Experience Hendrix - Various Artists
What should really have been a brilliant concert celebrating one of rock's great icons turns out a little flat. The musos are having a good enough time, but they don't really seem too interested in sharing it with the audience.
Problems start early with a clearly uncomfortable Kenny Wayne Shepherd opening the proceedings. From that point the whole affair seems pedestrian and “aged”. Not even Paul Rodgers or old blues gods Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin and Double Trouble (the late Stevie Ray Vaughn’s band – and seemingly the core house band of the night) can really save it.
Indigenous is easily the scene stealer from the main show with a cracking deep blues vocal that takes you by surprise on "Hear My Train a-Comin'", though the band does tend to toegaze. And when Living Color actually tries to get the rollout going with some energetic stage antics, they discover that heavier isn’t necessarily the antidote to a show that's heavy on the blues and light(ish) on the rock.
Hey that's what Hendrix was – a blues guitarist. So it's no surprise that most of those paying tribute are so rooted in the genre. Maybe that’s the missing element from the show, because Hendrix was also a genre challenger, crossing over into many seemingly disparate styles along his musical way. It would have been nice to see a couple of alternate takes on the material.
Weirdly, the highlight of the package is to be found in the extras as Robert Randolph blisters his way through "Purple Haze" with Double Trouble, and Mick Taylor delivers Red House on guitar like a blues house on fire. Just wish the rest of the main show had been this good.