The rest of the population had to wait until December to meet Jimi when he appeared on national TV playing (or, more likely, miming to) “Hey Joe”. Parents were appalled at the sight of him, naturally, and the newspapers made no attempt to disguise their disgust or their casual racism. I think it was the Daily Mirror who first referred to Hendrix as “The Wild Man Of Borneo”, but they were by no means alone in employing this kind of crude rhetoric and the same ugly epithet even appeared in some corners of the music press, notably Disc & Music Echo. The truth was the mainstream media simply had no idea what to make of a black man who looked this sensational and behaved so outrageously.
The kids loved him right away, of course. The newly fashionable military hussar jackets, the brightly coloured satin and silk outfits, the high-heeled boots, the halo of wild hair and, best of all, the Fender Stratocaster flipped upside-down for the left-handed Jimi. It was all so new, different and exciting. If Eric Clapton, then riding high with Cream, was considered “God” by the young white rock fans, then Jimi would soon be regarded as an altogether more colourful and enigmatic kind of deity – the multi-armed Vishnu, perhaps, as later depicted on the cover of his second album Axis: Bold As Love.
|*The Experience - Noel Redding, Jimi Hendrix & Mitch Mitchell|
|*Tour Programme 1|
|*Tour Programme 2|
If the Chesterfield line-up was bizarre, then the all-day show at Spalding was the stuff of dreams, especially when viewed at this distance. Appearing that momentous day, in vague order of appearance, was: Zoot Money and his Big Roll Band, The Move, Pink Floyd, Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, Cream and topping the bill, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Local outfit Sounds Force 5 played during the main band changeovers. Did I mention the tickets cost just one pound? That converts to a little over £18 today, which is still an unbelievable bargain.
|*Pink Floyd in action at Spalding.|
It was a surprise to see Cream surrender top billing to Hendrix, but the Experience sales figures were already outstripping those of Eric, Jack and Ginger and so Jimi was presumably seen as the bigger act on the day. Hendrix and Cream each had just one album in the shops at that point (Are You Experienced had been released only 17 days earlier, while Fresh Cream appeared back in December 1966) and while both LPs sold well, Jimi’s three top 10 singles to date (“Hey Joe”, “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cries Mary”) had outsold Cream’s disappointing “Wrapping Paper” and “I Feel Free”, so he had the all-important chart placings in his favour.
- Sunshine Of Your Love
- We're Going Wrong
- Stepping Out
- Rollin' And Tumblin'
- I'm So Glad
After the Spalding show Jimi spent several weeks in America, playing at Monterey, touring with the Monkees (although he was kicked off that particular tour after only seven dates) and recording tracks that would end up on the Electric Ladyland album more than a year later. He flew back to London on August 20.
Hendrix had been out of the country for a couple of months, so when it was announced he was booked to play the Saville on August 27 with support by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Tomorrow (featuring Keith West and Steve Howe), I simply walked to the theatre box office in my lunch break and snapped up a ticket right away.
A month later on November 10, 1967 The Beatles shot the promo film for "Hello, Goodbye" on the Saville theatre stage. The building is still operating today as a cinema, renamed the Odeon Covent Garden.
- The Wind Cries Mary
- The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
- Hound Dog
- Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?
- Hoochie Coochie Man/Drum Solo
- Purple Haze
- Foxy Lady
- Wild Thing
|*The view from Devastation Hill|
But for many who made the Isle of Wight pilgrimage it was all about Jimi. Regrettably, his set was plagued by technical problems (during "Machine Gun" the security personnel's walkie-talkie radio was clearly heard through the guitar amplifiers), which, combined with the late hour, didn’t make for a vintage performance. We might have been more concerned had we known this was the last time we would ever see him perform. By the time Hendrix took the stage in the early hours of Monday the event had been underway for more than 72 hours. With festival fatigue setting in, many fans were already drifting back to the ferries looking to make an early getaway.
|*2002 CD with full IOW set.|
- God Save the Queen
- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
- Spanish Castle Magic
- All Along the Watchtower
- Machine Gun
- Lover Man
- Red House
- Dolly Dagger
- Midnight Lightning
- Foxy Lady
- Message of Love
- Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
- Ezy Ryder
- Hey Joe
- Purple Haze
- Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
- In From the Storm
|*Electric Ladyland - U.K. Cover|