Sep 30, 2012

May 1973: State of the Dead


How the Dragon Urobouros (Giga Exponentia) Makes Us Go Round and Round

We've received 25,000 letters to date from Dead Heads, telling us your trips, and ideas and questions and comments about ours. Whatever the voyage, the current concerns are at least real, and this newsletter is a report on the state of the ship.
The pursuit of quality presentation of our music, with more and more people wanting to hear it, has led us into larger and larger halls with an ever-increasing array of equipment. St. Dilbert calls this process 'Urobouros':
Configurations of speakers and amplifiers change almost as rapidly as we move from gig to gig. The equipment diagram shown overleaf is a schematic of the set-up at Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, 26 May 1973 (auxiliary PA's and mid-field delay towers to reinforce the sound at the back against wind, are not shown).
You are one million Dead Heads who attend the concerts. In the New York City area, given the space, we will draw some 50,000 people. As your numbers increase in each area, we play larger and larger halls. The apparent alternative to this is a kind of riot. We are musicians.
The physics of sound projection dictate that any given increase in the size of a hall requires an exponential rate of increase in equipment capability to reach everyone in the hall with quality-at-volume.

1965 -- 800 lbs ---- Bill's station wagon
1967 -- 1300 lbs --- Barney's van
1968 -- 6000 lbs --- Metro van
1970 -- 10,000 lbs - 18 ft truck
1973 -- 30,000 lbs - 40 ft semi

We're growing! - some 30 people now on payroll. We're affiliated with Alembic in San Francisco on design, research and development of equipment and recording. Our rehearsal hall in San Rafael is the center of acoustic enquiry and equipment maintenance/development. Our office here manages, controls finance, accounting, insurance and the like, and Ice Nine Publishing Company (copyrights, licenses, songbooks) and Dead Heads. Out of Town booking agency and Fly By Night travel agency, two outgrowths of our scene, are in the building.
By the nature of the beast, the energies of over a hundred directly enter our endeavor. Urobouros turns his circles. St. Dilbert is a bombast. Let's surface the moon with an electrostatic spherical tidal spatial counter-entropic sound system. Energy spoken here.
On earth, our overhead expense is $100,000 a month. In 1972 we grossed $1,424,543. Here's who ate the pie:

The Grateful Dead Dollar (1972)
Salaries 27%
Road 27% (22% Road Expenses, 5% Agency)
Equipment 18% (14% Purchase & Maintenance, 4% Support)
Office 17% (2% Overhead, 2% Dead Heads)
Tax 8%
Operating Profit 3%

70% of this income came from gigs, and 30% from record royalties. Gigs offer the only means to earn more money when it is needed to maintain our operation in all its particulars. We cannot sell more records at will, but we can go on the road, within the limits of energy: so that we must play larger halls, with more equipment, and a bigger organization, requiring more gigs.....
St. Dilbert calls this fellow 'Urobouros', and he's a good trip, but he has a mind of his own:

Greater Demand --> Larger Halls --> More Equipment --> Bigger Organization --> Larger Overhead --> More Gigs --> [repeat]

We like a variety of concert situations. Ambiance comes in different sizes. We like a small hall, and so do you, and an outdoor gig in the sun, and a large hall when it can be made to sound good (few halls over 6000 capacity aren't sports arenas with novel acoustic and environmental puzzles).
Urobouros is hungry. How do we control him? We've planned for a year to form our own record manufacturing and distributing company so as to be more on top of the marketing process, package and promote our product in an honest and human manner, and possibly stand aside from the retail list-price inflation spiral while retaining more of the net dollar (keep a tight ship). If the records cover a larger share of the overhead, then the concert situation becomes more flexible. This is the working future - possible, in the direction we see to go, now. We want this freedom to achieve gig variety, to experiment. We are musicians.
What else might do? Write and suggest it. Magic ideas welcome. Dead Heads altogether, too - what might we do with it? What might you do with it?
Your mail is an energy input, 400 letters a week that we tack on bulletin boards and read aloud and pass back and forth. The drawings ('DH') in this issue are yours. This flow enters the common pool of plans and theories and ideas and speculations and fantasties and hopes and fears and futures and galaxies and stuff.
To hear from you, furthers.

"Having been born into a world of rather curious values, values apparently unrelated to the direct experience of human truths, the Bozos and Bolos hypnocratically pursue a direction of self-determination in as many ways as interestingly possible, believing that this course will best aid a continuation of integrity and meaning in their music and other life spaces. This has meant that their business activity seeks to be in control of as many areas as become possible, employing their own people to do the work that would otherwise be farmed out to straight business. Thus there is the possibility that the message in the music can be reflected in the manner and purpose of conducting the business necessary to get the music heard."
- St. Dilbert, Bombast

Next Release:
'History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1: Bear's Choice.' Live recordings of 1970 vintage. Warner Bros. July Release.

Hunter Album:
Robert Hunter has written the material for his own album and recorded it with Liberty, a Bay Area band. To be released.

(from the May 1973 Dead Heads newsletter)

July 1973: The Dead's Gear


A concert artist today performs at the center of an incredible tangle of wires connecting components of a thousand kinds. But even if he knows what they all are, the performer is not likely to discuss graphic equalizers and pink noise during an interview.
Anybody who has seen the Grateful Dead has marvelled at the mysterious mountains of gear they use at their concerts. Because of the sheer amount of this equipment, because of its high quality, and because it is privately owned by the group rather than rented from a sound contractor, GP decided to investigate.
In order to examine the technical side of the Dead's performances, we talked with Rick Turner of Alembic in San Francisco. Besides building sophisticated electronic guitars (see "Casady's Bass," GP, August '72), the craftsmen at Alembic have done extensive work on all the Dead's equipment. Without needing to consult any notes, Turner was able to provide the following information.

What equipment does Jerry Garcia use on stage?

Jerry uses an extensively re-worked Stratocaster, and also one of our Alembic guitars. He plays into a Fender Twin Reverb amp with preamp outpouts going to a McIntosh 2300 amp. This powers three Alembic B-12 speaker cabinets which are stacked on their sides, so that he has a vertical column of speakers extending about eight feet into the air. They're stacked like this because we found that it gives a much wider horizontal spread to the sound, with less spill going up into the rafters.

What about rhythm guitarist Bob Weir?

Bob alternates between a Les Paul, an SG, an ES-335 (all Gibson), and an Alembic. He plays into two rebuilt Twins, one of which powers a pair of Alembic B-12 cabinets, each having two D-120 JBL's in it. He drives his extension speakers with McIntosh 2300 amps.

And bassist Phil Lesh?

Phil has been phasing out his Fender equipment in favor of our preamps and McIntosh 2300 power amps. His bass has two ordinary low-impedance Alembic pickups and one quadraphonic pickup, which puts out a separate signal for each string. Each pickup goes into a separate Alembic preamp module, and from there each of the three signals goes into a 2300. He has six or eight Alembic B-15 cabinets, each containing two D-140 JBL's. Perhaps I should explain that our cabinets are numbered so that A means a cabinet with one speaker, B means two speakers, and so on, and the number indicates the diameter of the speaker. I should also explain that all the equipment I'm discussing is continually being revised as we re-examine what the various components are being used for, and question whether some other hookup can be devised that will do the same thing better.

What is the Dead's P.A. system like?

It varies from month to month, but basically it looks like this: Each of the four singers has a pair of Sennheisen microphones, mounted one above the other about three inches apart. They're hooked up out of phase, and this has the effect of cancelling out the background noise. Any sound that goes equally into both mikes disappears when the two signals are added together, so that all you have left is the sound of the voice, since the singer is only singing into one of them. This eliminates most of the feedback problem, and it also cleans up the sound a great deal. In addition, there are four or five Electra-Voice RE-15's on the drums. Each of the mike signals, and the output from Keith Godchaux's piano, is then split, with half the signal going to the monitor system and half to the P.A.

How is the monitor system set up?

We have an Ampex MX-10 mixer, followed by an Altec Acoustivoicette graphic equalizer. The graphic equalizer has about twenty-five sliding controls, one for each third of an octave all the way up the scale. What we do is feed pink noise into the system from a Hewlett-Packard spectrum analyzer.

What's pink noise?

It's artificially generated sound that has the same audible loudness at all frequencies. This is different from the better-known white noise in that white noise is sound that's generated with equal power all the way up the frequency spectrum, and as a result it gets louder as it gets higher, at the rate of 3 db per octave. Pink noise, on the other hand, has the same volume all the way up. We feed this into the P.A., and then check it with the graphic equalizer to see what kind of peaks and valleys we have in the frequency spectrum of the system. We then adjust the sound with the sliders until it's all equalized. By doing this in every hall they play in, the Dead eliminate any audibility or tone quality problems that might crop up. The power amps for the monitor system are four McIntosh 3500 tube amps, and their output goes to about a dozen A-12 footlight-type monitor speaker cabinets, and as well to some speaker columns on the sides of the stage.

What about the part of the P.A. the audience hears?

This is all controlled from a booth at the back of the hall. It's a stereo system; the speakers on the left and the right sides of the stage are handled completely separately. In the booth there are Ampex mixers, two more Acoustivoicette equalizers, and a Nagra two-track tape machine for recording the concert. Each side of the P.A. has a crossover network for feeding different amps. The crossover has an 18 db per octave slope dropoff, and it splits the signal into four parts. The first is everything below 350 cycles, the second from 350 to 1000 cycles, the third from 1000 to 4000, and the fourth from 4000 up. Each of these then goes to a couple of McIntosh 2300's, and from there as follows: For woofers (below 350 cycles) there are sixteen JBL 2215's on each side of the stage. The low midrange is run through sixteen JBL 120's on each side. The high midrange goes into thirty-two JBL 2105's, which are 5" speakers. And for the highs we have sixteen Electra-Voice T-350 horns.

Who's responsible for all this?

Ram Rod, Dan Healy, and Sparky Razine head the actual equipment crew. It takes them, and about eight other people, four hours or so to set it up. A lot of the original designing was done by Bear. And there's a kind of consulting committee made up of Ron Rickersham, Bob Matthews, John Curl, Peter Quaintence, Bear, and myself. All of us work on it from time to time.

Why use so much gear?

It's not just for volume. Most groups could get three times the volume out of this equipment that the Dead does, but that would be a distorted sound. Not that the Dead are quiet; the sound pressure on stage has been measured at 127 db, and that's loud. But it's all clean sound, not noise. Most independent sound contractors, whose equipment you'll see at a typical rock concert, are much more concerned with economics than with high fidelity. They charge so much to fill a given-sized room with music, and the cheaper they can do it, the more profit they make. The philosophy of the Dead's system, on the other hand, is that since we have the technology to produce a very high quality of sound, we ought to use it. If you care about music, you've got to care about what the audience hears.

