Feb 17, 2012

January 1968: Tour Announcements


The Grateful Dead and the Quicksilver Messenger Service, two of San Francisco's best known rock bands, will appear in a concert-dance at the Eureka Municipal Auditorium this Saturday night. The groups will be joined by Headlights, a highly lauded projected lightshow, and Live Thunder, sound technicians who will record this first appearance in the Pacific Northwest tour for future release in a record album.
Brian Rohan, San Francisco attorney who is arranging this tour, said today that "the bands look forward to their appearance in your area and intend to bring the people of Humboldt County the finest and most exciting sound and visual effects being created by the new electronic artists." The concert tour throughout California, Oregon and Washington represents the first traveling venture combining the efforts of bands, light shows, sound teams and visual artists.
The Grateful Dead, whose popular album was released by Warner Brothers, features lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, singer-organist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Phil Less, bass with Bob Weir, rhythm guitar and two drummers, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. The Dead have spent the last nine weeks in recording studios in New York and Los Angeles cutting a new record album for Warner Brothers. A single from that album will be released in a few weeks.
The Quicksilver Messenger Service features John Cipollina on lead guitar, David Freiberg on bass, Greg Elmore on drums and Gary Grubb on rhythm guitar. The Quicksilver Messenger Service has just completed extensive recording sessions for their first album to be released on the Capitol label.
Jerry Abrams' "Headlights" whose performance at the Monterey Pop Festival last summer revolutionized the concept of stage lighting, has prepared special equipment and screens for the Eureka Municipal Auditorium.

(from Eureka Times-Standard, January 19 1968)



The Grateful Dead and the Quick Silver Messenger Service with Head Lights Company, all from San Francisco, will appear at the Eagles Auditorium from 8 to midnight tomorrow and Saturday.
The Grateful Dead have appeared several times in Seattle, and performed at the Golden Gardens Be-In this past summer. The fivesome's music varies from fast and invigorating - sometimes rolling - rock, to ballads and blues.
The Dead have released one album and plan to release a second in a month or two.
Tickets for "The Quick and the Dead," at $4 each, are available at the Warehouse of Music, Discount Records, Campus Music, Bell, Book and Candle, and at the door.

(from the University of Washington Daily, January 25 1968)



Thirty haunting humans have flown from San Francisco with Quick and the Dead, a rock concert, to the Eagle's Auditorium where they'll perform from 8 p.m. until midnight today and Saturday. The Grateful Dead and the Quick Silver Messenger Service will color the hall with their living, multi-dimensional sounds, and the Head Lights Co., an unworldly show, will enlighten the matter.

(from a Seattle paper, January 26 1968)



"The Dead never played psychedelic music!" emphasized Rock Scully, manager of the Greatful Dead. "Our music, like all San Francisco music is impossible to classify...not blues...a basic, full sound...IT'S WIERD!"
Scully is in Portland drumming up publicity for the Dead and the Quick Silver Messenger Service, two of San Francisco's original rockbands. They will play a dance at Portland State, Monday in the Ballroom at 8 p.m. This combination should make the most explosive dance sound ever to vibrate in the college.
In the bay area, the Grateful Dead has the reputation of inventing "acid", or drug oriented rock music. They were busted not long ago for possession of marijuana.
"We don't take drugs anymore," said Scully. "You take acid and it's a shattering experience, you have to step back and collect yourself. You learn from the experience and it's good. After that acid is destructive.
"Do you know anything about transcendental meditation? Read something by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he has a book...the same man the Beatles have been listening to. His ideas are simple, forthright...it's healthier than acid."
Along with the Dead and the Quicksilver Messenger Service, Monday's performance is a light show, "Headlights" by Jerry Abrams. Abrams' lights were featured at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
At $2.50 per head, it should be worth dipping into your rainy day fund, Monday night in the PSC Ballroom, 8 p.m.

