Jun 22, 2018

The Dead in the Daily Utah Chronicle, 1967-1970


A Sunday stroll through the park to hear the local band concert can be quite a different thing if the park is between Fell and Oak in San Francisco. You are liable to be surrounded by hippies grooving it to the sound of the "Grateful Dead."
The park is known as the panhandle and extends down from Golden Gate Park just below Haight and Ashburry. It is filled with wandering paths, basketball courts, swings, sandpiles, restrooms, lots of greenery, and last Sunday it was filled with hippies.
The word had spread that the "heat is on" up on Haight. Most of the group did not want to hike off to the "Berkeley Barb's" advertised [April] 9th happening on Telegraph Street in Berkeley. It was a tourist filled Sunday with Grayline Tours dragging little old ladies and balding executives through the "city's" prime attraction of late, the Haight Ashburry district.
The hippies left Haight to the tourists and wandered to find something more real. They found it in the park.
It was a real "happening." The "Grateful Dead," best known for their bizarre dress and the posters of the "pig pen," one of the group's way out guitarists, got a lorry, a flat bed Ford truck, and ran an electric line across a nearby street for juice.
The beat was loud and strong, the streets poured into the park, and we were surrounded by long hair, beads and weird, dirty attire. What had started as a walk to reminisce with a Salt Lake chick trying to make good in S.F. turned into a fascinating and thought-[motivating] "thing."
Hippies are real people, They have desires and a warm need. Contrary to popular hope they don't appear to be a bunch of raving kids trying to escape the consequences of life, rejecting and rioting. Sure, they have built their own life in a different approach to society's, but because they are different, are they wrong?
I don't know. I only saw people acting and reacting, living and not trying to harm the whole world through subversion.
The basketball games went on. No one objected. The swings were filled with children. If the bigots of life could only see a hippie pushing his kid in a swing, instead of marching in protest.
Children were everywhere. Many a mother would have shrieked horror. No need. The children were loved and accepted. Their wants were catered to. The love of person to person was not feigned because it was the thing to do. The hippies felt it. Where was the [hypocrisy] of our daily existence? I could not find it.
Over in the corner a rhythm concert beat on. Cats had gathered from Aquatic Park, the usual scene of the drums, to this forgotten corner. No one minded. Many wandered over to sway and feel the primitive beat of the drums. The drummers had escaped the tourists too. They beat their drums because they felt like it. We listened because we felt like it.
Everybody is dancing. Some only subtly with occasional foot movements, others gyrate with careless abandon. We gather to watch them feel it, because we felt it too.
Of course, many of the hippies are high, but so what. It was much more orderly than many a bar. It was pleasant contrast to the Broadway scene of bare breasts for commercialism. Anything on the park scene was there because it was real.
When it was all over the park drifted empty except for the Hell's Angels who were pouring beer over one another. As we left psychedelic artists held up banner paintings that we ran through. The Salt Lake girl reached over and hugged the fellow with whom she had been dancing. No one cared that he was a Negro. I felt relieved because neither did I.
The morning S.F. papers carried a story buried inside about a quiet day in Haight. If a march or demonstration had taken place it would have made front page banner.
These people are being involved with many groups pushing for their own convictions. I believe in free agency and expression. I also believe that man is a rational animal, when not pushed in a corner to fight for his existence. Blown up news coverage and mass rejection of ideas without examining them leads to this very corner. Would it not be better to allow the freedoms of thought and expression without rigid social [morals]? I thought so Sunday.
As I left someone pushed a copy of the hippie underground paper into my hand. Ginsberg and group were discussing the scene. One thought struck me from the printed page. What better purpose than no purpose. I wonder.

(by Harris Vincent, from the Daily Utah Chronicle, 12 April 1967)

* * *


The most recent sound out of San Francisco will pulsate to the flashing colors of a "light show" at this summer's final stomp Saturday, at 8:30 p.m., in the Union Ballroom.
Featured group, "The War of Armegheddon," will play "The Grateful Dead" and other current sounds.
Admission is 25 cents with University identification.
Chairman of the stomp, Val Ness, said that an average of 300-400 people have attended the stomps this summer.

(from the Daily Utah Chronicle, 11 August 1967)

* * *


San Francisco acid rock group the Grateful Dead is finally making it to the University.
The "Dead" was once scheduled for a concert in the Union Ballroom earlier this year, but were forced to cancel the appearance.
However they will play at the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Ball in the Union Ballroom Saturday from 8 to 10 p.m.
The Spirit of Creation share the stage with the Grateful Dead for the Saturday dance, and lights will be provided by Five Fingers.
Students can attend the dance for $2 and the general public can for $3.

