I grew up believing that Jefferson Airplane was awarded a lifetime ban from SUNY-New Paltz for its drug-infested 1969 concert in the area of campus thereafter known as the “Tripping Fields” even to my Mom, who would be hard-pressed to tell you what tripping is. The administration of the ‘70s was apparently not rock-savvy or due-diligent enough to keep Hot Tuna – which featured founding Airplane members Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady – from playing the Elting Gymnasium a mere five years later.
Much of this now seems to be apocryphal, or at least temporally and spatially disoriented. A website that purports to collect Jefferson Airplane set lists has the band playing on an ostensibly chilly March 14, 1970, at the “State Teacher’s College, New Paltz” and then again on May 2, 1970 at “New Paltz, SUNY Gymnasium.” We seem to know more, and with more certainty, about the provenance of Shakespeare’s quartos and the burial place of Stonewall Jackson’s left arm than about the Airplane’s 1970 tour itinerary.
Anyway, half of what I remember from my high school and college years is people, mostly Long Islanders, yelling “Jorma” and “Hot F*#@ing Tuna!” It wasn’t perhaps that it happened so often, but that it happened so loud. People still yell these things, and no doubt will on Wednesday, September 12, when Kaukonen performs at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock in an acoustic duo with mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff.
A mere four days after fellow San Franciscan Bob Weir plays a sold-out acoustic set in the same venue, Jorma will do what he has always done: deft and gutsy fingerstyle folk and high-character vocal interpretations of lost rural blues standards. You know who you are. You love it and you always have. JORMA!
Jorma Kaukonen and Barry Mitterhoff will perform at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock on Wednesday, September 12. The doors open at 7 p.m. and the music starts at 8. Tickets range in price from $25 to $45. The Bearsville Theater is located at 291 Tinker Street in Woodstock. For more information, visit www.bearsvilletheater.com.