Jimi Plays Rotterdam (10 November 1967)
by Caesar Glebbeek
Friday, 10 November 1967
At ten o'clock in the morning, Jimi, Mitch, Noel plus road manager Gerry Stickells departed by plane from London to Amsterdam. This was the second visit of the Jimi Hendrix Experience to Holland. Earlier in March 1967, the Experience did two numbers [mimed] for the TV program 'Fanclub' in Amsterdam, but that's another long story and for another issue of UniVibes. This time around the JHE were in Holland for a live TV show and a concert.
TV recordings - "Vitus Studio," Bussum
Immediately after arriving at "Schiphol Airport" near Amsterdam, the trio drove to the "Vitus Studio" for the recordings of the TV program 'Hoepla.' Peter Nieuwerf worked for Polydor and met the JHE at the airport. "The only thing I remember is that Jimi wasn't very warmly dressed. And they didn't have any instruments with them, maybe someone else took care of that. I picked them up and brought them to the studio. Thereafter, I didn't see them again. Jimi didn't say much. You could not really get close. But he was an extraordinarily kind and gentle being. Absolutely!"
In alternative circles the "Vitus Studio" [originally a church] was also known as "Studio Virus" or "Studio Citrus." The JHE recorded "Foxy Lady" [L517], "Catfish Blues" [L516], a false-start of "Purple Haze" [Jimi: "One more time, I have to do it again, my guitar got out of tune. You don't mind!"] plus two complete takes of "Purple Haze" [Jimi before the first complete take, "Okay here we go one more time...again, haha"].
The couple Jules Deelder (a.k.a. Julian The Joint) and Roselie Peters were also present. Jules, with a frizzed head of hair á la Jimi, came in contact with Jimi in the canteen. "I just came back from the toilet and instantly noticed from the change of atmosphere that he was there. I sat down at a table. I'm not the sort of person who goes straight over to another person, but his roadie came up to me and asked whether I would like to talk to Jimi for a minute. Because of the way I looked, you know. That man came straight from London, and that was the mecca...and well, I got into a conversation with that guy, my goodness. It was like if we'd known each other for years!"
Also Roselie Peters, who would announce the JHE on TV, perceived "in that same incredibly cozy canteen, some young man with slim hips and nicelooking afros." As described in De Gekke Wereld Van...Hoepla (The Mad World Of Hoepla - a 1968 book about one of Holland's most sensational TV programs): in the nervous energies of passing people, she recognized "her own Julian The Joint, who was already in a deep conversation with mister Hendrix about the copulation habits of the greater walking goose" (!).
Roselie now recalls, "It all went very cool...everything went 'á l'improviste.' That was also the intended atmosphere, to foster a certain absurdity." One of the 'Hoepla' producers, Wim van der Linden, was also present at the recordings. "He gave a live performance, incredibly loud, but we told him to. We already had trouble with the technicians [during previous 'Hoepla' recordings] and this gave them even more reason to put us down. That nutty Gied Jaspers did the program direction for the first time. He was so nervous, for five minutes you saw a long-shot, seeing someone move at great distance. That then was Jimi. I even had a terrible fight with Gied in the control room. I said, "Goddamn it, if you don't take a close-up right away, I'll kick your ass."
In , the '80s rumours were buzzing among Hendrix archivists. Wim van der Linden would have been shooting film of Jimi on 'Hoepla' while the Ampex TV recordings were being made. Wim claims he never shot such a film: "'Hoepla' was recorded on Ampex tape, from which so-called telerecordings were made afterwards. Those were filmed from the screen, on film. All the original (Ampex) tapes were wiped out. That happened often. Ampex tapes were too expensive. But I did not film anything myself. I just don't have it."
Adrie Ottenvanger was a technician present at the recordings. He says, "Wim did the official recordings. At that time I was with an amateur film club, and when Jimi came we decided to shoot some [silent] film for that club. And that's the whole story. Yes, I've still got that film" [about half a minute of the 8mm footage was shown on Dutch TV, 25 May 1987].
Leo Riemens, journalist of the right-wing newspaper De Telegraaf, one the whole, really wasn't enthusiastic about 'Hoepla', and about Jimi Hendrix in particular. In the issue of 24 November 1967, Leo described the performance as an enormous display of tastelessness and musical impotence - "One of them tried to eat his guitar...I argue that not only Hoepla and that filthy Fanclub [another Dutch TV program] and all those manifestations of complete negativism between 7 and 8 in the evening should disappear. For which young people is all this actually meant?"
And that, written about a guitarist described by Wim van der Linden as "a terrible nice guy. Not at all arrogant. Really nice and gentle." Roselie Peters confirms this impression. "He came across as very soft-hearted. After all those wild stories about the Jimi Hendrix Experience, a trail of destruction, first class riff-raff, he made a very loveable impression. He gave me a box of chocolates...harmless affection. A really sweet guy."
Concert - "Ahoy Hallen," Rotterdam
After the TV recordings the group ate french-fried potatoes across the street from the "Vitus Studio." Thereafter, around five o'clock, they left by car for Rotterdam and checked in at Hotel Centraal. Early in the evening they went off in the direction of the old Ahoy complex. There, the 'Hippy Happy Market' was being held. There were about 40 stands lined up with all kinds of interesting stuff for the swinging teenager. From clothes and records, to coin-operated amusements and motor bikes. In other words, a warehouse for teenagers.
