Oct 24, 2017

July 8, 1970: Mississippi River Festival, Edwardsville IL


At a time when rock and pop performers are going through the motions of entertaining and departing 20 minutes later, the Grateful Dead's concert at the Mississippi River Festival last night was extraordinary.
They worked - not for a few songs - but for an evening of entertainment that lasted three hours.
Despite technical problems, the concert was a model of what an outdoor rock concert should be. The performers and the audience controlled the evening, and made it grow from a six-man performance into a cast-of-thousands orgy.
The Grateful Dead was the star at the beginning of the evening, when the group quietly played the countrified rock it does so well.
Rock and roll as a genre, a sound, a life force finished the program. The Grateful Dead was on stage, but its delivery of the frenzy the crowd demanded changed the audience from spectators to participants.

The Dead's reputation for integrity was upheld at Edwardsville last night.
The myths that surround the group led a number of ticketless young persons to believe that the Dead supported their plan to storm the gates at the start of the concert, and then donate their dollars to the Legal Defense Fund rather than to the Mississippi River Festival. They were confusing politics with music, something the Dead never does.
"We're not political at all," guitarist Bob Weir said. "We don't give free concerts for any reason or for anybody. We give them because we feel like it. It's just music for music's sake."
The Dead opposes the excessive commercialism in its industry. The group wants the audience to hear its music, whenever and wherever it can. So when the audience filled the $4.50 reserved seats area, after they had paid only for lawn seating, and blocked the tent aisles, despite frequent invocations by the fire marshals, and crowded the apron of the stage, the Dead brought on the music.

Each of the Dead takes a turn singing lead except the drummers. Each lead does a different style best.
When Jerry Garcia sings the blues, as he did with the acoustic guitars, he works his voice into a mood that is not black or white soul, but is pure blue. "Black Peter" and "High Time," from the "Workingman's Dead" album, were two long bluesy numbers that Garcia's easy vocal and sensitive guitar carried over.
Bobby Weir, in a high, simple voice, leads the country numbers. Both Bobby and Jerry handle the folk rock, and it becomes precisely what it should be - traditional tunes given vitality from complex guitar work and guts from a rock beat.
"Silver Threads and Golden Needles" suffered from the early technical problems. But "Cumberland Blues" and "Casey Jones" - "Drivin' that train, high on cocaine, Casey Jones you better watch your speed" - with a blues and folk subject, given the drive of rock and the easy humor of country music, was perfect.
The Dead's three guitars kept numbers like the bluesy "Deep Elem" moving. The rhythm guitar kept the repetitiousness of that and "Candy Man" from dragging while Garcia's inventive lead guitar broadened the songs. "Candy Man" had just the right dopey singsong from the instruments and bitter humor from the singers that it needed.
Ron McKernan sang lead on the hard rock, rhythm and blues, and San Francisco-sounding numbers. His "Good Lovin'," first of the electric numbers that the group did, made it clear that more had changed than instruments. His harmonica made pure rhythm and blues out of the old Junior Parker song that Weir did the vocal on.

One reason why the Dead's concert was so long was that it didn't stop for applause or breaks or a breath of air once it got going.
Each number flowed into the next. Garcia improvised, constructing his solos like a good jazz musician.
Occasional musical cues would lead the group into a line or two of a song, but that was only a brief landing. Most of the time it would take a song and fly.
The power of the clever improvisation grabbed the crowd and the crowd could not be held down. Ron took over the lead and the Dead gave what the kids who were dancing all over the tent and the grass wanted.
The spontaneity of the fever pitch finale was fine. It gave the crowd the freedom that the good sounds and the outdoors demanded. The Dead knew it and that's why the group finished the Concert that way.
But many groups can sing "shake it up Baby." In the wilderness of the last half hour there was the feeling that the crowd was not loving the Dead for itself. It is good that the Dead can do big, bad, raw rock. But the subtleties of its other work is what makes it superior.

(by Mimi Teichman, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9 July 1970)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

See also:

Alas, no tape!

April 17, 1969: Quadrangle, Washington University, St. Louis


The Grateful Dead gave a rock concert on the Washington University Quadrangle last night, but some county residents were not grateful.
The sound, they said, was enough to wake the dead.
Police in St. Louis County got several calls about midnight complaining that the amplified beat of the acid-rock group from San Francisco was audible a mile away.
About 300 young persons, many in hippie attire, were found grouped around a band shell on the quadrangle, listening to music played to the flashing of psychedelic lights. Police suggested the Grateful Dead stop living it up, and the concert ended.

(from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 18 April 1969)

Thanks to Dave Davis. 

Released on Download Series vol. 12.

* * *

An announcement for the 4/18/69 Purdue University show: 

Original 'Acid Rock' Reaches Purdue

"The GRATEFUL DEAD? At Purdue? I don't believe it!" was the first reaction. The second, from another student, was "The GRATEFUL DEAD? Who are they?" Alas, the GRATEFUL DEAD. After all these years one might think that just about everyone knew who they were, if not by hearing them, then at least by reputation. They were the first of the big San Francisco bands, that's right, even before the Jefferson Airplane moved up from Los Angeles. And they probably invented the term "acid rock," for it was they who played at Ken Kesey's notorious "acid tests," wherein a punch bowl containing that nefarious substance would be served up with the music.
But that was years ago. Today, after two records on Warner's, and innumerable live appearances, coast to coast, they are considered by many to be the finest hard rock group in existence. Reviewer after reviewer has been captured by the power of their live performances; performances which, sadly, will probably never be really captured on record.
The reason for this is simple: a GRATEFUL DEAD performance, when they are going, may last for several hours, with absolutely no let-up, as songs merge completely into one another. They played continuously for four hours a few weeks ago in San Francisco, in a show which left everyone agape for weeks, and for which nobody could find the words to describe. And that is in San Francisco, where nothing surprises anybody anymore.
The GRATEFUL DEAD consist of Ronald McKernan ("Pigpen"), vocal; Jerry Garcia, lead guitar; Bill Kreutzmann, drums; Micky Hart, drums; Phil Lesh, bass; Bob Weir, rhythm guitar; and Tom Constanten, keyboards. "Pigpen" used to play the keyboards in the original group, but now has gone over strictly to vocals and snatches of harmonica. And now there are two drummers in the group, instead of one. Very powerful. Very powerful.
Jerry Garcia is one of the hardest and fastest lead guitarists in the business, with a technique comparable to masters such as Clapton and Bloomfield; he is also rumored to be a brilliant bluegrass banjo picker. The rest of the band members are all superb background singers and supporting musicians, and each will have his say before the night is over, if it ever gets to an end at all.
That's it. The GRATEFUL DEAD. At Purdue, FOR REAL. The dance-concerts will be held in the Union Ballrooms, from about 8 to 12 p.m., Friday. Tickets are $3 at the door and $2.50 in advance; they may be purchased under the mural in the center. The proceeds will go to the support of the boycott, and there may be some discussion of the boycott before the concert starts.
Also appearing will be Purdue's gadfly, George Stavis, who claims that his Vanguard record will be available "imminently." He sings and plays funny things on guitars and banjos which are sometimes compared, by people who should know better, to Indian music. A pleasant time is guaranteed for all.

(by George Stavis, from the Purdue Exponent, 17 April 1969)

April 11, 1969: University of Arizona, Tucson


TUCSON (AP) - The University of Arizona administration was accused yesterday by a member of the Student Peace Association of preventing the campus appearance of a California rock group.
Bruce Marshall, association president, charged that the administration had blocked his efforts to rent the school auditorium for a performance of the Grateful Dead since February.
Marshall said he filed a complaint with Steve Malkin, Associated Students president.

(from the Arizona Republic, 19 March 1969)

* * *


The Grateful Dead, one of the earliest "San Francisco sound" rock bands, will appear in concert at the University of Arizona auditorium at 8 p.m. Friday.
Sponsored by the UA Student Peace Assocation... Tickets are priced at $2 and $3. They are available at Student Union Room 106 on the UA Campus.

(from the Arizona Daily Star, 10 April 1969)

* * *


"We're gonna be here for a long time and just play any old thing," said Jerry Garcia. And the Grateful Dead proceeded to unleash some of the heaviest sounds and probably the most decibels the University of Arizona auditorium has ever held.
The San Francisco rock band moved a capacity audience of at least 2,600 to cheers and dancing in the aisles, assaulting them with a tidal wave of sound from a complex of 35 amplifiers and speakers.

The concert was sponsored by the UA Student Peace Assn. and was dedicated to draft resister Bradley Littlefield, now serving a sentence in the federal prison camp at Stafford.
The seven members of the Dead include Garcia on lead guitar, Tom Constanten on keyboards, Ronald McKernan (Pigpen) doing vocals, Phillip Lesh on bass, Robert Weir, rhythm guitar, and William Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart on drums.
Not to be overlooked is their sound engineer, who sat at a console adjusting each musician's volume so that any of them, including the vocalist, could be heard over the rest of the band.

It was as much a social occasion in its own way as a night at the opera; a large majority of the youthful audience showed up in bellbottoms, headbands, capes, beads, boots and other finery, and once intermission was over people drifted in and out continuously, stopping briefly to dance or talk.
The Dead were as tight musically as they were loose in between numbers; and even though there were four or five separate musical lines going on at once the result was cohesive. Especially outstanding were Garcia's fearsome guitar solos and Lesh's solo-like bass playing, although they, like much of the music, suffered from repetitiveness.
The bulk of their numbers were blues-based tunes extended with lengthy instrumental breaks, amazingly complex in spite of the speed and volume at which they were usually played. Occasionally they worked in a folk or country influence, as in "Walk Me Out in the Morning" or "Sitting on top of the World."
The climax of the almost three-hour concert was [a] visceral driving number that ended with the audience standing up screaming and crowding into the orchestra pit as the Dead called it a night.

