Friday, February 5, 2016

Grateful Dead Performance List December 1965-June 1966

The poster advertising Bill Graham's third benefit for the Mime Troupe, and his second at the Fillmore Auditorium, on January 14, 1966. This is the first known instance of the Grateful Dead being advertised by that name. Note that Graham, who hated the name, included "Formerly The Warlocks," apparently in an attempt to capitalize on their Peninsula following.
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 December 1965 through June 1966.
Prior to December 1965, the Grateful Dead had been known as The Warlocks. Elsewhere, I have made some efforts to look into Warlocks performances in the Fall of 1965, when they were still mostly working on the El Camino Real in the South Bay. This post begins my listing of performances of the Grateful Dead. While in general these lists do not include rehearsals and casual jams, for these earliest events there wasn't much difference between a show and a party, so I have taken a broader view of the listings. If people attended the show, I am considering it a performance, regardless of whether the event was scheduled or advertised. However, this is not a list of tapes, nor an effort to unravel spurious listings on tape boxes.

November 27, 1965 'The Spread", Dover Drive at Soquel Drive, (Ken Babbs' House), Soquel, CA: Soquel Acid Test
After a long series of LSD-infused parties, the Merry Pranksters decided to start inviting the public to them. The first effort was actually at Ken Babbs' property in then-rural southern Santa Cruz County. The house was torn down in the early 80s, but it was located on Soquel Drive in the town of Soquel, about a mile west of Porter Avenue, at Dover Drive. It is now the site of the 71 Dover bus stop, where a plaque commemorates the first official Acid Test.

Contrary to decades of rumor, the Grateful Dead did not in fact perform at this very first Acid Test. However, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir were there, and the Pranksters--who were not musicians--had some instruments, and they picked them up and played them. While not a performance, if anyone had asked Jerry, Bob or Phil "what is the name of your band," they would have said "The Grateful Dead." They had found the name the week before, and they were no longer The Warlocks or The Emergency Crew or any other such thing.

December 4, 1965 43 S. Fifth Street, San Jose, CA: San Jose Acid Test
The second Acid Test was held the very next Saturday night, in San Jose. The Rolling Stones were playing the San Jose Civic Auditorium, and since that was where the hip young people would be going, it seemed that downtown San Jose would be the best place to go. There was no formula yet. A friend let the Pranksters use his house, and the Grateful Dead played in one of the rooms. Mysterious signs led people to the house, and they paid a dollar, and all was revealed, sort of. The event began after the late show by The Stones ended, and went on for about 50 years.

The Grateful Dead were not advertised or even announced, but anyone there who asked "who is the band" would have been told "The Grateful Dead." The house was at 43 S. Fifth Street, long since replaced by city hall. The actual house itself was moved, and can still be seen not far away, at 635 E. St. James St in San Jose

An ad from the San Francisco Chronicle of December 5, 1965, for the forthcoming SF Mime Troupe Benefit upcoming on Friday, December 10. "9 P.M. Till Dawn". The Warlocks were one of the many, many others.
December 10, 1965 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Great Society/Mystery Trend/Grateful Dead/Gentleman's Band/Vipers Mime Troupe Appeal 2
Mime Troupe Financial Director Bill Graham had promoted a benefit concert at a loft on Howard Street to offset legal expenses from a recent bust by the local political theater troupe. It had been such a success, he held another benefit, this time renting a dance hall from African American promoter Charles Sullivan, who held the master lease on The Fillmore Auditorium on 1805 Geary Avenue, at Fillmore Street.

Ralph Gleason mentioned the Warlocks as having been present in his December 13, 1965 San Francisco Chronicle column. Whether they were announced as the Grateful Dead or The Warlocks is unclear. Since Gleason mentioned them as The Warlocks, presumably they were announced that way, even though they had changed their name. Apocryphally, Graham did not like the name Grateful Dead when he first heard it, although it's not even clear if Graham even met the band that night. The John Handy Quintet was booked, but did not play (apparently Handy was late, and Graham did not take kindly to it). The Vipers were a Palo Alto band. Ralph Gleason mistakenly listed the local San Francisco band The VIPs in his column, but that was incorrect.

The Muir Beach Tavern and Lodge circa 1942
December 11, 1965 Muir Beach Lodge, Muir Beach, CA: Muir Beach Acid Test
The Pranksters put on two Acid Tests on consecutive Saturdays in Muir Beach and Palo Alto. There is some dispute as to what order the actual events occurred. Since neither of the events was publicized in any sort of periodical, and all the attendees were on LSD, it's hard to say with absolute certainty what order they occurred. I did look into it at one point, however, and a preponderance of evidence--enough for a civil jury, but not a criminal one--suggests that Muir Beach was right after the Fillmore (December 11) and Palo Alto the next weekend.

The Muir Beach Acid Test was originally scheduled for Stinson Beach, also in Marin County, but moved at the last minute to avoid the cops. LSD was not yet illegal, but the cops didn't like it, and plenty of the attendees would have weed, speed or outstanding warrants, so police avoidance was sound policy. Some theorize that it was a Prankster plan to schedule the event at Stinson Beach, probably at the Community Center, and then move it at the last minute, but Pranksters don't really plan.

Muir Beach is in West Marin, an area that was abandoned for agriculture back in the 1950s, due to problems with the groundwater. Existing buildings were left in place, but no new development was allowed. The Muir Beach Lodge was just a sort of big room in the middle of nowhere, next to a windy beach--perfect for what the Pranksters had in mind. The Grateful Dead definitely played.

The building at 998 San Antonio Road that housed The Big Beat, where the Palo Alto Acid Test was held on December 18, 1965. The photo is from August 2009. The building was torn down in 2011.
December 18, 1965 The Big Beat, Palo Alto, CA: Palo Alto Acid Test
The Big Beat was Palo Alto's first rock and roll nightclub, not set to open until the New Year. Prankster Ken Babbs managed to rent it prior to opening, and Palo Alto had its own Acid Test. The Grateful Dead definitely played, too, along with a now-mysterious or possibly imagined all female band. The building that housed the Big Beat (above) was intact until 2011.

January 1, 1966 Beaver Hall, Portland, OR: Portland Acid Test
The Portland Acid Test definitely happened, but when it happened is another issue. Following Prankster logic, it would seem that it would have been on a Saturday night, but that would make it either Christmas 1965 or New Years Day 1966. It could even have been as late as January 7 or 14, but then you have to make sense of the Matrix dates below. Everyone seems to agree that there were snowy conditions in Portland, and that points towards New Year's Day. Keep in mind that all of the Grateful Dead/Pranksters crowd had no real family connections, so being out of town for the holidays was no big deal. The exception may have been Ken Kesey, but of course his family actually was in Oregon.

Beaver Hall was a small room at 425 NW Glisan Street that could be rented fairly easily. It was used occasionally for local Oregon rock shows in the later 60s and into the 70s. I did find a reference that said the Portland Acid Test was at a different Beaver Hall on the other side of town:
Many of you will fondly remember Beaver Hall on NW Glisan. But, did you know there was once another place named Beaver Hall near SE Hawthorne around 1510 SE 9th Ave? And, it was at this Beaver Hall that Ken Kesey's Portland acid test took place. City directory listings back up several memories of the event. I love research projects: 
From George Walker: "Well, for starters, there was only one Portland Acid Test, in December '65. I don't know the exact date, but I don't believe it was on Christmas." 
From Joe Uris: "I was at the famous Acid Test. In fact, I hold the original acid test poster. It was at an upstairs hall, I think off of Hawthorne in a place I’d never been before or since. In those days, in order to have a dance with underage people, you had to have a matron. And they had this black woman who was a very nice lady but she had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on. And they had spiked various things with LSD which I thought was not responsible. The Warlocks which later became the Grateful Dead were there and the movies were playing endlessly."
January 7, 1966 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead
The entire subject of the Grateful Dead playing The Matrix in January 1966 is confusing and contradictory. Labels on tape boxes are likely wrong, and mistaken details from a long-ago Owsley interview only confuse matters further. I am going with the best research on the performance dates of everyone at the Matrix, not just the Dead, so I am going with five dates, of which Friday, January 7, is the first. I look forward to any light anyone can shed on the subject (keep in mind that almost every link you find on the Internet will be of no value).

