Apr 7, 2021

February 21-22, 1969: Dream Bowl, Vallejo CA

The "Grateful Dead" will be heading the show at the Dream Bowl tonight and Saturday night. With them will be dancing, food and entertainment (a band, not a good time). 
For the "Dead," who have really lived up to their name in the last year or so, this will be their second appearance in Napa. 
With the addition of a new band member, and their relatively unknown second album, the "Dead" have been moving into different directions. But north, south, or whatever, they will always be great performers, as will be proved at the Dream Bowl tonight. 
[The rest of the article reviews a Steppenwolf concert in Santa Rosa.

(from the "Music Box" column, the Napa Valley Register, February 21, 1969) 

THE MUSIC BOX  [excerpt
Santana, who two weeks ago drew one of the largest crowds the Filmore has ever seen, will be appearing with Sanpaku tonight and tomorrow night at the Dream Bowl. 
Santana's music (almost all instrumental) is a blend of Cuban skins and hard rock to produce a sort of "early Ricky Riccardo, late Fidel Castro" sound. They are one of the hottest bands in the bay area, and everyone who goes, should have a ball. 

Last weekend at the Dream Bowl was a different story all together. Unfortunately the Grateful Dead seem to have misplaced much of their old sound, partially due to the saddening loss of Pig Pen (he got busted). A lot of people would be grateful if they were... 
The Amber Whine were really the highlight of the evening to the hometown crowd. They are by far the best band in town, and they should be going on to bigger things. 
The Music Box learned at this dance that the Dream Bowl plans to bring the Youngbloods, the Sir Douglas Quintet, and possibly Janis Joplin and her new thing, sometime in the near future. [ . . . ] 

IN THE CITY - Appearing nightly until Sunday at the Filmore will be the Grateful Dead (direct from the Dream Bowl) and the Sir Douglas Quintet. 

(from the Napa Valley Register, February 28, 1969) 

The highly successful music group "The Grateful Dead" performed at the Dream Bowl here Friday and Saturday nights along with "Dancing, Food and Entertainment," another group. 
According to the manager of the Grateful Dead, Jonathan Riester, the group is on the last leg of a 25 day tour of the East Coast. Next weekend the group will perform at the Fillmore in San Francisco, and then have a vacation. 
The group became really big four years ago, Riester said, and is one of the few groups to have made the big time and succeeded in retaining its integrity and remain "underground." He said "underground" meant living the life of an outlaw. 
Riester, who sports a cowboy hat and a moustache, said his group left its audience behind about a year ago with its second album, "Anthem of the Sun." 
"They did things that had never been done before on a record," he said, but added that their next album, which will be released soon, is more traditional and comprehensible. 
Lead guitar player Bob Weir feels that the group has a responsibility to its audience. Since most of the group's enjoyment derives from audience reaction, he said, it is important not to leave the audience too far behind. He doesn't want just a small part of the audience to understand what is taking place and the rest "to sit there with a question mark." 
Drummer Bob Kreutzer said the group doesn't really "understand" the music, they just play it.
A dozen people travel with the group, including seven musicians, three equipment men, one manager, and one engineer. The group uses three tons of equipment to produce its sound, valued in excess of $40,000. 
The other group playing, "Dancing, Food and Entertainment," operates out of Berkeley and has been together only nine months. Their name is confusing, admits member Dennis Reed, but he thinks this will catch on and be of help to them. They have not recorded yet but are looking forward to doing so. 
Reed said he gave up an education to be a musician and regards it as a career. Money is not something to get "hung up" over, but he needs it to survive. His group is concentrating on producing good music.

(by Gary Eisler, from the Napa Valley Register, March 1, 1969) 

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1 comment:

  1. The Dead at the Dream Bowl! Never was a venue name better suited to the band.
    It's funny that the anonymous Music Box columnist at first excitedly announces the Dead as "always great performers," but afterwards regretfully laments that they've "misplaced much of their old sound." I assume he only caught the first set on Feb 22, where Pigpen didn't get a song (maybe Pigpen was actually detained for a while?). Otherwise this is an odd lament for these great shows - maybe one of the Lovelights would have cheered him up. I'm sure local Napa band Amber Whine got a kick out of reading that they outshone the Dead; unfortunately that band didn't last much longer or go on to bigger things.

    The later article doesn't review the show but is more of an interview piece. There are a few small errors - the Dead "became really big four years ago," Weir is the "lead guitarist," the drummer is "Bob Kreutzer" - for this writer, the Dead are just another unknown band to report. (But their sound equipment gets special notice.) Jon Riester, road manager at the time, is rarely heard from in the press; here he gives a little promotional chat to the local paper about the band's integrity & underground status.
    Riester admits the Dead "left its audience behind" with their last album, but promises the next one will be more accessible. Weir, too, worries about leaving the audience behind - he would still be worried about losing people in '74 with long esoteric jams, and perhaps never stopped worrying.

    For more background on the Dream Bowl and the Dead booking, see the Rock Prosopography article. The Dream Bowl had just re-opened as a rock club. A Napa Valley Register article on January 29 announced the new venue:

    The old Dream Bowl will become the New Dream Bowl on Feb. 7, as the format of the club is completely changed. The former country and western specialty club will now feature strong, loud rock, fresh from big name clubs in San Francisco.
    The ownership of the club has changed hands, and with it has changed the nature of the club...
    The club will now aim its appeal at teen-agers. When the group obtained the lease of the club two weeks ago, liquor went out. There will be only soft drinks and other refreshments at the New Dream Bowl. There will also be private guards on duty.
    The Bowl will feature modern bands [including the Dead & It's A Beautiful Day]...
    There is no age limit, one way or the other at the New Bowl. However, oldtimers ought to know that a new Lansing-Altec public address system has been installed, and this means window-shattering volume. Enthusiasts will be glad to know that the "Holy-Cee" will be in charge of the light-show..."