Have You Ever Been Experienced? I Have. And It Was AMAZING
The Experience Hendrix Tour was conceived 20 years ago and over the past several years, has brought together some of the top guitar players in the world to pay tribute to the late Jimi Hendrix.
We went to Minneapolis Tuesday night (April 8) to see the final show on the 2014 spring tour and sat with a nearly full house at the historic State Theatre downtown. It’s impressive to think that this tour continues to be so successful, playing the music of someone who passed away in 1970 and whose career lasted less than a decade, but when you see the lineup of players who are on the tour, it’s a can’t miss show for not only Hendrix fans, but fans of incredible guitar players.
It was fun to see star after star take the stage and try to one-up each other, trying to show who the ‘best’ player on the bill is, yet at the same time, they all readily admit on stage, that they are there to pay tribute to the greatest guitar player ever.
Jimi’s last surviving bandmate and one of his closest friends, bassist Billy Cox, opened the show with two stellar Hendrix impersonators: Stan Skibby and Dani Robinson to perform three Hendrix songs including one of my favorites ‘Stone Free’.
From there, every couple of songs they were introducing someone new as a rotating carousel of fantastic young guitar players took the stage: Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes, Dweezil Zappa, David Hidalgo and Cesar Rojas of Los Lobos, Indigenous‘ Mato Nanji, Eric Gales, Doyle Bramhall II, Jonny Lang (pictured above) and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
Shepherd in fact had the majority of his band on the tour as his drummer, Chris Layton (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Arc Angels, Storyville) serves as drummer through the entire show. Singer Noah Hunt joined Doyle Bramhall II before coming out with KWS and bass player Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder, Whitesnake) rotated in and out all evening.
There were almost too many highlights to cover them all. Eric Gales absolutely killed it on Purple Haze and Foxy Lady. Henri Brown came on to sing Manic Depression with Dweezil Zappa and Gales trading licks. Rojas and Hidalgo gave me goose bumps with their take on Little Wing. Lang may have been THE highlight of the night as he about brought down the house on All Along The Watchtower with Zappa and Mato Nanji before Bramhall replaced Nanji and they launched into Fire, and then Rich Robinson replaced Zappa for Spanish Castle Magic. Then the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band closed it out with Gypsy Eyes, I Don’t Live Today, Let The Good Times Roll and Voodoo Chile.
Literally the only complaint I had was not hearing Nanji do Red House, but it was an amazing show in an unbelievable setting of the historic State Theatre downtown Minneapolis. If there is ever a chance to get this tour to Sioux Falls (Washington Pavilion??) or you get the opportunity to travel to see it. Do it. What an incredible tribute to the legend that is Jimi Hendrix.
Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes
Dweezil Zappa, Henri Brown and Eric Gales on ‘Manic Depression’
Cesar Rojas of Los Lobos
David Hidalgo of Los Lobos
Mato Nanji of Indigenous
Eric Gales and Mato Nanji
Doyle Bramhall II
Doyle Bramhall II and Noah Hunt
Jonny Lang, Doyle Bramhall II and Rich Robinson on ‘Spanish Castle Magic’
Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Mato Nanji
Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Noah Hunt