ROCK FANS JAM THEATER TO CHEER GRATEFUL DEAD
In spite of “Pig Pen” not being here, the Grateful Dead performed with more than perfection at the Palace Theater Saturday night.
Pig Pen, Ron McKernan, vocals, harmonica, some keyboard, was unable to play at this concert because he is sick. The Dead, however, more than made up for his absence.
Jerry Garcia, lead guitar, brought the audience to its feet several times during the song “Playing in the Band.”
Bobby Weir also excited the audience near the beginning of the concert singing “Cumberland Blues.”
The only major problem at the concert was the overcrowding, some fans said.
Larry Wilson, advertising head from Cable Music, termed the concert “a definite success.” He said the Dead just came from Philadelphia and seemed to draw the crowd with them to Waterbury.
Wilson added that the “kids seemed to know where they will be before I do.”
Approximately 2,500 people were waiting outside the theater at 5:45 p.m., two hours before opening. The young people came from Massachusetts, Vermont, New York and New Jersey. One individual said, “We drove 500 miles for this, believe it or not, all the way from Virginia.” He said he had been waiting in line since noon.
Police said the crowd was “very cooperative.”
When the doors to the theater finally opened, the thousands of waiting young people charged down the aisles to the front of the theater.
“It’s a stampede,” an individual exclaimed.
Approximately 40 people already seated in the front felt they narrowly escaped being crushed.
The music, however, was well worth waiting for. The group played for two hours without a break, then after a half-hour rest, played past press time.
During the first half of the concert, the group played many old favorites including “I Know You Rider.” “Sugaree” also kept the audience on their feet.
The Dead plays again tonight at the Palace. It will undoubtedly be as fine a concert as the Saturday night performance.
A staff member from Cable Music expected at least as large a crowd.
(by Michael London, from the Waterbury Sunday Republican, September 24 1972)