May 20, 2022

May 18, 1972: Kongress-Saal, Deutches Museum, Munich, West Germany

 GRATEFUL DEAD IN MUNICH

The Congress Hall in Munich's German Museum is long and narrow - it has a stage, tiers, seating and aisles. The group had set up a fairly large system, so there was not much freedom of movement. It was very crowded, the prices were affordable, and the tickets were sold out for a long time. You knew that the group was one of the best live groups, you knew their records that emphasized that they've been together for a very long time. Everyone also knew a little bit about their history: The group was formed around 1966, a community that has grown to 50 people today. So far they seem to have been able to solve the music-maker's well-known problems in their own way - e.g. they are doing the tour as a whole, long in preparation, also through a fund. The managers - they've all been the 'Dead' for a long time. The vibrations were corresponding - clear calm in itself. You knew that, you felt something and you were excited.
These expectations were then subverted for a long time: you hear this music and you're disappointed - just music, rock music, number music, across the entire music garden, more to pass by, music from next door. You already know all that - just not so boring, it seems - so skillfully distanced, so gently demonstrated. And you withdraw first - you don't need that in a concert, where you always counted for little and the performance, the group everything.
You go out, you get mobile - you go to the restaurant, very practical, there is a lot of space in the corridors. You think. You see yourself and feel the others. You relax and have space for yourself. The music is just there, among other things, far away, always familiar, sometimes you come closer again and follow along a bit: That's how you would do it, free guitar and bass lines, melodious, piano, organ and drums, order from personal experience. A rock band plays, of course, musicians like you and me. "We're just a rock'n'roll band" comes to mind from the interview with Jerry Garcia, one of the guitarists. You begin to understand, to hear what you have read. "In the normal world - the world of media etc. - we're just a rock 'n' roll band. But that's not all we are. We are signposts to a new space, a different reality." Their music is a means of doing that, they make it, but they aren't. It's just supposed to get you high, uplift you, "so you forget yourself, and forgetting yourself is seeing everything else, and seeing everything else is becoming an understanding molecule of evolution, a conscious tool of the universe." That's the task of every human being, they say. 
"We're kinda like a sign post" - "we only point the way there."
"It's a cosmic conspiracy." It's like a cosmic conspiracy from which no one is exempt. The differences are only due to the fact that our knowledge about it is different and we consider the corresponding appearance to be real.
A concert on a tour is not a concert - "it's [a] happening, it's not so much telling the people, but doing that thing." The music designates a different event, the cosmic togetherness, which one cannot talk about, which one has to live.
That's why it's so easy to be disappointed by them at first, because you're not used to it. You think music is music is the group. But today it's about "post-revolutionary activities," "living productive lives." We have to put our knowledge into practice, create productive forms that come closer to THE reality. It can be anything, because the outer, physical form ISN'T - it is the inner knowledge, the detachment and inner peace in every possible outer form. Some are musicians. Everyone is something. Jerry Garcia: "Just keep on keeping on." Just keep doing what you're doing.
After the break, the music became freer - more like a session in the rehearsal room, so clear, you have peace, you're not dependent on the local scene, you have your own with you and rest in it. You can be yourself. Four hours as a matter of course, music without problems and stars - 6 people out of 50 make music. Dance music, free sounds, music history...
They know the other reality from their own experience - they helped make it happen: the 1966 acid tests with Ken Kesey. The LSD experiences showed the illusion of the visible, so-called real world and gave an idea of our real function. They were the real revolution - inside. 
"It has already happened. We're living after the fact. It's a post-revolutionary age. The change is over." Today is the time after the big change. 
"The rest of it is a clean-up action. Unfortunately it's very slow. Amazingly slow and amazingly difficult." It remains for us to sort this out practically, to clear away the old rubble. Unfortunately, this is very slow - amazingly slow and amazingly difficult.
There's the name: Grateful Dead. You can hear that now too. It comes from Northern Irish, Scottish mythology. You die but you're not yet done with the world. The soul wanders around disembodied and has its experiences until it is done with them - a grateful dead - now calm, detached from the world, the illusion, Maya, and is reborn, happy, at peace, walking a path in this world and yet is more - it knows that now.
Old souls in young bodies - old wine in new bottles.
This is how the Dead see themselves within all of us: "We are all one organism, we are all the universe, we are all doing the same thing. That's the sort of thing that everybody knows..." - we are all one organism, we are all the universe, we are all doing the same thing. And basically everyone knows that...
Lots of normal applause, clear applause. You have understood. The great event is no more - illusion. You feel like a schoolboy who realizes that your ears are no longer glowing.
Less? - Yes, less appearance, but more truth.
Cosmic Conspiracy. Trust in us. It can be that easy. Just keep on keeping on.
 
Quotes from Rolling Stone No. 101 from 3.2.72, Interview with Jerry Garcia by Charles Reich and Jann Wenner.

(by Rainer Langhans, unknown paper - quotes in italics were printed in English)
 
Thanks to Uli Teute. 

 
* * * 
 
The original German article: 
 
GRATEFUL DEAD IN MUENCHEN

Der Kongresssaal im Muenchener Deutschen Museum ist lang und schmal - er hat Buehne, Raenge, Bestuhlung und Gaenge. Die Gruppe hatte eine ziemlich grosse Anlage aufgebaut, so dass ihr nicht viel Bewegungsfreiheit blieb. Es war sehr voll, die Preise waren ertraeglich, die Karten lange ausverkauft. Man wusste von der Gruppe, dass sie eine der besten Livefgruppen ist, kannte ihre Platten, die das betonten - sie sind sehr lange zusammen. Ein jeder wusste auch ein wenig von ihrer Geschichte: Die Gruppe entstand um 1966, eine community, die bis heute auf 50 Leute anwuchs. Sie schien die bekannten Probleme des Musickmachers bisher in ihrem Sinne loesen zu koennen - z.B. macht sie die Tournee als Ganzes, lange vorbereitet, auch durch einen Fonds. Die Manager - alle sind sie die 'Dead', schon lange. Die Schwingungen waren entsprechend - in sich klare Ruhe. Man wusste das, fuehlte etwas und war gespannt.
Diese Erwartungen wurden dann lange und lange unterlaufen: Man hoert diese Musik und ist enttaeuscht - einfach nur Musik, Rockmusik, Nummernmusik, quer durch den ganzen Musikgarten, mehr zum Vorbeigehen, Musik von nebenan. Man kennt das alles schon - nur nicht so langweilig, so scheint es - so distanziert gekonnt, so sanft demonstriert. Und man entzieht sich zuerst - sowas hat man nicht noetig in einem Konzert, wo man selbst immer wenig galt und die performance, die Gruppe alles.
Man geht raus, wird beweglich - man geht ins Restaurant, sehr praktisch, auf den Gaengen ist viel Platz. Man denkt nach. Man sieht sich und fuehlt die Anderen. Man loest sich und hat Raum fuer sich selbst.
Die Musik ist nur da unter Anderem, fern, immer vertraut, manchmal kommt man wieder naeher und geht ein Stueck mit: So wuerde man es auch machen, freie Gitarren- und Basslinien, melodioes, Klavier, Orgel und Schlagzeug, Ordnung aus eigener Erfahrung. Eine Rockband spielt auf, selbstverstaendlich, Musiker wie Du und ich. "We're just a rock'n'roll band" faellt einem wieder ein von den Interviews Jerry Garcias, des einen Gitarristen. Man beginnt zu verstehen, zu hoeren, was man gelesen hatte. "In der normalen Welt - der Welt der Medien usw. - sind wir einfach eine Rock'n'Roll Band. Aber das ist nicht alles, was wir sind. Wir sind Wegweiser zu einem neuen Raum, einer anderen Wirklichkeit."
Ihre Musik ist dazu ein Mittel, sie machen sie, sind sie aber nicht. Sie soll nur high machen, einen erheben, "dass er sich selbst vergisst, und sich selbst vergessen heisst alles Andere sehen, und alles Andere sehen heisst, ein verstehendes Molekuel der Evolution zu werden, ein bewusstes Werkzeug des Universums." Das ist die Aufgabe jedes Menschen, sagen sie.
"We're kinda like a sign post" - "wir weisen nur den Weg dahin."

