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Author: Subject: New on Wolfgang's Vault - Hendrix 5-30-70

True Peach





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  posted on 5/25/2010 at 09:22 PM
Jimi Hendrix Experience 5-30-70

Berkeley Community Theatre (Berkeley, CA) - Late Show

http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/jimi-hendrix-experience/concerts/berkeley-com munity-theatre-may-30-1970-late-show.html


Concert Summary

By 1970, Jimi Hendrix was devoting a great deal of his time to the studio. He spent much of his time at his own studio, Electric Lady, developing new material and experimenting with numerous musicians. The process of creating and recording new music held his passion, while churning out requests before roaring crowds was losing his interest. His first real post-Experience group, Band Of Gypsys, had fallen apart after playing only five gigs and he was now in the process of morphing the two groups into one by bringing back Experience drummer, Mitch Mitchell, while retaining the Band Of Gypsies…entire summary

Jimi Hendrix - guitar, vocals
Billy Cox - bass
Mitch Mitchell - drums

By 1970, Jimi Hendrix was devoting a great deal of his time to the studio. He spent much of his time at his own studio, Electric Lady, developing new material and experimenting with numerous musicians. The process of creating and recording new music held his passion, while churning out requests before roaring crowds was losing his interest. His first real post-Experience group, Band Of Gypsys, had fallen apart after playing only five gigs and he was now in the process of morphing the two groups into one by bringing back Experience drummer, Mitch Mitchell, while retaining the Band Of Gypsies bass player, Billy Cox.

Without question, Hendrix had a lot on his mind at the time. Legal hassles and contract disputes were escalating. Managerial relations were at an all time low. Even his relationship to his music had become a challenge. Eruptions would occur over "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Purple Haze," but fans seemed either too distracted or unable to grasp his deeply felt new music like "Machine Gun." Sensitive as Hendrix was, he was literally torn between giving the fans what they wanted and playing music that inspired him and explored new territory.

To all this, add the surroundings. Hendrix arrived in Berkeley, a town synonymous with radical political thinking and protest, two days prior to these shows. A week earlier, a riot over Peoples Park left one man dead and others wounded. The previous month, anti-ROTC demonstrators battled police on the University of California campus, and the destruction was so extensive that the campus had been shut down completely. Additionally, the theater was small - 3,500-person capacity - and it became well known that they would be filming a feature-length film. Not only did this stir even more controversy, but the clamor for tickets was at a near hysterical state. Over a thousand ticketless fans were outside, determined to get in. These elements all combined to create a pressure-cooker atmosphere.

The late show that evening begins with exactly the opposite approach of the early show (also available here in The Concert Vault). Rather than give the audience what it wants, Hendrix challenges them by devoting the first 15 minutes of his performance to an experimental jam, presenting new material that he had been developing during his countless hours in his studio. They begin with a loose funky take on "Pass It On," an embryonic version of what would soon develop into "Straight Ahead" in the studio. Hendrix warns that it will be an instrumental jam to warm up, but he actually sings an early form of the lyrics as well. After seven minutes or so, he begins to transition into the first highlight of this set, an early live rendition of "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)," one of the centerpiece tracks to the album he never completed. It's still in development here, but all the elements are in place for what would become one of Hendrix's most beautiful and seductive songs. Possibly sensing that the audience wants something more upbeat, this suddenly (and somewhat awkwardly) changes into the frenetic opening riffs to "Lover Man," which they rip through to end the opening sequence.

Much like the early show, Hendrix begins vacillating between what he feels like playing and what he knows will please the audience and/or the eventual film viewing audience. He concedes to the audience and performs three well-known older numbers beginning with "Stone Free" and "Hey Joe." Although sloppy performances, the audience responds with roars of approval. Performancewise, things greatly improve with the sadly prophetic "I Don't Live Today." This features plenty of vicious guitar work and superb drumming from Mitchell, but one can also clearly hear the anger and frustration in Hendrix's vocal. The improvisation is kept to a minimum, as Hendrix is itching to get back into new material.

Also performed during the early show, Hendrix's second take of "Machine Gun" is a performance for the ages. Here Hendrix is fully engaged, creating a collage of sound while Mitch adds tension with military drumming. Using his guitar to dramatic effect, jungle sounds, bomb explosions and barrages of bullets are all conveyed through his guitar alone. This is a mesmerizing performance that is both terrifying and sublime. With good reason, this version of "Machine Gun" was prominently featured in the "Hendrix Plays Berkeley" film and was so compelling that it became the primary reason for viewing it.

