By Phyllis Pollack
Forty-one years after Jimi Hendrix’s historic concert at the Isle of Wight Festival, Sony Legacy will release an updated version of the late guitarist’s performance there on DVD on September 13. More than half a million fans attended the festival style show, at which Hendrix played hit classics including “Red House,” “Foxey Lady” and “Purple Haze.” The 600,000 fans that came to watch equaled twice the number of people that attended Woodstock. Entitled ‘Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix At The Isle of Wight,’ the newly upgraded film features concert footage, as well as interview footage pertaining to the iconic event. In addition to upgraded sound, another welcome update includes newly found footage of Hendrix playing “Hey Joe,” which was not included in the original version of the film. The DVD is produced by the guitarists sister Janie Hendrix and John McDermott. The DVD is one of four new Hendrix titles that will be released on September 13. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE BELOW THIS ADVERTISEMENT.
Directed by Academy Award-winning documentary film maker Murray Lerner, the reissued film has been updated to 180 minutes. A second added bonus of this upgrade is that viewers can now choose individual camera angles on which to focus when watching the acclaimed guitarist play selected songs. Fans can watch the angle of their choice while watching the late guitar god’s finger work as he plays parts of iconic songs, including “Spanish Castle Magic,” “Foxey Lady” and his cover of Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower.”
Additional classic fare in the film includes Hendrix performing “Freedom,” “Lover Man,” “Dolly Dagger,” “Message To Love,” “Ezy Ryder,” “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” and “In From The Storm.”
In the “Behind The Scenes” section, film maker Murray Lerner discusses the making of the film, in addition to some of his other work. Lerner’s 1967 film ‘Festival,’ about the Newport Pop Festival, with its historic footage filmed between 1963 and 1966, was the first movie ever made in the genre of concert festival films.
Hendrix appropriately opened the legendary Isle of Wight concert with “God Save the Queen,” the national anthem of the UK.
The documentary notes the challenges faced when it came to the production of concert, which was riddled with problems, not limited to feeble security and the fans’ disillusionment, resulting from the clash of conflict between commerce and art. There would be other problems that surfaced, surrounding logistics that included discord over who would headline, and equipment problems, with Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell’s equipment being lost en route.
Tour Gerry Stickells is among those who offer commentary in the film, referencing the six hand-held cameras that were used while recording on stage.
The film also notes that Hendrix, who was totally immersed in recording, interrupted his consuming work at his Electric Ladyland Studios in order to leave The States to play the highly-anticipated show. Among comments made during the film, it is pointed out that Hendrix focused on the concert’s music, rather than on his theatrics that were often part of his shows that included lighting a Fender Stratocaster on fire and smashing it into pieces.
A product of an age gone by, one scene captures bags of cash being dumped out and counted out, so that the artists could be paid before going on stage.
Very brief footage of Hendrix being interviewed by Dick Cavett is also included, with the latter’s best line to Hendrix being, “Don’t you find there’s a certain mad beauty in unorthodoxy?”
One memorable scene shows Hendrix concluding a backstage interview as he walks onto the stage to play “Dolly Dagger.” The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is heard over the event’s massive sound system.
The film’s sound includes both stereo and 5.1 surround sound, with tracks mixed by Eddie Kramer, who served as Hendrix’s original recording engineer in the studio. Kramer is among those that are interviewed in Blue Wild Angel.
Within the film, photos are seen of Hendrix, taken at Heathrow Airport. The film also has an abbreviated memorabilia section, featuring tickets, posters and other fare from the concert that will bring memories back to those who were there.
Last year, more than one million Hendrix albums were sold.