Thursday, September 24, 2009

1968/02/16 - 1968/02/18 - Way Down In Texas Land - The Jimi Hendrix Experience



The Jimi Hendrix Experience
1968-02-16
State Fair Music Hall, Dallas, TX


Set List for this performance:

Are You Experienced
Fire
The Wind Cries Mary
Tax Free
Foxy Lady
Hey Joe
Spanish Castle Magic
Red House
Purple Haze
Wild Thing

For a link to download a really great sounding audience recording for the first show in Texas, click here

From Just Ask The Axis:

From Chris Dixon's 30th Anniversary Series © C S Dixon
February 16, 1998 marks 30 years since Jimi's appearance at the State Fair Music Hall, Dallas Texas.

A few noteworthy things about this show:


Show opener is the first documented live performance of 'Are You Experienced'. He doesn't do the free-form intro that marks later versions, just right into the album version (y'know-'chunk chunk chunka chunk chunk',etc)

First performance of 'Tax Free'. 10 minute rendition with drum solo. Middle section breaks down but doesn't switch to the 3/4 jazz feel like the War Heroes version...

First US performance of 'Spanish Castle Magic' (4th recorded rendition overall). Unlike the extended versions in later concerts, this is a fairly straight reading lasting only around 4 minutes...

Second U.S. 'Red House'. This too is a pretty straight reading lasting only 5 minutes (and some nice playing, too!)

Jimi introduces 'Purple Haze' as being from "11 B.C."! Also, introduces an extended free-form guitar intro as something "pertaining" to PH. Halfway through it he stops to tell the audience "..I'm pertaining now...Can you hear me pertain?..."! Jimi obviously in a good mood this night-jokes with the audience after AYE about buying some cool boots earlier in the day, making him "the biggest square in the building" which of course became the name of the boot CD of this show!



===================

The Jimi Hendrix Experience
1968-02-17
Will Rogers Auditorium, Fort Worth, TX


Set List for this performance:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window
The Wind Cries Mary
Fire
Catfish Blues
Foxy Lady « Outside Woman Blues, Sunshine Of Your Love
Hey Joe
Purple Haze
Wild Thing

Audience recording for the second performance in Texas can be downloaded here

Jimi and others backstage from this night:



From Just Ask The Axis:

From Chris Dixon's 30th Anniversary Series © C S Dixon
17 February 1998 is 30th anniversary of Jimi's show at Will Rogers Auditorium, Ft. Worth Texas.:


2nd US appearance of 'Sgt Pepper'. BTW every time Jimi did Sgt. Pepper live, it was the show opener.

2nd live 'Can You Please Crawl...' and 1st US appearance (the soundcheck version of late could be from Winterland 2/3, though ). This song was only performed 5 times, including the aforementioned soundcheck (which could also be from Winterland 10/68

More funny Jimi stage patter- repeats bit from day before about his new "pointy-toed shoes" making him the "biggest square in the building". Introduces 'Wind Cries Mary as being from 1776 and Fire as from "...1932, with Everly Bros and Tom Mix..."! Says 'Tune Up Time' will be the next single'. Also he's having equipment problems and blames the stage crew for "sabotaging" the gear so they can come out on stage!!

Last live 'Catfish Blues' (that's how Noel introduces it) save one last version 2 1/2 years later, 8/31/70.

He thanks openers "(Moving) Sidewalks", which featured future ZZ Topper Billy Gibbons.

Sure sounds like he smashes a guitar during set-closing Wild Thing!




===================

The Jimi Hendrix Experience
1968-02-18
Music Hall, Houston, TX


Set List for this performance:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Fire
Hey Joe
Foxy Lady
The Wind Cries Mary
I Don't Live Today
Catfish Blues
Purple Haze
Wild Thing

The audience recording for this show can be grabbed here

The following page has some photos for sale from this gig, check it out here





From Just Ask The Axis:

Review of 18 February 1968 Houston Music Hall by Joe Morgan

The recent uncovering and subsequent posting of this show by the folks at Experience Hendrix adds a significant piece to the puzzle that was Jimi Hendrix's life and all-too-brief meteoric musical career.

