Hendrix Plays Lewiston Too

It wasn't just the Dead in 1980, but Jim Hendrix played Lewiston, Maine on March 16, 1968







03-03-11, 10:20 AM
Sunday, March 16th, 1968

NO SETLIST KNOWN
no recording has surfaced

Audience Recollections

On March 16, 1968, Jimi Hendrix played at The Lewiston Armory in Lewiston, Maine, and delivered a performance unlike any other the city has ever seen. Surprisingly, these were the only public details available. That is, until I decided to do a little research. Using the local newspaper the "Sun Journal", I was able to track down a handful of people who attended the 1968 concert to learn about their perspective of the historic event & try to piece together the details of that damp March evening in Lewiston. Though the different people I’ve talked to remembered different things about the show, everyone in attendance agrees it was quite the "experience".

Everyone I talked to also agreed that the concert was extremely loud. That’s no surprise, as The Jimi Hendrix Experience was known for cranking their amplifiers and leaving the audience with their ears ringing. Sue Landry from Auburn expressed this fact to me with the most clarity. She was also kind enough to provide me with a copy of the original advertisement for the show from the local newspaper. Landry, who was in 8th grade at the time of the show, said that her father could hear the concert a half mile away on the way to pick her up. She also remembers that there was an incredible light show to dazzle the packed venue.

Roger Caslong of New Glouster also had a good time - perhaps too much of a good time. Though he can’t remember much, he remembers the essential details. Aside from the extreme loudness of the show, he remembers the mountains of amplifiers piled up behind the band, how cheap the tickets were, and he also recalls Hendrix destroying his guitar at the end of the show. According to Caslong, Hendrix also played the guitar with his teeth & behind his back in front of a crowd of standing room only.

The show at The Armory was Diane Leblond’s first concert. She was 16 at the time. Other than smelling the heavy aroma of marijuana, she remembers that the crowd "thoroughly enjoyed the performance", and that Hendrix demolished his guitar at the end of the show. She also noted that the song "Purple Haze" was the highlight of the set.

David Bernier was a senior in high school when he saw Hendrix in Lewiston. Calling it an "unforgettable experience", Bernier remembers Hendrix playing the guitar behind his head & with his teeth and tongue. He also clearly remembers feeling Noel Redding’s bass pulsating through his body. Bernier noted that the police at the show got nervous when the crowd chanted "Fire", unaware that it was the title of a Hendrix song. According to Bernier, Hendrix not only played "Fire", but many other songs from the album Are You Experience?, as well as "You Got Me Floatin’" and "Wait Until Tomorrow" off of the recently released Axis: Bold As Love album. Since The Experience never performed those two songs in concert, it’s very unlikely that they were played in Lewiston. I’m guessing he got the Axis songs confused with "Spanish Castle Magic", a song of the album that was frequently played around this timeframe. Bernier added that the band ended the show with a cover of The Trogg’s "Wild Thing". Hendrix ruled out the possibility of an encore by dousing his guitar with lighter fluid and setting it ablaze.

Ted St. Pierre of Bethel remembers Hendrix arriving late to The Armory. He heard that Jimi possibly crashed his Jaguar while driving to the show. St. Pierre, who was 16 at the time, claims that he "PA system was a joke", that it was "just a couple of Fender cabinets". St. Pierre also remembers that there were no empty seats for The Experience’s 45 minutes to an hour performance.

Along with remarking on the cheap ticket prices, Brian from Minot talked about the "wall" of amplifiers stacked behind the group, as well as Hendrix’s showmanship: "It was a wall of amps over 6 feet tall, and to see Jimi play behind his back is something I’ll never forget." Brian recalled that Hendrix played mostly songs off the Are You Experienced? album, though he remembers hearing "the greatest ‘Star Spangled Banner’" he’d ever heard. That would be unlikely, as Hendrix didn’t begin playing the National Anthem until some time later.

