An early, historic Jefferson Airplane concert poster from the Santa Venetia Armory in San Rafael, California on Jan. 26, 1967.
This show fell right on the cusp of the transition between female Airplane vocalists Signe Anderson and Grace Slick.
Grace had been in the group just a couple of months when this Jefferson Airplane poster board was first drawn up. The band’s picture on the poster includes her, reflecting that recent change.
However, seven of the eight song titles found on the poster are from the band’s 1966 debut LP, which featured Signe, of course, instead of Grace.
Notice how it says “Take Off! – 3 Full Hours” across the top of this Jefferson Airplane appearance poster. I don’t need to tell you that’s a play on the title of the band’s initial LP waxing, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off.
The opening act at this concert was The Morning Glory, and lights were done by the Fun Co.
You’ll also notice that it says “New Release – ‘My Best Friend’” in larger type on this Jefferson Airplane show poster. That was the very first single from the group’s soon-to-be-released sophomore album, Surrealistic Pillow.
Unfortunately, that 45 went nowhere on the charts, but its follow-up, “Somebody to Love,” became an anthem of sorts for the Summer of Love in 1967.
So I sure would’ve loved it if this Jefferson Airplane in-person poster had “Somebody to Love” in place of “My Best Friend,” but that’s OK, this poster still has a ton of coolness.
We’re lucky to get all those song titles as it is… it just about sets the record for number of songs that I’ve ever seen on a rock-concert poster.
And a couple of them are pretty important songs to boot, which greatly help boost the appeal of this Jefferson Airplane billboard. “It’s No Secret” was a key underground hit from the band’s earliest days, and “Let’s Get Together” was turned into an anthem of sorts by the Youngbloods.
Fans of Airplane founder Marty Balin undoubtedly love this poster, because he’s so well-represented as a lead vocalist on most of the song titles listed here.
This Jefferson Airplane concert placard was constructed on heavy cardboard and measures a bit larger than the standard 14×22-inch size.
In that way, it’s pretty unusual. The majority of concert posters for the JA in the sixties were of the psychedelic variety, printed on paper – such as all the Bill Graham and Family Dog ones. However, this is a typical Santa Venetia Armory window card… every one from that venue looked similar (that is, boxing style) in 1966-67.
The picture of the band on this Jefferson Airplane event poster is a key element, because it’s an outtake from the photo session that produced the cover of their classic Surrealistic Pillow.
That photo shoot must have just taken place, because Grace had joined the group the previous October, and the poster was probably drawn up and printed in December.
This Jefferson Airplane telephone-pole poster represents the point in time when Bill Graham took over management of the band, perhaps even this month, I believe.
So I’m guessing that Graham was the driving force behind the listing of so many ticket locations found at the bottom. Bill was, after all, Mr. Marketer, and you know he would settle for nothing less than a sellout.
In fact, all pertinent details about the concert are printed in red at the bottom of this Jefferson Airplane concert sign. That includes the city (San Rafael), the venue (Santa Venetia Armory), the ticket price, the ages allowed (all ages), the number of tickets being sold (1,200), and about a dozen different locations where you could buy the tickets.
And at the very bottom, in fine print, it credits Tilghman as the printer and gives their street address in Oakland, plus their phone number. Tilghman is one of my favorite concert-poster printers of the era, and their placards were always done on cardboard, not paper.
One thing this Jefferson Airplane ticket poster wasn’t is a “tour blank” – it was not used for multiple shows in different towns. It was strictly a one-show poster, produced by the promoters, Ralph & Al Pepe.
The Pepe brothers promoted a substantial number of rock concerts at the Santa Venetia Armory in the mid-’60s, including Big Brother & the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Grateful Dead.
This Jefferson Airplane street sign is talked up and made over by long-time collector Pete Howard, which is me, and I can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 805-540-0020. Being a serious collector, I will pay TOP DOLLAR indeed for this very poster, or any one of a number of early JA concert posters.
If you’d like to see some more historic, collectible rock posters here on my Web site, just head over to this page: http://www.postercentral.com/rock.htm