Feb 28, 2018

March 17, 1970: Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, NY


For many years there was a strong debate as to the musical veracity of rock music. Now with the rockophile's mind overflowing with the rhythm and texture of such groups as The Mothers of Invention, Capt. Beefheart and his Magic Band, etc., the debate is decidedly over.
Rock is solid, musically and intellectually.
Standing in a paramount position among the vast pantheon of rock gods and goddesses is one group. An American group whose musical virtuosity and tenacity has won them respect and fame.
The group calls itself The Grateful Dead. Their musical capabilities extend from highly progressive, and aggressive, rock to Cageian electronics.
Music is a way of life for many and when an occasion arises when two forms come together and form one "new" musical entity, a certain amount of apprehension fills the air of the music community.
"The Grateful Dead with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Oh, Wow!!!"
Why not? But it's true The Grateful Dead will scamper across the breadth of the United States to meet with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Lukas Foss and do what comes natural to most musicians - jam.
Tuesday, March 17 at Kleinhans Music Hall, a musical marathon shall commence. First on the evening's agenda will be the Buffalo Philharmonic under Lukas Foss doing the music of John Cage.
Next, onto the stage will step The Grateful Dead. They, too, will do an entire set.
Finally, the merging of two musical forms, the Dead and the Philharmonic in an old-time jam session. Also on the program will be a new concept in light shows. Laser beams!
They shoot conductors, don't they?

(by Joe Fernbacher, from the Spectrum, University at Buffalo, 13 March 1970)

* * *


The Grateful Dead, a rock group from the West Coast, will appear with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on the Marathon concert from 7 pm. to 11 p.m. Tuesday in Kleinhans Music Hall.
The group will replace two rock groups that had been scheduled originally - The Byrds and Raven.

It is the first appearance here by the Dead. Members of the rock group are Jerry Garcia, lead guitar; Phil Lesh, bass guitar; Bob Weir, rhythm guitar; Mike Constanten, piano and organ; Billy Kreutzman and Mickey Hart, drums; and Pigpen, conga drums.
The group with the "San Francisco Sound" has recently released a live double album, "Live Dead." The group's songs include "Dark Star" and "St. Stephen."
The Marathon program will begin with Lukas Foss and the Grateful Dead performing "Non-Improvisation," a Bach Destruction with the music of Bach played against and within a wall of rock sound.

The Grateful Dead will perform two 45-minute sets - before and after Foss's "Geod," scheduled at 8:30 p.m.
John Cage's Variations III and IV will be played simultaneously, possibly involving the Grateful Dead along with the symphony orchestra.
Rock band and symphony orchestra will conclude the program with a confrontation beginning at 10:15 p.m.
The program will benefit the orchestra. Tickets are $4.50.

(from the Buffalo Courier Express, March 14 1970)

* * *


The Grateful Dead, hard rock’s national headliners in festivals and top-selling albums, will join the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Lukas Foss in the Philharmonic Rock Marathon, this evening at 7 in Kleinhans Music Hall.
The Road, area rock group, also will appear.
Confirmation of the Grateful Dead followed an earlier cancellation of The Byrds. “The Dead” are accepting expenses but waiving their usual huge fee, to help the Philharmonic benefit and for the “privilege and delight,” as they put it, “of working with Lukas Foss.”
It will be a four-hour concert in six parts, any one of them a major event. The whole program, in fact, is history-making as the first fully-shared concert by a rock group and symphony orchestra.
Also, a far-out light-show outfit from Michigan called Sonovision is bringing in about $4000 worth of equipment including a laser beam and prism, for the latest thing in lighting effects on the music hall walls.

The program will open with conductor Foss as guest pianist with the Grateful Dead in a non-improvisation – pianist Foss playing the Bach Concerto in F Minor and the rock artists surrounding him with a rhythmic and electronic counterpoint.
At 7:30 PM “The Dead” will orbit on their own - two drummers, organ, guitars, trumpet, congas - for an hour of their album settings in whatever version inspires them at the time.
At 8:30 PM Mr. Foss and a battery of sub-conductors will lead the orchestra in the American premiere of the Foss “Geod,” complete with laser show.
At 9 PM “The Dead” will take over again. At 9:40 PM Mr. Foss will conduct Variations II and III by avant-gardist John Cage.
Then, 10:15 PM to closing, the Philharmonic and “The Dead” will jam in a musical challenge session. This part of it isn’t exactly clear at the moment, but both groups will be playing, perhaps with some kind of underlying principle in mind.
Unreserved seats throughout the house at $4.50 (there was a previous quotation of $3.50 but that was before the present setup) are available in the Philharmonic box office in the music hall, Buffalo Festival ticket office in the Statler Hilton Lobby, Denton, Cottier & Daniels, and Norton Hall, UB Campus.

(from the Buffalo Evening News, 17 March 1970)

* * *


The exact moment the Grateful Dead got their sound together physically sent a sublime shock through Kleinhans Music Hall Tuesday evening.
The shock had a positive impact. It was a happy realization by both the audience and the Dead that the first few amorphous moments of sound-searching had suddenly found a vehicle to ride to inventive heights.
From this metamorphic instance in the Philharmonic Rock Marathon, conceived by Lukas Foss, one could feel the extraordinary rapport between the Dead’s rock and the orchestral prose, and also between both of these and the highly responsive young audience.

For 2200 in Kleinhans Music Hall, the Dead offered some of their best material in their set's limited time. After each member analyzed what his fellow Dead were feeling this particular night, the creative improvisation began.
The Dead uses two drummers, Mickey Hart and Billy Kruetzman, to form a “figure 8” of sound around the guitars and organ. This duo broke from the set rhythm of “Dark Star” into a ping-pong drumming contest, adding a new beat with each volley.
They closed the match with a duet synchronizing move for move. Lynn Harbold, Philharmonic percussionist, joined in this number on Hart’s drums doing a fine job.
Jerry Garcia's lead guitar had some really sharp and sweet phrases. He is very contented looking and you’re sure he just has to have dimples under his bushy beard and smile.
Another exciting team is Phil Lesh's bass and Bob Weir's rhythm guitar. Like a scholar reading his notes, Lesh in wire-rimmed glasses sets down perspicacious bass lines. Weir is constantly moving, with flourishes interweaving around the bass and lead guitars.
Pigpen, the Dead’s organist, brought the clapping crowd to its feet with his “Love Night.” He is the individualistic loner in denim jacket and cowboy hat.

