‘Electric Church’: The Jimi Hendrix Experience Live in Stockholm, 1969

Jimi Hendrix was amazing, even on a bad night. And January 9, 1969 was clearly not the best night for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was the second night of the group’s European tour, and Swedish television was there to capture the first of two shows that evening at the Stockholm Concert Hall, or Konserthuset.

“We’re gonna play nothing but oldies-but-baddies tonight,” Hendrix says at the start. “We haven’t played together in about six weeks, so we’re going to jam tonight and see what happens. Hope you don’t mind.” As he steps away from the microphone he can be heard to mutter, “You wouldn’t know the difference, anyway.”

Hendrix looks irritated throughout the 56-minute set. He and the other two members of the band–particularly bassist Noel Redding–hadn’t been getting along, and there were problems with the equipment. In the book Are You Experienced: The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Redding describes the scene:

On the whole, I can’t understand how anyone who saw us on this tour could have liked us. There was a lot of filming for Swedish TV and compared to similar films in 1967, we were a different group. Jimi was sullen and removed and actually slagged off the audience during the first set. He rarely bothered to sing. I paced grimly in my corner and turned my back on him. The sparkle was gone, very gone, replaced by exhaustion and boredom which showed in the sloppy repeats of the hits as we stared at the crowd with dead eyes. We hated playing Sweden. Always the same problem–no drugs. We were forced to drink the killer Schnapps, and it brought on Jimi’s mood for the first set.

“Hendrix was listless and tired,” writes critic Ludvig Rasmusson in the next day’s Dagens Nyheter. “He seemed like he had a desire to run away from it all. The joy of playing was gone. He played his guitar carelessly…. All the other things were gone–liveliness, engagement, impudence, and poetry.”

In the filmed set, the band plays four original songs and three covers:

  1. “Killing Floor” by Howlin’ Wolf
  2. “Spanish Castle Magic”
  3. “Fire”
  4. “Hey Joe” by Billy Roberts
  5. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”
  6. “Red House”
  7. “Sunshine of Your Love” by Jack Bruce, Pete Brown and Eric Clapton

Perhaps the most satisfying moment comes near then end, when Hendrix trades his Fender Stratocaster for a white Gibson SG guitar and plays a soulful version of his traditional-sounding 12-bar blues, “Red House.” But things go downhill again, and the concert ends in pathos. After a desultory instrumental performance of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love,” Hendrix trades back to his main guitar for another song when the master of ceremonies strides out onto the stage. “That’s the lot, folks,” the man says, and the audience begins to boo. The musicians look at each other quizzically, shrug their shoulders and walk off the stage without saying a word as the crowd continues to boo. “Well,” says the M.C., “they told me that you should finish at nine o’clock. But I guess everyone wants some more–so here they are!” At which point a bored-looking roadie walks out and unplugs Hendrix’s guitar.

by | Permalink | Comments (8) |

Comments (8)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Andy Phillip says:

    I always love music. Music is my favorite item. I enjoy the song in the free time. Electric church is awesome. I feel every time this electric church. Thanks for your wonderful relocation.

  • Nan Kane says:

    I have a 30-page program from the 1969 Jimi Hendrix Electric Church concert among some old 33 LP records my brother collected. There are two Jimi Hendrix autographs on the back together with handwritten personal message from him. “Love and Happiness to the Queen of the Sky. To Angel Maria. Stay free forever. Jim Hendrix” and then again below that: ” Thank you for the future. (Heart) Jimi Hendrix”
    The 12″ x 12″ 6-page foldover cover is intact with some stains where the autographs are. Also a bit roughed around the edges. The 24 pages inside are clean. I’d like to sell this, if anyone’s interested. Contact me at nankane@gmail.com Thanks, Nan

  • dogsushi says:

    anyone’s got a quality mp3 of this? i think this is real nice.

  • Nonnie says:

    The second set onn the same night was incredible. I Don’t Live Today (dedicated to the front row by Hendrix) blows everybody completely away…

  • Rick says:

    By far the best version of Red House I’ve heard.

  • Geoff says:

    I know the MC personally…
    he is Alan Partridge from Chichester..
    and now lives in Munich..
    True !

  • Don Needham says:

    Hello Geoff,
    I’m doing some research into the Jethro Tull performances at this concert and have been trying to identify the MC. Can you contact me about this ASAP?
    Many thanks,

  • Steve Rose says:

    Hendrix was completely fed up with Noel Redding for one. The second thing that added to it all was his continuing distrust of Michael Jeffrey, who was fleecing Hendrix of tens of thousands of dollars.

    Jimi always felt someone was watching him, that his life could end at any time and he was right because Jeffrey had ties to the CIA and informed them of Hendrix’ every move.

    Although critics will slam this night as one of the worst performances of ‘The Experience,’ if you listen closely to his solo in ‘Spanish Castle Magic’ you can hear and feel his pain, almost as if he was crying out for help amid the chaos, through his guitar. This solo could also be considered as a foreshadowing of the the solo in ‘Machine Gun’ on Band of Gypsies.

    This solo was clearly the most innovative improvisation Hendrix had played up to that time. It’s easily one of his very best of all time. It was a bad night, yes, but for Jimi and his playing, he was clearly engulfed in that solo.

Leave a Reply