Feb 17, 2012

January 26-27, 1968: Eagles Auditorium, Seattle


Due to city laws prohibiting juveniles dancing and small attendance at Eagles auditorium, Boyd Grafmyre has been sponsoring concerts. People have been sitting on overcrowded floors, until last weekend.
The Dead and Quicksilver came from San Francisco, home of free souls, and they don't take laws seriously. Friday night Jerry Garcia told the audience to vote no on politics and dance. A few did and weren't stopped.
Saturday was slightly different. The Dead started their set with Love Light, a hard pounding song, in an attempt to move the audience. A few moved. In walked the license inspectors. Boyd asked the Quick to tell the audience to stop, and when they refused he explained the situation himself. We stopped. For about two songs. The inspectors left, the Dead came back on, and dancers danced. Nobody cared. Nobody really wants to stop dancing, but nobody wants to fight City Hall to change the law. So if the spirit to dance strikes you, do, in public, private, even at Eagles. But if you go to Eagles take your own toilet paper, because when that urge hits you, you will discover they don't supply it.



Friday night: the concert was easily the finest I've ever seen at the Eagle's. The Quicksilver Messenger Service took the first set, started off tight and completely together; and by the time they got into--Smokestack Lightning?--some old Howlin' Wolf anthem, I could feel my incisors vibrate. By the end of the set, they were so close that they seemed to be telepathic. The light show, by Headlights out of SF, was totally in sight, having almost the same protean cartoon quality that you sometimes get when you close your eyes during the Magic Moments.
The Dead's first set, though very good, was cut short when one of the two drummers put his foot (I think) through his bass drum. While Quicksilver was setting up, someone ran a very strange, funny silent movie collage--sort of a linear light show.
Throughout the evening, both the Dead and Quicksilver kept urging people to dance; but with very few exceptions everyone just sat on the floor and was subdued. Even the applause was rather mild, considering what was happening on the stage.
If more of the young people in the Puget Sound area had the opportunity to be exposed to such worthwhile music, we wouldn't have all this damn trouble with juvenile delinquents and war protestors.

Two reviews from the Seattle Helix, February 1 1968.
Scans courtesy of the JGMF blog - many thanks!


1 comment:

  1. I was looking through this excellent collection of Helix scans from 1967-68:
    And, visiting vol. 2 no. 10, noticed that I got the headline of the first article wrong: it's just printed "AND THE DEAD," not "The Quick and the Dead." (Actually the word "STING" is printed in big letters up above for some reason, but it was 25 years too early to be "Sting and the Dead.")
    There's also a nice show photo, and an accompanying article ("Pop-Cycle") about a visit to Seattle by Vanguard producer Sam Charters. Along with Ed Denson, he made a quick visit one evening to three clubs: the Happening, the Eagles, and the S.F. Sound. First stop was the Happening, "the place in Seattle [for] the aspiring jet set (quick and cool and over 18)...in an environment of semi-hip paisley-lit titillations.
    Sam had come to hear local bands for possible recording on the Vanguard label. The Magic Fern was one of these. He murmured something about 'second-rate S.F. bands' and left near the end of the first set.
    At the Eagles The Dead were meandering through its second set while Sam wandered through the scene and decided there was one...unlike Pittsburg, Houston, Richmond Virginia, and the fast deteriorating S.F. ...
    Anxious to see to what extent the Dead would be a drain on the San Francisco Sound, we visited the latter last. Attendance at the Sound is always in flux. Two weeks before some 500 filled the floor...dancing. Last weekend there were perhaps 50...sitting. (It is our hope that the S.F. Sound's excellent dance facilities will be made better use of and that some of its internal problems will cool.)"

    Charters also produced Country Joe & the Fish's records, so no doubt he was familiar with the Dead from San Francisco. It's funny that he leaves one club where a "second-rate SF" imitation is playing and heads to see the real thing at the Eagles...and then goes on to an actual ballroom called the "San Francisco Sound" in Seattle! (It would seem Seattle's own rock-music scene was going through an identity crisis.)
    For me, it's amazing to think of Charters seeing the Dead, because he had recorded & released so many older folk & blues musicians who had a huge influence on the Dead - for instance, he recorded a Lightnin' Hopkins album in 1959 with 'She's Mine,' which Pigpen would play in Dead shows in 1970. Even more startling, ten years earlier in 1958, he had first taped Joseph Spence, whose recording of 'I Bid You Goodnight' (in 1965, with the Pindar Family) the Dead started covering in early '68.