Live at The Isle of Wight/ Blue Wild Angel
Jimi Hendrix Ė Guitar and Vocals
Mitch Mitchell Ė Drums
Billy Cox Ė Bass
Jimi Hendrix. Where would we be in music without him? Probably the equivalent to the human race a few thousand years ago: sitting in a cave, picking lice off of each other and staring at fire like it was a giant monster prepared to devour us all.
The year was 1970, and needlessly to say, Jimi was most likely the best guitarist in the world, or at least the most innovative. This concert marks the bandís return to England after about 2 years, and was it one hell of a return. Packed with new songs, new tricks and a new bass player, how could it not be?
The album starts out with an announcement of the band, and the cheers of the audience, which are surprisingly awake considering their later start time of around 3 a.m. The band tunes up, and Jimi tells the crowd to stand up, for their country (or *** them), as he goes into an interesting version of God Save the Queen packed with all that jazz that he was famous for. Then they go into a little bit of a jam version of Sgt. Pepperís Lonely Heartís Club Band, which is phenomenal. Jimi plays both guitar parts amazingly while singing at the same time.
Spanish Castle Magic opens up what could be called the ďreal" set. I personally prefer this version much to the studio one. The lyrics sound even more spacey, and the performance is much more emotive. They then go into All Along the Watchtower, the Bob Dylan classic. Again, I like this version much better than the studio one. The absence of the rhythm guitar and Jimi playing the bass is not even noticed.
Next is possibly one of the greatest songs ever writtenÖever. Machine Gun almost completely owns the rest of the CD; in fact it could most likely be its own CD by todayís standards, running at about 22:13. The guitar and drums work so well together in this I canít explain it, and all the while Billy keeps that awesome bass line going, with some cool fills too. The song drifts into nothing at about halfway for a drum solo, which is awesome. Then the whole band slowly comes in with Jimi playing with this awesome effect that sounds like a Wah with a Talk-Box almost. The song ends right where you began, and you fall of your cloud for the next song, Lover Man.
The previous song and the next, Freedom, are a lot alike to me, and really can be interchanged at will. If there is a real low point on this two disc album, itís here, and on the songs after Red House. Although this is true for me, they are still good; Iíve just grown tired of them. Also, Dolly Dagger after Red House is a little better than the rest. The previously mentioned Red House is still a high point on the album, though. Itís another extended song (From 3:50 on the original to 11:37 here) and itís really good. You really can get the blues listening to this. Hearing Jimi play, it sounds like heís pouring his heart out.
On the next disk, it starts out with the screech of Foxey Lady. Jimi seems to feel the need to increase the time, and pitch at which he holds this note. Almost as if he wants to put the audience in pain before they finally get a more recognizable song. Jimi abruptly stops playing during the middle, and so Billy and Mitch are left to doodle around with the beat for a while before he comes back and ends the song. The next song Message To Love is almost in the veins of the second half of disk one, but a little better than the rest of them.
Now for another favourite... Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) starts off with Jimi soloing by himself for a little, until the band comes in later to back him up a little. The band fades away, and Jimiís all alone again until he starts up the main riff, which is like a slower version of All Along The Watchtower. He then goes into an amazingly soulful solo before singing what could be my favourite Hendrix lyrics.
Hey baby, I said, where do you come from?
She points into the sky and says, with a smile on her face,
Iím coming from the land of the New Rising Sun.
Itís just hippy bliss that you must hear for yourself.
As the previous song ends, so the next begins. Ezy Ryder is a fairly well done song, while not one of my favourites. The riffs he does are pretty awesome though, and his voice is amazing. The next two songs are possibly some of his most well known. Hey Joe and Purple Haze are both done well, but you can almost tell heís already tired of playing both of them, especially the first, so many times. I do prefer this version of Hey Joe better than the studio, but the studio version of Purple Haze is most likely better than this in my opinion.
Now for the trademark that is Voodoo Child (Slight Return). This is another amazing performance, although out of tune in some places. You can tell Jimi loved playing this song. Every performance of this to me sounds different, and this one of my favourites, possibly due to the fact that he makes this completely amazingly touching chord pattern at the end that I like. (Can you tell I like it?).
The concert ends with In From The Storm which starts with another cool drum solo by Mitch. The song is a pretty good closer, although I believe that they should have ended it with the masterpiece of Voodoo Child.
This was my first ever Hendrix album, and I never regret it. It gave me a wider scope than any of his studio albums could of what he was capable of. If you like Hendrix, I would recommend this to you. If you want to get into Hendrix, than you might prefer something like Are You Experienced or Smash Hits, but I like this loads better.
-All of the musicians are amazing. Mitch really shows off what he can do, and Billy proves himself to England quite well.
-Hoorah for Wah!
-Some parts may get tiresome.
-You canít always listen to Jimi Hendrix, you really need to be in the mood.
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)