Jesse Jarnow

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karen dalton live, 1961-1982

Karen Dalton performing history, 1961-1982, an incomplete chronology

Karen Dalton didn’t enjoy performing live. When she did, it was often at venues that didn’t necessarily advertise their acts. “Karen Dalton never played my Folklore Center and neither did Freddie Neil or Tim Hardin,” Izzy Young wrote in 1999. “Neither did they play the Newport Folk Festival, and if Karen Dalton played Gerde’s Folk City it was on an off night and remains unnoted.” She did actually play Gerde’s, known from a September 1963 Herald-Tribune cover (see below), but the point stands.

Though decidedly scanty, this represents an attempt at reconstructing a performing chronology for Karen Dalton, in the hopes of stirring up further memories/information/recordings. Please get in touch via email or comment below.

1961

2/xx/61 Cafe Wha?, New York City, NY
Fred Darrah’s photo of Karen with Bob Dylan and Fred Neil.

1962

10/xx/62 The Attic, Boulder, CO
released as Cotton Eyed Joe: The Loop Tapes
It’s Alright, Every Time I Think of Freedom, Cotton Eyed Joe, Pastures of Plenty, One May Morning, Red Are the Flowers, Blues on the Ceiling, Run Tell That Major, Down and Out, Fannin’ Street, In the Evening, Old Hannah, Pallet On Your Floor, Prettiest Train, Mole in the Ground, Darlin’ Corey, It Hurts Me Too, Katie Cruel, Blackjack, No More Taters, Good Morning Blues

1963

5/11/63 Bates Hall, Huntington YMCA, Boston, MA
with Richard Tucker. Folk Song Society of Greater Boston Hootenanny
with Dave Van Ronk, Eric von Schmidt, Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, Don West, Johnny Morier, Robert L. Jones, Don McSorely, Jan Pulver, The Tamborim

9/xx/63 Gerde’s Folk City, New York City, NY
with Richard Tucker. Photo featured on cover of New York Herald-Tribune.

1964

2/2/64 Kohl High School Gym, Broomfield, CO
with Richard Tucker
with the New Mobile Strugglers

30 January 1964 Broomfield Star-Builder (via @QueenCityJamz)

1966

6/3-19/66 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
sometimes part of rotating pickup band for Fred Neil, also occasionally featuring Al Kooper (organ or guitar), Harvey Brooks (bass), Felix Pappalardi (bass or guitar), John Sebastian (harp), Dino Valenti (guitar)

1969

3/22/69 unknown venue, New York City, NY
featured on It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You the Best DVD
God Bless the Child

4/5/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/6/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/7/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/8/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/9/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/10/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/11/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/12/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/13/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/14/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/15/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/16/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/17/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/18/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/19/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/20/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

6/14/69 unknown venue, New York City, NY
featured on It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You the Best DVD
It Hurts Me Too

Los Angeles Free Press, 4 October 1969

9 or 10/xx/69 Ash Grove, Los Angeles, CA

10/10/69 Ledbetter’s, Los Angeles, CA
with Dan Licks and His Hot Licks

10/11/69 Ledbetter’s, Los Angeles, CA
with Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks

1971

4/15/71 K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, DK
opening for Santana

4/16/71 Konserthus, Stockholm, DE
opening for Santana

4/18/71 Ahoy, Rotterdam, NL
opening for Santana

4/19/71 Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt, DE
opening for Santana

4/20/71 Zirkus Krone, Munich, DE
opening for Santana

4/21/71 Beat Club, West Bremen, DE
Take Me, One Night Of Love

4/23/71 Ernst-Merck-Halle, Hamburg, DE
opening for Santana

4/25/71 Olympia Theater, Paris, FR
opening for Santana

4/27/71 Sports Palace, Milan, IT
opening for Santana

4/28/71 Rome, IT
opening for Santana

4/29/71 Rome, IT
opening for Santana

5/1/71 Golden Rose Pop Festival, Casino de Montreux, Montreux, CH
Something On Your Mind, Blues On the Ceiling, Are You Leaving For the Country, One Night Of Love

5/8/71 Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK
opening for Santana

5/9/71 Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK
opening for Santana

9/4/71 Joyous Lake, Woodstock, NY
with Peter Walker

10/27/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project; originally advertised for October 27th through November 1st at Gaslight Au Go Go, there is also an ad indicating that Al Kooper and opening act Freeway were booked from October 28th through November 1st, so it’s quite possible Karen only performed one date.

10/28/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project (see above)

10/29/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project (see above)

10/30/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project (see above)

10/31/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project (see above)

11/1/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project (see above)

Billboard, 13 November 1971

1976

10/30/76 Radio Unnameable, WBAI, NYC

1982

xx/xx/82 Joyous Lake, Woodstock, NY
The last time/place Peter Walker recalls seeing Karen Dalton perform live.

8/8/82 Bob Fass Show, WFMU, East Orange, NJ

#deadfreaksunite 1981

#deadfreaksunite 1981
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org. Expanded notes for many shows (with press, scene reports, and images) can be found on Twitter by searching for my username (bourgwick) and the show date. Please consult JerryBase for the latest data, Dead Sources for original articles (1965-1975), and LostLiveDead/Hootrollin for deep dives.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

2/26/81 chicago: last of 6 multi-show stands at the uptown theatre since ’78. i wrongly thought the lovely christina schrieber/jonathan hunt poster was a recent tribute. 11-minute BIRD SONG in the 1st set, garcia’s voice is a bit a-flutter, jam starting with nearly staccato notes & gradually getting busier, more nuanced, really capturing the feeling of taking flight, either deliberately or cuz garcia’s warming up. 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with weir doing some fantastic non-slide jamming with the gnarly tone usually reserved for his slide “playing.” works much better. such an instinctive combo with garcia. 55-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. HE’S GONE floats down to nothingness before garcia gets assertive & all find momentum, spiraling around OTHER ONE triplets, fading again, & reforming gracefully into well-developed conversational garcia/mydland jam. virtually no SPACE, garcia & weir instantly in TRUCKIN’ prelude mode, a gradual wander followed by the marching band intro, to whose charms i am not immune. TRUCKIN’ finds a distinct coda groove that builds nice tension before BLACK PETER descent.

2/27/81 chicago: 1st set lands at under an hour, with a short CASSIDY ride. garcia’s voice is noticeably reedier than it was over the holidays, disconcerting at times, but intimate IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES with sweetly cushioning harmonies. 2nd set opens in jam mode & stays there, one the most archetypal post-’78 setlists possible, but somehow only played this once, starting with scattered but flaring 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. gentle space-reggae painting before garcia butterflies into a pedal-to-the-metal EYES. DRUMZ starts with 3 minutes of what seem like slow-motion rock groove, though maybe doing something weird/intentional, too, because audience can’t clap along with it? (i’ve never heard tapes, but hart/kreutzmann/lesh played a rhythm devils gig together earlier in the month.) late in DRUMZ, a horn mimics the sound of some insane unhappy animal, followed by off-mic conversation.
weir: that doesn’t sound like a fuckin’ elephant.
kreutzmann: not at all!
kreutzmann (into mic): hello? (crowd cheers.) hi!
9-minute NOT FADE AWAY floats out of a cycling blues noodle into more mysterious territory before turning into WHARF RAT. and as squeaky as garcia is, weir is equally well into his big rock-squeak era, with ultra-mega SUNSHINE DAYDREAM falsetto.

2/28/81 chicago: 1st set gets wired with pretty delicious LET IT GROW / DEAL combo, each going elastic during high-energy coda jams that suggest they’re just about to shed their structures & go elsewhere before snapping into back to form. a very mellow garcia in 2nd set, centered by 54-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. extra-dreamy TERRAPIN interlude. a hint at PLAYING IN THE BAND, but instead, after garcia’s departure, a full-on weir/mydland/cowbell epilogue. delay, synth swirl, & garcia/mydland conversation color path to OTHER ONE. garcia keeps jamming after 2nd verse, coalescing briefly into lovely/sloppy prelude to even dreamier STELLA BLUE. garcia’s voice almost disappears, virtually no snares. crowd chaos.

3/2/81 cleveland: modern-tempo’d slo-mo 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener, sounding even slower without much garcia on the soundboard, but A+ on dr. bob’s tape. slinks into a cucumber-cool pocket by end, garcia & weir trading lines like a disco EASY WIND with low-key peak. JACK-A-ROE retains some nice charge after the acoustic sets in ’80. 11-minute LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION is longer than fall versions, stretching easily into the-1-is-where-you-think-it-is conversational open space. 56-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL > DRUMZ > SPACE > PLAYING IN THE BAND > THE WHEEL. quick-moving PLAYING jamming after CHINA DOLL, garcia/percussion/chaos SPACE & gentle WHEEL epilogue, more mindful than mournful compared to the usual.

3/3/81 cleveland: last ever show in cleveland proper. BIRD SONG will always be headline news, maybe the most graceful forum for the drummers’ busily dancing snares (& band as a whole) in the early ‘80s, here an 11-minute version that flutter-gallops into new space before mydland reels it back. extra-long set-opening 16-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER has ups & downs. garcia spaces on some vocals in both tunes but keeps twisting & turning & brightening corners during extended transition, energy carrying as they tumble into SAMSON & DELILAH. 51-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > BLACK PETER. graceful drum fade on HE’S GONE leads to great jam. hart moves to hand percussion & locks into noodles with garcia as kreutzmann builds back up on kit, finding the cool place for a few minutes. weir & garcia trickle their way into LOST SAILOR out of DRUMZ with the hand percussion still tapping. a bummer substitute for SPACE & yet a really lovely way to start LOST SAILOR.

3/5/81 pittsburgh: some nice present garcia in the 1st set in, including gentle FRIEND OF THE DEVIL with lovely fractal solos & quiet, confident TO LAY ME DOWN. i am the opposite of thrilled about weir taking a blues slot in nearly every show. at start of 2nd set, as band as seemingly about to start playing SCARLET BEGONIAS, garcia’s guitar isn’t working, so weir leads band into a pretty boss 13-minute JAM > PASSENGER, him & mydland staying inventive, garcia soaring in midway through the song. deep corners in 60-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > JOHNNY B. GOODE. ace PLAYING only complete on audience tape. hart moves to hand percussion & garcia floats on a kreutzmann pocket that widens gradually into air. midway into NOT FADE AWAY, garcia locks into a strong melody (or a quote?) & weir’s harmony brings jam to mutated allmans-y peak. unusual spiral into WHARF RAT that almost constitutes its own mini-jam. even the segue to AROUND & AROUND is real for once.

3/6/81 pittsburgh: JACK STRAW, tempo clicking upwards, opens mostly mellow 1st set. only 1 weir c&w tune. instead of B3, brent goes synth for his LITTLE RED ROOSTER solo & is kinda fun. percolating high-energy almost-jams in closing LET IT GROW & (especially) DEAL. 66-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. rough segue into FRANKLIN’S with chaotic coda jam, flickering through different scenes/shapes as it lands. a trend i support: another OTHER ONE (with furnished intro) where band keeps jamming after 2nd verse & moving away from structure. a bit unfocused, but inventive playing & coda/dissolve into STELLA BLUE that sounds like yo la tengo for a few notes en route.

3/7/81 college park: bob marley & the wailers were scheduled to play at @UofMaryland the previous september, but canceled because of marley’s ilness. their rescheduled date was supposed to be this gig with the dead, which obviously never happened. can hear garcia’s guitar reverberating off the field house ceiling, nice effect, especially adds nice touches to electric folk of JACK-A-ROE. weir teases at WEATHER REPORT SUITE between tunes. le sigh. garcia pushes/pulls 17-minute BIRD SONG (longest ever, perhaps?) from gentle weaving into more fraught air. set-closing 10-minute DEAL is also extra-long, its solo going a bend beyond into full jam territory, a wisp of soaring near-DARK STAR melody. besides a sleepy IKO IKO opener & the LOST SAILOR lead-in, 59-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER is consistently inventive & high fun. 19-minute SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE is rare version that (after stutter) builds on the ending. jam switches gears & garcia leads blissy segment adjacent to UNCLE JOHN’S BAND (& THE ELEVEN?), mydland on dyna-rhodes, sounding briefly phishy, before continuing detailed churn. the opposite of losing steam, this is one of the more adventurous jams (& shows) in recent memory. only other comparable SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE i know of is 11/2/79. other attempts to jam it collapsed when drummers lost interest (see 9/3/80). even TRUCKIN’ finds open territory, slowly turning up the warpage on the blues-rock outro until it’s just garcia playing a gentle mutant prelude to BLACK PETER, the song itself sung with extreme presence, reaching for new, different vocal phrasings.

3/9/81 madison square garden: big nyc energy pretty tangible on opening FEEL LIKE A STRANGER, a thumping garden party. impressively varied setlists this tour. 1st DEEP ELEM BLUES & BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE of the year both raise nice sparks. another night, another wondrous BIRD SONG. vocals are a little ragged, but jam almost instantly brushes into DARK STAR adjacent territory & wanders right to the brink of empty space, drums & keyboards pulling back into the last chorus, with clanging outro chords. mydland takes grungy synth-clav solo in NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES & uses same tone to double intro on tremendous 16-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. garcia digs in on transition, increasingly melodramatic weir vocals, RIDER once again spills into SAMSON & DELILAH. 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. a rare melodious exit for ESTIMATED, disassembling into UNCLE JOHN’S which abstracts organically, at least until garcia abruptly shifts into the coda & nobody follows. multi-phase OTHER ONE entrance detonation, accidental, but kind of cool in its own way. weir is now mostly singing around the melody, rarely singing it directly. weir’s GOOD LOVIN’ rap is expanding, too. more parts of the ‘80s clicking into place.

3/10/81 madison square garden: enormous spring reverb noise near start of MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP (amps crashing down?) & band almost derails. crowd cheers, of course. “that loud noise at the beginning of the 1st song, that wasn’t a mistake, that was art,” weir says later. off-mic, after DON’T EASE ME IN, someone onstage (hart or garcia, i think) suggests to weir that they play “LAZY LOVIN’,” which is kind of perfect. a correction is issued & they play LAZY LIGHTNIN’ > SUPPLICATION. lots of little semi-transitions* in both sets give it a more natural flow than usual. (* – one song starting right after the next like most normal bands would do, minus the extra lip-flopping & toodling about.) generous 26-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. garcia finds staccato pulse during transition before blurring into wah-wah colors. long, lazily lovin’ FIRE, angling downward from the final peak & melting gracefully into 42-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > CHINA DOLL. SAINT jams out, splattering into chaotic energy. jerry bailing quickly. weir teases (i think) an early germ of VICTIM OR THE CRIME ideas. after big CHINA DOLL solo, virtually standalone TRUCKIN’. fun placement. weir delivers 1st SATISFACTION of ’81, worth it for the drum breaks & lulz. “when i’m drivin’ my TV,” weir sings. perhaps even more devolved than devo’s version.

3/12/81 boston garden: impressed at the stability of this fan camera work. perhaps prepping for upcoming gig with the who, weir attempts guitar windmill during JACK STRAW. 10-minute BIRD SONG feels way too short, flowing briefly into glittering half-time jam. very into the renewed commitment to jamming at the end of the 1st set, tonight LET IT GROW (with cool harmonized garcia peak in the jam) & FRANKLIN’S TOWER. also just noticed the total disappearance of mydland’s 2 originals, which i guess i wasn’t missing. set 2 flows nonstop, mostly a 73-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. substantial PLAYING widens to jam space & shape-shifts, about ready to sink into DRUMZ when garcia starts HE’S GONE. after the HE’S GONE vocal outro, a short but purposeful epilogue swirl. even before the drummers return, SPACE aims for NOT FADE AWAY, in which garcia locks into the same bright melodic theme as the pittsburgh version, weir doubling it into allmans-ness.

3/13/81 utica: hearty 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener, cool theme/variation in final solo. garcia continues to dig in the songbook this tour, 1st HIGH TIME since radio city in the fall, sounded beautifully wounded. 61-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT. garcia runs down the usual lovely space-reggae sax-on-guitar variations during ESTIMATED & accelerates, switching to cruise at a chill moment. funnily, in the 1st EYES OF THE WORLD since @brianfelix & i presented about its changing speeds at @SWPACA (& he taught me how to figure out tempo), it slows back down to lazy early ‘70s feel, around ~110 bpm, after ~140 bpm (among fastest ever) in previous version on 2/27. a pleasure just to float with EYES at this speed. SPACE is thoughtful extended prelude to LOST SAILOR, garcia ruminating while hart thrums drone on a tar, landing in song gracefully (with some stray synth lasers).

3/14/81 new haven: 1st is brightest, garcia locking into merrily moody threads on FEEL LIKE A STRANGER opener, shining B3 peaks with mydland on 12-minute SUGAREE, & surfing the sunshine just the before big transition lick on CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. a very present garcia navigates the SHIP OF FOOLS vocals beautifully, too. all well-played, but the jamming is back to slim 1980 proportions, almost none in 45-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. garcia riffs gently on bach’s JESU, JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING as brief elegant transition to 10-minute STELLA BLUE with glittering solos. return of the once-common I NEED A MIRACLE/BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’, 1st MIRACLE & BERTHA of ’81, the latter crazed ’n’ sloppy.

3/20/81 rainbow theatre: 1st visit to europe in 7 years. a clandestine bit of the dead’s soundcheck, including a few takes of the not-yet-debuted MAN SMART, WOMAN SMARTER. withholding comment. taper checks in at end, “there you have it, the soundcheck… for all you people on los an-gel-es, cal-ee-forn-yuh, heyyyy.” the dead hit post-punk london with their 1981 selves, almost entirely transformed since their ’74 visit, in sound, if not in repertoire. DEAL taps into manic energy, garcia shredding & splattering hard. after a few years of a consistent tempo, 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is a bit speedy. jam flares, especially, at the start & end of FIRE, with mutant blues signaling the transition & big final guitar runs. not much free turf in 53-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > JOHNNY B. GOODE. garcia exits HE’S GONE immediately after vocal outro for 2-minute weir slide jam. weir watch: “some of the clowns you meet on the street…” & “all a friend can say is it’s a fuckin’ shame” added to TRUCKIN’ for 1st time. shocking!! garcia leans into the “motherfucker” in WHARF RAT. nice acceleration into AROUND & AROUND.

3/21/81 rainbow theatre: 1st set levels up during garcia’s multi-peak ALTHEA solo (with dyna-rhodes stardust) & hits biggish with closing combo of LET IT GROW with a not-quite-segue into CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, bouncing 10 or so bpm faster than usual. 56-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. fast but not uncomfortable EYES. unusually, after rainbow peaks, garcia pulls back to chords & exits cleanly before the drum break. fun spiral into NOT FADE AWAY with purposeful garcia solos at every break (mydland harmonies with the first) & another pass through the bright blues theme from the past few versions. heartaching final BLACK PETER peak.

3/23/81 rainbow theatre: garcia’s in a decidedly downtempo mood all evening, but feeling it. impressively brisk tuning breaks. short 1st set closes with 11-minute SUGAREE, getting down to jeweled quiet, followed by brief but levitational LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION. rare 2nd set BIRD SONG opens. 14 minutes, confident & focused from launch of the jam, band floating through plateaus/scenes as garcia hooks into a series of sad sweet melodic peaks. TO LAY ME DOWN makes its london debut 11 years after robert hunter wrote the lyrics there. 58-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. no dead air in expansive PLAYING, thinning & re-thickening, garcia’s guitar & mydland’s dyna-rhodes flying circles around each other. lovely ascent right out of DRUMZ, hart & kreutzmann making gonging percussive chaos as garcia plays around the OTHER ONE pulse, though sort of an abrupt bombing into the tune itself.

3/24/81 rainbow theatre: 19-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER earns its segue designation, with a great transition from the coda that spirals up into FRANKLIN’S, with soaring jams on both sides of the divide. impressively oiled night, a charging BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (13 intro hits) pauses for a beat & smashes right into GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, an unusual & pretty happening double-weir pairing. after being pretty rare for the past year & slowing down (most of the time), 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET 2nd set opener resets it closer to original tempo, returns it to regular rotation, floats into joyous disco space & blows open into cubist blues. 70-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. after long-ass HE’S GONE vocal coda, jam builds & percolates as garcia & drummers disappear under weir & mydland, reentering with hand DRUMZ. possibly the flying karamazov brothers do a juggling routine during ze DRUMZ (as during the rockpalast broadcast a few days later), or maybe they opened the show, but they seem to have appeared at the rainbow this week. THE WHEEL starting to build some real power & thunder rolls, garcia just about cracking into expansive jam-space before the marching band intro to TRUCKIN’ snaps everybody more-or-less in line. weir watch: definitely getting better (& more deliberate) acceleration from jerry ballads into AROUND & AROUND & the late-set choogle sequence, another well-earned segue notation.

3/28/81 essen: a live international television broadcast via rockpalast, sharing a bill with the who. 13-minute SUGAREE, fun to watch the peak with actual good camera work. okay, i lol’d when someone in the crowd shouts for ME & MY UNCLE in a german accent (after SUGAREE). he gets it immediately, too! fat midset SHAKEDOWN STREET, played 2 shows in a row, & feeling comfy, garcia having a mid-set bro sesh with the drummers. another big DEAL where garcia’s solo seems to push the band into energetic almost-jam anarchy. 86-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’, with a full brothers karamazov juggling routine during DRUMZ & an equally flying pete townshend joining post-DRUMZ. the flying karamazov brothers do a juggling routine around hart (kreutzmann refuses), flashing a little disco move at the end. weir watch: maybe it’s been happening for a bit, but now the ‘80s phase where weir mimes along with vocals (or a feature-not-bug for non-english speakers?). here: *you’re* going to give your love; *round & round*, moon went *down*, & *rose* out of my seat. got some range! kinda misfiring pete townshend guest appearance, adding a lovely layer of clang (& stage movement) to NOT FADE AWAY, but weir tries to talk him through WHARF RAT, which doesn’t quite work. lights cigarette during bridge & bails during GOOD LOVIN’.

4/25/81 berkeley community theater: the not-quite-grateful dead (minus lesh & mydland, with john kahn on upright bass) play acoustic for @Seva_Foundation in berkeley, the last owsley soundboard, & template for bay area benefits to come. “we started out kinda like this, went on to become the rocky & bullwinkle of rock & roll,” says weir. they stand instead of sit, but still lovely & laidback, mostly just the ’80 acoustic repertoire with kahn’s more grounded low end. penultimate weir/garcia DARK HOLLOW (with garcia’s sweet harmony part), played at one other acoustic benefit in ’87. the last acoustic EL PASO, a rarity in the fall sets with fun garcia falsetto. a nicer setting for it than dead shows, probably. super-hushed OH BABE IT AIN’T NO LIE & 1st joyous OH BOY since april ’71 at manhattan center. unsurprisingly, owsley causes some issues when mixing sound, from robert greenfeld’s “bear” bio, his last gig before moving to australia to avoid the apocalypse.

4/30/81 greensboro: tape opens with band in the middle of tune-up jam that sounds disconcertingly like a deep part of a 2nd set & ends after 30 seconds. weir watch #1: new phase of aggro vocal embellishment, inserting a “that’s right!” & various grunts into JACK STRAW. snappy CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER closes 1st set. fun percussive palm-muted/wah-wah leads by weir under CHINA CAT turn into cool & gnarled counterpoint leads during transition with surprising peak. 2nd set opening SHAKEDOWN STREET bounces conversationally. 51-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. weir watch #2: ESTIMATED vocal outro expands even more, begs for echo/reverb/efx. not much by way of jamming. weir watch #3: sings TRUCKIN’s sweet jane verse 2x, 2nd time with new update: “ever since she had her little sex change/all i can say is it ain’t the same.” bob, those aren’t their preferred pronouns & you’re using a dead name. (weir does use “he” the 1st time, tho.) well, not sure what i was thinking when i tried to see if @thoughtsonGD had commented on the updated “sex change” lyric in TRUCKIN’, but i did find some entertaining posts/threads. weir watch #4: semi-ahistorical intro to CASEY JONES, “there was a train wreck not too far from here & he died but his memory lives.” oddly might be referring to the wreck of the ol’ 97? the casey jones crash was 700+ miles & 4 states to the west.

5/1/81 hampton: methodical ALTHEA solo, weir’s slide guitar turned down almost far enough. scorching LET IT GROW / DEAL combo to close 1st set, LET IT GROW especially overflowing with detailed garcia landscaping & dyna-rhodes colors. 1st part of 2nd set moves between songs with minimal pauses, just like a real band, but still not segues. both FEEL LIKE A STRANGER & FRANKLIN’S TOWER are platforms for boogie moods & hot garcia shreds, the latter subdividing & peaking anew. 51-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > WHARF RAT. long vocal outro to HE’S GONE, virtually clean ending (like rest of the set) until drummers drop into semi-automatic OTHER ONE, which does its thing in under 6 minutes, never totally detonating. SPACE is almost all noodletown with a quick graceful roll into THE WHEEL, the ending shifting into dramatic & ear-embiggening openness for a moment before landing in WHARF RAT. a big outro that almost avoids kersplatting into SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

5/2/81 philadelphia: opening of the 1st set is where it’s at, with galloping JACK STRAW (big lesh bomb at the peak), easily cruising SUGAREE, & compact but luxuriously soaring 9-minute BIRD SONG. garcia whiffs some lyrics in 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, but nice chewy transition that flickers into into darker vibes before lesh’s bass enters & all climb back to sunshine. except for the move into the closing choogle suite, 2nd set feels a bit disconnected despite sorta/kinda segues, 65-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. garcia scrambles TERRAPIN in the middle, starting the starlight break a verse early before pulling back into song & getting confused about what he’s supposed to singing. like the rest of the set, a few pretty jam flashes but not quite gelling.

5/4/81 philadelphia: BERTHA makes a rare mid-set appearance, considerably more chill & less chaotic than the last few, like there’s been a subtle change in the arrangement. less drumming? to my ears, sounds more like the later ‘80s/‘90s feel. after a winter tour with big jamming, the dead seem to have forgotten how to improvise again. 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > BLACK PETER. PLAYING churns, sheltering in weirdness, but never opens up. straight outta DRUMZ, garcia starts bluesing & singing 1st NOBODY’S FAULT since 1/79, last ’til 9/85, done by the dead in the early days, now emerging from jams as semi-fragment. spare but l’il messy, hart apparently front-stage with a frame drum.

5/5/81 glens falls: after playing MUSIC NEVER STOPPED in the 1st set, 2 of the 2nd set’s big jams seem to channel its peak, including 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with colorful gear-shifting by weir as it climbs to tension & back down. big energy 2nd set, anchored by 68-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > TRUCKIN’ > ALABAMA GETAWAY that shakes up some of the band’s usual patterns in a pretty fun way & finally start jamming. unusually grooved EYES, still at mega-zippy, but feelin’ chill & finding its way to another cascading & time-suspending MUSIC NEVER STOPPED-like peak. electro SPACE bubbles before especially unusual late show sequence with no garcia ballad & surprise segues. props to mickey for pivoting gracefully from the UNCLE JOHN’S outro vocal into the TRUCKIN’ marching band intro. band wends into SPANISH JAM-adjacent territory before accelerating back to boogie speed for a completely smooth transition into ALABAMA GETAWAY.

5/6/81 nassau coliseum: originally scheduled for 5/7 (as on above ticket stub), but moved to 5/6 to make room for potential hockey playoffs after the new york state supreme court ruled in favor of the islanders. some interminable slow weir tunes in the 1st set before the eternally delightful BIG RAILROAD BLUES & the ever-popular LET IT GROW / DEAL closer with lots of colorful garcia twists. sorry for saying the dead lost their jamming mojo! dedicated by weir to bobby sands, irish dissident who died the day before following a prison hunger strike, 67-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > WHARF RAT > GOOD LOVIN’. dense & dazzling 15-minute improv out of HE’S GONE packed with little turns & themes both named & unnamed, including CAUTION-like peaks (but not quite the groove) & exciting sped-up SPANISH JAM (sorta), almost splattering/dissipating a few times but shifting gears instead. band comes out of DRUMZ flying at proper weird, garcia & drummers out in open territory until THE OTHER ONE coalesces, more punctuation than jam, as is the rest of set. as they land, garcia almost cleanly hits well-placed GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD. at the end of GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, garcia short-circuits the BID YOU GOODNIGHT instrumental rag, steering the surprised band towards WHARF RAT. rest of the set doesn’t glow quite as much, but point taken.

5/7/81 nbc studios: with ken kesey on tomorrow coast-to-coast with tom snyder, one of their most satisfying TV appearances, 20 minutes of acoustic music & 20 minutes of interviews.4-song acoustic set to promote “reckoning” on bill the drummer’s 35th birthday. slightly higher energy with garcia & weir standing. all songs sounds great & punchy with little crackling garcia breaks, CASSIDY coming closest to jam. 3 interview segments (kesey/garcia, weir/garcia, weir/garcia/hart/kreutzmann), each with their own charms & lulz & stories & moments. thoroughly enjoy snyder’s weird/earnest energy, & the kesey/garcia goof ’n’ heaviness tag-team. not gonna play-by-play, because it’s all fun & revealing but, after kesey takes a swig…
snyder: what, are you recharging there?
kesey: it’s german wine, the acid is from switzerland.
…and not sure he’s kidding. he asks if the government-funded LSD experiments were responsible for the ‘60s & garcia rightly points out that there was widespread underground interest in psychedelics before that.

5/8/81 nassau coliseum: another night, another inventively detailed LET IT GROW. one of very few songs repeated over the 3 nights, all by weir, except DON’T EASE ME IN. 16-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opens 2nd set. not much jam content but the medium is the boogie. 62-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. a long & leisurely PLAYING wind-down (some of it missing from the soundboard), but the most locked & inspired improv happens after the drum break. fresh from his appearance with the band the day before, ken kesey joins the drumzers for space harmonica, yelps, & duck calls. percussion never disappears during SPACE, coalescing into great hand-drum jam before slightly abrupt shift into NOT FADE AWAY. as they move into NOT FADE AWAY, weir pushes odd chords, almost (but not quite) like EYES OF THE WORLD. after garcia & weir’s slow harmonized jam, an unusual coda where garcia repeats the STELLA BLUE descent under weir’s vocals, sounding like MIND LEFT BODY as they land. apparently, on this tour, hart played frame drum at center stage during DRUMZ &, on this night, lesh sang some rare-for-the-era backup vocal during U.S. BLUES encore.

5/9/81a nassau coliseum: nice 26-minute opening trio, the band mastering 1st set-style flow during 26-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > FEEL LIKE A STRANGER, the latter transition an especially sly move by weir under garcia’s final arpeggios. 10-minute BIRD SONG opens into melancholy & busy guitar/dyna-rhodes conversation. jam almost lands but garcia goes for another weirder spin. after that, the set droops, both LITTLE RED ROOSTER & a weir cowboy medley followed immediately by LOOKS LIKE RAIN. weir watch: some vocal additions to a few tunes, working blue/edgy in LOOKS LIKE RAIN, “wish these fuckin’ blues would go away.” in LOST SAILOR he notes “free is a feeling,” an excellent marketing slogan. 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. fun & high-content EYES, unusually grooved again. garcia & mydland find cool intro pattern, reprising in jam. outro develops distinct shapes, staying busy right ’til DRUMZ kick in. thoroughly noisy SPACE with synth bubbles, wild guitars, fluttering toms. after TRUCKIN’ marching band intro, a quick circus descent before another TRUCKIN’ with a real jam, expanding outward, down to garcia-led space, & back up. unexpected. weir’s faux-daltrey stutters on AROUND & AROUND are a lot funnier after kesey’s brainfry joke on tom snyder a few nights earlier.

5/9/81b the savoy: after playing nassau coliseum, the grateful dead (apparently) back john belushi on some covers at the savoy, ron delsener’s new club on 44th street, including WALKING THE DOG & TWIST & SHOUT. via joel selvin’s 5/31 column. no tapes.

5/11/81 new haven: nice garcia tunes in the 1st set, with only ROW JIMMY of tour, but generally meh. weir watch: 8 covers vs. 3 originals, or 2 depending how you count 10-minute set-closin’ LAZY LIGHTNIN’ > SUPPLICATION. really leaning into the bar band feels tonight. 21-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is big rainbow-rippling fun, but weir tags on CC RIDER, which is even snoozier in 2nd set, featuring mydland scatting, which is a new piece of the ‘80s i definitely hadn’t previously considered. 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL. big peak in PLAYING as garcia switches over to rhythm, making thrilling dense wall with weir & mydland, finally flipping back to glorious lead punctuation. generous melt from THE WHEEL back into PLAYING before always-aching CHINA DOLL. weir watch, cont.: still upping the absurdist stakes on the maximalist SATISFACTION encores, this one trying to lead a singalong with a bemused garcia.

5/12/81 new haven: 1st set finds a mellow-but-not-sleepy pace, largely by giving garcia some room to garcia on mid-set CASSIDY. set-closing CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER feels extra spritely, the dyna-rhodes at its warmest & most percussive. 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET set opener finds easy neon lope & then weir again plops a sleepy-not-mellow tune right near set’s start, in this case LOOKS LIKE RAIN. slightly more charged than usual because of the placement, but still. i love SHIP OF FOOLS, but it doesn’t help. 61-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. weir dedicates HE’S GONE to bob marley, adding (before encore) “marley was a powerful poet & a gentle revolutionary & he’ll last a long, long time.” extended HE’S GONE vocal outro. jam meanders until drummers take charge for chaotic bl00z-rockin, almost a TRUCKIN’ prelude. guitarists shred out of DRUMZ at full metal bluster but thin to nothingness, getting nicely zapped en route to THE OTHER ONE.

5/13/81 providence: i guess this mydland blues-scatting is really gonna be a thing, huh? after droopy start to show, totally winning set-closing combo of a bright watercolor-flickering BIRD SONG, fast-but-not-jittery runs on LET IT GROW & boogie cascades of DEAL. whatever jamming spark returned on long island is gone again. TERRAPIN STATION whispers into LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE before 36-minute DRUMZ > SPACE > IKO IKO > I NEED A MIRACLE > STELLA BLUE. MIRACLE & IKO are rare, i guess? probably way fun.

5/15/81 piscataway: lovely garcia flows in 19-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener, always a sweet double-garcia treat. they’ll keep playing the combo on/off through ’87, but this ends the 2+ years in which it was a dependable occurrence. during LOOKS LIKE RAIN, a lightning storm is visible through the gym’s skylight, with big cheers on the audience tape & lots of audience memories (good version, too). the storm gets intense again during FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN in the 2nd set. the dead played different shows every night, but they did sometimes accidentally repeat setlists. opening with SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, this 2nd set is exactly the same as 9/26/80, though i would’ve thought it happened more often. 54-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. long weir vocal outro to ESTIMATED, edging towards freestyle, & tonight quoting GET UP STAND UP as a tribute to the recently passed bob marley. unusual developments in EYES: garcia again starts with the rewritten riff/groove played during last 2 versions, now clearly deliberate. it causes some confusion, but mydland picks it up again & gives the song new feel, which mostly disappears as jam starts.

5/16/81 ithaca: last of 3 visits to @cornell’s barton hall, site of the legendary may ’77 psyop. 1st set has a lumpy flow, getting brighter with BROWN EYED WOMEN, PASSENGER, & a quiet, extraordinary HIGH TIME with aching & present garcia vocals. LET IT GROW provides the late set fireworks with jagged guitar peaks. 16-minute 2nd set opening SHAKEDOWN STREET shimmies in slow motion around clav-like dyna-rhodes. unless i’m missing a version, 1st with vocal reprise ending since the end of the godchaux era in early ’79. comes to clean stop before garcia slashes into a hyperspeed BERTHA. does anybody have a good term for when there’s a bogus but believable-looking segue noted in the deadbase/standard setlist but no musical transition of any kind? because it could apply to virtually every show of this tour. following SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, band comes to a full stop & garcia launches (& band hops on quickly to) a thread that turns into 52-minute SPANISH JAM > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. after adjacent jamming earlier in may, the SPANISH JAM is (to my ears) the 1st unambiguous version since ’76 with the full marching rhythm & bolero progression. less crazy than nassau, but patient improv that moves towards/away from a theme & abstracts into cubism. SPACE floats on guitar/handdrum cloud that dissipates before a TRUCKIN’ wends into a NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE jam. weir finds a descending pattern that would sound cool if he wasn’t playing slide & not quite hitting all the notes. predictable saturday night ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT is in my preferred spot coming out of the graceful BID YOU GOODNIGHT instrumental at the end of GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD. i associate it with “hundred year hall” from ’72. a regular move through the mid-‘80s.

5/17/81 syracuse: 1st set perks up especially with closing CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, bouncing on dyna-rhodes & giving it a “modern” feel. as a piece of music written in the ‘60s, such a strange artifact in an arena in 1981. another fairly skimpy night for jams. hour-long ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT. weir goes screamo during ESTIMATED outro, jam flares briefly before conversational descent. HE’S GONE fakes towards TRUCKIN’ before a shorthand 5-minute OTHER ONE. weir starts singing while garcia is still mid-phrase. super-abrupt segue out of deep SPACE into SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, can’t even hear anybody count off. weir gets his SATISFACTION singalong going, empties the scream tank, & works on his ad-libbing. “you’re gonna burn & you’re gonna twist & you’re gonna turn.” i miss the big dumb drum breaks.

5/22/81 warfield theater: 5/6 of the grateful dead play acoustic at the warfield in san francisco, a nuclear disarmament benefit. after 18 acoustic dead-ish sets in the bay area over the previous 7 months, the last for 13 years. spiel from wavy gravy trying to recruit heads into the movement, “there are all kinds of weird affinity groups… there could be a grateful dead affinity group!… the heat wouldn’t know what hit them!” solid intro: “captain JerryBobKreutzHart!” minus phil lesh, the acoustic dead with john kahn on upright bass, hitting many of the usual sweet spots. 1st acoustic FRIEND OF THE DEVIL since 1970, now slowed down just like electric. funny that it didn’t come out earlier. too obvious? “this is our heavy metal song,” says weir, introducing MONKEY & THE ENGINEER. especially sleepy (in a nice way) OH BABE IT AIN’T NO LIE. garcia’s singing so quietly that it’s impossible not to also tune into the ambient audience chatter when listening. with a few months of electric versions, BIRD SONG soars, but decisively ends. more boggling segues listed on the setlist, but a & fun transition from a fairly static 8-minute hand-DRUMZ into buddy holly’s OH BOY. wavy signs off at the end of the night.

7/2/81 houston: where season 2 of “freaks & geeks” would have begun & lindsay would’ve freaked.  both JACK-A-ROE & DIRE WOLF approach ludicrous speed, far faster than their last versions on the spring tour. JACK-A ROE’s been speeding up slowly for years, like EYES OF THE WORLD, from around 108 bpm when it was debuted, now up around 130. weir watch: in the 1st set, droppin’ f-bombs in the outro to SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE for the 1st time. w0000! in the 2nd, the debut of norman span’s MAN SMART (WOMAN SMARTER). the ’80s have now begun for real. less cheesy to my ears pre-synth, anyway. MAN SMART (WOMAN SMARTER) was a hit for harry belafonte but has cool origins in the 1930s trinidadian calypso tent scene. its original artist went by 2 pretty awesome names, king radio & one-eyed norman span. 63-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. no trace of the fun rewritten EYES groove from the spring tour, but a slight change of energy as the song starts, as if they’re forgetting to do something. almost all the songs find peaks just before their segues, bright spots where garcia hits the accelerator & song turns subtle corner, big energy moments in ESTIMATED & EYES & a TRUCKIN’ epilogue that splits the difference between abstract & allmans-y.

7/4/81 austin: JACK STRAW opens with its “leavin’ texas, 4th day of july” lyric, but weir tries to pep it up to “T for texas, 4th day of july” & ends up confusing himself into singing his line from NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES instead. nice l’il PEGGY-O & sunbaked LOSER. BIRD SONG makes a rare 2nd set appearance, a guided 11-minute ramble, somewhat static on the surface but all rippling conversation(s), everybody dancing around for the whole jam, except when mydland tries to end it early like a narc. 49-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. as PLAYING jam expands, weir moves to some shrill slide with garcia playing subtly behind him before garcia exits early for a weir/mydland-led jam that makes some left turns. dig garcia’s licks under the last verse of NOT FADE AWAY & authoritative outro. weir watch: after fumbling the JACK STRAW, he does better with ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, turning it for much of the song into ONE MORE FOURTH OF JULY & getting plenty of cheers.

7/5/81 oklahoma city: slow-rolling SHAKEDOWN STREET opener turns corner & suddenly they’re playing something thrillingly close to the descending weir/lesh jam from the spring ’71 versions of HARD TO HANDLE. liquid garcia solos, but lots of dropped lyrics through set. only inside jams tonight, including 1st set LET IT GROW & rare 2nd set MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, which doesn’t go anywhere particularly new but manages to finds its way there in a slightly more relaxed manner than usual. improv dearth. 45-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. HE’S GONE stretches by way of vocals, wisp of half-hearted flame-fanning before DRUMZ. OTHER ONE kicks up SPACE dust but opens no portal. subtle delay on STELLA BLUE solo.

7/7/81 kansas city, mo: unchill BERTHA lands in DANCING IN THE STREET, 1st since 12/79 & last ’til ’84 revival, the final disco/funk version. pretty ugly ’til the jam, which goes to cool places, garcia picking with icy tone as band swirls into wildness around him. notes weir after DANCING, “we thought we’d take the opportunity once again to prove that our memories are better than we have any right to expect them to be but still not that good.” sloppiness abounds in kansas city, but nice moments. assertive dyna-rhodes drives BIRD SONG jam, sparkling garcia/mydland conversation. LOOKS LIKE RAIN finds a little swing, like they could just go off & jam, but stay inside the lines, the mood carrying over to joyous DEAL set closer. 1st MAN SMART (WOMAN SMARTER) opener, which sounds better to my ears in the dyna-rhodes era, though just as indistinguishable from IKO IKO as it would be in the hawaiian shirt years. 58-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > BLACK PETER. amid the yelps, ESTIMATED swirls evenly into enjoyable but super-fast EYES, together enough that the pulse almost feels disco-like. not much happening in SPACE (weir might be blowing his whistle ambiently into the mic?). GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD is especially cookin’, though slightly lurching double-weir set landing. #

7/8/81 st. louis: one of the more piercing LITTLE RED ROOSTER “slide” solos by weir. series of increasingly loud cherry bombs during DON’T EASE ME IN. solid 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with atmospheric co-leads by weir contributing to fireworks. weir watch: during the increasingly extemporized SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE vocal outro, i think he just rhymed something with “chevrolet.” not bad, i guess? 42-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. after a long FRANKLIN’S wind-down, the drummers exit before another few minutes of mostly restless jamming, finding a little more movement when rejoined by hand DRUMZ. a little bit of cool thunder juggling in the NOT FADE AWAY prelude & some tasty light-footing in the epilogue that makes a graceful landing into WHARF RAT. SUGAR MAGNOLIA set closer feels a little rushed/overblown, its swing pretty much gone.

7/10/81 st. paul: semi-ragged performance, but inspired playing. kinda rare SUGAREE digs into several peaks, as does LET IT GROW, which comes close to spinning out. mydland hits a big, loud, new faux-accordion tone during MEXICALI BLUES. @otdispace, what’s that sound? thoroughly fun 61-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND, each piece achieving a cool jam place, starting with bright ESTIMATED climbs. oh hey, garcia’s alternate groove for EYES OF THE WORLD from the spring is back (see 5/9, 5/15), though mydland’s no longer doubling the part. slowed down from 7/7 version but still bouncing & fast, emerging into fully engaged new space for a few minutes pre-DRUMZ. a fury of hand-DRUMZ during SPACE noodles into a rare self-contained (& condensed) late-show suite, the frame drum leaking into UNCLE JOHN’S intro. the jamming is purposeful & the segues are mostly on-point. strong CHINA DOLL vocal, could use more solo! after bringing PLAYING (& the whole hour-long jam sequence) to a graceful landing & perfect show closing, weir tacks on the AROUND & AROUND/GOOD LOVIN’ medley. shrug emoji.

7/11/81 east troy: nice 1st set places in PEGGY-O & BIRD SONG, 11 minutes & alight with flickering colors & fluttering garcia. dunno who’s throwing the harmonic curveballs in the CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER jam, maybe phil, but a nice burst at the transition. 75-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > I NEED A MIRACLE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT twists & turns but unwinds only a little. HE’S GONE takes the slow path down via the vocal outro, but TRUCKIN’ rolls into a confident the-1-is-where-you-think-it-is jam that gets into charming conversation over rhythmic blur. i think lesh is playing during the slow-motion SPACE conversation, a bit of rarity, thoughtful & somewhat minimalist until it coalesces into a throughly overblown & screamed-out OTHER ONE. STELLA BLUE solo spirals up & lands beautifully, both a clean ending & musical bridge to MIRACLE. garcia’s move into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD isn’t quite as smooth, but he does try to make a little bridge, which sounds like doing math on the fly.

7/13/81 denver: lots of speedy tempos. JACK-A-ROE is especially breakneck. must be the altitude. LOOKS LIKE RAIN is a bit clicked up, also, becoming even more obvious when garcia stomps the fuzz pedal & the drummers hop on for big finale. DEAL, too. 18-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is likewise hopped up, garcia maybe seeming to get a little lost in the transition, returning to SCARLET theme/ending before conversational guitar/drums peak. 48-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. even the usually chill ESTIMATED is faster than usual, though an uncommonly graceful landing into TERRAPIN. garcia scrambles many TERRAPIN lyrics (including the appropriate “inspiration, sue me brightly”) but unfolds the fade into a little jam that re-coagulates into a brief, satisfying coda. no SPACE, but band charges into NOT FADE AWAY at full force from an unusual angle. weir watch: vocal extemporizing now in NOT FADE AWAY, too, using vocal outro to bring it to a quiet ending adds hendrix-style “i’m gonna gitcha” a few times in SUNSHINE DAYDREAM, screams approaching bobcat goldthwaitian levels. goes off in SATISFACTION too!

7/14/81 denver: bit of a rough night but lovely mini-storms in 11-minute BIRD SONG, finding into some jam tension & suggesting other skies, the drums almost disappearing near the end of the jam & seeming to escape. big bass bombs during SHAKEDOWN STREET, with long vocal denouement, garcia doubling his singing on guitar before opening into jam that reaches quiet conversational place. 52-minute TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > I NEED A MIRACLE > GOOD LOVIN’. briefly triumphant TRUCKIN’ emerges into solo garcia-ness & lands in a variation of the new EYES groove. not much new, but taking its time. last moments of OTHER ONE spiral into another almost-solo garcia zone with the return of ambiguous DARK STAR-like bursts in the brief moment before WHARF RAT. great build into MIRACLE (mostly MIA on tape), but all kindsa sloppiness from there out.

8/12/81 salt lake city: the metronomic, disconnected double-drumming slides over into garcia territory now, too, with hyper JACK-A-ROE that feels so rhythmically close to the preceding MEXICALI BLUES that weir even inserts MEXICALI phrases throughout. 1st MIGHT AS WELL since 2/79 opens 2nd set, played next 4 of 5 shows. along with MORNING DEW, played later in the set, apparently rehearsed at front street the week before, according to @InstituteJerry. 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN takes a second to catch as they start. jam engages in deep quest mode with garcia chasing some very mellow lines & variations during the transition. 57-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > TRUCKIN’ > MORNING DEW. the hopped-up ’81 EYES re-groove returns, sounding confident on garcia’s part. mydland sticks around & jams with drummers. after thick SPACE noise, SPANISH JAM gets its own ’81 re-arrangement following its spring return, with weir fancying up the chords a little, sounding a bit like an interlude from LET IT GROW. cool development, landing in marching band/circus intro to TRUCKIN’. MORNING DEW makes its 1st appearance of the year, powerful as always, garcia’s solo floating in a quiet & ruminative place until just before ascending to its big peak. most bands would exit the stage at this point.

8/14/81 seattle: rare but welcome electric & bouncing ON THE ROAD AGAIN, 1st since autumn. 14-beat BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE intro. a super-fast BROWN EYED WOMEN, even speedier than its ’71 debut, setting the tone for one of the speediest sets yet. nearly every song in the 2nd set establishes its tempo by toon town rules, especially the bouncing-off-the-walls BERTHA > THE PROMISED LAND combo opener. right in the middle, comically, one of the slowest SHIP OF FOOLS ever. 64-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > PLAYING IN THE BAND > WHARF RAT > I NEED A MIRACLE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > JOHNNY B. GOODE. PLAYING jam feels a bit perfunctory, garcia firing up CHINA CAT as it loses momentum. after RIDER, weir signals with MAIN TEN riff & the band reverts to deep PLAYING space, mydland subtly picking up lead from garcia. out of reprise, impressive acceleration into MIRACLE. encore is 1st IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE since 2/74, with at least one soundcheck over the previous new year’s run. sounding quite together & quite sweet, it becomes a high rotation encore for virtually the rest of the dead’s career.

8/15/81 portland, OR: somewhat scant-feeling 1st set capped by a raging 10-minute LET IT GROW. shorter than most played in the year to date, but also seeming to get further out, tapping into deep cosmic reserve as it peaks. 41-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. TERRAPIN trickles smoothly into a properly mystical 6-minute coda jam that picks up speed & density as garcia darts, staying coherent through elegant dissolution.

8/16/81 eugene: short 1st set with garcia in fine voice (for ’81), the garcia/hunter tunes feeling especially emphatic. brief feeling 18-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with fun half-speed FIRE soloing by garcia. 61-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’ featuring a prankster invasion by kens kesey & babbs & the thunder machine. garcia’s not playing his signature guitar lick during the beginning of ESTIMATED & the song feels kinda empty. weir leans in hard to the “na na na”s in the vocal outro, just waiting for some dubby efx. EYES is as fast as it ever gets, 140+ bpm. self-correcting here, but i think it’s actually weir who’s been leading the new groove/riff, sometimes with harmonies from garcia and/or mydland, in full effect here. once again, garcia splits early & mydland leads for a coda jam. ken babbs MCs the DRUMZ chaoz, building up a nice cloud of noise with scatting/freaking/babbling/horn-blowing plus bangage from the thunder machine, an instrument/sculpture by the late ron boise.

8/27/81 long beach: 11-minute BIRD SONG sounds noncommittal at jam’s start but casually floats until it falls upwards towards big peak that seems ready to fling the band into space. enjoy the woman in the audience singing along with the final chorus. 1st CUMBERLAND BLUES since 10/74, good double-drummer energy, now sounding similar to BIG RIVER’s default C&W groove. a very welcome return to the band’s repertoire, staying there through ’95. appreciate garcia bringing back old tunes while in a long songwriting dry spell. 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. some fun dual garcia/weir leads during FIRE. 49-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. according to a newspaper review, flora purim & mike hinton & possibly other members of the rhythm devils join for the DRUMZ segment. only a distant audience tape, but it does sound like there’s some vocalization & extra percussion happening. NOT FADE AWAY gets down into gorgeous quiet space adjacent to far-out jam doorways, which is the moment weir chooses to start his long vocal outro, building up to screaminess.

8/28/81 long beach: BROWN-EYED WOMEN returns to normal tempo, thankfully. not much new to report but solid garciaing in set-closing LET IT GROW & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER combo. plus-sized & extra-floating 16-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET with some fun 2-guitar leads. 62-minute THE WHEEL > GOOD TIME BLUES > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. extremely rare WHEEL in a pre-DRUMZ jam slot, patiently developing & burrowing deeper. debut of brent mydland’s GOOD TIME BLUES (aka NEVER TRUST A WOMAN), overblown half-written blues-rock misogyny i probably haven’t heard in 20 years & which hasn’t grown on me in the intervening time. drops into a cool, chaotic (& unrelated) garcia/drummers jam coda, though. debut of brent mydland’s GOOD TIME BLUES (aka NEVER TRUST A WOMAN), a blues-rocker i found misogynistic & bland when i last heard it ~20 years ago & which hasn’t grown on me. drops into a cool, chaotic (& unrelated) garcia/drummers jam coda, though. impressive post-SPACE with SPANISH JAM emerging gradually, played with confidence & drama & slight OTHER ONE-shaped burp before TRUCKIN’. even TRUCKIN’ gets question-marky before assured WHARF RAT.

8/30/81 tempe: now rare-ish MISSISSIPPI HALF STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener. CUMBERLAND BLUES missing a little bit without giant lesh bass sound, but everybody else just falling into place like it’s 1971. purposeful SHIP OF FOOLS justifying its big 2nd set placement. 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. some openness as ESTIMATED dissolves, HE’S GONE heads right for vague OTHER ONE prelude. full-force SPACE with all in, congealing inside for much of THE OTHER ONE, the big far-outness now relegated to the zone following the 2nd verse. weir watch: “everybody slam dance!” he says during set-closing GOOD LOVIN’, pretty early word usage, i think.

8/31/81 las vegas: “ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, the circus is in town,” weir announces before opener. can’t say if garcia pulls out the gambling songs cuz it’s vegas, but good CANDYMAN & LOSER & extra-sharp set-closing DEAL, preceded by crackling LET IT GROW. 25-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN feels leisurely, with nice nearly drumless valley of garcia soloing over mydland B3 padding just before an equally leisurely transition. 50-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > GOOD TIME BLUES > MORNING DEW > PLAYING IN THE BAND, garcia & mydland getting into intricate conversation during PLAYING. ominous SPACE clonks & soars before dipping into blooz-land, an odd late-jam flavor, before a MORNING DEW whose closing solo provides a fine combination fireworks display & synchronized mind-melt.

9/11/81 greek theatre: in front of resplendent @courtenaytiedye, the grateful dead find their new outdoor home at @GreekBerkeley, their 1st shows there since the ‘60s. night 1 starts at 7pm, night 2 at 5, night 3 at 3. the beginning of the dead’s dalliance with joan baez, then canoodling with mickey hart. before the 1st set, she leads a taped happy birthday singalong for mickey’s 38th & keeps singing after the song has ended in the most joan baez way possible. excellent 15-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER floats through the colors, mydland’s dyna-rhodes sounding especially kaleidoscopic. an almost imperceptible rearrangement to MAN SMART, WOMAN SMARTER’s introduction so it doesn’t sound just exactly like IKO IKO. 62-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > MORNING DEW. mostly just blooz jams in the 1st half, highlighted by a proper DEW, full & dramatic with tender vocals, powerful quiet, soaring solos & full band dynamics. great audience tape! a brouhaha in berkeley?! the hills above the @GreekBerkeley are closed off during the 9/81 shows, citing deadheads & fire threats, the consequences of the new year’s campouts in oakland. maybe the 1st instance of asking heads not to show up without tickets?

9/12/81 greek theatre: hearty 1st set includes gently funky SHAKEDOWN STREET opener & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER closer, but super-thrills come with soulful, faith-affirming BIRD SONG jam & screaming CASSIDY. 25-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN in which to get lost amid previously untapped squigglies & mini-fields of guitar grids. fun 68-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. EYES drops at nice medium tempo, slower than recent hyper takes, & even develops an actual jam with garcia & drummers spinning outwards. drums fold back & drop out gradually with nearly full space-out. percussion-only entrance to DRUMZ, a move they haven’t done in a minute. weir even has his late-set transitions pretty tight, especially the segue into ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, an actual original song to end a set, how about that? lesh is MIA before rare double encore so weir has crowd call for him in unison.

9/13/81 greek theatre: a lot of vocal iffiness from garcia in both sets, but aching & masterful TO LAY ME DOWN solo. lots of sunday boogie between PASSENGER & LET IT GROW & MIGHT AS WELL. 49-minute TERRAPIN STATION > GOOD TIME BLUES > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > I NEED A MIRACLE. one of the more scrambled versions of TERRAPIN, with either garcia or lesh or both apparently headed backstage before mydland starts his new tune. supposedly, a biker onstage revving his engine during DRUMZ, but i don’t hear any. definitely a drifting sunday sunset beam segment with hart that drifts through SPACE.

9/25/81 bethlehem: garcia in a mellow mood in 1st set, with gentle PEGGY-O & 10-minute BIRD SONG. the drums going almost free except occasional shuffle pulse, weir slicing at weird shapes, sewn into gorgeousness by garcia noodles, a perfectly ‘80s jam space. show gets cookin’ with punchy CUMBERLAND BLUES, typically roaring PASSENGER, & cresting MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. from there, clicking into party mode. 21-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is slim, with needlepoint peak. almost no jam sequence, 31-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL, with SAINT only connecting by the flimsiest 75-second tendril of solo garciaing. set closes with SUGAR MAGNOLIA > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > SUNSHINE DAYDREAM that leaves me wondering if garcia just forgot that SUNSHINE DAYDREAM was supposed to happen the 1st time.

9/26/81 buffalo: a very period 1st set, opening with SHAKEDOWN STREET (enormous local cheers for “don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart”) & featuring big LET IT GROW, plus exuberant electrified versions of 2 “reckoning” tunes, JACK-A-ROE & ON THE ROAD AGAIN. 2nd set moves a little awkwardly as band tries to shake it up, opening with 34-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > BERTHA > ESTIMATED PROPHET > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD. only PLAYING jams, but mostly purposeful segues until everybody drops thread after GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD. 30-minute DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > MORNING DEW > PLAYING IN THE BAND has a full space/noize intro, but maybe not quite proper SPACE, but that’s nit pickin’. properly soul-wrenching MORNING DEW that melts right back into MAIN TEN riff. weir watch: weir dedicates the JOHNNY B. GOODE encore to chuck berry for his birthday, though weir is several weeks early. when in libra season i guess?

9/27/81 landover: pretty thin-feeling 1st set. gorgeous watery-toned CANDYMAN solo & wounded vocals, sometimes in the beautiful way, sometimes not. all charges firing by SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, though. quite fun 58-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > WHARF RAT > I NEED A MIRACLE > GOOD LOVIN’ feels almost old school in structure (until the last 2 tunes), though execution is all ’81. TRUCKIN’ veers into OTHER ONE turf & the WHARF RAT transition is a breath away from DARK STAR, with a fragment of the melody maybe even passing through. adoring the dyna-rhodes SPANISH JAM detailing in this era. garcia feelin’ the IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE encore. not that there was much competition for meaningful encore songs besides BROKEDOWN PALACE, but love when the encore slot is used for something non-frivolous.

9/30/81 edinburgh: the hairy americans do their thing, finally getting fired up a bit during LET IT GROW & a longer-than-usual FEEL LIKE A STRANGER 2nd set opener that slips into mydland/garcia jam territory. 54-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE, though a harsh tape cut as ESTIMATED starts to jam, with most of EYES missing, cutting back in during a nice chill tempo’d jam that seems it’s widened a bit. no other tape source. nice long road out of SPACE filled with moog comets & blurp whooshes & garcia noodles. mydland suggests chord changes but they land in the usual OTHER ONE groove, staying weird without straying too far, ambling into STELLA BLUE with big finale solo.

10/2/81 london: 1st set feels very warm-uppy & little tech glitchy. “anybody got a flashlight?” weir asks at one point. scattered energy during CUMBERLAND BLUES. don’t know if it’s an electrical hum or a synth, maybe the former, but deep moaning at the start of CASSIDY. band succeeds at shaking up some 2nd set formulae with 74-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > SHAKEDOWN STREET > BERTHA > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER, mostly works. (jerry almost cut his hair. and did.) PLAYING churns as normal, spacing out just long enough to hit the SHAKEDOWN STREET doom chord. a long & detailed version, with some loop-ready mydland keyboard grooves & taking a moody turn before vocal reprise, splicing to BERTHA from the last beat. BERTHA’s ending, in turn, hops with only a wee stagger into a PLAYING-ish noodle, a refreshing change, picking up where they left off. does it get labeled PLAYING IN THE BAND, JAM, PLAYING IN THE BAND JAM or nothing? is it just more BERTHA? do you (yes, you!) care? the SPANISH JAM doesn’t quite turn inward, dropping into a somewhat lurchin’ TRUCKIN’, which drizzles with uncharacteristic indecisiveness into BLACK PETER.

10/3/81 london: pretty empty when band takes stage, apparently, then things get more serious. 11-minute BIRD SONG with gorgeous, blurry jam. garcia finds nice turns in/out of CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER transition, playing (i think?) just behind the beat. FEEL LIKE A STRANGER doesn’t go long, but does feel like it opens up into question marks for a few minutes before swinging to proper end. 65-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > MORNING DEW, a fave sequence of london heads. mydland takes charge during the TERRAPIN starlight jam. noisy synth SPACE makes for slightly circuitous route into NOT FADE AWAY. big MORNING DEW finale bends to the faster & shreddier side, but still grand.

10/4/81 london: weir mentions watching “the producers” on television the previous night, takes audience vote about whether “springtime for hitler” was in good taste. brief noisy & cool prelude jam to JACK STRAW. tape is slowed down, i think, putting LET IT GROW nearer to the old EYES OF THE WORLD tempo, woozy during the verses, relaxed during the jams. peaceful moment of near drumlessness during sing-song transition from SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. bit disjointed ending to LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE. sounds like garcia departs immediately & drumzers yell at weir to create some momentum while they switch to hand percussion for 43-minute JAM > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT.  jam sequence arrives without traveling, a methodical marching band SPANISH JAM acting as prelude to nearly inevitable drop into THE OTHER ONE.

10/6/81 london: show-opening SHAKEDOWN STREET slips into brief but very cool double-time jam with fleeting set of mini changes. in a rare flash of musical politeness, during CUMBERLAND BLUES, lesh even states the original distinctive bassline. 57-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL takes its time beginning with joyful & slow ESTIMATED disassembly, the band moving towards EYES OF THE WORLD, but garcia keeps disassembling into HE’S GONE. big deep SPACE is often labeled BLUES FOR ALLAH JAM, edging on those themes, seemingly in memory of egyptian president anwar sadat, assassinated that day in cairo. fun synth bendys during THE WHEEL prelude, recalling (unintentionally?) pedal steel of the studio version.  SUGAR MAGNOLIA > STELLA BLUE > GOOD LOVIN’ closes, garcia pulling last SUGAR MAG thread until it’s STELLA BLUE’s intro. solo builds to full blaze, setting up *perfect* segue back into SUNSHINE DAYDREAM, but weir goes GOOD LOVIN’? garcia seems to react comically/noisily. instead, SUNSHINE DAYDREAM carries over to the encore for the 1st of only 2 times (thanks @InstituteJerry!), leading into BROKEDOWN PALACE, always a just exactly perfect goodnight, here back in the city where the lyrics were written.

10/8/81 copenhagen: not the fiercest of 1st sets, but garcia’s ALTHEA solo is huge & surfs with the band across a pair of sweet, extended peaks in set-closing MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. the show’s headline news is deeply jammed half-hour SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. can’t tell who’s driving SCARLET into mysterious territory, but lots of great mydland B3, alternating between conversation & drone chords, a little sleepier as they move into FIRE. 72-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > JOHNNY B. GOODE, 1st half of which is more exciting. garcia & weir push slim (& unfinished) PLAYING into the far-out before gentle dissolve.

10/10/81 bremen: opening SHAKEDOWN STREET sets tone for enjoyable night with lots of jam spaces, not always memorable, but fun enough. 13-minute BIRD SONG is jeweled as always, garcia reprising theme & bringing all down to a whisper before soaring across the nearest horizon. but most of the jamming isn’t nearly that delicate, including extra-raging 14-minute LET IT GROW with propulsive garcia & set-closing DEAL. rare 2nd set SUGAREE is 12 minutes, charged & dense with shred plateaus, but not-so-much with the quiet dynamics. 45-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT is almost all zippy. EYES skips along at just under 140bpm, one of the faster versions, with very little swing & virtually no outro jam. rephrasing of the groove is gone again, too. rare SPACE bass, mostly weir & lesh in tonight’s segment, building up a little bit of steam & setting up a good OTHER ONE drop, so naturally weir veers into the stop/start marching band intro to TRUCKIN’ instead. #deadfreaksunite [5/5]

10/11/81 amsterdam: on an off day between shows, @jerrygarcia & @bobweir play a surprise half-hour acoustic set at @melkweg in amsterdam. rock scully’s book “living with the dead” is one of the best written but least trustworthy dead memoirs. but rock was the tour manager & ringleader of the europe ’81 jaunt & is (perhaps) a reliable narrator about the one-off acoustic set in amsterdam. sounds like a heady day with some righteous poets. delicious & hazy fun at the @melkweg, playing through the acoustic ’80 repertoire recently released on “reckoning.” tape’s a bit fuzzed, but CASSIDY & BIRD SONG lose some dynamics without band but still a delight.

10/12/81 munich: 1st set is mostly hits from the europe ’72 songbook, played on their ’72 & ’74 trips through munich, now in their slightly more frayed europe ’81 form, feeling most alive during the CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with fluttering garcia figures. 83-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > GOOD TIME BLUES > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’ is pretty full service ’81 dead, though. ESTIMATED takes its time, which is nice, but doesn’t unwind. GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD is extra-brisk, not ludicrously so, & garcia leans in for high energy shreds. no BID YOU GOODNIGHT ending, instead a cool coda jam. drumzers start up, but mydland interrupts with GOOD TIME BLUES. indecisive SPACE virtually defaults into NOT FADE AWAY. drawn out STELLA BLUE with committed garcia vocals & a lot of very quiet soloing until final spiral up to weir-land, which weir hiccups on the jump.

10/13/81 russelsheim: 10-minute BIRD SONG dances the line between free jams & flowing full-band action. mydland & the drummers get into some lovely dramatic tumbles & skitters under bright guitar solo skies. 67-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > THE WHEEL > SUGAR MAGNOLIA > BLACK PETER > SUNSHINE DAYDREAM has a few surprises. maybe the presence of a late set SPANISH JAM in ’81 indicates early set exploration? SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE shows signs of loosening midway through, ends semi-cleanly & hops smoothly into deep jam turf for a solid 7 minutes. a bit of bright garcia questing &, after he lands & exits, a mydland/drummers excursion. a fairly static SPACE of garcia void-tones, but the whole post-DRUMZ flow up into another delicious SPANISH JAM makes more sense on the audience tape, even though it has its own balance issues. weir watch: falsetto “danke” at the end of the set. i adore his big dumb encore versions of SATISFACTION but they’re so much less fun to me without the bigger dumber drum breaks.

10/15/81 amsterdam: at a hash bar in amsterdam, 1st of 2 “OOPS” shows on borrowed gear at @melkweg after gigs in france are cancelled. one of the few instances in which rock scully might be the most reliable narrator, from his fantastic but factually challenged book “living with the dead.” rock calls the 2 shows in amsterdam the dead’s “last adventure.” cool to hear the dead stripped of their their usual gear. not too different until 2nd set. i think mydland is on a regular rhodes, a nice change. 1st FAR FROM ME since previous summer & last ’til following summer. not too much happening, though. 55-minute HE’S GONE > SPOONFUL > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > JOHNNY B. GOODE. weir debuts willie dixon’s SPOONFUL, a jam interrupter on/off through early ‘90s. SPACE is a perfectly noisy slide bass solo with a beer bottle neck, presumably heineken. OTHER ONE is fairly perfunctory. not an all-timer show except in vibes, but nice BABY BLUE encore to cap an incredible night for the heads who made it. #

10/16/81 amsterdam: crowd sings happy birthday to @bobweir before the band’s last ever acoustic set, depending if you count performances backing joan baez in 12/81 & garcia/weir/lesh/welnick as phil & friends in 1994. end of a lovely era, either way. might be the mix, but the dynamics seem a little off in the acoustic set, with unusually civil exchange in which drummers agree to tone it down. DIRE WOLF, not in rotation, feels rusty. last acoustic RACE IS ON, staple in both ’70/’80 acoustic sets. 9-minute BIRD SONG benefits from recent electric playing, more expansive-feeling than earlier acoustic versions, with unrushed jam & a few dense peaks. last acoustic version with garcia/weir/lesh until ’94. last dead versions of OH BABE IT AIN’T NO LIE, RIPPLE (save unrehearsed electric encore in ’88), & MONKEY IN THE ENGINEER (besides similarly unrehearsed electric version with dylan in ’89). electric set goes awry in delightful ways, opening with 29-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > HULLY GULLY > THE WHEEL > SAMSON & DELILAH. natural drop into only taped HULLY GULLY (maybe done by warlocks), almost dropping thread before powerful WHEEL with great roll into SAMSON. 19-minute GLORIA > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD. 1st GLORIA since ‘65ish crackles. 1st LOVELIGHT since pigpen’s death, lesh accidentally starting it, sung by weir. goofy fun, for now. speedy, unswinging GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD ignores quiet coda. both a real pause & conceptual segue back into 22-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > BLACK PETER > SUGAR MAGNOLIA finale, one of the few places where the dead sound like a bar band who happen to be covering the dead. rock scully bids you goodnight.

10/17/81 paris: show-opening 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET slides into deep bop seems to bode well for the show, though not much else happening during the 1st set. (also, hey buddy. portrait shot that day by christian rose.) not sure band is rejuvenated post-amsterdam, but set-opening 24-minute TRUCKIN’ > BIRD SONG > GOOD TIME BLUES keeps shaking things up. garcia’s TRUCKIN’ outro unspools naturally into rare 2nd set BIRD SONG. briefly glittering jam dissolves & reforms into mydland’s newest. 63-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > MORNING DEW > AROUND & AROUND > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT is a bit rote but has some real peaks. ESTIMATED spirals extra-brightly, sailing back down to the rephrased ’81 EYES intro, landing at reasonable tempo, closer to ’73 mellowness, but no jam. SPACE develops into a briskly-changing not-exactly-SPANISH JAM. PARISIAN JAM? DEW is big & legit.

10/19/81 barcelona: 2 long jams in the 1st set, 14-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER that’s somewhat static, & long-rolling 14-minute LET IT GROW that keeps on churning with dug-in garcia. TENNESSEE JED gets its only play in the city where hunter wrote the lyrics. 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is a bit economy-sized, mostly on the FIRE end but doesn’t skimp on charged-up SCARLET jam with marching drums, busy B3, & climbing vine-like garcia lines. 48-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. SAINT lands & garcia keeps noodling until joined by hand DRUMZ. appropriately for their only spanish gig, band coalesces from brief SPACE into only slightly less brief SPANISH JAM, preluding a somewhat casual OTHER ONE & sleepy STELLA BLUE. vibes weren’t so hot in barcelona. after this european tour closer phil lesh writes a stern letter to garcia & makes his bandmates sign it.

11/29/81 pittsburgh: winning opening combo of SHAKEDOWN STREET > GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. band is creaky but SHAKEDOWN bops leisurely with needlepoint garcia. decent next-beat transition into GREATEST STORY with its own micro-jam & wah-wah love bullets. 59-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER > SATISFACTION. after long HE’S GONE vocal wind-down, jam goes aloft, but as it does so either weir’s guitar zaps out or he’s getting back into feedback? hard to say. guess we’re in that era now? engaging 22-minute HE’S GONE, garcia purposefully chasing the horizon, drummers locked & floating along. eventually there’s a suggestive sketch of the MIND LEFT BODY theme, & a bright garcia melody that feels a breath from the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam before DRUMZ finally start. SPACE mostly just a patient/obvious build into rusty TRUCKIN’, clicking ever-briefly into an outro pocket for a minute, suggesting other faraway places, before garcia pulls rug. weir watch: SATISFACTION back to the good kind of dumb, weir leading a SATSIFACTION singalong, which gets through on the soundboard. “i can’t hear nothin’… you all sound like your satisfied or something.”

11/30/81 dayton: show is rough around the edges & sometimes in the middle, too. during tech break, weir sings a verse of MACK THE KNIFE. one of the drummers goes along with him, kind of a cool vibe. “we’ll work that up for next time,” weir says. they won’t. 1st set has both of the era’s big 1st set jams. 9-minute BIRD SONG gets to soaring & opens to cool garcia/weir/mydland conversation near end. 13-minute LET IT GROW surfs the big flows. weir watch: “we’re dealing with technical difficulties & so are you.” tech burps throughout the 1st set, including a really impressively 3-dimensional WHOOSH at start of LET IT GROW. 64-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. ’81 EYES arrangement but mellower at 117bpm, closer to early ‘70s. floats with a nice feel & spotty vocals. nifty garcia descending pattern just before DRUMZ. SPACE moves from misterioso hand percussion & garcia duets into a paint-by-numbers OTHER ONE. WHARF RAT hits a wonderful flow for an extended moment before ramping up into SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

12/2/81 champaign: mydland tries synth in a few new places, padding on PEGGY-O before switching back to dyna-rhodes. after weir plays synth-like volume swells during intro to CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, mydland moves over, back to rhodes at transition. 12-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER is speedy & feels a little lacking in dynamics. 59-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’ was probably better than the average winter wednesday evening but doesn’t have much jamming. a not-much SPACE with seagull squawk slide guitars, though some good stereo-panned noise that could be synth/percussion/bird/monkey. last NOT FADE AWAY jam devolves & wakes into brief bright conversational flight.

12/3/81 madison: 1st electric DEEP ELEM BLUES since the spring, always bouncing fun. rare 1st set I NEED A MIRACLE (1st since 1/79) seems to give garcia an extra charge, running full speed towards BERTHA, a more real segue than usual, even if band slightly trails behind. 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN feels more meditative than explosive, a patient climb & glide. 67-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > JOHNNY B. GOODE. long HE’S GONE singalong, but only a bit of weir-led sludge-blues before DRUMZ. impressive burst of SPACE flatulence just before SPANISH JAM. TRUCKIN’ builds to noise peak that almost crashes, garcia flailing to thread to BLACK PETER. lit coda drops out to AROUND & AROUND. and for the encore, a confident IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE, featured on “postcards of the hanging,” a 2002 compilation of the dead covering bob dylan. big vocals, expressive solos.

12/5/81 indianapolis: lotta big energy in 1st set. the drummers prankishly hijack CC RIDER, shifting into double-time & causing supreme confusion, but it immediately becomes the 1st cool thing to happen to the song since weir debuted it. deep 1st set closing combo of 10-minute BIRD SONG, generous & patient with garcia/mydland weave & shifting dynamics that give real sense of movement, & 12-minute LET IT GROW that absolutely rips with multiple sub-jams & dense keys. 12-minute 2nd set opening SHAKEDOWN STREET rolls into bubbling conversational place, but jam inspiration doesn’t quite carry through the rest of the set. rare 2nd set BIG RAILROAD BLUES is good energy & only slightly longer-than-usual break. 53-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND > STELLA BLUE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA is fairly econo by dead standards. speedy PLAYING orbits a rich gravitational center but never slingshots into the outer places. some entertaining off-mic SPACE drumzing/chattering. long & patient build into THE WHEEL with teensy dab of synth flute (or maybe just dryly mixed B3) & nice dissolve that upshifts into a gradual PLAYING reprise.

12/6/81 rosemont: solid 11-minute SUGAREE with robust garcia shreds, but set only really finds its bounce with JACK-A-ROE & a friskily tempoed CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER closer. sleepier in middle, some especially lulzy synth farts in LOOKS LIKE RAIN. weir watch: “it’s sunday night & sunday night is family night down here at the horizon, so we’re gonna do a couple of family numbers now…” before famously family-friendly polka combo of EL PASO > MEXICALI BLUES. “everyone loves a polka.” 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT > GOOD LOVIN’. EYES is played at ludicrous speed, around 140bpm, but one of the better & more legitimately smooth segues from ESTIMATED. doesn’t feel too splattered until outro jam. venue is next to o’hare airport & less-than-soundproofed, the sound of planes whooshing over, lesh making air traffic controller moves on stage. early in 2nd set weir notes, “everybody wave to the airplane as it goes over.” all of which could (also) factor into SPACE. eve of the 40th anniversary of pearl harbor &, during SPACE, hart twice intones “december 7th, 1941.” takes a moment to kick in, but jam turns visceral & synth-noisy. WHARF RAT delivers silver platter segue into AROUND & AROUND, so weir hits GOOD LOVIN’.

12/7/81 des moines: unusually, someone counts off into BERTHA & everybody (sort of) starts together. big energy, but a little jumbled (“dressed myself in green/ducked into a tree”). double-time already gone from CC RIDER. “st. paul, minnesota” gets a cheer on BIG RIVER. a few songs appear for the 1st time this tour, including really strong DIRE WOLF with super-present garcia, & rare-ish MUSIC NEVER STOPPED with good rainbow spirals. coherent & exuberant 2nd set filled with fun transitions & surprising jams: 72-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. garcia finds a glorious inside-out/sing-songy HALF-STEP peak before a crisp landing jump to FRANKLIN’S. some splargled tempo shifts, but garcia weaves a very short actual transition into LOST SAILOR, with sustained tastiness over intro. drummers drop out from SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE ending, but everybody else keeps going, spiraling into conversational jam with lots of lead weir, building into new patterns & locking into themes. some report hints of SUPPLICATION, but i think it’s just the detailing. deep jams all over. great DRUMZ/SPACE flow with stereo-panned percussion & group chatter. exuberant TRUCKIN’ & a brief NOBODY’S FAULT jam (with some off-mic crosstalk) & brief spaced garcialogue lands them in a purposeful/crisp/dynamic BLACK PETER. they kinda stumble into SUGAR MAGNOLIA, but the thought is there & even that’s got a teeny bit extra somethin’. really great set at the end of not-specifically-too-good tour.

12/9/81 boulder: BIRD SONG drifts with lilting flows. CASSIDY edges further into high-speed jam territory, only by 30 seconds or so, but conversation seems thicker. weir almost misses his exit at the end. weir watch, part 1: new LOOKS LIKE RAIN move, “well it looks like rain, r-a-i-n,” deployed a few times. also swearing more. some nice & subtle weir delay tones, too, under garcia’s outro soloing. weir watch, part 2: adding vocal asides in I KNOW YOU RIDER. “”…could not take my rest” (weir: “did my best!”) “…take my rest” (weir: “you know the rest!”). announces set break in between lines of final vocal reprise. 19-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, the SCARLET synth experiment set aside (for now) with mydland back to B3 & aggressively stirring up a chaotic cloud with garcia at the transition. weir hits a good almost-next-beat count-off into 61-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. garcia bails as soon as HE’S GONE jam starts. weir, mydland & drummers find pulse before winding down. long, sleepy SPACE void with brief stomps & bursts but only the sparest of happenings, eventually finding THE OTHER ONE. fuzzy garcialogue outro, almost audibly sorting out which ballad to play. some majestic guitar in STELLA BLUE. weir watch, part 3: promises “we’ll be back ‘cause we like it here,” but it will be their last show in boulder. daltreyesque stutters in GOOD LOVIN’, another attempt at crowd participation in SATISFACTION.

12/12/81 san mateo: the dance for disarmarment. after joan baez plays a solo set of her own, the dead join her & play the outline of their scrapped album recorded that month, which might be better misplaced. interestingly, like the dead, baez didn’t release a new album between ’79 & ’87. opens with baez’s ME & BOBBY McGEE, sung with weir, not the worst, but then come the topical tunes & one of the more awkward all-time dead sets. but it’s all fascinating, with occasional tasty garcia. the everly bros.’ BYE BYE LOVE is fun, too. somebody (*not me*) could do an entire podcast about this performance of CHILDREN OF THE ‘80s (which baez intros as the album-in-progress’s title song) & how it’s like her lost prototype of WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE & what references people cheer for & at what volume. my goodness, another conference paper could be done on LUCIFER’S EYES, which baez introduces as being about closeted in high school. “i have to explain it, but mickey doesn’t like this part…” still unreleased. she tries to shush the chatty crowd at one point to zero audible effect. by the time she gets to her beatles/lennon tribute, WHERE HAVE ALL THE HEROES GONE, heads seems checked out. barely a peep for “drop some acid, meet the queen.” the less blunt MARRIOTT USA is sorta alright, as is hearing garcia solo/noodle on BARBARA ALLEN (hard to believe it’s the only time he did). mydland’s on grand piano for the only time. garcia splits before set-closing THE BOXER, though (contrary to reports) mydland stays. the dead’s electric set is all of 48 minutes with weird flow & a small spectrum of boogies, matthew kelly honkin’ harp on the 1st 2 & last 2 songs. garcia shreds pretty supreme on the DIRE WOLF & COLD RAIN & SNOW combo, though. garcia & mydland bail for the encore & baez does a seriously iffy IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE, dropping verses. weir feeds her lines. when he tries to join outro chorus, she switches to improv. “sign the fucking petitions, baby blue.”

12/26/81 oakland auditorium arena: garcia revives BIG BOSS MAN, sung by pigpen ’66-’72, rightfully getting huge cheers, really fun. “want a little drink of water, you won’t let jerry stop,” he adapts from jimmy reed’s version, will drop the self-reference after ’85. BIRD SONG glides into beautiful starlight with the particular double-drummer dead quality of seeming like it’s going into double-time and half-time simultaneously, somehow both graceful & messy, then thinning with subtle drama into into less cluttered airspace. 12-minute LET IT GROW stretches with ruminative garcia & jazzy dyna-rhodes staking little places within/against the drummers’ relentless sizzle. scrambled vocals on 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with mellow 1-note transition peak. 69-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT gets into memorable weirding zones. synth lead intro to HE’S GONE. long vocal outro & chunkily tumbling coda, ending with weir/drummers jam. DRUMZ dissipate, garcia noodles, drilling starts. “more nitrous,” a voice barks off-mic. weir announces, “and now the boys in the band would like to introduce a little story, ‘we call it a day at the dentist.’” drilling stops, deep scatter of synth bells, scrapes, washes. band emerges into a cool & energized jam in 11 that’s not THE ELEVEN, but the feel is almost there, just need to hit the chord changes. hangs around & stays cool for a nice moment but doesn’t develop too much before landing in the marching band intro to TRUCKIN’. decent BLACK PETER slides back into jam-land, garcia & mydland & drummers flipping back into conversation, sounding purposeful, but them weir pulls the rug out & faceplants the band into AROUND & AROUND.

12/27/81 oakland auditorium arena: dynamic garcia jams in SUGAREE over metronomic drumming. aw, last ever PASSENGER, by lesh & peter monk, sung by weir with donna, then brent. powerful here. nice soundboard mix, dyna-rhodes extra-sweet on FRIEND OF THE DEVIL & ALTHEA. weir watch: PSA at the end of the now-traditional sunday SAMSON & DELILAH, “watch out all you philistines.” 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND. weir watch, cont.: extemporaneous vocals over beginning of PLAYING jam. c’mon, man. deep conversations inside jazzy 2-drummer float that never totally veers. extended rhodes/garcia dialogue. long SPACE, garcia intersecting with glassy percussion & roto-toms over synth rumbles, thinning & thickening. hand-drum freak-out bubbles into THE WHEEL, drummers moving back to kits. nicely dramatic with sweet garcia licks & gentle drip back into PLAYING.

12/28/81 oakland auditorium arena: 1st set has some archetypal early ‘80s dead. band’s dynamic is a bit frayed on charging BERTHA opener, but garcia’s is absolutely lit. PEGGY-O a little bogged/metronomic, but garcia fully elegant. weir gets nice reverb on his guitar as 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER starts, the band fully together for impactful transition. 58-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. midtempo EYES, garcia’s guitar ducking a little behind mydland’s dyna-rhodes during jam, then bowing out entirely. chimes & bells from kreutzmann while hart drones on the beam as DRUMZ flows gorgeously into SPACE, staying zoned with flute & hand drum pocket. as so often in ‘81ish, THE OTHER ONE itself seems more like punctuation after the real jams in the long prelude. STELLA BLUE really hits tonight, though, garcia & band clicking together for dynamic & even purposeful performance.

12/30/81 oakland auditorium arena: a few rare-ish weir tunes in the 1st half, the electric ON THE ROAD AGAIN & closing LAZY LIGHTNIN’ > SUPPLICATION but set feels a little lurchy. healy dollops a little reverb on garcia’s voice for ALTHEA. between sets, joan baez plays a few songs by herself, joined by mickey for an arabic new year’s song, then the electric dead (besides mydland) for 3 more. all sounds better than the san mateo benefit. only one (distant) heckler audible on the audience tape. once again, hearing garcia gently noodle across BARBARA ALLEN is the highlight. she also hands a solo to weir, very equitable that joan baez. a nice acoustic/electric mix, which the dead didn’t really explore ’til ‘90s. brent skips baez’s mini set & goes to nearby bar, misses FEEL LIKE A STRANGER 2nd set opener. little thin, but the “minimal” garcia/weir conversations also have a comfortably spare feeling with unusually weirded peak. 47-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. weir starts into NOT FADE AWAY immediately out of DRUMZ but a drumzer wants a break & band reverts into SPACE before a sleepy NOT FADE AWAY.

12/31/81 oakland coliseum arena: bill graham’s 3-ring new year’s circus with the new riders, the flying karamazov bros., joan baez, ken kesey, & pals. unless i’m mistaken, new year’s ’81-’82 is the last time the new riders of the purple sage opened for the dead, the band that birthed them 11 years earlier, & possibly even their last show before nelson & cage split. joan baez plays solo & is then joined by the dead, minus mydland & kreutzmann, weir on acoustic. she enters singing a mash-up of LAND OF 1000 DANCES & PAUL & SILAS. fares better than the night before. with 2 shows under their belt, baez’s originals tightening up a little. even if it wasn’t the dead’s thing, they start to find convincingly dead-like spaces for LUCIFER’S EYES & CHILDREN OF THE ’80s. garcia adds nice bluegrass/gospel harmonies to only BANKS OF THE OHIO. 15-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener cooks in a mellow way. matt kelly joins on harmonica for blues honks on CC RIDER, NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, & garcia’s revived BIG BOSS MAN. baez sings on IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES, BEAT IT DOWN THE LINE, & DON’T EASE ME IN. during the set break, a prankster wedding backstage: jerry & mountain girl finally get hitched, officiated by the psychedelic buddhist monk named peter monk. not the most romantic circumstances, but life. before midnight, ken kesey dangles from ceiling in a harness & leads crowd in a gong bong, exercise in collective hyperventilation to get hiiiiigh. “an old fashioned ritual we haven’t done since the acid tests & i want you to be very careful,” keez says, while swinging. at midnight, bill graham rides a giant joint over the crowd, landing on stage, band hitting a boogiedown IKO IKO at midnight, the balloon drop lagging just behind, joan baez materializing in the chaos for kazoo-like vocalizing. and then one of the more righteously jammed new year’s sets: 86-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > MORNING DEW. PLAYING builds in intensity, thins, then keeps building, staying engaged without traveling too far. as jam dissolves, mydland very clearly plays the intro to DARK STAR as the drummers think it’s time to start drumzing, but garcia steers ship into TERRAPIN instead. TERRAPIN’s a bit rocky in places, jerry singing ultra-quietly, with no real middle jam, but weir flips band easily into jam mode, almost overtly the PLAYING reprise from his first notes, but could go anywhere, but politely loops up the PLAYING. another wide SPACE with xylophone/chimes & monster beam thwacks. “what kind of dentist office is this?” kreutzmann asks off-mic before things turn weirder. i think that’s synth percussion? drummers hang with garcia for a bit, before long garcia/weir OTHER ONE prelude. john cipollina joins for the THE OTHER ONE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, trading friendly solos with garcia, nothing too blown out, all bopping with good energy. kind of a perfect new year’s choogle, with an A+ 100% absence of guest harmonica players. and then a 40-minute set 3 that opens with healthyish 15-minute standalone DARK STAR, 1st since 1/79 & mydland’s debut. they float & lean back into a BIRD SONG-like glide between verses, climbing to a lovely peak before long landing. also, maddeningly, the last ’til ’84. baez returns to duet with garcia on IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE. baez is a little distracting, but garcia’s performance is so focused it almost doesn’t matter. the baez era is over as fast as it started. graham invites people to stay for breakfast.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

#deadfreaksunite 1971

#deadfreaksunite 1971
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org. Expanded notes for many shows (with press, scene reports, and images) can be found on Twitter by searching for my username (bourgwick) and the show date. Please consult JerryBase for the latest data, Dead Sources for original articles (1965-1975), and LostLiveDead/Hootrollin for deep dives.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

1/21/71 davis: with the new riders & good brothers, beginning their 1971 opening a road weekend. jerry garcia’s 1st dead show with peanut, his 1st fully custom guitar, built by rick turner at alembic. harsh vibes in the venue. apparently appropriated r. crumb art in the lobby that reads, “mr. natural says smoking dope can be harmful to your freedom.” easy but fun blues-boogie segue from SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING > TRUCKIN’, with pigpen hanging around on harmonica, as on the early acoustic versions. later on the soundboard segment, lesh goofs around with LOUIE LOUIE between songs. 31-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE. nearly drumless OTHER ONE middle space charges on bass pulse into spooked garcia/weir jam. chiming build from CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT into last original high-steppin’ COSMIC CHARLIE, reconfigured in ’76.

1/22/71 eugene: in an oversold gym in eugene, a benefit for @LaneTitans & local clinic, with notary sojac & the new riders of the purple sage. ken babbs immediately faceplants his band intro. “over here on the left we have, of course, ron mckuen,” amusingly conflating pig’s family name with kitschy pop-poet rod mckuen. babbs seems to get audibly dragged away. 1st proper dead version of weir’s JOHNNY B. GOODE, previously sung by garcia at family dog jam in ’69 & recently by weir with hot tuna on new year’s. i’m sure it was fun to dance to, but meh. the bar band dead coming into focus. not terribly exciting on tape, mostly warm-up type covers plus BROKEDOWN PALACE & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. reviews offer no clues, but it was a friday night in prankster-ville, so there could be deep missing jams. or maybe they just boogied.

1/24/71 seattle: with ian & sylvia & the new riders of the purple sage. nice to have pigpen’s B3 in the mix during big openin’ TRUCKIN’. crowd hassles band during long tuning break: “get this fucking crap together.” weir: “in a minute!” garcia: “get it together yourself.” one long set, despite labels. SUGAR MAGNOLIA solo getting bigger & bigger. “keep it down,” weir notes to his bandmates off-mic before SUNSHINE DAYDREAM, which they try to somewhat awkwardly. a development i missed on 12/28, though: garcia & lesh no longer sing the doot-doot-doot vocal parts. “we’re running short on time & so we’re going to wrap it up with this number,” weir says before 54-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > LOVELIGHT > DRUMZ > GOOD LOVIN’, the last 2-drummer pigpen blow-out. garcia adds rare & typically awesome harmony to the “shine on me” part. NOT FADE AWAY slides into bliss bubble before segue. messiness in a few transitions but great overloaded lesh/garcia jams in GOOD LOVIN’ & then pig gets political. “just my opinion,” he repeats.
“what would be
the state of our nation
if political magicians
back biting politicians
all this turmoil & strife
all be gone if them guys had a wife
to call their own
just my opinion.”
pig on nixon: “that ol’ rat up in the white house/he knows he’s gonna die someday.” and political philosophy: “don’t go pushing/but don’t get pushed.” lesh leads not-quite-segue into semi-frayed UNCLE JOHN’S BAND closer.

2/1ish/71 point reyes rehearsal hall (possibly?): 3 takes of weir/hart/hunter’s PLAYING IN THE BAND. lesh & garcia are adamant about going back to the intro after the break, but weir’s pretty sure he doesn’t wanna do that. when the song hits the stage, weir thankfully gets his way. unless i’m mishearing, lesh appears to call for dan healy, who would take over as live engineer later in year. not sure it sheds any light on where they’re rehearsing, but @corry342 has a detailed history of grateful dead rehearsal spaces. BIRD SONG, practiced & maybe performed in december with crosby/lesh/kreutzmann, is drumless here, running through the structure & vocals, trying to find a 2 guitar groove & communicate the rhythmic feel to weir. they eventually get it. harmonies sound pretty great. only 1 semi-full take of GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, much fun, built on the rhythm of the water pump at mickey’s ranch, though it’s the guitar that totally powers the song. the 1 take of WHARF RAT is missing dynamics, but song is pretty much all there.

2/18/71 port chester: 5 big debuts, ned lagin on keys for the whole night, mickey hart’s last appearance ’til ’74, the 1st ESP experiment, the 1st real betty board. on audience tape only, fresh from their 1st LP, the new riders are tight, especially nelson & dawson. debut of marmaduke’s new LOCHNIVAR. difference between ex-drummer hart & new drummer dryden audible on tighter HONKY TONK WOMEN. the dead arrive at @captioltheatre with betty cantor, bob matthews, & a 16-track seemingly intending to make a new live album over the 6 nights with their new songs & covers. absolutely does not go as planned & the 7-piece dead on night 1 is a future left hanging. show opens with 1st BERTHA, bright & bouncing, but with more hopped-up 2-drummer dynamics. lagin’s mostly on clavichord for the show, maybe B3 on LOSER’s debut, more conversational than pigpen. both songs rehearsed with crosby & co. in recent months. GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD is 1st of 2 new weir/hart/hunter songs, built around rhythm of water pump at mickey hart’s barn. missing the bridges, but big bass! weir’s rock scream doesn’t quite launch. song doesn’t really end, so shifts into JOHNNY B. GOODE, standard in ’71. to close 1st set, a moondusted 26-minute DARK STAR > WHARF RAT > DARK STAR > ME & MY UNCLE. 1st DARK STAR since november, only played in these months with ned, here on chiming clavichord. kreutzmann is quiet & nearly free on kit, hart’s last on only hand percussion. DARK STAR dissolves amid clavichord clouds into 1st WHARF RAT, major new garcia/hunter song, all in place. instead of a big solo, they slip back to DARK STAR by way of bright theme & resolution, 1-time occurrence later aptly named BEAUTIFUL JAM on the “so many roads” box. when i had this on cassette, i wondered what the bell-like tones were, but only became apparent later that lagin was there the whole night & had been planning to play more if not for band shakeup that week. nice dissolve to ME & MY UNCLE, its 1st time as a DARK STAR chaser. 2nd set features debut of weir/hart/hunter’s PLAYING IN THE BAND (possibly helped by @thedavidcrosby), after 2 years of jams on hart’s early instrumental riff, THE MAIN TEN. despite jammy roots, it’ll be a year before the song gets a real jam & becomes weir’s signature.  also in the 2nd set: dr. stanley krippner begins his 8-night pilot study in dream telepathy, projecting slides behind the band with instructions for the audience to telepathically send the images to sleeping recipients in brooklyn. naturally, some lovely comedy occurs around the ESP experiment slides.
lesh: “that ain’t no rembrandt, that’s a dali! idn’t it?”
weir: “yeah, that’s a dali.”
cute off-mic discussion about the name of the dali painting in question. lagin’s clavichord doesn’t sometimes sounds a bit too chiming/thin for me on the songier songs like CANDYMAN & ME & BOBBY McGEE, like an acoustic prototype of the dyna-rhodes. 27-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND is dense with conversation. bass bombs en route to NOT FADE AWAY, twin keys by mckernan & lagin, some fun peaks. almost a prototype for the post-’76 band. and after the show, mickey hart disappears from the grateful dead stage until late 1974, though is kept on salary. stories differ. kreutzmann’s more recent memoir has the most straightforward version, calling it a firing.

2/19/71 port chester: no mention of absent mickey hart, but sound is well decluttered, beginning thrilling 4 years as a 1-drummer band. for now, more or less a quartet, with pigpen not adding much B3. 2nd LOSER is most developed of new tunes. a lot of the last 2 albums had been recorded basically in 1-drummer mode, but it’s still a big change as kreutzmann rediscovers the “the” in “bill the drummer.” BERTHA’s pretty leapin’. rare electric DARK HOLLOW feels fully filled, a lost piece of the quintet repertoire. lots of pig, with a 14-minute SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING (with rap/spiel) & rare 1-drummer EASY WIND. less drama, more swing, oodles of weir soloing, band hitting a floating slow-motion pocket as he passes solo to garcia. no mention of the dream telepathy experiment either but it continues on slide screens behind band during 2nd set. alternate 1st line to GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, “moses come ridin’ up in the bar car.” hunter was at these shows. maybe still tweaking lyrics? in 2nd set, garcia debuts BIRD SONG, his & hunter’s tribute to janis joplin, rehearsed briefly with crosby. 1st of the song’s incarnations with striding tom-tom heavy arrangement. barely a guitar break, lesh a bit tentative. B3 briefly under intro but disappears. 1st DEAL, garcia & hunter’s cosmic boogie standard, still working on groove, but close to how it sounds through ’95 minus big ending. perfect for new lineup. 4-piece dead flexes in 25-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT & 19-minute GOOD LOVIN’. THE OTHER ONE enters the modern age, sailing into jam at full speed from the drum break, hitting spaces that could come from any point in the ‘70s. still a lot to sort with clanging WHARF RAT dynamics, but already nestled permanently in the post-jam slot with fat outro. hart’s absence (& kreutzmann’s grace) opens lots of room for weir & lesh in the jams. lesh continues to find driving aggressive pockets in GOOD LOVIN’. pigpen references STEALIN’. weir’s, uh, workshopping his falsetto.

2/20/71 port chester: says weir, “we certainly hope that none of you are quite as hungover as certain select members of our band are.” (pigpen groans.) later he vaguely addresses hart’s continued absence, “mickey’s still under the weather.” besides the “outro” vocal before the solo, BERTHA is the only new song sounding ready for proposed live album. no BIRD SONG jamming yet & still working on structure (1st verse repeated 4x here?) but the 1st guitar break has tiniest flare of the solo that will emerge. 25-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. not always a fan of the OTHER ONE drum break, but this one is a nice example of kreutzmann as a solo drummer, not flashy, but inventive. set-closing SUGAR MAGNOLIA chaser follows for 1st time. before 2nd set, some off-mic comments by the band about the images being projected on the screen for the crowd to send via dream telepathy. kreutzmann: “i wouldn’t wanna receive that.” think lesh responds with a mom joke. 1st of 4 surviving electric versions of RIPPLE from early ’71 finds a sweet lope & gets big hoots. missing a little of the acoustic glow, but works on its own terms. garcia reaches for a few new notes. 41-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT highlighted by bright pocket after BID YOU GOODNIGHT jam. punchline of LOVELIGHT rap amounts to “little pimpin’,” 1st draft of princeton version in april.