The Road, a group from Buffalo, performed in another section of the marathon. Lead singer Nick DiStephano has a good voice with the rest of the group harmonizing closely in Feelin’ Allright, What a Breakdown, and Delta Lady.
As conductor Foss played his Bach non-improvisation, the Road came in around him with their wall of sound, providing a bit too much rhythm and shout and not enough free-form experimentation.
The Grateful Dead worked their wave of music more adeptly around this free-form style with a lot more adroit ramifications.

At the end of the program, the Dead showed more experience when two conductors standing back to back divided the orchestra for a battle. On one half stood Jan Williams with the Road and on the other Lukas Foss and the Grateful Dead.
The closing rock-Philharmonic challenge is the most exciting new concept of contemporary music. As the groups and orchestras jammed, the atmosphere was intensified with a laser-beam light show. Rapid patterns and curves of pure light chased along the walls in time with the music like frantic balls of yarn. During this experimental work, a really exciting thing happened – a rock audience finally listening to a symphony group on its own terms suddenly took the initiative and began making music themselves by imitating the instruments and calls of the musicians.
As an evening of rock and symphony avant-garde it was not only entertaining and often exciting, but carved new territory for players and listeners in both styles.

(by James Brennan, from the Buffalo Evening News, 18 March 1970)

* * *


The marathon concert which brought together the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and two rock bands – the Grateful Dead and the Road – was a strange imbalance of ecstasy and cool. The program Tuesday night in Kleinhans Music Hall drew a good house – about 2,300 – for a benefit of the orchestra.
People came to hear the Grateful Dead, and indeed, when that group got warmed up it seemed the audience would not be content with anything less than having the Dead finish the concert by themselves.
Speaker fuzziness spoiled the first vocal number, but after the sound system was improved the group went through several numbers with good effect, including a long performance in which the beat had most of the audience clapping and, as space permitted, dancing.
The soundscape of the Grateful Dead is an interesting blend of organ, percussion (drums and resonant gongs) and guitars. Two firecrackers were set off on stage, increasing the excitement. During one number, Philharmonic percussionist Lynn Harbold sat in with the Dead on drums.

Following intermission Foss led a performance of his “Geod” for orchestra. This entailed the use of four additional conductors, and laser-beam light projections created by Sonovision.
If Foss couldn’t give the rock audience the music it wanted, he could try to pass with a light show. But even the light show was soon pale once the few effects had been comprehended.
The idea behind the laser-beams is that they are realizations in color and design of the music sounds. The four colors are green, blue, yellow and red. Starting from a point of color, a design blossoms in nervous lines that squiggle and dart over walls and ceiling.
The play of lines made the light show something of an animated game. But soon the agitated patterns were not very interesting. (Circular forms, used during the final part of the program, were quite beautiful to see.)
The music of “Geod” requires five conductors to give cues to play audibly and inaudibly. Most of the music is very quiet, familiar tunes played against a soft curtain of sustained tones, with snippets of wind phrases for gentle agitation. “Taps,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Going Home” and a very slow “Merrily We Go Along” were some tunes heard.
Sounds included gentle singing from the orchestra, organ, harmonica, accordion and mandolin. The audience joined in clapping at one point, and by the end of the performance was making knocking, popping mouth sounds that seemed to fit quite well.

The program ended with an attempt to merge symphony orchestra and rock bands in an improvised jam. It didn’t work very well. Jan Williams and Foss issued spoken directions (“Attention: Attack...Gliss downward...Vibrato”) which made the performance rather unspontaneous. Only when a rock band came alive did the jam work.
The program began with Foss at the piano, playing Bach in the “Non-Improvisation” with three groups – The Road, members of the orchestra, and the Dead. Road played a set, and then there was a piece by John Cage, which included a lecture by Cage from loud speakers and live performers strolling through the concert hall.

(by Thomas Putnam, from the Buffalo Courier Express, 18 March 1970)

Alas, no tape! 

Thanks to Dave Davis and Jay Gerland:

See also: http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2010/04/buffalo-31770.html  

Feb 27, 2018

January 2-3, 1970: Fillmore East, NYC


FILLMORE EAST, N.Y. - This rock emporium hosted one of its less spectacular shows last weekend. On the bill were Grateful Dead, fresh from a non-playing engagement at the bad scene Rolling Stones concert in California; Cold Blood, a new group from San Francisco; and the Canadian-based Lighthouse, making its Fillmore debut.
Drummer Skip Prokop and his 13 man Lighthouse group got the proceedings under way. These RCA Victor artists are obviously talented musicians, yet somehow their set failed to catch fire. A curiously atypical Fillmore audience, with a sizeable proportion of tourists, didn't exactly help matters, nor did a medley of Beatle songs employing what was basically the original arrangements, which worked fine for the renowned foursome but were hardly designed for this baker's dozen.
The real excitement of the evening was the appearance of Lydia Pense, lead singer of Cold Blood. Much will be written in days to come of Lydia's resemblance, both physically and vocally, to Janis Joplin. It would be unfortunate if this similarity were to distract audiences from this girl's clear and dynamic talent. She is no imitator; she brings her individual approach to each song and the results are explosive. At the Fillmore, she transcended an instrumental back-up which was disjointed and lacking in real enthusiasm. She was especially memorable on the current charter "You Got Me Hummin'" and the eloquent "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free."
Grateful Dead showed up to offer an undistinguished set, plagued by faulty amps, a malady which is getting to be the rule rather than the exception at their appearances. Except for their "Alligator" which was loose and occasionally imaginative, they merely played their instruments and left at the appointed time.

(by e.k., from Cashbox, 17 January 1970)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

https://archive.org/details/gd1970-01-03.137559.sbd.miller.flac1648 (early show)


NEW YORK - The triple header program of Lighthouse, Cold Blood, and Grateful Dead, at Fillmore East Jan. 2-3, kicked the '70's off to a groovy start at this New York mecca of rock music. The three bands, rich in talent and coordination, individual in style, turned in a three-hour concert which can easily be rated among the best ever staged for discerning Fillmore audiences.
Setting the pace was Lighthouse, a 13-member group, which utilizes strings, brass, and percussion instruments, to produce a unique and thoroughly enjoyable rock sound with distinct baroque undertones not often found in underground music.
The group, on RCA records, is comprised of talented and very professional musicians who, one suspects, would be as much at home playing in a symphony orchestra as they were on the Fillmore stage. The only weak spot of their very successful Fillmore debut was the excessive length of some of their solo pieces, which detracted somewhat from their overall performance.
Lighthouse was followed by Cold Blood, on San Francisco Records. This nine-member outfit with a blues/rock beat, featured a big brass sound and a diminutive lead singer that is a combination of Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, and Ten Wheel Drive's Genya Raven.
She stole the spotlight with a very well-rehearsed act which included the old gospel standard, "I Wish I Knew How It Feels To Be Free," and the Rolling Stones hit, "I Want to Make Love to You."
The evening's piece de resistance came from Grateful Dead. No strangers to New York audiences, the Warner Bros. artists were their usual professional selves, serving up a dish of cool and groovy fare that was in sharp contrast to their forerunners. Basically a folk-rock outfit, the seven-member band, with Ron McKernan on vocals, is versatile and original without being theatrical. Its evening's repertoire included many tunes from its recently released album, "Live/Dead."