(by Richard Saltus, from the Arizona Daily Star, 12 April 1969)

Thanks to Dave Davis.


Oct 23, 2017

July 4, 1969: Kinetic Playground, Chicago


WOW. What a terrible day! It was a hot humid Fourth of July, with too much traffic. I was tired and my hair was dirty. Worst of all, I was just beginning to realize that my boyfriend wouldn't be back in town for another month and a half.
Why did it have to be the day when both The Buddy Miles Express and The Grateful Dead were at the Kinetic Playground? I didn't want to go sit on the Playground's sticky floor, I wanted to go home and take a shower. I was in a pretty bad mood when I got there.
More trouble. I had a hard time getting in. The Coke I had was too sweet. I was sick of seeing the same slides and movies on the walls.
But I really like Buddy Miles, and he almost canceled out the resentment I was feeling - almost. He does the best things alone, singing and playing with his drums, with just a little accompaniment from the rest of the group. However, more than half of the set was spent with the five-man brass section overwhelming Buddy's voice. I'm not sure if this was the fault of the Playground's P.A. system or the group itself. Probably some of both. 
Robb Baker, who wrote about Buddy's very poor reception at the Fillmore in New York two weeks ago, would have been happy about the response he got at the Playground. By the end of his set, the whole audience was on its feet, shouting and clapping, as Buddy cried, "Is it good for one more time?"
Several of the songs were from his recent album Electric Church, such as Otis Redding's "Cigarettes and Coffee" and "Wrap It Up." Live performance is always better, but at least on the album the brass section doesn't drown Buddy's voice out.
I was expecting a lot from The Grateful Dead, so naturally I was disappointed. Aside from liking their music, I was fond of them for being one of the few rock groups to make a habit of giving free concerts. They also have the reputation of having an excellent stage presence.
But the performance was nothing out of the ordinary. And while the music itself was excellent - somehow they have found a way to bring more country into their music without losing any of the old blues - it would have taken something more to get me out of myself that night.

(by Sally Simpson, from the Chicago Tribune, 8 July 1969)

Thanks to Dave Davis. 


Oct 19, 2017

September 27, 1969: Fillmore East


NEW YORK - Two pillars of the underground scene, the Grateful Dead and Country Joe & the Fish, gave strong solid sets at Fillmore East at the first show on Sept. 27.
Country Joe McDonald, with only lead guitarist Barry Melton left from his original group, stuck to music for the most part instead of the shock value obscenities that so often marked his unit's work in the past. There was still some clowning around, especially well into the set, as Melton played and sang while writhing on the stage. Later, McDonald did the same.
There still was some off-color material too, but this was more effective because the audience wasn't constantly beaten over the head with it. Vanguard recorded the weekend proceedings and the label should have much good material to choose from.
The three new members of the Fish all were excellent with Mark Kapner a standout on keyboards. Kapner also sang a camp number with ukulele, which he eventually burned. Kapner also joined McDonald, who sang the title song of a forthcoming Danish film, which will never hit radio. On this, and another selection from the film, McDonald accompanied himself only on acoustic guitar. Both McDonald and Melton will be featured on Vanguard albums as solo performers.
Rock of a vintage variety was offered by Buddah's Sha Na Na, a 12-man group composed mainly of Columbia University students, including three in gold lame. The unit's gentle satires of such numbers as "Teen Angel," "Silhouettes," "At the Hop," etc. are fun to watch as every gesture and pose in the book are used. But, as with really good satire, the numbers are sung and played so well, Sha Na Na may prove a disk surprise.
The Grateful Dead, a pioneer of the San Francisco sound, have added country to their blues and psychedelic elements and the blend worked well. The Warner Bros.-Seven Arts septet has not developed a visual act, but, when things are working well, as they did during the set, the Dead has a euphoric effect that has drawn the unit a legion of devoted fans.
The set ranged from straight country as in "Mama Tried" to the blues encore "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," the former with bass guitarist Phil Lesch producing a good country vocal sound, and the latter with Ron (Pig Pen) McKernan at his vocal best. Lead guitarist Jerry Garcia also had [a] good set as did organist Tom Constanten and rhythm guitarist Robert Weir. The dependable work of drummers William Kreutzman and Mickey Hart was ideal in the country tunes.

(by Fred Kirby, from Billboard, 11 October 1969)


See also this review and the extensive comments:

* * *


NEW YORK - Bob Dylan is alive and well and living in (would you believe?) Greenwich Village. Or so last week-end's best rumor has it - that he's bought two adjacent houses in the same neighborhood where he got his start back in the beatnik-folk-singer days.
Dylan as a New Yorker comes as quite a surprise, but he's been showing up everywhere around there lately, from the Fillmore to Washington Square (where they have the outdoor folk jams).
One keeps wondering what change Dylan will put his followers thru next. There aren't many folksingers turned protester turned rock poet turned recluse turned country balladeer turned pop-schlock jukebox fodder around, you know.
But he told reporters after his appearance at the Isle of Wight festival that he planned to get back into the personal appearance circuit. And New York's as good a place as any to get started again.

A couple of other performers who had dropped from the scene in recent months also showed themselves very much alive and well in appearances here last week.
Country Joe MacDonald reappeared at the Fillmore with a new set of Fish, retaining only guitarist Barry Melton from the old group. Joe is, thank heavens, making music again instead of his protest gibberish, which had gotten just too smug to be believed.
But there's no group around capable of laying down such driving, melodic lines as the Fish when they're really together. And they were Friday night.
But being "together" and being relaxed aren't always the same thing, as evidenced by former Lovin' Spoonful member John Sebastian's solo gig at the Bitter End. Sebastian put on a low-key, folksy show, dressed in bleached-out psychedelic-splattered denims, but it wasn't exactly the kind of performance (as a visiting friend from Chicago put it) that would make you want to go out and buy John Sebastian records.
He said things like "I feel about as local as a fish in a tree," and the audience laughed a lot. But musically the show just wasn't there.

Equally as jagged and sloppy was the new country sound of The Grateful Dead, also on the bill with the Fish at the Fillmore. After about an hour they finally got things together, returning to their old driving, hard rock bag. But that first hour.
There's no excuse for a group as talented as The Dead are to dish out such an amateurish start to a show - and this is the third time I've seen them do it. If it takes them an hour to warm up, they'd better find a loft someplace down the block in which to do so.
Unfortunately a lot of garbage is being sanctioned under the label of "country-rock." At least we have a few first rate groups like the Flying Burrito Bros. (also in town last week-end, for concert with the not-so-good Byrds in Carnegie Hall) and Crosby-Stills-Nash-Young (who had a brilliant New York debut the week-end before at the Fillmore) to prove that it doesn't have to be disconnected slop.

(by Robb Baker, from the Chicago Tribune, 30 September 1969) 

Thanks to Dave Davis.

July 11, 1969: New York State Pavilion, Flushing Meadow Park, Queens


NEW YORK - The Pavilion, an outdoor rock ballroom that is really a remnant of the 1964 World's Fair, opened July 11 with a large crowd cheering through several hours of heavy rock played by Tribe, Joe Cocker and the Grease Band, and the Grateful Dead.
The former New York State Pavilion is a unique place to listen to music, with the multi-million-dollar unisphere in plain view and a huge map of New York State painted on the floor of the "ballroom" creating a surrealistic atmosphere. Despite acoustics which made hearing a problem in some parts, the Pavilion offers a relaxed atmosphere which facilitates moving around, dancing, or hanging out, making it a kind of East Coast, outdoor Fillmore West.
The musical highlight of the evening was Joe Cocker and the Grease Band. Cocker is one of the top rock personalities around today. With a presence that dominates and a voice that can really wail, he goes through the most well-known material, leaving the listener stunned with the freshness and excitement that he returns to it. The A&M artist takes Dylan songs, Beatles songs, and Ray Charles songs and makes them all sound like they were written just for him. Writhing his arms, twisting around the stage, and making every note that he sings come alive, he exudes a quality that could only be described as soul, while creating the sexual excitement that is what good rock is all about.
Cocker is a hard act to follow, but the Grateful Dead were up to the task. Bringing the crowd to its feet, the underground favorites were at their best when playing their recent country-flavored numbers like "Dupree's Diamond Blues," which is from their current Warner Bros. LP, "Aoxomoxoa." They also did quite a bit of their old blues-influenced material like "Hard to Handle" and, of course, "Sittin' on Top of the World," but it sounded stale compared with their newer work.
Also on the bill was Tribe, a jazz-blues group from the Bronx. With Tom Miller on sax, Craig Justin on drums, Dion Grody on guitar, and Lanny Brooks on bass, they produce a polished sound which will undoubtedly attract a record company.

