The news this past week of Signe Anderson’s and Paul Kantner’s passing—both on January 28, 2016, both at the age of 74—got a lot of people thinking about Jefferson Airplane. Some were lucky enough to see them early when Anderson was the band’s singer, or during the Grace Slick years that followed, when the Airplane’s live repertoire drew heavily from albums like “After Bathing at Baxter’s,” “Crown of Creation,” and “Volunteers.” Others, like me, only saw them at the end of their too-brief ride, when Jefferson Airplane seemed like a side project of Hot Tuna rather than the other way around.
But even at the end, as we gathered in Winterland to hear Jorma and Jack spar with Papa John and fly Jefferson Airplane one last time, we couldn’t fight back the goosebumps when the band broke into Kantner songs like “When the Earth Moves Again.” By then, the hippie logic of that anthem already seemed a bit long in the tooth, but Kantner’s passion, his sincerity, inspired us, while the ringing chords of his Rickenbacker gave this quintessentially psychedelic rock band an almost symphonic anchor. Godspeed, Signe. Godspeed, Paul.