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Jimi Hendrix, a name that resonates with a unique musical force and vision, staged one of his most exceptional performances at the Rainbow Bridge concert. The background, setting, and impact of this event offer an unparalleled chapter in the narrative of rock music.

In 1970, on the picturesque Hawaiian island of Maui, Jimi Hendrix decided to hold a free concert for his fans. This wasn’t just any gig; the Rainbow Bridge concert was intended as a fusion of music, spirituality, and art, reflecting the countercultural movement of the time. It was a call for unity, love, and global harmony, and Hendrix believed that Maui, with its natural beauty and spiritual energy, was the perfect place for such an event.

Many are unaware that this concert was not pre-planned with massive promotions or tickets sales. Instead, Jimi Hendrix’s manager, Michael Jeffery, collaborated with Chuck Wein, a filmmaker, to shoot a movie titled “Rainbow Bridge.” This film, although obscure and not entirely focused on Jimi Hendrix, still captures the essence of his electrifying performance.

The concert’s setting was nothing short of magical. The Haleakala crater, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, served as the backdrop. The high elevation, clear skies, and the vast oceanic view made the concert a visual spectacle. Those in attendance described it as a “spiritual awakening,” with the melodies of Jimi Hendrix resonating across the natural amphitheater.

Although there were numerous logistical challenges, including the last-minute nature of the concert and issues with the sound equipment, nothing deterred Jimi Hendrix from giving it his all. Tracks like “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” and “Purple Haze” echoed through the air, presenting an intimate insight into Jimi Hendrix’s guitar genius.

Jimi Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell performing live on stage in Maui, 1970.
Jimi Hendrix alongside drummer Mitch Mitchell, delivering a captivating performance at Maui in 1970.
Credit: Steve Hoffman Music Forums

Interviews with concert attendees give testimony to its transcendental nature. Sarah Laine, one of the attendees, mentioned, “It felt like Jimi was channeling the universe through his guitar. The music, the setting, and the energy felt otherworldly.” Another concert-goer, Mark Thompson, stated, “There was a unity in the air. Everyone swayed and danced as if they were one with Jimi Hendrix’s music.

Despite the euphoric performance, the aftermath of the Rainbow Bridge concert was not all rosy. The film intended to immortalize the event did not live up to expectations. Critics found it fragmented and hard to follow. Yet, for many, the true essence of the concert lay not in the movie but in the memories of the attendees and the raw audio recordings.

Considering the overarching impact of the Rainbow Bridge concert, it was not just another gig for Jimi Hendrix. It encapsulated his vision of a world united by music and love. The Rainbow Bridge concert remains a testimony to his commitment to pushing boundaries, both musically and culturally.

The Rainbow Bridge concert, against all odds, has etched its place in the narrative of rock and roll. It symbolizes the power of music to transcend barriers, unify people, and create moments that linger in memory. For Jimi Hendrix, it was another testament to his ever-evolving musical journey, a journey that continues to inspire countless musicians and fans around the world.

And so, when one speaks of Jimi’s legendary moments, the Rainbow Bridge concert, with its unique blend of music, spirituality, and natural beauty, certainly stands tall. It reminds us of a time when music was more than just sound—it was an experience, a movement, and above all, a message of love and unity. All the more poignant to remember, this happened just less than two months before Jimi Hendrix’s tragic death.

Who played with Jimi Hendrix in Maui 1970?

During the Maui concert in 1970, Jimi Hendrix was accompanied by drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Billy Cox. Both Mitchell and Cox were integral members of Jimi Hendrix’s ensemble during this period. Mitchell, with his jazz-influenced style, provided a dynamic rhythm that perfectly complemented Jimi Hendrix guitar techniques. On the other hand, Billy Cox, who had a friendship and musical partnership with Jimi Hendrix that dated back to their military service days at the US Army, brought a solid bass foundation that gave Jimi the freedom to experiment with his guitar. The trio’s performance in Maui was a testament to their collective musicianship and the strong rapport they shared on stage.