(from Billboard, 17 January 1970)

https://archive.org/details/gd70-01-02.early-late.sbd.cotsman.18120.sbeok.shnf (late show)

See also: http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2015/08/january-2-1970-fillmore-east-nyc.html  

Feb 24, 2018

January 10, 1970: Community Concourse, San Diego


The Greatful Dead, heroes of countless tales from the underground, players of many free gigs all over the country, and the best goddamn rocknroll band in the land, is coming to good ole San Diego by the sea. They will be playing a concert at the Community Concourse, January 10th. The Dead probably has the most devoted following of any of the bands that have been around for a time. When the Dead are in town, all the freaks suddenly appear out of nowhere to dance and laugh and enjoy the good long sets. Of all the bands in San Francisco that started out so promising before succumbing to the tasteless type of the mass media, only the Greatful Dead has remained to remind us of what Free music is all about. They are the band that cut a couple records only because they were badly in debt from playing free gigs and helping others out.
The list of events that they have participated in is endless: the Trips Festival, the 67 Peace March, Monterey, People's Park benefits, outside San Quentin walls while the abortive strike was going on, the Great Be-In, inside the Fillmore for bail money for Street Fighters, outside the building of Columbia University when it was occupied by our brothers, inside the Family Dog to help Chet Helms try and salvage something from the remains of the hip community in San Francisco, in parks in San Francisco, New York, Denver, and other cities. These are a few of the more memorable happenings that come to mind.
They tried to start a dance hall for the People that didn't have the bread to get into Graham's Place. They were in on most of what has been going down in San Francisco for the past five years or so. Their house has been the scene of innumerable parties and at times the hub for many of the musicians in the bay area. They are coming here just after the release of their latest record. Live Dead (Warner Bros.) is a two-record set that captures the intensity and feeling of their music. As on their previous album, Aoxomoxoa, Owsley is one of the consulting engineers.
Jerry Garcia is perhaps the most underrated guitarist playing today. He is ignored by all those 'hip' rock critics that seem to abound everywhere; the same guys that tell us what rock music is all [about].
The two percussionists, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, are rarely mentioned but their sense of timing puts many prominent rock drummers to shame. Phil Lesh and Bob Weir compliment Garcia to make a formidable threesome on guitars. Tom Constanten is on keyboard and of course Pigpen is there on organ and congas. I suggest that you stick a speaker in each ear and sit back and enjoy a couple hours with Live Dead. The concourse is not the best place to listen to music, especially the Dead, but until we can support a place where we can listen and dance to music, it will have to suffice. Try to scrape the bread together and go hear the Grateful Dead; you won't be sorry.

(from the San Diego Street Journal, 2 January 1970)


Rock music from San Francisco has grown less important in recent months as many of the good bands have fallen apart and acid rock, the music form peculiarly San Francisco's since 1965, has faded away.
The Grateful Dead, who are generally credited with being the first of the city's popular underground bands, have, however, played it smart and explored other musical territories.
Saturday night in concert at the Convention Hall, the Dead proved themselves a spunky cowboy band instead of specialists in acid rock. The group image has changed. Everybody has shorter hair and wears a lot of woodsy, Marlboro-looking costumes. They have that same sort of free-for-all atmosphere on stage as always and the new music goes down very well indeed.

The Dead appeared about 11 p.m. and the set did not break up until almost 12:30 a.m. One of the first things we heard was an old country song, "I Know You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone," delivered with lots of down home plunkety-plunk. Throughout the set there were songs about bandits and card games, Santa Fe and West Texas County and holdups. "Drive That Train" and "Don't Murder Me" were especially fun.
But the Dead saved the best for last - Ron (Pig Pen) McKernan's "Lovelight." The tune [has] been a part of the Dead repertoire for almost as long as they have been alive, but it comes out differently at each performance, lasting anywhere from two minutes to two hours.
Saturday night's "Lovelight" ran for about 45 minutes. McKernan, who usually plays conga drums and harp with the Dead, built things up and let them fall and did it all over again and again singing "Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine." The set broke up joyfully with the audience clapping and dancing and stomping.

The Sons of Champlin, who preceded the Dead, tried the same sort of audience participation, but didn't do it nearly so well. The Sons' problem of the evening seemed to be deciding whether or not to play. The band took 30 minutes to arrange equipment on stage and spent another 30 minutes clunking about through fragmentary repertoire before getting into anything solid. Once, the whole set dissolved while the lead guitarist went over to play the piano, which he then decided didn't work. He tried the organ instead. That did work, in fact it worked very well through the rest of the set. The band sailed with him at the keyboard.
Before the Sons we heard Aum: A guitarist and vocalist who breathes mothy sighs into the mike while a drummer and bass player make powdery noises that sometimes go rough and angry. The vocalist screams then - but not very well.

(by Carol Olten, from the San Diego Union, 12 January 1970)

Thanks to Dave Davis.


