SAN FRANCISCO BANDS SHORTCHANGE ANAHEIM AUDIENCE
The Jefferson Airplane may be flying high with 'White Rabbit' and 'Somebody to Love' in constant play on the radio dial, but it seemed about to crash last Friday night when the band and "Friends" came into Melodyland, the former live theater-in-the-round opposite Disneyland in Anaheim.
A scowling Marty Balin left the stage three times during the group's hour-long performance, for all appearances angry, and failed to reappear for the finale. As the Jefferson Airplane's founder, male vocalist and chief songwriter, his absences threw the show off kilter, with members of the Orange County audience puzzled by the bizarre behavior.
Grace Slick, the band's much photographed "face," carried on, but at one point shrugged as Balin again left mid-song. She also commented that it had been a long time since she had seen so many "young guys in suits" among the date-night Melodyland audience.
With no backstage area at the venue, it was not possible to speak to anyone from the band for an explanation of Balin's behavior. They were in their cars and off the premises before anyone could ask for a comment.
The opening act in the "Jefferson Airplane and Friends" publicized show turned out to be the Grateful Dead, though they were not identified by name. The San Francisco band, now signed with Warner Bros., stepped onto the revolving stage without an introduction and played just two very long, mostly instrumental songs in its allotted 30 minutes, not bothering to identify either number by name.
As an audience member in an adjacent seat said at the close of the show, "Maybe we're just too conservative in Orange County for hip San Franciscans." Perhaps. Ed Ames, the Association with Wes Montgomery, and Pat Boone with the Mills Brothers will be appearing at Melodyland in May.
(by Bill Wasserzieher, from the Long Beach Press-Telegram, March 14 1968)