Excuse Judge Ryan Keefer while he kisses this guy!
Tributes, tributes, and more tributes.
I've spoken to some length in the past in this here space about my love for the music of guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix, and I have also spoken with some sorrow about the fact that he was taken from the world much too soon by the power of alcohol and drugs. And aside from the larger discussion about Hendrix' place in rock and roll, another topic that's been almost as persistent is the battle among Hendrix family members to control the estate and do what they can with it. Experience Hendrix was started by Jimi's father Al and took several years to get off the ground and slowly but surely has managed to put together remastered albums, along with wardrobe, books and various other merchandise. Recently, there was a tour that served as a de facto tribute of sorts, with figures in the rock and blues worlds coming together, along with Mitch Mitchell of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. The concert served as a tribute to Hendrix' music, played by his peers and his creative offspring, people who enjoyed his music the most, and toured as the "Experience Hendrix" tour.
The majority of this show was filmed on February 22, 2008 at Seattle's Paramount Theatre, with some additional footage at San Diego's Street Scene Festival. The list of songs (and the performers covering them) is as follows:
• "Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)" Kenny Wayne
Shepherd & Double Trouble
Upon further review, you can see that there aren't a lot of names that jump out at you. In fact, the only one that you might recognize is Vernon Reid and Living Colour, of the 80s hit "Cult of Personality," or maybe Pearl jam guitarist McCready. But when you take that second or third look, the list of artists and acts is heavily blues-based. Double Trouble was Stevie Ray Vaughn's backup band until his death, and they have been playing at festivals since Vaughn's death from what I understand. Shepherd has been playing blues since he was a kid, and Guy is a blues legend. Even Mitchell and Rodgers, the latter may be known for his work with Bad Company, were artists who grew up in Britain and were heavily influenced by blues, which is presumably one of the reasons why he played with Jimi back in the day. The blues feeling and jams are present in many of the performances without being full-blown blues jams, because since they're covering Jimi's songs, there's still some structure in the work, and the overall results wind up being decent.
The performances aren't too bad, but the two artists I particularly enjoyed seeing were Shepherd and Guy, who appeared in separate performances. Shepherd's passion for the blues is evident, and the fact that he's virtually the only "young'un" who's on stage doesn't hurt either. But Guy has been getting it done for decades, and when it comes to blues music, whether it's his or someone else's, he has charisma that gets the audience in the palm of his hand and it's fun to watch. I only wish that the concert was filmed in something other than two-channel stereo so I could have enjoyed some great sound.
All in all, fans of Jimi Hendrix should get a kick out of watching this slight reimagining of his music. The performances are solid, and they help remind you of how good his music is, though something tells me there's some better interpretations out there, and if you were going to spend your money, go do it elsewhere.
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