JIMI PLAYS HAWAII 1969: "You'll Forever Hear Surf Music..."

by Caesar Glebbeek



Noel and Mitch fly from San Francisco International Airport (departing at 18:00), San Francisco, California, to Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, Island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Accommodation: "Otani" house, Diamond Head, Honolulu.

Noel Redding: "We met up with Jeffery again. I was so tired by this time I could hardly see straight. I went to bed early and learned the hard way about insects in Hawaii. I woke up about 5:30 am to see a centipede on my pillow. Oh well, good vibes, and I simply brushed it off. Back to sleep ­nearly­, but there was a tickle on my chest, so I scratch it. But it feels funny, so I look down and I'm covered in centipedes not to mention the ones I have rolled on and squashed. Insect Horror comics came true!

"I got out of bed...and ran to the next house, making sure of its insect population before trying again. Mitch learns the lesson too. He leaves a lump of cheese on the table and when he returns there's a legion of ants carrying it away. But Hawaii is wonderful. The warmth, swimming, laying out in the sun, taking Owsley acid, eating 'cookies' and THC...."



Jimi flies to Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, Island of Oahu.

UV: You know, what we can't understand is why there are no airport pictures for 1969, when Jimi was in town to play the Waikiki Shell.

John Titchen: "By that time in 1969 we were back to one Sunday paper. What happened was, with no competition they just figured, well, you know... So that would explain why there was no big coverage on 1969. Sorry about that!"

Accommodation: "Otani" house, Diamond Head, Honolulu.

NB Years later, the house was torn down and left vacant, until December 1999 when producer David Geffen bought the property.

Tom Moffatt: "I remember that Jimi's guys came in a day before he did, and they took all the good rooms. And he got the worst of the rooms. But he was very gracious, you know; he wasn't like some acts would be. I just remember being around the house once in a while. They were really digging it because it was something different for them as they used to stay in hotel rooms. It had a pool; it was quite private. There was a little hut for the maids [maid quarters], and that's where Jimi ended up!"

UV: Did any babes come over?

"Oh yeah! Haha! But I didn't get any complaints from the landlord."

UV: They didn't bash anything?

"No, they didn't!"


28 OR 29 MAY

Eddie Sherman (columnist) "Strange Manoa seens [sic]: A fella wearing a kimono, carrying an ironing board to [a] neighbor, jarred out of his reverie, getting the peace sign from rock star Jimi Hendrix whizzing by in a car" (Honolulu Advertiser, 1 June 1969).

NB Manoa is where the University of Hawaii is located, not far from Waikiki.



Honolulu, 2805 Monsarrat Avenue, "Waikiki Shell" ­ Jim Hendrix interview conducted by Ben Wood for Honolulu Star-Bulletin (published 31 May 1969): "Hendrix is a good blues singer and an outstanding guitarist... When he turns loose it sounds like a full-scale war.

"'I attribute my success to God,' Hendrix...said before the show. [']I go by message. It all comes from God. I'm really a messenger of God.'

"When asked how much he grossed a year, he said: 'What I make a year is nothing but distraction. My name is nothing but distraction sometimes.'

"Questioned on the [Toronto drug] charge, he said: 'All of that is the Establishment fighting back. Eventually they will swallow themselves up. But I don't want them to swallow too many kids up as they go along. Put that down, I know what I'm talking about.'"


Concert Preview

Steve Moore: "Hopefully there will be no dragoons of goons holding back the mad, surging crowd from itself (Hendrix is as much a part of the crowd as the teeny-bopper in the cheapies) and if the weather be good, it should be a night to remember....

"Bring people you care about and smile at the fence. And note that Hendrix' white suit signifies not virginity but purity" (Young Hawaii, 15 May 1969).

Honolulu, "Waikiki Shell" ­ Concert (20:00). Support: Fat Mattress. 7,400 people attend (ticket sales grossed US $25,020). Songs: Fire; Foxy Lady; Red House; I Don't Live Today; and two others.

Jimmy Leverton (bass guitarist, Fat Mattress): "Michael Jeffery and the tour promoters weren't gonna take the Fat Mattress to Hawaii. 'Why waste the money? No need for them to go to Hawaii.' And it was Hendrix that said, 'Come on, they deserve to come.' And that was really nice of him."