(from the Portland Vanguard, January 26 1968)



A group of Fresno State College students, seeking to introduce fellow students to a new way of life with Indian mysticism, plans to help finance the philosophy with a concert starring The Grateful Dead.
The show, which will feature as supporting acts Country Joe and the Fish and Jerry Abrams and his "Headlights," will be held 8:30 p.m. Saturday in Selland Arena.
The sponsoring group is called "Baba Love Company," after its interest in the teachings of Meher Baba, an Indian guru. The members, headed by Steve Fowler, a psychology student, and Stuart Golway, a graduate student in education, hope to spread the gospel of their spiritual idol through the materials and books of his writings which they hope to finance by means of the concert.
Far-Eastern mysticism is the latest kick of the college generation, replacing psychedelic drugs and pot, which Baba, by the way, dismisses as nonsense.
Golway says the Indian holy man preaches, among other things, liberal use of the doctrines of Christianity, Mohammedism and Buddhism as part of a discipline aimed at broadening one's relationships with others.
Golway says various "intellectually oriented" professors at FSC have offered to assist him and his committee in their campaign to establish a "Baba Center" at FSC. Other concerts are planned, next of which is "The Cream," March 13.
Tickets for $3.50 each may be purchased in the Convention Center Box Office, Discorama, Gospel Music and Supply Co., and the campus book store. Seats will be unreserved.

(from the Fresno Bee, "Lively Arts" page, February 11 1968)
Thanks to Lost Live Dead.



The Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service, two founders of what has become known as "the San Francisco Sound," will appear at Portland State College Monday and at the Crystal Ballroom next Friday and Saturday.
The two groups are traveling with a troupe of 28 people including a sound system called "Live Thunder" and a light show directed by Jerry Abrams, who staged the visual blitz at last summer's International Pop Festival in Monterey.
If next week's shows are successful, a series of productions involving other San Francisco groups - Big Brother and the Holding Co., Blue Cheer, etc. - will follow, according to a spokesman. The organization hopes to develop a permanent circuit of multi-media entertainments involving San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C.
He said Charles Lloyd was contacted following his very successful concert at Reed College this week and expressed interest in participating in the venture.

Speaking of the Lloyd concert, an abridgement of The Oregonian's review produced a reference to the audience as "jazz lovers." The point of the passage was that by and large the audience was composed of rock fans and that Lloyd is one of the few jazz players the new generation is listening to.
Also worthy of note was the solo pianist Keith Jarrett performed on the interior of the piano using Lloyd's saxophone mouth guard - it sounded first like a kyoto, then like an entire Indian group when he began drumming with his other hand on strings and wooden frame pieces - and Jack DeJohnette's use of two handsful of bells instead of drum sticks on one tune.
The audience's 2 1/2 hour wait for Lloyd's appearance was brightened considerably by music by local performers, pianist Terri Spencer, bassist Wayne Hearne, and drummer Ron Steen.
[ . . . ] 

(by Jack Berry, from the Oregonian, 27 January 1968)   


  1. Maharishi Yogi had also commented on the Dead, back in October 1966, as one dead.net clipping reports:
    "Maharishi Yogi has advised the Grateful Dead to change their name - in a hurry. The Maharishi says that all grateful people are already in heaven and, therefore, suggests the Dead switch their name to the Eternal Lives. So far, the Dead are remaining non-committal."

  2. There was apparently an article in the Eureka paper after the Dead's show talking about the post-show drug arrests, which I'd like to find.

    McNally p.249 also quotes from a review of the Portland show which his notes claim is from the Portland State Vanguard:
    "Flash after flash, skyrockets, bombs... I've never seen anything like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane lightshow. [The band was] loud, loud enough that we didn't need ears. We could see and feel the music, it saturated the ballroom... [They] kept hitting climaxes, bursting, sense-tearing climaxes, until on some magic cue they relaxed, dropped back to reality, stringing us along..."

  3. I added an announcement for the Fresno Selland Arena show on 2/17/68 - it seemed to fit here rather than making a post of its own.

    It is ironic that the Dead show was sponsored by a group dismissing psychedelic drugs as nonsense! Note, however, Scully's comments in the Portland paper that "we don't take drugs anymore" and recommending eastern meditation. If the Dead, after the October '67 bust, were hoping to present themselves as a kinder, gentler, drug-free Dead, a Meher Baba benefit must have sounded ideal.

    This show is relatively unknown since no tape survives. The poster emphasizes the "San Francisco Light Show" and promises "four full sets." Deadlists notes that a Feb 17 Fresno Bee announcement included "Valley Fever, a Fresno group" in the lineup.
    George Hiatt remembers on deadlists, "I was one of the promoters of the Feb 68 Show at Selland Arena... The Dead played with Country Joe and the Fish. They opened the show and played "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and then an extremely long version of "Turn on Your Lovelight." That was the show!!! For someone who was waiting to hear all of those tracks, I was a little disappointed."

