Monday 23 March 2015

Randy Hansen ~ 'Electric Ladyland Live' DVD

Grooveyard Records has just released guitar virtuoso Randy Hansen's newest DVD 'Electric Ladyland Live' recorded 7 November 2012 at Markt Halle in Hamburg, Germany. This brilliant performance was filmed by Michael Schorlepp at Soundfactory and mixed and edited by Marco T. Alleata. The disc comes in a DVD long-box digi-pack covered with a photo of the dark shadowy image of Randy Hansen on stage captured by photographer Cristina Arrigoni. This film was shot using a 10 camera Pro Shot and is zero region for worldwide playback.

'Electric Ladyland Live' starts out with Randy's European band, Ufo Walter on bass and back up vocals, Manni Von Bohr on drums, and Randy Hansen on guitar and vocals, taking their places on stage. Randy stands in the middle of the stage and takes a bow before going into the first song "Electric Ladyland." The sound quality is AMAZING! I instantly had goosebumps travel from my head to my toes. I could hear every tap of the cymbals, every bass line, and every melodic chord played on Randy's Strat. The camera work is superb too. I was delighted that the camera was fully focused on the band with clear, crisp filming with wide and close-up shots. The camera does pan out once in a while capturing the audience diggin' the show! 

By the third song "Voo Doo Chile " Randy is warmed up and moving around the stage and playing his ass off, one handed guitar, playing with his teeth, flippin' his guitar pick in the air, and all the while wearing his big sweet smile for everyone. Randy's energy for this song is an ocean tide, rushing in with big solos and slowly moving out with soft rhythm guitar. Randy's main guitar is a black and white Fender Stratocaster that's a left handed guitar flipped over and played right handed. I asked him about his guitar before a show a few months ago and he explained to me that he can reach the frets better with the guitar flipped over. Also, he is left handed and the guitar is easier to play right handed, making his left hand do all the fret work rather than strumming.

Before the next tune "Little Miss Strange" Randy takes the time to let the audience know that the band wanted to do a different kind of show and not play the obvious Jimi Hendrix songs, but to play Jimi Hendrix's album 'Electric Ladyland' for as many songs as time would allow. Ufo Walter would be singing this next number and before Randy opened with the riff he said, "Noel Redding told me himself that he wrote this guitar part." Noel Redding was the first member to join the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966 switching from guitar to bass when he joined Jimi's band.

Ufo Walter doesn't usually sing, but he does an amazing job on vocals for "Little Miss Strange" while laying down a solid foundation for this awesome performance! Again, the camera work is superb with close-ups on Ufo, Manni, and Randy having a great time on stage. That's what the Randy Hansen Band is all about, besides their phenomenal talent, it's all about having a great time and sharing the music of Jimi Hendrix and keeping it alive, Randy Hansen style. To quote Randy, "My performance is based on what Jimi's music did to me as a kid, I'm that kid on stage." Randy and his band, whether it be the US band with Kevin Adams (bass) and Rick Spano (drums), or the Euro Band seen here in the video, guarantee's a jaw dropping experience!

Some of the highlights of Randy Hansen's career was playing with original member and drummer for Jimi Hendrix Experience, Mitch Mitchell and drummer for Jimi Hendrix and the Band Of Gypsys, Buddy Miles, so it's not surprising that he has a skilled drummer like Manni Von Bohr who leads us into the next song "Gypsy Eyes". We get a brilliant close up of Manni behind his DW kit wearing his Jimi Hendrix shirt, bangin' his bass drum and drum sticks together forming the beat for Randy to come in with the opening guitar riff and slide. As the performance of "Gypsy Eyes" goes on, Randy's guitar work just gets better and better. One of his exceptional abilities that I really like is that he's pretty slick on the wah wah pedal and he uses it a lot in his performance, as did Jimi. The wah wah pedal had just been invented when Jimi Hendrix burst into the music scene in 1967 and really gave Jimi his mind-bending sound.

I feel compelled to write about nearly every song I've seen performed on the 'Electric Ladyland Live' DVD so far because it's that commendable! "Rainy Day's" is such a kick ass song and Randy, Ufo, and Manni totally nail it! Randy has been performing these Jimi Hendrix songs since 1977 so with his experience and today's technology applied to guitars, amps, and pedals, Randy is able to give these Hendrix masterpieces a refreshed feel with added toughness and strength, but not to the point where the integrity of the song is lost, in fact, you get the feeling as if you are watching and listening to a 20th century Jimi Hendrix sing and play guitar. 

For me, the highlight of the DVD is "1983". I'd like to give you a background on this song and keep in mind that the Vietnam war was still active and peaking in 1968 when this song was written. Jimi's two favorite metaphors were sand and the sea. "1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)" was written to tell a strange tale of the destruction and hopelessness of mankind which Jimi would then return to the sea, the source of all life and thrive. This would suggest Jimi's belief in the power of positive thinking. Randy Hansen once said that Jimi's music held answers to many of life's problems. Jimi's music being dear to Randy, Ufo and Manni, the band really make this song special taking you on an eleven minute musical journey of bass and drums intertwined together in perfect unison with beautiful melodic guitar mingled with fast electrifying guitar solos and whimsical guitar effects. It is an outstanding performance!

"Electric Ladyland Live" is a DVD you definitely want in your music collection. It is a timeless dedication to the great Jimi Hendrix by one of the most talented, nicest, and energetic guitarists in the music business, Randy Hansen.

1. Electric Ladyland
2. Crosstown Traffic
3. Voo Doo Chile
4. Little Miss Strange
5. Gypsy Eyes
6. Rainy Day's
7. 1983
8. House Burning Down
9. Voo Doo Chile (Slight Return)
10. Foxy Lady

Purchase 'Electric Ladyland Live' DVD

*Randy Hansen Band start their European tour 24 April 2015.  Check out the calendar on the website for tour dates!

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Review By:
Jill Maciel
West Coast Correspondent

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