‘An ectoplasm of sound’: Jimi Hendrix’s Royal Albert Hall history
Posted on Wednesday 24 February 2016 by Lydia Smith – From The Archive Music
Guitar hero Jimi Hendrix has a special association with the Royal Albert Hall, with the venue being the site of some of his most notable British gigs, including The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s final UK concert.
Within months of arriving in Britain in September 1966, The Jimi Hendrix Experience (featuring bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell) were already making waves on the UK music scene. Jimi’s virtuosic guitar had propelled their debut Are You Experienced? to No. 2 in the charts, and the country was quickly becoming addicted to the band’s psychedelic, rainbow blues sound.
1967: HALL DEBUT
With all eyes on the band’s theatrical performances The Jimi Hendrix Experience were invited to play the iconic Hall just one year later on 14 November 1967, alongside The Move, Pink Floyd, The Amen Corner and The Nice.
The audience enthusiastically surrendered to Hendrix’s rock ‘n’ roll attack, and papers heralded the band as the hottest thing on the British music scene:
‘Hail Jimi Hendrix, the personality, the contortionist, the wise-cracker, the exhibitionist. Hail Noel Redding, and Mitch Mitchell, his traumatic Experience. How they were needed to close the package which opened up at London’s Albert Hall… The bill seemed as if it would never get off the ground. Thank goodness for Hendrix the untamed and the unchained swinging down from the trees through Knightbridge and Kensington to set the masses on fire in an ectoplasma of sound…. Most of all it was Hendrix the showman, the king-size personality.’
New Musical Express, 1967
1969: FINAL APPEARANCES
Two years later, a more musically mature The Jimi Hendrix Experience returned. The band’s two gigs, on 18 and 24 February 1969, would be their first and final headline performances at the Hall.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience sold out the Hall easily, supported by Mason, Capaldi, Wood and Frog and The Soft Machine on 18 February, and by Van Der Graaf Generator and Fat Mattress on 24 February.
Tensions had been growing between band members and management for several months, but these were put aside for these two concerts, which would be remembered as some of the band’s best and most successful late performances.