2/21/71 port chester: fun new riders set, with tight post-album vocals. after, taper accidentally leaves deck running & it’s like a meme: “listening to the colwell-winfeld blues band but you’re sitting in the back of the capitol theater while waiting for the dead to start.” yeah, i guess i did just shazam the house music at a concert from 1971. jeffrey norman’s new mix is stunning, what the proposed live album from the capitol might’ve sounded like had they not scrapped the tapes. these shows have never really grabbed me, but the bass mix here is bonkers. on both the beefy 2020 mix & the rougher betty mix, kreutzmann’s drums sound big, getting more assertive (especially LOSER). can’t tell if pigpen is lost or trying to come up with something new to sing during EASY WIND. think it’s the latter. it’s not an even split just yet, but with weir’s new originals & covers (& steep reduction of psychedelic jam suites & acoustic sets), the capitol shows are really where the dead start alternating noticeably songs led by garcia, weir, & pigpen. another electric RIPPLE, disappearing again ’til april. big clapalong, but group vocals are mixed sympathetically & totally fits into the ’71 repertoire. BIRD SONG starts rough, still the barest of 36-second solos. can see why they wanted to develop it more. 4th GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD has 3rd & final draft of 1st lyric, “moses come riding up on a quasar” (previously: on a guitar, in a bar car). it’s hunter’s lyric but he’s not pleased with weir’s choice. weir’s voice sounds a bit tattered. more people ask where mickey is. perhaps in reference to the ongoing ESP experiments, weir says. “it’s, uh, strange. why don’t you all concentrate & make him well or something.” 10-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is a highlight with particularly committed garcia vocal, bright guitar breaks, & over-the-top bass leads. poppin’ BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. 1st & always-rare standalone WHARF RAT. semi-but-not-totally-unfounded theory based on this & other dead tapes from ’71: before a certain kind of person shouted for FREEBIRD during concert lulls, they shouted for LOUIE LOUIE. nice just to hear kreutzmann on GOOD LOVIN’.

2/23/71 port chester: “hail caesar, motherfucker,” lesh comments off-mic, which seems like it’d be in reference to the slides from the ESP experiment, but those don’t start ’til 2nd set. pigpen’s B3 gives nice spaghetti-western coloring to LOSER. group in crowd shouts for MORNING DEW a few times & garcia eventually plays it, 1st version of the year. lesh hijacks intro, but he & garcia link up for powerful peaks & valleys. group says “thank you!” after & garcia responds with cheerful off-mic “you’re welcome!” BIRD SONG is still a little bit of a structural mess, with garcia cycling through verses. but now the break doubles into more than a minute of gentle guitar figures, primally flapping if not yet soaring. during the lull after BIRD SONG, band doofs around, jokes about the GOLDEN ROAD. someone (a loose wook?) taps one of the onstage mics. “hello in there, awahwahwah….” 1st TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, a combination played (with SPACE added) thru ’94. 12-minute OTHER ONE is night’s jam highlight, kreutzmann’s free cymbal dances finding a home in the between-verse ether. lesh leads GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD & fun to hear surf-ish bassline at the fore. abbreviated GOOD LOVIN’ & 14-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT AWAY AWAY is compact detail-filled choogle, if not quite a big finale.

2/24/71 port chester: final show at the @capitoltheatre, a favorite east coast venue, the last of 6 shows, 16 since the previous march. last night of stanley krippner’s dream telepathy experiment. bomb threat clears the venue. promoter howard stein tells rolling stone it was harassment to force him out of town. weir suggests, “whoever phoned in that bomb report, thanks a whole hell of a lot, i know you’re out there & i know you got in free.” weird mix, but BIRD SONG makes subtle graduation from solo to jam, 90 seconds, with nice peak before settling back to riff, then disappearing til april. super-fab (1-time only?) lesh/kreutzmann intro to snappy BERTHA before garcia & weir come in. 1st bars make a dope loop. show’s jam highlight is 17-minute 1st set closing GOOD LOVIN’ with no pigpen rap, instead melting into space-blues after the drum break. then, led by lesh, building up through cool jam pockets & landing back in chorus without really making room for pig to do his thing. fun off-mic chatter before 2nd set when a dead freak is talking to the band from the stage.
garcia: are you one of the MORNING DEW crowd from over there?
kreutzmann: how many nights have you been here? you’ve been here 4 nights?
someone shouts (i think) “let phil lesh do a solo!” garcia asks off-mic “what’d that guy say?” lesh oinks & weir drops a zappa reference, “caravan with a drum solo, right?” (lesh: “tear down the wall…”) 2nd ever DEAL, which is fine though doesn’t quite catch fire, maybe already determined not to be one they needed for the proposed live album or they’d’ve played it more? i wonder when they decided that a capitol live album was unfeasible. “have we played TRUCKIN’ tonight yet?” kreutzmann (i think) asks off-mic before 44-minute TRUCKIN’ > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, one final choogle for the dead at the @capitoltheatre.

3/3/71 carousel ballroom: a benefit for local independent radio stations at the fillmore west on a night when bill graham’s not there, listed once last time as the carousel ballroom. poster has wrong year! on HARD TO HANDLE, lesh & weir begin to trace out 4-chord sequence late in the jam that works as counterpoint to garcia’s big solos & becomes a bigger & bigger moment throughout spring. weir’s guitar is pretty out of tune, but PLAYING IN THE BAND is finding its dynamics with garcia’s faux-steel squigglies & lesh’s diving bass. the B3 is so overdriven during BERTHA that it almost sounds like somebody else, but pretty sure it’s still pig. 36-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT with nice organ texture as OTHER ONE jam dissolves but never goes fully drumless, kreutzmann getting quiet & conversational. organ drones appear near end as they build back into song & equally patient WHARF RAT. with a long jam sequence followed by SUGAR MAGNOLIA, more & more bits of “modern” dead appear at seemingly each show. during messy GOOD LOVIN’ encore, there’s someone playing flute (martin fierro?) or maybe harmonica (will scarlett?), but not on mic.

3/5/71 oakland auditorium arena: black panthers’ revolutionary day of solidarity (& huey newton birthday celebtation) at the oakland auditorium arena. the dead met newton on a flight the previous fall. no tapes, but much press. apparently, the dead (& ken kesey & paul krassner) didn’t arrive until after newton spoke, though. a tense time in black panther history, many details in the above link. some eyewitness memories to the dead’s set.

3/13/71 east lansing: the last dead show with no circulating tape & absolutely zero info. 3(!) posters, but (unlike tulsa ’79) no setlist or coverage. dick latvala once said there was a tape in the vault.

3/14/71 madison: at the @UWMadison field house, apparently set up mid-court. unsympathetic vocal mix, can almost feel singers straining over ineffective monitors. except garcia, who just sings more quietly, or maybe he’s listening louder. BERTHA has found its groove, pigpen included. garcia seems to be dropping words/lines, though. 10-minute HARD TO HANDLE is the 1st jam of the night. “bobby’s gonna play his guitar for ya…” pig announces, which he does, but things get cooking (maybe after a tape splice?) when garcia takes over & lesh/weir latch into their new jam pattern. burnin’ GOOD LOVIN’ jams. pig’s raps don’t quite coalesce. he briefly sermonizes on “hate,” making a surprise turn towards eco-consciousness (“ain’t gonna do nothin’ to save our land”) but before he can tell us about the cure, garcia takes over for totally triumphant solo. jamless 40-minute 2nd set. rare standalone WHARF RAT, kinda awkward end. “rock & roll!” someone shouts. “rock & roll, what’s that?” lesh asks before GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, only sort of answering. garcia finds sparkle in UNCLE JOHN’S BAND closer.

3/17/71 st. louis: top-shelf ME & BOBBY McGEE with A+ weir intro, “we’re going to do a song we picked right off the top 40 charts & renamed THRENODY FOR THE VICTIMS OF HAIGHT STREET.” fluffy garcia solo/noodles & backing vocals.

3/18/71 st. louis: garcia still working on getting the BERTHA lyrics in place. 1st electric version of lightnin’ hopkins’s AIN’T IT CRAZY (aka THE RUB), sung by pigpen, played acoustic in ’70 & in ’64 with the jug band. a perfect bounce for the reconstituted warlocks. 35-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, garcia telegraphing THE OTHER ONE from 1st guitar break. the 1st big WHARF RAT, more a jam than a big solo, with the whole band firing together & landing with total grace & no extra chords or clatter. 26-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > CAUTION. melodic bliss before GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD & easy shift into only recorded CAUTION of ’71. a bit downtempo with only 1 drummer, unfolding into moodiness, mini grooves, & noise under pig’s raps. man do i hate guest harmonica players, but pig’s harp on CAUTION totally works, not quite jamming but not exactly trying to solo either. discourse on mojo magick, how you need to slip it under your old lady’s pillow, & wait 24 hours. some label this the last “feedback” segment. personally, i think it’s a bit silly to label those but, if you do, there are other jam segments that might qualify for the name starting a few weeks later. either way, this CAUTION channels primal dead & is good fun.

3/20/71 iowa city: like all the complete shows from this run, sets begin with TRUCKIN’ & CASEY JONES. DEAL seems to be the runt of the new songs, returning for 1st time since the capitol theatre shows a month earlier. super mellow tonight. musical mojo seems in somewhat short order, perhaps related (or not) to an unforgiving vocal situation. CUMBERLAND BLUES gets it on. 40 minutes worth of sometimes bumpy pigpen across set-closing versions of GOOD LOVIN’ & TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. show would go down in local history as the night the People rose up to collectively fold the folding chairs & move them to the back of the venue so they could dance. after SUGAR MAGNOLIA, perhaps-tripping dude crashes mic to try to muster vibes for dude having a bad trip. apparently a request-y crowd, with a caustic “playwhiterabbitgoddammit” from a bandmember just off-mic. “we’re not a jukebox,” garcia says later, giving way to more LOUIE LOUIE jokes/teases. weir tries to appease (i think successfully) with AROUND & AROUND.

3/21/71 milwaukee: despite the source chain, totally enjoyable listen. according to reports, a full-on sunday rock fest replete with frisbee, kids area, & yippies starting bad faith arguments with the promoters. the ox, a local band, plays before the new riders. compact 8-minute HARD TO HANDLE catches a groove. 17-beat intro for BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. 8 minutes worth of NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD soars through pretty space before segue & might end abruptly. like marty weinberg’s LPs, it focuses on material not on albums. if i was a head collecting bootleg LPs in the ‘70s before the taping scene coalesced, i’d be psyched & probably listen to this a ton. funny it’s all that seems to be left.

3/24/71 winterland: another local gig, another benefit. the locally-based sufi mystic choir play first, with the dead (minus pigpen) joining for the last few tunes (no tape, sadly) followed by whirling dervishes. alembic seems to be testing new mics, weir approves. band sounds tight on new songs, especially lesh, bouncing all over. opening GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD is a burner, with subsequent JOHNNY B. GOODE used later that year on “skull & roses,” the only non-NYC recording on the album. after a month, BERTHA has its groove. “we’ve got pigpen here but we forgot to bring an organ,” garcia announces. smokin’ HARD TO HANDLE with short effective pig rap & fire lesh/weir jam. 24-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE rolls hard but not far. surely good midweek dancing.

4/4/71 manhattan center: on easter sunday, the grateful dead begin an overcrowded 3-night “dance marathon” (& 1-month east coast tour) at @ManhattanCenter. ads say it was in the grand ballroom, but pictures are definitely the hammerstein. lit by future dead lighting director candace brightman (late of @capitoltheatre). can pretty much hear the dancing start the moment they kick into opening BERTHA. jacked nyc energy throughout. definitely not the fillmore. the 1st “big” nyc dead show, kinda. thundering mid-set MORNING DEW. final EASY WIND. pig gets lost in the vocals a few times. too bad this went away. the 1-drummer band sounds dope playing the groove. can hear crowd singing along on CASEY JONES, i think. more band in-jokes. another night, another off-mic “playwhiterabbitdammit” (kreutzmann this time). also a new weir thing when testing mics, is this a reference to something? “do you think i have a deep voice? kinda husky?” these shows are remembered most for their overcrowding, but the playing’s pretty hot. mostly just rockin’, but in terms of extended rockin’ there’s a good-not-wild 23-minute GOOD LOVIN’ & 22-minute GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. pretty odd to have GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD start from a cold stop, more effective maybe as a jam module. there’s a weird tape splice, so the extremely smooth segue into ST. STEPHEN works best on audience tape. nice feedback dissolve into UNCLE JOHN’S closer.

4/5/71 manhattan center: frequent requests for people in the back to move further back. audible screams from overcrowding. marmaduke joins to yodel during ME & BOBBY McGEE. nice combo of garcia’s scorching leads & pig’s harmonica on AIN’T IT CRAZY, fab early ‘60s vibe. charged energy nyc throughout. BIG RAILROAD BLUES is the 1st (surviving) version since new year’s & it will go right onto “skull & roses,” out in the fall. clearly a keeper take. garcia destroys the solo, lesh at full flight. 33-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. tape sources change with whoosh during OTHER ONE vocals, very “anthem of the sun.” during space-out, garcia leans into diamond arpeggios similar to the DARK STAR sputnik jam. weir/lesh/kreutzmann crash up & through. during tech difficulties after DEAL, garcia & weir fool around off-mic with merle haggard’s SING ME BACK HOME. “gotta learn it,” garcia remarks but they play it anyway & it’s a pretty stunning debut. by the end, they have an arrangement they’ll play for the next 2 years. 35-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, 1st 2 parts on “skull & roses” but all overflow with bright garcia inventions, pig taking partial back seat. emphatic “do you feel alright? ALLLRIGHT!” end. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

4/6/71 manhattan center: opening BERTHA is so slowed down that it feels like the tape speed is off, but it’s not. on the other hand, the now-rare DIRE WOLF feels a little hopped up, though doesn’t quite click as a dance marathon tune. big warlocks-y fun: rare dead version of OH BOY (b-side to buddy holly’s original 1957 NOT FADE AWAY), started seemingly spontaneously, weir & then jerry do count-offs & they nail it. feel like they must’ve played it before? only post-’66 version of leiber & stoller’s I’M A HOG FOR YOU BABY, sung winningly by pigpen & jerry, immediately followed by the version of PLAYING IN THE BAND used on “skull & roses.” nice! the definitive pre-jam version, i guess? weir makes reference to one of the quasi-legal live dead LPs from 1966 then in stores, “straight from the grooves of ‘vintage dead’ here it is…” introducing 1st MIDNIGHT HOUR of ’71. tight moves. kreutzmann keeps going at end & rest of band smoothly cover for him. big jammage is 23-minute GOOD LOVIN’ with wild garciaing & jam that slooowwwws down while pigpen does call & response culminating in a big “take off your clothes!!!” before snapping back to ending. 21-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TRUCKIN’. nice false ending on TRUCKIN’ with one last boogie go-around. there’s a long way to go, but the dance marathon shows seem like a 1st peak for the new model warlocks.

4/7/71 boston music hall: only 1 dead set tonight. going by a newspaper account, the tape is missing the opening TRUCKIN’ & maybe an hour or so more. when tape cuts in, weir is changing a string & lesh proposes a toast “to cosmic orgasm.” ned lagin plays wurlitzer electric piano throughout, sounding much better than february’s clavichord experiment, but both that & pigpen’s B3 are absent from the tape mix, which is a bummer. can hear ghosts during LOSER outro, BOBBY McGEE intro, & elsewhere. cool combo. band heats up with beautifully cresting 10-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. 27-minute ST. STEPHEN > DRUMZ > JAM // NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > JOHNNY B. GOODE. audible ned twinkles during ST. STEPHEN’s “ladyfingers” bridge. forceful drum break, i think with bob (or betty!) adding occasional efx. night’s heppest improv is 2 minutes of detailed dialogue with active electric piano, savagely cut by tape flip, maybe missing a lot en route into NOT FADE AWAY, or maybe only a little.

4/8/71 boston music hall: for once, an abnormally loud weir guitar mix. though still hard to hear, ned lagin’s aggressive electric piano is way more audible than the previous evening, trading lines with garcia during the opening TRUCKIN’. odd feature of this tape is occasional roadie commentary between songs (precarious??), maybe from open stage mic and/or headphone line, talking about pretty mundane stuff. especially audible after BERTHA & before CASEY JONES. manifestation of the psychedelic chaos, perhaps. suggested onstage by lesh, garcia debuts his version of smokey robinson & al cleveland’s I SECOND THAT EMOTION, fun guitar part worked out with weir. played with the dead throughout april ’71 only. partly the mix, but psychedelic fog seems to abound. 38-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. the 1st DARK STAR since mickey hart’s departure, the last of 4 during the 6-month period during which they only played the song when ned lagin guested. a new DARK STAR is born. subtle but dramatic structural rearrangement with pigpen playing hart’s old guiro part & kreutzmann starting quietly on full drum kit, sending the band right into the deep end. it both flattens the arc & makes it more unpredictable. the mix is weird but 15-minute DARK STAR is epic, with dense melodious jams. weir & lesh are louder than garcia & lagin’s wurtlitzer occasionally twinkles during super-quiet moments. weir takes some leads in NOT FADE AWAY & gets into sweet weave with garcia, lesh, & lagin. hard to say exactly what’s happening & there aren’t any reviews of the show, but based on lesh’s stage announcement & tape cut, it seems like there’s another setbreak after the DARK STAR sequence. were any of you there? 40-minute 3rd set opens with SING ME BACK HOME & closes with an 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’. pig’s rap doesn’t achieve coherence but more blown-out weaving leads by weir & garcia & lesh, lagin even more buried here.

4/10/71 lancaster: a strange mix with instruments changing levels & some blown-out guitars makes the tape a little sickly & hard to appreciate, the band sometimes sounding more off than they probably were. weir watch: “this number’s for all you 12 fans. anybody who gets off on the number 12, well, get off on this one.” kreutzmann’s on top of it & begins a 12-beat intro to BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. both of the night’s big jams are pigpen tunes. 26-minute GOOD LOVIN’ is good boogie but doesn’t grab me. 13-minute MIDNIGHT HOUR, with gentle garcia/lesh/weir jams floating.

4/12/71 pittsburgh: fresh from their 2 big breakthrough albums, both released in the previous 9 months, the dead play a grand total of 3 songs from “workingman’s dead” & “american beauty,” a pretty normal ratio by now. another blown-out mix, the vocals & garcia’s guitar especially overfuzzed. super-loud bass, though, which pushes new tunes like BERTHA & PLAYING IN THE BAND into joyous overdrive. also a nice mix for hearing pigpen’s percussion parts. 31-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT is the big showcase jam, the between-verse OTHER ONE improv is casual but dynamic, kreutzmann taking a more conversational role. WHARF RAT is powerful but still not quite dramatic yet. arguably the simplest of the new tunes, DEAL is having the hardest time finding choogle. economy model 23-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. fast-speeding LOVELIGHT pocket with big bass. nice jer backing vocals.

4/13/71 scranton: garcia is deep inside the LOSER solo, maybe the first of the new songs to gel. BERTHA is a potent example of lesh finding more space to move around in the 1-drummer lineup. 30-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > GOOD LOVIN’. with the drum break out of the way, the GOOD LOVIN’ jam dives right in, getting moody & bass heavy with a nice DARKNESS DARKNESS theme. pig offers political rants (“kick out them politic bullshit”), not much policy. #

4/14/71 lewisburg: tour manager sam cutler introduces the band’s “penultimate pennsylvania performance.” feels a bit ramshackle at times, a combo of the mix & songs the band is still working out. a slow clunky DEAL, the unjammed PLAYING IN THE BAND. some very early ’70s stage banter as tour manager sam cutler takes to the mic to request darker gels in the stage lighting. 9-minute BIRD SONG is 1st since the port chester debut(s) in february, a 1-night-only arrangement (i think) with weir now cycling through the familiar riff (ala CHINA CAT) & garcia garciaing, but feels listless (& out of tune) until outro jam, when all suddenly works. increasingly rare OTHER ONE suite, 34-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. post-verse OTHER ONE jam blooms into a brief DARK STAR-like arpeggio nebula & a few new tricks in alt-consensus gravity.

4/15/71 meadville: another night, another college gym in pennsylvania. short on jams, long on boogie, 4 new songs vs. 3 songs from 2 big albums from the previous year. DEAL still feels a little slow-motion, but maybe the 1st where they find some fire. garcia still looking for his faux-steel licks on PLAYING IN THE BAND.
muppet news flash –
lesh: we were supposed to tell you that the DA is here tonight & if anybody out there is doing anything illegal, you know what to do.
weir: he’s easy to see, he’s a guy dressed in a gorilla suit.
garcia: he’s one of you guys, it’s not one of us.
the night’s improv highlight is 21-minute GOOD LOVIN’, band surfing a fine propulsion out of the drum break, with pigpen’s raps feeling very much on the same wavelength; “make you feel so fine / you just can’t count time.”

4/17/71 princeton: big TRUCKIN’ energy right from the start, band & crowd sounding equally lit, carrying right into BIG RAILROAD BLUES & beyond, extra-sharpened for the ivy leaguers. hot HARD TO HANDLE, articulating the bass jam. BIRD SONG arrangement changes again. weir keeps cycling the riff, but lays back during vocals. once again, garcia’s leads are tentative at 1st, catching some air during the final solo. seems authentic, but not a bad metaphor. but it’s really the pigpen show, including legendary set-opening 27-minute GOOD LOVIN’. ripping, glowing major key jam with pig in maximum flow, a tale of little pimpin’ about a booty as big as the brooklyn bridge (which pigpen sells), band in tight formation behind him. by contrast, show-closing 25-minute GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT has bright jams & some of the era’s more wholesome rock concert matchmaking, pig seemingly connects 2 couples, has them hug it out; defers to his own gf back west.

4/18/71 cortland: another over-crushed night in a college gym, with minimal jamming & maximum boogie. always-joyous CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER has the nu-warlocks locked tight, give or take a vocal collision & giggles during the landing. another night, another battle with local lighting techs about keeping the spotlights down. when vibes get settled, pigpen adds at his most menacing, “mr. electrician man, if you mess with the lights, we’re gonna hog-tie you & throw your ass out of this place.” 1st tour where band really commits to setbreaks, seemingly taking the room’s temperature, then pausing to get their heads together. “we don’t have much time here, unfortunately,” jerry apologizes. so why take a break? heads know. some chaos during LOSER, with a kinda threatened-sounding lesh just off-mic, addressing “kid,” which could either mean a stage-crasher or the band’s roadie kidd, about to disembowel a stage-crashing kid. the dead’s version of SECOND THAT EMOTION, joyous as always, is prototype for the whole jerry garcia band. during GOOD LOVIN’, pigpen repeats set-up from the previous night’s brooklyn bridge rap (as band hits similar beats), but bails without a punchline.

4/21/71 providence: audience shouting match early in the show, sitters vs. standers. weir: “stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down — same old story, man. you guys work it out!” argument still going when band starts LOSER (& probably still going now). increasingly rare 1st set suite, 34-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. OTHER ONE starts at full zap, with bright zags & which-song-is-this moments before/after 1st verse. 2nd jam splits open & melts, band seems to give up before weir/lesh reel them back. a few times during THE OTHER ONE (& BIRD SONG & elsewhere), can hear pigpen playing B3 at full tilt. probably plenty loud onstage, but virtually inaudible on the tape. lesh/weir/garcia refining their power chiming dynamics on WHARF RAT. 8-minute BIRD SONG has 2 short lilting jams, 1st led by lesh’s bass as garcia winds about, the outro begun with wordless cry by garcia as they flutter up. 15-minute economy version of GOOD LOVIN’, no drum break, more little pimpin’.

4/22/71 bangor: 1st show in maine, now serious dead country. new riders’ set is only on a bumpy & sometimes warbly audience tape, which occasionally makes garcia’s pedal steel sound like a hammond running through a rotating leslie set-up. kind of lovely as glitches go. the tape mixes, new songs, & 5-sort-of-4-piece band are getting tighter as the tour winds onwards. PLAYING IN THE BAND especially punchy. the primal GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD gets a 1-night BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE pairing, kinda fun, though sort of a gearshift. maybe the 1st stunner version of SING ME BACK HOME. quiet, thoughtful garcia vocals & slightly ragged harmonies that are still blended so effectively that i can’t tell if lesh is adding a high part. i think he is? quality stage announcements. weir tries to describe & return a set of lost car keys; the person who takes them realizes they’re not theirs & passes them back. garcia as ride board: “also, there’s a guy somewhere in this building that needs a ride to boston.” thanks, jer. a real motherfucker of a GOOD LOVIN’ jam, lesh steering the band out with a variation on the descending FEELIN’ GROOVY bassline, turning minor & dark before pigpen starts his spiel & band digs in deeper with shapeshifting groove.

4/24/71 durham: 1st show in north carolina & 1st outdoor gig since previous summer’s festival express. new riders & the dead followed by butterfield blues band, mountain & the beach boys. thrilling HARD TO HANDLE jam after pigpen leaves, veering further & further from the tune like a primal VIOLA LEE BLUES, lesh & weir locking gradually into their boss chord pattern. after ME & BOBBY McGEE, a giggling weir takes on a heckler. “ah, fuck you, man… we’re gonna play something 3 more times reaaaal slow & out of tune.” think he’s intentionally hitting clankers during the intro to the subsequent BERTHA. garcia’s playing a random guild S100 at this show, never seen again, at least in shows that were photographed. in this shot, marmaduke from the new riders is playing percussion behind kreutzmann, seemingly with his own microphone. maybe this happened more often than is apparent from the tapes? “enjoy the last few minutes of sunshine before it sets behind yonder wall,” garcia suggests before set break. the 1st instance of them playing 2 sets when there are still other acts scheduled to play after them? really committed to the bit! during GOOD LOVIN’ drum break, woman uses mic to page her brother. apparently it’s the same woman who crashes SING BE BACK HOME to ask “can’t you all see how beautiful this is??” jerry doesn’t miss a word. she showed up in @InstituteJerry’s comments. at least according to one story, garcia stuck around to see the beach boys. they’d just signed with bill graham’s management agency, probably a big reason why they turned up onstage with the dead a few days later.

4/25/71 fillmore east: the dead (& the new riders) open their final shows at the fillmore east. bill graham will announce the closure at the end of the 5 nights. buncha tunes on the crucial “ladies & gentlemen…” set, too. the boogified dead. HARD TO HANDLE digs in (yet again) with the great weir/lesh middle jam. after a few attempts at the electric FRIEND OF THE DEVIL in the fall, the only version of ’71. bit jerky but fun to listen to kreutzmann. a few sweet off-mic moments of kreutzmann fucking with pigpen. garcia cheerfully announces the set break news-for-the-hard-of-hearing style: “we’re going to take a short break (short! break!) & we’ll be back later!” jerry also notes, “mickey isn’t with us, but grandma is.” mickey’s maternal grandparents, ethel & sam kessel, were regulars at fillmore east shows & apparently local rock heads. testy garcia: “dawk staw, dawk staw, where were all you ‘dawk staw’ people 2 years ago when we were playing it all the time?” (unintelligible reply.) “too bad, man! too bad!” off-mic: “9! 9! 9!” (or “nein! nein! nein!”?) before a 9-beat intro to BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. testy lesh, less charming: “alright wiseguys, write your requests on your girlfriends’ bosoms & send them up here & we’ll check ‘em out carefully before honoring them. we have quality control back here.” somebody off-mic: “yeah, pigpen.” the big jam is 23-minute GOOD LOVIN’ with pigpen again trying to kickstart the little pimpin’ theme, but band soars around him, up into bright architectures then down into chiming nearly drumless space, almost to no return, until kreutzmann reels them back. vague disconnected memory of a SPANISH JAM, from which kreutzmann tries to segue, but that doesn’t quite happen before 15-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, coming close to MOUNTAIN JAM during segue.

4/26/71 fillmore east: startlingly pro set by the new riders, still the new norm. dead set cuts in on BIG BOSS MAN, the version used on “skull & roses.” MAMA TRIED is from this night too. another extra-fierce HARD TO HANDLE. in 1st set, 20-minute DARK STAR > WHARF RAT, 1st without ned lagin since 10/70 & 1st real quartet version. with hart gone, jam goes freeform, tone poeming & sidetracking as kreutzmann lingers between percussion & kit, only hitting 1 verse before dissolving into WHARF RAT. canonical “skull & roses” version of WHARF RAT, minus the organ & piano overdubs & with some extra tape warpage here. even so, after 2 months, garcia clearly has a handle on the tune. also the keeper MAMA TRIED. duane allman (in town for a gig the next night in island park) arrives for 2nd set, his last time with the dead. could be louder, but a joy to hear him skipping across SUGAR MAGNOLIA & playing slide on HURTS ME TOO & BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. wish he’d stayed out longer. like, really, where else did duane have to be on a monday night in nyc? even without him, infinitely propulsive 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’, aching SING ME BACK HOME, & NOT FADE AWAY/GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD.

4/27/71 fillmore east: the album version of BERTHA, casually grooving & fun, weir’s rhythm guitar clicking fully with garcia’s. except for weir (or phil?) coughing (?) right before the last chorus, it all sounds great, even pigpen’s B3, replaced later by merl saunders. also the “skull & roses” take of ME & BOBBY McGEE, such a perfect fit for the austere 1-drummer dead. vocals & tuning are iffy (forever thus), but the 1st great BIRD SONG where band tightens the structure & the jam coheres into weaving conversation & makes surprises. and then out come the beach boys. there are no pictures, sadly, but oh there is most definitely tape. they’d just signed with bill graham’s millard agency, probably how the collaboration ended up happening. i say this as a pretty enormous beach boys fan: if i’d been at this show & consumed anything stronger than weed, i would’ve been in helpless laughter for the beach boys’ whole 42 minutes onstage. even as i can hear every moment, it’s somehow total cartoon & doesn’t seem real. the beach boys do a few tunes with the dead, a few by themselves, a few more with the dead. between songs, the energy level is off-the-charts awkward. i think it’s carl wilson, m*** l***, al jardine, & bruce johnston, plus touring drummer mike kowalski. the music is better than i remembered. pigpen leads SEARCHIN’ one last time with beach boys vocals (might be nice on the multi-track?). l*** does a screaming moog part on RIOT IN CELL BLOCK #9. kinda wish they’d sung the recently recorded STUDENT DEMONSTRATION TIME lyrics. amusingly, the beach boys seem take just as long between tunes as the dead do, except they awkwardly keep introducing the upcoming songs long before anybody’s ready to play them. some jeering, but no real boos. of the BBs’ “solo” tunes, GOOD VIBRATIONS gets appreciative cheer & I GET AROUND hits pretty hard, too, but a major missed opportunity when nobody introduces I GET AROUND as being a song about “a real cool head.” the best dead/beach boys jam, a standalone classic performance that makes it all worth it, is merle haggard’s OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE, just breathtakingly well-picked in terms of sensibility & vibe. garcia bakersfields his heart out, adding big raised eyebrows over m*** l***. true story: bob dylan is there & supposedly set to join for encore when his name is prematurely flashed on light show screen & he bails. reported in rolling stone.

4/28/71 fillmore east: during the new riders’ set, a really convincing (& semi-complete) 1-minute version of FUN FUN FUN, in reference to the beach boys’ appearance the previous night, marmaduke cutting it off as pedal steel solo starts. wish they’d kept going with this! many of the night’s highlights are on the wonderful “ladies & gentlemen…” set, including a graceful BIRD SONG that catches & floats on gentle currents, kreutzmann rolling on the toms, staying off the snare, garcia connecting with the vocal. no ’71 jam shortage tonight. 29-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, drum break & OTHER ONE extracted for “skull & roses.” picturesque pre-verse scene & expansive 1-drummer jamming, big flow packed with little inventions. tom constanten visits for the only time after his early 1970 departure, 34-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. legend is pigpen was dosed, but probably it’s just that TC was living NYC & had night off from “tarot.” during post-verse DARK STAR space, kretuzmann keeps free swingin’ on hi-hat/cymbal & eventually a darting jam coalesces around it with thundering bass peak, TC sounding a little more natural than when actually in the dead, contributing color & light conversation. also the last proper DARK STAR/ST. STEPHEN, at least on tape. weir & garcia tentative on last verse but lean into “been here so long, got to calling it home” to big cheers, now knowing (though crowd doesn’t) these are the band’s last fillmore east shows.

50 years ago tonight,
much is on “ladies & gentlemen…”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KffwyECiNkA&list=PLzptvlG1JiNDE39pXjpMx0qjlUTAWXfLH
ace new riders: https://archive.org/details/nrps1971-04-29.shnf
dead: https://archive.org/details/gd1971-04-29.sbd.miller.105926.flac16 [1/8]

[2/8]

4/29/71 fillmore east: the grateful dead’s last show at the fillmore east. earlier in the day, bill graham announced the closing of the fillmores. the end of a month-long tour & 5 nights at the fillmore. bill graham says that, if they get a permit, the dead will be playing central park on june 14th. not to be sadly. after a month on the road & 4 previous nights at the fillmore east, tight & bouncing for classic final show. ME & MY UNCLE makes the cut for “skull & roses.” after finding BIRD SONG’s sweetness on night 3, they lean in & play it the next 2 shows, tonight with lovely darting bass, if not quite as dramatic. after tonight, DARK HOLLOW disappears until ’78 & RIPPLE until ’80. during RIPPLE, eileen law & other members of the dead’s office sing on the wordless outro, offstage but on mic, audible a bit on “ladies & gentlemen…” fantastic HARD TO HANDLE (with weir’s descending middle jam). MORNING DEW has stunning quiet garcia/weir/lesh weave building into final peak, played exclusively at at album-recording shows in early ’71. 30-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > JAM > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > COLD RAIN & SNOW. last ever ALLIGATOR goes out righteously. post-DRUMZ jam(s) hover at the magical edge of choogle & openness/outness, a mood allowing for big ST. STEPHEN tease & natural segues. after a proper bill graham rap/harangue before the encore, final pigpen MIDNIGHT HOUR (with solid pigisms & twinkling garcia reprise) & equally proper BID YOU GOODNIGHT with the ominous lines about eating all the children. g’bye to the village theater.

5/29/71 winterland: a notoriously dosed saturday. previous night postponed ’til sunday cuz garcia was sick. he sits out the new riders. 1st version of THE PROMISED LAND, only one of weir’s chuck berry covers that i care for at all, mostly just ‘cause it’s such a perfect & unassailable song, but also kinda won by weir’s exuberance. 39-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. maybe the 1st TRUCKIN’ where the monster outro peaks are starting to become apparent, fully sketched out over next few years & codified into the jam by ’73. since the last version in april, used on “skull & roses,” OTHER ONE has already found another dimension. purposeful disassembly before 1st verse & surprising groove suspensions throughout. weir garbles lyrics & sounds like “spider in my mind,” which is kinda more badass. crowd chants for ST. STEPHEN.
off-mic, garcia: who’s gonna tell ‘em “no”?
lesh: let’s all yell, 1, 2, 3…
garcia/lesh/weir: NO!!!
the acid-spiked drinks get national coverage via wire services & bill graham almost loses his permit to put on shows in san francisco & definitely loses his shit.

5/30/71 winterland: could be accidental, but i think the 1st set is the 1st time garcia, weir, & pig take even turns picking songs. it will rarely cycle this cleanly, but many sets find a similar balance over the summer. hard to say what’s happening due to terrible tape quality, but it sounds like the GOOD LOVIN’ jam falls into blackhole, like tape is slowing down without changing pitch. drums disappear & music oozes into beautiful weirdness. after a (brief?) cut, they recombobulate. a “playwhiterabbitgoddammit” kinda night. says weir, “we’ll start playing up here as soon as you stop barking order at us.” big night for choogle with 25-minute TRUCKIN’ > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, TRUCKIN’ jam getting more assertive every show. salty LOVELIGHT pigologue about snacking with extended matchmaking by pig & weir, not terribly interesting on tape. another quiet milestone, as noted by a local head: “’twas the last time I was in Winterland when you could walk down in front with no troublin’ o’ th’ waters.”

6/4/71 new monk: possibly the jerry garcia & merl saunders club gig in berkeley where the 4 other dead members apparently showed up spontaneously & played a set. the dead definitely played the new monk at least once, reported by reliable witness charles reich in “signpost to new space.” according to another witness, the dead played THE NIGHT THEY DROVE OL’ DIXIE DOWN, then a regular part of garcia’s side repertoire. it’s possible the dead played at new monk in march ’72, as well. still another witness to one of these says the show attended was recorded by jorge santana, late brother of @SantanaCarlos (who was also there), apparently a taper. whether or not the dead played, it was garcia’s 1st weekend at the new monk, which became keystone berkeley the following year, where garcia played 200+ times over the next 13 years.

6/21/71 herouville: after gig at le festival d’auvers sur oise outside paris is rained out, they play for local villagers & film crew at the so-called “honky chateau.” playing for a group of farmers, firemen (in uniform, apparently), & other locals, as well as a heated swimming pool, with local teens pushing each other in during the show. lots of fun over 2 sets & cute broken french banter. though pigpen does another HARD TO HANDLE with devastating jam, he’s apparently a bit out of sorts & doesn’t do either of his big closers. he’s also playing some kind of electric piano, which is a different sound, almost no sustain. new-fashioned 25-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. short by recent standards, a new delight each time kreutzmann dissolves the OTHER ONE groove, everyone there & melting in/out a few times before & after verse. pig gets a little jazzy. the show is also the debut of courtenay pollack’s tie-dye speaker system. after the dead, bill ham’s light sound dimension performs, a light show that also has a band featuring drummer jerry granelli. while the dead were hanging in herouville, there was much jamming occurring in the recording chateau’s, including an early version of SUGAREE & a jam with members of magma.

7/2/71 fillmore west: last gig at the fillmore west, closed a few days later, once the carousel ballrom, the band-run DIY venue. broadcast on local radio. garcia (on pedal steel), kreutzmann, lesh, grisman, & maybe marmaduke accompany rowan brothers (minus peter), crossing into ultra-cheerful christian-folk. very not my thing, but also not harmonizing well tonight. the new riders truck righteously. weir announces bill graham, “and now here he is, folks, the protagonist…” lots of fun footage of the dead & graham in the “last days at the fillmore west” documentary, including soundcheck jams. fun watching, though soundtrack is kinda meh. the last san francisco dead show by the original 5-man lineup. final version of AIN’T IT CRAZY, lightnin’ hopkins tune sung by pigpen on/off back to jug band era. archetypal GOOD LOVIN’, nearly. no drum break, solid garcia/lesh jams, fun pigpen spiels. 24-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE. nice post-verse freak-out, a fun garcia/kreutzmann storm, re-coagulating dramatically. after the ending tag, a 1-minute epilogue that lands the song gracefully. people in crowd (or maybe one person) seem to be insistently shouting for CASEY JONES & JOHNNY B. GOODE, which both get played. “here’s the one it’s all about,” garcia says before the latter. this one rips.

7/31/71 yale bowl: tape begins with a simultaneously level-headed & discombobulated intro by late taper marty weinberg, who i became friends with when writing “heads” & it’s bittersweet to hear him here. i was looking forward to more hangs. after TRUCKIN’ opener, debuts of SUGAREE, & MR. CHARLIE, both tight template boogies & varying tempos/moods, 1st songs written for the 1-drummer dead. just recorded for garcia’s solo debut, SUGAREE will become his bar band groove standard. “that was okay,” marty shrugs after MR. CHARLIE, music by pigpen, words by hunter, still missing “i can the drums…” verse. it kicks off hot pigpen summer, also including a great HARD TO HANDLE later in the show, with a slightly subtle version of the cool weir/lesh jam. also the debut of phil lesh’s new hot-rodded guild starfire bass, known as big brown or the godfather, tricked out by alembic, giving lesh the warm ’n’ punchy bass sound that helped define the era’s sound. one of only a few gigs with garcia playing a les paul jr, too. this show also marks the 1st appearance that i can find of the dead’s steal your face logo on any piece of clothing, only a few days before the dead performed for owsley in prison & i wonder if there’s a connection? “what happened to mickey hart??” marty shouts in his light nyc accent. later, on the soundboard, somebody else (i think) shouts from the front. “he’s on safari in africa,” weir replies off-mic. 23-minute DARK STAR is 1st since april & 2nd of only 2 by the “quartet” ’71 lineup. 10 minutes before 1st vocals, which garcia tries to move to 3-4 times but band keeps diverting. kreutzmann on shaker & free cymbals, finally moving to full drums for pre-verse bliss-out. after DARK STAR verse it’s back down to silence & the jam resets through a big bass cloud & a series of deliciously bright themes/jams. he doesn’t get a credit on the packaging, but marty weinberg’s tape is used to patch over a reel-flip & sounds pretty good. after clean DARK STAR landing lesh calls for WHARF RAT but garcia overrides, counting off into BIRD SONG, the 1st version with the opening chord crash from the studio take, recorded a few weeks earlier. looks cooler as a segue but profoundly isn’t. apparently, the grateful dead’s yale bowl show in july ’71, 50 years ago tonight, was the site of the 1st ever glowstick war. (cc: phishheads) in NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme is followed prophetically by the youngbloods’ DARKNESS DARKNESS before resolving. during encore, tear gas clouds rise over stadium’s rim. there’s a riot goin’ on.

8/4/71 san pedro: the grateful dead perform in the library at the terminal island correctional facility in san pedro, where LSD engineer & sound chemist owsley stanley is incarcerated. though bear doesn’t get to run sound, prison officials let him help set up the equipment & the roadies apparently smuggle in some supplies to share. would love to hear some prisoners’ accounts. garcia: “a lotta time we play concerts, we got people breaking in…” about half of the songs are new to the dead since bear’s last show almost exactly a year earlier, including set-opening TRUCKIN’, referencing the bust that revoked his bail. a situation where weir & pigpen’s familiar covers were probably appreciated regardless of how they stand next to the originals, including HARD TO HANDLE, MAMA TRIED, NOT FADE AWAY, & TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT among others. not much open jamming, but deep pockets in HARD TO HANDLE, NOT FADE AWAY (especially), & LOVELIGHT, all with a whole lotta lesh & his new bass. garcia & co. make a few cool turns in LOVELIGHT, but pig’s a little disconnected.

8/5/71 hollywood palladium: with the new riders of the purple sage & the rowan brothers. during new riders’ set, 1st of 2 performances of JULIE, only played at these hollywood shows & abandoned. love the playful chorus, maybe regrettable lyrics otherwise. a (presumably) very very high woman introduces the dead with some awkward energy & many giggles. “you need something & i think that maybe possibly it’s gonna come right now. i’d like to introduce…” (almost no enthusiasm) ”…the grateful dead.” after a few weeks of weir introducing pigpen as “the dog-suckingest man in show business,” pig’s revenge before EL PASO: “and now ladies & gentlemen, the prettiest & most compassionate drawing[?] man in showbiz, mr. candy weir.” meaty 29-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, getting wonderfully dense right out of the gate, thick bass, chunky rhythm guitar, dips, detours. lesh leads post-verse charge into alien dialogues. titanic & confident WHARF RAT. TRUCKIN’ thunders towards satisfying peak but they still haven’t figured out the big chord/detonation, though they’ve worked out some of the descent & weir’s figured out the outro screams. really good 9-minute BIRD SONG, propulsive feel with fast-fluttering 1st solo & more jam-like conversational coda. 15-minute GOOD LOVIN’ where pigpen doesn’t quite gel but band (& especially lesh) build solid head of steam.

8/6/71 hollywood palladium: taper tip from weir, “you down there with the microphone, if you want to get a decent recording, you got to move back about 40 feet.” a few moments later someone says “right here” as new taper arrives in kaslow & todd’s sweet spot. band pulls out a few rare songs. 1st BROKEDOWN PALACE since february, a little ragged but gets there. primal dead staples ST. STEPHEN & MORNING DEW appear, lately only getting played at big city gigs. celebrated HARD TO HANDLE, a potent specimen of the ’71 version with a weir solo giving way to garcia & the year’s usual thundering weir/lesh descending jam, garcia finding nice twists in peak & getting huge cheers. 28-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE, weir signaling & bringing jam up out of space zones into chaos & great segue into ME & MY UNCLE. the exit segue kinda kersplats, though, dropping off a cliff & back into drumless space. ME & MY UNCLE was played inside THE OTHER ONE a few times in ’70, but after this version it becomes a common jam move for the rest of ’71 & into ’72. during reprise segue, weir toodles on WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE before graceful build back. lots of bass in MORNING DEW & 26-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, both rapturous. LOVELIGHT tilts towards dense & varied jam, though solid crowdwork & big pigpen shrieks, including one that overblows the ending & drives one more big reprise. the dead’s 8/6/71 palladium show was teeming with tapers & bootleggers. lots of underground LPs for sale outside & tapes of the show become a legendary bootleg.

8/7/71 san diego: a tape given to keith godchaux when he joined the band a month later so he could learn the repertoire (& probably never listened to), rediscovered decades later, now “dick’s picks 35.” the dead get an introduction? the same woman/women who introduced the dead at the palladium? some good shots capturing the new @courtenaytiedye amp set-up. fairly standard issue ’71 dead. no extended improv, just digging in as a quintet, finding bounce on the new MR. CHARLIE & SUGAREE. weir watch: gives more of an off-mic “hey-uh!” than a “w00!!” at the end of PROMISED LAND, but getting closer. another mind-flaying HARD TO HANDLE with band hitting weave & lesh thrashing chords as he leans into jam’s ’71 sub-changes & hitting a melodious peak with garcia. cool garcia fills under the last chorus. short night ends with 21-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > JOHNNY B. GOODE, with a spacious (but relatively content free) mini-foray after the BID YOU GOODNIGHT instrumental coda, i think because weir is replacing a broken string.

8/14/71 berkeley community theater: final new riders version of buck owens’ HELLO TROUBLE, probably silly-sounding to actual c&w heads, but one of my fave new riders covers. extra-present lesh in the mix, presumably thanks to his new bass, really playing up front co-leads in SUGAREE & BROKEDOWN PALACE. the latter has an especially sweet vocal blend, now back in the rotation. ned lagin makes his west coast debut at the beginning of 2nd set during jam segment of 24-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE. after verse, jam disassembles & builds up through bright themes with joyous garcia/lesh leads, a quite similar mode to the so-called beautiful jam from february. ned’s not really audible, but he sticks around for ME & BOBBY McGEE & some other tunes. wish there was an audience tape. before encore, bill graham brings out @thedavidcrosby, presents cake, & crowd sings happy birthday. happy birthday, croz!

8/15/71 berkeley community theater: the last bay area gig by the original 5-man lineup of the grateful dead, at the berkeley community theater, with another 2nd set appearance by ned lagin.  after someone in the crowd screams for it, band plays opening roll of WHITE RABBIT before devolving into more playwhiterabbitgoddamnit jokes, but this time weir offers the origin story of dude shouting for it drunkenly in new orleans. ned lagin once again takes over on B3 for big 2nd set jam, similar to the previous night, 41-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. ned’s contributions are occasionally audible on headphones during quiet passages. driven by lesh’s new mega-bass, THE OTHER ONE breaks into pretty abstraction & swinging new pocket before 1st verse, then folds with grace into grooveless weirdness before a dancing recombobulation into ME & MY UNCLE, moving back into space with more ease than 1st night. 16-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT is last by original warlocks lineup. the piggin’ is solid, but stellar locked-in jams by the rest of the band, stinging guitar & cool turns. relentless bass under pig & weir’s extended final scream-off.

8/21/71 mickey’s ranch: a super-megajam at @mickeyhart’s ranch in novato with nearly all of the dead, @thedavidcrosby, ned lagin, john cipollina, @jormakaukonen, @jackcasady, & many more. known as “a day in the country,” the new riders & shanti were seemingly shot for KQED but unaired. some recall FM broadcast, but no evidence. a bit of the new riders turned up, with @thedavidcrosby cameo. a deeply eagle-eyed viewer noticed a bit of the shanti performance from 8/21/71, preserved on early VHS, in an impressively prescient 1973 news report about early “video rock ’n’ roll.”  missing from the soundboard: a 2-chord mega-jam on FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN prototype, twisting, going nova, & setting tone for 2 hours of charged, good energy jams that generally stay interesting. hart’s 1st known session since starting his furlough in february. ned lagin’s memories of the day in the country, via NedBase. ned is also the source for the clean soundboard recording from his personal stash. thanks, ned! soundboard opens with a 33-minute THE OTHER ONE JAM > THE WALL SONG. OTHER ONE is only a brief prelude, but missing from the audience tape. from the start (& throughout), lagin is playing assertive & conversational co-leads on piano. THE WALL SONG is much more interesting on the soundboard, mellow & rolling. i think david freiberg joins on B3 as it gets going. drums drop out after vocals, maybe tagging in a new drummer? after THE WALL SONG, garcia excuses himself, “i gotta go play,” & heads off for his 3rd & (maybe 4th) sets of the day, playing with the new riders of the purple sage in cotati. thematic jams continue with cipollina & kaukonen & lagin & co. much like a night at the matrix, it’s hard to tell who’s playing & things eventually land in somewhat generic blues. amused to see that ned & phil’s tape also uses the “blooz” spelling. is that a horn player? electric jug? the last hartbeats show, kinda.

