Wednesday, September 23, 2009
1970/06/20 - Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino, California - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
All Along the Watchtower
Room Full of Mirrors
Message To Love
Hear My Train A Comin'
Voodoo Chile (slight return)
Keep On Groovin'
The photo collection below was shot and provided online by crosstown member Mourning Star:
The following are links to two versions of the same audience recording made for this show:
1970-06-20 San Bernadino 2nd gen
Swing in San Bernardino - APE+Art
From Just Ask The Axis:
From Chris Dixon's 30th Anniversary Series © C S Dixon
June 20, 2000 marks 30 years since Jimi's 1970 concert at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino, California. Jimi did 4 concert dates in the western US on this week but this is the only one which exists on tape as of now (he played Albuquerque the night before, Ventura (Ca) the day after, and Denver three days later).
The tape of this night is unfortunately a pretty rough listen. It's quite distorted and apparently was recorded from some distance, as it is further muddied by hall acoustics. Jimi's vocals are very low and even the between-song talking is hard to make out. Billy's bass is audible but boomy and Mitch is barely heard at all. The taper may have been off to the side or behind the stage as even the guitar, while most prominent, sounds distant and ambient. Tape hiss, speed fluctuations and phasing don't help either. There are cuts between most songs, in some cases clipping the starts.
The tape times out to a little over 40 minutes, a very short show if complete though tape cuts mean there could have been additional songs performed. There are anecdotal reports that Jimi rushed through the show, possibly in a bad mood due to hecklers (there are reports of a rowdy crowd and some destruction outside the venue by non ticketholders). Almost all between-song chat is cut or inaudible so it's hard to sense his general mood but some of the songs, especially later in the set, do seem faster and shorter than usual. The tape as commonly circulated ran quite fast but that's a very simple fix upon listening (assuming one has a pitch control on their tape or CD player- highly recommended if one is into the vintage stuff!) and even after pitch correction some of the tempos do seem a bit rushed. It's been reported by an eyewitness that he began the next nights show by saying he'd "make up for San Bernardino..." but exactly what, if anything, was wrong here remains a mystery.
(Setlist): All Along The Watchtower; Room Full of Mirrors; Machine Gun; Message to Love; Hear My Train; Foxy Lady; Hey Joe; Purple Haze; Voodoo Child (SR)
After some barely discernible words which suggest his oft-heard opening rap about forgetting everything else and building their own world, and a few melodic opening riffs, Jimi opens with a surprise- the second ever known live rendition of 'All Along The Watchtower' and the only known instance of Jimi opening a show with the song. The only previous known concert performance was with Noel, way back in Jan '69. He'd always avoided playing it when it was a hit single, despite many shouted requests at shows. Most of the parts from the Electric Ladyland classic are represented here, Jimi doing a nice job of replicating the various overdubs live (though he does leave out the final 'embellished chord' movement of the main solo). Throws in some nice guitar riffs along with the shouted title refrain at the end. AATW would go on to be performed at a half dozen of the remaining (documented) '70 shows.
Jimi introduces 'Room Full of Mirrors' by name, one of few audible stage comments. It gets a slightly extended solo section, going to some fast rhythm guitar comping (a bit like some old 'Killing Floor' intros) and a solo w/ wah that sounds for a sec like it could break into 'Gypsy Eyes'! Comes back to the "broken glass..." verse and finishes with a brief solo guitar break before the last chord. At almost 5 minutes it's the longest of our available live versions.
After a few inaudible spoken comments (perhaps mentioning soldiers fighting in San Berdoo?), 'Machine Gun' gets a brief free form guitar excursion before the intro proper w/ Jimi visiting his mellow flamenco-flavored meditation on E. Hard to tell exactly when/what Jimi is singing during the opening verses. Main solo comes at 4:30, Jimi getting into it nicely for a set highlight and Billy periodically revisiting the rumbling variation of the bass riff that we heard at the Baltimore show. Jimi manipulates the Univibe speed control at 5:50 (though at times it's hard to separate the 'swoosh' of the Univibe from the tape phasing!). He moves to some lower flowing, or legato, runs then goes to the secondary riff and last verse. Follows with some 'rockets red glare' style feedback w/ whammy, finishing with the 'wobbly' vibrato'ed notes and a few 'rat-a-tats'.
Sounds like he moves directly to the 'Message To Love' intro (could be a tape cut, if so it's not as obvious as most others here), with a brisk tempo. He delays beginning of second verse a few bars. Solo features a unique riff at 3:00 using some sliding intervals.
A tape cut puts us into the first notes of 'Hear My Train'. He doesn't do much soloing at start and is into the vocals by :45. The solo starts with the wah at 2:00 and is very short, only a minute or so, before he returns to the "gonna leave this town..." verse. Billy tries out a bass line variation just after that verse. It ends quite suddenly after a little more soloing at 5:20, one of the shorter concert renditions.
Another tape cut before 'Foxy'. Uses teeth for part of the main solo.
'Hey Joe' gets cut *very* short, ending just after the chromatic climb at the end of the solo for a time of only about 1:45. Perhaps sensing a short version coming on, he gets the 'I Feel Fine' quote out of the way during the first few lines of verse!
Yet another tape cut takes into the start of 'Purple Haze'. Atypically appears this night w/o 'Star Spangled Banner', unless the national anthem did not get recorded. Jimi misses a couple of his target notes and bends near the end, perhaps evidence of distraction(s).
VC(SR) again has the recently revived 'muted wah' intro. Some of Jimi's fills sound twangy, almost rockabilly. The last solo breaks down to some rhythmic strumming and he does the 'Keep On Groovin' verse at 5:20. He restates the intro riff and the tape ends just as he begins the 'dental coda'.