The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Final Show Ended With Them Being Teargassed

Large gatherings of people, like concerts, protests, or other special events, have a tendency to lead to conflict or chaos. An infamous example of this was at the 1969 Altamont Free Concert, which featured a performance from the Rolling Stones. Despite Woodstock going off without a hitch just a few months beforehand, security at Altamont clashed with people in the crowd, many of whom were on hard drugs and experienced "freak-outs" as a result. Four people died in the incident. In 2020, protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd also ended in clashes with law enforcement throughout the United States. 

The last show that the Jimi Hendrix Experience ever performed suffered a similar fate. Tension had been building within the band in the time leading up to the gig. Jimi Hendrix is one of the most legendary figures of the 1960s, but the Jimi Hendrix Experience as a band only existed for a few years. The group's last performance became one they'd likely want to forget.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience performed at the Denver Pop Festival

In 1966, Jimi Hendrix began jamming with Chas Chandler from the Animals. Chandler brought in Mitch Mitchell to play the drums and Noel Redding to play the bass (per Time Toast). Much of the band's time together as the Jimi Hendrix Experience was spent in London even though Hendrix himself was American. They frequently performed at the Bag O' Nails, a popular venue in the city. Members of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones even came to watch on different occasions (per Culture Trip).

According to History, the Jimi Hendrix Experience finally came stateside in 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival. It was here that Hendrix famously set his guitar on fire. The group then released three albums within two years. However, Redding felt that Hendrix's individual fame made him seem above the rest of the band. They knew that the Denver Pop Festival in 1969 was going to be their last performance together (per Ultimate Classic Rock).

Jimi Hendrix told the crowd that it would be their last performance

Ultimate Classic Rock states that halfway through their performance at the Denver Pop Festival, Jimi Hendrix broke the news to the crowd that it would be the last Jimi Hendrix Experience performance. The crowd was already uneasy after trying to convince the festival's organizers to make the event free of charge. By the time Hendrix made his announcement, police officers had to use tear gas as the tried to keep the crowd under control. The gas made its way to the stage and forced the band to leave.

It was not the last time that security deployed tear gas at a gig involving Jimi Hendrix. In June of 1970, the San Bernardino venue had sold more tickets than it could hold. Concertgoers who bought tickets, but were not allowed in, attempted to force their way inside. Police met the crowd of around 3,000 people with tear gas (per Daily Bulletin).