(by Jim Aikin, from Guitar Player, July 1973)

May 1973: Garcia's Guitar Tips


Questions submitted by Gary Lambert, Lenox, Massachusetts.

After playing Gibsons ever since the Dead's first album, why the switch to a Fender Stratocaster?

The characteristic sound of a Fender is texturally different from the sound of the other instruments in the band. Two Gibsons get muddy-sounding.

What gauge strings do you use and how often do you change them?

I use .011, .013, .016, .026, .036, and .046. I change them every couple of performances.

Where do you normally set up the controls on both your guitar and amp?

There really isn't any "normal" setting. I change guitar settings all the time, and I change amp settings depending on the room I'm playing in. I never turn the Fender Twin Reverb amps up past seven.

Did you feel that the Dead's huge rise in popularity posed the threat of forcing you to compromise your musical integrity?


Now that you've left the New Riders of the Purple Sage, is there any chance we might see you play pedal steel with the Dead occasionally? Also, who are some of your favorite pedal steel players?

I'll probably not play pedal steel with the Dead. Some of my favorite pedal steel players are Buddy Emmons and Lloyd Green.

One of my main problems in playing is damping. What do you do, either in your picking or left hand technique, to keep the wrong strings from sounding?

On pedal steel guitar, blocking (or damping) is done with the right hand and is one of the most difficult techniques to pick up on the steel. Try a local music instructor in pedal steel, or have someone show you, as it's really a little hard to explain by writing.

The Dead's Equipment Detailed Next Issue!

(from Guitar Player, May 1973)

Sep 27, 2012

March 2, 1973: Old and In the Way


Marin County's newest bluegrass band, Old and In the Way, was playing at the Lion's Share in San Anselmo, California, and smoothly moving into "The Hit Parade of Love" when Jerry Garcia gave it away: It was their first time out. He had gone into his banjo solo before he realized he wasn't plugged into an amplifier. He grinned and quickly took a long step up to the microphone so the folks in the back could hear. The goof was understandable, because Garcia, along with the rest of the Grateful Dead, had only the day before returned from a two-week tour of the Midwest.
Playing mandolin was Dave Grisman, an old sidekick from Garcia's Menlo Park days; guitarist Peter Rowan, who'd previously played with Bill Monroe; and all-around bassist John Kahn, plunking away on a vintage acoustic upright. The four picked and sang close harmony through more than a dozen fast-paced numbers, including Bill Monroe's "The Old Crossroads," "White House Blues," and "Panama Red," a Rowan tune.

"God, it's been eight years since I've played banjo," Garcia recalled later. "Playing music isn't hard or anything, but playing bluegrass is kind of a sweat, though. I'd forgot how physical it is. But it sure is fun."
Garcia, Grisman, and Rowan live within a few blocks of one another in Marin County. "We all used to be heavily into bluegrass, so we got together a little over a month ago, started playing and then decided, Shit, why don't we play a few bars and see what happens? And John Kahn is working out beautifully on bass, because a lot of bluegrass is really stiff, and with his R&B background he gives us a great boogie-woogie bottom. We're developing a rhythmic feel that's kind of groovy.
"We're thinking about finding a fiddle player and then doing some of the bluegrass festivals this summer. It's a whole different world from the rock & roll scene - really mellow and nice. People bring their families and kids and grandmas and dogs and lunch. And they're all aficionados who really get off behind the licks. That'd be a lot of fun."

Finding the time for the summer festivals may be a problem, however, in view of the new immense popularity of the Dead. During its Midwestern tour the group played major halls (seventy-five hundred seats and up), selling out most concerts (including Chicago for the first time) and coming surprisingly close to it in Salt Lake City.
The Dead may sell out handily in any of a score of cities but nowhere else quite like in New York. A few years back the group played six nights in Port Chester, New York, selling out all six performances within a day. One night a bomb threat was received, presumably from irate Dead fans without tickets. Three thousand filed out while police searched the hall, and six thousand filed back in after the all-clear. That same year, the Dead headlined Fillmore East for five nights, all the tickets for which were likewise snapped up within hours.
The Dead's two concerts last week at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island were sold out by word of mouth within two and a half hours after going on sale at Ticketron outlets. At one point six thousand tickets were sold within thirty-one minutes. Bill Graham then took out an ad in the Village Voice to announce the sellout and the addition of a third concert, bringing the total Dead audience to sixty thousand for the three dates.
Jerry Garcia laughed at the sellout news: "I don't know what to think about it. Basically, I try to keep my attention focused on whether I can play or not. It's like more unrealness, more Grateful Dead fever."

(by John Grissim, from Rolling Stone, April 26 1973)

Sep 26, 2012

March 19, 1973: Nassau Coliseum


It had to happen: even the Dead have gone glitter. Resplendently suave in Nudie-type sequined suits, the group appeared on the stage of this comfortably-sized Long Island arena as formal gentlemen, playing before a sold-out and devoutly clamoring Monday crowd who nonetheless held true to their flannel shirt and dungaree colors. The music was consistently superb and was delivered with a professionalism and class that might even be taken for granted were it not so historically precarious, caught as it is in the double bind of massive anticipations and internal complexities, good nights mixing inevitably over the bad.

Still, instead of wrestling with the hyper-reactions of their audience - as was once the case - the Dead have resigned themselves to that unquenchable factor, even to the point of enjoying it, learning ways in which it might be manipulated and controlled. Their technique here involved pacing - stretching out the four hours of their pair of sets so that the crowd moved with, rather than against them. The long breaks between songs served the dual purpose of relaxing the audience as well as the band.

The audience had been warmed early in the evening by the pedal steel dominated sound of the New Riders (replacing the Sons of Champlin who opened the first two nights of the stand), high-pointing with "Willie and the Hand-Jive" and a lovely country version of Billy Joe Royal's "Down in the Boondocks." Producer Bill Graham also was on hand, nostalgically tussling with the crowd. "I know this is Long Island," he said at one point, attempting to gain breathing room for those unlucky souls piled up in front of the stage, "but let's try it anyway." No one budged and, of course, Graham threw up his arms and stalked out.

The Dead came on to the usual mass eruptions, played a quick western shuffle and closed it off before Garcia took even the glimmerings of an extended lead. They moved deliberately into "He's Gone," Jerry leaning to the microphone in the evening's only apparent reference to the recent death of Ron (Pigpen) McKernan, reeling out the final chorus: "Ooooh, nothin's gonna bring him back..."

The improvement and strength of the group's vocal harmonies was readily apparent; no more do their voices quaver up and down the scale trying to find the right series of notes. Joined by Donna Godchaux, the blend registered chorally near-perfect, if a shade eccentric.

The group then opened into their repertoire, which has become so large as to be in the main unrecognizable. Alternating between Bob Weir and Garcia, the band offered such things as a sharp clicking rendition of "Mexicali Blues," matched by "Looks Like Rain" (perhaps Weir's finest composition), "The Race Is On," Marty Robbins' "El Paso," and finally, the first semi-oldie of the night, "Box Of Rain." Instrumentally, they were in high form, Phil Lesh bottoming well, Bill Kreutzmann hale and hearty, Keith Godchaux wrapping piano fills around Weir's and Garcia's tone-perfect guitars.

It was the longer songs that got them into trouble, but not by much. "China Cat Sunflower" began the launch into what has become the Dead's extended trademark, and as they took it in a roundabout way to "I Know You Rider," it seemed as if the night was sure to be tinged golden. But later, over the hump of "Around and Around" and "Tennessee Jed"'s sing-a-long chorus, it proved to be a false start. The big song of the set, "Playin' in the Band," never quite caught the handle they were searching for, gears touching but never completely in mesh.

The rest of the night belonged to Garcia. Returning from a short intermission and several filial descendants of "Cumberland Blues," he forcibly led the band through a combination of old and new material, capped by a beauteous ode to a woman named Stella Green. A long jam around "Truckin'" was successful in parts, as was a follow-up slice from "The Other One," and with the band now beginning to group around Kreutzmann in a semicircle, concentrating on making contact, they finally got what they wanted in a long, jazz-oriented piece I'd never heard before, the sound very free, gunning and spooking each other in a continuous upchurned spiral.

They left the stage after "Johnny B. Goode," all those hours of playing not diminishing its strength. To call them back, the audience set off a few matches in the orchestra, a few more responding along the balconies, expanding outward until the whole inside of the arena was lit by matchpower. The Dead returned with "Casey Jones," responsive puffs of smoke rising from the banks of amplifiers, the band chugging along as a revolving mirror-ball refracted minispots around the audience, all ridin' that train.

(by Lenny Kaye, from Rolling Stone, April 26 1973)

Reprinted in Rolling Stone's Garcia book, and on this site:

March 26, 1973: Baltimore Civic Center


The Grateful Dead, a San Francisco rock group that once served as houseband for Ken Kesey’s acid test, played last night before a soldout crowd of 12,000 at Baltimore’s Civic Center.
Promoters pegged the average age of the audience at about 17 - too young to have heard the Dead in the heydays of the mythical Summer of Love, the Human Be-In, the Trips Festival, and other psychedelic goings-on.
For the young people, the Dead were total enjoyment: everyone on their feet from the opening notes of the concert, swaying to the basic boogey shuffle of the band.
But to some veteran Dead watchers, it was hearing a once-great band gone astray in the musical cosmos - one more case of rock music's popularity-breeds-contempt syndrome.
In 1967, the Grateful Dead epitomized the music and manners of the burgeoning so-called youth drug culture. They would arrive late for shows, play through homemade equipment (they still do), and then perform all night long - often for free. Some of their most memorable appearances began at midnight and lasted until dawn.
But in spite of their outrageous concert procedures, it was their music that made them the early champions of the psychedelic culture. They would play songs that often lasted an hour each, with leader Jerry Garcia spinning out intricate soaring guitar solos that invariably mesmerized audiences.
Like much of the drug culture, the Dead, too, went through changes. They ventured into country-tinged music and came up with probably their two finest albums, “Workingman’s Dead” and “American Beauty.”
After a brief disappearance from the concert scene, the group returned – this time in a much more organized, slicker fashion. Shows started on time and brought in plenty of money, often in excess of $25,000 a night. Like many others, they realized that the counter-culture could be highly profitable.
In fact, it wasn't until last year that the Dead's popularity really took off. Their first album, recorded in 1966, finally became a million-dollar seller, along with several more recent ones. The reason was simple: Younger and younger audiences were discovering their music and buying it as if it were brand new.
But the music these days isn't what it once was. Gone is Garcia's graceful fluid style of playing. Gone are the times when two drummers pounded out the band's rhythms. Gone are the concerts that started with acoustical instruments and gradually built into an overwhelming electrical wave. Gone are the magical ways the Dead could make the ambience of a rock concert more like a religious service. Gone is colorful vocalist Pig Pen (Ron McKernan), who died several weeks ago of hepatitis.
Instead, the group now uses a loud, dull piano as its basic instrument. The vocals don't sound as self-assured, and the band as a whole seems more like a contrived aggregate than a flowing ensemble.
Perhaps this is just one more instance of rock’s time telescope: Yesterday’s superstar is today’s rock ‘n’ roll revival performer. To new listeners, the group may personify the ultimate height of rock, but to older ears the Dead seem somehow to have outlived their usefulness.