Jimi Hendrix Rainbow Bridge (album)

Album cover of "Rainbow Bridge" by Jimi Hendrix.
“Rainbow Bridge” – a 1971 compilation release album by Jimi Hendrix
Credit: Rate Your Music

The “Rainbow Bridge” album serves as a unique facet in Jimi Hendrix‘s discography. Although not a direct soundtrack for the film, this album, unveiled in 1971, showcases a blend of live performances from the Maui concert and other studio recordings. Contrary to popular belief, not all tracks were from the Maui gig. Instead, the album provided a glimpse into Jimi Hendrix’s creative versatility, presenting pieces he had worked on during the last stages of his life. The musical array captures both the raw energy of Jimi Hendrix’s live shows and his impeccable studio craftsmanship. With standout tracks like “Earth Blues” and “Room Full of Mirrors”, it remains an essential listen for those eager to explore beyond his mainstream hits.

“Rainbow Bridge” serves as a poignant reminder of the direction Jimi Hendrix might have taken had he lived longer. It underscores his genius, presenting a mixture of hard rock, R&B, and psychedelic sounds that only he could amalgamate so fluidly. For enthusiasts of Jimi Hendrix’s work, the album is a journey into the mind of a legend at a transitional point, showcasing his undying passion for pushing musical boundaries.

New Jimi Hendrix Documentary Chronicles Ill-Fated Film ‘Rainbow Bridge’

The film “Rainbow Bridge” has always been enveloped in a mixture of myth and curiosity among Jimi Hendrix fans. While the original film was disjointed in its narrative and didn’t fully capture Jimi Hendrix’s concert, its enigmatic nature has kept it alive in discussions. Recognizing this, a recent documentary emerged (Music, Money, Madness… Jimi Hendrix in Maui) , aiming to unravel the mysteries surrounding the initial project. The new documentary offers a deep dive into the motivations, challenges, and behind-the-scenes intricacies of creating the “Rainbow Bridge” film.

Archival footages, which had been gathering dust, have been restored and revisited. The documentary is further enriched by exclusive interviews with individuals who were directly involved in the film and concert. This approach not only provides clarity but also presents an authentic representation of what transpired during that period. For fans who’ve been intrigued by the fragmented portrayal of Jimi Hendrix’s Maui concert in the original film, this documentary promises a clearer perspective, shedding light on an episode that, until now, has been shrouded in both allure and ambiguity. The revelations brought forward in this new documentary serve as a testament to the timeless interest and intrigue that surrounds Jimi Hendrix and his artistry.

Where was Jimi Hendrix’s last performance?

The illustrious journey of Jimi Hendrix reached its final live performance on September 6, 1970. The stage for this swansong was the Isle of Fehmarn in Germany. Dubbed as the “Love and Peace Festival,” this concert was, unbeknownst to the attendees, the last time the world would witness the live genius of Jimi Hendrix.

The setting was challenging; dark clouds of both weather and mood hung over the event. Tensions were palpable, as off-stage clashes between different factions and biker gangs unfolded. Amidst this chaotic backdrop, Jimi Hendrix, alongside Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox, delivered a set that encapsulated the raw energy and passion he was revered for.

While the performance was marred by interruptions and technical hitches, Jimi Hendrix’s spirit was undeterred. Little did the audience know that this would be their final opportunity to witness the legend in action. Today, the Isle of Fehmarn stands as a poignant marker in the annals of rock, a reminder of the last echoes of a voice that would forever change the face of music.

What was the biggest concert of Jimi Hendrix?

When one contemplates the monumental moments of Jimi Hendrix‘s career, the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair inevitably stands out. Held between August 15-18, in the midst of a politically charged and transformative era, Woodstock symbolized a coming-together of ideals, artistry, and music. But even in an event teeming with legendary performances, Jimi Hendrix‘s early morning set on the festival’s final day remains etched in collective memory.

His rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” wasn’t just a display of his unparalleled guitar skills; it was a resonating commentary on the American experience, drenched in the tumult of the Vietnam War and civil unrest. The feedback-laden, distortion-rich version of the national anthem captured the angst, hope, and turbulent spirit of the time.

Despite being moved to a Monday morning slot, with a dwindling audience due to the festival’s overrun schedule, Jimi Hendrix’s performance, backed by his band Gypsy Sun and Rainbows, cemented his legacy. Those who were fortunate to be present witnessed history, and the world, via recordings and films, recognized the genius of Jimi Hendrix. His Woodstock performance is frequently cited as one of rock’s greatest live acts, a testament to the indelible mark he left on the musical world.

How many concerts did Jimi Hendrix have?

Across the span of his meteoric career, Jimi Hendrix graced the stage for over 500 concerts. This staggering figure becomes even more impressive considering that his mainstream career spanned just four years, from 1966 to 1970. These weren’t just mere performances; each one was a unique manifestation of Jimi Hendrix’s ever-evolving musical exploration.