Penelope Poor best described Hendrix in her own words: "He seemed so young, very skinny, and was dressed the way you always see him, very colorful." Poor said that Hendrix was very well received by the audience.

I received a nameless e-mail from someone who attended the show, and they had this to say: "Jimi held his guitar strings in front of a strobe light and then dangled them over the crowd, then dropped them individually into the crowd. He lit his guitar on fire & stamped on it!"

I talked to a man named Kris Milo about the Hendrix show. Though he didn’t attend the concert, he knew a man that not only went to the show, but also took photos of Hendrix’s performance. Sadly, Paul Langelier passed away unexpectedly 5 or 6 years ago, and the photos were auctioned off. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any trace of the photographs.

Perhaps the most intriguing perspective of the show is from Rich Hagar. Hagar played rhythm guitar for one of the opening bans at the show, Hanseatic League. The college band landed the gig because the bassist was one of the promoters for the show. Hagar recalls that Hendrix was originally signed to play the show for $1500. The promoters expected about 4,000 people at the most, but 7,000 people actually showed up, which is almost double of what The Armory is built to hold. Hagar knew it was to be a loud set from Hendrix when he saw three 24-foot U-Haul trucks pull up, all holding amplifiers and instruments. Both Hendrix and Redding used 3 Marshall amplifiers with Sound City heads. Hagar, like Ted St. Pierre, also heard the story about Hendrix crashing his Jaguar on the way to the show, so perhaps there’s some truth behind the tale. Hagar got to sit on the side of the stage during Hendrix’s set. He remembers Jimi coming onto the stage alone and starting the show alone. After soloing for a few minutes, he was joined by Mitch Mitchell on the drums for a rendition of Howlin’ Wolf’s "Killing Floor". Hagar then went on to say, that "not to be off-color, but at one point, Hendrix turned away from the audience, achieved an erection, and proceeded to play the guitar with it." Hagar, who is currently a college professor in New Jersey, got to chat with Hendrix & Redding at the concert. Redding was very talkative, where as Hendrix was more quiet and reserved.

The show at The Armory was Hendrix’s only show in Maine. The Armory has hosted other musical acts, including Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Foghat, and Queen, but it’s safe to say that Lewiston has never before "experienced" a performance quite like the one delivered by The Jimi Hendrix Experience on March 16, 1968.
Experiencereunited
04-09-11, 01:00 PM
Wow cool stories. I would not rule out the possibility of the 2 Axis songs noted by the one fan above actually being played. There are only 2 known Little Miss Lover's and Up From The Skies was played very infrequently. In that Jan/Feb 1968 time frame seems to be when an aud might have gotten lucky and heard some songs off of Axis besides just Spanish Castle Magic or Little Wing.
billo528
05-25-12, 07:07 AM
http://crosstowntorrents.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=22150&stc=1http://crosstowntorrents.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=21965&stc=1http://crosstowntorrents.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=14371&stc=1http://crosstowntorrents.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=25728&stc=1http://crosstowntorrents.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=25729&stc=1
stplsd
09-27-15, 03:25 PM
Saturday 16 March 1968.
Lewiston Armory, Bates College, 73 Central Avenue, ME, USA. JHE
JHE probably flew back to New York from Portland ME (45 mins in car from Lewiston) after gig. No gigs next 2 days
Neville: “Went out to airport to pick up Marshall amplifier.”
Gary Earle (vox,kybs, Hanseatic League): “[Noel Redding didn’t arrive for the afternoon sound check, but Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell played anyway.] They were, and remain to this day, the best two-piece band I ever heard in my life.”
Concert at 20:00.
Support: The Hanseatic League; Terry And The Telstars.
Promoter: Lewiston students
Fee: $1,500

Songs remembered:

Killing Floor
[You Got Me Floatin’!? - highly unlikely;)]
[Wait Until Tomorrow!!? – even less likely;)]
Fire
Purple Haze
[Star Spangled Banner - yet more pish]
Wild Thing

Neville Chesters: “Good show, shitty place.”