    However, Rod Hanson on setlists.net recalls it differently - he was a high school sophomore who liked the Dead's first album, and this was his first show:
    "Valley Fever, a local Fresno band opened and played a great 45 minute set...tremendous light show over the entire back wall of Selland Arena...
    Country Joe and the Fish followed Valley Fever...great set including all the songs from the first album (Superbird, Love, Martha Lorraine, Flying High, Death Sound Blues, and the rest) AND a cool new song called "I Feel Like I'm Fixin To Die"...
    The Greatful Dead came out last...played a great long jamming version of Good Morning Little School Girl for about 25 minutes (as far as I can remember)...then they played Viola Lee Blues...and played it, and played it, and jammed on it...for a long long time...seemed over an hour..."

    Another attendee on dead.net remembers, "The light show was great, strobes so fast and furious I could barely walk." He recalls Country Joe being "really wasted," and the Dead playing Schoolgirl.

    1. Rod Hanson slightly revised his memory of the 2/17/68 Fresno show on setlists.net:
      "Now, as I try to remember it.....they did play only two songs (they came in very late for the gig that night)......yes, they did play "Good Mornin' Little School Girl" for their opening...and it lasted about 20 minutes...then they played "Turn On Your Love Light" for a very long time (not "Viola Lee Blues", as I previously noted)...they jammed on "Love Light" for quite awhile...and that was it."

  4. I added the 1/27/68 announcement from the Portland Oregonian. (It also included an interesting section describing Charles Lloyd's recent Reed College show.)

    The article refers to an organization bringing San Francisco bands to Portland - this turns out to have been the Family Dog, as reported in Jack Berry's 2/16/68 Oregonian article, "Family Dog To Stage First Portland Show":
    "The Family Dog is a San Francisco cultural institution which became noted for dance-light shows at the Avalon Ballroom and for the creation of internationally distributed posters advertising same.
    The Dog is expanding operations and will produce its first shows in Portland Friday and Saturday nights at the Crystal Ballroom with the Blue Cheer, a major San Francisco group, and the Nazzare Blues Band.
    The Blue Cheer has a tune on the top 20 records of one Portland rock station.... The Luxsit Light Show will provide visuals for this weekend's event. It is a Seattle outfit...
    In subsequent weeks the Dog plans to bring the Buffalo Springfield, the Blues Project, Cream, the Grateful Dead, and Eric Burden and the Animals to Portland."

    As it turned out, the Family Dog was only able to bring bands to Portland for several weeks before the arrangement ended. Some more details here:

  5. At the end of the tour, the Dead played the Britt Ballroom at Southern Oregon College in Ashland on 2/4/68. The student newspaper at SOC, the Siskiyou, reported on the Dead show. Its 1968 issues have not been digitized, but one campus researcher looked up the coverage of the Dead:
    "In the Feb. 9, 1968 issue of the paper...in a column called “Dirty Linen,” authors W.E. Bennett and M.A. Surbeck wrote, “The concert was pulled off with the ease of a ‘Bay of Pigs Invasion.’ No one really knew what was happening. Other than damaged eardrums there were few problems. Perhaps the Administration, by using this concert as an example, will allow other supposedly ‘disruptive’ entertainers to adorn SOC’s weekend billings.”
    At least one student reporter was unimpressed and even annoyed at the “disruptive” choice of weekend entertainment on campus. The front page story in the Feb. 16, 1968 issue announced a scheduled campus concert featuring the rhythm-and-blues soul band Fifth Dimension, which performed on campus on Feb. 19. Its author, Tom Carnes, enthusiastically endorses and praises Fifth Dimension but takes a very dim view of the Dead:
    “The ‘Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service’ show was poorly attended by SOC students because of many reasons. The primary one was the price of admission. Few students could afford to pay three dollars to watch a bunch of has-been hippies.”
    In the same Feb. 16, 1968 issue...student reporter Michele LaBounty attempted a balanced commentary in her article “Mixed Emotions on ‘Dead’”:
    “There were mixed comments about the quality of the performance and then there were some students who formed opinions without even seeing the show. All was not lost, though, some of the audience (about one-eighth) made contact with the vibrations and thoroughly enjoyed the music and the light show.”
    “Then of course there was the strobe light. If anyone bothered to glance over in the corner they witnessed quite a sight. Those dancing seemed to be in a completely different world and loved every minute of it.”
    LaBounty concludes by writing, “Not everyone has the same opinion, but I think this campus needs more variety and controversy.”