Something magic happened on-stage at Whitney Hall on Tuesday night. For lack of a less generic term, I believe the Experience Hendrix show could be defined as transcendence. I sat there watching 3 hours of Hendrix music, played by what one might only describe as the greatest cover band in history, and not only did it never feel stale or dated. And there were quite literally moments when I felt like I was watching myself watch the show*. I could close my eyes, and let my brain wonder off into the ether with whatever guitar virtuoso was shredding the room at any given moment.
The show was stolen early by a young up and coming guitar player with all kinds of swagger, named Eric Gales, who grabbed “Foxy Lady” by the pigtails and took off running with it. I had never heard of him before, and I will not make that mistake again. Zakk Wylde’s raucous rendition of “Purple Haze” and Buddy Guy playing Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues” were other shining moments throughout the night.
However, pinpointing my two favorite moments of the show, moments that lifted my entire being to another plain – was seeing Zakk Wylde, Johnny Lang, and Brad Whitford (of Aerosmith) all on-stage for searing version of “All Along the Watchtower”. Immediately following Lang’s set, Kenny Wayne Sheperd came out for the second peak of the night, when he wailed through the honey drip blues of “Voodoo Chile” and the rock-wah of “Voodoo Chile (slight return)” back to back.
The Experience Hendrix Tour as a whole is a failsafe formula: you take the greatest guitarists you can find and convince them to play selections from the single greatest guitar songbook in history. How can the show fail? Even the unnecessary cheese of 60’s flower-child effects pulsating on a screen above the stage, couldn’t detract from the magic that was happening on-stage.
*Note – I feel it’s worth stating that I had only consumed one beer previous to entering this show, and no other chemical enhancements were consumed prior to, during, or after said performance.