Jefferson Airplane

Last Flight

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A cover sticker announces this is "the first authorised release" of Jefferson Airplane's final concert performance before their 1970s breakup, held at the Winterland Arena in San Francisco on September 22, 1972. That show, along with others, was tapped for the 1973 live album Thirty Seconds Over Winterland, a seven-track LP that ran less than 40 minutes, whereas this double-CD set runs over an hour and 43 minutes and contains 20 selections. Of course, professional recording equipment was present, and, even though this seems like only a semi-legitimate release, the result is good sonic quality for the most part. There is, however, a strange edit at 5:46 in the 11-minute "Feel So Good," indicating that something went wrong somewhere along the line. Otherwise, this is an effective performance by the late-period Jefferson Airplane, the band that produced Bark and Long John Silver, which serve as the sources for half of the selections. Only the opener, "Somebody to Love," "Wooden Ships," "Crown of Creation," and the closer, "Volunteers" (which includes a reappearance from departed singer Marty Balin), date from before 1970, and there are some songs that belong in the repertoire of Airplane spinoffs, such as "Come Back Baby," from Hot Tuna's First Pull Up, Then Pull Down, "Papa John's Down Home Blues" from Papa John Creach, and "Diana" from Paul Kantner and Grace Slick's Sunfighter. ("Blind John," as Slick hints in a stage remark, was about to be heard on Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart's guest-filled solo album Rolling Thunder.) The set list makes sense for a band that was, in effect, ending a tour intended to promote Long John Silver, but fans might have hoped for a show that summed up the whole of Jefferson Airplane's career as its final concert statement. Of course, at the time nobody was acknowledging that this show was the final statement; it just turned out that way (until the 1989 reunion, that is).

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