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Last Friday Night

Shnate McDuanus

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On Friday night, I went to see a concert featuring


Tom Constanten



Gary Duncan's Quicksilver





Jefferson Starship!



Tom Constanten, the keyboardist from the Grateful Dead, opened up the show with a rendition of "Cold, Rain, and Snow," went into not one, but two improvisational solos, and closed out with Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride." He was fantastic. Such a warm, charming presence from a man who clearly knew his stuff, musically. He played incredibly well, kept his own time perfectly, and used no charts. He was fun and sweet, and he sounded great. After a short break, the next act came on.


Quicksilver Messenger Service has been one of my favorite bands for a long time, and as someone who's far too young to have seen QMS in their heyday, I was excited to be seeing Gary Duncan and David Freiberg playing their old songs. They certainly did not disappoint. Their performance was definitely one of the best performances I've ever seen. Gary's guitar sound was loud, lush, and complex, and he's easily one of the finest guitarists I've ever seen in a live setting. He alternated between effective, driving rhythm and exciting lead work seamlessly, and overall it sounded ******* great, for lack of a better description. David Freiberg played acoustic guitar and sang, and his voice was even better that night than it was on Happy Trails or Shady Grove. His wife, Lisa Imperial, was also on stage with them, and all I can say is wow, she has a great voice herself! They ran through "Mona," the Bo Diddley classic, and "Fresh Air," the biggest commercial hit of QMS' collective discography. They did some songs from Peace by Piece and Shapeshifter, and then, (OH MY GOD,) they closed out with a blazing rendition of "Edward (The Mad Shirt Grinder)"! If you ever want to see an amazing performance, I would definitely recommend keeping an eye out for Gary Duncan's Quicksilver.


Jefferson Starship, performing the songs of Jefferson Airplane. Holy sh*t...what more can I say? These guys are incredibly talented musicians. They did almost all of the Airplane hits ("White Rabbit," "Somebody To Love," "Crown of Creation," "Volunteers," "Fat Angel," and "Good Shepherd,") and David Freiberg and Slick Aguilar did "Friend of the Devil" together. Paul Kantner has a voice that's soothing and beautiful, and Slick Aguilar is a seriously impressive lead player, with talents that rival those of Jorma Kaukonen. Of course, the rest of the band was fantastic. David Freiberg was in top form, as he was with QMS in the set right before, and they had a guest female vocalist named Sophia Ramos. Now, let me tell you, it's such a shame that she's as of yet unsigned, because her voice is amazing. It's powerful, articulate, dynamic, and very nice to listen to. She has an incredible range, and an incredible power behind that range. They did a cover of "Ball and Chain," with her singing, and it was, to be honest, incredible. Again, just as highly as I recommended Gary Duncan's Quicksilver, I cannot highly enough recommend that if the Starship come around to your town any time soon, you buy yourself a ticket and get as close to the stage as you can. They're freaking amazing.


Overall, it was a great night. There were a few songs that I would've loved to hear ("Gypsy Lights" and "Gold And Silver" from QMS, and "3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds" and "Plastic Fantastic Lover" from Jefferson Starship,) but I can't complain, really. Every musician that walked onto the stage was amazing (I cannot say this enough,) and if I could see them again, I would do so in a heartbeat.


Although it would've been a lot better if that one idiot didn't yell "We Built This City" ([biggrin] ) as a request during Starship's encore. I doubt that anybody else really wanted to hear that one--but according to him in a conversation that he had with one of his friends nearby, it was the song that "everybody came out to hear." Whatever. :-k

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