Concert review by Patrick MacDonald: The Experience Hendrix Tribute Tour featured nearly two dozen musicians playing the music of Jimi Hendrix — from Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Mike McCready to Hendrix bandmates Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox — at a concert at the Paramount on Nov. 6.

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Concert Review |

Jimi Hendrix continues to inspire, 40 years on.

Guitarists young and old waved their freak flags high Thursday night at the Paramount, channeling their inner Hendrixes, while a big, appreciative crowd danced and cheered and air-guitared the night away.

It was a kick hearing Jonny Lang tear through “Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire,” his face contorting along with the feedback and piercing high notes; exhilarating to watch Kenny Wayne Shepherd march across the stage like a man possessed while grinding out an extended “Voodoo Child”; and inspiring, on the day after the election, to stand with the audience for Mike McCready’s moving, powerful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” the Pearl Jam guitarist echoing Hendrix’s famous Woodstock version while adding some fireworks of his own.

The occasion was the next-to-last concert of the five-week, 19-stop Experience Hendrix 2008 Tribute Tour, the third and longest in the series, and bigger than the 2004 and 2007 editions.

The show also featured drummer Mitch Mitchell, of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, looking frail but in good spirits, and another Hendrix bandmate, bassist Billy Cox, from Band of Gypsies, who played bass and sang the lead on “Red House.”

Brad Whitford of Aerosmith showed his mighty blues chops on several numbers. He traded fiery licks with Lang on “Spanish Castle Magic” and “The Wind Cries Mary.” Michael Wilton tore the place up with his guitar solo on “All Along the Watchtower,” with fellow Queensryche member Geoff Tate handling the vocal.

Robby Krieger, legendary guitarist of the Doors, was featured on “Got Me Floating” and played on most of the other songs. Mato Nanji of Indigenous played guitar and sang the lead on “Hey Joe.”

Blues greats Hubert Sumlin and Buddy Guy, who both inspired Hendrix, played classic blues songs and joined in Hendrix jams with the other musicians, about 20 in all.

The songs stayed faithful to Hendrix’s recorded versions at first, but all were expanded into long flights of improv and guitar shootouts, to the delight of the crowd. Old-timers like me, who remember seeing Hendrix back in the day (as I write this, a picture of Hendrix and me taken 40 years ago is on the wall in front of me), made up a sizable portion of the crowd. But there were a lot of young fans, too. His spirit lives on.

Patrick MacDonald: 206-464-2312 or pmacdonald@seattletimes.com