GRATEFUL DEAD THURSDAY
The Grateful Dead concert tomorrow night is one of those concerts that people have been preparing for for at least a week and will probably take another week to recuperate from after it's all over. I guess you just have to say that the Dead in Freeborn is a heavy thing for Davis. The concert should result in a few more Dead freaks to add to the long list of those who already think that the Dead are the best group around. And even a light show, a finger in every pie in every eye.
The Entertainment Board is providing the act, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Rod McKermen (Pig Pen), Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman will provide the fine music, the crowd will provide the rest of the good vibes, and you gotta provide your own high time. Tickets cost $2.50 at the MU Box.
There are only 140 tickets left for Grateful Dead as of 3pm Tuesday. Also John Sebastian-Poco tickets will go on sale this Friday, for the February 6th concert. $3 for students.
(from the California Aggie, January 20, 1971)
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DEAD, RIDERS, BROTHERS...
Last Thursday night Freeborn came alive to the music of the Grateful Dead.
The last time this reviewer saw the Dead was in '68 at the old Carousel Ballroom (now the Fillmore West) and between then and now there has been a great change. The principal characters are all the same but the music has changed from the old acid rock to a more down home sound.
The Dead played two sets during the evening. Both sets had the audience on their feet. "Reelin' and Rockin'" brought a cheer and heads nodded, but when the Dead launched into "High on Cocaine" there wasn't a person standing still.
The group preceding the Dead was the New Riders of The Purple Sage. This group had many of the same musicians as the Grateful Dead but proved to be a disappointment. Their sound was not at all unusual or unique and sounded very much "like everybody else." The most successful song of their set was "Lodi" which got the audience moving.
The first group of the evening was James and the Good Brothers. The group consisted of two guitars and an auto harp which produced a warm and mellow sound. I wish they had played longer than they did. As far as I was concerned the New Riders could have been replaced with this group. One song I especially liked was "Bobby McGee."
Other thoughts on the concert: Freeborn was packed with much of the audience consisting of the usual "teeny boppers" and high school "cools." The light show was good but what is a light show, after all, without a strobe light? There were problems with forged tickets and gate crashers which didn't bother anybody except the Entertainment Board.
The next big concert is John Sebastian and Poco on Feb. 6.
(by an Aggie Reviewer, from the California Aggie, January 27, 1971)
Courtesy of jgmf.blogspot.com
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Pardon the imperfect state of this transcription. My scan of the article is all but illegible. [Words in brackets] I could not make out. I hope to find a better copy sometime and fix this up.
GRATEFUL DEAD SHAKE FREEBORN HALL
Christ's image faded into an amoeba shape on the screen as a half-caked guy, stage right, did arabesques and three groupie-type chicks, stage left, gyrated. To top it all off, a giant white balloon floated down toward stage center like a blanched, bloated grape.
The scene was Freeborn hall at UCD (where else?) last night and the [occasion] was a concert-light show-dance-Hieronymous Bosch happening starring The Grateful Dead, who were very VERY much alive.
From the start I knew the evening would be different from others in Freeborn. As I walked outside with about 1,999 others, some dude walked up and shoved an icy blueberry into my mouth. When someone does something as presumptuous as that, what can you do but politely suck on the damn thing? That's what I did, but my mind was screaming, "It's LSD! Someone's finally done it, like at Halloween, and it's too late! What a lousy thing - to [??] a blueberry like that!"
This turned out to be idle reflection, as I only had a colossal headache and blue teeth by the time the crowd's momentum gravitated me into Freeborn.
Appropriately, as soon as I seated myself on the floor in the rear of the room, a fellow jammed beside me asked if I had a joint he could borrow. I told him I was all out and anyway, marijuana made my teeth [black]. He seemed satisfied and the concert began shortly, after 2,000 people had settled onto their paisley floor pillows, sleeping bags, afghans and P-jackets.
Unfortunately, it was a tripartite event. Two groups preceded The Dead. Starting a little after 8 p.m., it didn't end until [1:30] a.m. and by the time The Dead came on around  p.m., Freeborn was hot, sweaty and pulsating, to the beat of my pounding head.
The first group, James and the Good Guys, Canadian friends of the Dead, were pleasant on two guitars and one auto-harp. They did well with other peoples' songs - "Parking Lot," "Oakie from the Skokie," "Can't Find My Way Home" - but who doesn't these days?
What they called "acoustic rock and roll" was their most effective sound.
Although their "Delta Lady" wasn't Joe Cocker's and their "Bobby McGee" wasn't Janis Joplin's, they were good. The three [men] knew their instruments and harmonized well together. More original material or arrangements might have made a difference in positioning them somewhere between "a dime a dozen group" and "special."
Between the appearance of Good Guys and The New Riders of the Purple Sage, a volleyball game with a giant red balloon absorbed nearly everyone's attention. The balloon thing was getting downright surreal.
Although several members of The Dead sing with the Riders, the groups sound nothing alike. The Riders' sound could be as [funky] country-western, but not as full and controlled. Everyone [seemed] happily [??] when they launched into a rendition of the Stones' "Honkey Tonk Women." It was indeed hard to stand still.
But we hadn't tasted anything yet. The Dead. They were out of this world. I'd never seen them perform, but I'd heard about, read about their early San Francisco days. They've been credited with starting the acid rock stuff that's faded out but [meanwhile] reaped small fortunes for several groups who made it. Together for about 10 years, the Dead show it. For at least two solid hours (discounting long [pauses] between songs for tuning  strings) they displayed their versatility - from the old days' hard rock (including [30-minute] improvisations) to their current mellow, [hot], country sound all in one.
I felt at the end that if, as some critics say, rock is coming to a close and if I had one night to [??] the '60s rock all [??], I'd want The Grateful Dead there. For [much of the time].
By the time The Dead got into "Trucking," the evening had erupted into an orgiastic, cathartic experience. Having removed his shirt because of the heat, a long, lean guy was blinking on and off in the light of a strobe. Mentally [putting] each jerky movement after the one before, it became apparent he was dancing a waltz. Another guy was jumping, hands straight down at his sides, chin up, up and down in place like a yo-yo. It was a free-for-all [replete] with everything from raw rock (ah, John Lennon with his primal return to Chuck Berry rock would have loved that part of the evening) to wailing, electronic, musical [??ery] very loud.
When Jerry Garcia on lead guitar and Bob Weir (I think) on rhythm guitar got to picking in The Dead's newer, better style, it was like an itch you can't scratch, a [p??] you couldn't [locate]. "Pig Pen" on harmonica was exceptional and the two drummers were very [sensitive] for rock drummers.
After making out a lengthy, identifiably "Dead" [moral], the group left the stage. Like [??-??] Woodstock, the gathering [??] the announcement - a guy named Bill was called backstage because his wife was giving birth... Freeborn shook with foot-stomping, clapping, shrieking and accompanying sounds for long [???] in anticipation of an encore. It never came. A nearby couple screeched in unison, "Long Live The Dead!"
Parched and drained, I shuffled toward an exit, hoping for a glimpse of the blueberry [man] and another chance at an icy berry.
(by Hilary Abramson, from the Woodland Democrat, January 22 1971)