Grace Slick - vocals; Marty Balin - vocals, tambourine; Paul Kantner - guitar, vocals; Jorma Kaukonen - guitar, vocals; Jack Casady - bass; Joey Covington - drums
This is the second set of a marathon show, with Jefferson Airplane sharing the bill with Quicksilver and the Grateful Dead.
Here we have the Jefferson Airplane in full flight as the '60s are fading into the '70s. Those turbulent times were reflected strikingly not only in the Airplane's music, but also within the personal makeup of the group itself; this distinctive version of the band had already begun to splinter.
From the opening number "We Can Be Together," off their controversial album Volunteers, the politically charged tone is set. The volume just increases as they launch into "Mexico," their new single written about President Nixon's marijuana importation initiative, Operation Intercept, which salutes the legendary pot dealer Charlie and LSD chemist (and former Grateful Dead soundman) Owsley Stanley. Four older classic Airplane songs come next, with instrumentals foreshadowing the aggressive lead guitar attack and thundering bass of electric Hot Tuna soon to come. The following tune, "Come Back Baby," exemplifies this sound, with Kaukonen taking charge on vocals. "Emergency" perpetuates the tone, as Kaukonen and Casady cook and sizzle behind Marty Balin's lead vocals.
The set continues with the B-side of the "Mexico" single, "Have You Seen the Saucers." This song can be seen as a precursor to the science fiction epics Paul Kantner would be obsessed with in coming years, and with which he'd later achieve great artistic success with "Blows Against the Empire."
The group allows a girl named Hell's Angel onstage to rant for a moment, before Grace leads the group through an extended jam on "Somebody To Love." Things mellow out a bit as the group sails off on a dreamy take of "Wooden Ships" that gradually builds in intensity as the song progresses over nine minutes. An impassioned take of "3/5 of a Mile" keeps the energy level high, up until they close the set with the searing anthem "Volunteers." With the audience now buzzing from sets by two of the greatest San Francisco bands, Grace reminds them to stick around for the Grateful Dead.
Written by Alan Bershaw
© 2019 CV.org. All rights reserved.