THE EXPERIENCE HENDRIX TOUR Stops at The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom – NH


Review by King Dale and Dale jr.

Photos by Micah Gummel

Show Photos HERE

     If you were one of the lucky folks in attendance that night, you sure were treated to a special evening. As some of music greatest guitar players in the world all gathered together in Hampton Beach on Thursday night. Before the show, I had the pleasure of meeting Billy Cox; one of Jimi’s old friends and favorite bass players. I purchased a picture of him along with Mitch and Jimi from the Isle of Wight. And he was kind enough to sign it for me. It now hangs in my man cave next to the bulletin board with all my concert tickets on it.

    The show started with Jimi’s half sister, Janie, addressing the crowd. She thanked everyone for coming out to support the music and artistry of her late brother, as well as thanking all the musicians for participating in the tour as well as keeping the music alive. The first song of the evening was “Stone Free” performed by Dani Robinson and Stan Skibby with Billy on bass, and Chris “Whip It” Layton on drums. Not a bad rhythm section, I must say. I don’t know where they found this Dani Robinson dude, but he looked so much like a young Jimi Hendrix, it was kind of eerie.  He and his man Stan tore it up, as they went back and forth treating the crowd to their best Hendrix licks.

     Next up was the son or one of my favorite musicians. Dweezil Zappa came to the stage to join Dani, Billy and Chris to play the heavy riff driving chant of “Freedom”. And Dweezil nailed it. They sounded so good, led by his guitar with the support of Billy’s vocals. It sure got the crowd revved up and ready to go. The next guitar great to hit the stage really got the crowds attention. Out came this tall, slender and quite attractive blonde woman by the name of  Ana Popovic. And she was awesome! As she was tearing into “House Burning Down”, the crowd was going nuts. This girl was kicking ass on stage. She sure didn’t have any problems keeping up with the big boys. She was also the first one to bring the crowd to its feet. As she got the first standing ovation of the evening, and very well deserved too.

   Dweezil was now joined on stage by Eric Johnson to perform “Power of Soul”. A Band of Gypsys’ song that has a message just as powerful as it’s beat. The guys got some help on vocals, as they were joined on stage by Noah Hunt, who added his soulful voice to a great rendition of “Ezy Rider”. It really sounded great, with that steady flowing riff. Jimi never got enough credit for his rhythm playing. He was an outstanding rhythm player. He would often play lead and rhythm at the same time. At this time, replacing Dweezil on stage was Eric Gales. This man was not only playing Hendrix; he was channeling him, and he was giving it his all on “May This Be Love”. Eric Johnson finished his mini set with the title track from Jimi’s debut album “Are You Experienced?” The guys did a pretty solid job on this one with Doyle Bramhall II helping out on keyboards.

   Eric Gales took center stage, belting out the classic “Purple Haze”. With a sold out crowd on its feet, Eric was out front struttin’ his stuff and showing why he’s a regular on this tour. He was then joined on stage by Jon Butcher. The guys tore through Eric Gales version of “Foxey Lady”. This was the last song of the first set. And definitely the stand out performance of the evening thus far. They had a awesome guitar duel, as they went back and forth with incredible solos.

      After a brief intermission, the crowd was ready for more and more they got. Doyle Bramhall II came to the stage with an acoustic in hand. A twelve string acoustic at that. I’ve only known Jimi to play a twelve string on only one song. That’s right, “Hear My Train A Comin”; one of my favorite Hendrix tunes. It sounded great. Doyle brought that song to life. As the band came back on stage, Doyle was joined by both Eric Gales and Eric Johnson. All three guitarists contributed to “You Got Me Floatin’”. While only Doyle played on “Angel”, a song he did with Chris Layton back in the day when they were in a band called the Arc Angels. Doyle closed out his mini set with “Hey Baby/ In From The Storm” with the help of Noah Hunt on vocals.

      Next up is Jonny Lang and Brad Whitford of Aerosmith. I always thought Brad was a rhythm player. He added some great guitar work all through the evening. The guys started off with a soulful rendition of “All Along The Watchtower”. They then picked up the pace with the classic hit “Fire”. Definitely a crowd favorite. Jonny then dug down deep, real deep, as he gave everything he had. As he lended his gospel style voice of his to “The Wind Cries Mary” and cry it did as Jonny gave an incredible performance. Jonny and Brad closed there set with “Spanish Castle Magic”; one of my favorite songs off the “Axis: Bold As Love” album.

      Now its time to kick it up a notch. As Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his crew take the stage with Noah Hunt by his side, they put on a blistering set. Starting off with “Gypsy Eyes”, followed by “Come On”. I could see now what Janie Hendrix was referring to before the show. There was that “Electric Church” feel in the air. Then Kenny pulled out a gold metallic Stratocaster. As he strapped it to his shoulder you could feel the excitement from the sold out crowd. Kenny played “Voodoo Chile medley (Slight Return)” like only he could. Everyone in attendance was on their feet as  Kenny and the boys blew the roof off the place.

      Now its time to go straight to the source. That’s right, The man that played with feedback before anyone knew what the hell it was. Jimi had many influences, but Buddy Guy may be the strongest root in the Jimi Hendrix music tree. Buddy and his band, along with Billy Cox, came out and they started off with the opening track from the “Band of Gypsys” album, “Who Knows”. Buddy and the boys then went into another blues legend’s catalogue with some Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues”. They then went into a classic Hendrix lick off of “Are You Experienced?” with an amazing version of “Hey Joe”. Henri Brown then came out to sing a very soulful version of “Them Changes”. To end the show, Kenny Wayne Shepherd came out to play with Buddy Guy as Billy Cox played bass and sang what is my favorite Hendrix tune, “Red House”. It was cool sight to see as Buddy and Kenny were playing some masterful guitar. After “Red House”, everyone came onstage to take a bow in front of a standing ovation.

      It’s not everyday that you get to see that collection of great musicians paying tribute to someone who many consider the greatest guitar player of all time. I have never seen that great of a collection of musicians in person like that in my entire life and I doubt that I will see a line up of that caliber ever again and it was all for the memory of one man and his incredible body of work that touched the lives of many and continues to do so to this day. This was a can’t miss show that I will remember for as long as I remain breathing.

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