January 8, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA; Fillmore Acid Test
Kesey and The Pranksters finally held an Acid Test in San Francisco, and with historic prescience it was held at the Fillmore Auditorium. Although Graham had put on a show there, the room was still under the control of African-American impresario Charles Sullivan, and the Pranksters must have just paid his fee and gotten the date. The show has gone down in legend and need not be recounted here.

January 13, 1966 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead
I am assuming that the Dead played the Matrix on January 13 (Thursday), skipped Friday for the Mime Troupe Benefit at the Fillmore, and returned for Saturday and Sunday. This just seems plausible rather than based on any special knowledge.

January 14, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Great Society/Mystery Trend/Grateful Dead/Sam Thomas and The Gentleman's Band Mime Troupe Appeal 3
The Grateful Dead were billed as Grateful Dead (formerly The Warlocks) because promoter Bill Graham did not like the new name, since he was apparently hoping for the commercial appeal of the locally popular Warlocks. It appears that January 14, 1966 was the first date for which the name "Grateful Dead" was formally advertised.

January 15-16, 1966 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead
I am positing for now that the Dead played these two nights at the Matrix.
A notice about The Trips Festival in the Theater Listings of the Oakland Tribune, Sunday, January 16, 1966
January 21-23, 1966 Longshoreman's Hall, San Francisco, CA; Grateful Dead (22-23)/Big Brother And The Holding Company(22-23)/The Jazz Mice (21)/New Brothers (22)/Loading Zone (23)/others
The Trips Festival was the public, commercial version of the Acid Test. It was a three-day event held at a fairly large venue in San Francisco, and it featured music, lights, dancers, audience participation and a vision of a brave new world. It was not officially an Acid Test--no electric Kool-Aid--but it seems that everyone there was lit up. Not only did the Festival sell out, it invented the modern rock concert as we know it. Just two weeks later, Bill Graham and Chet Helms were promoting a weekend of shows at the Fillmore with the Jefferson Airplane, advertising "The Sights And Sounds Of The Trips Festival."

The Grateful Dead played Saturday and Sunday, January 22 and 23.

January 28, 1966 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead
This date is uncertain, but some other scholarship has made a pretty good case for dating a "mystery tape" as January 28, 1966, and the Matrix seems like a pretty likely venue.

On January 29, 1966 the Merry Pranksters had a recording session at Sound City Studios in San Francisco, CA. Jerry Garcia and maybe other Grateful Dead members participated, but this was neither a performance nor an Acid Test. The session makes a January 29 Matrix gig far more unlikely.

February 1, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Fillmore auditions
This Fillmore performance was not exactly a public appearance. Bill Graham took over the lease on the Fillmore Auditorium from the retiring Charles Sullivan, and he seems to have held an audition at the Fillmore for underground San Francisco rock bands starting on Tuesday, February 1, his first day of control. David Nelson was there, and he described it in Robert Greenfield's book. The band had auditioned as the Warlocks a few times, but I believe this to be the only time they auditioned as the Dead. Nelson:
I went up to their Tuesday night audition at the Fillmore. The other bands that were auditioning that same night were The Great Society and The Loading Zone. I remember I took acid that night, too. I walked in real early and nobody was even there. Bill Graham used to put a barrel of apples out. I saw the apples. I thought "Hmm. Probably for somebody private or something." I said "I'm hungry. I'll steal one anyway." So I took an apple and was just biting into it when Bill Graham walked in. I didn't know who he was. I thought "I hope he's just a janitor." I just started cooling it and then he walked by and I looked at him and nodded. He looked and nodded and then he did one of those Bill things. He stopped, did a slow double take and said "Who are you? Who are you with?" I said "Warlocks." I knew this would make him know I really was with them. Because this was the first night they were auditioning as The Grateful Dead (p.68-69).” 
This must have been a pretty remarkable event, all the hip bands in the Bay Area hanging out in their future home, trying to get a gig. Bill Graham inaugurated his Fillmore shows with the Jefferson Airplane on February 4 and 5. The Dead seemed to have earned a booking on Saturday, February 12, but they went to Los Angeles with Owsley instead. Bill Graham probably wasn't thrilled.

February 5, 1966 Northridge Unitarian Church, Los Angeles, CA: Northridge Acid Test
The Grateful Dead joined Owsley in a mad adventure, in which he moved them to Los Angeles in order for them to make it in the record industry. Owsley financed this venture with his retail income. Owsley was no millionaire. The band lived together in a big three story house in Watts, and rehearsed there also. Any rehearsal tapes from this period were recorded in the Watts house. According to an equipment receipt (from the Grateful Dead Gear book), the address was 2511 Third Avenue, which as runonguinness points out, was just south of the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) and not that near Watts (assuming the address is accurate--Owsley could have used an accommodation address--the 4bed/3bath 3,967 sqft house is currently valued at a mere $951K)

The first Acid Test in Southern California was at a Unitarian Church in Northridge. There is some confusion about this date. It almost certainly was on Saturday night, February 5, but the date on the tape box is February 6. However, Owsley was not there, so he didn't tape it. It is likely that the tape is from another date.
update: fellow scholar runonguinness informs us that
The "Northridge Unitarian Church" (more properly the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society) is still at 9550 Haskell Ave, North Hills. It is well worth a look at the "Onion" on their website

Some mislabeled tapes have circulated with a date of February 11, with a venue of The Questing Beast. This cannot be correct. We have looked into the history of the Questing Beast, and the Dead did not play there, notwithstanding they were in Los Angeles on February 11. The Questing Beast was a folk club in Berkeley with a psychedelic mural on the wall, not far from Owsley's cottage. Owsley probably had some affiliation with the place, and if the Dead had not gone to LA they might have rehearsed there, but they never actually did.

February 12, 1966 Youth Opportunity Center, Compton, CA: Watts Acid Test
An Acid Test was held in Watts on Saturday, February 12.

February 25, 1966 Cinema Theater, Los Angeles, CA: Sunset Acid Test
Another acid test was held two weeks later at an old theater in Los Angeles, at 1122 No. Western Avenue. The Cinema Theater was only a block off Sunset Boulevard, and this is sometimes called The Sunset Acid Test.

March 3, 1966 AIAA Hall, Los Angeles, CA: The Grateful Dead/"Psychedelic Experience" (film)
This was probably not an Acid Test. The AIAA Hall was at 7660 Beverly Boulevard and was used for various underground events through 1966. The most infamous was a hugely successful event with The Mothers on July 23, 1966, with a poster inviting everyone to "Freak Out." The address is now the site of The Broadcast Center Apartments.

March 12, 1966 Danish Center, Los Angeles, CA: Grateful Dead
There is some mystery about the show, although there is a tape. Of course, dating the tape has been confusing, too, but it seems to me that David Lemieux has confirmed that there are different March 12 and March 19 tapes. It is unclear where the Danish Center was. Most likely it was a social hall associated with the local Danish church, but I can't find any good information about a likely location for the venue (update: apparently 607 S. Western Blvd, Los Angeles, CA)

March 19, 1966 Carthay Studios, Los Angeles, CA: Pico Acid Test
Amazingly, Hugh Romney had managed to book UCLA's brand new Pauley Pavilion for an Acid Test, but at the last minute UCLA caught on and canceled it. The event was moved to the Carthay Studios. I don't actually know what the Cathay Studio was--perhaps a film studio--or where it was located (update: apparently 5907 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. A purported handbill is here)

March 25, 1966 Troupers Club, Los Angeles, CA: Grateful Dead/Del Close/Tiny Tim
All Night Harmonica Store Presents
The final show in Los Angeles was not actually an acid test, but a regular concert. Hugh "Wavy Gravy" Romney, one of Owsley's distributors, seems to have put on the show. Legendary improvisational comic Del Close was on the bill, but he seems to have provided a light show rather than comedy. Tiny Tim, an associate of all of them, and not yet famous from Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, may only have appeared in some kind of video or recorded accompaniment to the light show. The Trouper's Club was at 1625 North La Brea.

