Madison 1970 BACK
Eyewitness account of the Dane County Memorial Coliseum, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Saturday 2 May 1970 concert by Bill Henke. He also took photos of the concert, these are available for purchase on his website: www.henkephoto.com.
I remember some of our thoughts that evening.......my soon to be wife (LaVonne) and close friend (Boyd) and another couple (Virg & Caroline) all drove to that concert together ( I was driving.....and still have that 70 Chevy Nova in my garage.....now a street rod) and wondering....should we take any joints into the show to smoke. You have to understand that this was the first concert that we all had ever gone to! .....a guy yells out from the crowd.....Hey Jimi is there anything you need? Jimi immediately comes up to the mike (while tuning his guitar) and says A Joint! Well after he said that the whole stage was completely white with joints on the floor!!! Jimi's stage people were on their knees sweeping them up into grocery bags. My buddy (Boyd) and my fiancée looked at each other and said Shit! because we left ours in the glove compartment of the car thinking maybe we better not bring any in. .....I also noticed that Jimi mentioned Milwaukee & Chicago during the show. Well Wisconsin is pretty small for concerts of that magnitude back then so it stands to reason he was in Madison. I'm sure that the joint request thing was probably something that he did at several shows that they thought they could get away with the security being relaxed. I mean.....what the Hell if it worked once why not again right?......LOL
Something else I remember that night was the fact that after the warm up acts had finished and it was getting time for Jimi to start.......the anticipation was tremendous! The time just crawled by. In fact after a while the crowd was getting edgy. The coliseum people kept announcing that Jimi was nervous and that the isles had to be cleared (it was reserved seating) and people were sitting in the isles. Well about a half an hour or so of this and Jimi finally came out and from the crowd I might add!!! He was carrying his guitar over his shoulder like a baseball bat and came up a small set of steps from the crowd onto the stage which completely blew us away as to how he was able to do that with out really being noticed. Then the first thing he did was go up to the microphone and announce.......You all can stand if you wanta... Jimi was great and had that crowd mesmerized. Everyone's eyes were on him and everything he did all night. There was a spot at the end of one tune he was doing where he had built up to a real high crescendo which he had just made every one in the coliseum stand out of their seats for only to be just sat right back down as he drove them into their seats with a very low introductory note of the next tune he was leading into. That was literally amazing as every one realized at the same time what had just happened......but of course Jimi was completely in control and just showed every one that he was!!
No I didn't save those ticket stubs....wished I had!!! To me they would have been priceless now. Back in those days, there wasn't much of anything that was sold at concerts like you see now.....in fact I don't remember anything.....can you believe it?! In fact the show was not a sell out!! The colliseum was only about 3/4 full!!!!
I have to say (and I am a guitar player also) that when Jimi died....... a little something in me did too. If God had ever come down to this earth as a musician.....then he came to this earth with the name Jimi Hendrix I truly to this day believe that.