In late July 1970, Jimi Hendrix was flown (allegedly against his will) to Maui in Hawaii to participate in Rainbow Bridge. The film was notable for the absence of a script, a plot or any actors, although there was enough ‘Maui wowee’ around to ensure that the participants and film crew were permanently and catatonically stoned.
Hendrix’s main contribution was to play a gig… sorry, a “vibratory colour/sound experiment”, on the slopes of the Haleakala volcano. But nobody told the locals, and only around 400 people showed up and were grouped by their star signs.
Worse still, when they listened to the tapes back in New York, Mitch Mitchell’s drums had been blown away by the wind and were unusable. He had to overdub them in the studio (a heroic task) for the 17 minutes used in the film – none of which appeared on the Rainbow Bridge ‘soundtrack’ album.
Not surprisingly, the tapes stayed on the shelf while other shows from the summer of 1970 – Atlanta, Isle of Wight – served the Hendrix live legacy.
Now the latest digital audio technology has enabled them to be brought up to scratch (almost). In some ways the club-sized audience helps Hendrix, who hated large open-air shows, and he’s positively chatty at times on the first set, which includes a feisty In From The Storm and a trebly-sounding Foxy Lady.
The second set is looser and in danger of falling apart at times, before Hendrix wakes up and rips through Stone Free.