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  •  REVIEW: BLUE WILD ANGEL

      Blue Wild Angel
    "Wild" thing

    "Blue Wild Angel" is a re-edited and remastered concert film showing most of Jimi Hendrix's masterful performance at the Isle of Wight Festival 18 days before he died.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com


    Murray Lerner made a film, "Message to Love," in 1997 commemorating the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, a conflict-ridden but musically stellar extravaganza in a pastoral British vacation spot. Now, in cooperation with the guitar god's heirs, he has assembled almost the entire Jimi Hendrix set from the festival — the second such effort, this one apparently more complete and technically polished than the previous one.

    BLUE WILD ANGEL
    Directed by: Murray Lerner.
    Cast: Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox.
    Jimi Hendrix concert performance from the Isle of Wight Festival, 1970.
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    One of the many pleasures of the film, shot just 18 days before Hendrix's death in London, is catching his laid-back, loopy sense of humor. Right before taking the stage, he hurriedly asks, "How does 'God Save the Queen' go? I forget," and after tuning up, he starts the show with that. (The melody, for us Americans, is the same as "My Country Tis of Thee.") Later, after a couple of songs, he hears an audience member hollering for him to play "Fire," and he answers, "Yeah, we'll do that . . . towards the, uh . . . next time."

    Of course, there would be no next time, and he didn't play "Fire" this time either. But he did play an awe-inspiring collection of well-known and more obscure tunes — starting with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and continuing with "Spanish Castle Magic," "All Along the Watchtower," "Foxey Lady" and "Purple Haze."

      
      His performance is beset by disaster, yet his music emerges clear-voiced, perfectly on key, and spellbinding. Undoubtedly, this is part of Hendrix's brilliance — he mastered chaos and turned it into something beautiful.
      
    The standout is probably "Red House," his classic slow blues on which he plays with an almost painful passion. In typical fashion, his performance is beset by disaster, from faulty amps to perpetually out-of-tune guitars, and yet his music emerges clear-voiced, perfectly on key, and spellbinding. Undoubtedly, this is part of Hendrix's brilliance — he mastered chaos and turned it into something beautiful.

    "Blue Wild Angel" (which is the name Hendrix says he wants to be introduced by at the show) is absorbing to watch and the remastered sound is a marvel. At the quiet points, it sounds like we're together with Hendrix in a studio. The loud parts, which is to say most of the film, come through clear and strong. One caution: Consider bringing earplugs. The sound is turned way up — though thankfully not to actual concert levels — and one of the many things we're smarter about nowadays is hearing loss. (Remember, festival participant Pete Townshend has now lost most of his.) So do yourself a favor — use protection and enjoy the show.

    OCTOBER 2, 2001
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Blue Wild Angel:

  • Wild Blue Angel   from Andre Ellis, Nov 19, 2001
  • amazing   from Todd Katz, Aug 28, 2002
  • Blue Wild Angel Travesty   from Alex Smith, Oct 30, 2002
  • Re: Blue Wild Angel Travesty   from Rich, Nov 7, 2002
  • Disappointment   from Stewart Spaull, Nov 15, 2002
  • Re: Disappointment   from Jesse Pearson, Dec 16, 2002
  • Re: Disappointment   from Frank from India, Jun 9, 2004
  • Re: Disappointment   from The Axis, May 16, 2003
  • Re: Disappointment   from Stewart Spaull, Feb 14, 2004
  • Re: Disappointment   from arroyo, Jun 21, 2004
  • Re: Disappointment   from Alfred Millikan, Jun 26, 2006
  • [no subject]   from enage><br> E-mail, Sep 28, 2003
  • Great Guitar   from Glenn, Nov 2, 2006

  • Post a comment on "Blue Wild Angel"