Those who missed the Jimi Hendrix Experience‘s April 26th, 1969 concert at The Forum will get to experience Hendrix with a new archival release. Out on November 18th via Sony Legacy, Los Angeles Forum: April 26, 1969 captures the historic Inglewood, CA show from the legendary guitarist.
As was the case throughout his career, Jimi Hendrix represented a coming change in the United States. His April 26th concert marked only the third-ever “rock” show at the arena outside L.A., which had opened in late 1967. The venue had already hosted a doubleheader of Cream and Deep Purple as well as a show by Aretha Franklin who may not have fallen in with the same crowd of shaggy-haired bell bottom-clad rockers, but aligned with the new concert revolution overtaking the music industry.
The concert epitomized the raw energy that Hendrix’s music carried, as the guitarist soothed a rowdy audience by walking onstage and saying, “We’re all at church tonight; pretend there is a sky above you.” Though Hendrix’s sermon provided some temporary serenity, there was only so much he could do to calm the raucous crowd that continued to jump onstage throughout the nine-song performance. He even altered the lyrics of “Purple Haze” to reference the swarms of police officers guarding the stage, “Excuse me while I kiss this policeman.”
“The crowd was ready to get unruly and crazy,” guitarist Billy F. Gibbons, who was in the audience that night, told LAist. Still several months away from forming ZZ Top, Gibbons—who provides liner notes for the archival release—opened for the Experience the previous year with his band Moving Sidewalk on a run of Texas dates. Those shows were on Hendrix’s first tour as a headliner and also featured British psych-rock forefathers Soft Machine. At one of the concerts Moving Sidewalk covered “Purple Haze” and “Foxey Lady”, which got Jimi’s attention.
“He grabbed me and said, ‘I like you … You got a lot of nerve; I want to get to know you,'” Gibbons recalled of Jimi’s reaction.
Following opening sets from Chicago Transit Authority (later renamed Chicago) and Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys, Hendrix and his bandmates Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Noel Redding (bass) started their set with a 15-minute “Tax-Free”. The performance hosted classics like “Foxey Lady” and the aforementioned “Purple Haze”, an early rendition of Hendrix’s reworking of the “Star-Spangled Banner” that would make history at Woodstock that summer, and a 17-minute “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” that dipped into Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love” before being reprised to close the show.
“It’s remarkable that we have the good fortune of having so many moments to reflect upon, meaning recordings,” Gibbons said. “Hendrix has long evaporated in real life. And yet, it lives on through those great recordings, and this unexpected discovery of the live performance from that fateful night in L.A. will rekindle the flame.”
Listen to the Jimi Hendrix Experience perform “I Don’t Live Today” from the upcoming archival release Los Angeles Forum: April 26, 1969, available here for pre-order.
Jimi Hendrix Experience – “I Don’t Live Today” – 4/26/69
Los Angeles Forum: April 26, 1969 Tracklist:
Spanish Castle Magic
Star Spangled Banner
I Don’t Live Today
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Sunshine of Your Love
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)