Jul 12, 2015

1969: Live/Dead Reviews

. . . And of course, the Grateful Dead . . . who need no embellishment here. Their live album, not released until June, but currently being previewed on KSAN, will give you some idea of what San Francisco has been like. It is probably the finest American album ever made

(excerpt from Peter Thompson, "The Music Scene," Stanford Daily, 30 April 1969)

* * *  


[ . . . ]  The day before yesterday the Wild West show was cancelled, the record stores are glutted with “psychedelic music,” and last week Bill Graham announced that he’d had it: nobody was grateful enough to him for making a million dollars off the community, so he’s splitting town in December. So long, Bill. [ . . . ] The vultures are moving in. The Iron Butterfly are hot in Peoria, Richard Nixon is down on dope, and Warren Burger is resting in the East. [ . . . ]
I have no doubt about it: within a year or so, the vitality and inventiveness that were the musical expression of our scene will be a memory. It’s been dying for two years now, and that’s too long a final spasm. So like swing jazz fans, people like me who care enough to write this kind of column, and people like you who care enough to read it, will be hoarding our records with the belief that it will never happen again.
And maybe it won’t, but there’s no small consolation in the record I am going to preview today: a double-album live recording of the Grateful Dead to be released sometime in the Fall. It’s the Grateful Dead record, in fact the San Francisco record that we’ve all been waiting for, a nearly flawless vinyl reproduction of what can actually go down at those concerts.
I say nearly flawless because there’s really no way that anybody is ever going to reproduce the feeling, the original feeling we might have had a few years ago about what was happening here, the feeling you still find yourself carrying around like a secret hope: nobody dances, nobody cares. No use to belabor the point; this is a music column and the proper topic of discussion is music. Except that with a group like the Grateful Dead it’s impossible to separate the music from those people and what they stand for. Witness leader Jerry Garcia, in a recent Rolling Stone interview, on what’s happened since the “good old days”:
“It was magic, far out, beautiful magic…a sensitive trip, and it’s been lost… Like Bill Graham, he was at the Trips Festival, and all he saw was a light show and a band. Take the two and you’ve got a formula… It’s watching television, large loud television.”

All right, the album: I don’t even know the name of it. I obtained it by recording it from KSAN last May, the only time to my knowledge it’s been played in its entirety. The tape I have, then, is a copy of the original master, which means that it might go through some changes before it becomes an album, and which means that it hasn’t yet been sliced up into sides and bands. And that’s groovy, and hopefully they will keep it this way: if you’ve ever seen the Dead on a good night, you know they don’t come on and say “now we’re going to play ‘Satisfaction,’ blah blah, then we’ll do this thing we learned from Albert King, blah blah, then we’ll do this far-out jam on ‘Louie, Louie!’”
In some pure sense, they just come on stage and play music.
That’s what this tape is: an hour and a half of uninterrupted rolling together music. It begins at a low pressure, with some excellent interplay between bassist Phil Lesh and rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, and ends with a mind-blowing ten minutes of amplifier electronics. Garcia’s guitar has never been so beautiful in its lyric, jazzy lines, and (surprise) even the singing is good. Of the numbers I can separate and give names to, they do “St. Stephen,” a happy, bouncing number from their latest studio album Aoxomoxoa, a jam following that which sounds like Richie Valens’ “La Bamba,” Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Lovelight,” where wonderful old Pig Pen struts his stuff, and a breath-taking “Death Has No Mercy,” featuring melodic feedback work by Garcia.
What can I say? What can be said about the Grateful Dead’s music without talking about a whole lot of things that are not supposed to be the proper concern of a rock music column? Buy the album when it comes out; it’s beautiful, and they need the bread.
Two things I leave you with (a note of optimism): one, there’s a dance this Sunday at Frost featuring the Sons of Champlin and the best unrecorded band in the area, Country Weather, a benefit for some people that need your support and your money. Go to it. Second, next time you’re buying an Iron Butterfly album and wondering when Bobby Vinton will be nominated to the Burger Court, remember that the Grateful Dead have something better for you just around the corner: “We’re tired of jerking off,” Garcia said in that same interview, “and we want to start fucking again.” Goodbye, Bill Graham, goodbye, summer school. I won’t miss either of you.

(by Dave Stevens, from the Stanford Daily, 15 August 1969) 

