Mar 22, 2015

April 10, 1971: Mayser Gym, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA


Ashok Sikand, president of the SUB [Student Union Board], has announced that the contract has been signed which will bring the Grateful Dead to F&M on April 10.
Ticket prices will be $4.50 for students and $5.50 general admission, and will be limited to two per student.
"The Dead, in their contract, have asked for a gross potential of $19,000," Sikand explained. "This means that if the concert sells out, we have to guarantee them $19,000."
To avoid the ticket shortages that occurred during the James Taylor concert, Sikand reported that the ticket outlets off-campus will not be receiving nearly as many tickets as they got for the December concert. "The concerts at F&M are put on for the benefit of the students first and the public second," Sikand emphasized.
The Dead have promised at least a 3 hour show. No other acts will appear that night. "A number of students have approached me with the idea of having the Grateful Dead here for a dance concert," Sikand reported. "We've looked into this situation but found that it is impossible." The Dead will hold a Dance Marathon, incidentally, at the Grand Ballroom, Manhattan Center, on April 4, 5, and 6.
Sikand went on to mention that "the rumors that were being spread around concert shortly before the Taylor concert were too much. We'd appreciate it if the students didn't pick up every piece of gossip that we predict will go around concerning the Dead."
Sikand is reasonably sure that the concert will be sold out, and the SUB is anticipating the problems associated with a sell-out performance. Several members of the Board are working with the security officers and considerable thought is being given to the setting up of procedures that would prevent a repeat of the situation that occurred at the Taylor concert.
"In all likelihood, we will be using only one entrance; the one closest to the parking lot. There also will not be staggered admittance, like there was at the December concert," he noted.
"One of the major problems we had at the James Taylor concert was that we couldn't open the doors on time, due to delays in the performers' sound test," Sikand related. "This produced the potentially dangerous situation that we experienced then." The SUB intends to prevent the occurrence of such a situation by opening the doors at the scheduled time regardless of whether or not the Dead have finished their sound tests.
The Dead performance will be the last concert that Sikand will handle before a new SUB president is chosen. Some of the possibilities which "look good" for the end of this semester include Procol Harum and Cat Stevens.
A short while ago, Sikand attended the National Entertainment Convention in Philadelphia. Representatives of the entire rock industry as well as other fields of entertainment were present. "One thing that I found out there, which has reaffirmed what I've felt during the time I've been president of the SUB, is that the problems of putting on rock shows are getting just overwhelming," Sikand explained. "Many schools have had to do away with rock concerts completely. Fortunately, we have not reached that stage here at F&M."
Even big schools seem to be getting priced out. "The only places that can handle top name rock shows are the big-name theatres that specialize in rock: the Fillmore, Spectrum, Capitol, etc.," he said.
The prices are rising for concerts simply because the kids are willing to pay more to see groups. "In this respect, I think that the rock groups today are exploiting the very kids who made them famous. They don't realize that if the kids ever get fed up with the whole scene, they'll be nowhere," Sikand emphasized.
"All the performers we've had - Taylor, Santana, Cocker - were groups which the SUB signed when they were on the way up. In less than a year, these performers have gotten completely out of our reach financially, The only way F&M will be able to get quality entertainment will be to sign new groups that are trying to make it."
[ . . . ]  [Two paragraphs omitted.]
"We're not running a Fillmore, Lancaster," Sikand advised. "But I've really enjoyed bringing these concerts here at a price that the kids can afford." After all, the business of getting rock groups is "a funky one."

(by Jimi Weiner, from the F&M College Reporter, 12 March 1971) 

* * * 


There definitely was something in the air, beginning about two [nights] before the Dead concert. I [can't] remember how many off-campus people to whom I gave directions to East Hall. And with each [ ] bunch, I was more sure that it was going to be a real special night.
Of course, I wasn't wrong. I don't think we've ever had as many people in the gym as we had on Saturday night. But it was [ ] - everyone knew that it was going to be a good crowd and everyone knew that the Dead were going to be here.
A lot of people contributed to [bring] everyone's head together [in a] nice way for the concert. The [ ]c, unfortunately, would've [been] better if the weather had [been] nicer, but everyone enjoyed [it] and afterwards, people were more eager than ever to see the [Dead].
[ ] Cutler, however, brought back a lot of bad memories and thoughts. Altamont...Meredith Hunter...the Stones...[now] he's a roady for the Dead.

