|A handbill for the Vancouver, BC Trips Festival. at the PNE Gardens from July 29-31, 1966. The Grateful Dead played all three days.|
|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.|
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.|
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|
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|
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
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.|
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.
[update: I have found an eyewitness and confirmed this event. I was wrong about almost everything, but happy to know the facts now]
Suisun City had been a crucial transshipment point for grain since the 1850s, since it was on the tip of a waterway that ultimately led to San Francisco Bay. Suisun City is in the middle of Solano County, roughly halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento. In 1869, the first Transcontinental Railroad linked Suisun City to the entire country. By the mid-20th century however, trucks had taken over from trains and the grain shipment business declined. The Pioneer Ballroom had been a grain storage warehouse for many decades, but when that business ended in the early 1960s, the owners converted it to a skating rink called M&M Skateland.
Since skating rinks were a popular site for teenagers on weekends, they often presented music. Roller skating rinks played an important role in the history of post WW2 music, well into the rock and roll era, but that is a subject for another time. Fairfield, the town next to Suisun City, had a popular skating rink called Redman's Roller Rink (at 2250 N. Texas Street). In the 1960s, Redman's often presented local and regional acts like The Golliwogs, and sometimes even national touring acts. In 1964, jazz great Louis Armstrong played Redman's.
My eyewitness grew up in Fairfield, but his grandparents lived across the street from the warehouse that became the Pioneer Ballroom, on the corner of Morgan and Kellogg in Suisun City. He recalls that when the Fillmore scene hit, the operators of Skateland simply named it "Pioneer Ballroom" and put up a stage in a corner of the rink, just like Redman's had done. He only recalls three shows. He attended the first one, with The Sir Douglas Quintet, but there were only about 20 people attending. The second show was the great Los Angeles group Love, and the third one was the Dead.
My eyewitness, then thirteen years old, was at his grandparent's house and really wanted to see the Dead show. His grandmother, however--clearly a woman of sound judgement--refused to let him cross the street. But we now know for a fact that the shows occurred. To his recollection, the Grateful Dead weekend was the last set of shows at the Pioneer Ballroom.
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|
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.
|An article in the Country Almanac reporting on the December 17, 1966 performance by the Grateful Dead at Ladera School (Ladera is just above Menlo Park)|
Ladera was an unincorporated community in the hills above Menlo Park and Palo Alto, just West of Stanford University. The Ladera School was a public K-5th school, which is now the private Woodland School (I believe K-8). Some parents used the Ladera School gym to put on dances for the local teenagers, by then in High School. This was probably because there was little for the teenagers to do in Ladera. A few successful dances had been put on, so the parents decided to pay the Dead $2000 to perform. December 17 was a Saturday, and there was no way a working band was going to pass on a Saturday night booking. Tickets were $1.00.
Although there had been rumors about this event over the years, the mystery was finally resolved when Ladera scholar Susan Suesser found a 1966 article about the dance in the neighborhood newspaper, the Ladera Crier, and then recounted in the local newspaper, the Country Almanac. The article was republished in the fine In Menlo blog. There's no doubt about this one--the Country Almanac even had a picture of Pigpen.
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|
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.