On the March 25 tape, Phil Lesh encourages the crowd to come out to the band's shows on April 6 through 9th (Wednesday through Saturday). Due to a cut in the tape, we do not where these shows were booked, and in any case they were canceled. Once Rock Scully had gotten a booking at Longshoreman's Hall, Owsley and the band abandoned the Pink House in Watts and returned to the Bay Area.

April 22-24, 1966 Longshoreman's Hall, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Loading Zone/The Answer
With the Bay Area rock underground booming, the Dead were offered $375 for three nights (per Rock Scully). This was enough money to get the band back from Los Angeles. Still, the group had no money, and band members couch-surfed until they could afford to move to Rancho Olompali on May 1.

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A radio spot has recently surfaced that may be for this show, with a dj apparently reading a press release. It is hard to verify "authenticity" with old radio spots, but this sounds right. The slight mistakes (like referring to Stewart Brand's presentation as "Columbus Needs Indians" rather than "America Needs Indians") point towards the real thing, as after-the-fact re-creations tend to be too perfect. The spot lists The Answer as a band, along with the Dead and The Zone. The Answer were a Berkeley band, and future Ace Of Cups singer Denise Kaufmann (aka Mary Microgram) sometimes sang with them.

Update: Chip Wright, former guitarist for The Answer (and now novelist), recalls that The Answer did indeed play The Longshoreman's Hall shows.

May 7, 1966 Harmon Gym, U. of California, Berkeley, CA: Grateful Dead/The Charlatans/Great Society/Billy Moses Blues Band
In 1966, a series of rock concerts were put on at Berkeley's basketball arena, Harmon Gym. The Gym was right off Bancroft Avenue, near Pauley Ballroom and the student union. Harmon Gym was built in 1931, and had a capacity of 6,500 (it replaced an older Harmon Gym, built in 1879, and expanded in 1900 to make the capacity 1,300, large for the time. The old site is now Dwinelle Hall). The middle Harmon Gym was replaced by a newer, larger facility (capacity 12,000) in 1999, and is now called The Haas Pavilion.

The band was billed as The Greatful Dead on the poster. As a sign that underground rock was not fully integrated into college campuses, even Berkeley, the show advertised an emcee, popular KYA-am dj Russ "The Moose" Syracuse. This was a typical teen show arrangement that had no part in the Fillmore/Avalon scene. Syracuse probably got a fee in return for hyping the show on his program. There was no FM rock radio at the time, so plenty of college students would have been listening to AM rock radio.

The Veteran's Memorial Building at 1931 Center Street in Berkeley (at Grove, now MLK Blvd), ca. 1940s. Provo Park and Berkeley Community Theater are just across the street. The Grateful Dead played the tiny auditorium on May 14, 166.
May 14, 1966 Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Berkeley, CA: Grateful Dead/Final Solution
One of the dynamics of the 1966 rock concert market in the Bay Area was that there was a huge audience for hip rock shows around the UC Berkeley campus. Numerous local promoters attempted to use various venues, Campus locations were usually limited to Friday and Saturday nights, and had all sorts of schedule conflicts and time restrictions. Various impresarios attempted to use in-town venues.

The Berkeley Veterans Memorial Auditorium was at 1931 Center (between Milvia and Grove, now MLK), right downtown and within walking distance of campus. I don't know who promoted the show. The building was only used a few times for 60s rock concerts. In 1994, I saw a concert there for a reunion of some old-time Berkeley bands (Country Joe Band with David Cohen, Bruce Barthol and Chicken Hirsh, Joy of Cooking and Lazarus) and I understood why. The room only hold a few hundred patrons, and was rapidly outgrown by the booming rock market in the area. Since a suitable Berkeley venue was never found, all of the students had to go over to the Fillmore and Avalon, and this was one factor in the success of the 1966-67 scene, before most of the bands had become famous.

The Final Solution was a hip band featuring some scenemakers like Ernie Fosselius, who played a big role in the TV show Sesame Street, providing animated films. He also made the movies Porklips Now and Hardware Wars. But back in 1966, Fosselius and his friends, all San Francisco State students, had an underground band that only played weird minor-key songs. On a whim, they named the group Final Solution while having no idea what it meant. They are rightly ashamed of that, and Fosselius and the others have refused any efforts to have an archival release.

May 19, 1966 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Wildflower/The Outfit Benefit for The Straight Theater
The Dead, the Wildflower and The Outfit all rehearsed at the old Haight Theater at 1702 Haight. The plan was to turn it into a rock concert venue, so the Haight hippies would have a place to see bands in their own neighborhood. Only in 1966 San Francisco would a benefit be held at one venue, the Avalon, for another venue that would compete with it, but such were the times.

Wildflower were a pretty good band who had formed at the California College of Arts And Crafts in Oakland. The Outfit were an interesting band, who at the time featured lead guitarist Bobby Beausoleil, now doing life in prison as a result of murders committed at the behest of Charles Manson, another Haight Street resident.

May 22, 1966 Rancho Olompali, Novato, CA: Grateful Dead/Loading Zone
The Dead had moved into the crumbling Rancho Olompali mansion on May 1, and there was an almost continuous party there through the end of June. Equipment was probably more or less permanently set up next to the pool, and jam sessions with whoever was present seemed to have been frequent. Nonetheless, the official party, with invitations and all, was held on May 22, and there was some kind of regular (ish) performance by the Dead. This was the event where the BBC camera crew was present. and the famous (and now probably illegal) photos of Julia Bridgen (aka "Girl Freiberg") casually lounging around naked circulated far and wide, even without an internet.

May 28, 1966 Avalon Ballrom, San Francisco, CA: The Leaves/Grass Roots/Grateful Dead
The Dead's return to the Avalon on Saturday May 28 was also their debut at an official Family Dog show for Chet Helms. Over the years, people have assumed that the Dead also played on Friday (May 27), but a closer look at the poster shows a text box that says "Sat. only" next to the Grateful Dead.

The Leaves were a popular Sunset Strip band, and they had a popular hit single with "Hey Joe." The Grass Roots were produced out of Los Angeles by Phil Sloan and Steve Barri, who had written a hit song called "Where Were You When I Needed You." Sloan and Barri recorded the song, but then needed a band to become The Grass Roots and tour behind the single. A Bay Area band called The Bedouins got the call. The Bedouins winners of the 1965 San Mateo County Fair Battle Of The Bands, and mostly played R&B and Rolling Stones' type music. They added a few Sloan/Barri singles to their sets, and got much better bookings as The Grass Roots. The former Bedouins had a falling out with their producers later in 1966, and they were "replaced" by an entirely different band from Los Angeles, who went on to become the better-known version of the Grass Roots.

May 29, 1966 California Hall, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Charlatans LEMAR Benefit
The Grateful Dead headlined this benefit for LEMAR, a foundation for Legalizing Marijuana. Ahead of their time as always, perhaps the evil weed will become legal while members of the band who played the benefit are still around.

After the show, the Dead dragged their equipment to Gene Estibou's Buena Vista Studios, on the top floor of a mansion in the Haight. There they recorded the tracks that would be released as their debut single on Scorpio Records, "Don't Ease Me In"/"Stealin'".

June 3-4, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Grateful Dead/Mothers
The Dead had skipped out on their initial BGP booking (February 12) to go to Owsley in Los Angeles. It can't have sat well with Graham. However, once his competitor Chet Helms booked them, Graham couldn't let it lie, because Helms new better than Graham who was cool. One of these shows with Quicksilver Messenger Service was probably the one where Phil Lesh's amp broke, and John Cippolina invited their friend Dan Healy out of the crowd to fix it. When Garcia thanked him later, Healy criticized the sound system, and Garcia supposedly said "do you think you can do better?"

