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: 


  1. Another lost show covered by a review. It's no surprise that the 1970 Dead were well-received in Salt Lake City (where they'd played just once before, at the University of Utah in 1969).

    The show announcement is funny since the writer clearly knew nothing about the Dead and cared less. "What is this Grateful Dead?" "Why, it's underground or heavy rock music." "Oh, then the heavy rock fans will be interested." We're informed that the Dead have rarely gone on tour in the "last few years" since they're "content among their fans in the Bay Area," where they've put on "impromptu concerts in Federal Court."

    The reviewer David Proctor is titled an "in" music writer, so readers won't take him for an old fuddy-duddy, and indeed he was only 22, and had just graduated from the University of Utah that year. He was already familiar with the Dead (enough to call Workingman's "their best effort to date"), and fills the review with superlatives. He ended the show even more of a fan of this "great band," "real pros," to the point where he felt "not just anyone can follow an act like that."

    Length-wise it was not a very long show for the year - 3 hours, with two 80-minute sets. No New Riders at this show (perhaps the promoters wouldn't take them), but an unusually long acoustic set to start, with the usual monitor problems. The crowd, as ever, really got into the electric set, "standing and shouting...a foot-stomping, hand-clapping, whistling fan club."
    The ushers were a pain, "tossing people out for lighting up." Though Proctor may not have known, not only was the fire marshal present at the show, frowning at code violations, but also according to the university paper, narcs were there busting "a few unsuspecting heads." Afterwards, the fire department declared conditions at the Dead show so "unpleasant," with an uncooperative audience and many violations, the Terrace stopped putting on rock shows about a month later.

    The full setlist isn't known, but combining the songs mentioned here with the deadlists entry, we get:
    I Know You Rider
    Friend of the Devil
    Uncle John's Band
    Big Boss Man
    Casey Jones
    Morning Dew
    Not Fade Away
    Dancing in the Streets
    The reviewer mentions it was hard to tell "when one song ends and the other begins," so it seems there was a medley at some point. (He protests that they didn't introduce the songs.)

  2. One attendee on setlists.net recalls, "This was my first dead show and I was unfamiliar with the band. WOW... The first set was just so mellow and hypnotically beautiful. When the second set began the trouble with the cops started. Someone got the mike and said they were busting people in the back, everyone stood up and was ready to rumble. Then the Dead came on and that mood was instantly changed. The cops tried to interfere with the concert every time the Dead stopped playing, but the Dead would just pick up their guitars and the cops just had to retreat, the music was so powerful... I do remember that their encore was Truckin'." He admits that "my consciousness was a bit altered and I was not familiar with their songs," but the show "made me a fan forever." (Proctor didn't even notice any cops, and the university paper mentioned a bust but no other trouble, so the police presence might not have been that pronounced.)
    The same person wrote more at length on dead.net:
    "The cops repeatedly tried to interfere with the show, threatening to shut the power off if folks didn't respect the fire lanes, in the middle of a ballroom crowd, right. Anyway the interruptions were short, the band just started playing again... This show was absolutely amazing... My memory is a bit foggy due to this being my first Dead show and of course my state of mind. As people were walking into the hall the band was on stage playing really good music with the lights still on, saying we're just tuning up. What a way to start. The first set was all acoustic... The whole first set, as I remember, was a medley of songs from American Beauty, which had not been released at the time... Just incredibly sweet and mellow. I never had known music could be so comforting and happy. After the break the disruptions started. Just before the band started someone jumped on the stage, grabbed the mike and said "They're busting people in the back." Immediately everyone in the audience stood up, really really pissed off that they'd be arresting people... Everyone was ready to fight. Only lasted for a few seconds, then the band started up and the feeling [changed]... The second set tore my head off. I still cannot remember any specific songs... Every time the band stopped playing the cops, dressed in red velvet dinner jackets, kept coming back trying to establish artificial fire lanes in the crowd and threatening to shut down the show. Then the band would start up again and immediately the mood would go from anger to utter ecstasy. That night I learned how powerful music could be... They played "Truckin" for the encore, during which the whole crowd became one giant conga line. They would have kept playing much longer if the law hadn't dictated the show end at midnight, I believe it was. What a shame there are no tapes of that one." (He then describes an even more disrupted Pink Floyd show at the Terrace the next month.)

  3. I think the Dead review was run in the 'youth section' of the Tribune (a feature of many papers in those days, with articles written by and for younger readers) - the same page also reviewed the Otis Redding/Jimi Hendrix album from Monterey: "WOW!!! You're not gonna believe how good this record is. Fantastic, incredible, and just too much... You have to hear this thing to believe the excitement these two generate."

    On another note, the first blurb above mentioned "the attitudes and attempts at change made by today's contemporary youth." Coincidentally, this Tribune page also featured a guest editorial by a high school student which began: "There are many problems being handed to our generation. Pollution, racial discrimination, and war comprise the heritage which we have been so graciously given." In some things, time stands still.

  4. Sounds like a great show. I love thinking of this long acoustic set, because this is really that period where friends and family were dying, and the music helped get these young men through. Jerry's mom died two days after this show, after spending three weeks badly broken and dying in the hospital. Ripple? Acoustic UJB? Yes, please.

    1. The funny thing is, the guy who wrote about his experience at the show (Randy Johnson) also mentioned, "The first set was a medley with the theme throughout the set of going back to your mother's arms."
      Now, along with the extreme police paranoia, I think this was probably more a product of his state of mind and whatever he'd just taken, but it does resonate. The Dead didn't really have any songs about going back to your mother's arms, but I'll bet they played Brokedown Palace. Or maybe it was Mama Tried or Big Railroad Blues that got him!

      Anyway, this was one of the last acoustic sets, so one of the last times I Know You Rider, Ripple, or Uncle John's Band would be played acoustically that year. To Lay Me Down had been in the acoustic sets at the Fillmore the previous week, so they may have played it here as well. With no New Riders, I'm guessing no gospel songs though.