Jefferson Airplane reunion band billed in Old Town May 6

       The Jefferson Airplane in Old Colorado City? A Jefferson Airplane album cover shows the band in its younger days. Marty Balin is at upper left, Paul Kantner in center.
From Jefferson Airplane Collection album, 1988
       That would have been a hippy's pipe dream in the '60s, but Old Colorado City merchant Charlie Cagiao - a former rock drummer himself - plans to make it happen in a free concert Saturday, May 6.
       The group, 10 members in all, is calling itself the Jefferson (Airplane) Family Galactic Reunion. It includes original Airplane members Paul Kantner and Marty Balin, as well as David Freiberg of Quicksilver Messenger Service, original Grateful Dead pianist Tom Constanten, Country Joe McDonald of Country Joe and the Fish, and former musicians with the Tubes, the Supremes and the David Crosby Band, according to information provided by Cagiao this week.
       The Jefferson Starship website (www.jeffersonstarshipsf.com) lists May 6 in Colorado Springs as a “firm” concert date. It is part of a tour this year that is “celebrating the 40th anniversary of Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver and 'the San Francisco sound,' ” a band flyer states.
       Plans call for Colorado Avenue to be closed off for the event between 25th and 27th streets, with the band playing on a stage about 30 feet east of 27th Street (near where Brule & Nicole typically play during Territory Days). Support bands will start at about noon, with the Airplane taking the stage at 5:30 and playing for three hours, said Cagiao, who owns Silver Moon Presents and Charlie's Old Town Pizza in the 2600 block of the avenue.
       There will also be a beer garden in the Old Town Plaza at 25th Street and Colorado Avenue, he said.
       Cagiao is still working on finding sponsors and permits to close the street and sell beer, but he expressed confidence that all will work out. “The biggest problem is proving this will work for Old Colorado City,” he said. “Once they (other merchants) see it can be a success, then there are other bands I'm talking with.”
       He pointed out that, unlike Territory Days, which brings in merchants competing with those in Old Town, the Airplane concert will have no merchants except food and drink concessions and a T-shirt booth.
       A board member of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group, Cagiao thinks he could bring in bands of a similar caliber on a monthly basis through the summer.
       Offering major musical entertainment in Old Town will prove an automatic promotion for the historic shopping district, he believes. “I'd like to see it the way it used to be, in the '70s and '80s, when people used to want to hang out here,” said Cagiao, who grew up in the Springs.
       To offset potential parking issues, he said he plans to have a shuttle service on the day of the concert.
       Cagiao is not a stranger to event planning or working with rock bands. Last fall, for the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group's Scarecrow Days, he organized the inaugural Giant Pumpkin weigh-off, which was successful enough that OCCA has scheduled a second annual this year.
       In his younger days, Cagiao played drums with Sugarloaf and Tommy James and the Shondells. And in Las Vegas, before returning to his home town last year, he managed two other venerable bands - War and the Platters, he said.
       One of his favorite memories of '60s rock was the amiable, non-businesslike attitudes of the musicians. “Everyone played together, or would sit in and never get paid for it,” Cagiao said. “Those were the days.”

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