The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Live at Monterey

Lenny Kaye

By Lenny Kaye

on 06.15.11 in Reviews

Live At Monterey

The Jimi Hendrix Experience
The infamous guitar-burning, pagan-ritual live performance

Nobody was quite sure who Jimi was when he appeared amidst the rock glitterati at the landmark Monterey Pop festival in June, 1967, but after the internal and external combustion of "Wild Thing," with Hendrix straddling his guitar, squirting lighter fluid on it, and setting it ablaze, everyone knew. Though he beat the Who (also making one of their first major U.S. appearances) at their own game, the scenario of destruction might have overshadowed the excellence of all that came before. Introduced by Brian Jones, Hendrix came roaring out of the gate with a full-tilt version of "Killing Floor" and didn't let up from there: a lascivious "Foxy Lady," a take-no-prisoners "Like A Rolling Stone," a balls-to-the-wall "Rock Me Baby," the dynamic downshift of "The Wind Cries Mary" (in which you can hear his speakers rattle at the orca-like bass frequencies) and then the lysergic song — "Purple Haze" — which would become a rallying cry of the Summer of Love, awaiting the solstice.