It's high time for a Seventies San Francisco Saturday Night Special in The Dungeon! Tonight's feature is a TV movie shot by San Francisco television station KQED, that was made by critic Ralph Gleason of Rolling Stone fame in 1970. It's not as fancy and polished as "Monterey Pop," but is still a pretty cool piece of musical history!
This show features the talents of three of the bay area's finest, Santana, The Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane! The Family Dog was a production company run by a man named Chet Helms. When you see all those hippie psychedelic posters with The Doors, and Captain Beefheart, and 13th Floor Elevators mixed in with the local bands like Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Country Joe and the Fish, and Big Brother and the Holding Company (who Chet also managed) in the line up, Chet was the guy responsible. He was known as the Father of The Summer Of Love!
A 23 year old Carlos Santana is one of the highlights of the show!
The rest of the band was Mike Carrabello, Dave Brown, Jose Chepito Areas, Michael Shrieve, and Gregg Rolie! They perform "Incident at Neshabur," and the classic "Soul Sacrifice."
Next up were The Grateful Dead! Even though The Dead never had any major hit songs, each and every remaining member is worth 30 or 40 million dollars!
The original Grateful Dead were more of a blues affair that was founded and led by front man Ron "Pigpen McKernan, and did some covers like "Hard To Handle," and it's really good to see them perform here!
The Grateful Dead were in a state of metamorphosis! The band was moving into an area of psychedelic noodling that would become their signature sound, and the days of "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" were being left behind!
And so was Pigpen! Pigpen was a drinker, and didn't take psychedelic drugs, and went from being the front man to being a backup player on tambourine and congas on most songs. He played some keyboard, but the music went beyond the whiskey haze he was comfortable with! Three years later, Pigpen would join the infamous 27 Club! It was the end of the original Grateful Dead! The rest is history! The other two songs they perform here are "I Know You Rider," and "China Cat Sunflower."
Next up was The Jefferson Airplane!
Gracie Slick looks extremely stoned throughout this entire performance, and if you asked her, and she could remember, I'm sure she would agree!
The dancers always crack me up for three reasons or another!
Most folks probably don't know that Jack Casady is one of the most talented bass players on the planet! It's his tone that sets him apart from all the others, and what a rich tone it is! Rich enough that it goes all the way back to the sounds of Little Anthony and the Imperials! Jack is currently still playing with Hot Tuna and on tour! You can check it all out on his website!
Now this is classic shit! During an instrumental break, Paul Kantner decides to smoke a cigarette! Just walking that fine line between irrelevant and irreverent!! That's the path I choose!
Grace is too loaded to realize she's blocking the shot or just doesn't care, but then they were just keeping it real! Oddly enough, art and reality can exist on the same stage!
Jorma Kaukonen has long been one of my favorite guitarists, but "After Bathing At Baxters" I think Jefferson Airplane's trip peaked. Jorma and Jack formed the great band called Hot Shit, I mean Hot Tuna, and with the addition of papa John Creach on violin, they smoked it! Here's the link to Hot Tuna's website and tour dates, because you're going to want to see them if they come anywhere near your town!
I've always like the vocal styling of lead singer Marty Balin, and his solo album called "Bodacious" is just as good as the first Hot Tuna album!
When Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship, I tuned out forever! It's really funny how those things happen! This concert ends with what they call a super jam, with all three bands up on stange!
This concept has since been labeled as a Clusterfuck, and rightfully so, because when you get that many people on one stage, and you really didn't rehearse, it's just pretty much a wall of something between noise and music, but not even really in a good way!
There's really no fair comparison, because "Montery Pop" was a film about a filmed music festival, and this is a show about music, or, if "Montery Pop" would have been filmed in this more simpler form, it would have been a lot better! It's a San Francisco musical historian's dream, a night to remember!