Jimi Hendrix would make his US debut with the Experience at The Monterey International Pop Festival on June 18, 1967, and he set the standard for what it meant to look -- and sound -- like a rock star. Donning a ruffled shirt, velour vest and bright red pants, with a scarf around his forehead, Hendrix commanded attention as he stepped on stage with the Fender Stratocaster that he would later douse in lighter fluid and set ablaze in one most iconic performances (and imaged) in rock history.
Coming on after 40 minutes of the groovy sounds of the Grateful Dead, the Jimi Hendrix Experience had maximum impact as they blasted into their high-octane take on Howlin’ Wolf’s Killing Floor followed by Foxy Lady, the latter introduced with a self-assured: “Dig this.”
Their first big American gig might have been belated, but as a band they were more than ready after honing their set on the European psychedelic scene. The threesome meshed superbly on what is acknowledged as one of the best festival sound systems ever.
Ultimately, the Monterey Pop Festival belonged to Hendrix. He arrived as a relative unknown in the States and left the personification of inclusivity and adventure during the Summer of Love. His guitar-burning showmanship became as iconic as the man himself, and it was the perfect subject matter for an official print. Richey Beckett took a very unique approach in creating this amazing art by using many layers of colored ink washes, appearing as wild and free as Jimi's playing:
"My idea for this piece was to imagine someone who had been in the front row at Monterey describing to me the energy and the feeling of what they witnessed, how they remember it. Like recalling a dream. Hendrix as this otherworldly being—explosive, ethereal, on fire." - Richey Beckett