THE FISH, GRATEFUL DEAD IN SHRINE ROCK CONCERT
In a Shrine Exposition Hall almost cold enough to form icicles on the amps, Country Joe and the Fish, Spirit, and the Grateful Dead headlined Scenic Sound's pre-Christmas week-end pair of rock concerts.
Scheduled as an "extra added attraction," the flu-ridden Sir Douglas Quintet was inadequately replaced by both the Comfortable Chair and the Mint Tattoo.
Produced by Doors duo Krieger and Densmore, the six men in the Comfortable Chair displayed no particular individual brilliance nor any cohesive group identity.
The Mint Tattoo unwisely offered lengthy over-ambitious improvisations, and this quasi-blues trio seemed bland and diffuse in the Shrine's vast chilly reaches.
On Friday, the Grateful Dead was plagued by sound system deficiencies on the main stage that particularly weakened vocal contributions. Nevertheless, the Dead's "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and "Turn On Your Lovelight" - the latter a particularly effective example of tightly-organized ensemble playing - produced the evening's first real excitement.
Back on the better-sounding sidestage, Spirit earned the concert's most enthusiastic response with their instrumental variety, creative use of feedback, and sheer performance power.
Less an actual unit than a showcase for individual members, Spirit's only weakness is its rather flat vocals.
Rather remote in his one-man center-stage set, percussionist "Pulse" showed the impressive ability to operate his own blacklight and sound effects equipment while executing a complex series of sonic maneuvers on the congas and bongos. With more careful pacing, his act should really develop into something astounding.
The evening ended with a long set by Country Joe and the Fish, not the most reliable of performers, but here in exceptional good form.
With a negligible amount of their frequently emphasized protest material and a concentration on instrumentals (given the present sound system, a good idea) Country Joe provided extended variations on such material as "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine," "Here I Go Again," and "So Nice to Have Love," the last a surprisingly commercial-sounding pop ditty handled with evident sensitivity.
(by Lewis Segal, from the Los Angeles Times, Dec 24 1968)
Thanks to snow & rain at the Transitive Axis forum.
GRATEFUL DEAD - COUNTRY JOE - SPIRIT
SHRINE, LOS ANGELES - It was like World War III last Saturday evening at the Shrine with three rock groups, The Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, and The Spirit. The Spirit, a jazz-influenced rock band, simulated the sounds of marching soldiers, gun battle, and an air-raid siren during their numbers.
Ed Cassidy (he used to be Cass Strangedrum with the Rising Sons) is hip beneath glowing baldness and an unbelievably good drummer. Heavy on the tin, his foot creates crashes and banging solid beats. Each musician plays around the talent of Cassidy, and he sits, like the Mr. Clean of Musicland.
The Grateful Dead, whose live performances used to be disappointing, were excellent. The double drummers create an unusual, interesting sound, which distinguishes the San Francisco based group. The lead singer, a small Buffalo Bill wailer, somehow manages to sing above the throbbing beats of the seven members group. Oblivious to the audience (sadistic indifference), they seem to be performing for themselves. But their self-satisfaction brings great delight to the young crowd, decked out in rented costumes, grooving on the chairless floor of the huge auditorium.
Country Joe and the Fish are neither unusual nor individual. Country Joe and Banana, the only stars of the group, liven what would otherwise be a dull performance. But when left alone, the rest of the group functions as a lifeless automatic unit, free from singular identity. Billed as the starring group, Joe and the Fish were the last performers. By this time, the crowd, which wasn't large to begin with, dwindled rapidly and seemed just as bored by the Fish as the group was about their performance.
(from Cash Box, 4 January 1969)
Thanks to Dave Davis.