50 Years Ago: Backstage with Jimi Hendrix at His 1968 Seattle Homecoming

The Jimi Hendrix Experience played the Seattle Center Arena on Feb. 12, 1968. The legendary Seattle native hadn't been in the city since 1961.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
Posted: Feb, 12 2018
 
 
This article appears in print in the February 2018 issue. Click here for a free subscription.
 
Fifty years ago, the Jimi Hendrix Experience played the Seattle Center Arena (later renamed Mercer Arena).
 
Backstage, photographer Ulvis Alberts captured Hendrix in a tender moment with his sister Janie. The sold-out show on February 12 was a homecoming for Hendrix, who hadn’t been back since 1961, when he left Seattle to join the Army at age 19.

Hendrix’s show was reviewed by another local luminary in the making, the novelist Tom Robbins, whose article in the alternative publication Helix wasn’t entirely complimentary, though Robbins did admit Hendrix was the consummate showman.

“What he lacks in content,” Robbins wrote, “he makes up in style.”

Hendrix died in 1970, but his name and music continue to attract attention and investment. Two blocks from Mercer Arena, billionaire Paul Allen opened what was originally a shrine to Hendrix — now known as the Museum of Popular Culture, or MoPOP. He also acquired the rights to this and more than two dozen photographs by Alberts.

Janie Hendrix, meanwhile, controls Experience Hendrix LLC, which manages Hendrix’s name, likeness and musical legacy.

See more photos courtesy of MoPOP below:

For more from our Past Experience series, click here.