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“The Cry of Love” tour marked a significant chapter in Jimi Hendrix’s musical journey, including the concerts in Berkeley and various other performances. “The Cry of Love” tour unfolded against the backdrop of a changing musical landscape and a tumultuous socio-political climate.

The “Cry of Love Tour” also reflected Jimi Hendrix’s progression in musical expression. He was experimenting with new sounds, incorporating elements of funk, jazz, and blues into his performances. The tour showcased not only his guitar virtuosity but also his growth as a songwriter.

The late ’60s and early 70’s counterculture was evolving, and Jimi Hendrix was navigating through a period of personal and professional transformation. Addressing the tense atmosphere shaped by this and other events, Jimi Hendrix remarked, “The whole of America is going to pot.” Faced with escalating racial crises, violence, and the divisive Vietnam War, Jimi Hendrix even contemplated a permanent move to London.


The Jimi Hendrix Experience – The Shows at the Berkeley Community Theater


On May 30, 1970, Jimi Hendrix, now leading what could be considered Experience 2.0, with Mitch Mitchell back on drums and Billy Cox replacing Noel Redding on bass, rolled into Berkeley, California, for two gigs at the Community Theater. Months before these shows, not far away this local, had witnessed a tragic incident during a Rolling Stones concert, where the Hell’s Angels were involved in an assassination.

The Berkeley concerts found themselves entangled in incidents, with protests erupting, whether for free entry or attempts to force their way into the venue. For these two shows, Jimi Hendrix’s enigmatic manager, Michael Jeffery, hired a film crew to document the performances. They captured the unfolding incidents, including people attempting to breach the theater’s roof to protest or watch the concerts for free.

Interestingly, Jimi Hendrix remained oblivious to these events as he arrived in a limousine accompanied by Devon Wilson and Colette Mimram. Even though he had recently been dealing with the flu, the Berkeley Community Theater concerts proved exceptional performances. The footage captured by the film crew stands out as some of the best-recorded live performances of Jimi Hendrix.

The show kicked off with the fiery track “Fire,” setting the tone for a night that would go down in musical history. Then came the spellbinding “Johnny B. Goode,” a version so electric it made its way to the “Hendrix In The West” live album, capturing the essence of that unforgettable evening.

Wasserman, the music critic of the time, was floored, declaring Jimi Hendrix an “exceptional musician.” Jimi Hendrix wasn’t just playing; he was performing a guitar symphony, slamming the neck against the mic stand, dropping to his knees, and picking with his teeth. It was a show like no other.

The setlist unfolded like a musical journey. “Here My Train A Comin’” was majestic, morphing into “Getting My Heart Back Together Again.” A brittle “Foxey Lady” followed, paving the way for the revelatory “Machine Gun.” The beats were harsh, the guitar riffs mind-blowing, and the audience was hooked. As the night progressed, new tracks like “Freedom” and “Ezy Ryder” mingled seamlessly with classics such as “Message To Love” and “Red House.”

The second show, the best of the two, brought a shift in the setlist. “Straight Ahead,” “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun),” “Lover Man,” “Stone Free,” “Hey Joe,” and “I Don’t Live Today” took center stage. The songs may not have been as familiar, but in terms of power, they hit harder than ever.

“Purple Haze” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” closed the show, leaving the crowd buzzing with energy. As the audience streamed out, past laid-back cops and a handful of curious onlookers, they knew they had witnessed something special.


Carlos Santana Recalls the Time He Saw Jimi Hendrix Show at Berkeley


In 1970, Carlos Santana, a groundbreaking guitarist merging Latin, rock, and blues, captivated with soulful melodies. Having shared Woodstock’s stage with Jimi Hendrix in 1969, he was now an audience member, admiring Hendrix’s transcendence.

During the Berkeley shows, Santana thought Jimi reached a level akin to the almighty John Coltrane. “Very few play fast and deep,” Santana noted. “Coltrane did, so did Charlie Parker, and so did Jimi.” Backstage, Santana chatted with Jimi, but their conversation lacked depth due to distractions. “He was around with those ladies.

In a 2010 interview with Punto Digital, Carlos Santana paid homage to Jimi Hendrix, stating, “The ’60s were a leap in human consciousness. Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Che Guevara, Mother Teresa—they led a revolution of conscience. The Beatles, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix created revolution and evolution themes. The music was like Dalí, with many colors and revolutionary ways. The youth of today must go there to find themselves.


How Old Was Jimi Hendrix When He Played at Berkeley?


Jimi Hendrix, born on November 27, 1942, in Seattle, Washington, USA, emerged from a modest background with an early passion for music and a profound love for the guitar. Despite a brief stint, between 1961 and 1962 in the U.S. Army, his commitment to music led to his discharge.

Landing in London in 1966 at 23, Jimi Hendrix formed the iconic Jimi Hendrix Experience. By 1970, at 27, he performed at Berkeley, marking a meteoric rise in his transformative career. Tragically, he passed away on September 18, 1970, just four months after the Berkeley shows, succumbing to asphyxiation due to barbiturate ingestion.


What Songs Did Jimi Hendrix Play at Berkeley?


Jimi Hendrix took the stage in Berkeley approximately one month into his “The Cry of Love Tour,” accompanied by bassist Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell. The setlist mirrored the tour’s typical blend of well-known tracks and newer material. Here is a more specific breakdown of the setlists for each show:

1st Show:

  1. Fire
  2. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover)
  3. Hear My Train a Comin’
  4. Foxy Lady
  5. Machine Gun (Band of Gypsys song)
  6. Freedom
  7. Red House
  8. Message to Love (Band of Gypsys song)
  9. Ezy Ryder
  10. The Star-Spangled Banner (John Stafford Smith & Francis Scott Key cover)
  11. Purple Haze
  12. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

2nd Show:

  1. Straight Ahead (Live debut)
  2. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
  3. Lover Man
  4. Stone Free
  5. Hey Joe (The Leaves cover)
  6. I Don’t Live Today
  7. Machine Gun (Band of Gypsys song)
  8. Foxy Lady
  9. The Star-Spangled Banner (John Stafford Smith & Francis Scott Key cover)
  10. Purple Haze
  11. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)


What Guitar Did Jimi Hendrix Use at the Community Theater Berkeley Concerts?


At the Community Theater concerts in Berkeley, Jimi Hendrix predominantly used his iconic Fender Stratocaster guitar. One of his main guitars during this time was the “Black Beauty” Stratocaster, a moniker often used to refer to it. This distinctive guitar is prominently featured on the cover of the “Band Of Gypsys” album and is seen in numerous photos from 1970, including performances in Berkeley, Isle Of Wight, Berlin, Germany, and his final concert at Isle Of Fehmarn.

Jimi Hendrix also played a white Fender Stratocaster, once named “Izabella,” baptized for the Woodstock performance, in 1969.


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