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Jimi Hendrix - Live at Woodstock CD (album) cover

LIVE AT WOODSTOCK

Jimi Hendrix

Proto-Prog


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ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars In those days, Jimi was the top of the bill of most of the festivals. As a highly paid band (over 50,000 $) they had to close the biggest concert of all times (at least, this is my opinion) even if lots of people had already left the festival grounds on this Monday morning.

Even if Jimi and his band had to step on the stage round 9 AM on the next day of his original schedule the band played a fabulous concert. At least to my own standards.

For lots of us (I mean the teenagers from the early seventies), the only Woodstock stuff available from the master in 1970, was his thirteen minutes appearance on the triple album ''Woodstock''. Side six, second track. Oh boy! How many times did I listen to this one!!!

Then came the double album: Woodstock II with several additional tracks.

Then this double live album with the entire concert.

The band featured here is mixed one: some sort of combination between ''The Experience'' and ''The Band Of Gypsys'' (Hendrix, Cox and Mitchell).

This Woodstock concert is IMVHHO the best one I have been listening to. A great live documentary. The movie is even more expressive (but this will be the occasion for another review).

I discovered Jimi thanks to Woodstock. And like many others of the bands who played there, it was just their best ever set in their lives (Cocker, Canned Heat, The Who, CSN & Y, Santana, Ten Years After, Jefferson Airplane, Sly & The Family Stone). And Jimi of course.

I have always been nuts about this set, so be prepared for a laudatory review. But you know that I am not throwing these ones away, so.

The set list of this gig is just gorgeous. The best one you could ever expect from the giant. The improvisations here are just AWESOME. It starts all great with ''Message to Love'' and ''Hear My Train a Comin'' but it REALLY kicks off with a huge version of ''Spanish Castle Magic''. Wild, magnificent and powerful. A definite highlight of this set which holds several more.

What can I say about this release? That I was expecting this which every bits and parts of my body for soooooo many years? Of course, yes! I was like a shivering young boy while I listened to this CD some ten years ago.

As usual, some very short moments are less thrilling like the short version of ''Red House'' but it is instantly compensated with a superb ''Lover Man''. Outrageously wild and skilled. It is a fantastic showcase for our hero (one of the VERY few of mine- two or three perhaps). It is a magnificent performance from the man, more than anything else. The band is gorgeous as well (just like during the incredible ''Jam Back at the House'' which closes the first CD).

There is no ''Machine Gun'' on this live set, but Jimi is introducing the Vietnam War with ''Izabella''. As far as I am concerned, it is the best version ever released. Full of ''joy'' and dynamism. Crying guitar and heavy bass. A highlight (one more). You won't be surprised that this version of ''Fire'' is just a devastating one. Maybe to wake up all the junkies still attending.

The next trio of songs do belong to the rock history (and part of them were present in the medley of the original Woodstock soundtrack). Almost fourteen minutes of a sublime version of ''Voodoo Child''. The best ever of course. The sound coming out the band is just awesome, phantasmagorical. In one word: great, sublime (oups, there are two words here).

Even if part of the track is a band introduction, it has left an indelible mark on me. Having seen that lots of people were leaving, Jimi said: ''You can leave, we are only jamming. That's all''. These were the last words from the man.

And what to say about the huge ''Star Spangled Banner'' version? I'm just voiceless.The sounds of the bombs falling on (the Vietnam) ground. Timeless. This is flesh and bones for me. Difficult to describe really. Have a listen, enjoy and fall under admiration.

The violent '' Purple Haze'' is also a memorable moment of this legendary, monstrous live set. The studio version is just blown away. This one is a total disintegration, explosion. It is wild, wonderful, extravagant. SUPERB my friends. Do have a listen to the ''tranquil'' track which almost closes this FABULOUS set: ''Villanova Junction''. And then the encore (at 8 AM or so): ''Hey Joe''. What else do we need?

The good thing about this recording is that most of songs intro do appear here. They show a casual and friendly Jimi. A real pleasure for me and an integrant part of the concert (even if only about 10 to 15 percent of the audience was still attending his gig on this Monday morning).

It is a memorable moment of live music. One of the best that I have listened to. The most recommendable live album from this huge man. I wish I had seen him then.

What can I say? Five stars?

Yes!!!

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Posted Sunday, May 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 2 CD Deluxe Edition

By now if you have not heard of Woodstock you cannot consider yourself part of the human race. It is where legends were made for three days on a farm in upstate New York. Jimi Hendrix was already a household name at this point but his iconic status would be immortalized in granite after his performance at Woodstock. For many of the artists of that time it served as their welcoming party and would catapult them to stardom. For Jimi it was a performance under the most adverse circumstances and from a preparation standpoint yet another mountain to climb. This did not deter the man from giving the crowd, or what was left of the 500,000 people that had passed through over the 3 days, a memorable performance. That Monday morning at 9am on August 18, 1969, what is now believed to be 25,000 die hard music fans hanging on in the muck and garbage, saw Hendrix and his newly formed band kick out the jams through mic, tuning and all around sound difficulties (you can hear one fan in the crowd yell "Turn up the volume").

Hendrix and his soon to be dubbed new Band of Gypsies was trusted friend Billy Cox (bass), Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, Juma Sultan (percussion), Larry Lee (rhythm guitar) and Jerry Valez (percussion). Hendrix and his guitar would prevail at this gig and the rest of the band would struggle to find their place competing with his pyrotechnics, feedback, and the ensuing sound issues. Regardless of these factors the performance was jaw dropping and on this deluxe edition reissue of Live At Woodstock the package is now complete with a nice booklet and archetypal write up of the event. I was totally absorbed by the music and when I read the booklet found that reevaluating the entire experience was necessary to find the true value of what I was listening to. So my advice to those that intend on getting this set would be to read the booklet first then listen to get a proper perspective.

Right from the introduction into the opening track "Message of Love" there is so much clarity for the listener. You can hear the buzz coming out of the band's amps and it is so steady that you realize there were some sound issues from the start. Any other time I would find this as annoying but in this case it is a necessary part of this presentation to preserve every detail to give you a realistic view of what happened that day. Jimi was the highest paid act for that three day event and what was planned to be a grand finale turned into a muddy mess and technical nightmare. Jimi being the rock god that he was became very apologetic to the audience for all the issues that they were experiencing and obviously felt he needed to make up for it somehow. He did so with an incredible display of guitar techniques that would of course become the standard for any budding rock star in the future.

America's new age began when Hendrix decided, unbeknownst to his band, to launch into his own version of the "Star Spangled Banner". The establishment of the day threw their criticisms at Jimi for doing that and he responded in a Dick Cavett Show interview after the concert saying he thought it was a beautiful tribute to our National Anthem rather than a stab at disrespect.

In addition to the already known tracks to the audience and the rock version of our anthem they were treated to some awesome jams titled "Jam Back At The House" and "Woodstock Improvisation". For those that enjoy listening to the free form Hendrix out of the confines of the studio, this is one of the must have sets in the Hendrix catalog of reissues. Raw Hendrix unembellished by studio technology and remixing was and is a beautiful thing that needs to be experienced. This is Rock 101 and you should need this course to get your degree in music, or at least it should be required listening at any music college. For that matter if you love rock music and Hendrix, anything you can get by this man is worth the price of admission and this live set is no exception. It is live music in all its glory and imperfection 1969 concert style so get your ticket now.

Key Tracks-Star Spangled Banner, Woodstock Improvisation, Jam Back At The House

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#366334)
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010 | Review Permalink

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