Sunday, July 26, 2009

January-June 1969 Jefferson Airplane Performance List (Airplane XI)

As a result of my research into other areas of Rock Prosopography, I have ended up with a fairly detailed list of Jefferson Airplane performances from 1965-69. Since I have no other plans for it, I am posting it here. This list leans heavily on the posted Jefferson Airpane set lists document by Scott Abbott, as well as information from Jeff Tamarkin’s fine book Got A Revolution, but it includes considerably more shows. Please forward any changes, updates, advice or criticism.

The previous installments listed known shows from Jefferson Airplane’s formation through 1965 and 1966. The first post in the sequence is here. This post covers known shows from January through June 1969.

January 14-15, 1969 Grande Riviera Ballroom, Detroit, MI
Jefferson Airplane

>February 1969. RCA releases the Jefferson Airplane’s fifth album Bless Its Pointed Little Head. It is the band’s first live album, recorded at the Fillmore West (October) and Fillmore West (November) in Fall 1968.

[the excerpt above is from Sandy Stert's "Platter Chatter" column in the (Van Nuys, CA) Valley News from February 7, 1969].

March 8, 1969 Civic Auditorium, Honolulu, HI
Jefferson Airplane

March 17, 1969 Winterland "Monster Jam" Benefit for Rancho Olompali 
Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Sons of Champlin/Red Mountain
Rancho Olompali had been the home of the Grateful Dead in the Spring of 1966. Subsequently it housed a commune called The Chosen People, but the commune got busted and the mansion burned down. A Monday night benefit was held at Winterland to cover their bills. The Berkeley Barb reported that the Airplane, the Dead and the Sons were all expected to play.

April 4, 1969 Gil Coliseum, Oregon State University, Corvallis OR
Jefferson Airplane

After a long layoff (by sixties standards) the Airplane return to touring.

April 13, 1969 The Matrix, San Francisco
Jefferson Airplane (uncertain)

I do not believe this to be an Airplane show, although it appears on various lists. I believe Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady were playing at the Matrix, possibly with other Airplane members. While the pair are performing in local clubs, they are not yet known as Hot Tuna, but I think it has led to confusion in the Airplane chronology.

Aynsley Dunbar, in town because he is playing Fillmore West with his own band, jams with Jorma and Jack.

April 26, 1969 Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino
Jefferson Airplane

April 27, 1969 Coliseum Arena, Oakland
Jimi Hendrix Experience/Jefferson Airplane/Fat Mattress

Jack Casady joins in with the Experience on bass for some jamming, allowing Noel Redding to switch to guitar.

May 2-3, 1969 Winterland, San Francisco
Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Mongo Santamaria

May 7, 1969 Polo Grounds, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead

May 9, 1969 Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS
Jefferson Airplane

May 10, 1969 The Graffiti, Aurora, IL
Jefferson Airplane

May ?, 1969 [Dane County Coliseum?}, Madison, WI
Jefferson Airplane

May ?, 1969 [venue], Milwuakee, WI
Jefferson Airplane

May 14, 1969 Grant Park, Chicago, Il
Jefferson Airplane

A free show, attended by 50,000 people (mentioned in Got A Revolution).

May ?, 1969 [Aragon Ballroom?], Chicago, IL
Jefferson Airplane

May 16, 1969 [venue], New Orleans, LA
Jefferson Airplane

Jack Casady was arrested after this show.

May 17, 1969 Pirate’s World, Dania, FL
Jefferson Airplane

May 24, 1969 Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, AZ
Jefferson Airplane/Iron Butterfly

Photos exist of this show, and are accessible here.

May 24 or 25, 1969 Family Park, Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose Northern California Folk-Rock Festival
Jimi Hendrix Experience/Jefferson Airplane/Chambers Brothers/Led Zeppelin/Eric Burdon/Spirit/Canned Heat/Buffy St. Marie/Youngbloods/Steve Miller/Chuck Berry/Muddy Waters/Taj Mahal/Noel Redding (and Fat Mattress)/Lee Micheals/Blues Image/Santana/Aum/Elvin Bishop/Poco (Pogo)/People/Lynn County/Loading Zone/Sweet Linda Divine/Cat Mother/Doc Watson/New Lost City Ramblers

The Airplane played the free festival (below) on Sunday morning (5.25.69), but its not clear if they played the San Jose festival on Saturday night or Sunday. I think the most likely scenario is that the Airplane played Phoenix on Saturday night, flew to San Jose and played the free festival as a prelude to a Sunday afternoon show at the Fairgrounds.