(by Dan Goldberg, from Billboard, August 2, 1969)


See also other reviews:

April 15, 1969: Music Box, Omaha


We skipped the light fandango 
And turned cartwheels across the floor 
I was feeling kind of seasick 
But the crowd called out for more 
The room was humming harder 
As the ceiling flew away 
    - Procol Harum

Another great night at the Music Box in Omaha thanks to RFO and the Grateful Dead, Liberation Blues Band, and a very receptive audience.
Lincoln's one and own genuine original blues band turned on Tuesday and turned in their best performance to date. The entire group clicked harmoniously without squelching the opportunity for the individuals to do their own thing. The crowd was receptive as they listened to a program which ranged from the well-worn "Spoonful" to the more recently favored "Mule."
Following this primer by the Liberation Blues Band and a brief intermission, the Grateful Dead, all seven performers, complete with at least a half dozen sound and equipment men, plugged in the culturally deprived Nebraskans to three hours of solid sound.
Two sets of drums, three guitars, an organist, a congo drummer, and various and sundry percussion instruments comprise the Grateful Dead. But, there is more to it than this. A reverb man and a bevy of other knob twisters are responsible for the sound which this group puts forth.
Audience participation is an integral part of the Dead's presentation. When they broke into "Turn on Your Love Light" the audience stood, danced, jumped, clapped, and sang along for almost thirty minutes. The extra twenty-seven minutes of this song can never be done the same way twice, and the crowd enthusiasm was unequalled.
An hour-long version of "Anthem" combined with "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" closed the program. The group's newest drummer played an assortment of percussion instruments ranging from tambourine to xylophone. A giant firecracker even exploded on the stage, in perfect rhythm with the rest of the song.
All in all, those of us who care are extremely grateful to the Dead, for their talent, colorful personalities, and a great show.

(by J.L. Schmidt, from the Daily Nebraskan, Lincoln, 17 April 1969)


See also his review of the previous Music Box show:

Oct 12, 2017

July 9, 1970: Fillmore East


The Grateful Dead blew everyone's minds at the Fillmore East, where they appeared four consecutive nights, beginning at midnight and playing until 6 in the morning.
The Dead, composed of Jerry Garcia on lead guitar and vocals, Bob Weir on rhythm guitar and vocals, Pigpen McKernan on organ and vocals, Phil Lesh on bass and vocals, and both Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman on drums, were one of the first components of the San Francisco sound. However, unlike many of the groups who quickly became successful then, they've lasted.
The Dead is perhaps the best rock band in the country. They can play everything from country to acoustic love songs to rock 'n' roll to ear-shattering psychedelic rock - and all of it well. Highly accomplished musicians, they've won themselves a devoted following unequalled in rock music.
They may be the most revolutionary band as well, for without any political rapping or harangue, they create such good vibes that their fans feel truly liberated. The Fillmore crowd was no exception. The entire audience was almost constantly on its feet each night, dancing till dawn.
The Dead build up their set very carefully, first playing a lot of soft, acoustic numbers, many from their current album, "Workingman's Dead." Then the New Riders came on stage, with some members from the Dead. Jerry Garcia was on steel guitar and Marmaduke, who also sat in on several songs with the Dead, on vocals and guitar.
They played some country and two spectacular versions of Rolling Stones songs, "Connection" and "Honky-Tonk Women." Garcia's steel guitar on Honky-Tonk was spectacular.
After another brief intermission, the Grateful Dead, with both drummers this time, returned, accompanied by on-stage flares and a huge neon sign that spelled the group's name. They played "Casey Jones" from their new album, and songs they've performed before from other recordings, including "Dark Star" and "St. Stephen." They wrapped up at 5:30 a.m. with "Uncle John's Band," the audience still wanting to hear more.

(from the Journal News, White Plains NY, 1 August 1970)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

Alas, no tape!

See also: 

Oct 11, 2017

June 19, 1970: Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis

This article was written in 1995, but I'm posting it because it includes excerpts from 1970 newspaper accounts and eyewitness quotes on this lost show.


A lot of people - including the band members themselves - don't realize it, but the Grateful Dead has been to the Bluff City before.
Many people will tell you that it never happened - that it's not on The List, that they don't remember it, that such a thing could not have happened in the first place - but the Grateful Dead did play in Memphis once before, on June 19, 1970, at the Mid-South Coliseum.
More than likely, the show is so largely forgotten because it wasn't a big deal in the first place - it drew only 2,054 people, according to The Commercial Appeal - and by most standards the evening wasn't exactly a smash success. Plus, since we're talking about 1970, you can safely say everyone's memory is a victim of both time and the times.
But there it is, in the newspapers of the day and in the memories of the few who saw it. Back then the Grateful Dead was a 5-year-old band that would take about any gig it could get; now it's a 30-year-old institution, probably the biggest touring act in rock-and-roll history...
So let's find out why rock-and-roll's most prolific touring act waited a quarter of a century to return to the birthplace of rock-and-roll.
[ . . . ]
At the time, there was a thriving hippie community along the Highland Strip and in Midtown, and some big-name musical acts came through in and around 1970: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Jethro Tull, and a "Cosmic Carnival" that included Grand Funk Railroad, Chicago, Mountain, and Rare Earth.
But when the Grateful Dead, that "hippie band from San Francisco," signed for a date at the Coliseum that summer, the announcement ran under a picture of Country Joe McDonald, who shared the bill, and a later story showed a photo of the third band on the card, The Illusion. (The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock has no mention of The Illusion, but they did have a hit song, "Did You See Her Eyes?")
Though most of the dozen or so attendees whom the Flyer tracked down said they had fun that night (some said that's exactly why they can't remember much), the night was in many ways forgettable.

For the performers involved, the trouble started upon arrival at the venue. Country Joe's band almost didn't make it in time, and when they got there, according to the next day's Commercial Appeal, the police thought they were just some more freaks trying to get in without tickets. The paper said Coliseum officials and six cops entered the band's station wagon through the back door - not what you'd call a warm welcome.
For the Grateful Dead, the whole scene must have looked unpleasantly familiar. Less than five months before, they had been busted by the New Orleans narcotics bureau (an event which inspired a verse in their song "Truckin"), and now here they were again, surrounded by cops in an uptight Southern city. To make matters worse, a thunderstorm was raging outside, and there were tornado warnings all over town. (Dead rhythm guitarist Bob Weir announced at one point that if a tornado developed he would quit playing and go watch it, but the next day's Press-Scimitar tells us that "the tornado spirits hovering over the city never took bodily form.")
Consider this exchange from an interview that lead guitarist Jerry Garcia and a revolving host of others did with the underground paper Tennessee Roc that night: Roc: "What do you think of our town?" Garcia: (laughter) "I'm scared to death. I can't wait to get out." Roc: "Are you serious?" Garcia: "Have you dug the cops here? The cops here act like the cops do in other parts of the world when there's something horrible happening. When we first came here, we thought somebody was getting beaten up or something and then we suddenly realized that's just the way they are."
Later in the interview, Country Joe wandered in, sporting a new haircut which earned him some abuse from the others sitting around, and announced that the cops had just said that if the fans approached the front of the stage, the power would be cut (something which the interviewer said had happened to Sly and the Family Stone in Memphis). Country Joe later said, "I'm gonna play horrible tonight so the crowd won't get excited."
That much he apparently accomplished. Country Joe and the Fish played two tunes, lasting all of 20 minutes: "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" and another which the Press-Scimitar's next-day review referred to as "just a long jam."
Sally Graflund says she and her sister Betsy, who had gone to the show just to see Country Joe and the Fish, even confronted McDonald about it after the show, only to be told the problem was a "contract dispute."
"I was so bummed out," she says. "I remember some great concerts from back then, but that was not one of them."
There were problems out in the crowd, too. The police turned on the house lights so they could see people they thought needed busting. One of the folks removed from the premises that night (along with most of her section, she says) was Pam McGaha, now a waitress at the Half Shell and a staffer at the Crossroads Music Festival.
McGaha, whom you may recognize around town because of her 1970 VW bus covered with Dead stickers, said that during Country Joe's set, "There was this guy up front acting real, well, you could tell he was high. The cops turned on the lights and dragged the guy out. Somebody jerked him away, and then the cops started just pulling people out of the crowd. They told us we were arrested for 'inciting a riot,' and they made us leave. We spent the rest of the night riding the Pippin [local rollercoaster]."

By the time the Dead hit the stage, much of the crowd had apparently left. John Leland Braddock, who was only 15 at the time and has the clearest memory among people interviewed by the Flyer, says with varying degrees of certainty that they played "Casey Jones," "China Cat Sunflower," "Hard to Handle," "Me and My Uncle," "Attics of My Life," "Candyman," "Uncle John's Band," and "Good Lovin'." Unless somebody out there taped the show, we will probably never know exactly what they played that night, but each of those tunes was a standard of the day.
Harry Nicholas, who now runs Harry's On Teur on Madison, says that even though the crowd wasn't into it, "The Dead was on. Country Joe and the Fish just did the least that they had to do, but the Dead were warmer."
When it was over, musician Randy Haspel, who had seen the Dead a few times before in much more comfortable environments, sought out the band backstage because he felt the need to apologize to them for Memphis' "unresponsive crowd."
"[Dead bassist Phil] Lesh said Memphis was the most soul-less place they had played," Haspel says. "There were more people there that were curious than were Grateful Dead fans, and I don't think the audience knew how to take their extended jams. They sat on their hands, and the band seemed real frustrated. The cops were pretty bad, too."
In a Tennessee Roc review headlined "Memphis Flunks the Acid Test," Pat Rainer wrote, "the majority of Memphis still isn't ready for anything like real freaks who were 'hippies' before the word was coined. Memphis once again cheated itself out of a truly psychedelic experience. It seems like it just can't happen here."
All in all, 6-19-70 is not a red-letter date in Grateful Dead history - in fact, up until now it wasn't recognized at all. It's listed as a cancelled show in Deadbase, a quasi-official but amazingly complete record of the band's 2,500 or so concerts. When the Dead's publicist, Dennis McNally, was asked last week in Charlotte if any of the original band members could be queried about the 1970 trip to Memphis, he said, "No, because they won't remember it. They're the last people who would, in fact."
But even though Garcia told Tennessee Roc in 1970 that "there isn't gonna be a next time in Memphis," in fact [the Dead are returning] this weekend at The Pyramid...

(by Paul Gerald, from the Memphis Flyer, 29 March 1995)


Alas, no tape!

