Jul 5, 2020

May 17-18, 1968: Shrine Exposition Hall, Los Angeles


The Moby Grape, the real Moby Grape, as the ads said, since the San Francisco quintet had recently been impersonated at another club, attracted a sizable audience for a weekend appearance at the Kaleidoscope.
Although their albums and single record releases have met with relatively little commercial success, the group has a devout following because of the quality of the material and their live performances.
They are fun to watch, fun to listen to, and danceable. Some of their songs - "Sitting By the Window," "8:05," and "Omaha" - are among the best products of San Francisco combos.
The Moby Grape projects a vigorous sound through four synchronized guitars and a vocal flexibility matched by few groups.
Despite their abilities with blues, ballads, and straight rock, however, the quintet has just enough humdrum material to prevent them from being great.

Meanwhile, over at the Shrine Exposition Hall, the Grateful Dead pummelled several thousand persons with their long improvisational rock music in a show sponsored by the Pinnacle.
The sound of the San Francisco sextet is heavily dependent on lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, whose brilliant playing makes it hard to realize that he is surrounded by routine musicians.
They have two average drummers instead of one good one. Pigpen's organ is generally barely audible and his voice, the best in the group, is mediocre.
Garcia, however, led the group through some exciting blues-based music which roused the Shrine crowd into fervid demonstrations of appreciation.

(by Pete Johnson, from the Los Angeles Times, 20 May 1968)

Alas, no tape!

Pete Johnson also reviewed these Dead shows:

Jul 3, 2020

March 21-22, 1969: Rose Palace, Pasadena, CA


It looks like the Los Angeles area finally has a permanent home for rock concerts, akin to the good vibes of San Francisco's Fillmore and Avalon ballrooms.
The name of the place is the Rose Palace.
After only two weeks in operation, it's assimilated the best features of Los Angeles' historic (and no more) hallowed halls of rock: Shrine Hall, Cheetah, and Kaleidoscope, and taken some care to avoid making the mistakes that sent the aforementioned establishments into ruin.
For instance, the capacity is equal to the Shrine (about 8,000), yet there are no posts, pillars or balconies obstructing the view of the stage. The floor, though concrete, is covered with a one-inch layer of artificial grass (very apropos). And gone are the days of hot, sticky-sweltering concert hall. This place gets actually cold as the night rolls on. In other words, the place is set up for audience enjoyment.
But these features are only subordinate to the big issue: talent. Booking good shows, ultimately, is what makes or breaks a rock ballroom. Happily, the Rose Palace (run by Scenic Sounds) makes it quite well. Take last weekend for example.
The show started off with the local debut of Jethro Tull, an English quintet whose music predominantly falls into the jazz-rock genre. Riding the crest of the second wave of English pop groups, Jethro Tull (named after the inventor of the plow in England) is unique enough in its approach [and dedication] to make a dent in the American market. The group is led by the [elf-like] antics of flutist Ian Anderson, whose on-stage stance is highly derivative of a giant flamingo bird [at] rest...only Anderson doesn't rest, he's constantly moving, conveying the [same] kind of visual excitement that the Who's Peter Townscend specializes in.
The group's material runs [from] Roland Kirk "Serenade to a Cuckoo" to their own rocking "Dharma for One," to a nonsense song called "[Don't] Wanna Be a Fatman," the [latter] finding Anderson playing oud [and his] drummer beating tablas. Anderson keeps up a constant dialogue with the audience and is repaid with a [great] deal of rapport.
At one point, he emptied a [pot] of cigarettes into the audience...the crowd threw them back. Later, Anderson made a public apology for the length of his hair: "I'm sorry about it being so long and all, but it does hide me pimples."
The Grateful Dead were probably responsible for attracting most of the sellout crowd. And they were up to the task of entertaining them, particularly Saturday night. The first thing you notice about the Dead, even while they're tuning up, is the smell of cannabis in the air. It might have been there before, but somehow it's more apparent with the Dead's sets.
Musically the Dead also fall into the rock-jazz category, but for different reasons than Jethro Tull. The Dead specialize in long, long musical improvisations...the hallmark of jazz.
Led by the fluid guitar of Jerry Garcia, they buildup constantly-moving crescendos of sound that are interspersed with brief (and usually inaudible) vocal bridges. The seven-man group, which includes two drummers and a conga bopper, kept most of the audience on their feet.
The Butterfield Blues Band closed the show in style. Paul Butterfield's vocals are moving deeper and deeper into the better category, as exemplified by his rendition of the Blood, Sweat and Tears song, "More and More" (although Butterfield's version could be subtitled, "More and More, Baby"). The current personnel are a tight unit, featuring a potent horn section and an excellent new young guitarist.

