It’s fitting that this should see official release the same year that the Voodoo Child would have turned 70. Lining up outside the Berkeley Community College to catch Hendrix’s two sets on 30 May 1970, a parade of disenfranchised hippies adjusts to the death of the 60s dream. One group are boycotting the $3.50 ticket to catch Woodstock at the cinema since they “the people” created it. Another exhorts rock stars to “trip with the people and for the people because they are of the people”. Come Hendrix’s evening set, some of these people have broken into the venue to catch a glimpse of their psychedelic hero.
Yet here’s Hendrix in the opening performance: clad in black, a bright waistcoat and sash the only hints of past flamboyancy. Though he sports a billowing sky blue outfit during the evening show, from the hour-long footage edited out of both, one thing is clear: Hendrix has completely internalised. It’s not quite a jam set, it’s certainly not a song set; it’s just all about Hendrix, flanked by Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox, yet filmed almost entirely in mid-shot, as if solo. Just four months from his death, he remains lost in his guitar, throwing out Star Spangled Banner, Johnny B Goode, Hear My Train A Comin’, Lover Man, Voodoo Child. During Machine Gun, Vietnam War footage is intercut with the live performance, helping make the whole more of a period piece than anything else.