Noel Redding: "Fat Mattress gets a really fantastic reception... Perhaps we are more suited to the vibe of Hawaii with our relaxed style... Jimi doesn't help himself when the Experience goes on and then [later] he refuses to play because there's a small buzz on the amps, really nothing more than an earth hum... I was so pissed off. I couldn't believed he would do it. It was downright embarrassing for me and Mitch."

Eddie Sherman: "Promoter Tom Moffatt joined guards chasing a youngster at the Waikiki Shell, brought him down with a flying tackle. Tom then learned the reason for the chase ­ the lad jumped the fence because he didn't have money for a ticket. Moffatt gave him a chair down front gratis" (Honolulu Advertiser, 3 June 1969).

Newspaper Reviews

Steve Moore: "Friday was pretty grim... He probably just didn't feel like playing Friday and Hawaiian Electric or whoever gave him a good excuse to split... The Fat Mattress was not so hot, the crowd was a little turned off and as everybody started off on a down, that's where they stayed" (Young Hawaii, 15 June 1969).

Ben Wood: "Jimi Hendrix, who calls himself 'a messenger of God,' had his message cut short by a faulty sound system last night before some 8,500 persons at the Waikiki Shell... In the 40 minutes he was on stage, Hendrix, solidly backed by the loud and driving rhythm of Noel Redding on bass guitar and drummer Mitch Mitchell, 'turned on' the huge but orderly crowd" (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 31 May 1969).

Wayne Harada: "It was all together a bad experience for the 8,000-plus fans... Hendrix performed six numbers, decided that an insistent hum in three of his 16 amplifiers wasn't to his liking, called an intermission that lasted 50 minutes, and that was the last the audience saw of him.

"Assuming an artist has the right to demand suitable and proper acoustical structures, Hendrix decided not to return to the spotlight. (The drone of his guitar was noticeably bad, and not only disturbing, but embarrassing.)

"The announcement as to why he wouldn't come back on stage was reasonable enough: he wants to perform in the best way possible, and that meant no hums.

"But ho-hum. Hendrix knew, from the moment he was on, that something was amiss. He did perform for at least 30 minutes. He would have been wiser to do two or so additional tunes, and then call it an evening. Instead he violated the trust of his patrons, who faithfully turned out, and went home disappointed.

"The deal, if it is one, is simply this: those with ticket stubs to Friday's concert will be readmitted at a rescheduled performance at 7 p.m. today at the Shell....

"I don't think I'd care to return to tonight's show. Humming aside, I found Hendrix's second Honolulu date ­ he was here last October, electrifying the Honolulu International Centre Arena ­ uninspiring, uninventive, and, quite frankly, unusually disjointed... His stage form has become quite predictable, with visible annoyance.

"He spices most tunes...with a musical technique exclusively his: grinding his teeth on the amplified guitar strings, shoving the instrument into his groin in a suggestive dance, rubbing the guitar in a fondling sort of way on the microphone stand, and bursting into occasional dance. If audience reaction is a measure, Hendrix lacked fire.

"When he can be heard, he is exceptionally good... Hendrix's two sidekicks, drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding, were rather wooden, but then again, they didn't have much time to display their total talents....

"But a bad hum turned into a bum trip. Rock music and noise are often linked in the same category, and from this corner, they shared the same bed Friday night" (Honolulu Advertiser, 1 June 1969).

Full Moon

At 03:18 local time on 31 May 1969.

Personal Recollections

Steve Lysen: "Everybody [I knew] took acid right before the concert. It's packed in there. And all of a sudden this full moon (I've never seen it so big), this hideous looking, full orange, full moon, came right over Diamond Head. And we're all looking at it, 'Woah! Look at that, looks just like an evil moon!' and stuff like that. Like you feel the presence of the devil.

"And all of a sudden he came out on stage and I think his first song was "Fire." [sic] I don't remember if it was the first one, but I remember it was in the first three... It was like an acid vacuum cleaner! Blowing everybody's mind so to speak and people couldn't handle it. I think I left after about the fourth or the fifth song [laughs]; I couldn't handle it. So what I heard from other people the next day, just after I left he left the stage and his promoter came out and said that Jimi would make up with a free concert on Sunday night."

