Archive for the ‘Wagon Wheels’ Category

Jefferson Starship Blackburn King Georges Hall Oct 12th 2012

Jefferson Starship Blackburn King Georges Hall Oct 12th 2012
Last night San Franciscan psychedelic rock came to Blackburn in the form of the latest incarnation of Jefferson Starship. I’d promised myself that I would see Jefferson Starship the next time they came to the UK, having missed their last few visits, so last night I took a drive across the moors to King George’s Hall Blackburn for this gig. The concert was held in the Windsor room, and I would estimate that there were a couple of hundred people present. I arrived around 8.15pm, having missed the first support act, but just in time to catch a short set by local band Wagon Wheels. Their music is a mix of rock, folk and country with 5 front men and 4 guitarists. They were very good, and went down well with their home crowd. I saw shades of Mumford and Sons in their music. They had brought along their own local fans, and one of them got a big surprise when she was brought on stage while the keyboard player proposed to her. Luckily, she accepted to a big cheer from the crowd.
Jefferson Starship took to the stage at around 9.15pm, starting with Wooden Ships. This line up features original Starship commander and super-psych guitarist Paul Kantner, long time collaborator and sweet vocalist David Frieberg, and the great, raunchy rock-chick vocalist Cathy Richardson. This was only the second time that I have seen The Starship, the first being at Knebworth in 1978, when they featured on a bill headlined by Genesis. On that occasion the band was going through a difficult period, and arrived late for the gig without singer Grace Slick, who had left the band a few days earlier after a cancelled gig in Germany where all the band’s gear was trashed and burned by the angry crowd. The band played without her at Knewborth, and delivered a powerful set that was one of the highlights of the day. So I was looking forward to seeing them play again after a 34 year gap. For the first few moments last night I felt the sound mix was murky, and I feared that I was going to be disappointed. But this was soon sorted as the band settled into a set of classic psychedelic rock, drawn largely from Jefferson Airplane’s 60s catalogue. Wooden Ships featured spot on harmonies, and was swiftly followed by Crown and Creation and then the absolute classic White Rabbit, which took me back to my youth in a big way. Dated? Yes of course, but so what! These are great great songs, and part of our rock history. It was tremendous to see them played so well in an intimate venue, with a close-up view of the band. Paul Kantner is clearly the leader, although he left the stage on a couple of occasions to hand over to Cathy Richardson while she sang a couple of her solo tracks. David Frieberg also got to take the lead on a couple of songs; I was delighted that one of those was Quicksilver Messenger Service’s Fresh Air; a favourite track of mine. Brought back memories of seeing the late great John Cipollina when he toured the UK with Man in the 70s. David has a beautiful voice, and reminded me of David Crosby, who is of course, a former collaborator of the band. Jude Gold, who is standing in for regular guitarist Slick Aguilar for this UK tour, was exceptional, playing those classic psych guitar solos. Other stand outs were Get Together, Miracles, and Jane. They finished at around 11pm with Somebody to Love, Cathy punching the air and the crowd singing along. It just doesn’t get any better. Got home around 1.15am. Apologies for the blurry photo; I must get more practice with my camera phone.

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