Sunday, May 3, 2020

New Riders of The Purple Sage Tour History May 1969>April 1970 (NRPS Itinerary I)

The December 2019 release by the Owsley Stanley Foundation of the 5cd box set Dawn Of The New Riders of The Purple Sage opened up new vistas in Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia history
The recent release by the Owsley Stanley Foundation of the 5cd box set Dawn Of The New Riders Of The Purple Sage was a revelation. Not only was a new window opened wide onto the music of the early New Riders, but the intricate evolution of the music of Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir played with the Grateful Dead could be woven into the tapestry of both bands.

The Owsley box shed some light in the much larger role played by Weir in the formative New Riders. Since May 1970 would bring forth "An Evening With The Grateful Dead," where the band would do sets as the "Acoustic Dead," then the New Riders of The Purple Sage and finally the full electric Dead, the reaffirmation of country and folk music for Garcia and Weir in 1969 informs the music in the following year. I made the case, perhaps somewhat too affirmatively, that what would become the Acoustic Dead was originally conceived of as a country revue called Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom.

You can read my argument for yourself and decide to what extent the Cards Off The Bottom were an inside joke or a serious proposition. But now, thanks to Hawk of the Owsley Stanley Foundation, we have a lot of new information here, beyond what was just in the box set. Again, everybody gets to decide for themselves what it all means, but Hawk was kind enough to include all the available setlists from the Foundation tapes.

Combined with other information that I have gathered, here is a new and improved concert chronology for the New Riders of The Purple Sage from 1969 through Spring 1970. For the bigger picture of the New Riders genesis, and how Garcia and Dawson connected in the first place, see the prior post.

For songs that I haven't heard, I have made reasonable guesses as to what they were. I identified the most famous performer associated with the songs, rather than seeking out the publishing details, which are easily googlable in any case. I am trying to guess which versions Garcia, Weir and Dawson might have heard, rather than pursuing the vinyl details. Even a cursory glance shows the prevalence of George Jones and Buck Owens songs, even if most of them dropped away in subsequent years. Tracks released on Dawn Of The New Riders are in bold. Please note inaccuracies in the Comments.

Insights, corrections, additions, speculation eagerly welcomed in the Comment section. Thanks again to Hawk for the new information.

Gilded Palace Of Sin, the first album by The Flying Burrito Brothers, was released on A&M Records in 1969. Sneaky Pete Kleinow played pedal steel guitar
April 4-6, 1969 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Flying Burrito Brothers/AUM/Sanpaku
Jerry Garcia hears Sneaky Pete Kleinow playing pedal steel guitar on Owsley's sound system. The next week he bought his second pedal steel guitar, a Zane Beck Double 10. He had owned and sold a Fender pedal steel around 1967, but it had been too hard to tune.

The site of Don Edwards' Guitar City in Lakewood, CO, a famous steel guitar emporium (I think the photo is actually from the later 1970s). Jerry Garcia bought his ZB10 pedal steel here on April 13 or 14, 1969.
April 13 or 14, 1969 Don Edwards Guitar City, Lakewood, CO
Jerry Garcia buys a pedal steel guitar from a well-known steel shop in Colorado.

May 7, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
This was probably the first Wednesday night that Garcia sat in with Dawson. At the time, Dawson was alternating sets with a Flamenco guitarist named Daniel Crisman. If this was the first night, and Crisman was still on the bill, I wonder how it felt when Dawson got on stage with a genuine rock star?

The Menlo Hub restaurant, at 1029 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, as it appeared in 2012. It was probably the site of The Underground hofbrau, where Jerry Garcia first performed with John Dawson in May, 1969. Next door at 1035 El Camino (Su Hong) was the location of Guitars Unlimited, where Garcia and Bob Weir worked briefly in late 1965.
May 14, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
Dawson and Garcia played, for certain, because the Owsley Foundation has a tape. Nelson had not yet joined. There are three reels of tape, so it's reasonable to assume the duo played at least three sets.
  1. A-11 (Buck Owens-1964)
  2. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving
  3. Whatcha Gonna Do
  4. To Have the Hurting End
  5. The Lady Came From Baltimore (written Tim Hardin, released Bobby Darin-1967, later recorded by Joan Baez-1967)
  6. I've Got a Tiger By the Tail (Buck Owens-1965)
  7. Together Again (Buck Owens-1964--per Peter Grant, Tom Brumley's pedal steel ride on this song inspired both Grant and Garcia to want to play the instrument)
  8. Six Days On the Road
  9. I Shall Be Released (Dylan/The Band-1969)
  10. Crossover
  11. Hello Trouble (Buck Owens-1964)
  12. Garden of Eden
  13. Whatcha Gonna Do
  14. Sweet Lovin' One
  15. Superman
  16. Hey Melinda
  17. Just Like a Fool
  18. Jailbait (per Hawk, this appears to be a John Dawson original about being careful about underage women, sometimes called "Jailbait Gets You Busted." Unsettling as this sounds, there wais a California country tradition of songs like "San Quentin Quail" which never get covered anymore)
  19. Don't Take Any Chances
  20. Delilah
  21. I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash-1958)
  22. All I Ever Wanted
  23. I Don't Know You
  24. The Weight (The Band-1968)
  25. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob Dylan, from John Wesley Harding-1968)
  26. Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line (Waylon Jennings-1968)
  27. Long Black Veil (Lefty Frizzel-1959)
The Country Gentlemen's 1960 debut album Country Songs Old & New. The Gentlemen were from Washington, DC, not the Appalachians, and their approach to bluegrass was hugely influential on the likes of Jerry Garcia
Marmaduke & Jerry, Rehearsal, "Home" May 17, 1969
The tape box (per Hawk) apparently says "Home." Whose home? Jerry's? Owsley's? I'm more inclined to think it was Owsley's, at 6024 Ascot Drive in the Oakland Hills, but of course it's hard to be sure. 
  1. If you Hear Me When I'm Leaving (take 1)
  2. If you Hear Me When I'm Leaving (take 2)  
  3. Delilah (take 1)
  4. Delilah (take 2)
  5. The Lady Came From Baltimore
  6. I Still Miss Someone
  7. Sweet Lovin' One
  8. Roving Gambler (Country Gentlemen-1960))
  9. Whatcha Gonna Do
  10. All I Ever Wanted
  11. To Have the Hurting End
  12. Handsome Molly (this folk song goes back to the 19th century, but it was a well-known bluegrass song played by the Country Gentleman and many others)
  13. Unknown J. Dawson original 
  14. Superman
  15. Don't Take Any Chances
  16. Hey Melinda
  17. Crossover
  18. Somebody Loves You 
  19. The Next In Line (presumably Johnny Cash-1957)
  20. Jailbait
In summer 1969, Owsley Stanley lived in a house in the Oakland Hills at 6024 Ascot Drive (shown here in a 21st century real estate listing)
Marmaduke, Jerry, & Mickey, "Home" May 18, 1969
  1. Roving Gambler
  2. Stagger Lee (I wonder which version?)
  3. Fair Chance to Know
  4. Garden of Eden
  5. Whatcha Gonna Do
  6. Sweet Lovin' One
  7. The Next In Line
  8. Hey Melinda
  9. Crossover
  10. The Lady Came From Baltimore
  11. Truck Drivin' Man (Terry Fell-1954, a hit again for Buck Owens-1965)
  12. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving
An SF Chronicle listing from January 6, 1969, advertising Peter Albin and David Getz hosting a "Jam" at Monday night at the Matrix. David Nelson played this gig, along with a few others, in anticipation of a reformed Big Brother and The Holding Company. Peter Albin and Nelson had been best friends in Carlmont High in Belmont, and Peter's older brother Rodney has introduced Nelson to both bluegrass and Jerry Garcia.
May 21, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
Likely another night that Garcia backed Dawson (the Dead were booked May 28), without Nelson.

(update: JGMF reminds us that Jerry Garcia and Friends were booked at The Matrix on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 20-21). I had forgot about this. But as my own comments on the post say, I'm pretty sure I have an eyewitness. (To recap: Jerry Garcia and Friends/Sanpaku played Matrix Tues/Wed May 20-21. Sanpaku's road manager told a story about playing in front of Owsley and Garcia and trying to impress them and melting down, thanks to--ahem--Mr. Owsley). I'm assuming that to have been Tuesday May 20. Garcia and Dawson could have had a Menlo Park Hofbrau gig on Wednesday (May 21) and Garcia still could have made the Wednesday Matrix show. Presumably, Garcia and Friends was some sort of Hartbeats jam thing, but that remains mysterious (and my eyewitness can't help, of course).

Also, there is another twist to the David Nelson story, namely that he was more or less a member of Big Brother and The Holding Company at this time. During at least some of May, he was (per himself, via Gans) recording in Los Angeles with Sam Andrews and others, probably Peter Albin, drummer Dave Getz and singer Kathi McDonald. So Nelson may not have even been in town when Dawson and Garcia played together the first few times.

Another scholar spoke with Peter Albin of Big Brother about that band's timeline. Around Christmas 1968, Albin asked Nelson to join a reformed Big Brother. At the time, Nelson was staying in Big Brother's rehearsal warehouse in San Francisco. Albin and Nelson were close friends from their days going to school together at Carlmont High in San Carlos, just south of San Francisco. Indeed, Peter's older brother Rodney had introduced Nelson to both bluegrass and Jerry Garcia.

Although the putative Big Brother played at least one gig at the Matrix (Jan 6 '69), plans for a reactivation were put on hold when Albin and Getz toured with Country Joe and The Fish throughout Europe in March and April of that year. The recording started in May (for the album which would become the underrated Be A Brother), but Big Brother didn't have much going on. Per Peter Albin, Nelson took the opportunity to join the New Riders instead, because they had more momentum. Still, we don't know when Nelson joined Garcia and Dawson, and I'm starting to think it wasn't until June.
May 1969 GD/Garcia Tour Itinerary

June 3 or 4 (?), 1969 Peninsula School, Menlo Park, CA: unbilled benefit
Although undetermined, the most likely date for the gig described in Blair Jackson's book is during this week. The lineup was apparently Dawson, Garcia, David Nelson and Phil Lesh (per Jackson). So Nelson must finally have been involved, and somehow Lesh had gotten in the picture as well.

Peninsula School was a "progressive" K-8 school for the Ban The Bomb crowd in the South Bay, located at 925 Peninsula Way in Menlo Park, near Willow Road. Bob Weir and Bob Matthews had attended, as had John Dawson. Future GDTS operator Steve Marcus had grown up nearby, and probably attended this show. Jerry Garcia had a long history of playing at the school. His daughter Heather was probably a student, and his ex-wife Sara may have been a music instructor at the time. It's likely that the proceeds from the show offset Heather's tuition (as the New Riders would play the next few years as well).