May 25, 1969 practice field, San Jose State College Aquarian Family Festival
Ace of Cups/All Men Joy/Birth/Beggars Opera/Boz Skaggs/Crabs/Crow/
Cleanliness & Godliness Skiffle Band/Devine Madness/Denver/The Doobie Brothers/Elgin Marble/Flaming Groovies/Frumious Bandersnatch/Gentle Dance/Greater Carmichael Traveling Street Band/Glass Mountain/High Country/Jefferson Airplane/Joy of Cooking/Last Mile/Libras/Lamb/Living Color/Linn County/Mother Ball/ Morning Glory/Mad River/Mt. Rushmore/Nymbus/Old Davis/Red Grass, Green Smoke/Rubber Maze/ Rising Tide/Rejoice/Sunrise/Sable/Sons of Champlin/Sounds Unlimited Blues Band/ Sandy Bull/The Steve Miller Band/ Stoned Fox/South Bay Experimental Flash/Throckmorton/
Tree of Life/Weird Herald/Womb/Warren Purcell/Zephyr Grove/

A three day (May 23-24-25) free concert put on in conjunction with (and in contrast with) the Folk-Rock Festival at the Fairgrounds, less than a mile away. Per the wikipedia entry

Terms of the agreement with the University required that people could be present only during the performance of music. Because part of the purpose of the concert was to provide a safe place to stay for tens of thousands of people traveling to town to attend another concert being held in town about a mile away at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds, music had to be performed continuously from the start at 12:00pm Friday until the close of the festival at 4:00pm Sunday afternoon. Thus the festival featured 52 hours of continuous music.

The festival was produced in 10 days at a total cost of $968 by approximately 30 people who were volunteers with the Institute for Research and Understanding whose Dirt Cheap Productions unit produced the concert. Assistance was also given by the musicians' cooperative Druid Corporation House and the San Jose Free University. Legal services were paid for by the band Led Zeppelin which did not perform at the [free] festival. Independent sources estimated attendance at 200,000 people, with 80,000 spending the night on Saturday.

There is some uncertainty as to which groups exactly played. Mad River, for example, had just broken up (possibly they were contacted, and then broke up). Most of these groups are “second-tier” club bands from the South Bay or East Bay. Two stages were constructed so that bands could set up while another was playing, in order to fulfill the obligation that people could be present only when bands were playing. According to one of the organizer’s website , however, the Airplane showed up Sunday morning and played an extended set. Jimi Hendrix dropped by, hoping to jam, just as the stage was being dismantled and never got the chance.

May 28, 1969 Winterland, San Francisco, CA "People's Park Bail Benefit"
Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Creedence Clearwater Revival/Santana/Elvin Bishop/Bangor Flying Circus/Aum

June 5, 1969 Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, TX
Jefferson Airplane/Zachary Thaks/Jim Jones and The Chanteys/The Electric Kiss

June 6, 1969 Earl Warren Showgrounds, County Fairgrounds, Santa Barbara
Jefferson Airplane/Steve Miller Band/Pulse

June 13-14, 1969 Family Dog at The Great Highway, San Francisco
The Charlatans/Jefferson Airplane

The Airplane were broadcast on KSAN-fm. This was the opening of Chet Helm’s new Family Dog venue.

For the next installment, see here.


  1. Missed shows:

    January 14-15, 1969: Grande Riviera, Detroit, MI

    March 8, 1969: Honolulu International Center, Honolulu, HI

    May 28, 1969: "People's Park Bail Ball Benefit", Winterland, San Francisco, CA with Grateful Dead / Creedence Clearwater Revival / Lights by Little Princess #109 / Santana / Elvin Bishop / Bangor Flying Circus / AUM

    June 14, 1969: Family Dog at The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA with Charlatans / Pulse / Devil's Kitchen / Jim Reinhart (juggler)

    June 16, 1969: Family Dog at The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA

  2. Thanks Bruno. Wasn't June 16, 1969 a Monday night? Why would the Airplane (or anyone) have played Family Dog on a Monday?

  3. I don't know Corry, but I take this from your "Family Dog Performance List" on "Chicken On A Unicycle".

  4. ha ha, I guess I'm at fault here. I'll look into it.

  5. June 16, 1969: Family Dog On The Beach: My underfstanding is that this was a fairly impromptu perfoamance that may be the first time Joey Covington played with the band.

  6. Ross,

    Joey Covington joined the band only on January 18, 1970 not the year before

  7. As per my comment I am not suggesting that Joey Covington joined the band - simply that he played an impromptu performance. Dryden was in the process of beginning to play with the New Riders of the Purple Sage and Jack C and Jorma K were playing occasional shows as Hot Tuna with Joey Covington.

  8. Ross you're right, sorry! I'm at fault here! I checked again my JA archive and yes, Joey Covington played with the band for the first time at the Family Dog on The Great Highway on June 14 or 16, 1969.

  9. Didn't Airplane play Fillmore East in March 1969?..Frank Gambardella

  10. I believe I saw then open Fillmore East In March 1969...with movie piece of Empire State Building.. King Kong on top. And sound clip..Oh No...It wasn't the airplanes, Beauty Killed the Beast.....Frank Gambardella Oneonta NY, in the mountains as David Frieberg calls it..............