Photos by Chuck Lanza
It was an evening of the Electric Church at the newly renovated Kings Theatre. Now in its eighth edition, the Experience Hendrix Tour 2016 features three hours of replicating the emotion that made Jimi Hendrix’s music so brilliant. With a warm introduction by Janie Hendrix, Jimi’s sister and the CEO of Experience Hendrix and the Executive Director of the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation, the evening kicked off with the Band of Gypsys bassist Billy Cox singing “Freedom,” featuring Dweezil Zappa on guitar, then adding Indigenous’ guitarist Mato Nanji on “Stone Free” into “Foxy Lady,” all with the backing of Calvin Cooke and Chuck Campbell from the Slide Brothers.
Things just flowed from there: Eric Johnson on a Fender Stratocaster playing every feedback note-perfect on “Third Stone From the Sun” Next up was former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde, starting on electronic keyboards on “Are You Experienced” then switching to a Flying V guitar on “Manic Depression,” “Little Wing” and finishing with “Purple Haze.” Wylde said at the close of the first set “God bless Jimi Hendrix” The second set started with Jonny Lang singing “All Along the Watchtower” with Wylde. Lang and Eric Johnson teamed up on “Fire,” seguing into “The Wind Cries Mary.” Next was Kenny Wayne Shepard with vocalist Noah Hunt on “Gypsy Eyes” and “Live for Today.”
Then enters guitarist Buddy Guy and bassist Billy Cox as the show’s living links to Jimi Hendrix, who died in 1970 at age 27. Cox sang a moving vocal in “Red House,” which featured a classic solo from Guy.
The full company took a final bow after “Red House.” Yes, the Electric Church had been achieved. From the looks of all the musicians on the stage, you got the feeling “It all started with Jimi.” His mix of rock, blues and 1960s psychedelia started a guitar revolution.