My general theory, unproven, is that Garcia played the Peninsula date on the afternoon that he had a date at the Underground.

June 4, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
I have indirect confirmation of this date. It's plausible to think that the Peninsula School gig was in the afternoon, and the club in the evening. There was a Bay Area rock group called Southern Comfort who had a show at Palo Alto's only real rock club, The Poppycock. The band's drummer, Bob Jones (who played with John Kahn, Mike Bloomfield and many others) told me in an email that he recalled that he had heard that members of the Dead were playing nearby, so they left the club prior to going on stage. They were immediately busted by the Palo Alto police, who took their weed but did not arrest them, which--I assure you--is very Palo Alto. Jones didn't recall the exact date or where they were heading, exactly. but the pieces fit.

June 11, 1969 California Hall, San Francisco, CA: Bobby Ace and The Cards Off The Bottom Of The Deck
Recently I posted a lengthy theory that Garcia and the Grateful Dead were considering expanding the performing Dead into a sort of revue, like a touring C&W band. Your mileage may vary with regards to my proposal. The New Riders of The Purple Sage would have been one leg, and an ensemble called Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom might have been the other. The "Bobby Ace" name had not been applied to Weir prior to June 1969, even casually.

The Cards Off The Bottom name was only used a few times, and this June 11, 1969 benefit seems to have been a sort of experiment (ignore the Scientology Benefit side-story, which is tangential).Thanks to McNally (p.321), we know the band consisted of Garcia, Weir, TC, Phil, Hart, Peter Grant, Nelson and Dawson.

The only other time that Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom name was used again on a bill was when the band debuted the "acoustic Dead" in April 1970. The "Revue" idea seems to have been reduced somewhat, but the band toured while playing up to 4 sets of music with three different ensembles. McNally also found a setlist (not a tape), which consists of the typical covers performed by the "Acoustic Dead" in 1970. A tantalizing clue to any future plans, whatever you choose to make of it.

Set One
  1. Let It Be Me (Everly Brothers-1960)
  2. Silver Threads and Golden Needles (Wanda Jackson-1956, and numerous other recordings)
  3. Mama Tried (Merle Haggard-1968)
  4. Cathy's Clown (Everly Brothers 1960)
  5. Me and My Uncle (John Phillips via Jim Stalarow-1964)
  6. Slewfoot (Johnny Horton '61, Porter Wagoner '68)
  7. Dire Wolf
  8. Games People Play (Joe South-1968)
  9. The Race Is On (George Jones-1965)
  10. Green Green Grass Of Home (Porter Wagoner-1968)
Set Two
  1. Tiger By The Tail
  2. I've Just Seen A Face (Beatles, from Rubber Soul-1965)
  3. All I Have To Do Is Dream (Everly Brothers-1958)
  4. Wabash Cannonball (Trad, Roy Acuff-1936 and Carter Family-1932 made famous)
  5. Railroading Across The Great Divide (Carter Family ca. 1932)








June 18, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
Impossible so far to confirm, but presumably the trio played the Underground this Wednesday as well.

June 25, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
Fascinatingly, McNally uncovered a setlist from Judy Dawson (no relation to John), a serious fan who kept such things. Until the Owsley foundation released the May 14 setlist (above), this was our only insight into what the trio played in Menlo Park:
  1. Tiger By The Tail
  2. Fair Chance To Know
  3. Mama Tried 
  4. The Next In Line
  5. I'm In Love With You
  6. Stagger Lee
  7. Coat Of Many Colors (not sure of this one--the Dolly Parton song was released in April 1971)
  8. Whatcha Gonna Do
  9. Truck Drivin' Man
  10. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving
  11. The Race Is On (George Jones-1964)
  12. Six Days On The Road (Dave Dudley-1963)
  13. Jailbait Gets You Busted
  14. Close Up The Honky Tonks (Buck Owens-1964)
  15. Last Lonely Eagle
  16. For What It's Worth (Buffalo Springfield-1966)
  17. I Still Miss Someone
  18. Together Again 
  19. Superman
  20. Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan, from Nashville Skyline-1969)
  21. If You Want To Run (not sure if this was a Dawson original or not)
  22. Buckaroo (Buck Owens instrumental-1965, regularly played live by Clarence White and The Byrds)
  23. Long Black Veil
  24. Me & My Uncle
  25. Delilah
June 1969 GD/Garcia Tour Itinerary

June 27-28, 1969 Veterans Memorial Hall, Santa Rosa, CA: Grateful Dead/Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Joey Covington/Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band
The Grateful Dead played Friday and Saturday nights in Santa Rosa, supported by a proto-version of electric Hot Tuna and the Berkeley group Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band. CGSB had originally been a sort of hip skiffle band--essentially New Orleans string band music--but had electrified somewhat and were now a sort of swinging country band with a drummer.

On the first night, Mickey Hart was late, and CGSB drummer Tom Ralston was invited to sit in for him. Obviously, Kreutzmann could have handled it, so I assume the band was just poking Mickey, hinting that he could be replaced by someone else. Ralston played the first six songs or so, before Hart showed up.

On the second night (Saturday, June 28), as a "thank you" or just for fun, Jerry Garcia sat in on pedal steel guitar. Hawk reports that Owsley taped Garcia joining CGSB on Buck Owens' "A11," a regular number for CGSB. He may have played on a few other numbers, but I'm not sure. The band certainly recalled the weekend clearly, in any case.

Also on Saturday, for "Me And My Uncle," Peter Grant played electrified banjo, and John Dawson sang along with Weir. This adds another data point for my theory, however speculative, that Garcia and the Dead were at least considering some kind of expanded country ensemble.

June 29, 1969 The Barn, Rio Nido, CA: Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady/Jerry Garcia and Friends
The Owsley Foundation release of Jorma Kaukonen/Jack Casady/Joey Covington Before We Were Them was recorded on June 28, At the end, the announcer mentions a "jam" at Rio Nido and says that "Jerry Garcia and a friend" will be playing. This is all but certainly Garcia and Dawson, most likely with David Nelson as well.
June 1969 GD/Garcia Tour Itinerary


The cover of Holly Harman's photomemoir, Inside A Hippie Commune, from 2013
Summer 1969 Pacific High Recorders, San Francisco, CA: Cloud Brothers session "Strange Way"
Perhaps the most obscure release featuring Jerry Garcia was a cd called Inside A Hippie Commune: Music Soundtrack. Author Holly Harman wrote a sort of coffee table book about her 60s Santa Cruz Mountains commune, called Inside A Hippie Commune. She also created a DVD documentary from some surviving footage. Her husband Eric Levin did the soundtrack music. It was released privately, but officially, on cd in 2015, as Inside A Hippie Commune: Music Soundtrack.

Here's the short version, and it's not even short:  Eric Levin was a Santa Cruz hippie guitarist in a band called Spirits (whom you'll see on ancient Bay Area posters). His wife (then girlfriend) Holly Harman was and is an extremely interesting source for Santa Cruz Bay Area hippiedom, as she was a teenager back then. She's one of my principal and best sources on The Barn, the core text for my research. Harman was full of other interesting details, too--she's the one who tipped me to the fact that the Curly Jim who taught Bob Weir "Me And My Uncle" wasn't Curly Cooke of the Steve Miller Band (and she even emailed Curly Cooke, whom she knew, to confirm it--a researcher's dream). There's lots more to say about Harman, but leave that aside for now.

Most of the tracks were recorded by Eric Levin around 2009, with his bar band, who played a local Sonoma brewpub. Their music is okay, and some tracks include the bass player for Blue Cheer (Dickie Petersen) in the band. However, there are a few tracks from 1969 by The Cloud Brothers, recorded at Pacific High Recorders. The Cloud Brothers were Levin and a guy named David Russek on guitars and vocals. On one track, "Strange Way" Curly Jim Stalarow plays rhythm guitar, and Jerry Garcia plays pedal steel. This was in mid-69, sometime, and per Holly Harman, Garcia did the session in return for weed. I assume the engineer was Dan Healy, but that information is uncertain. This may have been Garcia's first session as a steel player.

Garcia basically plays a scale, as far as I can tell. But whatever. It's Garcia's first pedal steel studio session, and he plays with the guy who taught Bob "Me And My Uncle."





A flyer for a Hells Angels Benefit at Longshoreman's Hall in San Francisco on Wednesday, July 16, 1969. Besides the Grateful Dead, Cleveland Wrecking Company and Ice, the future New Riders made their debut with a brief, messy set.
July 16, 1969 Longshoreman's Hall, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Cleveland Wrecking Company/Ice Hell's Angels Benefit
Unbilled, the soon-to-be Riders opened for the Dead. They came on late, due to equipment problems apparently caused by Owsley. The band played briefly, and per Blair Jackson's eyewitnesses, shambollically. Presumably Matthews and Hart debuted. Given that the Dead had toured much of early July, there can't have been much rehearsal.

Albert "Ice Man" Collins legendary 1965 album The Cool Sound of Albert Collins was re-released by Blue Thumb Records in 1969 as Truckin' ith Albert Collins
July 24-29 (?), 1969 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Albert Collins 
As part of the research into Big Brother history, Peter Albin mentioned that he backed blues guitarist Albert "The Iceman" Collins for a week at The Matrix and then a weekend at the Family Dog. Remarkably, the band was Albin (presumably on guitar), Big Brother drummer Dave Getz, David Nelson, and most surprisingly, Dave Torbert. Torbert was based in Hawaii at the time, but his parents still lived in Redwood City, so he could have been visiting them.

Bookings advertised at The Matrix for the week were
Wed July 22 -Lonnie Mack/Marvin Gardens (probably Tues-Thurs July 21-23)
Sat 25 July-Southern Comfort/Dementia (theater troupe) (probably Sat July 24 as well)
Wed 29 July-Linn County /Terry Dolan (probably Thurs Jul 30 as well)
Matrix bookings weren't set in stone, and Albert Collins could have been added or substituted to any of the nights. The shows were probably like rehearsals, setting them up for the weekend gig. Thanks to Bob Hite of Canned Heat, Collins had just been signed in 1968 by Imperial Records, and he had moved to Palo Alto (of all places) by November 1968. We'll have to guess which days Collins may have played at the Matrix. Collins famous 1965 album (The Cool Sound Of Albert Collins) had been re-released as Truckin' With Albert Collins in 1969.

The Berkeley Barb listed "Jerry Garcia backing Marmaduke" at the Bear's Lair. $1.50, two shows.
August 1, 1969 Bear's Lair, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Jerry Garcia and Marmaduke
The band plays two sets, starting at 10:30pm, at the tiny, newly-opened beer joint on the Berkeley campus. Confusingly, the Dead were booked at the Family Dog this night, but did not play. A union of light show workers were striking, and Garcia--union-born through his mother--would never cross a picket line. It's telling that in a non-confrontational Garcia move, he simply booked another gig and clearly had no intention of participating in any dramatic showdown at the Family Dog event.

