The Woodstock one is good- for an introduction you can't beat the documentary on his life, Jimi Hendrix (not the made-for-TV docudrama). If you're flush and like music of the era Monterey Pop has finally been issued on Criterion for $60 or so, and amongst its disks is Jimi's entire set and, if that wasn't enough, Otis ("the big O") Redding's as well. Plus outakes of all manner of people including the beyond legendary Buffalo Springfield.
Search on Amazon and see what people say about the various DVD's. Many are B&W, be warned.
Band of Gypsies (Live at the Fillmore East) is out on dvd. It cost 19.99 at Best Buy, and includes 130 minutes of content. As we all know, this is the greatest live rock performance of all time. Judged against the Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Grateful Dead, and whoever else you can think of.
The "Jimi Hendrix" documentary program is very good as far as content. None of them are really all that great in terms of audio/video quality, but they can only do so much with the material they have. There are bits here from the previously mentioned Monterey Pop appearence, namely Hey Joe and Like a Rolling Stone, both of which are almost God-like examples of the guitar work possible when you give the greatest guitarist of all time a hit of very good acid and turn him loose on stage in front of the most tuned in rock audience up until that time.
I remember very well being like 18 in '81 and never really heard much of Hendrix, though I'd been playing guitar pretty seriously since 13. I was at a friends house, indulging in the aforementioned mental accelerant, and found an old reel to reel tape of his older brother's and stuck it on. It was the Monterey set, and I almost died. I was ready to build an altar and start bowing, because I could not believe what I was hearing.
It also has some footage from the Isle of Wight (sp?) concert, which is very interesting in that he is tired and worn out, and you can see how frustrated he is that he can't get his fingers to do what he wants, but managing still, in the footage of Just Got Back From the Storm and Red House songs that they show in this one, to pull off some amazing stuff.
The Band of Gypsies show, if it's the one I remember, has a mind blowing version of Machine Gun. The story is that Bill Graham confronted Jimi and said that he was a great musician but was wasting it by trying to be a showman, and challenged him to show the audience the musician. So he didn't do any antics and just stands there and blasts away like crazy, definitely some of the most intense guitar work he ever did.
I'd recommend the latest release "Blue wild angel live at the Isle of Wight"
The recording has been cleaned up and they arrempt to give you 5.1 surround.(It's okay at least it's a start) The reason I like this disc is that you can see how some songs were coming together well and others are frustrating due to sound problems on stage. You can get a feel of how the concert went down as a whole. The songs are presented complete and not cut like the previous Live at the Isle of Wight disc. He was trying to introduce the crowd to new material like Ezy rider , Dolly Dagger, Freedom, etc. Hey give the man credit it was 2am and cold. There is some great footage that will probably never make it to dvd of Jimi on Swedish tv live. One song was featured on the "experience" dvd released last year. I'm so glad I have the VHS tapes of the show, very rare. Royal Albert Hall is good but I'm not sure the family will ever get through the legal crap and get it released to dvd.
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