Entertainment Weekly (5/22/98, p.71) - "The Airplane were one of the most ferocious live bands of the classic-rock era. Further proof: this 1968 recording highlighted by never-before-released performances....Any similarity between this walloping band and the ersatz Jefferson Starship is purely semantic." - Rating: B
The Jefferson Airplane: Grace Slick (vocals, various instruments); Jorma Kaukonen, Paul Kantner (guitar, vocals); Marty Balin (vocals); Jack Casady (bass); Spencer Dryden (drums).
Compilation producer: Paul Williams.
Recorded live at the Fillmore East, New York, New York from May 3-4, 1968.
Includes liner notes by Jeff Tamarkin.
"I'm doin' things that haven't got a name yet," proclaims a driven Grace Slick on "Wild Tyme." Indeed, the sound of the Airplane was as inventive as it was enticing. Sliding between tight arrangements and on-the-spot creation, LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST contains the energetic highlights of four classic 1968 shows at the famous New York City theater. This is a shimmering, rocking, fuzzed-out Airplane flying one of its most exhilarating courses.
Slick belts it out like a vibrato-driven freight train on "Greasy Heart," her voice dipping, stretching and cutting with a powerful style uniquely her own. Paul Kantner's rhythm guitar build a knowing foundation for Jorma's distorted wails and mute-toned lyricism. The dynamic instrumental, "Thing," is charged with a fierce determination, making and unmaking itself in a continuous vortex of improvisation. Donovan's "Fat Angel" is a transcendental piece of Flower Power proselytizing, and "Today" is as haunting a declaration as ever, riding high on the sheer might of ye olde Jack Casady fuzz-bass. As far as historic '60s rock goes, this compilation is a patchouli-scented testament to the magic that existed at the now-defunct hippie mecca.