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Jonathon K. Here….
First off, you’re probably asking yourself “Who the $%@# is Gary Moore, and why is he playing Jimi Hendrix songs?!?” Sadly and admittedly, I had to ask myself the same thing. Until recently, I had never heard of Moore. As a rock n’ roll connoisseur, I should have been more familiar with a guitar bad ass such as he, but as I say time and time again…the music will find you when it’s supposed to.
Moore certainly isn’t new to the rock scene, as he had been a UK staple since the late 1960s, growing up on The Beatles, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and the like, and playing for bands Thin Lizzy and the original lineup of Skid Row, to name but a few. (Unfortunately, Moore passed away in February 2011, way too soon.)
There aren’t many white dudes (period) who can attempt to play Hendrix material and actually make it work. Clapton, SRV, Jeff Beck for sure. Now, add Gary Moore to that short list. “Blues for Jimi” is a wonderfully loud and intimate concert film, shot 25 October 2007 at the London Hippodrome, loaded to the gills with wicked guitar slinger licks and raw blues power. Moore, backed up by bassist Dave Bronze and drummer Darrin Mooney, power through several Experience hits, such as “Purple Haze”, “Manic Depression”, “Foxy Lady” and “The Wind Cries Mary,” just to get things cooking. Close your eyes for a few bars of “Fire” and “I Don’t Live Today” and you forget that it’s not Hendrix himself you are hearing. Moore tackles every riff throughout the 70+ minute set effortlessly, sounding like he’s playing two guitars at once, and as though he taught the songs to Hendrix himself, without a hint of arrogance or self-importance. Moore’s obviously another über talented musician on the stage, paying a huge tribute to a musician who obviously influenced the hell out of his own playing.
The real treat of the performance is Moore being joined on stage by original Experience drummer, Mitch Mitchell, and Band of Gypsys bassist, Billy Cox, for the last three numbers: “Red House”, “Stone Free” and “Hey Joe,” with each musician obviously enjoying jamming on these classics. Just shy of SRV’s renditions of these Hendrix classics, I can’t think of another recent instance where these nearly 50 year-old songs sound as fresh and as invigorating as they do on the original recordings.
Like many great music DVDs that cross my path, my only complaint on “Blues for Jimi” would be it’s entirely too short. The super-charged excitement Moore and his band stomp and sweat out on stage is enough to demand a few more cuts, like a 20 or so minute version of “Machine Gun” or “Crosstown Traffic” would suffice. I’d even settle for Moore lighting his guitar on fire “Monterrey Pop” style. Additionally, it would have been great to include a few bonus features, like behind the scenes footage, interview with Moore, Mitchell and Cox, or even some rehearsal footage. But alas, the concert film stands alone making the viewer left wanting more Moore.
The picture and audio quality for the film is superb, with the camera and sound crew getting up close and personal with Moore as he kills one guitar after another in 1080i High Def Widescreen. Hendrix played loud, as does Moore in this concert, and the DTS HD Master Audio works well in showcasing the music. You’ll want to watch this on a big screen if you’ve got one handy.
THE ULTIMATE WORD
Typically, if you want to see/hear/experience Hendrix, you’d be better off to track down the real deal on film or record. However, Gary Moore “Blues for Jimi” really stacks up to the Real McCoy, and is definitely worth adding to your music collection. If anything, it would be great to turn one more person onto the underrated Moore, as he no longer needs to be one of the UK’s best kept secrets.