(by Tom Zito, from the Washington Post, March 27 1973)

Thanks to snow&rain at the Transitive Axis forum.

See also this Archive thread where this review was posted:

February 28, 1973: Salt Lake City


It has been written more than once that the Grateful Dead were put on earth to play in concert, not in the recording studio. Wednesday night at the Salt Palace they did their thing once more and upheld their reputation as one of the best concert bands that rock has ever produced.
From start to finish the show was first cabin. The sound system was elaborate, the light show by Heavy Water was super, and the warm up band, The New Riders of the Purple Sage, was magnificent.
The Dead have a tendency to play very long sets, so the show time was moved up to 7 p.m. to allow for it. The New Riders were greeted by a happy, dancing crowd. They mixed country sounds like "Louisiana Lady" and rock and roll like "Willy and the Hand Jive" and the Salt Palace floor looked like a party was taking place.
The Dead, led by wooly-bear lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, eased into a long and relaxing set of mostly sit and listen music. But that didn't deter the audience.
There was dancing in the aisles, hand clapping, and singing along with the familiar songs. The band, in fact, seemed to go out of their way to keep things calm by taking extra long breaks between songs. But the music they played was great. It was soft, rhythmic, and highlighted by Garcia's clean, spare lead guitar lines.

(by David Proctor, from the Salt Lake Tribune, March 1 1973)

This was included in the Dick's Picks 28 booklet.

September 17, 1972: Baltimore Civic Center


It seemed, for a while, like San Francisco.

It’s been about two years since I left California and a lot of the old feeling has gone. It’s just not as foggy and wild in Baltimore as it is in San Francisco. You can whistle here but the sound doesn’t echo back from hundreds of miles of cold Pacific like it does in San Francisco or up on the Tamalpais Mountains a few miles north of San Francisco where Jerry Garcia lives.
There’s nowhere in Baltimore like that. But somehow, listening to Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead in the Civic Center last week brought the feeling back, for a few days at least, and maybe communicated some of it to Baltimore people who have never been to San Francisco or the Tamalpais Mountains, where the ocean wind has an unbroken shot at the land.
I mention whistling because legend has it that the first hippie settled in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, just east of Golden Gate Park, because that was the best place to go whistling in the fog.
That was in the early Sixties, when the Dead were just beginning to gear up, playing in coffee houses around Palo Alto, meeting people like Ken Kesey and Stewart Brand, and discovering that LSD could be had for free at a Stanford University testing center. And learning how to whistle.

Eventually they all moved into the foggy Haight-Ashbury and that was the start of the great San Francisco thing: the be-ins in the park where the Dead played for free, Ken Kesey’s Cool Aid Acid Tests where the Dead also played for free, the all-night sessions in the Dead’s apartment at 710 Ashbury street among people like Kesey, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary and Neal Casady, where policy for the movement would be debated and planned.
But the Haight-Ashbury fell apart, Ken Kesey moved to Oregon, Timothy Leary fled the country, and Neal Casady’s body was found lifeless on a railroad track in Mexico. That was the real milestone. For Casady had been sparking the movement, or whatever it was, ever since the Fifties when he drove Jack Kerouac’s frantic car back and forth across the country more times than anyone could count.
He’s gone, he’s gone
Walking down the track
He’s gone
And nothing’s going to bring him back
The Dead sang that requiem last week at the Civic Center. They were uniquely qualified to do it, having rubbed head and shoulders with Casady at countless acid tests, and after he became the bus driver on Ken Kesey’s Kerouac sequel, the cross-country Day-Glo bus “Further.”
But it was obvious last week at the Civic Center that the Dead’s own trip is far from over. They were still whistling in the fog and for about four straight hours the fog rolled into the Civic Center as thick and heavy as it ever was on the Tamalpais Mountains.
I had worried some about it before I went to the concert. I wasn’t sure it would be the same for me here as it was, say, in the old Fillmore West or in Winterland, where everybody used to sit on the floor and get as close to the stage as he wanted. Or in Sproul Hall, Berkeley, where the Dead once gave a small and cozy concert inside a giant plastic pillow. Or in Golden Gate park, at the first big be-ins. But those were before my time anyway.

I was even more worried when the Dead came out on the stage and saw a line of police keeping the crowd in their seats about a hundred feet off. There was nothing free or friendly about that, and there was nothing free or friendly about the Dead’s first couple of numbers, even though they looked the same and Jerry Garcia was wearing a fine new workshirt over his friendly stomach and his hands moved as capably as ever.
But then they moved into one of those expanded renditions of a familiar piece that moves from a couple of sung verses way out into something entirely new, even for them, and it seemed as if I was back home again.
“I’ve always thought that the Grateful Dead should be sponsored by the government or something,” Jerry Garcia said recently in a celebrated interview with Charles Reich, author of “The Greening of America.” “It should be a public service, you know, and they should set us up to play at places that need to get high. That’s the kind of thing we should be doing; we shouldn’t be business – it shouldn’t be any of that stuff – it should be a thing like that and that’s the direction I’m looking to go into.”
It is high music. It travels and you travel with it, and finally last week in the Civic Center the police moved away from in front of the stage and the people left their seats and moved up through the fog to get closer to the band.

(by Gordon Chaplin, from the Baltimore Sun, 9/24/72)

* * *


More than 8,000 young adults packed the Civic Center on Sunday for the cosmic concert starring Grateful Dead. In the aspect of digging the music, or just wanting to make the scene, young people from all over emerged on the Civic Center.
Grateful Dead’s cosmic rock sound, of course, should be put at the top of the list of reasons for attending the concert.
Grateful Dead, an exposed but not over-exposed group, has the reputation of cosmic, country sounding. They, like most rock or hard rock groups, use a basic “c” blues note, which gives them that Muddy Waters sound with a bit more rhythm. With their whining guitars and ever so heavy drums, the group makes a psychic dust of music flow, whenever they play.
Their concert at the Civic Center was better than the last one, and may have surpassed the others. Once Gerry Garcia – lead guitarists and vocals; Bob Weir – rhythm guitar and voals; Phil Lesh – bass guitar and vocals; Bill Kreutzmann – drums; and Ron McKernan – organ, piano, and harmonica started to play, happiness struck the audience.
Such tunes as “Mr. Kelly Blues,” “A Friend in the Jungle,” “Cosmic Charlie,” and Feedback were the foods that soothed the music hungry crowd.
From their album “Grateful Dead” came “Bertha,” “Big Railroad Blues,” “Wharf Rat,” and “Men and My Uncle.” This music made the audience want to rock dance, stand up and cheer…grew and grew as the concert went on. And just as a book has a climax, so did the concert.
The group had played their last number and left the stage, but the audience was not ready for the music to be stopped. The shouts started for “More, more,” and you could hear hands clapping and feet stomping. Suddenly the darkened stage became lit again and music was coming from the huge speakers covering the stage. The spotlights began to move and reflect beams off the glass ball, which hangs from the ceiling of the Civic Center.
In seeing these beautiful rays reflecting all over the hall, the crowd let out expressions of pleasure. Though their names may be Grateful Dead, this group is very much alive.

(by Angie Thornton, from the Afro-American, 9/23/72)

These reviews were included in the Dick's Picks 23 booklet.

Sep 18, 2012

1972 Newsletters (excerpts)

The Dead released six newsletters in 1972. Most of these repeat the same information about forthcoming Dead merchandise - tracklists for the Europe '72 album, order information for t-shirts, etc - along with the monthly tour itineraries. These selections show how things progressed through the year...


1972 has begun incredibly with the live double album GRATEFUL DEAD becoming the Dead's first gold record and a two month European tour scheduled for April and May. The European performances will be recorded in 16-track with hopes of material for a new live album to be mixed in the United States. . . .
We are virtually moving the office from San Rafael to the road while we're in Europe; a lot of work is in store to keep it all together, but we also anticipate a lot of great music and fun, especially since we'll be traveling with about fifty people from the Grateful Dead family.
By the time we return from Europe around June 6th we hope our Grateful Dead Songbook will be well underway and will be available to you sometime late this summer. It will include all the music and lyrics from our last three albums -- WORKINGMAN'S DEAD, AMERICAN BEAUTY, and GRATEFUL DEAD. Kelly will be doing the art work -- full color as well as black and white. There will be a full page illustration for each of the twenty-one songs. If you're not aware of who Kelly is -- check out the album covers of AMERICAN BEAUTY and GRATEFUL DEAD in particular...he did them!!! It should be a beautiful songbook; we're all looking forward to it with great anticipation.

And speaking of art work - - - we have all enjoyed the art work and letters you have sent us. We would have liked to have compiled a book of some kind with the most far out letters, drawings, and illustrations that we have received and send it back to you, but once again we have to admit to a lack of money to be able to do that. We have even received a personal letter written by a computer - - - we almost attempted to write a letter back but no one was versed well enough in computer language to carry it off.

We have also received a great deal of correspondence from those of you who are interested in Grateful Dead t-shirts. We had originally thought about having them printed to sell - - with the idea in mind of possibly being able to cover some of the expenses that the whole Dead Head trip has brought upon us - - but we changed our minds because of the commercial association it had with our trip, which was not what we wanted at all. We would like to be able to give everyone a free t-shirt but again there's no way possible for us to afford it. It is possible that if enough of you are interested in purchasing t-shirts in the future we might be able to get something together and happening. For now however, if you desperately need one, you might contact Kumquat Mae - the Deads' old ladies' store at: 1218 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo, California, 94960 - and maybe they can help you.