Garcia did eventually turn up, later that night, when some of the dust had settled. The strike fizzled out, since Graham had correctly sussed out that rock fans weren't really paying to see light shows.

Set 1

    1. The Next In Line
    2. Truck Drivin' Man
    3. A-11
    4. I Don't Know You
    5. Garden of Eden
    6. Hello Trouble
    7. Mama Tried
    8. Superman
    9. Big Fool of the Year
    10. The Weight
    11. Last Lonely Eagle
    12. Whatcha Gonna Do

      Set 2:

          1.    Six Days On The Road
          2.    Henry
          3.    What Made Milwaukee Famous
       (Jerry Lee Lewis-1968)
          4.    I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail
          5.    Don’t Take Any Chances
          6.    Connection
          7.    Delilah

          8.    Zebra Dun (Traditional) (this may have been the start of the 3rd set)
          9.    [Jerry explains his instrument]
          10.    Kaw-Liga (Hank Williams-1953)
          11.    Sweet Lovin' One

          12.    Fair Chance To Know
          13.    Long Black Limousine
      (Glen Campbell-1964, Elvis Presley-1969, among many)
          14.    All I Ever Wanted
          15.    Truck Drivin' Man
          16.    The Lady Came From Baltimore
          17.    Games People Play
          18.    [introducing the "Murdering Punks"]

          19.    To Have the Hurting End
          20.    I Am Your Man
          21.    Henry 


      Note that "Henry" was played twice in the second set--there may have been three sets.
        August 1-2-3 Family Dog on The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Albert Collins/Ballet Afro-Haiti
        These shows have been written about at great length. Most famously, the Light Show artists were unionizing and striking, and Bill Graham was dead-set against them. Chet Helms was trying to thread the needle, and there was a picket line at the Friday night (Aug 1) Family Dog show. Negotiations stalled the show, and the Dead never played, although a few members probably jammed. Decide for yourself if Garcia booked a conflicting gig on this night on purpose, or not. He ceratainly never did this again, in any case.

        The interesting tidbits here are that it seems that David Nelson had a gig as well, with Albert Collins, and he too missed the action. More interestingly, Nelson seems to have sat in with the Dead on both Saturday (August 2) and Sunday (August 3). At least it sure sounds like Nelson and his distinctive "B-Bender" on "Mama Tried" both nights. It makes a lot more sense if Nelson was already at the show, with his guitar and amp.



        The New Riders of The Purple Sage name first appeared in print in Ralph J Gleason's column in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 6, 1969. The listing announced the band's appearance at The Matrix "tonight and tomorrow" (Aug 6 and 7)
         August 6-9, 1969 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
        The New Riders of The Purple Sage name first appears in print in the San Francisco Chronicle, when the band plays Wednesday thru Saturday night at The Matrix in the Marina District. We have a tape from Thursday (August 7, sometimes dated differently). For decades, this was one of only two existing live 1969 New Riders tapes (September 18 was the other).

        NRPS August 7, 1969-The Matrix
        1. Kaw-liga
        2. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving
        3. Superman
        4. Mama Tried
        5. Games People Play
        6. Truck Drivin' Man
        7. Me & My Uncle
        8. Delilah
        9. Long Black Veil
        10. All I Ever Wanted
        11. Henry
        12. Don't Take Chances
        13. Last Lonely Eagle
        14. Six Days On The Road

        August 13, 1969  Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: New Lost City Ramblers/New Riders of The Purple Sage "Hoe Down"
        This hitherto unknown show was mentioned in the Berkeley Tribe newspaper (August 22-29).

        It appears that old South Bay pal Pete Grant sat in with the New Riders on banjo for a few numbers. Not surprisingly, Garcia and Nelson were very excited to play on the same bill with the New Lost City Ramblers, and at the end of the show members of both bands played a few tunes together.

        As a side note, it appears that either the Grateful Dead or Mickey and The Harbeats played at the Family Dog on Thursday, August 14 (1969). The diary of (New Lost City Rambler) John Cohen  mentions his attendance. Cohen wouldn't have known or cared about the difference, but it suggests that there were more Thursday night Family Dog "jam shows" than we thought.

        August 19, 1969 Family Dog At The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
        Although this date had been listed in the Berkeley Barb, I had doubted the likelihood of it actually having been played. This was a Tuesday night, and the Grateful Dead set at Woodstock had ended Saturday midnight, and they had to be in Seattle on Wednesday. Nonetheless, the Owsley Foundation has a tape, so Garcia and Hart got home, and it happened.
        1. The Next In Line
        2. The Mighty Quinn (Bob Dylan Basement Tapes, via Manfred Mann-1968)
        3. Fair Chance to Know
        4. Last Lonely Eagle
        5. The Lady Came From Baltimore
        6. Henry
        7. Six Days On the Road
        8. All I Ever Wanted
        9. Whatcha Gonna Do
        10. Truck Drivin' Man
        The former site of El Roach Tavern, at 5419 Ballard Avenue in outer Seattle. When the Dead were rained out of the Agua Theaater on August 20, they decamped to the El Roach, which was supposedly a "Biker Bar." They played, too. Musta been some night. By 2010, when seen here, it was a sporting good store called Kavu.
        August 20, 1969 El Roach Tavern, Ballard, WA Grateful Dead
        The Dead, The New Riders of The Purple Sage and a group called Sanpaku were scheduled to play an outdoor venue in Seattle. They got rained out, so the Dead played a scary biker bar in Seattle called El Roach. I have written about this at length.Possibly the New Riders played as well, or at least joined in the fun.


        The Aqua Theater in Seattle was an outdoor performance venue. Led Zeppelin played there on May 11,1969, but the Grateful Dead played the last show there on August 21. The stage was in the lake. The theater was torn down in 1970, but a piece of the grandstand remains, in a park commemorating the venue (5900 W. Green Lake Way N)
        August 21, 1969 Aqua Theatre, Seattle, WA Grateful Dead/New Riders of The Purple Sage/Sanpaku
        After the rainout, the Dead and their support acts came back and played Seattle's Aquatheatre, joined by Sanpaku flautist Gary Larkey. This was the last performance at the unique outdoor venue, and I have written about it as well. This booking was the first time the New Riders were billed as opening for The Grateful Dead. As a side note, its a relevant point that Bob Matthews was still the bassist, because the NRPS origin myth talks about Phil Lesh going out on the road as their bassist. It never actually happened. What few gigs Phil played were around the Bay Area.
        1. Truck Drivin' Man
        2. To Have the Hurting End
        3. Games People Play
        4. Long Black Veil
        5. Garden of Eden
        6. The Mighty Quinn
        7. I Am Your Man
        8. The Lady Came From Baltimore
        9. Six Days on the Road
        10. Last Lonely Eagle
        11. The Weight



        August 23, 1969 Bullfrog 2 Festival, Pelletier Farm, St Helens, OR Grateful Dead/Taj Mahal/Portland Zoo/Sabatic Goat/River/Sand/Notary Sojac/Searchin Soul/The Weeds/New Colony/Chapter Five/Trilogy/Bill Feldman/Don Ross/Mixed Blood/Ron Bruce
        The Grateful Dead headlined a rock festival in Oregon.   This festival was originally scheduled for the Columbia County Fairgrounds in St. Helens, Oregon, about 30 miles North of Portland, but a local judge voided the promoters contract.  The festival was moved to private property nearby.

        The festival ran three days (August 21-22-23). I assume Taj Mahal headlined Friday night (Aug 22) and the Dead headlined Saturday. The rest of the groups were Oregon bands. An eyewitness once reported (in a letter to an Oregon newspaper) that the New Riders (and Country Joe) played the show also, and I find that plausible since we know that Nelson, Dawson and their equipment were with the band.

        As a side note, I don't believe in biographical criticism as a key to meaning in Art. Comparing the lives of artists with their creative works can be misleading. I, for one, do not think that Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. But if you do believe in biographical research as a research method, its worth noting that this weekend would be the only one where John Dawson could have met him a Portland woman.

        [update: Fellow scholar RunOnGuinness reports an eyewitness account that says the New Riders played on Friday night August 22:
        An attendee reports that the New Riders played Bullfrog 2 on Friday 1969-08-22 and the Dead on Saturday 1969-08-23.

        Terry Smith "I went to the Bullfrog festival when I was 15 years old. I don't remember ever seeing Taj Mahal. Friday night, the NRPS played on a very dark flat bed trailer. There was only one or two light bulbs for lighting. The next night the Dead played on two flat bed trailers.They started very late and heated up the cold night air. The next morning, they were gone. I walked through they're campground and found an ounce of weed and a sword."

        From an OSF 2020-04-13 comment
        https://www.facebook.com/OwsleyStanleyFoundation/posts/2847488328667487?__tn__=-R


        August 28, 1969 Family Dog at The Great Highway: Mickey and The Hartbeats/New Riders of The Purple Sage
        August 29-30, 1969 Family Dog at The Great Highway: Grateful Dead/Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen/New Riders of The Purple Sage/Phoenix (replaced Rubber Duck Company)
        Thanks to the Owsley box, we have music from this weekend. The Thursday night "Hartbeats" set was a jam, it's not clear if the Dead proper actually played. The event was promoted via handbill and was probably more like a public rehearsal. Commander Cody's band had only recently relocated from Ann Arbor, MI to Emeryville.
        NRPS, August 28, 1969, Family Dog
        1. Six Days On The Road
        2. I Am Your Man
        3. Last Lonely Eagle
        4. Whatcha Gonna Do
        5. [introducing the famous Bobby Ace]
        6. Mama Tried (w/Bob Weir)
        7. Cathy's Clown (w/Bob Weir)
        8. Old, Old House (w/Bob Weir) (George Jones-1965)
        9. Me And My Uncle (w/Bob Weir) 
        10. Seasons Of The Heart (w/Bob Weir) (George Jones-1965)
        11. Slewfoot (w/Bob Weir)

        NRPS, August 29, 1969, Family Dog
        1. To Have the Hurting End
        2. Games People Play
        3. All I ever Wanted
        4. Connection (Rolling Stones, from Between The Buttons-1967)
        5. Mama Tried (w/Bob Weir)
        6. Cathy's Clown (w/Bob Weir...and Mickey on cowbell)
        7. Fair Chance to Know
        8. Seasons of My Heart (w/Bob Weir)

        NRPS, August 30, 1969, Family Dog
        1. Superman
        2. Henry
        3. All I Ever Wanted
        4. Last Lonely Eagle
        5. Six Days on the Road
        6. Saw Mill (w/ Bob Weir) (Buck Owens-1963)
        7. Whatcha Gonna Do
        8. Cathy's Clown (w/Bob Weir)
        9. Mama Tried (w/Bob Weir)
        The NRPS are mentioned playing at The Inn Of The Begining in Cotati in Ralph Gleason's column in the September 17, 1969 SF Chronicle.
        September 18, 1969 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
        Bob Matthews last gig as the New Riders bass player (per himself) was at this tiny bar in Sonoma County, which had opened only the year before. Matthews hung his taping rig over a roof beam. The Dead promptly went on tour on the East Coast.

