Jimi Hendrix’s Last Big American Concert Hit Darker Notes

Jimi Hendrix Experience
Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival
Experience Hendrix/Legacy


Jimi Hendrix was at a musical crossroads when he played the Atlanta Pop Festival on July 4, 1970. With bandmates Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (bass) in tow, he turned in a fiery 16-song set that mixed reliable crowd-pleasers such as “Purple Haze” and “Foxey [sic] Lady” with less-flashy, socially conscious material like “Message to Love” and “Straight Ahead,” which wouldn’t see official release until after his death less than three months later. While Hendrix could easily have phoned it in on the oldies and still thrilled the crowd, he didn’t, preferring to add different, darker textures to his hits; the bluesy staples “Red House” and “Hear My Train a Comin'” found him, as always, using familiar structures to veer off in exciting, unexpected directions. Whether Hendrix was on the verge of entirely abandoning the rock scene for uncharted territory remains unknown, but Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival suggests big changes were definitely in the offing.


We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.