Saturday, October 31, 2015

RE-UP: Jimi Hendrix live in Aarhus 1970 - 1CD - September 2

Jimi Hendrix
Vejlby Risskov Hall
Aarhus, Denmark
September 2, 1970

Quality: B++

 Message to Love
 Hey Baby/Drum solo

Jimi Hendrix: Guitar, vocals
Mitch Mitchell: drums
Bill Cox: bass

Notes: (Based on Chris Dixon's "Ask the Axis" site and Tony Brown's `The Final Days')

This a date that lives in infamy in Jimi's legend, for the concert is cut short when Jimi proves to be in no shape to play, due to some unknowable combination of physical illness, fatigue and lifestyle. Jimi had his 'off days' like anyone, but only once before did a concert have to be prematurely cut short, that being the last Band of Gypsys performance at Madison Square Garden in NYC on 1/28/70. There are any number of reports of why Jimi was in this condition, how he acted before the show ("I am not sure I will live to be 28 years old") and after the show ("It's winter and the tracks are easy to the seaons have have changed, I've lost the track."

It's amazing that this recording even exists, Aarhus being a smaller town in Denmark. Yet someone faithfully brought along their tape deck and made quite an excellent recording, capturing all the instruments and Jimi's voice quite well.

Jimi greets the crowd by asking "Are you doing all right?" and that point the taper starts his machine and we here Jimi's follow up.... "I said are you doing all right?" The crowd responds with a cheer to which Jimi responds "Thank god, thank God" then asks for "...a minute to try and tune up". After a pause he says "Welcome to the electric circus, our first song will be called 'Freedom'..." Jimi's voice does sound a little different, a little slurred with a noticable difference in his distinctive cadence. He begins 'Freedom' a bit too slow and starts missing chords almost immediately. He starts singing at :40 but fumbles for the words, singing only about two words out of both the second verse and chorus. He manages a little soloing at 2:45 but the bridge is pretty rough. The songs ends, on a wrong chord, at about 5:00. Not a good start. Jimi follows up by saying "That's where freedom is at...right on..", his voice trailing off.

He dedicates the next song to "The world, the galaxy, space.." and says "it's a thing called...let me get it right..". He begins counting up the frets to the starting chord and is heard counting then said "lost track" an old joke of his, showing he still has a sense of humor even if he is not feeling well.

He tries to tune up a bit and after a few moments of dead air the audience begins rhythmically clapping and Jimi then shuts them up by playing a couple of chords. After an uncomfortable silence Jimi says "Actually I forgot what I was here for...oh right, 'Message to Love' ". This number fares the best of the night, though it's still just barely hanging in there. The climbing intro goes OK, but Jimi hits a wrong chord afterward then lingers on the root chord for a couple of extra bars. He waits almost 1:45 before starting the vocals. He remembers more words than not, but each line is invariably delayed, showing him to be literally out of sync. Most of the composed riffs seem to come to him instinctively and he wisely doesn't try too many embellishments. At 2:25 he starts soloing but soon switches to longer sustained single notes, tentatively trying a few faster runs. At 3:25 the ever supportive Billy improvises a climbing variation on the riff as Jimi continues soloing. He holds it together, but barely, quoting Power of Soul (as he had the previous night) briefly at 4:35. He goes back to the main riff at 5:30, attempting one word of the last verse, then starting it over. At 6:45 he does the bridge. It starts OK but Jimi gets off rhythm. Does some of the "Everybody, come alive..." words and at least they all get out of the bridge at the same time! A little more soloing and he slurs the final ascending riff to an E chord...

...sneaking in a little tuning and trying some moving figures around the E as he had done in many a jam leading into 'Hey Baby'. Mitch and then Billy fall into the slow groove behind Jimi, but at 1:25 Mitch stops and Jimi does a few tentative single note lines and flamenco-style pull offs and runs. At 2:30 he starts the 'Hey Baby' intro proper, dropping a chord or two but regaining a little momentum with a slightly fuller tone. The intro ends at 3:50 and Jimi does a few clipped chords with the Univibe, then a trill and a few strums of the Am root chord for HB, then he stops playing at 4:20. Mitch picks it up with a drum solo as, reportedly, Jimi leaves the stage (he's also pictured sitting down on the stage at one point). Mitch soldiers on for about 3 more minutes, pounding out a solo which is met with cheers. The tape ends and Jimi never returned to the stage.

 Backstage Jimi told the promoter that he was sick and couldn't play anymore and that he wanted no payment and promised to come back within a month and play a free show.

  "I got to the dressing room," said Otto Fewser, the hall manager. "Hendrix collapsed in my arms and we sat him upon a chair. He was cold, a cold fever, they asked for cocaine. `We have not cocaine,' I said."

 By this point in the tour Jimi had played four nights in a row and was battling a fever and cold. His comment: "Why I work so hard, I wish I knew" made during this tour is apropos. And there would be no rest...he played Copenhagen the following night, and as if to makeup for Aarhus, played one of his most amazing shows ever there...
Download this bootleg here

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