(this post is part of a series cataloging every performance at The Fillmore East)
The first appearance of the Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore East featured the classic Airplane with Grace Slick and Marty Balin (along with Kaukonen/Kantner/Casady/Dryden), the flagship of San Francisco’s Summer of Love. The current album was After Bathing At Baxter’s (RCA Dec 67). “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit” had been big hits in the summer of 1967. Unlike almost every other band at Fillmore East, the Airplane did not use the Joshua Light Show, but their own light show (Glenn McKay’s Head Lights). For the encore on Saturday night (presumbably the late show), Kostelanetz reports various drummers sat in for Spencer Dryden, the first being Mitch Mitchell (of the Jimi Hendrix Experience).
All four sets of the Airplane were casually recorded by Fillmore East soundman John Chester. The officially released 2002 cd Jefferson Airplane Live At Fillmore East (BMG) is a sort of “best-of” the four nights. The Airplane are ragged but exciting, with difficult arrangements and interesting songwriting mixed with erratic execution.
Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s big hit was “Fire.” They had a notorious stage show in which Brown was hung up on a cross. “Fire” was not yet a hit, and neither the single or album of “Fire" had been released in the US. The single and album would go on to become huge hits. Various commentators report Brown entering the stage by being carried down the aisle by four men (in a coffin or throne, or some conveyance), wearing a mask that is on fire. Organist Vincent Crane (later in Atomic Rooster) was the primary musician in the band, with drummer Drachen Theaker the only other member of the trio.
Next: May 10, 1968: Jimi Hendrix Experience/Sly and The Family Stone