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Fly, Jefferson Airplane DVD -- and an appreciation of late-'60s acid rock. (1 Viewer)

Zen Butler

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Fly, Jefferson Airplane

This was just released 9/21/04, and I got around to viewing it Saturday and it hasn't left my player.

Finally, us displaced (younger) fans of this era are treated to a nice montage of Jefferson Airplane live and television performances. Aside of the Monterey Pop Festival, I hadn't seen any of the performances on this dvd. The dvd plays like a concert film, although some frivolous lip-synched tv performances are sprinkled about. Outlining the film, is some brief, mild documentary with the now aging band members. Pretty light stuff, for those who have read Got a Revolution! There is though a Play Performances Only selection. One of the highlights is High Flyin' Bird (Still love Signe Toly's version from Takes Off re-issue though) from the Monterey Pop Festival and demonstrates Slick's ability to take over a song. And boy does she shine here. The performance is just so electrifying. The chemistry between Balin and Slick is almost psychic in nature. There is a rather strange performance of Crown of Creation from the Smothers Brothers tv show. My favorite is without a doubt the Manhattan rooftop performance. "Wake up! you [email protected]!" An exhilarating experience. Especially, to one who views Jefferson Airplane as hands down, the best band ever. WOW stores have this dirt cheap at $13.99. A must for a fan or those who have an interest in the era. Highly Recommended

A-


P.S. It's tough to contain my excitement and Mr. Roy Batty's signature gets bumped for the week.
 

Marty M

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Thanks for the heads up on this DVD. As a baby boomer who has been a JA fan since 1967, I will definitely pick this up.

Does this contain their performance on the Smothers Brothers show where Grace Slick performed in blackface, if I recall.
 

LarryDavenport

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I plan to buy this on payday! I wish their complete Monterey and Woodstock performances would get released!
 

Zen Butler

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Yes Marty, it does contain the cuts from that Smothers Brothers tv show. On both Crown of Creation and Lather, Grace performs in black-face. The Crown of Creation performance is strange as it appears that JA are secluded in a separate room or something. Parts of it appear to be live as the "ahhhhs" at the end are definitely different than on the album. Very strange these partially live performances on these tv specials. Intriguing, none the less.
 

Marty M

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I remember seeing that episode of the Smothers Brothers when it first aired in 1968. The Smothers Brothers prided themselves in having "cutting edge" performances on their show. I recall they were the first TV show to have the cast of Hair perform live.
 

Zen Butler

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Larry and Marty, can't wait to hear your thoughts.

How many JA songs are on the Monterey Pop Criterion? I'm so late on the trigger on this. It's a bit pricey.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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The airplane was always recorded poorly IMHO. I wonder if it's possible to get better sound out of the master tapes. A revised Sack Dee of After Bathing at Baxters (and Surrealistic Pillow) would probably get my money.

Another local band made good. Gracie Slick went to my sister's junior high school in Palo Alto. She's gotten kind of demented lately, what with her waving a shotgun at some cops who came by her house. That usually gets you shot. The cops showed admirable restraint. (As Kirk would say, maybe she did a little too much LDS back in the '60s....) :p)
 

LarryDavenport

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I think he was hoping for SACDs.

The Monterey Pop Collection on Critereion has "High Flying Bird" and "Today" in the movie itself, and "Somebody to Love" on the bonus disc, which is really cool but you can see why a lot of the better stuff didn't make it because of gaffs like hairs in the lens and such. Still there are some great performances especially The Association's performance of "The Machine" and "Along Comes Mary" and Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth."

The commentary explains that they didn't film every song of a band's set and a lot of bands wouldn't allow their performances filmed (The Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, and the Byrds most notably).
 

DanaA

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Wow!!! I love the JA, but didn't even know this existed. Want to get it tonight!!! Saw them live a couple of times way back when. The second time, they performed for free at Griffith Park in L.A. just after volunteers was released and was one of the very best concerts I've witnessed.

Off topic, I've long wished for some DVD's of the old Smother's Brothers show to be released. I loved that show (and Dick Cavett) and remember when they completely fooled me. Something to the effect of, "We have a Beatle here tonight. No, not that kind of a Beatle..." Then, out walked George Harrison.
 

Zen Butler

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Rachael, no I haven't. That's from a later Utopia album.


Oh Utopia, slowly I turn. One of my favorite albums of all time is Utopia RA. I love a lot of Todd Rundgren's Utopia stuff. Very unique.
 

Jack Briggs

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Glad to see so many like-minded people here.

I saw the Airplane in person four times during the band's heyday. Spencer Dryden was still the drummer. Marty, Grace, and Paul were still getting along. Jorma and Jack were one of the best guitar/bass units ever to make a scene in rock. Just one hell of a great band, and, in my opinion, the best of the San Francisco groups.

In terms of how Marty, Paul, and Grace sang as a unit, note how they sing more in unison than in harmony (unlike, say, John Lennon and Paul McCartney -- still, to this day, the best harmony ever heard in rock vocals).

For the most part this worked, but it could fall flat (check out both of the "Pooneil" songs, on Baxter's and Crown).

And, yep, I was watching that Sunday evening in 1968 when Tom Smothers said "I have a Beatle." That was a special-format edition of the show, with the stage at the center of the auditorium. And Donovan Leitch was the headline act that evening. He did "Atlantis."

Man, you could do so much political satire on commercial television in those days. So much more cutting-edge than what one sees on commercial broadcast TV now.

And, of course, I was watching when the Airplane appeared on another edition, with Grace singing "Lather" while done up in black-face. I was there, in front of an Admiral color console TV, drinking it all in. At the time, I thought Crown of Creation was the band's strongest-ever album. Though the next studio album, Volunteers, was even better. The album in between, Bless Its Pointed Little Head, to this day, is one of the best "live" albums ever. As good as The Who's Live at Leeds.
 

Zen Butler

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Yes, I love the first 6 albums immensely. Volunteers is near perfect, in my eyes.
Although, when I took the time to get inside the album After Bathing at Baxter's it became my favorite. There are so many great tracks on that record;
"Martha" (there is a cool promo video from The Perry Como Show on the Fly dvd), "Last Wall of the Castle" and "Two Heads." Baxter's is great home, stoned record.

Volunteers is a great driving record.



+twists arm+ Jack, do tell.
 

DanaA

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LOL...

Well, you know in those days, people knew how to have a good time.

Ordered the DVD last night from Deep Discount. Haven't listened to Bless Its Pointed Little Head for years. Think I still have it on vinyl, but have no working turntable, so I guess it will be ordered from Amazon today.

Jack, when I saw them at Griffith Park right after Volunteers came out, they performed Volunteers and immediately broke into We Can Be Together. That combination was one of my most exciting moments as a concert goer.

When I saw them at the Fillmore, they followed Quicksilver. Two great San Francisco groups, one right after another.

Them sure were fun times.
 

Marty M

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I, regretfully, never got to see them in concert. I also remember that the immortal words from We Can Be Together -- "Up against the wall, motherf****r" became an anthem for anti-war protesters during the Viet Nam war.

As far as JA albums, Crown of Creation is still my favorite. I still have my Jefferson Airplane Loves You pin that I got for joining their fan club. It cost me $1 to join in 1967.
 

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