Before The New York Sunrise (Watch Tower WT 2005149/50)
New York Pop Festival, Downing Stadium, Randall’s Island , New York , NY – July 17, 1970
Disc 1: Intro; by Jimi, Stone Free, Fire, Red House, Message To Love, Here Comes Your Lover Man, All Along The Watchtower, Foxy Lady, Ezy Rider, Star Spangled Banner, Purple Haze, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Stage Announcements
Disc 2: Red House (radio broadcast/alternate mix), Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (alternate mix with distortion from the mobile recording truck), Red House (alternate mix with distortion from the mobile recording truck), Interview
The New York Pop Festival took place over three days on Randall’s Island which also featured acts John Sebastian, Grand Funk, Steppenwolf, and Jethro Tull. Apparently the event wasn’t organized too well as many of the acts advertised never materialized according to the official Hendrix web site. Disc one is Hendrix’s entire performance compiled from two source tapes. The main source is an excellent soundboard with a nice full range of frequencies sounding very close to the master. The “Intro”, “Red House”, and “All Along the Watchtower” are mixed in from the excellent audience recording with the sound being very complimentary to the board tape. The audience portion is also from an almost perfect vinyl source.
This is more of a compact set list compared to other shows around this time and consists mainly of earlier classics with only a few of the newer songs. During “Fire”, Jimi throws in some hints of “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Satisfaction” to mix things up a bit. Hendrix’s playing is smooth and fluent, especially his rhythms and the band’s performance is very energetic and enjoyable. At various points during the show, the guitar amp seems to pick up some radio interference but nothing too disastrous. Jimi dedicates “Foxy Lady” tonight to the woman with the moustache. Overall, this is an excellent performance during a time when Jimi’s focus was sometimes a little off.
Disc two starts with a radio broadcast of “Red House” from the audience source and in slightly lesser quality than disc one. “Voodoo Child” and the second “Red House” are sourced from the mobile truck and contain a series of strange beeps throughout the recording, similar to feedback. The interview is taken from the Beverly Rodeo Hotel, Los Angeles in June of 1969 by N. Carter and lasts about 25 minutes.
The soundboard source has been previously released as Message of Love on Triangle (PYCD 043). This Watch Tower version is much better sounding and more complete where it adds the audience portions. Most of disc two is redundant and irrelevant seeing that the same material is on disc one in superior quality. A professionally mixed “Red House” from this performance appeared on the now deleted The Jimi Hendrix Concerts on Reprise and on the more recent Experience Hendrix compilation, Voodoo Child. This show was also professionally filmed and hopefully someday will see an official release. Until then, this stands as the definitive version of this show.