Frank Zappa's band was called The Mothers at this time. It was MGM who anxiously added "Of Invention" to their name. Besides playing one of the original Family Dog dances back in 1965, and the previous weekend at the Fillmore,  the Mothers had just finished a lengthy engagement at a rock club in Fremont called Frenchy's (where the Warlocks had been fired the year before).

June 10-11, 1966 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/New Tweedy Brothers
The New Tweedy Brothers were from Oregon, but they had moved to the Bay Area for the summer. This was probably the show where the Dead's relatively massive--by 1966 standards--PA not only blocked the light show but made it impossible for Avalon soundman Bob Cohen to hear his team on the in-house intercom. Next time around (in August), the Dead had hung white sheets on the sound system to facilitate the lights, and Cohen had invented noise-canceling headphones.

June 12, 1966 [private residence], [Marin County], LSD Conference Party
Weed was illegal, but not LSD. The University of California at San Francisco, primarily a medical school located very near the Haight-Ashbury, seems to have hosted a conference on the medical benefits of LSD research from June 13-18. Apparently, there was a party at a Marin mansion with a swimming pool, and the Grateful Dead performed. Memories seem foggy.

June 17-18, 1966 Veterans Hall, Santa Rosa, CA; Grateful Dead/Jaywalkers
There is a poster for this show, but nothing else is really known about it. Thunder Machine Productions implicitly suggests the Pranksters, but Kesey was on the lam in Mexico, so it's not clear exactly who the promoters might have been. Santa Rosa was mostly a rural agricultural community at this time. However, there was an extension of San Francisco State College in Santa Rosa, and it was a tiny oasis of long-haired stoners. SF State Extension became Humboldt State within a few years, but the seeds--appropriately enough--had been sown by the SF State extension.

The weekend of June 24-25 seems a likely candidate for a "lost" date or two, but none have yet turned up.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fillmore West, January 12, 1969: Country Joe And The Fish And Their Friends (Plus Opening Acts)

In 1994, Vanguard Records released a double-cd of Country Joe And The Fish Live At Fillmore West. The album included both sets from Sunday, January 12, 1969. Jack Casady played on both sets, and for the second set the band was joined by Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Steve Miller and Mickey Hart
Myths and legends often become myths and legends because tales of things that happened get told and retold, until the telling exceeds the reality. The Fillmore and Fillmore West and San Francisco in the 1960s have an element of that. Wonderful times, wonderful music, for certain, but many nights were just another gig at the local ballroom, however glamorous it may seem today. People would go and see a few bands play some music, dance and hang out, and it was really fun, and then they would go home. Once in a while, however, the myths and legends were not just tales--there were things happened in San Francisco in the 60s that won't be repeated in the rock and roll firmament. In the case of the Fillmore West show of January 12, 1969, however, a remarkable evening of music by Country Joe and The Fish and their friends has been largely forgotten and is rarely recalled, even though a double-live cd of their entire show was released in 1994.

The Sunday SF Chronicle "Pink Section" from January 5, 1969 had a photo of Country Joe and The Fish to highlight their upcoming weekend shows, along with Taj Mahal and Led Zeppelin
What Happened?
The original, psychedelic Country Joe And The Fish played their last stand at the Fillmore West on the weekend of January 9-12, 1969. Originally just the folk duo of Berkleyites Joe McDonald and Barry Melton, the band had expanded into an electric ensemble after the Butterfield Blues Band came to town in early 1966. By the end of '66, the band had been signed to Vanguard Records, and the first two Country Joe And The Fish albums were true San Francisco classics. To much of the world, Electric Music For The Mind And Body and Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die were just as important to San Francisco music history as Surrealistic Pillow or Anthem Of The Sun. By the end of 1968, however, Joe and Barry wanted to reconfigure the band. So while the group Country Joe And The Fish would continue on successfully for some more years, the January '69 Fillmore shows were going to be the last go-round for the original lineup that had arisen out of the Jabberwock coffee house in Berkeley.

If you're going to have a party, have a party. January 12 was a Sunday, and most musicians aren't working, so the last number of the final set of the original Country Joe And The Fish at Fillmore West was a 38-minute version of their song "Donovan's Reef," where the band was joined by their friends Steve Miller, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, Mickey Hart and Jerry Garcia. Yet no one seemed to recall it, and the event remained unknown until a 1994 cd release. How could such an event pass unnoticed? Could it be that the opening act, a new band from England with a guy who used to be in the Yardbirds, whose album hadn't even come out yet, overshadowed them?

Probably, yes. The mighty Led Zeppelin, young and strong, had only played 8 North American shows prior to arriving at Fillmore West.  Their first album was not officially released, but it was probably already available in a few stores--things worked differently then--and KSAN-fm was already playing numerous tracks from it. The buzz was on, and curious fans came to check it out, and were steamrolled by the Shape Of Things To Come. Some guys from the Dead and the Airplane jamming with that Berkeley band? Yeah, whatever.

Zeppelin's Fillmore West debut was mentioned in Rolling Stone and the like, but Country Joe and The Fish were dismissed as last year's news. Who knows how many people actually stuck around for the final Sunday night set, and the event seemed lost to history. This post will reconstruct what we can put together from what turns out to be a fair amount of information.

The exterior of the Fillmore West, at 1545 Market Street as it appeared in 1970. It was the former Carousel Ballroom, and that sign remained intact throughout it's life as the Fillmore West. Note the ad for Workingman's Dead above.
Fillmore West, 1969
Bill Graham's Fillmore West and Fillmore East were the twin pillars of the growing rock concert industry in the 60s. However, although Graham had moved from the intimate Fillmore to the Fillmore West, about a mile away, the industry was starting to get even bigger, and some of the biggest acts could play much larger places. The Fillmores still had very high profiles, however, so most bands began or ended tours at one or the other place, often beginning at one and ending at the other. Fillmore East had an early and a late show, but Fillmore West let its audiences stay for every set. Throughout 1969, Fillmore West had the now-unheard of setup where they went twice around the bill, so the headline act played both the 3rd and 6th set of the nights. This allowed suburbanites or teenagers to go home early, and night owls to come late, as well as allowing the most committed fans to stay for 6 or 7 hours of music.

The bill at Fillmore West for January 9-12, 1969 was Country Joe and The Fish/Led Zeppelin/Taj Mahal. On Thursday and Sunday night (Jan 9 and 12), CJF would have played the 3rd and 6th sets, while Led Zeppelin would have played the 2nd and 5th sets. On Friday (10) and Saturday (11), there was typically an unbilled act that opened the show, but did not repeat. This band was usually drawn from acts who had played the Tuesday "audition nights," another forgotten practice. On those nights, Zep would have played 3rd and 6th, and CJF 4th and 7th. Weekend shows at Fillmore West often ended very late, past bar-closing of 2:00am.

Friday night tended to be the big night for reviewers. Writers could watch the early sets and make a midnight deadline, which was important in the newspaper business. So killing it in the early Friday sets at Fillmore West or East could really make a band's careers. This was particularly true for tours that started at Fillmore East, as the Friday night early show was always reviewed in Billboard and other trade magazines, and it could affect bookings for the rest of the tour, if not a career. So any formal or informal coverage of Led Zeppelin's debut at Fillmore West was probably on Friday, January 10, and probably did not include the late set. And probably a good thing, since Zep members had caught the flu in LA the week before, and were apparently a little flat on Thursday night. No matter--by the weekend they were rocking the house, and mowing down everything in their path.

