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Jimi Hendrix - Live at the Oakland Coliseum CD (album) cover

LIVE AT THE OAKLAND COLISEUM

Jimi Hendrix

Proto-Prog


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ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In 1998, the first release of Dagger Records saw the light in the form of the marketing of this Oakland Concert (April 27, 1969). Dagger label puts boot recordings on the market and label them as official. Here is the definition of what Dagger Records intended to be (taken from the official Hendrix site):

''To service Jimi's fans, we have created Dagger Records, a unique label established to release bootleg' recordings which further detail Jimi's illustrious legacy''. And you should expect no less, no more.

Since this concert only took place some four months before Woodstock, the track list is very similar (but shorter here). The sound was captured in the audience (mono format.) The first three tracks aren't quite well recorded I must say. Still, from ''Here My Train?'' onwards, it is of decent quality and better than lots of other boots even if this raw music might be a bit too much at times (the second part of ''Spanish Castle Magic'' for instance).

At the time of recording, ''Hear My Train?'' is still called ''Get My Heart Back Together Again'' (one can hear this during the song intro). This version is maybe the best I've heard: the middle solo section is just phenomenal. But experiencing Hendrix live is always a pleasure to me.

From this track onwards, the best of Hendrix' repertoire is played. Some of them will be extensively stretched: ''Foxy Lady'' (over 10 minutes) and of course the longest taped version of ''Voodoo Child'' which clocks at over eighteen minutes (almost five minutes longer than the Woodstock magical version).

This boot recording is supervised by the Hendrix LLC which is supposed to be ''cleaner'' than previous producers. To my understanding, under the virtuous stamp of willing to restore Jimi's music honourably, it is just another cash machine. His half-sister (Janie Hendrix) was even accused for having earned unbelievable salaries from the company. She answered: ''I've worked hard''?This boot is available for 20$ on their official site. OK, it's a double CD set since the performance lasted for about ? 84 minutes! See what I mean?.

This collection of live performances (10 so far under the Dagger Records umbrella) is of course a benediction for Hendrix addicts (as I am) but the casual fan will perfectly live with the Woodstock set or other official releases which are better recorded and much more symbolic than this particular one. Even if ''Hear My Train'' and ''Foxy Lady'' are damned impressive.

The version of ''Star Spangled Banner'' is a great preview to the ultimate Woodstock one. Pretty close a version actually which will also fades in ''Purple Haze''. I told you, this set is (partially) very similar. The long jam during ''Voodoo'' is of course a delectation for Hendrix fans (but for them only). It could have last forever apparently since after the band presentation (around minute 14) the band is still jamming.

Three stars for this Oakland concert which could have gained a fourth one if the first three number were better and ''Voodoo'' more cohesive.

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Posted Friday, June 5, 2009 | Review Permalink

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