We have also received numerous requests for itineraries for the band's tour schedule. We understand that you would like to know when the Dead are playing and where - - - however, so often dates and schedules are not confirmed until almost the last minute, consequently giving us no time to let you know when the band is playing and where much before they're on the stage. Sending out itineraries does not solve your problem of getting tickets either, as we're sure you're aware of. Some performances have been known to sell out the first day tickets were available, leaving many of you very disappointed. We regret the lack of more tickets, but the band is not into playing 18,000 seat arenas very often, if ever . . . consequently the number of tickets is very limited and they're on a 'first-come first-serve' basis. We are not directly involved in the actual selling of tickets; our main concern regarding the ticket scene is that the price be kept as low as possible and that no one gets burned in any way. We try to play in halls that hold no more than 5,000 people - - - preferably closer to a 3,000 seat capacity because of the problems with the sound that we encounter in the halls that are any larger. Our sound system really isn't capable of handling a bigger hall without sacrificing the quality of our music and the whole experience for everyone. We don't want the show to be a burn for our audience or for ourselves. We are into a quality trip, and we're not going to sacrifice it if we can possibly avoid it . . . so try and bear with us.

Because the halls we play in are as small as they are and we know you're out there trying to reach us, we have tried to reach more of you by doing radio simulcast broadcasts of our live concert performances - - - some of you might have heard a broadcast from one of our last three tours in October, November, or December of '71. [ . . . ] 

Although the Dead have not been on the road performing the last few months, individual members of the band have been directing their musical energy and talents towards recording and writing new music.
Garcia's solo album was released in early January --- a very unique and beautifully spacey album.
Bobby has recorded an album - it's called ACE. It's Grateful Dead family and friends, augmented by Tower of Power's brass section and features the fine songwriting talents of a prep school friend of Bobby's, John Barlow. . . .
The album is due to be released sometime this summer, late May or early June most likely, and the single will be out by the time you receive this circular. The single is One More Saturday Night with Cassidy as the B side.
Pigpen also has plans to do his own album - sometime this year possibly.
For those of you who are curious about what happened to Mickey Hart, he's still in Marin County working on what he hopes to be the final stages of his own album; he's been working on it for about a year now and some of the finest musicians have played on it - it's called ROLLING THUNDER.
You might also be interested in knowing what other albums Jerry has played on: SURREALISTIC PILLOW - Jefferson Airplane, VOLUNTEERS - Jefferson Airplane, Lamb's album, BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE - Paul Kantner, FEED YOUR CHILDREN WELL [sic!] - Crosby, Stills & Nash, SONGS FOR BEGINNERS - Graham Nash, Crosby's album, Steve Stills' second album, Brewer & Shipley's album, Papa John Creach's album, HOOTEROLL - Howard Wales, HEAVY TURBULENCE - Merl Saunders, ACE - Bob Weir, and GARCIA - Jerry's solo album.

* * *

August 2, 1972

Dear Dead Heads:

We've formed "OUT OF TOWN TOURS" to handle all our tour business. They comprise Sam Cutler, Gail Hellund, Frances Carr and Bill "the kid" Candelario. Gail looks after the whole office scene; Sam and Frances work on the road and arrange all the business affairs of touring. Bill Candelario goes out to check on halls for acoustical properties and to make sure it's the kind of facility we'd dig to play in. We need your help.

The Grateful Dead enjoy playing in a specific kind of theatre - it's usually an older building (perhaps it's now used as a movie house) with anything from 3000 to 5000 seats. Examples of the kind of theatres we dig are The Stanley Theatre, Jersey City - The Fox Theatre, St. Louis - The Paramount Theatre, Seattle - and the Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles.

If you know of a theatre in your area, let us know about it. Please write to us - don't telephone. We'll look into your lead and if the theatre is what we're looking for, maybe we'll be able to do a concert there.

At this moment, we are unable to accept any free concerts, benefits, or concerts in football stadiums or the like. . . . .

Thank you,

* * *



The enclosed dates refer to our upcoming Western tour dates for the month of August and September that we have booked at the present time. Hopefully this will have reached you in time for you to still make a gig nearby, even though for some people it may mean driving a couple of hundred miles.
A new album is in the process of being finished, mixed, and mastered; it was recorded on our recent April and May tour of Europe . . . .
It was an incredible trip for all 43 1/2 of us (1/2 = Rudso, who was a real gem on the trip); a real experience in working, traveling, fighting, and playing together. And despite the fatigue and discomfort of riding on two large coach-like buses for what sometimes seemed like an eternity (actually only about 1 1/2 months...but that's plenty long enough), we all managed to survive - although some of us were a little worse for wear - and we were all really glad to get home!
At this moment we don't know whether we'll be putting out a double album or a three-record-set package. Warner Brothers objects to three disks in one package because of expected difficulty in marketing it, and being that we are near the end of our contract with Warner Brothers, we may find ourselves having to put out first a double album and later a single disk of just "space music." The newest release date for the album is now somewhere around the middle of October.
Speaking of albums, Mickey Hart's album "ROLLING THUNDER" is finally finished after a year and half's work and is due to be released in the first part of September. It features Mickey as well as at least thirty of the heaviest musicians around these days...really a fine album!
Kelly and Mouse (Grateful Dead album cover artists and two of the finest poster artists the San Francisco scene has ever had) are now into a mail-order T-shirt trip called "The Monster Company" and in the near future it will be possible to obtain high quality short sleeve (long sleeve may come later) t-shirts with art work from the new Dead album and from Bob Weir's album "ACE", and who knows what else in the days thereafter. There will be a mail-order coupon for these in the new album and any order should be accompanied by a check or money order for the amount of purchase - $3.95 per shirt . . . In many cases it may take up to four weeks for delivery.
We also now have a booking agency happening called Out Of Town Tours, as mentioned in the enclosed letter, with the hopes that it will make our whole road scene much tighter and more efficient. If you have any information that might be of help regarding halls and places to play, please let them know.
For those of you that are able to attend any of the upcoming gigs, you may notice that Pig Pen isn't on stage. He's still with us for sure, but he's home resting and recovering from another bout with illness, but we expect he'll be back on the road by the beginning of next year and probably working on his own album as well.
A songbook is still on its way but the release date seems to get pushed back more and more...but we'll let you know when it's out.

Take care, stay high, and we hope to see you soon,

* * *



The enclosed dates refer to our approaching East Coast Tour during the month of September, 1972. Hopefully none of these dates will be canceled at the last minute due to unfavorable circumstances; although it might be wise for you to check and make sure the gig is still happening on the appointed date -- as last minute changes do occasionally occur, and it would definitely be a drag to travel a long way and find a concert had been canceled.
The final touches on our new album -- a triple record set -- are almost completed, and the album is due to be released around October 15. . . . .

A Grateful Dead Songbook is still on its way; the publishing date is estimated sometime late in November. A mail-order coupon for the songbook will be included in the newsletter at the end of the year. It's sure to be a very beautiful and original songbook, complete with hand-written music and full page color illustrations.

It's almost time for us to hit the road again and with that in mind, take care, stay high, and we hope to see you soon.

* * *



High again and greetings from sometimes sunny California! We have enclosed an itinerary of our approaching November tour of the South and Midwest in hopes that you might get a chance to hear some 'Good Ole Grateful Dead.' Hopefully this information will reach you before we've already come and gone. We regret that we can't send them earlier but last minute changes keep us changing the schedule up until it's almost time to leave on tour. Before driving any long distance for a gig it's a good idea to always check to make sure the gig's still happening...otherwise you may find yourself the center of attraction in an empty parking lot in some town miles away from home!
Our new album "GRATEFUL DEAD EUROPE '72" is finally due to be released on November 5. It's a three-record-set with a photographic booklet of candid shots from our whirlwind European tour in April and May of this year. . . .

Pigpen is still in the band, but he's at home resting and getting his health back together; we expect to see him back on the road with us sometime in the beginning of next year. In the meantime he's been working on material for his own album which we hope to hear sometime later next year...maybe!
For those of you who sent money for T-shirts to Kumquat Mae and never received one's trying to burn you! Your order will be filled. There were unexpected problems with the people printing the shirts in Oregon, and consequently they were asked to stop their production. The Monster Company (Kelly and Mouse) are now handling the printing and distribution of Grateful Dead T-shirts...the Europe '72 album designs and soon the old skull and roses design. From now on there shouldn't be any more problems with deliveries, so please be as patient as you can.
We'll be in touch again, so take care and by all means stay high, and we hope to see you soon.
Have a happy Thanksgiving

* * *


from all of us to all of you

The Grateful Dead are home for awhile playing for the San Francisco scene, which includes another incredible New Years celebration scheduled for Winterland in San Francisco; however all of the tickets were sold within an hour after they went on sale.
A definite tour schedule for next year is still sketchy, but this much information we can relay: in January the band is taking time off from being on the road; in February a Midwest tour is planned; for March there is energy directed towards an East-coast tour; April has foreshadowings of work in the studio on a new album; and in July there are very vague plans for a possible European tour, but there are no details available at this time regarding tour dates.
Our Dead Heads operation may seem grossly inefficient and slow for those of you sending in your name expecting something back immediately. We have about 20,000 names on our list to keep in touch with and it's financially impossible for us to send out more than two newsletters a year to everyone and maybe one or two itineraries depending on where you live and if we're heading in your direction. We are able to only send itineraries to the states and surrounding states of the scheduled gigs. Due to a lack of complete and correct information very far in advance of the gigs, we send the itineraries late rather than not at all, with the hopes that if you miss a gig in your own city or state, you still might be able to make a show close by.
We've received many requests for information regarding tickets for Dead gigs; information should be sought through the promoter or the hall where the show is being staged. We are in no way involved with the sale of tickets.
We've also received numerous letters requesting information about where to get t-shirts . . . For those who ordered shirts from Kumquat Mae sometime ago...your orders will be filled, probably in late January or early February. There were unexpected problems with the printing of the shirts and consequently The Monster Company had to take over the operation...please be a little more patient.
A Grateful Dead songbook (American Beauty and Workingman's Dead sheet music, lyrics, and illustrations) is in the final stages of being completed, and we expect it to be published in late January or early February. All orders that have been received will be processed once the book is finally in print. For those of you that are interested you can order one from Ice-Nine Publishing Co. . . . Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.
Pigpen is still recovering from his extended illness but we hope to see him back on the road the first of the year. He's been writing and working on new material for an album of his own, but there are no definite plans regarding this potential album. We have one more album to give Warner Brothers to complete our record contract. Although a definite decision has not been made regarding the contents of this album, there is talk of an archives album from old live tapes.
We hope you're all enjoying the new album as much as us...keep on boogying and we'll be back with you before long...and by all means stay high!