8/23/71 chicago: hard to overstate how much more 3-dimensional SUGAREE becomes with lesh’s new punched-up bass tone & how important the garcia/lesh/weir weave is to this song. last BIRD SONG until 7/72, pigpen’s haunting B3 already at full ghost. some good lesh banter: “well, if we got it all as loud we’d liked, we’d all be deaf.” … “what do you want us to tell you? that you can dance? OKAY, YOU CAN GET UP & DANCE. TELL ‘EM PHIL SAID IT WAS OKAY.”
weir: it’s a long show, you might just relax for a while.
garcia: there’s something’s to be said for sittin’ down, too…
garcia: sometimes you can stand up & sometimes you can sit down.
lesh: if your butt hurts, you can stand up for a while.
garcia: if your feet hurt, you can sit down for a while.
lesh: and if your head hurts, forget it.
weir: get a new one.
44-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > WHARF RAT, the 1st complete THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONCE since january. with lesh’s new bass, THE OTHER ONE is getting faster & rounder all the time, here a delightedly freaked kreutzmann-driven swing through the 4th dimension with a great peak that just about glides into ME & MY UNCLE. still working on their exit strategy.

8/24/71 chicago: a recording that only surfaced in 2005, as part of keith godchaux’s stash, given to him in order to learn the new songs, released as “dick’s picks 35.” “we’re gonna play this year’s music this year, gang,” says jerry, in response to requests, though lesh’s new bass is especially great on CUMBERLAND BLUES & UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, like the “american beauty” bass sound translated live. 1st of only 2 version of pigpen’s EMPTY PAGES, spare & soulful & allmans-y. bluesy, but not too generically so. not an ideal vocal performance, but great to have, & especially foreboding given the health crisis we now see looming in a few weeks. debut of BROWN-EYED WOMEN, played faster & with a more straight-ahead groove (& strident bass) than it’d acquire, & a few different words. a subtly different country-soul mode for garcia/hunter, leaning more on the soul. tape is incomplete, but no real jamming besides a 21-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, part of the original ST. STEPHEN’S last stand.

8/26/71 gaelic park: outside gaelic park, many bootleg LPs! sam cutler confiscates a bunch from yippie-affiliated heads & spurs an article in the east village other. marty weinberg sells his white labels without hassle. i wrote about it, mostly trimmed from “heads.” final show by the original 5-man grateful dead/warlocks quintet before pigpen is derailed by health issues. rescheduled from 7/30. at the final show before pigpen’s sick leave, the 1st set finally reaches an exact balance of songs led by garcia, weir, & pig. really impassioned SUGAREE vocal by garcia, especially poppin’ on marty’s audience tape. final pigpen version of HARD TO HANDLE, revived with etta james in ’82, & one more turn through the crushingly cool lesh/weir jam that always feels like a perfect left turn, resurfaced once in ’81 & maybe other times. 2nd & last version of pig’s spare, soulful EMPTY PAGES. relatively brief GOOD LOVIN’, mostly jams, only a little pigpen rappin’. some witnesses say pig was mostly offstage for 2nd set, minus NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME. another says there was an untaped LOVELIGHT encore, but feels unlikely based on memories & multiple surviving tapes. lesh asks people on nearby roof to wave if they can hear him. i think they do. boppin’ 10-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is prime example of lesh’s bright & absurdist lead bass. garcia pops string & weir takes RIDER’s “northbound train” verse. in addition to pigpen’s last show, the last jams by the “quartet” dead of garcia/kreutzmann/lesh/weir. 25-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE has especially potent weir guitar playing, slashing & building as the OTHER ONE jam freaks & circles. according to ace frehley’s memoir, teenage ace sneaks in, meets jerry, gets drunk, passes out.

9/2/71 gold street club: maybe, a rare pigpen solo show. advertised for 9/9, some heads showed up & were told that the ad was late & the show had happened on 9/2. possibly merl saunders was involved? gold street was open from at least the early ‘60s through the late ‘70s & didn’t often advertise specific one-night acts, yet the erroneous pigpen listing appeared in seemingly all the local papers. wish i knew the full story.

9/28/71 santa venetia armory: from his taped 1st rehearsal, keith godchaux blends right in. lesh bounces amuck across BERTHA. early rehearsal of TENNESSEE JED, a good deal faster than its debut a few weeks later. a lot of fun. pre-debut version of weir’s ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, hunter’s name removed from the credits, sounding much like it still sounds when bob weir plays it on saturday night near you, a few alternate words. studio rehearsals of BROKEDOWN PALACE (fragile in a good way), CUMBERLAND BLUES (groove slips a few times), & CANDYMAN (fragile in a meh way) feel like regular ol’ brush-ups on songs recorded on previous year’s albums. 9/29

9/29/71 santa venetia armory: another uptempo roll through the new TENNESSEE JED. earliest MEXICALI BLUES, the 1st dead lyrics by @jpbarlow, lesh swaggering pretty hard. pretty much unchanged from the rock-polka it still is, minus any post-’95 tempo drops. BIRD SONG starts drumless, already more forceful & confident than its stage versions with a beautiful jam/solo that collapses pretty much exactly at the moment where the ’72 arrangement takes flight with drum fill. flown until next summer. keith plays B3 on a number of tunes, which he’d barely do onstage, including MEXICALI BLUES, EL PASO, ME & MY UNCLE, TENNESSEE JED, TRUCKIN’, & notably a run through the jam outro to UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, generally sounding alright, if a little tentative.

9/30/71 santa venetia armory: BROWN EYED WOMEN has cool piano intro, soon excised, & adjusts to its familiar tempo & swing. after 7 months of performances, PLAYING IN THE BAND finally develops 60-second jam on the MAIN TEN theme. no key change yet, but a breakthrough. 1st taped version of JACK STRAW, keith playing organ. some alternate lyrics at the bridge. TENNESSEE JED keeps its early & quite enjoyable brisk bounce. only DEEP ELEM BLUES with keith godchaux, who does a solid boogie, even a bit basement tapes-y. great pocket. wish they’d kept it. electric in ’66, acoustic then electric in ’70, acoustic ’78-’80, occasionally electric again, but mostly a solo garcia acoustic staple. the big pocket continues through BIG RAILROAD BLUES & PROMISED LAND, the sound of the new era coming to life. the piano & godchaux’s conversational style are such organic & perfect additions to the “skullfuck” era sound & renders the new album slightly obsolescent already. godchaux plays organ on ATTICS OF MY LIFE, unplayed since 12/70 & only an onstage blip during the godchaux era in late ’72. a little rough around the edges but still perfect.

10/1/71 santa venetia armory: TENNESSEE JED is the only song on all 4 rehearsal recordings, a little slower, but still about 10 clicks faster than where it’d settle for “europe ’72.” after BROWN EYED WOMEN, the band asks robert hunter how the balance in the room is, shouting to get his attention (& implying they’re in a big space). “he was thinking about adverbs,” garcia says, sending lesh into giggles. a pair of intriguing & very short standalone jam fragments, the 1st sounding like part of a much larger piece. keith still playing organ on JACK STRAW, band slowing it down a bit. weir works on his falsetto on ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. more godchaux B3 on LOSER. rare electric RIPPLE, appearing a few times in spring ’71, the whole song then disappearing until the 1980 acoustic sets & appearing electric only once more, in ’88. BIRD SONG gets cut just as jam is spinning out & disappears until next summer.

10/19/71 minneapolis: fall tour opener, debuting a half-dozen songs & new pianist keith godchaux piano & B3, pigpen home sick, the start of a new era. broadcast on KQRS. garcia begins his last tour leg with the new riders before ceding the pedal steel chair to buddy cage. style watch, the earliest i’ve seen garcia rockin’ sneakers. (anyone seen a new riders tape?) aided by the oversaturated radio recording, band is overloaded in best way, full of swingin’ pockets for godchaux’s casual but aggressive piano, a deep new dimension. a little rusty & missing occasional lyrics throughout night. godchaux switches over to organ for the debut of TENNESSEE JED, played at the early fast tempo. i like it a lot at this speed. hangs on B3 for BLACK PETER, too, fallen out of rotation this year to date. 19-beat BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE intro. back to piano for the grand debut of weir & hunter’s western epic JACK STRAW, the lyrics finished up since the rehearsal takes. mostly a duet with lesh, garcia won’t take over response vocals ’til the spring. rest of the 1st set has debuts of swaggering polka MEXICALI BLUES, weir’s 1st with @jpbarlow, garcia & hunter’s aching COMES A TIME (a little faster & with alternate verse), & weir’s ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT (titled “u.s. blues” ’til hunter took his name off it). arrangement-wise, BROWN EYED WOMEN slows down to a chiller tempo. PLAYING IN THE BAND debuts its jam, only a minute long here (as it will be all fall), with godchaux on B3 & garcia soaring. at setbreak, KQRS plays soundcheck interviews with garcia & lesh, as well as a bit of sci-fi/folk/radio serial weirdness by robert hunter, seemingly titled A MESSAGE FOR ROGER. 9-minute TRUCKIN’ is keith’s only chance to really stretch on piano tonight, sparkling. debut of RAMBLE ON ROSE. wondering if TENNESSEE JED got slowed down because of the similarity of their bounce at this tempo? 34-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT feels just slightly miscalibrated with godchaux on B3, though reaches proper bananattitude between the verses, chirping conversational organ, lighter & more natural than TC ever sounded. godchaux’s piano fits so incredible naturally into 15-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. just before the 1st transition, garcia finds cool new variation that feels like a turn on MEXICALI BLUES.

10/21/71 chicago: during the new riders, marmaduke pops a string so david nelson leads the band through what is likely the irish reel PADDY ON THE TURNPIKE, played by garcia & nelson in the bluegrass era. or is it? got an opinion? these shows feel like a breath of fresh air, in part because of keith godchaux’s piano, in part just because the band & new songs feel exuberant, perfect for the band’s 1-drummer/lead bass sound. godchaux switches from organ to piano for TENNESSEE JED, the song dropping down another click tempo-wise, but still bouncing. still playing organ on PLAYING IN THE BAND & its 1-minute jam. my god, COMES A TIME. one of rawest garcia/hunter tunes. some testy vibes throughout the night, apparently totally harsh security, sometimes not even let people dance in their seats. garcia: “if you want professionalism, we’ll have to charge another buck…”
weir: pigpen couldn’t make it, he’s home sick, etc.
audience member: ALLIGATOR!!!
lesh: didn’t you hear? pigpen isn’t with us, we can’t do ALLIGATOR.
weir: snap out of it!
lesh: be here!
garcia: you don’t suppose we travel all this way for you to forget stuff like that!
keith godchaux meets DARK STAR with a righteous 27-minute DARK STAR > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD > DARK STAR > ME & BOBBY McGEE. he’s a force in the conversation before the 1st verse, bloomin’ into 1st FEELIN’ GROOVY jam since previous fall, setting up near-perfect segue. 1st SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD since fall ’70, one of its longest gaps since the band started playing it in ’66. sometimes a rarity, but played with basically the same joyous arrangement as their debut LP, now beginning its final stand, through the spring.  deadologists note: after someone in crowd shouts for LOUIE LOUIE, stray bit of weir banter confirms that it can be moved into the definite column of the warlocks’ early repertoire.

10/22/71 chicago: the B3 is almost gone tonight, only appearing on PLAYING IN THE BAND, which zaps out fully in the space of roughly 60 seconds. amazing that they kept it concise. moves to piano for BLACK PETER, giving the song even deeper grace. subtle but major line in dead history: with these shows, garcia & weir begin alternating evenly between lead vocals, weir finally having enough songs. (CUMBERLAND BLUES counts as a phil song somehow.) i see why it made sense in ’71-’72, but wish it didn’t become default. fantastic 34-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DEAL, godchaux on piano for 1st time. new conversational dimensions & delicacies in the chaos. delightful accelerating segue from CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT into DEAL, sorta like the old move into COSMIC CHARLIE.

10/23/71 detroit: WABX DJ mentions that ram rod was busted before the show. drag! a fun but surprisingly jam-free saturday night, playing much of the new live album, much of a new album’s worth of songs written since then, & a few deeper cuts. “this here’s a song about more than one card game,” says phil before LOSER. godchaux goes back to B3. garcia scrambles some lyrics in RAMBLE ON ROSE, coming up with the funny variation “march you up & down the local party line,” which could be political or telephonic. another night, more hecklers:
garcia: shout encouragement! it ain’t hard.
lesh: we’ve got electricity on our side, man. it’s an unequal battle all the way.
garcia: right, we can rap louder.
1st ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT played on an actual saturday. TRUCKIN’ boogies & pulls over. only deep noodle happens during 19-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY finale, cool garcia/lesh conversation during last segue.

10/24/71 detroit: godchaux switches from B3 to piano for PLAYING IN THE BAND & immediately the song gets a new dimension, adding conversationally during the MAIN TEN breaks & then having at it, weaving atmospherically during the still very fixed 1-minute jam. monumental 26-minute DARK STAR > ME & BOBBY McGEE. kreutzmann starts on shaker, landing on kit after lesh breaks apart the pulse & jam briefly borders on free jazz, godchaux’s piano colors acting as a subtle glue, before floating homeward for 1st verse. after the verse, godchaux & lesh create gorgeous tension chasing new rhythmic center over kreutzmann’s ride cymbal, climbing into brightness while garcia stardusts over high-speed FEELIN’ GROOVY jam & band sustains a fast-moving jam, eventually dissolving for 2nd verse. cool late set CUMBERLAND BLUES, lately feeling like it’s found a subtly new feel with the piano & lesh’s big-sounding new bass, garcia latching into an almost GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD pocket in his solo. ST. STEPHEN feeling weirdly drab without 2 drummers.

10/26/71 rochester: godchaux back to B3 for PLAYING IN THE BAND. faring alright conversationally but not as natural. let keith jam! another rowdy crowd with multiple band pleas to step back, the beginnings of the dead’s rabid central NY fanbase. lesh slightly surly when somebody shouts for “something new” after COMES A TIME: “i don’t know where you’ve been, buddy, but that *was* something new.” band does half of “skull & roses” but even more newer tunes. 37-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > JOHNNY B. GOODE. big cheers for buffalo in TRUCKIN’. neat OTHER ONE dis- & re-assemblies with dual lead guitars, dropping to later-than-usual space-out. post-verse ending tag drops right into chuck berry.

10/27/71 syracuse: live on WAER. phil introduces the band “for the benefits of all you folks out in radio-land, we are the grateful dead,” which is cute. weir also introduces ME & MY UNCLE by name, some rare DJing. TENNESSEE JED starting to slow down a little bit, now just sounds brisk. godchaux thankfully returns to piano for PLAYING IN THE BAND, a striking part of the rhythm section during jam, just creeping over the 60-second mark. another wonderful COMES A TIME feels fully & naturally occupied. great vocals, almost a showcase for garcia. besides the tour opener, seems to have displaced WHARF RAT. TRUCKIN’ doesn’t go out, but finally starting to catch some momentum in the jam. only big action is 24-minute NOT FADE AWAY > DRUMZ > JAM > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, garcia getting brighter out of the drum break, with a fat CHINA CAT tease before landing & beautifully dynamic GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD slowdown outro.

10/29/71 cleveland: live on WNCR. recording of the new riders is slightly slowed down, making the pedal steel a little extra woozy & psychedelic & giving the whole thing a slight vaporwave edge. into it. opening TRUCKIN’ starts to flex & keeps jamming a bit after the last verse, ending almost reluctantly. keith forced back to B3 for PLAYING IN THE BAND, a little more bounce in his attack but still not as cool as piano. maybe because they’re on the radio, band continues occasionally introducing songs, a habit that didn’t last. garcia intros BIG RAILROAD BLUES by name. weir, before MEXICALI BLUES: “if you’ve ever been in mexico dodging bullets, then you know what i mean…” 42-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DEAL feels like a breakthrough of sorts in terms of deep jams & beautiful flow. THE OTHER ONE has jammed plenty before, but the godchaux era is a new world. OTHER ONE veers quickly, 16 minutes before 1st verse, gradually burying & jettisoning (& occasionally returning to) the triplet rhythm as conversations flow, finding new pockets & grooves, always anchored by bubbly & charming bass dialogues/trialogues & confident piano. segues are spot-on, too. garcia signals for ME & MY UNCLE with band coming in dynamically behind him, then all stomp right back into THE OTHER ONE. everybody floats up into DEAL, the 2nd & final version of the cool & very ’71 CRYPTICAL/DEAL transition. “we’re gonna play all that note-for-note backwards,” weir says after the big jam. “and it goes something like this,” says garcia as SUGAR MAGNOLIA starts. ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT closes a show for the 1st time.

10/30/71 cincinnati: live on WEBN. the last recording of jerry garcia with the new riders of the purple sage before turning over the pedal steel chair to buddy cage. especially great DIRTY BUSINESS, the band’s big jam, burning into dead-like peaks here. not a lot of jamming, but 17 of the dead’s 21 songs are new to the repertoire since their last trip to cincinnati, almost exactly a year-and-a-half earlier. but garcia’s new songs, BERTHA & SUGAREE & COMES A TIME, especially, sound powerful & confident. responding to persistent request, classic garcia ACABing, pretty biting at first: “c’mon man, you’re gonna be a *cop*? is that it? ‘playyy TRUCKIN’. playyy TRUCKIN’.’ we’ll play whatever we like… what about all those people that might not like TRUCKIN’?!” a few songs later, band does play TRUCKIN’, but the sweet jams are in delirious 22-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, largely driven by inventive weir chord changes & garcia weaving.

10/31/71 columbus: one of the 1st shows where the band’s later set structure comes into play, 1st set focused on songs, 2nd set jumping right into jam mode. PSA from lesh: “why don’t you, like, not jump up & down on the seats. jump up & down on the floor!” garcia, punchy: “next time don’t come to those concerts where you can’t jump up & down on the seats. there’s a lesson to be learned in this & maybe someday you’ll all learn it. or maybe not. they haven’t learned it in new york, god knows.” crackling CUMBERLAND BLUES with everybody dancing effortlessly around virtually nonstop garcia shreds. great solos, especially big break in the middle, but much of the joy is the all-‘round lightness. peak 1-drummer dead. wondrous 30-minute DARK STAR > SUGAR MAGNOLIA starts with subtle but big shift, kreutzmann swinging in on full kit instead of just shaker. in post-verse space, lesh thunders away. garcia & then kreutzmann follow & all are off into 10+ minutes of themes & conversations. weir hits blissed 2-chord jam from ’69-’70 (often labeled TIGHTEN UP/SOULFUL STRUT, but not quite either), 1st in nearly a year. band chases it gloriously into brightness one last time. after brief valley & noise cloud, weir steers into SUGAR MAGNOLIA, a great resolution. 28-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, last ST. STEPHEN ’til ’76. dramatic & lyrical NOT FADE AWAY spirals & sunbursts en route to GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, ecstatic peak after BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme.

11/6/71 harding theater: bay area debut for new songs & new piano player. show-opening BERTHA gets an extra round of soloing. keith’s 1st SING ME BACK HOME, returning for 1st time since summer & disappearing again ’til europe (& donna). something amiss with the piano pickup, giving extra vibrations & sometimes making it sound like an mbira, as on BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. in the 2nd set, that issue is semi-resolved, but then sounds like a tack piano. kinda cool, though. by 35-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COMES A TIME, lesh’s bass is lopsidedly at the top of the mix, which is fine. pushed by lesh, OTHER ONE disassembles so deeply into shapes & a new slashing pulse before 1st verse that weir starts singing the 2nd.

11/7/71 harding theater: a self-promoted & mostly unadvertised show at the harding theater with heavy water lights. broadcast on KSFX, a beloved & well-circulated tape. during a break to fix the vocal monitors, band jams through freddie king’s instrumental HIDE AWAY, probably played in the early days but not on any tapes, turning up again in 1989, & almost certainly at soundchecks in between. lyric watch: last version of COMES A TIME with “words come out…” verse. 1st version of ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT with “i may be young & crazy…” replaced by “don’t worry ‘bout tomorrow, lord, we’ll know it when it comes…” loose night with many gear breaks, just off-mic interactions, & audience members telling jokes.
weir: for you radio listeners, this is what’s known as dead air.
garcia: *get it*?
pretty sure marmaduke reads the radio spot for matthew’s tv & stereo city before 2nd set. 38-minute DARK STAR > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE. again, kreutzmann starts on shaker, moving to kit as lesh pushes 1st jam. bright dances in DARK STAR post-verse & OTHER ONE pre-verse, only stopping ‘cuz of broken string, DARK STAR unfinished. another impassioned 19-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY set closer, this one with bright details, cool slo-mo rhythmic crossfade by garcia during segue, & drawn-out garcia/lesh space after the BID YOU GOODNIGHT coda.

11/11/71 atlanta: after opening BERTHA, as crew moves amps, a small shitstorm breaks out, security roughing up heads crowding up front. lesh intervenes: “hey, that’s *not really necessary*” & then taunts security?! “big maaaaaaan, big man.” does not help. at this point, security/police come on stage. lesh, ever-helpful & charmingly ACAB: “there ain’t gonna be no music as long as there’re cops on this stage.” naturally, an audible “PIGS OFF THE STAGE” chant ensues in crowd. the band’s power is cut by the fire marshal & tour manager sam cutler succeeds at cooling things out, but bad vibes & it’s a short show with pretty much no jamming. maybe one long set, even? garcia’s memory from a 1971 interview. testy garcia responds to hecklers presumably shouting “ROCK & ROLL!”: “go see grand funk. grand funk is the ones you want for rock & roll.” tasty ME & BOBBY McGEE, though. lite choogles in TRUCKIN’ & 18-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. old school dead taper marty weinberg drove to this gig from nyc. his tapes don’t survive. he wasn’t feeling the new directions, specifically ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, but he & his friends truck another 14 hours to the next show in san antonio anyway.

11/12/71 san antonio: band is late & local radio announces the show is cancelled, then uncancelled. taper marty weinberg & friends drive from atlanta, beat the band, & waltz into the venue. when someone asks if you’re with the band, you say “yes.” 8-minute show-opening TRUCKIN’ cooks, already better than anything from the debacle the previous night in atlanta. an empty-ish venue & lesh invites people in the balcony to come down to the floor. weir vs. hecklers: “we’ll get to the rock & roll but first we’re gonna play a polka number.” and it’s true, only one of several cancellable parts of MEXICALI BLUES. wonder if anybody’s ever actually played it on (non-MIDI) accordion? did hornsby? 35-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > BIG RAILROAD BLUES, the last complete version of the suite with the full CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT intro/outro ’til ’85, though the front part will keep appearing for a few more tours. dense OTHER ONE breaks into nothingness, kreutzmann finding new beat under garcia weirdisms, picked up by band, weir & godchaux slashing purposeful shapes en route to 1st verse. post-verse jams are more restless & free, occasionally focusing into peaks.

11/14/71 fort worth: a homecoming boogie at @TCU. garcia leaning into his vocals deliciously on this tour, really great LOSER verse reprise tonight, little asides in TENNESSEE JED, & even takes an extra singin’ slot to debut his cover of hank williams’s YOU WIN AGAIN, played for the next 10 months. wonder if there was any particular hank williams connection that inspired them to start playing YOU WIN AGAIN in texas. austin, where the dead played the next night, was the city of hank sr.’s final performance in 1952, could be that? 49-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. TRUCKIN’ choogle keeps widening. 1st OTHER ONE jam is driven by lead bass, propulsive pockets, dual squigglies, garcia/kreutzmann jam, & solid full-band segue into ME & MY UNCLE. scattered action comes in 2nd segment, when weir finally gets to singing a verse, then breaking down to DARK STAR-like arpeggios, a breath away from the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam, but instead falls into abstraction. 1st WHARF RAT since opening night of tour, keith moving from B3 to piano & creating bigger/deeper rhythmic gravitas & space for everybody else, the song’s powerful new self, followed briskly by SUGAR MAGNOLIA, a favored set-closing move through ’94.

11/15/71 austin: 25-minute DARK STAR > EL PASO > DARK STAR, last 1st set DARK STAR ’til ’91 & 1st pairing with EL PASO. kreutzmann rides drums from start, another lead bass extravaganza. post-verse piano ice-falls widen into structures that unfold easily into EL PASO. DARK STAR never properly returns, so maybe this is DARK STAR > EL PASO > JAM or just the deepest EL PASO ever. more ontological stupidity. either way, godchaux & kreutzmann lock into strident pattern & band charges into thrilling episode, trickling cleanly to CASEY JONES. at the end of the 1st set, as weir announces the intermission, garcia plays a famous cartoon/vaudeville tag, neither the merry melodies nor looney tunes theme. anybody know the name? like, wow: 24-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY cracks open during 1st segue into spectacular propulsive jam that passes through CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER but mostly just skitters & dances like a cartoon locomotive.

11/17/71 albuquerque: live on KRST. apparently snowing outside & band lets the fans waiting outside come in & watch the soundcheck. 37-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. lesh & kreutzmann absolutely dive-bomb into THE OTHER ONE at breakneck speed, with many inventive scene changes both before & after ME & MY UNCLE. breakneck intro jam pulls up into quiet space-blues & a quick FEELIN’ GROOVY theme before the 1st verse & ME & MY UNCLE. afterwards, lesh hits a groove that almost veers into SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD but keeps wilding, winding down to nothingness & back. yet another incandescent 19-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, garcia gliding outwards with slide-like tones & full-force stomp into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, which keeps up the charge.

11/20/71 pauley pavilion: live on KMET. band pummels LA (& radio) audience with new songs & only a few older favorites, including another snarling CUMBERLAND BLUES, keith adding some fresh piano colors, blurring from solo to jam. weir watch: “we’re gonna start this set off with a song that went straight to the top of the charts in turlock, california & that’s a fact,” he says pre-TRUCKIN’, sending lesh into giggles (garcia: “mr. showbiz”), 1st appearance of banter that will make it to “europe ’72.” i am sad to report that i am currently unable to find a clipping of the local turlock pop charts to support this factoid, all leads welcome. sounds plausible enough. 40-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > RAMBLE ON ROSE. garcia leads a gallop away from the post-verse OTHER ONE spacing, jam skittering through uptempo ideas before a thin-out filled with big bass tones, then another sly groove & disintegration before 2nd verse. 17-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY takes the mellow country-blues route with a quick pass through CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER in the segue, a nice little GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD coda shake-out before returning.

12/1/71 boston music hall: pigpen’s back, B3 inaudible, maybe not set up? 1st MR. CHARLIE with “i can hear the drums…” verse & final version of lightnin’ hopkins’s AIN’T IT CRAZY, played in jug band era. rowdy boston crowd, but COMES A TIME cuts through on audience tape. an observant harvard crimson reviewer notes strange sounds at intermission. ned lagin confirms that this was an early seastones tape making its public debut, recorded that summer at mickey’s barn, but was backstage & had no knowledge of it being played. monster jamming across rich 30-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE. 1st OTHER ONE disintegrates into jam that coalesces around abstruse “blues for allah”-anticipating bass, peaks, settles to 1st verse, & melts again. after ME & MY UNCLE, band zips into OTHER ONE & lesh breaks it apart again with more aggressive & borderline thematic soloing, falling into space, weir flirting with WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE sketch, clicking back together & soaring up on gorgeous a garcia pattern. 13-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY is more concise than the november versions but lesh still flips into 3D mode as soon as the singing is done.

12/2/71 boston music hall: live on WBCN. sam cutler attempts to broker peace between venue security & the wooks trying to get into the orchestra pit, then gives a full band intro, introducing keith godchaux, welcoming pigpen back, almost forgetting lesh. i wouldn’t be sure if pig was playing if not for cutler’s intro & tuning breaks, surely much louder in the room. B3 there from opening BERTHA, a barely audible start to 2-keyboard micro-era. ghost of B3 on BLACK PETER & bouncing/filling more confidently in TENNESSEE JED. 1st SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING since the capitol theatre shows in february sounds awesome with godchaux’s piano, giving the song another rhythmic voice, & feeling a bit more like the jazzy 1-drummer versions of the ballroom era, especially once garcia gets soloing. 25-minute NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT starts promisingly, B3 sparkling with piano during segue, but pig & LOVELIGHT do not have their mojo working this evening. pause before GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY finale, pig joining in.

12/4/71 felt forum: good ol’ bill graham intro, “the food that feeds us all, the grateful dead.” at least on tape, the real beginning of the 2-keyboard dead, pigpen’s B3 adding nice padding for the 4 soloists. garcia jumps gun on “new york” line on opening TRUCKIN’. pigpen debuts the seasonal RUN RUDOLPH RUN, by chuck berry & marvin brodie, who apparently had to share royalties with RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER author johnny marks because “rudolph” is copyrighted? either way, a greasy holiday classic for pig. still loving SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING with keith’s conversational piano behind the verses. cool guitar/harmonica jam by garcia & pigpen. on the other hand, pig also does some falsetto singing & yowling during finale of ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, doesn’t quite have it down. 38-minute ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > MEXICALI BLUES > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT is so unusual that i had to check & make sure files were in right order. 1st OTHER ONE goes drumless then dances between meltdowns & weirdo lesh/kreutzmann pockets, pigpen hanging, too. after OTHER ONE verse, weir hijacks a mutant groove into MEXICALI BLUES’s polka, its only time coming out of a jam. more space, more OTHER ONE, glittering WHARF RAT, & a great but tech-aborted segue to DEAL. garcia reminds heads to tune into radio tomorrow.

12/5/71 felt forum: live on WNEW. for the radio, a hammed-out band intro by bill graham. “on drums, a vote for male chauvinism, mr. bill kreutzmann. the youngest old-timer i’ve ever met, pigpen on organ… very youthful, ebullient, but a very dirty softball player, mr. robert weir…” another marathon show for the radio. most nights have been roughly 2 hours of music, sometimes pushing up to 3 on broadcast nights, & almost 3.5 at the self-promoted KSFX broadcast in november & tonight in nyc. only known dead version of I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER by cowboy joe babcock, though garcia only sings the chorus & replaces verse with the beginning of ancient folk tune EAST VIRGINIA. weird blip & would’ve fit well if garcia learned more words. wish i knew the story. weir watch: before MR. CHARLIE, “here’s yet another new song that I guess most of you haven’t heard. that’s a cue for you… pirate record recorders out there to get your tape machines spinning ’cause here it comes.” TRUCKIN’ doesn’t quite jam but it does stretch & peak ecstatically, early stirrings of the group crest that will be built in by ’73. 27-minute DARK STAR > ME & MY UNCLE > DARK STAR > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, though garcia never quite gets around to singing DARK STAR. kreutzmann starts DARK STAR on full kit, floating in orbit until garcia accelerates & everybody follows. both halves are episodic & somewhat restless, coalescing into exciting, forceful improv & breaking apart again, floating back to song before garcia pushes segue hard. intro to 18-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY underscores how bad ‘70s audiences were at clapping along. garcia & weir pass through CHINA CAT cloud en route to GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD.

12/6/71 felt forum: bill graham, “beneath all the madness, a bundle of joy, the grateful dead.” piano/organ is just so great, B3 on more songs with each show, especially nice on moody BLACK PETER & ebullient BIG RAILROAD BLUES, but pig still staying away from his big tunes. PSA from garcia: “if you’re standing in front of a spotlight <chuckle> all the spotlight guys are gettin’ crazy cuz they can’t see anything, if you’re standing in front of a spotlight, move away from it… that’s if you care. you don’t have to.” weir watch: after being corrected backstage before the show by taper marty weinberg, weir finally sings the last line of EL PASO properly, “cradled by 2 loving arms that i’d die for.” the song became a throwaway eventually, but kreutzmann drumming like he means it here. 43-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE JAM > ME & BOBBY McGEE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. kreutzmann comes into OTHER ONE drum break at refreshing new angle, but jams have trouble opening zone. 1st is slow move to quiet, 2nd finally finds weird flight. WHARF RAT does find a nice glitter, though. weir watch, cont.: “this one’s about dancin’ in the streets for all you but…” [big cheers] “but it ain’t that…” ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. lol. sounding beefy with B3.

12/7/71 felt forum: fairly jam-free tuesday that’s largely just a great “europe ’72” preview. during these fall ’71 tours, kreutzmann has started drumming like a young god, as robert hunter once put it, making pretty much every song flare with life. i kinda credit keith. lesh pulls out the ol’ “dog-suckingest man in show biz, pigpen” intro before NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME. pig still not jumping into showstoppers, SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING best fitting his vibe, slow & moody. builds rap around apropos “everybody in town knows i’ve been gone so long.” another joyous TRUCKIN’ outro, pulling off before the open highway. 18-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY starting to condense again, though sweet garciaing during the 1st segue.

12/9/71 st. louis: charming soundcheck babble, more grand funk smack talk by lesh. “this is the only place we like to play around here & if we can’t come back here, we won’t come back to this town & you’ll have to go to kiel auditorium & listen to grand funk railroad.” when they’re done diddling, an excellent intro by weir, “and here they are, straight from madison square gardens in famous new york, the grateful dead…”, & they’re off into TRUCKIN’. though not a lot of jamming, nearly half the music would be new to local listeners & all feels fresh, including TENNESSEE JED, still slowly slowing to album tempo, with nice lesh harmonies. sweet slide by garcia & moody piano by godchaux on IT HURTS ME TOO. a rare window with very little chuck berry in the dead’s setlists, THE PROMISED LAND, AROUND & AROUND, JOHNNY B. GOODE all having disappeared until ’72. but pigpen does honor the hometown legend with his new holiday cover of the berry-popularized RUN RUDOLPH RUN. off-mic before deep BLACK PETER someone asks garcia about a rumored upcoming show with special guests? band goofs. someone says joni mitchell will be there. kreutzmann adds the beatles & the stones. “otis redding is coming back from heaven,” says lesh. economic 15-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, a little trace of CHINA CAT during the final transition, fingerprinting it to the era. #deadfreaksunite

12/10/71 st. louis: live on KADI. another rich night. keith godchaux is like a new member of the rhythm section, not quite a 2nd drummer, but sometimes not far off. definitely some musical bromance going on with kreutzmann. 22-minute 2nd set-opening GOOD LOVIN’. outstanding jam before 1st real pigpen rap since returning, with considerations of the “4-day creep,” advantages of being “built for comfort, not for speed,” “box back nitties” (usually in LOVELIGHT), & cadillacs v. t-model fords. a 2-ballad 2nd set with both BROKEDOWN PALACE & COMES A TIME, perhaps related to garcia’s rare praise for the monitors. can’t believe they’ve so far resisted the urge to keep going with the jam break in PLAYING IN THE BAND. godchaux really pushing them here, though. big 2nd set. along with GOOD LOVIN’ & deep COMES A TIME, a righteously suited 50-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD > THE OTHER ONE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, “for fans of the key of ‘e’,” says weir. after 1st pre-verse OTHER ONE space-out, kreutzmann leads band into quiet swing, keith’s piano at the front, garcia taking over & ceding a few times. space-out in 2nd OTHER ONE lands in alluring free jazzish jam before the song’s triplets take over again all too soon. OTHER ONE tag links to another delicious NOT FADE AWAY sequence, this one stepping on gas just before GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD with sweet allmans-y licks & a bit of CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER. nice contemplative garcia/lesh moment before reprise of NOT FADE AWAY.

12/12/71 st. louis: most of the dead, besides garcia & pigpen, crash richie gerber’s bar mitzvah at the airport hilton.

12/14/71 ann arbor: stunning betty cantor mix, beautiful stereo spread, though pig’s B3 turned down a bit too far after opening TRUCKIN’. i think sometimes they turned him up for that tune? another crystalline night of mostly new music. extra-vivid BIG RAILROAD BLUES solo. 33-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. after post-verse OTHER ONE space-out, kreutzmann & godchaux pull a cool triumphant pocket from under an aggressive lesh bassline. powerful WHARF RAT has mystic jam coda with uncommonly graceful landing. sweet & joyful SUGAR MAGNOLIA harmonies. another wow-level 18-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, lesh flipping into jam mode ASAP, steering everybody into mellow, stretching, & quizzical conversation. report of jerry jamming earlier in the day with (checks notes) conga phil.

12/15/71 ann arbor: sam cutler gives stony road manager intros. garcia: “and on introductions, we have mr. sam cutler.” could be mix, but godchaux throwing in new & even abstract ideas/possibilities during rare-for-tour 11-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. crowd calls for more piano in the mix & keith gets even louder, occasionally to the point of distraction, but there are always so many ideas/variations in his playing that it’s rarely bothersome (except when distorted) & gives new perspectives on a few tunes. after sounding less-than-peak for much of the tour, pigpen now back at almost full strength, 3 songs in 1st set & showstopper in the 2nd, including the last version of RUN RUDOLPH RUN. a little surprised weir has never revived it. pretty classic 26-minute DARK STAR > DEAL, kreutzmann now just swinging in confidently, the song starting more inside than its 1st few years. 1st jam dissolves, reforms, dissolves into drumless dialogue, goes nova, & bubbles into glorious bright peak before 1st verse. after DARK STAR’s lone verse, the jam develops a somewhat similar path of nothingness becoming somethingness & an even more glorious major peak that foretells some of the europe ’72 segues, but mostly dies out before garcia picks up the thread with DEAL. pigpen is lit on packed 19-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT: pig’s last KING BEE (with quotes from muddy waters’ MANNISH BOY & STILL A FOOL), more on the “4-day creep,” tight reprise, & final “whip it on me!” (probably both pig & lou got it from jessie hill.)

12/31/71 winterland: the grateful dead ring in 1972 at winterland in san francisco, broadcast on KSAN, with the new riders of the purple sage & yogi phlegm (formerly sons of champlin). tape cuts in at midnight with DJ announcements, opening with 1st DANCING IN THE STREET since 11/70, last ’til disco revival in ’76, final “original” version. “it’s new year’s eve & i do believe…” weir sings, but he & band seem to half-remember song. KSAN DJ breaks in mid-DANCING with an important update: “just to complete the picture, there was a black 1972 & a white 1972 & they both just took off their diapers & are running around the stage nude, looks very fun.” weir PSA: “i hope to tell you is a fuckin’ mess up here. and if you’ve got bare feet, don’t get near it… i was just informed we were on the radio,” garcia: “and you too, mr. hoover!” weir spins conspiracy theory. “you people have all been duped & it’s really 1956.” bill graham interrupts 1st set with stage announcement: “if there’s a shelly storvis here, your father is driving back to new york, would like to say goodbye to you in the lobby… as for the rest of us, we will just carry on.” 1st CHINATOWN SHUFFLE, pigpen original & a just exactly perfect dead choogle, with a curlicue riff that’s an early draft of the U.S. BLUES lick. with no introduction, donna jean godchaux makes her dead debut, singing wordlessly during the ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT outro. before 2nd set, weir introduces bill graham, “the only person i’ve ever known who asks, in a room of 5 or 6,000 people, ‘where is everybody?’” graham swears on the air (KSAN DJ, shocked: “mr. graham!”) & praises the dead’s fall tour broadcasts before introducing the band. 32-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE. TRUCKIN’ now just a breath from cracking into open jam. 1st OTHER ONE is mostly prelude, both verses & big jam coming in 2nd segment, snapping from void into swingin’ quintet space jazz. garcia leads a segue to BLACK PETER, but they stop to tune, & wander into a swelling prelude jam that leads back to BLACK PETER. probably would be possible to edit a smooth segue. comings/goings: dead debut of johnny cash’s BIG RIVER. garcia takes 2nd verse. it will become a weir staple starting next fall. 1st taped THE SAME THING since ’67 is last with pig, missing modal jam, revived by weir in ‘90s. and, because 1971, one more 16-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, with a big bass-enabled balloon drop of color just before the 1st segue.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

hampton grease band, 1967-1973

Hampton Grease Band
GreaseBase: a chronology, 1967-1973

a work in progress

(please comment with all corrections/memories/additions or email!)

Hampton Grease Band: Harold Kelling, Jerry Fields, Mike Holbrook, Glenn Phillips, Bruce Hampton

Notes: Dates & setlist information from Great Speckled Bird archive, Glenn Phillips’s fantastic memoir Echoes: The Hampton Grease Band, My Life, My Music and How I Stopped Having Panic Attacks, and elsewhere. Tons of further info & stories about the Atlanta ’60s-’70s music scene available via The Strip Project. Except for circulating tapes (7/5/70, 5/7/72), all setlists are approximate.

Also including dates for spin-off bands the Stump Brothers (Glenn Phillips, Mike Holbrook, Jerry Fields), Avenue of Happiness (fronted by Mik Copas with Bruce Hampton on guitar), and the Starving Braineaters (Harold Kelling’s post-Hampton Grease Band project).

I published my extensive history, Lost Live Grease: Recovering the Hampton Grease Band (including interviews with Glenn Phillips, Jerry Fields, Mike Holbrook, and others), on Aquarium Drunkard in December 2020.

1967

fall ’67 William Franklin Dykes High School, Atlanta, GA
Fixin’ To Die, I’m So Glad

fall ’67 Poison Apple Room, Stables Bar and Lounge, Atlanta, GA
jams with harmonica player Bill Dicey
patron pulls gun and demands James Brown cover, band plays Popcorn, parts 1 & 2

 

1968

summer 1968 (left to right: Harold Kelling, Glenn Phillips, Bruce Hampton, Charlie Phillips)

early ’68 Catacombs, Atlanta, GA

spring ’68 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
weekly free shows

7/13/68 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Piedmont Park Be-In with Celestial Voluptuous Banana, Strange Brew, Danny & Jim, Toni Ganim, Guerilla Theatre

9/28/68 Catacombs, Atlanta, GA

10/xx/68 University of the South, Suwanee, GA
opening for Procul Harum

11/8/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA
with underground movies

11/9/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA
with underground movies

11/15/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA
with underground films
Rock Around the Clock

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 11/18/68: “The band was working under at least one handicap (a new drummer)… Everything considered, Grease was very together Friday night — I particularly remember several tripartite guitar improvisations that transcended the dimensions of stage, band, instruments, performers and audience. A high point was Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock,’ played almost straight and proving just how really hip the Grease Band is.”

11/28/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA

11/29/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA

11/30/68 Peachtree Art Theater, Atlanta, GA

 

1969

Piedmont Park, 8/31/69

1/4/69 Revolution Club, Marietta, GA
with Radar

1/25/69 Revolution Club, Marietta, GA
with the Glorified Square

2/14/69 The Spot, Atlanta, GA
Discovery Inc. presents. With Radar.

3/7/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with Leonda, billed as the Incredible Hampton Grease Band

3/8/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with Leonda, billed as the Incredible Hampton Grease Band
Rock Around the Clock (or previous night)

3/21/69 Bloody Eagle, Atlanta, GA
with the Fifth Order

Great Speckled Bird, 3/31/69

3/29/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Great Speckled Bird 1st Birthday celebration with Crust, Smoke, Nail, Little Phil and the Night Shadow, Toni Ganim, Anne Romaine

4/10/69 Underground Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Banana, Perpetual Motion, Electric Collage Light Show

4/11/69 The Spot, Atlanta, GA

4/14/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/15/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/16/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/17/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/18/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/19/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/25/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/26/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

5/11/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with Allman Brothers Band

5/24/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/25/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/26/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/27/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/28/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/29/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/30/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/31/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

6/14/69 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

7/7/69 Unitarian Universalist Church, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, billed as “Lecture & Music: Can Discord Be Beautiful?” with Mr. Hoffman

7/7/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with the Grateful Dead, Chicago Transit Authority, Spirit, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, It’s A Beautiful Day

7/18/69 High Mausoleum, Atlanta, GA
Element, accompanied by Richard Robinson (electronics), with Frank Hughes lights

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 7/28/69: “A free-flowing synthesis of light, sound, and action, Element featured the addition of Richard Robinson’s electronic music to the Hampton Grease Band, and backed by one of Frank Hughes’ fine lightshows… The Grease Band, aging like wine in a barrel, played relaxed and mellow and yet upon occasion got up and took right off. Especially tasty was some of Harold Kelling’s lead guitar work. It is said that they were even better on Saturday night.”

7/19/69 High Mausoleum, Atlanta, GA
Element, accompanied by Richard Robinson (electronics), with Frank Hughes lights

8/5/69 Georgian Terrace Hotel, Atlanta, GA
with the Allman Brothers Band


Hampton Grease Band with Electric Collage Light Show, 8/18/69 (more here)

8/19/69 Georgian Terrace Hotel, Atlanta, GA
with Know Body Else, Fear Itself Booger Band, Electric Collage Light Show

 

8/31/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
billed as the Original Hampton Grease Band; with Robin
Turn On Your Lovelight

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 9/8/69: “The band is set up then and they begin a long instrumental riff, relaxed and feeling out the day, getting themselves together and the audience together with them. Harold Kelling’s long easy guitar notes climb up and soar out over insistent rhythms working through bass, drums, and second guitar. The music is alive and the audience is betting behind it now as the band finishes out the number and Bruce Hampton takes the mike, tightens the tempo and starts to take care of business, laying down hard-driving lyrics that soon have the crowd swaying, clapping, and then some are up dancing. And on. The music and the gathering went steadily up from there. Shouting and stomping vocals. Beautiful stretched-out instruments, silver singing guitar solos beating against the raindrops. ‘Gonna Let My Love Light Shine.’ Blues. Soul. Rock. The drummer leans into it. Incredible counterpoint guitar work between Glenn Phillips and Harold Kelling, perfectly matched, pushing each other on out, exploding in sound, exploding the people who are following the music now like a jazz audience, applauding riff after riff.”

9/7/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA

9/14/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
police riot; band plays without Bruce Hampton

9/21/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Mini-Pop Festival with Booger Band, Brickwall, Radar, Sweet Younguns
Wolverton Mountain, San Antonio Rose, Rock of Ages

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 9/22/69: “The Hampton Grease Band blew everybody’s minds with its sounds, and then brought out a 16-year old black saxophonist, showing a healthy disrespect for the labels we often put on our music and contributing an afternoon of Bill Haley and Pharoah Sanders, The Ventures and John Coltrane.”

9/27/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with the Hand Band, Boogie Chillun, Lee Moses, Allman Brothers Band, Joe South

9/28/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Jam (feat. members of Allman Brothers, The Second Coming, Mother Earth), unknown group, The Younguns, Lee Moses, Allman Brothers Band
Wolverton Mountain

10/18/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Piedmont Music Festival with Allman Brothers Band, Mother Earth, Boz Scaggs, the Second Coming, the Booger Band, Radar, Jackie Wilson

11/21/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with David Boice

11/22/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with David Boice

11/23/69 Georgian Terrace Hotel, Atlanta, GA
Turkey Trip with the Younguns, Allman Brothers Band (originally scheduled at Duke Tire Co.)
Hendon, Charlie, Halifax, Has Anybody Seen My Gal, Reelin’ and Rockin’, Wolverton Mountain
E: Rock Around the Clock

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 12/1/69: “Just let me say in that their performance at last week’s Turkey Trip, the Hampton Grease Band outdid themselves, performing a mostly all-new set of extended musical explorations that included a longer ‘Mr. Bones,’ and ode to ‘Charlie,’ an incredible hymn to the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia (its lyrics sounded like they were taken from the pages of the World Book Encyclopedia!), a great moment by Hampton on (of all things) ‘Has Anybody Seen My Gal?’ in which he combined vocals with dance and comedy and reached the level that he was worked for these many years, unbelievable instrumentalizations by Glenn and Harold, Charlie and Ted, and a closing ‘Wolverton Mountain’ that drove the crowd into hysterics and brought Hampton & friends back for a fantastic ‘Rock Around the Clock’ — All Hail the Sounds of Suck Rock!”

12/11/69 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/xx/69 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA

12/18/69 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 12/22/69: “It would be nice for The Bird if the Hampton Grease Band would start doing some less than incredible stuff — our writers are exhausted from thinking of superlatives. But judging from their Standing Room Only five-hour set at the Twelfth Gate on Thursday night (we even postponed our own Coop meeting so we could go and listen), the Grease Band evidently intends to get better and better and even better. What can we say except that this was the largest crowd ever drawn to that establishment (same for the Cellar Door the week before), and for a 50¢ charge, Bruce Hampton & Co. did one of the best things we’ve ever heard. Rumor is that this will be a weekly rendezvous of the Twelfth Gate and the Grease Band ($1 charge), so our advice is–whenever you see the name of this band, go, listen, be thankful for one of the best musical collaborations in the country.”

12/22/69 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Community Center benefit

1970

Sports Arena, 1/25/70

 

1/4/70 Electric Eye, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Booger Band

1/xx/70 Atlanta, GA
Mike Holbrook joins.

1/xx/70 Charlotte, NC

1/xx/70 New York City, NY
studio demos
Hendon, Evans, Hey Old Lady/Bert’s Song

1/25/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with Fleetwood Mac, Radar, River People
Jam, Rock Around the Clock

Clifford Endres, in Great Speckled Bird, 2/2/70: “The light-fingered Grease grope, however, is another order of magnitude – or something. The immortal Hampton, leader of the grope, materialized in the limelight to lead off the set performed the ultimate putdown of any and all guitar solos that ever were or will be, including Hendrix, Page and Townsend! And it totally confused whatever musical expectations the audience might have had. Captain ornu Greaseheart then took a saxophone and the band into an egg-sucking number which betrayed influences of Coltrane, Zappa, Pharoah Sanders, and AM radio feedback. Grunts, yelp, words, harmonies, discords, rhythms and counterpoints welded the audience together in miasma of jelly. Glen [sic] Phillips and Harold Kelling, amply supported by the wild drumming of Jerry Field [sic] and the elaborate bass figures of Mike Holbrook stretched into an amazing play of lyrical guitar lines that seemed to have no horizon.
‘They play music that sounds like music feels (!),’ said the beautiful blonde, stoned. Well, it got me off said the beautiful blonde, stoned. Well, it got me off, too. Great to hear how much tighter they have got since last hearing them, some months ago. Apparently the set was cut short become of time hassles, but Hampton closed with a ‘Rock Around the Clock’ that brought the audience to its feet–some of them even getting religion, or so it looked–and the farthest out band around these parts left the stage.”

