Live At Monterey
1967’s Monterey Pop Festival served as Jimi Hendrix’s American coming-out party. On the night of June 18th, 1967, following a show-stopping performance by the Who, the Experience took the stage and single-handedly revolutionized the concept of rock ’n’ roll performance practice. Hendrix used his instrument like a divining rod, coaxing sounds from it that echoed elemental forces rather than conventional notation. He was wholly magnetic, handling the guitar from every conceivable angle and in every possible manner, ending the show with a ritualistic, and highly sexualized, burning of his instrument. Although the music has often taken a back seat to the sheer force of his stage presence, Live At Monterey is undeniable proof that the music from that night was every bit the equal of Hendrix’s act. The Experience plays Hendrix’s early hits upwards, sideways and down, letting loose some of the wildest, freest rock ’n’ roll in the history of the idiom. His version of “Wild Thing” redefines a rock standard, but his cover of “Like a Rolling Stone” is even more jaw-dropping, as he completely repossesses Bob Dylan’s all-but-uncoverable anthem.