Grace Slick - vocals; Mickey Thomas - vocals; Craig Chaquico - lead guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals; Peter Sears - bass, keyboards, guitar, backing vocals; David Freiberg - keyboards, synthesizers, bass, vocals; Donny Baldwin - drums, percussion, backing vocals; Peter Wolf - keyboards, synthesizers; Ina Wolf - vocals; Dave Jenkins - vocals; China Kantner - vocals; Carolyn Headron - vocals
It is somewhat strange to hear this version of Jefferson Starship ripping though a killer version of "Winds of Change" during this hit-packed performance recorded at Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, CA on 6/27/84. The winds of change were certainly blowing at its front door that particular night.
It was during the band's initial 1984 tour promoting Nuclear Furniture, its new LP at the time. The night prior to this show, founder and band leader Paul Kantner called a meeting in the dressing room to inform the band he was leaving. Kantner morphed his previous band, Jefferson Airplane into Jefferson Starship after recording his Blows Against The Empire solo album in 1970 (as well as some side projects with Grace Slick). He felt he had lost control of the band which he started and was no longer content to play the radio-friendly pop rock which Starship had been releasing since the mid-1970s.
He also suggested that the band break up and retire the name, since he was the last original Jefferson Airplane member still in Starship (Slick joined the Airplane with its second LP). When the other members and manager Bill Thompson didn't agree, a few months later, Kantner filed a lawsuit seeking ownership of the name and demanding payment for money he felt was owed to him. The lawsuit was settled the following year, with Jefferson Starship now being marketed simply as Starship. Slick and singer Mickey Thompson would take over the reins, and they remained a chart-topping act through 1987, when the group fell apart among internal squabbles.
There are those music fans and industry insiders who feel this period of the Jefferson Starship was its worst, having transformed into a corporate rock hit-making machine. However… millions who bought the records and attended the Starship shows would disagree—especially since this was the most commercially successful period in the band's 40 plus year history.
By the time this show was recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, the band had finally come full circle and was able to play a set that included old hits from the Jefferson Airplane and the early '70s Starship line-ups, as well as the more modern, production-heavy hits of the new band. All the hits are here, except for the ones sung by former member, Marty Balin. Most of the older song arrangements are rocked out to a considerably harder edge to compliment the band's musicianship. This is most apparent on "Somebody To Love," "White Rabbit," and "Fast Buck Freddie."
The band's performance here is amazing and the line-up included Starship's producer, Peter Wolf (no relation to the J. Geils singer of the same name). There are also some guest vocalists helping out, including Dave Jenkins from Pablo Cruise, Wolf's wife, Ina, and Kantner and Slick's own daughter, China, whom Slick introduced as "coming from my stomach." Aside from the aforementioned Airplane hits, other highlights include "Stranger," "Find Your Way Back," "Ride The Tiger," "No Way Out," "Jane," and the raucous, "Rock Music." All the band members play with fiery passion, especially guitarist Craig Chaquico, who is astonishing.
Eventually Kantner would resurrect the Jefferson Starship name with other Airplane members Jack Casady, and Marty Balin. Thomas would form his own version of Starship, and Grace Slick would retire from music altogether.