Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hendrix - August 16, 1968

The one act everyone always mentions when they talk about Merriweather history - Jimi Hendrix. Many are surprised to learn that the venue that began hosting the National Symphony Orchestra also had the worlds greatest guitarist on stage less than a year after opening. Those premiere years where a crazy mix of acts: the Doors, Frank Sinatra with Chivas in hand, Janis Joplin.  But no one act in the last 44 years is mentioned with as much awe as Hendrix. Jimi and the Experience toured with Soft Machine for this leg of his 1968 tour and was only two short years away from leaving behind a legacy of music.

That concert day began cloudy and as the concert went on it started to heavily rain and thunder.  According to lucky attendees, the lawn crowd moved toward the covered pavilion and were evidently let in as Jimi coaxed them saying, “let them in” and “Rainy Day, dream Away” and when the thunder started he started playing back to it with some feedback.

They played a busy 45-minute set and at times, it appeared Jimi was fighting back the thunder with feedback from his Marshall stacks.  He gave the show all had expected, including playing his guitar behind his back, with his teeth and leaving all blown away.

 The Set List (48 m) 

1. Are You Experienced
2. Rock Me Baby
3. Foxy Lady
4. Hey Joe
5. Fire
6. I Don't Live Today
7. Purple Haze
8. Wild Thing / Star Spangled Banner

This audio of "Hey Joe" is pretty good, considering it's age and multi-generation status.  Still hard to believe that Hendrix stood on the same stage that exists today.  This was the concert to be at:

"Hey Joe"

Get the original recording at iTunes - Jimi hendrix - Hey Joe

More stuff from the show...

Opening act - Soft Machine

One week later at the Virginia Beach Dome, August 21, 1968 - photos by Bill Stokley


  1. I once heard that this is the concert where he premiered "The Star Spangled Banner", is that true?

  2. Appears to be so from all accounts and a search of Hendrix set lists from that year. The song was right at the end of "Wild Thing", but only receives separate notice on this Merriweather concert on most lists. It subsequently appears regularly on many set lists immediately after this Columbia concert (Atlanta on 7/17/68). Will post that song here shortly.

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  4. I was at this show. Soft machine had ongoing gear problems do to the storm. It wasn't really raining while Hendrix was playing ,after he left the stage ,there was a crack of lightening and thunder ,and all the power went out as far as you could see.

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