Bates Student (20 March) review by Andrew Tolman: “The Jimi Hendrix Experience was as powerful as had been expected and quite a bit more talented... He proceeded to ruin his equipment and do strange things to his guitar... Despite the fact that he was forced to repair his amp after every number, for which he apologized profusely and happily, the array of sounds produced was amazing. In addition to this, his voice when it could be heard, was better than the Monterey reviews implied, and both he and his Oxford-English speaking bassist were very courteous to the audience... His intense volume coupled with the very real talent for the guitar produced the best psychedelic performance Lewiston has recently seen.”

Mark Horton (bass, Hanseatic League): “[With support from dormmates, I booked Hendrix for $1,500. The League and another local band, Terry & the Telstars, opened for Hendrix.] We were all kind of nervous. I wouldn’t say it was one of our finest performances. [Gary] Earle flubbed the intro to our first song, Booker T. and the MG’s ‘Hip-Hug Her,’ but we redeemed ourselves by the closer, Cream’s arrangement of Skip James’ ‘I’m So Glad’.
Although Hendrix was distracted by equipment problems,] I was riveted.”

Rich Hagar [rhythm guitar, Hanseatic League]: “[We landed the gig because our bassist was one of the promoters for the show. Hendrix was originally signed to play the show for $1500. The promoters expected about 4,000 people at the most, but 7,000 people actually showed up, which is almost double of what The Armory is built to hold.
I knew it was to be a loud set from Hendrix when I saw three 24-foot U-Haul trucks pull up, all holding amplifiers and instruments Both Hendrix and Redding used 3 Marshall amplifiers with Sound City heads. I heard Hendrix was late because he crashed his Jaguar on the way to the show [He didn’t have a Jaguar and he didn’t drive to gigs. Ed.]. I got to sit on the side of the stage during Hendrix’s set. Jimi came onto the stage alone and starting the show alone. After soloing for a few minutes, he was joined by Mitch Mitchell on the drums for Howlin’ Wolf’s "Killing Floor".] Not to be off-color, but [I’ll just plumb the depths of pervsion here, eh? Ed.] at one point, Hendrix turned away from the audience, achieved an erection, and proceeded to play the guitar with it. [this arsehole takes 1st prize for bullshit - a total wanker. Ed.] I got to chat with Hendrix & Redding at the concert. Redding was very talkative, where as Hendrix was more quiet and reserved.]”

Sue Landry [from Auburn]: “Roger Caslong [from New Gloucester]: “[I had a good time - perhaps too much of a good time, I can’t remember much. Aside from the extreme loudness of the show, I remember the mountains of amplifiers piled up behind the band [I][wild exagerration. Ed.], how cheap the tickets were, and Hendrix destroying his guitar at the end of the show. Hendrix also played the guitar with his teeth & behind his back in front of a standing room only crowd.]”

Diane Leblond: “ thoroughly enjoyed the performance, [and Hendrix demolished his guitar at the end of the show. ‘Purple Haze’ was the highlight of the set.]”

David Bernier: “[I was a senior in high school at the time. It was an] unforgettable experience, [I remember Hendrix playing the guitar behind his head and with his teeth and tongue. I also clearly remember feeling Noel Redding’s bass pulsating through my body. The police at the show got nervous when the crowd chanted ‘Fire’, unaware that it was the title of a Hendrix song. Hendrix not only played ‘Fire’, but many other songs from the album Are You Experienced, as well as ‘You Got Me Floatin’ and "Wait Until Tomorrow" off the recently released [I]Axis: Bold As Love album [surely a mistake for Little Wing & Spanish Castle Magic, or some other? Jimi never played those songs live. Ed.]. The band ended the show with The Troggs’ ‘Wild Thing’. Hendrix doused his guitar with lighter fluid and set it ablaze. [more bullshit;) Ed.]

Ted St. Pierre: “He didn’t even have a car at this point never mind a Jaguar and he didn’t drive to gigs. Ed.).] The PA system was a joke, it was just a couple of Fender cabinets [more bullshit. Ed.]. [There were no empty seats and they played for between 45 minutes to an hour.]”

