Jimi Hendrix and the Soft Machine at the Virginia Beach Dome


Jimi Hendrix and the Soft Machine at the Virginia Beach Dome, April 3, 1968. Photos courtesy of Diane.


Hendrix at the Virginia Beach Dome, April 3, 1968, photos by Bill Stokley

Bill Stokley writes:

The Virginia Beach Dome seated about 1000 people. I was 16 and got to drive to the show myself!!! What a show! Jimi blew the doors off the place. You could walk right up to the stage and take pics. Got one of Jimi sliding down the neck during Foxy Lady.

I remember using a little camera that was my moms. The negatives were stolen back in high school.

 

Update, February 2012

As the ticket stub above clearly shows, the first Hendrix show was on April 3, 1968, not the 4th as I had posted before. The 4th was the day Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. Thanks to James for bringing this to my attention.

However, some Hendrix references state the concert took place on the 4th (source seems to be Noel Redding’s diary). One commenter below remembers the news about Martin Luther King’s assassination spreading during the concert, which would indicate the 4th. Was the date changed from the 3rd to the 4th?


Jimi Hendrix at the Virginia Beach Dome, August 21, 1968. Bill Stokley: “I remember he wasn’t that good at this show and didn’t play very long.” Photos by Bill Stokley

Eon sent in the following set of photos from the same show. Jimi may not have played very long, but the ending was spectacular:

Here’s a description of the August 21 show from Chuck Taylor, General Manager of WTJU-FM Charlottesville, VA.

I played drums (poorly) in High School at Virginia Beach but still really liked to hear a good drummer. In 1968 I had a picture in my bedroom of Robert Wyatt playing drums for Soft Machine right next to my Peace Poster bought a shop on Eden Alley. Eden Alley hosted a series of hippy paraphernalia stores from an alley just off Virginia Beach Blvd. between Atlantic and Pacific Avenues.

That summer of 1968 I begged my parents to let me go to my first concert…to see the Soft Machine at the Virginia Beach Dome, August 21, 1968. Soft Machine was opening for a guitarist-led trio that was also getting a bit of press at the time. I had just turned 16 in May and so I had only recently gotten my drivers license and they were reluctant to let me go.

There were two shows that night. Because of my age my folks finally capitulated and said I could go to the first show…not the second. I argued with my mother over what to wear to a “concert”. She said you need to dress up (suit & tie!) for a concert. She was unconvinced that this “concert” would be different and refused to let me leave the house without at least loafers, nice pants and a collared shirt. I smuggled some blue jeans, tennis shoes and a t-shirt into the car and changed my clothes on the way. (I went to this concert by myself but cannot remember why)

That summer evening I drove the 6 miles from my house in Kings Grant (subdivision) to the Virginia Beach Dome. When I pulled into the parking lot I had one of those “we’re not in Kansas anymore” reactions as I quickly saw that my attempt at “casual hipness” missed in ways that I could have never imagined. Jeez there were lots of strange looking people in the parking lot! The show was introduced by a local goofy WGH-AM radio host Gene Loving, who couldn’t turn off the “AM radio” approach.

Once I was inside and seated (I actually had an excellent view if I remember correctly) the first band Eire Apparent performed a mildly psychedelic set that was pretty cool but not particularly memorable.

Next up, The Soft Machine (Cuneiform Records is doing an excellent job releasing many Soft Machine rarities). This version of the band was three musicians: Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, & Michael Ratledge. The bass player left the tour about one month before they arrived at Virginia Beach. His name was Andy Summers (yep, the very same bassist later to be in the Police).

As for the set: an extremely intense and loud set ensued featuring music from the first and second Soft Machine records. At the end of the set, Ratledge pushed his organ off the stage causing such severe feedback that my ears are still suffering! Gene Loving attempted his AM stage patter over the raging feedback but quickly gave up. Finally, they shut down the power in the entire building to quiet the feedback but of course, plunging the whole place into darkness. About 20 minutes later the Jimi Hendrix Experience took the floor…

Though Hendrix performed and did various acrobatic stunts he left his guitar intact by the end of the first show. I cannot remember ANY details of the performance other than I came out the other side with a new religion! The general thought was that the destruction of Ratledge’s organ was a “gift” to those expecting destruction from Hendrix. According to friends who attended the second set, Hendrix burned his guitar. As result of that action Hendrix became the first of two hard rock bands in the 60s to be banned forever from the state of Virginia. The second band was the MC5 who played at a small club in Hampton and incited attendees to riot during their show.