Tom Hulett (concert promoter, Concerts West): "The audience was dead. They seemed stoned and gave no reaction. Jimi spoke to the crowd and excused himself, saying that he had to have this problem fixed. He went and got into his limousine. Tom Moffat[t] got on the microphone. Eric Barrett and Gerry Stickells ran around trying to fix the problem. I was getting nervous: we were sold out and all of a sudden nothing was happening.

"Then Stickells came up to me and said that Jimi didn't want to go back on. I told Stickells to keep people playing with the wires while I went out to the car and spoke with Jimi. Stickells and I must have tried for thirty minutes, but he was not going back on.

"Jimi said to tell everybody to come back [Sunday] night. He would more than make up for it then. I tried to explain that they were all here now and we had already torn their tickets in half, but I knew him too well. He wasn't going back on. Knowing this, we got ahold of the building manager, ran down to the old Honolulu arena used for wrestling matches, and picked up rolls of tickets.

"We made an announcement that the sound system couldn't be repaired and Jimi Hendrix wouldn't want to perform with substandard equipment ­ all of which was bullshit ­ and that if they all left quietly and picked up a ticket stub, they would be admitted to the [Sunday concert]... Everybody was pissed off. These people were all fucked up on drugs and little more than 1,000 picked up their stubs. The rest were yelling 'Fuck you.'" (Hendrix: Setting The Record Straight, pp. 197-198).

Tom Moffatt: "The night that we did the Waikiki Shell...was the first time that we used any kind of high amplification in sound. You know, Jimi stacked the speakers [on] each side of them. Jimi would stand in the middle. So we utilized a lot of power for those speakers. And towards the end of his set I think they brought the lights up or something which created a buzz. We didn't know what the hell created the buzz.

"And so he finished the song and walked off. And Tom [Hulett] and I were by the side of the stage and he [Jimi] says, 'I can't go on, man.' And I said, 'Jimi, just go out and play one more song and say goodnight and everybody will be happy, 'cause you've done an hour, over an hour [sic].' 'No, man, I can't shortchange my fans; I can't do it. I can't continue because we got this technical problem...' Everybody back here Monday [sic] night.

"We had guys on ships in the navy that couldn't come back Monday [sic] night, and everybody is going to the box office to get their money back. Ohhh! They burned the fence by the box office trying to get their money back. Tom and I took off!"

UV: And that's after he'd played for nearly an hour?

Tom Moffatt: "Yeah. He just wouldn't change his mind. He was really easy to work with, you know. Never any ultimatums. The only time I ever saw him upset was when he cancelled the [rest of the] concert."

Jesse Sartain: "He had tremendous sound problems. The sound was not working so he said, 'Hey, this is bullshit.' I was backstage, hanging out. Jimi seemed to be a lot more distant; he seemed to have changed. He wasn't that accessible [compared to October 1968]."

Paul Wultz: "I saw all three of the shows at the Shell. I didn't shoot movies there but I brought my camera and I was in the pit. I didn't have any kind of a fancy camera, I just shot pictures for fun."

UV: How did you end up in the pit?

"It was easy to sneak down there. I just knew the promoters and stuff. It was no big deal. I'd put posters up for Tom Moffatt around town and they would give me tickets for the shows... It was a small little world back then. I lived down by Diamond Head, but not in the expensive area! I got tickets for the first two nights. I don't have any of the stubs or anything. I know they didn't have passes then. Basically you could get in the pit and you could get backstage, just by the promoters knowing who you were. I weaselled my way down to the front, I was sitting right in front of the speakers... He came out and I shot a couple of pictures [four color slides]. I didn't have a movie camera that night.

"Anyway, the concert went on, and I don't remember how many songs but Jimi wasn't happy with the sound system. It was faulty, it was buzzing, it kept cutting off his feedback or reverb or whatever. Finally he just stopped and said, 'I'm not gonna do this any more, I want everybody to came back Sunday.' And they turned the lights on, and everybody was kinda going, 'Woah, what's this?'

"Then they made an announcement from the stage, 'Just bring your ticket stub back in on Sunday and you can come in for free.' Well, obviously a lot of people had thrown their stubs away, so it essentially became a free concert."

Lynn Danaher: "I was on Maui, and I flew over especially for this show. The one thing that I remember is I felt that the crowd was pretty tame. I just remember all three times he played the 'Star Spangled Banner,' which I always really got off on. I have always felt privileged that I got to see him."

