Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson Recalls His ‘Sad’ Last Performance With Jimi Hendrix

Unfortunately, Jimi Hendrix‘s life was brief, but the musician’s influential career made it possible for his legacy to survive. Even today, decades after his death, his music and performances are remembered. Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson was among those to recall one of Hendrix’s last shows as he disclosed to Vintage Rock Podcast why his last performance with Jimi wasn’t particularly nice.

The Isle of Wight Festival of 1970 was held only a few weeks before Hendrix’s death. Of course, nobody at the time could have foreseen that the festival would host one of Jimi’s last performances. As a young musician, Ian Anderson was at the festival with his band, and some sensed a bit of a competition between the band and the late musician.

Anderson recalled that day as he revealed that the show wasn’t the best place for Jimi to play one of his last large-scale performances. Ian explained that Hendrix had to close the show, but he didn’t want to perform as the last act. On the other hand, Jethro Tull also didn’t want to put on the night’s final show as the audience would be too tired.

So, Hendrix’s road crew competed with Jethro Tull’s crew to set up their equipment first. Lucky for Jethro Tull, they had less equipment, and they were able to plug in quickly. After they beat Hendrix’s team and set the stage first, the act went on and started to perform. Anderson expressed that ‘poor, old Jimi’ had to get on stage as the last act, after all.

By the time Jethro Tull ended their performance, it was already late into the night. Ian explained that the audience was exhausted when Jimi finally took his place on the stage. The crowd, however, only wanted the musician to play hits such as ‘Hey Joe’ and ‘Purple Haze,’ before they called it a night.

At that time, Hendrix was performing with his new band, and the late guitarist wasn’t excited to perform his old hits. Yet, those songs were what the audience wanted to hear. So, it definitely wasn’t the best stage show in Jimi’s career, and it made it even more unfortunate that the festival was one of his last performances. Anderson stated that the show had some sad, personal memories for him.

Jethro Tull frontman recalled their competition with Hendrix and how his stage didn’t go as the late musician wished:

“For poor old Jimi Hendrix, it was not a good way to play his final large-scale performance before he died. He had to close the show, but he didn’t want to go on last. I didn’t definitely go on last. His road crew were tyring to set up their equipment before us to try and get on before us. We had rather less equipment and managed to get our amps and things on the stage. [We] plugged in, red lights on, and we just went on and did it.

So, poor old Jimi had to wait and close the show after all. By that time, of course, it was two o’clock in the morning when he went on. I mean the audience was just knackered. They’d had enough. They weren’t in a great mood. They just wanted to hear, ‘Hey Joe’ and ‘Purple Haze,’ and go home. Jimi had a new band and he wasn’t really that enthused about having to play the old hits. But that [the songs] were the crowd pleaser, they were expected. It has some sad, personal memories for me.”

You can watch Ian Anderson’s statements below.