Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Jefferson Airplane – Live at the Fillmore East 1969

Blasting out of the gate with a positively incendiary version of “Volunteers”, you know that this CD is a document of this band at its wildest apex! Mixing acid-drenched psychedelia with harmonic pop, blues and r’n’r, these characters showed the rest of the world what the best of the San Francisco scene was all about!

I’ve always been a fan of this trippy pop music and have been fascinated how they managed to make great music and still hit their harmonies even at times when they admitted that they were out of their minds! But, r’n’r is at its best when it lives on the edge and these cats certainly did that on stage!

One of the amazing things about this group is that their songs would take a very different form on stage – sometimes to the point of being unrecognizable, though still great! “Plastic Fantastic Lover” is one example of this – listening without the track listing I literally had no idea what this song was until I heard the chorus!

“3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds” is one of my favorite songs of theirs which has already taken on a couple of wildly different versions in the studio take and the Bless Its Pointed Little Head speed demon recording (which they seem to be trying to go faster than the title implies!). This is a more subtle variant, but enough to keep you on your toes!

This disc has plenty more to offer, including long jams (some successful, like “The Other Side of This Life”, the set closer, some not so much) and gems such as “Crown of Creation” and, of course, “White Rabbit”.

I do think that one of the best side effects of the CD revolution has been the release of so many fine recordings that we hadn’t seen for one reason or another throughout the vinyl era. Nice that so much can be packed into one disc!

If you’re into the SF psychedelic sound, be sure to pick this up!


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