"Six, five, four, three, two, one. "On behalf of the Fillmore family, a very, very happy new year! It's January 1, 1970, midnight 2 a.m. Jimi & Co. take the traditional "Auld Lang Syne" from the Guy Lombardo orchestra - highly melodic, not sawing through - and let it turn grooving into "Who Knows" ..
Jimi Hendrix's stage life had always been a kaleidoscope of highlights: 1966 the sensation in London's Speakeasy, 1967 Monterey with pyromaniacal guitar grilling, 1968 Miami with the most relaxed experience of all time, because "Electric Ladyland" was finally in the can after a year of tinkering, plus the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco with six dream gigs in three days. 1969 then a brutal broadside with Marshall amplifiers in the "Happening For Lulu" show against the will of the playback-mad BBC bosses, Woodstock including deconstruction of the US national anthem and criticism of the Vietnam War.
In the summer of 1969, the wild trio The Jimi Hendrix Experience disbanded after bassist Noel Redding had left the band due to his tense relationship with Jimi. What would the year 1970 bring? With only 39 concerts no excessive touring, which was certainly convenient for Hendrix, because - unlike in Miami in 1968 - he was already thinking about the great success of his planned fourth album "First Rays Of The New Rising Sun" (not because he planned to leave this planet in the direction of the "rising sun"). The guitar god par excellence also heard orchestral sounds in his head, which he thought he would be able to realize more easily with a big band - a cooperation with bandleader Gil Evans was in the offing.
The background to the 1969/1970 concerts at New York's Fillmore East at the turn of the year was also an open account: Jimi owed his ex-manager Ed Chalpin and Capitol Records an album after a lost trial. Instead of performing with his formation known as Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, which included Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell Billy Cox on bass, rhythm guitarist Larry Lee, and percussionists Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez, Hendrix decided to form a new trio, which he simply called Band of Gypsys: The bass was also played by his army buddy Cox, while on the drums Buddy Miles, who had founded the Buddy Miles Express after his engagements with Wilson Pickett and The Electric Flag, replaced Mitch Mitchell, who was as sensitive as he was wildly windmilling, as a straight grooving soul man ...