GRATEFUL DEAD SOCK IT TO 2,000 MUSIC LOVERS
The Labor Temple was packed. The audience, mostly late-high-school and college-age youth, completely filled the chairless main floor, sitting or standing. And all other seats and aisles were taken in the balcony.
As a preliminary to the Grateful Dead, a local group called the Blackwood Apology held forth for an hour or so with the same sort of electric sound.
It came on like just what it was: hundreds of watts of electrified musical power pounding out of great stacks and racks of amplifiers.
And above, lights flashed multicolored, changing images of psychedelia on great wide screens.
Making it happen was the Grateful Dead, a group billed as the leader of underground rock, as the nationally famed but uncompromised original.
The more than 2,000 young people who jammed the Minneapolis Labor Temple to hear them Sunday night took it quite coolly. They liked it, they clapped a lot, and some of them danced.
But mainly, they did what you do with this kind of youth art: They experienced it.
After a long delay for setting up their nearly 100 pieces of equipment, the Grateful Dead came on with a sound like the end of a bad trip. It was a horrendously penetrating hum from an amplifier gone mad. But when they got the amplifier squared away, they showed that they can play as well as make noise.
Using some incredibly complex tempos and fine improvisations, they did the mixture of jazz and rock and folk that - along with the lights and, in some cases, marijuana - has been turning on people around the country for several years.
(from the Minneapolis Tribune, February 3 1969)