Feb 23, 2018

June 1968: the Carousel Ballroom


The Carousel Ballroom is a beautiful place to hang out. There's good local bands like the Dead and the Airplane, plus they've presented people like Thelonius Monk, Johnny Cash, and Dr. John the Night Tripper. But it's more than a dance concert. The place is big enough so you aren't forced to listen. You can wander off into the side rooms and talk or eat and drink. And since you have all those choices, it's easier to listen, easier to be relaxed. It's like a big party in a big house.
Food? I had a plate of chicken cooked in tomatoey sauce, saffron rice, asparagus cooked in wine, and home-made bread for 95 cents. My old lady had a piece of Ambrosia Cake with real orange slices in the layers. Ahhhhhh, instant Falstaff bliss! Take your whole harem for a meal today.
The dance floor has a ceiling made of velvet silver glittery drapes arranged like huge upside down mushrooms. There's carpets and chairs on the side, and a big bar area with more carpets and a restaurant with damask walls.
It was groovy like a Victorian opera house bordello even before people started turning it into a rock palace with their decorations. Now paintings are growing on the walls. Mouse painted a stoned Donald Duck on a pillar. Spider did a wall. Ovid is painting a three-wall mural. You can't go wrong with names like that. And Bob Thomas is painting a Magical Black Light Forest.
The Carousel, new as it is, radiates an important force in the community. There's a great sense of participation there. We're all part of it. There's jam sessions on Tuesday night for a dollar. A band forms up and plays for about an hour, then another band forms. Last week, Jerry Garcia and Elvin Bishop jammed together. And last Sunday, the Carousel moved their whole show, which included the Dead, Charley Musselwhite, and Petris out to Golden Gate Park for the afternoon as a holiday celebration.
Last Friday Ron Rakow, the manager, got together with Bill Graham for a three-hour talk over breakfast about ways in which the ballrooms could cooperate so that each could do their scene and it would all work and make a more total thing.
A lot of people like to put down Bill Graham. It's a favorite indoor sport. Because he's successful, or ornery, or commercial, or too straight...lots of reasons, lots of put-downs. The great thing about put-downs is that while you are describing what THAT person did wrong, you don't have to DO anything right yourself, you can just play Instant Expert.
We can't afford that luxury now. We have to do something affirmative, whatever we can: rap, sew, eat, dance, sing, or set up another dance hall. Argument can be very good when it's face to face. When we do our thing somehow in relation to each other, a tremendous energy force flashes between us, our various scenes and methods reflect on and strengthen each other. Insofar as we do that, we are a community.
So when the Carousel people and Graham try to work out ways to cooperate, just the fact of their trying helps us. This kind of sharing and of breaking down barriers is characteristic of the things the Carousel has been involved with, such as the beautiful Free City Convention, the Hells Angels Dance, the jam sessions...even the strike-breaking that Ron Rakow got into when he advertised on KMPX. I didn't like that, but in fact it DID help blow open a situation that had by then turned into pretty much a game.
The whole feeling of the Carousel is that it's a gathering, a place for all of us to happen, rather than a concert. Go there and hang out, meet your friends, it's our palace.

(by Sandy Darlington, from the San Francisco Express-Times, 6 June 1968)

Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com

See also: http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2013/06/springsummer-1968-san-francisco.html

Feb 22, 2018

November 25, 1968: Memorial Auditorium, Ohio University, Athens


The Grateful Dead, one of the original San Francisco sound musical groups, will give a free concert in Ohio University's Memorial Auditorium at 8:30 p.m. Monday.
The concert is being sponsored by Athens Art Associates, the production company which runs the Appalachian Lighthouse, and the Ohio University Center Program Board.
Also appearing in the concert will be the Tin Foil, a local rock band, and several other local bands. Doors will open at 8 p.m.
The Grateful Dead, subjects of numerous magazine articles and television interviews, have produced two top-selling albums, "Anthem of the Sun" and "The Grateful Dead."

(from the Athens Messenger, 25 November 1968)


There's something about music that this old-fashioned listener demands, if he can be expected to dig it: a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Members of the Grateful Dead, the famed underground rock group from San Francisco, apparently have [dispensed] with such dust-covered notions, for their performance last night in venerable Memorial Auditorium contained only a couple of songs with such construction.
There's little doubt that these fellows are among the most proficient on their instruments in the realm of acid rock. The lead guitarist, particularly, can fashion some things which give the tuned-in listener more than a minimum of thrills. And the two drummers play some fantastic patterns, giving a sturdy understructure to the electric sounds being manufactured by others on stage.
But there's something about 30-minute "songs" which have no melodies, which start nowhere and end nowhere with nothing happening in between, that cause this listener to nod toward dreamsville. And the third piece attempted by the Dead last night most definitely can be placed in that category.
There was a rock group on campus last year called the Headstone Circus. When they wanted to, they played as fine a blues-based acid sound as one could hope to hear. But too often members of the Circus turned introspective and seemed to be telling the audience to do their own thing while the band did its. And the band's thing often wasn't musical and/or entertaining.
Sorrowfully, the feeling emerged Monday night that the Dead, who were good enough to do this gig for free, didn't feel any obligation to entertain the non-paying customers who had filled every nook and cranny of the big old auditorium. So, by 10:45 when another obligation forced this writer to leave, many others had departed ahead of me, many perhaps because they tire of hearing a 10-minute guitar solo without form or structure, despite the undeniable brilliance of the musicians.
What's more, there're two reasons why people go to concerts: (1) to hear the music, and (2) to SEE the musicians. Too often last night, the Dead were in the dark while a boring light show was projected on the movie screen above their heads. These light shows, which seem to be popular together [sic] without the slightest hint of thought or preparation, are distracting and irritating in the extreme. Done properly, they can be a distinct plus to a concert. But last night's light display didn't make that definition.
It's good that Athens was privileged to have the chance to dig the Dead. But it's a shame that the Dead didn't bother to score any points for their side.
As a postscript, I might add that a fellow newsman disagrees "with about 89 per cent" of the above. He stayed until the end of the show and reports that the Dead took a break, moved their equipment and microphones around, the light people reassembled their forces, and the whole thing then wailed until midnight, with some members of the audience dancing on stage.
However, I outrank him in seniority and years, so I refuse him the right of a "minority report." How's That for a Generation Gap, Baby?

(by Robert Powers, from the Athens Messenger, 26 November 1968)


