More than 45 years have passed since Jimi Hendrix took to the stage at the Open Air Love and Peace Festival in Fehmarn, Germany on September 6, 1970. In what proved to be his last performance, Hendrix ripped through a breathtaking set-list comprising his many hits of the last four years.
Touring pretty much non-stop since 1966 with various bands, Jimi was at his best with the original Experience. Together with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell they played hundreds of dates all around the world. Hendrix was, of course, the centre of attention. From his infamous guitar sacrifice at Monterey in ’67 to ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock ’69, here are the psychedelic hero’s greatest ever live moments.
The one with the silly hat
‘Foxey Lady’ – Miami Pop Festival 1968
Discovered back in 2013 was this headline set at sunny South Beach, Miami. Hendrix and co. ripped through a world-beating set-list, but it’s this run-through of hit single ‘Foxey Lady’ that really makes it. Decked out in purple-feathered fedora and blood-red flares, it’s a safe bet Jimi’s outfit came far closer to upstaging him than any of the other bands that that day.
The one with the new band
‘Purple Haze’ – Atlanta Pop Festival 1970
Recorded just two months before his untimely death, this fiery display is one of Jimi’s finest. Joined by the second incarnation of The Experience (Billy Cox replaces Noel Redding on bass), Hendrix tears through his most memorable hit in no time at all. Lacking the usual wide-eyed grin of earlier gigs, Jimi sometimes appears more lethargic than usual. Was the non-stop touring and frantic guitar-hero lifestyle finally catching up with him?
The one with the weird timings
‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’ – Woodstock 1969
Undoubtedly the most well-known show Hendrix ever gave has so many legendary moments in it we’ve had to give it two slots on this list. Technical problems and poor weather meant Buster didn’t take to the stage until 9am on the Monday morning, but even that couldn’t stop the rock shaman blowing early-risers off the stage and back into bed.
The one with all the ‘church music’
‘Red House’ – Live in Stockholm, Sweden 1969
The Experience weren’t just about making a stage-crumbling racket, as this slow-burning rendition of 1966 track ‘Red House’ proves. Redding and Mitchell’s tight rhythm playing provides the perfect platform for Jimi’s psychedelic wig-outs. The posh Brit introducing the band makes for a good laugh too.
The one with the guitar on fire
‘Wild Thing’ – Monterey Pop Festival 1967
Well you didn’t think we could leave it out, did you? Actually just one of numerous times Hendrix took a match to his axe, Monterey in ’67 is the most well known. Originally meant to rock the stage ahead of The Who, rumour has it that Pete Townshend got cold feet about following Jimi’s electric live act. He eventually won a coin toss, forcing Hendrix to follow the British rockers instead. Jimi had the last laugh though – it turned out he’d had something special up his sleeve the whole time: some lighter fluid and matches to be precise…
The one with the US national anthem
‘Star Spangled Banner’ – Woodstock 1969
As the Vietnam War dragged on, Jimi Hendrix stood on a stage in front of the world and played perhaps the most famous guitar solo of all time. Interestingly, no one knew what Hendrix was planning, not even his Gyspy Sun and Rainbows bandmates.
The one with his last UK performance
‘All Along The Watchtower’ – Isle Of Wight 1970
Less than a month before he passed away Hendrix played the main stage at Isle Of Wight Festival. Chris Weston, an electrician working backstage on the night recounts a nervous Jimi asking how the crowd were just moments before he went on to play his last UK show. “There’s over 500,000, they’ve all come to see you,” said Weston. The Wild Blue Angel’s reply was tantalisingly simple. “How does ‘God Save The Queen’ go?”