Jan 22, 2013

January 22, 1971: Lane Community College, Eugene


The Grateful Dead, one of the early San Francisco bands, is scheduled to appear in LCC's main gym Friday, Jan. 22. The dance-concert will start around 8:00 p.m. and end when the Dead (and the people attending) get tired.
The Grateful Dead was one of the first bands to "make it" when the rush for the "San Francisco Sound" began back in 1966-67. Along with the Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish, the Sons of Champlain [sic], and a lot of others, they were "discovered," signed by recording companies, and labeled by some as America's answer to the British invasion.
Of the dozens of bands from this area, the Dead is one of the few to survive all the hype putdown by the record companies and music commentators.
The Dead's music has consistently been in the forefront of all the trends of the public. They were psychedelic when no one knew what the word meant, and two albums ago they made a switch to a folk-flavored country-rock sound.
The albums WORKINGMANS DEAD and AMERICAN BEAUTY, on Warners Reprise, best show where the Dead are at right now.
Michael Lydon, in ROLLING STONE, talks of one of the albums: "WORKINGMANS DEAD is just about as good as a record can be. Easy on the ears from the first listening, it gets mellower as it grows on you; a lot of different rhythms but one sure pulse."
Appearing with the Grateful Dead at Lane will be Notary Sojac, a group from Portland.
Approximately 20% of the profits (after expenses) from this dance-concert will go to LCC's student financial aids program, while a larger percentage will go to the Eugene White Bird Clinic.
The Dead's concert at Lane will probably consist of three sets. One of the sets will be acoustic, and will hopefully be, as ROLLING STONE put it for a recent appearance at the Fillmore West, "music soothing to weary hearts and hard-driven minds because it understands that state of mind only too well."
A second set will be more country and western. This set features songs like "Six Days on the Road," and will be performed by the New Riders of the Purple Sage. This group is comprised of members of the Grateful Dead and some friends.
The third set will be the old, semi-psychedelic Dead.
Along with the Dead's three sets and Notary Sojac, there will be a multiple-image slide presentation on Woodstock. It is not known at this time whether this will be shown in conjunction with the Dead's show or in a different room on campus, but it WILL be there.
Tickets for the Dead's concert are $3 - cheap for two good bands and a slide presentation. They will be available at the door and at the Information Desk in the Administration Building at LCC.

(by John Tennis, from the LCC Torch, January 19 1971)

* * *


I had heard that there would be a lot of people at the Grateful Dead concert Friday night, and that there were only a small number of tickets available, so I got there early to buy one at the door.
Sure enough, there were a lot of people there, and a lot of them were waiting to buy tickets at the door.
Fortunately, though, I was one of the thousands who got in, and I took a seat in the bleachers because I saw that the floor was getting pretty crowded.
After waiting outside for an hour, I wasn't relishing the idea of sitting for another hour.
After amusing myself watching the activities of the crowd for awhile, the concert started with Notary Sojac, who played for about 40 minutes.
They played some nice stuff, which was all their own material. It's rather complex though, and therefore hard to get into. One of the reasons for that might have been their lack of equipment, which made it hard to hear the instruments.
When Sojac's set was over, the lights came on and we got to see each other.
Reports have it that there were over 7,000 people there, and that over a thousand of those crashed their way in, which brings me to my main complaint about the concert. There were just too many people there. I suppose the blame goes to the crashers. A thousand less bodies sure would have been nice.
The New Riders of the Purple Sage were next, and they were great. I didn't have too much time to worry about all the people during this set because the music was so good.
Their set lasted about 40 or 50 minutes, and then we saw the slides and films on Woodstock. They were interesting for awhile, but it became a drag when they were shown over and over.
Another thing that was a drag was the non-stop talking by the crowd. It wasn't cheering anyone on; it was just talking.
Next came the Grateful Dead, and from about 11:30 till 2:00 a.m. the Dead demonstrated why everyone was there.
Their first number was "Casey Jones" and it set the speed for the rest of the night. By the end of that number, everyone was screaming and cheering them on.
It was a fantastic concert, in spite of the things I mentioned above, and should help White Bird Clinic and LCC's financial aids program, which share in the profits.

(by John Tennis, from the LCC Torch, January 26 1971)


http://archive.org/details/gd71-01-22.sbd.cotsman.12592.sbeok.shnf (partial SBD tape)


  1. I found these articles purely by accident - an Archive reviewer had mentioned the Torch review of this show, and I thought, 'gee, it would be nice to see that.' A quick online search, and it turned up!
    There must be numerous old college-paper reviews of the Dead hiding out there, perhaps even online.

    It's rare to have before-and-after articles on a show by the same reviewer.
    He did his homework in the first piece, looking up recent Rolling Stone issues on the Dead, and even using their "Evening with the Dead" article from fall '70 to predict what the show's outline would be.
    Little did anyone know, the Dead had stopped doing acoustic sets in the meantime! (Adding to the irony, a promo photo from the TC days is still used, in spite of his being out of the band for the past year.)

    Notary Sojac is a completely obscure local band, not listed in deadbase.

    Unfortunately, after all the preliminaries & openers, not much is said about the actual Dead show, which the reviewer wraps up in 3 sentences!
    Our tape of the show is only about 50 minutes (introduced by Ken Babbs), but the reviewer says the Dead played for 2 1/2 hours. This show is not regarded as one of the highlights of 1971; but I would guess the best parts are not on our tape.
    One Archive witness said, "Rumor was they oversold the venue which is why we were packed, standing room only, unable to dance or even shuffle, little room to breath." (The photo in the article does indeed show a jam-packed gym.)
    According to the article, over a thousand people are said to have crashed their way in. This was common in New York, but surprising to hear in more laid-back Oregon...then again, the Dead hadn't played in Oregon for a year!

    There's also a nice bit of unconscious irony here, which any Morning Dew fan will recognize:
    "I didn't have too much time to worry about all the people...because the music was so good."

  2. I got curious about Notary Sojac & Googled around & found this account of the show, which should probably be taken with a pinch of salt but still interesting - http://frankgutchjr.hubpages.com/hub/Notary-Sojac-Dead

    1. Thanks for the link!
      It was an interesting read, though Lowry did exaggerate a few things in the telling... For instance, in early 1971 the Dead were still using only a few amps onstage, as we can see in the newspaper photo. (They may have seemed more impressive to a small band like Notary Sojac!) And I think the newspaper reviewer would have noticed if the crowd were yelling, stampeding, breaking windows, etc...he makes it sound quite orderly. But all accounts agree that the gym was packed with over 7000 people because of all the crashers.