This is an excellent show from Jimi's first real tour of the United States after the triumph at Monterey and the Monkees debacle. He had played selected shows and club dates but not toured as a headliner. Consequently he was playing small venues to "select" crowds for the most part, especially in the more distant markets. This provides us the opportunity to hear Jimi's music more clearly, without being drowned out by the crush of bodies and the screams of the more "enthusiastic" members of the crowd. This show is also remarkable in the fact that it completes a trio of recorded shows, all played in Texas on succeeding nights. Dallas on 2/16, Ft. Worth on 2/17, and this show in Houston on 2/18. (Thanks for pointing that out, Jason!) This leads one to believe that the taper might have been the same person, and there's a certain amount of evidence for this. All three recordings certainly seem "slower" than normal and indeed pitch testing indicates Jimi's guitar sounding in D, a whole-step lower than normal tuning and a half-step lower than his usual E-flat. At some point I hope to transfer the recordings to my Portastudio and experiment with raising the speed and pitch just to see what the effect might be.

At any rate, being able to set these three shows side-by-side and compare them gives us great insight as to how Jimi constructed his sets at this point in his career. There were more repeats from night to night, but don't forget that Jimi had far fewer songs to choose from at this point, AXIS having only been out for a month or so. Also, I'm sure he felt some pressure to "play the hits" in these rural markets. He probably felt at times almost like he was going back to the "Chitlin Circuit", with small crowds who could be more or less into it, and a few remarks on this tape will bear witness to that. He must've wondered at this point if he would ever achieve the recognition in America that had been afforded to him "across the pond". Little did he know...!

A brief comparison of the three shows indicates similar running time of around an hour. "Fire", "Hey Joe" and "Purple Haze" were played at all three, as was the increasingly rare "Wind Cries Mary", which was played fairly frequently on this tour and then put away forever. I've always been puzzled that Chris Dixon's review of the Dallas show indicates that "Red House" was played after "Spanish Castle Magic" but the timing of my copy matches up to that listed on the website and there is no "Red House" nor is there any audible cut between the end of "Spanish" and the beginning of the jam into PH where the "Red House"is supposed to be. In fact, Jimi talks over the whole thing and his rap seems intact. The format for all three shows seems to be the hits, one long song with a drum solo, (Tax Free for 2/16, Catfish Blues for the others) and a close with a solo wall-of-sound intro into Purple Haze, followed by a "Wild Thing" encore at all three shows. Jimi was probably really laying the "show" on during the encore, giving the down-home crowd what they wanted.

A few words about the recording, and then the show itself. It certainly sounds like it could have been the same machine as the other shows, but the lack of hiss here indicates that this is probably a very lo-gen recording, maybe even the master tape itself. The recorder was most likely a small reel-to-reel as the fidelity certainly seems better than the cassette recorders of the time would have been able to produce. The worst defects the recording suffers from are occasional moments when the tape sounds "mangled", possibly chewed on by the capstan at some point. These are fairly rare. The tape also suffers from saturated levels from the sheer volume Jimi was playing at at the time. However, neither of these detract significantly from the listenability or the quality of the music.

Show opens with an intro, some guy who sounds like a high-school principal introducing another fellow named Steve Lundane. During the speech two ear-shattering bursts of feedback blast everyone as a fair warning! Steve Lundane sounds African-American, possibly a DJ? He introduces Jimi proper, who begins playing without speaking, the intro to "Sgt Pepper". This evidently was played many times on this tour, then put away until mid-1970. "Fire" follows, after brief applause. Noel is very audible here during the call-and-response, a nice treat. Jimi's playing is terrific, sometimes loose and funky, sometimes very tight and sometimes a tasteful blend of the two. He keeps the solos short and to the point, very much like the records for the most part.

After "Fire" Jimi makes some remarks about "welcome to...what is this? Wonderland...Tennesee...Mexico!" A few folks laugh. Jimi wipes the smiles from their faces with a wall of feedback which leads into a funky "Hey Joe", the arpeggiated line usually heard at the ending starting the song instead.

During "Foxy Lady" Jimi masterfully controls the feedback as he delivers the song, the Fuzz Face in full effect on the solo. During the outro he lets the bass strings ring as he plays on the treble, creating the "guitar army" by himself!

Jimi intros the next song as "something that'll bore you for about a dozen and a half days, a song called...Tune-up time! That's the name of the next song!" Jimi finally gets the guitar in tune. "Now we'd like to do another song, The Wind Cries Mary."

The crowd seems very quiet at this point, but it seems to be very respectful, similar to the crowds he played for in Scandinavia. They clap for the song, then they shut up and listen. Wish some of the later tapes had this vibe! Jimi's fills are very pretty and creative. The solo features some nice elaborations on the recorded version, fast trills on the high strings adding a Baroque touch.

"I Don't Live Today" is dedicated to "all the minority groups, especially the Indians". Jimi finally stretches out, extending the song to almost six minutes, and pulling out the whole bag of tricks. Some of the tape mangle is prevalent here, but it's clear that all of the effects Jimi would be later known for are displayed on this song. He uses the feedback symphonically, creating multiple textures that ring simultaneously and produce otherworldly harmonies as he dives and raises the whammy in time with the song's rhythm. Finally he breaks the song down to the "nothing but existing" line and exits quick-time with the outro. Not too different from the album, but a good three minutes of freakout added in. After the song, Jimi seems to be talking to someone off the stage, possibly about a song request? After that Jimi says into the mike "we'd like to do our OWN thing for you, you know Muddy Waters blues...our OWN thing." After this we get the final known version of "Catfish Blues" save for the 8/31/70 version in Stockholm. It's a great version, too, Jimi really savoring the vibe. His drawl seems especially deep as he spreads it on thick for the Southern crowd. The guitar roars like a locomotive and stampedes through the stratosphere as he celebrates the depth of the primitive rhythm. We get the "Two Trains Running" verse, then "Rolling and Tumbling", then the stage is left to Mitch, who shows off his chops with polyrhythmic tom rolls and fancy bass footwork.

After Jimi returns to the stage, he does something I've never heard him do before. He plays for a few seconds at mid-volume, then turns the guitar down until it is barely audible. In fact, at one point he seems to turn it off altogether and it seems like you can still hear the strings rattling against the frets as he strums. The crowd is almost totally hushed at this point, then Jimi roars back with a double-time version of the riff, waterfalls of sound cascading down in a classic rave-up ending.

Jimi checks his tuning, then introduces the next song: "As you all know, we recorded Purple Haze in 1932, we'd like to do for you the later edition, the third, all-new psychedelic edition, 1948 style..." The solo intro into the song is pure Jimi, the guitar alternately moaning and screaming as the feedback layers on top of itself. The recorder mic cuts out as its tiny limiter is overwhelmed, then the sound returns as Jimi strums mountains of purple mist, dying howls of trapped beasts, splintered cliffs collapsing into Jovian canyons. Robots march, and out of the chaos emerges the thunderous, two-note riff. The solo is a note-for-note match of the recording, actually a nice little melody if you've ever sung it to yourself. Noel's 'oohs' and 'aahs' are easily heard in the mix.

The solo coda is more eye-watering, ear-bleeding ululations on the high frets before sliding down into a whammy crash-dive. The crowd hand seems a little timid, and Jimi makes a remark that "if we was gettin' paid by applause alone, we'd be starvin' to death right now." Maybe he felt like the crowd wasn't into it for some reason. After he says this, he gets his best hand so far as the crowd is obviously eager to show they are not unappreciative. This leads to his old tried-and-true "You can boo if you want to, just boo in key." Then it's time for "that one more last song: Tune-up time!". Then he says something like "man, the visitors from your universe are very small if that's what you think about, and you're right. Imagine everybody coming back from the war, any kind of war of the world and instead of singing about 'all the children dead?' (sings hymn style)...all that mess...what if they marched down the street singing a song...that will be in tune...and it's like an international anthem, where everybody can sing...so that's what we're gonna do...we're gonna sing a song that everybody can sing to, goes something like this here." The crashing riff of "Wild Thing" explodes, Jimi and Noel singing together, Noel's English accent such a nice counterpoint to Jimi's drawl. Jimi no doubt is pulling out all the stops, with lightning fast riffs that double up on themselves before falling back into the rhythm of the song. On the final chorus, the song cuts, but it doesn't matter. Even the sun has to set sometime. This is a great addition to the live archive, a must-hear if you are a fan of Jimi's concert performances. Mucho kudos and a big JH hug to the folks over at Experience Hendrix for putting this out for the public to enjoy.

As always, anyone who has more info on this show or any others out there, or Jimi stories to tell, you can drop me an e-mail at tallboy@tampabay.rr.com.

Joe Morgan

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  1. Joe's email address is no longer good. But here's something you might forward to him if you know where he is--and thanks, Otis, putting this all together.

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