Paul Kantner opens this show with an interesting observation: "Ah, the late show here. It used to be the young kids would always come to the late show to get home in time for curfew and the old folks would stay for the late show. Now all the old folks come to the early show and the young kids stay late…" The year was 1988, and for the San Francisco music scene, it seemed everything that goes around, comes around again.
The legendary Fillmore Auditorium was back in business, and playing on stage was the famed acoustic duo of Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady, better known as acoustic Hot Tuna. The duo, which formed in 1970 as a side project featuring two of the six members of the Jefferson Airplane, eventually added Airplane drummer Johnny Barbata and violinist Papa John Creach to become Electric Hot Tuna. But on this night, it was back to the original two-man, acoustic lineup for an evening of old time blues and country-blues standards.
This show, part of a multiple night stand at the Fillmore recorded by promoter Bill Graham for his archives, includes a few surprises. On hand for the show were electric Hot Tuna member Papa John Creach, who contributes his tasteful violin runs on a few songs, including the boogie romp, "John's Other." Also on hand is Jefferson Airplane/Starship founder Paul Kantner, who sits on a few Airplane and KBC Band songs, among them, the 1967 Airplane classic "Martha." And Grace Slick sits in too, contributing vocals on "Good Shepherd" and the set-closing "Volunteers". Surprises aside, this is a solid collection of classic Hot Tuna including Reverend Gary Davis' "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning," "Candy Man," Bukka White's 1930s prison lament, " Parchman Farm," and the band's own catchy instrumental, "Water Song." Another highlight is Kaukonen's solo acoustic number for the Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow album, "Embryonic Journey." Hot Tuna (both acoustic and electric) remain a touring act, and Paul Kantner is overseeing yet another incarnation of Jefferson Starship. Sadly, Papa John Creach died in 1994, at the age of 76.