I don't remember all the details, but Lenny Dykstra, an agressive ballplayer who played for the 1986 World Champion Mets, was once asked to help out with chores normally assigned to the batboy or batgirl. Dykstra said something to the effect of, "Hey, I'm here to play!" The same can be said for the Hot Tuna concert at New York's palatial Beacon Theater on Saturday night.
As she does so often, my wife put it wisely: "Anyone who wants a master class in the guitar should go see Hot Tuna." She reminded me of the Dykstra statement when she added, "It's all about the music. There's no b.s. No pyrotechnics." They were just there to play.
Jorma Kaukonen, guitarist, and Jack Casady, bassist, began Hot Tuna 40 years ago as an offshoot of the Jefferson Airplane. With roots in the blues, Hot Tuna are masters in both the acoustic and electric genres–and at the Beacon, they were at their most electrifying. They were joined by Barry Mitterhoff, mandolin player; G. E. Smith, guitarist and former musical director of "Saturday Night Live," and an outstanding drummer whose name I am trying to research. They played two solid hours of blues and Hot Tuna classics, from a blistering "Rock Me Baby" to a hypnotic "Good Shepherd."
I couldn't locate a video from last night's show, so enjoy the group's rendition above of "I Wish You Would" at the Beacon on November 27, 2004.