Led Zeppelin's immortal cover for their January 1969 debut album on Atlantic. The cover art was by former Yardbird guitarist Chris Dreja
Led Zeppelin, 1969
Led Zeppelin had formed in the Fall of 1968. Jimmy Page had led the Yardbirds for 1967 and '68, and he had played the Fillmore a number of times, so he knew all about West Coast psychedelic ballrooms. The Yardbirds had been a terrific band who were bottled up by their management and record company, and Page was determined not to repeat the mistakes. Along with veteran road manager Peter Grant, Page assembled some crack cohorts and set out to conquer the rock music world that was to come, not the one that had passed. Zeppelin would only release albums, not singles, and their albums were geared for FM airplay. Zeppelin was loud, really loud, and they could bring it in a way that would make every concert memorable. This was the new English rock world, not the old one of catchy singles and brief television appearances on Top Of The Pops.

Led Zeppelin's first album was not due until mid-January, so their tour was set to begin on the West Coast with a week at LA's Whisky-Au-Go-Go and then Fillmore West, both hip palaces good for creating buzz. However, the Jeff Beck Group canceled some American dates, so Led Zeppelin began their American tour, filling in for Beck while opening for the Vanilla Fudge in Denver (Dec 26), Seattle (Dec 27),Vancouver (Dec 28), Portland  (Dec 29) and Spokane, WA (Dec 30). After a few dates at The Whisky with local band Alice Cooper, some  Zep band members got sick and they were replaced by Buddy Miles for the balance of the Whisky dates.

The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin met only once, during this weekend. It was at a Herb Greene photo shoot--the Dead needed a promotional photo with their new organist, Tom Constanten, and Led Zeppelin had just finished their session. Herb Greene has written about the incident (via another scholar's research)
“The session was rolling along when I got a phone call. It was Rock Scully, telling me, "we got a new band member [Tom Constanten], so we need a picture right now – we're downstairs!"... I told him that I was kinda in the middle of something, but they came up anyway... Pigpen was wearing a little .22 revolver, in a holster, and he pulled it out and started firing it off into the theater seats. I guess I was almost done with the session when all this happened, because it was pretty disruptive, ha ha! Actually, it freaked Zeppelin out. They exclaimed, "these westerners and their guns!" In fact, Led Zeppelin got so distracted, that they quickly left and didn't pay me…
In retrospect, when the Dead called, I maybe thought OK, this is great, hands across the seas, we'll have a party, but that didn't happen. The Dead didn't want to hang out, they were just there to get a photograph. There was no interaction at all between them, no curiosity. Garcia didn't want to talk to Page, and I don't think Led Zeppelin even knew whom the Grateful Dead were.”
Hip record stores like Tower Records in Berkeley often had new albums before their "official" release date
The Record Industry, 1969
In those days, new albums did not have precise release dates. The supposed "date" of a release was just the time that promotion was planned. Long before FedEx, distributors would have had to have truck out their cardboard boxes weeks in advance. There was nothing preventing a hip record store from asking the local "rack jobber" if he had any copies of that new album by the so-and-sos. Accordingly, hip FM stations were also sent advance copies of new albums, in the hopes that they would play it before the promotional ads started.

The "official" release date of the first Led Zeppelin album is usually cited as January 17, 1969, but not surprisingly the biggest station in town, KSAN-fm, was already playing it. Thus listeners would come into the record store and ask for it, and distributors would let the stores have boxes. So plenty of people in SF (or any other hip town with an FM station) had the Zeppelin debut before it was "officially" released. Many people at the Fillmore West that night, even those looking to see Country Joe and The Fish, would have had some idea about how Led Zeppelin sounded, even if they didn't realize quite what they were going to see.

Taj Mahal, from Cambridge, MA but via Los Angeles, also had a new album. It was his second album on Columbia, The Natch'l Blues. Taj's first album, with Ry Cooder smoking on slide guitar, had been a sort of underground hit, even if he hadn't sold many records, so he would have gotten some airplay on FM as well. Ry wasn't touring with Taj, but it mattered little, since the great guitarist Jesse Ed Davis anchored his live band. Taj sang and played some harp and guitar, and Jesse Ed wailed over the rhythm section. Taj Mahal wasn't a big act, but he was worth getting to the show on time for.

Meanwhile, Country Joe and The Fish were an established act locally and nationally. The group had come out of the Berkeley folk underground in 1966 and "gone electric," establishing themselves as one of the classic Fillmore bands.  When Country Joe and The Fish toured nationally, they headlined over many groups that have since surpassed them in fame, not the least the Grateful Dead, with whom they had shared bills all over the country.

It didn't hurt that Country Joe And The Fish were a great live act, with great songs and a loony edge, but an R&B-inspired discipline that kept them from going off the rails. The band was a well-established headline act at both Fillmore West and East, with many fans all over the psychedelic world. They had released their third Vanguard album, Together, in August 1968. While it wasn't as big as the first two, it was still a popular record.

However, all was not well in Berkeley. The membership of the group had frayed when bassist Bruce Barthol, a dedicated pacifist, moved to England in September 1968 to avoid the draft. Replacement bassist Mark Ryan was arrested on tour soon after (for the devil weed, of course), and then got ill right before a European tour. In the short range, this had been OK, since former bassist Barthol was already in Europe and took over his old gig for the Fall 68 European tour. However, when the band returned to America, Country Joe McDonald and Barry "The Fish" Melton wanted to reconstitute the group entirely. Thus, although Country Joe and The Fish would continue on for two more years after the January 1969 Fillmore West shows, and numerous reunions, these shows were a farewell to the configuration of the Country Joe And The Fish band that made the group legends. Lacking a bass player, old buddy Jack Casady stepped in for most of the remaining dates (Mark Andes of Spirit filled in for two SoCal dates). Appropriately, a farewell party was planned. In retrospect, it should have been a legendary event, but today all that anyone recalls is that an unknown English band called Led Zeppelin blew the place out twice a night.

In January 1969, Country Joe And The Fish's current album was Together, released on Vanguard in July 1968
Party Number One, Friday or Saturday Night
The first whiff that something interesting had happened on that weekend came in the Summer of 1977. KSAN-fm had a radio special on the 10th anniversary of the Summer Of Love in 1967, called "What Was That" and at night they had three hours of concert tapes from the Fillmore and Avalon. At the time, the taper world was in its infancy--I myself did not yet have a cassette deck--and hearing tapes from the source was like time travel. All three nights of the radio special ended with a 3-hour "concert," featuring 15 or 20 minutes from different bands. All the tapes weren't from 1967, but they were close enough.

The KSAN special put 60s tapes from numerous bands into circulation. I believe it was the original source of a fragment of Grateful Dead Oct 68 Avalon tapes, although of course we have them in their entirety now (it was also the source for a mislabeled Feb 12 '67 tape, but I have written about that elsewhere). The dating of the tapes wasn't very good, however--the dj would just say "here's the Jefferson Airplane from the Fillmore in 1967," or something vague like that.

A Country Joe And The Fish tape was played on the special with little introduction. With a band vamping the blues, the tape had Bill Graham telling the crowd [I am paraphrasing here] "I just talked to the man, and he agreed to walk around the block. We can go on here, but this is now a private party. Please remain seated and we can keep going." He then introduced the band: Chicken Hirsh, Mickey Hart and Dave Getz (of Big Brother) on drums, Jack Casady on bass, and David Cohen (organ), Barry Melton (guitar) and Country Joe McDonald. The band launched into an extended version of the Country Joe And The Fish classic "Flying High."

It took me many years to figure out what this tape fragment actually was. The tape shows up on various lists under various incorrect dates. In fact, this tape was one of the final numbers of either Friday (Jan 10) or Saturday (Jan 11) night. Casady was already on stage, of course, but we didn't realize that at the time (the KSAN dj in 1977 would have had no idea either). Dave Getz was a pal of Joe and Barry, and in fact would join Country Joe and The Fish on tour starting in February. Hart was a friend of Melton's, too, so obviously they all came for the party and stayed to play.

