The Jimi Hendrix Estate isn't worth US$80 million for nothing. Around a million Hendrix records are still sold each year. Roughly two dozen DVDs have been released, with no less than eight this year. Plenty of material for the Hendrix aficionado, and plenty of good returns for the bitterly contested Jimi Hendrix Estate which currently lies in the hands of his step sister Janie.
For those who have seen Live At Woodstock first hand or on tape, you'll know it was a strange performance. For those who haven't, picture the scene: It's a mid August weekend in 1969. Out in the New York suburb of Sullivan County a festival is on with 50,000 expected to attend and Jimi Hendrix billed to close on the Sunday night.
The stage is a ramshackle wooden contraption, sheathed by an appalling excuse for a gazebo not even Woolies could get away with stocking. By Sunday after much love, acid and carefree nudity, the festival is four hours behind schedule due to downpours.
The organisers want Hendrix on earlier, midnight they say, for that perfect midnight moment he'll surely evoke. But Jimi sticks to his guns and says he's down to headline and by god he'll headline. Only thing is headlining means a 9am start. On the Monday morning. A mere 7 hours after the festival was due to have officially ended. Oh and by this point 500,000 people have decided to show, most of them over the fence.
It's fantastically surreal. The crowd have just woken up, muted and sporting thousand yard stares. The stage crew and movers and shakers taking refuge onstage do too. Yet here's the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the third biggest rock band in the world at the time, closing the biggest festival of the modern era.
The DVD sound is considerably beefed up but technology has its limits meaning Mitch Mitchell's drums still sound like spoons hitting buckets. Much has obviously gone into Jimi's parts, which are jaw droppingly superb on a decent sound system.
The second disc is a curious one; essentially the whole gig replayed "alternatively" plus a few short extras. In this case we get no frills camerawork from bystanders and others who weren't assigned to film the thing proper - lots of bad angles, choppy camera work and a bit more of the crowd. It's a disappointing waste given much more could have gone into the very brief special features which offer good insights into the era and in particular Hendrix's childhood. Thankfully without getting too lost into the Woodstock legacy.
If there's one reason to buy this, it has to be the half hour medley which starts with Voodoo Child, drops into Star Spangled Banner before ripping into Purple Haze, an astonishing improvisation before Villanova Junction. Only then does Jimi stop, briefly, to return with Hey Joe.
Whatever pitiful legacy Hendrix's talent resulted in terms of lawyers' fees, you could buy this without too much regard for The Estate and more about a place, a time and moment which was one of the finest to occur.