(from the Daily Utah Chronicle, 11 April 1969)

(Ads for the show announced two shows at 8 & 10 p.m., the actual schedule.) 

* * *


Last Saturday night between sets, we interviewed The Grateful Dead, and got advance notice of the impending release of their new recordings. They have two new albums already completed, one is a studio job and the other is a double record thing recorded live in concert at the Fillmore East. [sic] It is all work that they have done themselves and the two albums are supposed to be totally different from each other as well as from anything the "Dead" have done before. The release schedule is 30 days for the studio job and 60 days for the live.
In addition, Bob Weir told us how they got the name Grateful Dead. They were flipping through the dictionary one rainy November afternoon four years ago and came across the "ethnomusicological" term The Grateful Dead. It refers to a series of English folk songs collected by a man named Childe and subsequently called Childe Ballads. (If you're interested, Joan Baez has a number of these ballads recorded for Vanguard Records.) Anyway, nobody objected to the name, so it stuck.

(by Richard Thomas, from the Daily Utah Chronicle, 18 April 1969) 

* * *

The Dead played at the Terrace in Salt Lake City on 9/26/70, show at 9 p.m., advertised as "An Evening with the Grateful Dead...a solid 3 hrs. with the 'Dead.'" No reviews were found, but there were a couple followup articles on the Terrace:


Those of us who made it to the Santana at the Salt Palace and Grateful Dead at the Terrace - aside from experiencing two of the best concerts this city has ever seen - may have planted our bums on the "floor" for the last time. Looks like it may be reserved seats everywhere from now on. It's the age-old problem of impractical fire ordinances, i.e. gotta have seven square feet per person, "adequate" aisles, etc. Like many of our older laws (I'm told a chick can still get jailed for smoking cigarettes in SLC) they may be ignored by the police and fire departments. On the other hand, the Fire Marshall can be a real heavyweight if he wants to.
Also, Saturday night at the Dead concert, the narcs decided to pull off their first in-concert bust, and hauled out a few unsuspecting heads. It's all part of the latest federal crackdown on smokers of the "killer" drug. Gotta have law an' order, ya know.

(by Steve Poulson, from the Daily Utah Chronicle, 29 September 1970) 

* * *


The recent Pink Floyd concert may well be one of the last rock shows to be held in the Terrace. The management has given a number of reasons for taking this stand. They include damage and violation of the fire and building codes. The main problem, however, is the lack of cooperation by the audience.
The problem has been growing for some time. It started a year ago after the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert at the newly completed Salt Palace. So many people were so disgusted with the poor acoustic, reserved seating, and the distance to the stage that a cry was raised for a return to the "good shows" at the Terrace.
At this point some local people got together a few small bands and put on their own Terrace concert. Their groups weren't famous, but turnout was still good. Tickets sold for $1.50 as compared to $4.50 or $5.50 at the Salt Palace. There were no chairs out on the main floor, so it was easy to walk around, dance or just sit close to friends. In addition, police and ushers didn't walk through the crowd telling people to move or stop smoking. Overall, the Terrace was a pleasant place to listen to music.
There are problems with the Terrace, though. These are mainly a problem of its small size. It takes a lot of capital to sponsor a rock concert. For a good group, artist's fees can run to $10,000 or more. To this must be added the cost of renting the hall, printing posters and tickets, and assigning advertising. The Terrace isn't near the size of the Salt Palace so a promoter can't sell as many tickets and make as much profit for his trouble. [ . . . ] The people putting on the show have to enforce the fire regulations, drug laws, and local conduct ordinances.
There were people in town that were willing to accept the job however, and the Terrace once again became the home of Salt Lake's great rock concerts.
Meanwhile, the Salt Palace was being rented to out-of-state promoters like Barry Fahey from Denver. These people have a great deal of capital and can put on huge shows. The last one at the Salt Palace, sponsored by Fahey's partner Barry Imhoff, featured three top groups. This was the first show after summer vacation and the Salt Palace was packed.
The concert was presented in what is called "festival seating." This means no chairs out on the main floor. This is what the audience wanted so Barry Imhoff wanted to do it. The problem was that more people attended the concert than there was room for on the floor alone.
Fire Marshal Leon R. DeKorver said the floor was severely overcrowded. Aisles that once existed disintegrated as the crowd moved in. This is common at the Terrace, but the Salt Palace is a much larger building. The building code requires an exit every 100 feet and an aisle to each exit.
At a meeting after the concert with Salt Palace officials, the Fire Department outlined the violations that took place. They charged the Salt Palace with failing to adequately enforce the fire regulations. Chief DeKorver said [ . . . ] there must be "adequate egress."
The other complaint raised by the Fire Department was the flagrant violation in both the Terrace and the Salt Palace of the no smoking regulation. [ . . . ] The audience wouldn't cooperate with the promoters on this regulation. At the Santana-Country Joe concert last month, more cigarettes (and other smokeables) were lit after Barry Imhoff asked the audience to stop than before. This apparent lack of concern promoted the Fire Department's action against the manager of the Salt Palace, Earl L. Duryea.
When asked about the incident, Duryea said he didn't want the Salt Palace to be the only hall in town where the fire code is strictly followed. Two weeks later his concern took him to the Terrace the evening of the Grateful Dead concert. Duryea said he went to the concert to see for himself how the Terrace ran its shows.
The Fire Department also inspected that show and noted many of the same violations that were present at the Salt Palace's Santana concert.[ . . . ]
Following the unpleasant Grateful Dead show, the operators of the Terrace decided to discontinue all rock attractions. Terrace manager L. Jay Monk said, "the (fire) regulations are justified," it is only that "the kids are being lax."
The Terrace officially announced its intentions at the Pink Floyd concert in a printed handout. This read in part, "The Terrace is part of the Establishment (without any apologies)...and it is essential to conform."
The statement stressed conformity in three areas. They are: No smoking on the dance floor, compliance with all legal ordinances, and cooperation with law enforcement officers.
There is still time to reverse the Terrace's decision. Two concerts remain on the books and are scheduled for later this fall... [Steppenwolf & Alice Cooper] If the audiences for these shows can cooperate, perhaps there will be future concerts at the Terrace.

