Electric Hot Tuna
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By Jim Caligiuri, 1:13PM, Wed. Aug. 29, 2012
How would you like to celebrate when you turn 70? If you’re Jorma Kaukonen, you book your band Hot Tuna into New York City’s famed Beacon Theater for two nights. He and Tuna partner Jack Casady, once Jefferson Airplane's jet engines, also invited some notable friends and guitar players and filmed the whole thing for posterity.
Captured December 2010 and just released on DVD in conjunction with the band's summer tour – which included a July stopover at Austin's One World Theatre – Electric Hot Tuna, Jorma’s 70th Birthday Celebration compiles nearly two hours of what went down at that night.
The two Tuna principles are joined by mandolin/guitar player Barry Mitterhoff and drummer Skoota Warner for the core group, but then guests including the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, Steve Earle, John Hammond Jr., and Warren Haynes show up to pay their respect and lay down some brawny blues jams. While it’s Jorma’s special day, no one seems to be having more fun throughout than Casady, especially when the bassist is sharing the stage with Oteil Burbridge, his counterpart from the Allman Brothers.
A couple of songs, like the straight ahead “I See the Light” and glistening instrumental “Water Song,” will be familiar to most. Then there's jams like “Walking Blues” with Weir, and a set-ending take on Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What Do You Want Me To Do,” with everyone joining in to celebrate Jorma Kaukonen’s longevity. That number alone doubles as a tremendous representation of the spiked blues that have kept Hot Tuna’s flame burning for more than 40 years.
A must for Hot Tuna and plain old blues fans worldwide.