8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2007
As a guitarist who has played blues/rock for over twenty five years I have to advocate the version of Red House on here as one of Jimi's finest moments, and simply one of the greatest ever guitar solos full stop.
I got the Concerts album when it was released in the UK in 1982 and was then, as I am now, in awe of this truly magnificent performance. There are some great moments elsewhere on the double LP. But this is simply stunning.
The radicals - Black Panthers as well as Yippies - had broken down the gates of the Randall's Island Pop festival and fences, insisting all proceeds go to their organisations and that no-one else should pay to get in as punishment to the organisers. Violence and chaos ensued. You can clearly hear them heckling Jimi just before he begins Red House, and his terse response, recorded here is "F*ck off man - let me talk". Well he does more than that.
A fine vocal performance and some impassioned guitar responses to his own vocal give little indication to the sheer ferocity and unparalleled virtuosity to follow in the extended solo - a 36 bar work out.
The first 12 bars begin with the authority of any great black bluesman of the 20th Century, an instant declaration that you are listening to something indisputable, something bigger than you, and you'd best just shut up and take it on. It builds beautifully to launch into the second 12 bars, where he ratchets up the tension even more with the most fluid stellar blues wailing, almost inventing metal as he goes along for the sheer why the f@ck not-ness of it, until, yeah here comes the third chorus of 12 bars of the finest 20th Century Blues.
It's astonishing in its affirmation and sheer unbridled passion, the man lives for the blues, and the f@ckwitted @ssholes who were heckling the master, this genius, four short minutes earlier should by now be stood there stunned into cosmic silence, if not atomised by the sheer musical energy he was channelling right back at them...
And then to cap it all, he finishes the 36-bars perfectly with a few licks over the dominant turnaround with a declamation and finality heard on Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters records, and then trail blazed by the late truly great Freddie King and Buddy Guy.
In a moment of pure genius he winds the whole thing down from what sounds like about eight assorted effects pedals burning white hot and screaming into the cosmos down into a sweet, woody effects-free neck pickup blues tone, a perfect denouement, and off he goes, singing verse four, like nothing had happened. Like it was child's play. Because it was child's play, because he was a God.
Do yourself a favour, just buy the album, keep it and play it to your kids.
A couple of footnotes - this performance was about eight weeks before his lacklustre performance at the Isle of White. What a tragedy that the film crews were not at this chaotic New York festival instead. Although it was nearly aborted in scenes of abject anarchy, we witnessed one of the truly great performances of all time, by any musician.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2009
I compleletly agree with Nixon, Jimi's solo on this version of Red House is absolutely incendiary, mindblowing, overwhelming and other-worldly. If I listen to it loud on headphones it gives me goosebumps and provokes spontaneous tear-welling. It's the aural equivalent of being blasted into outer space. Truly cosmic music from a much-missed soul. No-one else has ever come close. Sounds better on vinyl to my ears, though.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2007
This CD contains the rare version of "Red House" done at Randalls Island.
Jimi's version of "Little Wing" on here is excellent also as is his version of Elmore James's "Bleeding Heart" (Blues in C#).
Well worth obtaining.