Paul Kantner circa 1978/ Photo by Don Patrick RPA

Paul Kantner circa 1978/ Photo by Don Patrick RPA

In a former life, when I barely knew what a rock critic was, I ushered at concerts (and Twins and Vikings games) in the Twin Cities.

My first concert as a teenage usher was Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane and, I believe, Moby Grape at the old Minneapolis Auditorium. It was the Summer of Love, if I recall correctly.

My assignment was taking tickets at the front gate. Apparently, the Airplane’s pilot could not find the stage door. Because the band came roaring through my turnstile. They were wearing all kinds of flower-power regalia like we’d seen on Ed Sullivan.

But the most vivid memory was Airplane co-founder Paul Kantner -- who died Thursday of multiple organ failure in San Francisco at age 74 -- traveling through my turnstile on a skateboard, a quintessentially California accessory of the moment. Far out.

I believe right then and there I had my first truly psychedelic experience. 

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