Picture caption:
"Free-form musical improvisation was order of day last weekend in pop music concert at Pasadena's Rose Palace. Providing music were The Grateful Dead (left), who specialize in tunes lasting at least an hour apiece; and new English group called Jethro Tull (right), who are led by clowning antics of flutist Ian Anderson. Daily Sundial photos by Pete Senoff."

(by Pete Senoff, from the Valley State Daily Sundial, 28 March 1969)

Thanks to Ron Fritts.  


* * *

The LA Times also had a few words on the March 21 show.... 


(Most of the article is about putting together a radio program on the history of rock music.)

. . . The structure of the program forced me to define the major contributors and contributions to rock music, and the list turned out to be quite finite, despite the enormity of 20 years of heritage. There are many more Fabians and Impalas than there are Little Richards or Drifters, and a lot of what is significant today is not going to sound good in 10 years. Will the Supremes be remembered then as hazily as the Chantels are now? I suspect so. How will Jimi Hendrix's music compare with Clarence Frogman Henry's?
It is harder to do reviews now, hard to go to the Pasadena Rose Palace, as I did Friday night, and find anything relevant to say about the Grateful Dead and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (I missed Jethro Tull - the shows start earlier than they did at the Shrine).
The Dead were not as good as they have been. Lead guitarist Jerry Garcia lacked both enthusiasm and polish. Butterfield, though, turned in an exciting set, highlighted by his wailing vocals and the band's driving horn arrangements. But Butterfield is only a hard-working technician. His harmonica playing does not compare with that of Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, or Sonny Terry; his singing is beneath any of those three or a score of other bluesmen, and his band is less exciting than Bobby Blue Bland's, Ike and Tina Turner's, or Ray Charles'.
Butterfield is restating tradition rather than adding to it, and restating it not quite as well as the originals. My perspective is unfair since this is Butterfield's time, but it is harder to do reviews now. Little Richard has reminded me of too much.

(by Pete Johnson, from the Los Angeles Times, 24 March 1969)

Jul 2, 2020

October 23, 1970: McDonough Gym, Georgetown U, Washington DC


More than 7,000 people crowded into McDonough Gymnasium at Georgetown University last night as the Grateful Dead, a rock band from San Francisco, made their Washington debut.
The crowd was the largest ever assembled in the gymnasium for any event.
The audience trickled slowly through the two single-door entrances and by 8:15 p.m., 15 minutes before the concert was scheduled to begin, almost 3,000 persons were still queued up at the gate.
As the concert began, a few ticket holders complained that they had been refused entry. But within 20 minutes all entrances to the gym were thrown open and people were admitted whether or not they had tickets.
The evening's performance was part of Georgetown's homecoming weekend, but the scene around the campus was quite different from that of previous homecomings.
Long-haired, blue-jeaned, maxi-dressed rock fans trecked across the campus and less than 30 per cent of the audience consisted of Georgetown students.
Because of the heat level generated within the gym by the immense crowd, people doffed shirts and wandered in and out. Speakers were set up outside the building and about 2,000 listeners took advantage of them.
The concert began at 8:45 p.m. with the New Riders of the Purple Sage, an offshoot group of The Dead. Perhaps because of crowded conditions in the gym and also because of amplification difficulties, the crowd remained largely lethargic and the band never quite got together.
It was only with their last number, a countrified version of the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman," that the crowd rose to its feet.
After a delay of about one hour the Grateful Dead finally emerged from the wings of the stage. As Jerry Garcia's guitar wailed out the opening notes of "Casey Jones," the entire gymnasium began to sway in rhythm to the music.