This is my ticket stub with tape marks: In the late 60s I kept a scrapbook of the developing music and political scene.


Chuck’s ticket stub to Hendrix, Soft Machine, & Eire Apparent

 

Thank you Bill, Diane, Chuck and Eon!

73 thoughts on “Jimi Hendrix and the Soft Machine at the Virginia Beach Dome”

  1. Even at the age of 16 (me when I went) They sucked… I think they played 1 song for an hour or so. Lots of people left during their performance.

    1. 1st show: Yep,one song,the whole set. We just wanted Jimi and he didn’t disappoint. Second show.
      2nd show: It was no comparison to the April concert. I was in about the 6th row. Bought my ticket from Rocky Smith of The Sound Effects. I think it was $6.50.

    2. I saw the same show, three of us drove in an old 61 VW bus with no gas gauge. We left the Pembroke Mall/Aragona area and as things usually go, they went wrong, we ran out of gas half way there. This was about 20 minutes after we had taken a mysterious “substance”. What a night, Whew…. What an era. What memories………..

      1. I WAS EITHER AT THE ONE IN APRIL 68, I WASN’T HIGH; BUT IT WAS SOO LOUD. A GREAT SHOW. I BELIEVE IN AUG. 68 I WAS ON MY WAY TO CALIFORNIA. I AM FROM NORFOLK VA. I WAS LIVING IN GRANDY PARK AT THE TIME.

    3. They played a song with the refrain “We Did It Again” for a painful like 30-45 mins. Drilled into every one’s head. This was 2nd time I saw Hendrix. He was not great and insulted the audience. At 15, I was very disappointed!

  2. I was there,my first concert,first time on the partially completed V.B. expressway. Couldn’t wait for Soft Machine to get done with there hour long song,boooooring! When Jimi came on he was awesome and I was totally blown away. The Swinging Machine played Hendrix before anybody even new about him and that was always the highlite of the night when they played Foxy Lady,Purple Haze & Manic Depression. Lee Caraway smoked! I saw Jimi when he came back through in July also. Tickets were $4.00 the first time the second time I bought a ticket from Rocky Smith of the Sound Effects, cost me $6.00 and wewere in the 6th row,again totally awesome performance. Don’t remember the opener from the second time.

  3. doooodz!!! i was there!!! i “seen” it all happen at the 1st hendrix show!!! yeah, soft machine sucked massively. they played this boring-assed tune called “we did it again” forever. then jimi came on & the shit was so frickin’ loud you had to think in a scream. the dome was just a horrible venue and even hendrix sucked in that joint. redding’s bass was this boomed-out backwash & mitchell’s wimpy-assed “cool-cat-daddyo-jazz” drum chops were inaudible. i remember leaving that show thinking, “gaaawwwd, my band is better than this!!!”. Same thing for the who and grateful dead shows, also in ’68.

    1. Yep, 16. I too was there after having bought Are You Experienced? Personally, what else, I loved Soft Machine. I thought Hendrix was phoning it in. I did love that he pointed to Noel Redding & clearly said, “Excuse me while I kiss this guy.”

  4. I was an usher at the Jimi Hendrix concert. I was completely overwhelmed with the music and the man. It was like nothing I’d heard before. I got paid $2!! but saw the concert for free. It was weird when the next concert was the Beach Boys.

    1. I NOW REMEMBER; I WAS AT THE AUG. 21ST SHOW, 7:30 PM . IT WAS VERY LOUD, IT WAS GREAT,HENDRIX BURNED HIS GUITAR. SOFT MACHINE WAS GOOD. I JUST TURNED 20 IN JULY 1968. I’LL BE 70 THIS YEAR IF GOD( JESUS ) WILLS IT.

  5. I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO SEE HENDRIX IN NEW ORLEANS ON AUG. 18TH 1968 AT CITY PARK STADIUM. THE TICKETS WERE $4.50. GREAT SHOW. I CAN’T REMEMBER HOW SOFT MACHINE WAS. TOO MANY YEARS AGO.

  6. I know a person that knows a person who says that Jimi smashed a guitar when she saw him in Virginia Beach (I’m assuming The Dome) and that she has a pick and a chunk of the guitar. I have not seen these items first hand, but if any of you good folks could confirm/deny this account, it would sure be appreciated. Thanks for you time and especially for posting these wonderful pictures.

  7. Hi All,

    How’s it goin from England? I just stumbled across this website.

    I have some shots of Jimi smashing the guitar… a Sunburst Strat… They are in bad shape, but they were reproduced in the Hendrix magazine Univbes. I will dig the shots out of my collection. One of the pics shows Jimi smashing the guitar against the Marshall amp stacks and the other shows 3/4 of the bipdy flying through the air. I have 5 shots all in all taken from Noel Reddings side of the stage.

    Best to ya!

    Eon

  8. Thanks Al,

    I just got back from being away. As soon as I can find a scanner I will send copies….. In the meantime if you know anyone that gets the international Hendrix mag “Univibes” issue number 43 there is a really cool feature on Jimi’s Virginia beach/Dome gigs and my shots were used as part of this feature along with a guy called Jamie Jones. The shots I have are really dried out, but the mag reproduced them in black an white and you can see what’s happening. In one shot Jimi is on his knees operating the wah pedal with his hand, guitar between his legs. The next he smashes the guitar (a sunburst strat) against the amps, then you see 3/4 of the guitars body sailing over the cops hands and into the crowd.

    I will post copies as soon as I can.

    Best

    Eon

  9. Hi,

    I sent the shots to the guy who is running this site and he’s gonna put them up shortly.

    I don’t have a contact for Jamie Jones, but I will have a search on the internet and let you know,

    All the best from the UK.

  10. A big thanks to Eon!! Your pictures were as impressive as you said. Now I’m off to find the ‘friend of a friend’ that says she has a piece of the guitar that was smashed at that show. A sunburst Strat…mmmm. Wish me luck.

  11. I was in a kid band (11& 12 years old), in 1968 that played first at the Jimi Hendrix Concert April4, 1968. Other bands were Charlie McLendon & The Magnificents, and beach legends Bill Deal & The Rhondells. We were too young to be out late enough to see Jimi but the thrill will never be forgotten to be on the same stage as him. We played mostly at elementary school friday night dances, but were a decent sounding group for our age and with limited equipment. Our band was The Small Flames, and we played
    Fire and Purple Haze, along with Hey Jude, and Born To Be Wild. We wore red satin Nehru shirts, black pants and we thought we were the stuff. I do rember using Vox amps, and playing a hollow body electric guitar. If any one was at that concert and saw us or have any pics they could forward it would be great to here from you. That day was a historic day also as Dr.
    MLK was assasinated in Memphis and word got around to people at the concert. Diane , great pics of Jimi. Did you take any of the opening acts?
    Mike

  12. Okay…Okay…I was there in ’68 with a friend named Tommy Richardson. By pure luck we drew tickets to sit only a couple of rows back, directly in front of Jimi. First concert I ever went to (therefore, through the haze of time) the best concert I’ve ever been to. I was stunned…most distinct memory was of a girl jumping on stage to give Jimi a kiss and a cop grabbing her and, kind of roughly, pulling her back off the stage. Jimi strolled over to where the cop was standing and knocked his hat off with his toe. The cop turned to see who did it and Jimi shook his finger at him in a no-no gesture then waved for everybody to come up on stage. Man, I was up there in a flash and really thought I was experiencing nervana. Of course, we had to get back down and the show went on…Jimi did smash and throw…but I was really awed by him taking the guitar and running it back and forth over the edge of the speaker (or amp?…time remember) and it actually sounding like it was right for the song he was playing. I also remember some people there, towards the back, having movie cameras…sure would like to see the expression on my 19 year old face.

