A subdivision of ACIDEMIC

Friday, July 2, 2010

"See this top? Flop!" RAINBOW BRIDGE, a Hendrix Paradise

I have fond non-memories of RAINBOW BRIDGE (1970), a weird cult-hippie flowers on Maui documentary that got marketed as a Hendrix concert film, though he only shows up at the end, like a lost weird traveler. Dude is totally high, and everyone's slurring, and viewers got a rare chance to feel what it's like to hang out with super-high Hendrix in the closest thing we have to a Albert Maysles/Gray Gardens-style fly-on-the-wall eavesdrop. Dude, these people up there in that clip above? They're wasted! Now that I'm decades later and not wasted, I can't understand a word they're saying. It sounds like pretentious hippie twaddle, and I think Hendrix agrees. He sounds like he's got a cold.

Sadly, Hendrix would be dead a mere two months later. And thanks to legal issues, the film itself has been but spottily available. Purists cite bad winds on the day of the concert as to why sound is bad and unworthy of close study, but I disagree. Jimi plays "Hey Baby (Land of the New Rising Sun)" and it's the first and only time he plays it on film, as far as I know.

Not to mention it's the closest thing to a "perfect" audience you'll ever see for a major psychedelic rock star film, as they're all "beautiful" hippies and Maui surfers. Remote location and pure word-of-mouth short notice ensured a total absence of the usual suffocating crowd of wallies, murfs, tourists, freeloaders, dullards, normies, breadheads and buzkillers. In short, it's like one of those beautiful concerts where there's just enough people to make it fun, but not enough that you can't get as close as you want to the stage and lay down a tapestry right at the feet of the performer, spark a joint and watch the clouds as the music sends you flying... and that's what it's all about man.

One day we'll all cross that magic rainbow bridge to that land of the new rising sun, and I hope Jimi's waiting at the other end when I go, and I'll answer yes, Jimi, I'd like to go along...