Jimi Hendrix onstage at the Harlem Fair, 1969

Musically, it was not Jimi’s finest hour; there is a recording of the event on YouTube, but the sound quality is akin to Jimi’s amp being thrown into the Hudson. This was, in contrast with so much of his life, a time where the music was not the only thing that mattered. He was upstaged somewhat by Big Maybelle, a legendary blues artist, who had had residents “singing from the tenement windows”. By the time he arrived – fashionably late of course – the crowd had dwindled to a few hundred. What was more important to Jimi was that his music, “loud and funky”, matched the mood of Harlem that night; “that’s what’s in the air right now, isn’t it?”, was Jimi’s rhetorical comment. He introduced Voodoo Chile as the “national anthem of Harlem”, and was open in his love for the place – posing for pictures with fans and outside local restaurants. Despite the hardships he faced there, Harlem was still the home of the blues, and Jimi was a bluesman at heart. He was deliberately returning to his roots with this gig, having made huge sums of money for his work and being readily criticised for doing so. He was perhaps feeling a pang of guilt at his financial success, which was another vortex of trapdoors. Yet again, he was being held to a different standard; no white guitarist would be attacked for their success in such a way. Success, and being able to leave a life of poverty, would in most other respects be wholly commended, but for Jimi it was seen as a betrayal of his impoverished roots. The United Block Association was a way for Jimi to give back, to allow those unfamiliar with his music to be exposed to it, and, simply, for solidarity. It would have been easy for Jimi to buy a mansion in the country somewhere and shield himself from the relentless pressures of the outside world. As those who have visited his flat in 23 Brook Street will know, however, that was not his style. He was at his happiest when he was in the middle of it all, in the cities where all is movement; standing still was not what Jimi stood for. The vastness of his shows had become a source of constant disappointment, and he wanted more than anything to perform in the smallest of venues, among those who wanted to absorb the experience and appreciate the music. Losing that connection with people was something he felt was slowly beginning to happen, and gigs like this were his way of reconnecting with that essential reason for music making; real, in-the-moment events.