Sep 17, 2012

March 1972 Newsletter (excerpt)

The first issue of the Dead Head newsletter came out shortly before the Europe tour. Most of it recounted the history of the band, which I'll skip - but here I include the beginning & end of the newsletter.

? ? ! ! DEAD HEADS UNITE ! ! ? ?

You probably have been wondering what it's all about...just as much as we have at times. We originally had hopes of establishing some sort of communication system between all of you out there. However, our own lack of money has prevented us from doing what we had originally intended.
"We can't afford to do what 'Dead Heads' was supposed to have done, but what we can do is let everybody know we got their letter. The way it could have worked out for example, if we had it really super together, if we had a lot of money, what we could have done was to organize like rough lists of members of the Grateful Dead weirdness scene or whatever, and have them get together in their town and put on some trips or provide a communication system of some loose sort. But we're limited economically because the Dead Head trip doesn't have any income, and the Grateful Dead doesn't make all that much money." -- Garcia
'Dead Heads' is not a fan club as such; we don't really think of it that way at any rate. We had hoped to be able to keep in contact with all of you, but the number of all of you seems to multiply far faster than we can accomodate your questions and requests. Hopefully in the future you will be able to visualize our situation a little better and understand our difficulties in trying to respond to the thousands of you that are out there all over the world. There are relatively a small number of family members and friends here who are trying to somehow keep track of who you are and where you are and respond to some of the requests and questions you have. As we are far from being mechanized or computerized, (all manual labor as it were) you may find us slow in returning your letter. We regret the delay, but we're moving as fast as we can and you'll just have to 'hang loose' as far as hearing from us goes. We really are making an effort to keep in touch.

Since we are asked time and time again some of the same questions regarding the band's history, where the name came from, etcetera, we would like to try and fill you in on certain things. If you're really interested in reading about the Dead try getting a hold of the following issues of ROLLING STONE : issue #40 - August 23, 1969, #100 - January 20, 1972, #101 - February 3, 1972, and the March issue of PLAYBOY magazine.

. . . .

This whole 'Dead Heads Unite' idea started with hopes of being able to bring you people together, but as it stands we are able to do little more than enjoy your letters, keep your name and address on file, and occasionally (maybe only twice a year) send you a newsletter, circular, or an itinerary of the Dead's tour plans.
Please let us know when you write to us whether you've written before; it's to help us so that we don't duplicate our energy and waste time recording and filing your name and address when it's already in our files.
"Since we can't provide any way for you people to get together and since we haven't got any money to do that, everybody ought to think of ways to get together with other Dead freaks. Don't hold your breath waiting for replies -- that's the whole thing in this matter...don't hold your breath. At any rate, we know where you all are, we have all your addresses, and WE HAVE YOUR NAME." -- Garcia
We hope you will continue to turn us on to what's happening where you are and where you're at. Thank you all for all the far out letters and drawings you've sent us; we've all really enjoyed them, and we hope to hear from you again. Don't give up on us; we will be in touch with you again, but we can't promise when.

Take care, have fun, and stay high,

Sep 9, 2012

September 1972: The Dead's Style


Waiting for my first Grateful Dead concert, amid a euphorically chaotic crowd of some 16,000 "Dead freaks", a veteran of eight of their concerts remarked to me in a perfectly serious, matter-of-fact tone, "You know," he said, "I've finally found the meaning of life. Life is a Grateful Dead concert; all else but an interim."

Well, now that I have become a veteran of two Dead concerts, proudly displaying my ticket stub and grass-stained trousers alternately like well-earned battle scars and my keys to the pearly gate, I, too, have found the meaning of existence. Just point me toward the next Grateful Dead concert, if you will, please.

Being a veteran, like the theory of auteur, holds special meaning in relation to a group such as the Grateful Dead. For after becoming familiar with a few of their songs, and especially after hearing them perform live, all of the rest warrant an actively involved perception.

This, however, is so obvious as to be absurd to a follower of Jerry Garcia and his merry band; in fact, it is this common assumption, common at least among fans, which allows Garcia the great freedom of movement, the breath-taking, mind-boggling runs, leaps and transitions, which mark him as one of the greatest guitar players ever to have fingered the instrument.

But perhaps Garcia's skill, complemented fully by Bob "Ace" Weir's rhythm guitar and Phil Lesh's bass, can be best observed in concert where his mastery over the guitar assumes at times a free-form, dream-like quality reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix at his best, and at other times, it reflects Garcia's rock and roll/blues roots - enough so to make Chuck Berry appear no more than competent – as, say, a Ringo Starr.

Beginning an old standard, such as "Trucking" or "Uncle John's Band", in the traditional manner, the Grateful Dead, with Garcia forging ahead, soon severs all ties with the original tune, preferring instead to launch an evolutionary exploration into areas where sensory perception and intellect effect and react to each other directly. For perhaps 20 minutes, though it is often hard to say, complete dominance is maintained over the crowd by Garcia's initial hypnotic thematic statements and slight variations thereof.

With the audience firmly under their control, however, the Grateful Dead quickly shift from supportive blues rhythms and country leads to an extremely active texture highlighted by Garcia's excursions into dream-like runs which united produce a stream-of-consciousness effect quite unprecedented in the area of popular music.

But the Dead are never static. Having once established and elaborated upon a statement, they slide, often by use of syncopation and imitation, into an entirely different presentation; from, for instance, variations on a country/blues theme to an almost surreal interpretation of progressive jazz.

This can be readily observed in "Saint Stephen" and "The Eleven", two continuous songs which occupy an entire side on the rather old, yet still masterfully innovative, first Live/Dead album. Beginning slowly and ambiguously by covering a wide range, as much by implication as by actual statement, the Dead suddenly blast into a follow-up of the major motive, establishing the thematic pattern upon which the vocals are supported and to which the Dead return after developing lengthy variations and additional themes.

Following a brilliant interpretation of the original statement which seems effortlessly to roll off their fingertips into the listener's mind, a device, by the way, they frequently use to bridge the gap between the here and there, the powerfully subtle Bill Kreutzmann on drums and Phil Lesh lead the others through an extremely difficult transition in which they change time while repositioning themselves in order to explode into "The Eleven."

Since the recording of Live/Dead, the Grateful Dead's style has undergone a number of changes, perhaps the most dramatic of which was the adaptation of country music and the resultant album, Workingmans Dead, (1970). Although still heavily influenced by country music, the influence is now an inherent one, the Dead's roots having sprouted forth from country, rock and roll and blues; the distinction between them is increasingly difficult to define.

Another important alteration, and one which promises to aid greatly in the continued evolution of the Grateful Dead, both individually and collectively, is the freedom allowed members of the group to play and record with other artists. Most notable in this regard is Garcia, who has performed on at least four major independent albums in the last year or so, although on most, members of the Dead play as well. Weir, also, has recently recorded an excellent album entitled Ace. Here, too, the musicians are all members of the Grateful Dead.

Perhaps the best recorded example of what may be yet another turn in style, and one which was embryonically apparent in at least two of the Dead's latest concerts (Philadelphia and Washington) can be found in a largely undiscovered album Garcia recorded with Howard Wales, called Hooteroll? Without a doubt, Garcia's collaboration with the superb blues/jazz organist, Wales, will continue to produce dramatically important results.

To a large extent, the Dead's recent dream-like style of playing, characterized by slowly evolving, minutely subtle melodies which at times are intentionally shattered (to say nothing of our minds) by powerfully syncopated chords and notes, by Lesh's imitation and by a general accelerando, can be attributed to Garcia's experiences with Wales on Hooteroll? It seems likely, too, that the increased influence and often outright performance of jazz preeminently displayed throughout much of their latter concerts can be developmentally traced to Hooteroll? as well.

What these stylistic refinements hold in store is hard to say at this point, although I have heard that a new double or triple album recorded live in New York, and soon to be released, will provide ample testimony to the continuing musical evolution of the Grateful Dead. Until then, and with pardons extended to Mick Jagger for this gross interpretation, "I don't want to talk 'bout Garcia, just wanta hear him play."

(by Rob Pritchard, from the Cavalier Daily, U of Virginia, October 6 1972);query=grateful dead

Thanks to

September 21, 1972: Philadelphia Spectrum


"Yaaaa hoooo," a girl screams, still shaking from dancing at her chair for five hours. "Please don't wait so long to come back."
After three years, the Greatful Dead returned to 18,000 followers at the Spectrum Thursday night!
For Dead freaks, that sentence should be sufficient. Anyone who has followed the group for any length of time knows that even on a bad night, which has never happened to my knowledge, California "rock and roll thunder" is at its best.
It's hard to find a new angle for a review when a group like the Dead consistently performs superbly. To say the Dead is "fantastic," "out-of-sight" or "incredible" would be using mere words which do not properly convey the precision and excellence of their performance.
What makes Greatful Dead concerts so enjoyable?
The Dead is one group which can experiment with their music during a live concert and make it sound like a polished product. Most groups know what they are going to play and how they are going to play it before they go on stage. But The Dead, they flow spontaneously with the moods of the audience and reflect upon those moods with their music.
Anybody who heard their version of "Playing in the Band" Thursday night knows exactly what I'm talking about. It was brilliant.
People you haven't seen for years show up at Dead concerts, along with people you think you know but don't. Everyone at a Dead concert looks like someone you would like to meet. Smiles, shaking bodies and laughter is all you see through the filmy illegality of the "evil weed."
The concert was not well advertised and was not publicly announced until two weeks before it was scheduled. If the news had been released earlier, undoubtedly people from all over the East Coast would have made an attempt to be at the performance.
But, if you're a Dead freak, you knew about the concert via grapevine about a month ago. Dead Freaks Unite, and you made sure that every one of your friends got a ticket. That's how Dead freaks are.
I don't think the group will stay away from Philadelphia for three years after Thursday night's concert. The band obviously enjoyed themselves and that's what it's all about anyway. Philadephia will be more bearable for a little while.

(by Ralph Bobb, from the Times, city/date unknown)

* * * * *


If I get home before daylight
Just might get some sleep tonight...