At this point, Hendrix's desire to satisfy the audience, film crew and the three women who accompanied him to Berkeley, becomes the primary motivation. He dedicates the next song, "Foxy Lady" to his three friends, taking time to acknowledge them individually during his intro. It's a fiery version, with plenty of flash, but beyond his astounding technical abilities, nothing special. "The Star Spangled Banner" into "Purple Haze" that follows is prefaced by a cosmic monologue where he encourages the audience to stand up as Americans, before stating, "This is the American Anthem, the way it really is, in the air, which you breathe every day, the way it really sounds..." This briefly returns to the sonic collage territory explored in "Machine Gun," but with less compelling results. Much like his contribution to the Woodstock album, which was riding high on the charts at the time, the "Banner" segues directly into "Purple Haze," with a similar feel and fury.

Hendrix closes with a pummeling take on "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" that is a non-stop barrage of mind boggling guitar manipulations. A palpable anger permeates this performance as well, but despite his frustrations, his control of tone and feedback is as extraordinary as ever. The recording ends with the sounds of a standing ovation and some closing announcements over the PA system.

Sadly, Jimi would be gone a mere three and a half months later.

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 5/25/2010 at 10:23 PM
Getting to hear another Machine Gun is enough for me.

Machine Gun from Band of Gypsys is a definitive Hendrix cut IMHO. Just incredible.

 

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  posted on 5/26/2010 at 03:31 AM
Hello everybody!!!i am Celina Hudson from New York.I am the newest member to join this site.

[Edited on 5/26/2010 by celinahudson]

 

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  posted on 5/26/2010 at 04:47 AM
quote:
Hello everybody!!!i am Celina Hudson from New York.I am the newest member to join this site.

[Edited on 5/26/2010 by celinahudson]



Hello and welcome!

 

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  posted on 5/26/2010 at 07:22 AM
I think I had a double live album from this run. Not sure what dates , but I believe it was a compilation live album from those shows.
 

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  posted on 5/26/2010 at 07:44 AM
This is available on DVD as Jimi Plays Berkeley, so I'm surprised Wolfgang's Vault was able to get this cleared for posting on their set.

One of Jimi's finest moments. Get the DVD if you can, well worth the money. Lots of backstage/limo footage, and you just can't beat getting to see what Jimi is doing during some of the crazier parts of Voodoo Child and Machine Gun.

 
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True Peach



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  posted on 5/26/2010 at 09:48 AM
Just watched it the other day --the beginning of that film, with the pool hall type talking with the hippie -- great unplanned thing -- but a great film

 

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  posted on 5/26/2010 at 02:54 PM
quote:
This is available on DVD as Jimi Plays Berkeley, so I'm surprised Wolfgang's Vault was able to get this cleared for posting on their set.

One of Jimi's finest moments. Get the DVD if you can, well worth the money. Lots of backstage/limo footage, and you just can't beat getting to see what Jimi is doing during some of the crazier parts of Voodoo Child and Machine Gun.


Was wondering the same thing

 

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  posted on 5/26/2010 at 03:07 PM
Jimi at Berkeley is one of my favorite Jimi Hendrix DVDs. Amazing performances from a great pair of shows. The special edition DVD also contains the complete 2nd set on audio only. I think they have the 2nd set on vinyl as well.
 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 11:39 PM
Whoa, this totally rocks -- I'd never heard "Pass It On" before - that is sick.

The DVD must be an update on the VHS (?) ... Some of this I've heard, some not. Does the DVD perhaps include some songs audio-only?

(like New Rising Sun, Pass it On)

Seems like the VHS may be the "early show" -- Is the DVD the "late show"? (or does it begin with Johnny B. Goode?)

Heck, I'm all mixed up about this thing! Sounds great though. (I'm gonna play the VHS now )

 

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  posted on 6/21/2010 at 11:47 PM
Ah! I've heard this "Hey Joe" - it's the one that has police-radios or something coming through jimi's amps or the PA (?) right at the beginning.

This stuff is on that set (4 shows, 67-70) called "Stages" - does that ring a bell with anyone?

Hmmmmmm ... maybe not - research is not panning out! Well, it's on some cassette I have - this **** is the **** !

 

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  posted on 6/22/2010 at 10:31 AM
Rob I think the police radio stuff is from the Isle of Wight "Machine Gun"

 

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