David Freiberg, the leader and elder statesman of Jefferson Starship, talked about how difficult it is, given a body of work that stretches back to the late 1960s and its parent band, Jefferson Airplane, to pare things down to a two-hour show.
“Very,” he said. “But imagine this. We leave Wednesday (Oct. 26) for Europe to finish a tour supporting Deep Purple. For those shows, we’ve only got a 45-minute set. How do you fit it into 45 minutes? We’ve got the whole Jefferson Airplane-Jefferson Starship catalog to pull from.”
Freiberg and his Starship bandmates will have the whole evening to themselves when they play Nov. 11 at the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton — the first show back in the U.S. following their five-date run through France and Germany.
“We’ve got a new record out, too,” said Freiberg, who turned 84 in August, but still revels in the road work. “When I say new, we actually finished it right when COVID hit, but we put it out anyway. Now it’s great that we can get out and play a few songs from it.”
The “new” tunes will have a rough time shoehorning themselves onto the set list, which includes Starship hits like “Jane” and “We Built This City” — the latter a No. 1 charter.
Cathy Richardson has cited “Jane” — written by Freiberg and sung by Mickey Thomas — as the song that made her fall in love with Jefferson Starship, a band she would join more than two decades later.
Freiberg was asked by Paul Kantner to join Jefferson Airplane for a 1972 tour, mainly to replace the harmony vocals of founder Marty Balin, who had left the band the previous year. When the Airplane came apart shortly thereafter, Freiberg joined Kantner’s re-boot, dubbed Jefferson Starship, along with former Airplane members Grace Slick and Balin.
The lineup since then has been unchanged: Freiberg sings and plays rhythm guitar, Jude Gold is lead guitarist, Richardson handles lead vocals (including all those iconic Slick performances), Donny Baldwin plays drums and Chris Smith is on keyboards.
Four decades and change later, Jefferson Starship is still “going out,” playing music old and new to appreciative audiences around the world. And Freiberg pooh-poohs any notion of slowing down.
Where: Admiral Theatre, 515 Pacific Ave., Bremerton
When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 (doors open 6 p.m.)
Information: 360-373-6743, admiraltheatre.org
Michael C. Moore is Arts and Entertainment Reporter for The Admiral Theatre Foundation.