Friday, August 05, 2005

Complete Hendrix Woodstock Set Heads To DVD

Oh yah this is must...I can't wait to see this. I love this performance and there is some killer never-before seen footage in here!

Jimi Hendrix's closing performance at Woodstock on Aug. 18, 1969, is arguably one of the most iconic moments in rock history, but it has never been commercially available in its entirety. That will change on Sept. 13, when Universal Music and Experience Hendrix release the DVD "Jimi Hendrix -- Live at Woodstock." The project comes out a day earlier in the U.K.

The double-disc set captures one of Hendrix's only performances with an extended backing band, dubbed Gypsy Sun And Rainbows. Longtime Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer supervised a new audio mix in both 5.1 and 2.0 stereo sound. Bonus features include "The Road to Woodstock" documentary, a contemporaneous press conference and "A Second Look," which blends black-and-white video footage with color clips from alternate angles.

More than 35 years later, Woodstock is still a high point for Gypsy Sun And Rainbows (and later, Band Of Gypsys) bassist Billy Cox. "We had a house in Woodstock for maybe 30 days, and then the Woodstock Festival finally came up," he recalls to "We worked, practiced and rehearsed very diligently for that. And the day finally came when we [played], and it was kind of a relief off our minds. We really did it as a group -- we were on stage for close to two hours."

Although many feel Woodstock marked the end of the 1960s counterculture movement, Cox says the festival vibe was "great. We went and played with the attitude of, 'Look at all those people, everybody's doing something different.' It's like watching television; we'll go with the vibe. So the energy from them came to us, and we threw it right back at them."

The performance crystallized a new period of musical exploration for Hendrix. "In the earlier times, when he was with Noel [Redding] and Mitch [Mitchell], the songs were very simple," Cox says. "The simplicity of the 'Foxey Lady's' and the 'Purple Haze's' now went into some pretty intricate things, like 'Jam Back at the House' and then later the 'Freedom's', the 'Dolly Dagger's,' and 'In from the Storm.' And you don't have the time to do a lot of pyrotechnics; you've got to play."

While the set list contained both favorites from the Jimi Hendrix Experience ("Purple Haze," "Foxey Lady," "Spanish Castle Magic") and then-unheard compositions ("Message to Love," "Jam Back at the House," "Izabella"), it was the guitarist's surprise rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" that became synonymous with the original Woodstock.

"[Jimi] was so into it -- if you listen closely you will see that I stayed on him," Cox says. "And when he started 'The Star Spangled Banner,' that impromptu thing, you hear the first four, five, or six notes; I'm in there with him. Then I said, 'Wait a minute, we didn't rehearse this, and it doesn't sound too good with me playing.' I backed away, and he continued and made a classic out of that."