Thursday, September 24, 2009

1968/05/23 - 1968/05/26 - Italy - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

This post is for Roberto Crema, thanks for the help! A major portion of the photos present in this post come from flickr user rising70.

Jimi Hendrix and his band, The Experience spend 4 days in Italy performing, jamming and having a good time during their stay in Italy.

May 23, 1968
Piper Club, Milano, Lombardia, Italy

May 24, 1968
Teatro Brancaccio, Rome/Roma, Lazio, Italy

May 25, 1968
Teatro Brancaccio, Rome/Roma, Lazio, Italy

May 26, 1968
Palasport, Bologna, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Check out Redding and Hendrix in Milan, Italy at the Hotel Windsor on 23 May 1968 here:

Jimi and The Experience at the Piper Club in Milano, also from the 23rd:

The following 2 days The Jimi Hendrix performed and enjoyed themselves in Rome:

The last day of The Experience in Italy is in Bologna, May 26th, 1968:

Set List for the May 26th performance in Bologna:

Hey Joe
Stone Free
Red House
Tax Free « Come On (Part I), Mary Had A Little Lamb
Purple Haze
Foxy Lady

The following links take you to all available recordings for the May 26th gig:

1968-05-26 Bologna (ATM 164-165)

Titan Top Show, Palasport, Bologna 26.05.68 - Vibratory 3 Source Merge

Palasport Bologna, 26 maggio 1968

Jimi Hendrix showed up more than 90 minutes late for the concert in Bologna, throwing the organisers and partners into panic.

In his book, Mitch Mitchell remembers the riots at the Palasport because of the public exasperated by Jimi’s delay, but Mitch probably confused this with Milan some days before; in fact, in Bologna the audience was impatient but fortunately there were many support groups that lengthened their sets filling in the waiting time.
The reality was that no one knew where Jimi was. The "official" reason provided by the organizers was that Jimi was very tired, but somebody also said that he was too drunk, but many years ago a boy from Florence told me a story about a bunch of guys who came from Florence just for the concert and they were heading on foot from the station towards the Palasport.

The Alexander Hotel, where Jimi was staying, was near the railway station and in front of the hotel were some gardens. As they walked by there, this group of fans recognized Jimi Hendrix, who was walking alone among the flowerbeds. At first they could not believe it, they couldn’t imagine meeting Jimi. However, they approached him and began to talk. Someone offered him a joint and the time passed. Then a member of the staff rushed into the gardens to look for Jimi and took him away, but before Jimi left one of the boys took some roses from a bush nearby and gave it to Jimi who used it as decoration for the scoop of his Stratocaster.

Later, Beppe Brilli announced the Jimi Hendrix Experience to an enthusiastic audience. Jimi saluted the audience and immediately apologized because he can’t make the best use of his equipment because of problems with the power supply. The concert then begins with Fire, a version quite similar to the studio version but the solo is performed without distortion. This was followed by Hey Joe, a very clean version. Also this is an excellent performance with little variation from the original. Stone Free is the third track proposed. Even here the sound of Jimi is less saturated than usual; the solo is performed without distortion. Then, probably distracted by technical problems, he messed around a bit with the tone and led the song towards the end.

Daniele Guidazzi, guitarist of one of the support groups, Ivan & the Meteors, recalls:

“What was most impressive, as a musician, was the arrival of this mountain of amplifiers because we had never seen before such a huge mass of amplifier in Italy”.
When Jimi arrived at the Palasport he was really pissed off because somebody stole some fuzz pedals.

“I remember that at one point whilst I was putting on my guitar, Jimi came on stage to make his point and we turned a sound check into a twenty minute jam. Jimi then disappeared into the dressing room. Another odd memory is that we had in our repertoire a song by Jimi and we wanted to play it knowing that he was there. The piece was "Stone Free" - we tried to play it in a very similar way to Jimi’s original version, but our singer, as most of the Italian singers of that period, didn’t speak English and obviously he only tried to imitate the words of the song and I’m sure that if Jimi had heard our rendition of his song he would have pissed himself laughing!”.

Red House was the fourth track. It was a wonderful ten minute version, beginning with very clean blues phrasing. Jimi soon abandons the words for an interlude in which he keeps the rhythm by striking the guitar strings and then a delicate solo with the wah wah pedal introduces the final stanza.
Jimi apologizes again to the audience and says that they will not play Foxy Lady because "there is not enough electrical power to play 'Foxy Lady'......we're trying to play electric music and we don't have enough electricity for our music, so we'll do a jam...... we're trying to play electric music and we do not have enough electricity for our own music, so we'll do a jam ...".

“Tax Free” is a splendid performance of more than ten minutes with a short bass and drums solo. Here, Jimi seems more relaxed. Hendrix apologized again to the public for the problems with the instruments. From here the recording is less good and the version of "Purple Haze" that follows is less aggressive than usual, maybe because Jimi uses only a natural wah wah and distortion amplifier with the volume up and without the fuzz face.

Despite of what he just said before, the Experience played "Foxy Lady", to meet the constant demands of the public. This is a strange version, very clean. The initial feedback is almost non-existent and both the solo and also the final is a bit confused while Jimi says “.Now, you know, you’re experienced”.

With this song ends the tour of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in Italy.

Roberto Crema

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