(by Tom Zito, from the Washington Post, 24 October 1970)

* * *


The long-awaited Grateful Dead concert took place Friday night at Georgetown University. It took years to get the Dead to Washington, but it was well worth it.
The promoters promised a long concert, and that it was. However, considering the fact that after the first set the group supposedly went back to their hotel for a spell, the time wasn't all that music-filled.
There are a few more things to quibble about, but before that it should be said that the group was marvelous - from their set of country songs to their superb electric songs (not so much the songs as what the band does with undiscovered melodic paths once they're into a tune).
I'd only heard their remarkable, jazzlike improvisation really get off on their recent in-person album, "Live Dead," although I'd heard about it for a long time. It also reminded by of something Chuck Berry once told an audience here that was wowed by his guitar playing: "It's only mathematics, children."
Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir for example: Weir's guitar style is much more linear in conception, and when he trades off a solo to Garcia, something different happens. Garcia looks over a musical phrase, appraises it for variations involving the basic ingredients of a phrase, rather than using the prase as a road-like base to run on.
One of Garcia's favorite approaches to this is to simply accent different parts of a phrase; permutations, if you will. The results are always intriguing, and often approach the magic quality of what music can tell the soul.
The Grateful Dead group has never been "successful" in a commercial way. As their manager, Rock Scully, once said, "We won't do what the system says, make single hits, take big gigs, do the success number." That was last year, and the Dead was $50,000 in debt. A good band, a legendary one, in debt.
But in the past year, the public finally caught up with the music, and the Dead finally had albums that hit the LP charts. Especially their recent "Workingman's Dead," which demonstrated they could also play in a traditional way - tight vocal harmonies and precise country-western instrumental backgrounds. They even have songs that East coast people can recognize within the first few bars. "Uncle John's Band" made it to AM radio.
Now, for the first time since the mid-sixties, the Grateful Dead have become popular outside their own turf on the West Coast.
About the small gripes I mentioned earlier. Well, the big one was the temperature inside the auditorium. With nearly five thousand persons crammed in the place (there was no, repeat, no room anywhere) the temperature went up to around 100 degrees. It was so hot there was a cloud in the gym. Really. But it was worth perspiring a bit, believe me.

(by William Holland, from the Sunday Star, Washington DC, 25 October 1970)

Thanks to Ron Fritts.


See also:

Jun 18, 2020

June 12-13, 1970: Civic Auditorium, Honolulu, HI

HEADLINES  [excerpt]

Stevie "Guitar" Miller - what a flash you are. Not only do you blow us out at the Crater Celebration but at the Civic too. With his new group; addition of Jimmy Miller, Steve's younger brother on rhythm guitar. Steve told me, "Jimmy plays better than I do." Well, I won't go as far to agree with him, but it sure added the much needed full sound the Miller band had been lacking since the Boz Scaggs left the group many moons ago. I've always loved the Miller Band no matter what they did, but with the addition of Jimmy, live performances can now sound more like the albums.
As far as Steve's very short hair-cut: "I got tired of long hair, it gets to be a hassle, so I cut it every few years." Then a little later Steve says, "Actually, I tried to give myself a trim and blew it." With or without the hair, Steve Miller is one of the finest performers in rock today. When his latest album comes out this July, run down and buy it because this is the year for the Steve Miller Band.
Also on that Civic bill, Quicksilver Messenger Service putting across one of the tightest sets we've heard. Quicksilver has made Hawaii its home for the last month and a half, making music for their new album.  They have been living and working in a country house six miles into the cane fields of Haleiwa. Not only did they record one album but have created enough material for two and a half albums...now that's creativity! One comment that's been made before but should again be brought out is Dino Valente. He sticks out on stage like a sore thumb. It seems to me if he continues to dominate the stage, the group should change their name to "Dino Valente with Quicksilver." Why don't David Freiberg and Gary Duncan sing more? Dino has a nice voice but Gary's at least, if not David's, is just as good. Why not, for the sake of the group, be part of Quicksilver rather than being Dino (which by the way isn't his real name). I have always liked Q.M.S., but seeing Dino trying to take over the already great group turns me, as well as most of the Q.M.S. fans, off.
We hear Nickey Hopkins has left the group, we can only hope this is temporary because when Nickey plays things like "Edward (Mad Shirt Grinder)" with Q.M.S., it's one of the best highs we've ever felt in music. Nickey received a standing ovation for that piece of art...he modestly accepted the cheers... Now that's a person Dino Valente could learn from.
I missed the Grateful Dead...unfortunately...but judging from their new album "Workingman's Dead," which is the Dead's best recording effort to date, I bet the set was a gas.
Side note: Noah's Arc Lighting did the finest light show we've seen in the Islands, keep it up!

