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The crowd went wild when Jimi played "Who Da King."

Jimi Hendrix
Live At Woodstcok [DVD]
Experience Hendrix/Universal

I think if I was a guitar player I'd wanna quit after watching this... My notes on Jimi Hendrix Live At Woodstock

• Skip ahead of the self serving Michael Lang and Eddie Kramer introductions to "Message To Love." An early version of this song, it features a nice breakdown and a great solo from Jimi.

• "Spanish Castle Magic" like many of the "oldies" in this show is played more than a bit fast, but features another excellent solo and jam from the guys.

• "Lover Man," when I awoke at the end of this I realised they'd left Larry Lee's version of "Gypsy Woman" off the DVD, but hey, that's no biggie. Take my word for it, I heard it on a bootleg and it wasn't pretty.

• "Foxey Lady." We get to watch Jimi and Jerry Valez ponder Jimi's non-functioning toggle switch on this one. Despite that, Jimi's got the moves on this one' and even though he looks bored to tears playing this one, THIS KICKS SOME SERIOUS ASS DUDE.

• "Jam Back At The House." Holy shit! This is what it's all about for this six-man band. Even Larry Lee's solo sounds good!! Plus, it's great to finally hear this song relatively unedited. Mitch gets it on here, too.

• "Izabella," rarely played live, suffers from poor tuning, but this is pre-electric tuner days, so, deal with it. It's the '60s, it's always out of tune.

• Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts, here we go: The medley of "Voodoo Child" into "The Star Spangled Banner," into "Purple Haze," into "Woodstock Improvisation" into "Villanova Junction" is simply effing awesome. This is what they cherry picked for the original movie and soundtrack. It's primo stuff and should be approached with caution. It may spoil you. Other guitar players will suck after you get done with this stuff, it's that good.

• "Hey Joe," the encore, features a bit too much of that fab '60s tuning and a muddy mix, but hey, I'm not complaining. 

What a band! They played great, and, they had that killer 1969 pro musician look about 'em. If I saw these guys coming down the street, I'd go the other way. Song for song, this is not as exciting as say, Monterey Pop '67, but in my opinion, this features the best set list and Hendrix's finest guitar playing.

Also. there's some interesting insights from Jimi's sidemen and it's a blast watching the burned out hippies on stage right. Groovy man.

The bonus disc has some alternate footage they left off the main feature, but is basically for the hardcore fan, like me, or the completist.

(P.S. Eddie—Where's the bass?)

Bun E. Carlos
December 2005