Grace Slick - vocals; Marty Balin - vocals, percussion; Paul Kantner - vocals, guitar; Jorma Kaukonen - lead guitar; Jack Casady - bass; Spencer Dryden - drums
This set opened the final show of the a three-day run through San Francisco by the Airplane, a stay which also featured sets by blues legends John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed. After two wild nights at Winterland, the run ended with a much smaller Fillmore Auditorium performance on Sunday afternoon.
Immediately apparent here is that the Jefferson Airplane had progressed a remarkable distance over the course of the past several months. Their sound was evolving and becoming more distinctive. They sound much less like the folk-pop oriented band of 1966 and were becoming more aggressive. They had completed sessions for Surrealistic Pillow and more of that material was firmly in place in the live repertoire.
Grace Slick was firmly on board by this point. Her presence was unquestionably a strong element in the change in sound, but it was the core musicians - Paul, Jorma, Jack and Spencer - that were strengthening the band's sound. Paul was becoming a more aggressive rhythm guitar player, and in the process was freeing up Jorma, allowing him to really cut loose and develop. However, a significant amount of credit goes to the rhythm section of Jack and Spencer. They were truly developing at an astonishing rate, becoming the most unique and creative backbone of any of the San Francisco bands.
This early set still features some of the first album material, such as "It's No Secret," "And I Like It," "Run Around" and "You're Bringing Me Down," as well as the ubiquitous "High Flying Bird," but the Surrealistic Pillow material and several new improvisational vehicles were beginning to dominate the set. The two songs Grace brought to the Pillow sessions, "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love" are both here. Also from the new album are the lovely "You're My Best Friend" and the hard rocking "She Has Funny Cars."
On the unreleased front, Jorma and Jack were cooking up a storm on "Come Back Baby," now distinctly sounding like Hot Tuna years before the fact. Marty was continuing to define several improvisational vehicles, with "Don't Let Me Down" and the "Leave You Alone" jam that segues directly out of "Somebody To Love" to close the set.
The music was clearly becoming more heady, both lyrically and musically. These March 1967 sets capture the band at perhaps their happiest time as a unit, with everyone contributing. Over the course of the next few months, the group would become international stars and their lives would change forever, becoming infinitely more complicated.
Written by Alan Bershaw