CD Review ‘Miami Pop Festival’: Hear Jimi’s Train A Comin’

jimi

So much “new” Jimi Hendrix material has been issued and reissued since his death in 1970 that it’s unusual to find a truly new product such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival, new on CD and vinyl Tuesday, Nov. 5 from Sony, Legacy and Experience Hendrix.

Sony notes this is the first-ever release of the May 18, 1968 concert, recorded by Eddie Kramer. As such, it features the first recorded concert performances of Tax Free and Hear My Train A Comin’, along with strong songs from Hendrix’s repertoire of that time such as Purple Haze, Fire, I Don’t Live Today and Hey Joe

There were actually two performances on that May date, with the new album devoted to the evening show. But different versions of Fire and Foxey Lady from the afternoon show are added as bonus tracks, for a total of 10 music tracks (with a brief introduction).

Beyond those incendiary performances, what’s remarkable about this event is its place in history. As the liner notes detail, the Miami festival was a bridge between the first big American rock festival, 1967’s Monterrey Pop, and the enormous Woodstock Festival in 1969. And linking all three was Jimi Hendrix, who gained headliner status for the Miami event. (It would have been for two days, but the second was largely rained out. An unfazed Hendrix reportedly wrote Rainy Day, Dream Away in response.)

Also released in conjunction with this title is American Masters: Jimi Hendrix — Hear My Train A Comin’, a two-hour Hendrix documentary premiering on PBS Nov. 5 and arriving in expanded form on the the same day for Blu-ray and DVD. Watch this space for a review soon.

A personal note: I was fortunate enough to hear Hendrix in person less than three months after the Miami Pop Festival: at Southern Methodist University’s Moody Coliseum in Dallas on Aug. 3, 1968.

Was it magical? I think you know the answer to that.

— Bruce Westbrook

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2 Responses to “CD Review ‘Miami Pop Festival’: Hear Jimi’s Train A Comin’”

  1. Jeff Mason Says:

    Just a small correction; this CD does NOT feature the entire evening performance plus afternoon concert bonus tracks. The Experience played two short sets that day (and afternoon and evening), which Experience Hendrix have chose to mix to (apparently) make a more “complete concert like listening experience” (for example the opener on the CD, “Hey Joe” is from the evening show, “Tax Free” was only performed at the afternoon show). The final two tracks have only been labelled as “afternoon” versions to explain the duplication of those song titles.

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