Editor, The Messenger:
Bob Powers' criticisms of the Grateful Dead in his review last Tuesday show the difficulties a nervous system over 30 has in accepting the spiritual basis of present rock music. But he has taken a lot of wattage from rock in the past year, and should be ready to understand this latest phase of the evolution.
The 30-minute "songs" he didn't understand are the rock versions of Indian ragas and mantras. Recorded ragas usually run for 20 minutes. Ali Akhbar Khan has recorded a 40-minute raga on two sides. But live ragas in India and at pop festivals often run for several hours late into the night or before dawn.
A raga is a spiritual work with two or three stringed instruments and tables [sic], or drums. It flows from a musical motif which expresses one of the dozen or so basic emotions, and works through both free and well-ordered elaborations of the motif. Recent rock extends and amplified the same energies of the central nervous system which ragas and mantras served in the Orient. The electrical bass is the key to this current phase. The spinal system responds whether the ears do or not.
The Grateful Dead are not merely entertaining, or amusing themselves. They are focusing spiritual energy with a receptive audience. The energetic dancing and ten-minute ovation at the end showed the mutual communication. The Dead gave and the living were grateful.
Powers also missed the final unaccompanied mantram, "Lay Your Head on Your Savior's Breast, Good Night." The chant was intentionally subdued and repetitious. A Mantram is a sacred formula, originally Hindu and Buddhist, for prayerful repetition, aloud or silently. Private mantras are given by Yogis to their disciples. The mantram is what we know as a prayer. It works to open the whole person to the source of his spiritual powers.
So Powers' label "acid rock" is incorrect. The spiritual essence of this phase of rock is properly known as "[raga] rock" and "mantra rock."
Five major events have focused spiritual and creative life in Athens in the past month: the appearances of Marshall McLuhan, Tim Leary, and Sidney Cohen, the Yoga program by disciples of Swami Satchidananda of New York, the Beatles' latest album, and the Grateful Dead concert. A new, massive phase of Athens' spiritual evolution is taking place, and Athenians deserve perceptive reporting of it. It is still uncomfortable to those who want to agree with Powers' evaluation of the Grateful Dead. But these related surges of energy I am pointing to cannot be overlooked.
Athenians need to recover their inner vitality and outer affection for the rebirth of the whole community. We all see the threat of abrasive encounters between groups of people who would rather fight than free their minds. A wide variety of sources makes it possible for everyone to share in the more peaceful life forces, as it fits their character. A sacred consciousness in a softer weaponless environment is going to nurture good community feeling.
We are participating, willingly or not, in the most massive evolution of spiritual consciousness in human history. It is happening very, very fast in Athens. We have stopped waiting for Godot, because he isn't coming unless we do. So, the Beatles' invitation: "Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play?" Become as a child, and take part. Everyone can. Rock, raga, mantram, Yoga: all of them are forms of holy playful love.
Richard Rickets, Athens Route 1

(from the Letters to the Editor, the Athens Messenger, 3 December 1968)

Alas, no tape!

Thanks to Dave Davis, who discovered these articles and the true date of the concert.

See also: http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2015/08/november-23-1968-memorial-auditorium.html

December 21, 1967: Owsley Bust


ORINDA, Calif. (UPI) - Five persons, including a college dropout known as "king of acid" who allegedly earned a million dollars manufacturing and selling LSD, faced federal arraignment today on conspiracy charges.
Augustus Owsley Stanley III, 32, whose grandfather was a Kentucky governor, congressman and U.S. senator,  was arrested by agents of the Federal Bureau of Drug Abuse Thursday in a raid on a fashionable two-story home in this residential community 40 miles east of San Francisco. Stanley is known throughout the west as "king of acid."
Pat Fuller, western director of the bureau, said the home contained "a very sophisticated chemical laboratory" and large quantities of chemicals.
Others seized were William A. Spires, 24, Robert D. Thomas, 29, Melissa Cargill, 25, and Rhona Helen Gissen, 26. They were booked on charges of "conspiracy to illegally manufacture a controlled drug."
All were to be arraigned today before a U.S. commissioner in San Francisco. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney said $5,000 bail would be asked for Stanley and $2,500 each for the others.
Miss Cargill, Stanley's girlfriend and a chemistry major, reportedly provided the knowledge for the manufacture of LSD. Fuller said the chemicals found in the house would be studied and analyzed.
Fuller said the raid followed an investigation of more than one year, but "investigative developments of the past few days" led to Stanley's arrest. He said federal agents had dressed as hippies and infiltrated acid-using groups in San Francisco and other places.
Authorities said the raid was not connected to the seizure of $2 million worthy of hallucinogenic drugs Wednesday in New York.
Stanley, an air force veteran who dropped out of the University of California at Berkeley in 1964 because of failing grades, reportedly turned out 10 million doses of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) in a makeshift Berkeley laboratory before the drug was declared illegal in April, 1966. Each acid pill retailed for between $2 and $5.
The LSD capsules became known simply as "Owsleys." Stanley, who wore his hair page-boy style and owned an extensive wardrobe of bright, floral-print shirts, became a living legend among hippies.
The young millionaire was the patron of a popular rock group known as "The Grateful Dead" and let them practice at his Berkeley home.
Fuller said the two-story laboratory at 69 Esperila St. in Orinda had been rented a few months ago, but he would not disclose by whom. He added those arrested also had been seen "going in and out of" a place in nearby Berkeley.
Miss Cargill gave up her job as a laboratory assistant and joined Stanley after he left the University of California. They rented quarters behind a store in Berkeley.
Records show Stanley purchased 800 grams of Lysergic acid, a main ingredient of LSD, from two chemical companies in Los Angeles early in 1965, using the fictional name of the Bear Research Group. This was enough to make 1.5 million LSD tablets.
Police raided the Berkeley laboratory in February, 1965 and seized the lysergic acid and other chemicals. Charges later were dropped when it could not be proved the drugs were illegal.
Stanley reportedly became a millionaire within a year at the age of 31.
He was described by his father as "emotionally unbalanced but with a brilliant mind." He left home at 18.
Augustus Stanley Owsley, Stanley's grandfather, served as governor of Kentucky from 1915 to 1918. Before that, he was a U.S. congressman for 23 years. He served one term in the U.S. Senate after his governorship. He died in 1958 at the age of 91.

(from the Salem Capital Journal, 22 December 1967)

See also http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2013/03/october-1966-owsley-stanley-lsd.html

* * *

AP & UPI stories could be edited differently by each newspaper, so different cities might get varying details of a story.

The Fremont Argus, 12/23/67:
Pat Fuller, western director of the bureau, said analysis showed chemicals seized in the raid included a half-pound of pure LSD and a half-pound of LSD, a more powerful hallucinogenic... He said the half pound of LSD would make 2,170,000 doses of 100 micrograms each, which sell illicitly for about $5 - a potential value of $10,850,000. He said the STP was worth $130,000 when broken into individual doses. "This is the biggest seizure in the history of the bureau," said Fuller... Stanley, Miss Cargill, and Dr. Timothy Leary, 'the high priest of LSD,' were arrested last April at Putnam Valley, N.Y., on a traffic violation. Police reported they found marijuana and narcotics materials in the car. The case is pending.

The Los Angeles Times, 12/23/67:
LSD and STP seized when five persons were arrested in an Orinda home would be worth more than $10 million on the illicit drug market, officials of the Federal Bureau of Drug Abuse said Friday... Federal officers said the five suspects were caught with 217 grams of LSD - about 2,170,000 doses at $5 a dose - and 261 grams of STP. The latter, it was reported, would amount to 26,100 doses... They were freed on $5,000 bail each pending a hearing Jan. 11 before U.S. Commissioner Harold Jewitt.


