Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jefferson Starship -- The Hamilton - Mar 14 2012

Jefferson Starship - The Starship is basically all things Jefferson, Airplane and Starship that is. Paul Kantner is guiding force and David Freiberg, founder of Quicksilver Messenger Service and member of both Jeffersons, is also aboard. They are joined with members that have been aboard for a good number of years: Mark Aguilar on guitar, Donny Baldwin on drums, Chris Smith on keys, and Cathy Richardson (interviewed here) on vocals. Like the Airplane, the starting point is the male and female vocals augmented by Kantner in the third voice. After that, there is the great psychedelic, rock, blues and folk based music. The band certainly can still put it altogether in 2012. It is not as crazy psychedelic as before, and it would hardly give off that vibe in this comfortable dinner club, but it rocks hard and the players all bring a lot of their individual style to the overall sound. The first set is the quieter material as Kantner explains with the crazy stuff coming in the second set. That was true enough ("Lather" and Quicksilver's "Fresh Air") and unfortunately the sound man had the vocals too low in set one, but that was corrected by the second set. Perhaps he was a bit intimidated by Cathy Richardson's incredible range (she is not all power although she certainly shows that when called upon). Still, it was a good enough start. Set two began with a Freiberg vocal on top of just the keyboard. Cathy Richardson did a song from her solo album a few year's back and then Paul Kantner came out to get back to Jeffersonian material with "St. Charles", a surprisingly strong Starship number. "You & Me & Pooneil" featured a lot of creative jamming and was quite fun, while the "Somebody to Love" closer and "Volunteers" encore both smoked and got the quiet weekday crowd up and excited. I was happier than I expected with the Starship material and the sets had great variety tonight. The vocals were outstanding and even the old guys still have it. The music was solid while a bit on the mature side, but even less than Hot Tuna I would say. Catch them while Paul Kantner still has the chops and more importantly the desire to keep doing what he has done so well for so long.
Set List (as best as I can come up with at least): Crown of Creation/Get Together (Valente)/Count of Me/Lather/Fresh Air/something from Blows Against the Empire?/White Rabbit/Wooden Ships -intermission- Harp Tree Lament/Cathy Richardson number/St. Charles/Jane/ ? (bad notes)/Miracles/Good Shepherd/Starship song/It's No Secret/The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil/Somebody to Love/ Encore: Volunteers

Quote of the Night: Chatting with someone after the show...
"It's worth it just to hear Freiberg do "Fresh Air" even if he is starting to turn into Jerry Garcia"
me - "We all gotta grow into something."
Note - David Freiberg is 73 years old and Paul Kantner turns 71 this Saturday.

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