Revisiting Jimi Hendrix’s Final Concert
Jimi Hendrix gave his final concert on Sept. 6, 1970, as the second incarnation of the Experience took the stage at the Open Air Love and Peace Festival in Fehmarn, Germany. Backed by drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Billy Cox, Hendrix was originally scheduled to appear on the previous day of the festival. Heavy rain storms pushed the date back one night.
But the Experience, as heard on 2005's The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live at the Isle of Fehmarn, arrived as a well-oiled machine, having just completed a run of six concerts in six days that included a headlining slot at both the Isle of Wight on Aug. 30 and Berlin on Sept. 4.
A long-term relationship with Billy Cox, who had collaborated with Hendrix since long before his rise to fame, helped inform the music, too. "When I came along, I gave him that little boost," Cox said years later. "Because of a lot of things that we had done in the past working together, I bumped his memory, and he bumped my memory."
The sound quality of the Fehmarn recording, alas, is not great, since promoters captured the reformulated Experience's entire performance by feeding two overhead stage microphones into a consumer grade Revox reel-to-reel tape machine located off to the side of the stage – unbeknownst to Jimi Hendrix.
Still, its historical significance remains. Hendrix was scheduled to perform in Rotterdam on Sept. 13, but that was part of a string of shows canceled because Cox wasn't feeling well. Hendrix was then invited to make an on-stage appearance with Eric Burdon and War on Sept. 15 at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in Soho, but that was likewise put off when the guitarist reportedly arrived too stoned to play.
He finally joined Burdon the next night for a couple of songs, but by Sept. 18, 1970, Hendrix was dead. He was just 27.
Jimi Hendrix, Sept. 6, 1970 Set List
"Spanish Castle Magic"
"All Along the Watchtower"
"Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)"
"Message to Love"
"Room Full of Mirrors"
"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"
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