Visions of Greatness: Ron Raffaelli

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Many of the images of Jimi on in this story come from a show that happened a long time ago in the Municipal Auditorium here in Bakersfield.

The crowd is fully enchanted by Jimi, and he is giving it all back.

The energy must have been crackling, and the promoters and venue managers became nervous. What in the hell was this man? And why did this rock concert have a religious energy to it?

They didn’t want to wait and find out, so they pulled the plug on the show. They cut him off. They cut off Jimi Hendrix because they just didn’t know what the hell was going to happen at this rock and roll show.

“The stadium manager pulled the power because of the audience’s reaction to Jimi’s performance,” Raffaelli said. “As with all of his performances, Jimi had the audience standing and screaming. The manager pulled the power plug and the stage went dark.”

Things quickly turned ugly for all involved.

“This was like climax interuptus,” Raffaelli said, “and Jimi went backstage to find out what happened, and he met the stage manager who said he wouldn’t allow ‘that kind of performance in his stadium.’ Words were exchanged and the manager was screaming in Jimi’s face, and I pushed the manager away and he took a swing at me. I pushed him against a wall just as security guards arrived, and the manager told them to call the police to arrest us.”

At this point, Raffaelli had a solid understanding of the pure animal magnetism and intensity that was James Marshall Hendrix.

“Jimi said he would like his phone call, and that he would only need to say one word, and that word was…RIOT,” Raffaelli said.

Hendrix had calmly changed the course of their freedom with just one sentence, according to Raffaelli, and instead of a short ride to jail, they were instead escorted out of town by the “authorities” to continue the tour.

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