In the years immediately following Jimi Hendrix‘s death, large numbers of poorly recorded and mastered records were sold by unscrupulous people looking to cash in on his popularity. Thankfully recent years have seen a concentrated effort from the people at Legacy Recordings and Hendrix’s family to correct this problem through a series of remastered re-issues and previously unreleased recordings. The latest of these to come down the pipe is Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival. It was supposed to be a weekend long pop music festival put on by the same guys who staged the Woodstock festival a year later, but the second day was rained out.
While Hendrix and The Experience (Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass) had only recently started to tour America, they had already graduated from being the opening act for the Monkees. (What kind of trip must the guy at Warner Brothers been on who suggested that pairing?) That lasted all of three gigs, and the band went on to headline bigger and bigger venues. By the time they showed up in Miami, they were considered one of the top concert draws in America. Hendrix’s reputation as a genius on the guitar had spread like wildfire. In the pre-Internet days, word of mouth was the most efficient means of communication, and the word had spread that this guy was unreal.
The Experience played a morning and an afternoon set on a Saturday in May of 1968, and were supposed to play another set on the rained out Sunday. The disc contains their complete set list from the opening show plus two tracks from the afternoon show the same day. A quick glance at what’s included on the disc shows a lot of familiar song titles, including “Purple Haze”, “Hey Joe”, “Foxy Lady”, “Fire”, “I Don’t Live Today” and others we’ve long grown to recognize as staples of Hendrix’s live performances. Available as either a CD or a limited edition double LP, it offers further proof of why Hendrix’s reputation hasn’t diminished over the years. — Seattle PI