Grace Slick - vocals, organ; Marty Balin - vocals, tambourine; Paul Kantner - guitar, vocals; Jorma Kaukonen - guitar, vocals; Jack Casady - bass; Spencer Dryden - drums
This run of shows represents one of the first Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead excursion outside the United States. Bill Graham financed the presentation of these two seminal San Francisco bands for a week of shows at Toronto's O'Keefe Center. On this last day of the run, both afternoon and evening performances were played.
By August of 1967, Grace Slick had been fully integrated into the band, and her confidence level had dramatically increased since her initial shows in late 1966. She was quickly becoming the visual focal point of the band, as well as an icon of the San Francisco music scene in general. The band's sound was changing as well, heading in a far more experimental direction than before. The sessions for their most challenging and exploratory album, After Bathing at Baxter's, were still in progress, and the heavy psychedelic flavor of those efforts was permeating the sound of the group's live performances.
This evening set begins like many of their late 1966 era concerts, with the p.a. rush of an airplane taking off that segues into Fred Neil's classic "Other Side Of This Life." The magic vocal blend is strong and confident, and a new, more aggressive instrumental approach is becoming apparent. The theme song of the Summer of Love, "Let's Get Together," is up next, followed by "It's No Secret." These help the band warm up on familiar ground before tackling some of the new material.
Like the afternoon set, Grace Slick's "Two Heads" is the first of the new songs to be played, giving the audience a preview of what they were currently recording in the studio back home. Kaukonen's "She Has Funny Cars" is played for the second time that day, in a return to the Surrealistic Pillow material, followed by one of the earliest known performances of a new Kantner contribution, "Martha." The tune would also soon be featured on the After Bathing at Baxter's LP, and become a moderate hit the following year.
Kaukonen and Casady get their spotlight on "Rock Me Baby," where they find ample room to flex their instrumental chops. A great, extended blues track, one can clearly hear the origins of the classic electric Hot Tuna sound within its texture; the lead guitar and bass work is outstanding. After so heavy an electric workout, the band does a complete about face to perform the rather quiet and melancholy "Today." Balin's lead vocal is mesmerizing and the group's performance intensifies the emotional qualities of the lyric. This is a thoroughly engaging performance from Balin.
The set ends with a tight arrangement of the classic "Somebody To Love" to drive it all home. With a few seconds to spare, the band seizes the opportunity to goof on the audience before leaving the stage, thus ending their first run of shows outside the United States.
Written by Alan Bershaw