Gig review: Jefferson Starship, Queen’s Hall

THEY’VE had more members than the House Of Representatives, a turbulent history that would make Fleetwood Mac look tame by comparison, and have come back from the brink so often they ought to have a cliff named after them.

Jefferson Starship

Queen’s Hall

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Star rating: * * * *

Yet despite former Jefferson Starship singer Grace Slick’s assertions that all men over 50 should give up rock and roll; at 71 and 74 years of age respectively, band leaders Paul Kantner and David Freiberg still have the chops, the pipes and the tunes musicians half their age would sell their auto-tuners for.

OK, so they may be “a little crispy around the edges,” as Jefferson’s Janis Joplin sound-alike – vocalist Cathy Richardson – joked. And Lady Ga Ga might not have anything on Kantner’s mind-bending, hand-dyed organic yoga pants, either. Still, with a voice like Freiberg’s adding the polish to one of the finest folk-rock vocal groups there’s ever been, a JS show is something of an enriching history lesson.

Fusing American folk, psychedelia, pop, and a smidgen of dungeons and dragons-esque heavy metal, as the old adage goes: there’s something for everyone. Everyone like famous Edinburgh-based author Ian Rankin, who was in attendance to hear classics such as Somebody To Love, Lather and Let’s Get Together belted out at rib-rattling volume.

Things mellowed out halfway through, as solo spots took over; Richardson’s country-tinged belters complementing the lovable Freiberg’s soulful blues quite beautifully. Why Richardson isn’t a bigger star than she is remains something of a mystery, for her charismatic presence and far-ranging voice would rival even Joplin.

With the 11pm curfew looming, there was still enough time to squeeze in a hackle-raising version of White Rabbit. In one sense, it summed up how Jefferson Airplane/Starship were a band of their time (the late 60s/ early 70s hippy era). Yet taken on its own, it still measures up to anything you care to put before it today.