Zakk Wylde, Buddy Guy + More Show Los Angeles the Best Way to ‘Experience Hendrix’ [Photos + Review]
The 'Experience Hendrix' extravaganza began in 1995 as a special one-off event to honor the accomplishments of the late Jimi Hendrix, and has since evolved into a recurring tour. It's been a hotbed for guitar talent over the years and the 2017 edition is no different. After starting last month in Portland, Ore., the trek made a stop at the Wiltern in Los Angeles on Wednesday (March 1) with a stellar lineup that included Zakk Wylde, Band of Gypsys bassist Billy Cox, blues legend Buddy Guy and his drummer Tim Austin, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and singer Noah Hunt, Johnny Lang, Dweezil Zappa, Stevie Ray Vaughan drummer Chris Layton, Indigenous' Mato Nanji, Slide Brothers and Scott Nelson.
The show began with the CEO of 'Experience Hendrix,' Janie Hendrix (Jimi's sister), who spoke to the audience about her brother's legacy. Then, kicking off the night was Billy Cox, who started the show off with “Freedom.” Hendrix’s classic songs came one after the next and the electric licks were delivered by a who’s who of modern guitar greats.
One big highlight came halfway through the show when Zakk Wylde came out shredding on an intro that segued into “Manic Depression.” From the minute Wylde began, the audience was stunned and the ones who had never seen him before were left with anticipation of what was to come.
Wylde literally played to the crowd with “Little Wing," as the guitarist walked straight into the audience and up and down the aisles mesmerizing fans before returning to the stage. The third song from the Black Label Society leader was “Purple Haze,” which he capped off by playing the guitar with his teeth, holding his guitar up as a salute to Hendrix. Wylde did stick around for another song in which Jonny Lang played acoustic guitar and sang lead vocals on Hendrix's iconic cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower." Lang then gave a blistering performance of “Fire,” before settling into more of a groove with the soulful “The Wind Cries Mary,” and “Spanish Castle Magic.”
The night still had plenty to offer. Kenny Wayne Shepherd was joined by his singer Noah Hunt during a stellar segment playing “I Don’t Live Today,” “Come On (Part 1)," “Voodoo Chile” and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" leaving the audience in awe.
But there was one more guest to come: a man who not only influenced Hendrix, but a whole generation of guitarists for five decades. Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy (joined by drummer Tim Austin from their Damn Right Blues Band) performed “Who Knows,” “Mojo Hand,” “Hey Joe,” “Them Changes” and ended with Cox joining in on “Red House.” All the musicians who performed came out for the night for a final bow with words from Cox and Janie Hendrix thanking everyone for being there.
To this day "Experience Hendrix" remains the guitar tour of the year to see and keeps the spirit and music of Jimi Hendrix alive and well. Check out our photos from the event at the top of the page and see the remaining dates on the run here.
Where Does Jimi Hendrix Rank Among the 10 Best Rock + Metal Guitarists of All Time?