Avalon Theatre Inside
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Saturday June 11, 2016
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto
It was 30 summers ago that I received my first live taste of Starship. Of course back then the band was fronted by Mickey Thomas and Grace Slick and they were plastered all over MTV as well as the radio. Thomas is now the sole member from that era as he has been for more than two decades. Thomas and his current version of Starship tore through a 75 minute show inside the Avalon Ballroom at Fallsview Casino Saturday evening.
The show featured many hits and they even dusted off a rare track and paid homage to Jefferson Airplane with a pair of cuts.
Drummer Darrell Verdusco and keyboardist Phil Bennett joined the band in the mid 1990s. They added bassist Jeff Adams (2000), vocalist Stephanie Calvert (2006) and guitarist John Roth (2012). This gang can play the material inside out as they demonstrated Saturday evening.
Make no mistake about it though, the show belongs to Mickey Thomas. His voice is still as strong as it ever has. One listen to him belting out “Jane” or ballad “Sara” you would be amazed at how easy it comes for him. Calvert plays a perfect partner for Thomas. She has a strong vocal range and nailed Airplane songs “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love”.
Thomas also performed the Elvin Bishop penned “Fooled Around And Fell In Love”, the first hit song of his lengthy career. He followed that up with “Wild Again” a song that was featured in the Tom Cruise movie Cocktail and a song the band had just recently added back to the set after many years.
The band had the crowd down at the front of the stage for “We Built This City” as Thomas ran from one end to the other high-fiving and shaking hands with many fans as he could.
The band came out for an energetic run through of the Jefferson Starship classic “Find Your Way Back” which sadly ended the evening.
This show was just Thomas’ first visit to the Buffalo/Niagara region since 2011. While he does not make it to the area as often as he once did, it was good to see him play a topnotch venue like the theatre at Fallsview. Thomas’ is the only touring entity that gives fans the full throttle attack of Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship catalog. This band has had one of the most unique rides in the history of music. From its humble beginnings as Jefferson Airplane then morphing into Jefferson Starship and finally becoming simply Starship. There is no denying the relevance of this band and its contributions to the music scene. This show brought back many memories for longtime fans who were given a chance to hear a great catalog of tunes performed by one of the greatest singers of his era in Thomas. Hopefully we will see Thomas and his band sooner rather than later. Five years is much too long between shows.
Laying It On The Line
Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
Set The Night To Music
Somebody To Love
Fooled Around And Fell In Love
It’s Not Enough
We Built This City
Find Your Way Back