The dreamworld that was the collection of films and bootlegs of Jimi Hendrix at Rainbow Bridge, including a Reprise records album (Original Motion Picture Sound Track From Rainbow Bridge) back in the 1970s, are for the many Hendrix collectors as exciting and difficult as figuring out the philosophical maze presented by the film The Matrix.
Jeff Slate’s excellent writing in his liner notes help put the spider web of information into a proper context. I cannot stress enough the accurate business model Experience Hendrix has built in keeping all-things Jimi compact and easy to identify. The booklet that accompanies this new Legacy/Sony release has pictures galore – the above referenced narrative as well as John McDermott’s technical notes. It’s something that is very helpful for those who have joined Hendrix groups on the internet, read the ever-evolving Wikipedia, or taken dives into the more maddening perpetually changing histories on YouTube, eBay and elsewhere.
“Dolly Dagger” goes into “Villanova Junction” on the late show and hearing the splendid performances again always enlightens and inspires writing, stirs up thoughts or – perhaps – gives one an urge to pick up the guitar and start making your own noise. Entitled “Instrumental” on the now out-of-print British release – Jimi Hendrix The Rainbow Bridge Concert – this appealing music from the Hawaii taping has always been one of my favorite Hendrix live shows. From the bootleg I purchased when I was 17 or 18 years of age to the Rainbow Bridge VHS and other anomalies, the sounds created by this combo of Band of Gypsys (Billy Cox) and Jimi Hendrix Experience (Mitch Mitchell) backing Jimi’s amazing tonal quality and instrumental story telling is pure symphonic rock. Symphonic with only three people. The Jimi Hendrix Experience of 1970.
July 30th 1970 is the actual date and a very intriguing “Jam Back at the House” is nearly nine minutes of this elaborate rock bordering on jazz/blues fusion. While “In From the Storm” from the earlier show bites harder. “Purple Haze” as mesmerizing fuzz tone ascending while “Message to Love” showed an evolution from the Band of Gypsy’s album recorded one half a year earlier. The two shows from Maui have their own personalities and discs one and two deliver the goods. To quote Slate’s liners the music you encounter is “…unlike any of their many concerts circulating both officially and unofficially.”
With decades of listening to these sounds on those official and unofficial releases, there’s no argument here.
Rainbow Bridge or Live in Maui or Hendrix/Mitchell/Cox, whatever you choose to call it, has “streamed” on our consciousness for decades, coming out in bits and pieces and standing out as a primary, essential look at Jimi Hendrix, not just in concert, but creating his art in a splendid and most compelling way.
Just as I have essayed on Goat’s Head Soup with various perspectives, the Maui tapes of this version of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, coupled with the Stones’ Goat’s Head Soup release are two of the key gems of the year 2020. And what kind of statement does that make about seven billion or so people currently on this planet unable to capture anything close to what the 60’s and 70’s gave us?
Package is elaborate with a Blu Ray and a cover that extends out five ways from Sunday. Very nice.