Jimi Hendrix’s infamous 1970 Maui concerts documented in new film and live album

Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings have announced a new feature-length Jimi Hendrix documentary, Music, Money, Madness... Jimi Hendrix In Maui, as well as an accompanying album, Live In Maui, due November 20.

The film chronicles Hendrix’s 1970 visit to the Hawaiian island, as well as the botched Rainbow Bridge movie endeavor produced and conceived by his manager Michael Jeffery.

As the press release for the new film and CD explains, Rainbow Bridge centered around the idea of a “rainbow bridge” between the unenlightened and enlightened worlds.

Hendrix, with bandmates Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (bass), was already booked to perform a concert in Honolulu at the H.I.C. Arena on August 1, 1970, and the film’s director, Chuck Wein, desperate to feature Hendrix in some capacity, devised a plan to film a free “color/sound vibratory experiment” on the lower slope of the dormant Haleakala volcano.

Word of mouth about a free Jimi Hendrix concert led a few hundred curious Maui locals to the Baldwin cattle ranch in Olinda where a makeshift stage was constructed and the audience was arranged by their astrological signs. The performance captured the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the height of their powers, playing two full sets against the natural backdrop.

“Jimi loved adventure and there was certainly no shortage of it during his time in Hawaii, a place he also loved,” said Janie Hendrix. “The back story of Rainbow Bridge and these recordings paint a picture of Jimi’s uncanny ability to turn the bizarre into something amazing! We’re excited about this release because it gives the world a closer look at Jimi’s genius.”

The Blu-ray release includes the full documentary as well as bonus features featuring all of the existing 16mm color film shot of the two performances that afternoon, mixed in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound.

Included in the package is Live In Maui – both of the aforementioned sets spread across Blu-ray / two CDs (released November 20) or Blu-ray / three vinyl LPs (released December 11), newly restored and mixed by longtime Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer and mastered by Bernie Grundman.

Music, Money, Madness... Jimi Hendrix In Maui was directed by John McDermott  and produced by Janie Hendrix, George Scott and McDermott, and incorporates never before released original footage and new interviews with first-hand participants and key players such as Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, Warner Bros. executives and several Rainbow Bridge cast members, as well as its director Chuck Wein.

Live In Maui, meanwhile, features the two full Jimi Hendrix Experience sets, with a track list that includes Foxey Lady, Purple Haze and Voodoo Child (Slight Return), as well as then-unreleased songs like Dolly Dagger and Freedom.

You can check out a trailer for Music, Money, Madness... Jimi Hendrix In Maui, as well as the Jimi Hendrix Experience performing Voodoo Child (Slight Return) on July 30, 1970, above.

The documentary and live album are available for preorder now.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.