Live At Woodstock
Jimi Hendrix’s appearance at Woodstock in 1969 functions as a bookend to his 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Where Monterey introduced Hendrix to the United States as a peerless performer and guitarist, Woodstock can be seen as his final anointment as the crown prince of the counterculture movement. While the essential qualities that made Monterey a success are still evident two years later on Live At Woodstock — the trio’s ability to fill in space and to stay light on its feet even during the heaviest passages; the unrivaled sense of liberty Hendrix brings to guitar — Hendrix is older here, and more self-assured. There is more variety in the material, from the brooding blues of “Hear My Train a Comin’” to the hard rock of “Spanish Magic Castle” and the frantic funk of the unreleased “Izabella.” For many, Jimi’s re-imagined rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” epitomized an art that was revolutionary yet fundamentally American, but it is the torrential version of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” that best symbolizes the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the peak of its powers.