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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on April 1, 2017
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on January 20, 2003
This Isle of Wight concert was shot over 30 years ago and a couple months before Hendrix's untimely death. I thought the sound and picture quality were good. The film documents the uninterrupted concert which previous films did not. It's interesting to compare Hendrix's tour de force in Monterey Pop with this one. In the Isle of Wight performance, Hendrix shows signs of fatigue and frustration. As mentioned in other reviews, there is a thin blue line which runs through a small portion of the film, but it doesn't distract from the enjoyment this historical piece. This DVD is a must have for any true Hendrix fan.
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on January 19, 2004
As far as film accounts of Jimi Hendrix go, this is absoluetly the best from every conceivable perspective. Camera work is terrific: none of the poor lighting that mars Berkley or Band of Gypsies, none of the dental examination that comprises all but a few minutes of Woodstock. The opening sequences are informative. Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox give a very solid account of how truly beyond pop stars they had become by that point, heading towards a jazz-blues fusion that only Miles Davis and John McLaughlin would be able to assume with any respectability.
It is very clear from backstage chatter thru the comments of his tour manager and band mates that Hendrix was not keen on performing at this concert and had begun to feel that he was, in fact, beyond rock and its infantile approach to artists. That said, he had enormous respect for the people who had paid money to see him and so tore into this concert with enormous brio. His fingerwork is among his most dazzling. The camera crew captures three men feeding off each other with visual ques that also point to how sober, clean and focused Jimi was by this time. He and Mitchell were as in sync with each other as Coltrane and Elvin Jones. Cox has been unfairly glossed over in music and this film and soundtrack illustrate that he was the best bass player for the best guitarist of all time.
If you are a fan, pick this up. If you are curious, I'd suggest this as theplace to start. Many thanks to the Hendrix family for releasing an incendiary performance. In a matter of weeks, Jimi would be dead. You'd never guess it from here: one listen to Voodoo Chile would convince you.
I might also add that this DVD is far superior to the CD, whose sequencing made no sense and gives the listener the impression that Hendrix wants to get out as soon as possible. For the future: stick with Jimi's sequencing. He knew what he was about, and this DVD proves it.
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on June 29, 2004
Judging from the clips of Hendrix's Isle of Wight performance that I've seen in other documentaries, I always thought that this 1970 show in front of 600,000 people represented the sad end of Jimi's career. True, Hendrix wrestled with numerous technical problems and an audience obnoxiously yelling for hits, but that's only the half of it. The other half, to my delight, consists in moments of humor, a great set list and a relentless series of "jaw meet floor" guitar moments. In fact, of all the Hendrix DVDs available, this should be at the top af any true fan's list.
Since this is a complete concert, you get a real sense of Hendrix's ability to shape the otherwise chaotic energy of a 1960s rock show into a series of peaks to which he gingerly leads the assembled and just as carefully brings them home from. It's not just the rapid-fire blues scale runs that impress; witness his driving rhythm playing in All Along the Watchtower, his fluttering double-stops and tasteful dominant-chord comping throughout. The "Machine Gun" here rivals the version from the original Band of Gypsys record, and as for the rendition of Red House...considering that Hendrix is the best electric rock/blues guitarist in history and that Red House is his best blues song, this is simply one of the greatest blues performances ever recorded - and I say that with all due respect to the originators of the form. Jimi's blues at that time were very real; the hellhound of death was on his trail, and his only refuge was another hotel room in another of his endless tour stops. But The Master was still vital, and this DVD should put to rest the myth that he was creatively burning out in 1970. So don't buy the hype - Isle of Wight was a great Hendrix gig, and Blue Wild Angel is your front row ticket.
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on May 23, 2004
This is my favorite Hendrix show. At first I bought the 2 CD digipak and loved every minute of it. I listened to the whole concert over and over. One day I finally decided to buy the DVD, and I was amazed. I watched the whole show, gazing at my hero onstage tuning his guitar, giving gestures to his bandmates, adjusting the amps. This is an amazing show, it starts out with Hendrix doing his rendition of God Save The Queen, it's very entertaining I might add. But the one song that made my jaw hit the floor was MACHINE GUN, sure I was amazed when I heard it, but actually seeing it is another experience. Electrifying. I love seeing Hendrix play Ezy Ryder, Freedom, and Dolly Dagger, since they weren't released during his lifetime. I'm not sure whether the crowd was more into the concert or I was, but this one blew my mind as far as Hendrix performances go. Other highlights include Spanish Castle Magic, Red House, Foxey Lady, Message To Love, and In From The Storm. Get this DVD it's amazing.
