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Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner's Jefferson Starship rocking by Steve Smith, Pasadena Star News, posted 8 23 12, reviewing 8 19 12 concert, Woodland Hillstock (see last paragraph in bold)

From 1965-1972, Paul Kantner co-led legendary psychedelic San Francisco group, The Jefferson Airplane, penning and singing on such iconic protest youth movement and anti-Vietnam War protest songs as "Volunteers," "Crown of Creation" and "We Can Be Together." The Airplane performed noted sets at the three major music festivals of the `60s, the Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock and Altamont.

Kantner then fronted several forms of The Airplane's next incarnation, The Jefferson Starship, which recorded a dozen gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums.

Now Kanter is 71 and still on the road with Jefferson Starship, which features his old friend, 73-year-old former Quicksilver Messenger Service-Airplane-Starship singer-bassist David Freiberg (who sang Quicksilver's 1970 FM "underground radio" hit, "Fresh Air"). They made a pit stop before several thousand fans at a free picnic concert at Warner Park in Woodland Hills.

The 100-minute set opened with The Airplane's 1967 classic, "Somebody to Love," and it was hitsville from that point onward, including The Airplane's ode to a pill that make you smaller, among other things, "White Rabbit," and such Starship hits (many of them million sellers) as "Miracles," "Count on Me," and "Ride the Tiger" and several other crowd pleasers. The Starship's infectiously propulsive "Fast Buck Freddie" was a particular highlight.

They also incorporating some genuine Airplane gems, such as "Crown of Creation," "Volunteers" and a concert ending, "The Other Side of Life," that the Airplane released live from its early 1969 concert album, "Bless It's Pointed Little Head." (It was also the song The Airplane was performing when Hell's Angels knocked singer Marty Balin out cold at Altamont).

During a lengthy 12-minute take on Kantner's 1967 psychedelic gem, "The Ballad of You & Me & Pooniel," from The Airplane album, "After Bathing at Baxter's," Kantner and Grace Slick's replacement, Cathy Richardson (who also replaced Janis Joplin in the still-active Big Brother and The Holding Company several years ago), took a break while band's guitarist of more than 30 years, Slick Aguilar, led the rest of the band in a workout on Jeff Beck's 1975 instrumental hit, "Freeway Jam."

There was an opening act of note. The blues rocking Dennis Jones Band is a fronted by a truly great guitarist, Jones, who clearly gets his inspiration from Jimi Hendrix. In between performing its originals, the trio covered two Hendrix songs ("Little Wing" and "Red House") as well as B.B. King's "The Thrill is Gone," and Booker T. Jones and William Bell's "Born Under a Bad Sign." Eric Clapton would do well to invite Jones to next year's Crossroad Guitar Festival.

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