The New Riders came on and [every]one was ready for them, with Garcia on pedal-steel guitar. Good country music. The voices were [not] what many people would call [fanta]stic, but oh, that pedal-steel!
The Dead came on, after a 90-minute show by the New Riders. [Every]one ran up to the stage, [want]ing to touch the music, wanting to be buried alive under Rhythm and Blues. Not cool; just sit [down] and don't try so hard. I was [in the] tenth row. After a while, I [got up] on my seat and jumped up [ ] times, hoping to see over the [ ]. I got back down and sighed [to my] friend, "Well, they're still [ ]." Just relax, and they can be [ ]od.
The Dead had just been back [ ] three days at the Grand Ballroom, Manhattan Center, where they had played for a Dance Marathon. They brought some of it back [ ] with "Good Lovin'" and "Midnight Hour."
Jerry Garcia didn't keep the pedal-steel with him when the Dead came on. Shame. I was hoping for "Dire Wolf" and "High Time." But I really wasn't disappointed for long. They came on with "Casey Jones," Phil Lesh pounding away on rhythm guitar, playing with a fury that was unbelievable. Garcia and Lesh working together, building each other, guiding the group. Good Old Grateful Dead!
Bill Kreutzman handled drums by himself, without his other half, Mickey Hart. During one bit, when Pigpen's mike blew, Kreutzman did a solo while the stagehands went to work on the mike. One of those little treats that can happen.
Did anyone watch Bob Weir? His fingers, light as air, flew over the strings of his bass. It was a beautiful thing to see, a beautiful thing to hear. There they were, Garcia, Weir, and Lesh, voices made to sing together; with McKernan and Kreutzman, a band that has to be together. Lesh, coming in on harmony on "I Gotta Move," Pigpen, brawling, splashing, like Canned Heat's Bob Hite, giving everyone the word: "Turn to your neighbor and say 'Howdy!'" Great.
The Dead ended with "Uncle John's Band," something I think everyone was waiting for. Garcia, on stage for five hours, still going strong - thin, trebly notes coming from his guitar, sounding terrific, looking great. They left, and behind them was a gym-full of people, wanting more, but satisfied anyway. What really remained was a group of kids who saw the magic of the Dead once more, and who won't forget it.

(by Jimi Weiner, from the F&M College Reporter, 13 April 1971)

Thanks to

See also:


  1. The review of this show came from a cropped scan in which one side of the page was lopped off, hence all the missing words. I filled in some of them, but in general the sense is clear enough.

    This isn't a revelatory or very informative review - note that the reviewer mistakes Weir & Lesh (so, technically, the headline should be "Garcia and Weir are dynamite"). The unknown new song "Bertha" is called "I Gotta Move," and Pigpen makes a big impression with his "Midnight Hour" rap. The standard drum solo in "Good Lovin," the reviewer thinks was caused by a mike problem.
    This reviewer was very impressed by the Dead as a rock band, or rhythm & blues - his only album reference is to Workingman's Dead, and nothing is said of the jams. Of course, there weren't many jams at this show - and they generally came in Pigpen's R&B songs. So this is one example of how the Dead's stripped-down 1971 shows appealed to general listeners who weren't necessarily into lengthy "Live Dead"-style improv.

    Our tape of the show is considerably less than 3 hours, so I presume that promised time includes the break. The New Riders are said to play for 90 minutes, and at the end it's said that Garcia was "on stage for five hours." The reviewer was probably not alone in wondering if Garcia would keep playing the pedal steel in the Dead's set, but he'd only done that during brief periods in 1969-70.

