Behold - A Terrible Beauty Is Loosed Upon The Landscape
El Lagarto | Sandown, NH | 05/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When Jimi Hendrix walked onto the stage at Monterey he was relatively unknown in the United States. When he walked off the stage, popular music had been completely transformed. The American debut of the Jimi Hendrix Experience at Monterey isn't just the most exciting live rock concert ever recorded; it's also one of the most significant moments in the history of modern American music. Hendrix took the music world completely by storm and turned it on its head. His influence today is greater than ever, 41 years after the fact. Days after the mind-boggling "set the guitar on fire" stunt, Hendrix was a household word.
The set kicks off fast and hard with Killing Floor, one wonders how Mitch Mitchell (drums) could keep up without injuring himself. Next up, Foxey Lady, soon to be a standard. The treatment of Bob Dylan's beautiful ballad, Like A Rolling Stone, is compelling and soulful. Rock Me Baby is simply beyond belief; it throws off heat like a jet engine. A hard-edged version of Hey Joe comes next; it's blues all right, but psychedelic blues. By the time Hendrix gets to Can You See Me? it's clear that he and his cronies are all settled down and solidly in the groove, this one speeds past like a bullet. The Wind Cries Mary is handled gently and carefully, it's a great song and provides a welcome break from the mayhem.
Purple Haze has never sounded ruder, more demented, and incoherent - it is riveting. If you have any imagination at all, think about what this music must have sounded like to people who'd been nursed on The Platters, The Four Freshmen, and The Beach Boys. We are now completely accustomed to the influence Hendrix has had and it's easy to forget that when this was recorded what Hendrix was doing wasn't merely new, it was earth shattering. As to the closer, Wild Thing, I remember the Troggs version, sort of a frat house crowd pleaser. Hendrix takes it into the stratosphere; in many ways it's the highlight of the performance. Burning the guitar was theatrical genius, really, after you've just invaded the greatest nation on earth and conquered it in one night, what else is there to do?"
NOT THE BEST AUDIO AVAILABLE
BOB | LOS ANGELES, CA | 04/17/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
I'm always interested in having the best audio version of any recording. Therefore, when this new version was released, I picked it up and compared it to an older edition, the fourth disc of the Rhino Monterey Pop Box, released in 1992.
I was very unpleasantly surprised and dismayed to find the new disc does not have the clarity of the Box CD. The drums & cymbals especially sound muffled.
From a historical standpoint, it's interesting to hear the small snippets of Hendrix' conversation in between songs that do not appear on the Box disc, and yes, the new CD packaging & photos are excellent.
However, it's no fun, after listening to the Box CD for the past 16 years, hearing a new version that has less clarity.
I haven't heard the other versions of this show, released after the Rhino Box, but I sure can't recommend this one."
June 18, 1967 - "The Day The Music Came Alive!"
M. McKay | Downey, CA United States | 01/03/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There's really no need to say it again. But I will anyways. Jimi Hendrix at The Monterey Pop Festival was and still is one of rock and roll's most incredible and legendary performances EVER! And a debut performance for an American audience at that! You can like any guitarist you wish, that's all fine and dandy, but NO ONE is Jimi (and yes, that includes Mr. Eric Clapton). What we have here is the 40th anniversary reissue of that performance on CD, after years of it being M.I.A. from the Hendrix catalog. There's no doubt that this reissue is practically all pros but, believe it or not, there are also a few cons. As a matter of fact, I found this new reissue a tad disapointing in comparison to the original 1986 release "Jimi Plays Monterey" on Reprise Records.
First off the pros of the set; all of the minor edits that were made for the original release to fit on cassette, CD, and LP have been reinstated letting you hear EVERY bit of stage patter that Jimi said inbetween songs. Every brief tune up and even moments of almost complete silence can be heard now too, making for some groovy feeling anticipation between each song. You even get to finally hear the announcer that introduced Brian Jones to the stage so Brian could then introduce Jimi! These are all nice little additions, but they don't cover up for the cons of this release.
