Few of the now-legendary San Francisco bands of the '60s stand out like Jefferson Airplane
. There's the Grateful Dead
, which got bigger and stayed good a lot longer than the Airplane did. But even in its "Dark Star" days, the Dead never had the focused psych fury that screams off of the Airplane's seminal 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow
Several live albums capture what the Airplane's shows sounded like back in the mid-'60s, when its members were playing acid tests in ballrooms around San Francisco. Soon, a few more recordings will be added to the mix: Four never-released live Airplane albums are due for release this October, all of them recorded in S.F. between 1966 and 1968. Three of the albums were recorded at the Fillmore
-- yes, the Fillmore! -- and one at a now-defunct (but then vital) room called The Matrix
(which was partially owned by Airplane member Marty Balin
). The albums include such seminal performances as vocalist Grace Slick's first show with the Airplane on October 16, 1966, as well as the final show of original Airplane vocalist Signe Anderson the day prior. Each of the albums capture the Airplane at their best period -- this was long before the hippie days in the Haight started to turn sour, and even longer before the band replaced "Airplane" with "Starship."
So how do these live shows sound? We'll let you know when we hear 'em. The four albums are due out October 26.