February, 2015
A Review of Jefferson Starship's
Final Show of 2015 U.K. Tour

Closing out nearly two weeks of shows in England in late January, Jefferson Starship performed a show at The Sage in Gateshead, U.K. The band was pleased to be reviewed by Mick Burgess for chroniclelive.co.uk. Here is the text: 

For most, reaching the milestone of half a century in a job would probably earn them a gold clock and a firm handshake from their boss as they shuffled off into retirement.

Not so for Paul Kantner, the guitarist/vocalist who founded psychedelic rockers Jefferson Airplane, who shows no signs of acquiring a shiny time piece just yet.

Jefferson Airplane rose to prominence during the Flower Power era with inspired performances at legendary festivals such as Woodstock and Altamont while the songs White Rabbit and Somebody to Love defined an era as their biting anti Vietnam War stance set them against the American establishment.

With vocalist David Freiberg from Quicksilver Messenger Service jumping aboard in 1972 Jefferson Airplane gradually morphed into the more streamlined Jefferson Starship and continued on and off, with the odd Jefferson Airplane reunion for good measure, up to the present day.

Mixing a set containing the best moments of the Jefferson Airplane catalogue with that of Jefferson Starship while avoiding anything by glossy radio rockers Starship, the splinter group formed by ex-Jefferson Starship members who scored hits with We Built This City and Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, they gave the crowd exactly what they wanted.

The dreamy Miracles with its silky smooth harmonies and the elegant melody of Count on Me were the perfect songs for a breezy summer’s day, notwithstanding the Arctic blast swirling outside on a freezing Gateshead evening.

The dramatic Wooden Ships featured some stunning, cinematic harmonies with the warm, melodious vocals of Freiberg and gravel edged tones of Kantner intertwining with the imposing, powerful vocals of Cathy Richardson to striking effect.

Eat Starch Mom`s funky riff picked up the pace as Jane brought some pristine American AOR to the show matching the very best of Journey, Foreigner and Toto complete with one of the most thrilling lead guitar breaks ever laid down and that alone was worth every single penny of the admission fee.

Missing such an iconic figure as Grace Slick, who retired from music a few years ago, would have a detrimental impact on most bands but Kantner is no fool and in picking Cathy Richardson he has ensured Slick’s legacy was treated with respect. Richardson was inspiring throughout and none more so than on Somebody To Love and White Rabbit.

As the last night of the whole UK tour drew to an end support act Auburn joined in for the revolutionary clarion call of Volunteers which included Jefferson Starship’s tour manager on drums for a rousing finale.

FIfty years in the business is a long time and it’s doubtful whether any of today’s acts will have such staying power. Jefferson Starship drew on that experience and delivered an outstanding performance to match their illustrious legacy.

—Mick Burgess

(To see the article on the ChronicleLive website, click here.)