‘Brian’ [from Minot]: “[The tickets were cheap.] There was a wall of amps over six feet tall, and to see Jimi play behind his back is something I’ll never forget. [Hendrix played mostly songs off the Are You Experienced album, but I heard] the greatest ‘Star Spangled Banner’ I’d ever heard.” [not! Ed.]

Penelope Poor: “He seemed so young, very skinny, and was dressed the way you always see him, very colorful. [He was very well received by the audience.]”

Jimi Hendrix 1968

Michael LydonNew York Times, The, March 1968
"WILL HE BURN it tonight?" asked a neat blonde of her boyfriend, squashed in beside her on the packed floor of the Fillmore auditorium. "He did at Monterey," the boyfriend said, recalling the Pop Festival at which the guitarist, in a moment of elation, actually put a match to his guitar. The blonde and her boyfriend went on watching the stage, crammed with huge silver-fronted Fender amps, a double drum set, and whispering stage hands. Mitch Mitchell, the drummer, came on first, sat down, smiled, and adjusted his cymbals. Then came bassist Noel Redding, gold glasses glinting on his fair delicate face, and plugged into his amp.
"There he is," said the blonde, and yes, said the applause, there he was, Jimi Hendrix, a cigarette slouched in his mouth, dressed in tight black pants draped with a silver belt, and a pale rainbow shirt half hidden by a black leather vest.
"Dig this, baby," he mumbled into the mike. His left hand swung high over his frizz-bouffant hair making a shadow on the exploding sun lightshow, then down onto his guitar and the Jimi Hendrix Experience roared into 'Red House'. It was the first night of the group’s second American tour. During the first tour, last summer, they were almost unknown. But this time two LP’s and eight months of legend preceded them.
The crowds in San Francisco – Hendrix’s three February nights there were the biggest in the Fillmore’s history – were drooling for Hendrix in the flesh. They got him. This time he didn’t burn his guitar ("I was feeling mild") but, with the blatantly erotic arrogance that is his trademark, he gave them what they wanted.
He played all the favorites, 'Purple Haze', 'Foxy Lady', 'Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire' and 'The Wind Cries Mary'. He played flicking his gleaming white Stratocaster between his legs and propelling it out of his groin with a nimble grind of his hips. Bending his head over the strings, he plucked them with his teeth as if eating them, occasionally pulling away to take deep breaths. Falling back and lying almost prone, he pumped the guitar neck as it stood high on his belly.
He made sound by swinging the guitar before him and just tapping the body. He played with no hands at all, letting the wah-wah pedal bend and break the noise into madly distorted melodic lines. And all at top volume, the bass and drums building a wall of black noise heard as much by pressure on the eyeballs as with the ears.
The black Elvis? He is that in England. In America James Brown is, but only for Negroes; could Hendrix become that for American whites? The title, rich in potential imagery, is a mantle waiting to be bestowed. Within his wildness, Hendrix plays on the audience’s reaction to his sexual violence with an ironic and even gentle humor. The D.A.R. sensed what he is up to: they managed to block one appearance with the Monkees last summer, because he was too "erotic." But if Jimi knows about his erotic appeal, he won’t admit it.
"Man, it’s the music, that’s what comes first," he said, taking a quick swig of Johnnie Walker Black in his motel room. "People who put down our performance, they’re people who can’t use their eyes and ears at the same time. They’ve got a button on their shoulder blades that keeps only one working at a time. Look, man, we might play sometimes just standing there; sometimes we do the whole diabolical bit when we’re in the studio and there’s nobody to watch. It’s how we feel. How we feel and getting the music out, that’s all. As soon as people understand that, the better."
The Jimi Hendrix Experience, now doing a two month tour, was formed in October, 1966, just weeks after Hendrix came to London from Greenwich Village encouraged by former Animal Chas Chandler. Mitchell, 21, came from Georgie Fame’s band, a top English rhythm and blues group, and 22-year-old Redding switched to bass from guitar which he had played with several small time bands. Their first job, after only a few weeks of rehearsal, was at the Paris Olympia on a bill with Johnny Hallyday.