The musical program for this five-day market event included, among others, Pink Floyd, The Bee Gees, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. And national pride in the form of various Dutch acts. The warm-up acts for the JHE were The Flowers and The Motions. One of the musicians in The Motions was Gerard Romein: "We had a silly act. We hired some farmers marching band. To do something different, you know. We couldn't match that Hendrix anyway; only that sound to begin with. So we decided to play a little joke. Backstage? Well, we had a room next to Jimi, but you didn't walk in just like that. One very much looked up to a man like him. I could have probably done so, you know, but I didn't dare to. And also, the relationship between Dutch and English bands was very different in those days."
Paul Acket (who saw Jimi play in England long before most people in Holland had ever heard of him) booked all the bands for the Hippy Happy event. The JHE played for £374. Acket: "The contracting went very easy at that time. However, it wasn't so easy to get him on the program in Rotterdam. They never had heard of the man before. Special conditions? No, nothing like that, not at all. It was just some paper with the date, hall, time and wages, that's all. This wasn't only for Jimi Hendrix but for all the groups at that time. They were glad if you gave them a bottle of beer, so to speak. Nothing like champagne or whiskey in the dressing rooms. Those were good times!"
The JHE concert started at 22.05. Jimi took up his usual position on the left side of the stage, behind him four 100 watt Marshall stacks. Plus two Stratocasters and the Gibson 'Flying V' lined up in front of the speakers. Gérard Bed [nowadays a publisher of a Dutch music magazine] attended the concert and says, "It was all very empty. It struck me that there were so few people. I guess there were about 500 people. Everybody moved close to the stage. But Jimi began very nice and modest by saying, "I don't know what you're used to over here, but take care of your ears. You might as well stand back a little." And then, very quickly, the whole pack shoved backwards."
Jules Deelder was present too: "Not a good atmosphere? Come on! The atmosphere was fantastic. Not many people? Man, there wasn't a place left for a chicken! Next to me sits a person for whom it was the highlight of his life. I can still remember, I arrived at the side of the stage and saw in front of me an immense crowd. It was so crowded, man, well...yeah, that hall was so big, maybe in the back...but my impression was that it was totally packed."
To put things in perspective, I had the pleasure of having a grand view as I was standing right in front of the stage. There were 3,000 people watching the Experience, and nobody moved an inch back! Behind me there were loads of fans flashing away like mad with their little amateur cameras, and I vividly recall even a person shooting some 8mm film (love to see the footage!).
Despite repeated advertisements in the Dutch music papers over the years, a tape of the 55-minute concert was never located, unfortunately. The following songs were performed: "Stone Free," "Manic Depression" (the Dutch newspaper Het Vrije Volk called this "A Man Of Depression" in their concert review), "Hey Joe," a number from the Axis: Bold As Love LP (possibly "Little Miss Lover"), "The Wind Cries Mary," "Foxy Lady," "The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp," and "Purple Haze" (including the teeth act and testing a Marshall amp for durability via Jimi's attacking white Fender Strat).
The newspapers were reacting with enthusiastic reviews. Whereas the atmosphere was described as lacking (mainly due to the neon lights used in the hall), the concert was great. Alternative music paper Hitweek concluded in their piece published on 24 November with, "He lets his guitar sing, groan and scream, but keeps it all under his control... Mitch gave a drum solo compared to which Ginger Baker's Cream-work grows pale, while bassplayer Noel played more like a solo-guitarist. In short, it caused goose-bumps."
After the concert, the Experience went quickly back to Hotel Centraal. There was a get-together in Jimi's room with Julian The Joint (no points for guessing how he got his name!). Roselie Peters wasn't permitted to go upstairs. "I had to wait in the lounge, while Jules was boozing upstairs. It just wasn't allowed for woman to go in Jimi's room. I made a big fuss, and then we all went over to our place." Deelder, "Yes, those watch-dogs' of Acket were constantly there. Jimi said, "I don't like having those guys on my ass." So I said, "Then come along to my place. There you can do whatever you want to."
Upon arriving at the little house, it seemed to be packed with people. Where they came from is even now a mystery for Jules. But everybody knew Jimi would be there. There were drinks and some smokes. According to Noel, he nearly 'pulled' Roselie Peters. "Ah, those boys of the Experience" says Roselie, "they were so drunk and stoned. They were just sitting on the stairs. They staggered into a taxi." Jimi stayed the whole night. Jules played Charlie Parker and Art Pepper LPs - "He thought it was just fine that I didn't have any of his records." Roselie: "There was a lady [Wilhelmina] who, I don't know how long, was hanging around Hotel Centraal and around our door. Finally we let her in. She spent the night with him. We didn't hear a thing... That still surprises me. Jules and I slept in a single bed and they slept in the room next to ours. Only a curtain separated those little rooms...."
Saturday, 11 November 1967
Peter De Wit (Pee White), one of Paul Acket's 'watch-dogs', stormed the house of Roselie and Jules, but the bird had already flown. All night long, he and the other 'watch-dogs' had been desperately looking for 'their man', until they found out that Jimi was with Roselie and Jules. Roselie: "We did put Jimi in a taxi with a raisin bun. And no more than five minutes later that 'watch-dog' stood in front of our door, totally in panic. Where was Jimi? At last they found out where the golden chicken was." At 10:45 in the morning, Jimi, Mitch and Noel left from Hotel Centraal to go to "Schiphol Airport." At precisely one o'clock in the afternoon, their feet left Dutch soil. Never to return again.
First published in UniVibes issue #4, November 1991
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