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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 217
Wed. Sept. 18, 2013

“I Don’t Live Today”
The Jimi Hendrix Experience

1969

“♫ Well/
I just
can’t
say
♫”

I believe I’ve already become Jimi Hendrix aficionado. My latest Hendrix obsession is attempting to decide which live performance of “I Don’t Live Today” I love best. “Today” was very personal song that Hendrix once attempted to describe in Keith Shadwick’s book, Jimi Hendrix: Musician, “The beginning just came to me, you know…and the music just made me feel these words. The words and music go like that.” I invite you to listen and try to decide which one you favor between these two classic live versions of “I Don’t Live Today.”

“I Don’t Live Today”: Live at the Los Angeles Forum April 26, 1969

The Los Angeles Forum version features the incendiary drumming of Mike Mitchell. You can definitely tell where Ringo Starr felt the inspiration for his solo on Abbey Road’s “The End.” Nirvana’s drummer must also be a Mitchell fanatic because the way he bashes his kits on Nevermind’s “Endless Nameless,” you can tell Dave Grohl was a fan of Mitch Mitchell. Jimi Hendrix’s drummer is the star of this version, leading the guitarist to unleash his trademark interstellar riffs captured live in 1969


“I Don’t Live Today”: Live at the San Diego Sports Arena May 24, 1969

This rendition recorded at San Diego’s Sports Arena is equally superb. Reflecting Jimi’s guitar vamping freak out, Hendrix incorporates riffs from some his favorite songs like “Star Spangled Banner” and Beatles fans should listen for Jimi’s inclusion of a few chords from “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

Why am I such a fan of these two different versions of “I Don’t Live Today?” Read on, as author David Henderson’s perfectly describes, in his book ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky: Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child, the eternal magic of Hendrix’s ode to Native his American heritage when he eloquently wrote, “[Jimi] shakes the Stratocaster rudely, jabbering a vibrato by force. The guitar becomes thousands of Native American souls screaming in the historic voice of their violent genocidal deaths. The guitar neighs like horses shot from under Indian warriors, bows in outstretched arms blasted by Winchesters in millions of movie frames, going back in time to the original action. They churn upward, Jimi’s feedback soaring above Noel’s charging jag and Mitch’s circular backbeat. Jimi exults in the high registers of the sound system as the rhythm section bashes to a close.” Wow! Now you realize why I keep downloading so many different live renditions of “I Don’t Live Today.”

Richie Unterberger was so right when he named “I Don’t Live Today” number 11 of 30 ‘Great Jimi Hendrix Songs’, and when he wrote in his book The Rough Guide to Jimi Hendrix, “[‘I Don’t Live Today’ is] played and sung with an ebullience that belies the darkness of the lyrics, sounding more like a determination to live life to the fullest than a fear that there might not be too many more days left.” If you’re searching for the ultimate version of this Hendrix classic you can’t go wrong selecting The L.A. Forum or San Diego Sports Arena live version as the Soundtrack to your life. Crank up the volume of Hendrix in the West, unleash your air drum fills and dynamic guitar riffs and let your freak anthem fly within the electric brilliance of “I Don’t Live Today.”

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