Rainy night at the Fillmore Auditorium

Photo by Phil Jacobs

 

The days on stage stretched on like an endless river… and Then There Was One:

I remember as a younger man reveling in the continuity of life. You’re in the throes of something you love and it feels as if the future is an open highway… it’s just going to last forever. You hold on to that feeling as you age in the mirror and one day it becomes apparent that it’s not going to last forever and that you need to take a moment to be grateful for the gifts time has given you.

The rehearsal: Larry, Teresa, Jack, Justin, Jorma & Steve

Photo by Phil Jacobs

Almost everything I have been given in this lifetime has been a result of the music. The guitar which was so magical to me as a very young man has never let me down and continues to illuminate and amaze. As an older musician contemplating the fall of night I feel as if I’m on the verge of starting to understand this this magical wooden contraption a little better. Guitar, both acoustic and electric continue to speak to me in veiled stage whispers and my fingers allow me to answer in real time.

Jack and I have been given a rare gift as artists. There are still folks on this planet that care about the music we are still able to share. We would undoubtedly play anyway… why not? But to have people to share our conversation with, well that’s the frosting on the cake!

Earlier this year we went out for a month or so on our Going Fishing run. We had to cover a lot of ground so it was a bus tour thank goodness. Rock and Roll is a very physical musical art form, you can’t phone it in… and we never have! We did a final show on that run at the Fur Peace Ranch and then we had almost a month hiatus before the shows at the Fillmore.

Calm before the storm at the Fillmore

Photo by Phil Jacobs

The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco has been a musical home to many over the years. In 1965 I drove up in my 1957 Volvo from Santa Clara to the Fillmore for the first time. The show was B.B. King and the openers were Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland and Johnny Talbot and De Thangs. What a show! At the time I never could have imagined what an important venue the Fillmore would be in the life to come. I recall at the time the venue did not seem funky. Looking at the historical venue it has become, funky would probably be the right adjective, but then again funky is certainly a relative term.

Fast forwarding through half a century we make a stop in San Francisco at the Fillmore for two electric shows! We were able to add to the casserole three of our dearest friends. The intensely diaphanous Teresa Williams, the elegant and always brilliant Larry Campbell and the newest member of the ever-evolving Tuna family Steven Bernstein who spans galaxies and genres without batting an eye.

Larry joins the fray!

Photo by Phil Jacobs

In the weeks leading up to these two shows I spent a lot of serious time building and rebuilding sets. I was more than pleased with the outcome!

Here is the first night:

Justin, Jack, Jorma and Steve

Photo by Phil Jacobs

Hot Tuna 32, 2023

Fillmore Finale

The Electric Trio

Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady

And Justin Guip

With Very Special Guests

Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams &

Steven Bernstein

The Fillmore Auditorium

San Francisco, California

December First, 2023

First Set:

  1. Hesitation Blues with Steven Bernstein
  2. How Long Blues with Steven Bernstein
  3. Been So Long
  4. Ice Age
  5. Highway Song with Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
  6. I Don’t Wanna Go with Steven Bernstein
  7. Bowlegged Woman with Steve Bernstein and Larry Campbell
  8. Sea Child with Larry Campbell
  9. Trial By Fire with Steve Bernstein
  10. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning With Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams & Steven Bernstein

Second Set:

  1. Ode To Billy Dean
  2. John’s Other with Larry Campbell
  3. Soliloquy For 2 with Steven Bernstein
  4. Sleep Song with Steven Bernstein
  5. Good Shepherd with Steven Bernstein & Larry Campbell
  6. Day To Day Out The Window Blues with Steven Bernstein
  7. Invitation with Steven Bernstein
  8. Water Song with Steven Bernstein & Larry Campbell
  9. Hit Single # 1
  10. Funky # 7
  11. Encore: Bar Room Crystal Ball with Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams & Steven Bernstein

Photo by Phil Jacobs

Thus ended the first night with a bang indeed!

The Rex Folks from the stage

Photo by Phil Jacobs

Saturday night was a benefit for the Rex Foundation. Larry, Teresa, Justin and Brandon played a great set and then the Tuna Gang mounted the stage again for another two-set show and here it is!

