Marty Balin | Live At The Boston Esplanade June 14, 2008 – DVD Review


It seems a lot of the stars of the original Woodstock have been on the road
of late, warming up, playing gigs, featuring tunes from their 1969 sets. Woodstock
revivals of one kind or another have featured just about everyone from Ten Years
After to Country Joe to Jefferson Starship. Meanwhile, on-again, off-again Starship
vocalist Marty Balin paid a tribute of his own with a five-piece band in Boston
for a concert captured on the Live At The Boston Esplanade, June 14,

Balin’s distinctive pipes matched perfectly with Grace Slick on those Jefferson
Airplane classics, and he revisits quite a few of those tunes here. He enlists
vocalist Didi Stewart as his female counterpart on “White Rabbit”
and “Somebody To Love.” Jefferson Starship guitarist Mark ‘Slick”
Aguilar joins Balin for a two-show the covers the singer’s colorful past.
There’s “Runaway,” a countrified “Count On Me,” and a meandering
“Miracles.” Balin can still croon, but his pipes are a little rusty
on this one. His solo hit “Hearts” gets a great airing though, while
“Volunteers” turns out to be the best version of an Airplane classic
of the whole set.

One problem with Live at The Boston Esplanade, June 14, 2008 is the way the
outdoor show was shot. It’s almost as if you’re watching a home
movie. The camera never gets in all that close and the sound really isn’t all
that great. The bonus interviews and extra song from a club date with just Balin
and Aguilar on guitar are cool, but they don’t make up for the lack of
production value. Still Live At The Boston Esplanade, June 14, 2008
is a live representation of what Marty Balin is about these days — how
he fits his past in alongside his current music. He still sounds pretty damn
good four decades after Woodstock.

~ Ralph Greco. Jr.

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