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JIMI HENDRIX ‘The Rainbow Bridge Concert’ (Purple HAZE001)

It says in the sleeve notes that this concert recording is the 'holy grail' for Hendrix collectors.

The complete gig has never made it to CD except, that is, via bootleg. This new package (with an extra CD of the second show with initial copies) is to be welcomed, therefore, especially as the sound has been cleaned up and is very acceptable.

Fans will know that 'Rainbow Bridge' has also appeared on video, but the concert footage is somewhat tainted by the spaced-out ramblings of the assembled multitude, including Hendrix himself it has to be said. However, when you isolate that concert footage you get an extremely potent late-period performance in front of a stoned, but appreciative audience.

On the CD, the listener can focus on the music and it is excellent, with Hendrix trialling some of his (then) newer material as well as older classics. With the audience all but mixed out (as well as being spaced out), it has obviously come straight off the mixing desk, and so there is a certain studio-feel to some of these pieces. Just catch 'Land Of The New Rising Sun' on bonus disc 2, where Hendrix rehearses the 'Race With The Devil' riff. It's short, but oh so sweet.

There is talk of a new DVD package from Rhino with the complete concert footage but, for the moment, this is an attractive and compelling package.


Review by David Randall

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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