Jimi's legendary live performance at England's 1970 Isle of Wight Festival has been captured here, featuring a mix of Hendrix hits and rock and roll rarities. Songs: Message to Love, God Save the Queen, Sgt. Pepper, Spanish Castle Magic, All Along the Watchtower, Voodoo Chile, Freedom, Machine Gun, Dolly Dagger, Red House, In from the Storm.
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Shot less than three weeks before Jimi Hendrix's death, this middle-of-the-night concert is set at the conflict-ridden Isle of Wight festival, a troubled event well-documented in Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 by Murray Lerner, whose expanded footage of Hendrix comprises this movie. Not one of Hendrix's stellar performances, and frayed a bit by the late hour and equipment problems, the concert nevertheless finds the legendary guitarist in a gracious mood, asking the crowd to be patient with his tuning and even allow him to start one song over after a bumpy start. Backed by Mitch Mitchell on drums and Buddy Cox on bass, Hendrix's playing on "Voodoo Chile" and "Machine Gun" has power but lacks snap, yet most of his mid-song solos prove bold and lyrical. Everything pulls together, however, for a hypnotic rendering of "Red House," which instantly sets down a snaking groove and gives Hendrix room for some jittery phrases. The overall portrait seems to be of a Promethean artist perhaps a bit bored and certainly tired, but fans should find much to celebrate here. --Tom Keogh
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