"It's a cosmic conspiracy." Es ist wie eine kosmische Verschwoerung, von der keiner ausgenommen ist. Die Unterschiede ruehren nur daher, dass unser Wissen darum unterschiedlich ist und wir den estsprechenden Schein fuer wirklich halten.
Ein Konzert auf einer Tournee ist kein Konzert - "it's happening, it's not so much telling the people, but doing that thing." Die Musik bezeichnet ein anderes Geschehen, die kosmische Zusammengehoerigkeit, ueber die man nicht reden kann, die man leben muss.
Man ist deshalb so leicht enttaeuscht zuerst von ihnen, denn man ist das nicht gewohnt. Man denkt Musik ist Musik ist die Gruppe. Heute aber geht es um "post-revolutionary activities," "living productive lifes." Wir muessen unsere Erkenntnisse praktisch umsetzen, produktive Formen schaffen, die DER Wirklichkeit sich naehern. Das kann alles sein, denn nicht die aeussere, grobstoffliche Form IST - es ist das innere Wissen, das Losgeloestsein und Insichruhen in jeder moeglichen aeusseren Form. Manche sind Musiker. Jeder ist etwas. Jerry Garcia: "Just keep on keeping on." Macht einfach weiter, was ihr macht.
Nach der Pause wurde die Musik freier - mehr eine Session im Uebungsraum so klar, man hat die Ruhe, man ist nicht abhaengig von der oertlichen Szene, man hat die eigene mit und ruht in ihr. Man kann ganz man selber sein. Vier Stunden wie selbstverstaendlich, Musik ohne Probleme und Stars - von 50 Leuten machen 6 Musik. Tanzmusik, frei Klaenge, Musikgeschichte...
Die andere Wirklichkeit kennen sie aus eigener Erfahrung - sie haben sie mit gemacht: Die acid tests 1966 mit Ken Kesey. Die LSD-Erfahrungen zeigten die Scheinhaftigkeit der sichtbaren, sogenannten wirklichen Welt und liessen unsere wirkliche Funktion erahnen. Sie waren die eigentliche Revolution - innen.
"It has already happened. We're living after the fact. It's a post-revolutionary age. The change is over." Heute ist die Zeit nach der grossen Veraenderung.
"The rest of it is a clean-up action. Unfortunately it's very slow. Amazingly slow and amazingly difficult." Uns bleibt, all das praktisch zu klaeren, den alten Schutt wegzuraeumen. Das geht leider nur sehr langsam - erstaunlich langsam und ist erstaunlich schwierig.
Da ist der Name: Grateful Dead - Dankbare Tote. Auch das hoert man nun. Er stammt aus der nordirischen, schottischen Mythologie. Man stirbt, aber ist noch nicht fertig mit der Welt. Die Seele irrt koerperlos umher und macht ihre Erfahrungen, bis sie damit fertig ist - a grateful dead - nun ruhig, losgeloest von der Welt, der Taeuschung, Maya und wird wiedergeboren, gluecklich, in sich ruhend, einen Weg gehend in dieser Welt und ist doch mehr - das weiss sie nun.
Alte Seelen in jungen Koerpern - alter Wein in neuen Schlaeuchen.
So sehen sich die Dead innerhalb von uns allen: "We are all one organism, we are all the universe, we are all doing the same thing. That's the sort of thing that everybody knows..." - wir sind alle ein Organismus, wir sind alle das Universum, wir tun alle das Gleiche. Und das weiss im Grunde jeder...
Viel normalez, Beifall, klarer Beifall. Man hat verstanden. Das grosse Ereignis ist nicht mehr - Taeuschung. Man kam sich vor wie ein Schuljunge, der merkt, dass die Ohren nicht mehr gluehen.
Weniger? - Ja, weniger Schein, aber mehr Wahrheit.
Cosmic Conspiracy. Vertrauen in uns. So einfach kann es sein. Just keep on keeping on.

Zitate aus Rolling Stone No. 101 vom 3.2.72, Interview mit Jerry Garcia von Charles Reich und Jann Wenner 

Rainer Langhans 

May 14, 2022

May 5, 1972: Lille, France

MEETING WITH...GRATEFUL DEAD

The famous American band from the West Coast, "Grateful Dead" is currently on a two-month tour in Europe. This tour takes Jerry Garcia's band to Copenhagen, London, Munich, Amsterdam, Paris and Lille...
Yes, to Lille! Unprecedented event, one of the most endearing, most inventive American groups, will perform on Friday May 5, in the village hall of Faches-Thumesnil, in South Lille.
The Dead's family includes 50 people and 4.5 tons of material. And this time, in addition two mobile recording trucks. Because the group's concerts will be recorded for a "live" album of their European tour.
The Grateful Dead consists of seven musicians and hails from San Francisco. They have a large discography... [line missing] ...a personal music, which is sometimes linked to rock, to blues... We'll go into more detail next week about this group called "Grateful Dead."

*

GRATEFUL DEAD
May 5 at Faches-Thumesnil

The Grateful Dead have been scheduled to tour Europe for so long that this visit may seem suspicious to all those who have been waiting impatiently for them for several years.
But, it must be said that "the Dead" does not move easily: fifty people, four and a half tons of equipment, recording trucks and the trifle of eighteen million in transport costs to come from San Francisco! Still, they will be at the Faches-Thumesnil village hall on May 5th.
On stage there are seven: Bob Hunter, lyricist and singer; Keith Godchaux, pianist; Bob Weir, rhythm guitarist; Bill Kreutzmann, drums; Ron (Pig Pen) Mc Kernan, organist; Phil Lesh, bassist; and Jerry Garcia, lead guitar.
Grateful Dead is the biggest band in the United States. They're the only ones who can play it all: blues, rock, country western...
Last year, the Grateful Dead's seventh album went gold. This year, the 8th album is barely published that it also becomes a gold record and sells several million copies.
It is this group whose tours have moved hundreds of thousands of people, this group which has more than 200 titles in its repertoire, the best in the world on stage, whose ease and spontaneity are combined with the most swinging music, this group which will be in our region on Friday May 5th. The rental is open at Pop Shop, 4. rue des Ponts-de-comines, in Lille.
 
(date/paper unknown) 
 
Thanks to Dave Davis.  

May 13, 2022

April 7, 1972: Empire Pool, Wembley

DEAD MEN'S GRIP
 
 A Grateful Dead concert is an extraordinary experience. In recent rock history, one can remember flashes of brilliance and milestone moments, but nothing so gripping as the three hour marathon par excellence at the Empire Pool, Wembley, on Friday. 
Gathering inexorable momentum, the six patently alive musicians, on their first major British showing, carefully paced their output, occasionally rising in rhetorical force, never giving it all away. An essential difference in the basic approach of English and American musicians became pointedly apparent, namely the latter's skill in restraint and timing. Also worthy of note is their way of springing off the beat, and not crashing down stiffly. Simple as they sound, these attributes gave [the] Dead the power to swing at all times, lay back and sock home real excitement, without recourse to bludgeoning violence. 
Apart from the novelty of such a long performance, there were other aspects of the concert which helped to convince that here was one of the great bands, playing at a peak of creativity. Their ability to interpret, convincingly, country music, free improvisation, rock and blues, seemed in retrospect, truly astounding. 
Yet there was no blatant clashing of idioms. As one became absorbed in the complex interplay of "The Other Side," it was hard to recall that half an hour earlier we had been jigging to goodtime "Casey Jones." The styles merged, blended, became one music. 
Arriving late, it was impressive in itself to enter the cavernous gloom of the mighty Pool to find several thousand Dead freaks seated in serried ranks from wall to wall, the band already strumming quietly at the far end. It was like missing the first reel of an epic Biblical movie, and walking among fellow patrons already absorbed in the plot. 
Sound baffles hung like parachute silk from the roof and made a considerable difference to the acoustics. Throughout the concert, the band provided an object lesson in balance and volume level. Powerful without ever becoming painful, nobody missed having their ear drums punctured. 
Behind the band a huge screen displayed Joe's Lights, now sadly homeless following the demise of the Rainbow Theatre. Their inventive visuals proved a great boon when the band sunk from view behind those who insisted on standing up.
Above the diminutive figures on stage, towered a massive gantry supporting lights, speakers, screens, etc., on a mobile proscenium arch. The first half hour was deliberately low-keyed, and unexciting. It helped settle the audience and showed the Dead were going to play it their way. 
Occasional yells and shrieks rent the air between numbers, as per the "live" Dead album. The atmosphere was slowly charging with electricity. Tempos began to shift into higher gear as the country tunes gave way to an easy boogie. All the while, Jerry Garcia, moustached, amiable, brilliant, rocked his lead guitar in harmony with Bob Weir (second guitar), never flashy, but fast as quick silver. 
Around 8.45 pm dancing broke out at the rear of the hall and Pool attendants hustled them back to their seats. Donna Godchaux, wife of the pianist Keith, joined in for a few hot vocal choruses, and there came the first outbreak of cheering. The light show began to soup up, and it all became too much for one of the congregation, who began running at breakneck speed around the blocks of seats. Even plainclothes gents sniffing the air began to tap their feet. 
The Dead drove harder yet, and as the words of "Casey Jones" were flashed on screen, the crowd sang along. After the break at around 9.25 pm the Dead walked again, a quiet riot developing all around as fans stood up, then perched on seats to combat loss of vision. But dancers were left to stand somewhat awkwardly as "The Other Side" developed, a free blow that cleverly built a floating, out-of-time mesh of sound, one of the most interesting sequences during the entire rockathon. 
The drum sound was surprisingly good in view of the size of the place, and the cymbals cut through even as far back as my seat, about five omnibus lengths from the stage. At about 9.45 pm the music was becoming ghostly, tragic, almost macabre, when suddenly - they were back to 4/4 and rockin'. 
At 10.30 pm I saw men jump in the air and hug each other. Still there were more surprises. At 10.36 the Stones' classic "Not Fade Away" paved the way for "Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad," and stamping feet kicked up clouds of dust that could not stifle lusty throats cheering Grateful Dead to the echo. An encore? Mals certainment. "One More Saturday Night" was duly supplied - "our next single." There was no need for another encore. We were sated. 
As the hall cleared, a few hundred lucky customers, clutching identifying pieces of paper, fought their way into a party for the group, where the mighty musicians took their ease, seemingly unperturbed by the mayhem around them. 
Said Jerry Garcia, eyeing sandwiches and beer with a benevolent gaze: "We play longer sets than that in the States. It takes us a while to loosen up." 

(by Chris Welch, from Melody Maker, April 15, 1972)

*

The Dead made it at last! Friday evening at the London Wembley Pool saw the culmination of the hopes of thousands when the Grateful Dead finally took the stage after months of false hopes as to their coming. The concert was to start at 7 p.m. As there is usually a warm up band playing for a couple of hours, many did not turn up until nearer nine. 
By then, the Dead had been onstage for an hour and a half. They did the entire concert themselves, stopping for a 10-minute break at 9 p.m. By the interval, the stadium was full and the atmosphere was at fever pitch. 
The band won their audience song by song. They opened with pianist Keith Godchaux's wife Donna helping with the vocals. Garcia stayed fairly much to the background as Bob Weir carried most of the singing. "Big Boss Man" was the first well-known song they hit with - Pigpen coming out from behind the seclusion of the organ to play harmonica. 
The sound was turned up after a while, although the acoustics were already almost perfect. Huge pillow-slip affairs had been hung from the room to baffle the sound. "Me And My Uncle" - a track for the double Dead album - misfired slightly as there seemed to be some confusion between Garcia and Phil Lesh, but they picked it up again. They really broke the wall when they began "Playing In The Band." 
All of the audience which wasn't actually penned in the sides of the Pool, came forward to the front and crowded the aisles. Those at the back who couldn't see, stood on chairs, and eventually everyone was on their feet. But "Casey Jones" topped the lot, it was easily the most popular song they did, and the words were flashed up on the light show screen behind the band so that everyone could sing along. 
The second half proved to be more of an instrumental show rather than the first, which was a straight run through of about 15 numbers. They intermingled three or four songs, including "Spanish Lady" which had some words, and achieved quite a science fiction sound to their music. 
Everyone who had been clamouring at the front, was awed into silence during this rather doomy set, and when they broke back into rock and roll, the relief was apparent. 
The rock and roll numbers really went down better than their other stuff, and they actually did "Not Fade Away" twice, with another number in the middle. They slipped from song to song often without announcement and certainly without the fuss and tuning up so prevalent among lesser bands. 
Many of the songs came from the double album - "Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad" and others already mentioned - and "The Same Thing" which is an old track just released again on "Historic Dead." 
At the end, there was a long pause while they decided what to do as an encore and the audience was going mad. They'd already been asked to move back from the front of the stage because of the pressure the Pool officials were putting on the band - fire hazards, etc. - and Lesh had announced, "You'd better go back, the cops in the front don't have room to dance!" 
Eventually they came out and played Bob Weir's new "solo" single "One More Saturday Night" which has the Dead and some of the New Riders of the Purple Sage on it. Donna Godchaux came out at the end - she also sings with the New Riders - and finished the last, great, rock and roll set. 

(by Rosalind Russell, from Disc & Music Echo) 


It might have been the place, it might have been that I just wasn't close enough to the stage, or it might just have been the way I was feeling (quite likely a combination of all three), but I didn't come away from the Grateful Dead's first night at the Empire Pool Wembley on Friday with anything like the sense of elation and satisfaction that I'd anticipated. 
Primed by the excellence of their records and their reputation as one of the best, if not THE best live band in America, I was disappointed to find that a lot of what they played sounded a bit scrappy and untogether - almost tired. There were some moments of great beauty, but I found their 3-hour-plus set decidedly patchy and the musicians - with the possible exception of Jerry Garcia, rather erratic. It wasn't what they played, it was the way they played. 
It was strange, but for a lot of the first half, they played like a support band, and when they played the beautiful "Sugar Magnolia" in the second set, it was like a cover version. You knew perfectly well how it could have sounded, but it didn't. 
The yawning cavern of the Empire Pool didn't help at all - it must be incredible difficult to set up any kind of general warmth and atmosphere in a place like that - though I felt that if I'd been right at the front - physically closer to the band - I would have found it a lot easier to feel involved in what was happening. Beyond the first few rows, something was lost. But there were some excellent moments - many from the guitar work of Jerry Garcia, and there was one section, soon after they loosened into the second half, where they got into creating shapes rather than playing lines, in a really effective way. Bill Kreutzman's drumming was pretty solid throughout, and there was a nice surprise in Donna Godchaux's singing. I'm glad I saw the Dead after all this time, but I'm sure I'd enjoy them more in a more relaxed and open environment. Maybe Bickershaw will provide that - then we'll all have more room to breathe. 

(by Steve Peacock, from Sounds)


Thanks to Simon Phillips. 

See also: 

May 12, 2022

May 1972: Dead Recap

 THE CULT OF THE DEAD
 
 Faster than a speeding speed freak...more powerful than their 16-track recordings...able to leap tall speakers with a single bound...look...up on the stage - it's a gang of freaks...no it's a psychedelic movie...no...it's the Grateful Dead. 
To their legions of cultists, the Grateful Dead is not just another electrified rock group. Keith Godchaux, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutman, Bob (Pigpen) McKernan, Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia, cumulatively the Grateful Dead, represent music carried into a world without time or space, the ultimate trip of an ever-present electric consciousness. 
To the Dead, a concert isn't a concert - it's a "turn-on." Judging from their recent turn-on at Frankfurt-Hoechst's Jahrhunderthalle, not only were they turned on, but the audience was turned on and tuned in to their brand of cosmic rock. 
The Dead began their musical conversation with a soft, folk-oriented set, shifting then to country and rock-styled country standards. 
Leading the audience through the world of rock, they finally arrive at the total unity of the evening as they launch into a forty-minute version of "Saint Stephen." 
 
The San Francisco-based group got its start in 1964 when Garcia, McKernan, and Weir met in a music and record store in Palo Alto, Calif. and formed Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, a country bluegrass group. 
Mother McCree couldn't get any jobs so they decided to go electric rock. The music store owner loaned them equipment and played bass guitar in the group, which was then joined by drummer Bill Kreutzman. The Dead, known then as Warlock, did fairly well in bars and clubs, and then discovered that another California band was also using the name Warlock. 
Rhythm guitarist Bob Weir describes how the group came up with their present name: "We decided to thumb through the Oxford Dictionary, so Jerry got up and walked over and spun the dictionary, stuck his finger in, and came out with the grateful dead. 
"It's an ethnological term, it has to do with a guy named Childs who went around and catalogued a lot of folk ballads from Northern Ireland and Scotland back before the turn of the century. There was a whole section that he did on what were the Grateful Dead ballads, the Grateful Dead ballads being visitations and stuff like that, generally having to do with people that had died and come back and been kind of glad." 
Bearded lead guitarist Jerry Garcia explained further: "Let's see, the classic story is the one where somebody dies, but there's some dishonor connected with the death, so they can't really rest until the matter is settled, and then when it is settled that puts them in the category of being Grateful Dead. It's just what it sounds like...Grateful Dead." 
 
Red-haired pianist Godchaux joined the Dead after jamming with Garcia in several small clubs in the San Francisco area. Godchaux' wife, Donna, helps out with the group's vocals and according to Weir, "is being worked into the group more and more." 
Bassist Phil Lesh is the only member of the Dead who has a classical background. Lesh was a child prodigy on the violin and later a Stan Kenton-style jazz trumpeter and arranger. In the mid-60s Lesh was working as a part-time engineer at radio station KPFA while he was composing twelve-tone electronic music. 
Garcia talked him into joining the group and says of the lanky ex-prodigy, "Phil has absolute pitch and this vast store of musical knowledge, just the complete classical music education." 
 
During this period, the group was living in La Honda, Calif., a block down the street from Stanford University resident writer Ken Kesey, who at the time was engaged in government-sponsored research into LSD. 
As Tom Wolfe said in his book, "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," recounting those days, "The Dead got on the bus, made that irrevocable decision that the only place to go was further into the land of infinite recession that acid opened up. They were true explorers. They decided to cross the great waters and bring back the news from the other side." 
Much of the book, which recites the adventures of the Dead, Kesey, and his band of "pranksters" during their six-month long tour of the United States in the first psychedelic school bus, is "erroneous," according to Weir. 
During an acid test, the Dead would play a gig in a rented hall while the pranksters created light shows. Everyone - audience, band, pranksters - were on LSD and the point of the test was to see what happened. 
Garcia has described those days as "a tapestry, a mandala - it was whatever you made it. When it was moving right, you could dig that there was something that it was getting toward, something like ordered chaos. The test would start off and then there would be chaos. Everybody would be high and flashing and going through insane changes during which everything would be demolished, man, and spilled and broken and affected...just people being there, and being responsive." 
"It wasn't a gig, it was The Acid Test where anything was okay. Thousands of people, man, all helplessly stoned, all finding themselves in a room full of other thousands of people, none of whom any of them were afraid of. It was magic, far out, beautiful magic." 
 