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First off the show it's self is good. Not Jimi on his best night but still good. For that I would have given 4 stars but the Blu ray version is, well....sad. First of the screen has bars down the side (which is the norm on Blu ray) but it shrinks the modern interviews to a square in the center of the screen. It has a bright bar of light down the side of the frame at times. It even has a section where little white dots appear and disappear across the screen (checked it on two Blu ray players and it did it on both). To tell you the truth it could pass as a bootleg. I am one of those people who loves music Blu rays be it Audio only or concerts but I wish the had left this one as a DVD release only. Too bad Hendrix deserves better.
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on November 3, 2003
This is one of my favorite Hendrix DVDS. In the mist of the 1970s Hendrix was trying to create new music. This concert proved to be one of his best performences ever other than the woodstock concert. Hendrix opened up with God Save The Queen an amazing thing bout the opening song was that Hendrix forget the song and asked one of his road managers before he went on How Does God Save The Queen Go? And his road manger sounded it out. Hendrix then went on stage and played it creativly great. Hendrix then had his Marshall Stacks bout 5 of them all go dead I mean no sound what so ever. Finally the roadys or whatever you like to call them fixed the amps and Hendrix started Spanish Castle Magic wow this was a differnt solo then Hendrix usually played. Hendrixs version of all along the wacthower took place next to me I loved wacthing Hendrix play this song Live it was a dream come true it was great. Hendrix went on with alot more songs I loved seeing Hendrix also play his new material like Freedom, Dolly Dagger, also In From The Storm. When Hendrix played Machine Gun that night he played his heart out running over 20 minutes I think this song was better played live at The Isle Of Wight than The Fillmore East. Hendrix played on Lover Man, and Message to Love. All together Hendrix played about 17 songs and this concert marked to be one of the latest and best concerts ever. BLUE WILD ANGEL:LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT ON DVD is a must have for a Hendrix fan better than all the rest DVDS ENJOY
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on November 14, 2002
No, this wasn't Hendrix' final gig, despite representations to the contrary (not made by Experience Hendrix, by the way). The band played Sweden the next day -- actually the same day, since it was only 15 hours later. Then, off to Denmark and then the Isle Of Fehmarn, Germany on 9/6/70. The next day in Rotterdam the bass player, Billy Cox, became mysteriously ill to such a degree that Hendrix' tour of Europe was aborted.
Jimi returned to London at wits' end and in dire need of rest. And rest, he did.
By the way, his final public appearance was at Ronnie Scott's on 9/16/70. He sat in with Eric Burdon and WAR, of "Spill The Wine" fame, without film crews or recording engineers (unless you count the audience tape).
The Isle Of Wight was Jimi's first gig in England since his fabled 1968 appearance at Royal Albert Hall (also misidentified as Jimi's final gig). His management staff found gold in them thar hills in the US, and thus concentrated their attentions and efforts to arena and festival venues in the States. Also, by then, Jimi had committed his resources to the building of a state-of-the-art studio in New York's Greenwich Village, to be called "Electric Lady".
Given that framework, Jimi was torn about doing this gig. His management team worked him like a government mule with bookings out the old wazoo, leaving him little time to complete studio work on the much-anticipated follow-up to Electric Ladyland. It was clear that Jimi needed some time off to rest and write and work a few things out musically, professionally and personally, but they never gave him the chance. The last documented "vacation" Jimi was known to take was in 1968 in Florida. Otherwise, he was in the studio, gigging, handling some PR business, in court, or trying to form (a) new band(s).
It literally never stopped. Drummer Mitch Mitchell is on record as describing the Woodstock band as too unwieldy, and discloses, for the first time, that he thought Jimi's replacement of Noel Redding with Billy Cox resulted in Hendrix' best band. That's in the documentary preface to the show.
As for the show itself -- WOW! Seeing the Isle Of Wight show for the first time in its (almost) proper sequence was a revelation. The Image DVD (_Jimi Hendrix Live Isle Of Wight 1970_) didn't serve as a fair document of the show at all -- in fact, I [didn't like] the show ... until I purchased _Blue Wild Angel_. In fact, I hope the Image DVD will be deleted from the catalog, because the presentation is very unfair to Jimi. Seeing the show in its proper context and sequence places the show in an entirely new light.
Yes, there were technical problems. But it seemed to matter more to Jimi to repay the debt to England for his rebirth and his fortunes. You get the sense of the importance of this gig to Jimi, despite the glitches.
It's a great show, warts and all. In fact, there are some pretty good warts. Experience Hendrix calls it "definitive", and I will agree, although at least three songs weren't filmed due to need to reload.
5.1 surround is also an improvement over the Image DVD. Pass on that one and get this one. There's alot to like about this DVD, but they only give me 1,000 words.