        Thanks to the Dawn of The New Riders box, however, we know that Matthews played more gigs with the Riders, since he was on the Mandrake's tape from October. Did that mean his last show was in Cotati, but not this date? Or that he simply misremembered the whole thing? Another interesting thing is that Matthews tape may have circulated over the years, it's about six songs long, but Owsley appears to have taped the whole show.
        GD/Garcia tour itinerary September 1969 
        1. The Next in Line
        2. Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line
        3. Superman
        4. Me & My Uncle
        5. All I Ever Wanted
        6. Truck Drivin' Man
        7. Zebra Dun
        8. What's Made Milwaukee Famous
        9. Last Lonely Eagle
        10. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving
        11. Whatcha Gonna Do
        12. I Don't Know You
        13. Garden of Eden
        14. Six Days On the Road
        15. I Still Miss Someone
        16. Jailbait
        17. Fair Chance to Know
        18. Long Black Limousine
        19. Connection
        20. To Have the Hurting End
        21. Games People Play
        22. Hello Trouble
        23. Quinn the Eskimo
        24. Delilah
        25. Death & Destruction (this Dawson song was not released by NRPS until 1972's Gypsy Cowboy)
        26. The Lady Came From Baltimore
        27. Henry
        28. The Weight
        29. Mama Tried
        Once again, Ralph Gleason's column announces another Thursday show at Cotati's Inn Of The Beginning (Oct 8 '69 SF Chronicle)
        October 9, 1969 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
        I thought this was Phil Lesh's debut as the New Riders' bass player. But it wasn't, or wasn't likely to have been, since Matthews played with the band at Mandrake's the next week.

        The site of Mandrake's, at 1048 University and Tenth Street, as it appeared in 2009.
        October 14-16, 1969 Mandrake's, Berkeley, CA New Riders Of The Purple Sage
        Some of this material was released on Dawn Of The New Riders of The Purple Sage. Now that he knows the songs, Matthews bass playing has improved considerably. The band was advertised as playing three nights (Tuesday through Thursday). Owsley appears to have only taped the first two.

        NRPS, October 14, 1969, Mandrake's (set 1)
        1. Death & Destruction
        2. The Lady Came From Baltimore
        3. Lodi (Creedence Clearwater Revival, single released April 1969)
        4. I Am Your Man
        5. Henry
        6. All I Ever Wanted
        NRPS, October 14, 1969, Mandrake's (set 2)

        1. Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line
        2. Fair Chance To Know
        3. Mama Tried
        4. I Still Miss Someone
        5.  Crossover
        6. The Weight
        NRPS, October 15, 1969, Mandrake's
        1. Next In Line
        2. The Mighty Quinn
        3. Long Black Limousine
        4. Six Days On the Road
        5. To Have the Hurting End
        6. Henry
        7. Superman
        8. Whatcha Gonna Do
        9. Lodi
        10. The Lady Came From Baltimore
        11. Me & My Uncle
        12. Connection
        13. Mama Tried
        14. Last Lonely Eagle
        15. Garden of Eden
        16. Games People Play
        17. I Still Miss Someone
        18. Long Black Veil
        19. I Am Your Man
        20. Death & Destruction
        21. Fair Chance To Know

        A listing for the NRPS show at the (then) San Jose State College Student Ballroom (Gleason column, SF Chronicle Oct 17 '69)
        October 17, 1969  Student Union Ballroom, San Jose State College, San Jose,CA New Riders Of The Purple Sage/The Fourth Way
        This may have been the very first rock concert at the newly opened ballroom (soon known as The Loma Prieta Room). The Grateful Dead would return to headline two weeks later. The Owsley Foundation has the tape.
        1. Crossover
        2. Hello Trouble
        3. Long Black Limousine
        4. Six Days on the Road
        5. Next In Line
        6. Games People Play
        7. To Have the Hurting End
        8. Whatcha Gonna Do
        9. The Race Is On (w/Bob Weir)
        10. Cathy's Clown (w/Bob Weir)
        11. Saw Mill (w/Bob Weir)
        12. Mama Tried (w/Bob Weir)
        13. Me & My Uncle (w/Bob Weir)
        14. Fair Chance to Know

        A listing in the October 22, 1969 SF Chronicle Datebook section of the Ecological Ball "Happening" at the Family Dog
        October 22, 1969 Family Dog on the Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: "Ecological Ball" with Lazarus/Garden Of Delights/Heavy Water/New Riders Of The Purple Sage and films
        This show had been known from an obscure flyer, but this listing in the Wednesday, October 22 Chronicle sheds slightly more light on the event. Only the Riders and Lazarus were rock bands, as Garden Of Delights and Heavy Water were light shows. The evening sounds like what today would be called a "multi-media" event. The Riders probably played one set.

        NRPS Tour Itinerary October 1969

        November 3-4, 1969 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA New Riders Of The Purple Sage
        The New Riders returned to the Matrix for Monday and Tuesday shows. Maybe this was a sort of rehearsal for the demo sessions, since they hardly would have gotten paid.

        Before Time Began, the 1986 Relix Records album by the New Riders, featured four songs recorded in November 1969 at Pacifid High Recorders.
        November 1969: Pacific High Recorders, San Francisco, CA New Riders demo
        The four-song New Riders demo was taped at Pacific High Recorders in San Francisco sometime in November, with Phil Lesh on bass. Bob Matthews was the engineer. The tracks were later released on the 1986 Relix album Before Time Began. These demos got played on KSAN, on occasion.
        1. Henry
        2. All I Ever Wanted
        3. Last Lonely Eagle
        4. Cecilia

        The Inn Of The Begining, at 8201 Old Redwood Highway in Cotati, as it appeared in 2010. It was another establishment by then, but the IOTB sign was still there
        November 6, 1969 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
        Was Lesh the bass player by this time? There is still no firm evidence one way or the other.


        The Poppycock, at 135 University Avenue in Palo Alto, was one of the steady rock clubs around the Bay Area in 1969. This flyer is for November 8, 1969 and following.
        November 13, 1969 The Poppycock, Palo Alto, CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
        The Poppycock, at 135 University Avenue (at High Street) in Palo Alto, was a fish and chips/beer joint that was also Palo Alto's first regular rock venue.

        Ads from the Berkeley Barb. The Winterland benefit for The Dog was moved to Fillmore West. Mumble, Fumble, Jumble, Dumble were Big Brother, not ready to go fully public.
        November 18, 1969 Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco New Riders Of The Purple Sage/David LaFlamme "Square Dance"
        LaFlamme likely sat in with the New Riders.


        November 19, 1969 Fillmore West, San Francisco New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Big Brother and The Holding Company/Barry McGuire & The Doctor Naut Family
        A Family Dog benefit was originally advertised for Winterland, but the show was moved to Fillmore West. The Dog was never on firm ground financially after 1967



        Gleason column from SF Chronicle (Nov 19 '69)
        November 20, 1969 The Poppycock, Palo Alto, CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
        NRPS played a few Wednesdays in a row at the Poppycock.

        November 22-23, 1969 Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco< CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Anonymous Artists Of America/Devil's Kitchen
        The second night, and possibly the first night as well, was likely canceled due to a Grateful Dead show in Boston on November 23.

        November 26, 1969 The Poppycock, Palo Alto, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
        JGMF found this listed in the Berkeley Tribe. Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the third week in a row that the Riders were booked at the Poppycock
         
        November 27, 1969 Family Dog on The Great Highway New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Lamb/Cleveland Wrecking Company/Deacon and The Suprelles/Rafael Garrett Circus
        This was part of a multi-media extravaganza including stage performers and films (whom I have not listed).Kind of a strange booking for Thanksgiving Thursday. Still, there may have been a lot of hippies far from home with nothing to do.

        A clip from Ralph Gleason's SF Chronicle Ad Lib column on Nov 28 '69
        November 28-29, 1969 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
        The New Riders returned to Cotati for yet another show, this time apparently for a full weekend. Its possible that the Riders played Friday (28) and that Joy Of Cooking played Saturday (29), but I will take Gleason at his word here, even though his hastily-typed Ad Lib section often had typos or casually elided certain bills.

        The IOTB show had to have been Phil Lesh's last show with the New Riders in 1969, and possibly ever.
        GD/Jerry Garcia tour itinerary November 1969

        January 19, 1970 Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage Benefit
        This benefit show was advertised. It's not clear if it happened, or if the New Riders played at it if it did.

        Keep in mind that the Dead had a crazy touring schedule, thanks to Lenny Hart: early January at Fillmore East, Oregon in the middle, then Hawaii. If the Riders played Pauley, it would have been the Monday after a weekend in the Pacific Northwest.

        February 7, 1970 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Taj Mahal/Big Foot
        I am no expert on tape lineage, but some old circulating audience tapes had John Dawson singing with the Dead (I think on "Together Again"). The old tapes were compilations of some sort, and could have been mis-dated.

        The absence of New Riders activity also makes sense considering the Dead's frantic schedule. After firing Lenny Hart, the band was busted in New Orleans, played St Louis, the Family Dog and Fillmore West, laid down rehearsal tracks for Workingman's Dead and then toured Texas and played the Family Dog again.

        March 12, 1970 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
        Booked, but the Riders canceled (check out the great Comment Thread).

        March 13-14, 1970 New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
        Once again, the Riders canceled, because they either had no bass player or Phil simply wasn't interested.  The reformed Big Brother took up the dates, it seems.

        The Dead were recording Workingman's Dead during this week, anyway (March 9-16, most likely), so NRPS gigs would have gotten in the way.
        This photo from p.4 of Tapers Compendium V1 shows tapes in the Grateful Dead Vault, probably ca. 2004. If you blow it up and look on far right of the upper shelf, you can see several tapes marked "3/18/70 Hot Tuna" and "3/18/70 NR," in Owsley's handwriting. So some recording of the night was made. Investigations continue (thanks JJ and DM for the photo)

        March 18, 1970 Family Dog on The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady/New Riders of The Purple Sage
        For many years I thought it was impossible that the Riders played this date, since the Dead were between Buffalo (Mar 17) and Port Chester (Mar 20-21). Incredibly, however, there is a photograph of the tape boxes. (Hawk adds that the labels are all Owsley's handwriting, too). Maybe Garcia, Lesh and Hart flew home to help mix Workingman's Dead? I hope the Owsley Foundation still has this...was it Phil's last gig as a New Rider?

