Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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

Jimi Hendrix
Stora Scenen, Liseberg Nojespark
Gothenburg, Sweden
Sept 1, 1970

"Warm Hello of the Sun" boot cd

Quality: B (audience)

Spanish Castle Magic
Killing Floor
Hear My Train
Message To Love
Hey Baby
In From The Storm
Hey Joe
Foxy Lady
Red House
Room Full of Mirrors
Straight Ahead
Purple Haze
Voodoo Child

Notes: Jimi's 1970 concert at the Stora Scenen, Liseberg Nojespark in Gothenburg, Sweden. This first day of the last month Jimi would spend on this mortal plane sees him playing his last gig in Sweden, a country which had hosted many Jimi concerts going back to the early Experience days. After the marathon of the previous two days, it seems Jimi was able to get at least some rest before the Gothenburg show and he turns in the strongest gig yet in this short tour. While he sounds a bit tired, the plays energetically throughout.

The tape of this show is a bit muddy and distorted, but not overly so and all the instruments can be heard fairly well. There are a number of tape cuts but in all, especially given the great music herein, it can be an enjoyable listen.

After an apology for being late, Jimi launches into a free form flamenco-inflected improv that sound like it could be leading to 'Hey Baby', Jimi changes it up and instead begins with 'Spanish Castle Magic'. Unfortunately, the radio interference of the last few gigs is back. Jimi stops singing during the first verse and starts again at the chorus. Takes a solo but keeps it short, only about a minute, before coming back to the vocals. Another short solo takes it to the end amid a few more squeals and radio signals.

Jimi pulls one out of his trick bag with 'Killing Floor', the first time he has performed the song since, coincidentally, Sweden (Stockholm to be exact) back in Jan. 9, 69 (it will surface once more, a few days later at the last show). He doesn't do the longer intro from the early days but establishes the main riff while introducing the song. Jimi and/or his road crew seems to have made some adjustments in the gear as the short but energetic solo has a much warmer tone (granted, there are other variables like taper position, etc.) and the radio ghosts seem to have been exorcised. He's back to the verse at 2:50, takes another solo at 3:50, a verse at 4:05 and ends a half minute later.

'Hear My Train' is next, another significant performance in that it is Jimi's last ever performance of this longtime concert staple. After featuring it at almost all US '70 shows (and a good number of '69 shows as well), this is the only time he plays it on the fall European swing. He starts right in on the main riff and takes off on a slow, deliberate solo after the band enters. He throws in some sliding chords at 1:00 then cranks it up a bit to do the 'Gloria' chords often heard after the last chorus. Takes up the vocals, winding up the first verse with "..I still love you baby, too bad you made me go...". Starts the solo and Billy sets up a backing cycle of alternating the main riff with a 2 chord figure, the latter played in octaves for a very full sounding effect. Jimi moves through some louder trills and dive-bombs and he quotes the Purple Haze opening riff, followed by the Foxy Lady riff! Jimi moves to some very fast intense soloing and then pulls back and does some quieter excursions mixing changing notes against open drone strings. Some the wah and Mitch adds some double-bass drum rolls. Jimi plays some nice octave runs and returns for the verse, singing "Gonna leave this town, thank god...gonna leave all these towns...". Sounds like he adds the fuzz for the last chorus and he skips the words except for one line, instead suggesting them on guitar. He does the 'Gloria' bit again and takes off on another high speed solo, ending with a sustained note and short vocal tag. A great sendoff for this old war-horse, a song that often provided Jimi with an onstage refuge.

Jimi introduces 'Message To Love' amid more tuning. Jimi sings the first verse but there's some sort of problem and the guitar drops out before the second verse starts. Billy and Mitch continue and Billy drops out. Mitch builds the drum solo to a nice crescendo to some crowd cheers and Jimi returns, restarting at the first verse. He solos and  quotes 'Power of Soul', the song right next to MtL on the then-current BoG album! He plays the PoS riff enough times that he may have been urging the band to follow along, but it doesn't happen (they had tried it out with Mitch at the Berkeley soundcheck but had not done it in concert since the BoG shows).He adds the wah for some 'full shred' soloing, but the tape jumps to the vocal tag and it ends soonafter.

...which Jimi continues to improvise around, while Billy plays an anchoring riff similar to one heard in '3rd Stone From The Sun'. Jimi tunes a little on the fly, briefly hints at the 'I Feel Fine' riff (!), then moves to some sliding octaves. He experiments with a few altered chord progressions, the free-associated ideas simply pouring out of him! There's a brief passage reminiscent of part of 'Drifting', then he moves to the 'Hey Baby' intro proper with Billy. Within the intro, Jimi throws in all sorts of cool fills between the familiar arranged lines, moving toward the Am-G-F progression...but not without first trying out a few variations on it as well! The band enters behind him  and Jimi does a slow, legato solo over the verse chords. Finally, he does the first vocal verse, at one point 'slapping' the chords, and he winds it up after a single chorus. A high point of the evening and one of the, if not the, most interesting trips 'Hey Baby' ever took in its (and Jimi's) short life.

'In From The Storm' is up next, a very short and tight rendition. This is the 4th of 5 known live performances of the song.

The tape cuts into the 'Hey Joe' intro and, shortly afterward, another cut jumps us to the second verse. We hear some background vocals on the verse here, presumably Billy. The inevitable 'I Feel Fine' quote comes after the second "...caught my baby messin around..." line. He does some playing with his teeth and ends the song with a snatch of 'English Country Garden'!

Jimi introduces 'Foxy Lady' by joking that "...(Foxy) must have three kids by now..(so it's) dedicated to her children...". Again we hear a bit of background vocals, answering "...foxy" in the verse.

After some tuning, a tape cut takes us straight to the opening notes of 'Red House'. Jimi takes his time and builds the opening nice n' easy with lots of thoughtful blues bends. He heads into the vocal verses, his voice soulful but showing a hint of strain (BTW, ever notice how often he begins RH lines with the word "Lord..."?). He starts the solo with a slightly harder attack, adds the wah for the next 12 bars and plays a little off the resulting overtones, then the tape jumps forward a bit to (presumably) the third verse of soloing with a clean tone. This last round features a particularly nice winding melodic line wrapped around the 5 (F#) chord. Yet another 12 bars with a trebly tone, possibly a fixed wah position, and it's back to the vocals.

'Room Full of Mirrors' is our second to last live rendition (damn, seems like just yesterday I was noting 'first ever' versions of songs...). Mitch's ride cymbal work cuts through nicely here, a treat for an audience tape. During the bridge it sounds like the taper briefly fumbles the mic. A quick straightforward version.

'Straight Ahead' is our 5th of 6 known live versions, another song which came to fruition during the summer '70 sessions at Electric Lady. Jimi introduces it as "Have You Heard"- anyone's guess what he would have called it in the end (at one point he wrote out notes calling the new album-to-be 'Straight Ahead'). Jimi's opening chords are a little more staccato than other versions. There's a short solo w/ wah leading to the last verse. The ending is unusual in that they use the little turnaround riff from the end of the chorus and simply slow it down, over the course of a few repeats, until it grinds to a halt.

Jimi says good-night and warmly thanks the crowd for being so "nice (and) pleasant", launching into 'Purple Haze'. He adds an imitation of the pitch-bend 'doppler' effect of a passing siren during the solo. A tape cut forwards the song to the solo coda, and another cut...

...takes us to the set ending VC(SR). Jimi starts singing and heads into the solo . He adds the wah for some very high register soloing. He does an energetic solo, revisiting many of the licks from the studio version. He happens onto a riff similar to Cream's 'Cat's Squirrel and is prompted to go ahead and quote from 'Sunshine of Your Love' , followed by a more definite snatch of 'Cat's Squirrel'! He visits the main riff, then takes off on some clever moving chord variations. He does some quieter, more percussive playing, then drops back to let Billy and Mitch take over, Billy slipping into the climbing riff variation from the last section of the studio version. Jimi is heard lightly joining in on guitar and starts singing the "sweet time."  He does an 'above the nut' bend after the first line, and waits almost 30 seconds before repeating the lyric line. There's another hint at 'Cat's Squirrel' and then he repeats the "see you no more" line 3 times. The final solo starts and alternates high bends with low riffs, leading to some 'full shred' feedback/whammy. He revisits the opening guitar figure and begins a solo coda, only to have the tape interrupted by some conversational voices that have the hallmark of someone accidentally pushing 'record' while listening to the original, or close to it, tape- Arrgh! The tape cuts briefly back to Jimi and it's over.
A great performance and a true high point in this final chapter IMO!

As a side note: One bit of Jimi lore has the band attending a party after the show during which Billy gets dosed with LSD, the bad trip to the reported non-drugger resulting in a deteriorating mental state which caused him to leave (and end) the tour later that week. That led to the cancellation of the rest of the tour and put Jimi in London on the 18th of September...one wonders if the tour had continued if events would have been different somehow, one of those sad "what ifs."

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