Experience Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix often expressed a desire to turn his live shows into an “electric church,” a place for his faithful to open their ears, free their minds and receive his soulful musical sermon. At the Experience Hendrix tribute concert at the Hilton on May 20, some of the world’s top guitarists preached the Gospel of Jimi to a packed house for three solid hours, confirming that Hendrix’s message remains as fresh as ever more than 40 years after his death. Ex-Hendrix bassist Billy Cox set the tone with openers “Stone Free” and “Freedom,” while the Isley Brothers’ Ernie Isley paid homage to his boyhood idol with “Message to Love.” Living Colour delivered a powerful rendition of “Power of Soul,” while Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas celebrated Hendrix’s softer side on “Little Wing.” Steve Vai, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson and Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford also delivered spirited performances, but perhaps the evening’s finest moment was Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s impassioned rendition of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” which highlighted the staying power of Hendrix’s offerings.

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