Where the wild things are…

Photo by Phil Jacobs

Hot Tuna 33, 2023

Fillmore Finale

The Electric Trio

Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady

And Justin Guip

With Very Special Guests

Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams &

Steven Bernstein

Rex Benefit

The Fillmore Auditorium

San Francisco, California

Saturday, December 2, 2023

First Set:

  1. Been So Long
  2. Hesitation Blues with Steven Bernstein
  3. That’ll Never Happen No More With Steve Bernstein & Larry Campbell
  4. Ice Age
  5. Ode To Billy Dean With Larry Campbell
  6. Highway Song with Teresa Williams & Larry Campbell
  7. I Don’t Wanna Go with Steven Bernstein
  8. Bowlegged Woman with Steve & Larry
  9. Sea Child with Larry Campbell
  10. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning with Teresa, Larry & Steve

Second Set:

  1. John’s Other with Larry Campbell
  2. Soliloquy For 2 with Steven Bernstein
  3. Sleep Song With Steven Bernstein
  4. Trial By Fire with Steven Bernstein
  5. Good Shepherd with Teresa Williams, Larry Campbell & Steven Bernstein
  6. Death Don’t Have No Mercy with Larry Campbell & Steven Bernstein
  7. Hit Single # 1 with Steve Bernstein
  8. Rock Me Baby with Larry Campbell & Steven Bernstein
  9. Bar Room Crystal Ball with Teresa Williams and Larry Campbell & Steven Bernstein
  10. Funky # 7 with Larry Campbell & Steven Bernstein
  11. Encore: White Rabbit with featuring Teresa Williams as well as Larry, Steve, Jack and myself!

As a professional musician I have been more than fortunate in that I have never had to work with people I didn’t like. I’ve been closer to some than others over the years but in retrospect there were never any nightmares. These Fillmore shows were as family as it is probably ever going to get! It is worth noting that our dear friend Justin Guip has been with us longer than any drummer/percussionist In Hot Tuna’s long and storied history. Thanks for hanging in there brother and thanks to Angus Guip for helping to shoulder the load on this run!

The boys

Photo by Phil Jacobs

White Rabbit closes the curtain!

Photo by Phil Jacobs

Well, all good things must come to an end as we move this incarnation into cryo-sleep and move on to Denver to the Trio, Jack, Justin and myself for the final show at the Paramount.

Are there bittersweet moments? Of course there are but as my dad used to say, ‘Adaptation is the key to survival!’ We’re moving on as we must and it is our intention that the best be yet to come!


Comments

  1. Comment made on January 5, 2024 by Ross

    what will you leave behind….

  2. Comment made on December 12, 2023 by FM Fats

    Did Larry ever get backstage for either Jefferson Airplane or Hot Tuna at Fillmore East back in his teenage years? He was a veteran attendee of shows there and had a connection for stage passes. He was already awesomely talented when I met him at 16 and it’s been a joy to watch him get to do what he loves with the woman he loves in the 21st Century

    • Comment made on December 12, 2023 by Jorma

      I do not believe he did although that’s quite a memory test. I guess all I can say is that I don’t remember him when we were there. That said he’s always been Larry which makes him hard to forget.

  3. Comment made on December 7, 2023 by Alex Flagg

    What a great series of blog/posts & this one is especially powerful! Saturday’s show at the Fillmore was absolutely spectacular & rekindled so many fantastic memories (many nights at Nardie’s in upstate NY!) – – what a great set-list and group assembled on stage!

    I won’t be in Denver (tonight) but I did buy 3 great seats early and passed them to my 2 boys (+1), so the next generation can hear you/Jack & crew LIVE and carry on the great musical spirit::: Keep an eye out for a few 20 somethings on Jorma’s side:) – – Thanks Jorma/Jack & the whole crew for sponsoring another great ride!

  4. Comment made on December 6, 2023 by carey georgas

    Talk about a write-up! Don’t particularly care for the headline (Tuna don’t waltz, to my notion), but the metaphor could not have been more apropos. Surely Vanessa gave you a pass.
    https://relix.com/articles/detail/hot-tuna-the-last-electric-waltz/

  5. Comment made on December 6, 2023 by Keith Knobler

    It was truly an honor to be part of these shows.
    I had a so much fun mixing the sound. Glad we had the chance to chat for a bit. You and Jack are so awesome.