The Acid Tests stopped in the spring of 1966 when Kesey escaped the narcotics squad by tripping to Mexico. In June, the Grateful Dead moved into 710 Ashbury in the center of San Francisco's famed Haight district. 
"Happy families are all alike," said Tolstoy, but the happy family at 710 Ashbury was so different that they became an institution to the burgeoning hippie community. The Dead gave free concerts which gave rise to their reputation as a "people's band." 
That same year, the group signed with Warner Brothers records and their first album, "The Grateful Dead" was released. 
The album, their straightest musically, proved unsuccessful although several of the numbers, "Beat It On Down The Line," "Good Mornin' Little Girl," and "Morning Dew," are now Dead classics. 
Their next album, "Anthem of the Sun," released in 1968 was recorded in four studios and at 18 live performances. The album contains "Alligator," which has become, more than any other, the group's theme song. 
 
The Grateful Dead was busted for possession of marijuana during narcotics raids in 1967 and again in 1970. 
After the 1970 bust in New Orleans, the group returned to San Francisco and recorded "Workingman's Dead." As a promotion for the album, the Dead joined Janis Joplin, Big Brother, Ian and Sylvia, The Band, and Bonnie and Delaney for a concert tour across Canada by train. This vast assemblage of rock talent managed to play only three halls and the trip has been recorded in rock annals as the biggest rock-and-roll drunk of all times. 
But 1972 promises to be "The Year of the Grateful Dead," Their latest live double-album "Grateful Dead" earned the group its first gold record and they're in the middle of a sell-out European tour. 
The Dead will perform at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw May 10. The following evening the Dead will appear at Rotterdam's Civic Hall. 
The Deutsches Museum in Munich will be the scene of a May 18 concert, followed by a three-day engagement at London's Rainbow Theatre May 26-28.
A solo album by Garcia was released this January, and Weir and Pigpen are also working on solo albums. 
 
Songwriter Bob Hunter has been with Garcia since 1960 when both were released from the Army. 
"When Hunter first started writing words for us," Garcia explained, "originally he was a poet. He was into that magical thing with words, definitely far-out, definitely amazing. The early stuff he wrote that we tried to set to music was stiff because it wasn't really meant to be sung. After he got further and further into it, his craft improved..." 
Bob Hunter's words and the music of the Grateful Dead, cosmic, mind-blowing electrified rock, have become part of the common language of young people today from Berlin to Berkeley.

(by Cal Posner, from Stars and Stripes, May 9, 1972) 

Thanks to Dave Davis.

May 10, 2022

May 10, 1972: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands

 GRATEFUL DEAD MUSICALLY OVERRATED

AMSTERDAM, 12 MAY - The American pop group The Grateful Dead, which had two long concerts on Wednesday and Thursday evenings in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Rotterdam Doelen, cannot live up to its reputation on all fronts.
The rock group from San Francisco, which was highly regarded in America during the so-called psychedelic era (around 1965), performed for the first time in the Netherlands on Wednesday evening in a sold-out Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
Although musically the group is somewhat overrated here, in technological terms the Americans completely surpassed all previous pop groups. A sound system stacked towering high and wall-wide turned out to be excellently tuned to the hall. With flawlessly functioning lighting equipment, even of a king-sized format, the group was sprayed with refinement with bright hues and twilight mists. A multitude of vapors and smells emanating from a massive smoking crowd seemed entirely in style with the colorful spectacle.
Despite the more than four hours (!) that were allotted for the concert, The Grateful Dead remained musically below expectations, even though the six Americans turned out to be a close music-making unit with their broad repertoire in songs such as "Not fade away" by The Rolling Stones, "El Paso" by Marty Robbins, and "Me and Bobby McGee" by Kris Kristofferson.
Although the group was definitely stronger vocally than instrumentally, there were really no spectacular moments. The Grateful Dead resembled an Ajax playing in width that couldn't deliver deep passes. Jerry Garcia, who is noted in America as a star guitarist, did not come to any heartwarming, decisive actions despite a lot of solo dribbling.
The sparse interesting sounds were most evident in organist Ron McKernan's harmonica playing and Keith Godchaud's honky-tonk strikes on piano.

(by Peter de Vries, from NRC Handelsblad, May 12, 1972)

* * *

DOUBLE CONCERT BY GRATEFUL DEAD

The Dead gave an exceptionally atmospheric and lengthy concert in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening. A sold-out Concertgebouw was already enthusiastic from the first tones and for about one hour they clapped for an encore, persistently but in vain.
Grateful Dead built up the mood with ease in the hours they were on stage. Getting easier, after we were plagued at first with a not-too-good adjustment of the knobs; until the intermission mainly with short songs, then with more decoration and solo work. The construction is completed with a smoky, vague lighting in which the group feels at home.
They play in a relaxed manner through an almost endless repertoire of old, new and borrowed songs. Jerry Garcia stays pretty much in the background, leaving most of the singing to rhythm guitarist Bob Weir. 'Pigpen' is behind his organ doing a lot of other things and comes out from behind it to blow blues on harmonica. Most of the time they stick to their acid rock, a pretty solid kind of flower music. They still hark back to San Francisco's beautiful past.
With the fast pace at which things are finished and the craftsmanship of the Dead and possibly above all the pleasant mood in which everything takes place, the hours fly by unnoticed. From that point of view, the concert is a complete success. Friendly, relaxed and unpretentious. With highlights, lesser parts and stuffing, like double LPs often owe their four sides to friendly people who don't think only the best songs are good enough. That's a kind of friendliness that can be felt a lot at times, as well as for open-air Dead concerts. Concertgebouw plush leaves too little room for the knees, in the long run.

(by Rob Bishoff, from De Waarheid, May 12, 1972) 


Thanks to Dave Davis. 




*******************************
 

The original Dutch articles....

GRATEFUL DEAD MUZIKAAL OVERSCHAT

AMSTERDAM, 12 MEI - De Amerikaanse popgroep The Grateful Dead heeft met twee lange concerten woensdag - en donderdagavond in resp. het Amsterdamse Concertgebouw en de Rotterdamse Doelen haar reputatie niet op alle fronten kunnen waarmaken.
De tijdens het zg. psychedelische tijdperk (rond 1965) in Amerika hoogst aangeschreven rockgroep uit San Francisco trad woensdagavond in een uitverkocht Amsterdams Concertgebouw voor het eerst in Nederland op.
Wellicht dat de groep muzikaal hier enigszins wordt overschat, in technologisch opzicht overtroefden de Amerikanen alle voorgaande popgroepen geheel. Een torenhoog en muurbreed gestapelde geluidsinstallatie bleek voortreffelijk te zijn afgestemd op de zaal. Met feilloos werkende lichtapparatuur, ook al van king size-formaat, werd de groep geraffineerd met felle tinten en schemerachtige nevels besproeid. Een veelheid van dampen en geuren die ult een massaal rokend publiek opstegen leken geheel in stijl met het kleurige schouwspel.
Ondanks de ruim vier uur (!) die voor het concert werd uitgetrokken bleef The Grateful Dead muzikaal beneden verwachting, ook al ontpopten de zes Amerikanen zich met hun brede repertoire als een hecht musicerende eenheid in nummers als "Not fade away" van The Rolling Stones, "El Paso" van Marty Robbins en "Me and Bobby McGee" van Kris Kristofferson.
Hoewel de groep vocaal bepaald sterker dan instrumentaal op dreef was, ontbraken echt spectaculaire momenten. The Grateful Dead leek op een in de breedte spelend Ajax dat maar geen dieptepasses kon afgeven. Ook de in Amerika als ster-gitarist genoteerde Jerry Garcia kwam ondanks veel solistisch gedribbel niet tot hartverwarmende, beslissende acties.
De spaarzame interessante geluiden kwamen nog het meest naar voren in het mondharmonicaspel van organist Ron McKernan en de honky-tonk-aanslagen van Keith Godchaud op piano.

(door Peter de Vries, NRC Handelsblad, May 12, 1972)

* * *

DUBBELCONCERT VAN GRATEFUL DEAD

De Dead heeft woensdagavond in Amsterdam een buitengewoon sfeervol en langdurig concert gegeven. Een uitverkocht Concertgebouw was al enthousiast bij de eerste tonen en over enen werd nog, volhardend maar vergeefs, om een toegift geklapt.
Grateful Dead bouwde in de uren dat ze op het podium stonden met gemak de stemming op. Steeds makkelijker, nadat we de eerste tijd geplaagd waren door een niet te beste afstelling van de knoppen; tot de pauze voornamelijk met korte nummers, daarna met meer versiering en solowerk. Het bouwwerk wordt afgerond met een rokerige, vage belichting waarin de groep zich thuisvoelt.
Ontspannen spelen ze zich door een schier eindeloos repertoir oude, nieuwe en van anderen geleende nummers heen. Jerry Garcia blijft tamelijk op de achtergrond, laat het meeste zingen over aan slaggitarist Bob Weir. 'Pigpen' zit achter z'n orgel een boel andere dingen te doen en komt er achter vandaan om blues te blazen op harmonica. Het meeste houden ze zich bij hun acid-rock, een vrij stevig soort bloemetjes-muziek. Nog altijd grijpen ze terug naar het mooie verleden van San Francisco.
Met het hoge tempo waarin een en ander afgewerkt wordt en 't vakmanschap van de Dead en mogelijk voor alles nog de genoeglijke stemming waar alles zich in voltrekt vlieden de uren ongemerkt heen. Uit dat oogpunt is het concert volledig geslaagd. Vriendelijk, ontspannen en met weinig pretenties. Met hoogtepunten, mindere delen en vulling, zoals dubbel-elpees hun vier kanten nogal eens danken aan vriendelijke mensen die niet alleen de beste nummers goed genoeg vinden. Dat is een soort vriendelijkheid waar bij tijden veel voor te voelen is, evenals voor Dead-concerten in de open lucht. Concertgebouwpluche laat te weinig ruimte voor de knieen, op de langere duur.

