Friday, May 30, 2008

Band of Gypsys

From the official Hendrix Experience Encyclopedia:

SETLIST: (First Show)
Power Of Soul // Lover Man // Hear My Train A Comin' // Changes // Izabella // Machine Gun // Stop // Ezy Ryder // Bleeding Heart // Earth Blues // Burning Desire

SETLIST: (Second Show)
Auld Lang Syne // Who Knows // Stepping Stone // Burning Desire // Fire // Ezy Ryder // Machine Gun // Power Of Soul // Stone Free // Sunshine Of Your Love // Message To Love // Stop // Foxey Lady // Voodoo Child (Slight Return) // Purple Haze

Prior to their two concerts later that evening, Hendrix and his Band Of Gypsys held an afternoon sound check and rehearsal at the Fillmore East. Later that evening, before a sold out crowd of 2,639, Hendrix rang in the New Year and new decade with two unforgettable performances.

The evening's festivities opened with a spirited set by the Voices Of East Harlem, an enthusiastic young gospel ensemble. With the anticipation of the sold out Fillmore audience heightened to fever pitch, Hendrix led his trio through a scintillating, seventy-five minute opening performance. None of the eleven songs presented had yet to grace an Experience album. In the place of signature songs like "Purple Haze" and "All Along The Watchtower" were confident renditions of "Izabella" and "Hear My Train A Comin'".

At midnight, Kip Cohen, the venue's master of ceremonies, rang in the new year and decade buffeted by Guy Lombardo's "Auld Lang Syne". Never one to be upstaged, Jimi and company greeted the joyous house with their own inspired reading of the holiday staple. For Amalie Rothschild, the Fillmore East's house photographer, the experience was an unforgettable one. "Then there was the countdown at midnight. It was the countdown that was a real scream. We're talking about the end of the Sixties. December 31, 1969 turning into January 1, 1970--.A new decade. This was significant. After all, we were living through it and we knew that the Sixties were the Sixties. We had this big countdown on the [Joshua White] light show screen with this big clock 10, 9, 8, 7, 6_and everybody is yelling together. Then the light show screen pulls up and everybody is on stage--all the crew and the musicians. Hendrix, who is now on stage, launches into this amazing rendition of 'Auld Lang Syne' and I filmed it [excerpts of Rothschild's color film footage can be seen in the VHS/DVD Band Of Gypsys]. This was history in the making. You could not miss this. His performance was just so inspired. It was just terrific and I can't find the words to describe it."

The recordings which make up both Band Of Gypsys and its two disc sequel Live At The Fillmore East certainly bear out Rothschild's remembrances. Jimi's celebrated work with the Band Of Gypsys stands among his most impressive and lasting achievements.

After the show, Ian Dove of Record Mirror interviewed Jimi Hendrix for the January 10, 1970 edition of the British paper. Later that night, Hendrix retreated to The Caf‚ Caliph (previously known as The Caf‚ Au Go Go) in Greenwich Village where he joined The James Cotton Blues Band on stage for a jam.

January 1, 1970
Fillmore East Theatre, New York City, New York [Two Performances]

SETLIST: (First Show)
Who Knows // Machine Gun // Changes // Power Of Soul // Stepping Stone // Foxey Lady // Stop // Hear My Train A Comin' // Earth Blues // Burning Desire

SETLIST: (Second Show)
Stone Free // Little Drummer Boy // Power Of Soul // Changes // Message To Love // Earth Blues // Machine Gun // Voodoo Child (Slight Return) // We Gotta Live Together // Wild Thing // Hey Joe // Purple Haze

Dawn had arisen over Manhattan by the time the group finally left the venue in the early morning hours of January 1. Incredibly, they returned later on this evening to perform two additional concerts. With the hoopla of the New Year's Eve festivities behind him, Hendrix centered his attention on realizing a live album from the remaining two performances. Desperate to absolve himself of the bitter legalities, which had hounded him since his return to the United States in June 1967, Hendrix rallied and gave two of the finest performances of his storied career.

As the Fillmore audience roared with approval, the Band Of Gypsys left the stage confident that they had validated Jimi's new music before his loyal followers. "We felt the concerts went well," remembers Billy Cox. "We felt good doing them and Jimi did all of his powerful techniques he could think of. Then one show he just stayed there and got into it so heavy it was incredible. There were people in the audience with their mouths open." "His playing is so loud, so fluid and so rife with electronic distortions that it resembles that of no other currently popular performer," reported Mike Jahn for The New York Times (January 2, 1970). Lead guitarist Jimi Hendrix was once again joined on stage by bassist, Billy Cox and drummer, Buddy Miles for their new collaboration of roaming and experimental sounds

Secure in his standing, Hendrix was comfortable with the Fillmore crowd. During the fourth and final Fillmore concert, the guitarist made light of the group's limited repertoire immediately prior to the start of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)". On another occasion earlier that evening, he even offered his congratulations to the victorious USC Trojans, winners of the Rose Bowl that afternoon. "Jimi enjoyed doing those shows," explains Billy Cox. "He was enjoying himself because he had complete freedom and freedom is a joyous thing when you've got it. We didn't have any worries about what we could or couldn't do. These were our first shows. We were pretty rebellious at that age. I guess that's why we played the music so loud. He didn't have any restrictions and that is a lot of freedom. You can hear that on every song we played. After the shows were finished, Jimi was quite relieved. He had fulfilled his obligation and was getting this whole [situation] off his back."

From Crosstown Torrents:

Here's another new and previously uncirculated recording. This is sourced from the PA system, which is to say it's a soundboard recording. Excellent quality all the way through, although I would probably have preferred a little more bass myself ... ;-) No generation info is available, but I think it's safe to assume this is very low gen.



PA-SOURCE (Soundboard)
No Generation info is available

DISC 1 (50:19)
2 AULD LANG SYNE (playback) 2:50
4 WHO KNOWS 9:12
7 FIRE 5:14
8 EZY RIDER 4:45

DISC 2: (43:21)
2 STONE FREE 17:17
3 CHANGES 10:09
5 STOP 5:31

These video clips are from the first gig for the January 1, 1970 Band of Gypsys performances.

Who Knows:

Machine Gun:

Them Changes:

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