Paul Kantner, the founder of Jefferson Airplane, one of the original five bands that made up the “San Francisco Sound” of the mid 1960’s and then for the last forty years- Jefferson Starship was given a grand “Celebration of Life” tribute at the recent Haight Ashbury Street Fair on a sunny but cool Sunday afternoon. Born in San Francisco on St. Patrick’s Day in 1941 Paul had been in bad health over the past few years having suffered a number of heart attacks that slowed him down but didn’t stop him from performing and touring and continuing some of his notorious rock ’n’ roll bad habits. Paul passed away on January 28, 2016 at the age of 74.
The 2016 Haight Ashbury Street Fair, in its 39th year normally draws 50,000 to 60,000 people to Haight Street between Stanyon and Masonic Streets. Due to the Paul Kantner celebration this year it was estimated that 100,000 people showed up. Vendor booths lined both sides of Haight Street and the merchants in this famous San Francisco neighborhood enjoyed a large jump in business.
The music on the Main Stage sounded amazing! Billed as Jefferson Starship with Family and Friends, David Freiberg’s Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the David Nelson Band. The core players in Jefferson Starship are still David Freiberg on bass and vocals, Cathy Richardson on twelve string guitar and vocals, Jude Gold on lead guitar and vocals, Donny Baldwin on drums, and Chris Smith on keyboards and vocals.
[porto_blockquote view=”with-borders” skin=”light”]”We’ll be carrying the torch for the younger generation to enjoy as well as for people of the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.“[/porto_blockquote]
There were guest appearances by Pete Sears, Prairie Prince, China Kantner Isler (Paul Kantner and Grace Slick’s daughter), Jackson Dryden (Son of Spencer Dryden), Polly & Jessica Freiberg (David Freiberg’s daughters), Darby Slick, Joli Valenti (Dino Valenti’s son), Signe Anderson’s daughter, Norman Greenbaum, horn player Steve Shuster, and others.
As for Jefferson Starship’s future without Paul Kantner, I asked David Freiberg and the band’s new manager Terry Morton what the plan is? David said, “The band’s mission now is to keep this great rich catalog of music alive. We’ll be carrying the torch for the younger generation to enjoy as well as for people of the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.” Terry added “The new generation of Jefferson Starship is taking off for concert dates in Las Vegas 7/29, Los Angeles 9/8 and a number of East Coast tour dates in New York, Canada, and Florida to mention a few. Your BAM readers can go to our new website www.jeffersonstarship.net for all the tour info and they can also see a “Live Stream” of the band’s appearance at the Haight Ashbury Street Fair.”