Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock
|Performed on||Day 2|
|Started at||8.00 am, Sunday, 17th|
|Played for||100 min.|
|Festival Day Chronology|
|Prev. artist||The Who at 5:00 am|
|Next artist||end of day 2|
Jefferson Airplane was quite simply the biggest band of the 1960s San Francisco scene. Their roots date back to the year 1965 and by 1967 (mostly because of the Monterey International Pop Festival and the proclamation of the Summer of Love) they had gained stardom. The dual and sometimes triple voice harmony was their trademark. They combined Psychedelic music as well as Blues in their songs. The Airplane became the archetype of the new, young and rebellious generation: free and successful, living together as a family (or at least as good friends), making music, taking drugs.
Jefferson Airplane were scheduled as the headliner for Saturday, the second day of Woodstock, but finally started in Sunday morning around 8.00 am.
- Marty Balin - vocals, tambourine, maracas
- Grace Slick - vocals, tambourine, maracas
- Paul Kantner - guitar, vocals
- Jorma Kaukonen - guitar, vocals
- Jack Casady - bass
- Spencer Dryden - drums
- Nicky Hopkins - piano
- The Other Side of This Life
- Somebody to Love
- 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds
- Won't You Try / Saturday Afternoon
- Eskimo Blue Day
- Plastic Fantastic Lover
- Wooden Ships
- Uncle Sam Blues
- The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil
- Come Back Baby
- White Rabbit
- The House at Pooneil Corners
Singer Grace Slick introduced the band with the words: "Alright friends, you have seen the heavy groups, now you will see morning maniac music, believe me, yeah... It's the new dawn..."
Indeed, Jefferson Airplane played some morning maniac music for the tired audience. Their set list featured well-known songs from their Surrealistic Pillow (1967) album as well as from the upcoming album Volunteers (1969). Songs like "Volunteers" and "Eskimo Blue Day" were new for most of the audience.
The Airplane takes off with "The Other Side Of This Life" followed by their smash-hit "Somebody to Love" which can be considered as their standard openers. For the beginning they keep their songs to established repertoire: "3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds", "Won't You Try / Saturday Afternoon" and "Plastic Fantastic Lover", audience favorites from their early albums. The only exception is "Eskimo Blue Day" - a song only performed occasionally.
After that they launch into a 21+ minute rendition of "Wooden Ships", which will later be performed by Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young) during the following night (the song was written by David Crosby, Steve Stills, and Paul Kantner). But Jefferson Airplane deliver a radically different version than the Crosby/Stills one. It is more epic and solemn and has a long jam part attached. "Uncle Sam Blues" is yet another anti-war song in 12-bar Blues tradition and sung by Jorma Kaukonen alone. Then Jefferson Airplane perform the tremendous "Volunteers" which now represents one of the hymns of the Woodstock festival. This song is nothing less than a statement of the contemporary situation and its cultural and social revolution.
Now Jefferson Airplane are really on fire. They play "The Ballad Of You & Me & Pooneil" which runs for more than 15 minutes and is supported by a massive bass solo by Jack Casady. After the encore break they return with the traditional "Come Back Baby", followed by the psychedelic Alice in Wonderland allusion "White Rabbit". They close their set with "The House At Pooneil Corners".
Just after their Woodstock performance Jefferson Airplane appeared together with David Crosby and Stephen Stills (see Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young)) on The Dick Cavett Show. There's a DVD available which captures this event called Dick Cavett Show: Rock Icons.
Volunteers (The Woodstock Experience), a reissue of the 1969 album, contains a bonus disc with the band's entire Woodstock set. The set is so long (almost 100 minutes), that the first part of it is tacked onto the end of the Volunteers disc. Some songs were filmed and included in the various versions of the Woodstock documentary film..
- 1970: Woodstock I
- 1971: Woodstock II
- 1992: Jefferson Airplane Loves You
- 1994: Woodstock - Three Days of Peace and Music
- 1994: Best of Woodstock
- 2009: Volunteers (The Woodstock Experience)
- 2009: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm
- 2019: Woodstock (Sunday August 17, 1969)