The 2011 Experience Hendrix concert tour, presented by Fender guitars, launches a limited run of dates starting May 20th with an all-star lineup of musical greats paying homage to the abiding genius of Jimi Hendrix. This year’s tour will include performances by Billy Cox, Steve Vai, Robert Randolph, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, David Hidalgo & Cesar Rosas [Los Lobos], Keb’ Mo, Eric Johnson, North Mississippi All Stars, Brad Whitford [Aerosmith], Living Colour, Ernie Isley, Chris Layton [Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble], Indigenous and many additional special guests to be announced.
In terms of format, the tour offers multiple opportunities for performers and audiences to witness unique collaborations such as Steve Vai performing with Living Colour, as well as the tour’s artists performing their favorite Hendrix signature songs including “Little Wing,” “Fire,” “Purple Haze,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” “Crosstown Traffic” and many others. As has been the case with previous Experience Hendrix outings, special guests are expected to sit in at many of the dates, making the concerts all that much more memorable for both new and veteran Hendrix fans. Past special guests have included Paul Rodgers, Joe Satriani, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Robby Krieger and others.
The tour’s presence has been made known on national TV with Robert Randolph performing classic Hendrix on the Late Night With Conan O’brien, and Jonny Lang on Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show and Kenny Wayne Shepherd playing Jimi Hendrix’s actual Woodstock guitar on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Shepherd, a veteran of several Experience Hendrix tours remarked, “Jimi Hendrix’s music has really inspired me to push the limits of my own music. He didn’t observe any boundaries musically. He was an amazing player and a tremendous showman so I incorporated some of his showmanship in what I do.” As far as having been part of the Experience Hendrix touring phenomenon, Shepherd noted, “It touches you on the inside and gets you fired up.”
Anchoring the tour is Billy Cox, the legendary bassist whose relationship with Jim Hendrix and his music dates back to the early 1960s when the two met while serving in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. The two bonded over their love of music and would later work together backing R&B acts on the “chitlin’ circuit.” They reunited when Cox was recruited to be part of the Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsys as well as the ultimate iteration of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, performing at such landmark festivals as Woodstock and the Isle of Wight. Cox, who has been part of all previous Experience Hendrix tours, notes, “It’s always a great thrill and honor for me to play Jimi’s music for audiences now just as it was in the 1960s. The Experience Hendrix tours have shown how timeless this music really is and is just wonderful that we’ve continued to get an infusion of new, very enthusiastic artists to participate and are able to offer the most wide-ranging Jimi Hendrix-related repertoire possible.”
Janie Hendrix, CEO of Experience Hendrix L.L.C., noted, “Everyday, we see how Jimi’s musical legacy continues to transcend generational and cultural boundaries. It’s always been our continuing mission to do all we can to celebrate what he’s given us and to keep his music in the forefront and the Experience Hendrix tour does that most directly. The fact that the tour is going out for the second time in six months underscores the demand and appreciation there is from those who want to be part of this live concert experience that reflects the genius and unifying spirit of my brother. As my brother said, “We want our sound to go into the soul of the audience, and see if it can awaken some little thing in their minds.. ’cause there are so many sleeping people…”
Notes Experience Hendrix Tour producer John McDermott, “The line-up for this tour reflects the breadth of Jimi’s ongoing influence that reaches down through the generations. The guests that have been attracted to participate are enthusiastic about the proposition of performing with their counterparts. That mindset underscores the fact that the Experience Hendrix tour is all about musical camaraderie and the recognition that Jimi Hendrix, undeniably, casts the longest shadow in the realm of great music and great musicians.”
Earlier this year, Sony Legacy and Experience Hendrix entered into a worldwide catalog licensing venture to make all of Jimi’s music, including classic albums, never-before-heard archive recordings, and filmed concerts available through all forms of media. The initial releases from the alliance included Valleys of Neptune and, more recently, West Coast Seattle Boy, a 4 CD + 1 DVD anthology set. On April 12 Experience Hendrix and Legacy will release a deluxe DVD edition of Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsys Live at the Fillmore East and South Saturn Delta, a collection encompassing every incarnation of Jimi Hendrix’s recording career — including both versions of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, his expanded Woodstock ensemble Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, and the Band of Gypsys bringing together 15 distinct studio performances.
Additionally Power of Soul: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix, the first Hendrix tribute album to be curated under the auspices of Experience Hendrix LLC, will be released on that day. It includes interpretations of Jim Hendrix music by a array of brilliant artists including Musiq Soulchild (“Are You Experienced?”), Santana (“Spanish Castle Magic”), Prince (“Purple House”), Sting (“The Wind Cries Mary”), Earth, Wind & Fire (“Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”), Bootsy Collins (“Power Of Soul”), Eric Clapton (“Burning of the Midnight Lamp”), Lenny Kravitz (“Have You Ever Been To (Electric Ladyland)”), Devoted Spirits (“Who Knows”), Robert Randolph (“Purple Haze”), Chaka Khan & Kenny Olson (“Little Wing”), Sounds of Blackness (“Castles Made of Sand”), Eric Gales (“May This Be Love”), Cee Lo Green (“Foxey Lady”), John Lee Hooker (“Red House”) and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble (“Little Wing/3rd Stone From The Sun.”
Experience Hendrix Tour dates:
May 20 - Las Vegas, NV — Hilton Theatre, Las Vegas Hilton
May 21 - Dana Point, CA — Doheny Blues Festival
May 23 - Mesa, AZ — Mesa Arts Center
May 24 - Tucson, AZ — AVA Amphitheatre, Casino del Sol
May 26 - Santa Rosa, CA — Wells Fargo Performing Arts Center
May 27 - Reno, NV — Grand Theatre, Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
May 28 - Santa Cruz, CA — Santa Cruz Blues Festival
May 29 - Avila Beach, CA — Avila Beach Blues Festival