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on November 25, 2002
Like many people in the early '70s, I grew up with Jimi Hendrix as part of the cultural aether around me. (This was well before the days of "classic rock" radio programs that have overexposed Hendrix's work and made it seem so tiresome...) Anyway, it wasn't until I snuck into the moviehouse at the college student union near where I grew up and saw a screening of the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock documentaries that Jimi Hendrix really blew my mind. Although the feedback and distortion techniques he pioneered have become commonplace in the rock bands of today, no one has ever topped the stunningly intimate physicality with which Hendrix approached playing the electric guitar... His approach was as much percussive as it was melodic, with him pushing and nudging and prodding the tones out more than he actually strummed the strings.
This performance is not as artistically dazzling or as charismatic as those earlier shows, but the cinema verite style of this stark documentary is an invaluable glimpse of a musical genius in his final, reclusive days. As other reviewers point out, the logistical conditions at the Isle of Wight festival were chaotic and challenging, but it's clear from the pre-show and on-stage footage that Hendrix was not the hopeless basket case that many made him out to be, based on this single shambolic concert. The film producers could have done a better job explaining the significance of this show (one of Hendrix's last, before his tragic London overdose), and the conditions he faced before he stepped on stage. Still, it's a valuable document, and the optional split-sceen, multi-vantage point presentation on several tracks is a nice use of DVD technology to show us the full coverage that the film crews shot. Definitely worth checking out if you're a devoted Hendrix fan.
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on November 16, 2002
Based on what I saw from the earlier Image Entertainment version this wasn't one of my favorite Hendrix concert but after seeing BLUE WILD ANGEL that opinion has totally changed because there is so much going on here.
This may be about as much of this concert as you'll see possible. Added to this DVD that wasn't on the Image Entertainment version is "LOVER MAN" , "FOXEY LADY" , you see the actual performance of "MESSAGE TO LOVE" where in the Image Entertainment version you just hear the song during the intro of the program while footage of the daytime audience is being shown. You get "EZY RYDER" , "PURPLE HAZE" , and the unedited versions of "MACHINE GUN" , "RED HOUSE" , and "VOODOO CHILD (SLIGHT RETURN)".
I have no idea why in the Image Entertainment version of this concert that VOODOO CHILD is edited because the BLUE WILD ANGEL version reveals that the prophetic line "..if I don't see you no more in this world I'll meet you on the next one and don't be late..." is cut out of the Image version! As a matter of fact , Hendrix says "...if I don't see you know more in this world..." 4 times dramatically building up to the lines "...I'll meet you on the next one...". Thats the first time I've ever heard Hendrix do that with "VOODOO CHILD". When you keep in mind Hendrix's unfortunate fate that part is chilling , dramatic , and sad to see so why edit that out? In "BLUE WILD ANGEL" you see this part.
Also "BLUE WILD ANGEL" shows more of the bantering during songs over technical problems but it also shows it was a better show than what the Image version showed. There is a segment leading to the end of the concert where Hendrix hits the crowd with non-stop music. They played "MESSAGE TO LOVE" , "EZY RYDER" , "PURPLE HAZE" , "VOODOO CHILD" and "IN FROM THE STORM" (minus Hey Baby & Hey Joe on DVD) without stopping until the end. You just sit back and go along for the musical ride.
There is a cool picture-in-picture feature in this DVD. The P.I.P. is used on 4 songs; "SPANISH CASTLE MAGIC" , "MACHINE GUN" , "RED HOUSE" , and "FOXEY LADY". Very cool!
The Image Entertainment version obviously edited the concert footage to 'clean it up' and make it seamless but they hurt the integrity of the concert. In other words what you see isn't how things happened and why mix up the order of the songs? The concert was fine the way it was! Go figure.
Anyway , you see this concert in its actual chronological order and in its entirety minus "MIDNIGHT LIGHTNING" , "HEY BABY (NEW RISING SUN)" , and "HEY JOE". You can hear the concert in its entirety with these 3 missing songs on the new double disc version of "BLUE WILD ANGEL".
And in the end of the concert when he just drops the guitar and walks off stage he wasn't upset but he was just tired. He seemed to enjoy himself more on stage in this concert than what I got the impression of from the earlier Image Entertainment version. So thats a good thing to know.
FUNNIEST MOMENT : Based on Billy Cox's recollection Jimi split his pants during "FOXEY LADY"! You never see the split in the pants but you see Jimi disappear behind the speakers and amplifiers while Mitchell and Cox played on (incredibly Jimi still played his guitar throughout this moment). Then when Jimi comes back on stage he gives Billy a look of relief and a smile as if to say "Woo! That was close." A pretty funny moment and , on top of that , it was a fierce version of "FOXEY LADY" with the guitar teeth playing then you see him clearly play the guitar with his tongue for a few seconds and then between his legs putting on a show. Awesome stuff!
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