What does a Grateful Dead freak do after hanging for 4 1/2 hours in the company of his revered ones, oh so alive and wailing well at the Spectrum?
Why, scream for an encore, of course.
That, like they say, is gratitude.
And I say, no rock band in this world flies so high and so brilliantly as the Grateful Dead, San Francisco's gift to intelligent mind-blowing music. They'll leave you physically drained by the power of collective force, but emotionally-spiritually rejuvenated by their snake-charming invitation to fantasy frolics.

No wonder Dead fanatics will travel hundreds of miles on a moment's notice to catch a concert that sterile records will never truly capture.
The group's sure got it down, folks, a potent medicine six years in the development, a sound born of country swing and jug bands, rural blues and good ole rock and roll, laced with the good-time philosophy of a Be-In that never went away.
The creative juices have been in the main, flowing more mellow of late, evident in the soft country-and-cowboy-themed funk which dominated the first two hours of the Dead's marathon ballroom session last night. We heard a raft of first time round(ers), tunes from singer-guitarist Bob Weir's solo album, oldies like "I Know You Rider" and (yup) Marty Robbin's "El Paso."

Harmonizing better than ever are Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, newly welcomed Sunshine lady Donna Godchaux, Jerry "Capt. Trips" Garcia.
Actually, Garcia holds back his famed guitar wizardry in a manner that seems at first almost miserly, until you realize that it's all a part of the Dead's consummate sense of dramatic dynamics.
Both in planning the sets (the second is the cosmic rock explosion) and in the inner workings of each number, the concept is ebb and flow, always maintaining an edge of surprise and revelation. Low down blues move into a frenetic charger, into a perky shuffle.
You can't help but get sucked in, cued to shift the mental spotlight from singers to pianist Keith Godchaux (Pig Pen's New Orleans-styled replacement), to the ever-alive rhythms of bassist Phil Lesh and (now solo) drummer Bill Kreutzman. Then suddenly, Garcia smacks a hard electric solo against your cranium, with rhythm guitarist Weir fattening the distinctive welt. But instead of zapping right into a big cliche - a vocal finale - this band has the nerve (and class) to drop down the momentum to a wispish trot and then grind it up again.
Fifteen, 25, 40-minute jams pass without a time sense because there is no waste, no sense of repetition, or easy compromise. It's an ideology usually reserved for jazz experimenters. Not coincidentally, an eye-opening, free-form jazz improvisation plays a prominent role in the Dead's second, 150-minute set.
We all done our homework.

(by Jonathan Takiff; newspaper/date unknown.)

* * * * *


The Grateful Dead performed a miracle at the Spectrum last night.
On a smoggy, soggy evening, in a large, darkened concert hall, the Dead managed to take every member of the capacity audience (17,500 people) to the top of a mountain on a bright sunny day. From a troubled city to the most wide open country.
The Dead haven't played the Spectrum in four years. Last time they did they played on a round stage in the middle of the hall, and somebody in the band didn't like it. They finally gave it another try last night and they loved it - and the audience loved it.
The Spectrum-Electric Factory Concerts people have finally gotten the Spectrum in shape to be almost a cozy hall. After an incident at the Humble Pie concert last week in which some lighting equipment was damaged, the promoters added a moat to their already raised stage. Finally, concertgoers can now sit through a performance without having to put up with selfish children down front who want to steal someone's guitar pick.

The Grateful Dead, who started their musical life playing free concerts from the back of platform trucks in San Francisco, and who refused to sign a recording contract for so long that their first album was called "The Grateful Dead Sell Out," are truly a unique band.
The concert last evening lasted five hours. That's right, five hours. Rare is the band that can keep everything moving for the usual 45-minute-to-one-hour set. But five hours... Every minute of the time was excellent music. Not a moment was wasted.
The key word in discussing the Dead's music seems to be lift. Lift and carry. That's what's needed to sustain the intense interest of 17,500 perpetually fickle rock fans.
The five hour concert seemed actually to be symphonic movements rather than strings of songs. Long, long, jazz-like solos interspersed between refrains of well-known Dead tunes filled the time like an accordion.

Describing the band as "together" is a severe understatement. With the one-instrument solos, double solos and small-ensemble parts of each song, the players displayed an empathy that comes not just with years playing together but years thinking together.
The Dead engage the sensibilities at the most noble level. There is little gut-reaction loudness or histrionics.
The group's sound system was just fine - every word sung and spoken cut through the smokey din like a flaming knife. The music was loud but sharp, an example of what loudness in rock and roll is meant to be: not something to hide lack of talent, but a bold crowing, an amplification of something real so it can reach thousands of people at original intensity.
Any discussion of the Dead would be useless without mentioning Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir. Garcia, the benign daddy, picks a clear, simple guitar line that grows and grows - five hours of his solos just whet the appetite for more.
Weir, the quiet one, sings well and works in tandem so cleanly with Garcia that the two seem Siamese twins joined at the consciousness.

(by William Mandel, from the Philadelphia Bulletin, date unknown)

These reviews were included in the Dick's Picks 36 booklet.

Sep 8, 2012

August 1972: Berkeley Community Theater


A short time ago the Grateful Dead played a four-night engagement at the Berkeley Community Theater, a hall that seats 3,500 when the orchestra pit is used.

The entire series of four performances -- 14,000 tickets -- was sold out by the end of the second day the tickets went on sale. There was no special advertising campaign, just the usual announcements in the standard Bill Graham ads.

No other group appeared with the Dead on the show and the music began early every night, at seven o'clock, and went on until 11 or 11:30 PM. The theater is part of a high school campus, and it is against various rules and regulations of the local and State Departments of Education to run after midnight.

The Berkeley Community Theater is not a dance hall. There is no flat, wide area on which to dance or crash. There are only regular auditorium/theater seats and it was a reserved seat affair with numbered tickets and prices ranging from $3.50 to $5.50.

It was beautiful. Night after night the audiences were warm, friendly, appreciative and enthusiastic. Even the usual Bill Graham Quiz, in which he stands on stage and answers questions ("When is the Airplane coming? September 15 and 16 at Winterland. John Lennon? John Lennon is at Madison Square Garden Saturday night.") went down without heckling or antagonism.

The music was superb. The band played straight through each night with only a half-hour intermission long about mid-evening. Of course the Dead are unique and the affair would have been obvious as a Grateful Dead tribal stomp even to a deaf man. All you had to do was to look around backstage and see the women, babies and dogs and it couldn't have been anyone but the Dead.

However, what they did was not the kind of thing which is possible only for one special group. It is possible for a lot of groups and it should be noted and considered by the whole rock & roll world.

The standard rock show of today has evolved from two sources. The old original Fillmore dance concerts and the all-star touring show/concerts of the Fifties. At the Fillmore, the concert was three groups: a lightweight, middleweight and a heavy, each playing about an hour and the show generally repeated twice an evening. A light show was standard right from the beginning. The Fifties concert/show with Paul Anka or Fats Domino would include half a dozen groups or singles each doing two or three songs (concluding with their hit) and then the star doing about an hour.

But earlier, in the Swing Era of the Thirties and Forties, the big bands drew crowds of thousands to dances with only the one group, themselves, on each show. Count Basie or Benny Goodman would play from eight or nine o'clock until 2 AM with only a ten or 15 minute break every hour or so. Occasionally -- and for a very special promotion -- another band would be added and it then became "A Battle of the Bands" with, say, Andy Kirk and Count Basie, or Benny Goodman and Count Basie in which each band alternated hour by hour from eight or nine o'clock until, sometimes, four AM. In those days you stood on the dance floor, you didn't sit or crash.

I have never known why it was necessary to sit or stand through two opening groups to hear the band you came for, except as a means of introducing new groups to an audience.

The whole concert style of Goodman, Ellington, Kenton and the rest which became standard operating procedure at the beginning of the Fifties and which set the matrix for the Fats Domino/Paul Anka/Bill Doggett touring shows which followed, was a combination of the status (ego) involved in playing a concert as opposed to a dance and a method of getting new locations to replace the dwindling dance halls. Also, dance halls could have only one ticket price and concerts could be scaled in various echelons for a bigger gross.

So now we have come full circle. The Grateful Dead can play four nights (and they obviously could have played a week) at a concert hall with absolute artistic and commercial success. Some of the patrons -- Graham estimated 20 percent -- were repeaters, buying tickets for every night. It reminded me of a big band playing the Roton Point Casino when I was in high school. We'd be there every night. Or Glen Island where we would make it three nights out of five, say.

There were other good things about the Dead's Berkeley series. Because it was for four nights and there was room enough for everybody (ticket swapping was common with Listeners' Personals on KSAN-FM acting as a bulletin board), there was none of the hysterical meat-market scrum at any of the box offices. There was time enough for us all.

The Dead do not go in for any of the show biz nonsense you see with some Svengali-created groups in which costumes and lighting attempt to create the drama missing from the music. The Dead are very straight ahead in their presentation. To begin with, they are among friends and they know it. And of course it is axiomatic that, being among friends, there is nothing to live up to. Just be yourself.

Aside from the individual virtues of the group, they have mastered the ability to control dynamics to a more consistent degree than any other group I know of except the James Brown band. The Dead can come down to a whisper and still keep it moving, and this is one of the hardest things to do in group music. That they make it appear to be so effortless is a tribute to their ability. That, too, is hard to do, but as everyone knows who has become expert in any field, it's easy when you know how and the Dead sure do know how.

For me, Jerry Garcia was always one of the true original sounds in contemporary instrumental music. Like a very few others (B.B., Hendrix) it has always been possible to pick him out right away. In earlier days he was not a particularly impressive singer. But he has developed into one now. It was evident from the records that he was getting a lot better, but then in the studio it is possible to aid the voice in a way it can't be done in live performance, and now on the concert stage Jerry is a fine singer, again with a highly personal sound.

Phil Lesh (like Jack Casady) has always been a fascinating bassist precisely because he did not play the bass like other bass players but instead made it into a continual counter-melody to Garcia and the song. But Lesh has gotten even better and his bass playing takes over from time to time to become a uniquely dominant voice.

Bob Weir is the personification of the Dead's philosophy of "let it grow." Standing there beside one of the greatest guitarists of his time, Weir has grown. In other circumstances he might have been inhibited, but the Dead's ambience let him be, and he has become a fine singer and an excellent player. Bill Kreutzman has mellowed out over the years as a drummer and really swings his ass off. Keith Godchaux, who replaced the ailing Pig Pen, plays keyboard which gives an unusual pianistic sound now and Donna Godchaux sings an occasional song in a charming Southern-flavored voice.

