DVD review: JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE Electric Church/Atlanta Pop Festival

Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Church - Atlanta Pop Festival

Experience Hendrix/Sony [Release date 30.10.15] Also available as a 2-CD, Bluray

Just eight weeks before his last major appearance  in the UK, Jimi Hendrix played the second Atlanta Pop Festival and the DVD version is now expanded to include material not seen in the original TV broadcast.

The actual performance is generally considered one of the guitarist’s best live outings, and the more familiar songs were spiced with some yet to be released material in the shape of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Straight Ahead’.  The only omission from the actual running order is ‘Hey Baby’ when Jimi’s guitar was out of tune due to the sweltering 104 degree Georgian heat.  The DVD also omits ‘Lover Man’, ‘Hear My Train A Comin’ and ‘Message To Love’ which are included on the 2-CD set.

Buyers should be aware that 11 of the Atlanta tracks appeared on the ‘Stages’ boxed set in 1991 although sound quality is improved.  But you can’t help feeling cynical about this constant recycling of material.

Jimi Hendrix Experience - Atlanta Pop Festival

As you’d expect audio (and visual quality for 1970) is excellent and there is a 5.1 surround mix by Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer.  Perhaps because it’s a review copy my version lacked any sort of inlay with descriptive essay.

The film is expanded with a documentary about Hendrix’s role in the event against a backdrop of civil rights unrest, Vietnam refuseniks, and the emancipation of young people with a hippie culture that had been encapsulated at Woodstock less than a year earlier.

When Hendrix plays the searing ‘Star Spangled Banner’ there is a sense of déjà vu and also a definite air of fin de siècle that was perhaps more firmly underlined at the Isle Of Wight.  As a window to social history, the documentary also highlights that in parts of the American south, mixed race performers did not share the same stage.  In addition, there was the threat of southern rednecks preying on the “long hairs”.

As a package, the CD and DVD provide the definitive Atlanta account and although the  footage is taken from film stock  exhumed more recently “in a barn”,  you have to ask why it has taken so long to put it all together (excerpts have been available for years on VHS, whilst the audio has been well bootlegged) and why we have to keep re-buying Hendrix’s heritage?  Those enthusiasts who bought ‘Stages’ will want to claim their “missing” five tracks, clenching their teeth in the process.  ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

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