    • Comment made on December 7, 2023 by Jorma

      The honor was ours Keith!!!! We always look forward to working with you! Be seeing you in another format I’m sure!

  6. Comment made on December 6, 2023 by Ric Siler

    I’ve never seen Tuna when you weren’t spectacular! One door closes and another opens! So it is. I’m just glad to be able to share whatever little time I can with you, Jack and the other Tuna-heads! Much love from Ric and Bette in Nyack, NY.

  7. Comment made on December 6, 2023 by Larry Peterson

    I will see you young fellas at the Paramount!

  8. Comment made on December 6, 2023 by Bill from Wisconsin

    Baxters was my earliest Airplane contact, right after it came out. A loved the music and the banter, like “No man is an island… he’s a peninsula”. And the hysterical joy! Always wondered who was laughing on that line. Hooked on Jormas music, words and photos ever since. Maybe a tabletop book of Jorma’s travels and observations will follow. Thanks, Jorma!

  9. Comment made on December 6, 2023 by Joey Hudoklin

    Jorma, I recall you saying at Academy of Music 75’…”you know we’re gonna come out and play again anyway. Even if nobody wants us to.” That sums it up for me. You and Jack and Bob were the antithesis to the rock star trappings of the big groups I had seen to that point in time. I thought, if they can do THAT, I can lead my life without constriction as well.
    I was right up front at Fillmore with my wife Amy, and my friend Ardaz (who you know), and occasionally would look behind me to see the faces of the crowd. Smiling, dancing, pure joy. Exactly what I was feeling in that moment. And then to look up at the stage, and witness the pure joy and intensity in yours and Jack’s faces. I couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff to my career watching and listening to electric Hot Tuna. Have a great time in Denver. Wish I could be there.

  10. Comment made on December 6, 2023 by Brad

    My utmost, heartfelt respect and thanks Jorma; for your music and for your words about music/life. Experience, Strength, Hope and all that too!
    “After Bathing at Baxters” shook my young teen universe in the DC suburbs during the mid 70s to its core. I’ve been paying attention ever since.
    I’ve reread your beautiful words here a couple of times, a family affair at the Fillmore, they reminded me of a wise Irishman’s lyrics:

    “These are the days now that we must savor
    And we must enjoy as we can
    These are the days that will last forever
    You’ve got to hold them in your heart”

  11. Comment made on December 5, 2023 by Jim

    Is it beshert that the final Electric Hot Tuna is in my adopted home town? So many great memories dating back almost 50 years. I don’t think I’ll be sneaking in to my house at sunrise after this show 🙂

  12. Comment made on December 5, 2023 by alexander pepiak

    Wow!!!
    Great perspective Jorma… yes to make music and share it with others is a true blessing but the act of making music unto itself is a blessing as well.
    My music has few listeners, but those that do encourage me to move forward and write and perform

  13. Comment made on December 5, 2023 by Ed

    Seriously far out. As always, thanks for the deep thoughts and the long view.

  14. Comment made on December 5, 2023 by carey georgas

    Moving on is the way to go, and intention is the driver. I can’t hardly wait to see the coming iterations adaption brings. Your octogenarian fearlessness is truly inspiring.

  15. Comment made on December 5, 2023 by Alan R.

    I am eagerly awaiting seeing and hearing the trio in Denver on Thursday night. The set lists look magnificent and I am hoping that Sea Child appears one more time at the Paramount. Safe travels here to beautiful Colorado.

  16. Comment made on December 5, 2023 by Paul Karp

    I think back to when I was 15 years old in 1975. A friend played the Rat Album for me. Mind blown. Some months later, I was in Whitman auditorium watching Electric Hot Tuna during the “Rampage Years.” Mind blown even further. What a trip it has been countless shows with amazing music and so many friends made along the way. It was special to be at the Beacon Theater for the last Electric Hot Tuna show there. So glad I was able to share the night with so many friends whom I have been going to shows with for almost 50 years. I look forward to the acoustic duo shows that are to come. The music is like a warm comfortable blanket that always makes me smile and makes my heart full.

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