The Long Beach Independent, 2/22/68:
Two San Francisco men, one of them allegedly the largest LSD manufacturer in the nation, were indicted by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury Wednesday on charges of selling $3,500 worth of the drug to an undercover narcotic agent. The men are Augustus Owsley Stanley III, 33, and Jessie L. Clifton, 20.

The Los Angeles Times, 12/18/68:
Augustus Owsley Stanley III, 34, the self-styled "king of LSD," Tuesday was acquitted of selling 500 capsules of the psychedelic drug to an undercover agent. Superior Judge Paul W. Egley, after a five-day nonjury trial, ruled that there was insufficient evidence connecting Stanley with the sale Jan. 24 at International Airport.
Stanley, reputedly one of the largest manufacturers of LSD in the United States, was arrested along with Jessie L. Clifton, 21, just after arriving from San Francisco where both lived.
Clifton, who actually sold the drug to the officer, previously pleaded guilty to one count of possession and three counts of sale of LSD. He was placed on three years' probation and sentenced to four months in county jail.
The prosecution alleged that the sale was made after Clifton received an affirmative signal from Stanley. However, Clifton was called as a defense witness and testified that he had no connection with Stanley.

The San Mateo Times, 10/10/69:
San Francisco (AP) - A Berkeley man narcotics agents say admits to manufacturing psychedelic drugs on a production line basis, was convicted on three charges involving LSD.
Augustus Owsley Stanley III, who is 33 and wears his hair in a pony tail, was convicted Thursday along with three other men in federal court of manufacturing and possessing the mind-bending drug and of conspiring to sell it.
When the four were arrested Dec. 21, 1967, in an isolated house in Orinda, federal agents seized 67 1/2 grams of pure LSD, enough to make 700,000 tablets selling at between $2 and $20 apiece.
Also seized in the San Francisco East Bay Area raid was elaborate laboratory equipment for the manufacture of even more.
One agent quoted Stanley as saying, "I make the purest acid (LSD), for my family and friends." He was also quoted as saying he kept his formulas to rigid Food and Drug Administration specifications...
Judge William T. Sweigert, who heard the case without a jury in U.S. District Court, returned the convictions and set Nov. 7 as the date for sentencing.

The Los Angeles Times, 11/9/69:
The reign of the "king of LSD" apparently is over. Augustus Owsley Stanley III, who reportedly made millions by manufacturing and selling the illegal hallucinatory drug, was sentenced in San Francisco Federal Court to three years in jail and fined $3,000... Stanley is free on bail pending an appeal of his conviction.

The San Bernardino County Sun, 11/8/69:
San Francisco (AP) ... Three confederates drew similar sentences and fines. U.S. District Court Judge William T. Sweigert, who convicted them in a non-jury trial, ordered all four into immediate custody. All said they would appeal.
Stanley, 34, Robert W. Massey, 31, of Concord, and Robert D. Thomas, 31, of Berkeley, were sentenced to one-year consecutive terms on three counts of possession and conspiracy to manufacture LSD.
William A. Spries, 26, of Oakland, was sentenced to five one-year terms but two years were made concurrent.
Government agents who raided Stanley's elaborate Orindo home and laboratory Dec. 31, 1967, said they seized 67 1/2 grams of pure LSD. They estimated this would have made 700,000 tablets worth up to $1 at retail. [sic]
Agents testified that Spries told them Stanley's group had abandoned making LSD because it had become illegal, and was turning out only the still-legal drug STP.
In the raid they also seized a quantity of STP and testified that Stanley told them, "Please take only the contraband."
The agents also quoted him as saying, "I make the purest acid for my family and friends."
The defense was based primarily on contentions that search and seizure procedures were illegal.
Judge Sweigert set bail for Stanley at $25,000 and bail for the other three at $10,000 each.

The Fresno Bee, 2/1/70:
New Orleans (UPI) - Police arrested 19 persons, including members of the California rock band, "The Grateful Dead," in a raid on a French Quarter motel before dawn yesterday.
One of those arrested was Owsley Stanley, 35, of San Francisco, who police said identified himself as the "king of acid" and a technician with the band.
Officers said they seized marijuana, LSD, barbiturates, and dangerous narcotic and non-narcotic drugs in raids on several motel rooms.
Those arrested also include John McIntire, 28, who identified himself as leader of the band.

The Fresno Bee, 6/18/70:
San Francisco (UPI) - The Federal Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of Owsley Stanley and three associates for the manufacture and possession of LSD.
Their attorney, Michael Metzger, said yesterday if necessary he will appeal the convictions to the Supreme Court.
Stanley, the reputed former king of LSD, was arrested with his friends Dec. 21, 1967, in Orinda. Narcotics agents said the house was a small factory for the manufacture of LSD.
The four are still free on bail. 

The Eureka Times-Standard, 7/16/70:
Oakland (AP) - Augustus Owsley Stanley III, who legend has it made a million dollars manufacturing LSD before it became illegal, was arrested here with two other persons on illegal drug charges.
Stanley, 35, was booked Wednesday [July 15] for investigation of possessing marijuana, marijuana for sale, and a dangerous drug. Booked on the same charges after a raid by police and state narcotic agents were Robert Matthews, 24, and Elizabeth Cantor, 21.
Officers said they confiscated half a kilo of marijuana and an unspecified amount of opium.
Stanley was convicted last November of operating an LSD factory in Orinda where a 1967 raid uncovered a quantity estimated to be worth more than $1 million on the retail black market.
His three-year sentence is on appeal.

The San Rafael Independent Journal, 7/22/70:
San Francisco (UPI) - A federal judge Tuesday [July 21] revoked bail for Augustus Owsley Stanley III and called him a "danger to the community."

The Fremont Argus, 12/18/70:
San Francisco (UPI) - Former LSD "King" Augustus Owsley Stanley III asked Thursday [December 17] that all Alameda County court actions against him be stopped.
Stanley's attorney, Michael Mezger, filed for a writ of prohibition with the District Court of Appeal asking that proceedings before Alameda County Superior Court Judge George W. Phillips Jr. be stayed.
Stanley was arrested in Oakland July 15 and charged with possession of opium and marijuana. He asked on Nov. 3 that the charges be set aside as being without probable cause. Phillips denied the motion.
Stanley had been convicted in federal court of possession of LSD and was on bail pending appeal at the time of the Oakland arrest. His bail was then revoked and he was jailed.

The Fremont Argus, 10/1/71:
San Francisco (UPI) - A state court of appeal ruled Thursday that Alameda County may go ahead with the prosecution of Augustus Owsley Stanley and two other persons on charges of marijuana and drug possession.
Stanley, former LSD "king," had asked the appeal court to block his prosecution.
Others charged are Robert Matthews and Elizabeth Cantor. Police and narcotics agents arrested them July 15, 1970, and charged them with possessing the drugs.

