MICHIGAN DAILY - ‘Detroit has ‘experience’’ by Bob Winshall:
“The much-heralded Jimi Hendrix Experience blew into Detroit Friday night, and the repercussions were more than you’d expect from a simple rock show. Preceded by three other rock groups, Jimi and his two sidemen (bass and drums) did not perform until 2 1/2 hours after the concert began. When the equipment for Jimi’s act was finally assembled on stage - 4 amps and 10 speakers for a guitar and a bass - the trio began the Experience. You were first struck by Jimi’s cool as he played, with a relaxed stance, loose arms, expressionless face. This was in sharp contrast to the fast, ear-splitting, mind-bending leads that he coaxed out of his guitar. He didn’t coax an equivalent response from the audience, however: he made little attempt to reach his audience except through his music, which would have been all right except that difficulty with the equipment caused a muddling of the voices and instruments. He never smiled once. It was hard to say if he was that way because he was so calm and relaxed or because he was cold and bored. Jimi’s music, for those of you who aren’t experienced, consists of a driving bass line with a heavily accented drum backup, sharp, highly-amplified guitar leads Jimi’s slow, unmelodic voice, and gross brutality. His fast songs have a frantic quality to them, accentuated by the complex mixture of the three loud instruments, which threatens to burst the listener’s head, whether he be straight or stoned. Slow songs like ‘Hey Joe’ are soft and dreamlike, encouraging you to nod your head and sway your body to the slow, but insistent beats. There was such inconsistency: even when he did what should have been a sensational and emotional act—a bump-and-grind with the guitar head protruding between his legs - he seemed coldly deliberate, as if to say, ‘Isn’t this the filth you want to see and scream at?’ It was an affront to the audience, very different from the frenzied humping of a performer like Howling Wolf. At the end of the performance, Jimi was supposed to have said, “I’m sorry everything went wrong - it was a bad night.’ If that was a bad night, I can’t wait to see a good one. Using techniques reminiscent of Buddy Guy, Jimi played the guitar with his teeth, with one hand and behind his back. About his guitar-playing, the L.A. Free Press once stated. ‘Hendrix doesn’t just play a guitar - he rapes it, abuses it, violates it, eats it and masturbates it.’ The rape and abuse were part of the finale as Jimi, poised like a matador for the moment of truth, charged and pierced an amp. It seemed that a cold anger was driving him to repeatedly smash the sound system. It was indeed a strange scene: the maker of the sounds was taking the instrument that produced the sounds and destroying the instrument which allowed us to hear the sounds. He alternately thrust the guitar like a lance and rubbed it against the amp. He then sat on the guitar and attempted to rip out the strings. By this time those on the main floor were on their feet. The most frightening thing was that the audience began clapping and cheering at the destruction, like a scene from the movie ‘Privilege,’ except that the cops were knocking around the audience instead of the performer.
WARREN-FORREST - ‘A listless Jimi’:
“Jimi Hendrix, the hero of all in town it seems starting with this writer, played a horribly mediocre performance before 6,000 hungry fans at Masonic Temple last Friday - I won’t go into it because all of you were probably there to see and hear it, and like me would rather forget about it and wait for the next time he hits town. People had been waiting six months to get their heads blown off that night by the Experience, but all they got was a tired-out listless Jimi with fucked-up equipment that got there late. The Thyme and the MC5 both sparkled in pitifully short 15-minute sets, there was a half-hour delay while the Soft Machine and Jimi set up their equipment (Jimi and Noel Redding used 12 Sunn amps between them) which could and should have been filled with music. But too often the Detroit groups are taken for granted while all deference possible is given the visiting ‘stars.’ It’s really good that main attractions are given such beautiful treatment while they’re guests in our city, but it’s sad that the home people are often slighted in the process.”