  13. Talk about “haze”! For thirty years, I’ve had a vague memory of going to a concert in the Virginia Beach Dome where we stood on our chairs to get a better look at the guitarist as he smashed his guitar to pieces. I’ve always thought it was Jimi Hendrix. Based on everyone’s comments and the pictures, I can be pretty certain that it was. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Wish there were more crowd pictures!

  14. I didn’t go to his concert that night but I did see him on the beach the next day – walking barefoot on the sand, with one white girl & one black girl and a few body guards behind him, but no one really knew who he was and didn’t bother him. I told my friends – that’s Jimi Hendrix – he played at the Dome last night. He had on crazy, bright, long, bellbottom pants.

  15. YEAH!!! Jimi and the Soft Machine at the Dome- this was my first concert! I was 14; went with my older sister; thought I was stylin’ with my striped bellbottoms. As far as these people saying either Jimi or the Soft Machine sucked- NAAAAAHHHHHH- I’m DAMN glad I got to see him play live!

  16. My friend Bill Brown and Asa Kelly were the sound eng at that show and Bill Got his guitar neck when he set it on fire and broke it.

  17. I saw the same Hendrix show at the Mosque, in Richmond,VA. It was truly incredible, & apparently the night after a show in DC. I’ll never forget Jimi apologizing for the hum, coming from one of his Marshall cabinets. There was a big hole in one, & he said”I got a little carried away in DC last night.” I remember him introducing Hey Joe as an old song written by Benjamin Franklin, from 1776, or something similar. I was thirteen,so I’m able to actually recall details from this historic show!

    I actually don’t remember if Aire Apparent were there or not. I do remember that I hated Soft Machine, & couldn’t wait for their set to be over.

    My mom took me & my friend Ed to the show, which was a matinee, & dropped us off. I remember seeing the cool people walking into the Mosque, & so wanted to fit in, so the best we could do, was untuck our shirt tails!

    I also remember buying a poster, which was a black on silver image of Jimi,& of course it’s no telling where.

    It’s great to read these other accounts, & I thank you all for sharing!

    Cheers!
    Dave H.

  18. I saw Hendrix at the Va. Dome, although I have no memory of seeing Soft Machine. I must have bailed out and gone into the lobby. I was never a fan of Soft Machine. I remember sitting way in the back and barely able to see him. Man was it loud! It was a pretty short set. I doubt if it was much more than 30 minutes, but I could be wrong. It has been a long time.

    I remember the MC5 gig at the Hullabaloo Teen Club very well. That club was not much of a building. It was really a glorified aluminum shelter with no insulation. It was absolutely packed the night that MC5 played. Maybe two hundred people crammed together, maybe more. Who counted? When the club manager announced the MC5, the place exploded with sound. They were much louder than Hendrix, probably because of that metal building. Unfortunately, they did not get to finish their set. The police came and shut it down. There was no riot, however. People in a nearby trailer park had complained about the noise, and so the police made them stop. What a shame. It was a killer show while it lasted. I didn’t even know who MC5 was. I might have read about them in Rolling Stone. But it was great while it lasted. I’d love to see a photo of that stage with Wayne Kramer burning the place down with his Gibson SG. Yeah, that was quite a night!

  19. I don’t know what happened to him. I lost contact in the 80’s maybe eary 90’s and am interested if anybody knows what happened to him. He was very helpful to me in my sound production career.

  20. Doc:c Asa died of a heart attack in the mid 90s. I worked for Asa from 83 to the end doing lighting for the Merle Haggard tour I never met you but i feel i know you from all the stories i heard. the only one from that era im still in touch with that you may know is tommy sitzler. SEEYA BILLY

  21. Hello.
    If you were at the Grateful dead show on May 11th or 12th in 1968 early or late show, any recollections would be very cool.
    There are no known recordings of this show.
    A poster supplies the date of the show as May 12. And specifies a 7 pm and 10 pm shows.
    The opening band was wild kingdom and a psychedelic light show by John Nelson. Were there other psychedelic light shows at the Dome ? Is John Nelson still around ? Who is the wild kingdom ?

