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Hendrix at his best!,
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This review is from: Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock [DVD]  (DVD)
Oh to have been at this Hendrix performance, but alas I was just a nipper at the time! Oh well, such is life. We can always watch this utterly amazing performance whenever we were born thankfully.
I have been a fan of Hendrix for years; I think that not only was he a great showman, but he was a masterful and superlative guitarist with an amazing technique, both as an excellent rhythm guitarist and as perhaps, almost certainly, the finest improvisational and lead guitarist ever. Whilst writing this I am listening to 'Drivin' South' which is an amazing sonic assault Blues of which Jimi was the undoubted master. So inventive and skillful in his improvisational ability.
The Woodstock concert stands out of the era it was made in, yet Hendrix was very much a man of his time and Woodstock was the culmination of the pop and youth and hippie culture that was present at the time and was possibly in its end phase, certainly the naive idealism of hippie culture anyway.
Hendrix's performance at Woodstock is utterly amazing and mind-blowing; most guitarists at their best are like Hendrix at his worst; and Hendrix at his best? Well, he could make you question everything! I find it hard to say that Hendrix's music is 'pop music' as it seems to transcend most of that which has the epithet of 'pop music' at the time. In the early 60's most popular music was throwaway stuff, not really saying anything, and not reaching out beyond a pleasant listen or two; by the end of the 60's popular music and popular culture was expanding and was talking about and trying to express deeper meanings and become more genuinely introspective and thoughtful; some of the better artists, writers, film-makers and musicians managed to become successful whilst at the same time trying to remain true to their muse; I think Hendrix was one of them.
So, we come to Jimi; His performance at Woodstock for me can't be bettered, even though he makes a few mistakes (yes, one or two!) but his overall performance at Woodstock is a landmark in popular cultural history, for me it stands out as one of the defining moments of the twentieth century; but maybe that's just me. If you watch Hendrix here playing 'Voodoo Chile' it is perhaps one of the most exciting, energetic and mindblowing rock performances ever; he certainly gave value for money on that one! But for me, the highlights of this concert are the 'Woodstock Improvisation' and the track 'Villanova Junction.' Although Hendrix was often seen as the psychedelic freak-out wild eyed guitarist who could blow everybody away, I find that when he bared his soul, and just played, he could play more beautifully and thoughtfully than anyone else. The piece entitled 'Woodstock Improvisation' is a tour-de-force of all kinds of unorthodox and wonderful guitar playing that not only showed off Hendrix's playing ability but also his completely original creativity too; there are tender moments in this piece that defy description and are best simply just savoured and enjoyed. Likewise, when Hendrix plays 'Villanova Junction' he bares his soul and his vulnerability, and touches on things that can't be put into words and only into music, emotions we have no adequate words for; if you watch it you might understand what I am getting at; or perhaps not.
So, this Hendrix performance for me is a defining moment in world history, and not just a guitarist at the top of his game. But whatever you think, if you like Jimi you will like this concert a whole lot.