JIMI PLAYS BERKELEY is one of the most popular music films of its time and a time capsule of the era. Yet the entire hour-long second set by Jimi Hendrix from the famed 1970 Berkeley concert has never been released on any album in any format – until now. The JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE – LIVE AT BERKELEY (Experience Hendrix/UMe), released October 14, 2003, will be issued in both one-CD and numbered limited edition double LP packages. In addition, the previously unreleased performance will be heard in an audio-only 5.1 surround sound mix on the DVD debut of the film JIMI PLAYS BERKELEY (Experience Hendrix/UMe), released September 16, 2003.
Digitally remastered, the JIMI PLAYS BERKELEY DVD also includes a newly minted stereo mix [both 2.0 and 5.1 surround sound] by original Hendrix producer/engineer Eddie Kramer. The film had been previously issued in mono on VHS but it has been out of print for nearly a decade. “Berkeley – The Second Set,” however, is new to the Hendrix catalog, which has been revitalized under the banner of Experience Hendrix, the company formed by his surviving relatives which reacquired the rights to his catalog in 1995. The audio disc presents the guitarist’s complete second set in its original sequence.
With Vietnam War protesters on the streets and tear gas in the air, the Jimi Hendrix Experience strode into the Berkeley (CA) Community Theater on May 30, 1970 and laid down two blistering performances, each filmed. Though the footage was not intended for a documentary, after Jimi’s death on September 18, 1970, JIMI PLAYS BERKELEY was hurriedly put together. The film, which included footage of the protests, then toured Europe alongside acts managed by the artist’s former manager.
Approximately 55 minutes long, the film features excerpts from the pair of concerts by Hendrix, bassist Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell. Highlighted are scorching renditions of such Hendrix favorites as “Purple Haze,” remarkable extended tour de force takes on “Machine Gun” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” and the artist’s inimitable version of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” Also heard are “Hear My Train A Comin’,” “Star Spangled Banner,” “I Don’t Live Today,” “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” and “Lover Man.” For the sixty-seven minute “Berkeley – The Second Set,” “Johnny B. Goode” and “Hear My Train A Comin'” are gone and “Foxey Lady,” “Hey Joe,” “Pass It On (Straight Ahead)” and “Stone Free” are added.
Reissue co-producer John McDermott penned the liner notes for both the CD and DVD. Each package also includes rare or previously unseen photos and memorabilia.