* * *


The good Ol’ Grateful Dead, after wading through enormous piles of bullshit, have finally put out their double live album (with virtually no help from Warner Brothers), after a delay of four months. It goes without saying that Live/Dead (Warner Bros. 1830) is their best album yet; it transcends any mere value judgements one might have. You just listen to it, shake your head in wonder, and mutter to yourself, “the Dead, the Dead, the Dead…”
Ever since the beginning, while other bands have had more national success (the Airplane, Big Brother), the Dead have always been the San Francisco band. While other groups have broken up or changed because of internal hassles, the Dead have added two more members, Hart and Constanten. And today, as most of the third wave San Francisco bands flood the ballrooms with boring, imitative music, the Dead’s originality and brilliance stand out even more.
The album is a masterpiece – excellent cover artwork and inner leaflet with the words to the songs, and a masterful job of mixing by the Dead, the best quality for a live album I’ve heard.
The first three sides of Live/Dead were actually performed continuously. The Dead are very successful in creating a steady flow of extremely satisfying music, and within this stream is constant interaction, always with the rhythmic undercurrent of the two percussionists, Hart and Kreutzmann; Phil Lesh’s bass behaving like a second lead guitar.
It begins with Jerry Garcia’s muted guitar, demonstrating his ability to let the notes ooze out of the strings. Midway through the flow, Hart crashes the gong behind the vocals (which are fantastic throughout) – “Dark star crashes/Pouring its light into ashes/Reason tatters/The forces tear loose from the axis.” It’s so easy to get lost in this music…and Garcia’s quivering vocals fit “Dark Star” (and “Death” on the fourth side) perfectly.
“Saint Stephen,” which begins the second side, comes off much better than the Aoxomoxoa version, partially because when done live, Bob Weir sings lower voice, whereas in the studio Garcia overdubbed both parts. “Talk about your plenty/Talk about your ills/One man gathers what another man spills.” It blends into “The Eleven,” a Lesh tune.
Then comes Pig Pen’s big moment: ever since the Dead’s first album, Mr. McKernan has stepped further from the spotlight, and during performances he stands in a corner playing inaudible conga, but this was a matter of personal choice – he never has considered himself a musician. The Dead have left the rhythm and blues stage far behind, and Pig Pen with it.
But they still do a tune like “Lovelight,” and do it well, Garcia’s guitar as funky and fast as ever, Pig Pen working it out, joined by Lesh and Weir in the third chorus. It is simply another musical vehicle for the Dead, just as the slow blues by Rev. Gary Davis, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” the electronic feedback, and the “Bid You Goodnight” hymn on the fourth side are.
Nuff said. Buy the album and listen to it. You’ll see why Bill Graham introduces the Dead as “the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world.”

(by Craig Okino, from the Stanford Daily, 3 December 1969)

Jul 7, 2015

January 2-4, 1969: Fillmore West, San Francisco


I hope you got back to school early. So you could go to the Fillmore two weeks ago.
It was a magnificent show, probably the best single collection of artists appearing here in the last nine or ten months. Blood, Sweat and Tears. The Grateful Dead. Spirit.
They sound like life styles, which they are. But they’re also, along with the Airplane and the band from Big Pink, the epitome of white American contemporary music.
The three groups seem remarkably similar at first, and it’s difficult to absorb all of them in a single evening. Still, you’ve got to give Graham credit for the programming: Blood, Sweat and Tears, leading to the Dead, followed by Spirit. That’s pretty eerie.
All three are loosely based in white blues-rock-etc., yet all give a definite jazz texture to their music, which is often set in a fairly rigid classical framework.

The improvisations and solos (and each musician in these groups is capable of sustaining interest and excitement throughout his individual riffs) are based upon, and must appear within, the general themes of the group’s music. Things fit.
Yet the conspicuous building and tension within each song – and the set as a whole – rarely becomes formal. The continual re-directing prevents sterility, without ever lapsing into random diddling; the changes work because of these groups’ immense talent and obvious familiarity with each other.
The last time I saw Spirit, they were playing a lot of Coltrane, self-consciously yet quite impressively. They have evolved, have developed their own forms, yet still play with far more freedom than most groups.
They remain a highly eclectic group while continually giving greater importance to electronics. Randy California’s guitar is supposed to be from a Sears catalogue, but all its adapters, amps and assorted freaky gadgets are definitely home-grown.

Blood, Sweat and Tears began as the Al Kooper Experienece. Their first album is quite nice, but Kooper’s presence becomes a bit stifling. It was obvious then that there was a great deal more to the group than this guitarist-gone-organist-gone-producer who never could sing, but he had appeared on both Highway 61 Revisited and “Who Wears Short Shorts,” which is something.
Kooper left to the Columbia Complex (his first solo record for [them] is modestly titled “I Stand Alone”), a few changes were made in the horn section, David Clayton-Thomas was brought down from Canada to sing, and Altoist Fred Lipsius assumed the role of quasi-leader.
They’re really a bitch now, Jim Fielder’s striking bass, Clayton Thomas’ Bobby Bland-like voice, and Dick Halligan’s flute and keyboard work usually stand out. The horns are beautiful; there is no other rock group using so many horns so well.
Some of the BS&T songs are grossly over-arranged. But even when they are, such as with Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi’s “Smiling Phrases,” they manage to bring it off as a comical parody of Broadway show music or as a necessary part of their polished big band performance.

Rumors of the break-up of the Grateful Dead have been floating around for over a year, but the group just keeps adding musicians. First a second drummer, now a full-time organist so Pig Pen can concentrate on his harp and vocals.
They still seem much the same sprawling, joyous family. The music of the Dead is really San Francisco’s down-home sound; it grows increasingly complex, but it still gives off Trips Festival vibrations.
They seem to have recently re-discovered their first album, and last weekend did the always-moving “Morning Dew” and always-boring “Good Morning Little School Girl.” The rest of the set was a delightful build from “Dark Star” to “Turn On Your Lovelight,” interspersed with lots of nice transitions, new tunes, and changing arrangements.  
Bob Wier still jumps up and down, grinning like a perennial 17-year-old, Pig Pen seems to be interested in singing again, and Garcia, Lesh, and the two drummers, remain, along with the Airplane, the finest lead-bass-drum nucleus in the country.
No, don’t worry about the Dead. They’re playing better than ever. They want to give their next record away. Free. If the physical separation of its members ever does come, their music will just go on playing itself for months afterward.
An awesome evening, yet so immediately compelling that many people were dancing again. By the way, Spirit’s from LA, BS&T from New York, and the Dead from 910-A Ashbury Street. That’s the real difference.

