Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tune of the day - the Jefferson Airplane - rooftop concert

This is from a Jean-Luc Godard movie which never saw the light of day. Jefferson Airplane play a live roof-top version of 'The House At Pooneil Corner' in Manhattan, on one cold and windy day.

This preceded the Beatles 'Let it be' roof-top stunt by at least one year. Unfortunately, the Airplane are playing on top of a 45+ storey hotel, so nobody on street level can see them. Guess they didn't quite think that one through... People in surrounding higher buildings had a good view though, as the huge bass sound bounces off the adjoining buildings.

This was the regular Airplane lineup, with Grace Slick, Marty Balin and Paul Kantner doing their layered harmony vocals and ├╝ber-bassist Jack Casady, lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and drummer Spencer Dryden driving the whole thing along (with Kantner's 12-string rhythm guitar).

Marty Balin was the initial founder of the band and does the decent thing by offering himself up for arrest when the cops arrive to shut things down.

He was the only Airplane member never to indulge in bedroom congress with the ultimate self-confident, 'rock-chick' Grace and was similarly gallant when the Airplane played the notorious Rolling Stones' Altamount concert a year or so later, when he jumped into the crowd to try to prevent the Hells Angels 'security' from beating on some female concert go-ers. His reward from the Angels was a heavy dose of concussion and a badly shattered jaw...

Surprisingly, unlike most sixties groups, all but one of the Airplane are alive and healthy to this day (drummer Dryden died of cancer a couple of years back), albeit not really on speaking terms, aside from Jack and Jorma...

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