Robin Trower Interview 1973
It was during this last tour, while Jimi was playing Berlin, Germany, September 4, 1970, that he was seen by Robin Trower, then lead guitarist of Procol Harum, whose comments serve to illuminate what was happening around Jimi at that time. For Robin Trower believes that Jimi's performance was excellent, no sign that Hendrix was past his creative peak, that he was so good, in fact, that he went way beyond the comprehension of his audience: and that was obviously not a situation that Jimi, always passionately concerned to communicate with people, felt happy with.
Robin told me:'It was the first time I'd ever seen him play. Up till then I'd been sort of avoiding him, because I always felt that when I did see him, I'd want to give up playing the guitar. I just knew that it was going to be "forget it", y'know? And that happened: I saw him and I did feel "forget it". I was in the dumps for a couple of months, especially when he died just about a week later. It had quite a strange effect on me.
'And then, Berlin was a strange gig. It was us (ProcolHarum), and then Canned Heat, and Ten Years After, and then Jimi was on. And up until when Jimi came on everybody was going down better and better and better. And then when Jimi was on, the audience just wasn't there, they weren't digging it. I think it was above their heads, you know. I mean, I couldn't take in a lot of what he was doing and I'm a musician, a guitarist, so you can imagine what it was like for them.
'I was very very choked, because I felt very very annoyed at the audience. The band I didn't think played that well together but I felt he was the first real maestro I'd ever seen, a real maestro of the instrument; and just on that sheer fact alone I think that he should have gone down the best that anybody's gone down.
'So anyway, then I was walking up and down outside the dressing-room after he'd come off, and I was sort of saying should I go in? should I not? and then I burst into the dressing room all of a sudden and I said "Er-I've just gotta tell you, it was the best thing I ever seen" ,which it was, and he said "Uh, thank you but uh naw! " and I just went woops' that's it, and walked out again.
'So that was the first and last time I met him. But I don't think he'd ever stopped expanding. And it's possible that, as good as the people he played with were, they weren't the right people for him to play with. I'm only saying it's possible, but it is a possibility that they weren't the right people to help him get it together best. But he was just so far ahead and up there. When I saw him in Berlin, I just looked. I watched it, I stood on a stand at the side of the stage and I watched what he was doing, but I couldn't bloody well take it in. I just didn't know what he was doing, you know? He was the first instrumentalist I'd ever seen that I could say that about. And so for a couple of months after that, well, I carried on playing but my heart wasn't in it. Because as far as I could see, the standards were set. He'd set the standards.'
Photo At Right Berlin, Germany September 4, 1970