Almost all Country Joe And The Fish fans consider the band's April 1967 debut album, Electric Music For The Mind And Body, to be a time-tested psychedelic classic. The cover photo insets were from a little-known venue called The Barn in Scotts Valley, CA, near Santa Cruz. 
Sunday Night, January 12, 1969
The final party remained a mystery until the 1994 release of the cd Country Joe And The Fish/Live! Fillmore West 1969 on Vanguard Records. There was no general awareness of the all-star San Francisco jam, much less the idea that it was professionally recorded. Yet with the rise of the archival cd market, here was a complete document of a remarkable event, previously unknown. Vanguard and CJF producer Sam Charters described the event itself in the liner notes:
When I look back in the last few months that Country Joe & The Fish were still trying to keep the band together and go on touring, I remember all the confusion and all the arguments and all the exasperation--but I also remember so many nights when they played with all their old magic and uniqueness. Since I'd been working with them for four years as their producer for Vanguard Records, I wanted to try to capture some of those last moments on tape, so with engineer Ed Friedner--who had worked with me on the album they did in New York [Together from 1968]--I stalked them for a number of nights on their last gigs. 
We did the first recordings of them live at Fillmore East, but we couldn't catch them at their best. They were headlining, a bill that opened with Procol Harum, continued with Ten Years After and then finished with Country Joe & The Fish [September 27-28, 1968]. By the time the first two bands had finished it was the middle of the night, and Joe both the audience and Joe and The Fish were too wiped out to make their music happen. 
We decided to make another try, so...we flew out to San Francisco to record what was to be their last gig together. Ed rented a moving large moving van and and set everything up outside the Fillmore [West] Auditorium on Market Street. The opening act was a new English band called Led Zeppelin, so we thought that there was a chance that the audience wouldn't be as limp for Joe and The Fish as they'd been in New York.
Since it was going to be the final night on stage together, the band decided to invite all their friends to join them and backstage there was a long party before they went out to play... 
Back stage the party went on for so long that the band and their friends finally came out to play in a blaze of excitement and a heavy accumulation of controlled substances. But on stage all of them immediately became the stars that they were, and after I'd made sure that everybody was playing and the sound in the van was working, I went out front and looked up at the stage. Here was one of the greatest line-ups of San Francisco musicians I had ever seen--and each of them was his own stage personality. Jorma was bent over his guitar, Steve was swaying up and down, Jerry was studying his strings, Joe was half-smiling Barry was striding around his stage...It was one of those moments in the 60s that would never come again--and listening to it after all these years, brings back that moment and so much of the mood of those chaotic years.
The double-cd set captures the final set in its apparent entirety, complete with pictures. The core band (Joe on guitar and harmonica, Barry on lead guitar, David Cohen on keyboards and Chicken Hirsh on drums) along with Jack Casady on bass, performs a 77-minute set of classic CJF songs. They are joined on one song ("It's So Nice") by David Getz on a second drum kit. For the finale, Mickey Hart takes over the second kit, and the band plays a 38-minute version of the song "Donovan's Reef," mixed in with jams based on "Flying High." Jorma Kaukonen, Jerry Garcia (playing a Gibson) and Steve Miller all get substantial turns on lead guitar, and Miller adds some bluesy harmonica as well.

On November 27, 1994, the original Country Joe And The Fish band (Joe, Barry, Cohen, Barthol and Chicken) were scheduled to play at the Berkeley Veterans Memorial Building at 1931 Center Street. They were also scheduled to play Fillmore the night before, to promote the newly released Vanguard cd from 1969. Due to some unknown dispute, Barry Melton made a brief solo appearance at Fillmore and did not appear in Berkeley. The balance of the group played a fine set, as did Joy Of Cooking and Lazarus (the photo is ca. 1940).
No one recalled the final night jam. The participants were--shall we say--distracted, but observers only remembered Led Zeppelin's first trip to San Francisco (although John Paul Jones recalls watching Country Joe And The Fish) Recollections are only about the the coming of the Zeppelin. An attendee recalls (from January 10)
I remember zep coming on after taj and the fish. Had heard zep records on kkzx, wanted more. Got it. They blew up the ballroom. Carousel/fillmore west was never same. Page, plant, bonham, jones were rock gods that night. Saw them 2 more times but nothing compared to that night in January 69.
Led Zeppelin had likely opened their first set with their only familiar song of the evening, a turbocharged version of the Yardbirds' "Train Kept A Rollin,'" and I assure you that the train indeed kept rolling. The last stand of Country Joe And The Fish was already history when it began, as the 1970s were underway in San Francisco by January 1969.

The jam finally came to light when Vanguard released the cd in 1994. Country Joe And The Fish were going to reform and play the Fillmore and Berkeley Veterans Hall, but some ancient dispute intervened, and Barry Melton did not perform with them. Melton actually performed solo at the Fillmore, but did not stay for the band, in order to fulfill his contract, perhaps afraid that the specter of the late Bill Graham would haunt him. In any case, the un-reunion dampened enthusiasm for the album, and it passed somewhat unnoticed. But as Sam Charters said, there was hardly anything like it. This one wasn't even legend--there's a professionally recorded tape, officially released, with great photos by Jim Marshall, and yet it passes us by hardly without recall. Sic Transit Gloria Psychedelia.

The Natch[l Blues, Taj Mahal's second album on Columbia, featuring the great Jesse Ed Davis on guitar, was released in December 1968
Setlists (As Known)
Taj Mahal
A tape circulates for Taj Mahal from Friday, January 10, 1969
Taj Mahal , Fillmore West,SF
January 10,1969

1-//Checkin' Up On My Baby
2-Easy Rider
3-Aint That Alot Of Love
4-The Cuckoo
5-Everybody Got To Change Sometime
6-Leavin' Trunk

Taj Mahal-vocals, harmonica
Jesse Ed Davis-lead and slide guitar
Gary Gilmore-bass
Chuck Blackwell-drums

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin's general setlists from the Fillmore West are known, but not precisely which songs were played in which order, so there may be some variation. There is a partial tape of one of the nights, although it is not clear which night it is (the entire story is explained here).

1st set: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, As Long As I Have You (incl. Fresh Garbage), Dazed and Confused, How Many More Times

2nd set: White Summer / Black Mountainside, Killing Floor, You Shook Me, Pat's Delight (drum solo), Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, Communication Breakdown, For Your Love.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Grateful Dead Performance List July-December 1966

A handbill for the Vancouver, BC Trips Festival. at the PNE Gardens from July 29-31, 1966. The Grateful Dead played all three days.
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 July through December of 1966.

A poster for the Grateful Dead performance at the Santa Venetia Armory on December 29, 1966. Santa Venetia is an unincorporated area near San Rafael, and the National Guard armory there was used for rock dances in the 1960s.
July 3, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Love/Grateful Dead/Group B
The show was on a Sunday night, but it was the night before July 4, so it was still effectively Saturday night. Love was much bigger than the Grateful Dead at the time. Group B was from Davis, and played a weird sort of baroque rock.

July 8-9, 1966 Armory, Santa Venetia, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service
Santa Venetia was an unincorporated suburb of San Rafael, and there were regular teen dances at the National Guard Armory there. Some years later, the Dead would rehearse with Keith Godchaux at the Armory. There apparently is a poster with Sopwith Camel instead of the Dead.

A poster for the Thursday night Fillmore show with the Dead, Big Brother and the no-doubt fascinating but unrecorded Hindustani jazz sextet with Don Ellis and Hari Har Rao.
July 14, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Big Brother and The Holding Company/Hindustani Jazz Sextet
This Thursday night show was presented by The San Francisco Calliope Company, rather than Bill Graham Presents. The Hindustani Jazz Sextet featured trumpeter Don Ellis and sitarist Hari Har Rao (a colleague of Ravi Shankar). Today it would be called "World Music," but the term didn't exist at the time.

July 15-17, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead
Sunday, July 17 was an afternoon show.

July 29-31, 1966 PNE Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, British Columbia: Vancouver Trips Festival
The Dead played the Vancouver Trips Festival along with Big Brother. Big Brother definitely took the train, but I don't know for sure about the Dead. The Dead played on all three days, I think.

