Jimi Hendrix

The Rainbow Bridge Concert: The Early Show

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The concert held at Haleakala Crater in Hawaii in July of 1970 was supposed to be part of the film Rainbow Bridge, but very little of the concert footage was used in the film. Stranger still, none of it was used on the soundtrack album Rainbow Bridge. The set has been bootlegged in the past, but this marks the first official release of this material. The first set kicks off with "Lover Man," and has Hendrix running through a handful of newer tunes before finishing the set with several "old favorites." Things start off loose, though not disinterested, but by the time he's into "Hear My Train a Comin'," Hendrix is absolutely on fire. Even old warhorses (to Hendrix), like "Fire" and "Purple Haze," get inspired performances, a far cry from some of the more perfunctory performances of those tunes in 1970. Sound quality is quite good, although the drums are a bit distant. Some critics have said that Hendrix's playing declined after the breakup of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but this set shows that Hendrix was always moving forward, incorporating new tones and effects as well as Spanish scales into his playing. There were certainly some lackluster performances during that time period, but the Rainbow Bridge concerts show that Hendrix still had some excellent playing left in him. [Both sets are also available combined onto a two-CD set.]

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