There are tribute shows…and then there are Tribute Shows. In the current era of rock music, there seem to be more tribute bands and tribute shows than ever before. Whether it stems from a lack of great rock being written today or an effort to pay homage to the music of the greats, not all tribute shows are created equal. If you are a fan of the music and genius that is Jimi Hendrix, the EXPERIENCE HENDRIX TOUR is one tribute show worth attending.

Originally starting out as part of the Seattle Guitar Festival in 1995, this tribute tour continues to combine the talents of many of today’s guitar greats with the music of undoubtedly the greatest guitarist in the history of rock, to pay proper tribute to the one and only Jimi Hendrix, who was taken from us 44 years ago. The original tours were organized by a company created by Al Hendrix, Jimi’s father and since his passing, the current CEO managing this latest tribute tour is Janie Hendrix, Jimi’s Sister. This show in Melbourne, Florida is the third in a Fall tour of 24 dates to travel America to remind audiences how much Jimi’s music continues to touch the souls of true rock fans.

The show begins with Bassist Billy Cox, Jimi’s Army friend and band mate in his second band, the “Band of Gypsies” and features many songs from those sessions. It features a great guitarist/vocalist physically and musically reminiscent of Jimi himself. A video screen above the stage plays various images of Jimi throughout the concert while the musicians on stage crank out the songs all Hendrix fans have come to know and love.

[Rich Robinson]

Rich Robinson

The all star lineup, appearing in an ever unfolding show of solo performances and group jamming features such notable guitar masters as Rich Robinson (The Black Crowes), Eric Johnson, Eric Gales, Kenny Wayne Sheppard and blues legend Buddy Guy. What really made the show enjoyable were the vocal performances of Henri Brown and Noah Hunt. Hunt in particular delivered Hendrix lyrics in a powerful and tight performance that freed many of the guitarists to revel in the performance of their individual guitar mastery and their interpretation of an artist that is difficult to emulate, to say the least.

[experience Hendrix 2014]

Jimi on the big screen

It is no easy task to play the music of Hendrix beyond the technical accuracy of the notes, with the soulful passion that was Jimi. Witnessing the performance of his incredible music once again reminded me of what the genius of Jimi Hendrix, beyond his songwriting and playing, really was…his stage presence and the movement of his body in a manner that nobody can really replicate. Like a lion on the prowl, Jimi’s body motion during a performance often varied from a predator about to pounce or a machine gun mowing down an audience to the gentleness of a lover of all things beautiful. These are undoubtedly large shoes for anyone to fill, so the point of this show is not to expect other artists attempting to do so. It is to enjoy the individual interpretations true to the spirit of Jimi while making the songs their own in a way that Jimi himself may have very much enjoyed.

[Experience Hendrix Tour 2014]

Buddy Guy & Billy Cox

[Eric Gales]

Eric Gales

The highlight of this evocation of the Jimi Spirit was most evident in the performance of Eric Gales. Gales was brilliant in giving the crowd a taste of this via “Foxy Lady” and “Purple Haze” more than any other artist on the bill, save Buddy Guy and Billy Cox performing the blues favorite of Jimi’s, “Red House.” The other notable performance for evidence of shear guitar power in fine machine gun fashion was Kenny Wayne Sheppard ripping everyone apart with his rendition of “Voodoo Chile, Slight Return.”

At over three and half hours, this show is not for the casual fan looking for something to do. It is like a church revival to the Church Of Jimi for the devoted that allows a journey back to the time of a legend who revolutionized rock and set the standard that all rock guitarists strive to honor. While at times, it seemed a bit self indulgent with several artists over playing solos, possibly to prove their worth (Johnny Lang), all in all it was a respectable and enjoyable evening honoring the man, myth and legend who touched so many of us to our very souls. It makes me wonder what music would be like if he had been on the journey with us all these years and was alive today.

 

[experience Hendrix 2014]
Jimi on the big screen
[Experience Hendrix Tour 2014]
Eric Gales
[Experience Hendrix Tour 2014]
Johnny Lang