    Thanks,
    Joey Newlander

  22. I was there with a young lady named Marianne M. I took her to dinner and then to that concert. I was in the 4th row on the right side looking at Jimmy (his left). He did break the guitar and I believe the lady you are talking about was nearby because I remember someone showing me the pick and the piece of the guitar. They were very careful not to let the pieces fy off the stage but a few did, including his pick. She may have been in front of me. I believe your story is true. Jimi was great that night (and my date was absolutely beautiful), he broke his guitar (he was no more than 20 feet away) and someone did get a piece of his guitar and his pick.

  23. Hi, Joey. I was at that Dead concert and still have the ticket stub. Funny thing, the tickets had “Soul Survivors” printed on them, with no mention of GD. I think that group had originally been booked and cancelled out, so the promoters just “recycled” the tickets. Pretty sure the date on the stub is May 12 and I saw the early show. I recall them playing Good Mornin’ Little Schoolgirl and Morning Dew, but much of the show was a freeform jam. They really didn’t seem very into it and we felt kinda let down by the end. Must’ve been pretty dismal for them, too.

  24. yes, Jimi did smash a guitar ay his second time at the Va. Beach Dome. He threw the guitar out in the crowd. I’ve always wondered who had the guitar.

  25. The guitar that got smashed was in three pieces,shared by three guys from Denbigh High in Newport News,Ellis Spear,Jim Hogan and I believe,Kenny Nesbitt.Ellis and Jim are no longer with us,but Kenny is on facebook.The Jamie Jones might be a guitar player also from Newport News who is also on facebook and still playing.I missed the Hendrix show,but saw the MC5 at the hullabaloo in Newport News,not Hampton.The club in Hampton was the Lighthouse.

    1. I hadn’t read your comment until after I posted a response to a comment by Mike Johnstone. I was good friends with Jim Hogan, who was a great guitar player in his own right. I have a piece of Jimi’s guitar that Jim chipped off the back and gave to me some time back in the early 90’s. I have to also say that Jim was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. I didnt remember that the other guys from DHS were there, although I did recognize/remember their names from things Jim had told me over the years.

  26. @bill: thanks for the great recollections of the Hendrix show at the dome. I attended both the early spring show, and summer show, which in many ways was a swan song to the summer of 68 for many of us. I remember hendrix smashing his guitar to pieces. I remember the deafening feedback, and of course, soft machine. I had never seen a drummer perform without a shirt before. I don’t remember gene loving at all, but I guess he had to be there, because at that time, he seemed to be the promoter for every rock show in town–even the dave clark five show at princess anne high school. but that’s another story. (the pix from the hendrix show are really great. thanks Chas Kit)

  27. Hello! I’m very interested in using a few of the pictures
    on this page in an augmented reality app called
    TagWhat, where a colleague and I are creating
    digital storytelling experiences about Virginia Beach.

    Would Chuck, Bill, Diane, and Eon let me know
    if we could use them with correct attribution?

    Thanks!
    Nicole
    Virginia Beach Public Library

  28. I saw the second show at the Dome. Hendrix was awesome. Played the guitar with his teeth, as I recall, as well as smashing it up at the end. I recall him grinding his torso into his guitar. Saw him again at the 2nd Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1970 in Byron, Georgia. He played the Star Spangled Banner on 4th of July night to fireworks in the background with his amazing Band of Gypsies. He died 2 months later.

  29. Wild Kingdom were an awesome local band. Played in a lot in Portsmouth in the 60s at The Lighthouse, a psychedelic venue, which was partially owned by John Nelson, I believe. The Lighthouse was renowned for their light shows and the great acts they had there. I imagine Nelson did those light shows elsewhere as well. I remember the lights were rigged up to the music and kept beat to the music, if that makes sense. It was like nothing we’d ever seen in Portsmouth, I can assure you of that! I believe there was a Lighthouse in Newport News too.

    1. I remember The Lighthouse in Portsmouth, was it High Street? Used to be a bar named Aladdin’s also…..jeez that goes back a ways.