August 3, 1966 bandshell, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia: Grateful Dead/United Empire Loyalists [free concert]
This was the first time the Grateful Dead played for free in a park, memorably described by the then-teenage members of the teenage band United Empire Loyalists, and confirmed by Rock Scully. The idea was to popularize the upcoming Friday night show in Vancouver. It worked. The Dead took the idea home with them, and then around the country. The date has now been determined to have been Wednesday, August 3. A fellow scholar writes 
The location is variously recalled as the gazebo at First Beach Park; a bandstand on English Bay Beach; or Haywood Bandstand in Alexandra Park. From what I can tell, these are all different names for more or less the same place
The poster for the Grateful Dead's performance at the Pender Auditorium in Vancouver on August 5, 1966
August 5, 1966 Pender Auditorium, Vancouver, British Columbia; Grateful Dead/United Empire Loyalists
There was only one night at Pender Auditorium. Lists that include Saturday August 6 did not look closely at the poster (a fact confirmed by numerous sources).

The Grateful Dead were booked at an afternoon benefit at Fillmore Auditorium on Sunday, August 7. However, it seems that the Dead did not play. Most likely there were problems getting back from Vancouver.

August 12-13, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead
Understandably, the Grateful Dead found Owsley's sound system too difficult to take on the road, so Owsley apparently sold it to Bill Graham. Left in place, and not having to be broken down every night, Owsley's system lived up to its potential. According to details I have pieced together, I think the Dead played this gig and left the sound system in place. Owsley bought the Dead a newer, simpler system, and focused on other business interests.

August 19-20, 1966 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Sopwith Camel
The previous time the Dead had played the Avalon, their PA was so loud that Avalon soundman Bob Cohen could not use his in-house intercom system to talk to his crew. So by this time, Cohen invented noise-canceling headphones to compensate, from which we have all benefited.

A flyer for the three day "Folk-Rock Festival and Bicycle Race" in tiny Pescadero, on August 26-28, 1966
August 26-28, 1966 IDES Hall, Pescadero, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/The Induction Center Tour Del Mar Bicycle Race and Folk-Rock Festival
Pescadero is a tiny town on the coast, in San Mateo county but on the other side of the mountains from the suburbs, which are on the bay. IDES was a Portugese-American social club, whose halls were often available for rent.  Larry Rogers, an old friend of the band, reported on Facebook that he attended one of these shows and said there was only a few dozen fans in attendance. The Induction Center were a local band. Rogers also said that the Dead only played the first two nights, and as our only eyewitness, it seems likely that at least the Dead did not play on Sunday, August 28.

September 2, 1966 La Dolphine, Hillsborough, CA: Grateful Dead/Walt Tolleson Orchestra
Bob Weir's sister Wendy had been a debutante, although she had debuted back in the Spring of '66. Nonetheless, when the very wealthy Mattei sisters (also known as the Mattel family, not connected to the toys) had a party at the largest estate on the Peninsula, the connections were in place to hire the Dead. Supposedly the sisters insisted--good for them. The Dead played for about 100 well dressed teenagers. The event was written up in the Society Pages of the San Francisco Chronicle.

September ?,1966 House Party, Cabin at 50 Wurr Road, Loma Mar CA
LIA reports

Larry Rogers (who had attended the Pescadero shows the previous week) writes: “I told them I was having a party soon and asked if they would like to come and to play. I asked them at the Pescadero event. Garcia was all for it… It was my house…the house was actually in Memorial Park… There were no neighbors and we were surrounded by redwoods and off the beaten path… There were maybe 20 folks there, lots of LSD… I remember that they played Midnight Hour for about an hour.” (Rogers also wrote the liner notes for the 4/14/72 CD release.)
Saturday, September 3 seems a likely date.

September 4, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Country Joe and The Fish
Since this was Labor Day weekend, a Sunday night show was like a weekend show. County Joe and The Fish were just an underground Berkeley band at the time.

September 11, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Jon Hendricks Trio/Elvin Jones/Joe Henderson Quartet/Big Mama Thornton/Denny Zeitlin Trio/Jefferson Airplane/Great Society/Wildflower/Grateful Dead (unbilled) Benefit for The Both/And jazz club
Among many other subplots at this lengthy benefit, Jack Casady asked Great Society singer Grace Slick if she would be interested in replacing soon-to-depart Jefferson Airplane singer Signe Andrsen.

September 16-17, 1966 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Oxford Circle
The Vintage Dead lp has the iconic Kelly/Mouse poster from this date, but was probably actually recorded from a later show.

While the Grateful Dead's free performances at The Panhandle, a park-like area between Oak and Fell Streets, just East of Golden Gate Park, have become legend, those events may only be part of the story. It seems that in the late Summer and Fall of 1966, soon after the Dead relocated to 710 Ashbury, the band began playing for free in Golden Gate Park itself. Apparently, they played shows in Speedway Meadows--no permits, no publicity, no cops, all fun. Those few who were there say that this was as fun as anything ever could be, but little trace remains of such events.

A poster for the mysterious shows at the Pioneer Ballroom in Suisun City, CA, on September 23-24, 1966. Nothing is known about these events, even if they were actually held, save for the surviving poster.
September 23-24, 1966 Pioneer Ballroom, Suisun City, CA: Grateful Dead/13 Experience
Save for an obscure flyer, we know nothing about these shows, nor even anything about the venue. I have to assume the Ballroom was still intact due to the explosion of music in Northern California due to World War 2, but even so, if the show occurred, it must have been strange indeed.

September 30, 1966 International Room, San Francisco State College, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/The Only Alternative and His Other Possibilities with Mimi Farina
There was a weekend of events at San Francisco State surrounding an Acid Test, the last legal one in California. New research has unraveled some of the exact details of who performed each day.

October 1, 1966 Women's Gym, San Francisco State College, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Congress of Wonders/Universal Parking Lot/Dino Valenti/San Andreas Fault Finders
Universal Parking Lot became the group Phoenix. The San Andreas Fault Finders were a sort of jug band. Ken Kesey was present at this performance.

A midnight performance at the Mens' Gym featuring the Jefferson Airplane and Butterfield Blues Band, who were headlining over at Winterland, was canceled at the request of the police. A young black man had been shot by the SF police, and there had been riots in the Fillmore district.

October 2. 1966 Commons Lawn, San Francisco State College, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/The Only Alternative and His Other Possiblities/The Committee/Congress Of Wonders

October 6, 1966 The Panhandle, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Big Brother And The Holding Company/Elektric Chamber Orkustra Love Pageant Rally
LSD was made illegal in the State of California on this Thursday, and the Dead and Big Brother held an unscheduled free concert in the Panhandle. There had already been at least one free concert in the Panhandle, with Country Joe and The Fish on August 13, and the Dead had played some free shows at Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park, but this was the first free Grateful Dead show in the Panhandle (which, by the way, is not actually part of Golden Gate Park). This was a seminal event, as local freaks from everywhere in Northern California discovered that there were a lot more of them in the Bay Area than anyone thought, as a few thousand people attended.

October 7-9, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Butterfield Blues Band/Grateful Dead (Sunday Oct 9 was a 2pm Fillmore show)
Butterfield Blues Band and Jefferson Airplane were headlining three straight weekends at Winterland, with different acts on the bill, and this middle weekend was the Dead's turn. Due to the police having shot a black man in the Fillmore district, the neighborhood was very tense, and the shows (with the Dead replaced by Big Mama Thornton) were thinly attended. Thus, this weekend's shows were moved back to the much smaller Fillmore (confirmed by a Commenter from the SF Chronicle).

October 8, 1966 Mt. Tamalpais Amphitheater, Mill Valley, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Bola Sete "1st Congressional District Write-In Committee for Phil Drath and Peace Benefit"
This Saturday afternoon show began at 2:00pm. Joan Baez and Mimi Farina also appeared.
An ad from the student paper, The Stanford Daily, for the Grateful Dead concert at the Tressider Student Union on Friday, October 14, 1966. There were no rock concerts at Tressider after this show.

