Friday, October 14, 2011

Jimi Hendrix Live At Monterey. Review

Last week I featured a different concert film every day of the week. I decided to continue with this concept, but bringing you one each week. If you'd like to keep up on my daily postings, head on over to the Life On This Planet Facebook Page and click LIKE. Thanks for stopping by.

I've been listening to a lot of Hendrix this week. As a matter of fact, I have the Valleys Of Neptune album spinning on my turntable as I type. Anyways, this week I was able to sit down and enjoy Jimi Hendrix's American breakthrough performance at the Monterey Pop Festival on June 18, 1967. At this point, Hendrix was virtually unknown in his native country, yet over in the UK he was championed by The Beatles, The Stones and Clapton. Jimi's appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival came just after the release of his brilliant debut album Are You Experienced.

The film begins with a documentary on Hendrix, and of the history of the Monterey Festival - which includes interviews with members of The Mamas and Papas, festival coordinators and other key figures. The fun begins when the late Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones steps up to the microphone to introduce The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It's great to see the original band with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The band is on fire, tearing through covers of Howlin' Wolf's 'Killing Floor,' BB King's 'Rock Me Baby,' and Dylan's 'Like A Rolling Stone.' Hendrix is confident - a total seasoned pro as he jokes with the crowd in between songs.

What's really fascinating about this show is that mostly every single person in the crowd is getting to witness Hendrix for the very first time, never hearing of him before his band walked on stage. The handful of songs the band plays from Are You Experienced are falling onto the crowd's ears for the very first time, so it's really cool to hear songs that have become classics, like 'The Wind Cries Mary,' 'Foxey Lady' and 'Purple Haze,' basically being debuted on American soil.

The real highlight of Hendrix at Monterey is the show closer - 'Wild Thing.' This is the moment that skyrocketed him to fame in America. You've seen the photo of Hendrix on his knees with his guitar on fire - it's all on this DVD. During the solo, he plays the melody to 'Strangers In The Night' with one hand, before strangling some foreign sounds out of his Strat. As his guitar burns on the ground, the camera pans to a few audience members, staring with their mouths opened - kind of frightened, kind of intrigued. It's history in the making.

The film was directed by D.A. Pennebaker, the man who brought you 'Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars,' Depeche Mode's '101,' and Dylan's 'Don't Look Back.' Besides the documentaries, the bonus features also contain some of the earliest audio/video footage of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, filmed live in England in early 1967.

Track Listing:  Killing Floor / Foxy Lady / Like A Rolling Stone / Rock Me Baby / Hey Joe / The Wind Cries Mary / Purple Haze / Wild Thing

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