The Jimi Hendrix Experience was the band at the time and some of the works on Live At Monterey are more highlighted by the covers and the crowd favorites like “The Wind Cries Mary.” Even the cover of the Howlin’ Wolf track “Killing Floor” that spends more minutes as a display of Hendrix’s guitar prowess as an understatement, the relation of inconsistent but distinctive playstyles from both guitars continue to be a column for the statues of sound.
The experimentation that Hendrix plays with marches on and unfearfully clashes with shines more true on his Bob Dylan cover of ”Like A Rolling Stone” that bounces the spotlight from Hendrix over to Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on percussion. The melting waves that Hendrix produces are flattering and entirely different from Dylan’s original writing but never upstages it in any way. The rendition is celebratory almost and the way that Hendrix can inject shots of life and vitality into the mix while speaking to the crowd is charismatic and frankly amazing.
As the record produces on and “The Wind Cries Mary” opens up the audience, almost everything falls into a progressive place. The subtly of the work is a base for the bass from Redding to really hunker down and grasp on the audience. Hendrix’s vocals here are soft and feel almost freeform to the ears as pools of warmth wash over, but sorrow still lingers through the yearning strings that pluck along.
When the group reaches the guitar solo, the familiar string work is a reflective friend but the percussion is almost the star of the show there with Mitchell delivering a quick, but sporadic break until the melody shines back in.
Before the guitar is burst into a sacrifice symbolizing love, the strings snap on the last piece of Live At Monterey. “Wild Thing” might be a simple and iconic song, but when Hendrix covers the track, the flames couldn’t be any higher as the band seems to erupt into spontaneous combustion for the last seconds. Amps become twisted and distorted, nothing seems to follow a pattern, and the beauty is etched forever into the breaks of vinyl fuzz noise.
Through the dust and lighter fluid, Live At Monterey continues to illicit some of Hendrix’s best recorded live setting playing that could rival his Woodstock performance. It hurts to know the potential that Hendrix had, but even in his four short years in the mainstream, his playstyle and fashion sense was enough to craft a career of obsidian-esque memory.