Aug 2, 2019

March 13, 1971: Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

This is kind of a lost show: the tape is in the Vault but does not circulate. I had hoped to turn up a review, but could not find anything. I did locate a couple pre-show announcements.

From Rick Shaull's "Music Review" column, the Joint Issue, March 1, 1971:

The Grateful Dead are coming to East Lansing, March 13. They will play at Jennison. Tickets will probably go on sale this week at the usual places... 
The Dead, one of the innovators of the “Acid-Rock” scene, have progressed to a tight, soft rock country orientated band. Within the last year, they have released two albums, one of which - "Workingman's Dead" - broke top forty ground. Their latest album, called "American Beauty," is country gospel orientated with some fine vocal work highlighted on such numbers as “Ripple” and “Truckin.”
So, if you can scrape the bread together, you oughta go hear the Dead jam up for four hours. Far FarKing OuT.?!

The Joint Issue was the underground paper of Lansing; oddly the next issue didn't review this show, but carried a reprint of Mike Baron's review of the 3/14 Milwaukee show.

The Michigan State U student newspaper, the State News, also didn't review the 3/13 show - the Dead played right before spring break, during which the paper closed for two weeks! But there were a couple announcements in the last issue of winter term, March 12 (I didn't check earlier issues).

The last weekend of winter term offers the Grateful Dead, five plays, and five on-campus films.
GRATEFUL DEAD – Tickets are still available for Saturday night’s 7:30 p.m. concert in Jenison Fieldhouse. Considered by some to be one of the best groups in rock music today, the Dead are scheduled to perform four hours in a show that will be divided into three parts: acoustic, country-blues-and-folk, and electric.

The future direction of the ASMSU Pop Entertainment series will be determined by the manner in which the crowd handles itself Saturday night at the Grateful Dead concert. Behavior at the last few rock concerts on campus has left much to be desired. Aisles have been blocked with chairs; “No Smoking” signs have been completely ignored; gate crashing has occurred.
Such activities cannot continue. If rock concerts on campus cannot be held without a multiplicity of hazards, then rock concerts will not be held on campus.
It seems, though, that everyone should be able to handle themselves within the framework of the fire laws and enjoy the Grateful Dead at the same time. Sure, moving your chair will get you about 10 or 20 feet closer to the stage, but what happens should a fire start? Do we want to make the front page of the New York Times that bad?
And, right, we don’t expect everyone to sit through the concert straight. But did you ever think of smoking before the concert?
Finally, a lot of people have mistaken ideas about who is profiting from Pop Entertainment concerts. ASMSU is not “ripping off” anybody. To see groups of the caliber of the Dead, Sly, and the Byrds, one would usually have to pay at least $5 in Detroit. Top price is $3.50 at Jenison.
The Dead concert can go either way. It can either be the last of a good thing or proof that local rock fans are mature enough to understand the present situation and proceed accordingly.
The rock concerts are for the fans and, ironically, it may be the fans that cause them to be canceled.

Lansing's mainstream newspaper, the Lansing State Journal, of course did not bother to cover the Dead show except for the police report.

From the Lansing State Journal, 15 March 1971:

During the rock concert of The Grateful Dead in Jenison Fieldhouse Saturday night, Michigan State University police:
- Took into custody a girl who was found to have marijuana in her possession.
- Took from a youth a glove and wrist band, both of which had nails protruding.
- Discovered five juveniles who were in violation of the curfew laws. Parents of three of them were summoned to pick up their children, a fourth was released on his own recognizance when the parents could not be contacted, and the fifth, a 14-year-old, was taken to the juvenile home...


  1. A disappointing haul, but I think this may have been all that was printed about this show.

    The show was sponsored by the Associated Students of MSU pop concert series; the New Riders opened, and according to some songs that were played included Sugar Magnolia, Bobby McGee, Johnny B. Goode, Truckin', Casey Jones, Playing in the other words, a typical early '71 rock & roll show.
    It's interesting, though, that one of the announcements claims the show will be in three parts including an acoustic portion. Sometimes you still see this announced in 1971; I'm not sure if it was misleading information from the Dead's management, or people's assumptions that the Dead would still have the same show arrangement as in 1970, but the last acoustic set was in November '70.

    Michigan Dead fans usually had to go to Detroit or the occasional Ann Arbor show to see the band, but they'd almost played in the area before, in nearby Grand Rapids. The 3/17/68 Lansing State Journal announced:

    GRAND RAPIDS - The Grateful Dead will appear in concert Sunday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. in Fountain St. Church.
    Based in San Francisco, the Grateful Dead is considered one of the best of the "pop" groups. Their first record received the highest rating in "Downbeat," the jazz magazine.
    The concert is sponsored by the adult education committee of the church in conjunction with its study of the hippie culture."

    Alas, the Dead did not get to play a church in Grand Rapids; a snowstorm in Detroit caused them to cancel their travel plans.
    For more information on that booking and the Fountain Street Church concert series, see:

  2. Has any portion of this ever been played on taper's section? Of all the GD shows in 1971, this is the only one, AFAIK, that never got circulated even in part. I'm fairly certain that this was the last of the 1968-1971 dead concerts that we know was recorded (as opposed to all the countless dates from 1965 to 1970 that, it's virtually certain, WEREN'T), but the resulting tape was either subsequently lost or kept in the dead's "vault" and never managed to leak out. Perhaps someday.

    1. Reportedly Latvala said this show was in the Vault, but it hasn't been on the Taper's Section.
      We're missing tapes from a number of early 1971 shows:
      1/21/71 - audience tape circulates, SBD in Vault (a few songs were on the Taper's Section)
      1/22/71 - only 50 minutes circulates
      (1/23/71 - cancelled?)
      3/17/71 - nothing circulates, SBD in Vault (a couple songs on Taper's Section)
      3/21/71 - only an incomplete AUD circulates

    2. also missing 1971-03-05 Black Panther Party rally at Oakland Auditorium Arena.

  3. Thanks for the response LIA....however, this particular show remains unique in that, as opposed to the four additional dates you cited, absolutely NOTHING has leaked out (either on taper's section or as filler anywhere else), and no full or partial audience tape has yet surfaced.

    1. Same for 3/5/71, as mentioned - that one might not have been recorded.
      Whatever's in the Vault, it's clear that a bunch of shows from the early '71 tours never circulated. (The 1/21 AUD only appeared in the last decade, the show was unavailable before that. The partial AUD of 3/21 came from a bootleg LP, and the original tape has never appeared since.) Hard to say whether this is due to a number of SBD tapes from winter '71 being incomplete or missing, or whether Latvala just let this corner of the Vault gather dust from lack of interest.