Jul 25, 2019

August 14-15, 1971: Berkeley Community Theatre



Compared to other concerts that they have provided the community with during the past, this rendition of the Grateful Dead was just about that. The performance was lack-luster throughout. There were times when brilliance began to show its face, but it never really got off the ground. The Dead were definitely not inspired, but then with a schedule like the one they have to put up with, inspiration comes infrequently. Still even with the absence of the hoped for brilliance, the performance was quite enjoyable, and I felt times when the crowd was really coming together with the musicians. But having to stay in the seats like good little girls and boys didn't help either.
But then whenever you think about a Bill Graham concert, you must separate the music from the vibes. Usually when really grooving on the sounds of the Dead, live or on record, the vibes and sounds are so far out that the mind hesitates, stumbles, and then allows itself to be blown completely away. If you're high it's even better.
Not so Sat night. Graham Cracker and his Fillmore Pigs were in fine form. Kicking people out of the aisles, not letting folks dance or even sit in the aisles. It was just a pig trying to make us conform to his trip, without any consideration for our own.
You must dance in your assigned place, confine your head to your seat. We must be nice middle class kids, sit in your seat and be good and if the music (temporary vibes from the band) gets to you and you have to move, do it in your seat only! ONLY!! I never saw so many people sitting at a Dead concert in my life.
The Dead concert? Good music, shitty vibes!!! 

(from the Berkeley Tribe, 20 August 1971)



The Grateful Dead, the local superstars who helped spawn the San Francisco Sound, gave a lukewarm performance at the Berkeley Community Theater Saturday night.
The legendary quintet, which plays blues and country-flavored rock, consists of Jerry Garcia (lead guitar), Bob Weir (rhythm guitar), Phil Lesh (bass), Bill Kreutzman (drums), and Ron "Pig Pen" McKernan (organ and harmonica).
Little creativity was evident in their rhythmic versions of songs like "Cumberland Blues," "Brokedown Palace," and "Casey Jones." They attempted some new numbers, the titles of which they neglected to announce. All of the music was surprisingly simple and monotonous, and Garcia's solos were highly repetitive.
Their singing was mostly weak and off-key. Weir blundered through "El Paso" as if he had never sung before. Garcia's blues singing never seemed to have enough strength or feeling. His deficiencies were particularly noticeable on the mournful "Brokedown Palace." "Pig Pen," whose voice was characterized by a deadly tunelessness, really struck out on Jimmy Reed's "Boss Man."
The New Riders of the Purple Sage, the bluegrass-country rock quintet that opened the show, is dominated by the pedal steel guitar of founder Jerry Garcia. They sounded distressingly similar to every other country-rock group. It seemed as if they were playing the same song over and over again and merely adding new lyrics to it. They wound up their set with a disastrously arranged version of "The Weight."
The audience was quite enthusiastic, though they appeared to be responding more to the performers than to the music. Despite the inferior music, affection and good cheer flowed throughout the packed auditorium.

(by Dennis Hunt, from the San Francisco Chronicle, 16 August 1971)



It was like old home week at the Berkeley Community Theater last Saturday night. Memories of the recently-closed Fillmore West were felt by the crowd who had come to see San Francisco's own Grateful Dead and the New Riders of the Purple Sage.
Even Bill Graham was there to emcee the show and a most interesting and comical light show, provided by Abercrombie, entertained one of the wildest crowds ever to attend the weekly concerts at the theater.
The musicians' sound equipment and paraphernalia, reminiscent of the old Fillmore, cluttered the stage. The crowd, one of the most enthusiastic this reporter has ever experienced (I have the lumps from being hit on the head to prove it) hooted, cheered, 'boogied' and danced to the music, which at times was very good.
It was also a special occasion for rock singer David Crosby - his birthday. He made a special appearance at the concert to receive a birthday cake Bill Graham and the groups had prepared for him.
The tireless and durable Grateful Dead, who have an outstanding talent in Jerry Garcia on lead guitar, obviously pleased the crowd with their often long, tedious and repetitious tunes.
The Dead's resounding and infectious sound seemed to have exploded on such numbers as "I'm on my Bended Knees," a rockin', rollin' tune that started it off with a pace that rarely ever slowed down.
Bob Weir, rhythm guitar, ventured back into the past for the group's revival of Marty Robbins' old hit "El Paso," which proved to be one of the group's best crowd pleasers even though it was below par. Ronald McKernan, better known as "Pigpen," belted his way through one of his many solo numbers, "Hard to Handle," but the background musical accompaniment, with a harmonica added for a little more authenticity, was an example of the Dead at their best.
The Dead's "Brokedown Palace" was a poetic, harmonious blend of moods and rhythms. "Big Boss Man" allowed the Dead to start one of their never ending jam sessions that was purely electrifying. Sounds ignited and rhythms exploded creating an almost total musical sound. The same thing happened on "Cumberland Blues," and "Casey Jones," one of their old hits that completely enthralled the frenzied audience.
After a short break, the Dead came back and renewed their rapid pace with "Truckin," a groovin', driving tune that was another favorite along with still another jam session that was deafening; Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee;" "Sugar Magnolia;" "Not Fadeaway," and around midnight, Chuck Berry's oldie "Johnny B. Goode."
One major criticism may be leveled at the Dead - they get too involved with their improvisations and fail to please the average listener who is not a devout Grateful Dead fan. Granted that improvisation is essential to most concerts, there's such a thing as overdoing it.
The New Riders of the Purple Sage, also led by Jerry Garcia, opened the concert and presented a commendable set that was considerably shorter than the Dead's. They were in good form on such tunes as "Louisiana Lady" and "The Weight."
The light show was not only entertaining, it was camp. Besides the usual images projected on the screen, the   [line missing]   intermission. It premiered a short film on a dog fetching a Frisbee on land, sea, and sometimes in the air to the music that usually accompanied Lassies rescuing someone. Also on the light show bill was Chip and Dale Cartoon with Donald Duck.

(by Doris Worsham, from the Oakland Tribune, 18 August 1971)




One of the longest living rock bands in the country along with one of the most popular rock groups in the Bay Area, made a tremendous showing Sunday night at Berkeley Community Theatre when the Grateful Dead turned on their long time fans once more.
After Purple Sage did the evening's first set that lasted about 45 minutes, Barry Imoff (who produces a lot of Bill Graham's gigs) introduced the super group like this: "The band that is going to replace Lawrence Welk - The Grateful Dead."
The gig was just like old times and between sets, cartoons were shown. Behind the Dead's performance was an old fashioned light show which featured the Dead's name in a sequence of color.
Sunday's show was the second of a two nighter they were into and, as usual, the Dead did a short three hour performance.
In their second set, the Dead got it on with "Truckin" which led fans to start applauding. They ended their show with "Johnny B. Goode" (a Chuck Berry tune) before they went into their good night theme.
Like all Dead gigs, Jerry Garcia was featured on lead guitar. He played that guitar like he was unreal. Jerry was featured even more than other Dead gigs if that is possible.
They are known for their harmonizing and all-around musical talents. But Garcia is definitely a superstar's superstar.
Like other Dead performances, something unusual comes about. There was a fire shooter behind one of the amps which added fireworks.

(by Kathy Staska & George Mangrum, from the Hayward Daily Review, 19 August 1971)


What we consider reliable sources, have told the TRIBE about the financial results of the recent Bill Graham produced Grateful Dead concert at the Community Theater. For the 2 nights, Graham got $3000, while the Dead went home with $21,000.
(from the "Short Shit" column, the Berkeley Tribe, 3 September 1971)

Some weeks ago the Grateful Dead played two nights in Berkeley and took home around $20,000. Ticket-holders’ money paid for the armed guards who got their macho rocks off pushing people down the front steps of the Community Theater.
“You mean you’d shoot me for walking up these steps?”
“Try me.”
We had been asking people in line, “How do you feel about paying these prices to see the Dead?”
“Well, to me the Dead are priceless, so it doesn’t really matter.” or
“I try not to feel”
were typical answers. When Bill Graham came out Saturday night to absorb and disperse the gate-crashing energy being raised by the moneyless crowd, it was with more than a trace of contempt in his grin that he said, “Why, they’re your heroes – tie-dyed.” 
The boy does have a way with words.
The syndrome this event represents is obvious if you think about it. After you get that down, the counter-revolutionary implications fall right into place.
The solution is simple: return people's culture to the people. Up until now there hasn't existed a place in the community where folks can gather and just get stoned on the artistic expression of what they themselves are getting together [...] in their own heads. So let's establish one! Away from elitist performer-audience relationship to one of sisters and brothers learning and growing and invoking their own artistry to share the truth.
[ . . . ]
(from the Berkeley Tribe, 17 September 1971)


Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com

Jul 24, 2019

July 13, 1967: PNE Agrodome, Vancouver, BC

In my previous bulletins keeping you up with the names of singing groups, I mentioned The Grateful Dead. It seems now that a local entrepreneur wants to book them (it?) into Capilano Stadium. The group plays psychedelic music for hippies, and we certainly have enough of them to fill Cap Stadium.
Another group in the same class is the Family Dogs who, together with the Fast Flying Vestibule (really) will play (?) at a dance at the Kits Theatre Saturday. [ . . . ]
When asked, "If this music like this appeals to the hippies and the flower children, and none of them have more than the pot to dream in, where do they get the money to go to these dances?" the answer was, "Buddy, you gotta dime?"
(from Lorne Parton's "See Hear" column, the Vancouver Province, 22 June 1967)

... A band playing at Phase Four Wednesday night was billed as "The Family Dog," while a sign in the window of the Psychedelic Shop across the street announced: "Musicians Wanted for The New Awakening Fun and Funeral Band."... And Jim Wisbey, the Torch bearer, is dickering for Cap Stadium July 16 for a concert by the Grateful Dead.
(from Jack Wasserman's column, the Vancouver Sun, 22 June 1967)

THURSDAY - The Grateful Dead, The Daily Flash, The Collectors, and The Painted Ship. 7 p.m. Agrodome.
(from the Vancouver Sun, 7 July 1967)



Ten live British newspapermen on a centennial tour of Canada came face to face at Vancouver airport Wednesday with the Grateful Dead.
The five dead - Pig Pen, Captain Trip, Kid Decibel, Reddy Kilowatt, and Captain Credit - arrived from San Francisco and will perform tonight at the Pacific National Exhibition Agrodome.
The newspapermen - from some of Britain's leading newspapers - were enroute to Whitehorse and were amused bystanders as about 60 Kitsilano hippies welcomed the Grateful Dead.
Pig Pen, leader of the Dead, escorted his group through the crowd of local hippies and foreign newsmen assembled at the airport's north terminal.
The 200-pound hippy musician, with shoulder-length hair, beard and moustache, wore a black buffalo skin coat, a blue and green striped sweatshirt, and a black naval cocked hat.

The British newsmen seemed slightly baffled by the commotion but were favorably impressed by the hippies.
"This sort of thing doesn't happen at British airports," said Willis Pickard of The Scotsman, Edinburgh.
"The hippies aren't offensive and they liven the show up a bit. They're a stimulating influence on Canadian society which tends to be stuffy and conformist."
"They're well behaved, a pleasant group of kids," said George Perry of the London Sunday Times.
"I find nothing sad about them at all."

The welcoming committee of local hippies was provided by Jim Wisbey, a local club operator who is promoting the Agrodome show.
Wisbey chartered a bus at a cost of $30 to provide 60 hippies transportation from the Village Bistro on Fourth Avenue to the airport and back.
Following their arrival, the Grateful Dead signed autographs on posters, bare arms, and cigarette packs for the local hippies who then boarded their bus for Kitsilano.
The five dead plus $20,000 worth of musical equipment and two managers made the trip to downtown Vancouver by automobile.
Promoters of the Agrodome show say the Grateful Dead entertainment will be supplemented by a large-scale hippy "love-in."

(from the Vancouver Sun, 13 July 1967)

* * *


Is the rock 'n roll riot going the way of bathtub gin and the early Elvis Presley?
Is it, gratefully, dead?
Perhaps an obituary is premature, judging from Thursday night's concert by The Grateful Dead.
But the traditional mob frenzy surrounding the old rock 'n roll concerts appears to be on a dying note.
If so, give some credit to the hirsute hippies and the psychedelic revolution which is toppling "straight" rock 'n roll from its musical throne.
Love rock, or acid rock, is taking over in the psychedelic sixties.
And the scene is peaceful, man, following the hippies' scripture of total non-violence.
Such was the scene Thursday night as about 1,300 hippies, ersatz hippies, teeny-boppers, and straight (ordinary) people attended a noise-wracked concert featuring San Francisco's Grateful Dead in the Agrodome.
There wasn't a single incident amid the wafts of incense. When the flower children blossom out, the only assault is on the ears.
Said police crowd control expert Insp. F.C. (Bud) Errington following the four-hour show: "It was one of the most orderly crowds we have ever had."
Only a year ago, 36 screaming, hysterical teen-agers were carried bodily from the PNE Forum by the Rolling Stones, a straight rock 'n roll British group.
The mayhem during the concert also included assaults on a police officer and an usher, plus two arrests for drunkenness.
At Thursday night's psychedelic "love-in," the teeny-boppers did not scream, screech, swoon, or tear their clothes.
Despite the music's wild, soaring crescendos, they sat silently, as rapt as meditative monks.
A few activists among them let their hair down by engaging in isolated "love dances." 
Explained one 15-year-old teeny-bopper and would-be hippy: "We don't have to scream out loud anymore.
"We don't believe in screaming, because then you can't hear the song. We still get emotionally aroused, but now we scream inside."
And according to a Fourth Avenue hippy, the teeny-boppers are among their young disciples.
"The teeny-boppers are following the lead of the older hippies. We are a non-violent people and we just came here to listen and enjoy the music."
Insp. Errington and his 25-man force spent the evening suffering nothing worse than sore eardrums.
"It's perhaps the most grueling four hours I ever spent," said Errington. "I didn't think anything could be more amplified than (straight) rock 'n roll."
Added a ticket taker: "These people (the hippies) don't cause any trouble. They're not on this earth. They're away up somewhere."

(by Alf Strand, from the Vancouver Sun, 14 July 1967) 

Alas, no tape! 

Thanks to Dave Davis.

Some images -- 

Pigpen at the airport.

Show poster.
Newspaper ad for July 14-15.

August 6, 1967: Place Ville Marie, Montreal, Quebec

The Jefferson Airplane and Greatful Dead from the West Coast will be on the plaza of Place Ville Marie for a "Love In" hosted by Buddy Gee of CKGM tomorrow afternoon. 

(from "The Teen Beat" by Dave Gist, the Montreal Gazette, 5 August 1967)


After a day of confusion during which Expo's controversial Youth Day seemed ready to turn into a ripe old mess, it now appears that everything will go on as scheduled tomorrow...[including] the afternoon peace rally. [ . . . ]
[There was much confusion over the Youth Day schedule.] Schedules for tomorrow's events [are] not yet available [ . . . ] 
It was learned that radio station CKGM is holding a musical "love-in" on the plaza of Place Villa Marie tomorrow at the same time as the peace rally. 
The PVM affair is to feature two top recording groups in person - the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. There were some mutterings that the show was intended to draw youngsters away from the peace session. [ . . . ]
One high-ranking Expo official laid the blame [for the scheduling delays] squarely on the organization which emanates from the Youth Pavilion.
"The whole thing is running hog-wild," the official said. "The Youth Pavilion people have been off in a little world of their own, refusing to cooperate with corporation people through the usual channels. [ . . . ]
"Now they're trying to cram three days' worth of activities into one special day - no wonder they're running into problems." [ . . . ]
Youth Day festivities will begin at Place des Nations at 9:30 a.m. There will be singing by folksinger Gordon Lightfoot, a number of speakers...a minute's silence for the victims of all wars, and the unleashing of a flock of doves. Other entertainment also is scheduled. 

(from the Montreal Gazette, 5 August 1967)

* * * 

An estimated 25,000 hippies, teeny-boppers, adults and squares showed up at Place Ville Marie yesterday - and all had one thing in common - they were in the mood for love. It was Montreal's first large-scale love-in. Yesterday everything went off on a harmonious note - to the tunes of the San Francisco based bands, The Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead. And while a good many of the crowd appeared passive, at least two decided that love-ins can be more than platonic affairs.
(Story, page 3.)

Flower Children Gather

The love message flooded the heart of Montreal yesterday.
And with it, North America's hippie movement, with its rallying cry of "Make Love Not War," firmly established itself here with the city's biggest-ever love-in.
The youthful hippies gathered at Place Ville Marie plaza where California bands called the Jefferson Airplane and the Greatful Dead provided participants with "music to love by."
Thousands of hip-for-the-day tourists and ordinary citizens joined the "flower children," swelling the crowd to about 25,000, according to one PVM official. One of the numerous policemen assigned to keep the peace at the love-in put the figure at 20,000.
Hundreds of young persons, wearing garlands of flowers in their hair and with flowers painted on their hands, feet, legs, and faces, listened passively as electronic music echoed through the plaza and the skyscraper canyon.
They wore beads, bangles, and bells while their shirts carried assorted slogans exhorting everyone to "Love."
Some danced with their reflections in the building windows, but for the most part they just stood around, tossing flowers and streamers. Conga lines wended their way through the huge throng at intervals.
"This is the strangest thing," one elderly gentleman commented. "What happened to the hysterical teenagers who used to storm the Beatles and Rolling Stones?"
The passivity of the crowd was remarkable, and one policeman appeared openly confused when a pretty teenaged girl offered him a flower.
Many of those at PVM yesterday participated in the Fletchers' Field love-in two months ago, which was broken up when mounted police charged into the crowd.
Police were roundly criticized at that time, but the hippies advocated "flower power" to win them over to the cause.

(by Nick Auf der Maur, from the Montreal Gazette, 7 August 1967)

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkQeOyyyKV8 

Thanks to Dave Davis.

Jul 19, 2019

August 7, 1971: Convention Hall, San Diego


The Grateful Dead, back to one drummer and the original organ player, will appear at 8 tomorrow night in Convention Hall.
The present group features Jerry Garcia, lead guitar; Phil Lesh, bass; Mickey Hart, drums; and Pig Pen, harp and organ. The band also carries a second organist to fill in for Pig Pen, one of the original members of the early San Francisco group. A second drummer who performed with the group for some time has been dropped.
The New Riders of the Purple Sage also will be part of the bill. An acoustically and country oriented group, the Sage features Garcia on pedal steel guitar.
Four vocalists also perform with the Sage, which records for Capitol Records.

(unknown paper, 6 August 1971) 

* * *


The Grateful Dead, a San Francisco group, rocked until 1 a.m. yesterday at Convention Hall. They began their concert four hours before.
The group apparently wasn't worried about overexposure. Most groups have limited their performances to one 50-minute set.
Playing many of their best album cuts, plus their current single hit "Truckin'", the group once again lived up to its reputation as being "the people's band."
As evidence that "they cared," the Grateful Dead have stayed fairly non-commercial and given any number of free concerts.
When they play for money, the audience gets what it pays for - not three or four hours of warmup acts and a short set by the group it paid to see.
They're a jamming band. They depend on flow, taking each step with positive care, making sure that each note is meant for the next. They produce the kind of total sound that could only have come about through years of playing together.
To begin their show, even before the engineer had a chance to dim the lights, they played "El Paso." Bob Weir did the smooth vocal work required on this old Marty Robbins hit. Jerry Garcia played an impeccable lead guitar melody.
The next few songs flowed into each other so well that there was a settling effect on the listeners.
Acoustics were a minus factor. Open seating on the floor in the echo-ridden convention hall hurt the sound quality.

(by Vern Benson, unknown paper, 8 August 1971)

* * * 

Crowd Seems To Enjoy S.F. Quintet

Saturday night, the Grateful Dead died.
The San Francisco-based quintet performed in San Diego's Convention Hall and those not dead from boredom should at least have been grateful when it finally ended.
The Dead played more than three hours of "goodtime"
[ . . . ]
in the country - music, that is.
Even their current Top [40] hit, "Truckin'," wasn't enough to salvage the marathon set. They just kept "truckin'" on with more junk.
But if the Grateful Dead were bad - and they were - the New Riders
[ . . . ]
done by top groups, and ruined them, also.
"Honky Tonk Women" - their final number - "Lodi," and The Band's "The Weight" all suffered bad renditions.
The group even managed to pull out Billy Joe Royal's "Down in the Boondocks" [ . . . ] 

(by Joe Cromwell, San Diego Evening Tribune, unknown date -- I've only seen a fragment of this review)

Thanks to runonguinness. 

Released on Dick's Picks 35.

Jul 18, 2019

August 23, 1971: Auditorium Theater, Chicago


With the Dead, you can't say you didn't get your money's worth. Four hours worth to be exact last night at the Auditorium Theater, give or take a short break or two to catch collective breaths, with a light show of sorts and a lot of good music along the way.
Playing the first of two four-hour concerts (a repeat is scheduled for tonight at 7:30) completely by themselves, the one-time San Francisco pioneer group drew its material from a variety of sources: country and western flavored things such as "El Paso," old Chuck Berry rock 'n' rollers, country blues, and "American Beauty." Their sound - countryish, bluesish, thick with rhythm and usually infectious - isn't so new any more and after a couple hours of it, it all begins to sound pretty much alike, but... Take what you want, and let the rest go by. After all these years, there's still something fine about the Dead's music.
Maybe it's the simple fact that it's impossible to stay around a Grateful Dead concert for very long without getting the overwhelming impulse to dance, which is what some people backstage were doing long before the first intermission and what people out front were probably trying to do and getting frustrated when they couldn't.
"What do you want us to tell you, that you can get up and dance?" one of the Dead (his name escapes me, but it wasn't the neatened-up organist Pig Pen, who has slimmed down astoundingly, or guitarist Jerry Garcia, who seems to have picked up what Pig Pen has lost) asked at one point. Well, it would have been nice.
The whole thing moved along at a relaxed, almost spontaneous pace, with some songs sounding more like rehearsals and some numbers very much the finished production. One of the highlights came just before the end of the first half of the show, when a silver mirrored ball twirled down into view above the stage and broke the spotlight beams into myriads of rays that played around the hall in merry-go-round circles of flickering light.
Four hours is a long time, a long time to sit and a long time to play, and occasionally some of the music sounded a little tired or things just didn't work. But not too often, and then something came along that more than made up for it. Like I said, with the Dead you get your money's worth - or at least last night that's how it was.

(by Lynn van Matre, from the Chicago Tribune, 24 August 1971) 

Thanks to Dave Davis.

* * *


"Music is alive and well." That's what the big valentine leaning against Pig Pen's organ said. It may be alive, but it's limping.
The Grateful Dead, acid-testing pioneers of the colossal multi-hued San Francisco scene, played the first of two successive evening concerts Monday night to a sell-out gathering of the tribes at the Auditorium Theater.
At best, the Dead is an overwhelming experience. Rumor has it that one New Year's Eve at the original Fillmore the group provided enough highly concentrated energy for a successful levitation demonstration. During the first half of yesterday's show, sufficient foot-stomping power was generated to seemingly rattle the theater's foundations. The approving roar of the crowd alone was louder than the music volume of many lesser bands.
Unfortunately, just about the time everything got into high gear, the band took a 20-minute break. Afterwards, people who had been madly boogying at their seats settled back to wait for lightning's second strike. The band tried hard enough, but couldn't seem to rekindle anything. At the low point, thousands of fingers were seen plugging thousands of ears.
But that's how it's always been with the Dead. When they're hot, they're incendiary. When they're not, they're like cold spaghetti. That's the price we pay for the kind of openly emotional music they make. Unlike most bands, the Dead can't hide behind strictly structured material. Its songs are delicately thrown over huge open spaces which give the musicians vast freedom to intensify moods.
That's what makes the Dead such a great band to watch. Sounds simple, but it's not. Lots of rope also means an occasional hanging, yet when the Dead hit their musical jet stream, as they did on "Casey Jones," sitting still was absolutely impossible.
In short, the Dead come for to play. There's no glittery show biz: no winged shoes, no Alice Cooper weirdo theatrics, and no hyped, imitation excitement. They're real. They tune up on stage. They decide what to play between songs. And they're even sort of ugly.
A Dead audience is something special, too. Above all, it's there to make a good time., And when those in the audience manage to dance despite immovable chairs, it's fairly obvious the customers are glad they came. The Dead are heroes precisely because the band makes music to live in, which is entirely different from music one goes to listen to.
The band has been together a long time. Essentially, the same unit exists today that first played in 1965 as the Warlocks. There's Jerry, the endless riff, Garcia on lead guitar and vocals, Bob Weir on rhythm guitar and vocals, Bill Kreutzmann on drums, Phil Lesh on bass, and Pig Pen on blues vocals, organ, tambourine, and cigaret.
The Dead have eluded superstardom because they are primarily a live group. Excluding "Working Man's Dead," their albums have been disappointing. The group requires lots of time and a good audience to create its magic. Consequently, the Dead generally play extremely long concerts. Last evening was the exception. The group played 1-1/4 hours, took a break and returned for more. It's too bad things never picked up after intermission.
But then these days, I guess we should learn to be Grateful for even small favors.

(by Jack Hafferkamp, from the Chicago Daily News, 24 August 1971)

* * *


The [---] leaning against Pigpen's [organ] had a big heart on it, and in the middle of the heart was printed: "Music is Alive and Well." But the optimistic slogan didn't apply to Grateful Dead's Monday night's concert in the Auditorium.
Not that the Dead were at fault. Finally given a half-decent concert hall, they sounded better than at any of their previous Chicago concerts. But [during] their cheerful, tuneful set, the bad vibrations from the audience cast a shadow over the proceedings.
Maybe it was just that all the rotten eggs fall in the first basket; if so, the Dead's second concert Tuesday night will make up for everything. The [loonies] weren't even in the majority Monday, but there were enough of them to do the job.
The Dead did nothing but try to please. They played a good four hours, not including the intermission, and were still playing when I left. When they started their set with some mellow countryish numbers, the reaction of the idiots was to yell "Louder" and "Faster." Despite this, those who wanted to do so could hear some fine, easy-going harmonies and crisp, tight playing.
Best of the pre-intermission part was a new song aptly titled "The Loser," which also benefited - as did the whole concert - from some stunning lighting by Candace Brightman, who brought her many-mirrored revolving globe in from New York for the concerts.
Strangely enough, when the Dead got into the [fantasy] free-wheeling rock during the second half, the boisterous element was subdued for a while. When the Dead are even halfway on, this stuff can throw anyone for a loop.
It soars into long lyrical guitar passages picked out by Jerry Garcia while Bob Weir plays around him and supplies solid rhythm guitar. And Phil Lesh's bass and Bill Kreutzman's drums flew steadily with Garcia's build-ups and [ebbs].
But the Dead finally [---] the audience at the very end with some straight hard rock - the Stones' "Not Fade Away" and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." They [---] those fine, too, although [---] music isn't the Dead.
But then many in the audience apparently weren't there to hear anyone but themselves. Music was alive Monday night in the Auditorium but definitely not well.

(by Al Rudis, from the Chicago Sun-Times, 24 August 1971)

Thanks to runonguinness. 

8/23 partly released on Road Trips 1:3.
8/24 partly released on Dick's Picks 35. 

Jul 16, 2019

March 3, 1971: Fillmore West

Airwaves, the collective that came together as a result of the KMPX firings, is having a benefit on Wednesday, March 3 at 8 p.m. to pay for airtime on KQED/FM. Tuesday they were denied the 12 hours daily they had been granted by KQED execs.
But they’re going on with the benefit to get a people’s radio station on the air. Come to Fillmore West and see the Grateful Dead, Shades of Joy, the New Generation Gospel Singers, and the Gestalt Fool Theatre Players. Donation is $2.50.

(from the Berkeley Tribe, 26 February 1971)

WAVY GRAVY  (excerpt)
Airwaves had a benefit at the Fillmore West last week, trying to get together enough bread to make community radio happen. Thanks to the appearance of the Grateful Dead and some last-minute cooperation by the three local commercial FM stations which Airwaves hopes to replace, the Fillmore was sold out and the collective, after expenses, has a little less than $7,000 in its treasury.
The benefit was a great party as well as a financial success. Hot Tuna appeared at the last minute and asked to play; they were fantastic. The New Generation Singers, Straight Funk, and The American Indian dancers balanced out the night, which lasted from 8 until the Dead finished a 2 ½ hour set at 3:30 a.m. For many, the night’s highlight was the imagination of the Gestalt Fool Theatre family.

(The rest of the article details the Airwaves/KQED financial negotiations.)

(from the San Francisco Good Times, 12 March 1971)



A brief history of the Airwaves collective: 
They first surfaced in the news in November 1970, as a group of people who had been fired from KMPX.

12/2/70 Ann Arbor Argus:
"KMPX shut off the transmitter in the middle of a broadcast by the KMPX staff collective...[and] shut down until its management could find new disc jockeys and perfect a new program format...
A KMPX disc jockey said it: "The airwaves belong to the people, not to the goddamned corporations."...
The KMPX staff collective...wanted to control programming. They wanted to help make hiring decisions...
Management [said] that the staff collective was "violently revolutionary"...[and] made it clear that even political music programming would be banned...[and] insisted that it have complete control over hiring...
The collective locked itself into the studio...[and] KMPX management issued a press release immediately, stating that...[it was] impossible to deal with the "revolutionary collective" and that the station would go off the air..." 

11/20/70 Berkeley Barb:
"Airwaves Collective is the new name of the KMPX Collective members who seized the station for the people for a few brief beautiful hours before they were suppressed by the station's corporate owners...
The collective...demands the freedom necessary to produce a true people's radio." 

"Exorcising KMPX," 11/20/70 Good Times:
"People are continuing to work towards true community radio. KMPX is back on the air, the KMPX Collective has split up, but the necessary groundwork is still going on.
KMPX went back on the air Friday with a regular old rock 'n roll format... About 100 people gathered outside the new studios to make known their displeasure at the offing of the old staff which had tried to do some righteous work...
The [Collective] faction remaining calls itself Airwaves...[which] has also called for a continuation of the KMPX boycott."

Airwaves issued a group communique that ran in the underground papers with their proposals for action: "Airwaves (formerly the KMPX Collective) consists of brothers and sisters who can no longer function within the increasingly repressive context of commercial radio."
The 12/4/70 Good Times and 12/12/70 Berkeley Tribe ran requests from Airwaves for contributions and participation from the people. "Forces are perceptibly moving to return the airwaves to the people. At this very moment a new collective is getting together for the sole purpose of obtaining time on the air to create a kind of programming the people want and need, and which has proven impossible to maintain with any of the caPIGtalist conglomerates which have obtained control of the people's media... Anyone who is interested in making community radio a reality should hook into it now... For Airwaves to work effectively as a community service it will need to grow out of the support and participation of everyone."

"Airways Lives!", 12/18/70 Berkeley Barb:
"Airwaves, formerly the KMPX collective, expects to be back on the air beginning in March on KQED FM. By then all basic details should be worked out.
A month ago members of the collective approached KQED-FM. The station currently broadcasts only in the daytime. The collective asked to take over with programming from 11 PM until 11 AM seven days a week. [ . . . ] [Details of financial negotiations follow.]
Benefits to get Airwaves off the ground will begin late in January with a Grateful Dead concert. Once they are on the air the collective hopes to get some foundation financing...
The old KMPX collective were with KMPX until their brothers and sisters were fired two months ago. Airwaves is now open to any persons or organizations who want to be a part of it."

1/1/71 Berkeley Barb:
"Airwaves Collective - formerly KMPX Collective - is rapidly progressing in its negotiations with KQED to take over 12 hours of air time. If they can get $24,000 together, they will be able to run the station in the night hours."

There was a benefit for Airwaves on 1/17/71 at the Alternative Futures Commune: "multi-media event to benefit Airwaves, peoples' radio trying to get programming & production studio together. Rock bands - Straight and Wildflower - films & theatre by the Gestalt Fool." (Good Times 1/15/71) 

In February '71 the Airwaves Collective broadcast a few nightly programs on KQED: "A people's radio has somehow managed to get on the air. But it's only a demonstration, so listen quick. Your support is important." (Good Times, 2/12/71)

"Airwaves Speaks Out!", 2/12/71 Berkeley Barb:
"Airwaves - a people's radio collective - will be on the air at KQED-FM (88.5) tonight, Sunday and Monday from 11 PM to 2 AM.
It's just a step. It doesn't mean a change in direction on radio. Not yet. What it does mean is that the Airwaves Collective, after over two months of negotiating, has been allowed four three-hour programs beginning Thursday night as a demonstration to the powers at KQED of what the collective has in mind for radio aimed, not at money or ego, but for people.
What the collective is attempting to liberate is twelve hours a day, seven days a week at KQED-FM (11 PM to 11 AM). It should be easier than it's been. KQED now is only on the air from 3 to 11 PM.
But KQED, even though licensed as a "non-commercial community radio station," is nervous about 25 or so assorted freaks saying they're a collective and wanting to use the facilities of the radio station to broadcast to the people as THEY want, not the way it's USUALLY done.
[ . . . ]
What's so frightening about Airwaves? For one thing, it's not structured (philosophically or organizationally) like media people are used to. It has no Leaders. (This has been particularly hard to KQED to relate to. Who's responsible? Who makes the decisions? That sort of thing.) The Airwaves Collective has an office in Project One. There are weekly meetings open to the community. And, as a people's collective, the people are encouraged to participate. [ . . . ]
[Struggles will be resolved] as more community organizations and people become involved with the collective... In the meantime, the immediate purpose of the Airwaves Collective is to restore access and active involvement in radio to those who think it's important to have an alternative to the bullshit & moral cowardice that now passes as radio on the FM and AM radio stations." 

"Radio Revolution," 2/19/71 Good Times:
"People's radio became a temporary reality last week as the Airwaves Collective broadcast four pilot programs on KQED-FM (88.5). The programs...were test shows insisted upon by KQED management before they commit themselves to regular programming.
Airwaves has proved that professionally excellent, non-commercial radio that serves all sections of the community can be achieved when people who care work together. In addition to a very far out selection of music including ethnic music of all types and little-heard jazz and rock, Airwaves presented several right on features [including interviews with various community and workers' activists, and a Gestalt Fool Theatre 'psychedelic revolutionary radio serial']. . . I Ching coins were thrown on the air to determine the prospects for the Airwaves future.
[ . . . ]
Although the pilot programs were excellent, the future of Airwaves' programming is uncertain. Negotiations between the Collective and KQED management are still going on, but the question of the amount of money that KQED will require the Collective to pay for air time still isn't resolved. Airwaves is aiming for a 12 hour daily program, which would fill a lot of the time that KQED-FM is currently off the air. Management wants Airwaves to meet the operating expenses of those 12 hours.
The money part is tricky. KQED is "non-commercial" and depends for its existence on contributions...from its listeners/viewers and grants from foundations. The Airwaves Collective will have to raise most of its money the same way (though foundation money doesn't seem too likely). But you can only get support from listeners if you're on the air. And KQED hasn't allowed Airwaves on the air yet, regularly.
In the meantime, Airwaves is planning a benefit for March 3 at Fillmore West with the Grateful Dead, Shades of Joy, the New Generation Singers, American Indian dancers, and the Gestalt Fool Theatre Family. Admission will be $2.50.
If you missed the Airwaves broadcasts, come to the benefit and rap to the people who are getting alternative radio together. It is also important to write to KQED management expressing your support for people's radio."

The 2/26/71 Good Times and Berkeley Barb reported on a meeting between Airwaves and KQED management which went nowhere as they didn't agree to terms, KQED now only granting Airwaves 15 hours a week. 
"Airwaves Gets KQED Static," 2/26/71 Berkeley Barb:
"This Wednesday (March 3), the collective will have a benefit at the Carousel (Fillmore West)... Even though the collective has agreed on lowering the usual admission of $3.50 to $2.50, they expect enough money to pay the costs of two months at KQED-FM.
From there they expect to do a monthly Airwaves Benefit, always a multi-media affair that would be as much an event for the community as a benefit. Those benefits and genuine listener support...would enable the collective to make itself viable on the $ level."

3/12/71 Good Times:
"A few days after the benefit, Airwaves was notified by KQED that the terms of its tentative agreement, which had been in negotiation for three months, had been totally revised.
KQED now is claiming that Airwaves must pay for time at $25 an hour, at least, instead of the $6-8 an hour which was the working figure until recently. Also, the station now proposes a maximum of 20 hours a week (the collective had asked for 12 hours a day...), so that the self-aggrandizing "special interest" paid programming now on the air four or five hours a day can continue to feather a few salaried nests, without the threat of community participation in so-called public radio.
Airwaves is now faced with the...[possibility] of other radio alternatives (neighborhood radio, pirate radio, production studio for community use). The cost of buying the cheapest of the supposedly available Bay Area FM stations is estimated at a cool $750,000."

According to the Good Times, "After leading the Airwaves Collective on for months...and even agreeing to sell them time at a cheap rate, KQED backed down rather than risk irritating their liberal subscribers by allowing real people's radio on the air during time they don't even use."
With KQED uncooperative, Airwaves decided to take the independent-production-studio route, and resurfaced in a September '71 history of the collective.

"Stay Tuned Folks," 9/3/71 Good Times:
"After several months of hard construction work and internal reorganization, Airwaves Collective is about ready to open its sound studio in Project One. The studio and control room facilities will be used to tape news and features of the alternative culture and the revolution, and to produce tapes free for community groups.
Larry Bensky, an original organizer of the collective, ran down a five point plan Airwaves has adopted to serve the community while trying to remain self-supporting.
"We'll make news and feature tapes about local events to send to alternative radio stations here and abroad... We plan to make tapes for community groups who need to promote events or bring their message to the people... We'll teach people how to use audio equipment.
"In order to finance our sound studio, we plan to produce some commercials for products or rock groups, especially unknown groups, that we consider righteous. As it is now, a lot of money spent to advertise rock music and our own cultural events is going to pig advertising agencies. If we were receiving that bread, it would be funneled back into the community by financing our free services. It would help us all to fill each other's needs...
"We also plan to do supplemental news coverage of San Francisco events for radio stations..."
Airwaves Collective has evolved from a large open organization which tried unsuccessfully to deal with established liberal broadcasters, to a much smaller, tighter group, which is going to remain strictly independent.
The collective came together late in '70 after the staff of KMPX was thrown off the air for demanding equality of pay...a relevant news department; more women and Third World employees; and the freedom to air news, features and music that reflected the community rather than the successful FM rock station format. [Several members], unemployed but undeterred, formed a group which later merged with some community people working with the Gestalt Fool Theatre on an adventure serial [on KQED]... The entire group started working on ways to produce, finance, or find a broadcast facility for true people's radio.
Since KSAN and KMPX were strictly into the commercial bag, the collective began negotiating with KQED for a block of time to be produced and broadcast by members of the collective. Meetings dragged on for months as KQED management kept upping the ante for the cost of air time and producing new objections to the whole project. Although management claimed that their main concerns were with costs, security of the building and equipment, and adherence to FCC regulations, their biggest problem was in accepting the idea of a collective. They constantly demanded that there be one or two people who they could deal with and who would be responsible for any problems.
In the meantime, the collective had grown to the point where 30 to 50 people would show up for meetings that developed into interminable political arguments and personality clashes. Committees and subcommittees were formed and people in the collective began losing personal touch with one another.
All the efforts of Airwaves went into a pilot program that KQED allowed the collective to air as a test before granting any permanent time slot. For four nights in February, people's radio lived as the collective aired technically sound, non-commercial programming that served all segments of the Third World, revolutionary freak communities in San Francisco. Not long after the pilot programs, negotiations with KQED broke off because the station had tripled their originally stated price for air time. The collective had been thoroughly fucked over by the liberal management of a non-commercial radio station that is required by FCC regulations to serve all segments of the public.
A few weeks later Airwaves held a benefit at Fillmore West which had been planned to raise funds for the KQED air time and the construction of a sound studio in Project One. Huge crowds showed up to hear the Grateful Dead and other groups, but few people took the time to rap with Airwaves members about what they were trying to do. The benefit made $7000 on the promise of people's radio and a good bill of entertainment.
Since the KQED venture had fallen apart and there was no immediate channel for using the money to air righteous programming, the collective decided to use the money for the studio, which would be completely in the control of the involved people.
When the prospect of immediate air time died, a lot of people left the collective. Those who remained made plans for building the studio... Some new people joined and heavy work began. Unfortunately communications between the collective and community petered out as Airwaves became totally involved in the construction. Suspicious questions were raised as to what happened to the $7000 that was raised to finance community radio. That money was being invested in equipment and building materials, but the community didn't know that...
"No one in the collective is receiving a salary now and we have no plans for a salaried staff in the future. We hope to make enough money so that all Airwaves people will be able to survive. As it now, we have no money at all." [ . . . ]
Community groups who are interested in having Airwaves produce tapes for them should call the office... The sound studio can be used to group raps, panel discussions, and rock groups."

Airwaves thereafter vanished from the news.

Jul 9, 2019

May 29, 1971: Winterland

SAN FRANCISCO - An impromptu Acid Test was held at Winterland Saturday night at the Grateful Dead concert. Electric Punch was passed out, and unfortunately, a lot of people failed the Test (around 50 were taken to hospitals). Chief Snooky Nelder is pissed off. He has the power to revoke Winterland's and Bill Graham's licenses, and is holding hearings to determine whether he should do so. Too bad Snooky didn't get any of the punch.

(from "Short Shit" in the Berkeley Tribe, 4 June 1971)

* * *

Heavy Water at Winterland

Chief Nelder is after Bill Graham's ass as a result of the "electric water" that turned on hundreds at a recent Grateful Dead concert at Winterland.
A full scale investigation is going on to determine who was responsible for passing around water laced with acid (although it hasn't been proved that the substance actually was LSD). Nelder tends to blame Graham, who holds the license on Winterland. Graham says that Nelder is harassing him, that he's given thousands of concerts and this was the first time something like this has happened. A police hearing on whether Graham should be allowed to keep his license may follow.
As well as can be determined, about 600 people out of an audience of several thousand got turned on by spiked water being passed around in paper cups. Some shadowy figure announced from the stage that people should take a swallow and pass it on. A lot of people got stoned and between 30 to 40 were treated at Mt. Zion Hospital's Crisis Clinic for bad trip symptoms. The police got into the act when a freaked out guy started running around the neighborhood in the nude, gibbering about death and destruction.
No matter what your opinion of Bill Graham, it seems clear that he shouldn't be punished for someone else's idea of a good time. We all know that it sure as hell wasn't Graham who passed the acid around. For that matter, no one should be punished by the police for handing out psychedelics. It's an act of love. But whoever did the number should think twice about giving dope of undeterminate quality to a crowd of people who may not be ready for it. It's not criminal, but it's irresponsible.
As for Graham and Winterland, the main problem is that this ballroom is sitting in the middle of a mixed ghetto, but reflects zero community consciousness. The area surrounding it is a "gray" neighborhood of poor blacks, Japanese, and hip whites. At no time have Winterland facilities been made available to the immediate community for neighborhood functions (although there have been benefits held there for other causes). During the day, the ballroom would make an ideal child care center. Unemployed kids from off the streets could be trained in skills in the vast facilities. A few benefits at Winterland could kick off these projects.
As it is, the neighborhood can only react to the ballroom in a negative way. Hundreds of stoned teenyboppers from the suburbs inundate the area, littering it with wine bottles and blocking driveways with their cars. On the night of a big concert, there [are] so many stoned people driving around that there are at least two accidents.
Rock concerts used to be an up. People who came to them used to be up. Now it's a totally negative scene. We're stuck with a plastic palace eagerly taking money from ego-tripping, insensitive kids in the middle of poverty and helplessness. Forget the acid, what about this Bill Graham?

(from the San Francisco Good Times, 11 June 1971)

* * *


I went to see the Grateful Dead concert Saturday night.
I went down to Winterland about 5 in the afternoon and found a long line had formed. It was still 3 hours away from concert time.
The security pigs bunched us up into fours and had us stand behind a line on the sidewalk. If we were standing with one foot over that line they'd scream at us to get back.
Finally we were let into the building. We got a seat about 40 feet from the stage. And this is where I met Jane. She was really farout and we got along really well together.
The first group to come on was R.J. Fox. They were an acoustic group that sounded like C.S.N.&Y. They played for about 45 minutes and seemed to bore everyone. Then came the New Riders without Garcia. They played only one good song and that was Honky Tonk Women. They really needed Jerry on the pedal steel to make things go.
Finally at about 11:30 they started setting up equipment for the Dead. It took a long time to set up because the organ didn't work. But they finally got that settled and the Dead came on.
At about that time people started passing back what I thought was water. Jane and I took a few sips and passed it on. It tasted like watered down Koolaid but looked like tea. A couple in front of us must have drunk a whole cup of it.
It hit me right away, I felt totally wasted. I just wanted to lie down and go to sleep. Things began to grow fuzzy and the music never stopped.
It was then I started to imagine things. I began thinking that I was the center of attraction and that everyone was watching me. I would look around and notice that people were watching me. The exit doors were open and it was raining outside.
I looked up at the Dead and they were covered with checkerboard patterns of green, blue, and red.
A girl in front us kept asking if we were on acid. She fell down on the floor and started to put things in her mouth. She would pick up tin cans, papers, socks, coats, garbage, and anything else that was on the floor. She threw up all over and then tried to take her clothes off.
People were freaking out all over the place. It was like people were being shot down. People would fall down and struggle to get on their feet again. One guy fell on about five people and they all fell like dominoes.
People were fighting with each other. Others were trying to calm down the ones who had freaked out.
I just held on to Jane and kept my balance as best I could. Time actually halted as if we were dead. Jane and I were the only ones standing in a five foot radius while the people around us were squirming on the floor like dying fish. 
The Dead must have played one song that was a half an hour long and that half hour seemed like an eternity. Finally they pulled their plugs and left the stage.
Jane and I sat down as the people started to stomp. The whole floor shook. I looked around for my coat and never found it. The place was a dump, there was clothing and garbage all over. So I picked Jane up and started for the door. I noticed that everyone else was totally spaced. We got to the door and the fresh air hit me. It was so beautiful after what we had just got out of. I looked up and watched the cops chase people off the fire escapes.
We then started home. It was hard for me to cross the streets because the lights blended together. We went into a gas station and got something to drink. Jane was just numb. I don't think she felt or heard anything.
That's where I met Chick and Ed, they were from Stockton and they needed a place to crash. So we all started off for my place. It was lucky I had them along with me because I started to trip again. I didn't know what I was doing or what I was saying, I was just walking straight ahead.
It took ages to get home. Every city block seemed miles long. We finally made it home and crashed right away.
The next morning I woke up with double vision and I couldn't think at all. I walked Jane to the exit and she hitched home.

(from the Berkeley Barb, 11 June 1971) 

* * *


About 1000 of the 4500 youths attending a rock concert at Winterland Saturday night got stoned when someone spiked caldrons of water with LSD.
"There's some water being passed out. Just take a sip and pass it back so everybody can have some," was the announcement made over a mike shortly before midnight.
"It was electric water," commented George S. Lawes, bearded 21 year old son of a New York banker who came here six months ago. "We all knew what it was."
Sitting on a bench at the jail in the Hall of Justice, he told how he freaked out after a couple of sips of the free punch, and how he was arrested when he walked outside to find a ride home to Berkeley.
He and seven others, including a girl he met on the street, were arrested on drug charges as they wandered around "lost" on the street near Winterland.
In addition four juveniles were taken home to their parents, and one youngster was taken to the Youth Guidance Center.
Police were called to Winterland early yesterday after firemen reported that the auditorium was overcrowded.
The first two police to arrive, Loyd Yeargain and Stephen Bosshard, said there were two girls completely nude but the place was so jammed they couldn't get close enough to make an arrest.
Yeargain reported:
"The main floor was crowded and no aisles were available for exit. Numerous persons were observed to be in an intoxicated condition, but no alcoholic beverages were observed."
He later estimated that almost a fourth of those present had sipped some of the spiked "water." Of those, almost 40 went to nearby Mount Zion hospital for treatment of "bad trips."
Bill Graham, who promoted the concert by The Grateful Dead and other rock bands Saturday and last night, said he was unaware of the announcement about free liquid refreshments.
Both he and the police saw to it there was no repeat performance by the audience last night.
But police, who pass on license applications for places like Winterland, said an investigation would be made to see if the Winterland permit for concerts should be withdrawn. Last night's concert was a sellout, at $2 a head, with youngsters lined up on the street two hours before the doors opened.

(from the San Francisco Examiner, 31 May 1971)

* * *


Police Chief Alfred Nelder said today that Winterland's dance and entertainment permits will be revoked unless the operators can prove they took measures to prevent Saturday night's mass stoning.
He said he will call a hearing in his office to review the case of the LSD-spiked water that caused 1000 of the 4500 youths attending a rock concert to get stoned. Thirty persons were taken to a hospital after suffering a bad trip.
Nelder said the permits were granted by the Police Department's permit bureau some time ago to an outfit calling itself the Shasta Corp. The chief said the outfit was not familiar to him but he still intended to call its top people into his office after an investigation of the stoning is completed.
"I would expect the operators to conduct any affair properly," Nelder said. "There was a good possibility somebody could have died."
Sgt. Charles Hoenisch of the narcotics detail said parents called police even two days after the concert to complain that their children were still showing a reaction to the drug.
As the Grateful Dead, among other rock groups, were presenting a concert, someone announced over the public address system:
"There's some water being passed out. Just take a sip and pass it on back so everybody can have some."
"We don't know it was LSD," Nelder said, but a number of the participants at the concert told police it was the drug, he added.
"We know there were three people involved - one who made the announcement over the microphone and two others who brought in two 30-gallon plastic garbage cans of spiked water," said Hoenisch.

(from the San Francisco Examiner, 1 June 1971)

* * *


Rock concert promoter Bill Graham today aired his feelings concerning Police Chief Al Nelder's comments that the Winterland Arena dance permit should be withdrawn as a result of Saturday night's incident in which dozens of patrons drank punch laced with LSD.
"Six years and 1300 concerts we've done, and we've had nothing of this kind before," Graham said. "And now a single incident over which no one could possibly have complete control, and we are all over the front pages and on national television, and Chief Nelder is asking us to close down our operation.
"We are being treated like opportunistic punks rather than established members of the San Francisco community. Does the chief want to police the drug trade or police our dances and concerts?
"I'll help the chief fight drugs, but I won't be his political tool. Our policy at the Fillmore and Winterland has always been to take wine bottles, booze, beer cans and such from customers as they enter the hall. But we can't check on everything that people bring with them."
The Grateful Dead and their friends who presented the music over the weekend had nothing to do with the LSD incident, Graham said.
"What burns me is that the instant response of the police makes it appear that the majority of officialdom in San Francisco would rather see our dance halls and auditoriums dark and shut down and thus avoid all problems rather than face the difficulties we have as producers of the shows."
He added:
"I don't call Chief Nelder's attitude much in the way of community spirit."
Graham continued:
"I doubt if the Chief understands the seriousness of his suggestion.
"I am proud of my relations with this community, and with New York (Fillmore East).
"Next week in New York I am receiving the B'nai B'rith "Humanitarian of the Year" award...and in the town where I live and work (SF) they're saying I'm ripping-off the kids.
"Will this get me out of the rock-dance promotion scene? ... It may make me move faster than I'd planned, which was to close down Fillmore West at the end of the summer.
"Don't praise me for what I've done, don't knock me for what I don't do."

(by Philip Elwood, from the San Francisco Examiner, 3 June 1971)

* * *


The nudes frolicked and the cops couldn't get near enough to make a pinch.
And if Winterland loses its entertainment license, there will be no traditional Ice Follies opening here, a variety of witnesses told a police permit hearing officer here yesterday.
Patrolman Loyd Yeargain said he personally viewed two female nudes and three unclothed males before the bandstand of the rock dance held May 29 in the jam-packed auditorium at Post and Steiner Streets.
There was another nude male with a bloodied head staggering outside the auditorium, Yeargain added.
The patrolman also said his investigation had turned up the 35 gallon "trash can" filled with LSD-spiked water, which led to the arrest of nine young people and hospitalization of 40 more for narcotics abuse.
It was that mass ingestion of LSD which led to yesterday's hearing before Deputy Police Chief Donald Scott on whether the department should revoke the entertainment permit of the vintage auditorium.
Yeargain testified he found the offending "trash can" next to the auditorium stage. He also said he heard a voice on the public address system urge rock fans:
"If you have any refreshments it would be nice if you would share it with others. This is with the compliments of the band."
The performing band of the moment, as recalled by Yeargain, was the Grateful Dead. But neither Yeargain nor any other witness testified who really was responsible for the mass LSD freakout and no fingers of guilt were pointed at the Dead.
Yeargain said he found many members of the crowd commenting on how they had no trouble procuring marijuana and a variety of pills. The biggest lack, according to Yeargain, was security guards.
Fire Department Captain Frank Flaherty told the hearing officer his department found the auditorium extremely overcrowded and that the youthful rock crowd had brought blankets and mattresses, which he deemed a panic hazard.
The captain noted that, despite his department's continuing inspection of auditoriums, Winterland lacks sufficient exits on its north side.
"Panic city" was Flaherty's estimate of what might have occurred.
The possible death knell of the Ice Follies inaugural was sounded by Harold C. Copeland, president of the Follies. Noting that his fully costumed Follies skaters are now in rehearsal for the traditional local opening, Scallen said:
The Follies opening is scheduled for July 2 and the show will run in Winterland, providing no revocation, until Sept. 5.
Bill Graham, promoter of the rock dance, refuted Patrolman Yeargain's criticism of the lack of private security guards. According to Graham, there were 25 guards on duty when the minimum required by law was only eight.
Graham, who has announced his withdrawal from rock promotions, observed he has promoted 1283 concerts but "saw nothing that would attract his attention as the officer described."
Yeargain was asked by Cecil Poole, attorney for both Graham and Shasta Telecasting Corporation, which owns the auditorium, why he had not arrested the offending nudes.
"I couldn't get near them," admitted the patrolman.

(from the San Francisco Examiner, 30 June 1971)

See also:


Jul 3, 2019

March 17, 1971: Fox Theater, St. Louis


The Grateful Dead is alive and well - despite all the years it has been putting electric shocks into rock.
The six-man San Francisco band takes its name from an Elizabethan folk song about persons consigned to roaming the earth because they cannot die. When death finally comes, they are grateful for it.
Last night, The Dead, one drummer short, performed in the Babylonian splendor of the creakingly-old Fox Theater.
It was the first night of a two-night engagement in St. Louis.
The Dead trailed on to the stage almost an hour late. There had been some minor quarrels back stage over arrangements for the concert. But the approximately 4000 rock music freaks didn't seem to mind the Dead's delay.
The gaudy Fox is a good place for the Dead.
Jon McIntire, born in the St. Louis area and manager of the rock group, called the Fox "a boss place." Translated, that means McIntire and The Dead liked the place.
One source suggested that the Fox, which opened Jan. 31, 1929, might well become sort of a Fillmore Midwest - between the two famous Fillmore rock halls on the East and West coasts.
The crowd last night included many hair freaks in Salvation Army clothes, who could not have been long into chewing bubble gum when The Dead first exploded on the psychedelic music scene. That was in San Francisco in the Acid Test days of the middle-1960s. Then it used frenetic rhythms, blasting decibels, light shows, and mind-blowing music. Last night, The Dead's music was more economical.
The musicians opened their set with their traveling song, then went into several country- and blues-flavored songs, including "Me and Bobbie McGee," a current big single from the late rock diva Janis Joplin's album "Pearl."
Bob Weir, the rhythm guitarist, handled that vocal nicely, but a more vibrant vocal was Ron (Pigpen) McKernan's "Turn on Your Lovelight." Many in the crowd screamed and danced.
Pigpen, cowboy hat pulled low over his face and moustache, danced around on stage handling several instruments.
Particularly noteworthy was Jerry Garcia's electrifying flights in his lead guitar sequences. He is a flashy, good guitar player, with an on-stage image of a bearded, elder statesman of rock.
Phil Lesh, bass, and Bill Kreutzmann, drummer, (second drummer Mickey Hart was not in the concert) provided able support as The Dead got into more electronic musical flights.
The concert ended just before midnight with many in the crowd dancing and shouting, "Play all night."
The Dead were preceded by the New Riders of the Purple Sage, who are members of The Dead's musical family in Marin County, Calif. The Riders rode the range between rock music and country. The closer they got to country, the better they sounded.
Both groups are to appear again tonight at the Fox Theater. 

(by Thomas Newsom, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 18 March 1971)  

Also from this issue:


Police arrested six persons suspected of drug violations and handled the explosion of a smoke bomb in the lobby of the Fox Theater, where the Grateful Dead rock group performed last night.
Tony Paluso, theater manager, told police he kicked the smoke bomb out a side door when it began to sputter in the lobby about 9 o'clock. Bomb squad detectives took charge of the bomb.
Extra police details patrolled the theater area, because of the size of the crowd near the theater.
[Two people] were booked suspected of illegal possession of narcotics. Police said they had found what was believed to be marijuana and hallucinative drugs in the suspects' automobile.
[Four others were also] booked suspected of narcotic violations... [One] was offering LSD for sale.

Thanks to Dave Davis

See also: