LIVELY 8,500 VISIT GRATEFUL DEAD
EDWARDSVILLE - The Grateful Dead, a California-based "Acid-Rock" group, drew a crowd of 8,500 young persons Wednesday night to the Mississippi River Festival - the largest attendance thus far for the current season.
Backstage, young girls and long-haired men crowded around the group's equipment and moved spasmodically to the music. A very young, brown-haired girl in white bell-bottoms danced alone while patterns from the light-show played across her and the screen behind her.
The crowd, most of whom purchased the $2 lawn tickets, rushed into the Festival tent and occupied all available seats. Their progress was not blocked by any Festival ushers.
After a low-key start with folk songs and country based tunes, the Grateful Dead livened the concert with a 23-minute rendition of "Good Lovin" that included drum solos by two drummers playing simultaneously.
The show was late starting because of a delayed arrival by the music group, but the fans did not seem disappointed.
They cheered, applauded, whistled and used all other orderly means to show their enthusiasm for the show.
A light show complimented the music, throwing jerking, ballooning, unusual patterns along the walls and resembling, as one observer put it, an amoeba in ecstasy.
Backstage remained crowded throughout the show as members of the show mingled with SIU officials and various other young persons who crashed the gates.
In a trailer behind the Festival tent, a nurse treated various injuries of spectators who found their way back to the show.
"Nothing serious," she told a Telegraph reporter. "Mostly bruises from falling down or falling over things. Just things like that."
The crowd was almost exclusively young. Long-hair and bears, mini-and-micro skirts, bell-bottomed slacks and denim shorts, and the "braless look" were the most evident fashions.
A blond-haired girl in white formal dress walked barefooted through the crowd. An occasional firecracker interrupted the sounds of the show.
Before the show, several young girls came to the stage area and asked for autographs. They were told to wait until after the show.
The Grateful Dead, formed in California in 1965, first became famous through "underground" music and the hip colonies of the West Coast. Even today, their music is played mostly on "progressive rock" stations. They limit their recording mostly to albums and prefer playing live concerts.
The "Dead" are considered somewhat of an oddity among musical groups because they have managed to stay together for six years. They describe their music as an effort to find "a new musical form." They don't know what it is, but they say they are determined to find it.
The Wednesday night concert was the first true rock concert this year at the Festival. The next non-symphony concert will feature jazz attraction Cannonball Adderly at 8:30 p.m. Friday night.
Henry Mancini, noted composer and orchestra leader, will appear Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. Lawn tickets are still available, although tent seats are sold out.
(by Doug Thompson, from the Alton Evening Telegraph, July 9 1970)
Thanks to Lost Live Dead
Alas, no tape!