1/30/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/31/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/xx/70 Massachusetts, near Vermont
with Calico

2/19/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/20/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/27/70 The Zodiac, Atlanta, GA

3/19/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/20/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/21/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/22/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/29/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with What Brothers, River People, Ruffin

Charlie Cushing in Great Speckled Bird, 3/30/70: “Finally, the Hampton Grease Band, fresh from its sold out performances at Aquarius ’70! The band has added a sixth member, Bill, who reads newspapers (to himself).”

4/5/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with John Mayall, Chakra

4/17/70 The Warehouse, New Orleans, LA
with Country Joe and the Fish

Glenn Phillips: “We started the concert by mimicking the F-I-S-H cheer, shouting at the audience, ‘Give me an S. Give me an O. Give me an F. Give me an A. What’s that spell? SOFA!'”

4/18/70 The Zodiac, Atlanta, GA
with Interprize

4/24/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

4/26/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
Benefit for Midtown Alliance and Community Center, with Radar, Stump Brothers, Axis, Perpetual Motion, Brick Wall, Georgia Power Kompany, What Brothers, Ruffin

4/29/70 Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH
with Mountain
Wolverton Mountain

4/30/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Allman Brothers Band

Allman Brothers cancel after road manager Twiggs Lyndon is detained for stabbing a Buffalo club owner over nonpayment.

5/1/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Tony Williams’ Lifetime feat. Jack Bruce

5/2/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Tony Williams’ Lifetime feat. Jack Bruce

5/3/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, CA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers. Community Benefit. Bruce Hampton joins for several songs.

5/8/70 Glenn Memorial Auditorium, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
with B.B. King and Pegasus Light Show

5/10/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with the Grateful Dead (plus most of the Allman Brothers)
Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey?, Evans

5/16/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/17/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

5/23/70 Dobbs Hall, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Mik Copas sings with band.

5/30/70 Alumni Memorial Building, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Benefit for the Atlanta Mobe. With the Electric Collage Light Show.
Mik Copas sings with band.

6/6/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
6/7/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show. Stump Brothers at Spring Peace Festival with Axis, Ether, Celestial Voluptuous Banana, Country Pye, Eric Quincy Tate, Light Brigade, Eros, Robyn, Perpetual Motion, Ruffin, What Brothers, Stuff, White Lie, Stonehenge, Last Era, Bremrod, Booger Jam, Total Electric, Corn Cobb Jam, Pegasus Lantern Light Show

6/20/70 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA

Hampton Grease Band, Piedmont Park, 1970

6/21/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show. Stump Brothers with Axis, Celestial Voluptuous Banana, Eric Quincy Tate, Nancy Harmon & The Victory Voices, Robyn, Twelve Eyes, What Brothers, White Lie, Pegasus Lantern Light Show

6/28/70 Chastain Park, Atlanta, GA
Main Event with Radar, the Glass Menagerie, Howard Hanger Trio, Robert Edwin, Linda Harrell, Frank Boggs, Singing Mothers

6/28/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
billed as Hampton Grease Jam, with Chakra, Milan, Flint.

7/5/70 Middle Georgia Raceway, Byron, GA
Atlanta International Pop Festival. With Allman Brothers Band, Radar, Savage Grace, Gypsy, Goose Creek Symphony, Ballin’ Jack, B.B. King, Procul Harum, John B. Sebastian, Mountain. Hampton Grease Band played twice.
Halifax, unknown, Maria, Hendon, Wolverton Mountain, Treat Her Right > Bony Maronie
E: I’ll Go Crazy, Rock Around the Clock

7/10/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/11/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/18/70 Love Valley Music Festival, Love Valley, NC
with Johnny Jenkins, Tony Joe White, Donnydale, Catfish, Freedom ’70, Peace Core
Ascendant

Jerry Fields: “The scariest gig I remember doing was Love Valley — it was like a redneck Woodstock. Guys were walking around with six-packs of beer on their hips and shooting fireworks at ground level, like parallel to the ground. We went on after a group that performed naked, and they turned on their fog machine for their last song, ‘A Little Help From My Friends.’ Then we came out and opened with ‘Ascendant’ [by John Coltrane bassist Jimmy Garrison, on Elvin Jones’s The Ultimate]. At the end of the song, it was total silence — there was no crowd response at all. There were 75,000 people there, and they didn’t react. It was a really weird feeling — it was like we were in a void.”

7/24/70 Trinity Presbyterian Church Coffee House, Atlanta, GA

7/28/70 Maxwell’s Coffee House, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

8/1/70 AMB Auditorium, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Avenue of Happiness

8/7/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Radar

8/8/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Radar

8/13/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/14/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/15/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/20/70 Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, GA
with Fleetwood Mac

Jerry Fields: “It was sold out, and any other band would be going, ‘Oh, this is our big break.’ Instead, we go out and we jam for half an hour. No key, nothing — I just count to four, and we go.”

Great Speckled Bird, 8/31/70: “The real show that night was the Hampton Grease Band and their traveling asylum—two or three dozen people in various activities: reading, sewing on a flag, meditating, watching TV, and two go-go girls dancing in black tights, and the band played on! Unbelievable was the guitarist from Avenue of Happiness (which is a whole other trip in itself) coming out and playing a chainsaw during one frantic song. The playing included an attack on a log! The Grease has never been so insane, except maybe the night they flooded the Catacombs by ripping out the plumbing by swinging from the pipes! Another in the continuing saga of ‘Thick Grease.'”

Marthasville Vacuum, 10/1/70 (reprinted in Music To Eat): “On stage with the Grease Band were friends who danced, watched TV, listened to the music and marched around stage as if at home in their living room. One girl even read a book and another sewed on an American flag during the Grease Band’s performance.As to their `music’–and I use the term loosely–the band performed much the same way. Very little of what they did had any context within itself. The casual actions on stage relayed directly to the audience and caused wandering, talking and virtual unrest.”

 

summer 1970

8/27/70 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

8/28/70 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

8/29/70 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

9/12/70 Pittman Park, Atlanta, GA
Festifall, with Radar, Black Traffic

9/12/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/13/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/18/70 AMB Auditorium, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
with Stump Brothers, Avenue of Happiness

9/19/70 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA

9/24/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/25/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/26/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Avenue of Happiness feat. Bruce Hampton on guitar

9/27/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with Allman Brothers Band, Eric Quincy Tate, Avenue of Happiness, Stump Brothers, Chakra

9/29/70 West Georgia Fairgrounds, Carrollton, GA

10/11/70 Memorial Coliseum, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
with Three Dog Night
Apache, Evans, Bony Maronie

10/15/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

10/16/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

10/30/70 Apostolic Studios, New York City, NY
10/31/70 Apostolic Studios, New York City, NY
11/1/70 Apostolic Studios, New York City, NY
Music To Eat sessions
Halifax, Hendon, Evans

11/14/70 Trinity Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

11/20/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Avenue of Happiness, Screaming Gypsy Bandits, Balderdash

11/21/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Avenue of Happiness, Screaming Gypsy Bandits, Balderdash

11/22/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Winter

11/26/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/27/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/28/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/6/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

12/11/70 Memorial Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Anti-War Benefit. With Fifth Order, Aurora Light Show

12/13/70 Mudcrutch Farm, Gainesville, FL
Mudcrutch Farm Festival with Mudcrutch, Weston Prim, and others. [possibly 1/23/71]

12/19/70 Trinity Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

12/23/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

12/24/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/25/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/28/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

12/31/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

1971

Municipal Auditorium, 1/16/71

1/3/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

1/4/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/5/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/6/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/7/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/8/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/9/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/10/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/11/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Little Feat

1/12/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Little Feat

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 1/25/71: “On the bill with Little Feat were the Stump Brothers, one of the Hampton Grease Band’s spin-off groups and always a smile to hear. The Stump Bros. are good musicians and generally play good music which runs from solid rock to primitive jazz with lots of echoes from the Fifties especially in the horn riffs. But this night (Tuesday) John Ivey had joined them on bass. I don’t know whether the addition is permanent or not but I hope it is, because Ivey’s playing took the whole group into another dimension of music. More than technical mastery of his instrument he possesses a musical conception of the bass that is way out front, in both roots and vision, of almost everybody around since Albert Stinson.”

1/13/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Little Feat

1/15/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Fox Watson

 

1/16/71 Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, GA
with Allman Brothers Band
unknown new songs, Evans, Rock Around the Clock, Bony Maroney

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 1/25/71: “They turned in a fine set, introducing some new material in the tradition of their tight and complicated best, moving from rock into free jazz breaks a la Roland Kirk with flutes, sticks, and weird little noisemakers and putting down some electronic music on top, too. Strange how the shadow of Zappa peers out from the music of both Hampton and Little Feat in different ways, but it does. The Greasers went on into a great parody of Detroit rock, did their old standby ‘Jim Evans,’ and wound up with ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and ‘Bony Maroney’ just so we wouldn’t forget where they come from — rock classicsville. Their record will be out soon on Columbia, and as an indication of just how good they are–which we who hear them so often tend to forget when the shock of surprise wears off–listen to WREK and the mix they have of ‘Jim Evans’ from the forthcoming album. It relates to the schlock around it like pearls to swine.”

2/4/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/5/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/5/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

2/6/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/21/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/25/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/26/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/27/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

4/2/71 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, Avenue of Happiness

4/3/71 Memorial Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Anti-War Benefit. HGB featuring Wesson Oil, with Stump Brothers, Henley Walron’s John, Core Dump, Aurora Light Show

4/25/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

4/29/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

4/30/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/1/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/2/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

6/5/71 Fillmore East, New York, NY
with Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Head Over Heels. First show with Syd Stegall (keyboards).

6/6/71 Fillmore East, New York, NY
with Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Head Over Heels

6/13/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

6/xx/71 Atlanta, GA

Glenn Phillips: “When the band returned to Atlanta, we played at a club owned by a local politician… The next day, when we went back to the club to get our equipment, we discovered that the owner had shut the place down because of financial problems and had locked our equipment inside.” Band is on local news.

 

7/1/71 Central Theatre, Passaic, NJ
with Alice Cooper

7/9/71 Eastown Theatre, Detroit, MI
with Bloodrock, Suite Charity

7/10/71 Eastown Theater, Detroit, MI
with Bloodrock, Suite Charity

 

Atlanta Municipal Auditorium, 7/17/71

7/17/71 Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, GA
First show without Harold Kelling, with Allman Brothers Band, afternoon show only.
new song, Pump Face, Evans

7/22/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/23/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/24/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/25/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Record World, 9/25/71

8/25/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/26/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/27/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/28/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/29/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/30/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/30/71 WKCR, Columbia University, New York City, NY
interview

9/3/71 Winston-Salem Convention Center, Winston-Salem, NC

9/4/71 Hickory Club, Hickory, NC

9/5/71 Hickory Club, Hickory, NC

9/16/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/17/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/18/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

10/8/71 J&J Center, Athens, GA
with Terry Melton and the Laughing Disaster, Milkweed, Acme Blues Band, Smokewood

10/15/71 Point After Club, Hickory, NC

10/16/71 Point After Club, Hickory, NC

10/17/71 Point After Club, Hickory, NC

11/1/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Lawton Singh, Iskon

11/26/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/27/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/30/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness; last show with HGB-related lineup

1972

Head Rest, 8/12/72

1/7/72 Marietta Teen Center, Marietta, GA

1/13/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/14/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/15/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/16/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/4/72 The Rat, Gainesville, FL

2/5/72 The Rat, Gainesville, FL

2/20/72 Double Calf, Louisville, FL
with Buster Brown

2/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/26/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/27/72 Bell Auditorium, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL
with Radar, Clear
Bony Maroney

3/xx/72 college, SC [maybe]
with Bette Midler and Barry Manilow

3/9/72 Student Center, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
with Sewer System, Brer Rabbit, Hydra

3/13/72 People’s Place, Atlanta, GA

3/16/72 Music Connection, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Atlanta Rhythm Section

3/17/72 Music Connection, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Atlanta Rhythm Section

3/18/72 Music Connection, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Atlanta Rhythm Section

3/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

3/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Harold Kelling & the Starving Braineaters

4/23/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/1/72 One Eyed Jack’s, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/2/72 One Eyed Jack’s, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/3/72 One Eyed Jack’s, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/6/72 Pickens High School, Jasper, GA

5/7/72 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with Mahavishnu Orchestra
unknown instrumental > Peter Gunn Theme > 7000 Tears, Alphonso and Louise, King of the Road, Pump Face, Creator > unknown instrumental, Knowing You, Tom Corn
E: Rock Around the Clock
broadcast several weeks later on WREK

5/11/72 North Springs, GA

5/12/72 Andalusia High School, Andalusia, AL

5/26/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/27/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

6/10/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

7/14/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/15/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Hubbler
“Hubbler” included on Glenn Phillips’s Lost At Sea (1975)

7/28/72 People’s Place, Atlanta, GA

8/12/72 Head Rest, Atlanta, GA
with the Chambers Brothers
I Go Crazy, Sunshine Of Your Love parody

8/18/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/19/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/20/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
broadcast live on WREK

8/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

8/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

8/26/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

9/2/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: jam with Glenn Phillips, Mike Holbrook, Jerry Fields, Bill Porter, Starving Braineaters, John Ivey (bass), Al Smith (saxophone), Lance Mohammed (saxophone), Bill Breeze (vibraphone), Tim Embry (electric violin)
broadcast live on WREK

9/7/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/8/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/28/72 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with Cheech & Chong

10/5/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

10/6/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

10/7/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

courtesy Bill Hardin

10/14/72 B & B Ranch, Duluth, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters, with Fletcher and the Piedmonts

10/20/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

10/21/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

10/29/72 Lake Spivey, GA
Concert For Bangladesh, with Wet Willie, Eric Quincy Tate, Stonehenge, Road Apple, Kudzu

11/2/72 Mississippi John’s Coffee House, Williams Center, Georgia State University, Statesboro, GA

11/3/72 Recital Hall, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
broadcast live on WRAS

11/22/72 Municipal Auditorium, Panama City, FL
Thanksgiving festival. With Mourning Glory, The Machine

11/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/12/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/13/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/14/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/15/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/16/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/17/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/21/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

1973

1/4/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/5/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/6/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/2/73 Last Resort, Athens, GA

2/3/73 Last Resort, Athens, GA

2/9/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/10/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/23/73 Great Southeast Music Hall
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

2/24/73 Great Southeast Music Hall
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

3/2/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA

3/3/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA

3/10/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

3/11/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

3/24/73 Jekyll Island, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters, with Hydra

3/31/73 Recital Hall, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
final Hampton Grease Band show, featuring a marching band and appearance by Harold Kelling.
I Got A Mind To Give Up Living

4/6/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Kudzu

4/7/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Kudzu

4/8/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Kudzu

5/4/73 Country Store Restaurant, Athens, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

7/31/73 Coffee House, West Georgia University, Carrollton, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

 

Me too, Pat. Me, too.
Great Speckled Bird, 1/21/74

 

APPENDIX: Hampton Grease Band songlist

Originals:

Agony
Alphonso and Louise
Charlie
Creator
Eggs
Evans (a. Egyptian Beaver, b. Evans)
Halifax
Hey Old Lady/Bert’s Song
I’m Bad
Knowing You [speculative title]
Lawton
Hendon (a. Spray Paint, b. Major Bones, c. Sewell Park, d. improvisation)
Hubbler
Maria
Pump Face
Six
7000 Tears [speculative title]
Tom Corn [speculative title]
Upper and Lower Dresden

Covers:

African Village (McCoy Tyner)
Afro Blue (Mongo Santameria) [Stump Bros.]
Apache (The Shadows)
Ascendant (Jimmy Garrison)
Bony Maronie (Larry Williams)
Fixin’ To Die (traditional)
Gillette Razors jingle
Has Anybody Seen My Gal (California Ramblers)
I Got A Mind To Give Up Living (traditional)
I’ll Go Crazy (James Brown)
I’m Bad Like Jesse James (John Lee Hooker)
I’m So Glad (Skip James)
King of the Road (Roger Miller)
Maiden Voyage (Herbie Hancock) [Stump Bros.]
Magnificent Seven Theme (Elmer Bernstein)
Rawhide (Link Wray)
Reelin’ and Rockin’ (Chuck Berry)
Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley)
Rock of Ages (traditional)
San Antonio Rose (Merle Haggard)
Slaughter On Tenth Avenue (The Ventures)
Straight Alki Blues (Leroy Carr)
Sunshine Of Your Love parody (Cream)
That’ll Be The Day (Buddy Holly)
Treat Her Right (Roy Head & the Traits)
Turn On Your Lovelight (Bobby “Blue” Bland)
Walk Don’t Run (The Ventures)
Wings of a Dove (Bob Ferguson)
Wipe Out (The Surfaris)
Wolverton Mountain (Claude King/Merle Kilgore)
Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey? (Hughie Cannon)

new fillmore east/n.f.e. theatre/village east/villageast/the saint, 1972-1988 (fillmore east, post-bill graham)

(Photo by John Rosenthal)

Also very much a work in progress!

Originally opened as the Commodore Theatre in 1925-1926, used for Yiddish vaudeville and movies, the auditorium at 105 Second Avenue in Manhattan was most famous as the Fillmore East, which Bill Graham operated from 1968 to 1971. But the room had multiple other lives as a music venue, including the Village Theatre, from 1965-1968.

After Bill Graham closed down the Fillmore East in summer 1971, it sat vacant for barely a year. In July 1972, Frank Morgenstern purchased the building (Billboard, 7/22/72, p. 16), announced plans to open as the Village East, but sold the building by fall, before putting on a single show (Rolling Stone, 10/26/72). From November 1972 until early 1973, shows were booked as Village East/Villageast.

In 1974, the building was purchased by the Brooklyn Yeshiva. Later that year Barry Stuart (aka Barry Stein) reopened the venue as the New Fillmore East, but changed it to N.F.E. Theatre after Graham’s disapproval, and shows lasted into early 1975. Several famous bands used it as a practice space, as well. In the ’80s, it became one of Manhattan’s last pre-AIDS mega-discos, The Saint, with the venue entrance possibly moving to 223 E. 6th Street, and hosted

Please post corrections, comments, memories, etc., or email me at link on the right, including with information about for DJs, light artists, and other performers at The Saint.

Village East/Villageast

November 17, 1972
Virgin, rock opera by Father John O’Reilly (opening)

Following three-city promotional tour (Record World, 11/25/72, p. 27).

December 15, 1972
Bloodrock, Elephant’s Memory, Trapeze

Went until dawn, per Billboard. Trapeze has their van and gear stolen (Cash Box, 12/30/72, p. 30).

December 16, 1972
Bloodrock, Foghat, The Fabulous Rhinestones

December 22, 1972
New Groups of the ’70s to Rock the Ages

December 23, 1972
New York Dolls, Teenage Lust, Eric Emerson with the Magic Tramps

December 27, 1972
Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Estus

December 28, 1972
Steve Miller Band, Seatrain, Speedway Johnny (early show only), Rick Roberts (late show only)

Reviewed in Billboard, 1/20/73, p. 18.

December 30-31, 1972
Roy Buchanan, Crazy Horse, Full Moon, Speedway Johnny (early show, 12/30 only), Rick Roberts (late show, 12/30 only)

Reviewed in New York Times, 1/1/73; in Cash Box, 1/13/73 (p. 24).

January 12-13, 1973
Miles Davis, Paul Winter Consort

In Miles’s band: Reggie Lucas, Cedric Lawson, Bala Krishna, Mike Henderson, Badal Roy, Mtume, Al Foster, Dave Liebman. Miles returns to the stage after a car crash in which he broke both legs.

February 2-3, 1973
Joy of Cooking, Goose Creek Symphony, Full Tilt Boogie Band

Photo of marquee by John Rosenthal.

December 26-30, 1973
KISS

KISS rents the Fillmore East to rehearse for their full debut with make-up on December 31st at The Academy. Photos.

January 8, 1974
KISS

KISS plays a promotional event to launch their first album for Casablanca.

New Fillmore East/N.F.E. Theatre

December 7, 1974
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bob Seger, David Barretto

re-opening, written up in New York Times
promoted by Barry Stuart

December 31, 1974
Ike and Tina Turner Revue, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Hidden Strength

Reviewed in Billboard (1/25/75, p. 26)

January 14, 1975
Weekly Tuesday talent night begins. Say it lasted for 3 iterations?

January 18, 1975
Roy Buchanan, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Hydra

Reviewed in Billboard.

January 21, 1975
Talent night

January 29, 1975
Talent night

February 3-9, 1975
Blue Oyster Cult rehearses with full lighting rig.
The Dictators also rehearse there during this period.

February 14, 1975
Papa John Creach, Barnaby Eye (cancelled)

Gossip about cancelled shows in New York Times.

February 20, 1975
Elvin Bishop (cancelled)

February 21, 1975
Deodato (cancelled)

February 22, 1975
Argent (cancelled)

The Saint

1980 DJs: Alan Dodd (opening night, 9/20/80), Robbie Leslie

1981 DJs: Robbie Leslie

March 1, 1984
Grace Jones

March 19, 1986
Spin 1st anniversary party: Red Hot Chili Peppers

May 29, 1986
‘60s Ball: Bob Weir, Jorma Kaukonen, Country Joe McDonald, Steve Kimock, Peter Yarrow; Chambers Brothers; Buffy Sainte-Marie (recording)

October 9, 1986
They Might Be Giants

October 31, 1986
Shriekback

August 7, 1987
Dead or Alive

January 15, 1988
Relix 15th anniversary party: The Dinosaurs, Country Joe McDonald, Wavy Gravy (M.C.) (recording)

Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna sat in. Reviewed in New York Times.

January 29, 1988
The Chambers Brothers
Psychedelic Daze Revue

February 19, 1988
Iron Butterfly, Richie Havens, The Vipers
Psychedelic Daze Revue

village theatre, 1965-1968 (fillmore east, pre-bill graham)

(Photo via Frank Mastropolo & John “Beedo” Dzubak of Kingdom Come)

Very much a work in progress!

Originally opened as the Commodore Theatre in 1925-1926, used for Yiddish vaudeville and movies, the auditorium at 105 Second Avenue in Manhattan was most famous as the Fillmore East, which Bill Graham operated from 1968 to 1971. But the room had multiple other lives as a music venue.

The bookings by a variety of promoters during the year before Bill Graham’s arrival are perhaps even more eclectic than what followed when Graham took over, perhaps the city’s greatest “lost” rock/jazz/poetry/political/folk venue. (And, after the Fillmore East, it had another checkered life as the New Fillmore East, aka the N.F.E. Theatre, aka the Village East, subject of a separate, much briefer chronology.)

Thanks immeasurably to the work Corry Arnold (of the mighty Lost Live Dead, Hootrollin, and Rock Prosopography) and Marc Skobac, and the It’s All the Streets You Crossed Not That Long Ago blog (who posted tons of great Village Theatre ads and ephemera for the initial research and inspiration, as well as the Independent Voices database.

Please post corrections, comments, memories, etc., or email me at link on the right.

March 28, 1964
Lenny Bruce

November 19, 1965
Donovan

Donovan’s New York debut, promoted by Harold Leventhal, longtime manager of Pete Seeger, The Weavers, and many others. Leventhal had also put on Bob Dylan’s first formal New York concert at Carnegie Chapter Hall in 1961.

November 24, 1965
Chuck Berry, The Blues Project, The Undercurrents

Chuck Berry was backed by Al Kooper and the Blues Project. Hosted by Jack Walker.

November 30, 1965
Lenny Bruce, Mongo Santamaria & Co.

July 29, 1966
The Avant-Garde, presented by Joe Pinelli & Lovebeast Enterprises, MC: Alan Grant
Ornette Coleman Trio, Giuseppi Logan Quartet, Frank Smith Sextet

August 12, 1966
The Avant-Garde, presented by Joe Pinelli & Lovebeast Enterprises, MC: Alan Grant
John Coltrane Quintet, Marion Brown Quintet, Jeanne-Lee/Ran Blake Duo

August 26, 1966
The Avant-Garde, presented by Joe Pinelli & Lovebeast Enterprises, MC: Alan Grant
Archie Shepp Quartet, Albert Ayler Quintet, Frank Smith Sextet

Sepember 19, 1966
Mark Lane on JFK assassination.

September 20, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

Billed as “a series of three psychedelic celebrations.”

September 27, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 3, 1966
LeRoi Jones

October 4, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 11, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 18, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 25, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 1, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 8, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 15, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 22, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 29, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

December 6, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

Allen Ginsberg appeared at the December 6th performance.

December 22, 1966
Jazz concert, featuring Stokely Carmichael

December 26, 1966
John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman Trio

John Coltrane with Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali, Sonny Johnson, Omar Ali, and Algie Bata. Many photos. Gig details.

January 29, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam: Broadway Dissents, featuring Alan Alda, Ruby Dee, John Henry Faulk, Jules Feiffer, Diana Sands, George Tabori

February 2, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam: Judson Chamber Ensemble, Bread and Puppet Theater

February 4, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam: Children’s program at 2 pm: Chalk Talk with Maurice Sendak, Eva Merriam (poetry), Yakim Mime Troupe, films, folksingers; The Last Word (at 8 pm): Jack Glick, Daniel Magrin, Cyrelle Ferman, Phil Corner

February 5, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in the Vietnam (4pm): Art Farmer, Jimmy Heath, Jackie McLean, Burton Green and Vincent Gaeta, Clifford Thornton, Pharaoh Sanders, Jeremy Steig, Joel Freedman

Just Music?” report from the Village Voice by Michael Zwerin
Everybody’s Stepchild,” Michael Zwerein, continued

February 14, 1967
Sweethearts’ Day Poetry Reading featuring Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, Ishmael Reed, Peter Orlovsky, Allan Katzman, David Henderson, Lorenzo Thomas, Paul Blackburn, Joel Oppenheimer, Len Chandler, Ronald Stone, Denise Nichols, Hart LeRoi Bibbs, Tom Dent

February 17, 1967
Jonas Mekas and Film-Makers’ Distribution Center present Lenny Bruce (1965)

February 22, 1967
WBAI Benefit: Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Chad Mitchell Trio, Patrick Sky, Judy Collins

February 25-26, 1967
Albert Ayler Octet

Performances from February 26th were released on In Greenwich Village (Impulse, 1967) and The Village Concerts (ABC Impulse, 1978)

March 3, 1967
Lucas Hoving Dance Company

March 10, 1967
Pomare Dancers

March 12, 1967
Kay Boyle Tribute to the Rev. A.J. Muste: Daniel Berrigan, Dorothy Day, Dave Dellinger, W.H. Ferry, Fred Halstead, Alfred Hessler, Nat Hentoff, Arnold Johnson, Sidney Lens, Bradford Lyttle, David Miller, Bayrd Rustin, I.F. Stone, Marge Swann

March 13, 1967
Eleo Pomare
Subscription dance series for 10 Mondays presented by Eugene Dildine and the Village Theatre

March 17, 1967
Philadelphia Woodwind Quartet, Ornette Coleman Trio

March 20, 1967
Midi Garth (dance)

March 25, 1967
Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba, with Flip Wilson
presented by V. Steven Truett

March 27, 1967
Yukiro (dance)

April 3, 1967
Norman Walker (dance)

April 10, 1967
Paul Sanasardo (dance)

April 14, 1967
Angry Arts (afternoon and evening shows): Free Spirits, Judy Wieder, Robin Roberts, Barbara Dane, Blues Project, Dave Van Ronk, Penny Whistlers, Chad Mitchell Trio, Gene and Franceca, The Magicians, Children of Paradise, Izzy Young (M.C.)

April 17, 1967
Mariane Perra

April 22, 1967
Klay Folk Festival: Beers Family, followed by old-fashioned hootenanny
Presented by Berale Klay and Goya Guitars

April 27, 1967
Merle Marsicano (dance)

April 28, 1967
Chuck Berry
Presented by Psi Upsilon Fraternity

May 1, 1967
Lucas Hoving (dance)

May 2-4, 1967
Abolafia Presidential Love-In (aka Abolafia Cosmic Love-In, aka Cosmic Love Convention): possibly featuring Group Image, Eric Andersen, Alec Leonhardt, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Richie Havens, Paul Krassner, Free Spirits, Children Of Paradise, Elaine White, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Described as a “72-Hour Freakathon for Hippies and Saints,” Louis Abolafia was a nudist/love candidate for President and early hippie advocate for the town of Woodstock. Memories from Abolafia’s brother. Associated Press photo.

May 8, 1967
Meredith Monk (dance and music)

May 12, 1967
Malvina Reynolds and the Pennywhistle Singers
Bernie Klay & Goya Guitars presents

May 13, 1967
An Evening With God by Renewal Magazine in Celebration of the Penetcost starring: The Rev. Malcolm Boyd, Dick Gregory, Paul Krassner, Dr. Timothy Leary, Len Chandler, Dr. Harvey Cox

May 15, 1967
Bhaskar (dance)

May 18, 1967
3-Penny Poetry Reading For Life Against the War in Vietnam: Andrei Voznesensky with Sam Abrams, David Antin, John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Gordon Bishop, Karl Bissinger, Robert David Cohen, Phillip Corner, Gregory Corso, Robert Creeley, Joe Early, Clayton Eshleman, The Fugs, Donald Gardner, Malcolm Goldstein, Jackson Maclow, Lewis Meyers, Joel Oppenheimer, Jerome Rothenberg, Joel Sloman, Gil Sorrentino

May 19, 1967
Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theater, The Pennywhistlers
Bernie Klay and Goya Guitars Presents

May 20, 1967
Tribute to Chaim Towber

May 27, 1967
Horace Silver Quintet, Morgana King, Ahmad Jamal Trio

June 3, 1967
Herbie Mann, billed as Impressions of the Middle East.

There was some kind of bazaar set up in the lobby. Herbie Mann’s 1967 album, The Wailing Dervishes, was recorded at this performance, featuring Rufus Harley, Reggie Workman, Bruno Carr, Moulay “Ali” Hafid, Chick Ganimian, Roy Ayers, Steve Knight, Esber Köprücü, Hachig T. Kazarian, Steve Knight, Oliver Collins, and James Glenn.

June 5, 1967
Ruth Currier Dance Troupe

June 11, 1967
WOR-FM 1st Anniversary Party (early & late shows): Blues Project, The Doors, Janis Ian, Chambers Brothers, Richie Havens, Jeremy and the Satyrs, plus Jim Lounsbury, Johnny Michaels, Scott Muni, Murray the “K”, Rosko

June 12, 1967
Charles Weidman Theater Dance Company

June ??, 1967
Trips To Wear (fashion show): Third Eye Band, Quintet Revolutionary

June 25, 1967
Songs For Synanon: Count Basie Band, Arthur Pryscock, Stan Getz Quintet

June 26, 1967
Tamara Woshakiwska, Charlotte Honda and Margot Parsons (dance)

June 28, 1967
Bread For Heads Festival: Mothers of Invention, The Fugs, Left Banke, Allen Ginsberg, Tim Buckley

July 8, 1967
Blues Project, The Who, Richie Havens, Chrysalis, Third World Raspberry (playing after)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

Purportedly the final Blues Project show.

July 21-22, 1967
The Byrds, Vanilla Fudge, The Seeds (late only on 7/21, early & late on 7/22)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion (7/21 added later)

July 28, 1967
Janis Ian, The Grass Roots (early & late)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

August 5, 1967
Janis Ian, The Association, Jake Holmes (early & late shows)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

August ??, 1967
Luis Valdez’s Teatro Campesino

August 16, 1967
The Community Breast, A Benefit For The Community (sponsored by To Each All Things): Tiny Tim, The Fugs, Judy Collins, Richie Havens, Peter Walker
Proceeds to Diggers, Provos, and the Communications Company. Pearls Before Swine cancelled.)

August 21, 1967
Barry Gordon

August 24, 1967
Benefit for the Harlem Six and the black people of Dorchester County, S.C.: James Baldwin, Richie Havens, Ossie Davis, Dick Davy, Frank Mitchell Quintet, Bob and Joe

Billed as James Baldwin’s “first major address in 2 years.” Per the East Village Other, 8/24/67, “Baldwin will relate the unrest in America’s Negro ghettos to American foreign policy in a benefit performance tonight… Baldwin is returning to this country from a two-year writing tour in Europe and Istanbul. Co-sponsoring his appearence are the Charter Group for a Pledge of Conscience and the Dorchester Committee of New York City.

August 25, 1967
The Yardbirds, The Youngbloods, Jake Holmes
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

The night Jimmy Page learned “Dazed and Confused” by hearing Jake Holmes perform it.

August 26, 1967
New Stars in ’67 starring Henry Bell with Julie Janeiro, the Jacksonians, the Young Long Islanders, Samuel Avital, Burton Greene, Sandy Allyne, Martha Reynolds, Yvonne Warden, Mother Hive, Sampson Horten Orcehstra

September ??, 1967
Peace rally with H. Rap Brown & others

That New Black Magic! Keep It Violent,” Leticia Kent in the Village Voice.

September 2, 1967
Mitch Ryder, Vanilla Fudge, The Illusions

September 5, 1967
James Cotton Blues Band, New York Blood Sweat and Tears (billed as Al Kooper/Steve Katz), The Kingdom Come

September 6, 1967
The Glories, The Vibrations, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs

September 8, 1967
Sri Swami Sivananda with Bob Fass, Dr. Joseph Gelberman

September 9, 1967
The Doors, The Vagrants, Tim Rose
Dynasty Presents

The Vagrants (from Queens) featured Leslie West, future co-founder of Mountain.

September 22, 1967
Dick Gregory, Charles Mingus, Andrew Hill

September 23, 1967
Cream, Canned Heat
(Moby Grape cancelled.)

They Play Blues, Not Superstar,” Richard Goldstein in Village Voice

September 30, 1967
Cream, Soul Survivors, Richie Havens

Cream only played early show.

October 7, 1967
Wilson Pickett, The Paupers, Eric Anderson

October 11, 1967
The Weekly Freakly

Announced as a weekly series in Billboard “featuring Lower East Side talent and top recording acts,” I’m going to assume it only happened a handful of times and vanished.

October 14, 1967
Sarah Vaughan and Arthur Prysock
V. Steven Truett presents…

October 15, 1967
October Breakout, MC: Bob Fass
3 pm: Richie Havens, Eric Anderson, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Paul Krassner, Archie Shepp Quartet, Jeremy and the Satyrs, Barbara Dane, Matt Jones
8 pm: Phil Ochs, Charles Mingus, Tim Rose, Moondog and Strings, Paul Krassner, Joe Frazier, Paul Knopf, Bill Fredricks, Elaine White
produced by Topic Magazine and United Jazz Workshops

October 18, 1967
The Weekly Freakly

October 20-21, 1967
Otis Redding and Carla Thomas (cancelled)

October 20-24, 1967
Festival of Changes, A Celebration of the New Destiny; The Sight & Sound of San Francisco Scene: New Salvation Army Banned, The C.I.A. (Center for Interplanetary Activity)
visual disorientation by Liquid Sandwich, Aurora Glory Alice

October 25, 1967
The Weekly Freakly

October 27-29, 1967
Donovan (cancelled)

October 28, 1967
Procol Harum

October 30, 1967
Half Note 10th Anniversary Show: Paul Anka, Carmen McRae, Cannonball Adderley Quintet, Bobby Hackett, Al Cohn (conductor), Alan Grant (M.C.)

October 31, 1967
Halloween Party

November 3, 1967
Yardbirds, Vanilla Fudge (early & late shows)

November 4-6, 1967
Jefferson Airplane (cancelled)

November ??, 1967
James Cotton Blues Band, Blood Sweat and Tears

November 7, 1967
Wilson Pickett, Martha and the Vandellas, James Cotton

November 10-11, 1967
The Doors (cancelled)

November 11, 1967
Moby Grape

November 12, 1967
The Buck Owens Show (4 pm & 8:30 pm): Buck Owens with the Buckaroos, Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins, Rose Maddox
Bob Wyld and Art Polhemus Present

November 17-18, 1967
Electric Flag, Charles Lloyd (cancelled)

November 18, 1967
Charles Lloyd Quartet (early & late)

November 19, 1967
Cosmos presents: Moondog and Mimi Sym, Group Image & Lights, Aluminum Dream, Tiny Tim, Federal Duck, Charles O’Hegarty, Kingdom Come, Lee Crabtree, Grey Company, Pageant Company, plus underground film, Izzy Young (M.C.)

November 23-24, 1967
(early & late) Moby Grape, Druids of Stonehenge, Charles O’Hegarty, Kingdom Come

November 25-26, 1967
The Who, The Vagrants, Rich Kids
Gary Kurfirst Presents

Perhaps when The Who first met Vagrants/Mountain guitarist Leslie West, who would go on to play on the Who’s Next sessions. Promoter Gary Kurfirst would go on to manage Talking Heads, Blondie, The Ramones, and many others.

December 2, 1967
Mass Meeting, planning for Stop The Draft Week, December 4th-8th, organized by Fifth Avenue Vietnam Peace Parade Committee

December 26-27, 1967
Grateful Dead, Peggy Emerson, Take Five

It snowed through a hole in the ceiling. Complete program for the shows. Program features a track list and coupon for the forthcoming live album Take Five were recording that night, allegedly to be released soon on Constellation Records (of 322 E. 44th Street), but I can find no further evidence of this album, Take Five, or a New York company called Constellation Records. Anybody?

February 2, 1968 [moved to Anderson Theater]
Country Joe & the Fish, Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band, Soft White Underbelly

Soft White Underbelly was the prototype version of Blue Oyster Cult, who later used the closed-down Fillmore East/Village Theatre as a rehearsal space in 1975.

February 23-24, 1968
Pearls Before Swine

#deadfreaksunite 1969

#deadfreaksunite 1969
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org. Expanded notes for many shows (with press, scene reports, and images) can be found on Twitter by searching for my username (bourgwick) and the show date. Please consult JerryBase for the latest data, Dead Sources for original articles (1965-1975), and LostLiveDead/Hootrollin for deep dives.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

1/17/69 santa barbara: with santana at a long-mysterious venue. 17-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opener starting to space just slightly. pig’s a bit slurry at the start, but he & band really starting to click on moves between sections. garcia & lesh get with the pretty locked-in riffs. 2 box back nitties cues. with this begins the 6-year golden age of DARK STAR suites where virtually everything is reliably magical, here a 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. during 13-minute DARK STAR, mickey (i think) hits tom-tom accents during 2nd jam, but still no kits. TC’s organ is (as will be the usual) barely audible, sometimes floating through as vague but pleasing ambience. DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY is starting to get spare & gothic, a song i never quite appreciated fully until @amirbarlev’s @LongStrangeDoc. pretty sure pigpen kept playing organ on this one. 26-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE. 8-minute OTHER ONE with 3D pre-verse nebula. 1st dead version of COSMIC CHARLIE after the hartbeats’ 10/68 debut. raw & unnecessarily complicated comix-y fun. hard not to see mr. natural in title role.

1/18/69 los angeles:  the grateful dead occupy playboy after dark & allegedly dose the coffee urn & hef’s pepsi with LSD, a story i’d believe slightly more if any of the dosed ever told it. aired in july ’69. at a fake playboy mansion, jer raps with hef & the dead play 3 songs not yet on their albums. a studio set with “books not even worth stealing,” according to TC. “that’s the big one up there at night,” sez jerry, introducing MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON & looking fuzzy without his glasses. beautiful, thoroughly baroque, & totally hifalutin (or just totally high) acoustic/harpsichord version, with weir on 12-string. ST. STEPHEN edited heavily & TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT in background under the credits. both play more like ‘60s montages than actual performances. fun crowd shots. does maybe seem like a real party is starting?

1/23/69 avalon ballroom (rehearsal): run-through of THE ELEVEN 3 days before the “live/dead” take. apparently, someone’s taken TC outside & gotten him stoned. DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES rehearsal the day before its proper debut has full drums, closer to the later versions.

1/24/69 avalon ballroom: early set opens with 30-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE. increasingly rare CABOOSE never clicks. vocals frayed, awkward bass solo, jam in 13 doesn’t fly. whole night slightly too ragged for live album. earliest live taped versions of 2 “aoxomoxoa” songs: DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES & DOIN’ THAT RAG. pig plays harmonica on DUPREE’S, threading it to the jug band. RAG has tasty jerry outro. i adore this early garcia/hunter period, surrealism similar to the scene’s posters/comix. 19-minute standalone DARK STAR opens late set. cloud-bursting post-verse jam peaks with dense bass leads, cymbal action, & nifty inverted rhythms by weir. TC’s circus organ still buried except when band gets quiet. garcia pops string, aborts 2nd verse, jams more, tries again. TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT missing song verses, mostly just garcia shreds. at one point, voices cheer in swells, just off mic. plug gets pulled (or power fails) & pig continues mic-less: “fuck it.” total hippie chaos ensues. chants, incoherence, DRUMZ, etc. the 3 shows are also the reopening of the avalon ballroom by a new family dog splinter group, the somewhat ironically named soundproof productions. for a dose of the san francisco ’69 DIY scene politics.

1/25/69 avalon ballroom: occasionally off-kilter mix, irresistible music. getting right to it, set 1 is 52-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. TC’s organ is way overdriven in places & sounds boss but too loud. late show begins with the 2nd proper versions of the 3 newest songs, all well improved over their debut takes, especially COSMIC CHARLIE, buoyant & exuberant. funny that it recycles “hung up waiting for a windy day” from ALLIGATOR. of early dead tunes, ALLIGATOR may’ve undergone the most wee tweaks in sections/lyrics/parts/tempos, now with kinda goofy vocal jam. 22-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT greeted with enthusiasm. weir & pig take solo vocal lines during closer.

1/26/69 avalon ballroom: stoned crosstalk as band gets ready, lesh quoting REVOLUTION 9. 1st set is 37-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > CLEMENTINE > DEATH DON’T HAVE MERCY. mix is borked ’til midway into OTHER ONE. garcia immolates during CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro. last known CLEMENTINE, lesh/hunter moodiness forgotten ’til resurfacing in the ‘90s. 1st since 2/68 & rewritten. REVOLUTION 9 callback during new quiet section earns laughs from crowd. listen as the song disappears from memory during segue into DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. TC has no swing whatsoever, but he sounds convincingly psychedelic on CLEMENTINE. nor does not he have an ominous blues setting, playing organ on this take of DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, a task he will be relieved of soon. late set is 40-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. perhaps playing to the 16-track (& LP side limitations) 10-minute DARK STAR is shorter than recent takes. it’s a solid edit, garcia glides through episodes quickly/dramatically in 2nd half. ST. STEPHEN slightly rough in places, but then band turns corner into just-exactly-perfection, even the vocals, with both THE ELEVEN & LOVELIGHT at full snarling speed, & soon constituting a side-and-a-half of “live/dead.”  listened to this LOVELIGHT gazillions of times but never noticed phil singing off-mic response vocals during the 2nd verse ’til just now. great version that moves quickly from idea to idea, landing naturally at big finale. phil: “and leave it on!!”

2/2/69 minneapolis: the opening of new psychedelic venue. local band blackwood apology leads off with rock opera “house of leather.” 90-minute set is band’s archetypal “compact” approach when coming to a new town, with long pigpen rave-ups bookending psychedelic suites. crowd not buying at first. walk-outs & heckles. lesh & garcia heckle back. jerry: “we come all the way across the country & leave the comfort & beauty of california & come out in the cold miserable rain & snow & what do we get? people who can’t dig it. too weird!!” garcia pretty much rips into 16-minute DARK STAR, which is charged & beautiful, with early feedback clouds, aggressive for a song with only hand percussion. 20 more sharp minutes of ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, with ugly tape cuts. TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT entering its own golden age, with rolling pigologues deep inside the groove while the band turns effortless corners & surfs weird pockets atop circular double drumming. the 1st reference to “pocket pool,” i guess?

2/4/69 omaha: a small club on their first trip to omaha. opening act was the unknown, from st. louis. another night of the dead getting hassled. garcia heckling a heckler: “hey far out man. this is too much. this is the lamest trip we’ve been taken on in our entire career, absolutely the lamest.” people calling requests, too. off-mic, garcia suggests MORNING DEW. phil: “is that what somebody wants to hear?” jerry: “it’s what *i* want to hear.” weir, getting in tune: “close enough for progressive rock…” tight, powerful DEW follows. 37-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. tape is sped up, making DARK STAR sound particularly strident. DEATH DON’T remains extra-atmospheric, pigpen back on organ, though cut-off again. 36-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > CAUTION. 1st taped instance of band dropping the CRYPTICAL epilogue, someone onstage calling an audible, a nice move. drummers use chant for reentry before action-packed CAUTION. gets to deep blissful spot, turns noisy & atmospheric while pig is still singing, reforms, peaks, & zooms off the rails. tape cuts out mid-feedback.

2/5/69 kansas city, ks: first visit to kansas, opening for the iron butterfly. missing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opener & dropping right into the suites, mainly a fantastic 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. beautiful gliding DARK STAR, but the more pummeling jams win the day & audience. a perfect shift into pretty ragin’ CAUTION. pig’s section is short. garcia & weir sing long drone tones over feedback before short screamo vocal jam. a cool development in the post-CAUTION meltdown is TC matching garcia/weir/lesh’s feedback with organ drones. friendly ovation early in BID YOU GOODNIGHT. crowd gets into it. long version, garcia hitting the weird lines about the child-eating beast.

2/6/69 st. louis: st. louis debut, their 2nd night opening for the iron butterfly. MORNING DEW is prelude to 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. fantastic shimmering peak to DARK STAR with lead bass & chiming weir, along with twisting garcia threads. LOVELIGHT only sort of gels. the dead get some extra time & burn through THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, exiting upwards into feedback (TC leaning on the organ, phil looking for melodies) & into BID YOU GOODNIGHT, earning a nice reception.

2/7/69 pittsburgh: incredibly heavy triple bill of the grateful dead, the velvet underground, & the fugs, each playing an early & late show, MC’d by paul krassner. 48-minute early set is DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. typically lovely neon skywriting in DARK STAR. power failure almost kills flow before fluid & bombastic THE ELEVEN. LOVELIGHT scrambles midway & never fully ignites. late show capped by half-hour ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT that peaks as much as ambles. cooking CHINA CAT squigglies after drum break & gradual float before CAUTION. feedback starts conversational & dissolves slowly. handy overview of the checkered relationship between the ex-warlocks.

2/11/69 fillmore east: early & late shows opening for janis joplin, her post-big brother NYC debut. maybe because they’re sharing a bill with janis, early show is blues-heavy. 1st taped KING BEE since ’66, a pigpen standard for the next 3 years. the debut of the short-lived pig-sung HEY JUDE. charming but silly, especially the nah-nahing coda. late set begins as mickey presents bill graham with the cowbell that graham played on the night he “became part of the grateful dead,” aka when the dead dosed him & graham jammed. “welcome to the band, bubby,” mickey says. a monster late show, 1st time adding new acoustic songs to front of suite, a powerful sequencing with quiet transition to electricity. 54-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DRUMZ > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. middle DARK STAR jams fully conversational, phrases & ideas spread between musicians, TC starting to get into the weave, often punctuated by garcia soaring over the top with a crystal lead.  garcia keeps pulling out peaks in CAUTION. they even earn an encore, far from the usual in early ’69. big ’n’ bright COSMIC CHARLIE, particularly violent tape cut after 2 minutes.

2/12/69 fillmore east: missing the beginning, 34 minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. pro deceleration into ultra-quiet DEATH DON’T. big reception from NYC heads afterwards. 32-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT has the most sustained bliss of the set, big jams swelling/receding after the drum break, basslines pulling cool harmonies from garcia’s wilding. CAUTION hovers at the edge of chaos after the vocals, splitting open methodically & surrendering to chaos. feedback codas developing a nice arc with miniature episodes, here cosmic TC noise blurps “peak” with garcia’s volume swell melodies.

2/14/69 philadelphia: the 1st of 2 nights at the original electric factory. 53 minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. even with beginning cut, DARK STAR is longer than usual, garcia extra-lit & lyrical throughout. the 2nd set is probably missing some parts afterwards after the DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY ending, but i’m really starting to see why it was such a band favorite, a quiet/spacious non-pigpen landing after a good freakout.

2/15/69 philadelphia: fantastic show start to finish. new songs really clicking, beginning with opening DOIN’ THAT RAG, with a few nice lyric variations. surprisingly assertive & worked-out harmonica part by pigpen throughout COSMIC CHARLIE. only time, i think? big cheer for MORNING DEW, its 1st time punctuating a big psychedelic suite. set-closing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with long early stretch of archetypal explosive garcia blues breathlessness while conversations spin behind him. 2nd set flow exquisitely, beginning with 49-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. during MOUNTAINS garcia solos confidently on acoustic right up til switching off. 1st DARK STAR to crack 20 minutes, though could be ‘cuz garcia pops a string & disappears for 4 minutes, resulting in a lush weir/lesh/TC jam. nice window on weir’s playing, which is great. jazzy, spacious, & filled with strange movements & occasional lead flourishes. 47-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT also stretches extra-wide & extra-gnarly. instrumental BID YOU GOODNIGHT jam acts as bridge into CAUTION & prelude to beautiful set-closing vocal version. big cheers. grateful thanks from garcia.

2/19/69 fillmore west: part of an acid test-like event called the celestial synapse, with an appropriately weird & anarchic tape (often misdated 6/19/68). icky buzzes ’til midway through sloppy 35-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 1st recorded NOT FADE AWAY since ’66. pigpen sings 1st line & weir takes rest, doing it in the choppy ’66 arrangement, ala the stones. tape rolls during break. naked tripping commune leader raps. audience oms for 22 minutes, led by stephen gaskin, later leader of the farm. various heads (& kids?) take mic, babble over om, jam on dead’s percussion. stage takeover, chanting. fascinating field recording. 2nd set is fantastic & ranging 47-minute jam, slowly coalescing into 1st version of THE MAIN TEN (the theme that would become the PLAYING IN THE BAND intro), a vivid DARK STARish episode, unidentified flying shapes, & OTHER ONE variations.

2/21/69 vallejo: luxurious 73-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. thrilling new episode in DARK STAR, the sputnik jam spiraling into an overdriven garcia peak with busy movement & the drummers shifting to their kits. the longest version of THE ELEVEN, i think, just over 20 minutes. doesn’t necessarily go many new places (garcia once called the song a “trap”), surfing the big strange groove because they can & maybe practicing for the live album they’re recording next week. during deep-pocketed TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, maybe the only time i’ve ever heard pigpen refer to himself in the 3rd person. as in, “wake up, ‘cause the pig is hungry.” MORNING DEW to close.

2/22/69 vallejo: trying new setlist tweaks at out-of-town gig. powerful 54-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. 22-minute DARK STAR turns alien after the sputnik jam again, making cover for cool drum entrance. 2nd set has 56-minute DOIN’ THAT RAG > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. another extra-long THE ELEVEN (as per usual this month, seems), with dug-in bass solo.

2/27/69 fillmore west: can hear how amazing the sound quality is during a few of the tech breaks during the early show as the stage creaks in stereo. love the sound of garcia counting off songs with reverberating boot stomps. delightfully high garcia banter, better heard: “it’s really too weird up here, man, it really is… beyond the pale.” my favorite part, off-mic, “beyond the fuckin’ pale.” then, a stomp into the perfect THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE. great dynamics, packed with mini jams. the late show (following sets by sir douglas quintet & pentangle) begins after 1 in the morning on a thursday night. DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES sets up 56-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR glows from the start, all the episodes developed over the past year & even the past week combine for perhaps the single classic take. also a break through: for 1st time, kreutzmann adds exquisite whispered drums from early on, going in/out as song peaks/recedes. (a pretty astounding comparison of the 4 different mixes of the 2/27/69 dark star.) TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT has a few idyllic “goin’ to the country” references but, more, a document of pigpen getting confident in pushing his vocal tics between speaking & singing with band improvising with him. hey, maybe the all-time COSMIC CHARLIE, too?

2/28/69 fillmore west: their 2nd night of 4 with sir douglas quintet & pentangle, each playing early/late sets. early show is pigpen special, getting 3 tunes. long late set introduced by bill graham: “the last of the gay desperados…” 19-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE is prelude to 53-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. epic 20-minute DARK STAR moves away from pulse after the 1st verse, disintegrating after the sputnik jam & out into quietly swinging weir/lesh/kreutzmann space jazz (hart on guiro) before garcia enters quietly & builds back towards song. mickey shoots off small cannon during ST. STEPHEN. drums fade entirely halfway through THE ELEVEN while everybody else keeps ripping, then return. sounds great. jam digs in deep. conversational flows. 39-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. fantastic ambient vibrations by TC during post-CAUTION feedback. mickey shoots cannon again. noise-squelched BID YOU GOODNIGHT. “goodnight from all the electronic mice,” sez jer.

3/1/69 fillmore west: bill graham introduces the band, “the american version of the japanese film ‘the magnificent seven’…” whole early show is deliberate 44-minute suite. no real jams to connect the songs, just short purposeful pauses. last recorded THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE combo, as paired on “anthem of the sun.” bass-led 13s jam in NEW POTATO is fuzzyblissy, before a peaceful crossfade to DOIN’ THAT RAG & COSMIC CHARLIE. garcia, before the late show, charmingly, “hey, this is gonna be good, you guys!” (collective band laughter, but he’s right!) bill graham: “the great high hope…” & band starts into an hour of purposefully sequenced music, beginning with DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES. 58-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR is bolder by the night. kreutzmann’s drums enter subtly, cymbals first, under dense conversation & vanish again. spiky sputnik meltdown & resolution before 2nd verse. ST. STEPHEN has mickey’s cannon & a good cosmic aside by weir, “except in california.” garcia/drummers jam leads into LOVELIGHT, which hits weave. TC starting to fit in. his playing isn’t bluesy but colors the jam under pig’s raps in a very deady way. encore is the 2nd & final HEY JUDE, lost ’til the ‘90s. this time, the 1st half is tentative & it’s the coda that works, achieving primal liftoff with gang chorus (& presumably a singalong) with garcia shredding.

3/2/69 fillmore west: hard to tell what’s happening, but i think bill graham comes out to introduce the band, garcia declares “free turf!” & launches into 57-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, the entirety of the early show. another night, another amazing & sensitive 20-minute DARK STAR. kreutzmann’s cymbal-masked drum entrance in the post-verse jam is starting to solidify. natural feeling TC organ runs. sputnik episode deconstructs into jagged secret codes. “help, help we need some organized minds up here,” garcia begs before late show. DOIN’ THAT RAG showing signs of developing jam. way powerful 34-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, the latter perfect from the start & chosen for “live/dead.”  54-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT takes its sweet time getting to CAUTION with slow deliberate bass jam. a showstopping combo since ’67 (& on “anthem of the sun”), ALLIGATOR > CAUTION becomes a rarity after this. post-CAUTION feedback highlighted by sublime minute-long volume swell coda by garcia, on “live/dead” along with BID YOU GOODNIGHT, which cuts on master after 36 seconds. beautifully sung, but too bad they didn’t have a full take with all the verses.

3/15/69 san francisco hilton: on phil lesh’s 29th birthday, the grateful dead at the black & white symphony ball at the san francisco hilton, annual benefit for the SF symphony. weir’s mom was on the entertainment committee. short charming onstage soundcheck, all band members conversing with owsley. show opens with debut of otis redding’s 1968 hit HARD TO HANDLE, sung by pigpen. both pig & band almost have grip on song, equally feeling their ways through the jam. 58-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. mushy tape, but i think both drummers come in midway through 15-minute DARK STAR for the 1st time, soaring in through big garcia note cloud, only fading during final chorus.

3/28/69 modesto: 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. long DARK STAR takes 15 minutes before drums enter. tom toms flare briefly, dissolving & reforming several graceful times behind garcia’s guitar. band aborts set break after realizing they only have a little time. ken babbs or some other weirdo jabbers & 22-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE ensues. CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT’s reprise rushes past peak into chiming coda, woozy climax, & feedback landing.

3/29/69 las vegas: las vegas debut & only show there ’til ’81. rare mickey talk. “the next thing we’re going to do is something we wrote especially for the ice palace here in las vegas, we wrote it this morning.” cue 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 15-minute DARK STAR feels particularly forceful, with big bold lines over the pre-verse jam, & a spiky (even icy) post-sputnik disintegration near the very end that phil leads back towards prettiness as drums swing quietly. signs of a budding head scene in las vegas, 2 years before hunter s. thompson’s arrival, though the promoter was apparently a san francisco computer programmer, temporarily in las vegas for work.

4/4/69 avalon ballroom: the dead’s last weekend at the avalon ballroom, freak staple since ’66, with the flying burrito brothers & aum. perhaps already influenced by sneaky pete’s pedal steel with the burrito bros., garcia plays slide guitar during the intro to THE OTHER ONE. mega-allmansy 1st 90 seconds or so. very present TC throughout 22-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, doing his best to get funky, with mixed results. cool & confident atonal organ burps. more slide guitar by garcia. 40-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN. after intro, DARK STAR locks on jaunty shaker/guiro groove & kreutzmann’s drums enter before vocals for 1st time. post-verse rides brighter, drums accenting sputnik jam before disintegration into gongs, space, & resolution. nice stereo drum mix, good for untangling drum parts on ST. STEPHEN & what’s happening as they spool into THE ELEVEN, kreutzmann in the left channel & hart in the right, & eventually break apart into chaos & noise to close the show.

4/5/69 avalon ballroom: 1st set is the psychedelic special, DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES as prelude to 46-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, now the third time they’ve played this whole sequence. 17-minute DARK STAR has bold post-verse garcia lines. kreutzmann finds an entrance point, taps a cymbal for a bit, & eventually drums come in for spell, exiting just as naturally. quiet/savage harmonic weirding by garcia before double-drummer swell into 2nd verse. attention “william tell” truthers (including the person who labeled this recording): here’s a version of ST. STEPHEN with the “william tell” ending that jumps right to TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with no sign of THE ELEVEN until they actually play it in the 2nd set. after the fantastic berserker early versions of COSMIC CHARLIE, band has slowed it waaaaay down, & i can’t say it’s working super well vocally or otherwise. 1st taped CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER in a year, debuted in early ’68, set aside for some reason, & revived for “aoxomoxoa.” less manic & a l’il stiff, but garcia’s solo instantly blooms into the familiar CHINA CAT jam. awkward modulation to DOIN’ THAT RAG, now with vocal reprise. end of CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT downshifts with astonishing smoothness into THE ELEVEN & accelerates from there. jam opens up into the return of the garcia-sung IT’S A SIN, played by the hartbeats in ’68, pigpen on harmonica.“whaddya wanna hear that’ll last 10 minutes?” garcia asks, which results in 20-minute ALLIGATOR > BID YOU GOODNIGHT with drum interlude, dense feedback, bells, volume swell melodies, organ whistles. wonder how “sound proof productions” did with all that.

4/6/69 avalon ballrom: 1st proper date since late ’68 with no DARK STAR. weir asks for requests. 1st recorded BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE since 3/68 & 1st IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE since 12/66, slowed down & lovely. “what else do you wanna hear that we used to do?” garcia asks. deep DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, fantastic guitar tone & stark responsive organ by pigpen. more third person from pig during TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT: “tell ‘em pig said it was okay.” 1st VIOLA LEE BLUES since early ’68. big cheers. smashing until after 1st jam’s big peak when the amps go out. “somebody’s trying to tell us something,” observes weir before vocal/drums reprise. farewell, avalon ballroom!

4/11/69 tucson: the grateful dead begin a 2-week cross-country tour with their only ever gig in tucson, at a WPA auditorium. again coming out of THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, a restrained & spacious IT’S A SIN with pigpen’s harmonica getting nearly equal billing with garcia’s guitar/vocals. more garcia slide on HARD TO HANDLE, getting tighter. 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, with gaps in middle. after jamming on it in february, THE MAIN TEN (future PLAYING IN THE BAND intro) arrives during the DARK STAR drum swell. TC dials in the swirls.

4/12/69 salt lake city: the dead play utah for the 1st time, at the student ballroom, presented by the students for a democratic society. an early & late show.weir’s yellow dog joke, his perennial tech break time killer, makes its on-tape debut in two parts, with GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL in the middle. pigpen charmingly hijacks all the punchlines. “you don’t have to laugh. nobody does.” HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE, always rare (at least on tape), returns to the rotation & jams out for the 1st time, crossing 10 minutes as garcia’s fuzzy curlicues spiral upwards & back to a whisper. opening the late show, 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. as drums become more fixed part of DARK STAR, new spaces emerging, like garcia’s alien toned extrapolation, here backing off to give extra jam space to TC. garcia brings slide over to LOVELIGHT. also some gonging. nice drums/guitar breakdowns. one rap culminates in a solid mid-song grunt-fest. gettin’ freaky in mormon country. jam lands into feedback session but tape cuts out after a minute.

4/13/69 boulder: 25-minute (& incomplete) TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opens & takes its sweet time warming up, building to pigpen crowd work to get the vibe on for the evening. a mellow contrast with the busy show-closing version the night before. 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. stunning 24-minute DARK STAR with harsh gap during post-verse acceleration. kreutzmann rides cymbal for a bit before bringing in kit for swingin’ bliss jams with garcia, lesh, & weir. breakthrough! while still totally shredding, THE ELEVEN is relaxed, almost laidback, getting quiet in the middle. sweet landing into DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, perfect dynamic & delightful quiet guitar tones. after almost 2 hours, band takes set break. 14 minutes of ALLIGATOR, with a short garcia/drummers jam, chanting, peaks, & BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme before the tape cuts off.

4/15/69 omaha: presented by radio free omaha. compact HARD TO HANDLE opener effective in new role as pigpen icebreaker, as are a few familiar songs from their first album, including recently-returned BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, confident & driving. another great CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER again downshifts haltingly into DOIN’ THAT RAG, its most frequent destination for the next little while. 27-minute set-closing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT starting to hit marathon proportions, wee bit tiring here. apparently revived a few days previous, 1st taped SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD in over a year, the old reliable post-jugband zig-zagger, pretty much unchanged since ’66. love this groove. 29 fuzzy minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN before tape runs out. strident garcia throughout. TC comes alive, leaning into organ noise & adding blossoming crystal infinities under garcia arpeggios. quick MAIN TEN theme before 2nd verse.

4/17/69 st. louis: outdoors. tape begins with lost dog announcement & promoter introduction, kreutzmann & hart’s intro dictated by weir: “thumpy & dropstick on drums.” HARD TO HANDLE opener with lyrical garcia slide. “i understand this is tornado weather,” weir says, almost excited. 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > IT’S A SIN > ST. STEPHEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. dramatic kreutzmann drum entrance in DARK STAR, riding cymbal under feedback/gong, snare snapping in just as garcia starts lyrical solo, the whole jam growing ever more conversational. 1st split-open ST. STEPHEN replaces the “ladyfinger” bridge with IT’S A SIN with pigpen harmonica spotlights. clever, but a little bit of a momentum killer. after the “william tell” ending, they again skip THE ELEVEN, upshifting into LOVELIGHT. after 23-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE they segue perfectly into CAUTION, which ends after 49 seconds. “they’re taking our road manager to jail if we play any longer, so fuck you…” says phil to the fuzz. more polite so-longs from other band members.

4/18/69 lafayette: indiana debut. experimentalist george stavis opened. wonder if he & garcia interacted? nice spooky film soundtrack playing as band tunes up. no real jam suite, just a smooth & apparently spontaneous phil led segue out of CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT into another groovy SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. another marathon 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. the 1st taped BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE with flexible intro count, 13 beats.

4/20/69 worcester: rescheduled from 4/19. rahsaan roland kirk pulled a gun & demanded to headline. as the band sets up, garcia: “last time we were here, it was a colossal disaster, this time it’ll be worse.” weir: “we gotta start with something good to make it bad.” (apparently it involved multiple power outages.) 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. muffled tom toms accent DARK STAR middle before sputnik jam draws in cymbals & pivots briefly to flaring chaos. as 2nd verse is about to drop, garcia adds soft, beautiful melodic thread. acoustic DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES & MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON close the set, their 1st time not serving as prelude to DARK STAR & co.. MOUNTAINS gets a short outro solo.

4/21/69 boston: set 1 closes with 22-minute ALLIGATOR > DOIN’ THAT RAG, connected by drum break, garcia/drumzers jam, garcia/lesh/kreutzmann segment, & BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme. garcia keeps turning it around & uses it as half-effective bridge into DOIN’ THAT RAG. short FOXEY LADY tune-up noodle opens 2nd set, instigated by garcia/hart/lesh, i think. 66-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. glassy glockenspiel chatter by hart before/during sputnik jam during DARK STAR. brief drums. revived VIOLA LEE BLUES sounding a l’il woozy (or maybe just out of tune) as the encore, though gets better as it goes, finally blowing out into feedback with gonging, garcia leads, more glockenspiel, & TC organ colors before the tape cuts out.

4/22/69 boston: band maybe starting to realize the value of lead with familiar songs, opening 1st set with the recently revived SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD & 3 others from the 1st album. they sort of take requests. monitor hassles & feedback-laced DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES, then extra-long 81-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 4th & final time band played this 6-song full-set sequence & a rare repeated setlist. lush 27-minute DARK STAR is longest yet, 9 minutes pre-verse, with quiet drum episode. after pause for mickey’s gong, kreutzmann jumps on kit & everyone surfs. following sputnik jam, lesh hints at CAUTION, band goes abstract, lands drumless, & peaks again before verse 2. 29-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT is also the longest yet, getting into band improv, including nice zapped-out garcia & swelling CAUTION jam before final vocal reprise. someone popped a string & sounds like end of show is missing.

4/23/69 boston: a legend-cementing show in boston to close a 3-night midweek run at the ark & begin a new era of setlist hijinks. garcia: “this guy’s gonna make a little speech…”  promoter: “monday night i didn’t know how to introduce the people up here, because i’d never heard them live, [now] i know even better. this is the best fucking rock & roll band in the whole world…” floating HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE opens. someone requests MORNING DEW. “no,” says garcia to general laughter. requester responds inaudibly. garcia, droll: “fuck you.” phil: “you gotta stick around to hear MORNING DEW.” jerry: “yeah, ’til morning. ha, ha, ha,” & counts off… well-plotted 47-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > IT’S A SIN > ST. STEPHEN > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. only hand percussion ’til 2/3 into 21-minute DARK STAR. little cloud of abstract wilding after the sputnik jam. harsh tape flip midway, but ST. STEPHEN drops “william tell” end for 1st time, bridging right to CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT. loving the happy bounce of SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD as a destination in the jam suite. garcia accedes to request & MORNING DEW opens set 2. big cheers. 48-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > JAM > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. rare flying mid-jam segue into THE ELEVEN. an audible, i think. drummers cue time signature change with joint pattern. band hits rising chords without single-note figure usually used as pivot. extra-long 17-minute THE ELEVEN with mega-tight post-verse shred jam that turns into a gradual deconstruction into CAUTION by way of melodic garcia & lesh dialogues, a BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme that edges into MOUNTAIN JAM, & more. CAUTION is fantastic, too, peaking big & folding back in half-time for more pigpen, with sweet garcia volume-swells. glockenspiel floats through feedback before BID YOU GOODNIGHT. crowd going just absolutely bananas for encore on a wednesday night in boston. drummers tease at NOT FADE AWAY, but IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE. over-emotive garcia leans into it, starting to turn into a great singer. maybe it’s the new monitor system.

4/25/69 chicago: the battle of the ex-warlocks. 1st of infamous 2 nights with the velvet underground & detroit band SRC. conflicting stories. based on the tape, i have a new theory. popular version is that the velvet underground played an extra-long opening set, leaving the dead only an hour, & that the dead opened 2nd night & retaliated. doug yule tells it several ways: but the tape says… strangely humdrum. 5 of the 6 songs are covers. pigpen gets 2/3 of the mic time. can see serious R&B-head lou reed deeply not digging this. no hint of jams/psychedelia/weirding. forceful 23-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. after LOVELIGHT, weir announces “we’re gonna come back & do a 2nd set in a little while & we’re gonna bring on 2 other real good bands & they’ll blow your minds anyway…” so, based on that… i think the shows were scheduled fillmore-style, alternating acts, with early & late sets for each. on night 1, the dead opened & the velvets played so long that the dead couldn’t do a late set, which (in turn) the dead did to the VU the next night.

4/26/69 chicago: night 2 of the formerly-the-warlocks battle with the velvet underground, in which the dead take their revenge. after the velvet underground blew through the dead’s late set the night before, the dead do the same to the velvet underground. a firsthand report, culled from ye olde dead.net. 21-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > DOIN’ THAT RAG. only taped instance of an acoustic/electric transition after MOUNTAINS into anything besides DARK STAR. a nice alt-universe suite, even if it’s barely a segue into DOIN’ THAT RAG. 25-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > THE ELEVEN > THE OTHER ONE > IT’S A SIN. maybe ‘cuz of impending segue, OTHER ONE is one of 1st to turn inside out, imperceptible A+ time signature shifts. quick 2nd verse, using CRYPTICAL tag as a transition. back-to-back revivals by weir, 1st taped NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES & SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES since ’66. former is yet another 1st album tune revived. on latter, sounds like garcia’s itchin’ to get home & play his new pedal steel. the shift to LSDC&W begins (again). garcia still can’t quite get all the words to IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE, but singing them with more conviction. really great. ST. STEPHEN again drops “william tell” ending into 33-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, pig & phil doing, uh, crowd work. wild 40-minute VIOLA LEE BLUES > WHAT’S BECOME OF THE BABY > WE BID YOU GOODNIGHT encore. 20-minute VIOLA LEE has fierce CAUTION JAM as last peak before dissolving into feedback, the studio BABY played on top. breathtakingly psychedelic. only done once. kinda like the high harmony part someone (presumably not a band member) is singing off-mic during BID YOU GOODNIGHT.

4/27/69 minneapolis: set bookended by TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, opening with 28-minute LOVELIGHT > ME & MY UNCLE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, both perfect segues. 1st taped UNCLE since ’66, maybe closer to rolling ’80s groove than what it would become before that. hour-long DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > LOVELIGHT. 26-minute DARK STAR has beautifully developed pre-verse jam(s). post-verse gongs lead into wild kreutzmann-fired space with most celestial TC organ playing yet & new corner after new corner. the 2nd LOVELIGHT is a bit redundant, though does yield more jam pockets than pigpen raps, which is a nice balance change. MORNING DEW on the other hand is a jawdropper. fantastic vocals by garcia.

5/3/69a rocklin: an hour-long afternoon set at the sierra college pop festival, their 1st of 2 gigs that day. some of my fave jerry banter: “we’ll mention that nobody here is made of sugar & nobody will melt if it rains. the worst thing that could happen is that we might be electrocuted en masse & that’s not so bad, shit.” also: “hey man, we’re just hassling up here, can’t you understand? we’re in the middle of a hassle. if you want, you can hassle along with us… this is just life. this is no show. this is the way we live. we’re just hassling here in an attempt to make some simple music.” more great tech break theater, including jerry on phil’s broken strings, eric clapton references, & weir inviting a dog onstage. weir also tells what seems like a puzzling & tasteless joke but i think is connected to real rock & roll lore, though can’t verify weir’s bit. anyway, solid MORNING DEW opener, a favorite of dick latvala. most of set is 25-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with a few gnarly guitar jams & not a whole lotta pig raps. all pretty low stakes, including BABY BLUE & BEAT IT DOWN THE LINE.

5/3/69b winterland: alternating sets with mongo santamaria & the jefferson airplane.
lesh: direct from the sierra pop festival, here’s bill graham.
garcia: direct from bill graham, the gospel truth!
crowd (led by weir?) sings “come all ye faithful… to winterland.”
graham: san francisco’s own seven samurai, the grateful dead…21-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE with the action shifting from the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro to the OTHER ONE middle jam, sailing & diving & thinning out in the middle. muddy tape, but cool garcia dialogues with TC’s B3 & then phil’s bass.

5/7/69 polo field: a wednesday afternoon in golden gate park with the jefferson airplane, just ‘cuz. loose & lovely & audibly lysergic. definitely the end of an era, the last free san francisco park gig ’til ’75. coming out of jam, only hart drums on ME & MY UNCLE. charming garcia announcements about lost kids & found car keys. dude asks heads to stop standing in front of speakers. “aw, go away, ya cop,” sez jerry. much other trippy crosstalk. it’s bill the drummer’s 23rd birthday & he shows up properly late, missing the opener, i think here sporting his pigpen shirt. almost 3 minutes of a mystery instrumental, possibly just improvised. weir starts fingerpicking chord changes & rest of band gradually joins. can anybody identify it? gets cut off as it starts to pick up speed. a tape gap, probably with some songs missing, cutting into 13-minute THE OTHER ONE > SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING. dense pre-verse OTHER ONE peak & thinning in the middle. 1st taped SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING since 3/68, only the ending, perpetual pigpen rarity. 1st taped GOOD LOVIN’ since ’66, with jerry on vocals instead of pig, singer on the utterly manic early versions. the only dead song to have 3 different lead singers at various points. and i think mydland sometimes took verses in the ‘80s, too? 55-minute DARK STAR > DRUMZ > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT to close. languid 1-verse DARK STAR moves adjacent to usual motifs without hitting them directly, veering into many short & melodic garcia pockets, with subtle, supportive vox organ & chiming lead bass.

5/10/69 pasadena: opening for “cream’s farewell concert” movie. a hippie introduces the band, leading the crowd in a long “gong bong,” a breathing exercise to get you hiiiiiiiiiiiiigh “without all the dirty dope.” power failures interrupt HARD TO HANDLE & MORNING DEW & i still dig it more than cream. 72-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. mushy sound in parts of DARK STAR, but garcia’s guitar peaks & turns throughout, kreutzmann’s drums flocking around it. before last verse, a quiet space builds back to fierce swirl.

5/11/69 san diego: an afternoon bill (& FM broadcast) with canned heat & santana. raging MORNING DEW opener. 29-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL with smooth segue & radio crosstalk about canned heat, mostly confirming it at 5/11. 30-minute ALLIGATOR > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with much of santana seemingly joining. percussion interludes extra drumzers drumzing, making chaos, a vocalist, & supposedly carlos, but i don’t hear him.

5/16/69 morago: a high school in the east bay. not a great set, but good stories. after the grateful dead get hired to play a high school, they open with the most appropriate/inappropriate song in their repertoire, pigpen singing GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL. fairly tame set, including a lightly jammed DOIN’ THAT RAG & a 22-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with pig exhorting people to get their thumbs out of their asses. someone’s shouting for ST. STEPHEN. principal supposedly turns lights on mid-song.

5/23/69 hollywood reservation: the  dead headline (i think) the first rock festival held on native american land to avoid local laws, including joe south, muddy waters, & more. another big MORNING DEW. many sets now open with pig/jerry/weir alternation. ME & MY UNCLE is weir’s 1st new cover in a bit & will become band’s most played song ever. always garcia who signals it so far. love the big spaghetti western leads. 68-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. languid pre-verse rambles but band jumps confidently into post-verse noise/swell/launching before thinning back out. a few icy, spiky episodes by garcia provide lift-offs. cohesive half-hour LOVELIGHT finale, feeling like an equal balance between big colorful garcia leads & extended pigpen parts, including a cool pig/drummer breakdown.

5/24/69 hollywood reservation: on one hand, the dead seem determined not to repeat what they did the night before. on the other, they open with a 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, which they’d played for half an hour to close the previous set. some fun new turns within. alternate universe suite #1: 28-minute HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, all magic segues. great acceleration into the brightness of CHINA CAT, which opens into (a slightly flat) THE ELEVEN via a different path than ’68. i’ll admit to having a soft spot for weir’s joke about the yellow dog, told during tech breaks, but this is a particularly terrible & painfully slow iteration & rightfully bombs. after he says “shit,” concerned non-dead voice off-mic remarks “did he just swear?” alternate universe suite #2: 24-minute ALLIGATOR > ST. STEPHEN > BID YOU GOODNIGHT is less successful, but still fun. extended ALLIGATOR drumz segment slams into ST. STEPHEN without the chiming intro & exits to feedback without the “william tell” ending.could be wrong, but i think the big rock pow wow was the last time the grateful dead & timothy leary shared a stage. pretty sure i’m not buyin’ anything tim’s selling.

5/30/69 portland, OR: springer’s, a hippie ballroom. ripping: ’77 MORNING DEW. rippinger: ’69 MORNING DEW. another show-opening gong rush. mickey never should’ve gotten rid of it. jerry pops strings. “you can talk amongst yourselves, or maybe it’s ‘talk amongst yourself’ or ‘you can talk to yourself.’” 23-minute DARK STAR > COSMIC CHARLIE. band rushes out into DARK STAR jam, which stays bright (& mildly out of tune), with a fracturing post-sputnik freakout, before ignoring the 2nd verse, dissolving purposefully down to quiet, & back up into COSMIC CHARLIE. 39-minute ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, cutting off (maybe) at the end. THE ELEVEN gets up into peak flows & LOVELIGHT stays vibrating, bouncing between garcia jams & pigpen scenes. once again, from michael lydon’s great 1969 rolling stone cover feature.

5/31/69 eugene: 1st recorded COLD RAIN & SNOW since 10/67, pretty much still in early/speedy LP form with pronounced guitar break. long tech hassle with ken babbs stand-up babble. “remember, there’s more of us in this room than anybody else!” student tries to get people to dance.
garcia: it’s free turf. anybody can do anything they wanna do.
babbs: we can take it, we’ve been stoned!
garcia: *been*?
shift continues: 1st tape of weir doing curly putman’s GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME, c&w hit in ’65 for porter wagoner, global #1 in ’66 for tom jones, & solid lol about weed for heads in ’69. tape sez garcia’s playing pedal steel, but it’s just faux steel licks on 6-string. 20-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. properly berserker THE OTHER ONE jam, starting to explode outwards from the middle of its suite. prankster chaos continues throughout, people shouting onstage during music. babbs grabs mic during 30-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with decidedly mixed results, though occasionally amusing crosstalk. 2nd set opens with (i think) the longest ever HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE, almost 15 minutes. occasional windows of sweet & brilliant garcia solos, but whole jam never quite comes into focus, or perhaps tune. 29-minute DARK STAR > DOIN’ THAT RAG. free drummin’ post-verse weirdness opens into crisp-phrased sputnik jam & further abstractions. babbs’s voice occasionally pokes through as jam coalesces prettily. tape cuts before DOIN’ THAT RAG jam & the segues might continue. some spun prankster (not kesey or babbs, i don’t think) takes the mic at the beginning of IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE for pseudo-heavy rap & tries to sing with garcia throughout. not a keeper take.

6/69 pacific high recording (maybe): jerry garcia solo demo featuring 3 future grateful dead classics, all debuted that june & included on “workingman’s dead” the following year. garcia & robert hunter’s 1st real forays into americana. all 3 songs are breakthroughs in different ways & begin a new, simpler phase in garcia & hunter’s songwriting. a few takes of DIRE WOLF. some are pretty chipper, garcia overdubbing spritely & fluid acoustic leads. only one pass through CASEY JONES, garcia & hunter’s update of the old ballad. fully formed, intro lick already there. a few subtly different flourishes, jerry shifting into a sweet & winning falsetto in places. love the folk feel, before the dead made it gigantic. a 5-minute blues instrumental with garcia overdubbing slide guitar. generic, but with enough chord changes that it sounds like a song sketch. unfinished garcia, but not terribly compelling either. HIGH TIME is another major new move for garcia & hunter, a relationship song that’s neither psychedelia nor overtly building on folk tradition. more forceful than the fragile dead versions to come. also new: garcia’s beautifully wounded, quiet vocals. will be more fragile & beautiful when it slows down even more. #deadfreaksunite [x/x]

6/5/69 fillmore west: opening an eventful 4-night run at the fillmore west, alternating sets with jr. walker & warner bros. labelmates the glass family. early show closes with 25-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, another wild middle jam, but the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro is still where the jam’s at, with an unusual & patient organ-padded section early on & soaring upwards from there. sweet landing. alternate universe mini-suite: punchy 8-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. the segue works just exactly dandily & the jug/folk/rock destination is similar in concept to I KNOW YOU RIDER if not quite as cathartic. 67-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR continues to dissolve earlier pathways, weir adding great mini-leads during post-verse jam, contributing to peak. THE ELEVEN ends with thoughtful, quiet conversation.

6/6/69 fillmore west: the night jerry garcia showed up late & bill graham made the band go on with another guitarist, ome of many random june ’69 guest appearances. probably. the result is a preview of dead & co., garcia replaced by a blues hammer, in this case wayne ceballos of aum. after SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING, people shouting “where’s garcia?” lesh: “[we’re] sadly depleted…” in response to crowd, “well, one guitar player’s pretty much like another.” ceballos joins ragged BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE & leads sonny boy williamson’s CHECKIN’ UP ON MY BABY. bulk of set is interminable 47-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. garcia returns midway through. maybe. hard to tell what’s going on, but sounds like a mega-jam to me, at times bordering on a shreds video.

6/7/69 fillmore west: show begins with live debut of DIRE WOLF, mostly just a peppy solo acoustic performance by garcia with the band (kinda) following. MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON set ups the DARK STAR suite for the 8th & final time, one ending of the “live/dead” era. 46-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY maybe missing between last two. dreamy but rapt DARK STAR intro. post-verse slashes, weir digs into sputnik jam. nearly solo garcia space feeds into outro variations. boffo entrance to THE ELEVEN, fierce & detailed, as is SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, its last version serving jam-suite duties ’til ’72. janis joplin comes out for concise, screamodelic 20-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, one of 2 tapes of her with the dead. lots of sweet & funny answer vocals between janis & pig. not transcendent but better than the other guest versions from this run.

6/8/69 fillmore west: an infamous show in internal band lore. the most fun set of the run, before garcia & lesh (& others) get too dosed & sit out much of the late show. early set opens with 13-minute DANCING IN THE STREET, 1st since spring ’68. drummers are ready, locking in immediately. jam gets deep & bright, garcia pulling out neon threads, weir working gear shift, band moving together. slowed-down mutant reentry. no real segues, but set keeps flowing. HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE is perfect, with languid garcia phrasings. last recorded version of NEW POTATO CABOOSE, 13 minutes & a doozy. some grunge, but bass jam surges into sustained bliss exactly as designed. vocals almost sound okay. late show is a mess, multiple accounts of LSD-dosed apple juice below. on tape, it begins with 36-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT fronted by aum’s wayne ceballos, elvin bishop on guitar. tag-team superjam features some decent chaos & probably increasingly fewer dead members. elvin bishop & pig duet on THE THINGS I USED TO DO & WHO’S LOVING YOU TONIGHT, with the dead drummers & probably other musicians, before garcia rematerializes for slightly woozy but happening 21-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE. multiple people dosed the apple juice at the 6/8/69 dead show with an estimated $50,000 worth of LSD crystal, led by notorious acid dealer goldfinger. unsurprisingly, accounts differ. first up is from dennis mcnally’s official bio. a long account of the 6/8/69 dosing by phil lesh, from his memoir. jerry garcia & mountain girl remember the 6/8/69 mega-dosing to dennis mcnally (in “jerry on jerry”), the bad trip that would inspire robert hunter to write “black peter” (& stop doing LSD for a while), & perhaps the story of CSN’s true influence on the grateful dead, when garcia/hunter listened to the band’s first album over & over as hunter was coming down.

6/11/69 california hall: most of the grateful dead at san francisco’s california hall, at a scientology-related benefit, billed as bobby ace & the cards from the bottom of the deck. no tape, but a songlist exists from an early deadhead whose other lists match up to tapes. a prototype of the new riders of the purple sage, one of jerry garcia’s first outings playing the pedal steel, besides coffeehouse gigs with john dawson, playing a slew of songs that would make their way to dead sets soon & a bunch that wouldn’t. the show was a “quasi-benefit” for… scientology. according to dennis mcnally’s bio, weir was ending his brief dalliance under TC’s tutelage & was exiting with a benefit to, uh, get clear.

6/13/69 fresno: everything is a bit frayed. nice to hear TC’s keyboards distinct in the mix during an otherwise sloppy HARD TO HANDLE, though. maybe he’d’ve been better served by a rhodes, or something more percussive? aum’s wayne ceballos comes out for GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL, not ronnie hawkins, despite deadbase’s claims. 15-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > MORNING DEW settles down easily, but DEW loses some oomph without the dramatic gong intro. with no DARK STAR, a 42-minute ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. could be the recording, but feeling a little edgeless. ceballos & sanpaku flautist gary larkey (probably) hang for LOVELIGHT.

6/14/69 monterey: in the college gymnasium at @mpcmonterey, with aum & the bitter seeds the 1st “electric” DIRE WOLF, mostly garcia solo again, guitar a bit out of tune. lesh picks it up as it goes along, the drummers accent occasionally. except for the great new song in the middle, just an absolute mess, really. 53-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. pre-verse DARK STAR jam is big & assertive over hand percussion, chunky & rhythmic garcia leads, hard-fuzzed (with aggressive lesh) as drums enter. wayne ceballos of aum comes out again for LOVELIGHT, the 4th time in a week, & doesn’t add a whole lot. mercifully short, with a 5-minute drum break (plus chanting).

6/20/69 fillmore east: a 2-night stand at the fillmore east with savoy brown, the buddy miles express, & @joshualightshow, celebrating the release of “aoxomoxoa” & instead debuting a virtually new grateful dead. it’s not bill graham introducing the band. instead of the nitrous-hosed psychedelia from their brand new album, the band opens their big NYC gig with george jones’s OLD, OLD HOUSE, sung by bob weir. garcia’s on pedal steel for the 1st time with the dead. nice! one of two known dead versions. garcia on pedal steel for DIRE WOLF, too, 1st version of briefly lived arrangement with weir on lead vocals. he & the song sound great except for weir’s affected cowboy drawl. garcia’s back on 6-string for debut of merle haggard’s MAMA TRIED, sung by weir, playing acoustic. then, holy crap, the 1st version of garcia & robert hunter’s HIGH TIME. garcia’s vocals sound almost perfect & fragile & quiet, jumping easily into upper registers. a spare drum part that sometimes seems almost non-existent. weir’s harmonies are rough but sweet. eventually, they get to DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES, the 1st song of 2 songs featured from the new album. garcia calls his 12-string a “dozen wire.” 52-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR itself is missing a chunk, not even 8 minutes. perhaps because of a popped string, garcia switches to an acoustic during one of the LOVELIGHT breaks & it sounds boss.

6/21/69 fillmore east: GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME opens, garcia on pedal steel. “there’ll be a brief pause while we allow you to consider the new development,” he notes. no one shouts “judas!” but there’s some chatter in the room. wish the audience tape was less muffled! ME & MY UNCLE makes a lot more musical sense in a set with pedal steel & songs like HIGH TIME, which is sublime even on this shitty tape. garcia’s voice & TC’s keyboards whisper through the murk. starting to build transitions from americana to psychedelia. 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > MORNING DEW, a more forced segue than the other iteration of this combo, the latter getting polite applause when it starts. (also an indication of how polite/quiet the crowd is the rest of the time.) 22-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > OL’ SLEW-FOOT is perfectly mid-’69. engaging post-DRUMZ jam continues into deep OTHER ONE. a big tape flip in CRYPTICAL, but comes back in time to catch garcia switching over to pedal steel & weir counting off into the 1st recorded version of crockett/webb’s OL’ SLEW-FOOT, probably picked up via porter wagoner. wild steel licks.

6/22/69 central park bandshell: a sunday in the park with the grateful dead, their last free show there, appearing each june since ’67 at the naumberg bandshell. legendary show for the parkies, the LSD-dealing graffiti artist longhairs who hung around the bandshell throughout the ‘70s, because it was the day owsley came to the park. 12-minute DANCING IN THE STREET opener is all sunshine despite the fuzziness. the 1st recorded CASEY JONES, presumably debuted during an untaped set at the fillmore east over weekend, floating in on a jam that sounds like a slightly brisker ROW JIMMY. sounds more familiar by the time the ending ramps up. 1st taped SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES with garcia on pedal steel, sparkling through the audience tape guck. weir & lesh’s harmonies sounding a little better. 30-minute DARK STAR > THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > IT’S A SIN with some tape cuts/fades. DARK STAR pre-verse jam gets down to stark garcia/lesh space, with quick post-verse shift into 1st OTHER ONE fully severed from CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT segments. using OTHER ONE end tag, band lands in ST. STEPHEN, leaving it unfinished & shifting into IT’S A SIN at the “ladyfinger” bridge, before 22-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer. there will be rumors of free dead shows in central park for years to come. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

6/27/69 santa rosa: with an unnamed prototype of hot tuna & the cleanliness & godliness skiffle band. 1st 9 songs all drawing from folk/americana, almost all new or revived in the past 2 months, featuring occasional acoustic guitar/pedal steel/guests, before shifting over to psychedelia. a little kid introduces the band, “from good ol’ san francisco, the good ol’ grateful dead.” opening OL’ SLEW-FOOT features pete grant on banjo, an old garcia buddy from the palo alto scene. marmaduke might be singing, too? i adore garcia’s harmony on MAMA TRIED. per @corry342, cleanliness & godliness’s tom ralston subbed for a delayed mickey hart early in the show. to my ears, only MAMA TRIED sounds like it has extra percussion. (garcia played pedal steel with c&g, too.) 2nd taped version of CASEY JONES, again starting with short jam, garcia still figuring out intro lick. but vocals come in so forcefully that it’s a surprise not to hear the crowd cheer in recognition. some rhythmic discombobulation & extra chords, but shaping up quickly. in the context of all the other folkiness, the 1st taped version of pigpen doing BIG BOSS MAN since early ’67 plays like a labor song (which it totally is!) & a seemingly clear antecedent to EASY WIND. cool, loose feel. but they’re still weirdos: 40-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN JAM > GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME. long DARK STAR has rhythmic swells & post-verse flows. hart’s jackhammer snare pushes up/out, lesh teases LOVELIGHT, weir hits new patterns, & all land gracefully. once again, the band exits from psychedelia with garcia shifting to pedal steel for a weir c&w tune, getting as far as THE ELEVEN transition jam before attempting a crossfade into GREEN, GREEN GRASS. IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE going well before tape cut.

6/28/69 santa rosa: chaos prevails as show starts, bordering on a hootenanny. phil introduces OL’ SLEW-FOOT winking to owsley: “this song is about bear drops. does a bear drop in the woods, that is the question?” pedal steel, pete grant on banjo, onstage fireworks. grant plays banjo for 1st few songs, mostly inaudible. enjoying the bright combo of the pedal steel & TC’s glassy keyboards, though. someone is audibly talked down from setting off further fireworks. a voice off-mic, maybe jerry, “you see what they were going to light?!” garcia switches back to electric for MAMA TRIED, played extra slow (yes, slower than the recent dead & bro debut), which sounds nice in places but doesn’t quite hold together. maybe it would with pedal steel? john “marmaduke” dawson doubles weir on ME & MY UNCLE with his odd, high voice, which almost kinda works. it’s marmaduke’s 1st official appearance with the dead. garcia’s been backing him on pedal steel at coffeehouses, soon to be the new riders of the purple sage. no real psychedelic jams & just one song from their brand new album, DOIN’ THAT RAG. only improv is a 28-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer, pulling out all the stops, downshifting into a mini swing episode. many electric garcia shreds en route.

7/3/69 colorado springs: sharing a bill at reed’s ranch with alice cooper & beginning an 11-day jaunt to the east coast. indoors, despite the venue name. a 90-minute set opening with another pedal steel double-shot. 2 c&w covers by weir that never made it into the dead’s canon (& are ignored by even deep cut cover bands): SLEWFOOT & GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME. zero songs from the last 2 albums. hart (audibly) playing kit on HIGH TIME for 1st time & wow is it a mess. sweetest jam is melodious & bittersweet 13-minute HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE, a keeper. unusually, TC leads start of 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT jam, which goes off the rails in a mostly good way around halfway through, into propulsive guitar, but can’t quite recover the groove or momentum for the finale.

7/4/69 chicago: with the buddy miles express & the sir douglas quintet at the kinetic playground. owsley is not having it anymore with weir’s lame jokes, pausing the tape in the middle of the yellow dog story & later during some other joke that i don’t think i’ve heard on another tape. two pedal steel double-shots, including the late set debut of gene crysler’s 1966 song LET ME IN, sung by weir, learned (as usual) via porter wagoner. onstage firecrackers (by mickey?) during OL’ SLEW-FOOT, effective & dramatic from a psychedelic/musique concrète POV. using the post-verse tag, THE OTHER ONE lands in HIGH TIME, replacing the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro. an early iteration of a garcia ballad following a big frothing jam. i like TC’s chugging organ on the still-developing CASEY JONES. weir watch: “someone in the front row is wearing a heapload of suntan oil & it sure smells weird up here & i thought i’d tell you.” ST. STEPHEN drops “william tell” ending & jumps right to 25-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, more firecrackers, though no sign anyone realizes it’s july 4th. it could easily be someone lighting shit on fire just ‘cuz, shockingly common at ‘60s dead shows.

7/5/69 chicago: after crashing MORNING DEW opener, 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE. DARK STAR folds into sparse, questioning abstraction after sputnik jam. less a segue than a dissolve into a lovely but hissy/garbled BABY BLUE. the CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER jam keeps getting more raging & the band is still looking for a destination, trying out songs like puzzle pieces. tonight, it’s HIGH TIME. nope, next! another slow MAMA TRIED. mega-extended TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT feels like its own country, 34 minutes tonight, with cool improvised bridge/turnaround that pig latches onto.

7/7/69 atlanta: for free in atlanta’s piedmont park with spirit, chicago, allman brothers, & hampton grease band. the dead’s 1st gig anywhere between virginia & florida. the day after the atlanta pop festival, many of the bands play in piedmont park. the dead didn’t play atlanta pop, but show up & close the night with a 2-hour set anyway. another big MORNING DEW opener relies more on the band’s propulsive groove than garcia’s dramatic solos, though they’re that, too. garcia hits big vocal notes in HIGH TIME, his range almost audibly expanding. crowd is audibly way into it, with big cheers/claps at DARK STAR’s peaks &, later on, a few different spontaneous chants & clapalongs during TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. monster 84-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. lush 27-minute DARK STAR, half before 1st verse, weir & lesh planet-hopping with garcia from the start & avoiding the usual byways. chaotic but awesome 37-minute LOVELIGHT finale has gregg allman on keys, probably duane on guitar, & perhaps the hampton grease band, spirit, & chicago horns. cool “shine on me” harmony. l’il breakthrough for pig, drawing out many new & unfamiliar phrases.

7/11/69 new york state pavilion: on the site of the 1964 world’s fair in queens, across from shea stadium. the closest thing to an east coast acid test, according to nyc dead freaks. long tech break to begin the tape, in case anybody is making a mix of weir’s nonlinear jokes. garcia on 12-string electric for opening DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES & DIRE WOLF. last DUPREE’S ’til 1977 revival. garcia reclaims the DIRE WOLF lead vocals from weir with gusto, no longer playing pedal steel. but HARD TO HANDLE features garcia on pedal steel for the only time, a lovely twist. CASEY JONES allllmost has intro lick in place. fun alternate suite: 52-minute ALLIGATOR > THE OTHER ONE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. nearly 15 minutes of garcia shreds after ALLIGATOR drum break, twisting into triplets. LOVELIGHT cuts after 8 minutes & could conceivably be 4x longer.

7/12/69 new york state pavilion: last tape with a pedal steel segment to open. fare thee well to MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, too, the last recorded version, & the only one with a jam, gentle & modal. too bad about tape quality. can occasionally hear jets whooshing over from LGA. 11-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > MAMA TRIED. because of the tape quality, severely underrated CHINA CAT with extended intro & perfect segue out of the now-familiarly raging jam. the 2nd c&w/folk tune to work in the slot, MAMA TRIED is now creeping back to a faster tempo. 61-minute DARK STAR > THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR drops in post-verse, kreutzmann already on drum kit, good swells, sputnik jam that sounds headed to the second verse, but swerves into THE OTHER ONE instead. after THE OTHER ONE post-verse tag, someone onstage (phil?) shouts for more DARK STAR, but garcia’s already into the ST. STEPHEN intro. shouty & participatory LOVELIGHT, with pig pulling people onto the mic, including mickey hart.

8/1/69 family dog: on his 27th birthday, jerry garcia refuses to cross the picket line of the light artists’ guild strike at the family dog. the dead play without him. garcia & others retreat to van, smoke jerry’s “superweed,” & plan community meetings for DIY scene. the subsequent meetings, “the commons,” are part of a complex summer in san francisco, including the conception, planning, collapse & cancellation (!) of the utopian wild west festival. to be held in golden gate park, it would’ve rivaled woodstock. according to one news report in local paper good times, the dead (minus garcia & hart) played a set, “jamming with two flautists from the audience & a conga drummer off the beach.” the meetings go well enough until jawdropping blow-out between local spiritual guru stephen gaskin & promoter bill graham.

8/2/69 family dog: with the light show strike suspended, the grateful dead make their full debut at the family dog at the great highway, the collective’s new venue in old ballroom at playland by the sea, on the ocean “at the edge of the western world.” a fun & confident set, the new songs are both tight & playful. opening CASEY JONES is filled with forceful miniature jams, lots of TC’s keys. HARD TO HANDLE warps & woofs conversationally. david nelson adds b-bender solos to MAMA TRIED & SLEW-FOOT. pedal steel mini set features the dead debut of george jones’s SEASONS OF MY HEART, TC gamely adding some lovely organ colors. garcia gets a sweet dive-bombing fuzz tone for 2nd half of his OL’ SLEW-FOOT solo. only out jam is 25-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, though the most psychedelic part of the recording is when tape-heads go amiss near peak of 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, leading to some far-out whooshing & image distortion.

8/3/69 family dog: a violinist & saxophonist join, identified by deadbase as david laflamme + charles lloyd respectively, but almost certainly neither. “hey, the bear’s got a banjo,” garcia remarks before 1st song. (“get away with that thing!” someone adds.) owsley did own a banjo. his copy of pete seeger’s “how to play the 5-string banjo” with his name inscribed is now in ned lagin’s collection. maybe he wanted to jam? violinist plays on nearly every song, fitting in casually, starting with opening HARD TO HANDLE. A+ chaos, especially BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (with 28-beat intro), a candidate for mickey hart’s most wonderfully anarchic drum performance. sax joins for 1st taped dead version of HI-HEELED SNEAKERS since ’66, garcia & pig sharing vocals, violin adding hot jazz vibes. violinist stays for HIGH TIME. sure sounds like a rumbling synth in places, too, but how? fuzzed b-bender solo by david nelson on MAMA TRIED. a ranging, raging 72-minute DARK STAR > ALLIGATOR > THE OTHER ONE > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT with the saxophonist & violinist, who both seem to know what they’re doing & fit shockingly well. besides side jams, the 1st time anyone’s joined for DARK STAR. 23-minute DARK STAR has full sputnik meltdown before 1st verse. the usual motifs are there, but guests drive new textures & new peaks. the saxophonist spins around garcia & adds active themes in every zone. violin is more atmospheric, but usually on point. who are they?! OTHER ONE continues epic hippie-jazz free melts. sax gets honky but freaky as jam deconstructs, almost floats back to DARK STAR, & becomes fire music as CAUTION erupts. americana themes by guests in last feedback swirls before garcia reclaims stage.

8/16/69 white lake: after mountain & before credence clearwater revival. @andyzax & @briankehew’s new mix of the dead’s woodstock set features 14 new minutes of pristine stage chaos before & after the music. chip monck & ken babbs tag team on the mic. can’t hear getting weir getting knocked by shocks from the microphone, but hear some of his complaints. “kinda zappy up here.” great pre-set raps by babbs, tripping face, including a nice “this land is your land” reference.” terrible dead set. 1st ever show-opening ST. STEPHEN. weir skips 2nd verse & garcia follows before fizzling into sleepy MAMA TRIED at “ladyfinger” bridge, inexplicable even on film. were they going to segue back? was it a tech issue? was jerry too high & forgot? on a pure chaos level, the woodstock tape is highly entertaining, if awkward. babbs, keeping together relatively well, tries to hold crowd during 11-minute break. most of his psychedelic raps stop landing, but still less insufferable than monck. country joe offers an acid warning. excellent stoned crosstalk with weir & owsley as they try get the microphones on. weir also starts to tell the YELLOW DOG STORY but doesn’t get going, which is surely for the best. fashion watch: garcia wore his faded pigpen shirt. only 19-minute DARK STAR gels, halfway through, sliding into a dazzling post-verse jam with bright garcia/lesh/kreutzmann peaks but skipping 2nd verse & petering into HIGH TIME. ambitiously quiet song under circumstances. walkie talkie chatter via lesh’s bass. as band kicks into interminable 37-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, rando grabs mic & starts trip-babbling about “the third coast,” interrupting pigpen. for a rando, he’s kinda great! ken babbs sez he led the dude away by dangling a joint like a carrot.

8/20/69 seattle: rained out at the seattle aqua theater, the dead play their 1st post-woodstock show at el roach, a local bar & “favorite movement hangout,” according to the seattle helix. no tape.

8/21/69 seattle: playing in front of a moat. rained out the night before & rescheduled. 1st co-bill with the new riders of the purple sage. 1st taped version of EASY WIND, sung by pigpen. 1st dead song written solely by robert hunter, band alternating between a pair of rolling blues grooves. fantastic HIGH TIME, garcia singing confidently, group vocals/harmonies coming together. rare NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, the last taped version ’til 5/70, featuring sanpaku’s gary lackey on flute & vocalizin’. lackey sticks around through CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER, staying enthused, a very period sound. ultra-compact 29-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DARK STAR > COSMIC CHARLIE. DARK STAR is shortest of the era. with both verses & no apparent cuts, it doesn’t break 7 minutes, though the jam flows & finds a quiet destination. like an update to the 7-inch version. the real news is that the slow version of COSMIC CHARLIE is finally working, with confident vocals & tight playing, as well as a good tape flutter dissolve at the end. a virtual b-side to DARK STAR.

8/23/69 mount st. helens: the tiny & entirely forgotten bullfrog 2 festival, featuring the dead, taj mahal, & a bunch of bands that sound like they were invented by thomas pynchon. assume new colony is not new colony six?  a week after woodstock, another festival set that’s way better. again, very present organ playing by TC; HARD TO HANDLE solo underscores its similarities to the VIOLA LEE BLUES groove. rare dedication by pigpen, “for calypso joe, from new york.” intro lick now in place, the last appearance of the looser CASEY JONES with pre-verse solo & mini jams. 2nd EASY WIND swerves into blues-choogle & crosses the 10-minute mark. they’ll rein it in soon. 73-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. long DARK STAR has important new move, dropping the pulse & going free/percussionless after the 1st verse, then voiding, gonging, arpeggiating, building, surfing, peaking, peaking, peaking. 27-minute LOVELIGHT seems somehow reasonable, with inventive pockets & grooves before pigpen turns over the mic to randos & then it’s less interesting. perhaps the new post-woodstock policy of allowing randos their turn?

8/28/69 family dog: a thursday afternoon jam session at the family dog, minus TC & pigpen. making his first appearance on a dead-related tape, a.b. skhy’s howard wales on organ, soon a regular garcia collaborator. band warms up with 2 early dead standards, IT’S A SIN & HI-HEELED SNEAKERS. not coincidentally, both soon jump into the garcia solo songbook. wales is hyperactive, almost cartoonishly shreddy. 64-minute DARK STAR > THE ELEVEN JAM. wales runs rampant over song parts (& even over garcia), short circuits usual jam patterns & kicks band into wild new spaces. the least deferential guest ever. occasional dead air, but mostly busy mad scientist inventions. there’s a mystery flute player in the mix, too, but virtually impossible to hear. wonder if it’s the same mystery flute player as 8/3? once owsley levels the mix & garcia starts following wales, zig-zag improv thrills ensue, wales & garcia clearly finding conversational ground.

8/29/69 family dog: with the new riders of the purple sage, the rubber duck co., & commander cody, with bands alternating sets from stages on opposite sides of the room. CASEY JONES tightens up. still a bit of a mini jam, but mostly hard charging confidence. (maybe too confident in the case of mickey’s chattering cowbell midway through.) screams for HEY JUDE are met with giggles. “HEY JUDE is a lost cause,” weir says. “the first request that blows our mind, we’ll do,” offers jerry, which yields an exuberant (& short) medley of early dead/warlocks covers: 11-minute NEW ORLEANS > SEARCHIN’ > GOOD LOVIN’. gary “u.s.” bonds’s NEW ORLEANS is solid, great dual lead by weir & pigpen. too bad it didn’t stick around. 1st recorded SEARCHIN’ comes back raucously, too. lesh charges into GOOD LOVIN’ but garcia takes over. the old crazed jerry-sung version. 1st taped DIRE WOLF since the july east coast tour, slowed down slightly & with less of a rock feel. sung solo by jerry, again with no harmonies. skittering drums, but closer to its familiar & comfortable form. messy but quite charming. 30-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT is great for half. rare instance of pigpen trying to get the crowd to shout louder. seems to be ending for, like, 10 minutes. “thanks for keeping us high,” jerry says genuinely.

8/30/69 family dog: kinda iffy performance for the most part. the last of 5 pretty awkward CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > DOIN’ THAT RAG pairings. they’ll get there yet! 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > ELEVEN JAM > DRUMZ > HIGH TIME. another pathbreaking DARK STAR, dropping pulse & building from silence towards gorgeous melodies. garcia pops string & weir jams briefly on TIGHTEN UP, 1st of several great DARK STAR themes over next years. sweet feedback solo by garcia before last verses of ST. STEPHEN. after the “william tell” outro, band shifts time signature but loses the thread despite lesh’s attempts to steer. confused DRUMZ segment lands in not-fully-convincing HIGH TIME.

9/1/69 prairieville: the new orleans pop festival, held at the international speedway near baton rouge, playing after lee michaels & before the jefferson airplane. labor day festival set in front of ~25,000 people. perhaps the most passive-aggressive stage intro ever: “if you will, one of the slowest fucking groups, but one of the finest in the world, the grateful dead…” mostly quite compact, including an enthused CASEY JONES opener. one of the only versions of EASY WIND played anywhere near an actual bayou. still tightening, but swells to convincing swampiness. 60-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR drops briefly to pulselessness after the verse but doesn’t quite find a coherent path back to the peak, though nice garcia/TC conversation. during LOVELIGHT (& i might be reading too literally) pigpen seems to attribute the “wake up in the mornin’ ‘bout a quarter-to-five” bit of his rap to chuck berry, perhaps “reelin’ & rockin’.”

9/6/69 family dog: a surprise show with the jefferson airplane at the family dog. more craziness out by the pacific. a few warm-up tunes, including rare HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE & then a bunch of warlocks-style rarities, goofing around & half-accidentally workshopping. 1st taped BIG BOY PETE since ’66, olympics cover with exuberant group vocal by jerry/pigpen/weir. sharpest of the ’69 garcia-sung GOOD LOVIN’s. 1st ALL OVER NOW maybe since ’66, band figures it out onstage. much like the late ‘70s versions, but with more swingin’ drums. 1st “modern” NOT FADE AWAY, led by weir with pigpen on harmonica. pulled out earlier in the year at manic ’66 speed, it slows down enough to emphasize the pulse. garcia hits bliss zones before an almost-crisp pullback segue into EASY WIND. MIDNIGHT HOUR also returns to rotation in the closer slot, 1st on tape since 8/68. not a super snappy version, but pigpen does some heavy crowd-work, apparently targeting anyone sitting on the floor. according to this intel by somebody who worked at the family dog, the bands played on the venue’s two stages at the opposite sides of the room & then jammed back & forth from them. maybe that’s what happens at the end, but i’m skeptical. triumphant post-woodstock jefferson airplane in a small club. powerful at times. closer is frequently enthralling 30-minute VOLUNTEERS with garcia & hart, apparently longest jam in taped airplane history. spencer dryden is a monster! what a great drummer.

9/7/69 family dog: delightful sunday hang with members of the grateful dead & the jefferson airplane at the family dog, playing oldies & oddities. no real noodles, just rock songs! garcia/kaukonen/casady/kreutzmann/covington, if i had to guess. loving the garcia/kaukonen vocal tandem on buddy holly’s PEGGY SUE & jimmy reed’s BABY WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO & garcia’s solo vocals on THAT’LL BE THE DAY & JOHNNY B. GOODE. only times for all of them, i think. garcia asks for requests, someone calls for WIPE OUT, & the drummers & garcia launch into a big surf rumble that’s not quite WIPE OUT but all fun. lands (briefly) in a fragment of BIG RAILROAD BLUES, which would jump into the dead repertoire the next year. things are petering out by the time someone (joey covington, supposedly) takes the mic for garage-slop 6-minute LOUIE LOUIE > TWIST & SHOUT > BLUE MOON. the latter is a chill coda, led by jorma, i think. miraculous how concise everything is.

9/17/69 alembic: rehearsal at alembic, the new sound workshop in novato inspired by owsley & still one of the world’s premier guitar/bass makers. tape begins with garcia, lesh, & constanten (i think) running through a generic R&B instrumental that would sound like a vamp if not for lesh shouting out occasional section changes. run-throughs, arrangement, & 3-part harmony work on 2 songs with garcia on pedal steel, SEASONS OF MY HEART & mel tillis’s SAWMILL. garcia will soon abandon trying to sing & play pedal steel at the same time, but not yet. band spends half-hour figuring out themes & tags from various classic cartoons & get deep into it, some with pedal steel, presumably as many joints circulate. TC excels. a lot of extremely quality garcia giggles, as entertaining as the music. 20 minutes of slowing the tempo & spacing out the feel of old staple COLD RAIN & SNOW, removing the harmonized guitar break. the pivot between the amphetamine version on the debut album & the arrangement they played through ’95. mickey hart might be the only drummer here? a few casual passes of DIRE WOLF, slowly firming up. 22 minutes of jamming on THE ELEVEN, apparently experimenting with new rhythmic variations. garcia & lesh give hart shit for losing track of the pulse, the only tense part of the tape.

9/26/69 fillmore east: opening for country joe & the fish, plus sha na na. 45 minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > KING BEE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. the recording of DARK STAR is murky af, but the post-verse space-out is as lush as a liquid light show, spinning into the 1st FEELIN’ GROOVY jam. so blissy. far-out tape bleed during DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, the ghost of some opera singer or blues belter on some earlier layer of tape.

9/27/69 fillmore east: last time as an opening act, playing 1st at the early show before country joe cedes the late headlining slot to them. bill graham introduces the band, “the magnificent 7 of san francisco…” before a straight-forward set for the early saturday crowd. highly condensed jams & miniature choogles, presumably saving the real freakiness for the untaped late show. NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME resurfaces for 1st time on tape since 3/67. set’s most open moment is soaring jam in CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > HIGH TIME, the last taped version before the arrival of I KNOW YOU RIDER. more a dissolve than a segue. 1st great DIRE WOLF. just as they joked on previous week’s rehearsal tape, the band is now dropping miscellaneous cartoon-ish themes into tuning breaks sets. here they include TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME, 3 days after the mets clinched the national league east.

9/29/69 cafe au go go: newly reopened cafe au go go in the west village, where they played on their 1st trip to NYC in ’67, a single alluring tape side includes fascinating & thrilling alternate universe suite with 26-minute DOIN’ THAT RAG > THE SEVEN > GOOD LOVIN’, both segues clearly planned-out next-beat pivots. this must’ve happened other times. 1st of only 2 surviving versions of THE SEVEN, instrumental sequel to THE ELEVEN, plotted carefully with intricate garciaing. final taped version of the jerry-sung GOOD LOVIN’, too, here just a platform for a drum break.

9/30/69 cafe au go go: sharing a bill for the only time with the holy modal rounders. 1st taped CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. 9 minutes, missing beginning. short & undeveloped jam compared to last few versions of CHINA CAT, but can’t argue with that landing. group vocals only on RIDER & big sparkling garcia breaks. tape warp/speed issues get pretty unbearable during 24-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE. lots of great OTHER ONE themes, though, some adjacent to SPANISH JAM. clean end after the 2nd verse tag, no sign of CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT.

10/24/69 winterland: between the jefferson airplane & sons of champlin. band opens with 4 freshest songs, all destined for “workingman’s dead,” followed by big new CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER combo, weir’s transition sounding like GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. much yelling at bear about monitors & mics. 9 minutes of THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE, an obvious but dizzying segue that’s almost too much, peaking & peaking & peaking before pulling back slightly into the verse of COSMIC CHARLIE.

10/25/69 winterland: 59-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. brilliant weir-driven DARK STAR, playing co-leads & pushing band through blissed new FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP themes while garcia soars, & more co-leads before last verse. stephen stills joins band on guitar/vocals for LOVELIGHT & energy level seems to dip a bit, perhaps cuz stills’s guitar is buried in the mix. hard to pick out stills all the time, but jam hits some moody non-blues.

10/26/69 winterland: long soundcheck/tuning instrumental by weir that sounds fully formed enough to be a song. 1st taped live version of the slowed-down COLD RAIN & SNOW, still stumbling a little. garcia dedicates DIRE WOLF to the local serial killer: “this song is dedicated to the zodiac cat & also to paranoid fantasies everywhere… & everybody can sing along if they feel up to it, it’s real easy to sing.” lazy sunday vibes. garcia: “this is a sunday night, everybody try to remember that. it’s been a long, weird weekend.” great 11-minute EASY WIND gives weir a chance to flex his solo skills, finding a nice casual weave with jerry.

10/31/69 san jose: student union ballroom. not terribly halloweeny on tape tbh, but every day was probably halloween in the ‘60s. standard issue set with a batch of the new tunes & a few wee jams. DIRE WOLF is a warm singalong with almost nonexistent drums. can really hear garcia turning into a fantastic singer on HIGH TIME. big, soulful ache. 25-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE surfs a powerful jam corner before the 1st OTHER ONE verse but mostly lays low, besides wild psychedelic gonging by hart during outro. half-hour un-spooktacular TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with big happy garcia jams.

11/1/69 family dog: opening 2 nights on the great highway with danny cox, as well as the golden toad (feat. steal your face logo artist bob thomas). well-paced 2-hour set with nice balance between the new americana, psychedelic jams, & pigpen rave-ups. garcia keeps trying to sell DIRE WOLF as a singalong, “this is a song about… what you do when the wolf comes to the door.” the slowed-down arrangement of COLD RAIN & SNOW clicks up the tempo slightly & works much better. 1st taped version of GOOD LOVIN’ with pigpen singing lead, garcia still doubling him occasionally, with drum break & brief jam. no pig rappin’ yet. 15-minute HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE swells & recedes several times with beautiful volume swells by garcia. after returning to chorus, a trailing fade into glorious CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. (too bad, the actual FRIEND > CHINA CAT segue on 5/24 was boss.) big 31-minute ALLIGATOR > UNCLE JOHN’S THEME > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. with BID YOU GOODNIGHT melody as cue, garcia leads high-speed instrumental coda/verse/chorus/coda of not-yet-finished UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, clearly rehearsed, bridging to LOVELIGHT.

11/2/69 family dog: one of only 3 surviving versions of MIDNIGHT HOUR for ’69, notable (kinda) for weir-led jam. doesn’t quite take off. only taped SEASONS OF MY HEART with garcia on 6-string instead of pedal steel. 1st DANCING IN THE STREET since june is way truncated. nearly 10 minute GOOD LOVIN’ is great, its new arrangement borrowing from ALLIGATOR with a drum break followed by garcia/drummers jam & rest of band piling back on for speedy fun. an instant staple. 60-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. epic DARK STAR, settling post-verse into silence/gonging/pick scrapes/noise before the sputnik arpeggio sets up a perfect & gradual combobulation into triumphant FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP jams. stunning DEATH DON’T with intense dynamics & deeply present garcia vocals. also the last time it appears (on tape) in the DARK STAR sequence, perhaps not coincidentally as it is on “live/dead,” released the week after this show.

11/7/69 fillmore auditorium: back at the original fillmore auditorium, briefly returned to freak control & booked by the flamin’ groovies & co. as “the old fillmore.” good ol’ stage chaos (thankfully tracked out individually). someone plays the STAR SPANGLED BANNER on penny-whistle. new jams, CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER & the tightly turning GOOD LOVIN’, are compact platforms for sunshine. 67-minute DARK STAR > UNCLE JOHN’S THEME > DARK STAR > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. after post-verse DARK STAR gonging, slow-motion bassline makes shapes as drums slowly enter. brilliant rhythm guitar colors & round lead bass. after return to DARK STAR theme, a pass through the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam transitions to another worked-out instrumental UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, the whole song compacted into 100 seconds. a harsh tape flip misses the move back to DARK STAR, but it goes right back to soaring. next beat segue from DARK STAR into THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE suite, short & fierce, phil calling audible segue into LOVELIGHT before the last verse. big bass & conversational jams ensue, the sprawling LOVELIGHT dipping occasionally into zonk.

11/8/69 fillmore auditorium: possibly the night garcia was tripping so hard he thought assassins were after him. fierce CASEY JONES with audible italics from garcia on “take my advice you’d be better off *dead*” & followed by DIRE WOLF, with its “don’t murder me” chorus. wild & semi-disorienting co-leads by garcia & weir on EASY WIND. deeply present garcia vocals on the 1st great CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, over the top & intense, the 1st of many suite-ish pairings with HIGH TIME, equally intense. extra-charged GOOD LOVIN’, too. in the middle of all this, 1st recorded version of CUMBERLAND BLUES, rare garcia/lesh/hunter co-write, sung by garcia/lesh/weir over hot-rodded country-psych groove. 96-minute mega-sequence DARK STAR > THE OTHER ONE > DARK STAR > UNCLE JOHN’S THEME > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > THE MAIN TEN > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT just keeps giving & giving. post-verse DARK STAR rises up through the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam & straight into a far-out OTHER ONE, riding back into a DARK STAR peak before lesh leads the charge into the most realized UNCLE JOHN’S THEME, filled with triumphant garcia licks. slammin’ 37-minute CAUTION, depending how you count it, driving the late jam energy level way into wider spaces than TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, filled with walking bass heaviness & sparkling 8-minute feedback/organ/volume swell coda. a mid-CAUTION reel flip makes the sequence a bit confusing when an unidentified rando suddenly appears on mic to read a poem before band slips into 3 minutes of THE MAIN TEN, proto-PLAYING IN THE BAND jam. no idea. one of mickey’s friends? BID YOU GOODNIGHT feels slightly more crackling, too, with the fuller set of lyrics. was this the night garcia was extra-dosed? who knows? maybe it was one of the more discombobulated sets from december, but i hope not.

11/15/69 crockett: a moratorium day benefit. highlight is mini-suite with the 2nd CUMBERLAND BLUES bouncing right into CHINA SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, followed by the now-customary breath-pause segue before HIGH TIME. enjoying TC’s bright B3 between the beats on CUMBERLAND, especially. 43-minute (ack) TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with long amp outage. weir is of no help when enlisted for crowd-work, leading bad singalong. pig grabs harmonica, jams with drummers & keeps going when the guitars come back. sounds boss! wish he did this more often.

11/21/69 sacramento: 1st birthday party for sacramento freeform FM station KZAP, with the now-ubiquitous commander cody & plus a.b. skhy (feat. howard wales). 2 45-minute sets with a tech intermission. CUMBERLAND BLUES & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER are subtle anchors, great high-energy pivots between americana & psychedelia that make the whole flow more coherent. the compact GOOD LOVIN’ continues to yield subtle wonderfulness in its post-DRUMZ pocket, tonight driven around an ambiguous jazzy mode & building back to chorus.

12/4/69 fillmore west: 1st of scheduled 4 nights with flock & humble pie. stage announcements about the free festival with the rolling stones scheduled for saturday at sears point, including where to meet by the golden gate bridge for a bike pool. by the end of the night, organizers will be on the hunt for a new location. 1st BLACK PETER, garcia & hunter’s existential masterpiece, lyrics stemming from a notoriously bad trip by hunter. the song/structure are formed, the arrangement/dynamics are not. kinda herky jerky. great confident vocal by garcia, though. 38-minute DARK STAR > HIGH TIME. DARK STAR opens almost aggressively fast with drum kit from the start, a rarity. could be the mix, but feels disjointed. a few lovely bass leads. post-verse space builds & edges on joyous FEELIN’ GROOVY jam without ever resolving.
jerry: seeing as how we blew most of the set just remembering how to play…
phil: …so we’re gonna blow this part of the set remembering how sing a song we just learned last week.
the debut of UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, casually dropped at the end of a show. a little fast, no intro solo, but the verses & lilting/uplifting harmonies are worked out & stunning. outro jam curls alluringly, before last chorus & reprise of 1st verse as ending.

12/5/69 fillmore west: the last night of the ‘60s, the evening before altamont. with the venue nailed down for the next day’s free festival, more pre-altamont chatter. sez weir, “bear wants me to tell you to bring dope.” 2nd version of BLACK PETER feels more formed already. taper snaps along with CUMBERLAND BLUES & sings badly with COSMIC CHARLIE. less amusingly, in order to save tape/battery, he also pauses between songs (& during THE OTHER ONE drum break!), losing potential snippets of altamont banter & tantalizing bits of music. big: 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is longest yet, with a tiny taste of CAUTION during the transition. bigger: the 1st RIDER with jerry’s solo “i wish i was a headlight on a northbound train” verse. alluring sliver of UNCLE JOHN’S BAND followed by tiny fragment of THE MAIN TEN & a clean move into a gorgeous (& prescient) IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE. “that was me tying my shoelaces, in case you’re interested, folks,” the taper announces during segue.

12/7/69 fillmore west: opening with the 3rd version of BLACK PETER, a perfect post-altamont dirge, 10 minutes & taking its time. wonderful stark full group playing, so stark that the B3 is almost prominent. the sunshine is way compact, including the revived DANCING IN THE STREET, GOOD LOVIN’ (with garcia & weir co-leads), plus CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER (garcia’s “headlight” solo verse gone again) bridging to ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. might be the weird mix, but lots of back-channel full-group jams/conversations make an otherwise standard 27-minute LOVELIGHT fairly enjoyable, including lots of TC’s B3.

12/10/69 thelma: a tiny & briefly-lived club on the sunset strip called thelma. 5-song guest appearance by stephen stills, his 2nd of year, playing guitar on 5 songs & leading 1. he’s mildly discernible on CASEY JONES & shreds with garcia on GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL & EASY WIND. someone’s playing harmony lines & it sounds cool. stills leads BLACK QUEEN, from his self-titled 1970 debut, which will return the next time stills does, in another 14 years. TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT cuts off after 3 minutes, which i think i’m fine with. late show cuts off after 27-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE, which is too bad because it’s a pretty decent audience tape for the era.

12/11/69 thelma: BLACK PETER starting to explore ways to get from dirge to big garcia solo. drums disappear from DIRE WOLF, traded in for hand percussion, tightening up & paving the way for acoustic sets to come. early set closes with 46-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > CUMBERLAND BLUES. DARK STAR is almost by-the-book, imploding & following a glowing path upwards, flowing into peaks via the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam. transition into THE ELEVEN feels extra-exploratory with misterioso bass leads. 1st time CUMBERLAND BLUES comes out of a segue, which also seems to really lock in its manic LSDC&W groove. late show highlighted by intricate DANCING IN THE STREET, rapidly becoming a centerpiece again with good flow between drummers. never long enough. set capped by 26-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE.

12/12/69 thelma: over both shows (& 3+ hours of music), the dead play 7 of the 8 songs that will comprise “workingman’s dead,” with great dynamics from dramatic HIGH TIME to drumless DIRE WOLF, where TC’s B3 sounds vaguely garth hudson-y. in late show, 12-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > HE WAS A FRIEND OF A MINE, garcia kinda blows through the UJB outro & covers with vocals. jam spirals smoothly into 1st verse of the penultimate HE WAS A FRIEND, an eloquent coda rather than a springboard of its own. call for requests yields 54-minute show closing ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT, the jams getting good after the ALLIGATOR drum break & better during CAUTION. controlled mayhem but mayhem nonetheless.

12/13/69 san bernardino: with the flying burrito bros. & country joe & the fish at the swing auditorium. a decent showcase with occasional odd vibes. deep garciaing on HARD TO HANDLE. BLACK PETER has moved almost instantly from dirge to dramatic showstopper. garcia digs into his falsetto there & on CUMBERLAND BLUES. deep jams & expansive pigologues during TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, including discourse on pocket pool vs. real pool. pig gives shit to weir: “why don’t you tell somebody a stor-ay?” plug gets pulled after 24 minutes.

12/19/69 fillmore auditorium: 1st ever acoustic grateful dead acoustic set opens their last stand at the original fillmore auditorium. lesh is late, so garcia & weir do 4-song acoustic set, all dead debuts. the taper (bear?) pans voices/guitars around weirdly at first. weir does MONKEY & THE ENGINEER, a kids song learned via jesse fuller, formerly done by mother mccree’s. garcia’s LITTLE SADIE (via clarence ashley) is dark & gothic. lovely harmonies on stovall/george’s country standard LONG BLACK LIMOUSINE. BEEN ALL AROUND THIS WORLD feels well-worn. before latter, weir plays part of a tune that sends both into giggles. can anybody ID it? when lesh shows, band debuts the short-lived MASON’S CHILDREN, garcia & hunter’s 1st altamont answer song & maybe the dead’s last garage-psych blaster. cool 3-part lesh-heavy harmonies & questing solos. slight lyric difference, 1st line is “*the* mason died on monday…” so many new songs! UNCLE JOHN’S BAND starting to get slightly tamed. beautiful minimal intro solo by garcia with a vaguely calypso lilt & B3 counterpoint. mickey seems to be playing hand percussion during the verses, which keeps groove light.

12/20/69 fillmore auditorium: band opens with brand new MASON’S CHILDREN for 2nd night in a row, feeling their way between the verses. that & CUMBERLAND BLUES are the only songs played all 3 nights. 14 are only played once. 51-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. post-verse quiet builds into impressive B3/gong cloud & exquisite builds & valleys, including FEELIN’ GROOVY jam, en route to 2nd verse. great constanten throughout. debut of NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE, garcia/hunter’s 2nd altamont song, ominous & doom-laden & timeless. but a mess tonight, trying to find the tempo. the fairly involved answer vocals by weir & lesh don’t work, either, especially weir’s falsetto. its only time in the jam slot. pig & band don’t sync on 35-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, the band (intentionally?) blowing through several “now, wait a minute”s, collected as supercut at end of “dave’s picks 6.” nice ending with mickey’s cannon, though. anyone ever seen a picture of it?

12/21/69 fillmore auditorium: short sunday set opens with 16-minute SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING > NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. 1st SMOKESTACK since june. i think weir is trying to play slide in places? wrong year, buddy! 2nd SPEEDWAY has better executed answer vocals, soon toned down. another raging MASON’S CHILDREN. after slopping it up at the family dog in late summer, NOT FADE AWAY returns for good. weir counts it off & begins with vocal, buddy holly-style. pigpen does answer vocals & harmonica. 27-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > CUMBERLAND BLUES. not many zags in centerpiece OTHER ONE, floating in place, but still enjoyably conversational.

12/26/69 dallas: bill the drummer’s plane is late, so garcia & weir stall with 40 minutes of acoustic tunes, apparently not entertaining the idea of playing with only mickey. repeating 4 from last week at the fillmore, they introduce 3 new ones, jerry trying to hold crowd. a heckler complains that LONG BLACK LIMOUSINE sounds like country music on TV & garcia replies with one of my favorite all-purpose responses to anything: “hey, it’s not my fault if you watch TV, man!” (weir: “i watch all the country music i can on TV.”) only version of GATHERING FLOWERS FOR THE MASTER’S BOUQUET, bluegrass/gospel from 1948, led by weir, “more or less in keeping with the spirit of the season.” 1st acoustic BLACK PETER & thrilling UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, lesh joining on vocals, hart on light percussion. electric portion is a little rough around the edges & crowd doesn’t seem to be into it. during tuning break, garcia: “man, this place is really quiet, no kiddin’, are you people all sitting in the dark watching us goof around up here? …anybody want a microphone?” 24-minute DARK STAR veers into spare tangent before 1st verse. drums enter gradually with the sputnik figure &, amid dubby percussion noise, jam ascends on deep garcia inversions & fuzzed bass into the FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP themes. tape flips at end of DARK STAR & cuts back after 1 verse of NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. maybe nothing missing or (as on 12/19) the rest of a suite. brief 14-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer. promoter: “you’ve just had it done to you by the grateful dead.”

12/28/69 hollywood, FL: the middle day of the miami rock festival, billed as the last rock festival of the ‘60s. very festival energy, opening midway through BLACK PETER, slightly less dirge-like for festival duty, mostly pumping through big bouncing new tunes. CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER feels keyed up. punchy banter as pig urges the crowd to come closer & chaos ensues. pig: “if them things fall down it’s in *TROUBLE CITY* for you…  if you stay, you might get smashed, so it’s your decision.” apparently one of the light towers actually does falls over? (i absolutely adore the expression “in trouble city.”) MASON’S CHILDREN busts deliciously into jammyland. another “compact” 17-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, this one getting abstract just before the ending, with gongs & garcia inversions & new pig melodies to match.

12/29/69 boston: maybe the 1st weather-themed opener, with COLD RAIN & SNOW. BLACK PETER & EASY WIND feel sluggish this evening. MASON’S CHILDREN soars into mini-quest, though no destination. over 2+ hours, only 2 songs played during 3-show run in boston in april. before the 2nd set, garcia: “okay, is everybody ready to boo-gie?” (big cheers.) i can’t tell if garcia is being ironic or if he’s using the british pronunciation & we should’ve been calling it “new speedway boo-gie” all along? indistinguishable offstage screaming during GOOD LOVIN’ drum break, followed shortly by rando grabbing the mic, “I’LL GET THE FUCKING MICROPHONE–“ & sounds of rando being hauled away. thankfully, @internetarchive user Renegade53 provides an explanation. closing the show, 1st of many ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY pairings, here segueing at the “william tell” ending. jerry replaces pigpen as 2nd NFA vocalist during verse, though pig is still playing harmonica & howling during various refrains.

12/30/69 boston: with the introduction of the final “workingman’s dead” tunes, the band now enters the very brief half-year where the primal psychedelic repertoire lives side-by-side with the new americana at its full power. 2nd set opens with an early stunning version of UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. excellent harmonies & a beautiful middle solo that seems like it’s briefly made of light. MASON’S CHILDREN starting to sound big with good dynamics & punchy bass. delicious 45-minute DARK STAR > ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE ELEVEN > ALLIGATOR > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. last ‘60s DARK STAR. ambient glockenspiel jamming before verse. long gorgeous noise-space precedes a jam that takes a thoughtful & unpredictable path to a quietly blissed peak. tape flip sadly misses the 1st segue of the suite & most of ALLIGATOR, but THE ELEVEN goes way deep, escaping its circular jam & eventually moving back to ALLIGATOR by way of the BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme & a beautiful SPANISH JAM-like rumination.

12/31/69 boston: the grateful dead ring in the ‘70s at the boston tea party, their only new year’s gig outside of san francisco. new year’s energy is palpable & band has even less planned than usual. “did you hear that, man?” jerry asks weir during a tech break. “it’s a request for the joke about the dog.” “i’ll tell you at midnight,” weir tells the crowd & that’s just what happens. at midnight, the grateful dead begin the new decade by having bob weir tell a terrible joke, while TC offers comedic organ commentary. “well, it looks like the ‘70s are gonna be weird,” garcia announces. the midnight set gets into gear with 2 semi-connected suites, both with moments of big primal thrills before trailing into nothingness, 31-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION & 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > DRUMZ > THE ELEVEN. night closes with 30 minutes of loose garage/country that sound like a late night at the family dog, opening with a stomping BIG BOY PETE & an early standalone NOT FADE AWAY. kind of enjoying TC’s absurdist B3 parts. C&W mini-set led by weir, feat. george jones’s SEASONS OF MY HEART & 1st THE RACE IS ON, which will last on/off ’til ’95. final OL’ SLEW-FOOT & last electric SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES. garcia finds slipstream during set/year-closing DANCING IN THE STREET.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

woodstock 250

Woodstock 250
by Jesse Jarnow

“You could feel the presence of invisible time travelers from the future who had come back to see it.” – Jerry Garcia

“The fascist pigs are seeding the clouds, man.” – festival attendee in Michael Wadleigh’s “Woodstock” documentary

1.

On the bridge of the ship, the Technical Commander smiled down at the cars rolling easily up the New York State Thruway. The traffic jam hadn’t started yet. After the misalignment of the destination-location drive, they’d landed smoothly in the right year, materializing over the Finger Lakes 12 days in advance to watch the assemblage of the concert site and enjoy a leisurely cruise over the green treetops. It was all part of the package. The ship was fully stocked for up to two months of travel.

Below, in the glass-lined geosphere, he could see the ship’s dining and observation area, where most of the ship’s passengers would watch the music from a giant green hillside manicured to look like the original site, its bottommost wall a giant refraction screen focused on the stage rotating in geosynchronous orbit many miles below them. Using a combination of probes, mirrors, archival footage, pristinely restored audio, and algorithms, they could work around the impending storms and offer high-resolution real-time stage footage and sound.

Despite being mostly a fan of contemporary xxc’xxh-pop, even the Technical Commander knew that Woodstock wasn’t about the music, and he wondered idly if any of the people who’d bought the incredibly expensive tickets had smuggled drugs on board. What happened once the concert started really wasn’t his concern, though. That was when he had to do his real work. He’d enjoyed the cruise immensely, and the weather had been superb, with crystal blue summer skies unlike anything he’d ever seen in his own time. Even with the all-inclusive ticket prices being as they were, though, the new festival’s backers still required a greater return on their investment.

It was almost too bad the ship was going to have to stick around for the storms. He’d seen more than enough planetary weather disturbances in his day, many of which easily dwarfed the comparably tiny rains that were soon to arrive over White Lake. Below the ship, in the far distance, he could just make out the helicopters rising off and settling onto the landing pad behind the stage.

On the whole, he thought, the whole cruise was a somewhat frivolous use of the decidedly non-frivolous new time travel technology, even if it did have an obvious application in commercial tourism. The investors had bigger plans, and–until now–it had been the Technical Commander’s main job to run interference with the cruise’s promoter, who thought he’d thought up the whole thing himself.

They’d sent the silent probes out the previous morning, and the Technical Commander had another day to enjoy the cruise before he had to spend any real time with the observation gear. He floated into his sleep canopy and called up the holo-scan of the accompanying notes that came with a now 200-year-old release of the original festival’s recordings.

 

2.


The Technical Commander was jolted awake in the middle of his third sleep cycle by a clonk on the side of the ship. On edge anyway, he abandoned the last three hours of rest, put on his uniform quickly, gave a cursory check of his holo-ranks and encryption schema, and hurried towards the bridge via the walkway that circumnavigated the upper part of the geosphere. Even just going from his cabin to the bridge, he observed how much the party had grown. It seemed like there were two times as many revelers as when he’d retired a few hours earlier.

Before he could get to the bridge, he ran into the promoter of the cruise, long-haired and bright-eyed and wearing a spangled leather vest with no shirt beneath it. The cruise promoter didn’t say anything, but looked at the Technical Commander meaningfully and gave him an enigmatic wordless smile, grasping the Commander by the upper part of his arms and squeezing once before moving on in the direction he’d been walking.

All seemed normal on the bridge, though, with three officers monitoring the variety of atmospheric probes. They’d be invisible to anybody below, both the probes and the ship itself, their own physicality being fairly tenuous anyway.

After he confirmed on the sensors that there was nothing amiss on the hull, the Technical Commander took chance to again peer down into the geosphere. The large flat area nearest to him was filled with large tents for the cruise-goers to sleep under, if they didn’t want return to their cabins. Instead of giant striped tents, he saw clouds inside the geosphere. And, inside one of the clouds, he swore he saw a small bolt of lightning.

 

3.


As he stepped into the tall grass at the edge of the geosphere, the Technical Commander was shocked by what he saw, and he’d been present after the massacre at M’zzzzzzhhjjjj’kkh’h. At first, in fact, he thought the large fleshy shape on the ground in front of him was a flattened body-mass lump, an unfortunate but not infrequent side-effect of light-time jumps. But it turned out it was actually several bodies, not dead at all. He gasped as an arm reached out towards him and slithered tantalizingly up his leg, grasping firmly.

The Technical Commander pulled just out of the arm’s reach, realizing what he’d seen, and hurried on as several simultaneous orgasmic cries of various octaves emerged from within the lump, shrieking in delighted overtones. He turned for another look as he walked away, and an arm emerged–female, he thought–and flashed a fist of solidarity.

It was raining in the geosphere, as he’d suspected, but there were also atmospheric conditions of other sorts, including flowered marijuana smoke, prohibited on a time jump because it qualified as plant matter. But he knew it wasn’t the marijuana that was causing the precipitation. The rain was down to a drizzle, which felt warm and nice as the virtual summer day bloomed. But what shocked him more than the orgy-patch was that the field was now almost full, bodies filling the artificial hillside as far as his eye could see.

More than the smoking, the overpopulation was an impossibility, he knew, because they’d deliberately undersold the cruise in an attempt to offer the idyllic pastural experience the original promoters had failed to deliver. The Technical Commander walked down the hillside in the direction of the central viewing area. Not that festival goers on the surface could see it with the cloud cover, but–in the geosphere–the sun was coming into view around the planetary horizon, an inspiring view by itself. Another rainy day was breaking on the second day of the festival below them, some 250 years into the past.

A naked man covered in mud walked past the Technical Commander going the opposite direction, raising his eyebrows at the uniformed officer. He knew that geospheres could generate unintended rain systems, but he’d never experienced it. It was even more rare than that body flattening. And impressive. Nobody seemed to be getting hurt, he saw. They could always dry off in their cabins, if they all had cabins, and he set back up the hillside.

He made a zagging path through the festival site, which was ablaze with color and life, aiming vaguely for the hatch on the opposite site. Following the perimeter of the woods, he spied a group of people emerging from the grove of trees that stretched to the geosphere’s rear wall. The Technical Commander changed his course, and headed for wherever they were coming from. “No, there’s still a whole day before Jimi,” he heard someone explain, as he passed them. They eyed him suspiciously.

The Technical Commander followed the trail into the woods, and stepped over the battered-down fence they’d put there for verisimilitude. He heard the unmistakable whisper of electricity, a rustling in the trees, and the dropping of something heavy, which landed with a cushioned and nearly silent, mossy thump. A bearded man in t-shirt and jeans stood up groggily and looked around before walking–barefoot–past the uniformed Technical Commander, glancing as he walked by and emerged into view of the time cruise’s festival site. “Far fucking out,” the bearded man said.

 

4.


The junior officer called up another file and they scrolled furiously down the readings. The Technical Commander stood over his shoulder and glanced nervously at his communicator. It couldn’t be, but it was. The rain they collected at Woodstock–the rain they collected with their probes in the pure Catskills air, the rain they were tasked to bring home, the rain on which they depended–had chemical residues that weren’t supposed to be there.

They hadn’t been invented yet, not on Earth, anyway, byproducts of yet undiscovered alien technologies. They were–the Technical Commander couldn’t help but note–the same alien technologies being used to probe the old Earth’s atmosphere during a two-week span surrounding a rock festival in the summer of 1969. The decision to go to Woodstock had hardly been his idea, but it was the earliest date on which the Comptroller could get a firm time-handle that matched with the desires of the investors to harvest clean air from the past. It was the furthest point in the past at which they possessed enough documentation to make a fully realized jump. He cursed the producers for their thoroughness.

Once the investors had read about the festival’s history, the process had spun out of control, with all sorts of grand plans for the unveiling of the new technology back in the present day, many of which the Technical Commander couldn’t get his head around. As Woodstock became a bigger part of the picture, he’d been kept mostly out of the loop. Not that he minded. He was here to serve the original purpose of the probes that had been floating over White Lake for the past three days and nights, collecting a part of the past that could save the future’s future. The party in the geosphere was beyond both his understanding and his interest, except that it, too, had spiraled mysteriously out of control.

He continued to wonder where all those new people had come from. He’d been trying to conceptualize the correct measurements to assess for the reverse time-jump, but the readings had taken precedent. The Technical Commander tried to reassure himself that he had done what he’d come to do. The samples were safely stored and could be brought home to be extrapolated. Maybe there was some way to account for the readings.

The festival on the planet would be over soon enough, and the crowd would spread out from the Catskills around the New York area. He wished he could go back to the observation area and watch the cars disperse. He hoped the party in the geosphere was also winding down, and remembered that there was a way to monitor the action from the bridge monitor. The Technical Commander toggled over and immediately regretted it. Noise blasted from the small internal speaker on the console, a solid mass of overloaded sound, though once his ear adjusted he could make out a beat.

Switching cameras to the geosphere’s central viewing area, he discovered the source of the sound. He couldn’t get the camera to zoom in close enough, but there seemed to be a band.

 

5.


When the Technical Commander figured out where the extra festival attendees had come from and upped the security at their entrance point, it was too late. The new festival in the geosphere was in full swing, and three more bands had just arrived, each from the future, but only slightly. They’d heard about the Woodstock geosphere party upon the ship’s arrival home and, within a few weeks, jerry-rigged a hop-on scheme for the same time-space technology the ship was running, happily ignoring the feedback loop they created.

The Technical Commander had no way of knowing, but it had been a free festival almost all along. The schemers’ plan was to simply hide out for another week or two after the cruise’s reentry point, then resume their lives after their other selves had left for the party. But the Technical Commander had no time to wonder where they might go in the meantime, because the bigger problems were at hand. There was no question they’d added mass, and accelerating into the spin required for the jump home was out of the question with so many people loose in the geosphere. They would all need to find cabins, at the very least, or risk mass pulverization.

It was then that the beatific curly-haired cruise promoter reentered the bridge, still shirtless in a spangled leather vest, and wearing the same inscrutable smile as the last time the Technical Commander had seen him a few days previous. The promoter sat down on the seat behind the main bridge station and stretched out peacefully, though continued not to talk. He was in charge of unveiling the new technology once they got home, with a time-ship’s full of Catskills air, ready to be sampled, cloned, and pumped back into the Earth’s damaged ecosystem.

As they’d gone into departure mode, there was still a lot to be done at the site before the opening ceremony, but the Technical Commander hadn’t concerned himself with it. The site itself had been moved several times. Last he’d heard, there’d been objections to the newest location–a disused hujgdd racing course–and the impact it might have on what was left of the local surface-mining community. It was a particularly ravaged region, the desiccated fields and plains almost fully uninhabitable, though carbon-farmers had colonized large patches.

If the new technology worked, there stood to be a particularly dramatic recovery, whole hills that might be bloom into lush green within a day or two. Rains of actual water would come. It was what the Technical Commander had been dreaming of since the academy, the true liberation of planet. If it worked. The Technical Commander looked over at the cruise promoter, who now seemed to be staring at the technology around him in newfound wonder. His eyes seemed to be dilated, the Technical Commander noted.

Largely speaking, the Technical Commander was a patient man, he liked to think. He would not be standing on the bridge in 1969, otherwise, one of the first humans to observe a great vista of the past. But now the Technical Commander was ready to go home. When they did, they would arrive at the same moment they’d decided on, a month after their departure, no matter when they left 1969. He peered again at the geosphere, or what he could see of it. It was a free festival, and he knew that they did actually have time to lose.

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2017, night #7 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
18 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 7)*

comedians: Josh Gondelman, Chris Gethard
opening act: 75 Dollar Bill
mix CD: Georgia

whole show with Fred Armisen on drums.

Here To Fall
Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House
Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)
Satellite
Let’s Compromise (Information) (with Rick Brown on drums/vocals & Che Chen on guitar of 75 Dollar Bill)
The Ballad of Red Buckets (with RB & CC)
Barnaby, Hardly Working (with RB & CC)
Nowhere Near
Wonderful Again (Hypnolovewheel) (with Stephen Hunking of the XL Kings on guitar/vocals)
Autumn Sweater
The Story of Jazz >
Nothing To Hide
Heroin (Velvet Underground) (Roky Erickson arrangement) (with Tara Key of Antietam on guitar)

*(encore)*
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (Van Halen) (Minutemen arrangement)
Walk Away Renee (The Left Banke)
Ghost Rider (Suicide) (with Michael Shannon on vocals)
Griselda (Antonia/Peter Stampfel)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

(Hey ho ho ho, you might also dig my book: Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock.)

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2017, night #2 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
13 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 2)*

comedian: Neil Hamburger
opening act: Los Straitjackets
mix CD: Dave the Spazz

whole set (after 1st 3 songs) with Mary Lattimore on concert harp.

The Evil That Men Do (Craig’s Version)
Run Run Run (Velvet Underground) (surf instrumental version) (with Los Straitjackets)
For You Too (debut)
Green Arrow
Today Is The Day
Gentle Hour (Snapper)
Pablo and Andrea
The Sea Horse
Stupid Things
Big Day Coming (fast)
We’re An American Band
The Story of Yo La Tango

*(encore)*
with John Doe of X on vocals/guitar/bass
The New World (X)
My Darling, Blue Skies (John Doe)
Pressing On (Bob Dylan)
Let’s Get Rid of New York (The Randoms)
Adult Books (X)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

(Hey, you might also dig my book: Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock.)

#deadfreaksunite 1966

#deadfreaksunite 1966
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org, though ’66 is kinda messy. Consult LIA’s post before doing any heavy listening. Expanded notes for many shows (with press, scene reports, and images) can be found on Twitter by searching for my username (bourgwick) and the show date. Please consult JerryBase for the latest data, Dead Sources for original articles (1965-1975), and LostLiveDead/Hootrollin for deep dives.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

1/8/66 fillmore auditorium: the fillmore acid test! the earliest known grateful dead live recording & utter psychedelic comedy gold. fade in on chaos. phil sings along with tuning. pigpen to babbs: “HEY MAN STOP YOUR BABBLING & FIX THESE MICROPHONES. WE NEED POWER.” earliest versions of all songs except for dense CAUTION. not terribly far out, but garcia’s early blues-noodle turns spiky & menacing. dig garcia’s grease on leiber/stoller’s HOG FOR YOU BABY, b-side to current #9 primitives hit. babbs interrupts. but not sure i ever quite bought garcia doing DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, which feels a bit rinky-dink with pigpen’s farfisa. 27 minutes in, the cops arrive & shut down the acid test, resulting in LOL-packed 4:27 of LSD-abetted confusion. an all-time favorite. babbs (?) moves sound-source between mics & narrates in real-time, cops make announcements, sirens wail, weir raps, somebody moans & OMs. phil conducts band in national anthem, dude screams “fuck you,” garcia stays chill while his face melts, tape cuts.

1/??/66 “acid test #3”: a chaotic soundcheck of some sort. occasional yelling, merry pranksters, & bass jams that almost coalesce. most charming part is bright-eyed bushy-tailed band chatter. phil: “i’m tired of playing in warehouses” & jerry playing the optimist. weir, spacily: “i’d like to play in the grand canyon.” phil (?): “well, as long as it’s with you guys, i don’t care…”

1/??/66 berkeley: VIOLA LEE BLUES rehearsal, probably the 1st owsley tape. garcia is clearly the leader, phil is clearly the asshole. pigpen can’t figure out vocal or harmonica part. cool at first, eventually he leaves drunk, hounded by phil. nobody goes after him. owsley, i think, sings verses on track 19. then, cool 15m VIOLA LEE jam on early arrangement, 1st big improv on tape.

1/??/66 berkeley: fuller VIOLA LEE BLUES rehearsal tape at owsley’s pad, with 2 early slower takes of phil’s awkward CARDBOARD COWBOY. drumless/keyless CARDBOARD COWBOY practice is more interesting/graceful than the 3 surviving live recordings. awkward even by phil standards, drumless vocal practice gives me new pop appreciation for the song.

1/28/66 the matrix (maybe): 14m of early dead from a badly dated owsley reel. earliest known versions of all songs. good banter. only the ending of YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK/OTIS ON A SHAKEDOWN CRUISE: last of 3 always-shifting verses, short solo, & 1st weir shouts. band returns for a late set after the loading zone plays. shaky VIOLA LEE BLUES has alternate swing-blues jam, not yet modal/crazy. management clearly wants the dead off the stage. “let ’em throw us out,” phil says as band plow into speedy I KNOW YOU RIDER. so the plug gets pulled 40 seconds into MIDNIGHT HOUR. band sounds completely used to it & mostly amused. garcia: “shut us off again.” lesh: “g’night ladies & gentleman & you too, you pricks.” last SF gig before dead, owsley, & pranksters move to LA.

2/5 or 6/66 los angeles: likely a fragment of band’s 1st show after moving to LA, but (based on crowd) not the northridge acid test. 1st known TASTEBUD, generic blues & generic blues lyrics by pigpen & 1st live MINDBENDER, doofy but crisp nuggets-style garage-psych. 1st known BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, a jug band holdover. spiraling guitar intro, spiky solo, early backing vocals, & heavier backbeat. if anyone has the 2 missing tunes or another theory on the date, hmu. more on ’66 mysteries.

2/13/66 (maybe) youth opportunities center: 15 or so minutes of watts acid test. begins with bob weir tripping & testing out microphones. on a distant mic, girl starts flipping the fuck out, screaming “WHO CARES?” etc., & pigpen sings/talks her down, occasional drum hits. a capella pigpen/drum duet. bob weir: “some day ron will take acid.” pig tells weir to get something going, but weir’s face seems to be melting too hard. nonetheless, billy/pigpen only version of NEW ORLEANS, with weir joining on vocals, someone else honking harmonica, the only “dead” version until 1970. phil joins but also seems to be melting. 7 minutes worth of the sole dead take of TWIST & SHOUT, sung by pig, not the beatles arrangement, with (presumably) tripping guest harmonica player. if garcia’s face is melting, it’s not impeding his shredding. then the song falls apart. no applause, just residual acid test noise. phil: “our drummer flashed, we’ll be back later.” can hear the tape being played back elsewhere in the room.

2/66 pink house: earliest tape of garcia doing HI-HEELED SNEAKERS, played occasionally with the dead & turning up in garcia/saunders setlists ’72-’74. more work on VIOLA LEE BLUES. weir gets yelled at for starting it too fast, actually the tempo they’d end up playing it at. plus, it speeds up. getting closer to the multi-jam structure, with some nifty dancing garcia guitar parts. “popssssicle break” someone announces. end tape.

2 or 3/xx/66 pink house (maybe): wow! mystery ’66 tape: phil & jerry demo a gorgeous folky & previously unknown dead original with cool harmonies. “wandering man“?

2 or 3/xx/66 pink house rehearsal (maybe): a few high fidelity slices via the “rare cuts & oddities” CD (& a few others on the hell’s honkies’ comp “san franciscan nights”). only early dead version of rufus thomas’s WALKING THE DOG, sung by weir, showing up again in 1970, good bee-sting garcia leads. likewise, only early dead version of chuck berry’s PROMISED LAND with garcia on vocals, becoming a staples with weir singing in ’71. adore this alternative universe. pig’s 1st real original, YOU SEE A BROKEN HEART, fun response vocals by jerry. 1st taped version of BIG BOSS MAN, weir’s rhythm guitar sounding present & cool & vaguely like a normal human guitarist. BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE still has the jerry guitar intro, but the earliest backing vocals have morphed into the more familiar arrangement. earliest taped dylan cover, IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE, & garcia’s version of ONE KIND FAVOR.

2 or 3/xx/66 pink house: moar “rare cuts & oddities.” an early version of NOT FADE AWAY, a lot closer to the stones version during the verses (with teenage weir clearly doing his best jagger) & a rolling CAUTION-like groove elsewhere, kinda awkward & falling apart, with alternate lyrics about how “i’m gonna be your candyman” that were maybe written by weir (?), not turning up again on a dead tape until 1969.

2 or 3/66 unknown venue: from “rare cuts & oddities,” the only early dead version of BIG RAILROAD BLUES, pig doubling garcia’s lead vocal on harmonica, done with a jug band bounce that would disappear when revived in ’70. doesn’t totally work, but i’m still charmed by pig singing fats domino’s SICK & TIRED. the only taped version of the very early stones’ original EMPTY HEART, sung by pig & doubled by jerry in places, another example of the forgotten early jerry/pig tandem, cool jagged garcia rhythms under 1st harmonica solo, playing co-lead under 2nd.

2 or 3/66 pink house: a 5 minute early example of the earliest SPACE jam, mostly just garcia & weir. doesn’t sound too different from the 2-guitar SPACE jams of the ‘70s/‘80s/‘90s. then a tape jump into the beginning of some blues song they’re rehearsing with vocal parts, but which i can’t identify.

2/23/66 pink house: 12 minutes of a blues jam that winds into something that might be LA BAMBA but is also sort of GOOD LOVIN’ (a segue they would do ~20 years later), the pulling back into a half-speed jam on IT’S A SIN. the sound of a band learning to play together.

3/2/66 pink house (presumably): from “rare cuts & oddities,” the tremolo-heavy electrified folk tune BETTY & DUPREE, a candidate with DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY for the 1st jerry ballad & the traditional origin point for DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES in ’69. on an alternate timeline, garcia revived this in the late ‘70s & figured out how to make it graceful. earliest STEALIN’, presumably played by the jug band, too.

3/9/66 pink house rehearsal: another unknown song, sung by pigpen. maybe a cover, but enough odd changes to make it a dead original? a few takes working on WHO DO YOU LOVE. pigpen to billy: “remember when we used to do it at magoo’s? the way we did it at magoo’s?” 13m jam starts as thin blues noodle but grows into some cool & almost substantial weirdness before tape runs out.

3/10/66 pink house rehearsal: another owsley tape (vocals panned hard) from band’s pad in LA, downstairs from LSD tabbing operation. SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD practice, electrified jug band tune, recorded in ’67 & unchanged til ’72, besides stabbing organ part. tantalizing just-off-mic chatter about songwriting/lyric transcription? maybe could be deciphered with a level boost.

3/12/66 danish center: 1st dead tape that’s more than a fragment. 2 sets, 67m of excellent owsley soundboard. not technically an acid test, but based on the band’s memories that they took acid *every* saturday night in spring ’66, well… both set openers are only surviving takes of not-terribly-compelling instrumental warm-ups: STORMY MONDAY & freddie king’s HEADS UP. 1st known live version of pigpen’s 1st real original, YOU SEE A BROKEN HEART. generic, but clever call/response with garcia on verse. earliest IT’S A SIN & 1st live versions of ONE KIND FAVOR (jerry blues, meh) & NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME (instant pig staple, already coolly swingin’). 1st full MIDNIGHT HOUR & 1st taped pigpen raps. it achieves grease, if not much else. tasty jerry licks & not-tasty blues screams. amusingly trippy setbreak banter, implying they’re alternating slots with another act. wonder who? weir plugs ice cream man outside. tape closes with 1st VIOLA LEE BLUES featuring multi-jam structure. at 11m, 1st big dead improv. raw but right on.

3/25/66 trouper’s hall: all-night harmonica store. poster by acid chemist owsley stanley, photos by @rosiemcgee12. A+ sound. earliest live STEALIN’, electrified jug band boogie recorded for 1st single. and then a still-unidentified 9m R&B instrumental jam. before they play it, weir says the mystery jam’s title fast, garbled, & off-mic. anyone wanna slow that down and/or have a guess? 1st HEY LITTLE ONE by dorsey burnette, garcia crooning rockabilly-pop. gorgeous twang-psych solo. outro belting hints at ’80s ballads. 1st complete YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK, meticulously overwritten & ambitious psychedelic garage pop with changing keys & vocal parts, wild guitaring. 30m set, a break, then the earliest COLD RAIN & SNOW, on 1st album & staple for next 30 years. a herky jerky thrill.

4/66 “studio demo”: via “rare cuts & oddities,” the earliest versions of STANDING ON THE CORNER & CREAM PUFF WAR (with alternate chorus, slightly slower tempo, & a few more arrangement tricks). neither shows up on live recordings until the band’s return to san francisco in may. manic GOOD LOVIN’ has pig on lead & super-charged almost beach boys-like gang vocals.

4/22/66 longshoreman’s hall: 23m from hyped trips festival knockoff, 1st gig since return from LA. nice sound. 1st BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE with multi-beat intro (6, in this case). still some lyric differences & semi-written guitar break. earliest GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL (with mucho bass counterpoint) goes into willie cobb’s YOU DON’T LOVE ME, jerry sung, & back. the two songs are basically interchangeable, but it’s the earliest recorded grateful dead segue.

4/24/66 longshoreman’s hall: solid 35m (maaaaybe) from 3rd night of fake trips fest, recently surfaced radio ad sadly taken down. 7m VIOLA LEE BLUES still a work-in-progress, but already more jam than solo, clean-toned jerry weirdisms & double-time swing. also in-progress: owsley’s mix. semi-audible garcia/lesh jams in MIDNIGHT HOUR’s quizzical breaks & pretty spaces behind pig’s rap. BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE has guitar figure intro but written solo, so maybe date is wrong? forensics here. almost 8m of blues jam with jorma kaukonen & jack casady; unremarkable adventures in unpleasant double bass fuzz.

5/??/66 unknown venue: formerly “ivar theater 2/25/66.” song arrangements seem to date it from may or june. earliest recorded dead version of SHE’S ON THE ROAD AGAIN, garcia-sung jug band holdover with prominent lead harmonica by pigpen. 1st I KNOW YOU RIDER with “muddy water” & “sun will shine” verses. everybody sings everything, phil loudest. no northbound train yet. unison riffs & drum breaks of COLD RAIN & SNOW way more together than earlier version, but garcia’s voice still fluttering all over. effective not-quite-segue from greasy KING BEE into CAUTION, latter with nifty dual guitar/harmonica & mini-jam.

5/19/66 avalon ballroom: the dead’s avalon debut & 1st real tape from the ballroom era, early & late sets. big drums. many firsts. earliest STANDING ON THE CORNER, dead original. lyrics seem like garcia doing dylan. last version of b-grade garage-psych MINDBENDER. 1st great VIOLA LEE BLUES, kretuzmann & lesh shifting casually into a jam under garcia solo, unfolding smoothly into the modal fringe. earliest CREAM PUFF WAR, rare song with words/music by garcia, & earliest original to survive until 1st album. solo stays just inside. earliest SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, too, surprisingly in exact same arrangement & tempo they’d stick with until dropping it in ’72. aaaand 1st taped version of weir’s electrified jugband tune NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, too, most of the 1st album repertoire now in place. rare pigpen joint: 2nd & final surviving so-so take of fats domino’s SICK & TIRED. also, 1st taped version if elmore jame’s IT HURTS ME TOO, a pigpen standard unchanged through his last tour, sad & sweet. earliest SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES, weir’s 1st country tune (cool phil harmony) & earliest live version of garcia’s BABY BLUE, only live ’66 version of insanely way-too-fast GOOD LOVIN’  (plus the “new ending,” per stage banter), gone ’til ’69.

7/3/66 fillmore auditorium: independence ball, with love. vocals brutal throughout. swingin’ boogie, though. band dedicates set to “the sundancers of ignacio, colorado, out there doin’ it.” garcia plugs mnasidika, local head boutique. earliest versions of half-dozen tunes, including HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE (properly mark spoelstra’s JUST A HAND TO HOLD) & NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE, both pretty straight. 1st known DANCING IN THE STREET, staple for next 5 years, already an enthused (if contained) jam platform, garcia testing the edges. VIOLA LEE BLUES sounding immensely assured. not as wild & out as 5/16, but all lean in hard & stay together in the jam, even pigpen. earliest live version of BIG BOSS MAN, slinky & hep, pig fave thru ’72. 1st of 2 known versions of KEEP ROLLING BY, pig-led stones-y original with neat gang vocals. only DON’T MESS UP A GOOD THING, his/her soul re-set for pig, & j. “guitar” watson’s GANGSTER OF LOVE, unconvincingly sung by jerry. 1st CARDBOARD COWBOY (aka NO LEFT TURN UNSTONED), overwritten phil lesh mod-psych, stiffly sung. waiting to be covered gracefully. YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK gets drum intro. instrumental break now guitar/key duo. with CREAM PUFF WAR, most accomplished original so far. pig’s MIDNIGHT HOUR rap still half-baked, but rare & sweet shout to longtime girlfriend, vee. 1st bill graham band intro.

7/16/66 fillmore auditorium: alternating sets with the airplane. being a 1966 saturday, probably tripping, too. vocals getting better. off-mic intra-squad reminders to watch tempos before BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, YOU DON”T HAVE TO ASK, & others. only known take of leadbelly’s IN THE PINES, sung by garcia, & not wholly successful. more like a drinking song than a murder ballad. 1st of 2 versions of allen toussaint’s PAIN IN MY HEART, learned via otis redding, sung by pigpen. the ’72 dead would’ve crushed this. kreutzmann’s drums starting to really move with garcia’s guitar, seeking destination on CREAM PUFF WAR, finding it on VIOLA LEE BLUES. late set begins with a cute bill graham intro & for 1st time, short-lived full band pre-intro to VIOLA LEE. gang vocals sound big. only surviving ’66 live version of DON’T EASE ME IN, electric jug bounce & b-side for 1st single, released locally that summer. forensics dept.: off-mic voice asking “otis?” before tight YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK helps confirm alt. title, OTIS ON A SHAKEDOWN CRUISE. weir not getting DANCING IN THE STREET lyrics yet, adds own verse. jam doesn’t go far, but sure goes. tape cuts off.

7/17/66 fillmore auditorium: nice big sound. another good miniature jam on CREAM PUFF WAR that doesn’t break through, exactly, but the band (& billy, really) starting to swing/flow during solos. nice reverb-y atmosphere during slinky 9-minute KING BEE. last KEEP ROLLING BY. unlike the version earlier in the month, this one is nearly 8 minutes, feels like it should have stax horns, & has a misterioso maybe-kinda-modal jam in 1st half before pig-style rave-up. definitely some alternate universe dead, a pigpen tune with a psych jam. adios!

7/29/66 vancouver trips festival: despite the event’s name, the grateful dead’s 1st real trip out of town for purposes other than acid tests. band’s garage-prog phase coming to an end. last known versions of 2 early originals, including opener STANDING ON THE CORNER. farewell to the awkward grooviness of CARDBOARD COWBOY. a bouncy BABY BLUE, same day as dylan’s motorcycle crash in woodstock. short locked-in garcia/kreutzmann improv in CREAM PUFF WAR. plus, the a-side to the band’s brand new single STEALIN’, released only in san francisco. probably no merch table in vancouver. set-closing VIOLA LEE BLUES is 2nd of 2 versions with descending circusy pre-intro. big noise for the canadian n00bs. (my full essay on the dead’s adventures at the vancouver trips festival is available now in rhino records’ 50th anniversary reissue of the band’s first album.)

7/30/66 vancouver trips festival: last show with (& stereo-panned tape made by) owsley’s proto-wall of sound. as event MC comes on, phil: “we’ll use a simple syllable to test our microphones tonight. the syllable is narc. narc. narc. narc.” 9m DANCING IN THE STREET opener pushes fleetingly into a modal peak & back via garcia, giving jam graceful sense of movement. last known version of dorsey burnette’s #48 1960 hit HEY LITTLE ONE. tasty inside guitar solo, but not much of a loss. on the other hand, goodbye to the too-clever-for-this-world structure of YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK. and off go owsley stanley & tim scully with the dead’s equipment truck to establish a new LSD lab.

late ’66 rehearsal: on “rare cuts & oddities” collection. love weir’s early version of SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES, brought back in ’69.

11/19/66 fillmore auditorium: solid soundboard is 1st full tape since summer, most polished & confident yet. lothar & the hand people! debate over if this is 11/19/66 or 3/17/67, but weir’s “autumn” in DANCING IN THE STREET suggests former. cute one-by-one bill graham intro ala “one from the vault”: “on the bass, mr. philip lesh… on the far left, on lead guitar & vocals, the charles atlas of the psychedelic set.” only surviving ’66 live version of HI-HEELED SNEAKERS. honky blues vocals by garcia. tasty licks, though. enticing guitar/organ swirl on CREAM PUFF WAR. 2nd of 2 versions of allen toussaint’s PAIN IN MY HEART, learned via otis redding, sung by pigpen. the ’72 dead would’ve crushed this. earliest SAME THING by willie dixon, sung by pig. moody 11m jam. early jazzy comping by weir under organ solo & double-time build. weir finally gets lyrics to DANCING IN THE STREET & band gets jam. soaring garcia, spiraling further out as tape cuts off around 6m. set ends with 34m of pig. 1st known SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING (with fine guitar/harp toodle) downshifts into KING BEE. nice flow on dynamic 19m MIDNIGHT HOUR. pig works crowd & briefly raps about “TCB”. elvis to the courtesy phone.

11/29/66 the matrix: 1st of 2 nights & 3.5 hours of music. many otherwise undocumented corners of mysterious ’66 repertoire. 80m of sets 2/3, beginning with earliest ME & MY UNCLE, only song played every year 1966-1995 (except ’68?). speedy. drum roll intro. musicologist graeme boone pegs weir’s modal playing on 12m SAME THING as 1st sign of mccoy tyner influence. 1st known version of the olympics’ BIG BOY PETE is big group-sung fun. matrix co-owner marty balin seemingly shouting requests. at marty’s request, only extant live take of phil-sung EARLY MORNING RAIN. more involved harmonies/arrangement than ’65 studio demo. set 3 opens with 1st of 2 BEEN DOWN SO LONGs, jerry-sung original, like a lost jug band tune. 1st try at writing americana? more rare pig: 1st of 2 SOMETHING ON YOUR MINDs (not dino valente’s). only I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU ’til weir’s ’95 revival. garcia & weir get juggy & doofy with 1st taped OVERSEAS STOMP, done by mother mccree’s in ’64 but only 3 known late ’66 dead versions (& a fragment from ’67). band signs off with short full-band arrangement of vaudeville themes. not the looney tunes’ MERRY-GO-ROUND BROKE DOWN/”that’s all folks” outro (as its often labeled), but cartoonish just the same.

12/1/66 the matrix: another remarkable slice of 1966. 3 sets, 2 hours, & many oddities from a hole-in-the-wall club in san francisco. band’s repertoire continues to turn over rapidly. on the 3 shows from late ’66, 9 songs (plus 2 with a guest) appear nowhere else. garcia promises “cold beer on tap, lurid night club atmosphere, & beatniks! more beatniks than you can count on two hands.” only live BETTY & DUPREE, demoed in march. folk tune converted to rock ballad, vibrato crooning by garcia matched by guitar tremolo. last known versions of ONE KIND FAVOR, SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND, & charming BEEN DOWN SO LONG, semi-lost neo-jugband original. sole extant live ALICE D. MILLIONAIRE, garage pop named for 10/66 “LSD millionaire” headline about owsley, though lyrics don’t have much to do with it. sung by pig. clever vocals/arrangement. weir starts new-to-them ME & MY UNCLE, which falls apart quickly. they try again with garcia leading & succeed. hyper farfisa/guitar. only taped DEEP ELEM BLUES from the era. nifty chorus harmony & arrangement abandoned with acoustic/electric revival in 1970. 2nd set punctuated by rando singing/harmonicaing YONDER’S WALL & MY OWN FAULT. pass. last ON THE ROAD AGAIN ’til 1980 acoustic sets. superb feral jams in each set! 1st set closes with longest ever CREAM PUFF WAR (at 9m), 3rd with untethered 11m DANCING IN THE STREET. in the 2nd set, ecstatic 15m VIOLA LEE BLUES expands to white hot peak, garcia blazing louder than drums. wish the bass was audible. at tape’s end, another ME & MY UNCLE. either filler from same period or band drilling song. i like to think latter.

12/23/66 avalon ballroom: released in 1970 & ’71 as quasi-bootlegs “vintage dead” & “historic dead”. unclear what’s from which night. sounds great, though. again, weir’s seasonal lyric change in DANCING IN THE STREET rounds down the date, december not september. last recorded BABY BLUE ’til ’69 & last uptempo version. no solos, just guitar breaks. only surviving dylan cover from early years. nice bright moments, including action-packed 7m DANCING & final farfisa-driven STEALIN’, revived acoustic by garcia/grisman in ’92. last known version of strident electrified jug standard of I KNOW YOU RIDER, MIA until getting paired with CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER in ’69. solidly 2/3 of the 2 LPs is pigpen, including side-long MIDNIGHT HOUR that won’t win over haters but has chill conversational garcia. can see why band wasn’t into these LPs, but can only imagine how stoked deadheads must’ve been when they came out.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

#deadfreaksunite 1965


#deadfreaksunite 1965
show-by-show notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. All shows streamable via archive.org. Expanded notes for many shows (with press, scene reports, and images) can be found on Twitter by searching for my username (bourgwick) and the show date. Please consult JerryBase for the latest data, Dead Sources for original articles (1965-1975), and LostLiveDead/Hootrollin for deep dives.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

11/3/65 golden state recorders: 18m 5-song demo by the emergency crew, formerly the warlocks, soon the grateful dead. the only known ’65 tape & earliest recorded electric music, 6 months after band’s founding. amazing recording, hinting at the dead’s undocumented early months, an alternate universe with phil as lead singer.

CAN’T COME DOWN: dylan-y rave-up about gettin’ real high, lyrics/vocals by garcia, tight harmonica breaks. no surviving live versions.

MINDBENDER: stilted but ambitious pop, vocals & dense lyrics mostly by lesh. mystic farfisa. sweet spaghetti western licks by garcia.

ONLY TIME IS NOW: the dead’s lost sunshine-pop gem. cool beatles-y tremolo. lyrics by jerry pal dave parker, future dead bookkeeper.

CAUTION: cribbed from Them’s MYSTIC EYES. blues-clang condensed into ultra-busy & well-packed 3m. already they’re all soloing at once.

I KNOW YOU RIDER: brighter/faster than iconic later arrangement. slop-rock guitar chug. lead singin’ by phil. but who’s on tambourine?

EARLY MORNING RAIN: gordon lightfoot tune, sung by lesh. groovy fun with a good urgent bounce. phil’s vocals are goofy, but i can dig.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

new art by ned lagin.

The California musician and artist Ned Lagin returns with his first public work since his 1975 Seastones LP, collecting art, photographs, and writing from the past decade of his long and decidedly non-public career. With a long series of poetic Notes acting as deeply psychedelic grounding texts for the visual works, Lagin’s art (and words) tease out the threads between his circuit drawings in the sand and natural landscapes, his nude self-portraits and light-time geographies. Together, they make for a kind of personal ecology of creation, a worldview whose component parts reflect on one another and cast a light backwards on the sounds and concepts behind Seastones.

I’m pulled most strongly to Lagin’s sand drawings, a personal miniaturized form of land art, ecologically sustainable if artistically ephemeral (and a bit similar to some of my father’s recent work). It’s not hard to feel the connection between beaches and time, from the metaphoric standard of an hourglass, to the long and short-term change of tides, erosion, and other natural forces. And it’s through Lagin’s overt threads between his beach-works and his 1970s recordings (right down to the LP’s title) that his opaque-seeming music begins to make more sense as (in Lagin’s phrase) “moment-forms” realized and washed away by time, memory, and a half-dozen varieties of organic and synthetic obsolescence. At least, that’s part of what I got out of reading through Lagin’s 30 pages of carefully considered Notes, which are probably worth going through in conjunction with the work.

For those curious about Ned Lagin’s music, the website presents some answers, too, but also questions. Alluringly, there are hints of future releases, both of a new album and of an expanded and remixed Seastones. But Lagin’s art and writing will have to do for now, materials that (when absorbed) might provide some kind of conceptual remastering on his music for anyone who cares to look/listen/read, new moment-forms waiting to be found in the listening. Ned Lagin’s SpiritCats.com is an unexpected hello from a long silent voice.

#deadfreaksunite 1974


#deadfreaksunite 1974
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. All shows streamable via archive.org. Expanded notes for many shows (with press, scene reports, and images) can be found on Twitter by searching for my username (bourgwick) and the show date. Please consult JerryBase for the latest data, Dead Sources for original articles (1965-1975), and LostLiveDead/Hootrollin for deep dives.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

2/22/74 winterland: a long soundcheck spent working on 3 new songs, the retired ATTICS OF MY LIFE, & a proto-ESTIMATED PROPHET jam. show opens with the proper debut of U.S. BLUES, ex-WAVE THAT FLAG. nice & punchy, though band doesn’t seem quite done practicing it. the 1st IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES, the only GD tune credited solely to hunter, is an instant winner, though fast & a bit clunky. garcia plays fully articulated SLIPKNOT! inside PLAYING IN THE BAND, uncharacteristically forcing it discordantly into the jam. 1st SHIP OF FOOLS, a major new jerry tune, is likewise uptempo compared to future versions, but dramatic & funny & wonderful. not a lot of compelling jamming, the band’s overexcitement best encompassed by non-sequitur bass bombs in CHINA DOLL.

2/23/74 winterland: final HERE COMES SUNSHINE until the (shudder) ’90s revival. farewell big blissy jam, we hardly knew ye. ’74 model mellowness seems way less lethargic & more pleasing than the ’73 version, probably mostly due to the warm piano/rhodes mix. even-keeled LET IT GROW with sweet weird-swing by kretuzmann. subtle jerry/keith SLIPKNOT! counterpoint in OTHER ONE.

2/24/74 winterland: another U.S. BLUES opener, clearly the new anthem, more confident than its debut, now beaming & exuberant & goofy. great show all around, with vivid foregrounded piano/rhodes in CUMBERLAND BLUES, PLAYING IN THE BAND, WEATHER REPORT SUITE & more. 1st DARK STAR of ’74 starts & stops a few times before coalescing into a short, jaw-dropping coda & a long, drippy MORNING DEW.  1st IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE since 9/72 & last ’til ’81. slightly uptempo, but graceful, unrushed, & nice. g’bye.

3/23/74 cow palace: hello, wall of sound! the 1st proper show for owsley’s legendary, crystalline PA. greetings, as well, to SCARLET BEGONIAS & CASSIDY, last major pre-hiatus debuts. SCARLET’s open-ended bounce is sloppy & irresistible. CASSIDY, released 2 years earlier on “ace,” has even more potential. a real shame they shelved it again ’til ’76. my fave weir song? final PLAYING IN THE BAND  > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > MORNING DEW > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND sequence, led by magical soft-edged garcia attack that could last forever. unexpected beatles-y counterpoint vocal on SHIP OF FOOLS’ final chorus, not articulated during 3 previous versions.

5/12/74 reno: the wall of sound hits the road. 3-set outdoor show amid crazy washoe zephyr winds that phil references. lulz whenever the dead use gazillion-watt WoS to play polka-boogies. appropriately surly lesh vocals on MEXICALI BLUES & everywhere. high-speed details & thrilling MIND LEFT BODY-like descent before the only lyric-mangled verse of quick-dissolving OTHER ONE, a fully developed MIND LEFT BODY jam & 2 more jerry ballads, though SHIP OF FOOLS is sly & perfect in early uptempo version.

5/14/74 missoula: 1st & only time the dead played montana. “sweet susie” returns to LOSER for 1st time since ’72. garcia sounds confused. bubbling SCARLET BEGONIAS jam, too short, kreutzmann pushing the band outside the structure. a pleasant landing into IT NUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. 27m DARK STAR features unparalleled space-swing, highwire JG/BK dazzle, stereo fuzz conversations, flexatone, & ample cosmic boredom. dense & unsettling CHINA DOLL with insane overloaded guitar solo amid a drippingly psychedelic soundboard mix. fratboy hits weir on head with plastic beer pitcher & weir responds appropriately with cheesiest ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT yet.

5/17/74 vancouver: debut of a new faster arrangement of LOOSE LUCY. still a throwaway, but now with refreshing bonus pep. weir’s MONEY MONEY, on the other hand, is unsafe at any speed. the worst dead tune not written by a keyboardist? IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES & SHIP OF FOOLS both slow down even more & get even better. played almost every night & rightly so. top notch PLAYING IN THE BAND & TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL jams but, except for hard-driving EYES outro, nothing exceptional.

5/19/74 portland: big cheer for 3rd ever SCARLET BEGONIAS. does the crowd possibly know it or is it just instinctual 1st reaction? band makes a point of cutting off the SCARLET jam (why?!) & ending together crisply, an oddity by itself. thankfully, it won’t stick. 4 big garcia ballads, including beautiful 1st PEGGY-O of ’74 & a powerful CRYPTICAL-like WHARF RAT that keeps expanding as it spirals. fast, fun TRUCKIN’ unwinds into an unusual funk-slop MIND LEFT BODY, the closest kreutzmann ever got to breakbeats.

5/21/74 seattle: a monster show highlighted by a 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, 3rd longest standalone jam in the band’s history. good omens: donna jean’s SCARLET BEGONIAS wail is kind of nice & low-key, karen dalton style. last of 3 MONEY MONEYs. fuck that song. no, really. it’s so hateful & un-deady. 1st set ends on unusual elegiac note with an unfussy CHINA DOLL. works really well. A+ PLAYING soars with bizarre internal logic, earns its brief space-outs & is bookended by some of the more brutal donna screams ever. the 23m EYES OF THE WORLD > WHARF RAT that follows might be seen as unnecessary by some. i am not among them.

5/25/74 santa barbara: one of my 1st killer soundboards (thanks, compuserve tape tree!) & my personal definitive CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER segue. TRUCKIN’ bends swiftly from blooze boogie to fast zagging & drumless space where keith plays subtly sun ra-y monophonic synth & into the only ’74 LET IT GROW unattached to rest of WEATHER REPORT SUITE & capped by 3rd big WHARF RAT in 3 shows. also the show where a taper snuck in his deck by burying it in the stadium the night before.

6/8/74 oakland: a sun-stroked bill graham day on the green at oakland stadium w/ the beach boys, new riders, & commander cody opening. strong candidate for the all-time most of out-of-tune dead show, due to heat. for mucho excellent baseball banter, check @NotBobWeir. SCARLET BEGONIAS feels slightly off-kilter, with garcia unwinding a cool inverted version of the melody to signal the end of the jam. 40m PLAYING IN THE BAND > WHARF RAT > PLAYING IN THE BAND wanders early but goes molten. even keith steps up during A+ darting full-band improv.

6/16/74 des moines: 4 hours over 3 afternoon sets at the state fairgrounds. pictures show grand piano, but keith plays mostly rhodes. good fun throughout. SCARLET BEGONIAS is short but big. sounds like it could go anywhere. uncharacteristically clangy CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. bodacious EYES OF THE WORLD > BIG RIVER segue. refreshing to hear the band keep uptempo momentum instead of resolving into a ballad. weir & donna finally nail nifty beatles-y SHIP OF FOOLS outro harmony. 30m PLAYING IN THE BAND with chiming disassembly & abstruse zapping. keith uses fuzzed rhodes for garth hudson-style country-funk on ME & MY UNCLE. many-themed TRUCKIN’ capped by smooth MIND LEFT BODY as a confident bridge into sweeping WHARF RAT. weir loses his voice & doesn’t sing after the big jam. also refreshing.

6/18/74 louisville: a stone classic. rich sound, punchy bass, mucho piano, quiet dynamics. like my old tape, slightly sped up. PSA by weir: “you’re probably wondering why we called you all here tonight. the upshot of it is that one of you is a Venutian spy.” an all-time great EYES OF THE WORLD, crisp & roaring, godchaux taking the 1st solo & adding triumphant harmony to the 7/8 outro. 20m LET IT GROW sparkles into mutant swing & a 19m OTHER ONE, dissolution, odd pockets, & space-blooze prelude to STELLA BLUE. rare MORNING DEW encore. long & exquisite quiet valley before the final peak, filled with piano/guitar/bass droplets.

6/20/74 atlanta: debut of the weir/garcia guitar harmony intro to JACK STRAW. 1st TO LAY ME DOWN of the year. ineffable LSDC&W. more sweet godchaux piano throughout. especially breathtaking quiet filigrees on MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. you were right, @jimmyjacktoth. EYES OF THE WORLD opens into a runaway garcia solo; an early version of SLIPKNOT, everyone else half-successfully figuring it out as they go. CHINA DOLL features the return of the awesome overloaded split-signal feedback guitar solo from the missoula version.

6/22/74 miami: super-fine 29m PLAYING IN THE BAND with shimmering jazz dance, soft-fuzz guitar, & sudden invention in the clouds of unknowing. comfortably far-out CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER with a half-baroque rhodes part. odd tempo disagreements on BERTHA, WHARF RAT, more.

6/23/74 miami: only dead version of chuck berry’s LET IT ROCK. started by phil, sung by jerry, outside garcia/weir rotation. fun but wut? the 1st setbreak SEASTONES duet between phil lesh (on quad bass) & ned lagin (on e-mu modular synth) zapping thru the wall of sound. 13m of disorienting & increasingly piercing full-body biomusic burble & scream around the jai-alai fronton. deadheads applaud politely. lagin plays rhodes on JAM > SHIP OF FOOLS & is fully present on a wordless 22m DARK STAR > SPANISH JAM, conversing with garcia & lesh. or this is the busiest godchaux playing ever? garcia deploys split-signal feedback-fuzz during SPANISH JAM & destroys.

6/26/74 providence: A+ mix of soundboard with jerry moore audience tape. dude in the crowd really wants people in front to sit down. frenetic LET IT GROW jam cooks for 4m & evaporates. SEASTONES is mostly gentle bio-voltage. heads seems receptive, even enthused. another abnormally long CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER, starting with a noodle-y prelude & a quizzical diversion before garcia starts to sing. big thumpin’ TRUCKIN’, but quad bass solo, OTHER ONE riffage, SPANISH JAM, other themes feel restless & disconnected.

6/28/74 boston garden: an old fave with setlist shenanigans & a fun, consistent up-ness; big jam is more scattered than i remembered. split-up SUGAR MAGNOLIA/SUNSHINE DAYDREAM bookends a set for 1st time. SCARLET BEGONIAS moves to 2nd set & nearly breaks free. short soundboard SEASTONES excerpt erupts from vivid oceanic static to screaming flares. crisp TO LAY ME DOWN; best since its revival 42m WEATHER REPORT SUITE > MIND LEFT BODY builds, hovers near DARK STAR with brilliant themes, fuzzy dead air & long build to U.S. BLUES. surly phil intros SHIP OF FOOLS: “a quiet, tender, meaningful, sympathetic, heavy-duty ballad in the key of b-flat.”

6/30/74 springfield, MA: superb PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND delights with mondo keith, dime-turn transition, & thoughtful reprise. 2 more spots where almost all drop out but garcia, including a jerry/phil feedback-fuzz bridge into UNCLE JOHN’S BAND & 6m prelude to STELLA BLUE. most cogent SEASTONES yet courtesy of the 1st complete soundboard. seems like phil harshing the noise & ned bleeping more consonantly. nice l’il charge from U.S. BLUES > TRUCKIN’. killer EYES OF THE WORLD (again: keith!) with wild kreutzmann drumming during end break.

7/19/74 fresno: right-on 30m PLAYING IN THE BAND marked by straight jazz, dancing rhodes by birthday boy keith, flowing de- & reconstruction. annoyingly chatty audience-only tape of SEASTONES punctuated by friendliest taper ever. “are you taping this?” “absolutely!!” 1st HE’S GONE since february is long & shaky, with dixieland blues coda by garcia that is sweet & mournful but never takes off. LET IT GROW, peaks atop peaks, a brief space-canyon, glorious patient SPANISH JAM, full-flight EYES OF THE WORLD. enthralling.

7/21/74 hollywood bowl: generally sweet audience tape with another lazy summer MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES & another talk-marred SEASTONES. 21m PLAYING IN THE BAND with brisk note-chasing & a mini-MIND LEFT BODY/NOBODY’S FAULT/SPANISH JAM collision to set up WHARF RAT.

7/25/74 chicago: just noticing that ROW JIMMY has gradually sped up since slow-ass ’73 versions, back to refreshing SUGAREE-ish lilt. a pleasant vocal-less DARK STAR. nothing jarring, just satisfying linked jams, harmony guitars, drum/keys break, proto-SLIPKNOT, more. JOHNNY B. GOODE has weir shouting like it’s already the ’80s. donna gets brassy on a new part of SHIP OF FOOLS. :(.

7/27/74 roanoke: besides conversational 25m PLAYING IN THE BAND & garcia forcing U.S. BLUES into uneventful 5m boogie jam, oddly improv-less show. weir sings 5 songs in the 2nd set, all covers, 4 from the ’50s. no ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT even though it was a saturday. thanks?

7/29/74 landover: rare DC area show. the hep place to be for swinging beltway liberals at the height of watergate, per reports. straight-ahead & great. many enthused whoops throughout U.S. BLUES. especially assertive IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. missing SEASTONES. compact & articulate 49m HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > NOBODY’S FAULT > OTHER ONE > SPANISH JAM > WHARF RAT & bonus PEGGY-O.

7/31/74 hartford: 3 sets, all cracking & on point. 1st SCARLET BEGONIAS show opener, purdy rhodes cascades, concise but far-reaching. extraordinarily animated & delightful garcia vocals throughout. 1st time he punches the line “let my eyes no LONGER see” in ROSES. 1st onstage acknowledgment of SEASTONES? “we’ll be for another set in a few moments,” sez jerry. “…& additional weirdness,” adds phil. 2nd full SEASTONES soundboard is the harshest phil/ned custy blastage yet. “get off the stage,” someone yells audibly. #noiselife. curling, primo 40m TRUCKIN’ > MIND LEFT BODY > SPANISH JAM > WHARF RAT. even ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT kinda glows a little.

8/4/74 philadelphia: fairly ripsnorting JACK STRAW thanks to strident phil vocals, a completely tasty solo, & over-saturated mix. 20m LET IT GROW churns, goes supernova, & reforms for a fast, weird 2 minutes before garcia slashes into WHARF RAT.

8/5/74 philly: sparkling soundboard. another golden MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. not a natural segue, but a nice pairing. nearly gentle SEASTONES, woman desperately screaming “jerrrrrrry!” on audience tape. last 3m is a burbling annihilation & denouement. big bouncing SCARLET BEGONIAS, 1st to break 10m. half-hour TRUCKIN’ thrills & opens up without resorting to jam motifs.

8/6/74 jersey city: summer tour finale ends an era: the last east coast show (& final U.S. jaunt) ’til mickey hart’s return in ’76. 2 big 1st set jams. jeweled 19m EYES OF THE WORLD with atypically mellifluous bass solo. weir PSA: “don’t climb on the fence, idiot!” PLAYING IN THE BAND bubbles into syncopated space-funk & a totally-like-WOW segue into a semi-off-kilter SCARLET BEGONIAS & on back to PLAYING. rare HE’S GONE prefaces a 31m TRUCKIN’ swerve through SPANISH JAM & only the 5th OTHER ONE of ’74, bookended by SUGAR MAGNOLIA/SUNSHINE DAYDREAM. U.S. BLUES’s “summertime done come & gone” refrain caps the tour & the epoch. see you in a month for europe ’74.

9/9/74 london: the wall of sound takes europe! 1st of 3 nights at alexandra palace starts hours late, earning ill-will from UK heads. 1 set, scant improv. ugly coked-up vibes, per mcnally’s bio. nice SCARLET BEGONIAS, though, with audible cheer for “grosvenor square” line. 16m TRUCKIN’ packs big & bigger thrills with aggressive OTHER ONE bass orbits but instead parachutes into WHARF RAT.

9/10/74 london: excellent 1st set garcia, including dramatic LOSER & nuanced PEGGY-O. LET IT GROW finds edge of space & pulls back. weir opens show with tepid AROUND & AROUND & hijacks early 2nd set with interminable & ultra-lame 16m NOT FADE AWAY. thankfully, 31m DARK STAR flashes between heaviness, confusion, & killer keith. serious post-verse meltdown into bass-crazed MORNING DEW.

9/11/74 london: good: SCARLET BEGONIAS getting longer & more intricate. bad: donna now wailing/whoaing/la-la’ing deeper into the jam. set 2 consists of 69m SEASTONES > EYES OF THE WORLD > WHARF RAT. probably my all-time most-played sequence, still rewarding & weird. garcia & kreutzmann join for deep, lysergic SEASTONES, jagged figures transforming to silver valleys, floating blurps, buddha-guitar. ned’s strident melodic piano dominates EYES, unrushed themes unfolding before a 10m SEASTONES reconstruction into WHARF RAT. lagin remembers garcia erupting into “a prolonged loud belly laugh” after the jam’s conclusion, totally audible on tape. bonus 3rd set. garcia/weir/donna master the counterpoint on final SHIP OF FOOLS chorus, setting up dramatic finish.

9/14/74 munich: weirdly off. SCARLET BEGONIAS has cool counterpoint & high-speed garcia but awkward grooves & rare sloppy ending. SEASTONES achieves a mellow vibration & builds to quad-fuzz detonation finale. germans sound way riled. PINBALL WIZARD comes on PA. last of 6 lovely MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP / MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES pairings, always a nice oasis in a desert of bob weir cowboy songs. no big jam, though 16m TRUCKIN’ hits laser focus for last few minutes, resolving to uptempo MIND LEFT BODY descent into WHARF RAT. more quicksilver garcia during EYES OF THE WORLD encore, but not enough to save show. backstage, bad vibes. http://bit.ly/X3M0HQ

9/18/74 dijon: smallest dead show in years, only a few hundred people. 1st set is ragged but even UNCLE JOHN’S BAND opener stretches casually. tiny french crowd even gets 1st FRIEND OF THE DEVIL since 12/72. jerry ballads aplenty & jam delights all over. both SEASTONES & 2nd set drums/bass break have lesh playing something like free jazz. EYES OF THE WORLD dips into a magical mood, wistful & quiet, lots of gorgeous lead bass & hints of SLIPKNOT; CHINA DOLL grows cool busy drum part. HE’S GONE burns into my new fave TRUCKIN’: 23m of fuego garcia, free DRUMZ, stereo bass, & a “CAUTION JAM” that’s something even better: 10m of shifting, sustained invention & cracking snare turnarounds, melting to SHIP OF FOOLS. thrilling, cohesive set.

9/20/74 paris: a shaggy night in the city of light. midtempo & loose FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. overheard on drum mic pre-BEAT IT DOWN THE LINE: “are you crazy? i can’t count that high, you dumb shit.” 14(?)-beat intro nearly collapses. bizarre SCARLET BEGONIAS gets quiet with slide guitar, off-mic donna la-la’s, off-key monophonic synth (ned?), subtle cowbell details. TRUCKIN’ fans out into squiggly space with neat results, eventually a long garcia/kreutzmann duet, & noise bass bridge into EYES OF THE WORLD. does EYES have bad mix or is it falling apart? unrelated(?), billy k. throws moped through a window. http://bit.ly/1rbjqQV

9/21/74 paris: a sometimes brutal conclusion to 7-show europe ’74 tour & the last dead show outside of san francisco ’til 6/76. or it could be another weir-less mix that just feels off. solid EYES OF THE WORLD outro sounds ready for “blues for allah” sessions. full band on 11m SEASTONES, a fun & dense mess that loses steam. great shattering-glass blasts & a nice ned/keith piano duet, though. 18m PLAYING IN THE BAND stays low stakes with small lurvely garcia/lagin dialogues, dissolves into DRUMS, & screeches awkwardly into final chorus. kreutzmann starting to get into cowbell, including on ROW JIMMY break. maybe the ’80s weren’t only mickey’s fault?

10/16/74 winterland: 1st of 5 eventful “retirement” shows, longest all-time gig (4+ hours of music) & probably the furthest out. camera crew starts shooting “the GD movie.” last ME & BOBBY McGEE. always dug the way garcia bark-crooned the high part on the chorus. weir’s 27th birthday, but happy overbalance of jerry songs; back-to-back TENNESSEE JED & crackling CUMBERLAND BLUES both stretch subtly. 24m SEASTONES, ambient washes sound like (or possibly are?) nearby humans screaming; into dope 25m garcia/lesh/lagin/kreutzmann quartet. too much even for SF deadheads, who clap impatiently during last space-out &, disbelieving maybe, slow to cheer when WHARF RAT starts. and then: 36m WHARF RAT > EYES OF THE WORLD, each with an elliptical solo jerry break. on EYES, thick double keys by lagin & godchaux. and still 45m more: TRUCKIN’ mini-suite &, before encore, phil endearingly & atonally singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to weir.

10/17/74 winterland: the last shows before mickey hart’s return, containing final streamlined 1-drummer versions of many faves. last RAMBLE ON ROSE ’til 9/76. goodbye phil vocals, goodbye subtlety on the bridge. rare FRIEND OF THE DEVIL sounding comfy. last kreutzmann-only OTHER ONE, forever the best jam for his inside-out gang-of-one free drumming. it really tied the room together. 30m OTHER ONE gets both verses, quick SPANISH JAM & MIND LEFT BODY (last ’til 12/83). last BK-only STELLA BLUE. :(.
10/18

10/18/74 winterland: final 1-drummer SUGAREE & PEGGY-O, spare & uncomplicated tunes served well by spare & uncomplicated drum parts. last WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE/PART 1. among my fave weir songs, sad & autumnal no matter the season. love garcia’s faux steel. last of 4 jams out of SEASTONES with ned lagin on keys. kreutzmann comes out swingin’, leading modal jazz dances that fold back into the last DARK STAR ’til 12/78. end of an era. quiet & lilting 1st half & post-verse jam that stays mostly inside, almost funky. nice bounce. and into patient MORNING DEW that goes supernova, last ’til 9/76. 3rd set seems unnecessary, but why not? g’bye billy-only SHIP OF FOOLS. an audience mic isn’t synced or this is worst-clapping crowd in dead history, often just totally unrelated to music.

10/19/74 winterland: almost too many comings/goings to note. final fast, crisp version of FRIEND OF THE DEVIL before ’76 slowdown. last LOOSE LUCY & BLACK THROATED WIND ’til 1990. final 1-drummer SCARLET BEGONIAS. sigh. randomly, 1st MAMA TRIED since 8/71. sloppy! rare BIG RAILROAD BLUES, fun bakersfield break in intro. final TOMORROW IS FOREVER (1st since 12/72), underrated garcia/donna C&W. so many songs go on ice: CHINA DOLL (until 5/77), UNCLE JOHN’S (12/76), RACE IS ON (10/80), DIRE WOLF (9/77), BLACK PETER (10/77). before vocals, TRUCKIN’ (9/77) veers into 1st legit CAUTION JAM since pig’s death (fire!), DRUMZ, & solo jerry space.

10/20/74 winterland: “the last one” before the dead’s break from the road, end of the 1st epoch. sweet typo on the ticket, even. as usual, bill graham both cheered & booed but nails intro: “as it should be on a sunday night in san francisco, the grateful dead.” weir garbles every single syllable of the 1st verse of MAMA TRIED, psychedelic in its own way. besides that, whole 1st set sparkles. lesh getting raspy, but BROKEDOWN PALACE (last ’til 5/77) is a stunner, final “american beauty” tune sung with its original harmonies. SEASTONES (last at a GD gig) starts with ned solo, making tangible bleep grids, moist & tonal. then phil & white noise washes arrive. garcia joins for last 15m of SEASTONES, adding subliminal melodic swells & noodles to lesh & lagin’s unsettling, sparse vibrations. mickey hart returns for last 2 sets, quietness refined since ’71 instantly swallowed by big busy beat. band’s balance audibly shifts. new possibilities in propulsive hippie fusion & deep messiness emerge in 61m 4-song PLAYING IN THE BAND sequence with lagin on aggressive 2nd keys. 1st GOOD LOVIN’ since pigpen’s death, led by weir, only dead cover with 3 lead singers at different times (garcia in ’66/’69, pig in ’69-’72). and it’s way blown-out, the dawn of a new era of rhythmic clusterfuck, drifting between locked-in brilliance & aimless textural float. last EYES OF THE WORLD with 7/8 ending break. SLIPKNOT! riff links into STELLA BLUE, now swollen with overbearing tom-tom fills. cutting in mid-solo, a jawdropping MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP 2nd encore. perfect call with nearly every lyric apropos. it even reigns in hart. WE BID YOU GOODNIGHT to close it out, the last until new year’s ’76. dudes in crowd still shouting for ST. STEPHEN.

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dead tapes at baby’s allright, 22 june 2014