LOS ANGELES FREE PRESS - ‘Jimi’s electric experience’ by Gene Youngblood:
“It was Saturday night and we all went down to the Shrine for an electric bath. The Soft Machine played high-volt mandala, Blue Cheer played atomic canoe, The Electric Flag played dirty blues, Jimi Hendrix played avalanche guitar with his hands, feet, teeth and groin. We came away cleansed. A lovin’ spoonful of those commodities virtually exploded upon Los Angeles last Saturday night when Pinnacle presented the Jimi Hendrix Experience at Shrine Auditorium. The boys dragged all their extension cords next door from their permanent home, Shrine Exposition Hall, for a formal sit-down affair that wound up with everyone standing and screaming and freaking anyway. There is only one word for Hendrix: inspiring. He’s an electric religion. We all stood when he came on, and after he hurled his guitar at the screen in a cataclysmic-volcanic-orgasmic finale we fell back limp in our seats, stunned and numbed. To say Hendrix has stage presence is like calling the Enterprise a dingy. Only he could follow the Soft Machine, Blue Cheer and the Electric Flag and make you forget them with three notes. Bloomfield preceded Hendrix. Then there was a long intermission during which the silence was deafening. We discovered a vacuum can roar with the absence of sound. Pinnacle chief Seb Donahower, in a white silk tunic and green velvet trousers, read off a list of upcoming concerts, but no one listened much: the expectancy, the tension mounted. From the orchestra pit you could see the huge velvet curtains billow out with the breeze that constantly moves through that cavernous auditorium. Each time Hendrix hit a chord tuning up it seemed as though the force of the sound pushed the curtains forward. An overwhelming, almost metaphysical sense of power seeped from behind that towering wall of cloth. It was frightening. The curtains parted. A wedge of Thomas Edison’s paisley light fell out upon the audience and broadened like a scene from Orson Welles. Sep whispered ‘The Jimi Hendrix Experience’ into the mike and then ran. Hendrix on the left and Noel Redding on the right, 25 feet apart but connected by electrical umbilicals to a dazzling phalanx of 10 Sunn amps flanking drummer Mitch Mitchell. A flack burst bar rage of flashbulbs danced across the air. There was a dull rumble as the front rows stood. Peter Tork sat in lotus position atop the right flank of amplifiers. David Crosby knelt behind the drums. The wings and the aisles were packed. There was a breathless silence. My metal folding chair virtually chattered on the wood floor of the orchestra pit when that battery of gleaming machinery belched out the first thunderous chords of ‘Are You Experienced?’ like a squadron of Lear Jets in a power dive. The Shrine’s two-ton ever changing chandelier could have fallen and no one would have taken their eyes from the stage. Hendrix is hypnotic. He was beautiful in a Spanish Gypsy tasselled vest, paisley-nouveau silk blouse and tight black bolero trousers with flared, studded bellbottoms. Hendrix’ playing style defies description: he tickles, strums, gooses, copulates, masturbates, eats, kicks, and rubs his guitar while from behind him wells an avalanche of the most incredible sounds imaginable. from one instrument and 10 amplifiers. Hendrix coaxes more sound, more varied sound, and better sound than the Cheer with their armada of 12 Marshall’s. But it is his casualness, his light-hearted satirical humour that is most impressive, because it clashes with the volcanic seriousness of the music he makes. And make no mistake: this IS music. Hendrix’s playing style is just that: a ‘playing’ style, not just show. I’m convinced he’s the greatest guitarist in electronic rock. The excitement over Eric Clapton is a puzzlement. With his hands flying over strings, levers, dials, buttons and switches, and his feet dancing over a floor console of cut-off buttons and wah wah pedals, Hendrix whipped up an aural hurricane through ‘Are You Experienced?’ ‘The Wind Cries Mary,’ ‘Up From The Skies,’ ‘Red House,’ ‘Wild Thing’ and ‘Purple Haze.’ He proved himself a consummate blues guitarist with intricate riffs in ‘Red House,’ and then went on to rattle the rafters with ‘Wild Thing’ and ‘Purple Haze’ - the finest performance of multi-decibel power music I’ve ever heard. He left us hanging in mid-air by concluding ‘Wild Thing’ with a spiralling crescendo of sound that drove higher and higher only to stop with a piercing ‘zap’ when he stomped the cut-off button and the whole circuit went dead. There was a collective coitus-interruptus ‘ooooh!’ But it was with ‘Purple Haze’ that the evening reached-figuratively and literally-its climax. It was like floating on a rowboat in the middle of the PacificMissileRange on family day at Vandenberg. Incredible canyons of sound vapourized the air as Hendrix masturbated his guitar, performed cunnilingus on it with his teeth and wiggled his tongue lewdly at a chick in a velvet gown who clambered on stage and began flinging herself round like a clip winged bat.
Hendrix went into a power dive and while Noel Redding was eating his own guitar, Jimi flung his on the floor and humped it. Everyone stood in their seats to see. The sound pitch was unbearable. I realized I’d been sitting beneath the sound level, shielded by the orchestra pit. My ears throbbing I jumped down feeling sorry for those in the front rows.
Hendrix crashed his ravished instrument against the battery of amp’s and flung it in the air with a Niagara of fuzz bass reverb. The crowd was ecstatic. Seb ran out to block a kid who had climbed on stage and was rushing Hendrix. The curtains swept shut. There was a minute of confused, stunned silence and nervous commotion until Pinnacle man Mark Chase walked out and asked for ‘A big hand for Jimi Hendrix’. The house came down.”