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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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2012
Before my review for this album I'd like to make a quick (but important) comment about the mastering of this CD.

Released in 1988 by Media Motion this was the first European CD issue of The Jimi Hendrix Concerts. There is a difference in sound quality between this disc and the subsequent CD release on Castle Communications. The Castle disc was treated with noise reduction technology, which can tend to stifle or muffle the upper frequencies. When mastering the Media Motion release the engineers did not apply noise reduction, so consequently it sounds more "alive" than the Castle pressing.

The only other CD issue of this title which was not treated with noise reduction was an early Japanese pressing on Polydor. So if you wish to hear The Jimi Hendrix Concerts on CD with the best possible sound quality you need to get either this Media Motion release or the early Japanese release.

The Media Motion disc also differs in other ways. The Castle has an extra track, Foxy Lady. And whilst the audience noise flowed between tracks without interruption on the Castle CD, here it fades in and out between tracks at the points where on the original double-vinyl LP the sides began and ended (which strongly suggests this CD was mastered from the same tapes as the LP).

Mastering aside, how's the music? Well, allow me to quote from my other review of this CD on Castle Communications;

This really is quite an astounding set. Taken from a selection of concerts professionally recorded between 1968 and 1970 (at Winterland, The Royal Albert Hall, Berkely Community Centre, the L.A. Forum and the New York Pop festival) it showcases The Jimi Hendrix Experience at their live peak, stretching some songs into extended realms unapproached by their studio counterparts, at times rendering them almost unrecogniseable in comparison. This is the sound of a band taking things up to the next level - and beyond.

Although most of the material on this album has subsequently appeared on a variety of live Hendrix releases, I certainly wouldn't call The Jimi Hendrix Concerts a redundant collection. The quality of performance across the entire album is too consistantly high for that. What you get here is over an hour of the purest essence of the band. Aside from the recent Winterland CD reissue I can't think of any other live Hendrix album which matches The Jimi Hendrix Concerts for sustained quality.

To put it simply; forget your Woodstock, your Monterey and your Fillmore. THIS is the live Hendrix album with the most potential to blow you away.

So, my rating?

The same as I did with the Castle release I'm docking The Jimi Hendrix Concerts on Media Motion one star because the positioning of Wild Thing with it's white-noise amp-smashing finale breaks the flow somewhat by appearing before the album's final track. It should have been tagged onto the end (as was traditionally the case during live Hendrix sets), or left off the album completely.

So, four out five stars.

If you're a Hendrix fan you need to own this album, no matter which version you buy.
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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.
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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.
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