Live at Woodstock (Experience / Legacy)
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., Dec. 3, 2010
Jimi HendrixLive at Woodstock (Experience/Legacy)
Watching the footage of Jimi Hendrix's truly legendary Woodstock performance casts it in such different light from its film presentation. It's surprising, for example, to see that "The Star Spangled Banner" occurs three-quarters of the way through the approximately 90-minute set, preceded by a moody "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)." Featuring a fivepiece band that includes Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell and Band of Gypsys bassist Billy Cox, the 2-DVD Woodstock captures the guitarist at his peak – lean, handsome, confident, brimming with ideas and life. The set list, shown handwritten in the booklet along with the poem "500,000 Halos," affirms his changing musical vision. Only five songs (including "Purple Haze") come from his first two LPs, the band cruising on the strength of Electric Ladyland, yet headed in another direction as both "Red House" and "Izabella" attest. Disc two is strictly for the faithful: alternate B&W video. Time and elements took their toll on it, so color footage is patched in quite seamlessly, and for historical purposes, it adds detail to the famous stage shoot. Additional interviews with Cox and engineer Eddie Kramer are charming; a post-festival press conference is bittersweet, as the subject here died nearly a year later. Guitar never got any better than Jimi Hendrix, who took part of rock & roll's soul to his grave.