  30. Funny, I was at the 8/20 show in Richmond – the second show – and thought the Soft Machine were truly great. The Aire Apparent were really bad, though. After the show, as we were walking behind the Mosque towards our car, Jimi, Noel and Mitch came out of the parking lot being driven in a Ford Country Squire Station wagon and had to stop for us on the sidewalk. We told Jimi he sounded great and then one of us (not me) said, ‘Yeah, but the Aire Apparent really sucked.’ Noel said ‘Fuck you kid’ and they drove off. Turns out they were buddies of his.
    I can understand people not liking the Soft Machine because they were so different and their music was so un-commercial, but the whole idea of a single song for their set was really cool once we figured out what was going on. Plus the caliber of their musicianship was really high and my friends and I actually liked the song.
    I can see why many people didn’t enjoy them, but there’s a world of difference between ‘they sucked’ and ‘I didn’t get it’ or ‘I didn’t like them.’ Aire Apparent was a bad band that nobody liked; Soft Machine was a very good but very idiosyncratic band that appealed to only a few folks like me.
    Jimi was pretty amazing, though. Unfortunately, I’d seen the Who a month earlier and they were the best live band in the world in 1968.

  31. The two Lighthouses, one in Portsmouth and one in Hampton, were owned by John Nelson who I believe lives somewhere near Ashville now and by Peppy Owens, who lives in Portsmouth. The one in Hampton was called the American Lighthouse. I was a Buckroe girl and the mLIghthouse was my hangout. It’s where I saw the Alman Brothers in 68.

  32. Yes he did smash a guitar there. Look at the above photos. You can see Jimi throwing one of the smashed guitars into the audience. It’s in the air even.

  33. i attended both of the Hendrix concerts and still have the ticket stub for the August 21 show in a small frame sitting on my desk here at home. i was 15 at the time and the april show was my first introduction to Hendrix. to to say i was stunned by what i saw and experienced (no pun intended) would be an understatement. this was before i was getting stoned so i actually remember the concert.
    i also went to one of the Grateful Dead concerts (it must have been the early show on may 11) we got to Virginia Beach early and were walking around . saw some guys with long hair go into an old hotel. we followed them into the lobby after a few minutes and there sat the Dead looking sort of pissed off and tired. we looked at them, they looked at us, then we turned around and left. as we walked out the hotel door another guy with long hair was walking into the lobby with a paper tray of full of cokes and asked us if we wanted one. we said no thanks which pretty lame i suppose. at the concert i remember Bob Weir kicking his amp because it wasn’t working right and then after a few songs trying to get everyone up to dance by saying something like “We’re basically a dance band so if you want to get up and dance that’s alright by us. You can just push the chairs aside if you want”. everybody just sat there looking like so many lumps of inanimate clay. i think the Dead were pretty disappointed and a little bewildered by having such a complacent audience that would only clap after each song was finished and not really participate in the festivities.
    unfortunately the first hendrix ticket stub and the G.D. ticket stub have long since disapeared due to a gypsy life style. actually i am amazed that i still have the Aug. 21 stub
    i also remember going to the American Lighthouse in Hampton which was in walking distance of where i lived at the time that Robyn wrote about. used to go to hear Headstone Circus with Mike Johnstone, Arthur Wheeler et al. i sat next to Mike at the funeral for Buddy Lawrence in Sebastapol Ca. in Nov? of 1993. Buddy was my brother-in-laws brother. after the funeral Mike told me he had a music studio in L.A.
    see, this is what happens when your old, you just ramble on. i swore when i was younger i wasn’t going to do this! next i’ll be going to denny’s and sitting at the counter talking about my hemorrhoids. later, roy.

    1. Probably the old Moon’s Motel on the beach side of Atlantic Ave., weird piece of trivia from the day, there was a law that you could walk on the beach side of the street without a shirt but not the store side.

  34. I must clarify my previous comment a little. When I said that the April 3rd concert was my first introduction to Hendrix I was referring to the entire ‘Experience’ of Hendrix not just the songs on the radio or the 1st album.