Feb 21, 2018

January 29, 1968: Portland State College, OR


San Francisco sights and sounds descended on Portland Monday night and for once the Bay City's press agentry has not over-stated its case.
The colorful visuals which have filled most national magazines for more than a year are nothing compared with being inside Jerry Abrams' light show, and the Quicksilver Messenger Service is easily the strongest rock band to play Portland (unless it was the Grateful Dead, which played the second half of the Portland State College show and was missed because of an early deadline).
In terms of pure logistics, the show is heavy enough. A fast count showed some 23 speaker units up front and 20 or so light-making devices behind. The Grateful Dead manager estimated the worth of the gear in the ballroom at approximately $50,000.
The Messenger Service, which has just completed an album for Columbia, has unusual scope for a rock group. After executing some of the more or less standard climax building exercises - distinguished by the massive force it generated - the band did a piece in 6-8 time which was jazz of an unpolished but muscular variety.
Both guitarists took solos and so did the drummer, sounding a little like Gene Krupa using dumbbells instead of drumsticks.
The next tune featured a Cajun type, pile driving rhythm and a folk-sounding vocal. It's a very good band and an encouraging portent of things to come in the rock idiom.
As impressive as the band is, the initial interest of this package from San Francisco is the light show. Veils, brocades, and terrestrial textures on the sides frame the busy center panel which leaps with a hard alternation of planetary imagery and swelling, pinching cynosure frames.
Later a dancer from the '20s swims in a delicate blizzard of color, and clusters of alabaster grapes float by while the side panels flicker with Calder-looking flower motifs.
A lot to look at, in other words, and plenty to hear. The package plays two more shows in Portland, Friday and Saturday at the Crystal Ballroom. We'll have to catch the "Dead."

(by Jack Berry, from the Oregonian, 30 January 1968) 

Alas, no tape!

Thanks to Dave Davis.

Feb 20, 2018

January 20, 1968: Municipal Auditorium, Eureka CA


Nineteen persons, including 17 juveniles who are students at both Eureka High and the College of the Redwoods junior college, have been rounded up during the past five days by city police as part of a dope ring discovery stemming from what initially appeared to be routine arrests made at a "psychedelic dance" held at the Municipal Auditorium here last weekend.
Investigating officers took time out this morning from their around-the-clock probe launched last Saturday night, to report to Chief C.E. Emahiser that their work has taken them into virtually all walks of the city's society and has left scores of parents as well as school officials in a shocked and puzzled state of mind.
[ . . . ]
Officers also disclosed they have confiscated some 10 lids of the narcotic in bulk form which they say would make enough rolled cigarettes to bring about $400 on the dope market.
One of the pathetic ironies is that the teen-agers who have been purchasing the dope have been duped out of their money by their pushers since police report the dope has been gradually "watered down" with a material known as Asthmadore, a medicinal tobacco for asthmatics.
However, a more tragic note in the continuing investigation is a report that one of the teenagers was sold a "bad batch" of LSD, causing him to go on a "bad trip" and resulting in a "freak out."
Officers are attempting to confirm the report that the youth has had to be transferred to a Washington hospital where he's undergoing special care as he faces possible blindness.
Officers said that while the $400 estimate may now seem high as dope market values do, they feel hundreds of dollars have changed hands since the traffic got under way some time during the 1967 summer vacation.
Police stakeouts over the past six weeks culminated in the first arrests at the auditorium last Saturday night during the performance of "The Grateful Dead" and the "Quicksilver Messinger Service," two of several rock and roll bands performing there.
More than 3,500 young people from all corners of the county attended the "psychedelic dance," where three of the youngsters were among the first arrested. Two were in the process of rolling a marijuana cigarette when apprehended, officers said.
Law enforcement agents, directed by Lt. Robert Ludtke of the department's Narcotics Division, began uncovering an avalanche of leads which led to the arrests of...the 17 teenagers...
[ . . . ]
Sixteen of the youths, ranging in ages from 16 to 18, are reported to be high school students while the 17th attends the junior college at Beatrice.
All of the juveniles have been cited into Juvenile Hall, on charges of danger of leading a lewd, indigent or destitute life and of breaking a law.
[ . . . ]
Officers reported the confiscated material contained traces of some other white substances in addition to the medicinal tobacco and the marijuana. They are awaiting a full report from the Bureau of Narcotics.
Interrogations with the young suspects, police said, point to the fact that the majority of youngsters became involved only during the past three months.
Earliest reports of involvement point to last summer and while several questioned admitted taking LSD, officers feel this began only in recent weeks.
Officers credited the families of the youths with 100 per cent co-operation despite being both highly shocked and puzzled when apprised of their offsprings' involvement.
Veteran officers also expressed surprise over finding that many of the youths come from no worse than average income families and several are from prominent families.
Chief Emahiser closed out the interview with the declaration that his men will continue their investigations.

(from the Eureka Times Standard, 25 January 1968) 


The number of arrests in the newly uncovered dope ring involving Eureka High students climbed to 23 yesterday when four more youths were cited into Juvenile Hall here. 
However, investigating officers were quick to point out that the noteworthy aspect of this latest development was that the youths and their parents had contacted headquarters to reveal their involvement.
[ . . . ]
These latest four youths, ranging in ages from 16 to 17 years, have been cited into Juvenile Hall on charges of being in danger of leading an idle, lewd, dissolute and immoral life.
And like all of the other juveniles apprehended, they have been released to the custody of their parents.
[ . . . ]
Investigators said the apprehensions yesterday resulted from telephone calls from the youths and-or their parents to report they were "mixed up in this ring and wanted to know what they should do about it."
"We are taking this as a definite 'call for help' on the part of the parents and their youngsters," police said, "and at this point we can only urge that more of them do the same thing."
Police stakeouts and surveillance initiated at least as much as six weeks ago led to the arrests of the three youths at the Municipal Auditorium here last Saturday night, which brought the entire investigation into public focus for the first time.
Two of the youths were apprehended in the process of rolling marijuana cigarets from "a buy" of materials they had completed while a massive "psychedelic dance" was in progress at the auditorium.
Official estimates placed the dance crowd at between 1,600 and 2,000 teenagers from all parts of the county, attracted to hear and see the performances of at least three widely known rock and roll bands - "The Grateful Dead," "The Quicksilver Messenger Service," and "The Headlights" - on tour from the San Francisco bay area.
Many of the youths caught up in the police web told of attending the dance and describing it as "psychedelic."
Officers assigned to patrol the auditorium during the five-hour affair reported viewing highly sophisticated lighting and equipment valued in the thousands of dollars that "really had the building wired for sights and sounds."
They told of three large screens upon which were flashed hundreds of slides and uncounted footage of motion picture film that produced kaleidoscopic colors - dripping, oozing, melding, merging, waving, piercing - for the predominantly youthful audience.
Officers also reported some film and slides flashed shots of nude female forms on the screens.
"Wild" was the way one officer described the entire performance, and "a la discotheque" was the way another put it.
In addition, after the dance officers also reported finding narcotics paraphernalia on the premises during clean-up operations.
Meanwhile, the investigators, which embrace the city's entire police department and narcotics officers of the Humboldt County sheriff's office, re-emphasized that the probe is continuing and that both parents and school officials are co-operating "100 per cent."

