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Hendrix visits Noel Redding at Olympic Studios during a recording session for Fat Mattress. Later that evening, Jimi Hendrix travels to Ronnie Scott’s to enjoy an evening of performances by Roland Kirk & His Quartet.
April 11, 1969 Dorton Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina With Fat Mattress
Spectrum, Philadelphia With Fat Mattress Set List: Fire Red House Foxey Lady I Don’t Live Today Hear My Train A Comin’ Stone Free Star Spangled Banner Purple Haze Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Jimi Hendrix leads The Experience through a rousing performance at the Philadelphia Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 12, 1969. Photo: Chris Jones / © Authentic Hendrix, LLC
Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee [Two Shows] With Fat Mattress Set List: [Second Show] Fire I Don’t Live Today Hear My Train A Comin’ Sunshine Of Your Love Stone Free Foxey Lady Star Spangled Banner Purple Haze Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Burdened with an exhaustive schedule of personal appearances, the tense relationship between Hendrix and bassist Noel Redding further deteriorated. Frustrated, Hendrix reached out to old friend Billy Cox, with whom he had served in the US Army and performed on the famed R&B ‘chitlin’ circuit’ prior to leaving for New York. The bassist reunited with Hendrix backstage at this Experience concert in Memphis. “We met when the Experience played in Memphis,” Cox explains. “He told me that he wanted me to be his bass player. He said that things weren’t in the order the way he wanted them and would I come as a friend and help him out. He said he’d take care of me and everything would be okay and so I gladly accepted. I went back to Nashville, closed my publishing company, dropped everything else and left for New York.” Three days after the backstage meeting in Memphis, Cox joined Hendrix at the Record Plant recording studio in New York.
April 20, 1969 Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, Texas With Fat Mattress, Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys Set List: Stone Free Hear My Train A Comin’ Foxey Lady I Don’t Live Today Fire Red House Star Spangled Banner Purple Haze Voodoo Child (Slight Return) The Experience always seemed to rise to the occasion in their performances in Texas. This superb Dallas 1969 performance was no exception. Jimi Hendrix is photographed during The Experience’s April 20, 1969 performance at the Memorial Auditorium in Dallas, Texas. Photo: Chesna Deyoe / © Authentic Hendrix, LLC
Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan With Fat Mattress, Cat Mother & The All Night Newsboys Set List: [partial] Fire Spanish Castle Magic Foxey Lady I Don’t Live Today Sunshine Of Your Love Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Red House
Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, Wa. With Fat Mattress Set List: [Partial] Red House I Don’t Live Today Foxey Lady Purple Haze Voodoo Child (Slight Return) The Experience traveled to Hendrix’s hometown of Seattle, Washington.
Sports Arena, San Diego, Ca. With Fat Mattress Set List: Fire Hey Joe Spanish Castle Magic/Sunshine Of Your Love Red House I Don’t Live Today Foxey Lady Star Spangled Banner Purple Haze Voodoo Child (Slight Return) A superb set which yielded some of the guitarist’s best loved live recordings. The recent box set The Jimi Hendrix Experience features two such examples, an exquisite, twelve minute rendition of “Red House” along with an incomparable version of “Purple Haze”.
Waikiki Shell, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii With Fat Mattress Set List: [partial] Foxey Lady Red House I Don’t Live Today The Experience perform at Waikiki Shell in Honolulu. Due to technical problems with some of their amplifiers, the performance ends after only thirty minutes. To placate the audience, promoters quickly agree to invite them back the following night or provided a refund. Prior to the performance, Ben Wood of the Hollywood Star-Bulletin interviewed Hendrix for the May 31 edition.
Waikiki Shell, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii With Fat Mattress Set List: [Partial] Foxey Lady Red House I Don’t Live Today Stone Free Star Spangled Banner Purple Haze Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Prior to their performance that evening, the Experience sat for a radio interview in studio at KPOI FM. On stage that evening, with the technical difficulties which had plagued the group’s abbreviated performance the previous evening apparently repaired, Jimi put forth a superb effort. Jimi Hendrix is photographed on stage at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 31, 1969. Photo: Robert Knight / © Authentic Hendrix, LLC
Just months after leaving the Experience to front Fat Mattress, Noel Redding’s group was coming undone. Rolling Stone magazine was among the first to reveal the group’s undoing. “Despite reports to the contrary, Noel Redding’s Fat Mattress was not breaking up. Redding became ill during the group’s million-dollar American tour. In a statement from the Robert Stigwood Organization (Fat Mattress’s management company) said, “Fat Mattress’s debut tour of America has been postponed because of lead guitarist Noel Redding’s sudden illness.” Chas Chandler, the group’s manager strongly denied all rumors pointing the groups split saying “Noel flew home from New York after consulting his doctor and Rik Grunnell, head of the Stigwood office in the States. Noel will be taking a complete rest over the Christmas holiday at a secret address. New plans for Fat Mattress will be put into operation and announced in January.”
Despite initial reports that Fat Mattress had not disbanded, new information surfaced about the group’s messy split. Guitarist Noel Redding left for home after suffering what was being called a “nervous breakdown.” A spokesman for the Robert Stigwood Organization said, “the American tour could have been worth a million dollars.” Meanwhile, Jimmy Leverton of Fat Mattress told Melody Maker “the whole thing got out of hand. It was down to a personal thing within the band. We just couldn’t go on.”