(Rob Bishoff, De waarheid, May 12, 1972)

Apr 30, 2022

April 29, 1972: Musikhalle, Hamburg, West Germany

 GRATEFUL DEAD IN HAMBURG

Anyone who reads the relevant English press from time to time already knew a few months ago that the Grateful Dead were going to tour England. And one or the other harbored the silent hope that the Dead would perhaps extend their English tour to a European tour and even stop in Germany a few times, but at least once in Frankfurt. Unfortunately, it seems to be the norm that the big American bands only give one concert in Frankfurt, most recently the Steve Miller Band, Manassas, or Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band, and soon Rita Coolidge, Kris Kristoffersson and Joni Mitchell. Well, not quite so with the Grateful Dead. After all, they gave three concerts in Germany at the end of April, namely in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Hamburg; on May 18th they will still be in Munich, and on May 27th those who couldn't see the Dead in concert will be able to see them at the Beat Club.
But now to the concert in Hamburg. The Music Hall at Karl-Muck-Platz was almost sold out. At 8:00 p.m. the bell rang for the third time, which meant: everyone in your seats. So there I sat and waited for the band that I had always wanted to see and hear "live". Ten minutes later the Grateful Dead appeared on stage: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Keith Godcheaux, Pigpen, and Donna Godcheaux. To get straight to the point, Mrs. Godcheaux was only used on a few tracks.
In the beginning, Jerry Garcia and his men played a lot of little songs which weren't exactly outstanding, and people clapped for the sake of decency, after all they were the great Grateful Dead, what else could you do. The audience didn't know what to do with the music. Many probably only knew the Grateful Dead by name and associated with the term Grateful Dead: Hippie Communes, Freaks, Rock'n Roll, Happenings, or the devil knows what; but that they now played strongly Country & Western inspired music, to which you could just about tap the beat with two fingers, you wouldn't have expected that. It was actually like that, for those who didn't know the Dead, the first 90 minutes were boring, the first track sounded like the last. And then Bob Weir announced the next track: St. Stephen. Many knew the piece well, because shouts of bravo and applause could be heard from everywhere. It was only after almost two hours that it was worth listening more intensively, St. Stephen was the beginning. Jerry Garcia played one of his unique guitar solos. Jerry pulled everyone under his spell, his fellow players and the audience. After the final chord, everyone clapped their hands enthusiastically. The intensity of the applause rose many times.
After that, the Dead took a little break. They had given the audience a little taste of what was to come with St. Stephen.
After ten minutes they were back. They were playing faster and faster pieces now. Satisfied, the audience nodded and sometimes clapped their hands to the beat. Eventually "Know You Rider" came along with beautiful vocal arrangements and instrumental passages. At this point I would like to particularly mention the pianist Keith Godcheaux, who handled his piano like Nicky Hopkins, he played the typical honky tonk sound you can hear in any village pub in western America.
A blues piece followed, Jerry Garcia played an A1 blues solo. But the band didn't let anyone forget that they were on stage, the typical Grateful Dead style was unmistakable. Pigpen got up from his organ, which was hardly heard anyway, and stood at the microphone. His singing showed very clearly that he grew up with the blues. Now it was the turn of Rock'n Roll. The piece was called "Good Lovin". Maybe someone still knows the piece. The Young Rascals once had a big hit with it. The Dead used "Good Lovin" as the framework for a Rock'n Roll medley. In the middle you could hear some classic Rock'n Roll melodies. The audience was 100 percent satisfied. "It's a good thing I stayed," everyone thought. Some people cried out for the better-known Dead songs "Dark Star", "Turn on your love light", and "Death don't have no mercy." Well, the Dead felt persuaded to play "Dark Star." They obviously enjoyed playing this piece very much. Everyone improvised off the top of their head. No one stuck to a particular rhythm or beat or even to a harmony. It turned into musical chaos. The audience was slain in their seats. It was like a trip into outer space. After 30 minutes "Dark Star" was over. The audience could hardly calm down. A modest "Thank you" was heard from the stage.
Two or three more pieces followed, which proved once again how well the individual group members are attuned to one another. They've known each other for a number of years, so it's no wonder. But unfortunately you don't see that very often. In the English trade press, terms like "relaxed" and "together" will certainly be read more than once.
Shortly after midnight the Dead left the stage. The audience stood almost as one on the velvet armchairs and yelled for an encore. But it wasn't until a few minutes later when the light in the hall went on again and the roadies started dismantling the system that you knew that the Dead wouldn't be coming back. They were probably at the end of their physical strength. After all, they had played four full hours.

(by Wilfried Lilie, from Flash #12, July 1972)


Thanks to Dave Davis. 

* * * 

The original German article (pardon the lack of umlauts) -- 

GRATEFUL DEAD IN HAMBURG

Wer ab und zu die einschlaegige englische Presse liest, der wusste schon vor einigen Monaten, dass die Grateful Dead eine England-Tournee unternehmen wuerden. Und der eine oder andere hegte die stille Hoffnung, dass die Dead vielleicht ihre England-Tournee auf eine Europa-Tournee ausweiten wuerden und dabei sogar ein paarmal in Deutschland halt machen wuerden, zumindest aber einmal in Frankfurt. Es scheint leider Gottes ueblich zu sein, dass die grossen amerikanischen Bands nur immer ein Konzert in Frankfurt geben, zuletzt die Steve Miller Band, Manassas oder Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band und demnachst Rita Coolidge, Kris Kristoffersson und Joni Mitchell. Nun ja, nicht ganz so bei den Grateful Dead. Sie gaben Ende April immerhin drei Konzerte in Deutschland, namlich in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt und Hamburg, am 18. Mai werden sie dann noch in Munchen sein, und am 27. Mai werden diejenigen, die die Dead nicht im Konzert erleben konnten, sie im Beat-Club sehen koennen.
Aber jetzt zum Konzert in Hamburg. Die Musikhalle am Karl-Muck-Platz war nahezu ausverkauft. Um 20.00 Uhr klingelte es zum dritten Mal, das bedeutete: Alles auf die Plaetze. Da sass ich denn nun und wartete auf die Band, die ich schon immer gern "live" sehen und hoeren wollte. Zehn Minuten spaeter erschienen die Grateful Dead auf der Buehne: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Keith Godcheaux, Pigpen und Donna Godcheaux. Um es gleich vorweg zu nehmen, Mrs. Godcheaux wurde nur bei einigen wenigen Stuecken eingesetzt.
Anfangs spielten Jerry Garcia und seine Mannen viele kleine Liedchen, die nicht gerade ueberragend waren und man klatschte anstandshalber, es waren schiesslich die grossen Grateful Dead, was sollte man auch anderes machen. Das Publikum wusste nichts Rechtes mit der Musik anzufangen. Viele kannten die Grateful Dead wohl nur vom Namen her und assoziierten mit dem Begriff Grateful Dead: Hippie-Kommune, Freaks, Rock'n Roll, Happening oder weiss der Teufel was, aber dass sie nun stark Country & Western inspirierte Musik spielten, zu der man gerade so mit zwei Fingern den Takt mitklopfen konnte, das hatte man nicht erwartet. Es war tatsaechlich so, wer die Dead nicht kannte, fuer den waren die ersten 90 Minuten langweilig, das erste Stueck klang wie das letzte. Und dann sagte Bob Weir das naechste Stueck an: St. Stephen. Viele kannten das Stueck wohl, denn von ueberhall her hoerte man Bravo-Rufe und Applaus. Erst nach knapp zwei Stunden lohnte es sich, einmal intensiver zuzuhoeren, St. Stephen war der Anfang. Jerry Garcia spielte eins seiner einzigartigen Gitarrensoli. Jerry riss alle in seinen Bann, seine Mitspieler und das Publikum. Nach dem Schlussakkord klatschte alles begeistert in die Haende. Die Intensitaet des Beifalls stieg um ein Vielfaches.
Danach machten die Dead eine kleine Pause. Sie hatten den Publikum mit St. Stephen einem kleinen Vorgeschmack auf das gegeben, was nun folgen sollte.
Nach zehn Minuten waren sie wieder da. Sie spielten jetzt immer schnellere Stuecke. Zufrieden nickte das Publikum und klatschte auch mal mit den Haenden den Takt mit. Irgendwann kam "Know You Rider" mit schoenen Vocal-Arrangements und Instrumental-Passagen. Besonders erwaehnen moechte ich an dieser Stelle den Pianisten Keith Godcheaux, der sein Piano bearbeitet wie Nicky Hopkins, er spielte den typischen Honky-Tonk-Sound, wie man ihn in jeder Dorfkneipe im Westen Amerikas hoeren kann.
Es folgte ein Blues-Stueck, Jerry Garcia spielte ein la-Blues-Solo. Die Band liess aber nicht vergessen, dass sie auf der Buehne Der typische Grateful Dead-Stil war unueberhoerbar. Pigpen erhob sich von seiner Orgel, die man sowieso kaum hoerte, und stellte sich ans Mikrophon. Sein Gesang liess ganz deutlich erkennen, dass er mit dem Blues gross geworden ist. Nun war der Rock'n Roll an der Reihe. "Good Lovin" hiess das Stuecke. Vielleicht kennt jemand das Stueck noch. Die Young Rascals hatten damit einmal einen grossen Hit. Die Dead benutzten "Good Lovin" als Rahmen fuer ein Rock'n Roll Medley. Mittendrin hoerte man dann kurz einige klassische Rock'n Roll Melodien. Das Publikum war 100prozentig zufrieden. "Man gut, dass ich noch geblieben bin," dachte sich jeder. Einige Leute schrien nach den bekannteren Dead-Songs "Dark Star," "Turn on your love light" und "Death don't have no mercy." Nun gut, die Dead fuehlten sich ueberredet, sie spielten "Dark Star." Sie spielten dies Stueck offenbar sehr gern. Jeder improvisierte frei von der Leber weg. Keiner hielt sich an einen bestimmten Rhythmus oder Takt oder gar an eine Harmonie. Es wurde zu einem musikalischen Chaos. Das Publikum hing erschlagen in den Raengen. Es war wie ein Trip in den Weltraum. Nach 30 Minuten war "Dark Star" beendet. Das Publikum konnte sich kaum beruhigen. Bescheiden hoerte man von der Buehne ein "Thank you".
Es folgten noch zwei oder drei Stuecke, die noch einmal bewiesen, wie gut die einzelnen Gruppenmitglieder aufeinander eingespielt sind. Sie kennen sich ja auch schon etliche Jahre, kein Wunder also. Aber so etwas trifft man leider nicht allzu oft. In der englischen Fachpresse wird man Begriffe wie "relaxed" und "together" bestimmt mehrmals lesen koennen.
Kurz nach Mitternacht verliessen die Dead die Buehne. Das Publikum stand nahezu geschlossen auf den samtbezogenen Sesseln und schrie nach einer Zugabe. Aber erst als nach einigen Minuten das Licht in der Halle wieder anging und die Roadies anfingen die Anlage abzubauen, da wusste man, dass die Dead nicht wiederkommen wuerden. Sie waren wohl am Ende ihrer physischen Kraefte. Sie hatten schiesslich vier volle Stunden gespielt.
WILFRIED LILIE