All in all the week was pure joy. Now why don't the Band, the Who, Van Morrison, Rod Stewart, and the rest do the same thing? Must we always be prisoners of those amphitheaters?

(by Ralph Gleason, from Rolling Stone, September 28 1972)

Sep 7, 2012

London 1972: Sam Cutler Speaks

(These are two pieces from a program book printed for the London Lyceum concerts.)

Danae Brook

I know the Dead from aeons ago where I danced to their music through the purple sage of flat desert spaces and sunlit California dreams. They sing with their heads and play with their souls as all high music should be, but so often isn't. They are a massive family, who live in individual units out of town from San Francisco at Sausalito, where you see the sea from the road and the woods run down to the beach and most of the time it's warm. There's music on the street corners and flutes in Golden Gate Park where the Dead played free, and acid in the air. Listen and you'll hear their music pour through the crystal of San Francisco's iridescent light, focusing energy in a reflecting prism of new thought, new experience, change. And I know them from an Englishman who went to California with the Stones and found himself living with the Dead.
Once the Stones' roadie, Sam Cutler, went to Garcia's ranch after Altamont to hear some good old fashioned California common sense and music. It happened the band was having trouble with a manager who rumour has it ripped them off to the tune of around 180,000 pounds. They needed management and they needed work. California's a nice place to get away with not working, there's so much to take your time you don't notice it slipping through your fingers. But the Dead were broke and Sam was there, so they hired him as a tour manager and hit the road.
Now they're in London, after six concerts in New York, heading for a fast trip through Europe: England, Denmark, Germany, France, Holland, a radio show in Luxembourg on May 16th and back to London on May 26th for three more gigs.
Cutler was here in February to organise. He says he set them off on 'The shiny rock and roll bit. A way they hadn't worked before. Making money and being a box office attraction. Getting known and selling records. They either had to do that or give it up. You can't exist in debt forever.'
Survival tactics. They put their noses to the grindstone of pop music and escaped with the bones intact and some flesh to spare. Cutler hussled them. They hussled their music. The output shot up dramatically. Garcia and Hunter began to write more approachable music, which, around the time of 'Working Man's Dead' was relevant to many people. Hunter writes the words, takes them along to Garcia's ranch, stoned heads hanging out together, and flash there's another album!
Bob Hunter is a poet. 'The way he works is you have a melody and you're sort of singing it at him, and he'll listen to the way you're singing it at him and he'll try to construct his words along those lines,' Garcia explains.
The Grateful Dead now is not the band of the '65 Kool Aid Acid Tests. In their early music you can feel the influence of Warlocks and acid; free concerts in the park; the flowery head revolution of Haight Ashbury. Their music has grown up, reflected and kept pace with, the generation of freaks who discovered the wonder of the universe through L.s.d., but could not build a tangible Utopia; who tried for a new form of politics and religion which avoided rigid conformity, yet bent to nothing; who now struggle to separate fantasy from reality and stay high despite the bills, move forward instead of back.
'I think of the Grateful Dead as kinda like a sign post,' Garcia says. 'What we're pointing to is that there's a lot of universe available...but we're also pointing to danger, to difficulty; we're pointing to bummers. We're pointing to whatever there is, when we're on...when it's really happening.'
Their philosophy is that you get high with people and they're your brothers always. The brotherhood circles around the globe and immediate family is upwards of 30 people. Most members of the band have old ladies 'Because life's more comfortable that way.' And a few of them have kids, including Garcia, who has two. Although it is said they are open to meetings with 'all kinds of attractive psychedelic sexy people,' the Dead is not a band that draws the attacking groupie. They don't preen and dress to pull, they dress to walk the streets - funky blue jeans and cowboy boots. They like staying home, getting high, making music and playing baseball.
Last summer I watched them locked in combat with the Jefferson Airplane on a blazing hot baseball pitch in the small town of Fairfax, outside San Francisco. People drank wine in the grass and children ran barefoot. Papa John Creach, the old old man who plays violin with the Airplane and Hot Tuna, stood watch as umpire. The Dead vanquished the Airplane, but there was no rancour - and Bob Weir swipes a good ball for sure!
'We think of ourselves as musicians who have lots of possibilities,' says Garcia. It seems the possibilities are endless and the form is bound to change. Now they function within the music business. Tomorrow it may be without.
They have something called integrity to bring the music industry. They have a Clearsighted, correctly prioritised system of values. They do nothing to evoke the hysterical in people. They're not interested in having audiences think them the sexiest people on earth. They couldn't give a shit about that. They're most interested in having people get off listening to them. Their strength is that each person has been to a weird place that no-one else has been. If you look at the Dead as a boat with a steering wheel, you can find different people at the wheel at different times. In the Antarctic the ice specialist grabs the wheel, in the tropics the tropical specialist takes over.
'We're not, now, an anarchic community. We're a survival unit. We're into survival...emotional, financial, physical and psychic survival. Perhaps the basis of the Dead's popularity is that their struggle is the struggle of ordinary people to find pleasure in their everyday life on this planet.'
Of course that's one of the family talking, but pursuit of pleasure has long been condemned as a sin by puritans. Along with technology, ecology, sexuality and expanding consciousness, that view is changing. Music is a means both of expressing and feeling the changes. The Dead keep it moving in circles and cycles. They make music for men, and music to get people high.

* * * * *

Myles Palmer talks to Sam Cutler, the Dead's tour manager

It's his flat Jaggeresque London accent you hear at the end of that collage of intros on Get Your Ya Ya's: 'The greatest rock & roll band in the world, the Rolling Stones.' And it's his name you see behind the credit on Workingman's Dead: 'Executive Nanny: Sam Cutler.'
Cutler road manages the Grateful Dead now, since he met them around the time of the nightmare free concert which was captured so vividly in the movie Gimme Shelter. 'They didn't play, which was sad, because they were the only band who could probably have done anything about the whole trip. There were a variety of reasons. The [Dead] didn't play cos Bill Wyman and his old lady went shopping and missed the helicopter. So he was waiting at the heliport and instead of putting the Grateful Dead on the helicopter they put Bill Wyman on. Then there was a whole scene of hassling around and eventually the Grateful Dead were all there. By which time John James and Ronnie Schneider (the managers of the Stones) were saying Oh, no, no, no, the Rolling Stones will go on next.'
A two month European tour is colossally expensive, as many groups have found out. The strands of monetary myth and reality are often hard to make out. But there's reason to believe even the rock giants don't make much money doing gigs.
Cutler agrees that money is the first problem with Europe. 'The whole scale of things over here in the music business is proportionately smaller so you can't earn any real money here. The way I got the Grateful Dead to come here was a mixture of things. No. 1 was, the consciousness wasn't really here for them to come in the first place, but in the last year it's developed, and John Morris has begun a series of informal contacts with a whole bunch of European promoters in each country. Consequently there's now a framework ready to receive the Grateful Dead.
'I came over, I met all of those people, and we've worked out a tour. The problem is simple. If you're gonna be here for two months, and you're gonna bring 30 people, apart from your air fares, you need a minimum of $1000 a day to survive. That's to pay for hotels, rent a truck, rent a bus, move around and give everyone spending money. $60,000. You have to do a lot of concerts to earn $60,000. You have to work hard, so that's what we're doing. We're going to have a luxury bus which is costing a luxury fuckin' fortune, but it's worth it. We ain't flying, we're gonna bring all our kids and all our old ladies, and we'll move around and it'll be really beautiful.'
We were talking by candlelight. Suddenly the lights came back on. Sam laughed. 'That's how I felt when I met the Grateful Dead. When I met Garcia after Altamont, I was really lucky.
'John MacIntire was their road manager then. The band had no bread, and he and Rock Scully were the only guys around to even help out.
'I went along and helped, and so did David Parker, an old friend of Jerry's, and his old lady Bonnie. They were into accountancy, in a straight office riff and really unhappy behind it. They were really useful cos they were practical. I was like some working road manager kind of a guy who had been through all that rock and roll bullshit. Ain't no-one can tell me what to watch out for, cos I can see it coming all the time. I have paranoid visions of it being round the corner all the time, thanks to the Rolling Stones.
'So I was there and John was there. John is a fantastic kind of a front man. He's got a beautiful rap, a very bright cat, and he's also at times very good at being crystal clear about what the Grateful Dead need, and are, and should be doing.'
In the late sixties, of course, San Francisco was the rock capital of the world, and among its key figures was Rock Scully. 'Rock is two thirds of the San Francisco scene on his own,' says Cutler. 'He's a very beautiful guy who knows a lot about the record business. So anyway we just put our collective strengths together.
'By God they were in debt something wicked. But now it's a very successful, happening, groovy, mellow outfit. Our only worry at the moment is a little bit too much success. Which is not doing anything to our egos. If you're in the Grateful Dead you're only there cos there ain't no fuckin' other place for you to be. That sounds weird but I think it's really true. If I didn't work for the Grateful Dead I can assure you man I wouldn't work for any other band. Without the Grateful Dead, fuck the music business, it sucks the hairy root. With the Grateful Dead I personally feel an individual possibility of some kind of weird karma salvation. Cos I know that with them, I'll always struggle to pull out more than I take. I'll inject into whatever's happening more energy than I take out.'
Cutler says death is never the end of something, it's the beginning. 'At that moment everything was so cathartic in the music scene generally, I think it was the start of a newer consciousness. Altamont was the thing which told everyone exactly what Woodstock was.
'But all of us, we smiled at the whole of the Woodstock bullshit-type thing. Woodstock I, Woodstock II, all these 3rd rate albums coming out, man? A big movie, people making a fortune. The Grateful Dead weren't in the movie cos they played shitty. They were stoned out of their heads. At the time they played it was fuckin' raining and they were all getting electric shocks and having a terrible time. They had a great time when they weren't playing cos they went around and got pretty high I think.
'So they started with 'Workingman's Dead' immediately after Altamont.' Sam talked a bit about New Speedway Boogie. 'I think 'One Way Or Another This Darkness Has Gotta Give' is about Altamont. There are certain lines in it which make me feel very weird cos I wonder if they relate to me. But that was all 2 1/2 years ago.' I asked him if there was a conscious effort by the Dead to get into a more writing-singing trip and less of an acid-instrumental thing. 'Well I guess they said a lot and they started to say more because it happens that these last two years have been years to say things.
'I hesitate to talk about the Grateful Dead. I mean I talk about them a lot but my view is just my view, it ain't necessarily the true one. We've all got a different view of the trip, right? I think somewhere along the line Bob Hunter and Jerry Garcia really flash on: what is a great song? There have been some dynamite songs man. They're into that.
'The Grateful Dead doesn't give a monkey's cuss about havin' a hit single, but nonetheless deep down each one of 'em likes to flash on: what is that kinda song? I've seen some heavy songwriters, but I think that Hunter & Garcia are as heavy as any songwriter anywhere, ever. I don't care if it's the Beatles, Cole Porter, Gershwin.
'I like to view them as a body of music, seven, eight albums now comprise a very human testament to what they're trying to do. They don't wanna lead no fuckin' revolutions, cos they haven't got the wits or the brains. They're not into that scene.
'They just wanna make fine music and have a groovy life and they're fuckin' doing it.'
He says his job is being a fixer, looking after all the hassles which normally beset travelling families. 'I always say I'm the hardest-worked, most-underpaid happiest manager in the whole music business. Just because I believe in what I'm doing man. I believe in Garcia's music and in the Grateful Dead's music and I just believe in what we're saying, which is good music and good vibes, havin' fun, having' a good time. Who needs all the shit?'

