What's On

Your guide to everything in North East

Review: Jefferson Starship, Hall Two, Sage Gateshead

A band with its roots in the 1960s proved at Sage Gateshead that it isn't just living off past glories

****
Mick Burgess Jefferson Starship at Sage Gateshead
Jefferson Starship at Sage Gateshead

Jefferson Starship have been pounding the boards for over 40 years. They evolved from San Francisco psychedelic pioneers Jefferson Airplane, formed 50 years ago in 1965.

The current line-up includes founder member of both bands, Paul Kantner, and influential late 1960s San Francisco scene musician David Freiberg, who also played with Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship from the start.

I went to the concert not entirely sure what to expect, although well aware of the band’s 1960s west coast American hippy roots and 1980s power rock anthems.

What I found was a band that performed rock ballads with a hippy attitude. Their material is mainly positive with a ‘glass half full’ view of the world. They were more upbeat and gentle than doom and grit.

The six-piece band had an unusual line-up in that they didn’t have a bass player as such. Chris Smith was providing the bass with his keyboards.

Lead vocals, the role famously taken by Grace Slick, is now occupied by Cathy Richardson, who shared with the audience her thrill of becoming part of a band that she had been a huge fan of since childhood.

Cathy’s powerful and controlled vocals were central to the band’s sound throughout the concert.

David Frieberg provided vocal harmonies, working closely with Cathy and singing solo on a few numbers, demonstrating that he still has a great vocal range.

Jefferson Airplane classic White Rabbit appeared mid-way through the set. Somebody To Love came at the end.

It was the last night of the UK tour and they invited support act Auburn and Tony the roadie to join them on stage for the encore, which was late 60s hit Volunteers.

A legendary band who are part of rock history, Jefferson Starship didn’t live off past glories. They performed a varied set with passion and emotion.

Martin Ellis

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer