March 5, 2010
Los Angeles, CA
Review by Allan Anthony
The 2010 Experience Hendrix Tour is a tribute to honor the music and legacy of Jimi Hendrix, the man who single-handedly changed rock and roll guitar.
Before there was Eddie Van Halen and his whammy bar, there was Jimi Hendrix. His innovative approach to the electric guitar influenced generations of musicians worldwide. This fact is even more impressive considering his career lasted only a few short years. However, you'd never know this based upon the enthusiasm of the crowd assembled at the Gibson Amphitheater.
This show, the second of a 20-date Spring tour, featured a plethora of iconic guitarists interpreting classic Jimi Hendrix tunes while adding their own distinct flavors. The impressive lineup included Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Living Color, Los Lobos, Billy Cox, Brad Whitford and Doyle Bramhall II.
As a player, it must be difficult to maintain your own musical integrity while paying homage to one of the most stylized players in music history. That being said, some managed to pull it off better than others.
Living Color rocked the house with the ever-shredding Vernon Reid on guitar. He played so hard and fast, it’s surprising his axe didn’t burst into flames.
Jonny Lang and Brad Whitford’s version of “Fire” was an outstanding and brilliant freestyle performance. Their playing complemented each other so much they should definitely consider performing together again in the future.
Although Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson are celebrated technical players enjoyed by many, their performances felt a bit flat compared to the more soulful approach of others in the mix. A little soul goes a long way as was demonstrated by Los Lobos’ version of “Little Wing.”
The highlight of the evening, however, was Kenny Wayne Shepherd with vocalist Noah Hunt. By all accounts, he clearly stole the show. Shepherd's performances were so intense that he pulled the guitar cable out of his pedal board three times (an odd thing to witness in this wireless age). Yet, it felt appropriate for the genre and vibe. Shepherd’s performances alone were worth the already reasonable ticket price.
The audience waited to see who would have the courage to light a Stratocaster on fire in front of the Fender reps who donated some equipment to a music school before the show. Sadly, no one did. Nor did anyone dare touch “Purple Haze” (definitely the “Purple” elephant in the room). However, there was so much music rolled out, one could hardly leave feeling empty.
With the reissue of several key titles in the Hendrix catalog and the release of Valleys Of Neptune, featuring 12 previously unreleased recordings, the 2010 Experience Hendrix Tour is a must-see for anyone wishing to join in on the celebration of Jimi Hendrix and his lasting legacy. Performance-wise, it’s the most talent you could ever wish to see assembled on a single stage.
In short, this tour is not only a tribute to the innovative style of Jimi Hendrix. It is also a celebration of the performing musician that shouldn't be missed.