    I also included the college paper's announcement of the show, which has an interview with the Student Union Board president who arranged it. It's interesting that he says a Dead "dance concert" is impossible - instead, it's a seated concert, with dancing presumably frowned upon by the college.

  2. There was an earlier article in the College Reporter (Jan 12 '71), which said that the Dead show was initially scheduled for March 6. This would have started the Dead's eastern-college-tour schedule, but I guess April 10 was a better fit, as they played several other Pennsylvania colleges that week.
    That article also reported that there had been a bomb scare at the James Taylor concert, and had some more comments from the SUB president:
    "According to Sikand, the crowding of the lines 'was the most dangerous situation I have witnessed at any concert here.' He admitted that during the rush to get back into the Gym, three girls were trampled underfoot, and numerous barricades were broken. 'The situation came about because we could not open the doors at the time we had planned. This, in turn, was caused by the fact that the performers were having trouble with their sound tests.' ...
    "SUB policy is to open the doors early to eliminate competition for seats, but this is impossible when the performers are making sound tests. The result is an unwieldy line of ticket holders. In a meeting with the Security department, members of the SUB came to the conclusion that the only solution to the problem is in forcing the performers to complete their testing on time. Sikand noted, however, that this is often difficult to accomplish because of the simple fact that a time provision in the contract is not easily obtainable.
    "'Schools like F&M have less bargaining power, especially with big-name groups. In my negotiations with the Dead, I have had considerable difficulty in getting them to agree to a time provision,' Sikand added.
    "Sikand emphasized that the SUB and the College must make sure not to allow the situation which happened at the Taylor concert to happen again. 'Bomb scares are something we must live with,' he explained ruefully, 'but the dangers that were caused by irresponsible behavior must be eliminated.'"
    ("Grateful Dead To Appear In March," 1/12/71 College Reporter)

    At that time, bomb threats were still a fairly normal occurrence at eastern shows - several Dead shows in New York in '70-71 were interrupted by them. (The idea was for people without tickets to get in when the the theater was emptied & the audience let back in.)
    If even at a James Taylor concert, there were bomb threats, stampedes, and students getting trampled, you can see how the college might fear crowd behavior at a Dead show!

    As a trivia note: the FUM SUB t-shirt Garcia wears in the 1974 GD movie, he apparently got at this show.

  3. more about the GD at F&M on 04-10-71, with ome photos from the concert and newspapers and yearbooks: As the Grateful Dead celebrate 50 years, look back at the band's local ties Classic audio: Grateful Dead plays Franklin & Marshall College in 1971

    I-) ihor

    1. Thanks for the links. It's interesting to see that Lancaster Online included the photos and audio, but they don't quote the original College Reporter show review at all, just saying that it's in the "archives and special collections at F&M."

      The show took place the night before Easter, and it's cute that people remember "a student...dressing as the Easter bunny, hopping around onstage and delivering candy to each band member in a ploy to get a good seat... The student got to sit onstage for the show." (No photo included, sadly.)

      But what struck me most was what Robert Hunter told artist Tim Truman: “He said he remembered sitting with Garcia in the middle of Jerry’s apartment floor with this big collection of EC comics...sorting them in chronological order, by date, and putting them in a box and putting them in Jerry Garcia’s closet.”
      What tapes were to Dead fans, EC Comics were to Garcia....

  4. great concert...always something to reminisce about

  5. From a later issue of the F&M College Reporter:

    For those students who have already noticed, I would like to apologize for the two glaring errors which appeared in the Grateful Dead concert review. Former Rolling Stones roady is Sam, not Bill Cutler. And more noticeably, Bob Weir plays rhythm guitar and Phil Leash plays bass, not the other way around. For those who had every right to be annoyed, I can only console you with this information: The punishment I am to receive will certainly fit the crime - my next concert assignments include the Archies, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, and the Ohio Express.
    Jimi Weiner