Their first record, 'Hey Joe', got to number four on the English charts; a tour of England and steady dates at in London clubs, plus a follow-up hit with 'Purple Haze', made them the hottest name around. Men’s hairdressers started featuring the "Experience style". Paul McCartney got them invited to the Monterey Pop Festival and they were a smash hit.
But Jimi Hendrix, born James Marshall Hendrix 22 years ago in Seattle, Washington, goes a lot futher back. Now hip rock’s enfant terrible, he quit high school for the paratroopers at 16 ("Anybody could be in the army, I had to do it special, but, man, I was bored"). Musically he came up the black route, learning guitar to Muddy Waters records on his back porch, playing in Negro clubs in Nashville, begging his way onto Harlem bandstands, and touring for two years in the bands of rhythm and blues headliners: the Isley Brothers, Little Richard, and King Curtis. He even played the Fillmore once, but that was backing Ike and Tina Turner before the Haight-Ashbury scene.
"I always wanted more than that," he said. "I had these dreams that something was gonna happen, seeing the numbers 1966 in my sleep, so I was just passing time till then. I wanted my own scene, making my music, not playing the same riffs. Like once with Little Richard, me and another guy got fancy shirts ‘cause we were tired of wearing the uniform. Richard called a meeting. ‘I am Little Richard, I am Little Richard,’ he said, ‘the King, the King of Rock and Rhythm. I am the only one allowed to be pretty. Take off those shirts.’ Man, it was all like that. Bad pay, lousy living, and getting burned."
Early in 1966 he finally got to Greenwich Village where, as Jimmy James, he played the Cafe Wha? with his own hastily formed group, the Blue Flames. It was his break and the bridge to today’s Hendrix. He started to write songs – he has written hundreds – and play what he calls his "rock-blues-funky-freak" sound.
"Dylan really turned me on – not the words or his guitar, but as a way to get myself together. A cat like that can do it to you. Race, that was okay. In the Village, people were more friendly than in Harlem where it’s all cold and mean. Your own people hurt you more. Anyway, I had always wanted a more integrated sound. Top-Forty stuff is all out of gospel, so they try to get everybody up and clapping, shouting, ‘yeah, yeah.’ We don’t want everybody up. They should just sit there and dig it. And they must dig it, or we wouldn’t be here."
A John Wayne movie played silently on the television set in the stale and disordered room, and Hendrix started alternating slugs of scotch and Courvoisier. He stopped and turned toward the window, looking out over San Francisco. "This looks like Brussels, all built on hills. Beautiful. But no city I’ve ever seen is as pretty as Seattle, all that water and mountains. I couldn’t live there, but it was beautiful."
Besides his music, Hendrix doesn’t do much. He wants to retire young and buy a lot of motels and real estate with his money. Sometimes he thinks of producing records or going to the Juilliard School of Music to learn theory and composition. In London he lives with his manager, but plans to buy a house in a mews. In his spare time he reads Isaac Asimov’s science fiction. His musical favorites as he listed them are Charlie Mingus, Roland Kirk, Bach, Muddy Waters, Bukka White, Albert Collins, Albert King, and Elmore James.
"Where do you stop? There are so many, oh, man, so many more, all good. Sound, and being good, that’s important. Like we’re trying to find out what we really dig. We got plans for a play-type scene with people moving on stage and everything pertaining to the song and every song a story. We’ll keep moving. It get’s tiring doing the same thing, coming out and saying, ‘Now we’ll play this song,’ and ‘Now we’ll play that one.’ People take us strange ways, but I don’t care how they take us. Man, we’ll be moving. ‘Cause man, in this life, you gotta do what you want, you gotta let your mind and fancy flow, flow, flow free."
© Michael Lydon, 1968