July 1970: Warner Brothers Promotion


BURBANK, CALIF. - Three weeks after release, sales of "Workingman's Dead" by The Grateful Dead on the Warner Bros. label have reached 200,000 albums. With the re-soliciting of Warner's distributors throughout the country lately, the total was raised to 400,000 records shipped.
Backing up this album, Warner Bros. Records Inc. is directly involved in the most wide-spread advertising campaign in its history. The bulk of the emphasis is in radio time buys on the top 40 level throughout the country, with $50,000 being spent directly from Burbank headquarters of the company, and another $50,000 coming from Warner's distributors. The distributors are also matching funds with major retailers for a co-op ad campaign, which is set to break during the final week in July for maximum impact across the country.
Warner Bros. Records also bought a billboard on the Sunset Strip, and the largest outdoor advertising space in San Francisco, home of the Dead, a billboard above the Fillmore West. This is the first time a record company has used the latter space to advertise.
Additionally, Warner Bros. has set an extensive space advertising program. National ads are being placed in trade magazines, underground news media, and mid-road consumer publications. The company is merchandising the album with Grateful Dead posters, stickers, and buttons.

(from Cashbox, 25 July 1970)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

Billboard 7/25/70 ad - see http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2009/12/gd-1970-caravan-of-love-tour.html

Fillmore West, early August 1970
"Tour blank concert poster for a proposed Warner Brothers-sponsored series of (canceled) free concerts to be held over the summer of 1970, featuring the Grateful Dead, along with Crazy Horse (without Neil Young) and Sal Valentino... Since the tour was canceled (it actually sort-of morphed into the 1970 "Medicine Ball Caravan" tour, with different participants), most of the posters were remaindered and never made it out of the print shop."

Oct 10, 2017

January 23-24, 1970: Civic Auditorium, Honolulu


The Grateful Dead will present a light show and concert Jan. 23 and 24 at the Civic Auditorium.
The program is designed to take the audience back to San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, circa 1965, when San Francisco Rock had its beginning.
Even the price ($3 for advance sales, $4 at the door) is a reminder of the "good old days."
What has happened since is history, with the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead being the only San Francisco bands to retain their original members.
In the beginning, the Grateful Dead was nothing spectacular - just another rock 'n' roll band made up of suburban ex-folk players who were finding out that the sit-and-pluck sound had run its course.
Lead guitar [player] Jerry Garcia had gone the whole route: digging rocks [sic] in the mid-'50s, dropping into folk by 1959, getting deep into traditional country music and emerging as a brilliant banjo player.
In 1964, Garcia started Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, with the now famous "Pigpen" and Bob Weis. Since the time was ripe for rock, they changed the name to the "Warlocks."
"The only scene then was the Hollywood hype scene," said Garcia, "booking agents in flashy suits, gigs in booze clubs, six nights a week, five sets a night, doing all the R&B rock standards. We did it all."
Soon it was time to move again, away from "straight" music into something else.
"Back in the late days of the Acid Tests, we were looking for a name. We abandoned the 'Warlocks.' It didn't fit anymore.
"One day we were all over at Phil's house. He had a big Oxford dictionary, opened it, and there was 'grateful dead' - those words, juxtaposed.
"It was one of those moments, you know, like everything else on the page went blank, and there was 'Grateful Dead.' So I said, 'How about Grateful Dead?' and that was it."
Advance tickets for the concert, presented by KPOI-FM, are on sale at Records Hawaii.

(from the Honolulu Advertiser, 11 January 1970)

* * *


The Grateful Dead, Warner Bros. Records stars, will "get it on" when they make their Island show premiere Jan. 23 and 24 in a dance concert-light show at the Civic Auditorium.
The San Francisco combo - big favorites in the hip and underground circles - previously were booked to appear in Hawaii, but show plans fell through.
But the original band now is coming. It consists of Jerry Garcia, guitarist-vocalist; Mickey Hart, percussionist; Phil Lesh, bass guitarist-vocalist; Bob Weir, guitarist-vocalist; Tom Constanten, keyboard artist; Ron "Pigpen" McKernan and Bill Kretuzmann, percussionists.
Advance tickets, available at Records Hawaii, are $3. Tickets at the door will be $4.
K-POI FM is coordinating the concert, which also will feature a light show presentation.

(from the Honolulu Advertiser, 16 January 1970)

* * *


The Grateful Dead - Warner Bros. recording stars - arrive at 4:20 p.m. today on a Pan American flight. They'll be giving two dance concerts from 8 p.m. to midnight tomorrow and Saturday at the Civic Auditorium.
The combo will be arriving with 5,000 pounds of Alendic sound equipment.
Tickets for the show are on sale at the Civic box office. The Sun and Moon and Pilfredge Sump will also perform, along with a light show by Noah's Arc.

(from the Honolulu Advertiser, 22 January 1970)

* * *


The Grateful Dead - Jerry Garcia, Pigpen, all the rest, two drummers, 5,000 pounds of excess baggage consisting of instruments and their own sound system, and a colorful, historical contingent including Augustus Owsley Stanley III - have finally made it to Honolulu.
After two past concerts that never came down, they are here for Civic Auditorium concerts tonight and tomorrow night.

But the biggest attention-getter may turn out to be a musician who has never played a concert before - Michael J. Brody Jr., the cat who's supposedly giving away $25 million. He hasn't shown up yet, if he's going to, to play with the Dead.
Waiting for the jet from San Francisco to pull into Gate 1 at the airport, Hector H. Venegas, Hawaii manager of the record division of RCA, showed a telegram from Ernie Alischuler, RCA's national artists and repertory vice president.
"RCA'S NEW ARTIST MICHAEL J. BRODY JR. IS SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE GRATEFUL DEAD CONCERTS IN HONOLULU..." it began, asking Venegas to see that he got taken good care of.

Off the plane trooped Garcia, and Bob Weir, guitarists and vocalists, organist P.C. Constanten, looking like John Lennon before he got his crew cut, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Bill Kretuzmann, and Mickey Hart, percussionists, Phil Lesh, bass and vocalist - the granddaddies of American rock and the San Francisco music scene.
But no Brody. And no $25 million to give away.
Tom Moffatt, KPOI general manager, said he had been contacted by a Mainland promoter who said Brody digs the Dead and should be booked for the concert. (Brody sang on the Ed Sullivan Show taped last week, which will be shown here next Sunday.) "So I told him to go," Moffatt said.

"We don't even know the cat," said Dead leader Garcia with a grin, sniffing his lei. Meanwhile, the others were getting kissed by a few chicks who were tipped off on their arrival and brought leis, and kissing them back.
"We're just like everyone else," Garcia said. "We've heard Brody rave. There's a rumor he's going to be putting out a Charley Manson album." The whole thing had every earmark of a merry prank.
Garcia said he just did the sound track for Michelangelo Antonioni's "Zabriski Point," to be released Feb. 9.

"What happened at Altamont?"
"Well, everything went wrong," Garcia said. (The Dead and friends were reported by Rolling Stone magazine to have been in on hiring the Hell's Angels for security at the concert in California that drew 300,000 and left one person murdered and two run over by hit-and-run drivers.)
A local girl ran up to Garcia. "I want to know your name!" she said.
"Jerry," he said. She squeezed his arm and left, content.
"Altamont was a costly lesson," Garcia said. "There isn't any way that we know to control Hell's Angels.
"We were there, but we didn't play. It was really a riot. It was scary.
"We've played free hundreds of times and there was never trouble," Garcia said, "but we're not the Rolling Stones. When you're the second most popular group in the world, that brings people."

(by John Bilby, from the Honolulu Advertiser, 23 January 1970)

* * *


HONOLULU (UPI) - Michael J. Brody Jr., the mod millionaire who figures he has given away "about 5 mil," has been throwing to the audience his payments as a rock and roll singer at the Honolulu Civic Center.
Brody thus may leave Hawaii after two appearances in connection with concerts by the Grateful Dead singing group with less cash than the $10 he had when he arrived Friday.
"A lot of people are taking advantage of me," said the long-haired 21-year-old oleomargarine heir. "But I don't care."
He gave the $10 away to an old man Friday a few minutes after he and his pretty wife Renee arrived at the Honolulu Airport.
Friday night, after playing his guitar and singing for 16 minutes, he called for his $300 concert fee onstage and showered it on the startled audience.
Brody came into an undetermined amount of money last month and vowed to give it all away. But said the $5 million he has disposed of so far was "other people's money that they gave me to give away."

(UPI story from the Daily Herald, Provo UT, 26 January 1970) 


HONOLULU (AP) - Michael J. Brody Jr., a 21-year-old oleomargarine heir who wants to give away his fortune, failed to "turn on" a rock music concert audience with his singing, but did get some polite applause.
Brody appeared before 3,000 persons at a concert by the Grateful Dead Friday night, singing four or five short songs and accompanying himself on his 12-string guitar.
Before singing, he spoke to the crowd about helping the poor and making the world a better place to live. He admitted to the crowd that he was nervous.
After his 15-minute appearance, he said he would like to give the people in the audience thousands of dollars but felt ending the war in Vietnam was more important "than the people of the Fiji Islands."
Brody arrived in Hawaii Friday afternoon with his wife, both clad in buckskins, aboard a Pan American World Airways flight from the mainland, and told newsmen at the Honolulu airport, "I only have $5 with me."
Immediately after the concert, the concert's promoter handed Brody $300 in $1 bills. Brody threw the stack of money into the crowd.
Talking with newsmen, Brody fired out answers to questions often never asked.
"Every cent I make goes to improving tenements. I'm just a little kid, I'm spoiled. And I'm going to keep on kissing the world. I've given away $500,000 and I still have $24,500,000.
"I've been offered a $10 million movie contract. I may become a movie star. Right now I don't have any bread, so don't ask."