(by Peter Thompson, from the Stanford Daily, 13 January 1969) 


Alas, no tape!

Jul 6, 2015

May 1968: Band Interview

POP TALK  [excerpt]

Things We Couldn't Get In Last Issue Dept.:
Jefferson Airplane landed at New York's Fillmore East May 3-4, accompanied by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The Airplane, better than ever, played their last set until well after 3 A.M. and wore out three drummers, including their own Spencer Dryden, Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience (who sat in for the encores), and Jeff Butler (who sat in for the rest of the encores). Sunday afternoon the Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band turned Central Park into Golden Gate Park with a free concert attended by at least 10,000 people (and, judging by the volume, heard by probably half of Manhattan). The joint effort was initiated and masterminded by the bands themselves, Bill Graham of the Fillmores East and West, and Howard Solomon of the Cafe Au Go Go.
[ . . . ]
MINI-INTERVIEW (which means the tape recorder wouldn't work, there was a hassle at the door, no place to sit quietly, and a full-dress, coherent interview was impossible, so we took what we got and printed what we could):
"We like to leave people speechless," smiled Jerry Garcia after the Grateful Dead's spectacular closing set of their May 7-9 date at New York's Electric Circus. The six-man San Francisco group (Garcia, lead guitar; Bob Weir, second guitar; Phil Lesh, bass; Pigpen, organ and harmonica; Bill Sommers and Micky Hart, percussion) did just that, after opening with a solid, rock-oriented first set and coming on at midnight with a virtuoso rock-jazz improvisation that must have lasted an hour or more.
The Dead began their career nearly three years ago as a rock band with a heavy blues sound; their first record, singularly unrepresentative of either their live sound or their present work, consisted largely of old blues tunes. ("Man," says guitarist Weir, "we don't remember those songs on our old record, and that's the living truth.") Yet the Dead-as-blues-band myth is still widely believed, despite the facts that Jerry Garcia lists Django Reinhardt as one of his major influences, that Phil Lesh spends a good deal of time listening to Coltrane, and that anybody with half an ear can tell from their music what the Grateful Dead are really into: namely, a tight, effective, highly original and beautiful rock-jazz synthesis.
"The blues," says Bill Sommers, "we started out doing it, but it's not our music. We don't do it anymore; we can appreciate it, really dig it, but we don't play it, and some people who try to play blues today - man, you have to be born into it. If you're not...well, you could be the best guitar player in the world, but you'll never in your life be a blues man. This is what a whole lot of people, really good people, are trying to do, and they'll never make it, because it just isn't theirs.
"I know people still think of us as a blues band, but it's just not so. We're into jazz much more deeply; what we do, it's jazz, it's rock, it's symphonic progressions...movements, they're programmed and they relate and interact."
Still another manifestation of the jazz influence is the incredible improvisation that has become a hallmark of Dead performances. "They break loose from the framework," explains manager Rock Scully. "But it only happens when they're all together in their heads. All of them have to be moving the same way, feeling the same way - if somebody starts slipping, the other guys yell at him or hold him up musically until he gets back. If he can't, then they all go back to the song's original framework. This is a very jazz approach; you can hear it in the lines, too. Some of Jerry's riffs are straight out of Django - things from like Pharaoh Sanders, Coltrane - Phil is into Coltrane - the music is all moving together now, and this is a very fine thing."

(by Patricia Kennely, from Jazz & Pop, July 1968)

Alas, no tape! But we do have another review of this Electric Circus run: 

Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com  

July 2, 1967: El Camino Park, Palo Alto, CA


The newly merged Free University of Palo Alto and the Experiment will climax a week-long registration drive Sunday with a Be-in festival.
The Be-in, scheduled for 1 p.m. at El Camino Park, across from the Stanford Shopping Center, will feature four bands, dancing, and possibly a free dinner.
The dinner may be provided by the Diggers, but no definite plans have been made.
The Grateful Dead, the Anonymous Artists of America, the New Delhi River Band, and the Good Word are among the bands expected to participate in the Sabbath fracas.
Be-in sponsors have promised group activities, including improvisational dancing and possible sensory awareness exercises. 
In addition, the seminar leaders of the various Experiment-Free University summer courses will be introduced.
The Experiment and the Free University merged last week due to their similar views of the radical community, according to the Experiment's coordinator, Barry Greenberg. Both groups are participating in the registration drive. The Free University was established about two years ago and The Experiment was established on campus last September.  [ . . .]
Sunday’s Be-in will be the second of the year for the Palo Alto area, following the one held during spring quarter. Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco, has become famous during the past year for its Sunday afternoon Be-ins. 

