TICKETS TORN IN HALF:August 9,1969-JEFFERSON AIRPLANE/JOE COCKER&The Grease Band @ FILLMORE EAST

IT’S BEAUTY THAT KILLED THE BEAST: It’s a week before those “3 Days of Arts, Music and Fun” aka WOODSTOCK that Fillmore East hosts Jefferson Airplane and Joe Cocker., both acts which would be stars on stage and later screen. SPONTANEOUS SOUND, a one man percussionist (if that’s what he was) ran amok on the stage, banging, hitting cymbals, drums, bells, the works, with long hair flowing and with no shirt; What an idiot, I thought.  After his fifteen minutes of fame was over I was both confused and amused.  Joe Cocker was up next and having had his first LP on heavy rotation in my room, Cocker turned out to be not what I expected at all. He was a visual experience, hands gesturing as he sings, yet this British white dude sounded like Ray Charles. Familiar cover songs he introduced were played and each seemed to take on a new persona, they became Joe Cocker tunes: LET’S GO GET STONED, FELLIN’ ALRIGHT, BYE BYE BLACKBIRD and of course WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS.

The AIRPLANE was a trip, really a trip. I had been waiting a long time to see these guys, since that NEWSWEEK article and that conversation with my neighbor many months ago and now here I was. As the final scene from the King Kong movie played behind the band, they tuned up and  “It wasn’t the airplane, it was beauty that killed the beast” and away we went with Ballad of You, Me and PoohNeil with The Glenn Mc Kay Headlights behind the band projecting images on the screen.The amps cranked up really loudly, three vocalists, a bass player who stalked around, a drummer who with his cowboy hat looked like a sheriff and a guitarist making the strangest feedback. Was I high or where they THAT good? They were that good.