On October 21st, 2019, at the famous Royal Albert Hall there was a special, one-night-only screening of the long lost footage of the Jimi Hendrix Experience live at that very venue (24th of February 1969).
Here is an eye-witness report of the film screening from fellow Hendrix fan Jacek Witecki:
“I was in London recently, to see the one-off presentation of the famous/infamous Jimi Hendrix Experience Albert Hall concert film. Janie Hendrix herself opened the presentation with short speech introducing Jerry Goldstein as a good friend (!). Then Mr. Goldstein talked about the historical facts surrounding the movie. He said that the film crew filmed Hendrix shows throughout Europe but the decision was made to concentrate on the Albert Hall performances because they would have better control of the technical conditions, to allow them to shoot good quality material.
When the film started, Goldstein continued s to make some remarks, using handheld microphone but fortunately he stopped after few minutes. He also said the film presented was rough edit but in my view, this version was very good. However still no mention about the film commercial release!
The best news to start with: it’s a completely new film compared to well-known bootleg version. No bad edits, no crazy camera zooming, no clouds floating on Little Wing, or any other infuriating effects. The picture quality is shockingly good and the sound is even better. The sound was a little below average concert volume but quite loud anyway. The audience reaction was almost as enthusiastic as for a real show, with applause after solos, screaming, laughing, etc. A simply fantastic experience for me, as I didn’t have a chance to see Jimi when he was alive.
After a short presentation of Jimi’s life and career we see sequences from other European 1969 shows and then we are in London to see the concert preparations. We see Mitch’s limousine ride to the venue, with some funny commentary and Noel backstage, putting new strings on his bass plus many other sequences from the rehearsals,which have never seen before. Very nice! Fragments of the earlier 18th of February show (with rather dark concert lighting) were also shown to explain that they had decided to have another try on the 24th with full film lights in the hall.
They have changed the original concert sequence a little, so the show begins with “Stone Free” as a strong opener. The songs are presented in full with many camera angles. There is almost the full concert with two main exceptions: no “Hear My Train A Comin” and “Bleeding Heart” is only heard in the background during Jimi’s conversation with sound engineers at the Royal Albert Hall recording room. Interesting but a bit disappointing move.
The Brook Street appartement party sequence with “Hound Dog” played in a bed is somewhere in the middle of the film. As we know, Jimi ends it abruptly, improvising some funny lyrics but there is a different take over final film credits, this time with the song completed (never before seen).
During the encore and the amp-smashing finale, when Jimi trashes a sunburst stratocaster, the guitar sound is a bit muffled but they managed somehow to smooth out tuning problems, so it sounds quite good. Some scenes from the after-party at The Speakeasy were also shown at the end.
The overall sound quality is very good (Eddie Kramer’s name is in credits as the new mix engineer), especially Mitch’s drum sound, which is powerful and majestic – far better than on the audio bootlegs and even the official releases of “Little Wing” and “Voodoo Chile” (the purple box, Hendrix In The West).
I have to say that the film made a strong impression on me. I thought I knew Jimi quite well but after seeing this performance I hadn’t realised just how phenomenal he really was. Definitely the guy was from a better planet, far from here. All we can do now is wait for the film release.
This is the best filmed Jimi show I’ve ever seen and I think it will strongly impact many of us.”
The original 70s movie “Experience” was never released but after years of legal battles, the Hendrix Estate and the film-makers struck a deal to create a new version. However there were disagreements about the distribution and the film was mothballed (along with the soundtrack). It was a work-in-progress edit that was shown at the hall.
A few years ago, the judges had ordered that the film remained in the vault until the legal proceedings were fully settled. Full story HERE)