GRATEFUL DEAD GIVES CONCERT
The Grateful Dead, one of the original components of the San Francisco sound, journeyed south to the Bank in Torrance over the weekend for what amounted to a progress report on the development of their music.
Unlike other bands of the same era, the Dead's music has survived the pressures of commercial success and popularization.
While other groups were rapidly releasing albums in an attempt to capitalize on a moment, the Dead waited over a year to release their second record, hoping that it would be a further exploration of a territory they were only beginning to discover. The result was nearly fatal with a fickle public.
Their brilliant performance at the Bank this weekend went far toward obliterating any early demise. Guitarist Jerry Garcia displayed his prowess as an innovator capable of sustained solos that are never dull. His strength lies in the lyrical progressions he employs to develop thematic lines.
Bassist Phil Lesh combined with the Dead's two drummers to create a series of exciting contrapuntal bottoms that were highlighted by frequent, but never wanton, variations in time signature. Rhythm guitarist Bob Weir provided catalytic themes from which Garcia and Lesh drew inspiration. Weir would state a theme, wait for Garcia to interpret the statement, and then move on to another idea.
The Grateful Dead seem to function in a musical hinterland that utilizes the potential of its individual members in relationship with its group entity. Each member of the band is concentrically related to the unit, allowing individual freedom of exploration and the security of a fixed position at the same time.
In keeping with the Bank's policy of providing balanced quality booking, Magic Sam, a superb Chicago blues band, also performed.
(by David Mark Dashev, from the Los Angeles Times, 17 December 1968)
Thanks to Dave Davis.
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The Grateful Dead played at one hell of a funeral last weekend as the Bank announced it is closing down.
Main reason for the death of the fifth Los Angeles rock club to close within a year was pressure from the local gendarmes who have done their best for the last four weeks to intimidate Bank patrons. It was not unusual to see a dozen or so cars being searched between the club and the Hamilton Street offramp, a distance of one quarter of a mile.
The scare tactics worked on the less faithful with a subsequent drop in attendance.
The Bank was one of the few nightspots around that maintained an intimate atmosphere so important to the moodiness of most bands. Now smogville is left with the Ash Grove, Troubadour, Whiskey, and the Shrine - with the Ash Grove being the only club where bands can get it on with any frequency.
The Dead's great lead guitarist Jerry Garcia displayed his genius for nearly three hours on Saturday night without boring anybody. Magic Sam and blues guitarist Richard Dennis aided Garcia in making the Bank's farewell a rousing wake. The club's "family" are planning a final "Screw L.A." party for New Year's Eve for the official burial. Sad to say we'll all rest in peace.
(by Bob Barnett, from the Valley State Daily Sundial, 20 December 1968)
Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com
Alas, no tape!
See also this list of shows at the Bank: