This is the “highlights” disc taken from the Box Set documenting three Experience shows at the Winterland in October of 1968.
It begins with a performance of “Fire” that is highlighted by a series of crazy drum fills by Mitchell that substitute as a drum solo.
“Foxey Lady” follows, with its introductory feedback drawn out twice as long. Otherwise it’s not anything special, though there is some hilarious dialogue before and in it.
Just like any show (it seems) Hendrix’s amps keep breaking.
Perhaps the highlight of the entire disc is their take on Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” Hendrix was always a great interpretive artists, particularly of Dylan. Though it lacks the bite in the original, it more than makes up for it in the alternative arrangement, that allows Hendrix to show off. It’s the second best arrangement of the song I’ve ever heard, I think. Second only to the original. And a close second at that. (I.e. I prefer it to the Before the Flood version, for example.)
The version of “Hey Joe” is a little different than the one on Miami Pop and again seems to demonstrate Hendrix getting restless playing one of his “signature” songs.
This disc includes yet another version of “Hear My Train a Comin’.” It’s always a good performance from Hendrix – especially live – but here it actually sounds briefly like it’s about to turn into “Voodoo Child” at times, which is hilarious, given the inclusion of that track later in this disc. This one’s even more jammier than usual, if that’s possible.
Then they cover “Sunshine of Your Love” as an instrumental, a thing they were doing a lot – it’s on the BBC Sessions and on one of the studio rarities collections at the very least. It’s a good version as these things go. But there’s kind of a hilarious “bass solo” by Redding which just reminds us all how it was such a shame that Hendrix was burdened with this guy so long. First they force Hendrix to include his songs on his albums, then someone persuades him to let him “solo” during a jam. Ugh.
The version of “Little Wing” is the most straight ahead, straight up of these “highlights”, so it’s the least interesting.
The version of “Are You Experienced?” is a surprise not just because it was a bit of a “deep cut” by this point but because it’s so ragged – and feedback-drenched.
That’s followed by a more straightforward rendition of “Manic Depression,” though Hendrix’s solo is longer than in the studio version.
“Voodoo Child” – the famous one, not the Ladyland jam – is next. It’s a decent version.
This disc concludes with “Purple Haze.” There’s a nifty solo in the middle.
I would say that if these are the highlights, maybe I don’t need to listen to the box set (though I’m tempted) but a the longer songs – “Like a Rolling Stone” in particular – are so good that it makes up for the somewhat rote interpretations of some of their hits.
Good stuff and I am intrigued by the box set.