Classic Rock

Jefferson Airplane

Live At The Fillmore East 1969

- everett true


Tune in, turn on etc.

This is the original Airplane, caught in their pomp, playing live at San Francisco’s legendary venue a few months after they’d played at Woodstock, loose and assured, muscular and bewitching. Their 1968 live album Bless Its Pointed Little Head might be more fêted, but this is a different beast altogether, bass and guitars snaking in and out of each other on long sinuous runs, wah-wah in full effect, the vocals of Marty Balin holding the jams together effortless­ly, Grace Slick a psychedeli­c wonder.

The favourites are present: Plastic Fantastic Lover, a too short but way sensual White Rabbit, the raucous set closer The Other Side Of This Life… this is a band fully living and loving the life. Inessentia­ls? The Hot Tuna-style blues jams (Uncle Sam Blues, Come Back Baby), also the vocals on the sadly named You Wear Your Dresses Too Short, but in the main this is excellent stuff – the influence of Cream and Hendrix to the fore, hard rock in its emergent glory, a fine document of a great band.

As good as Pointed Little Head? The blistering live version here of the title track from 1968’s Crown Of Creation would argue so. Jefferson Airplane always were way heavier than their pop hits suggest. ■■■■■■■■■■

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