If Jimi Hendrix were alive today, he'd be 74. And while many around the world still mourn the loss of the world’s greatest, most innovative guitar player, thankfully his contemporaries as well as those he's inspired continue to honor his legacy. At age 75, Billy Cox is the last surviving member of Hendrix's main bands during his too-short career, while blues great Buddy Guy, at age 80, was an influence to the incendiary young player—and in 2017, the pair came together once again to kick off the spring leg of the Experience Hendrix Tour in Portland at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Friday, February 17.
Now in its second decade, the Experience Hendrix Tour gathered the already mentioned living legends alongside modern stars like Dweezil Zappa, Jonny Lang, Mato Nanji of Indigenous and many others to bathe the enthusiastic Schnitz audience in the electric waves of world-class guitar playing. Featuring songs spanning Hendrix's catalogue, Calvin Cooke and Chuck Campbell of The Slide Brothers guided us through the blues section of the evening while Keb' Mo’ added his own flair and funkified "Killing Floor."
Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society (as well as Ozzy Osbourne once upon a time) gave us Hendrix hopped up on heavy metal. Following a surprise appearance from The Doors' Robby Krieger, where the pair passed howling solos back and forth on "Manic Depression," Wylde took his purple guitar into the audience, giving each of the three main aisles their own extensive solo during "Little Wing," before returning to the stage for "Purple Haze," the crowd still on their feet. While Wylde's playing was insanely accelerated, Kenny Wayne Shepherd got a chance to show off his own impressive interpretation of Hendrix's work, especially on "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)."
But Buddy Guy was not to be outdone by these young guns. Bringing a slower pace with a commanding presence and his own comedic knack, at one point, Guy almost looked surprised at the incredible sounds emanating from his six strings—yet the reaction was fleeting as it quickly transformed into pure satisfaction.
Between 16 featured performers and a 24-song set, we gladly entered Jimi Hendrix's electric church, relishing in insanely indulgent guitar solo after guitar solo, because, just as the man once said: “Music is my religion.” CY
"Hear My Train A Comin'"
"The Sky Is Crying"
"All Along The Watchtower"
"The Wind Cries Mary"
"Spanish Castle Magic"
"I Don't Live Today"
"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"