October 14, 1966 Tressider Memorial Union Deck, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Grateful Dead/Wildflower
In 1966, Stanford University regularly held concerts at the Student Union. But not after this one. The Stanford Daily implied that the Dead were banned from campus. Must have been a hella good time. 

October 15, 1966 Sausalito Heliport, Sausalito, CA: Grateful Dead/Transatlantic Railroad
In the early 1960s, it was widely believed that Helicopters would supersede automobiles as personal vehicles, just as the automobile had replaced the streetcar. At the very least, helicopters were going to replace buses. So there was a profusion of helicopter-related commercial developments (I am not making any of this up). One such project was the Sausalito Heliport, owned by real estate entrepreneur Don McCoy, who was also a friend and neighbor (at 715 Ashbury) of the Grateful Dead. Since business was slow, and helicopter users didn't mind noisy rock music, initially the Heliport was used as a concert venue. Later it turned out that it was better suited as a rehearsal space, and many bands, including the Dead at one point (in mid-1967), rehearsed there throughout the 1960s. 

October 16, 1966 The Panhandle, San Francisco, CA: Artists Liberation Front
A two-day festival was held on Saturday and Sunday (October 15-16), with the major San Francisco bands playing for free in the Panhandle. It's not clear which day the Dead appeared, but logic seems to suggest that it was Sunday, October 16.
update: commenter LIA cites the quote from Mojo Navigator
"On the 6th of October there was a rally in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle with the Grateful Dead, Big Brother & the Holding Co., and the Wildflower, followed last Sunday [the 16th] by another Panhandle festival, the Artists Liberation Front’s Free Fair. Bands appearing were the Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish... After the Fair, the Family Dog held its first anniversary dance at Avalon, with Big Brother & the Holding Company... Jerry Garcia played one song with the Holding Company..." (Later that night Pigpen & Garcia took part in a blues jam session.
October 16, 1966 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Per the great Mojo Navigator fanzine, we know that Jerry Garcia made a guest appearance with Big Brother, after the ALF event.

October 21-22, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Lighnin' Hopkins/Loading Zone
The Chocolate Watch Band may have played one night, possibly substituting for the Loading Zone, or possibly added to the bill. 

October 23, 1966 Las Lomas High School, Walnut Creek, CA: Grateful Dead
This Sunday afternoon event was part of a series that was originally scheduled for the Walnut Creek Library. Phil Lesh's parent's attended this show. A great Comment thread over on JGMF collects some eyewitness accounts.
Pigpen making an appearance in the SF Chronicle society page (October 31, 1966), as the Grateful Dead played the opening of the fashionable North Face shop

October 26, 1966 North Face Ski Shop, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead
Doug and Susie Tompkins had a hip boutique in North Beach called North Face, a Yosemite reference. The Grateful Dead were hired to play at the opening of the store. I assume the band played just a few numbers. The opening was covered in the Society Pages of the SF Chronicle, marking a rare Pigpen appearance in that section of the paper. Doug and Susie Tompkins went on to found the Esprit clothing line. 

The Dead and the Airplane were advertised for a show at St. Mary's College in Moraga on September 28, just over the hill from Berkeley. Later ads just have the Airplane, so it appears the Dead either canceled or were never really booked.

Fall 1966, American Legion Hall, South Lake Tahoe, CA: Grateful Dead
The whole history of rock bands in Lake Tahoe is complex and obscure, but the Dead played a big part in it. However, the band's first, unheralded appearance was well after the summer season. Apparently they only played to a few dozen people, and Pigpen wore guns on stage.

October 31, 1966 California Hall, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Mimi Farina
The Dead were touted for Ken Kesey's widely anticipated "Acid Test Graduation" at Winterland on Halloween, but they were already committed to the California Hall event. On top of that, the "Graduation" was going to attract a lot of unwanted attention from authorities, considering that LSD was now illegal. In the end, the Dead played California Hall, the Winterland event was canceled, and Kesey and the Merry Pranksters had their graduation at a tiny warehouse. However, author Tom Wolfe attended the warehouse event, and the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test followed 18 months later.

November 4-5, 1966, Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Oxford Circle
There are different dates on the poster and handbill (Nov 3-4 vs 4-5), but at the time Avalon shows were weekend only, so November 4-5 would be correct

November 12, 1966 Old Cheese Factory, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Andrew Staples
The Old Cheese Factory, at 517 Washington Street, near Ghirardelli Square, was only used this one time for rock concerts. Andrew Staples was the re-named Group B, from Davis.

November 13, 1966 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Big Brother And The Holding Company/Quicksilver Messenger Service Zeneift

November 18-20, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/James Cotton Blues Band/Lothar And The Hand People
The Sunday show (November 20) was from 2-7pm. I believe there was one admission for the afternoon show, and then the house turned over for the SNCC Benefit later that night, featuring the same bands with additional guests.

A poster for the SNCC Benefit at Fillmore on November 20, 1966
November 20, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/James Cotton Blues Band/Johnny Talbot And De Thangs SNCC Benefit
Jon Hendricks also appeared at this event, and could have sang with the Dead, which is a nice thought. The Dead had just finished backing Hendricks on the soundtrack to a movie called Fire In The City, later released as a single under Hendricks' name. No one, including Hendricks, has mentioned him singing on state with the Dead, but I like to imagine it anyway.

November 23, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Bill Graham Presents Thanksgiving Party
Bill Graham celebrated his first year as a rock promoter with a Thanksgiving party. Originally scheduled for Thursday, November 23(it has been confirmed that the event was not delayed until November 27). The Grateful Dead and other bands played the event.

November 28-December 1, 1966 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Gratefuld Dead/Jerry Pond

December 2, 1966 Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Grateful Dead/Country Joe And The Fish

December 9-11, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Tim Rose/Big Mama Thornton

December 14 or 15, 1966 Gym, College of Marin, Kentfield, CA: Grateful Dead
The day of the week of this College of Marin dance is uncertain, but there is no doubt that it happened. Future Sons Of Champlin road manager Charlie Kelly returned home from Basic Training on his way to Vietnam, and saw the Dead a few days before The Sons debuted at the Avalon on his birthday(Friday Dec 16). So the week stuck in his mind.

December 20, 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Otis Redding/Grateful Dead
Otis Redding played three mid-week nights (Tuesday through Thursday) at the Fillmore, and the Dead were the opening act the first night. The Fillmore had rows of folding chairs for these shows, and most of the tickets were bought by the largely African-American residents of the Fillmore district. It is likely that Otis Redding had played the Fillmore before for Charles Sullivan, Graham's predecessor.

The Grateful Dead headlined a show at the Continental Ballroom in Santa Clara (a San Jose suburb) on December 21, 1966
December 21, 1966 Continental Ballroom, Santa Clara, CA: Grateful Dead
The Continental, at 1600 Martin Avenue in Santa Clara (a suburb of San Jose) was a converted roller skating rink. The Warlocks apparently had played their the year before, when it was called The Continental Roller Bowl. San Jose had a thriving teen rock scene, and this Wednesday night show would have been aimed at teenagers who had the week off from school.

December 23-24, 1966 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Moby Grape/Steve Miller Band
These weekend shows were the ballroom debuts of both Moby Grape and the Steve Miller Band. Both of the acts had only played little clubs (save for a poorly attended debut for the Grape), but these shows brought their music to much wider audiences. Research by leading scholars has suggested that at least some, if not all, of Vintage Dead came from one of these shows.

December 28, 1966 Governor's Hall, State Fairgrounds, Sacramento, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service Beaux Arts Ball
The Beuax Arts Ball was a big social event at Cal State Sacramento, sort of a combination arts show and party. This show appears to have been the Dead's Sacramento debut. There is a whiff that the band may have played nearby UC Davis in the fall of 1966, but I am unable to pin that down.

December 29, 1966 Santa Venetia Armory, Santa Venetia, CA: Grateful Dead/Moby Grape/Morning Glory

December 30-31 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service
On Saturday, December 31, BGP inaugurated the New Year's Eve Fillmore blowout. The poster says "9pm-9am." No one remembers anything.