(AP story from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 25 January 1970)


HONOLULU (UPI) - Folk-singing millionaire Michael J. Brody Jr. flew home abruptly yesterday after a wild weekend in Hawaii, declaring he would arrange a Vietnam ceasefire by buying off the North Vietnamese with $20 billion in aid.
The 21 year old oleomargarine heir left unfilled a second singing appearance scheduled for last night.
Friday, he had thrown his $300 concert fee from the stage to the startled audience, assured a group of service men he was "bringing you home," and estimated he had given away "about 5 million," most of it other people's money.
Brody and his wife, Renee, left for Los Angeles after asking a reporter to drive them to the airport.
Brody said they would fly "student standby," then go on to New York.
Brody's scheduled appearances in Honolulu were in connection with concerts by the Grateful Dead.
Brody said he was going back for meetings with unnamed associates "to bring about a cease-fire in Vietnam by Jan. 30" and to plan a later "peace and poverty meeting."
He said the ceasefire plan involved giving North Vietnam $20 billion in aid after its withdrawal from the South.
A passerby recognized Brody at the airport and asked if he had given away all his money.

(from the San Francisco Examiner, 25 January 1970) 

Thanks to Dave Davis.

No Dead show review, alas, but the shows were released on Dave's Picks 19.

Oct 7, 2017

February 23, 1970: Municipal Auditorium, Austin


Country Joe and his Fish walked off with a sparse but fairly responsive audience Monday night at Municipal Auditorium. A less-than-capacity crowd braved the wet weather to see Country Joe and his crew save a near-disaster effort by JAM Productions.
Grateful Dead, supposedly half of the program, opened the show with a weak version of "Good Morning, Schoolgirl" and followed through with a set that neither impressed nor depressed the seemingly apathetic crowd.
Overcoming such annoying obstacles as wavering public address system levels and several broken strings, the Dead performed selections from their albums in a manner which established little if any communication with their listeners.
In keeping with the current pop trend, the Dead took a try at doing a portion of their set with acoustic guitars and a pair of voices. Unfortunately, the songs were not very strong and the members of the group played barely adequate acoustic styles.
After intermission, Country Joe and his people walked out from the flowers and flags included on and about their equipment and touched the audience with professionalism and sincerity, something obviously missing in the previous set.
Starting out with blues numbers which are standard in progression but delightfully unpredictable in timing, the Fish came on as considerate musicians and individual people.
Country Joe and the Fish sang Woody Guthrie's "Roll On, Columbia," a poem by Robert Service, and brought the suddenly-alert crowd to their feet with a driving number called "Rocking, All Around the World," old rock rhythm behind non-mathematical lead guitar work and lyrics for today.
Simply stated, the Grateful Dead did nothing wrong, and Country Joe and the Fish did a lot of things right.

(by F. Catherwood, from the Daily Texan, Austin, 24 February 1970)

Thanks to Dave Davis.


February 22, 1970: Coliseum, Houston


Let me preface this article by saying that reviews of concerts, which this is, are a drag. Reviews always come afterward; after the energy has been spent, the last notes have vanished, the magic already performed. John Sebastian said it a long time ago, "It's like trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll." Still, we try.
Sunday, Houston's Coliseum/Barn. It's A Beautiful Day, John Mayall, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead. A house full of people waiting to get it on. It's not often that San Francisco's finest come to town to cast their spell.
Beautiful Day breezed onto stage like a gust of fresh air. Led by electric violinist Dave LaFlame, and creating music which he calls "light shows for the blind," their sound is open and flowing. In their own way, they are pushing rock to higher levels of expression. Beautiful Day just played some good music and spread the happy feelings.
Unfortunately, John Mayall didn't come across as well. Maybe feeling out of place because of being the only English group on the show or maybe just tired of trying to play his new, subtle music for large audiences, he seemed content to let his sidemen carry the weight. His sax, Johnny Almond, showed soulful brilliance in taking Mayall's recent change in musical direction closer yet to jazz. Joined by Duster Bennett for the closing numbers, John Mayall was all thanks in leaving the audience. Sorry John, but I felt like the old days with Clapton, Green and Taylor had more guts. Maybe you are just ahead of your time.
Quicksilver Messenger Service, a long time staple of San Francisco rock, know about feelings, and their music shows it. After sitting through Mayall's ramblings, the audience wanted to have a good time, and Quicksilver whipped into a stone rocker that had everyone moving. The show was all theirs from then on. A mass rush towards the stage sent the good vibes up to the band, and they immediately shot them back. One musical level after another was surpassed. Their extended "Who Do You Love" was too much. This is what rock is all about. It is why the music of the youth is one of the moving forces of the revolution, and this is why the police cannot stand to see kids get together and have their high times. Looking at shows like this, the line between the law enforcers and the youth is clearly evident. On one side is a person with a gun and a uniform who says no, you can't dance and sing and be happy - it breaks all the rules. On the other hand are those outrageous kids, saying yes, we can and will have a good time. For this particular time, the crowd was going too fast to stop, and even with all the police hurrying around attempting to enforce unenforceable rules, the kids won out. Score one victory.
All good things must end, and when Quicksilver finished and the lights were up, the police imposed their order on the thousands of people who sensed the lameness of that order. With a little pushing and shoving, everyone was put back "in their proper place". When it looked like all was calm and quiet, out came the Dead, those pioneers who just won't quit pushing for something new, something bigger than life. And to try and deliver their fantasy in a barn with twenty policemen in every aisle and any semblance of freedom completely lacking is impossible. Like all good outlaws, they tried to get it on but just couldn't find the spark. Compared to earlier days when they did unleash their awesome thunder, the Dead just went through the motions Sunday. Still, when you are the most powerful band in the world those motions can be exciting. At times a phrase or rhythm would jump out and grab you, but those were only very few moments Sunday. The Dead came and went in their little caravan, moving on to the next gig where maybe their magic would shine. They are merely mortals and as such cannot come across like gods every time.
Seen as a whole, the day's music was good, the ride back to Georgetown fun, and the spirit sustaining. And if that is not enough, I could tell you about Country Joe and the Fish the next night in Austin, but that is another time and place. Anyway, reviews are a drag. Go hear the real thing. Maybe you can dig it.

(by Bill Bentley & Andy Dean, from the Megaphone, 27 February 1970)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

Alas, no tape!

July 8, 1969: Rock Pile, Toronto, Ontario


Swift obsolescence is the hangup that haunts most rock bands - burnt out in a year, old-fashioned overnight. But the Grateful Dead, the San Francisco group that played two concerts at the Rock Pile last night, have licked that problem in a simple, logical, straightforward way - they've turned musical.
Three years ago, the Dead were the pre-eminent acid rock band from the west, played frantic, freak-out music, loud, assaulting, scrambled stuff. Exciting? Yeah, right, great, but only the first time around, and after that initial hearing, after the thrill wore off, it was easy to pick out the holes, the dullness in the style.
But last night, as they've been indicating on their records, the Dead revealed a transition into more melodic, more interesting, more lasting music.
They solo with more attention to form, building neatly to climaxes; their rhythms are not so heavy-footed; and their group sound seems less a threatening confrontation, more an involving dialogue.
True enough, they launched the first show last night with a couple of sappy country tunes, poorly conceived and played with all the dripping sincerity of the Sons of the Pioneers. But they began to take care of business on the third number, playing tough, slightly acid, always musical things. The lead guitarist, Jerry Garcia, came on with especially grand solos; he picked incredibly clean lines and he radiated a kind of funky joy.
The rest of their program was nicely varied - a little blues, more country but taken this time with some finesse and wit, and a couple of numbers reminiscent of San Francisco's early rock days. There were a few things to object to - the vocals were almost all lame and badly projected, and their feeling for the blues seemed barely more than surface deep.
But, over the night, they established themselves as one of the heavy rock bands around these days, and they proved that, at least for them, there's an answer to rock obsolescence.

(by Jack Batten, from the Toronto Daily Star, 9 July 1969)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

Alas, no tape!

Oct 5, 2017

February 4, 1969: Music Box, Omaha


In tones sometimes strident and often satiric, and nearly always driven with fantastic force, The Grateful Dead entertained an estimated eight hundred persons Tuesday night at the Music Box.
The "acid rock" performance was sponsored by KOWH-FM which hopes to bring in other groups, said Tom Rambler, program and music director.
The Tuesday night performance by the seven-member Grateful Dead from San Francisco was "theater" rather than "concert" - with the audience giving as much as it took, adding to the evening's drama.
Some youths sat on the ballroom floor.
Others ringed the balcony, their feet - sometimes bare but more often wrapped in boots - dangling over the edge.
Men in the audience wore everything from Edwardian jackets to Army surplus field jackets. Many had hats - mostly black and frequently western. The women came in everything from capes to lounging pajamas to the simplest of skirts and blouses with thigh-high boots.
A haze of smoke from cigarettes and sticks of incense hung over the performers and audience.
About the only lighting came from a few dim bulbs around the floor's edge and brightly lighted, multi-colored panels behind the stage.
The Grateful Dead was preceded on stage by a group from St. Louis called the Unknown. 
The Unknown completed its session with a long farewell number begun by having the audience chant "peace, love and freedom."
Then came the highly amplified Grateful Dead: Jerry Garcia, lead guitar; Phil Lesh, bass guitar; Bob Weir, rhythm guitar; "Pigpen" McKernan, vocals; Micky Hart and Bill Kreutzman, drums; and Tom  Constanten, organ.
After one or two numbers broken by brief pauses and appeals for water or soft drinks to quench their thirst, The Grateful Dead lunged forward into an "unending" series of complex renditions that went from the blues to even a brief flirtation with Latin rhythms and lasted at least 30 minutes without pause.

