Jorma Kaukonen - guitar, vocals; Jack Casady - bass
One might expect 1973-era Hot Tuna performing at a Legal Aid Benefit for the Hell's Angels to be a hard rockin' affair, but it turns out just the opposite was true. This Winterland concert is just Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady serving it up acoustic style. All the elements that make up their unique musical chemistry are on full display, and to some degree, more clearly in focus. Jack's inventive and percussive bass style can truly be appreciated here. Both he and Jorma are so obviously full of enthusiasm for the new and recent material that they have never sounded better in an acoustic duo setting.
This is unexpected as Hot Tuna's recent album release, Phosphorescent Rat ventured deeper into electric territory than ever before, and they would become more heavily electrified in the years to come. This acoustic performance is all the more fascinating for it, as one gets to hear many of that LP's tracks in stripped down form, several that were rarely performed live.
This was also the general timeframe that Jorma was recording his first solo acoustic album Quah" so we get to hear several of those new songs with Jack adding additional punch.
Highlights are many, but the rarely performed Phosphorescent Rat material is outstanding. "Day To Day Out The Window Blues," "Letter To The North Star," "Corners Without Exits," "Living Just For You" and "In The Kingdom" never made it into heavy setlist rotation, but easily stand up to their best material. The new Quah songs include "I'll Be Alright" and possibly Jorma's most beautiful song, "Genesis," Both would soon became standard material, but they also perform the rarely heard "Flying Clouds." Otherwise, the set is fleshed out with some of their best older songs, including a gorgeous take of the instrumental, "Water Song," that will delight acoustic guitarists and bass players to no end.
For the last song of the set, Jorma unexpectedly straps on an electric guitar and regardless of having no drummer, they let it rip for nine minutes of "Uncle Sam Blues" to close the set.