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Live At Berkeley

4.5 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In the aftermath of the Band Of Gypsys, Jimi Hendrix looked to refocus his career and meet the challenges of a new decade. The powerful impact that Jimi's appearances at both Monterey Pop and Woodstock had created had not been lost and Berkeley had developed as a flash point in the heated battle over the Vietnam War and other emerging social and political issues. Hendrix had filled the
spacious, nearby Oakland Coliseum the previous year and could have easily done so again, but elected for the more intimate theater setting as the venue. All of the available tickets for both shows were quickly snapped up and on the evening of the concerts, more than a thousand empty-handed fans were turned away. Tensions between patrons, venue security, local police, and those without tickets escalated. Ensconced safely backstage, Jimi was unaware of the turbulence that surrounded the building. The sold out house roared its approval as Jimi and the Experience took the stage. Jimi prefaced the concert with a request he often made of his audience, asking them to 'forget about yesterday or tomorrow. This is our own little world tonight.' The evening's second set is presented here in its entirety and original sequence.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 10, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: July 10, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 67 minutes
  • ASIN: B0082A3JHQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,774 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
On May 30 of 1970, Jimi, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox played two shows at the Berkeley Theater. This disc consists of the songs played at the second show. Parts of both shows have been available as a bootlegs for many years, some of them relatively low quality affairs, others reasonably good soundboard boots. Both shows had some excellent playing and perhaps the best known song from these performances is that of "Hear My Train a Comin'" from the first show.
Many collectors have questioned why Experience Hendrix has chosen to only release the second show, but I'll just express my gratitude that the second show has finally seen the light of day as a commercial release. We can for now only sit back and hope for the first show and maybe the soundcheck to be released as soon as possible. But for now, let's consider what we have here in this release of the second show...
Altogether, this disc clocks in at 67 minutes and change, with eleven tunes, all of them well known to Hendrix afecianados. They are presented here in the best sound yet - a significant step up from the best boots. To clarify further, the sound is actually very good given its era, with decent stereo separation, dynamics and clarity, and very good dynamic contrasts. Jimi's guitar is placed in the center, and if there is any gripe about the sound it might be that Billy's bass is down in the mix too far.
Sandwiched around the tune up, Jimi gives the little bit of intro that speaks volumes to me. '70 was not just a dark year in America's history due to unrest over Viet Nam and civil rights, but also a difficult year for Jimi.
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A portion of the Berkeley Community Theatre performance has finally been released after languishing in the vaults the last 30-odd years. Despite the fact that I've had an underground recording of this show for years, I've looked forward to the official release of this show.
And I wasn't disappointed. Eddie Kramer's remastering of the soundboard recording is superlative. Not to mention that this recording is one of the few professionally recorded concerts where Jimi and the band were firing on all cylinders. Jimi's guitar sound is bell clear and superb, aptly propelled by the rock-solid and organic bass playing of Billy Cox and Mitchell Mitchell's Elvin Jones-inspired percussion.
The highlights: the opening jam on "Pass It On" (aka "Straight Ahead", "Hey Baby" (New Rising Sun), "Machine Gun", and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)".
It's puzzling why Experience Hendrix didn't release the complete concert including the first set. I'd rate this as one of the best of the professionally recorded performances by Jimi Hendrix. Experience Hendrix made the right decision in releasing a "warts and all" DVD and CD set of the Isle of Wight Festival, why take a big step backwards and release only 1/2 of the Berkeley concert??
Nonetheless, this recording is essential. Further aural proof of the viruosity of Jimi Hendrix. Highly-recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
AS you can see in the video, Jimi was on fire at Berkeley, he certainly was not burnt out by touring. If he was, it doesnt show. I was never fond of the song 'Straigh Ahead' until I listened to this version, totally smokes. This was a show with a nice balance between old songs and new songs, and you can tell that Jimi is even enjoying playing some of his old hits. The best way to enjoy these shows is to go back in time and remember how a live concert was staged back then. Just a guitar, some pedals and the amps. Nothing like all the technial gizmos available today for guitar players. So you hear Hendrix tuning, getting out of tune, tunning again, having guitar problems, amps problems... It was all part of the gig back then. Do people sit around and complain how much better the Mona Lisa would be if Leonardo would have used photoshop? People taking out stars of this stellar release because of 'amp problems' and such just makes me mad. Now, why complaining about releasing only the second show? There is nothing wrong with that! This is a complete, unedited, never before released Hendrix show people! Stop complaining. Five stars.
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Widely regarded as a masterful Hendrix concert, "Jimi Hendrix: Live at Berkeley" represents the first official release of Jimi's second (and superior) set on May 30, 1970. Having been a long time Hendrix collector, I've heard this concert on bootleg CD numerous times. Why it's taken so long to release is beyond me, but nonetheless, it's nice to have the concert with incredible sound. It's definitely a significant improvement over the existing bootlegs of the show (which are hard to come by these days).
Given that a companion DVD was released, I'm somewhat puzzled why Experience Hendrix did not include the 1st Berkeley performance as well. The completist in me would have liked to see the official release of the sound-checks recorded at the show as well. But, I am a rather picky collector -- for the normal Hendrix fan searching for the ultimate 'live' Hendrix, this show is the one to purchase.
Standout tracks for me include "Machine Gun", "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)", "Foxey Lady", and "Star Spangled Banner / Purple Haze".
Highly recommended for newbies getting into Hendrix as well as hard-core Jimiholics out there.
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