(by Gerald Wade, from the Omaha World-Herald, 5 February 1969)  


* * *


After a year of being out of the picture, the rock group that started it all, the Grateful Dead, is back on concert tour. Three weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing them in Omaha in an evening concert which was unlike anything ever witnessed in Lincoln.
The concert was held at the Music Box, the one time posh dance hall of Omaha's elite. The audience spaced out on the floor in an atmosphere of subdued lights and the fragrance of incense...and they waited, and waited.
Five musicians from St. Louis, the Unknown, started the music at 8:15 and layed a variety of old and new hard rock. They brought the house down with a song called "Don't trust your woman with your grass," a highly country and western-flavored number.
After a brief intermission, the nine musicians came on stage and began sorting out the mass of equipment, each choosing his favorite instrument, and began to tune. To the beat of two complete sets of drums as well as an organ, three guitars and assorted percussion effects, they began their first epic piece of music.
Approximately three songs and some 30 minutes later they broke into a rendition of "Turn on your love light," and invited everyone in the group to "get up on your feet." It didn't take long for a large circle of dancers to form and start expanding through the crowd, absorbing new members as it grew. This wild group then began to snake through itself in a backbreaking routine that kept everyone jumping, all to the strains of music.
Nothing more welcome than an intermission which allowed everyone to relax before the band played on well into the night.
Since that night the air has been filled with rumors about the next concert, when and where. The where is easy, it will be at the Music Box again. When? Next month...and who? The official word now has it that it will be the Vanilla Fudge, or most likely, The Rotary Connection.
The Rotary Connection broke it up at Christmas with an album of Christmas carols which told it like it was, rock and all. Their second album, Aladdin, has been billed as the first space operetta ever recorded. Their record sales are jumping and, accordingly, they are in great demand.
Watch this column for the exact time and place, and how much bread you should set aside in preparation and anticipation of a big night of rock in Omaha.

(by J.L. Schmidt, from the Daily Nebraskan, Lincoln, 27 February 1969)


* * * 

The World-Herald also ran a short review of Live-Dead at the end of the year:


Many performers seem to freeze when they get near a recording microphone and aren't able to create the quality music for which they are known.
The records of the Grateful Dead, one of the best known of San Francisco's rock groups, are a case in point. Seldom do the group's albums convey force and purpose.
Most of the combo's best recorded moments have come in live performances, so the Dead's new, two-record album "Live-Dead" (Warner Bros. - Seven Arts 1830) is among its best. However, the music still lacks the immediacy one comes to expect.

Thanks to Dave Davis.

February 11-12, 1969: Fillmore East


FILLMORE EAST, N.Y. - The last show of a two day, four show stand is the moment of truth a performer must face when playing the Fillmore. It's usually the show attended by the most important and influential musical trade and press personages, who recognize that a performer needs a few shows to warm-up. For Janis Joplin and her new band, the moment of truth was a moment that should have been postponed.
What was missing from the new Janis Joplin was the total excitement that characterized her performance with Big Brother. Perhaps Janis felt that the new band was superior enough to let her relax a little, perhaps she was no longer excited. Janis will be given a second chance and probably a third and fourth, for she is too good a talent to be lost.
Paradoxically, we got the feeling that this new band will be a much stronger recording entity than the old. For awhile, we were thinking of it as Blood, Sweat and Janis, what with the horns and all, and then decided it was closer to the Electric Janis, what with the Nick Gravenite tunes. But somehow, Nick's songs don't sound right on Janis. We liked her rendition of "Maybe," the old Chantells' hit, the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody." And nobody does "Summertime" better than Janis. Her two encore numbers, "Piece Of My Heart" and "Ball and Chain," were the Janis of old. But the new songs, the new sound of Janis Joplin was a letdown, and since they formed the bulk of the act, it too suffered.
Those who have never seen Janis, or have seen her on an off-night, would have been more than happy with the new show. In fact, if we had never heard, or heard of, Janis before, we would have been raving about the new discovery. Unfortunately, we know the feeling of warmth, ecstasy, of many other pleasurable things, that Janis was capable of in the past, and we can only hope she will soon be providing them again.
The Gratefull Dead were a surprise. For more than an hour, they kept us entranced by exploring every facet of rock. Though we doubt we would want to listen to the same thing on disk, we would welcome a chance to catch the whole thing again on a night when our minds were in better shape.

(from Cashbox, 22 February 1969)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys66oXW9g28  (Janis - possibly the early show) 

* * *


NEW YORK - Janis Joplin sings the blues like she means it. Her new six-man band may not even understand it.
Miss Joplin, a hard-rock-blues singer more in the tradition of Bessie Smith and Big Mamma Willie Mae Thornton than of San Francisco rock, brought the group into Fillmore East, the Lower East Side new-music emporium, last week for a New York debut.
[line missing] -ful and funky blues band. A group, say, like the Butterfield Blues Band at its peak would be ideal. There are no strong bluesmen in her present group. The band's strongest soloist is rock-oriented guitarist Sam Andrew, a holdover from Big Brother and the Holding Company, the group for which Miss Joplin once sang lead vocals.
The present group is only three weeks old. It is not the same one she had at her much criticized performance at the Stax-Volt Revue in Memphis last December. But, as the two shows last Wednesday night showed, newness has nothing to do with growth potential. The material is not there for the developing.
The band's brief experience reduced Miss Joplin to performing a limited program. Her repertoire was already circumscribed, but for her to repeat virtually the same program in the second show as she sang in the first was a sign of artistic debilitation.
In her sometimes harsh, sometimes whispering but always raw voice, she sang many of her familiar tunes, including a vigorous "Turtle Blues."
Miss Joplin continued to sing "Summertime," a winner for her. The new band has the same arrangement on the tune as the old group except for a new, charming, baroque-like introduction by two English horns.
Her interpretation of the song changes little from performance to performance. She has routine phrase patterns for each section of the song, even down to repeating, "baby, baaby, baaaby, baaaaby," always in the same way.
But repetition is characteristic of Miss Joplin's style. Her performance of "Piece of My Heart" and "Ball and Chain," which she sang last week, were done in similar patterned fashion. It is no artistic crime for her to sing like this, but it is a strike against her creative imagination if she is to be compared with the great blues singers.
Miss Joplin also sang several songs new for her, including "Maybe," a tune the Chantels popularized in the 1950s; "Work Me, Lord," a gospel-like piece, and "You're The Only One Who Knows," a recent Nick Graventies composition.
Also on the show was the Grateful Dead, a San Francisco band that played its raucous sound unrelentingly.

Not everyone who came to see Janis Joplin at Fillmore East was of the now generation. Amid the sea of faces was Benny Goodman, the legendary "King of Swing."
Clarinetist Goodman, who is in semi-retirement, came with his daughter, Rachel, to "see the atmosphere of the Fillmore."
It was his first rock concert, and after hearing several songs, he said, "I think it's quite vital. It's awful hard to put in any category, as good or bad. You have to listen to all the groups.
"The thing that shatters me is the volume. It's so loud, it's almost deafening. It's hard to see where a clarinet would fit in there."

(by Hollie West [L.A. Times-Washington Post Service], from the Portland Oregonian, 20 February 1969) 

* * * 


Before-show crowd sounds at the Fillmore East on Tuesday night changed from Saturday movie matinee to concert hall historic as Bill Graham made his nostalgic introduction of the Grateful Dead, calling them something like the granddaddies of them all. And they were beginning to look as if they were out of a music book history. Was that bespectacled and bearded little man a cartoon figure of the Jerry Garcia whose guitar danced me to the "midnight hour" and beyond in San Francisco just two years ago?
Musically they were sounding old too. Starting with a long blues number, they wandered all around the melody and the stage like '50s jazz musicians. Then they played a sort-of western number, coming on very country and funky. Also very long. People were saying they wanted to dance; it had been a long time since I'd heard that. Dancing would have been good, if only to keep from being bored and to see if whirling about was the sorcery the Dead used to hypnotize me two years ago.

But the historic event we had really come to see/hear was the New York debut of Janis Joplin and her new band. And with Joshua Light Show sunbursts on she comes. The band was more like Janis and the Pick-ups. [ . . . ]
Impossible not to watch Janis Joplin, but closing my eyes, trying to imagine how the brass would come across with her voice in recordings...Bessie Smith with strings? No, that's not it. Brought up around the vibrating double-pitched resonating noises of amplifiers and guitars, she is more a Big Mamma Thornton with electronically scratched vocal cords. I have never heard anyone say that they didn't like Janis after having seen her sing. Somehow it takes seeing her to know that the heart-busting sounds are quivering up from her insides instead of trickling down from her head. Her records hide it and sound forced unless you've seen it happen to her through her. But wouldn't it be great to have Janis both ways?
"Maybe," a song from the '50s originally recorded by the Chantels, may be the one that will put Janis across. Coming out like an oldie done her own way, it shows what her own way is. Blues-rock, not fake blues or tricky rock. Three more new blues songs by Nick Gravenites, "As Good As You've Been," "You're the Only One Who Really Knows," and "Work Me Lord," were done with a mysteriously personal meaning. "Work Me Lord," like a sexy revival meeting, gets the whole audience involved and could be a sympathetic flip side on a hit single with "Maybe." All of her new songs need more rehearsal and performance to cement them into solid memory mashers. The whole new band approach is definitely a fermenting thing and not a finished masterpiece.

(by Susanna, from the "Riffs" column, the Village Voice, 20 February 1969) 

* * * 


NEW YORK - When Janis Joplin danced on stage in front of her new, as-yet-unnamed, six-piece band at the Fillmore East February 11 and 12, she seemed to have victory within her grasp. How could she miss? There had been a "sound test" for the band (as road manager John Cooke put it) in Rindge, New Hampshire, a "preview" in Boston - but this was Opening Night, the Big Debut, and the city’s rockers have been working themselves into a lather for days. All four performances were sold out, and ticket scalpers roamed along Second Avenue offering paradise at prices that would have been out of line for a kilo of hash.
Tuesday’s opening night crowd had more than a hint of uptown prosperity to it. Affluent reporters from Time, Like, Look, Newsweek, and other bastions of slick-paper supremacy laid claim to most of the complimentary tickets, while those hardy souls from the lower echelon rock press either stood outside in the slush, their faces pressed against the glass, or somehow got past the door only to huddle together in the lobby and standing-room areas to look in vain for an empty seat. Mike Wallace and the CBS television crew were on hand documenting the building’s events for a March 4th segment of 60 Minutes to be called, with true media irony, "Carnegie Hall For Kids."

Through the balloon-filled air, the Grateful Dead, the "other half" of an all-San Francisco program, started to play "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl."
And play they did - one of those wonderful, comfortable, one-long-song sets that went uninterrupted for close to an hour and actually managed to neutralize much of the inherent tension by turning the concert into something not unlike a freebie in the park or a pleasant party at somebody’s home.
The band played well - but, more important, gave New York audiences something of the idea of rock as a relaxed and relaxing way of life, not as a sporadic series of super-hypes for super-groups. There were no artificially induced high points or low points, no cream-in-your-jeans climax - instead, a steady stream of satisfying music which simply went on until it stopped.

Nonprofessional response to the buildup was interesting. One long-term Joplin fanatic, a young man named Ronnie Finkelstein, approached the Fillmore with ecstasy and hurried to his seat just as the Grateful Dead began their set. "I found them original and satisfying," he said. "I wanted Janis, though."
"I rushed back when Bill Graham - the dirty capitalist! - introduced my girl. The band futzed around for about five minutes, and then, with a short brass intro, Janis appeared out of nowhere. In a cape-gown sort of thing, she danced for a minute, then threw off the cape to reveal her famous shoulder-strap pants outfit. I was excited!"
Another admirer put it even more succinctly. "I’ve had a hard-on since four o’clock this afternoon waiting for this."
This consisted of an incredibly nervous Janis Joplin - hair flying, long fingers showing white clenching a hand mike - in front of her new group: Sam Andrew from Big Brother and the Holding Company, lead guitar; terry Clements, sax; Richard Kermode, organ; Roy Markowitz, drums; Terry Hensley, trumpet; and a temporary bass player, Keith Cherry (ex-Pauper Brad Campbell is expected to come down from Canada to join the band as a permanent member as soon as he can get a work permit.)
The first song made a number of things both painfully and delightfully clear. The potential to become a genuinely great rock singer is still there, but so are the infamous and disheartening Joplin tendencies toward vocal overkill. Indeed, Janis doesn’t so much sing a song as to strangle it to death right in front of you. It’s an exciting, albeit, grisly, event to behold. But it would seem to belong more to the realm of carnival exhibition than musical performance.
[ . . . ]
On the first number, the band made all the local stops, while Janis was an express. The singing and playing simply failed to mesh, Joplin constantly projecting and the group continually receding. Between verses, the vocalist as dancer seemed more a constrained Radio City Rockette than a free-form blues singer. Every moment was stiff and preordained.
The applause was respectful. People seemed to be biding their time, waiting for the big explosion. Janis and the band plowed into the second song, a Nick Gravenities composition, and made it sound a smudged carbon copy of the first. Any sense of pace was forgotten. The audience began to pall. Joplin reached for her bottle of booze, a trademark which had been placed proudly on top of an amplifier with all of the deliberate care inherent in the planting of a religious symbol.
Things started to go better. "Maybe," an old Chantells signature tune from the late Fifties, was good and hard, and "Summertime," born of Cheap Thrills but now instrumentally processed through Ars Nova and Blood, Sweat and Tears, brought with it flowers, affection, a watermelon rasp, some sneaky CBS cameramen, and a more appreciative response from admirers. Janis swayed a bit, rubbed her head fetchingly, and hitched up her pants with a jump.
Robin and Barry Gibb’s "To Love Somebody" was rendered needlessly grotesque as Joplin ran through her rapidly depleting bagful of mannerisms in a desperate attempt to inject even more meaningless into the song by almost literally wiping up the floor with it. Then, a fast one, written by the group, which Janis said she wanted to call "Jazz for the Jack-offs." Again, the local-express syndrome, with a real credibility gap developing between star and support.
Came the highlight of the new act: Joplin’s moving and only slightly overripe singing of the beautiful new Nick Gravenites song, "Work Me, Lord." Empathy and art formed a strong partnership at this point, and passion, throughout the evening so misused and purposeless, finally found a home in spiritual rock.

It is difficult to imagine a Bob Dylan or a John Lennon peppering an interview with constant nervous interjections of "Hey, I‘ve never sung so great. Don’t you think I’m singing better? Well, Jesus fucking Christ, I’m really better, believe me." But Janis seems that rare type of personality who lacks the essential self-protective distancing that a singer of her fame and stature would appear to need.
One gets the alarming feeling that Joplin’s whole world is precariously balanced on what happens to her musically - that the necessary degree of honest cynicism needed to survive an all-media assault may be buried too far under an immensely likeable but tremendously under confident naivete.
She knows the band isn’t together yet. Haven’t worked together long enough - "Hey, it takes longer than a couple of weeks to get loose, to be really tight, to push. But conceptually I like it, and I think I’m singing better than I ever, ever did." This is what Janis Joplin wants, this band, these songs, all of it. "I mean, I really dig what I’m doing, but I just wish the band would push as hard as I am. Hey, I’m the lead, you know-but they’re hanging back way too far for me."
It all takes time, she knows. Janis wants to sing and she wants other people in the band to sing, too. You get a bunch of musicians together so everybody can contribute to the final product, make it something larger than the sum. "Trouble is, we haven’t really had a chance to get into each other yet."
It’s going to get better. She’s sure it’s going to get better. Like maybe she’ll add a new cat next week - "great big ugly spade cat." He blows baritone and drums like Buddy Miles. "He’s really heavy. I really need somebody to push, you know. There’s really not enough push in the band yet."
The band’s got an even dozen songs together now. Not enough repertoire yet. But Nick Gravenites has been a big help. "Isn’t his "Work Me, Lord" beautiful? Oh, man - whew! Man, I love that guy. His songs really say something."
Clive (Davis, president of Columbia records) isn’t hassling her to record right away, and it’s just as well, Janis says. She doesn’t understand people recording before they have a chance to work at it. "Hey, I want to play a little more, I want to gig a little bit so that the tunes get together before I make a record."
Janis exudes several things at once: that the act is going fine right now; that’s it’s not so fine; that it’s going to get better; that, despite herself, there’s the terror that it might not, unless something happens.
She’s looking for a cat to be musical director, knows she doesn’t know enough to do it herself. Somebody to pull it together. Like Michael Bloomfield. Everybody’s doing arrangements now and...it isn’t working. Maybe that will have to come first before a new name for the group can be chosen. "I want a name that implies a band but has the person’s name in it, right? Like the Buddy Miles Express. That has an identity in it. We were thinking," she laughs, "of Janis and the Joplinaires - ha!" Except that isn’t what a band is. What is the band? Too soon to say.
"Well, people say that I’m singing great, man. The whole San Francisco scene, which I was afraid might be a little pissed at me for officially disclaiming the familial San Francisco rock thing, has been fine. Jerry Garcia told me that I made him cry. The Dead have been so good to me, man. They’re so warm and everything. I really needed that because of the pressure - I’ve been really scared because this is important to me.
"The kids - well, they’re missing the familiar tunes. You know how audiences are. And I really want to do the new songs. I don’t want to have to get up there and sing "Down On Me" when I’m eighty years old. The reason I did this was so that I could keep on moving. Once I get the new tunes on a record, then the kids won’t mind."
It will all be better then.
Doing the 60 Minutes segment had been really funny, Janis said she just laughed all the time at the media and the Big Build-Up she had gotten. It was too much to take seriously. "It’s surreal. It’s got nothing to do with me, really. I’m beginning to be able to cope with it. I don’t believe it, you know - I mean, you can’t." One thing you’ve got to be sure about, she thinks, is that you don’t start believing you are worth all that attention, Janis laughed.
[ . . . ]
Janis had thought the Fillmore East "opening" had gone well - "I’m really doing good," she thought - but the audience reaction had been decidedly mixed.
The kid who’d kept that hard-on all that while thought Janis was the greatest thing he’d ever seen, and didn’t want to say any more than that. But Ronnie Finkelstein liked her better with Big Brother. Ronnie thought she was flaunting her sexuality and that altogether it was a vulgar display. "Her thing now is showboating. Her dancing is a drag. Everything is a big put-on." An ex-worshiper, art director Gene Mallard, felt that success most definitely had spoiled Janis Joplin. This new thing was a brassy burlesque show - the old hypnoticism was gone - there was an air of boredom. "Miss Superstar and her group," said Mallard, "are just another put-together plasticized show."