(from the Stanford Daily, 30 June 1967) 

* * *  


Sunday the Free University and The Experiment staged their Mary Poppins Umbrella Festival and Be-In at Palo Alto Park from 1 to 6 p.m.
The action started promptly at 1:00 with four bands, the Anonymous Artists, the New Delhi River Band, the Solid State, and the Good Word supplying entertainment for the crowd. Gradually listeners grew from a few hundred to a few thousand.
Beads, flowers, headbands, bells, painted faces, and multi-colored clothing were in abundance on Be-In participants. Smiles and happy laughter came from all directions during the easy-going afternoon.
Free oranges and punch were provided by the Free University and The Experiment, while wandering participants also gladly surrendered their refreshments to those around them.
One incident which marred the pleasant atmosphere of the Festival occurred when a policeman found a young man with an American flag draped casually over his shoulder. He was beckoned aside by the policeman who took the flag away and inspected it for possible stains or tears. However, the flag-bearer ran away at the first opportunity, leaving the officer with the flag.
The highlight of the afternoon came at 4:30 when the Grateful Dead stepped on stage. As the group launched into "Dancing in the Street," the crowd of 4,000 moved closer to the stage.
After coaxing from the "Dead," some of the crowd started dancing in a large circle, holding hands and swirling around. Snake dance lines wound through the crowd while tambourines, maracas, kazoos, and bells kept the beat of the music.
The "Dead" kept up the performance for about a half hour, and then promised to come back for more. After they left the stage, the audience settled down and listened to some blues and more psychedelic music from the other bands.
At the Be-In, the Free University provided tables for class enrollment and sold copies of various underground publications.

(Picture caption: “The typical Be-In crowd was on hand Sunday at El Camino Park. The crowd includes those who are seriously involved in the aims of FUPA and The Experiment and the clean-cut teenagers who wish they had the guts and don’t.”)

(from the Stanford Daily, 4 July 1967) 

For more details & background, see: 

Jul 5, 2015

September 2, 1966: La Dolphine, Hillsborough, CA


The rock 'n' roll beat of the Grateful Dead blasted the night air above La Dolphine, one of Hillsborough's most noted estates, when Mr. and Mrs. Albert C. Mattei gave a large dance there last night for their granddaughters, Ayn and Lyn Mattei.
The combo, which is well known to the Fillmore Auditorium set, if not to society, played on a dance platform set up in the formal garden, which was beautifully lighted for the ball.
Inside, in the ballroom, which has not seen a party this large and festive in many years, another orchestra, headed by Al Trobbe, played music that was far from staid, but more suitable to the adult guests. . . . .

[The rest of the article is a lavish description of the house and garden decor.] 

(from the "Women's World" column, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 September 1966)

* * *


Police and PG&E repairmen got in on the action at the weekend's two big deb balls on the Peninsula, and the culprits in each case were rock 'n' roll bands.
Hillsborough police had hoped to keep the racket of the Grateful Dead a "family affair," when the group played Friday night at the dance the Albert C. Matteis gave for their granddaughters, Ayn and Lyn Mattei, at La Dolphine, the Peninsula showplace.
But then complaints started to come in from residents in the Burlingame-Broadway area. The Grateful Dead were noisy enough to wake the dead, the cops were told, and so the band had to be moved from the garden to the inside of the beautiful mansion.
The following night, when the Edward Morse Hamiltons gave a ball for her daughter, Virginia (Lyn) Belcher, at their villa in Atherton, neighbors were more tolerant - probably they were all at the party - but the electrical requirements of two rock 'n' roll groups were too much for the wiring, and the lights went out all over the house.
The party carried on by candlelight for an hour or so, until service was restored at midnight. Naturally, the blackout put the combos, the Outfit and the Gordion Knot, out of action. Immediately, rumor spread that Walt Tolleson, whose music does not require amplifying, was guarding the fuse box.
Along with three bands, the Hamiltons presented a surprise feature: a belly dancer to match their Egyptian-style home. She performed sinuously in the living room at the height of the party.
The Hamilton dance had further unscheduled excitement when three CORE protesters, all properly dressed, crashed the party. They were permitted to stay and went unnoticed by most of the guests.

(by Frances Moffatt, from the "Who's Who" column, San Francisco Chronicle, September 1966)

* * *

Debs Danced To Rock 'n' Roll Beat

La Dolphine, the beautiful Hillsborough mansion that has been silent and unoccupied off and on since it was built before World War I, burst into brilliant life with a rock 'n' roll beat Friday night, for a deb ball the Albert C. Matteis gave for their granddaughters, Ayn and Lyn Mattei. . . . 
The 18th century styled chateau is set in 3 1/2 acres of terraced gardens which were floodlighted with pink and white spots for the party. Despite the evening's chill, the young set stayed outside to dance to the rhythms of the Grateful Dead, while their elders remained in the ballroom where Al Trobbe played. . . .
One of the members of The Grateful Dead is Bob Weir, the brother of Peninsula Ball deb Wendy Weir, who made her bow earlier this year at a marvelous pop party at San Francisco Airport.
The beat of the band was so infectious that the adults were eventually lured to the outdoors dance platform where credible frugs were performed . . . .

 [The rest of the article describes the ball arrangements and attire.]

(by Joan White, from the "Women Today" section, the San Francisco Examiner, 5 September 1966)

Picture from the SF Chronicle: 

For more background & details, see:

Jun 30, 2015

October 28, 1972: Public Hall, Cleveland, OH - Show Announcement


Almost a year ago The Grateful Dead made their way to a much over crowded Allen Theatre. This year, however, with Public Hall as their shelter, The Grateful Dead should have enough room to play for all of their thousands of fans.
They will play Public Hall on Saturday, October 28th at 7:30 p.m. Also on the bill will be the beautiful, mellow and aspiring Rowan Brothers, who had a little help from The Dead on their debut Columbia LP.
Tickets for this memorable occasion (and I'm not being presumptuous) are $4.50 in advance and $5.00 the day of the show.
After a few years as a quintet - more or less - The Grateful Dead is back to being a six-man band. Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Billy Kreutzmann remain the core of the band. However, with the six month absence of Ron McKernan (aka Pig Pen) on keyboards, Keith Godcheaux was his replacement. When "Pig Pen" returned, Godcheaux remained.
Today, they are six. Or seven (if Keith's wife, Donna, sings with them on harmonies). Or eight (if ex-drummer, Mickey Hart, happens by).
The additional adventures of The Grateful Dead may be evidenced by any one of their solo (used loosely) albums: Bob Weir's ACE; Jerry Garcia's GARCIA; Mickey Hart's ROLLING THUNDER, or on any number of other artists that are augmented by members of The Dead.
As wars wage back and forth as to who is "the greatest rock and roll band on earth," The Grateful Dead spend most of their earthly hours just "Playing In The Band," as the song goes.
The evolution of The Grateful Dead, from one of the forerunners of the 1967-68 psychedelic era to San Francisco to an internationally accepted cluster of well-respected musicians has been an amazing one: they are now among the leaders of the rock establishment.
Chris and Lorin Rowan are one of Jerry Garcia's favorite new acts - one that hasn't soured, gone heavy or turned political; they are fresh and innocent, but possess complete control of their music. At the invitation of The Dead (just as The New Riders of The Purple Sage were "debuted"), The Rowan Brothers are on tour with them and will certainly make a strong supporting act.

(by Jim Girard, from the Scene, 26 October 1972)


Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com

Jun 29, 2015

October 21, 1972: Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN


A "considerably beefed-up" campus security force aided by 50 to 150 student marshals will be on hand tomorrow to control a crowd of nearly 15,000 persons expected to attend the Grateful Dead concert on Alumni Lawn.
Campus Police Chief Robert Blankenship will have 15 officers on duty during the Student Association sponsored concert scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., rain or shine, but said he does not "anticipate any real problems."
Although Blankenship expects some illegal drug usage within the audience, his major concern is "to keep the concert orderly." He noted, however, that some "uninvited" plain clothed Metro policemen will serve as "observers" to look out for "drug pushers and big trouble." 
The campus police force will form a major cooperative effort with student marshals recruited by the S.A. Concerts Committee to control the concert without conflict. Committee member, Chuck Kahn, said the student marshals are "not to be enforcers, but to keep order in a friendly way. We want to prevent hassles, not cause them."
The Concerts Committee sent letters to approximately 150 "responsible students" earlier this week requesting them to serve as student marshals "to spread themselves throughout the crowd and watch for any trouble that might develop during the afternoon."
The unprecedented size of this Vanderbilt concert, coupled with the fact that most of the crowd will be "outsiders," has caused "several unique problems to arise," Concerts Committee co-chairmen Aubrey Hornsby and Steve Greil said in a statement released earlier this week.
Additional security measures will be taken "to protect the buildings and their inhabitants," including requiring Vanderbilt identification to enter dormitories.
The Alumni Lawn location was selected by special arrangement with The Grateful Dead. The Concerts Committee has tried to bring the group to Vanderbilt "for at least three years now," and has finally persuaded them that "appearances in the South are worthwhile." They "refused to play in the (Memorial) Gym for acoustic reasons, and preferred Alumni Lawn" to all other suggested sites.
Student marshals will "attempt to secure the area immediately in front of the stage with ropes until 11:30 a.m." in order "to assure Vanderbilt students a good seat." Entrance to the special section will be by VU ID only beginning around 9 a.m.
Kahn commented that there will be sufficient area for non-Vanderbilt students to view the concert, but admitted that "we will have to rely on the good faith of the Vanderbilt students" to hold the special section.
Campers willing to brave the unpredictable Nashville elements tonight will not be assured of a particularly choice position tomorrow as they will be permitted to camp only at the south end of Alumni Lawn around the flag pole, and not near the stage itself. Running water and Port-O-Let toilets will be available in the Alumni Lawn area. These facilities are restricted to sleeping bags only.
Those who wish to set up tents or campers must do so on the north side of Dudley Field in the band practice area. Rest room facilities will be available for these campers under the stadium, but all cooking must be done on camp stoves as no camp fires will be permitted.
The Concerts Committee issued "an additional reminder and warning to all who plan to attend the concert that it would be highly unwise to participate in any drug traffic."
"It is not uncommon for your 'brother' to be somebody else entirely. Federal, state and local laws prohibit the possession, sale or use of illegal drugs including marijuana, amphetamines, barbiturates and hallucinogens."
Student marshals met yesterday with Blankenship and Deans for Student Life K.C. Potter and James Sandlin to discuss security measures and ways to handle this and other problems that may arise. "We want the crowd to take care of itself if at all possible," Kahn commented, "and hopefully, we will not have to take any specific action."
"Student marshals are here to assist the crowd in any way possible," he continued, "and to direct students to first aid if they should get into trouble."
Rain or shine, tomorrow until dusk, the Concerts Committee expects The Grateful Dead and their music "to infect our campus with good time spirit."

A man from New Orleans reportedly will be selling bad acid at tomorrow's Grateful Dead concert, Dean for Student Life Sidney Boutwell warned yesterday.
Boutwell urged that spectators "inform the campus police if you identify him."

