Sony Legacy and Experience Hendrix, LLC released their latest archived live Jimi Hendrix performance this week. Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight: Blue Wild Angel was released on DVD and Blu-ray earlier this week. The latest archived concert to be released by Sony Legacy and Experience Hendrix, LLC, this archived concert is one more wonderful addition to the ongoing series of archived concerts that the companies have released in recent years. The first reason for that is the concert’s set list. Included in this concert are some familiar pieces. There are also some not so familiar pieces included in the show’s set list, too. Those songs are a great addition to the concert in whole. Just as worth noting in this new concert recording is the show’s collective audio and video mix. The recording’s bonus material—primarily the interview with director Murray Lerner and the bonus live footage of ‘Hey Joe’—completes the presentation, making Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight: Blue Wild Angel a definite candidate for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new live recordings.
Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight: Blue Wild Angel is one of the most important live recordings that any Jimi Hendrix fan and music historian alike should add to their own collection. The reason for that is that while it wasn’t his last concert, it was his final full official performance before his untimely passing in late 1970. One of the key reasons that viewers will enjoy this concert recording so much is that it includes more than the typical Hendrix hits. He pays homage to The Beatles with a performance of the title track from the band’s 1967 alum Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band early on. Before the concert begins, there is a near fifteen-minute documentary of sorts that sets the stage so to speak, for the concert. During the course of the documentary, Hendrix notes in some of the footage that he was in fact a fan of The Beatles. Taking this into account, that comment makes Hendrix’s performance of the Beatles’ hit all the more special. Audiences will agree that Hendrix does the song justice even with his rendition. Just as intriguing is the juxtaposition of Jimi, Mitch [Mitchell] (drums) and Billy [Cox] (bass) performing ‘God Save The Queen.’ It is intriguing in that also included in the pre-concert mini-documentary” is a clip of Jimi discussing his performance of the National Anthem at Woodstock and the reaction to said performance. He also discusses his military service with Cavett during said clip. It makes the group’s performance of ‘God Save The Queen’ almost a response of sorts to those that came out against him for his rendition of the National Anthem even after the fact. Add in performances of ‘Dolly Dagger,’ ‘Freedom,’ ‘Spanish Castle Music,’ and others that are less commonly seen in previous Hendrix live recordings alongside Hendrix’s standards, and audiences get a set list that by itself, makes plenty of reason to check out this new live recording.
The set list that Jimi and his band mates had assembled for what would be their last full official concert is in itself reason enough for audiences and music historians to want to purchase this recording. The collective audio and video mix of this recording makes it even more of a success. Almost forty-five years (that’s almost three quarters of a century) later, the footage looks and sounds just as good as it did in its original recording. That is a testament to those charged with bringing the concert back to life for audiences of all ages. The footage looks and sounds especially good in its transfer to Blu-ray. The grainy quality of the original recording is still there. So that vintage feel was not lost in the transfer. It just looks more well defined for lack of better wording. And the audio is just as impressive. It sounds impressive on an HDTV. But those with home theater systems will truly appreciate the quality of the audio in the original concert audio’s re-mastering and transfer to Blu-ray. Making the experience even more special is the inclusion of extra camera angles on specific songs as bonus material. It adds even more to the overall experience, especially being that they largely come from the stage.
Speaking of bonus material, the bonus performance of Jimi and company performing ‘Hey Joe’ puts the final piece in place for this recording. The performance had not been included in the original concert recording. So having it included this time gives audiences the full experience in terms of the show’s set list. The bonus interview with director Murray Lerner rounds out the presentation. His insight and behind-the-scenes tidbits regarding the pre-show preps and reaction by the fans shows a troubled show that seemingly came close to not happening. And even when it did happen, it wasn’t without its share of problems. But because it did happen, audiences today get what is a fitting final end to a career that would ultimately be cut far too short.
Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight: Blue Wild Angel is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online. It can be ordered directly from the official Jimi Hendrix website, http://www.jimihendrix.com/us/home. More information on this and other Hendrix releases, as well as the upcoming 2014 Experience Hendrix Tour and more Jimi Hendrix news, is available via the official Jimi Hendrix website and Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/JimiHendrix. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.