Jefferson Airplane – Winterland – 1970 – Past Daily Backstage Weekend
Jefferson Airplane this weekend. Going along as an adjunct to our impromptu homage to the 60s this past week. This is Jefferson Airplane from April 1970, two months after the departure of drummer Spencer Dryden, who quit in February and went off to join New Riders Of The Purple Sage, and about a year after the formation of Hot Tuna by Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassady while singer Grace Slick was recovering from throat surgery. It was initially a side-project, but things would soon change in that regard.
Shifts in the band were occurring. With the emphasis on more “heavy” music, via the popularity of Jimi Hendrix and The Cream, Jefferson Airplane were pulling away from the folk-rock/psychedelia they were noted for in 1966, to a heavier and more political musical stance. This was also around the time they released Volunteers, which was their most political statement yet and caused them to butt heads with RCA, who objected to the use of motherfucker in the lyrics of We Can Be Together and forced them to edit the song for use as the b-side of their Volunteers single. It would signal the start of a decline in their popularity as a mainstream Pop group, but it didn’t affect their status with the FM audience who continued to idolize them and who had always given the band heavy airplay.
A word or two about this concert recording. This soundboard recording was originally over 90 minutes. But the first 30 minutes were wildly uneven with voices popping in and out, getting buried in the mix or disappearing altogether. Same with the guitars. It’s a mixing nightmare, but it finally ironed out about 30 minutes in. So, rather than subject you to wild fluctuations in levels and some truly frustrating listening, I edited out the first 30 minutes, leaving the last 60 intact. I know purists will object strongly, and that much of the importance of historic recordings in the preservation of “warts and all”, but this one made for some very jarring listening and went against my policy of presenting history in the best possible sound. So I apologize for not including the beginning, in favor of picking up where the mix irons out.