Personally, I'm not that happy with this mix compared to the original. Jimi's lead vocals are pushed to the fore while some of his most blistering guitar leads are pushed back in the mix. The volume levels seem to rise and fall with every track and some of the song intros have been weakened in this new mix, especially on "Killing Floor." On the original 1986 issue of "Jimi Plays Monterey," Jimi's fast strummed introduction to "Killing Floor" came ripping through the speakers like a runaway locomotive! It still does on this reissue, but with a "squashed" and "lessened" quality to it. That really disapointed me when I heard it! The recording now seems smothered in noise reduction (my first time ever complaining about such a thing). The overall feeling of you the listener actually being in the audience seems lost in this new mix. There is no "air" or "space" around what you're hearing as there was with the original release.
And then there is the AUDIBLE tape damage you now have to deal with, especially during the freak-out ending to "Wild Thing," the most important part of the entire concert. It occurs not once but TWICE during the ending. This incredible coda also does not attack through the speakers as it used to. Mitch Mitchell's drumming is pushed forward as Jimi's insane feedback is actually pulled back! WHY?! Is this due to the fact that while mixing and creating the '86 release, killer analog equipment was utilized and NOW we supposedly have better stuff to mix these old recordings in the all digital age?! Well, the results speak for themselves. This reissue get four stars for being VERY GOOD when it could have had five with a better mix. If you own a record player, by all means seek out a mint copy of "Jimi Plays Monterey" on vinyl and get this one for your CD collection."
Historic recording... a "must have" for any rock enthousiast
Paul Allaer | Cincinnati | 02/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are certain moments in rock history that are just monumental and this is one of them, Jimi Hendrix's coming out party to US audiences at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival in June, 1967.
"The Jimi Hendrix Experience Live at Monterey" (10 tracks, 43 min.) brings the band's performance at the festival it its totality. After a quick announcement from the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones, the band crashes in with "Killing Floor", a ground-scorcher of a song. "Foxy Lady" follows and after it Jimi delivers some great stage banter, as he does throughout the band's set, making this such a delight. The band's cover of "Like a Rolling Stone" is a gem. After a great "Rock Me Baby", Jimi asks the audience to indulge the band for fine-tuning his guitar, "Let us tune up because we care", what a great statement! The set closes down with "The Wind Cries Mary", which Jimi announces as the next single to some out (following the hit "Hey Joe"), and it ends with the now legendary "Wild Thing", featuring the guitar burning, which you can hear on the CD.
Couple of thoughts as I was listening to this: for one, the audience's response was timid at best, you can hardly hear any crowd reaction between songs. For another, this is the Jimi Hendrix Experience at its best, nevermind the many other live recordings out there. It wasn't possible at that time to register or recognize the importance of this live set, but this is a true defining moment in rock history. In a way, it has been cheapened by the overwhelming attention that the guitar-burning segment has gathered, but the full set as heard here just demonstrates what a defining moment this was for Hendrix and indeed rock history."
Steve | Virginia | 11/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am very glad they finally re-released this whole concert if only for one song: Hey Joe. Don't get me wrong - there is plenty more, but that was the one I was waiting for. I first heard the version from Monterey on the soundtrack to the Jimi Hendrix movie and I enjoy it in some ways even more than the studio version which is damn close to being perfection. It is rough but demonstrates Jimi's showman style mixed with his powerfully fluid rhythm/lead style. There are a few clunkers here, particularly Can You See Me and Wild Thing which suffers mostly from being a visual treat much more than an aural one. Listening to a guitar burning or being smashed is not the preferred medium for such an act. Beyond those two, however, this is a solid live effort, something that is difficult to find in the sprawling mess of Hendrix live material available. The excellent version of Like A Rolling Stone, the take on Rock Me Baby that later became Lover Man, and the bludgeoning opener of Killing Floor are all superb. This was an important show for Jimi and it shows. Despite reportedly tripping his face off on acid dosed just prior to taking the stage, the show is pure Hendrix brilliance - flamboyant, incendiary, wavering on the edge of chaos, and jaw-dropping. Making for an added novelty is Jimi's between song babbling as he tunes up between nearly every song, a consequence of whammy-ing your Stratocaster into the next dimension. While the Jimi that set the world on fire this night was to become an image he came to see as a burden, it is also what propelled him to transcontinental fame and guaranteed the world would never forget this amazing man."