Bill Crittendon: "I always played with camera work, and then one day somebody handed me a super-8 movie camera and I was hooked on super-8. I would take my movie camera with me [to concerts]. No sound. Somehow we got tickets.

"At the Shell you've got a big grass area behind, then you've got a seating area up close to the stage and I got about middle seats... I'd always take my camera but I was sitting kind of far back and a friend of mine comes up and says, 'Hey, I am sitting in the third row, right in front; give me your camera and I'll take a few shots.' And I said, 'Okay.' And he came back with the camera; he took a little bit of it.

"But then he said, 'Here, you go down and sit in my seat and take some.' And we switched seats. Now I was on my way out of the aisle, Jimi was already playing, and one of the ushers was coming down with a big flashlight and everything, and he looked at my camera and he said, 'Take your camera down into the pit!' I said, 'What?' He said, 'Just go down inside the orchestra pit and you'll get some good shots.' 'Okay!' So I didn't ask twice!

"So I got down there, just walked down the aisle. There's a little grass area, get over that, and there's a little wall, jumped over that and boom I was inside this orchestra pit, sort of hiding. I couldn.t see anybody in the audience. The only one I could see was Jimi; he was right above me. So I shot my film; I had about half of a roll left. So I shot that up, and I said [to myself], 'Well, I got the best seat in the house, I think I'll just stay here and pretend like I am still shooting!'"

UV: What do you remember about the concert?

Bill Crittendon: "Really I'd taken my movie camera so I'd have something to do. 'Cause I like the visuals, you know; I am more into the visual [aspects]." 



Honolulu, 1701 Ala Wai Boulevard, "K-POI" station ­ Live radio interview (mid afternoon) with Jimi and Noel (Mitch's involvement is unconfirmed) conducted by Dave Roberts.

Harvey Weinstein: "Hendrix comes back to town; he's playing at the Waikiki Shell. Again he's coming down to the radio station for an interview. Now K-POI was an AM and an FM [station]. So, this time it's a little different. It's a year later; this time I'm the [FM] program director. I am on the air and I've got a year's experience under my belt.

"It's daytime; it's like five o'clock in the afternoon and they are bringing Hendrix in for an interview. So I am ready for him this time, you know! If he would have started to lay into me like he did the last time [in October 1968], I was gonna cut him off and I was gonna come right back with him. I was gonna barb with him.

"The last time my boss was there so I had to try to be as cool as I could. Besides that, I was so green I don't think I could have been cool! [Laughs] So I am waiting, man, and I am waiting and I am waiting, and they bring Hendrix in. He goes over to the AM side, does the interview over there and splits. Doesn't even come back to FM. And that was it! So all that anticipation of having round two with Hendrix never came about."

Honolulu, Island of Oahu, Hawaii, "Waikiki Shell" ­ Concert (20:00). Support: Fat Mattress. 7,673 people attend (ticket sales grossed US $25,884). Songs: Johnny B. Goode; Purple Haze; and others.


Newspaper Blurb

Eddie Sherman: "If residents anywhere in the vicinity of the Waikiki Shell have earaches this morning ­ it could be from Jimi Hendrix' Experience last night at the Shell. Wot a blast" (Honolulu Advertiser, 1 June 1969).


Personal Recollection

Tom Johnson (fan): "One of the songs I remember from the Waikiki Shell concert...was Johnny B. Goode... The sound at Waikiki Shell was so good" (Jimi Hendrix: The Concert At Sacramento..., p. 119).

Jim Linkner (food broker): "I was very, very straight at the time. I remember going after work. I worked late that night and I went to the concert in a suit and tie. That hippy movement and all that stuff was something that was very, very remote to me. I mean I saw it all around but... So I went [laughs] in a suit and tie, obviously sticking out like a sore thumb. Or they thought that I was part of the show, you know, a promoter or something like that.

"I remember that it was phenomenal... There were three of them and I couldn't believe that they were making so much music.... Real sexual connotations in everything I saw; and it was wild, with people jumping around.

"Then he started smashing his amps and stuff like that... This is something that I'd never seen... I remember I got ready to run out of the place 'cause I thought there's gonna be a riot. [Laughs] He was going nuts. Of course, he was probably on drugs, but I mean to me that was a big daft thing at that point.... It was very powerful. I was probably the first one out of the concert!"

