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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Hendrix fans have had to wait a long time for the official release of this May 1968 performance at Gulfstream Park, Miami: 45 years to be exact (sobering to think that had Jimi lived, he'd now be a grand old man of 71). At this event for the first time in his short meteoric career, Jimi was placed top-of-the-bill.

So, what's it like? Well pretty good actually, definitely not `scraping the barrel' recordings but a superb concert performance delivered with finely mastered sound. This is the Experience trio - i.e. Jimi, Noel and Mitch, performing their early work with gusto, and with the mojo in overdrive.

Highlights: almost all of it. Standout tracks are the opener `Hey Joe', `Fire', `Hear my Train A-Commin', `Purple Haze' and - especially - `Red House' which might be his best-ever recorded performance of this blues number. Despite the 1968 date of the concert there is no material from the `Electric Ladyland' project, but the rain-deluge in the afternoon which put a damper on the event reportedly inspired Jimi to write the song `Rainy Day, Dream Away'.

You get 8x tracks from the evening headliner performance (preceded by 2 minutes of messing about and tuning up, titled `Introduction') plus additional versions of `Fire' and `Foxey Lady' from the afternoon's interrupted-by-rain-deluge mini-performance. The 2-gatefold cover sleeve contains a single CD, and a classy 24-page colour booklet crammed with numerous rarely-seen photos of the band, around which is wrapped the text of Bob Santelli's fine (if prolix) essay on the occasion and background music scene in 1968.

For the Hendrix aficionado: don't hesitate, buy.
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on 21 December 2013
I think this is fantastic - the Experience is firing on all cylinders and Jimi is in a great mood. I must have over 50 (I've never counted them) different live versions of 'Hey Joe' by Jimi and the Experience or Gypsies, Suns & Rainbows etc., but the one that opens this show is unique in that JH doesn't quote the Beatles' 'I Feel Fine ' in it - also the intro is a variation on the 'overture'type beginning that the band was using around this time, with some lovely bits of feedback. It's kind of similar to the intro they used in the 'Lulu show' version 8 months or so later. The first solo is a masterpiece of fluid economy.
The other particularly stunning performance on this album is of 'I Don't Live Today' - always a favourite EXP tune. It just gets blasted into space here - this has to be heard to believed. The show also includes the earliest live recordings ( as I understand it ) of 'Tax Free' and 'Hear My Train A Comin'. The joy of Hendrix is that he never played the same song the same way twice - meaning that every performance of every song (just about) contains little 'throw-away' gems that were never played before or subsequently. This means that 43 years after his tragic demise - previously unheard, breathtaking performances, like this one - which sound fresh and new, can still be released.
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on 6 November 2013
A great live document of the Experience trio around the time arguably their greatest LP (Electric Ladyland) came out, Jimi & Mitch are on top form here, ably supported by Noel Redding. The sound quality is probably as good as you could expect for 1968, not unlike a very good soundboard bootleg. It takes them a number or two to get going but I would happily pay the price of the LP for the version of Red House alone, as good a slow blues as you're likely to hear. If you're a Hendrix fan, it's a must have.
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Sadly, apart from the Winterland box set which documents most of 6 sets over 3 nights and the second disc (from Paris) of the long-deleted Stages, there hasn't been a whole heap of widely available high quality live recordings of Jimi Hendrix in 1968, so this release is welcome. It was properly recorded to multi-track by Eddie Kramer himself, though the actual sound is quite grungy in places. This is not Eddie Kramer's fault.

However, the occasion - the first rock festival on the east coast of the USA in May 1968 - is more historic than the music contained herein. The festival unusually showcased many acts in both afternoon and evening sets, and had the second day not been an almost complete washout due to heavy rain, many acts, including Hendrix, would have played 4 times in total across the weekend, instead of the two sets that most ended up playing on the Saturday. The track list indicates that the last two tracks - Fire and Foxy Lady - are from the afternoon show; they're described as "bonus performances" because there are also versions of these two songs from the evening show earlier in the CD. The implication, which is not dispelled in the booklet, is that all the tracks except those two are from the evening show. Apparently this is not the case, and Experience Hendrix have seemingly decided that Jimi's running order is not ideal; what this means in terms of editing between-song announcements etc. isn't clear. The correct running order, courtesy of the excellent Jimi Hendrix Record Guide website, is as follows:

Afternoon show: Tax Free/Foxy Lady/Fire/Hear My Train A-Comin'/Purple Haze
Evening show: Hey Joe/Fire/I Don't Live Today/Foxy Lady/Red House/Purple Haze

All of these tracks except one version of Purple Haze (probably the afternoon one) are on this CD, but only on one occasion (Red House/Purple Haze) is a song followed by the next one Jimi played.

