Seemed like it was finally the end of the journey for Jefferson Starship, whose 1981 hit “Find Your Way Back” was ironically all about life on the road.
When founding member and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Paul Kantner passed away in early 2016, it looked more like the end of the road for Jefferson Starship. The band that started out in San Francisco as Jefferson Airplane, morphed into Jefferson Starship, spun off another group with a similar name, and endured seemingly endless personnel changes rotating some of the biggest names in music and bevy of lawsuits along the road, appeared finished.
Flash forward a couple years. Jefferson Starship is still very much alive and well, as audiences at The Cave Big Bear will see in concert on Saturday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. Not without more litigation over use of the band’s name, no surprise there in true Jefferson Starship tradition, but ultimately original singer Grace Slick gave the band her blessing to keep playing and that’s really all that matters.
And really, the band playing The Cave is Jefferson Starship, at least the band circa the last decade or so. Certainly it’s essentially the same lineup that came to The Cave in 2014, sans Kantner. Cathy Richardson fills Slick’s spot as she has for a decade now, and the Grammy-nominated star of “Love, Janis” rendition of “White Rabbit” last Cave visit was absolutely spine-tingling. In perhaps the ultimate compliment, it was Richardson who was invited to sing “Somebody to Love” in her place by Slick herself when Jefferson Airplane received its Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.
David Freiberg is virtually a Jefferson Starship founding member, joining the band in 1974 and playing on most of its most notable albums. He took a 20 year hiatus, returning to rejoin the band in 2005. Freiberg is best known for writing the hit song “Jane,” theme song for the hit Netflix series “Wet, Hot American Summer.”
Drummer Donny Baldwin also has a long association with Jefferson Starship. He replaced the great Aynsley Dunbar in 1982 and was with the band for three years before rejoining in 2008. Chris Smith on bass and keyboards has been around for two decades. Guitarist Jude Gold lights it up on stage and even the newcomer has been with Jefferson Starship for six years.
Five decades of music, starting with Jefferson Airplane and continuing into incarnations of Jefferson Starship, have resulted in many hits, just a few being “Miracles,” “Ride the Tiger,” “Caroline,” “With Your Love,” “Count on Me” and more.
The Cave Big Bear; 40789 Village Dr. (909) 878-0204 or www.thecavebigbear.com.