(from the Eureka Times Standard, 27 January 1968)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

December 26-27, 1967: Village Theater, NYC


NEW YORK - Disgruntled fans stayed through two acts in the unheated Village Theater for one of the uncommon Gotham appearance[s] of the Ungrateful Dead.
The Warner Brothers team were the standouts by far on a three-name bill which included the local NYC Take Five and mid-western femme soloist Peggy Emerson. Among the elements that put the crew across with the crowd were their creative visual impact as well as the excellent musicianship that has placed them in favor with a coast-to-coast following.
An interesting innovation for the group was use of double-drumming with new percussionist Mickey Hart joining the regular fivesome for extra drive. Looking good throughout their performance, the group was especially fine in "School Girl, Alligator," [sic] from their up-coming LP, "Caution" and "Cold Rain in the Snow."
Next stop on the Grateful Dead's itinerary is Detroit.

(from Cashbox, 6 January 1968)

Alas, no tape!

Thanks to Dave Davis.

Feb 19, 2018

May 1967: Warnecke Ranch, Russian River


"The Grateful Dead" have been stirring things up along Chalk Hill Road during recent nights.
There's no cause for alarm, o ye of the older generation. Nothing was amiss. No one related to Count Dracula has been prowling the canyons hereabouts.
"The Grateful Dead" play rock 'n' roll music and have chosen that particular name for reasons known only to themselves. And they seem to be making a go of it.
The San Francisco group was resting, relaxing and rocking at the Warnecke property off Chalk Hill Road some 14 miles out of Healdsburg as the guests of John Warnecke Jr.
They put together five new songs during their R-and-R (rest and relaxation or, if you will, rock 'n' rolling) stint at the Warnecke digs.
The grateful ones have already cut one album plus singles and are said to be on the way up.
The word leaked among this area's teen generation that some of the princes of pop music were disporting themselves nearby, but the word was also out that they didn't want to have a big audience. And local teens let them have their rest.
Now that the general alarum is out, don't go rushing off to Chalk Hill Road to listen. The Grateful Dead have vanished. They materialized in Napa for a one-nighter Monday and then headed for THE big city -- New York.
If you listen carefully out there along Chalk Hill Road, you might...just might...catch an echo or two of an amplified guitar still bouncing off the slopes of a distant canyon.
But The Grateful Dead have fled. Their muse and their agent were calling them.

(from the Healdsburg Tribune, 1 June 1967)

Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com

See also: http://hooterollin.blogspot.com/2012/12/russian-river-to-mchenry-library-via.html  

Feb 16, 2018

September 28, 1975: Golden Gate Park


LOS ANGELES - For one fine but fleeting afternoon it was the "Summer of Love" all over again as the Grateful Dead (Grateful Dead) and the Jefferson Starship (Grunt) joined forces in a free concert held in Golden Gate Park. A crowd in excess of 25,000 braved the chilly weather to gather in the long, narrow Linley Meadows area, hours before the designated starting time of 12 p.m.
The concert/event - billed as "Unity Fair '75" - was conceived as a benefit for a San Francisco organization called People's Ballroom. The group was instrumental in making all the proper arrangements for the concert, even before the prospective bands were contacted. People's Ballroom officials were hopeful that if this concert came to pass without major incident, future free concerts could be held on the more spacious Polo Field.
For the Dead and the Starship - who hadn't played on the same bill in five years - this concert was certainly more significant than a mere rehashing of past glories. For both bands it was an affirmation of their renewed strength, as evidenced by their current chart hits - the Dead's "Blues for Allah" and the Starship's "Red Octopus."
The show started right on time, as the Jefferson Starship opened with "Ride The Tiger." The group's enthusiasm was readily apparent as they gained momentum. Unfortunately, equipment failures soon set in, and it took about 30 minutes to rectify the problems.
Once back onstage, the Starship had no trouble rekindling the spark as they surged into "Play On Love," which featured Grace Slick in a familiar role - proselytizing for love and its free expression. This number was often reminiscent of the old Airplane days, when the band's stage manner was particularly strident. Guitarist Craig Chaquico continues to prove his worth by keeping the tasty licks flying.
A flash from the past was inevitable on this afternoon, and "White Rabbit" was it. Grace Slick, in a seemingly effortless performance, proved this tune has lost none of its eerie charm, even though its ambiguous message - "feed your head" - once seemed so controversial.
Marty Balin, who has re-emerged as a creative force in the Starship, joined Slick in a duet on "Sweeter Than Honey," and he was in rare form on this aggressive vocal. For an encore, the Starship chose an old favorite, "Volunteers," which was received warmly by the huddled masses.
The Grateful Dead have always been considered among the most popular American cult bands. They've sold a lot of records over the years, but have never been as hot as they are currently. Perhaps the "cult status" is now a thing of the past. On this afternoon, the Dead got a chance to show off their new musical accessibility.
Jerry Garcia and his chrome-plated guitar neck were the stars of the Dead's leisurely-paced set. The bright textures that characterize the band's overall sound were especially welcome in the open-air setting. Expressive lead figures conjured up by Garcia were the highlight of "The Music Never Stopped," which also featured Donna Godchaux in high vocal counterpoint.
The audience was quickly won over to this uncommonly engaging mellowness, which continued with "Beat It On Down The Line," "Franklin's Tower," and an extended version of "Truckin'."
"One More Saturday Night," a Chuck Berry-like rocker from Bob Weir's solo lp, "Ace," got the band into a groove that didn't want to let up - and one only wished that this concert didn't have to end. But it did, as all good things do.

(by Mike Harris, from Record World, 18 October 1975)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

See also: http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2012/12/september-28-1975-golden-gate-park.html