(by Rick Thomas, from the Daily Utah Chronicle, 29 October 1970)

Thanks to Dave Davis.


  1. The Chronicle was the student newspaper at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. This is a compilation of several articles over the years, none really worth posting by itself but all of some interest.

    The first article from 1967 is by one of the editors of the paper who happened to be visiting San Francisco when the Dead played in the Panhandle, most likely on April 9. He knows nothing about the band except they dress strangely and have some popular character named "pigpen."
    Many newspapers around the country had reporters heading to SF to report on the Haight-Ashbury scene - those articles are of great interest in how they depict hippie life (mostly negatively), but tend to mention the Dead only in passing as a band popular among the kids. So it's unusual to find a reporter stumbling across a Dead show, and what's more, greatly impressed by what he finds. But then you'd expect a college student to find the hippie lifestyle more appealing than the "adult" journalists tended to.

    The second 1967 article concerns a "stomp," one of the student dances held at the university, usually in the Union Ballroom and mostly with local bands. The War of Armageddon was a local rock group (in October '67 they'd open for Strawberry Alarm Clock at another Union Ballroom Stomp, and in Feb/March 1968 they'd open for several touring groups at the Terrace such as Spirit, Love, and Jefferson Airplane.)
    What's interesting here is that this local band is "will play the Grateful Dead" - considering the Dead's album had only come out a few months earlier, this may be the earliest known reference to another band covering the Dead.

    The 1969 articles are based around the Dead's show at the Union Ballroom, unfortunately not reviewed. (The March 26 Chronicle noted that the Dead had canceled a show scheduled there sometime that month.)
    The interview has a couple bits of misinformation - although the Dead had their albums ready to release, the Warners release schedule was much longer than they expected - Aoxomoxoa would be out in two months, Live/Dead not for seven months.
    Also, Weir's slightly mistaken about the origin of the term "Grateful Dead," but he shared his belief with Garcia, who in a couple '67 interviews had also said that it was "an ethnomusicological term...a family of medieval ballads." The term actually described folk tales, not ballads, but it's interesting they would remember it that way.

    The final articles from 1970 don't say much about the Dead show at the Terrace, just the venue problems (drug busts, fire-marshal complaints). According to one history of the Terrace, the "audience seemed to have an increasing disregard for the law. A big chunk of the ballroom’s revenue was going towards repairs to damaged property and hiring extra officers to maintain order. Several attempts were made for cooperation from the younger crowds. Even though the problems were caused by “a sizable minority” as manager Boyd Jensen acknowledged, the decision was made to end rock concerts at The Terrace... The Terrace continued to have “non-rock, traditional musical dancing” twice a week and after a few trial runs, rock bands were allowed to perform at the ballroom again starting in 1972."

  2. By the way, the Grateful Dead were all but nonexistent in the Salt Lake Tribune, which didn't so much as mention any of their Salt Lake City shows from '69-73. A good illustration of the difference between college papers and some of the mainstream city newspapers, which often ignored rock music.

    1. I was mistaken - while the Tribune may have had a snooty attitude toward rock bands, actually it did cover the Dead's 1970 show at the Terrace, which I just posted. That's one thing about online searches, what you don't find today might appear tomorrow.