January 13, 2023
Review: Jefferson Starship, Tokyo, Japan

13th Jan, 2023
By Glenn Williams of writerinjapan.com

Lights down, an intro film rolls of a Starship taking off and cruising through space, interspersed with clips of Jefferson Airplane/Starship from the 1960s to 2020, a gentle reminder of the legacy we are about to witness on stage. Towards the end, the band take their places, cymbal rolls crescendo and as a big ‘2023’ fills the screen, the stage bursts into life with colour, dynamics and Find Your Way Back.

It’s a sensory overload and it takes a couple of minutes to take it all in. There’s David Freiberg, a veteran of the sixties, Donny Baldwin, he’s been on that drum throne for forty years, Chris Smith on keyboards and Jude Gold on guitar both of which have CV’s to die for and stage centre, Cathy Richardson, resplendent in an outfit which includes a pair of black and white flared trousers that seem to go through the stage. Don’t ask me what shoes she wore, we never saw them. Musically, they are magnificent. On vocals, Cathy is a force on her own, a gifted singer and undoubtedly one of the best in the Rock world today and when coupled in unison or harmony with David and Donny, they could knock over a starship on its launch pad. As the show continues, there are times when each musician comes to the fore but there are no egos on display here. These seasoned musicians all know that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

There were a few individual wonderful moments. Jude’s guitar solo where he slipped in a bit of Jeff Beck, a tribute to the great man the world lost this week. Cathy wandering off stage with a clothes roller to clean the audience as they performed White Rabbit and David’s high-note at the end of Jane was – and I do not use this word lightly – stunning. That said, to reiterate, it is the band playing together that is the main attraction here and they perform their catalogue as if they are all kids just starting out. The old songs they’ve performed a thousand times are delivered with just as much enthusiasm as the later ones, of which, it must be said, It’s About Time from the latest album, is an absolute belter!

Time changes all of us. We grow older and feel nostalgic more and music has that incredible ability to take us back, just for a while, to a time when we were carefree, innocent and the world seemed a more enjoyable place. Jefferson Starship did that tonight. At times we were in the sixties or the eighties; Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now triggered a long forgotten, lovely moment of my twenties. Time Machines have yet to be invented but this show came close.

Set list
Find Your Way Back
Ride the Tiger
Count On Me
With Your Love
It’s About Time
Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
Embryonic Journey (with Jeff Beck tribute)
White Rabbit
We Built This City

Jefferson Starship Tokyo