What set Jimi Hendrix apart was his innate ability to turn every concert into a transformative experience. Whether he was playing in smoky clubs of London, grand festivals like Monterey Pop and Woodstock, or intimate venues, he approached each gig with fervor and passion. Audiences weren’t merely spectators; they became part of an immersive journey. Through his electrifying guitar solos, innovative techniques, and commanding stage presence, Hendrix made sure every concert was memorable. The energy, spontaneity, and soul he poured into his live shows are why, even decades later, tales of his performances continue to inspire and mesmerize fans and musicians alike.

Jimi Hendrix Live in Maui album release

YouTube player
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Foxey Lady (Live In Maui, 1970)

Released in 2020, this collection aimed to present the raw energy and brilliance of Jimi Hendrix’s back-to-back concerts at the foot of the Haleakala volcano.

The Maui performances, initially intended for the “Rainbow Bridge” movie, were pivotal moments in the last chapter of Hendrix’s career. However, they were not properly showcased in the original film, leaving many fans yearning for a true, undiluted experience of the concert.

The “LIVE IN MAUI” album meticulously captures Hendrix, alongside Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox, as they power through their setlists under the Hawaiian sun. This 3-LP set (also available in 2-CD format) includes hits like “Foxey Lady,” “Purple Haze,” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” offering a snapshot of Hendrix’s unyielding stage prowess.

Accompanying the album’s release was also a Blu-Ray with never-before-seen footage, providing both visual and auditory immersion into that memorable day in Maui. With improved sound quality and meticulous remastering, “LIVE IN MAUI” stands as a testament to Jimi Hendrix‘s enduring legacy and the timeless allure of his live performances.

First Show:

  1. Chuck Wein Introduction
  2. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
  3. In From The Storm
  4. Foxey Lady
  5. Hear My Train A Comin’
  6. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
  7. Fire
  8. Purple Haze
  9. Spanish Castle Magic
  10. Lover Man
  11. Message to Love

Second Show:

  1. Dolly Dagger
  2. Villanova Junction
  3. Ezy Ryder
  4. Red House
  5. Freedom
  6. Jam Back at the House
  7. Straight Ahead
  8. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)/Midnight Lightning
  9. Stone Free

Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.
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Brad Wellstone
Brad Wellstone
3 months ago

A-l-o-h-a- I was at one of the Rainbow Bridge soundtrack (album) recordings at TTG studios October 22, 1968
I worked at Bodhi Tree bookstore in west l.a. in 1970! Chuck Wein & Barry De Prendergast came in many nights and told Me they were doing a movie w Jimi on Maui, which I took with a gain of salt (I didn’t show my doubts openly but quietly in my thoughts!) when I got to Maui a few months later, I was surprised to learn of the Concert! Jimi has already passed of course..I’m still trying to reconcile all these dates in my consciousness..I moved to Makawao myself in ’78 with a big drum set.. Alohoho

Mike Raymond
Mike Raymond
2 months ago

I was 16 and working a summer job at the Maui Pine (Maui Pineapple Company) cannery. My older brother picked me up after work and as we headed home he said there was going to be a free Jimi Hendrix concert the next day up country (the term locals use for the slopes of Haleakala at higher elevations). Back then no good musical acts came to Maui and you’re telling me Jimi is playing for free, tomorrow? I was like “oh BS”. As we headed down the road to Pai’a,we picked up a hippie who was hitchhiking. He pulled out a fat one, and as he lit up, he asked us, “Hey, did you guys hear about the Hendrix concert Tomorrow?” Needless to say, I missed work the next day. I’m sure every hippie on Maui was there. A warm up band whose name escapes me played a few numbers and then Hendrix, Mitchell and Cox came onstage and proceeded to blow us away. Maui, one of the world’s premier wind surfing locations was up to form and very windy. The sound engineers were having nightmares. If you look at the top picture, where Jimi is playing the Flying V, you can see a piece of foam wrapped around the microphone as the sound guys tried to mitigate the effects of the wind howling into the mikes. I remember a 20 minute rendition of Purple Haze, Foxy Lady dedicated to a gorgeous girl in the crowd and other great covers as well. I’m 70 now, and I’ve seen Zeppelin, Clapton, Santana and other great musicians, but this remains, hands down, the best show I ever saw. When Jimi passed soon afterwards, I was depressed for days.