Review - Live At Berkeley

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience

As sort of an accompaniment to the DVD reissue of the "Jimi Plays Berkeley" film, the Hendrix estate has dug up the entire second set of the Experience's May 30, 1970 stand at the Berkeley Community Theatre. And, unlike many classic Hendrix performances, this show documents the guitarist in transition, rather than in the full bloom of lascivious pop godhood (as with the original Experience) or as slipshod psychedelic rebel (as with the Band of Gypsys). Hendrix at this point was an established superstar and increasingly fascinated by the idea of launching his music forward in exponential leaps ... and he preferred to do the launching in the womb of a recording studio. Unsurprisingly, this one-off set -- filmed to create a movie that could tour in Hendrix's stead -- is full of material that's both embryonic ("Hey Baby") and completely reconceived ("Hey Joe"). Seamlessly performed by a lineup that's half Experience (Mitch Mitchell) and half Band of Gypsys (Billy Cox), Hendrix is both relaxed and defiantly forward-looking, which makes the fact that he'd be dead a mere two months later that much more of a tragedy.