Jenny Walton (spectator, 50): "I was with two girlfriends, Tommy and Jan. We were more into drinking beer and stuff like that, but boy, there was pot in the air everywhere ­ it was just thick in the air. I remember that everybody was really excited... It was amazing, 'cause I don't remember how many people were there but it seemed like it was claustrophobic [laughs], there were so many people there.

"I remember when he first started to play everybody went completely nuts. People were standing up on their chairs, jumping up and down and running up to the stage. And I quickly thought, even in my 19-year old brain then, 'Oh-oh! This can get out of control.' I remember thinking that right away. And my memory of it was that it did.

"I think he was closing with 'Purple Haze' and that's when everybody went bananas; that was the one that caused the rush! The crowd got really unruly and really excited... And I remember he started to do something like he was gonna... I don't remember if he actually lit his guitar on fire or hit his guitar on the stage, but at that point everybody went crazy and started to rush the stage.

"I ended up climbing under my chair to avoid being trampled, because there was no way out. So people were literally climbing over my back to get to the stage. We ran off and watched it from a distance because it got scary. It wasn't that it was unpleasant; it was just that it was our first exposure to crowd riot! [Laughs] He seemed to really enjoy having the people going nuts 'cause he provoked them. But that's the way he was; he was always on the edge, you know."

UV: Was the sound good that night?

Jenny Walton: "The sound was really good. And in those days, of course, in Hawaii there was a lot of drugs, so people were all dancing everywhere, and in every form and shape of sixties clothing. It was pretty vivid. I remember somebody with baskets of flowers, throwing them up in the air all over the place ­ very sixties! There was a lot of color and people were up and dancing the whole time once he started to play, so not too many people were staying in their seats."

Waikiki Shell Tape Rumor

Charles Humphrey (fan): "Last night [7 October 1999] I went to a soccer game and sat with an old friend... He mentioned seeing Jimi in Hawaii and I said, 'Oh, on Maui?' And he said, 'No, at Waikiki Shell, Honolulu... I still have that tape somewhere.' He says it's on a reel-to-reel and he thinks he can put his hands on it. It was broadcast from a pirate radio station and he recorded the broadcast. My friend mentioned a full moon over Diamond Head..."

NB We checked with broadcasters Tom Moffatt and Harvey Weinstein, and both are certain that there was no pirate radio station in Hawaii: "Not with all the military installations here, etc.; no way." They also confirmed to us that K-POI never taped any shows.



Noel Redding: "We thought we'd relax...by going [horse] riding before the gig. But when we got to the stables there was a terrible scene with the owner screaming, 'Fuck off, you hairy load of cunts,' resulting in our [Fat Mattress] roadie threatening him and everyone feeling terrible."

Honolulu, "Waikiki Shell" ­ Concert (19:00). Support: Fat Mattress. 8,000 people attend. Songs: Foxy Lady; Red House; Room Full Of Mirrors; Voodoo Child (slight return); Purple Haze; and others.

Noel Redding: "The [Fat Mattress] gig...went over very well." 


Newspaper Reviews

Leonard Lueras: "Was it the poetry, the velvet-gold bellbottoms or the chewed guitar strings that turned on some 23,000 people last week. Or was it just that freaky Negro-Cherokee-Mexican fellow from Seattle. Jimi Hendrix...blew the Diamond Head end of Waikiki out in style last Sunday.

"Romantic couples on Queen's Surf Beach gazed at a full moon as his sounds nearly flattened in-rolling surf. And I swear that the music was bouncing off Diamond Head and back into my head.

"Out he walked in Navajo jewelry (he wears two turquoise rings and a squaw necklace), a puffy lavendar [sic] voile shirt and those beautiful gold bellbottoms. And all over the place ­on his arms, his right leg and around his forehead­ were sashes of every color.

"Skinny Jimi strolled up to the mike in kaleidoscope grandeur, smiled a funny, squiggly smile and said: 'It's so much fun playing guitar.' And his black and white Fender did the rest.

"So what do you call it? Jazz-acid, funk-rock or electric flow. About a year ago Jimi called it progressive rock, but he's changed since then.

"'Get it on. I am on,' he assured his audience. And on and on he was. Through a li'l 'Purple Haze,' some 'Voodoo Chile' [sic] and a bit of 'Foxey Lady.'

"When it was over, though, Jimi forgot about involvement and all that jazz. Very businesslike, he left 8,000 people clapping and asking for more, laid his guitar down on an amp and was gone in a black limousine even before the clapping was over.

