Signe Anderson - vocals
Marty Balin - vocals, percussion
Paul Kantner - vocals, guitar
Jorma Kaukonen - lead guitar
Jack Casady - bass
Spencer Dryden - drums
Guests on "Midnight Hour":
George Smith - vocal
Sammy Lawhorn - guitar
Luther "Georgia Boy" Johnson - guitar
This three-day run, featuring Jefferson Airplane opening and closing a bill which featured the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and legendary bluesman Muddy Waters, would be the second time Bill Graham presented concerts at Winterland. The exact same lineup had been presented at this larger venue the previous weekend. The performances were so well received and attended, that Graham decided to repeat his success with three additional shows on this weekend.
This second show of the run starts off in similar fashion to the previous night with another short jam that segues directly into an electrified cover of Fred Neil's "The Other Side Of This Life." Once again, this displays Jorma and Jack beginning to take a more predominate role in the overall sound of the band. "Let's Get Together" and "You're Bringing Me Down," two songs from their debut album are up next, followed by "High Flying Bird," a staple of their live repertoire during this era. All are strong confident versions that benefit from the spontaneity of live performance.
Jorma Kaukonen fronts the group for a take on "Kansas City," a bluesy cover song he favored as his showcase song during 1966. The interplay between Jorma and Jack is utterly unique here. Although this song had a ubiquitous presence in the 1966 setlists, the arrangement remained elastic enough to allow Jorma to improvise freely and no two versions are the same. Even at this early stage, Jorma was looking beyond tightly structured material and the seeds of Hot Tuna are being sown.
The earliest known live performance of the rarity, "It's Alright" is next. As the band was consciously utilizing this run to audition new material into their live performances, this is likely its debut. This song would only be performed a few times and although recorded in the studio, it would remain unreleased until the Early Flight rarities compilation LP was released in the 1970s. It is unknown why this song was relegated to the cutting floor, as it fits right in with the material being developed for the Surrealistic Pillow sessions and stands up well in comparison.
The remainder of the set contains two more tracks from the first album, but also (and more significantly) the second known live performance of "3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds." Like the previous night, which was likely its debut, it's taken at a slower tempo and it is again fascinating to hear this song in such embryonic form. It would soon be recorded for Surrealistic Pillow, and become a staple of live sets for the rest of the groups career, which makes this earlier version, when Signe Anderson was still the female vocalist, all the more interesting.
Following "It's No Secret," a truly surprising event occurs. To end their set, Marty Balin invites members of Muddy Waters Blues Band to the stage to join Jefferson Airplane on a rendition of "Midnight Hour." After getting additional musicians situated onstage, they launch into the song with both of Waters' guitar players, Sammy Lawhorn and Luther Johnson, as well as George Smith, his harmonica player joining the Airplane. Initially, George Smith handles the lead vocal, with Marty taking over midway. The performance is loose and chaotic, but its spontaneity and unrehearsed nature makes it nothing short of fascinating.
Written by Alan Bershaw