Jimi Hendrix left us too soon, and that means that there is only so much of his music to go around. One of his remarkable performances, at the second Atlanta International Pop Festival, saw the guitar wizard perform to the “largest American audience of his career.” Heralded as the last great music festival of its generation, with as many as 400,000 people in attendance and 30 acts, it was a historic event—and performance—that hasn’t received the attention it was due, at least not until now.
A new documentary, Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church, about Hendrix’s set at the festival and the circumstances surrounding it, will premiere on Showtime on Sept. 4 at 9 p.m. ET. An audio release, Freedom: Jimi Hendrix Experience Atlanta Pop Festival, is being released Aug. 28, on both CD and vinyl, and will include six performances not shown in the documentary. This track, a blistering version of the now-classic “Stone Free,” was performed to a surging crowd that swelled through broken gates, leading to the event being made free and, despite biker security and general anarchy, an almost completely peaceful one.
It shows Hendrix at the very top of his game as one of the greatest guitarists ever. As Paul McCartney says in Electric Church, “We all played guitar. We all knew a bit. But he seemed to know more than us.”