It's taken 45 years for the Jimi Hendrix Experience's historic set at the Miami Pop Festival on May 18th of 1968 to see the light of day, but here it is in all its glory. Sandwiched between their performances at Monterey Pop and Woodstock, Miami Pop took place in Gulfstream Park in Miami, Florida, and at that time Hendrix was one of the biggest stars in the rock 'n' roll world. Though the band had just finished up their sophomore release Electric Ladyland, they sadly did not play any tracks from that album in either their day or night sets on Saturday (it's probable they had planned to do so in their Sunday performance but that was cancelled due to rain), so it's mostly well known tunes from the debut, with the exception of early takes on "Hear My Train A Comin' " and "Tax Free".
Though we've all heard "Hey Joe", "Foxey Lady", "Fire", "Red House", and "Purple Haze" a million times before, the band really cook on these live versions from Miami Pop, and there's a ferociousness going on throughout their set that's just simply off the charts. "Fire" is especially, umm...'on fire' to put it mildly. And check out those searing blues licks on both "Red House" and "Hear My Train A Comin' " , not to mention a really heavy " I Don't Live Today", with Jimi just screaming on his guitar. Mitch Mitchell & Noel Redding for their part also keep tight yet rumbling rhythms, with Redding also delivering great backing vocals. The recording sounds very good (thanks to Eddie Kramer!) considering the source material, and if you like the Jimi Hendrix Experience loud, raucous, and heavy, you've come to the right place.
The digipack release is quite nice, with sensational never before seen photographs from the concert adorning the booklet and a full essay on the show by Bob Santelli. Yes, there's been many Jimi Hendrix live releases over the years, but despite the familiar set list this one is also well worth your time.
2) Hey Joe
3) Foxey Lady
4) Tax Free
6) Hear My Train A Comin'
7) I Don't Live Today
8) Red House
9) Purple Haze
10) Fire (afternoon show)
11) Foxey Lady (afternoon show)