Downtown Minneapolis is littered with fans of classic rock, guitar, and most notably, Jimi Hendrix, on the evening of April 8, 2014. They are on their way to see “Experience Hendrix”, one of the largest tributes to the rock legend, Jimi Hendrix, ever brought to the stage.
On this particular evening, “Experience Hendrix” is performed at the State Theater in Minneapolis, MN. There are several notable performers onstage from groups spanning classic and modern rock. They include performers such as Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, Doyle Bramhall II, blue guitarist from The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo from Los Lobos, Dweezil Zappa, Chris Layton, blues drummer from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble and Mato Nanji from the blues group Indigenous. Along with all these fantastic musicians is a man that worked with Jimi Hendrix as well, Billy Cox. Billy Cox is the last surviving member of both The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys. Needless to say, his presence at the State Theater is something special for the fans.
I would have to say that this was an ideal show for any fan of guitars. The guitarists in this show are absolutely amazing. There is no other way to explain it. There are solos that go on for so long that many wonder if it is ever going to end. Still, it in no way detours their overall enjoyment of the show.
It’s hard to say where the exact highlights of the show lie. There are numerous examples, one being the very beginning, in which Jimi Hendrix’s little sister, Janie Hendrix, took the stage to showcase the new Jimi Hendrix stamp. Depending on a fan’s particular love of Jimi’s music depends entirely on which part of the show they enjoy the most, however, a great highlight is when Johnny Lang takes the stage. Johnny Lang has a tremendous following in Minnesota, so there are several fans of his that are thrilled to see him. He puts his whole heart into his performance of “All Along the Watchtower” and more.
A number of different songs are performed, some that only the very big fans of Jimi Hendrix know and some that all of us with a radio are familiar with. “Manic Depression” is a favorite that plays near the beginning of the concert and performed incredibly. Better known tunes include “Purple Haze”, “Foxy Lady”, “Angel”, “Voodoo Child”, and many more. A few personal favorites that play near the end of the show are “Red House” and “Hey Joe”.
I think it would have been interesting seeing this sort of performance in a different venue, as it is clear that many fans want to stand up and dance to various performances (“Voodoo Child” being a favorite). However, due to the overall age range of most of the fans, it is out of sheer respect that most of the audience remains sitting. That is something you don’t often see, but it was something the crowd at The State takes seriously.
This is the last night of the tour, something that the performers take note of. They all graciously thank the audience and overall, everyone that has seen them on the tour. It is a tour that I personally hope is done again because it is something to see. It feels less like a show and more like a gathering of a lot of people who simply have an appreciation for music.