(by Bob Gillespy, from the Vanderbilt Hustler, 20 October 1972)


For more background, see:

Jun 23, 2015

October 1972: Jerry Garcia Interview


One of the first psychedelic bands in the Bay Area was the Grateful Dead, featuring Jerry Garcia. His name has become synonymous with good music.
The Dead now are more popular than ever worldwide, and their popularity is growing.
They have seven LP's out now and their new one will be soon. Their LP's include "The Grateful Dead," "Anthem of the Sun," "Aoxomoxoa," "Live Dead," "Workingman's Dead," "American Beauty" and "Grateful Dead."
The Dead just recently did a Winterland gig for their roadies who have been with them for six years. They recently did a four-night stand at the Berkeley Community Theatre and they will perform at Winterland again in December.

Garcia is one of the really great singer-guitarists in the music business today and this week we have an interview with him.
Garcia has his name on many other albums besides the Dead for his great studio work and is known for playing at clubs on off nights with Tom Fogerty and Merle Saunders, to name a couple. He is one of the real pros in the rock business today,
Here is what Jerry has to say for himself:
CAN YOU tell us a little about the album you have coming out soon?
Well, it's a three-record set.
IS IT a live album of your concert in London?
Yes, but it's not one live continuous performance. It is bits and pieces from different places.
DID YOU do a lot of it here in the Bay Area?
We did the work on it here. We did the mixing here. We did some overdubs here. The music itself, the instruments and so forth, were done in Europe.
WHEN WERE you in Europe? Wasn't it around May or April?
Yes, we left April Fools Day.
DID YOU enjoy it? We were just reading a review of your shows in Melody Maker and it seems like you were very well received there. They thought it was one of the biggest tours of the year.
We were super well received in Europe, which was amazing for us. We had never been there before.
A LOT of English groups we interview mention you as one of their favorites.
A lot of musicians like us but that's generally been true. We were a musicians' band before we got to be popular.
ARE YOU pretty pleased with the album?
Oh yes. There is a certain thing about when you're dealing with the live stuff, and that is you have to accept what is wrong with it. For that part of it, it made the perfectionist streak in me a bit lacky. It's such a large record I felt that I had to overlook a lot of things. I'm never completely satisfied with anything that we ever do, but I am reasonably satisfied that this is another step in our development and that it is a pretty clear illustration of how we were playing in Europe.
AT ONE time you said you liked your first live album a little better. Is this still true?
Yes. Because I felt that during the second live album we only recorded a few gigs so we didn't have much to choose from and we were stuck with what we had. I was sort of disappointed with a lot of the material we were doing at that time. We didn't get a good enough performance to use on that record so we used more old stuff.
The new album has more new stuff on it. It has either new stuff or stuff we've never recorded.
WHEN IS the release date? October 15?
Around there, but I think it's going to be more like the first of November.
IT SEEMS like every album we pick up has your name on it. It would seem that you spend quite a bit of time on other people's albums.
It's just an illusion. I don't actually spend that much of my life doing it. Each one of those albums represents about two days in the studio, maybe less, sometimes more. It doesn't represent that much amount of accumulated time.
ONE OF the latest examples of this is on the new Tom Fogerty album.
It has a chance for me to play different styles than I normally play.
HOW DID your last concert in the area (Berkeley) go for you?
The four days at the Berkeley Community Theatre weren't our best performances. They could have been a lot better in my opinion. We haven't done a good show around here for quite awhile. Generally speaking, when we play here it's during our off season because when we're touring, we're usually touring the rest of the country.
When we've been working is when we're best. When we did the Berkeley show we hadn't been playing in quite awhile. It was more of a warmup for us for going on the road.
I feel the same way about our concerts as I do about our records. That's part of the thing of keeping on doing it.
THAT'S ONE of the reasons the Grateful Dead has been together so long.
Well, I mean, there is a potential there, which we've hit on and glimpsed in our best moments, but it's not by any means a 100 per cent thing. We don't have any really direct control over it but the possibility of us getting off really well increases.
YOUR POPULARITY is still growing. Do you feel that perhaps this following you have accumulated should have come around sooner?
It's happening right because we've gone through enough things enough of our friends have gone through involving super fame that we've learned how to live with it and how to deal with it so that we can more or less live like normal people. That's the tricky part right there.
DO YOU do a lot of benefits?
Not a lot, I don't do a lot of them but I do more than the group Grateful Dead do. With the Dead our policy is that if we started doing benefits, how are we going to be able to stop? That is one thing and the other is that most of the benefits we have done haven't led to much good. When we do do them it's usually for our friends or somebody that we know personally.
The benefit for us is to be able to give people music, that's a benefit, that's the real benefit that we can provide. Money is just money.
The amount of hassle in setting up a Grateful Dead concert is just too enormous and intimidating.
We don't arrive at decisions by vote, for example. We arrive at decisions by the lowest common denominator. If any one person does not want to do a concert, whether it's a benefit or what, we don't do it.
We put our energy into our own scenes which has made it possible for us to survive all this time. That's where we're at.
DO YOU feel your solo album was a highlight in your career?
It's a nice album. I have never been that attached to my own creations. I enjoyed doing it while I was doing it.
ARE YOU going to do another one soon?
I probably will [do] another one this year. I don't have any specific plans and I don't even know if I really will do one. I enjoyed doing the last one so I figure I will enjoy doing another one.
AREN'T YOU afraid you're going to wear yourself out with all the things you have going on?
I hope I do. I don't like the idea of living a part of my life feeling as though I didn't develop what I could've. I'm that kind of freak. I'm an extremist in that level. There's so much to music and so much for me to learn and so much space ahead of me that I can't even think about wearing myself out.
HOW ABOUT the Fillmore film?
We fought it tooth and nail, every inch of the way.
We didn't play well at all. For that reason alone we didn't want anything to do with it. But Bill was so insistent and it was kind of like we've got an old game with him.
We did want to do the performance but I'm sorry we did it now. It was bad timing for us. We had been in the studio for a month and hadn't played at all. Then we went out and did that cold.
There were a lot of other drawbacks. I was playing a guitar that was weird. It was one I'd never played before. We weren't singing well. We were out of tune.
WHERE WAS your favorite place to play? Did you enjoy playing the Fillmore?
Yes, there is definitely nobody who has it together as a promoter as Bill (Graham) does. He's an excellent producer. When you work for Bill, you're conscious of a lot of stuff that most promoters wouldn't dream of. The guy is really good. Professionally speaking, there is no one who can really touch him.

(by Kathie Staska & George Mangrum, from the "Rock Talk by KG" column, Hayward Daily Review, 12 October 1972)

Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com

More on the Fillmore film:
And the Tom Fogerty album:

Jun 22, 2015

October 9, 1972: Winterland


I'm not sure whether the Grateful Dead is or are back in town, but whatever the case, dearie, it's time to haul out them rock and roll cliches.
Bill Graham has long been fond of saying that, when they're on, the Dead is the world's greatest rock and roll band. He was at least half right on Monday night at Winterland - the Dead was on. They played for nearly two hours, took 30 minutes off to regroup, then returned for another 120 minutes. Being a mere mortal (Dead buffs are not mere mortals), I vacated the sweltering premises after the first half of the four-hour extravaganza, but I can only assume they got better. True to Dead precedent, the evening was anything but normal, even for Winterland. The only thing that didn't happen was a repeat of the mass freak-out which marked their last stay at Winterland.
Otherwise, business as usual. The evening raised in the neighborhood of $10,000 for the band's roadies (so that they might buy a house, and what other band jumps to mind for giving benefits so that their roadies might buy a house?), and a touch-football game was played on the Winterland floor until 8:15 a.m. It was suitably entitled the Toilet Bowl. The trophy - engraved, of course - need hardly be further described. Graham's home team lost to the roadies, 36-18. He is appealing the outcome. On the basis that he lost.

The evening started appropriately enough: A girl, in disarray and not quite herself, was curled up on the Winterland basement parking lot floor, taking comfort from her attentive beau. This in itself is not of great moment, but they were occupying Bill Graham's parking stall. When the Dead play, apparently, nothing is sacred. Then into the hall, full but not jammed, where Graham associate Jerry Pompili smiled and cooed, "Don't drink anything you haven't opened yourself."
On the stage itself, Noelle Barton, the Dead's house dancer, was doing her rope trick - the rope being her body - and Jerry Garcia regarded his court with a beatific combination of sleepy contentment and total, unwavering concentration. Heavy Water, which has been doing the Winterland gigs of late, flashed its kaleidoscopic light show overhead, the stage was crammed with a motley ranging from the Jefferson Airplane's David Frieberg to Gay Talese, author of "Honor Thy Father," and strange Day-Glo painted beasties roamed unfettered through the night. Some celebrants popped off a string of firecrackers, others teetered merrily in the highest reaches of the upper balconies; bothered neither by acrophobia nor a healthy concern for their own well-being.
It was then, vintage Dead, and unfettered by [the] reserved-seat formality of their four Berkeley Community Theater concerts in late August. Monday night brought their total attendance to some 18,000 in the last seven weeks. They probably could do it again in the next seven.

As for those threatened cliches, well, the band hit 'em all. Lead guitarist Garcia, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, drummer Bill Kreutzmann and new kid piano player Keith Godchaux shook, rattled, rocked and rolled, they boogied and smoked and cooked and trucked, they got it on and got it off, mellowed and laid back, uptight and outasite, whatever that means, and so on and so forth. They moved, is what the Dead did, and not just from point A to point B.
The set - or [the] first half of it - began kind of easy, with the country-rock sound that has predominantly identified their music of the post-"Viola Lee Blues" period. Garcia and Weir split the vocal chores pretty much down the line, integrating their singing flawlessly with the instrumental work, ambling through such as "The Streets of Laredo" like your basic old cow hands. Godchaux's rolling piano, with the feel, if not the technique, of honky-tonk, beautifully complemented matters (as in, How come they never had a piano before?) and his wife, the lovely Mrs. Godchaux, bobbed in now and again to warble a few notes herself.
The crowd, as always, went mildly berserk at every opportunity, throwing their hands into the air like thousands of tiny shrimp waggling in a wading pool.
But it was on the last tune, lasting 20, even 30 minutes, that the Dead outdid itself. It began as an irresistible, underplayed, non-Rolling Stones rocker, striking like a rattlesnake in slow-motion; moved into an extremely complex section of Garcia and Weir entwining each other in molten guitar lines, rolled back and forth from ensemble to solo to duet, dissolved into an area that was almost Pink Floyd, then broke out with long, sweeping lines by Garcia, riding the rhythm section like BART to the end; no crash except from the audience.
There, appropriately, the first half ended. And for once, the audience didn't have to go through the tiresome encore ritual. They knew the Dead return, at least under these circumstances.