None of this may bother you - you may feel that the running order on the CD makes for a more entertaining listen. But the actual music is, by Jimi's standards, a bit run-of-the-mill. By no means is this a bad gig, and by nearly anyone else's standards it's pretty damn fine, hence the 4 stars. But the better stuff on Winterland is better than anything here, and most of the still legally-hexed Albert Hall gig from 24 February 1969 is way better than either. Jimi mostly sounds pretty enthusiastic, there are some great licks in places, and interesting variations in several songs, but ultimately it's a pretty average gig. If you're a fan you can buy this with reasonable confidence, and I certainly don't regret doing so, but crucial it isn't.
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There's been so much live Hendrix concert material issued (Lord knows, I've got enough!), so why should you bother with yet another. Well for starters this is another "Hendrix Family" release, and say what you like, the releases that come from them are as clean as possible with the best sound resolution. A previous reviewer liked the sound to a soundboard bootleg, which is far from the truth in my opinion, as you are talking 1968 bootlegs here, and believe me I've heard a few.

The performance here at Miami is first rate with Jimi on top form, it's just a pity that only 2 numbers are included from the afternoon show as a double CD would have been great.

I have given this 5 stars as a live performance of this quality by the greatest rock guitarist ever warrants it, and like I said in a previous review no Hendrix is ever a waste of time! I would imagine that anyone buying this would have Monterey, Woodstock & LA Forum already, three essential gigs, if not buy them as well, or perhaps first.

Packaging is a digipak with a 24 page booklet containing some great photos and an essay by Bob Santelli. If there's any more of this quality in the vault, keep 'em coming is what I say - Long Live Jimi, we will never forget you.
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on 14 November 2013
This release is undoubtedly a must for any serious Hendrix collector. However, although it starts off with a few minutes of promising improvisation, the performance thereafter is really just a 'going through the motions' affair, at least by Experience standards.

Recording quality is good, though this also serves to highlight the general lack of inspiration. The two bonus tracks (afternoon show) are more spirited.

Lots of interesting photos in the booklet - nice one of Jimi with Don Preston (Mothers Of Invention) looking suitably awestruck.

For some great live Experience from 1968, try WINTERLAND NIGHT - excellent recordings coupled with strong performances.
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on 3 April 2016
Jimi Hendrix at Miami Pop Festival. What words are there to describe another Epic performance by this Icon with his Stratocaster. This CD Includes two staggering bonus performances too. A very modest off stage Jimi, but a Musical genius on stage that opened up all possibilities regarding playing the guitar that got all guitarists sitting up and listening in aghast. Jimi's legacy lives on,and always will.
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on 29 July 2014
Generally decent sound quality, pretty standard set (although with the Experience always happy to experiment and jam, no performance is ever the same) and a good performance by all three of the band (Mitch and Noel's contribution is often lost in the admiration of Jimi, but shouldn't be ignored). For less than GBP4.00 which I paid, this is a bargain and will get repeated listening. The booklet is a good effort too.
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on 1 June 2016
Hendrix always gave of his very best at open air festivals like Monterey, Woodstock & Atlanta. ( Isle of Wight is a notable exception, but as Pete Townshend said the man looked at deaths door by then) Miami Pop joins this illustrious line up and loses nothing to them. Compared with other 1968 live recordings at Olympia & Winterland this is a lot more exciting, Hendrix is on blistering form. The recording is excellent for 1968 and really captures Mitch Mitchell's drum sound at its best. The performances are more extended than Monterey, particularly the blues pieces, that probably reflect the influence of Cream's extended live improvisations during the previous 12 months. A welcome addition to the Hendrix canon.
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on 8 December 2013
Maybe having heard parts of this concert before in various formats you'll probably find it satisfying to finally see an official release with top sound quality and, as always from the Experience Hendrix, a superb booklet with all the information you need about the recorded music, the (first) 1968 Miami festival and setting it all into context with some very nice photo documentation too. I really dig the back cover photograph with a black Gibson Les Paul. But the music still is the main issue, and it is good; starting off with Hey Joe and Foxy Lady before continuing through "Swedish inspiration" Tax free , Fire, Hear my train a' comin' and I don't live today before ending off with Red house and Purple Haze it makes you realize that this is after all the festival you wish you would have been at, and not, as you've long thought, the much more talked about event that took place half a year later as the (grand) Miami Pop Festival. Besides hearing this superb set by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, just recently out with their second US album, Axis Bold As Love, but with a set primarily dominated by the first, Are You Experienced, you would also have encountered Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Steppenwolf and Blue Cheer (!). The CD's two bonus tracks from the afternoon show reprises Fire and Foxy Lady will. A 'must have' for anybody interested in the all too brief life and career of Jimi Hendrix.
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