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Jimi Hendrix - Live At L'Olympia, Paris CD (album) cover

LIVE AT L'OLYMPIA, PARIS

Jimi Hendrix

Proto-Prog


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TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Another review, Live At L'Olympia, Paris 1968, The Jimi Hendrix Experience

One thing that must be understood in this review is that the Jimi Hendrix Experience sounds absolutely fantastic live, bringing fire and life even to those studio tracks that didn't impress as much. The inclusion of the various audience banter and applause only adds to the experience. Live At L'Olympia Paris (recorded January 29th, 1968) is a good show of this great live sound, creativity and energy, but you can't help imagining how much greater it'd be if the band did a somewhat bigger selection of their repertoire (it's recorded just after Axis Bold As Love, and yet, there's only one song off it), and if the production was just a bit more vibrant. Still, the stuff is absolutely great, there are a couple of blues gems that never made the studio records, and particularly Little Wing is nice. Turn the volume up, and enjoy.

Crank up the volume for the opening Killing Floor, complete with killer opening solo, a very defined entrance of the bass, a great performance from Mitch Mitchell, not only Hendrix himself, with his solid guitar-work and vocals, but the whole band, give a great cover of a great song.

The band follow on with another rocked-up blues number, the superb Experience The Blues (aka. Catfish Blues), with another great rhythm part from Jimi, and killer rhythm section support. Simple, kicking and with some absolutely brilliant understated and outspoken guitar, and a full-blooded Mitchell solo. No idea why they didn't put this on record. A cryin' shame.

Some great banter and tuning lead up to the thundering riff of the classic Foxy Lady, played and sung (particularly like the vocals here) with verve and force. In spite of the unclear production, bloody fantastic, a favourite of mine.

The band tunes up again, with Noel Redding taking guitar for a fairly solid take on Red House, it's fairly nice, though unexceptional, but then, it's hardly my favourite song.

Some jamming takes us off Driving South (wherever that's from), with Mitchell particularly coming off well, and Hendrix not really done justice by the sound here except in his more solid chords, albeit with some very inventive moments. Noel Redding also takes off confidently. A good piece, which oddly takes off most as it reaches its calmest point and then blows up into a stonking guitar monster. Sure, there are moments when you'd like a bit more focus, but improvising at that level remains very impressive.

A hilarious mock rock 'n' roll opening etc. falls in between the songs, and then the band move into a clear performance of the sweet The Wind Cries Mary, albeit marred by one production slip/squeak or something. Regardless, the sound is simply so calm and neat, though not without an edge, and the feel is always there. A more sentimental side to the experience, and one I'm glad's included on this performance.

Fire, predictably, comes out at this point. I'd be annoyed if it didn't (Noel Redding's backing vocals excluded) sound so damn great and energetic, with some grinding soloing that never graced the studio version and a characteristically tight and explosive Mitchell groove. Bloody superb take. Mitch puts out his snare in the process.

At long last, however, the one tune off Axis Bold As Love (Little Wing) (I'd have expected more) comes on, with another incredibly sweet guitar part, solid bass work and a complete Mitchell contribution, well-suited soft vocals only further the atmosphere. A complete contrast to the previous tune, and to the following one, but no less stellar.

A ticking sound opens the psychedelic masterpiece that is Purple Haze, before some of Jimi's most gritty, forceful soloing drives home the song to its off-key riff. Noone had the whole rhythm guitar thing down better than Hendrix in the day, and this is no change from that, with a killer riff and a load of flashy soloing. Mitchell and Hendrix are phenomenally strong on this one, and, to boot, it's a great tune. Closes the album nicely.

Anyway, the tracks will probably be dealt with in more detail if I review the studio efforts, but it's a great show, worth it for the versions of Fire, Experience The Blues and Little Wing alone. Could've done with glossier production and a slightly bigger range of stuff, non-essential for non-fans of Hendrix. But, if you like the band, this release well-worth picking up if you've got the opportunity. Three Stars.

Rating: Three Stars Favourite Track: eh, Experience The Blues, probably

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Send comments to TGM: Orb (BETA) | Report this review (#212391)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is another good live performance of the man (and band) out of soooooo many. It was not the first time he performed in this legendary and very much Parisian theatre, but this time, more music is available. And what a music!

Of course, the sound is not top notch but all the wildness of the ''Experience'' can be felt accordingly. It was not yet the time for long improvisations (they'll come a little later to the disappointment of Noël). The best example is this ''short'' version of the huge ''Red House''.

This Hendrix classic was not yet available as a studio track and the band played it in a rather conservative way. We are far from these incredible improvisations which could lead to 12 or 13 minutes (the song clocks here at a mere four minutes). Still, it is a very good blues moment.

Even if the songs presented are in some way closer to the original (in their length), they gained an awful lot in their live aspect. The man was already an amazing showman, a well known artist in the UK (where it all started actually) and he will only become bigger and bigger in 1969 which was the peak of his career IMVHHO (very humble and honest opinion).

This album is for Hendrix fans of course (some other ones are definitely better), still I would rate it higher than just for fans only. IMO it deserves three stars. For the legacy and the music. This show can also be found on the very good box ''Stages'' which groups four Hendrix concerts. But this is another story that I will soon cover.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#220839)
Posted Friday, June 12, 2009 | Review Permalink

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