(by John Wasserman, from the "On the Town" column, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 October 1972)


Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com

September 30, 1972: American University, Washington DC


It's over. After several weeks of anticipation, AU was put on the map by the appearance of the Grateful Dead Saturday night. It was quite an evening, and I doubt if it will ever be forgotten. Who can forget the $30,000 it cost? Who can forget the aggravation it caused? Who can forget those who spent two sleepless days and nights on dorm security duty? Who can forget the 25 OD's? Who can forget the way Jan Goldsmith played God with the students' [ -- ] and kept the identity of the band away from those who paid for it?
Granted, AU students need and deserve good concerts and other diversions; after all, how often can one go to the Tavern? However, a band like the Dead simply have no business being at AU. We simply do not have the staff, facilities or physical [ -- ] that are necessary to run the concert properly and ensure the safety of all. True, nothing happened - except 25 OD's - but I feel that we were just lucky this time. Who can say how much longer our luck can hold out? Can we afford to find out?
Even if facilities were not a problem, the cost certainly would be. The Student Union and Goldsmith have a yearly concert budget of $80,000. The Dead cost $30,000. Next month, Chicago is scheduled to appear here for a mere $18,000. That leaves about $32,000 for the seven remaining months of the academic year. To make matters worse, each one of us ended up paying for about 3 outsiders at the Dead concert, since several sources estimate that about 75% of Saturday's crowd were not from AU! I doubt that many of us are willing to foot the bill for the entertainment of the entire metropolitan area. What's more, there is not one good reason why we should.
The people who ran the medical station and provided extra dorm security deserve much more praise than the Dead's uninspired and boring performance. These people, who all served without pay, treated 25 drug overdoses and numerous minor medical problems. It is impossible to tell just how much we owe those who provided extra security in the dorms. Who knows how many rip-offs were averted by their presence? Those of us who were here during [ -- ] know what a living hell those dorms can be when invaded by mobs of outsiders, with little or no extra security on duty.
Most students resent Goldsmith's childish attempts to conceal the band's identity. Our money paid for the group, and we had a right to know who it was immediately after the contract was signed. Of course, Goldsmith will say that this was done for security reasons. If that is true, he and his cohorts had no business bringing a band on campus whose presence might cause security problems of such a magnitude that secrecy was felt necessary.
What is the solution then? Obviously, it is not to cancel all future concerts - we need and enjoy them. However, we were lucky this time because our hastily arranged medical and security facilities somehow worked. We can't take such a chance next time. If "Greatspender" Goldsmith likes to throw around 18 or 30 thousand dollars, let him throw in another thousand for decent security, better medical services, and pay for those who help out. If he continues to be so callous of those who live on campus (he doesn't), and so careless with our thousands of dollars, he should be brought to task by either recall or impeachment.
The creation of the Student Union Board has enabled the students to place the blame for poorly-planned and overpriced concerts right where it belongs. If the Chicago concert is handled in a similar manner, we'll all know where the blame should go.

(by Gary Lipkin, from the American Eagle, 6 October 1972)

* * *

The same issue had a letter to the Eagle from the Washington Free Clinic, explaining why they were not at the concert. An excerpt:

Recently the Washington Free Clinic was asked to handle medical emergencies at the Grateful Dead concert this last Saturday night. We feel that our position warrants an explanation to the community.
For the past three [years] the Washington Free Clinic has continually seen to the health needs of the community; community meaning many things to many people, those interested in alternative health services, students, and so called "freaks." The administration of AU, unlike other area universities, has consistently failed to meet the health needs of its students, whether it be a full time MD, birth control education and prescription, or a 24 hour infirmary. Many of the problems encountered by AU students, such as VD, pregnancies and birth control, have been dealt with here at the Washington Free Clinic. While other schools in DC, such as Howard and GW, have responded to their students' needs, we at the Washington Free Clinic have carried the burden for AU, while our requests for support have only met with strain and struggle from the Student Union Board (SUB). . . .
The SUB concert budget for this year is $80,000. We understand that $30,000 of this went to this concert. $20,000 directly to the Dead, approximately $2500 for security (to protect buildings and grounds) and the rest for miscellaneous items such as a mobile house for the group's comfort (dressing rooms at AU were not adequate), [ -- ] drinks for the Dead at their hotel, special T-shirts for "staff," two limousines with drivers and special treatment for 50 of the Dead's friends. It seems strange that the SUB and the administration had the foresight to budget for all of the above items, while not considering health care until the last minute.
Meanwhile, the health needs of the people were basically ignored. If AU cannot accept the responsibilities accompanying a concert, they should not even attempt it. To do so is irresponsible.
We felt that under the circumstances we could not respond to AU's last minute request. The administration and the SUB knew for at least a week that the concert was definite, yet failed to tell anyone until last Tuesday.
At this point they dumped all health problems on [ -- ], who called us. For the Washington Free Clinic to adequately equip the concert with people and supplies, we would have had to work close to 24 hours a day through Saturday. We felt that our request for a $500 donation was not out of line. Once more, AU expected the Washington Free Clinic to assume responsibility. . . . 


See also: http://www.american.edu/americanmagazine/in-closing/fall2007.cfm

Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com