Little did Jay realize that all he had to do to cure me of my Starship musical love was to facilitate the disease. In any event, I ended up curing myself when I walked past BB King’s a week ago and saw that last night none other than my beloved Starship was headlined to play.
The fool and her $36.00 were soon parted and all week long I chatted to baby Calvin asking him to accommodate my concert in his appearance schedule.
Of course I might have paid a little more attention to the billing, which read ‘Jefferson Family Galactic Reunion 07… Jefferson Starship and Quicksilver Messenger Service.’ I was completely preoccupied with the experience of seeing ‘We build this city’ and ‘Sara’ performed live.
A shoutout goes to the management at BB King’s who took one look at my very protuding tummy, asked me to promise not to deliver (simultaneously having a near attack when the manager asked, “So you’re due in like two months?” to which I replied, “Shall I really freak you out? Try Sunday!”) and escorted me to a very comfortable banquet with a fairly good view.
Thank goodness they looked after my comfort factor, because the evening turned out not be at all as I imagined. First of all, what was with the wierd crowd? There were perhaps two dozen people under 40 (three of them children of parents attending the concert) and the rest were at least 10 to 20 years older… sporting beards, long hair and all manner of tie-dyed gear.
As I discovered over the next five torturous hours (at least I was getting my money’s worth!), this performance was all about going back to the groups’ “hippie dippie” roots (Marty Balin’s words, not mine), their psychedelic rock and folk fame from the 60’s. The sixties? I only knew of them from their eighties incantation as ‘Starship” of the lead guitar melodies and strong keyboards.
So while much of the crowd was satisfied with reliving the greats from decades previous, most of which I was hearing for the very first time. But there was a chunk of fans who kept calling out for those 80’s chart toppers. The band acknowledged the requests, with Diana Mangano (the Grace Slick replacement) saying, “You’re the only city that asks for ‘We Built this City… everyone else always asks for Sara.”
I stuck it out in the absolutely positive belief that in their finale or their encore, surely, they were going to covert the only of the band’s tunes that had hit number one on the charts… Yes, well, someone was sorely disappointed. Neither of these, nor ‘Nothing’s gonna stop us now” or any of their ilk came up. In fact, the only truly enjoyable 15 minutes of the entire period between 8pm and 1am was when anyone with a signing role cleared off the stage and the keyboard, drummer and two guitarists jammed. Therein I glimpsed a little of the anthemesque Starship I had been hoping for.
Today, in checking out the Wikipedia entry on the band, it seems likely that they can’t perform these tunes because they don’t own the rights to them, or that their are simply too costly. Know who actually wrote those chart topping 80’s hits? Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, Dennis Lambert and Peter Wolf! And the ‘Starship’ who performed it included none of the founding members of the original band — although the performance at BB King’s had brought as many of those members back together — including Paul Kantner, Marty Balin, David Freiberg, Gary Duncan, Chris Smith, Bobby Vega and Slick Aguilar.
But all was not lost on the evening… at least I can say I got to start my early labour at a rock concert! (But curb your enthusiasm, apparently these symptoms can go on for some time before they evolve into the “real thing!”)
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