ST. LOUIS SCENE - by Bob Schnieders:
“A St. Louis [Kiel Auditorium] audience had not reacted with mass hysteria to a rock concert since Mick Jagger & Company rolled in two years ago. But the long-awaited appearance of Jimi Hendrix resulted in that electric response that turns a seated auditorium audience into a frantic mob. The concert, though incredibly short (lasting only an hour and a half, with Hendrix playing forty-five minutes), was terrific.
Leading off the bill were Cat Mother and the All Night News Boys, a good but rather dry group. politely received by the audience, who patiently awaited the appearance of Jumpin’ Jimi. The minute Hendrix walked onto the stage, the crowd left their seats and surged forward. The pandemonium increased as the group played and the helpless ushers tried in vain to control the mounting chaos.
Hendrix was beautiful. Dressed in his normal attire, complete with white leather boots and two brightly colored scarves tied around his slender legs, he went through his famous theatrics - from playing with his teeth to literally wrapping his body around the guitar, to smashing the instrument against his amplifiers in a final spontaneous burst of destruction.
However, Hendrix and his boys are more than just a stage act - a display of stunts and noise by wildly dressed performers who are better acrobats than musicians - as some rock groups are. As Jimi himself so aptly put it when asked if he considered the Experience to be primarily a studio or a stage group: ‘Neither - a music group.’
His answer is very true - from the second his hands touch his axe you know Hendrix can play, and the chips fly lie magic as the magnificent fingers skip from note to note. Whether he’s laying down a wailing blues riff or blasting your eardrums with screeching feed back, Hendrix is obviously a master - one of those musicians who has complete and total control over his instrument.
His two sidemen.. .are equally exciting. Mitchell, one of if not the, fastest and most dynamic drummers I have ever seen, beat out a fabulous solo during a free form instrumental number [Tax Free], smashing a snare head to pieces in the process. Redding, unusually quiet that night, hardly moved during the performance, but put down some beautiful bass lines, particularly with sustained treble notes, and even threw in some good background singing....
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about Jimi Hendrix in concert is the way he handles an audience; he’s like his own master of ceremonies. He develops a perfect rapport with his listeners - when Hendrix talks every one listens; when he plays, his guitar becomes his voice, enchanting the audience; and when Jimi moves, the people move. He is very close to his audience; their reaction seems to prompt his theatrics by degrees. He puts a lot into a performance - he appreciates and expects to be appreciated.
I was particularly impressed by the fact that Jimi and the boys really dug St. Louis and St. Louis people. Getting a chance to talk to Hendrix is somewhat like trying to cross Alaska in your bare feet; however, once you do get within range you find him to be an unbelievably receptive and beautiful person, as are Mitch and Noel. All three were pleased with the concert - the auditorium, the sound, and particularly the people.
While leaving the auditorium, Jimi returned the overwhelming response of the St. Louis audience, saying, ‘I really enjoyed the city and hope we can come back real soon.’ On behalf of St. Louis, Jimi, we hope so too.”
“‘Jimi Hendrix humped the stage of St. Louis Kiel Auditorium, Sunday night, November 3, to the tune of the Foxy Star Spangled Banner. Hendrix played most of the concert ‘straight’, radiating stud psychedelicism and pulling the neck of his guitar back and forth between his tapered legs. Toward the end of one number, a young photographer scrambled on stage to catch Jimi going down on his instrument and was pursued by the grasping hands of the plain clothes guards. The audience cheered, and the cat tried a second picture as Hendrix concluded the number. While the plainclothesmen pushed the photographer around a bit, star Hendrix announced that there was no room for violence on stage with him.
Rock concerts are a good way to release frustration, he explained, but the audience must keep its place. ‘Peace, brothers, peace,’ he crooned, sensuously waving the peace sign above his head. The audience threw back the sign - ‘Yeah, peace’ - as Hendrix announced that he would play the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’ He did. The audience stood. There are rumors that one former civil rights worker almost threw up. The last chord of the not-too-turned-on Banner (what can you do with that music anyway?) merged into ‘Purple Haze.’
As the air cleared, Jimi flashed the peace sign a few more times, penetrated the audience with the neck of his guitar, and proceeded to ram said aforementioned guitar into one of his monstrous amps. ‘Umph.’ Still there. ‘Umph.’ (Or is it nngowahhh?)... Hendrix took another guitar from his long-haired assistant, who spent the evening replacing instruments the Hendrix crew destroyed while releasing frustrations. ‘Crack’, Hendrix held up the broken neck of the guitar, in what must be the sado-masochistic act of the year, flashed the peace sign, and petered off. Some may think that Hendrix is cock, but to St. Louis he came with his ass backwards.”