*Our Redding editor, Susan Winters, attended the Jefferson Starship concert on Thursday evening. Here's what she had to say:
Though his 70th birthday is in the past, Paul Kantner continued to celebrate during Jefferson Starship’s rescheduled concert (from Oct) at the Ridgefield Playhouse last night.
Kantner, along with Marty Balin, founded JEFFERSON AIRPLANE in 1965. The Airplane was one of the biggest rock groups in America during the 1960s and the first San Francisco band to sign a major record deal, paving the way for other legends like Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. They were one of the headliners at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969. Their influence and impact on rock music continues well into the 21st century.
In 1974 Kantner created JEFFERSON STARSHIP and again with Balin, enjoyed chart-topping success and were inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Jefferson Starship, the name created by Kantner for his 1971 solo debut “Blows Against The Empire” recording has endured 37 years as rock music’s premier “political science fiction” themed band. That recording was the first and only to ever be nominated for literary science fiction’s Hugo Award … a stellar achievement.
Cathy Richardson is Jefferson Starship’s newest member, anchoring the historic ‘role’ made famous by Gracie Slick. She is an award winning music artist, graphic artist, and clothing designer.
She portrayed Janis Joplin in the original Off Broadway cast of the hit show “Love, Janis” and also in Chicago, Sag Harbor, NY, San Francisco, Phoenix and Tucson, and sings with Janis' original band members, Big Brother and the Holding Co. Also, Cathy is has launched her new line of hand dyed, organic cotton yoga pants, Shining Shakti www.shingshakti.com
I asked Cathy how she became involved with the Starship. She explained that after starring as Janis Off Broadway, she was touring with Big Brother and they became an opening act for Jefferson Starship. Paul Kantner heard her sing and he asked her to join the band. Also, growing up, two of her prized possessions have always been a self portrait of Grace Slick and a Jefferson Airplane mirror. Those were omens of what was meant to be.
The audience at the Ridgefield Playhouse was filled with fans young and old, from pony tailed hippies to young people whose parents were their age when the band was in it’s heyday. The cozy atmosphere of the playhouse allowed for a lot of interaction between the audience and the performers.
The opening act was Mimi Page, an eclectic singer/songwriter and producer. Her unique style blends ethereal dreamy soundscapes with melodic, thought provoking vocals and has been compared to the likes of Portishead, Enya and Fiona Apple. She is a charming spryte whose curtain of hair often covered her face allowing the audience to imagine she was in her own secret world while she sang. Ms. Page said that Ridgefield was one of the prettiest places she had ever seen.
Paul Kantner, David Freiberg and the band may have looked like somebody’s grandparents- but vocally, they still have what it takes. Their voices were strong and their classic sound and songs withstand the test of time.
Cathy Richardson stepped into iconic shoes and both Grace Slick and Janis Joplin would be proud to hear her powerful sound.
Other band members were Mark "Slick" Aguilar, Donny Baldwin and Chris Smith.
Guest artists during the concert included Jason Crosby on the violin and Nona Hendryx.
Jefferson Starship is taking off for concerts in Oneonta, NY, New Hope, PA and beyond…