Live at the Great American Music Hall, 2000

Live at the Great American Music Hall, 2000

by Paul Kantner


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Live at the Great American Music Hall, 2000

This is a beautiful recording, and far better than one might expect from the 2000 performance date. Rather than reliving past glories from the 1960s, Paul Kantner and Marty Balin embrace that history and claim it for themselves as 60-somethings. One needn't approach this double-CD set with memories of the Matrix, Monterey, Tanglewood, Woodstock, the Fillmore, or any other '60s venues in order to appreciate it -- although access to memories of those times doesn't hurt, either. The performances may not be as energetic as what the Airplane or the Jefferson Starship delivered in their heyday -- there's little "morning maniac music" here, to use a phrase that Grace Slick immortalized at Woodstock -- but Kantner and Balin make up in depth and feeling what time forces them to sacrifice in speed. They get considerable help from Chris Smith on keyboards, Slick Aguilar on guitar, and, most important of all, Diana Mangano on vocals -- the latter two hailed from the then-current lineup of the Jefferson Starship, and Mangano was Grace Slick's successor in that band. She does well substituting for Slick's (and Signe Anderson's) contributions on the Airplane repertory and, indeed, the only place where she falls short somewhat, sad to say, is on perhaps the most difficult song here, "Lather" -- the latter was so much a solo showcase for Slick that its inclusion in the set constitutes sheer artistic daring, if not foolhardiness (why didn't they just throw away any semblance of a net and try to do "Rejoyce"?). The song's presence also constitutes an oblique acknowledgment of Spencer Dryden, about whom it was written -- and there is no drummer in this combo, incidentally. The quintet ranges across three decades of material, from the mid-'60s up through one song ("Borderlands") off the 1999 Jefferson Starship album Windows of Heaven. Some repertory associated with Jorma Kaukonen is also reconstituted for this ensemble, with a good deal of success. The Marty Balin solo set doesn't hold up in quite the same way as the Airplane and Kantner work -- it lacks the intensity of the best of the latter -- but as a way of breaking up a long set, the two sides of the history do balance each other out. In all, the whole record is a delight, and, surprisingly, not a bad introduction to the history for anyone who needs it, and this despite Kantner's predilection for foul language and disharmonious vibrations at seemingly inappropriate moments. The performances are too enjoyable for his personal quirks to hurt the evening's entertainment, or this release.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/07/2011
Label: Floating World
UPC: 0805772610224
catalogNumber: 7261022
Rank: 61361

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