Apr 29, 2022

April 1972: the Dead arrive in London

PLAYING IN THE BAND
 
For the second time in the last two years, psychedelia's number one band, the Grateful Dead, have come to Europe to play for their fast increasing legions of devotees both here and on the Continent. Two years ago the Hollywood Festival appearance was a let-down for them, but not for the five hundred or so who trekked up to Staffordshire to see a band that were already a legend. Today the Dead are fresh from two sell-out extravaganzas at the Wembley Pool and with their last three albums have upped their appeal to that of 'a really big band.' Danae Brook, a longtime friend of the band, takes a look at the Dead of the old days in San Francisco, and of today.
 
Well the Grateful Dead are here. Mythic mystical revolving crystal globe from the history of psychedelic rock. Purveyors of energy through lapsed time. Mothers of invention surrounded by children. The Grateful Dead must have hovered in the minds of many English people confronted by the paradox of their simply chosen name - Garcia opened a dictionary one day and there sat Grateful Dead in perfect juxtaposition on the page. The two words stayed not only with the band, but with those who have tuned in to their music at any junction over the past seven years, or those who once upon a long time ago took the fearsome acid trail and found out not to be afraid of the unknown. 
The Dead were into acid before it became illegal. In 1965, Bob Hunter, the Dead's songwriter, and Ken Kesey, writer friend of Garcia, later to become leader of the Merry Pranksters and instigator of the Acid Tests, sampled l.s.d. under hospital guidance. 'They gave Hunter acid, psylocibin, and mescalin and put him in a little white room to watch,' says Garcia. The same thing happened to Kesey. 'They paid him to get stoned,' Pigpen remarks. Which started the pursuit of psychedelics, the Merry Pranksters, the Acid Tests where dances were held at the Family Dog, with the Dead's music and two bowls of punch set side by side, one spiked with l.s.d., one not; there were the Mime Troupe benefits, the Trips Festival, the Dead taking over the empty Carousel Ballroom for party nights and good times, the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury the street where the first freaks lived on love dope discovery and not much else because the time was right, the sun was hot, beautiful Golden Gate Park stretched to the ocean, and through it all the Dead's music swelled and grew with each new adventure. After that came the Monterey Festival where San Francisco's sound was heard for the  [line missing]  pretty soon the San Francisco hippies were legendary, the Dead among them. 
So we have a skeleton hung in the cupboard of English minds, but only briefly, at Newcastle two years ago, brought out and dusted in public here. But this Easter Sunday saw the arrival at London Airport of forty-five of the Grateful Dead family, and on April 7th and 8th they filled an ice-pool with liquid fire. 
Each of their two Wembley concerts lasted four hours and packed in an 8,000 capacity audience. Considering the obstacles hurled in their path, it is amazing they arrived at all, let alone filled Wembley at ten days' notice.  
 
The journey here has a tangled history we have come to expect from this band. So many rumours in the past few years of their advent here, which have come to nothing. Most disappointing of all was their failure to show up at the Glastonbury Festival last year. 
'Don't know why we didn't make it,' Garcia says now. 'It just wasn't right at the time.' But they are much interested in energy centres of the earth and the ley lines, and not only plan to visit Glastonbury when they come back to England after their European tour ends in the last week of May, but may also record a side of the double L.P., to be put out as a benefit for Glastonbury. 
'So far we haven't gotten round to cracking Europe,' said Bob Weir when they arrived in London. 'But now we've finally made it! We're bringing everybody because it seemed like the thing to do. It makes it like a party going through Europe rather than a working tour.' 
But even this time it was hard to get it on. First tour manager Sam Cutler, ex-roadie to the Rolling Stones, came over to smooth the way and set up gigs. He arranged a deal with producer John Morris for the band to play four nights at the Rainbow. Morris set up meetings with the European promoters, Cutler made a lightning tour of six countries - Germany, Denmark, France, Holland, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, returned with details to San Francisco, and sent back word that the band was ready to go. Then the Rainbow collapses under dire financial strain. Impossible to find a way round the situation, so Morris suggests the Hammersmith Commodore, a pretty art-deco theatre that holds 2,200 and is used as a Bingo hall. The band is about to leave for New York. The family road trip has begun. They say yes. However neighbouring residents in Hammersmith get wind of proceedings and fearing for their sleep, put a council damper on those plans. By now the band is playing the Academy of Music in New York. Only alternatives are afternoons at the Lyceum and a night at the Roundhouse (which won't appeal to the roadies who have over 7 tons of equipment to move), or the marathon effort of Wembley's 8,000 capacity pool for two nights. At least there is time to set up at Wembley. Rock Scully, one of the Dead's managers and oldest of friends from Haight days and the Diggers, arrives to check it out. He gives the okay. There are only ten days left to performance time, with slothful Easter weekend falling in the middle. But Scully's arrival made it all real, and released a shock of energy that built and built until Wembley was hung with parachute silk and the band turned on 16,000 curious British Deadheads. 
Two years ago, on their one other visit to England, they played the Hollywood Festival at Newcastle-under-Lyme on a day of bluebell brightness. They say they didn't get off playing there, and were disappointed in the audience reaction. As musicians their dependence on audience feedback is marked. They set up a vibration and to get high themselves like to feel it come back. To me the Hollywood audience seemed very enthusiastic. But then I'm used to English undemonstrativeness and Americans aren't. It was a three hour set and at the end it seemed a whole field of waving bodies would deluge the stage. They smile at their disappointment now, because Wembley amazed them: 'It's the same as at home,' said Garcia in delight. 
When they arrived in London, most of the old ladies were still blown out by [the] reaction to their band in New York. It seems they caused near riot. Every night the audience knew the words of all the songs, it was impossible to keep the stage clear, and, which is new to them, members of the band were stopped in the street confronted by autograph books and 'hey man!' wherever they turned.
'I guess the Grateful Dead is a big band now,' said Susila, wife of drummer Bill Kreutzman. 'It's surprised us all!' 
 