(by Ken Rosene, from the Honolulu Advertiser, 22 June 1970)



The opportunity to see top-rate talent here in Honolulu is fast approaching the level of San Francisco and New York. In the past and in the upcoming two weeks, about two or three dozen of the finest talent in the country have played or will play here, and that may explain in part a growing (?) insouciance. We're getting ho-hum blase and so Quicksilver and Steve Miller and the Dead with New Riders of the Purple Sage can't even fill the Civic.
Riders are pure country and good. They have Jerry Garcia playing pedal steel guitar and he's the best part of them.
Steve Miller's set, excepting a shaky start to "My Dark Hour," was great and the band, now with brother Jerry Miller, sounds bigger and better than ever. If anything, the set was too short. 

(by Steve Moore, from the Honolulu Advertiser, 22 June 1970)

Thanks to Jesse Jarnow.

& Quicksilver's set has been released as "Hawaii 1970": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpLiMY8fALg 

Jun 5, 2020

September 26, 1970: Terrace Ballroom, Salt Lake City, UT


The San Francisco rock group, the Grateful Dead, will appear Saturday in the Terrace Ballroom.
The Grateful Dead performs what has been labeled "underground or heavy rock music" and will perform entirely alone, with no supporting acts.
The group has not only left its mark in music but has become associated with the attitudes and attempts at change made by today's contemporary youth. Impromptu concerts in Federal Court in San Francisco and the articles in national magazines catapulted the Grateful Dead to national notice.
Content among their fans in the Bay Area, road trips for the group have been rare in the last few years, so the Salt Lake appearance is expected to generate interest among "heavy rock" fans.

(from the Salt Lake Tribune, 21 September 1970)

* * *


 Three hours of very live Dead. That's what it was at The Terrace Sept. 26 when The Grateful Dead, "San Francisco's first family of fine music," showed some three thousand enthusiastic fans what has kept them on top of the San Francisco music scene.
Performing by themselves, the Dead pulled the audience together into a foot-stomping, hand-clapping, whistling fan club.
The show was divided into two long sets, one acoustic and one electric, each about an hour and twenty minutes of nonstop sound.
Captain Trips, also known as Jerry Garcia, led the band through the first set with his vocals and excellent guitar work. This in spite of hassles with the soundman as to who gets his mike turned on and how loud. (As can be expected when no warm-up group is used.)
It took a while for the crowd to get into the music, but by the time the Dead were halfway through, we knew we were in for a real treat. And by the time the Dead got into "Uncle John's Band" it was standing and shouting time.
That song has to rate as one of the real good ones of this or any year, and the album it is taken from, "Workingman's Dead," is probably their best effort to date.
"Uncle John" ended the soft set in great style, and when they broke out the electricity for the second set there wasn't much sitting down to do.
Using two drummers - something very very difficult to pull off well - to great effect, the Dead went into their own stuff and outstanding arrangements of Tim Rose's "Morning Dew," the Stones' "Not Fade Away," and the often-recorded "Dancing in the Streets." All were punctuated by Garcia's excellent guitar licks and fine work by both drummers.
At this point I guess I should point out the bad spots of what was mostly a first-rate show. First the Dead, themselves, are pros, real pros. And it showed all night. But neither the songs nor the musicians were introduced.
Now this might seem like cutting things too close, but when a band changes players as often as The Grateful Dead it would be nice to let the audience know who is playing. This also tends to run things together until you get a Santana-like effect of not knowing when one song ends and the other begins.
Secondly, The Terrace caught the Salt Palace fire code bug and was tossing people out for lighting up inside. The ushers were dressed in their red Smothers Brothers coats and acting like the Royal Canadian Mounties spying around for an illicit red glow in the crowd.
This is particularly upsetting when The Terrace is advertised as a place where people can get together, sit on the floor, move around, and rap with friends and smoke if one has a mind to. I think the duplicity here deserves some explanation, especially to the folks who got the hook before a warning was issued.
But I don't want this to sound negative, because it was a night of positive things. Positively a great band, an audience very into the music, and an ovation that shook the place, redcoats or not.
Those that missed it really missed it, and those of us that made it will have a tough time getting up over the next band coming through. Not just anyone can follow an act like that.
It was a good night. Long Live the Dead!
   NOTE: For those interested, Jerry Garcia's guitar work can be found on It's a Beautiful Day's "Marrying Maiden" and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's "Deja Vu."

(by David Proctor, "In" Music Writer, from the Salt Lake Tribune, 2 October 1970) 

Alas, no tape! 