May 1972: Paris


In Paris, Le Grand Hotel is a big deal.

Across the street is the historic and opulent Opera House and running off in several directions are the city's famous tree-lined avenues. In one career of the massive structures is the Cafe de la Paix, the sidewalk meeting place in all those romantic Hollywood flicks. Nearby are the shops of Saint Laurent and Dior.

The hotel itself is so big you can get lost in the hallways. Single rooms start at $35 a day and all are equipped with balconies and small automated refrigerators that dispense liquor and beer and champagne at ridiculous prices. There are jewelry shops, restaurants, hair stylists, masseurs, art galleries, theater booking agencies, shirtmakers. Everyone on the staff speaks fluent English. It is a popular favorite of visiting Americans.

"Are you still expecting the Grateful Dead?" I asked the reservations clerk.

"The Beautiful Dead, monsieur?"

"Uh...not quite. The Grateful Dead."

"Oui, monsieur. Would you spell the surname, please."



"It's a musical group," I said, filling in the silence. "From America."

"We are expecting a 37-piece orchestra..."

Only the figure was incorrect. The Grateful Dead, halfway through a two-month tour of Europe, numbered not 37 but, depending upon who you talked to, up to 48. There were seven musicians and singers, five managers, five office staff, ten equipment handlers (handling 15,000 pounds of equipment, not counting the 16-track recording system), four drivers and 17 assorted wives, old ladies, babies and friends. In its 100 years of catering to the tourist elite, the Grand Hotel had never seen anything like it.

The Dead arrived late Monday, not quite fresh from a two-day overland haul from Hamburg, Germany. Yet, when they awoke on Tuesday, just as on the first day in each new country so far, a copy of their own Xeroxed newspaper, the Bozos & Bolos News, had been slipped under their hotel room doors.

The Dead began drifting into Room 4600 about noon. This was the Office Suite, where Rosie [McGee] prepared the Bozos & Bolos News and others manned the telephones, while Sam Cutler greased the Dead machine -- changing German marks into French francs and handing out daily "road money" ($10 for the ladies, $15 for the gentlemen, for food), dispatching couriers to check an English festival site and see why the latest Dead single wasn't getting the desired promotion, worrying about lights and sound checks and transportation and luggage and laundry.

When the Dead arrived in Paris, they'd been on the road exactly a month. They'd played two nights in London's Wembley Pool (to 8000 each night) and to smaller crowds in Copenhagen and what seemed to be half the cities in West Germany. The Dead had appeared at a festival in England in 1970, had performed at a free concert in France in 1971, but never had they done The Grand Tour, long de rigueur for American bands anxious to improve European record sales.

Outside Room 4600 the day was warm, the sky a cloudless blue. In small groups, the Dead set out to see the sights.

"Today is a free day," the Bozos & Bolos News had said. "In the evening, Kinney is hosting a dinner for all of us (and a few discreet press people) at a very fine restaurant located in the Bois de Boulogne (the city park, but what a park!). It is called La Grande Cascade, and holy shit, is it ever neat! You might even feel like dressing special for it, although you don't have to. It's just that kind of place..."

At 7:00, Sam Cutler was telling the bus drivers he was sorry, but could they please do this one thing...yeh, he knew he'd given them the day off, but they could have the next two days off, there was just this one dinner...and yeh, of course they could join the boys for the Royal Kinney Feast.

Downstairs, in a lounge the size of half a football field (with a fountain in the middle), the Grateful Dead were assembling. Jerry Garcia dropped into an orange imitation-leather chair. "Almost every place we went today was closed," he said. "The Louvre is closed Tuesdays. We went to the Notre Dame and we saw that, really boss, but we couldn't climb the tower. We went to the Cluny. We saw that. It was sacked by the Barbarians in the year 300, and before that it was a Roman bath. Flash flash. History everywhere you look. Far-out. Stunning."

What about the rest of Europe so far?

"There's a lotta energy in Germany. Like the US, it's opted for the material thing. Everybody looks pretty well-fed. It has the same external trappings, factories, apartments, cars, lotta roads. The thing that made it for us was the world war flash -- all those movies. Germany has had its culture cut off, and it had to start again. It's not like France or England, where it's still all there."

Babe began talking about how boss the purses and hats all looked and somebody else said purses and hats were dumb, and Babe said right, but Paris was where the purse and hat thing was happening and they sure knew how to make them look good. Jerry admitted everybody was buying at least one thing: switchblade knives. And out came half a dozen. Flick. Flick. Flick. The knives began moving from hand to hand.

Around the huge room, other Americans in Paris swung their heads, mouths open, staring at the tie-dye and denim and hair, watching the flash of knives. Was this Le Grand Hotel?

By eight the "labor dispute" had been settled and we were off by bus to Le Grande Cascade, a splendid wedding cake of a room with oval walls of glass that look out onto a lawn of blossoming chestnut trees. The dinner lasted three and a half hours. (As long as a Grateful Dead concert set). During the serving of liqueurs, which followed the Alsatian Riesling Grande Reserve and the Chateau Meyney "Prieure Des Couleys" 1959 and the Champagne Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut, things got a little loose. That was when the Dead turned the waiters on.

"Here ya are, yer head some good."

The waiter stood stiffly in his black tie and tails. Timidly he allowed the pipe to be raised to his lips. He sucked deeply, there was a cheer, he smiled, and the pipe was passed.


The Dead were to play the next two nights at the Olympia Theater two blocks from the hotel. Jerry Garcia seemed anxious. "I got a letter from one of our fans here, and he said the police like to put plants in the audience to cause trouble, and then the police use that as an excuse to clear everybody out and stop the show."

"Just let 'em try it," said Phil Lesh, leering with anticipation. "We'll go up to 'em and we'll say, 'Come along, Officer -- have a drink of this Coca Cola.'"

It had been four years to the month since students nearly brought the French government to its knees; it was true that the police -- the flics -- got nervous whenever young people gathered. Two nights earlier, when the Doors played the Olympia, there'd been rioting. So when the Dead walked to the theater, there were seven busloads of police at the curb, many of them in riot helmets and armed with rifles.

Inside it was friendlier, as 2200 ticket holders (each of whom paid about $4.50) began swarming into the old theater to the recorded sounds of Jefferson Airplane, Ike & Tina Turner, and The Rolling Stones.

"Bon soir, mes amis," said Phil Lesh. "Uh...that's about all the French I know."

The music began at nine, reaching the first climax two hours and 14 songs later with "Casey Jones." It was clear this was a gathering of Grateful Dead freaks. The opening rhythms of every song were greeted with joyous shouts and applause, and between the numbers there were happy requests.

The Dead took a half-hour break at 11, then played for another two hours. During "Truckin'," as the mirrored ball near the ceiling revolved reflecting light, the audience rose as one, weaving and yelping and applauding the long, jazzy drum, guitar and piano breaks. This set closed with hard rock, the familiar Bo Diddley rhythm pattern in "Not Fade Away" and the Dead's new single, "One More Saturday Night." Now Donna Godchaux, singing backup for the Dead, and some of the Ladies Auxiliary were boogying on the crowded stage.

So mellow was the mood as the concert's end, the police outside had nothing to do but smoke cigarettes.

"It's called muscle fatigue," said Jerry Garcia the following day. "We couldn't have played any longer if we'd wanted to."

"Like I sang three songs in a row there at the end," said Bob Weir. "Forty-five minutes of singing and singing hard, which for any other singer is a whole night's work and we'd been on for three hours or something before that. When we quit, my chest was fucking heaving, man."

(In England, Weir had said, "when we got there, all the people in that big country show" -- a reference to a country festival -- "were here at the hotel, and I was talking to a lot of those guys and we were talking about how many nights a year they work. I was telling them we work 50 nights a year and they were amazed because they work 150 to 200 nights a year and more. I got the hint that they thought we were really lazy and just laying back and making money off a big name. Then it occurred to me to ask them how long they play every night -- about 45 minutes. Well, we play about three hours a night, so it works out about the same. You can't carry on to 150 to 200 nights a year while playing three or four hours a night and expect to survive.")

But Jerry Garcia wasn't quite satisfied.

"Everywhere we've been, the audiences have been Grateful Dead audiences. We've had the German equivalent of the guy who gets up on the stage and takes his clothes off. We've had the English freakout, the Danish freakout. But we haven't been playing enough. I'm a music junkie and I have to play every day. The gigs are too far apart. It's like we're not fucking off enough to enjoy that or we're not playing enough to enjoy that."

The second night at the Olympia was better than the first. There were only 30 or so cops on hand -- down from 180 the night before -- a unique sort of "review" of the Dead's music and audience, when you think about it. Again all 2200 seats were filled. Again the audience crawled forward in a friendly inquisitive Gallic swell, applauding, cheering and chanting "one more one more one more" at the end of another four-hour-long set. And this time, Jerry Garcia admitted afterward, "We played peachy."

Next morning, it was raining as the Dead began piling luggage in the hotel lobby. They would play that night in Lille, at the other end of a high-speed motorway near the Belgian border. That'd make it three concerts in a row. Maybe Jerry Garcia and some of the others would find more satisfaction on this tour after all.

As all the tie-dye and denim and hair gathered in eddies, the other Americans in Paris began swinging their heads, mouths open. If this was the famous Grand Hotel they'd heard about -- and were going to spend at least $35 a day to enjoy -- then who were all these freaks?

(by Jerry Hopkins, from Rolling Stone, June 22, 1972)