Grace Slick - vocals
Paul Kantner - vocals, guitar
David Freiberg - keyboards, vocals
Papa John Creach - electric violin, vocals
Craig Chaquico - lead guitar
Pete Sears - bass
Johnny Barbata - drums
This fourth set of the S.N.A.C.K. Benefit features Jefferson Starship, with Grace Slick and Paul Kantner now clearly piloting the ship. This set was recorded during sessions for their Red Octopus LP, which would soon become their biggest selling album to date. Although back on board for those sessions, Airplane founder Marty Balin was not present for this performance.
The band was clearly heading for a more mainstream sound at this point. Their new material works well for the most part, and certainly helped capture the attention of a whole new generation of fans. From the opening song "Ride The Tiger" - and its proclamations, "Look to the summer of '75, All the world is gonna come alive!" - one can clearly tell that this is no dinosaur band limping along, but a whole new beast - hungry and with a whole new sense of mission.
Much of the rest of the set features as of yet unreleased songs the group was recording for the Red Octopus LP, beginning with Grace Slick's "Fast Buck Freddie." Papa John Creach's contribution to those sessions, the instrumental "Git Fiddler," follows, as does one of the best songs on that album, "Play On Love."
Both Kantner's "Another World" and Craig Chaquico's "Sweeter Than Honey" (performed here in early instrumental form), show the band heading in a more straightforward rock direction - a decision that would ultimately capture a legion of new fans while alienating older ones who preferred more thought provoking lyrics and the earlier, more explicitly experimental Airplane sound. In retrospect, this material still holds up well compared to later Jefferson Starship endeavors. In truth, the group would rarely come close to being this good as the 1970's wore on.
They end the set with a double whammy of Jefferson Airplane classic: "Somebody To Love" and "Volunteers." Although performed reasonably well and certainly appreciated by the audience, the absence of Marty Balin's distinctive vocals ( particularly on "Volunteers") leaves these performances lacking their usual resonance.