Live Reviews

Jefferson Airplane/Starship..... One band that everyone must see!


Nestled in the woods near the Mississippi River was a classic outdoor stage, and by arriving early great seats were in abundance. The second night of The Taste Of Minnesota had the legendary Jefferson Airplane/Starship taking the WCCO Woodstock Stage.   The power and complexity of one of Americas greatest bands would tear your eardrums no matter how close you stood.  Front row gave a ring that lasted for days...

Once hailed as the greatest psychedelic band in history, Jefferson Airplane had it's share of hits.  From the early greats like Somebody To Love, White Rabbit, and Volunteers this band owned the minds of America in the mid 1960s.  Gone from the live show was the talent and beauty of Grace Slick, but Marty Balin and Paul Kantner still can light any fire.  A young woman now belts out the hits, and gives the audience a glimpse of the sexuality that pervaded years ago.  What ever her reason, Grace Slick was not in attendance at this show?

To a younger generation this was not as important as the music Slick wrote with her band so long ago. On Jefferson Starship's website the new singer Diana Mangano writes, "(I was)Born: June 2, 1968 in Buffalo, New York (and) had a blessed childhood in Silver Creek, NY. I Lived by Lake Erie and attended SUNY Fredonia in NY. My life was full of family, nature, dance, gymnastics, music, friends and love.  At the age of 25, I planned a trip to scope out life in San Francisco,Ca. Right before I made the trip, I saw the Jefferson Starship perform in western New York several times. There was no female vocalist present which got my friend to say, "you should do it, Diana." Now here I am, brave, lucky me. After moving to San Francisco, I performed with Paul, Jack and Tim Gorman at the Masonic Auditorium". 

Marty Balin (Pictured in the blue shirt) did a terrific job singing.  Many of the Starship hits even I had forgotten were written by him.  He asked the audience to help him sing a slow song, which was his signature Hearts.  There was a 15 year absence when Marty was not touring with the band.  Today we are treated to seeing him perform in what many would argue is the greatest band still around.  There is a sincerity in his voice that shows his years of experience and a look in his eyes that invites you into his music.

Paul Kantner is still creating a smoke screen on the guitar, and it isn't just when he chain smokes through the show.  Playing from a few different guitars Paul still has his sound that is part of what became known as the "San Francisco Sound".  He created a music that captured the essence of freedom, and plucked love into everyone's hearts.  He is the staple of these bands and continues to carry on the torch to a new generation.  He looks a bit older than he did at Woodstock, but his sound is still ahead of it's time.   

The music they played was memorable and moved through time.  One moment, if you closed your eyes, you could almost feel like you were at Woodstock, Monetrey, or Altamont.  In 1967 when Jimi Hendrix burned a guitar into the souls of flower power, Jefferson Airplane danced in the wisdom and sexuality of protest.  Gone today are the colored glasses and freedom, but the music still whispers of rebellion.  Paul Kantner talked of politics and was ushered in by the theme to George Lucas's Empire Strikes Back.  He gave us social comentary and really meant it.  He showed us why Jefferson Airplane/Starship still can pack a festival almost 40 years later.