"I felt sorry for the people out in the Shell ­ who were waiting for more. But that was okay. Think of the thousands at Madison Square Garden or the Hollywood Bowl, who stood and waited while he whisked away. Who cares. It wasn't a usual Hawaiian experience" (Honolulu Advertiser, 9 June 1969).

Steve Moore: "Sunday was pretty great... For one thing The Fat Mattress...got together by Sunday and was very fine. And it is a good balance to Hendrix' virtuoso guitar sound because it is definitely a group thing... The last number they did, and I can't remember the name of it, was first-rate stuff and they were duly appreciated.

"Which put the people in the right mood for Hendrix and it seems that that is important for him... Sunday...was a jazzer from the start. (Ask a friend, if you like, about the etymology of 'jazz.' Because that is where Hendrix is. And was.

"I didn't see too much difference in what he is doing now and what he did last year. But when you think about it, the business of changing and developing as with Dylan and The Beatles and The Stones is essentially a white process. The bluesmen don't go through that. They play blues now, they always have played blues and they will always play blues. Maybe they will get better at certain licks but they don't change too much. The difference may be that for them it is a life style and for the whites a gig....

"Hendrix looks almost frustrated as he plays. I think he would be happier playing with ballpeen hammers instead of a pick, but even then he can't milk any more sound out of that one guitar than he does. And it really is a gas to hear him use what he has available. All the distortion becomes as musical as the straight stuff which prompts the old question about what is music and what isn't. Anything you can get behind is music.

"Of what he does I like 'Foxy Lady' and 'Red House' best, I guess. 'Red House' because it is so extremely different from anything else he does and shows best his roots. He also plays a good knife lick in it without the knife. It is thoroughly down-home blues.

"'Lady' because it is such a good microcosm of what he is: eroticism rampant. In fact he strikes me as the highwayman in that poem about Bess, the landlord's daughter. With all the chicks in the world as Bess. Except that Hendrix ends up shooting down the sheriff instead of the other way 'round, as with his dedication to 'the plainclothes and other goofballs in the audience.'

"Do you ever watch the cops during these things? (And there were plenty to watch at this one.) Talk about strange. They stand around, kind of incredulous about the whole thing and, I think, confused. They are confused because there is a tremendous amount of violent sound and concentration, ingredients with which they identify, but here the motivation is love and not busting heads (read as either hitting crania with sticks or incarcerating dope fiends) and they are lost.

"So the next time you see one of our protectors scratching his head, just go up and say hello and wish him a pleasant evening. Maybe tell him he looks nice in blue. Or give him a lei. It's probably what he needs most.

"What started in disaster, then, ended up in triumph. For the audience as well as the players because how often do 8,000 get a show blown out from under them and just go away calmly? With rational people it's possible and because they did it, they were rewarded with a mind-blower, if we may. Or as a friend said, 'I'm deaf out of both of my ears'" (Young Hawaii, 15 June 1969).


Personal Recollections

Tom Hulett: "The venue was overfilled, which is why, in my opinion, there are no more rock shows at the Waikiki Shell. We were paranoid, security was paranoid ­because everybody had heard what had happened [on Friday], came to the gate and said that they had lost their ticket stub­ so we let everybody in. The crowd spilled over into the park behind the Shell. Jimi said to let them in free and he was brilliant on stage that night" (Hendrix: Setting The Record Straight, p. 198).

Paul Wultz: "I came back Sunday and again sat with friends in general admission. That was the best concert, I remember that. Because Jimi was trying to make up for the Friday night, and so he was into it. But I couldn't recall any songs. Fun times. It was a stoney night...."

Byron 'You-won't-get-my-surname': "[We] had seats right in front. Jimi's energy was astonishing... Well, we were already pretty well launched by the time we got there, and Jimi just took us to another realm....

"The overall effect was like being under an avalanch[e] of sound, an avalanch[e] which just kept coming, wave after wave. He was like a relentless, cosmic firehose. It was so loud that I was sure they could hear it in Tahiti.

"Anyway, there was a third show, and it was a killer. By the end of the three days I was just wasted from no sleep, tripping, and partying around the concerts."

Complaints Dept.