Thanks to Dave Davis

For the aftermath at the Terrace, see: 

Jun 4, 2020

December 22, 1970: Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento CA


"An Evening With the Grateful Dead" may be remembered long and lovingly by the 4,700-plus fans who turned up, then turned on last night in Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium.
They screamed, clapped, stood, stomped, and - during quieter passages - chattered through five hours of excellent rock music by the Dead and by a far-from-dead offshoot of this really viable Marin County morgue, the "New Riders of the Purple Sage."
Most of that teeming, teenish throng stayed to hear the concert end with a literal bang - someone popped a small powder charge onstage during the final chord - just minutes before 1 o'clock this morning.
And, watching the sleep-staring remnants of the crowd as its members contentedly filtered home, many with glazed eyes and near-zombie walks, it came in a flash just who the real grateful dead might be.
The onstage Grateful Dead - two sets of drums; lead, rhythm, and bass guitar, and organ - has a mellowness to its total sound that is surprising in view of its authentic Fillmore-psychedelic origins.
The psychedelia is still there in much of GD's material, but there is less treble, more bass to the sound. And there are heavy excursions into country, western, and flat-out funk.
The crowd dug it all but expended its writhing, jiving energy on the faster, heavy-beat stuff. Under the Dead's tutelage, the audience became a seventh instrument - now lured into a rhythmic frenzy, now calmed by a quieter passage, now stirred to a renewed outburst by some repeated, increasingly insistent musical phrase or other.
The New Riders of the Purple Sage, which opened the evening, is a Grateful Dead offshoot that features the parent group's own talented lead guitarist, Jerry Garcia, on steel guitar.
Augmented by lead, rhythm and bass guitar and a single set of drums, the NRPS group lays down what sounds like nothing short of the newer acoustic trend in rock - except that the guitars, though toned down somewhat, are decidedly electronic. The result is, again, the kind of mellowness that calls the Grateful Dead's own sound to mind.
NRPS's music trip concentrates on the country-western idiom in rock, with heavier emphasis on the country than on the western. Garcia's steel guitar - now soaring, now singing, now sounding like a down-home fiddle - catalyzes the total sound and helps put NRPS across as an excellent, solidly put together group.
It drew the connoisseur's kind of applause - slow-starting, swelling with recognition, finally giving way to the cheers of the converted.
There were no reserved seats for this concert - an unusual feature in the cavernous auditorium where "good" seats are at a premium. Although this led to some "shoehorning" in choice rows and now and then some crowded aisles, there were no observable hassles over seats. The crowd was there for excitement, but from the stage, not the arena.

(by John Hurst, from the Sacramento Bee, 23 December 1970) 

Alas, no tape! 

Thanks to JGMF.

May 22, 2020

April 3, 1970: Fieldhouse, University of Cincinnati, OH


Last Friday The Grateful Dead presented a concert at the University of Cincinnati, and I doubt whether the Fieldhouse will ever be the same. The good feelings that hung in the air, the aroma of little cigarettes (I wonder what they could have been?), the vibrancy of the music, must certainly have caused a change in the molecular structure of the place.
The concert brought together various groups that helped to make the evening a good one. The Hog Farm was there, handling the technical aspects. One of the best things about the show was a spectacular and genuinely mind-opening light show, certainly the best I've ever seen. It used film, design and light to great advantage.
The story of the evening, however, was music. The first group to appear was the Lemon Pipers, a solid local band that did some blues-influenced rock. Good instrumentalists (except for the drummer who was monotonously heavy and not up to some of the tempos), the group started strongly and then got bogged down in some slow things that made their set run out of gas rather quickly.
The second group was Devil's Kitchen from Illinois. Ironically, they weren't very good instrumentally, and their singer is woefully bad, but they have a very fast drummer that kicks them into sounding like a pretty good band.
I should point out, however, that everyone knew that the bands were there just to warm-up the audience for the Dead. As such, they did their job well and were politely received by the happy audience.
After Devil's Kitchen left, there were the usual open-mike ramblings and then someone put on some Santana tapes. People wandered around, shaking to "Jingo," and then, "From San Francisco, here they are, the Grateful Dead!"
There they were, the two drummers, Pig Pen, Jerry Garcia, the works! There is no doubt about it, The Grateful Dead are one of the finest rock bands around. They played one of the longest and most exciting sets of rock I've ever heard. Some of the highlights: a long and friendly acoustic segment with a good version of "Wake Up Little Suzy," a crowd pleasing version of Bobby Bland's "Turn On Your Love Light" featuring a great solo by Garcia on guitar and a good shouting vocal by Pig Pen, a chugging version of "Good Loving" that led to interpolations of other tunes and a tremendous drum duet (along with the usual brilliance of Garcia). It is hard for me to single out other great moments, for the band's greatness lies in its ability to flow from song to song, from improvisation to improvisation, from shieking loud ensembles to controlled soft solos. Most importantly (and perhaps this is why they're so good) the guys in the band listen to one another, so that the total sound of the band is what grabs the listener. 

