There seems to be a lot of Jimi Hendrix concert material in the vaults as it has been released on a regular basis during the past 12 months, starting with a celebration of what would have been his 70th birthday, November 27, 2012, and continuing to the present day.
The question is; does the world need another Hendrix concert release? While Hendrix would constantly change his songs through improvisation, the same songs are repeated on many of the releases. On the positive side, Hendrix was one of the seminal musicians in rock history and any new material is always welcome.
Miami Pop Festival is the first-time release of one of his more memorable concerts. It includes the first recorded stage performances of “Here My Train A Comin’” and “Tax Free.”
The Miami Pop Festival was the first major rock festival on the east coast. It took place in May of 1968 and one of the promoters was Michael Lang, who would become one of the organizers of Woodstock. Hendrix was a superstar and the concert headliner when he took the stage at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida.
He played two sets at the festival and one complete show is presented. It enables the listener to appreciate a full concert by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. There are also two bonus tracks taken from the afternoon show.
The set list is familiar to his fans. There is the rock of “Fire” and “Foxey Lady,” the electric blues of “Red House,” a laid-back version of “Hey Joe,” and the pyrotechnic performance of the concert ending “Purple Haze.”
The sound is better than expected given the technology of the day. The selection of archival photos is a worth-while addition to the Hendrix legacy.
Miami Pop Festival catches Hendrix just after the release of Axis: Bold As Love. It may not reveal anything earth-shaking about him but it is a fine presentation of his sound and skills.