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Jefferson Starship: The Definitive Concert (DVD) (reissue)

Recorded in Vancouver in 1983, The Definitive Concert has been kicking around in various formats for the ensuing 34 years, the almost forgotten era of the band that morphed out of Jefferson Airplane and then into Starship, captured at its height. Seven albums into their time together, the line-up of vocalists Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas, guitarists Paul Kantner and Craig Chaquico, bassist Pete Sears, keyboard man David Frieberg and drummer Donny Baldwin, was a mighty force to be reckoned with. Arena rock was their game and man did they play it well, their (at the time) latest album Winds Of Change providing four of the twelve tracks on display on this hour long set. With cuts also culled from the Freedom At Point Zero, Gold and Modern Times albums, while to describe this concert as 'definitive' could be a stretch, there's no denying that it's an energetic ride through the band's best loved moments.

As was the fashion in the 80s, what's presented here isn't quite a straight run through of the show captured, a hokey studio introduction from 'Shortwave Mike' (the idea being he's some sort of alien stealing Earth music broadcasts and beaming them out to space, while hoping to evade the Copyright Police) being so of its time that it hurts. He appears a few more times in between songs with equally toe curling results and in truth, it would be good to have these pointless segments cut from the presentation. However, even a guy with a metal bowl on his head and egg boxes on his shoulders can't suck the life from what is an impressive show. Guitarists Paul Kantner and especially Craig Chaquico prowling the stage and firing out killer-catchy riffs and stinging solos that make you wonder why they haven't received much more credit for their work in this guise. With the vocal duo of the legendary Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas (who actually has the higher register of the two) combining superbly, it's no surprise that "Ride The Tiger", "Find Your Way Back" and "Girl With The Hungry Eyes" burn with intensity, while the band's classic hit "Jane", still sends shivers of pleasure down the spine. That said, the Jefferson Starshipped versions of the Airplane classics, "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit", sit uncomfortably in this setting. Not that the audience seem to care.

Rather strangely, for what is a performance to a sell-out crowd, Slick spends much of her time mugging to the camera, whether its swooping from above, or following her around the stage. Leaving Thomas never quite knowing if he's meant to do the same, or pretend its not there. Added to the less than state of the art direction (including some unrelated video sections that scream '80s production values' through being over-exposed and full of earnest 'art') and while the music and performances are unquestionably top notch, the viewing experience never quite lives up to that high standard. By current expectations the complete lack of extras may also seem a mite stingy (the song selection menu only appears after you've watched the show…), however given that Wienerworld have this latest reissue of what is still an excellent show listed at a decidedly budget price, to grumble feels decidedly churlish.

Track Listing
1. Winds of Change
2. Ride the Tiger
3. Stranger
4. Black Widow
5. Find Your Way Back
6. Somebody to Love
7. Be My Lady
8. Girl With the Hungry Eyes
9. Out of Control
10. White Rabbit
11. Jane
12. Stairway to Cleveland

Added: October 6th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Definitive Concert at Wienerworld
Hits: 1693
Language: english

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