According to my friends I possess a somewhat eclectic taste in music and by my constantly seeking out new shows to attend, sometimes it is difficult to find an accompanist who would enjoy what I was going to see/listen to. This show was one of those nights. HOT TUNA (Jorma and Jack) was on a semi-official departure from JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, a band I was fascinated with.The last two times watching the Airplane, one night at Suffolk Community where there was more TUNA than AIRPLANE, and their last November Thanksgiving run at FILLMORE EAST when HOT TUNA did a complete set outshining the (newer) AIRPLANE, I was ready for this, HOT TUNA. Seems like most of my guy friends had plans or worse case scenario, had no interest in this particular show. So, a good friend, a woman accompanied me to FILLMORE EAST for HOT TUNA, TAJ MAHAL and BRETHEN. Brethren was a band out of New York, and a friend of mine knew one of the members so that connection made me pay close attention to what they were doing. They were alright, just alright, but somehow in the next few months they continued to pop up on the bills of other shows I attended. I learned to appreciate that band when I became familiar with their stuff.

TAJ MAHAL on the other hand was noteworthy from the git-go. He slipped out on stage, sat on a stool, and started to play a National Steel guitar. While slowly working through his repertoire other members of the band “appeared” without announcement of fanfare,  to the point were there were four tubas on the stage accompanying him. FOUR TUBAS. It was mind blowing. Besides Taj his band consisted of HOWARD JOHNSON on tuba (later to be musical director for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE), JOHN HALL (later of ORLEANS fame and update NY politics) on guitar, JOHN SIMON, piano (producer of THE BAND’s “Music From Big Pink”, BIG BROTHER’S Cheap Thrills, BLOOD,SWEAT and TEARS “Child is the Father To The Man” and other recordings) and ROCKY DziDzournu on congas, a standout in my memory as  he was the cat who takes THE STONES’ “Sympathy For The Devil” to new heights, along with a host of other musicians, totaling ten players on stage.Great stuff . A month later, at the same venue TAJ MAHAL is back to record his live album.

To close out the night, Hot Tuna which was now ELECTRIC HOT TUNA was ear shattering loud, to say the least, and being seated second row on the left directly in front of a huge bank of speakers…LOUD.Will Scarlett on harp, the aforementioned JORMA KAUKONEN on guitar, JACK CASADY, my favorite bass player, SAMMY PIAZZA, a (adequate) drummer (I miss Spencer Dryden) and PAPA JOHN CREACH from the AIRPLANE on violin/fiddle. The boys were on fire. Overall, it was another great night at FILLMORE EAST, a truly great night.

Set list from TUNABASE.com

Fillmore East, New York, NY

Water Song

Been So Long

That’ll Never Happen No More

Keep On Truckin’

Trial By Fire

Sea Child

Milk Train

Feel So Good

Come Back Baby

Papa’s Jam *