The full article here:

(by Paul Nelson, from Rolling Stone, 15 March 1969)

The Dead's show was released on the Fillmore East 2-11-69 CD.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBEiwABOBp0&t=05m23s (10 seconds of film from the early show)

Oct 3, 2017

August 5, 1967: O'Keefe Center, Toronto, Ontario


Something unfortunate happened at the O'Keefe Center in Toronto last Saturday afternoon. The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane were met by an unresponsive audience, and gave the audience what perhaps it deserved - an almost wholly uninspired performance.
Rock is an active art, demanding an active response. Active in this sense is subjective and broadly defined - it might be dancing, might be sitting while moving with the music, or even sitting motionless. None of these is inherently active or passive; what is essential is an effort to reach out and meet the music. Physical manifestations can easily be deceptive - they were last Saturday. The people dancing on stage were, for the most part, contemporary counterparts of those who were doing it on American Bandstand ten years ago. A few seemed to have really felt the music, but the majority were up there either because it was the thing to do or because they had a better view from onstage than from their seats.
Returning to the program itself, the planning was disastrous. It catered to the wishes of the audience, shying away from any attempt to change those wishes for the better. Thus, the Dead found themselves degradingly sandwiched between Luke and the Apostles (Toronto's most famous and most offensive white blues group) and a 20-minute intermission. Faced with poor programming, a hum in their sound system which forced them to eliminate everything soft and slow in their repertoire, and finally with an audience who came only to see the Airplane (just as they flock to hear Paul Revere and the Raiders), the Dead failed to bring across their beautiful and unified sound. The beautifully ugly Jerry Garcia smile was conspicuous in its absence.
As far as the musical quality of the performance is concerned, the Airplane clearly outclassed the Dead. The honor was a somewhat dubious one, however - it proved that the Airplane sound can survive even when they don't feel it, while the Dead sound loses its impact under such circumstances. In any case, it would be senseless to generalize from this performance, for it was the exception rather than the rule. But it points up a problem that these groups, and many others, will have to confront in the near future. It is this: that in order to succeed financially, they will have to perform in many cities to audiences even less receptive than in Toronto. Most likely they will fail there, as they did in Toronto, to turn people on to their music in the way they would like to. They will probably learn (and from some of Garcia's comments it seems they already have) that their music, powerful though it is, cannot break down the barriers which people have conditioned themselves to live behind. If their goal is to spread the love message throughout the continent, they will fail. It is for this reason that last Saturday afternoon was a sad one.
The Grateful Dead are at their best, it seems, performing to their own audience on their own terms, and this was obviously an impossibility at O'Keefe, since neither was the case. Due to the structure of the program, they were unable to let Pigpen go off into a 30-minute blues like Midnight Hour. He is the best white blues singer anywhere, but the crowd wanted none of it. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl was beautiful, but got neither response nor applause. The song that went over best was the folk song Rider (of Kensington Trio [sic] and Serendipity Singer stock), and I'm afraid it was accepted not on its own merits but rather because it sounded more like the Airplane than anything else they did.
The Airplane flew most smoothly when Gracie Slick sat down at the organ to let Marty Balin take over the lead singing. He is far better in person than on record, while the opposite is true of his female counterpart. Today (which is either cliche-ridden or brilliant, depending on the circumstances under which it is heard), was the best song of the afternoon, because Marty felt the music, as even this audience was able to discern.
Somebody to Love and White Rabbit, with Gracie singing lead, came across with too much strength. It seemed that this beautiful yet sinister evangelist was standing on stage imploring the audience to love, while as they had seen a moment before, she really didn't seem to practice what she preached. This overbearing evangelism (Feed your head! Feed your head!) grates on the consciousness of the listener rather than soothing it.
The difference between the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead is one of approach rather than message. The message for both is love (in case Time and Newsweek haven't reached you yet) and freedom. The Airplane screams the message loudest and least subtly, and thus seems to have reached more people (in terms of popularity). The Dead attempt to bring it across through their love for the music and for their audience (when it is theirs), and through a complete lack of pretension. Their subtlety is their greatest asset, and will prevent them from becoming commercially successful in the sense that the Airplane is. The Dead should not waste their sound on people who don't want to hear it.

Next week the Spectrum will publish a review of this concert by Eric Steese, in "The Grump."

(by Danny Rotholz, from the Spectrum, Buffalo, 11 August 1967)

* * *


When I sort of talked myself into attempting a review of the Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and Luke and the Apostles as they appeared in Toronto, it appears that I considerably underestimated the task. Those who try to dabble in words forget that there are things subjective left in the world, or I at least committed such a transgression.
I find myself confronted with the problem of trying to conceive of a program of music and color in very cold and inadequate words of black print. I do not readily see a solution that I can approach in less than a few thousand carefully chosen words, but bear with me and we will try.
Chronological order of program - Luke and Apostles, the Dead, an intermission and the Airplane. The first is a Toronto group added to the program after appearing with the other two groups in a free concert in front of the Toronto City Hall - and how would that turn Frank Sedita on? [The mayor of Buffalo - ed.] Two light groups involved - Headlights from San Francisco providing a rear projection operation directly back of the performing group, and Sensefex from New York attempting to befuddle the rest of the theater.
And whence from here? - into a sort of never never land where the main object seems to be to overwhelm the defenses of the individual and pull him into a world where color, patterns, and music relate in a fashion which invalidates cause and effect, action and reaction, and simply exists.
Into a wall of sound, color, movement and activity where it is impossible to notice everything at once even though the mind desperately tries in order to have something concrete to fix on, a tie to a normality it can understand and remember.
It turned out to be a mixed success. It drove a number of people out of the theater, but it also pulled a crowd of devotees to sit and dance on those portions of the stage not occupied by the performing group. It appeared to my rather unknowing eye that some of the devotees may have had a little something extra in the way of pharmaceuticals of one kind of another going for them, but that is purely subjective. Suffice it to say that the groups accomplished their desired effect - if I am right about what it was - in at least as many people as they drove out.
I would guess again, that the largest portion of the audience, including myself, were torn in a variety of directions. Ego dominated, and raised on the Protestant Ethic, we knew that this was bad, way down in our heart of hearts. But because of embarrassment, stubbornness, or fascination, we had no real desire to leave.
One hears much talk of hippies these days, and these three groups seemed somehow to speak of that movement. I have watched and listened to a fair number of jazz groups but I do not ever recall seeing an as impromptu, instantaneous, spontaneous and unconcerned performance in my life.
In trying to analyze my own feelings about the seven hours or so I spent in the O'Keefe Centre I am not even sure I enjoyed it. I suspect that you can write a review of an evening like that only if you can remain completely apart from it. This I could not do, yet neither could I allow myself to become a part of it and try and describe it from the inside. I was only a befuddled observer, which I expect is obvious from this word hash.
Let me say that I was not prepared for the musical talent I found. I am lyric oriented usually, having at best a very poor ear, but both the Grateful Dead and the Airplane managed to convey something to me through music alone - even if I am unable to express what it is they transmitted. And I have come to the conclusion that it really is not that important to understand the words to the songs, especially of the Airplane. The voice is simply another instrument to be blended into a collage of color, sound, and moving bodies. With one exception, Miss Grace Slick.
Miss Slick, to crib a line, makes the Airplane fly. She is the only difference in their first and second albums, and the difference is large. Good they were, now - they may very well be something unique and impossible to classify. She should have no voice left by the end of one song - much less a performance, but it never seems to crack, squeal, or even waver. It simply skewers you into a seat and holds you, especially if you are male.
I quit, I have tried, and I suspect failed, to communicate the happening - and I finally think I have an inkling of what that word means now - at the O'Keefe.
And if you ever, ever, ever have a chance, see the Jefferson Airplane, and the Grateful Dead - then sit down and write me a letter describing it. 
The imagery must exist, but it is beyond me.

(by Eric Steese, from the Spectrum, Buffalo, 18 August 1967)

* * *


TORONTO - The Jefferson Airplane landed in Canada recently with the Grateful Dead aboard and proved a big success for their hippie and pseudo-hippie fans, at free "we love you" concerts in Toronto and Montreal, and a slightly better than 50 per cent draw at the O'Keefe Centre in Toronto at a $4.50 to $2 ticket scale.
The July 30-Aug. 5 engagement of the Jefferson Airplane, RCA Victor artists, and Grateful Dead, Warner Bros. artists, at the O'Keefe Centre was heralded by SW Magazine, a national publication with a circulation well over half a million, as "the coming of age of rock 'n' roll," as much because of the setting as because of the sound.
Certainly the two San Francisco groups, plus the local Luke and the Apostles, and the light show by Headlights supplemented by Sensefox Inc. [sic] of New York, made up the furthest-out attraction yet to play the O'Keefe, which brings to Toronto top Broadway musicals, ballet, opera, drama, and such concert stars as Harry Belafonte, Liberace, Judy Garland, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.
For the first time in the eight-year history of the prestigious, 3,200-seat showplace, patrons climbed on stage to dance or listen, danced in the aisles, and stayed after the concert to dance on stage again to improvisations by all three groups playing together.
Audience reaction to the O'Keefe Centre performances again reflected the power of records, as The Airplane's biggest disk hits, "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love," drew the strongest response.
The Airplane and the Dead reaped maximum exposure in the press and on radio and TV during their Canadian visit. Their free performance in Toronto's City Hall Square a week prior to their O'Keefe opening drew crowds estimated at from 10,000 to 40,000, only exceeded by the wordage covering the event in the three daily papers. They co-operated fully with TV and radio interviews.
Another free performance at Place Ville Marie in Montreal drew 20,000 to 25,000 and again, full media coverage. They returned to Toronto Aug. 7 and 8 to tape an appearance on an upcoming CBS-TV "O'Keefe Centre Presents" show and drew a capacity audience for the taping sessions.

(by Kit Morgan, from Billboard, 26 August 1967)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

See also: