By Jano Tantongco
The Airplane Family & Friends troupe and Live Dead 69 will descend upon The Paramount on Dec. 14 to bring 1969 back to a modern audience.
Airplane Family & Friends features a hodgepodge of alumni from bands like Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Starship and Jefferson Airplane.
Also accompanying the band will be Live Dead 69, featuring original Grateful Dead pianist Tom Constanten. He played all the keyboards on the original “Live Dead,” Grateful Dead’s first live album.
Constanten said the audience can anticipate to experience the same psychedelic waves they felt when they first came around in 1969.
“It’s been said before: expect the unexpected,” Constanten said.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee likened the experience to going back to high school with the knowledge one knows in the present day.
Working with his contemporaries, he sees it as a mixture of a family reunion, recharging his batteries and even as therapy. Together, this creates “this enormous lift that is greater than the sum of the parts.
“Some of us old dinosaurs who actually were here are recreating it as we remember it. It’s really a marvelous spectacle the way this unfolded the past 40 years,” he said. “There are people who know Grateful Dead songs better than I do now.”
As a teenager, Constanten said he ran off to Europe to study with electronic music avant garde composers and was also influenced by American musicians like John Cage and Earle Brown.
“Actually getting into the 60s improvisational rock ‘n’ roll was sort of taming things down from my point of view,” Constanten said.
A native to the tri-state area, Constanten was born and raised in New Jersey and lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well. He said he was also looking forward to seeing some friends in Long Island when he drops in next month. He also gave a shout-out to New York Islanders fans.
He will be joined by Mark Karan to play “Live Dead” in its entirety. As for Airplane Family, their members will comprise of Mike Falzarano, Darby Slick, Peter Kaukonen, Prairie Prince, Slick Aguilar, Eva Avila and Joli Valenti.
The show begins at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $20-$75.