Tribute and Celebration concerts are always great, if you can tell the people on stage love the music they are playing.   That was true at the Experience Hendrix show at Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, WI last Wednesday.
The lineup was steller, starting the night with Buddy Cox, a member of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, along with Dweezil Zappa and drummer Chris Layton, playing Freedom.   Layton would be on stage for most of the night as the house drummer, joined by bassist Kevin McCormick when Cox was not on stage.  Foxey Lady and The Sky is Crying was next, with the band joined by Indigenous guitarist Mato Nanji, and Chuck Campbell and Calvin Cooke of the Slide Brothers
All the guitarists left at the point and David Rosas and David Hildago of Los Lobos took a couple songs, including Killing Floor.  Eric Johnson came on as Los Lobos Left, and played the next few songs joined my Zappa, and vocalist Henri Brown, who also played here and there all night.
As all but Layton and McCormick left the stage, “Are you ready for Zakk Wylde” was yelled from backstage!  The warning was needed, as Wylde played Like a Rolling Stone and Little Wing at over 30 minutes, spending about half the time playing in the crowd.   The interesting past if Wylde does not use a wireless rig for his guitar, and when he played from the second deck of the theater, it had to be a 500 or so foot cord snaking through the lobby and back to the stage.
After in intermission, Doyle Bramhall II started out with a few songs, joined by Layton and McCormick, and Eric Johnson on one song.  He left and Jonny Lang came out for the first time on an acoustic guitar, with Naji and Wlyde on electrics, so play a spirited All Along The Watchtower.  Lang stayed out while Johnson replaces Naji and Wylde for Wind Cries Mary and Spanish Castle Magic
Lang stayed on stage when Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine came on stage saying “we’re going to speed things up a bit”, and launched into Fire and Purple Haze. With Mustaine still out there, Cox and Naji rejoined while Lang left, for Stone Free.  Mustaine took off while Campbell and Rosas rejoined for Hey Joe.    Cox then started the band on bass and volcals, who ripped into a greatThem Changes.
With most of the night being a constant rotation, the last 30 minutes was the same trio.   Joe Satriani on guitar, Dug Pinnick of King’s X on bass and vocals, and Kenny Aronoff on drums.  While there were a lot of good individual performances all night, you could tell these three had spent a month honing themselves as a powerful blues trio, and it showed.    Crosstown Traffic, Manic Depression, If 6 Was 9 and Third Stone from the Sun made me think that’s a tribute album I’d like to own.    They finished the second set with Voodoo Chile.
A single song was the encore, but Buddy Cox, introduced it as “one of Jimi’s favorites, and ours too”, Red House.  I wasn’t even a big Hendrix fan going in, but this tour is a great showcase of the songs, the love people have for him, and the influence it played on some great musicians. Check it out of it comes to your town!
For info and tour dates click HERE
Review and photos by Brian Curski

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