The Jimi Hendrix Experience, ‘Miami Pop Festival’ – Album Review
At this point, is there anything really worth hearing in Jimi Hendrix‘s vaults that hasn’t been heard before? Forty-three years after his death, and dozens of posthumous albums later, “Previously Unreleased Jimi Hendrix Recordings” doesn’t stir as much excitement as it once did.
And when these “new” albums are culled from one of the guitar great’s concerts — which, let’s face it, are more exciting to watch than to listen to — the excitement level dips a little bit more.
That’s not to say that ‘Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival’ doesn’t have its moments; it’s just that you’ve probably heard most of them before in superior settings. (The concert is available as a bonus on the simultaneously released ‘Hear My Train a Comin” home video.)
Taken from a May 18, 1968, festival date, in which Hendrix and the Experience were the headliners, the 11-song album spotlights the band during a peak period. With two terrific records behind them, and a third, the monumental ‘Electric Ladyland,’ on the way, the trio of Hendrix, drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding sound tight and focused during their brief set (‘Miami Pop Festival’ tags on a pair of bonus songs from the group’s afternoon show).
So classic cuts like ‘Hey Joe,’ ‘Foxey Lady’ and ‘Fire’ pull together familiar aspects of the songs while giving the trio plenty of room to roam free during some instrumental stretches. And the first-ever recorded stage performances of ‘Tax Free’ and ‘Hear My Train a Comin” bristle with fresh energy.
But ‘Miami Pop Festival’ doesn’t offer as much to the legacy as such revealing historical documents as Hendrix’s Monterey, Woodstock or even Winterland gigs. It’s tough, professional and airtight. It just doesn’t shine new any light on an already well-illuminated career.