Music sweet music

Experience Hendrix. 2010 Tribute Tour. Montreal, Saturday, October 30th, 8:00 PM at the Place des Arts (Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier). Seating: row Z, seats 38 and 40.

It’s the night before Halloween and Zad and I come across many costumed revelers as we make our way through the rain to the Place des Arts. We’re off to see some incredibly talented musicians pay tribute to the late great James Marshall Hendrix. A show called Experience Hendrix:

For the first time in its history, Experience Hendrix, the concert tour that has wowed audiences revisiting the music and inspiration of Jimi Hendrix featuring an all-star line up of music greats will be re-launched within a single calendar year. The Experience Hendrix tour crisscrossed the country this past March for a string of sold-out concerts and will return with a new set of U.S. and, for the first time, Canadian dates this October and November.
From the Hendrix Experience Tour site.

Graphics courtesy of the Hendrix Experience official site.

Jimi’s half sister Janie, 18 years his junior, introduced the show to shouts of “Foxy Lady” from at least one fan. This was followed by video footage of Hendrix, or was it the other way around? First on the stage was the last surviving member of the Experience and Band Of Gypsys, the legendary Hall of Fame bassist Billy Cox.

Accompanying Cox was guitarist Ernie Isley, member of the famous Isley Brothers, as in “You know you make me wanna (Shout!) Kick my heels up and (Shout!) Throw my hands up and (Shout!)”. Jimi had played with the Isley brothers very early in his career and later brought on Billy to replace Noel Redding.

Ernie was inspirational on the guitar and did a very decent job on vocals as well. The percussionist for this opening set was Chris Layton of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble. Scott Nelson, a Kevin Wayne Shepherd band mate, played quite a bit of bass as well, throughout the concert. So that’s how the evening started but there was plenty more on the menu.

The next courses, featured (not necessarily in order) combinations of artists: Living Colour, Mato Nanji of Indigenous, the Slide Brothers (Chuck and Darick Campbell of Sacred Steel), and Cesar Rosas & David Hidalgo of Los Lobos. Unfortunately Robert Randolph was not with the Montreal leg of the tour.

Living Colour vocalist and frontman Corey Glover mistakenly greeted the fans “Good Evening Toronto” to which the audience quickly corrected him with loud shouts of “MONTREAL!”. The rest of the band are Vernon Reid (Guitars, vocals), Will Calhoun (Drums, percussion, vocals), and Doug Wimbish (Bass, vocals). Corey mingled with the crowd and went up and down the concert hall when he did his rendition of Crosstown Traffic, it didn’t do justice to the original, that’s an understatement. Corey did a pretty lousy job on Purple Haze too, what a shame!

After the Corey Show, we got to listen to the super talented guest guitarist Eric Johnson. This was followed by Jonny Lang who played lead brilliantly along side Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford.

Graphics courtesy of the Hendrix Experience official site. Doesn’t reflect the Montreal lineup.

Next on the menu, was Kenny Wayne Shepherd (KWS), along with his band mates, vocalist Noah Hunt and Scott Nelson on bass. Personally, I think Kenny was amazing. He didn’t steal the show but he played the cleanest and tightest sets, in my opinion, which I guess could be expected since he was with two of his band members. It was the first time I’ve seen him in concert, hopefully it won’t be the last.

For dessert: the showman (leather pants, sleazy moves) and virtuoso guitarist who once played with Frank Zappa, the one and only Steve Vai. Steve, who has incredible stage presence, played along with Living Colour.

We left the concert, about 3 hours later – to the first snowfall of 2010, thankfully had just put the snow tires on. Drove Zad to a party in Verdun and headed for home. Wonderful concert, terrific boys’ night out.

Very impressed by all musicians but particularly by Jonny Lang, KWS, and Steve Vai.

Graphics courtesy of the Hendrix Experience official site.