Rock 'N' Roll Greats: Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas In Concert!


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Rock 'N' Roll Greats: Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas In Concert! Review

by William Ruhlmann

Eight years after the rock group Starship was declared inactive by the owners of the name, former co-lead singer Grace Slick and manager Bill Thompson, and seven years after co-lead singer Mickey Thomas began touring as an oldies act, co-billing himself with the name (an action that went unchallenged by Slick and Thompson), Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas, turned up on the closing night of the four-day Itchycoo Park music festival in Manchester, TN, in August 1999, and its performance was filmed, resulting, five years later, in this DVD. The band, consisting of Thomas, a lead guitarist, a keyboard player/background vocalist, a bass player/background vocalist, and a drummer/background vocalist, none of whom are introduced or listed in the credits, plays a 65-minute set consisting largely of the best-known Starship and Jefferson Starship songs on which Thomas originally sang lead vocals, including the number-one hits "We Built This City," "Sara," and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," as well as the Top Ten hit "It's Not Over (‘Til It's Over)," the Top 20 hit "Jane," the Top 40 hit "Find Your Way Back," and the singles chart entry "Stranger." Also included is what Thomas calls a relatively new song, "Walk with Me by the Water," a pleasant pop/rock tune. Thomas naturally looks a little more wrinkled and gray than he did in Starship's heyday, but his trademark soaring tenor is largely intact, and the anonymous band plays the original arrangements efficiently. Slick's harmony vocals are missed, of course, but her voice was similar enough to Thomas' that the songs still work as they did on record. As an encore, Thomas sings his early hit with the Elvin Bishop Group, "Fooled Around and Fell in Love," and, oddly enough, Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love," a Slick signature tune he had nothing to do with. The crowd doesn't seem to mind.

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