May 15, 2017

March 11, 1968: Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento, CA

CREAM CONCERT

CREAM should have convinced everybody within listening distance that they are, without any doubt, the finest in the rock idiom. For the very first time in Sacramento's rock concert history, the audience was courteous as well as appreciative.
Ginger Baker's "Toad" solo was inspired as he was encouraged by the very aware audience. Every complicated passage in his improvisations met with an ovation. Of the three times I have seen CREAM in concert, this was the best solo by Baker.
The songs played were of varying origins. Some were unreleased as yet, and others came from either "Fresh Cream" or "Disraeli Gears." "Tales of Brave Ulysseus," "N.S.U.," "Sunshine Of Your Love," "Sittin' On Top Of The World," and the medley of "Steppin' Out" (solo by Clapton), "Train Comin'" (harmonica solo by Bruce), and "Toad."
The policemen deserve a round of applause for their deplorable treatment of the musicians. Baker's sarcastic comment, "We love your police," was an indication of the obviously disrespectful attitude that usually pervades the cops' conduct. As the musicians were filing out of the back door of the auditorium, I heard the comments of the security police, for instance: "Hi, Sweetie" and "Take a bath." And they complain about the kids being badly behaved. I suggest that our lovable men in blue learn a few manners!!
The GRATEFUL DEAD were surprisingly good. The two drummers came up with a counter play that developed into an Afro-Cuban rhythm. The songs they played remained unnamed, but all six members of the group performed admirably. This is the first concert in Sacramento that even faintly resembled a Fillmore happening.
Both of the rock groups received standing ovations. The concert was a huge success. Aside from the ignorance and rudeness of the police, everyone who was there could feel the goodwill towards everyone. It was the first beautiful happening in our city.

(by Mick Martin, from the Pony Express, Sacramento, 15 March 1968) 

No tape, alas!
See also:
http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2016/03/march-11-1968-civic-auditorium.html
http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2010/03/cream-and-dead.html

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(Here is another Cream review by the same author, seven months later.)

OF CREAM AND CONCERTS

The last two weeks were brim-full of superlative concerts by some of the best well-known and unknown rock groups. Anyone with a fast car could have caught them all and, as an afterthought, should have. Many once-in-a-lifetime rock milestones were happening; I will try to acquaint you with them.

Best of the lot was the really enjoyable CREAM concert at the Oakland Coliseum. [October 4] After listening to four other CREAM concerts, I was ready to be hyper-critical of what they played. I couldn't be. As the rest of the capacity crowd, I was aware that three musicians were spontaneously creating on stage and listened appropriately.
The songs played included tracks from their three album releases: "White Room"; "Politician"; "Deserted Cities Of The Heart"; "Crossroads"; "Spoonful"; "Toad"; "Sunshine Of Your Love"; and "I'm So Glad."
The introduction and conclusion to "Toad," which involved all three artists, was terribly sloppy. The solo was not the best I have heard by Ginger Baker, but it was adequate. "White Room" and "Politician" were earmarked by fine solo passages.
"Spoonful," more than ever before, was the best tune. It was inspiring to hear the interaction between Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Baker. They go into some very pleasing variations. Musically it was exciting to try to follow them simultaneously through the individual and collective improvisions.
[The opening bands:]  The COLLECTORS were fair. At times I felt they were almost into it, but their attitude was all too unsure and they didn't make me want to listen. IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY, on the other hand, was captivating and polished both at this concert and at the Fillmore West the week before. The violinist is a true craftsman; his emotions are easily felt through his music. The rest of the group makes statements that are just as effective. I can see considerable success here.

SUPER SESSION featured an added treat. [Fillmore West, 9/28/68] Mike Bloomfield was hospitalized; so, on Saturday night, Carlos Santanna and Steve Miller jammed with Al Kooper and his sidemen. Miller was poor; he wouldn't get into it. Santanna, on the other hand, was creative and positively engrossing. The interaction between Kooper and Santanna was very pleasing. It's going to be a nice LP. (They were recording live.)

In Sacramento, The GRATEFUL DEAD, TURTLES, YOUNGBLOODS, INITIAL SHOCK, SANPAKU, and FAMILY TREE played to a surprisingly small crowd of 2,000. [Memorial Auditorium, 10/5/68] The TURTLES were funny and entertaining. They were a release from the intensely musically innovative atmosphere. Mark Volmann is a comedian, in the truest sense of the word.
The DEAD, INITIAL SHOCK, and SANPAKU were the musical highpoints of the evening. SANPAKU's hornmen are so beautiful, their solos are always different, and yet they build to a completely emotional climax. Their original material is well arranged and worth repeated listens.
INITIAL SHOCK and the DEAD were better than ever and twice as groovy. Both groups always provide me with the feeling that I have heard something worthwhile, and on this night I felt they did exceptional jobs. YOUNGBLOODS were nice, and FAMILY TREE shows promise. It was an enjoyable evening, but I can't wait for Sacramento to get it together and support promoters like Whitey Davis, who really cares about music.

(by Mick Martin, from the Pony Express, 10 October 1968)

May 12, 2017

November 29-30, 1968: Hyde Park Teen Center, Cincinnati OH

THE GRATEFUL DEAD COMING – TO BREAK UP

To the Editor: 
This year the Hyde Park-Mt. Lookout Teen Center will attempt an unprecedented program of live entertainment for all teens in the area. As you know, we brought The Vanilla Fudge to Cincinnati recently, and on November 30 we will present The Grateful Dead in two public concerts. Later on we hope to bring other nationally-known groups to town. This will probably be the last midwest concert for the group, since they are breaking up in December. 
When our Teen Center first opened there was some criticism that all area teens could not take part. But everyone is welcome to attend these concerts. The two shows on November 30 are scheduled for 7:30 and 10 p. m. Tickets are $3.50 per person, and can be purchased in advance at the Center, 2753 Erie Avenue in Hyde Park. Since people were turned away at The Vanilla Fudge concert, we suggest concert goers buy their tickets ahead of time, for guaranteed admittance. 
On November 29 we will sponsor two concerts by The Grateful Dead for members and their guests. 
Sincerely, 
D. J. Weber 
Hyde Park-Mt. Lookout Teen Center

(from the letters to the editor, Cincinnati Enquirer, 9 November 1968) 
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/100723425/ 

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GREATFUL DEAD CONCERT CAPTURES ‘PARTICIPATION’

Hair and lights were all over the place last Friday and Saturday at the Hyde Park-Mt. Lookout Teen Center, as the Greatful Dead oozed above ground to do their thing.
The concert was one of those truly sensational things that hardly ever happens – but when it does, it’s an experience to be remembered.
Having had time to think, I analysed what it takes to make such a concert – what has to be there before the magic takes over.
I found there were many unique things going together to make the show a great one.
First of all, there was the geography of the teen council building itself. It’s small. So small in fact, that you can’t even call it dinky – you have to say it’s intimate.
Intimate surroundings are very conducive to a good rock show.
Of course there were no chairs. People just sat cross-legged on the floor like oriental meditators.
Then there’s the light show. A color wheel cast its projections on the wall behind the stage and shadows of light passed over the attentive group as pinpoints of color periodically burst above the crowd.
As the group plays, the lights keep a strange sort of time with the music – sometimes right in time, and sometimes so vastly dissonant that some sort of “theory of polarities” seems to be operating.
Of course there’s the group itself. They come on all smiles, chattering with the audience, tuning their instruments and just being ugly. Beautiful!
Their sound is something else again too. The Greatful Dead is a large group – three guitars, two sets of drums, two keyboards and a horn.
And their sound is everywhere. It fills every corner of the hall, but isn’t painfully deafening (as one might think in such cramped quarters); it vibrates every floorboard, but is never oppressive.
This is the kind of show the Dead like best. One where people don’t just sit like statues and listen because they paid $3 for a ticket, but one where people sit on the floor, dance, and in general “experience” the music.
Because you can feel the vibration of every drumbeat, because your eardrum feels the reverberation of every guitar scream, because every progression on the keyboard rattles your brain, because every swirl of light covers yours and the performer’s face and captures your eyes, because everyone is so close together and so near the stage, because everyone is lorded over by some huge communal over-soul, you don’t watch a Grateful Dead concert, you participate.
Yes, it’s all of these things which work together to achieve the final effect – that Greatful Dead charisma.
It is also these very same things which work together to make a great concert, and which also help to make rock music one of the most exciting, alive and ever-explosive fields on the horizon today. 

(by Jim Knippenberg, from the Cincinnati Enquirer, 7 December 1968) 


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BOB HAS A LOST WEEKEND – OR THE INTERVIEW THAT NEVER WAS

(Editor's Note: Last weekend Teen-Ager reporter Bob Buten was sent to the Hyde Park - Mt. Lookout Teen Center to hear and interview The Greatful Dead. Due to too many unusual circumstances, the interview didn't come off. But Bob put in so many hours at the place just trying to meet them, he felt some sort of story was in order. It follows.)

I left my house about 6:30 p.m. last Friday night to get to a concert at the Hyde Park-Mt. Lookout Teen Center which was to start at 8 p.m. You see, I live in Fort Thomas, Kentucky and knew I would be lost for the first hour, so I left early.
I was surprised to find myself at the Center a half-hour early! I met Jim Knippenberg, the Teen-Ager music columnist, outside and we talked for awhile about how he was going to rip O. C. Smith up in his next column. As we stood in the cold I told Jim what a nice guy O. C. Smith really was, once you get to know him. I don't know why I said that because I dont really know who O. C. Smith is.
When the Center doors finally opened I got inside, but I didn't stay there long. I was quickly booted out as a freeloader. After unsuccessfully trying to prove my identity as a Teen-Ager reporter to five or six unbelievers, I went back to my car and found it parked in by a bunch of other cars! Soon the Cincinnati Police came to my rescue and moved the cars so I could leave.
Now Saturday I was supposed to actually interview the Greatful Dead, because the director of the Center heard how I was asked to leave Friday night. He had it all set up for 1:30 p.m. But guess what? The group didn't show up until 5 p.m.!
During those long hours of waiting at the Center I did get to browse around and meet some of the members. The place is really great! I wish there was something just like it in Fort Thomas!
Since the interview didn't come off again I was given a ticket for the Saturday night concert. After another long drive I came back to Hyde Park and waited until 10 p.m. for the concert to start. The Greatful Dead came on around 11 p.m., and played three tremendous songs. While they played some guy with long hair tossed daisies into the crowd and got a lot of people excited. There was also a fabulous light show, when combined with the music, seemed to shake the building!
After the concert was over the whole group went downstairs and ate fruit. It looked so good I had a few pieces myself.
Would you believe I finally got to one of the Greatful Dead guys and I asked him what he was supposed to do while his buddies played their instruments. (You see, he just stood on the stage and jumped around with a mike that wasn't plugged in, so I was curious.) I didn't get much of an answer, but he seemed like a pretty cool guy. Soon they all disappeared, one by one, until there wasn't anyone left in the room. So I left, too.
Some interview! 

(by Bob Buten, from the Cincinnati Enquirer, 7 December 1968) 


Alas, no tape! 
See also: