Blue Wild Angel – Jimi Hendrix Live At The Isle Of Wight, Blu-ray (2014)

Blue Wild Angel – Jimi Hendrix Live At The Isle Of Wight, Blu-ray (2014)

Featuring: Jimi Hendrix – guitar vocals; Billy Cox – electric bass; Mitch Mitchell – drums)
Studio: Sony/Legacy 8843054149
Director: Murray Lerner
Video: 1.33 cropped for 16×9, 1080p HD colorAudio: Dolby 5.1; PCM 2.0
TrackList: God Save The Queen; Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; Spanish Castle Magic; All Along The Watchtower; Machine Gun; Lover Man; Freedom; Red House; Dolly Dagger; Foxey Lady; Message To Love; Ezy Rider; Purplw Haze; Voodoo Child (Slight Return); In From The Storm
Extras: Simultaneous Viewing of multiple camera angles; Newly recorded footage of: Hey Joe; A Behind The Scenes Interview with Murray Lerner; Rare artifacts and memorabilia
Length: 182 minutes
Ratings: Video: ***      Audio: ***1/2

The three Isle Of Wight Musical Festivals took place between 1968 and 1970. The first two featured T Rex, The Move, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, The Who and Bob Dylan (his first appearance since the 1966 motorcycle accident). 1970 looked more promising with headliners like The Who, Miles Davis, Jethro Tull, Sly &The Family Stone, Emerson, Lake & Palmer; The Moody Blues, The Doors Joni Mitchell and Free, among others. But it was the signing of Jimi Hendrix that paved the way for the other acts to come aboard. With a crowd that exceeded 600,00 (larger than Woodstock). Logitistical complications plagued the venue and the concerts never achieved the iconic status that was anticipated.

Legacy Recordings has released a Blu-ray of Hendrix’s 1970 set: Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix Live At The Isle Of Wight. With a slightly changed trio (Billy Cox on bass), Hendrix delivers a good (but not exceptional) collection of new material and hits. It is clear at the outset that there are technical problems with the stage acoustics and Hendrix is distracted. When he begins with an instrumental version of “God Save The Queen”, flashes of Woodstock must be gripping the audience. The trio battle through the adversity (including some kind of wardrobe malfunction) and introduce some unrecorded “new” material (“Ezy Rider”, “In From The Storm” and “Freedom”) that is received well by the crowd; But they came to hear the classic Jimi Hendrix Experience. Jimi does not disappoint, ripping on “Purple Haze” And “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”. The covers of “All Along The Watchtower” and “Sgt. Pepper” are fun. Despite this, any momentum is stalled by the audio problems on the stage. The bonus features include a previously unreleased version of “Hey Joe”.

Jimi Hendrix set a high bar for performance at Monterey Pop and Woodstock. Unfortunately, any future live concerts would be measured against those. This one is not comparable. The video transfer does increase the clarity, but there are some blue lines (from the original camera film) that could not be removed. Issues with the source footage limit the transfer upgrades. There are some great individual shots of Hendrix and Mitchell, but there are too many snippets of bewildered stage hands. The audio quality (on the Dolby 5.1) is very good. Hendrix’s jagged, screeching guitar riffs are exciting and possess a full, explosive tonality.

—Robbie Gerson

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