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Worthwhile Official Release, But Incomplete
on 27 October 2011
Like a number of the other reviewers of this box set, I was thrilled when I first heard that Hendrix' Winterland concerts were to receive an official release, but I was puzzled and disappointed when the tracklisting was confirmed, as we were only to be offered edited highlights of the 6 shows, from the three nights, as all of the shows bar the last 3 songs from the 3rd performance, are available as good quality soundboard recordings, which are freely available elsewhere.
As this box is only likely to be of interest to established Hendrix fans, who would almost certainly have preferred to have the 6 shows in full, the logic of Experience Hendrix' decision seems confused, at best.
This isn't to say that Experience Hendrix and Eddie Kramer haven't done a good job in preparing this release (and let's please not forget that unlike Eddie's many armchair critics, he actually knew Jimi and worked extensively with him) as the balance is good and noise reduction has been sensitively applied. As with all of the official Experience Hendrix releases it is also attractively presented and fairly priced.
However, I also have the Winterland Night 2CD set from Purple Haze, produced by Alan Douglas which, if you can find it at a sensible price, "flows" better as a compilation than this and has a crisper, more dynamic sound.
Completists can also obtain the complete 3 Nights at the Winterland 6CD set from Reclamation Records, which has better sound than some reviewers of that set have suggested, although there is more tape hiss than on this official release and the balance is not quite as good.
The music does, of course, deserve a five star rating, but I have knocked a star off because of the bizarre decision to omit the missing bits, which are definitely worthy of inclusion.
You pays your money and you takes your choice...