This years’ Experience Hendrix tour came through town, and I was able to go and check it out for the first time. For anyone that’s been to this before, or has been going for years, you won’t be surprised to hear that I was absolutely blown away! The tour draws from musicians (largely guitarists) from all over the rock and metal genre to put together and evening entirely in tribute to Jimi Hendrix. I’ll admit, when I book this show, I was really excited to see Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, Joe Satriani and Jonny Lang (among others) in a different setting. They didn’t disappoint in the least, but without question, the whole was greater than the sum of its parts on this tour.
The show kicked off with a performance of “Freedom,” featuring Billy Cox (of Band of Gypsys), Dweezil Zappa, Chris Layton and Henri Brown. From there, they went right into the classic “Foxy Lady” with the addition of Mato Nanji and Chuck Campbell on stage. Other notable musicians on stage including Chris Layton on drums, and later Kevin McCormick on bass as well as the other half of The Slide Brothers, Calvin Cooke (joining Chuck Campbell).
Throughout the evening, there were minor lineup changes on stage throughout, while the featured guitarists tended to come out for a handful of songs each. The next big guest of the night was Eric Johnson, who remained on stage for several songs including “Are You Experienced?” before he was joined by Jonny Lang for “All Along the Watchtower” and “The Wind Cries Mary.”
Dave Mustaine joined the fray with a cover of “Fire,” “Purple Haze” and “Stone Free” before Taj Mahal stepped in for a few, including “Catfish Blues” and “Hey Joe.” At this point in the show, I was honestly surprised anyone was still seated, but given the nature of the theater-type performance, I think people were just trying to keep their composure. That all went out the window the moment Joe Satriani stepped on stage. As they ripped into a cover of “Crosstown Traffic” the crowd all rose to their feet, where they remained for the rest of the show. The next several songs were performed by the powerhouse trio of Satriani, Dug Pinnick (King’s X) and Kenny Aronoff on drums. They tore through some of Hendrix’s big hits including “If 6 Was 9,” “Third Stone from the Sun/Machine Gun” and closed out with “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).”
This was, without question, one of the most fun tribute-style events I’ve ever been to. No single musician was ever the main focus (though some extra attention to some of this world-class talent was impossible to avoid), but the show was all about Hendrix’s music, and the ever-lasting impression it’s had on the world, including the arsenal of talent on stage throughout the night to perform these classics. In an instant, I’ve decided that I’ll never miss this tour if given the opportunity to review it again in the future!