        April 17-19, 1970 Family Dog on The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Mickey Hart and His Heartbeats/Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom Of The Deck/New Riders of The Purple Sage/Charlie Musselwhite
        The formal debut of the Acoustic Dead, all but certainly the debut of Dave Torbert as the New Riders bass player, and the last glimpse of the Cards Off The Bottom Of The Deck.
        Bobby Ace? April 18, 1970-Family Dog
        1. I Know You Rider (Traditional, ca. 1930s)
        2. Don’t Ease Me In (Henry Thomas, others ca. 1930s)
        3. Silver Threads and Golden Needles
        4. Friend of the Devil
        5. Deep Elem Blues(Georgia Crackers-1923)
        6. Wake Up Little Susie (m)
        7. Candyman
        8. Cumberland Blues
        9. New Speedway Boogie
        10. Me and My Uncle
        11. Mama Tried
        12. Katie Mae [Pigpen solo]
        13. Ain't It Crazy (The Rub) [Pigpen solo]
        14. Roberta [Pigpen solo]
        15. Bring Me My Shotgun [Pigpen solo]
        16. The Mighty Flood [Pigpen solo]
        17. Black Snake [Pigpen solo]
        Keep in mind, that as Jerry Garcia was working to integrate Dave Torbert into the New Riders, he was also touring frantically with the Grateful Dead, as Sam Cutler was working on rescuing the band from bankruptcy by touring hard. As if that wasn't enough, Garcia was regularly dropping in to the Matrix on Monday nights, to jam with organist Howard Wales and drummer Bill Vitt, along with a bassist pal of Vitt's named John Kahn.

        We are fortunate to have a tape of the acoustic set from the middle night at the Family Dog (April 18), but we don't have an eyewitness account. I assume the Riders played, but was their an electric Dead set as well? How were the acoustic Dead introduced? As the Grateful Dead, or as Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom? Still, as more information surfaces, perhaps more old memories will be rebooted back into service, and the mysteries will continue to unravel.


        Saturday, October 14, 2017

        Grateful Dead Performance List January-June 1968


        I have been working on this list for my own purposes, so I thought I would post it. Since there is no longer a definitive list of Grateful Dead shows that is easily accessible online, I have decided to post my own lists for brief periods of time. I will include links to where I have information on some dates that are not widely known, but I will be minimizing discussion of individual performances. In Tour Itinerary posts I have talked about even shorter periods of time, with the intent of creating a narrative that describes the Grateful Dead's activity during that window. This post is more of a simple list, however, to use as an anchor for research. My plan is to keep these lists up to date on an ongoing basis. Please suggest any additions, corrections or reservations in the Comments. For other posts listing Grateful Dead performances, see the link here. This post will list Grateful Dead performance dates from January through June of 1968

        January 17, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Blue Cheer (Wed)
        The major San Francisco bands felt that Bill Graham and Chet Helms were doing good business from their performances and the bands should make themselves the beneficiaries. Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and The Grateful Dead formed a sort of collective that would rent the Carousel Ballroom and share the profits. Big Brother and The Holding Company were not part of the collective, but they were supportive. Janis Joplin, though on board, tellingly, said "I give you hippies six months." She called it almost to the day.

        The Dead and their compatriots negotiated a foolishly ruinous agreement with Irish Ballroom operator Bill Fuller to operate the Carousel Ballroom, at 1545 Market Street (at Van Ness). The Carousel had been in operation in San Francisco for many years. Naively, the Dead and Quicksilver put on a Wednesday night show and then went on tour for the next few weeks. Any possible momentum from a grand opening was frittered away.

        January 20, 1968 Eureka Municipal Auditorium, Eureka, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service (Sat)
        The Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service set out to conquer the Pacific Northwest. Eureka, CA, is far enough North that it is nearer to the Oregon border than San Francisco. Oddly enough, however, the band seems to have flown to Eureka, and presumably flown home. Its not clear to me whether the equipment flew home or was trucked up to Seattle. In any case, this was the Grateful Dead's first and only appearance in this part of California.

        January 26-27, 1968 Eagles Auditorium, Seattle, WA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service (Fri-Sun)
        The Northwest tour began in earnest on the next weekend. The Grateful Dead had played Eagles Auditorium in July and September 1967. The Eagles Auditorium was at 1416 7th Avenue, at Union Street. It had been built in 1924 for The Fraternal Order Of The Eagles. By 1967, it had become Seattle's principal psychedelic ballroom (note: tapes labeled "Eagles January 22-23 '68" are clearly spuriously dated).

        January 29, 1968 PSC College Center Ballroom, Portland State College, Portland, OR: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/PH Phactor Jug Band (Mon)
        With a week between relatively big weekend bookings in Seattle and Portland, the Quick and the Dead played some smaller college venues in Oregon. However small some of those college gigs may have been, the bands would have had the same expenses in any case. The Crystal Ballroom in Portland was the major venue, but it was too casually run to have (or to enforce) non-compete clauses at nearby places. The PH Phactor Jug Band, though not a major musical group, was a crucial fulcrum in the social network of Portland psychedelia.


        At most American universities, a student organization was required to "sponsor" an event in order for a promoter to use the facilities. SDS (Students For A Democratic Society) was a radical Anti-War group, but most of the long-haired hippies were probably in it
        Eugene was about 112 miles South of Portland, a quick two hours by freeway. Now, of course, we all think nothing of driving two hours to see rock bands we like, but that wasn't a likely scenario back then. Thus Eugene was a separate concert market than Portland. This show was the band's Eugene debut, a city where the band would go on to play many legendary shows. Palace Meat Market was a Portland folk-rock band.

        February 2-3, 1968 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/PH Phactor Jug Band (Fri-Sat)
        The Crystal Ballroom, at 1332 W. Burnside (at NW 14th), played a peculiar role in Portland rock history, as it was the highest profile venue in the city, but it was run on a shoestring basis. When the Crystal was functioning well, however, it provided some of the great memories of 60s Portland rock. When the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver tour hit the Crystal on a Friday and Saturday night, all the stars were aligned. After a few smaller shows at Portland State and U of O, hip Portland was primed for the shows at the Crystal.

        According to Toody Conner, who was one of the volunteers who helped run the Crystal (per Tim Hills' book), there were lines around the block, and there was so much money in gate receipts that they had to borrow an equipment case to stuff it into, which she sat on during most of the show. The Crystal had had financial struggles throughout its entire existence as a psychedelic venue, but for this weekend, with the audience ready and the Dead firing on all cylinders--not to mention the formidable Quicksilver Messenger Service--everything happened the way it was supposed to, if only for a weekend.

        We know how well the Grateful Dead played, too, because they taped it. Partial tapes of Dead sets from both nights circulate —the only live tapes I know of from The Crystal—and one track was released on a Grateful Dead vault cd in 2009 (“Dark Star” from 2/2/68, as a bonus track on Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 2: Carousel 2/14/68).

        February 4, 1968 [gym], South Oregon College, Ashland, OR: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service (Sun)
        The "Quick and The Dead" Northwest tour concluded with a Sunday night show in Ashland, OR at the Gymnasium of South Oregon College, 290 miles South of Portland. South Oregon College (today Southern Oregon University) had been founded in 1926. This was the Dead's only appearance in Southern Oregon, as their increasingly popularity in Oregon insured that they played the larger population centers around Portland the two largest State Universities for the rest of their career.

        I assume the Dead and Quicksilver played McNeal Pavilion at 1250 Siskiyou Boulevard, since it was opened in 1957. The Pavilion was renovated in 1990, doubling its capacity to 1,400. Thus the Dead and Quicksilver played a tiny gym with 700 seats--and no doubt some people on the floor. Did they get to dance? No information or tape has ever surfaced about this interesting event, to my knowledge.

        February 14, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Country Joe And The Fish (Wed)
        The Grateful Dead returned to San Francisco to play one of their most famous shows. The band's second appearance at the Carousel also featured Country Joe And The Fish, and sets from both bands were broadcast live on KMPX-fm. This was the first live remote FM broadcast of a Grateful Dead concert, and later released in 2009 as Road Trips Vol. 2 #2. Parts of this show were also used for side two of Anthem Of The Sun, as were pieces of the Northwest tour that had just finished.

        February 15, 1968 outside of San Quentin Prison, San Quentin, CA (Thurs daytime)
        During this period, many rock musicians participated in ongoing protests against the Death Penalty on the grounds outside of San Quentin State Prison. San Quentin is on an isolated promontory of Marin County, just South of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Some prison staff families live next to the prison itself, so there is a small park-like area. Protesters would bring a flatbed truck, and members of some rock bands would jam. Photos exist from this daytime event, and they show Jerry Garcia and bluesman Nick Gravenites on guitars, with Bob Weir playing bass.

        February 16, 1968 Turlock Fairgrounds, Turlock, CA: Grateful Dead/Crystal Syphon (Fri)
        The Grateful Dead played the Central Valley, starting out Friday night in tiny Turlock. Crystal Syphon was a local band, all of them friendly with Bob Weir's half-brother (not that any of them knew it at the time). The show (and the flyer) were recalled by Crystal Syphon and their friends (h/t JGMF for pointing this out).

        February 17, 1968 Selland Arena, Fresno, CA: Grateful Dead/Country Joe and The Fish/Valley Fever (Sat)
        The Grateful Dead played their first concert at Selland Arena, which had just opened. Valley Fever was a local band.

        February 22-24, 1968 Kings Beach Bowl, North Lake Tahoe, CA: Grateful Dead/Morning Glory (Thur-Sat)
        Lake Tahoe was a few hours East and North of San Francisco, and had been the City's Sierra playground since the turn of the century. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the area was full of vacationing families, and in the 60s there was an active rock scene that has mostly been forgotten. The hippest venue, the Kings Beach Bowl in North Lake Tahoe, attempted a Winter encore of the summer scene. Although these shows were recorded, and later mostly released, the economics in the winter must have been different, since there were far fewer Tahoe rock events than in the Summer.

        March 1-2, 1968 Clifford's Catering, Walnut Creek, CA: Grateful Dead/The Looking Glass (Fri-Sat)
        Underground psychedelic rock had plenty of teenage fans in the suburbs, but the suburbs weren't quite ready for venues. One early effort was Clifford's Catering, in Walnut Creek, then a pretty sleepy community. For years this event was misidentified, but JGMF finally tracked down the whole story, including eyewitnesses and the flyer. 

        March 3, 1968 Haight Street Fair, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead (Sun daytime)
        The Haight-Asbury district had become more crowded and more dangerous since the Summer of Love, so the Grateful Dead moved out of 710 Ashbury. While the Haight was declining, however, 1968 saw the first Haight Street Fair, a free all-day event with bands that has been held regularly ever since. The Grateful Dead were refused a permit to perform, even though they lived there. No matter: they rented two flatbed trucks that drove up from different directions, blocked the street, and the band walked from their house onto the makeshift stage and let it rip for the 'hood. At concert's end, the band members vacated 710 Ashbury and did not return.

