Jan 31, 2024

November 23, 1966: Thanksgiving Party, Fillmore Auditorium


It's every few months you read here about the "best rock and roll concert ever," pardon my enthusiasm. Either I'm without critical discrimination, or else the shows keep getting better. We'll all hope it's the latter. 
The latest greatest was a Thanksgiving Eve "Thank You" thrown at the Fillmore Auditorium by Bill Graham for the bands, the managers, the writers, the freaks, the friends and lovers of the rock and roll scene in San Francisco. It is fair in judgment to include everything I've ever seen, from the Rolling Stones and Mamas and Papas concerts to fraternity dances and including all the other shows at the Fillmore. Jerry Garcia put it simply: "This is the bossest." 
Everyone was stoned out of their minds. No drugs were around, and I couldn't see anyone who was chemically altered, but it was one of the most turned-on evenings ever. Buddha from Muir Beach, a sort of cosmic fund-raiser, got everyone holding hands and dancing daisy chains around the hall. The Wildflower played, and they have gotten good all of a sudden; no more birds, but real rock and roll. Whatever that is.
Bill Graham got his secret ambition in life: he's one of the best cowbell players on the West Coast. For about 20 minutes, he introduced all the people who work at the Fillmore, from Peaches and Helen (the ladies who check the coats) to Bonnie, his girl friend. I've seen promoters from the "hip" to the sharpies involved in a constant arm motion, patting themselves on their backs, one even from his own stage, but I've never seen Bill do that. From the moment he saw and dug a rock band's concert a year ago, he threw his life and being, both spiritual and financial, into putting on good shows. If anyone should have been thanked, it should have been Bill. Yet there he was providing a free evening of bands, good people, banquet tables of food, Coke, and wine. 
Pigpen and somebody were fencing over the food table with green onions. Quicksilver played, swinging two beautiful Dino Valenti songs: "Stand by Me" and the really groovy "I Don't Ever Want to Spoil Your Party." All the uninvited guests from the teenyboppers to the lonesome stragglers were taken in with pleasure. They danced and ate and stared at the fluorescent mandala painted on the floor.
Pal John was there with Golden Nancy. She loved it. Bridget kept grabbing radishes and giving them to Jeanie and Ralph, Angelica and Angelica's John. Country Joe and Ed Denson brought that band along; Moby Grape came too. Even the undercover narcotics agent standing next to my little sister was clapping his hands. 
The Grateful Dead played one of their best sets ever. Bob Weir, the rhythm guitarist, rocked out "Down the Line," and did anyone ever mention "Midnight Hour" to you? In Presley's "Jailhouse Rock" there's a line about "The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang"; that's Bill Sommers. 
The evening ended with some wild, superscreaming jamming with Skip Spence, Jerry, Bob, and Barry Bastian, lead guitarist of a new group, Lee Michaels. It was a cosmic affair "presented in San Francisco by Bill Graham." Someone said as the evening neared its 3 a.m. end that the only people missing were the Beatles. 
I didn't see them myself, but I'm sure they were there.

An LSD Rescue Service (for your bummers) has been started in San Francisco. The number to call is 626-5770. The cat who runs it was on a radio show and he sounds pretty understanding. . . . The Daily Flash and Buffalo Springfield are at the Avalon this weekend, a very friendly place to be. . . . Love, Moby Grape, and Lee Michaels are at the Fillmore. Otis Redding will be at the Fillmore in the middle of the month. . . . Lou Rawls at the Masonic Auditorium Friday night. . . . The Grateful Dead during the week at the Matrix. . . . The Jabberwock has reinstated their folk music policy. . . . The Grateful Dead and Country Joe in Pauley Ballroom Friday night. 

(by Jann Wenner, from the Daily Cal (UC Berkeley), November 30, 1966) 

See also Ralph Gleason's account: 


Thanks to Dave Davis

Jan 30, 2024

August 28, 1966: IDES Hall, Pescadero CA


PESCADERO - Mike Pickens chased the rabbit for 112 miles faster than anyone else in the Tour Del Mar bicycle race here Sunday, but didn't get his bunny. 
Although winning the grueling race over the coastal hills around this small town, Pickens did not receive his winning trophy from a Playboy Club Bunny as advanced publicity billings had promised. 
After showing up for Saturday's 25-mile criterium races, the Bunny did not appear Sunday for the Belmont Bicycle Club-sponsored affair, witnessed by a disappointing crowd of 350 spectators. 
On hand, however, were folk-rock groups, the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service, who played long and loud in the post-race celebrations, organized by Belmont's Tom Preuss. 
[ . . . ]

(by Paul Savola, from the Redwood City Tribune, August 29, 1966)

See also: 


Jan 29, 2024

May 1966: Introducing the Grateful Dead


(A Special Peninsula Teen Review) 

Did you ever wonder exactly what goes into the making of a modern day rock band? True, there are virtually tons of electronic equipment; guitars, amplifiers, microphones, speakers, tape recorders, and various other complicated and expensive gadgets. But the men behind all this electricity are what makes a good band what it is. 
The Grateful Dead is one example of a mixture of electronic technique and men with enough musical ability to stand behind that technique and really wail. 
The personnel of the Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia, lead guitar; Bob Weir, rhythm guitar; Phil Lesh, bass guitar; Bill Sommers, drums; and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, organ and harmonica) have diverse musical backgrounds which show in their sound. 
Jerry Garcia is "one of the best bluegrass banjo pickers around;" Bob Weir's specialty was city blues and folk music. Ron "Pigpen" McKernan has been involved in country blues and was a member of several rhythm and blues bands. 
Garcia, Weir, and McKernan made their debut as band members of a jug band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, which played locally for quite some time. 
Bill Sommers, the drummer, has had ten years of training at the drums, most of which had been in the jazz vein; and Phil, who is the newest addition to the Grateful Dead, had majored in music theory in college and has written a symphony for a full orchestra all by himself! 
This band is one of the most interesting ones to watch - if you can stand still enough to watch them while their sound surrounds you. Both Jerry and Ron sport shoulder length curly hair; Phil Lesh, tall and strongly built, sports blond hair almost shoulder length; Bob Weir could be the Greek god of the group, with his well-chiseled features and free-swinging clean hair. Bill Sommers would be the favorite man with people who admire individualism - he is the only man with relatively short hair. 
This group, not counting one personnel change, first played in a fairly obscure pizza parlor on the Peninsula. 
At that time they were known as the Warlocks - the name change to the Grateful Dead came when they found out that an East Coast group had chosen the name Warlocks first. 
At first they played just so that they could build up the stage presence that they now have. It wasn't long before kids became interested in the group - it seemed that they recognized and really dug the new out of sight sound. 
The Grateful Dead began, as most groups do, with songs gleaned from the albums of the really well-known groups such as the Animals, Rolling Stones, and Them. Kids used to pack that pizza parlor to hear the Dead's versions of Gloria, Not Fade Away, Satisfaction, and even some Dylan such as She Belongs to Me, and It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - just to name a few. 
At present, their songwriting possibilities have become apparent, and they have worked out some songs of their own.

(from the Redwood City Tribune, May 2, 1966)

Jan 9, 2024

November 15, 1968: Gill Coliseum, OSU, Corvallis OR

Most articles from the Oregon State Daily Barometer.


Tickets for the Nov 15 concert featuring The Grateful Dead will go on sale today at 9 a.m. at the Student Activity Center ticket booth. 
The Grateful Dead, one of the leading rock groups of the nation, are being brought to the OSU campus for a Gill Coliseum appearance by the Oregon State University Students For A Democratic Society. 
Two top-selling albums have been released by The Grateful Dead - "Anthem of the Sun" and "The Grateful Dean." [sic] The best selling selections have been "Alligator" and "Morning Dew." 
Tickets for the evening concert are priced at $2.50 and $3. Tickets will be available daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the ticket booth. 
Two other groups will appear with The Grateful Dead. They are Mint Tattoo and Big City Blue. The Mint Tattoo is a trio from the San Francisco Bay area. 
Dress for the concert is entirely optional, although SDS hopes to have many of the students wear costumes.


excerpt from The Little Man's Views column 

"I guess the Grateful Dead really are coming on November 15. This is a treat for those that just aren't thrilled to death by musical fare such as the Marine Band, or the Philharmonic. How about the Moby Grape next term?"


GRATEFUL DEAD DANCE (Campus Scene column)

SDS will be giving away a poster today to everyone who buys two tickets to the Grateful Dead, Mint Tattoo and Big City Blue dance. All will be appearing at Gill Coliseum, Friday, Nov. 15. Tickets are $2.50 each and are available in the MU ticket booth from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The posters will be given away with tickets only today. Students are reminded that this is not a concert but a sock-hop dance.

[also: Dionne Warwick performing tonight in Gill Coliseum as part of the 1968 Homecoming celebration.]


excerpt from The Little Man's Views column 

"The Grateful Dead are coming this Friday, and with them The Mint Tattoo, and The Big City Blues. Exponents of the San Francisco sound, these bands are well worth the two and a half bucks that it costs to get in. Besides, if we get this concert to work and make money, maybe we can get the Moby Grape next term, and I like them."



The Grateful Dead will appear in Gill Coliseum Friday, Nov. 15, from 8 to 12 p.m. Also appearing will be the Mint Tattoo and the Big City Blue. 
Tickets to the sock-hop dance are $2.50 and are available in the MU ticket booth and the Coachman downtown. Admission is $3 at the door. 
The light show for all three groups will be done by Gretz and Co. Dress for the dance is costume or grubby. 
The dance is sponsored by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the newly formed Black Student Union. 



Mint Tattoo, a trio from Los Angeles, will be one of the three bands appearing in Gill Coliseum tonight from 8 to midnight. Headlining the four-hour soc-hop will be the Grateful Dead from San Francisco and the Big City Blue. Gretz and Co. will produce a light show for all three groups which will envelop the entire coliseum. 
This panorama of psychedelic sounds is co-sponsored by Students for a Democratic Society and Black Student Union. Admission is $3 at the door; dress is costume or grubby.


excerpt from The Little Man's Views column 

"Was OSU ready for The Grateful Dead? I'm not sure, but at any rate, they came, saw, conquered, and ambled on down to Eugene for a Saturday concert. It was a pretty orderly evening; not exactly quiet, but orderly. No fights, no riots or great destruction. Hopefully it can be done again next term, only bigger and better. How about Country Joe and the Fish, or Moby Grape, Chambers Brothers or Big Brother?"



On Friday, Nov. 15 there was a happening in Corvallis. The Grateful Dead, a rock group from San Francisco, were at Gill Coliseum. The concert-dance, co-sponsored by Students for a Democratic Society and Black Student Union, attracted seemingly every "hippie" that Corvallis and out-lying areas have to offer. 
The audience, most of whom were seated on the floor, gave the impression of boredom and could be seen occasionally watching the light show which were on the walls of the coliseum and above the stage. 
Before we got a look at the Grateful Dead, we were confronted with two other bands and a speaker. A representative of SDS gave a speech about the state of affairs in the English department. Then they came on. 
Out walked the six members of the Grateful Dead, along with several others who helped them get their equipment in playing order. 
The member who seemed generally the first one to be noticed is a guitarist named "Pig-Pen." He had a head full of bushy, black hair and a beard which can only be described as full. The others had their outstanding characteristics, too. 
The organist resembled Wild Bill Hickock. Of the two drummers, one had on a magenta shirt and a leather band around his forehead. One of the guitarists had his long, blond locks pulled back in a queue. The other guitarist simply fit in with the rest of the group. 
For approximately two hours the Grateful Dead were on stage. They opened with their rendition of "Turn On Your Love Light" which was followed by "Morning Dew" and several others. 
When you got tired of watching them, there were a number of other things you could do. You could be adorned in fluorescent oranges, pinks and greens by wandering artists and then stand under a black light and watch yourself glow, you could buy various kinds of buttons, walk around the halls or talk. You could also dance if you didn't mind being run into by a long-haired dancer (male) who looked like he had ants in his pants. 
At midnight the house lights came on which told us the dance was over. All in all, it was an interesting way to spend a Friday night.

(by Kathy Faes, from the High-O-Scope, Corvallis High School, 22 November 1968)

Alas, no tape! 

Thanks to Dave Davis.

Jan 5, 2024

November 13 & 16, 1968: EMU Ballroom, University of Oregon, Eugene

All articles from the Oregon Daily Emerald


Efforts to change the Grateful Dead concert Wednesday to a dance-concert will culminate in a University staff meeting today, but will probably be futile, as far as McArthur Court is concerned. 
A new policy this year prohibits all dances in Mac Court fall and winter terms. 
Speaking for Students for a Democratic Society, which is co-sponsoring the Grateful Dead's appearance, David Gwyther complained that the policy is too "inflexible."
Gwyther said damage to the court's floor was no longer a problem. SDS, he said, would buy $50 worth of special tape which would hold the canvas protecting mats together and in place. He said SDS would also pay labor costs. 
Gwyther said he saw the only remaining problem was the "inflexible policy." He said SDS members plan to seek a waiver of the policy. [...] 
According to Norv Ritchey, assistant to the athletic director, the mats are totally unsuitable for dancing on. "They slip and slide." 
Ritchey said the University's only mats were actually 20-year-old canvas conveyor belts, hand-me-downs from a paper mill. 
Multi-purpose mats which are easy to dance on and which can also withstand the 'exuberance' of dancers cost $20,000, he said. 
Ritchey said the University could not afford these mats or new canvas replacements because of budget limitations. 
The no-dance policy was set up jointly by the athletic department and the EMU officials, Ritchey said, to keep the floor in good condition for basketball games. 
After basketball is over, dances [are] allowed on the floor since it is always refinished every fall term anyway. [...] 
Ritchey said when dances were allowed fall and winter terms, the top seal and sometimes the paint was worn off, creating slick spots and an inferior basketball floor. 
When the paint wears off, the wood is exposed and starts to go, Ritchey said. He said the canvas mats sufficiently protect the floor from foot traffic and chairs. 
"But based on previous experience, at dances I've chaperoned myself, it's impossible to protect the floor," Ritchey said. 
Gwyther said SDS would insure that all dancers not wear shoes, but Ritchey said it would be impossible to enforce that control. [...] 



"Feeling Caught Up in the System" is the theme of United States Memorial Week, sponsored by the campus Students for a Democratic Society, and beginning today. 
A number of activities including a radical film festival, resistance seminars, and anti-draft demonstrations are planned here for the week. 
Purpose of the activities, according to SDS spokesmen, is to promote direct action by members of the Eugene community against the "establishment." 
"The elections have not solved this country's problems," said a society flyer. "We must start solving them ourselves." 
Five documentary films, among them a 50 minute work titled "The Columbia Revolt," will highlight the film festival. [...] 
"Columbia Revolt" deals with recent disturbances at Columbia University in New York City. According to SDS, special emphasis is placed upon the role of Black students in the protest against university administration. 
Other films to be shown are "No Game," an essay on the October 1967 Pentagon demonstration; "The Boston Draft Resistance Group;" "Black Panther," an interview in jail with Panther leader Huey Newton; and "Garbage Demonstration," a humorous look at the recent garbage strike. 
The films will be shown Tuesday and Thursday in the EMU Ballroom. [...] 
The Free University will be held in the EMU Ballroom Tuesday... Students, non-students, and faculty members will participate in seminars on a variety of topics, including imperialism, colonialism, revolution, and function of the University, non-violence and violence, high school organizing, as well as draft and military resistance. 
Wednesday activities will be climaxed by a concert featuring "The Grateful Dead" and "The Sir Douglas Quintet" at McArthur Court. 
Tickets, at $2 per person, are on sale at the EMU main desk and at the door. Curtain time is 7 p.m. 
Thursday has been designated National Resistance Day by the national SDS. Anti-draft demonstrations are planned at a number of colleges in Oregon. [...]  
Activities at the University will probably include draft card burning and a demonstration against the Selective Service System.



The Grateful Dead concert tonight has been moved from Mac Court to the EMU Ballroom and dancing will be allowed, Dave Gwyther, spokesman for SDS, said Tuesday night. 
The move came after a meeting with Acting President Charles Johnson re-affirmed the policy of not allowing dances in Mac Court due to the possibility of damage to the basketball court. 



The Palace Meatmarket shared the spotlight with the Grateful Dead at Wednesday's dance-concert in the EMU Ballroom. The dance-concert was part of Wednesday's U.S. Memorial Week activities sponsored by the Students for a Democratic Society.


MAC COURT POLICY TOO INFLEXIBLE  (editorial -- excerpt)

The athletic department, it seems, doesn't trust students. 
Not at least when students want to use the McArthur Court floor for a dance. A new athletic department policy prohibits all dances at Mac Court fall and winter terms so that the floor won't be messed up before our basketball teams play on it.
As a result of this policy, the Grateful Dead were moved from the court to the EMU Ballroom, which is too small to comfortably handle all the students who wanted to see the group. We wonder how many people they would have stuffed into the Ballroom if the Dead had not been first billed as a concert in Mac Court, if Oregon State hadn't advertised in the Emerald their Grateful Dead concert as a dance, and if the sponsors, SDS, hadn't waited until the last minute to switch the show to the Ballroom. 
According to Norv Ritchey, assistant to the athletic director, it would be impossible to protect the court's floor during a dance even if canvas mats were laid over it. Dancers, he says, exert much more pressure on the floor than people in chairs. 
He assumes, however, the dancers would be wearing shoes. The sponsors of the dance said they would make sure that all dancers would take their shoes off before going onto the floor. 
Ritchey says that would be impossible to enforce. Bull. It would be very easy to collect shoes in the Mac Court lobby, before the people go through the doors to the court. [...] 
When the next nationally known rock group agrees to perform for a dance here, we hope the athletic department will cooperate with the rest of the University community, and allow the use of the only existing facility which can adequately hold everyone who wants to attend.


But the Dead would soon be back... 

SENATORS APPROVE FREE 'DEAD' CONCERT' (by Mike O'Brien -- excerpt)

Grapes and the Grateful Dead constituted the main business of the ASUO Senate last night. 
One bill requested that the Grateful Dead, a popular music group, be allowed to give a free concert Saturday night and that the social director make the arrangements for that concert. 
After a guarantee from Bill Kerlee that the SDS would cover expenses involved, the bill passed. [...] 


The Grateful Dead played up a storm during Saturday night's free concert, as an estimated 2,000 persons showed up for the four-hour rock session. The program ended on a dramatic note, with a "bomb scare" clearing the EMU Ballroom in a matter of moments. Whether the scare was legitimate, or merely a hoax, is being investigated by the Eugene Police Dept.



A 'bomb scare' that emptied the EMU Ballroom Saturday night has turned out to be a hoax. 
"There was no bomb," according to Sergeant Carely of the Eugene Police Department. However, detectives have been assigned to 'follow-up' the incident for more information. 
A mock or model wooden bomb was found on the stage during a dance and concert given by the band, the Grateful Dead. Approximately 2,000 persons were in the ballroom at the time. The Eugene Police Department was called and the ballroom cleared. 
Nothing more has been discovered about the incident. 


And from the Eugene daily paper, the Register-Guard... 


A fake bomb planted near some amplifiers brought an early end Saturday night to a University of Oregon concert and dance by a rock group known as the Grateful Dead.
Eugene police said someone attending the dance noticed the "bomb" - consisting of seven wooden sticks, painted red to resemble dynamite, an alarm clock, battery, and wires - and reported it to Anthony Evans, night manager at the Erb Memorial Union, where the concert and dance were being held.
Even though one of the band member[s] held up the "bomb" and indicated it was a fake, Evans decided to clear the Erb ballroom at about 11:40 p.m., police said. Police were called, took possession of the "bomb," and were still investigating Monday.

See also