But if they weren't a big band they wouldn't have enough money to take 45 people on a tour of Europe. 
'This is what we do when we're rich,' smiles Garcia. And not long ago they were broke. Their manager, father of ex-drummer Micky Hart, dipped his hands in the till so deftly that it left the Grateful Dead thousands of dollars in debt. It is only in the past year that things have eased up enough financially for them to take a holiday, take on another musician (Keith Godschaux the pianist joined them last summer), and bring the family on tour. 
It is not only financial reasons which make it an unusual event for all the old ladies to be on the road. It is also because they have children. Susila and Bill Kreutzman have a son, Justin; Garcia and Mountain Girl have a two year old daughter, Annabel, and raise Sunshine, Kesey and Mountain Girl's daughter. This time the kids have been left with friends and the few members of the family left behind to cope with the office in California. Ramrod, the Dead's quippie who used to be a Merry Prankster along with Mountain Girl and was busted with Kesey in Mexico, is the only one to bring a child, and that's because his son is at the manageable six month stage. 
They have two sleek coaches to take them through Europe. One coach has a small kitchen in the rear with facilities to brew coffee, store glasses, and keep coke cold. The other has a lavatory and a bilingual Danish driver who speaks no English. Journeys are made as comfortable as possible by stocking up with musical instruments, cards, food, books, plastic masks, and drinks. 
Seven tons of equipment goes in trucks, while the ten quippies ride on the bus. Reason for the large crew is that Bob Mathews, who runs Alembic studios, the Dead's recording outfit, has brought all the equipment necessary for 16-track recording of performances. So there are his people as well as the Dead's own equipment handlers. The office too, is on the road, including road manager Sam Cutler, managers Rock Scully and Jon MacIntyre, business manager David Parker, Allen Trist who organises the Dead's publishing company - Ice Nine, [the] Dead's personal tour photographer Mary Anne, their lighting lady, Candice, several secretaries, plus Dale Franklin who is also secretary to the New Riders of the Purple Sage, the band for which Phil Lesh played bass at the beginning, and Garcia played pedal steel. 
Added to this array now is Donna Godschaux, wife of Keith the pianist, who, since New York, has begun to sing with the band. She used to do back up sessions on albums for singers like Presley, Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett, and Dionne Warwick, but until the Academy of Music has never been on stage. It is new for the Dead, and new for her, but she expresses no fear, only elation. 'I have no words for how much I love them,' she says. 'They have changed my whole life.' 
 
Her passion for this family of freaks is symptomatic of the fervour they inspire both within their own membership and from those close enough to get close. Perhaps part of the reason the bonds are so strong is that they go back so far. Hunter met Garcia in 1959. In 1961 they met up with Pigpen, Phil Lesh, Allen Trist - now in charge of the publishing company - and a couple of years later, Bob Weir. 
Weir, still only twenty-four, recalls the first time he and Garcia formed the idea of playing together. 
'It started on New Year's Eve, 1964. I went into the music store where Garcia was teaching guitar and banjo. That night he was sitting in the back of the store waiting for his students to show up and couldn't understand why they didn't. It occurred to me that it was New Year's Eve and the kids would figure it a holiday. Garcia took the point and we just more or less rapped all night and figured it might be nice to start a jug band just as an obscure side-line. Garcia was then playing in a pretty good bluegrass band and he thought he might like to start something new just to fill in the idle hours. He'd known Pigpen a long time, and they'd played together in the Zodiacs. He thought jug band music would be right up Pigpen's alley. 
'So we started the jug band and it just worked itself into a rock and roll band with short interim personnel changes. We got Billy Kreutzman our first drummer, and for the first couple of months the bass player was the owner of the store, who got us all our equipment. Then it got to the point where we became a serious hard-working rock and roll band and he couldn't make it any more. He had to run the store. Phil was a trumpet player at the time. He came to see us play and Garcia said hey - you've got perfect pitch - if you can learn to play bass how would you like to play with us? He did. 
'The Warlocks were conceived around New Year's Eve 1965. We've been together since then, although we changed the name to Grateful Dead a few months later because there was another band called the Warlocks. 
'I guess that's [a] quarter of my life. We were all born and raised in the Bay area except for Keith who was born in Seattle and raised in the Bay area. When we got together we were all from Palo Alto, with the exception of Bill, who just visited there with regularity.' 
Weir hies from a well-off upper middle class family who sent him boarding school hopping at an early age. Palo Alto was where he wanted to freak out and drop out and all those falling from tradition things that went with the first period of turning on. 
'We got with the Acid Tests when we were living at the Chateau, a big house only a few blocks away from where Kesey lived on Perry Lane. They were giving a party, a real high fun party, and a good party needs a rock and roll band. Somebody went up to Kesey and said there's this group of freaks that's a bug-eyed rock and roll band. It sounded like just the thing, and it was fun hanging out. I guess that's more or less the sum and total of how we got together. We were drawn together by good times.' 
After the Acid Tests they moved to L.A., then back to San Francisco, stayed there a while, then everybody started to drift back into Marin County where they've been since. 
For the future, they'll continue changing: 
'We've just added a piano player,' says Weir. 'Donna, his wife, is a great singer and we're working on bringing her into the act. Then Garcia and I were talking about doing a tour with maybe a brass section or a string section. But generally we'll just be the Grateful Dead, doing what it is we do.' 
What exactly it is they do, people are at odds to define. Garcia has said: 'In the popular...media...world, we're just a rock and roll band. We play rock and roll music, and it's part of our form, our vehicle - but it's not who we are totally...' 
According to him, the function they fill in their own little society, which is really not so little, is to act as a signpost to 'a new place.' 
If they do in fact do this, it is not so much because their music is exceptionally good, with a wide range from blues through country and western into rock and roll and then space-age electronic composition, but because they set an example to those who have talked about and tried to form an alternative way of living. They have managed to survive with a certain purity, both musically and ethically, the constant hype and bullshit surrounding what has now become the Music Business - an octopus with countless tentacles. Ploughing what profits there are straight back into their own co-operative will eventually make them independent of external powers such as record companies, publishing companies, and agents. The inevitable expansion of Alembic studios and Ice Nine Publishing will see to this. They do not work for vast sums of money to keep the musicians in luxury, they work for enough to keep a community of well over forty five people alive, working, and happy. They seldom quarrel among each other, and if tension builds up are familiar enough with each other's private mechanism to know where to blow the fuse. 
No one member of the band has a superstar complex waiting to be unleashed on the public. Garcia, I suspect, would like to relinquish some of the Mr. Goodvibes limelight people insist on handing him - Weir is ready and able to move into a more forward position on stage and off, and does - Keith Godschaux has brought another dimension to their sound. The balance is easy, its secret perhaps that it constantly changes. 
It will be nice to see them get a good run for their time at Bickershaw. It is the music they use for a language, and with as much time as they like, virtually, to set up and warm up, it should be a long hot summer evening - with a lot of grateful heads. 

(by Danae Brook, from Frendz magazine, April 1972) 

Thanks to Simon Phillips.

Apr 28, 2022

March 1972: Jerry Garcia Interview

 GARCIA: MASTER OF THE DEAD
 
Jerry Garcia phones SOUNDS from the States
 
It looks as though the Grateful Dead really are going to make it to England this time. 
It's been a long wait since their last (and only) gig on English soil, at the Hollywood Festival at Newcastle-under-Lyme - a wait of nearly three years. Curiously all the talk then was of Mungo Jerry's incredible crowd-stirring, rather than of the Dead. 
But it's said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and in the intervening three years the Dead's legendary reputation has continued to grow. Which is, on the fact of it, surprising. 
Their centrality in the West Coast music scene has made them a sort of touchstone for all American bands, particularly at the outset when the tales of long, euphoric sets started to filter through, and this was confirmed by their earlier album releases with continuous, complex but flowing pieces, "Anthem of the Sun" and "Aoxomoxoa". 
Since then the music has evolved into [a] slightly subdued, relaxed country vein with R. and B. overtones - not surprisingly, as this is the point from which they started. 
Jerry Garcia in particular has taken to playing a pedal steel, which is moving out of its original country music habitat and is being used increasingly by rock and roll bands, much to the disgust of the real Nashville cats, who do not believe that steel can be used for rock and roll and don't rate Garcia highly on the instrument anyway. 
The Dead, it hardly needs adding, don't record IN Nashville, but San Francisco. So they really have no greater claim to authenticity or originality than, say, our own Brinsley Schwarz. 
But on the principle that the grass is greener, English fans have faithfully bought Dead albums and found them pretty easy to live with. 
The latest development - in common with other well-established permanent bands - has been for individual members to do solo projects. 
This has resulted in Jerry Garcia making an album with organist Howard Wales, which featured him playing some funky, striding guitar, and his own solo album which sounds so like the Dead that it made you wonder whether the rest of the band was really necessary. 
The latest project is Bob Weir's solo album, which has just been completed and - surprise! - features the Grateful Dead...this is the background to the Dead's impending European trip, mooted for so long that a faint air of incredulity still surrounds the confirmed dates. 
 
Taking the Grateful Dead and entourage out of the country demands great organisational skill, as Jerry Garcia pointed out when he phoned from L.A. last week: 
"It's an incredible undertaking. In addition to all the usual gear, guitars and amps and so on, we're going to bring a sixteen-track with us and we hope to come back with another album. There are really huge problems in logistics and communications though. Also the way the whole scene happens is a non-decision-making basis - it takes a long time for everyone to decide that they really want to go anywhere." 
Was this the reason that only now were we getting to see the Dead play a full-scale tour, discounting the flying visit in 1969? 
"The timings have always been unfortunate before, when we were all involved in other things. It's an amazing decision for us to leave the country, but we're looking forward to making a lot of contacts on the British leg of the trip - people we've been in touch with but never really got acquainted with." 
Much of the Dead's reputation as a leading band has been earned for their long live sets, and several of their albums have been recorded in performance, notably their latest, "Grateful Dead", and "Live/Dead", so recording a live album in England and Europe seems a logical extension of what's already been happening. 
But the studio albums have an altogether different feel. What exactly was happening in their music? "We still do the long sets, but it's difficult to describe what's happening. 
"We have a new pianist, Keith Godchaux, and gradually that's started to create effects." 
So it looks like you'll just have to wait and find out. Meanwhile, what about the solo records? 
"Well, all that's a long time ago - we were working on the Howard Wales record over a year ago, and we were doing my solo record last summer. 
"There's an enormous delay between completion and release. The latest thing we have been working on is Bob Weir's solo album, which we expect to have with us when we come." 
But as it features the complete band as well, surely the distinction between another Dead album and a solo album was really pretty fine?
"It's his because it has all his songs and because he's the guiding inspiration behind it. It features him solely - our role is just that of studio musicians." 
In that respect the Weir solo album will be more of a "natural" album, like recent studio efforts. Garcia's recent solo epic was more of a manufactured record and uses many of the techniques pioneered on "Anthem of the Sun." 
"I played everything on it, but it was less of a personal thing than an experiment - I was using sixteen-track as an instrument." 
What was all this business about dealers, cards, the wheel, that occur in the music and on the cover-art and give the album its slightly fatalistic streak? 
"Well, it's sort of the idea of the Cosmic Wheel, the Wheel of Fate. The fact was that I made the record to pay back the loan that Warner Brothers made me to buy a house, so it was my own wheeling and dealing as well, in a way."
Did he inherit some of the techniques from his experiences with "Anthem"? "Yeah...my own album is a continuation of that spirit, though not so artful and somewhat limited. We wanted 'Anthem' to be our own record without producers and engineers and all that other stuff. 
"We knew what we wanted to arrive at. Technically it's about the most complex record ever made. We fired the producer while we were working on the basic tracks, and we spent eight months in the studio assembling it and putting it on eight-track and putting together different musical pieces for it. 
"We just about played it as we were mixing it, that's why it's got that homogeneous quality - it's a musical assemblage. Since then we've been learning how to achieve that on a musical level." 
A final comment on the tour plans? "I'm really excited about it, though we don't have any firm plans. Whatever tentative plans we do have are bound to be modified. That's the reason we never got over there yet. This time it's going to be different...we've got the tickets in our pockets."

(by Martin Hayman, from Sounds magazine, April 1, 1972)

Thanks to Simon Phillips.

Apr 19, 2022

April 17, 1972: Tivolis Concertsal, Copenhagen, Denmark

Grateful Dead plays Stakladen tonight. Tomorrow the San Francisco band appears on direct TV from the Tivoli concert hall, Copenhagen, at 9.30 – 10.00 PM.
This covers the whole of Denmark and specifically Aarhus. Not since Iron Butterfly in January 1971 has an American rock band visited Aarhus. Incidentally, DR has never before aired a direct transmission of a rock concert.

(from the Aarhus Stiftstidende, 16 April 1972)

*

NO TALENT, NO KNOWLEDGE

Very few people probably noticed it, but last night TV debuted a brand new format. For the first time during the ten years rock music and TV have co-existed, Danish TV threw itself headlong into the dizzying experiment of a direct transmission from a rock concert. Incidentally, this occurrence – like it is in other countries – ought to be as common as the transmission of a football game.
And Danish TV, which has never viewed rock music as anything more than a call signal, let an invisible announcer declare that now, now, Now, Now follows a transmission from the Tivoli concert hall with the supergroup Grateful Dead! Supergroup...hah! Which smart-aleck spun TV that yarn? Much can be said – and is said – about the American band Grateful Dead, but a supergroup, who has never sold more records in these parts than the sale of Christmas trees after Christmas, has surely never been seen in the world.
And what did TV do to the band? Yes, did to! No keeping in the background and relating the events in professional camerawork. No, put big, nice, talentless Edmondt Jensen on the stage. TV can do anything. Even interrupt an ongoing concert. Good evening, everybody. Welcome. Have a good time.
He didn't say "Welcome to the sandbox", but that was the gist of it.
Then a song of an undefinable style, then a Country & Western song, followed by an old-school rock song, and that was it. Oh yes, we certainly got a good impression of the American band Grateful Dead. What it is capable of, what it stands for, where it wants to go.
And while the three songs constituted what is known as a warm-up in the world of rock, three cameramen tested their zoom-lenses. Closeups drawn out to totals. Totals zooming into closeups. No pause – constant movement. Not one striking picture. Not one original camera angle. Nothing, except blatant amateurism and ignorance.
Exactly like an article in this paper some days ago, written by a lady who must have returned to Earth and to life after a prolonged stay somewhere else. The name is Gerda Vinding. As some might have noticed, she postulates a connection between narcotics and rock music.
As some might also have noticed, the connection is denied by nobody...only the lady's premises are questioned. Of course, there is a connection. Many of us were talking and writing about this when the subject was hot, some four or five years ago, when the Beatles started it.
At a time when narcotics were all the rage among young people, it was only natural that a style of music that reflected the youth culture – or the lack thereof – would intermittently deal with drugs.
Today, drug-taking is no longer "in", and narcotics have long been out of the picture where music is concerned.
Calling what we heard tonight "acid rock" can only be justified by ignorance.

(by Paul Blak, from the Aarhus Stiftstidende, 18 April 1972) 


 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkznlP29TjQ (partial Danish video of the show - this is a combination of later broadcasts, not the short original live broadcast

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU30HpQlV94 (brief excerpt of a Garcia interview by Edmondt Jensen)

Thanks to Bjørn for the article & translation.

See also https://www.dead.net/deadcast/europe-72-denmark  for Garcia's interview by Dan Turell & Peder Bundgaard in MM magazine.

Apr 16, 2022

April 16, 1972: Stakladen, Aarhus University, Denmark

 THE LOVE AND WHAT REMAINS

The Grateful Dead at Stakladen, Student House:
a new clarification, here is the alternative culture in synthesis


CONCERT IN AARHUS

They are astronauts in inner space, said William S. Burroughs. And the journey was endless, for its goal was to capture life itself in a drop and keep it forever.
Last night they gave a concert in Stakladen, Student House: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Ron Pigpen McKernan, and Bill Kreutzmann - The Grateful Dead.
And now the act seems accomplished - the act they must clarify according to legend, because they may belong to the category of "the grateful".
Here was the banishment, the inner calm; it was the alternative culture in synthesis. The love and what was left of Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, and where it was now.

The basis of The Grateful Dead is country & western music, but it is free of horse manure and primitive skirmishes.
The result is subdued, at times monotonous - for Phil Lesh, Ron Pigpen McKernan, and Bill Kreutzmann lay a strong rhythmic foundation to Jerry Garcia's and Bob Weir's expansions.  
The center figure is Jerry Garcia, whose guitar playing moves to the outer limits (no big deal, he just does it, that's all).
The characteristic west coast sound is not absent, but it has matured. Hallucinogens are no longer needed - The Grateful Dead takes nourishment in the realization.
All these influences seized the whole hall, and the clarification spread. It was less music than it was close interaction with the audience.
The three and a half hour concert gave the facets that The Grateful Dead has put together; the numbers ranged from traditional blues to country & western to rock paraphrases.
"Our love will not fade away" sang Jerry Garcia - Bob Weir (Norman Petty-C. Hardin's classic). Our love will not fade away.  
It is possible they are dead. We are grateful.

(by J.R.J., from the Aarhus Stiftstidende, April 17, 1972)


*

Some background from the Aarhus University history site: 

The review is presented here with kind permission from Jørn Rossing Jensen.

The author of the review above, Jørn Rossing Jensen, tells the following in 2010 about the review from 1972:

"Unlike so many others, I remember it clearly: when it had been in the newspaper, I received by courier a note from the editor, asking if it wouldn't have been more convenient to send it on a postcard to those especially interested, instead of burdening indifferent readers with incomprehensibility."

On April 16, 1972, the American West Coast group The Grateful Dead gave a concert in Stakladen. Earlier, newspaper columnists in the daily press had called for the group's performance to be banned, believing that these veterans of Ken Kesey's acid tests in San Francisco in 1965 could affect the concert audience in an unfortunate direction. But Jerry Garcia, the group's lead guitarist and informal leader, declared in the press: "I do not give LSD to anyone!" 
 
...The group's historian Dennis McNally tells his readers about the concert in Stakladen, that "the show was in a low-ceilinged cafeteria, people hanging off wooden trusses all over the place." (A Long Strange Trip, p. 429).
 
It is true that the audience took advantage of the room's special construction with the high beams to secure seats with a good view on this Sunday evening in April 1972, where the Grateful Dead according to experts delivered one of the European tour's finest performances of "Truckin'>The Other One" - however, something similar happened at least at most rock concerts around this time: in Aarhuus Stiftstidende's review of the concert with the British group Family, it is stated that a large part of the 800 people present had placed themselves on the beams.