This 1970 performance was contrived for Rainbow Bridge, a hippie movie that flopped. The gig itself was faintly ridiculous, as a hundred or so fans trudged up Hawaii’s dormant Haleakalä volcano. There, the Experience played in such high winds that Mitch Mitchell had to later re-record his drums in a studio. Yet – and it’s a big yet – Jimi Hendrix and mates still delivered a loose, potent set. Better still, these tapes the have been restored and enhanced, thanks to über-engineer Eddie Kramer.
In his touring career, Hendrix relied on his staples, doggedly churning through “Red House,” “Purple Haze,” and “Foxey Lady” here. But fresh, funky tracks from a planned (but unfinished) studio album abound, notably “Freedom,” “Dolly Dagger,” and “In From the Storm.” “Ezy Rider” was already becoming a concert stomper, graced with Billy Cox’s propulsive bass and Jimi’s wah-fueled Strat. It’s smokin’ stuff.
Sure, there are endless versions of these cuts out there, but listening to these reincarnated Hawaii tapes, Hendrix has – yet again – returned from the grave and blown our minds. Is Live in Maui essential Jimi. No. Is it awesome? Of course it is.
This article originally appeared in VG March 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.