  35. Johnstone here – I was at most of those shows mentioned and played on some of them like the Dead at the Dome. Because of the stature of the bands I was in and the fact that our management was also the promoters on a lot of those shows,we usually got to hang out with the acts at after parties like the famous Hendrix party in room 19 at the Holiday Inn on April 4,1968 and the Who party later that year at the same Holiday Inn. I’d also like to correct what someone said about that Hendrix show being on April 3rd because that’s what it says on the ticket stubs. It was scheduled for the 3rd but got changed to the 4th after the tickets were printed and mostly sold. I remember Hendrix telling me at the party about MLK’s assassination which happened late that afternoon – not long before the gig. I had missed hearing about that because there wasn’t 24/7 news coverage like now and plus I was on my way to the gig and then hanging out with friends on the beach. I was 21 at the time and pretty aware on what was going on in the world so it affected me greatly. Later – years later I heard from Mitch when I used to run into him at the Cat & Fiddle Pub in Laurel Canyon that they were having dinner at a restaurant at the beach when the news came on the TV there about the assassination. He said the restaurant full of Virginia rednecks all cheered and toasted the assassin so they figured they should quietly split before they all got their ass kicked – especially Hendrix. So that’s what was on their mind while playing those shows that night. Hendrix was very apolitical but he was very upset that night and just wanted to party and talk about other things. A lot of other musicians were at that party like the guys from the Norfolk Aliens. Much has been written about those VA Beach gigs, the party, who has the broken guitar etc in the UK magazine “Univibes” about 5 or 6 years ago. Hendrix was very intelligent, humble, friendly and just about the coolest guy I ever met.

    1. Hi Mike, I have some puzzle pieces for you. I was not at the 1968 Va Beach show, in fact I wasn’t even born until later that year. I did however become good friends with a guy named Jim Hogan who was the person who caught the sunburst stratocaster you mentioned. At the time he was just a teenager in high school. I think he was class of 71′. Jim died in 2005. Like some others Jim knew over the years I was given a piece of the guitar, and yes I still have it. I heard the story many times from Jim and others over the years. The guy he was at the show with is named Bruce J. They both went to Denbigh High School. Bruce’s family lived down the street from us in Denbigh/Newport News. I was told Jimi also smashed a watermelon with his guitar, Gallagher style, which I didn’t see mentioned in the comments, according to the accounts of my friends who were there. The smashed guitar, I would imagine, went to his brother or two sisters after his death. Interesting side note, blues guitarist Robert Cray also went to Denbigh High school, my friends knew him as well.

  36. hi mike. I remember seeing you with wild kingdom and headstone circus at the lighthouse in Hampton, but the only time I actually met you was at buddy’s funeral. being my brother-in-laws brother I new him pretty well. he was a very generous guy. you know you should really write an autobiography. you’ve lived a very interesting life. later, roy.

    1. My brother and I was at both 2nd shows that year. After seeing Hendrix the first time he came, people in line were asking for the second time that year, what he could do to top the first gig! Well, I tell ya, he definitely topped the April gig! From my perspective I was blown away! The antics of using his guitar for a sex object as he went up and down the neck, to telling the cops in the building ( Fu, Fu, Fu ) instead of thank you, thank you. And flicking his tong, as he looks at a pretty girl in the audience and points to her, and the boy friend stands up and shakes his fist at Hendrix, and Hendrix with his guitar says, ” F U mother F’er”. Funny! I loved it when he broke his guitar in half and through the neck out into the crowd, and the cops rushed the guy back behind the stage that got it, to the owner trying to close the curtain on Hendrix to end it, and a bunch of guys grabbed them and opened the curtains back up so to keep it going. By that time, it was standing in your chair to see what was happening. One of the greatest concerts I’ve ever seen! It’s so sad that they tore down a shrine like the Dome! Most of the best concerts I’ve ever seen were at the Dome!

  37. i was at the show where he set his guitar on fire at the end, amazing, loud an never seen again. seen the soft machine with the seeds. i think i was 20 at the time.