Uncredited reporter: "Rock star Jimi Hendrix's amplified music at the Waikiki Shell...didn't agree with the ears of certain Diamond Head area residents. During Hendrix's concerts...police received 'several' complaints from people who couldn't stand the rock 'noise.'

"One irate visitor from Los Angeles phoned The Advertiser to voice his feelings. 'I want to go on record for registering a protest against the noise from the Waikiki Shell,' said George Baker, president of the North Hollywood Rotary Club.

"'I can't tell you how angry I am that the responsible people of this late and great Paradise have allowed Hawaii to be degraded for stuff like what's going on at the Waikiki Shell. I am very disturbed. Very disturbed. This is not Hawaii,' said Baker.

"Baker said that he had registered a complaint with the Honolulu Police Department, which informed him that it had taken 'a few hundred complaints' that evening. (Police said yesterday that they had received 'several' complaints about the concert's volume, but they didn't keep track of how many calls they received.)

"Ted Jones, one of the managers of the Diamond Head Beach Hotel: 'It's bloody awful, let's face it. But we didn't have any complaints. The racket itself was grim. It was horrible music, but people would just go by and say, 'Brother, how often do you have this?'"

"Dave Moffatt, assistant manager of the Colony Surf Hotel: 'No, we haven't had any complaints. If we had, we wouldn't have done anything, anyway'" (Honolulu Advertiser, 3 June 1969).

NB As the name Waikiki Shell suggests, it's a stage with a cover (shell) over the top (see the photo of the venue here below). Thus the music would travel for miles!



Honolulu ­ Jimi goes on a shopping spree in the morning, buying some things in "The Wizard" clothing store (located at 317 Royal Hawaiian Avenue) and some cassettes from "Records Hawaii."

Mike Kelly (shop owner, Records Hawaii): "We were the first free-standing record store in Honolulu (we opened on 8 November 1968), on Kapiolani Boulevard... The story really isn't exciting other than the fact that we were selling cassettes at that time, 4-tracks, 8-tracks, reel-to-reel, and albums. So we had all of those different configurations of albums.

"And Jimi Hendrix came in by himself, and everybody else recognised him. He was just thumbing through, looking at cassettes. And I thought that it was odd that he would purchase his own cassettes. He was kind of leaning on the counter looking at the cassettes and once in a while I was looking over there (we didn't bother him too much), but he seemed to nod out once in a while. [Laughs] No, he wasn't really with it! And who knows if it was drug induced, lack of sleep, or what it was."

The JHE fly from Honolulu International Airport (departing at 23:45) to Los Angeles, California. Noel then flies on to New York, and after a short break in town, catches yet another flight, this time to London, England. Eric Dillon (drummer, Fat Mattress) gets thrown off the flight for being drunk.

Accommodation (Jimi only): "Beverly Rodeo Hyatt House," 360 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California.  



UV: How did you get involved with Rainbow Bridge?

Les Potts (surfer, vocalist Space Control): "We were in it from day one. Well, first of all, Michael Jeffery came over to Maui [in 1969]. So, one day we [Space Control band members] were just having breakfast and Jeffery was hanging out there... We were talking to some people about borrowing ten grand to start a surf shop. And the conversation is not going well for us.

"So Michael Jeffery, who's sitting at the other side of the table, goes, 'What are ya guys talking to these people about?' IÕm going: 'We are trying to borrow ten grand to do a surf shop. And he goes, 'Oh, ten grand? Oh, I give you ten grand!'

"And we went, 'Okay, we're not going anywhere with these other guys, so we might as well talk to this space-head guy,' you know what I mean. So he hung out with us a little bit. I gave him a couple of surfing pictures.

"He talked about Jimi. You see Jimi wanted to do a film, too, because there was no such thing as video in those days. And Michael said, 'Oh yeah, we're gonna come back in May [1970] and we're gonna shoot and you'll be one of our surfers.'

"And this was like in November [1969] or something. So, I went, 'Okay, whatever.' And that was it, you know."

Melinda Merryweather (model, actress): "Chuck [Wein] is explaining this process to these guys at Warner Bros. And one guy listens to the other guy and goes, 'I do not know what the fuck this man is talking about; give him the money!' And the next thing, you know, we have this incredible budget; we're all on our way to Maui. And that is the beginning of Rainbow Bridge."


First published in (the now sold-out) UniVibes issue #36, August 2000 ­ Copyright 2000 UniVibes - All Rights Reserved.