes revealed 40 years ago).
Linda’s character is well played and quite accurately put over which is more that you can say for Kathy, who is portrayed as a sort of clueless groupie with a Northern accent. We know from Kathy’s book that the couple had occasional rows but they never came to the level of violence portrayed in the movie (the script writer got that from the inventions in Curtis Knights lousy biography). Kathy was rightly furious about this.
The attempts to create the intoxicating mood of 1966-67 are pretty half-baked and the film lacks atmosphere and excitement (which is what the man was all about after all).
Experience Hendrix refused to allow Jimi’s songs to be used in this mess, thank God, so we only hear unsuccessful attempts to recreate “Killing Floor”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Wild Thing” (the latter over the final credits). Many other scenes feature some Hendrix-like blues soloing.
> The Hendrix estate are planning there own biopic.
Here is a list of the good to excellent quality footage of live Hendrix that has surfaced officially so far.
1. Officially released live footage:
25 February – Chelmsford Corn Exchange – “Like A Rolling Stone”, “Stone Free” – bonus “Live At Monterey”
30 March – BBC Studios, London for Top Of The Pops TV show – “Purple Haze” – bonus with the “Hear My Train A Comin’ film
24 May – Stockholm TV studio for Popside TV show – “Wind Cries Mary”, “Purple Haze” – “Experience” bonus
18 June – Monterey Pop Festival – “Live At Monterey”
9 October – Paris Olympia – “Wild Thing” – “Experience” bonus
25 November – Blackpool Opera House – “Purple Haze”, “Wild Thing” (extract) – “Experience”
22 December – London Olympia – “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “Wild Thing”
Month unknown – London film studio – “Hear My Train A Comin” on acoustic guitar – “A Film About Jimi Hendrix”, “Experience”
18 may – Miami Pop Festival – “Hear My Train A Comin” bonus
9 January 1969 – Konserthuset, Stockholm for “Number Nine” TV show – “Red House”, “Sunshine Of Your Love” – “Experience” bonus
7 July – Dick Cavett Show – “Hear My Train A Comin”, “Izabella”, “Machine Gun”
18 August – Woodstock
31 December – Band Of Gypsys DVD – some short sequences
1 January – Band Of Gypsys DVD – various songs in poor quality black & white video
30 May – Berkeley Community Theatre – Jimi Plays Berkeley
4 July – Byron – Atlanta Pop Festival videocassette/Laser disc
17 July – Randall Island, New York – bonus with the “Hear My Train A Comin’ film
30 July – Maui, Hawaii – Rainbow Bridge
30 August – Isle Of Wight Pop Festival
6 September – Isle Of Fehmarn, Germany – Love & Peace Festival – – bonus with the “Hear My Train A Comin” film
2. Unreleased quality live footage – in circulation and on YouTube
2 March – Marquee Club, London for “Beat Club” TV show – “Hey Joe”, “Purple Haze” (unreleased officially)
1 April – Gaumont Theatre, Ipswich for “Bouton Rouge” TV show – “Purple Haze”, “Wild Thing”
11 May – Paris TV studio for “Music Hall de Paris” TV show – “Hey Joe”, “Wild Thing”, “Stone Free”
18 May – Stadthalle, Offenbach for “Beat, Beat, Beat” TV show – “Stone Free”, “Hey Joe”, “Purple Haze”
22 December – London Olympia – “Foxy Lady” (incomplete)
15 March – Clark University, Worcester – WIld Thing
4 January – BBC Studios, London for The Lulu Show – “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”, “Hey Joe”, “Sunshine Of Your Love”
9 January – Konserthuset, Stockholm for “Number Nine” TV show – complete first show
24 February – Royal Albert Hall, London – various songs
30 July – Maui, Hawaii – various other songs
Also to be seen on YouTube is a multitude of poor to average quality footage of Jimi on stage at various locations (Stocholm 67 and 70, Flushing Meadow 68, Zurich 68, Gothenburg 70, …) sometimes with very cleverly aligned bootleg audio recordings.
Finally, here is a comprehensive listing of all known footage (lost and found). It’s in French but it’s easy to identify the sources.
> To view footage of Jimi in the best quality available, look no further than Kurt Max’s page: Jimi Hendrix Video – Rare & Remastered
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