        March 8-9, 1968 Melodyland Theater, Disneyland, Anaheim, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead (Fri and Sat early and late shows)
        During this period, Disneyland held regular weekend rock concerts with popular bands for teenagers. Somehow the Dead got on the bill with the Jefferson Airplane for two nights of double shows. The show was billed as "Jefferson Airplane and Friends," and the friends were the Grateful Dead. Neither band was invited back.

        Meanwhile, back at the Carousel, the last booking from before the Dead's takeover was completed. Amazingly, it was Buck Owens, who played the Carousel on March 9, 1968. Who in San Francisco--besides Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir--would have predicted that Buck would be one of the biggest influences on the Dead going forward? And--it goes without saying--all he had to do was act naturally.

        March 11, 1968 Sacramento Civic Auditorium, Sacramento, CA: Cream/Grateful Dead (Mon)

        The members of the Grateful Dead, like any other rock fans, were really excited by Cream. The Dead managed to get on the bill with them for a Monday night booking in Sacramento, just after the  stand at Winterland that was the basis for the live lp on Wheels Of Fire (and Jerry and Mickey, at least, saw Cream that week). It was a credit to the Dead that they did not shy away from sharing the bill with great bands, even when economic realities required them to open the show. The Dead were willing to share the stage with greatness, and had no qualms about any showbiz maxims about always trying to headline.

        There are no tapes, but can you imagine? 1968 Dead opening for 1968 Cream? Holy moley.


        March 17, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Blue Cheer
        The Dead and the Airplane returned to The Carousel. Now, the groups were officially the leaseholders (as Headstone Productions). On Sunday night, the Airplane were replaced by Blue Cheer.  The Grateful Dead's set on March 17 was released in 2005 as Volume 6 of the Download Series

        March 18, 1968 KMPX strike rally, outside 50 Green Street, San Francisco, CA (unclear)
        The history of the Grateful Dead's possible performance at the KMPX strike is legendary, and so confusing that it is hard to say for certain exactly what transpired. I have written about it at length, based on information I had available at the time, and probably only succeeded in confusing the matter. So if you are interested in the truly fascinating subject of the KMPX strike, you should read the two best books on the subject, Hip Capitalism by Susan Kreiger (Sage Publications 1979) and Michael J. Kramer's Republic Of Rock (Oxford 2013). Everyone else will have to settle for my very basic summary.

        KMPX-fm had started in San Francisco in early 1967, and it was the first free-form FM rock radio station, playing hip album cuts instead of Top 40 singles. It was an underground session, and was essential in making San Francisco the capital of the rock universe. By early 1968, however, the staff, led by programmer Tom Donahue, were angry that their rising station was still only paying subsistence wages. The KMPX staff went on strike at 3:00am on Monday, March 18, supported by all the San Francisco rock bands. Creedence Clearwater Revival, then not well-known, kicked off the strike at 3:05 am on the back of a flatbed truck outside the KMPX office at 50 Green Street (Krieger p.80, and also confirmed by John Fogerty). The Grateful Dead, who had appeared on the air a few hours earlier to encourage support for the striking djs, were scheduled to go on after Creedence. The police shut it down, and it has never been clear whether the Dead got in a few numbers before the shutdown. And don't ask eyewitnesses--Owsley was there, so the eyewitnesses have no idea who played or what happened. I tried to explain the sequence of events at one point, based on information I had at the time, but I'm pretty sure I got it wrong.

        March 19, 1968 Lime Kiln, Big Sur, CA: Jim Stern and friends (with Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir) (Tues)
        There was a Vernal Equinox event on March 22, 1968, attended by perhaps 3,000 hippies, which was far too many for Big Sur. The weekend had turned into a sort of wake for Neal Cassidy, who had died the month before. There were, however, low-key events leading up to the Equinox. Producer Jim Stern, then a local drummer, said in a Jake Feinberg interview that his band sort of freaked out and bailed on playing, and said that Garcia and Weir showed up in Big Sur to bail him out. This would have been a sort of jam, presumably with other players, and a sparsely attended thing. The exact date is unclear, but it would have been daytime (March 20 definitely a possibility, and March 21 not out of the question).

        March 20, 1968 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: KMPX strike benefit (Wed)
        (Grateful Dead/Blue Cheer/Kaleidoscope/Jeremy Steig and The Satyrs/Charlie Musselwhite and Southside Sound System/Santana Blues Band/Frumious Bandersnatch/Clover)
        Since KMPX was the hippest radio station, bands and fans came out to support it. A benefit concert was rapidly put together at the Avalon Ballroom. Since it was a Wednesday, the Avalon was available. According to Ralph Gleason, $2400 was raised. The concert featured The Grateful Dead along with the various other acts listed above.

        The KMPX Benefit reminds us of how formative the San Francisco scene was for West Coast rock music as a whole. As far as "future rock stars" go, Kaleidoscope had David Lindley, Harvey Mandel fronted Charley Musselwhite's Southside (of Chicago) Sound System, the Santana Blues Band had both Carlos and Gregg Rolie, Frumious Bandersnatch had some guys who ended up in the Steve Miller Band, plus Journey's manager (Herbie "Sy Klopps" Herbert), and even Clover featured John McFee (who played on "Pride Of Cucamonga," Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True and is still a member of the Doobie Brothers). 

        March 22, 1968 State Fair Coliseum, Detroit, MI: Eric Burdon And The Animals/Grateful Dead/Eire Apparent/The Apostles/Jagged Edge (Fri)
        The Grateful Dead promptly flew off to Michigan for a weekend of shows. Russ Gibb was promoting shows at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, having been inspired by a trip to San Francisco a few years earlier. This particular show was billed as "The Grande scene at the State Fair Coliseum." The poster says "Michigan Fairgrounds at Woodward and 8-Mile", for those of you young hipsters who recall the Eminem track.

        Eric Burdon and The Animals were already friends from the previous year, an English band who had relocated to Los Angeles. Eire Apparent was an Irish band (formerly The People) who shared management with Burdon and Jimi Hendrix (they had an obscure-but-not-bad album produced by Hendrix). Apostles and Jagged Edge were Detroit bands who were regular at the Grande Ballroom.

        Russ Gibb expected a huge crowd for The Dead and The Animals at the State Fair Coliseum, but in fact the crowds were disappointing. The second night's show (Saturday Mar 23) was moved back to the much smaller Grande Ballroom. There was also a blizzard coming, and Animals guitarist Vic Smith recalls that, like sensible Californians, the Dead flew back to San Francisco, leaving the Animals to headline the Grande without them. A Sunday. March 24 show with The Dead was scheduled for the Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids, MI, but of course the Dead were already back in California (the Animals and Eire Apparent, per Briggs, flew on to a Sunday night show at CNE Coliseum in Toronto).

        March 23 or 24, 1968 50 Green Street, San Francisco: Traffic with Jerry Garcia
        Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, Traffic was headlining two weekends at Fillmore and Winterland. Although Traffic had no hit single, they were played so much on KMPX-fm that they were a big attraction in the city. This was a profound change in the music industry. On the morning of either March 23 (Saturday) or March 24 (Sunday), Traffic played a free outdoor concert outside of the KMPX offices at 50 Green Street. Jerry Garcia showed up to jam. There's no tape, but there's no doubt, as I found some photos taken by an art student at the time.

        I confess right now that I confused the timeline by both finding the photos and then dating them incorrectly to the previous weekend of the strike (March 18). I believe some of the photos were later used in a Traffic boxed set.

        During this period, Dan Healy, Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh were probably spending a lot of time working on Anthem Of The Sun at Columbus Recorders, but that is outside of the scope of this post.

        The Dead headlined over the immortal Chuck Berry (1926-2017) for three nights. Because of rock 'n' roll orthodoxy at the time, headliners would not have backed an opening act, so Berry's backing band was almost certainly Curley Cooke's Hurdy Gurdy Band, mostly Wisconsin expats. Too bad. I mean--I'm sure Cooke's band did a great job, but it would have been more fun if Garcia and Weir had tried to work their way through "School Days" and "My Ding-A-Ling," And Chuck's penchant for not rehearsing, and just calling out the tunes and expecting the band to know them? It would have served Jerry right. 

        Moby Grape/Electric Flag/Grateful Dead/Youngbloods/Mother Earth/Malachi
        There was yet another KMPX benefit, this time on a Wednesday night at Winterland. The Dead probably played a relatively brief set, an hour or less. Ralph Gleason mentioned the billing in the Chronicle, but we don't really have details of the show.

        April 12-13-14, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL: Grateful Dead/Blues Image (Fri-Sun)
        April 14, 1968 Greynolds Park, Miami, FL: Grateful Dead/Blues Image (Sun afternoon free)
        The Grateful Dead debuted in Florida with two weekends at Miami's Thee Image. They also attempted to remix Anthem Of The Sun at Miami's famed Criteria Studios. It's unclear to me if the Dead played the shows because they working at Criteria, or that the band was working at Criteria because they were booked in Miami. In any case, nothing much seems to have come from working at Criteria.

        The South was slow to grab on to psychedelia, for any number of reasons, but Miami was and is both part of the South and yet somewhat independent of it. Thee Image was the first real psychedelic rock venue in the South that featured the same touring bands who played the Fillmores, and I have tried to tell the story elsewhere. Proprietor Marshall Brevetz became good friends with the Dead, and they played for him a number of other times, in Florida and later in Los Angeles.

        For the very first weekend in Florida, however, the Dead did not apparently draw very well at Thee Image. They had their own solution, however. On Sunday, April 14, they played for free in Greynolds Park in Miami, an unprecedented event in Florida rock history. The Dead knew a thing or two about free concerts, and not only were the next weekend's Dead shows well attended, but Thee Image took to regularly presenting acts for free in the park.

        April 26-27-28, 1968 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Grateful Dead (Fri-Sun)
        After Miami, the Dead went on to debut in Philadelphia. There had been a number of stabs at psychedelic venues in Philadelphia, starting in early 1967, but the venue that really took root was The Electric Factory, at 2201 Arch Street. The Electric Factory debuted in February 1968, and the Grateful Dead played just a few months later. This was the beginning of a long and complex history of Grateful Dead performances for the Electric Factory in and near Philadelphia, which I have described at length.

        April 30, 1968 The Cheetah, Santa Monica, CA: Grateful Dead (Tues-early and late shows)
        Amazingly, the Dead seem to have flown back to California. The Cheetah was on the Navy Pier in Santa Monica. and it was modeled on the New York venue of the same name. It was open every night, but they didn't always have live bands. [update] The Dead played two shows at The Cheetah on Apr 30 '67, with The Yellow Balloon and the New Generation, and I'm wondering if this isn't just a phantom.

