The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Live At Berkeley

Further unreleased Hendrix material from 1970 concert

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When Hendrix arrived to play Berkeley, California, the town was convulsed with student protest at the Vietnam war, met with a vicious crackdown by Governor Ronald Reagan. He called in the National Guard who responded with tear gas. Hendrix played two shows, unaware that ticketless fans had caused riots outside the theatre. A film, Jimi Plays Berkeley, was cobbled together from Hendrix’s performances and footage of anti-Vietnam protests, while outtakes from these gigs have only emerged fitfully, on shoddy compilations and bootlegs.

Live At Berkeley comprises the entire second concert, featuring embryonic versions of new tracks like “Straight Ahead” and bluesier, looser revisions of hits such as “Hey Joe”. Only with “Machine Gun”, however, does he really catch fire and catch the mood. Staggering as this set is, there are still better versions of these tracks elsewhere.

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