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February 1969 was a significant month at the Royal Albert Hall. Jimi Hendrix and his band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, graced its stage not once, but twice in quick succession. Their initial performance on February 18th was only a prelude to what was to come. Just six days later, on February 24th, they returned to deliver an encore performance that remains etched in the memories of those who witnessed it.

Despite prevailing tensions within the band, suggesting that The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s days were numbered, their show on the 24th was nothing short of mesmerizing. Memorable renditions of tracks like “Room Full of Mirrors,” “Little Wing,” and “I Don’t Live Today” showcased the sheer brilliance of Jimi Hendrix as a musician and performer.

Present-day fans have the privilege of catching glimpses of this magical evening through extracts on YouTube. However, more than half a century later, the clamor for an official album or a DVD of the entire concert continues to grow. Such persistent demand underscores the lasting impact of that night and Jimi Hendrix‘s timeless appeal.

In the face of impending internal challenges and with dissolution on the horizon, the band’s dedication to their art and audience shone brightly. Their performance on February 24th was a testament to resilience, talent, and the enduring magic of music. It serves as a poignant reminder that, even amidst challenges, true artistry can create moments that resonate for generations.

How old was Jimi Hendrix when he played at Royal Albert Hall?

Jimi Hendrix‘s age during his iconic performance at the Royal Albert Hall is an essential piece of this narrative. At just 26 years old, the depth and breadth of his achievements were awe-inspiring. This young artist, within a mere two and a half years, had transitioned from the obscurity of the Chitlin’ Circuit to the bright lights of global stardom.

To understand the magnitude of this, one must grasp the juxtaposition of his past and his meteoric rise. For five years, Jimi Hendrix honed his craft in the Chitlin’ Circuit, a series of venues predominantly in the eastern and southern US, that played a crucial role in shaping many African-American musicians during the times of racial segregation. From this backdrop, his subsequent achievements become even more astonishing.

In an incredibly short period, Jimi Hendrix went from these modest beginnings to gracing the stages of major festivals like the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and the Miami Pop Festival the following year. He embarked on countless tours across Europe and the US, and his name became synonymous with musical genius.

By the time he performed at the Royal Albert Hall, Jimi Hendrix was more than just a musician; he was a phenomenon. At 26, he was the premier Afro-American artist globally and one of the highest-earning live performers. Considering the trajectory of his career and the time frame in which he accomplished it all, his age during the Royal Albert Hall performance amplifies the legend that is Jimi Hendrix.

What songs did Jimi Hendrix play at Royal Albert Hall?

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Royal Albert Hall 1969)

For the two nights at Royal Albert Hall in 1969, Jimi Hendrix and The Jimi Hendrix Experience delivered memorable performances that showcased their talents and the depth of their song catalog. Here is a more specific breakdown of the setlists for each night:

February 18, 1969:

  1. “Lover Man”
  2. “Stone Free”
  3. “Hear My Train A Comin'”
  4. “I Don’t Live Today”
  5. “Red House”
  6. “Foxy Lady”
  7. “Sunshine of Your Love” (Cream cover)
  8. “Bleeding Heart” (Elmore James cover)
  9. “Fire”
  10. “Little Wing”
  11. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”
  12. “Room Full of Mirrors”

February 24, 1969:

  1. “Lover Man”
  2. “Stone Free”
  3. “Red House”
  4. “Hear My Train A Comin'”
  5. “I Don’t Live Today”
  6. “Foxy Lady”
  7. “Sunshine of Your Love” (Cream cover)
  8. “Bleeding Heart” (Elmore James cover)
  9. “Fire”
  10. “Little Wing”
  11. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”
  12. “Room Full of Mirrors”
  13. “Purple Haze”
  14. “Wild Thing” (The Troggs cover)
  15. “Star Spangled Banner” (Instrumental rendition of the U.S. national anthem)

What guitar did Jimi Hendrix use at the concert?

Jimi Hendrix is famously associated with the Fender Stratocaster, and during his performances at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969, he predominantly used a white Fender Stratocaster. This white guitar is one of the most recognized instruments in rock history, and when fans visualize Hendrix’s performances during this period, many recall that distinctive white Strat.

Jimi Hendrix had a particular affinity for the Stratocaster because of its contoured body, its tonal range, and its ability to handle the feedback and effects he often employed. He also had a unique approach to the instrument, choosing to play right-handed guitars flipped over and restrung for left-handed playing, contributing further to his unparalleled sound and style.

While the Stratocaster was his mainstay, Jimi Hendrix occasionally ventured to other guitars for different occasions. But for the landmark Royal Albert Hall performances, it was the iconic white Fender Stratocaster that captured the spotlight alongside the legendary musician.

What Chas Chandler thought about Jimi Hendrix’s performance at the Royal Albert Hall?

Promotional image for "The Jimi Hendrix Experience: The Royal Albert Hall" concert in London.
The iconic “The Jimi Hendrix Experience” performance at London’s esteemed Royal Albert Hall.
Credit: bravewords

Mike Jeffrey truly began to commercialize Jimi Hendrix’s work, and worse, conducted most of it without the musician’s knowledge. The manager had started filming shows without Jimi Hendrix’s consent and also hoped to produce a live album from the European tour, as well as another studio album before Christmas. Making money off Jimi Hendrix was always Mike Jeffrey top priority.

This situation began to heavily weigh on the guitar genius. He increasingly felt isolated and even requested his sound engineer to handle the upcoming Royal Albert Hall gigs, a sign of his growing detachment. During rehearsals for the first night’s show, the sound quality was so poor that Jimi Hendrix had to summon his former manager and friend, Chas Chandler (who had parted ways with Jimi Hendrix), for assistance.

It was a mess,” Chandler told author John McDermott in his book, “Hendrix: Setting the Record Straight.” Chandler continued, “I ended up doing both shows for him and trying to make everything right. I wasn’t hired, you know? I was just there to help a friend.” Although sound issues were rectified by Chandler and the team, they couldn’t prevent the second show from being lackluster.

It was such a subpar performance, with both Mitchell and Redding seemingly overwhelmed, playing their instruments slowly and with little interest. Chandler recalls losing his temper at one point: “It really was one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen in my life,” he stated in the book. “Until then, I’d backed the group because I believed they were a solid unit. But that night, I felt it was time for them to be kicked off the stage.

The show that night featured some old blues tracks, including “Hear My Train a Comin'”, “Red House”, and “Bleeding Heart”.

Nevertheless, Chandler mentioned that Jimi Hendrix captivated fans with his stunning guitar work, enchanting the crowd at every beat and nearly inciting a riot when he threatened to end the show early.

The crowd got absolutely livid and yelled for over five minutes. Some people began to leave as it seemed the band wouldn’t return, but they did come back and were absolutely… Well, there are no words! People were dancing non-stop, and Jimi electrified the audience with his aura, playing tracks like ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Wild Thing’. He played the guitar with his teeth and then tossed it on the ground.

The Holy Grail of Jimi Hendrix lost films documenting final U.K. performance

The monumental concert was immortalized on film, and five decades later, in October 2019, an enhanced screening was showcased right at the Royal Albert Hall.

Bearing the name The Jimi Hendrix Experience: The Royal Albert Hall, this iconic concert footage is dubbed as the “holy grail of ‘lost’ films” by the official Jimi Hendrix website.

The event’s promotional content claims, “This film remains unreleased on any medium and hasn’t seen commercial screening globally. Over the last fifty years, its absence has sparked discussions, legal battles, and immense curiosity.”

The refined film, with a soundtrack revamped by Jimi Hendrix’s sound expert Eddie Kramer, vividly illustrates the epochal show by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, along with behind-the-scenes moments and sequences from the uproarious London event aftermath.

By the end of ’69, personal strains led Redding to exit the band. However, Mitchell kept playing alongside Jimi Hendrix, marking moments like the iconic Woodstock performance. In the subsequent year, drummer Buddy Miles stepped in, joining forces with bassist Billy Cox for the 1970 Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys live record.

Barring some unauthorized bootlegs and grainy YouTube glimpses, a tantalizingly brief one-minute-fourteen-second trailer is all that fans can view of this rejuvenated Jimi Hendrix film.

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience: The Royal Albert Hall (trailer)

The Story of Jimi Hendrix’s first guitar

Regarded as one of the 20th century’s seminal musicians, Jimi Hendrix revolutionized the domain of electric guitar. By blending fuzz, feedback, and deliberate distortion, he forged a novel musical direction. Despite not being able to read or write music, Jimi Hendrix’s ascent in the musical world within merely four years is astounding. Icons like George Clinton, Miles Davis, Steve Vai, and Jonny Lang still draw inspiration from his musical vocabulary.

Born as Johnny Allen Hendrix on November 27, 1942, in Seattle’s King County Hospital, he was later renamed James Marshall by his father, James “Al” Hendrix. As a youngster, Jimi Hendrix was influenced by a spectrum of legendary artists, such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Holly, and Robert Johnson. Being self-taught, his inability to read music made him hone his auditory skills even more.

Observing Jimi Hendrix budding passion for the guitar, Al remembered, “Jimmy would often strum a broom as if it was a guitar.” To nurture this passion, Al gifted Jimi Hendrix an old ukulele, marking an upgrade from his makeshift broom instrument.

By 1958’s summer, Al procured a second-hand acoustic guitar for Jimi Hendrix, setting him on his musical journey. Soon after, Jimi Hendrix became part of his inaugural band, The Velvetones. Post a brief engagement, he sought out individual ventures, which led Al to gift him his premier electric guitar. With this, he became part of The Rocking Kings.

In 1961, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and by November 1962, he was part of the paratroop division donning the “Screaming Eagles” patch. While at Fort Campbell, he co-founded The King Casuals with bassist Billy Cox. After his military service, he embarked on a career as a session musician, taking the pseudonym Jimmy James. By 1965’s close, he had collaborated with big names, like Ike and Tina Turner and Little Richard. Soon, he established his own band, standing at the forefront as the lead guitarist.

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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