        May 3, 1968 Low Library Plaza, Columbia University, New York, NY: Grateful Dead (Fri)
        The Grateful Dead played an infamous free concert at Columbia University, at the height of very high profile campus protests against the Vietnam War and a segregated gymnasium. The story goes that the band was smuggled onto campus in a bread truck. Events like this gave the Dead a strong dose of underground credibility. The band had released one not-very-popular album, but their name was widely known. Yet here they were, sneaking into a campus protest to play for the long-haired college students. What other band was doing that?

        While I'm certain that the members of the Dead were opposed to the Vietnam War and in favor of civil rights, I actually think the free concerts were mainly an opportunity to make the Dead popular. They had only one paying show in the New York metro area that weekend, at a college in suburban Long Island (the next night at SUNY Stony Brook, below). Unlike every other band, however, the Dead chose to bracket their only paying gig with two high profile free shows. In return, the band got huge press coverage and word-of-mouth that stood them in good stead when they returned later, even though most young Manhattanites had still not heard the Dead. I see Rock Scully's hand here. It's easy to laugh at Rock from a distance, but he had his finger on the pulse of rock fans before his contemporaries had a clue about what was going on.

        May 4, 1968 Pritchard Gym, SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY: Grateful Dead/Incredible String Band (Sat)
        The Dead had played a sort of "stealth" show at SUNY Stony Brook, in Long Island, during their New York sojourn the previous year. The band must not have caused too many problems, because they returned for a more official show. The opening act was The Incredible String Band, a Scottish folk-rock ensemble who was also touring around. The ISB's manager, the legendary producer Joe Boyd, made sure that they were booked at places where they might be appreciated, rather than just billed with Vanilla Fudge or something out in the hinterlands.

        May 5, 1968 Central Park, New York, NY Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Butterfield Blues Band (Sun)
        The Jefferson Airplane had headlined the weekend at Bill Graham's newly opened Fillmore East. Having played the four paying shows (Friday and Saturday early and late shows), the Airplane could play a free concert in Central Park. The Airplane, like the Dead, were savvy about the value of (what would now be called) "free media" in an entertainment capital like New York City. The Dead were in town, so of course they played Central Park as well. Also on the bill was the Butterfield Blues Band, who were booked at Fillmore East with the Airplane.

        These Butterfield Blues Band shows were probably among the last for lead guitarist Elvin Bishop, who would turn up in San Francisco just a few weeks later. As another Bay Area footnote, Spencer Dryden was not available to play drums for the Fillmore East shows, having been replaced by Canadian drummer Jeff Cutler (from Toronto's John Lee And The Checkmates). I presume Cutler sat in for the Central Park shows, but it could have been anybody. Are there pictures of the Airplane in Central Park on this date? [update: Ruppi43 reports that there is a photo of the Airplane from this date with Dryden on drums].

        May 7-8-9, 1968 Electric Circus, New York, NY: Grateful Dead (Tues-Thur early and late)
        Of course, the Airplane booking raises a different question. Since Bill Graham had just opened the Fillmore East, and the Grateful Dead were touring the East Coast, why weren't the Dead booked at Fillmore East as well? Why did the band play The Electric Circus instead? The Electric Circus was also in Greenwich Village (at 23 St Marks Place), near the Fillmore East, and the venues were more or less in competition for name acts.

        The answer, of course, was that the Grateful Dead effectively ran the Carousel Ballroom, so they were a competitor of Bill Graham's as well, and it seems that they didn't want to play for Graham in another city. Remember, rock tours had to be booked 60 to 90 days in advance, so back in March the Dead may have felt a need to stand down Graham somehow, although none of it really makes any sense. The Jefferson Airplane were affiliated with the Carousel, and while they didn't play the Fillmore during this period, they had no problem playing the Fillmore East. Yet  the Dead played three nights at a strange sort of discoteque for the Bridge-And-Tunnel crowd (read the whole story here).

        In fact, Graham needed the Dead in New York as much as they needed him. Great bands played the Fillmore East, but there weren't that many of them. The Airplane and Butterfield had played Fillmore East on May 3-4, and for Friday, May 10, Graham had an historic booking of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Sly And The Family Stone (can you imagine?). Yet on Saturday, May 11, with the Dead down in Virginia Beach, the Fillmore East just had a "free concert" with some unknown bands who had just released albums on RCA Records . Amusingly, one of those groups, Autosalvage, featured guitarist Rick Turner, who would also move to San Francisco, where he would work with Alembic to make Phil Lesh's bass (and, later, David Gans' guitar).

        May 12, 1968 The Dome, Virginia Beach, VA: Grateful Dead/The Wild Kingdom (Sun-early and late)
        Rather than play Fillmore East, the Grateful Dead instead began their assault on the Southeast with a concert at The Dome in Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach, in fact, had a legendary live music scene going back decades. The Virginia Beach area is pretty much the only (ocean) beach for all of the state, so it was a major summer destination for teenagers, young people and servicemen from nearby military bases. The Dome was one of the most established venues. When the British Invasion hit, and then psychedelia, Virginia Beach made the transition pretty easily. The Rolling Stones (1966) and Jimi Hendrix ('68) had also played The Dome.

        The opening act, Wild Kingdom, was a popular local act that had evolved from another band called The Mustangs. There was apparently a jam session with Garcia and local musicians, and supposedly Garcia asked one of the local guitarists to leave the stage, as he simply wasn't good enough. While just a passing, and possibly apocryphal, event, I do not think it is an accident that around this time, Garcia goes from casual to organized jam sessions, to insure that the quality of musicians he was playing with was high enough.

        May 17, 1968 Shrine Exposition Hall, Los Angeles, CA: Grateful Dead/Steve Miller Band/Taj Mahal (Fri)
        The Shrine Exposition Auditorium was Los Angeles' premier concert venue in 1967 and '68 and worthy of a post of its own. The Dead had played there in 1967, but they had been second on the bill to Buffalo Springfield. This time they were headliners. Keep in mind, the Exposition Hall Auditorium was a big open room, like Winterland, not the more famous theater where the Academy Awards were often held. The Exposition Hall, although part of the same complex that included the Auditorium, actually had an entrance around the block at 700 West 32nd Street (at Figueroa).

        There were concerts most weekends at The Shrine in this era, and while I'm sure the Dead had their fans, to some extent the locals were going just because it was the hip rock show for the weekend. The Steve Miller Band, with Boz Scaggs on board, had just released their debut album on Capitol, and were a great live band. Taj Mahal was on Columbia, and I think his debut album on Columbia had just been released, and was well known around Southern California in any case. Taj also had a great band, anchored by Jesse Ed Davis on guitar.

        May 18, 1968 Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. San Jose, CA: Grateful Dead/others Northern California Folk-Rock Festival (Sat afternoon)
        Jefferson Airplane/Big Brother and The Holding Company/Grateful Dead/Steve Miller Band/Youngbloods/People!/Sons of Champlin/Crome Syrcus/Transatlantic Railroad/Indian Head Band/Mourning Reign
        In the wake of the hugely successful Monterey Pop Festival, there were similar events all over, particularly on the West Coast. The model seemed to be to take some County Fairgrounds for the weekend, and jam in a couple of dozen acts. Looking at the bills today, they seem really great, and there was probably some really good music played. Still, it turned out that Monterey was a one-time event and the model didn't really work.

        The first problem was that Monterey had a sensational bill because all the acts agreed to work only for travel expenses. Come the next year, all the groups were working bands, and they needed to get paid. The second problem was that just about every act at Monterey had played no longer than 30 minutes. For crowds used to the Fillmore, a longer set was in order. An outdoor festival was a sort of compromise, with the bands playing 30-50 minute sets. If you sat through a whole day, you heard sets that were too long by bands that didn't impress you, and a set that was too short by your favorite band.

        The final problem was that the crowds were simply too big. They had been too big at Monterey, actually, but the weekend had been so magical that it all kind of worked. Although there were no significant problems at the San Jose Fairgrounds, the city was unhappy with the crowd situation and didn't want to allow such an event the next year. The whole story is hugely complicated, and I have attempted to discuss the arc of outdoor concerts in San Jose from 1967 to '69, but it's too hard to even summarize here. Suffice to say, Rock Festivals at Fairgrounds were obsolete as soon as they were invented.

        May 18, 1968 Shrine Exposition Hall, Los Angeles, CA: Grateful Dead/Steve Miller Band/Taj Mahal (Sat)
        Consider the Grateful Dead's weekend. They headlined a show in Los Angeles on Friday night, then flew back up to the Bay Area (probably via San Jose Airport) the next morning, to play a show in San Jose. Then they would have returned to the airport to fly back down to Los Angeles for their Saturday night show. There happened to be a price war between various airlines on the California route at the time, so Pacific Southwest Airlines, Air California and Hughes Air West were constantly undercutting each other. Tickets were never higher than $20 one way, and sometimes as low as $10. That wasn't a lot of money even in the 60s, so bands flew up and down California very casually. They couldn't fly out of state at those prices, because intrastate travel was regulated, and in-state travel wasn't. Note that the Steve Miller Band played the Santa Clara Fairgrounds in between Shrine shows, just like the Dead.

        When the Dead returned to The Shrine, they returned with their friends, the Jefferson Airplane. The Airplane, a much more popular band than the Dead, were "special guests." The Airplane's appearance was probably announced on local radio. While I'm sure both the Dead and the Airplane had fun doing this, the fact that the Airplane were added for the second night was a clear sign that the Dead and Steve Miller didn't draw nearly enough to fill the Shrine for two nights.

        May 21, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Tuesday Night Jam
        Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Elvin Bishop, Steve Miller, Mickey Hart, others
        The Grateful Dead had an uncanny knack for being in the center of events, so uncanny that you can hardly call it a "knack." A few years earlier, Garcia had been a regular at late night jam sessions with hippie musicians at places like The Ark in Sausalito. By 1967, however, with all the bands on tour and a lot of wannabes in town, it was harder for a player of Garcia's caliber to find a jam worth playing at. So the Dead instituted some organized high quality jam sessions of their own, at their own house, the Carousel Ballroom.

        By the end of May, the Grateful Dead were pretty much running the Carousel Ballroom, but it wasn't going that well. One idea they had was to have a regular "jam session," for musicians like Jerry Garcia, while providing a sort of hippie hangout. At this time, there weren't really any bars for hippies to hang out in, certainly not ones with music, and the Matrix was closed, so there was nowhere for rock musicians to hang out, either. So why not use The Carousel? Tuesday was generally not a work night for rock musicians, and there wouldn't be much competition. Sure, the Carousel didn't serve drinks, but patrons would find other means to relax. So a Tuesday night was booked, a poster circulated, and fortunately a tape deck was running.