(from the Independent Eye, April 9-23, 1970) 

Thanks to Mark Neeley. 

See also these reviews:



May 9, 1970: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA


The Greatful Dead performed at WPI on Saturday, May 9 and Sunday, May 10. Their concert lasted from 9 p.m. Saturday until 2:20 a.m. Sunday morning. Led by guitarist Jerry Garcia, the Dead performed everything from acoustic country music to distortic rock music.
Beginning a little late at 9 p.m., the group did a bit of acoustic country music. The crowd didn't quite get into this part of the show, except those who really liked the Dead. As the night went on, and the group moved into more electric music, the crowd began to wake up. By 12 the crowd on the floor had thinned out and some of those left were dancing and tripping. By 2:20 a.m. when the concert ended, those left had either fallen asleep on the floor, or were still standing up front jumping and dancing.
The Grateful Dead were one of the first groups to come out with what is now sometimes known as the "San Francisco" sound. A mixture of country and rock with a little blues thrown in, the "sound" has been carried on by such groups as the Moby Grape, Sea Train, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Jefferson Airplane; the latter of which had more of a hard rock tint. The Grateful Dead are actually a group of about ten musicians, including two drummers, three guitarists, one bass player, and one organist-harp player.
All in all, the concert was very good, all five and one half hours of it.

(by Al Gradet, from the Tech News, 12 May 1970)

Alas, no tape! 

Thanks to Volkmar.

May 20, 2020

March 11, 1968: Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento, CA


Cream, a relatively new British rock music trio which has been, you should excuse the expression, rising to the top very swiftly in America by way of two record albums, made an impressive debut last night in the Memorial Auditorium before a near capacity crowd of around 3,500.
The trio takes its name from the claim that its members are the cream of the crop in England. Guitarist and singer Eric Clapton; Jack Bruce, who plays bass guitar, harmonica, and also sings; and Ginger Baker, the drummer, are all said to be stars in their own individual right at home. After hearing them ride through an hour and five minutes of hard driving and often brilliantly played arrangements, one is willing to believe it.
Their music is, with few exceptions, primarily and very strongly rooted in the blues. Last night's pieces were almost all blues, and included, from their more popular recorded numbers, "Tales of Brave Ulysses," a slow, driving and very verbal piece, and "The Sunshine of Your Love." The very slow and supremely gutty blues which followed the latter, a lament for a gone woman, was even better.
The trio's set closed with three pieces which gave each man a chance to shine. Clapton's moment, a long, insistent solo, came in a duet with Baker. Bruce then teamed up with the tireless drummer for a fast "train blues" on the harmonica, spiced with husky singing that eventually mixed so swiftly with the harmonica one could hardly tell them apart. It was a brilliant, exciting performance. Finally, the two guitarists gave Baker a sendoff and then left him alone onstage for a tremendous 10 minute drum solo that stood the crowd on its feet for a final ovation.

The San Francisco group known as the Grateful Dead opened the program with a 60 minute performance that was uninterrupted from start to finish. The first half of it seemed either to be divided into sections or was actually three or four numbers strung together with some random guitar tuning in between. The second half was a long, long blues that ended in several minutes of roaring, howling, screaming cataclysmic electronic sound, punctuated by several firecrackers set off by one of the two drummers and eventually fading away into a hillbilly-style hymn bidding the audience good night. It was quite a contrast. Some of the earlier parts of the performance worked up some musical momentum, but nothing of what was sung could be understood. Loudness, it would appear, is the overriding quality the Dead are after.
The local group known as the Light Brigade projected from the rear of the stage a light show behind the performers.
The show was an inexcusable 47 minutes late in starting.
Adults who think all young people are rebellious should have seen the incredible patience this crowd displayed during this period of waiting for those outside to buy tickets.
With the Cream's performance, however, it became apparent they knew what they were waiting for.

(by William Glackin, from the Sacramento Bee, 12 March 1968)

Alas, no tape! 

Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com

See also:

May 12, 2020

February 21, 1967: The Maze TV Broadcast


Were those picturesque persons who drifted lazily across the KPIX screen Tuesday night the beatific beneficiaries of a beautiful new society? Were they the harbinger saints of a revolutionary philosophy of love and anti-hassle? Or were they just a bunch of kids in beards, playing out the perennial delusion that 20-year-olds know more about life, truth and beauty than their confused elders, who commute, wear ties, and send a check once a month?
As a typically rat-raced commuter in the over-30 age group (who, as you know, are not to be trusted) I took the latter view of "The Maze," a well-made half-hour excursion into the scented-beaded-folk-rocking picnicland of Haight-Ashbury, home of the hip, the turned-on and the freaked-out. It was, as they say, a trip.
As the KPIX camera traveled through the centers of dropout culture, the Psychedelic Book Shop with its walls covered with poster photos of camp heroes like Bogart and W. C, Fields, [and] the Straight Theater where the Grateful Dead blast out a stupefying roar of nihilistic sound, the hippie community presented themselves with great profusion of facial hair and odd raiment, and expressions of vacancy that no doubt denote inner peace.
They are a weird clientele, all right, but are they really the sinister threats to society that local newscasters paint them to be? After the first initial shock, one soon perceives that underneath those beards are the smooth faces of somebody's kids, caught in the still hiatus between school and the draft, having a happy, slothful time for themselves and avoiding adult life as long as possible. Who can blame them? I mean, like, who really wants to commute?
As is good policy when venturing into foreign territory, KPIX hired a competent guide. Michael McClure, a handsome young poet with a medium-length mane, conducted a knowledgeable, articulate tour and defended the hippie way of life with reasonable plausibility.
"The straight people really need what's happening here," said McClure, explaining that Haight-Ashbury is a free, uncritical place where "the phony rituals are stripped away," where "I can grow my hair to my shoulders and see what it is to feel like Greta Garbo. There's no society to tell me 'You must be this.'"
McClure conceded, with an air of serene indifference, that sexual restraints and taboos are passe in Haight-Ashbury. "But they're also passe on Madison Avenue, and up on Montgomery Street. The difference is in the lack of hypocrisy here."
The camera visited several communal apartments in the district, where apartments are getting so scarce that incoming hippies must move into nearby areas. The pads, if they are still called pads (we grow old!) looked clean and colorful, intriguingly bedecked with hanging jewels, posters, Indian cloth, polished wooden & glass articles in aesthetic shapes. The squalor and calculated crumminess that delighted the beatnik generation are out of style now.
"This isn't North Beach all over again," said McClure. "North Beach was in revolt against society. But this new thing is not in revolt. It has just divorced itself."
Haight-Ashbury folk are not interested in protests, marches, or other tension-inducing behavior. They are also, it was clear, not interested in work, although the district maintains a "HIP Job Corps" to provide part-time employment for hungry hippies. McClure's young friends were seen in various postures of serenity (or was it just sluggishness?), carrying on all-night conversations in incense-shrouded circles, the girls gazing dully (or is it tranquilly?)  through the long, ironed hair that hangs in their very-young faces, the boys speaking solemnly through the bushy beards that look strangely incongruous against shiny cheeks and unlined foreheads.
Other hippies were seen making bread, or singing Krishna hymns in a Hindu ceremony, or simply congratulating themselves on their citizenship among the enlightened. "I think we are revolutionaries of living," said one unshaven and placid soul, squatting on a cushion.
After allowing McClure 30 minutes of affectionate propagandizing for Dropoutsville, KPIX felt the need to establish itself on the side of righteousness and squaredom by reminding that Haight-Ashbury also contains "weak, selfish and criminal people," and hinting with delicious vagueness at "sexual excesses." No doubt there are. . .  But the scene that KPIX revealed looked harmless enough, and pretty, and silly, and awfully young.
Personally, I haven't the slightest desire to know what it is to feel like Greta Garbo. Even if I had, with 13 car payments to go, this is no time to start getting disdainful of the good old straight world.

(by Bob MacKenzie, from the "On Television" column, Oakland Tribune, 23 February 1967)


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