  38. I WAS AT THE AUGUST 21,1968 SHOW AT THE VA. BEACH DOME WITH TWO HIGH SCHOOL MATES FROM NORTHAMPTON COUNTY,NC..
    I STILL HAVE MY $5.00 TICKET IN A FRAME ..
    FIRST HEARD JIMI ON WABC AM RADIO OUT OF NY CITY IN 1967 AND WAS BLOWN AWAY FOR LIFE.
    WAS 16 YEARS OLD AND GOT TO DRIVE THE 100 MILES EAST TO VA. BEACH FOR THE SHOW IN MY 1960 ORANGE CHEVROLET WITH A PEACE SIGN ON TOP PAINTED IN BLACK.
    THE SHOW WAS GREAT AND DEAFENING, WITH JIMI SAYING HE DIDN’T WANT TO HURT ANYONE’S EARS..HA..
    CAN STILL REMEMBER “HEY JOE” AND “FIRE” VIVIDLY.
    ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF MY LIFE.
    SAW HIM AGAIN IN RALEIGH, NC WITH KING CRIMSON THE NEXT YEAR.
    THE GREATEST GUITARIST OF ALL TIME..
    THE MASTER…
    THE ONLY CONCERTS EVEN REMOTELY AS EXCITING WERE:
    MEETING STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN AND SHAKING HIS HAND IN RICHMOND IN 1985 AND EXPERIENCING LOLLOPALOOZA 1992 WITH THE RED HOT CHILI PEPERRS IN RALEIGH……
    FASCINATING..

  39. I was Born April 3, 1968, the same year as the first Hendrix show, been a VA native my entire life, and play Hendrix and SRV in the bars since the late 80s. This is great stuff for a fan and VB native,
    Thanks for sharing

    Bryan

  40. I was at the the Hendrix soft machine show I remember the movie screen behind soft machine. I played in a band called venerable beads in 68 later played in the herndon Edwards band in 78 we played at the lighthouse , hullabaloo, knights of Columbus, Pony club this was the time the wild kingdom with Keith, swingin machine to me local music was at its best there were good bands everywhere I sure miss those times

  41. Caesar,
    That’s all? I can’t speak for other shows but he certainly burned it at the “Mosque”, now the Altria, in Richmond, August or 1968

  42. Here’s an odd question for those who attended this show: I have a friend that said he “was in a band that played the same gig the Hendrix played in VA Beach, where an audience member yelled out ‘Jimi you’re the greatest!’ and my friend said that Hendrix stopped the show and said to the crowd, ” no, I’m not, and I don’t know who is, but I’m still searching.” Could this be true or not????

  43. Yes, I was there at the Hendrix concert, also the Who, same year. My boyfriend and I went to both, Steve Van Huss. I was a junior in high school. Life changing. And Steve passed away in 2007, what a waste.
    Wow.

  44. I was a freshman attending Willard Junior High in Norfolk. I had been hearing about this guitar wizard from my classmate, Deany Burlage, who himself was the bass player for his brother Guy’s band, “Dennis and the Times.” So on April 3rd, me, Deany, and Morgan White went to the Dome to see Hendrix. I don’t recall too much about the concert itself, but my music changed after that. I began to consume every album he produced, seeing far past the stage acrobatics and into the pure musical talent and genius of the man himself. As a immature 16 year old, I may have been mesmerized by his giant persona, but in the following years I was mostly absorbed by his amazing guitar talent. I have been an electric blues guitar buff ever since that April 3rd concert, and am proud to say I saw Jimi Hendrix in person. Little did we know then what an icon he would become; neither did we know how soon he’d be gone.

  45. I was in the Navy and station in Norfolk . We heard he was playing down at Virginia beach so off we went. When we got there it was sold out. we sat on the curb out front and a pickup truck pulled up and the guy asked us if we wanted to buy his tickets . It must of been the late show cause he did light the guitar and he stuck the neck of the guitar into the amp speakers. Then right behind that speaker was another speaker and the show kept going. he became a guitar god to me. It was a great era for music . I didn’t know either of the opening bands and was not totally impressed with them.

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