        Rhoney Gissen describes this event in some detail in her book Owsley And Me, as she had a big part in organizing it. $1.00 got you in, and a good time seems to have been had. Lots of musicians showed up, including Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, the newly-arrived Elvin Bishop and most of the Steve Miller Band. It's not clear how many patrons showed up, but it was an intriguing concept that at least got off to a fine musical start.

        May 24-25, 1968 National Guard Armory, St. Louis, MO: Grateful Dead/Public Service (Fri-Sat)
        You have to wonder about the Dead's booking here. They flew to St. Louis for two shows, and flew home. It was either a really lucrative gig, or ill-advised. It's worth noting that Owsley wasn't yet their soundman at the time, so it was probably easier to fit the band's touring gear on an airplane.

        May 28, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Tuesday Night Jam
        There seems to have been another Tuesday Night Jam at the Carousel, but we don't know anything about it.

        An ad in the Stanford Daily from May 28, 1968 (h/t Grateful Seconds) for the weekend's Carousel Ballroom show with the Grateful Dead, Charlie Musselwhite and Petris (nee Petrus)
        May 31, June 1-2, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Charlie Musselwhite/Petrus (Fri-Sun)
        Jun 2, 1968 The Panhandle, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Charlie Musselwhite/Petrus (Sun afternoon free)
        The Grateful Dead played yet another weekend at the Carousel Ballroom. Besides the familiar sounds of blues harpist Charlie Musselwhite, the intriguing Petrus opened the show. Petrus was based in El Granada, near Half Moon Bay, of all places, on the opposite side of the hill from San Mateo. The lead guitarist was Peter Kaukonen, Jorma's brother. Peter had been Jorma's first choice as electric bassist for the Jefferson Airplane back in October '65, but Peter had had to stay in Stanford to avoid the draft, so the bass chair had gone to Jack Casady instead.

        More intriguingly, the lead singer and principal songwriter of Petrus was Ruthann Friedman. Friedman was an interesting Los Angeles songwriter, best known for writing "Windy," which hit #1 for The Association in July 1967 (when you hear it, you'll realize that everyone knows it's "Windy"). Friedman had hung out in the Haight Ashbury in Fall '66, so when her own songs became popular in Southern California she needed to form a band. Jorma recommended his brother, and Peter got the gig. This led to the formation of Petrus. If they had recorded, the combination of a famous songwriter and a talented Kaukonen could have been interesting indeed.

        I have only found traces of a few Petrus shows in the Bay Area, and the Carousel one seems to be the most notable. Petrus broke up later in 1968, as did Peter and Ruthann. Friedman went on to release one interesting solo album in 1970, Constant Companion, which included some co-writing credits, guitar parts and cover art from Peter Kaukonen. Friedman only recorded and performed intermittently after that, but she is still around. Peter went on to play with Hot Tuna, Jefferson Starship and even the final version of the Jefferson Airplane, and has continued to have a long and interesting musical career. If there are any lost Carousel tapes in the Owsley Archives, I hope Petrus is one of them.

        At the end of the run, the Dead tried an old trick, playing for free in the Panhandle to drum up interest. Petrus played, and I think Charlie Musselwhite did as well. I don't think the Carousel shows drew particularly well, but I'm not aware of any eyewitness accounts. ( Incidentally, on the circulating poster, the date is incorrect--it shows May 30 as Friday, when in fact May 31 was Friday).  

        June 4,11, 18 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Tuesday Night Jams
        It's not even clear how many Tuesday Night Jams there were at the Carousel. There seems to have been more than one, and there couldn't have been more than five, but other than that it's hard to say. Producer Jim Stern, then an engineer and drummer, recalled (in a Jake Feinberg interview) being invited to one of them as the "house drummer" and meeting Dan Healy there. Healy was in his band Bycyle (aka Hoffman's Bycycle). It's uncertain which of the Tuesdays it was, but Stern alludes to the idea that it was a regular thing at the time.

        June 7-8-9, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/(Fleetwood Mac) (Fri-San)
        The Airplane had little or no involvement in the operations of the Carousel, but they were still loyal to the idea that the bands would play there and split the take. The Airplane headlined over the Dead for the weekend, effectively giving up a more certain payday at Fillmore West. The Airplane were quite a bit larger than the Dead at the time, and thus a much bigger draw, but I don't know how well the weekend actually drew. Since the Carousel was only open for 10 more days, it couldn't have done that well.

        The English band Fleetwood Mac was due to make their American concert debut at the Carousel this weekend. However, per Christopher Hjort's excellent chronology Strange Brew, the Mac's American tour was delayed due to visa issues. Fleetwood Mac's actual American debut was three weeks later (June 28) at the Shrine in Los Angeles.

        On Sunday, June 9, the Dead and the Airplane tried to play Speedway Meadows in  Golden Gate Park. According to the AP Wire story, 3,000 people waited three hours, but the police refused to let the bands play, since they had no permit. The Cub Scouts, who did have a permit, ended up getting to use Speedway Meadows.

        June 14-15, 1968 Fillmore East, New York, NY: Grateful Dead/Jeff Beck Group/Seventh Sons (Fri-Sat early and late)
        Whatever the tensions between Bill Graham and the Grateful Dead over the Carousel, they seem to have been resolved by the time the Dead debuted at Fillmore East on June 14. Of course, just as the May shows at the Electric Circus had probably been negotiated in February or March, when the Carousel was still promising, the June Fillmore East shows had probably been negotiated in April. At that point, we can determine that the Dead must have needed the paying gig at Fillmore East, and Graham must have needed the high profile headliners at his new Eastern rock showcase. The Grateful Dead weren't even that popular in June of '68, but they were legendary already. What kind of promoter would Graham have been if he came from San Francisco and couldn't bring out one of the city's most infamous bands?

        The four shows at Fillmore East are rightly legendary, and I have discussed them at some length elsewhere. The shows were also the American debut of the original Jeff Beck Group, a mighty band indeed, with Rod Stewart on vocals and Ron Wood on bass (and Mickey Waller on drums). The Friday night early show was the high profile show at Fillmore East, with all the music press, and legend has it that the Beck Group blew away the Dead, who had barely gotten warmed up. I believe it, not least because for the late show, the Dead came out firing on all cylinders. Can you imagine a Dead show where Jeff Beck opened, and then the Dead came on about 1:30 am and opened with "The Eleven?" And followed with "St. Stephen>"Alligator">"Lovelight">"Caution?" Don't think Garcia wasn't competitive.

        On the second night, for the only time that I am aware of, the Dead dedicated "Dark Star," and appropriately enough it was to Wes Montgomery, who had just died. Wes Montgomery has no equal, and it's just that no one else ever got a "Dark Star" dedication.

        There was an ad in the Village Voice for a Grateful Dead appearance at some hippie festival in Staten Island, of all places, at somewhere called Daytop Village. There is no chance that Graham was going to allow the Dead to play some festival on his weekend, and in any case since the Dead's appearance was on a Monday, it has the whiff of something where the band (or Rock Scully) had said "we'll think about it and see what we can do" and that was taken as a commitment. In any case, there's no indication the band ever played Staten Island.

        Black Man's Free Store Benefit (Wed)
        By mid-June, the Carousel was falling apart financially. Bill Graham had probably already been to Ireland by this time to negotiate a new lease with owner Bill Fuller, so the Dead's time at the helm was counting down anyway, even if the band didn't know it. I have to assume that the original terms with Fuller were so naively ruinous (by the band's subsequent admission) that the lease would be in breach anyway. Graham had surely figured that out, and negotiated a shrewder deal. In any case, rapprochement had already been reached with the Dead, since they had just played the Fillmore East, but the tension would linger for a few more years, and occasionally rear its head.

        The very last show at the old Carousel was a Wednesday benefit for the Black Man's Free Store, and it was a total debacle. Fleetwood Mac appears on some posters, but they were not yet in the States due to visa issues. There are descriptions of this show, and it seem to have been totally out of control (some versions of the story say that the marquee said "Free Beer." Could that have been a factor?). The venue was a mess, the Dead had no money, and the Carousel was done. Bill Graham took over the lease, and re-opened the old ballroom as the Fillmore West on July 5, 1968, with the Butterfield Blues Band and Ten Years After.

        A tape circulates with the date of June 19, 1968, but an esteemed Grateful Dead scholar has made a definitive case that the correct date for the tape should be February 19, 1969 . What really transpired remains somewhat of a grim mystery, but the last night of the Carousel was a messy end to a noble experiment.

        On Friday, June 21, 1968, the Grateful Dead were booked to play the San Jose Civic Auditorium with the Mothers Of Invention. What a show that would have been, but it was not to be. Apparently, the show was on track right up to the last minute, but as people walked up to the box office a sign was put up indicating the show was canceled. The leading scholar of Frank Zappa concerts, Chuck Ulrich, has confirmed this, so there's not any doubt about it. The promoter was James C. Pagni, whose main base was San Diego, and who would book the Dead many times in the future, but for this night the Mothers and Dead worlds did not collide.

        June 22, 1968 Travelodge Theater, Phoenix, AZ: Grateful Dead/Ten Years After/Thackeray Rocke (Sat)
        The first half of the Grateful Dead 1968 concert year ended with the band's first trip to Arizona. On Saturday, June 22, the Grateful Dead headlined at the Travelodge Theater in Phoenix. This, too, was another James Pagni promotion. The Travelodge Theater (also known at the time as The Star Theater) had been built in 1964. It was a Theater-In-The-Round, with the stage slowly rotating, a very strange and alienating approach to a venue. The Travelodge Theater was at 440 N. 32nd Street (near Fillmore), and it is still there (now known as The Celebrity Theater).

        Second on the bill were Ten Years After, on their very first American tour. TYA was a great live band, and they would go on to ride a great performance at Woodstock on to no less than 28 US tours, but back in '68, they were barely known. The Phoenix show isn't even included in the excellent Alvin Lee Gigography, but it fits perfectly into their tour schedule. The band's US tour had commenced with a June 14-16 booking at The Cheetah on Venice Beach, and the Phoenix show may have been just Ten Years After second or third booking in the States. An article in the Phoenix Republic (captured by LIA in Deadsources) tells us that the opening act were local heroes Thackeray Rocke, so all in all it must have been a pretty amazing evening out in the desert.

        Reset
        The Grateful Dead had been working on their new album throughout the first half of 1968, and Anthem Of The Sun was released in mid-July 1968. Paradoxically, the hard-touring Grateful Dead addressed the release of their new album by hardly playing at all. The band only played one weekend in July, and some California shows in August. Much was afoot in the Grateful Dead world, including the return of an old and notorious friend to the traveling ensemble, but all that will have to wait for the next installment.