Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jerry Garcia, The Top Of The Tangent, 117 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 1963-64 (Lost And Found)

Very likely the first ad for Jerry Garcia by name in any publication. Newly married Jerry and Sara Garcia open for Mike Cooney at The Top Of The Tangent on Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4, 1963. From the Stanford Daily, Friday, May 3, 1963
In January 1961, Jerry Garcia was booted out of the US Army and relocated to the Palo Alto area. He hung out with various ne'er-do-wells, and after a while Garcia fell in with Robert Hunter, David Nelson and a few others. They were aspiring folk musicians, but there were hardly any places to play beyond the Stanford campus. By 1962 there were a few places on the Peninsula, but still none in Palo Alto. This changed in January 1963, when two bored doctors started to run a weekly folk club at a deli at 117 University Avenue called The Tangent. The music was presented in a room above the restaurant. The Top Of The Tangent held about 75 people, and they had shows on Friday and Saturday, along with a "Hoot Night" on Wednesdays. Jerry Garcia and his fellow aspiring Peninsula Folkies had a headquarters, and thus The Top Of The Tangent looms large in Grateful Dead history.

Early performances at The Top Of The Tangent have regularly been described in interviews by Jerry Garcia and others since the earliest days. Remarkably enough, relatively soon after trading Grateful Dead tapes became widespread, a few tapes of Garcia's aggregations playing at The Tangent turned up as well. Nonetheless, although the importance of The Top Of The Tangent was widely known, the venue itself remains clouded in myth.  Stanford University is Stanford, however, and while they digitized the archives of the student newspaper some years ago, it appears they have been recently upgraded. Suddenly the story of Jerry Garcia at The Top Of The Tangent comes into clearer focus. This post will take our newly-found information about Jerry Garcia and his friends at the Tangent and try and link it to other threads in Grateful Dead history.

The first ad in the Stanford Daily for The Top Of The Tangent, at 117 University, in the Friday, January 25, 1963 edition. "The Circle" was right across from the train station, and all locals and students would have recognized the location. Although The Tangent itself, a deli and later a pizza parlor, had been open for some time, the upstairs room had only opened as folk club that month.

Palo Alto, Stanford and Folk Music In The Early 60s
The city of Palo Alto was founded in 1875 on empty land to accommodate the forthcoming Stanford University, and the city and the campus have been intricately connected since the University opened in 1892. It is ironic, then, that downtown Palo Alto was quite far from the center of campus, and all but the sturdiest of undergraduates could not walk from school to the downtown area. As a result, by the mid-20th century, Palo Alto's downtown was far less of a university town than cities like Berkeley, Princeton or Chapel Hill.

However, one of the world's first shopping malls, the Stanford Shopping Center, had opened in 1955, triangulated between the Stanford campus and the downtowns of Palo Alto and Menlo Park. Businesses in downtown Palo Alto had suffered, and rents were cheap, so at least there was room for new ventures. McNally tells the story:
[Top Of] The Tangent started as an amusement for two bored young doctors, but it became, for two years, the home of folk music on the Peninsula. Stu Goldstein and David Schoenstadt were Stanford Hospital residents who knew nothing about folk music, but Max and Bertha Feldman's Palo Alto deli had a room upstairs, and it occurred to Stu and David to open a club there, using Pete Seeger's songbook, How To Make A Hootenanny, as their blueprint. They opened in January 1963, with open hoots on Wednesdays, and the winners playing weekends. The charge was a dollar fifty, and the performers got five or ten dollars. It quickly became Garcia's new musical home, [Garcia:], "a little community...a sweet scene." [p47]
In the early 60s, folk music appealed to college students. It's true, some non-college students liked folk music, too, but even those tended to be the sort of kids who were smart enough to consider college, but weren't particularly academically oriented. As far as commercial propositions went, then, if you were trying to make a dollar off folk music, there had to be college students nearby. So it's no surprise that the doctors chose a place that was at the end of University Avenue that was nearest to Stanford University. 117 University, at "The Circle," was at the foot of University Avenue, downtown Palo Alto's main street, and right across from the Southern Pacific Train Station.

The train station wasn't irrelevant either. Stanford, of course, had been founded by SP railroad magnate Leland Stanford, and the Palo Alto train station had been built to accommodate the university. Stanford students were always allowed to ride the SP trains for free, so Stanford always had a distinctly San Francisco orientation, since the students could get there so easily (to my knowledge, although the corporate parent of the SP Railroad was swallowed up sometime ago by the DRGW, Stanford students still ride the local trains [CalTrain] for free). The fact that the Tangent was in easy walking distance to the train station made it uniquely attractive to Stanford students.

The Stanford Daily was the campus newspaper. Since Stanford's central campus was at least a mile from downtown, the Daily was probably a primary source of information for the students. The Palo Alto Times was the town's daily paper, but it was a fairly stuffy publication, pretty good with state and national news but not exactly forward looking. It wouldn't have appealed to students, who had little contact with the town of Palo Alto anyway. The reputation of Stanford students, rightly or wrongly, was that they all preferred to go to San Francisco. Leaving aside how many of them had access to cars, if you were a student who was going to walk a mile to downtown Palo Alto, and you could stop halfway, at the train station, and go to San Francisco for free, what would you do?

The Daily appeared five days a week during the schoolyear, and one day a week when school was out. There was a certain amount of general news, mostly of the sort interesting to college students, and plenty of Stanford sports and reviews and previews of local events. The Daily was available on campus, and possibly a little bit around Palo Alto, but it was the best way to let Stanford students know what was up. So it's no surprise that Top Of The Tangent had a regular Friday advertisement, and that the Friday performance listings regularly described upcoming Tangent shows.

The Westport Singers, with Butch Waller and Herb Pedersen, and Janice Joplin, seem to have been the first performers advertised by name at the Top Of The Tangent, in the April 5, 1963 Stanford Daily
Jerry Garcia's official debut at Top Of The Tangent appears to have been on February 22, 1963, with The Wildwood Boys. I assume that The Wildwood Boys had demonstrated their prowess at an earlier Wednesday hoot night, but since we have tapes from both Friday (Feb 22) and Saturday (Feb 23), they appear to have been booked for the weekend. On the first night, the Wildwood Boys were just Garcia, Hunter and Nelson, but on Saturday, they were joined (more likely rejoined) by bassist Norm Van Maastricht. There was no Friday edition of the Stanford Daily, because school was closed for Winter break. In any case, up until April, the ads for Top Of The Tangent just advertised  "Folk Singing." The first ad I found with performers' names was on April 5, 1963.

Presciently enough, the performers on the weekend of April 5 and 6 were The Westport Singers and one Janice Joplin. Both acts had probably succeeded at hoot night, since they were otherwise unknown. The Westport Singers, who I think played a kind of old-timey/bluegrass hybrid, were from the Berkeley area. Banjo player Herb Pedersen was the hot young player in Berkeley, and when he first met Garcia, Palo Alto's hot banjo-man, they apparently circled each other like wary gunfighters. They soon became friends, however, and Pedersen ended up joining Old And In The Way when it reformed after 1995. As for Butch Waller, still the leader of the great bluegrass band High Country, his place in Grateful Dead history was assured on May 1, 1965, when he joined in on Jerry Garcia's first acid trip.

And as for blues singer Janice Joplin, from Port Arthur, TX, her most famous appearance at the Tangent was the time she didn't show up, per McNally. It may have been this occasion. When she didn't make it, her accompanist, guitarist Jerry Kaukonen, allowed that he could play a little blues. It turned out that, indeed, he could, and he became a regular at Top Of The Tangent himself.

The Top Of The Tangent did not advertise every single Friday in the Daily, but they seem to have had an ad most of the time. As you can see, the layout and size of the ad were always identical, and the text of the performers would change each week. This was typical of the way repeat advertising was handled by newspapers at the time. Given the ancient nature of these performances, what seems remarkable at a distance is that actually we have tapes of any Jerry Garcia performances at the Tangent, much less several of them. Reading the Daily, however, the explanation becomes clear: in 1963 and 1964, everyone who played weekends at The Tangent was probably broadcast on the radio.

Stanford had its own radio station, KZSU, broadcasting  on 880-am. FM broadcasts on KZSU began in the spring of 1964, with the commercials deleted, from a 10-watt transmitter on 90.1 fm (and still are today, although with 500 watts). However, KZSU-am was only audible in the Stanford dorms. Still, in the early 60s, KZSU-am probably got a good hearing on campus, as most students lived in those dorms. The Daily posted the nightly KZSU schedule, and there was a regular folk music show at 9:00pm on Friday nights, called The Flinthill Special, sponsored and run by The Top Of The Tangent. Throughout  1963 and '64, the 9:00pm Flinthill Special folk show was advertised as live music from the Top Of The Tangent. I doubt it was truly live--my assumption is that the shows were taped each week, and highlights were broadcast the next week--but it meant that Stanford students got a taste of live folk music every week.

In 1963, the host of the live folk show from the Tangent was Ted Clare, and in 1964 it was Phil DeGuere. Ted Claire was a Stanford student who was friends with Rodney Albin and others. He was a sometime member of The Liberty Hill Aristocrats, the old-timey band with Rodney and his brother Peter, and a decade later he was still playing with Rodney in a band called Roadhog, who were ultimately joined by Robert Hunter in 1974. So one host of the Friday night show was definitely a fellow traveler. Philip DeGuere, of course, besides being the producer of Simon & Simon and many other hit TV shows, was also the co-director of the legendary Sunshine Daydream movie, filmed in Veneta, OR on August 27, 1972. So both of the hosts of the KZSU show must have facilitated a few welcome tape transfers.

Naturally, anyone reading this will immediately think "hey! Are the tapes still at KZSU?" The answer is probably, yes, I expect that the tapes are still there, but they have something else on them. Tape was expensive in those days, and tape recorders exotic, so tape was probably re-used over and over again. Since I only know of Garcia tapes having survived the Tangent, I think Mr. Clare and Mr. De Guere (and producer Pete Wanger, about whom more later) are the most likely culprits, and we thank them for that.

Jerry and Sara Garcia got married on April 25, 1963, and took a honeymoon trip to Yosemite National Park. Just two weeks later, they were opening the weekend's show at Top Of The Tangent. We are fortunate to have a tape of some of it. I expect the source was ultimately KZSU, since the penniless Garcias could not have afforded either a tape or a tape deck. The May 5, 1963 Stanford Daily ad that shows "Jerry and Sara" opening for Mike Cooney (the ad is up top) is probably the first time Jerry's name--any of it--was published in an ad as a performer.

The 1963 Monterey Folk Festival
One of the crossroads of pre-Grateful Dead history was the 1963 Monterey Folk Festival, held on the weekend of May 17-19. The series of relatively large ads in the Stanford Daily indicate that college students were a primary target for the festival. The most popular act, in fact, was probably the Friday night headliners, the trio of Peter, Paul and Mary. Today, however, the resonant booking is on Saturday night, with The Weavers, Bob Dylan and The New Lost City Ramblers.

The infamous story of the Monterey Folk Festival was that the Saturday afternoon event, listed here as "Folk Talent Show." According to McNally, The Hart Valley Drifters (Garcia, Nelson, Hunter on bass and Ken Frankel on mandolin) won Best Amateur Group. There was also a banjo and fiddle contest, a staple of bluegrass festivals. Bluegrass is fast-paced, difficult music, and there is a gunslinging element to playing it well. Similar to a "cutting contest" in jazz, the best players like to show off their chops. At a high profile event like this, everybody's six guns were ready for shootin'.

The story, detailed by Blair Jackson, was that the ultra-competitive Jerry Garcia came in second. Worse, for Jerry, was that he came in second to a frailer, the same Mike Cooney that Jerry had opened for two weeks earlier at the Tangent. Frailing is "old-timey" banjo, tasteful but not nearly as difficult as the three-finger style pioneered by Earl Scruggs in Bill Monroe's band. For a three-finger picker like Jerry to lose to a frailer on a judge's decision had to seriously rankle. The "outtakes" to Blair Jackson's books include some dismayed comments from judge Rodney Dillard (an excellent bluegrass musician himself), cranky that he still had to defend his decision 35 years later. 

Garcia's disappointment aside, there was plenty of great artists at the festival that directly or indirectly influenced Garcia and the Dead over the years, such as Doc Watson, Mike Seeger and Lightnin' Hopkins (on Saturday afternoon, the "Country Boys" were actually the White Brothers, with Clarence White). However, the road not taken was described by McNally, as Garcia recalls leaving before Dylan had even finished his set. Hunter says the sound was lousy, and perhaps it was, but Garcia was a purist, too, and not interested yet in "new music." Neither Garcia nor Hunter had really heard or heard of Dylan at this time.

The Black Mountain Boys, with Jerry Garcia, David Nelson, either Eric Thompson or Sandy Rothman and an uncertain bassist (possibly Norm Van Maastricht), played Top Of The Tangent on February 7 and 8, 1964
By early 1964, Garcia's bluegrass band had evolved. Hunter had been unceremoniously fired, if "not being told that you weren't in the band when you came to rehearsal" counts as fired, and he had moved to Los Angeles. On board was Eric Thompson and/or Sandy Rothman, depending on availability. Bluegrass bands didn't make any money, so it was hard to make gigs, not least since both Eric and Sandy were actually based in Berkeley. On February 7 and 8, 1964, the Black Mountain Boys were headlining the Top Of The Tangent (along with "the blues of Kellery Powers"). Tickets were $1.25. There were shows at 9, 10:30 and 12:00. The assumption here seems to be that college kids would drop in on a date, or to hang out, stay for an hour and move on.

The Black Mountain Boys and Jerry Kaukonen are at the Tangent on March 6 and 7, and Jesse Fuller was at The Offstage. From the March 6, 1964, Stanford Daily.
A month later, the Black Mountain Boys headlined at Top Of The Tangent on March 6 an 7, 1964. This time, they were joined by "folk artist Jerry Kaukonen." We know Eric Thompson was in the band at this time, because he seems to have been responsible for the tapes that exist. Both Eric and Sandy are referenced on the extant tapes. However, its important to remember that bluegrass bands weren't rock bands, and performer could casually step on and off stage as they saw fit. Early 60s folk and bluegrass groups did not have nearly the fixed lineups that were engendered by electric groups such as The Beatles. With amplifiers and trap drums, a band had to be organized; with just one mic at the Tangent, and a tiny room, anyone good enough could be invited on stage, assuming they had brought their axe.

Mothe McRee's Jug Band opens for Ken Carter, on May 1 and 2, 1964, at the Top Of The Tangent in Palo Alto. The Stanford Daily ad (from May 1 '64) says "Minors Welcome," which implird a change in poicy

Sometime in early 1964, the Tangent had closed for a while for remodeling. When it reopened, they had pizza, at the time a fairly exotic food. Notice that the May 1, 1964 Daily ad now says "Folk Music and Pizza." In April, 1964, Jerry Garcia had let the Black Mountain Boys lapse, since they had no gigs. Garcia played the occasional bluegrass gig when he could find one, but there was no money in it and very few players of Garcia's caliber. Jug band music was a different matter. It was good music, but you didn't have to be an expert to play it. This weekend show at Top Of The Tangent may be the first advertised Mother McRee's Uptown Jug Band show.

The Stanford Daily listing from May 1, 1964 for the Mother McRee show at the Top Of The Tangent

Like most newspapers, the Stanford Daily listed the shows of its advertisers in its roundup of local events. The May 1, 1964 edition includes some intriguing detail
The Tangent reopens this weekend with singer Ken Carter and Mother McRee's Uptown Jug Champions. New features are a pizzeria and room downstairs for people under 21. The same show will play in both rooms at 8:45, 10:30 pm downstairs, 9:30, 11:15 upstairs. Hoots and auditons will now be held every Wednesday evening. $1.25, 75 cents with discount card.
We learn a number of interesting things about the Tangent here. First of all, because of the timings, we know that the opening act would play downstairs and then upstairs, and would still be performing up there while the headliner was downstairs. Folk music was not particularly loud, so this was actually plausible, but it seems strange to modern fans.

More critically, it appears that the Tangent itself is trying to expand its market to include people under 21 as well as over. It's not clear to me why the insistence that there will be an upstairs and downstairs show is so critical. We know that Bob Weir and many others who were not 21--and certainly didn't look 21--had been regulars at the Tangent. It may be that after the remodel, the Tangent started to serve beer. Once there was beer, there had to be a distinction between upstairs and downstairs, at least officially.

Palo Alto has always had a peculiar relationship with liquor. Leland Stanford had originally wanted the town of Mayfield to host his university, but they refused his condition that they close all the saloons. Instead, Leland Stanford and his partner Timothy Hopkins bought up 75,000 acres between Mayfield and Menlo Park, and the dry town of Palo Alto was founded. Palo Alto laws required that there be no saloon within a mile of campus limits. When prohibition came, Mayfield merged with Palo Alto anyway (Mayfield's downtown was on California Avenue, the future and now-past site of the Keystone Palo Alto).

After Prohibition, bars opened a mile from campus--conveniently, the old Mayfield was just over the limit, and the county line was a mile away, in East Palo Alto. But downtown Palo Alto did not have a bar until--this is not a typo--1981. This helps to explain why decades of Stanford undergraduates were so anxious to go to San Francisco instead. Palo Alto residents like my parents were satisfied with this, because they did not want the sleepy downtown to become infested with sleazy bars that were open late. However, per California law, restaurants were allowed to serve beer and wine. This meant that a place like The Tangent, which served food, was one of the few places to get a beer in downtown Palo Alto, since they did not have to compete with any bars.

117 University Avenue, Palo Alto, as it looked in 2006. At the time, it was a dive bar (by PA standards) called Rudy's. The upstairs was only accessible by a door on the right (in the center of the photo), with the new address of 119 University. 
The Jug Band played a famous gig in July 1964 (The Daily did not advertise it), recorded and preserved by KZSU producer Peter Wanger, and rescued by his brother some years later. The live recording and subsequent interview with Jerry Garcia that was released is the only officially released trace of the folk music at the Tangent in 1963 and 1964, even though it appears that it happened every weekend.

In the end, it probably didn't matter. Mother McRee's Uptown Jug Champions went electric, as we know. The Tangent itself was open as late as 1969, after which it became The Full Circle. However, after January 1965 there were only periodic scheduled shows at Top Of Tangent, mostly improvisational theater. Casual hoot nights seemed to exist intermittently for the balance of the 60s, and indeed The Warlocks actually showed up at the Tangent a few times in Summer '65, because there was nowhere else for them to play.

However, by 1967, the action moved next door to a club called The Poppycock, at 135 University, but it too did not last beyond 1970. For many years, the building at 117 University Avenue was a pleasant, low-key bar called Rudy's, but it closed around 2013. The upstairs part now has a different entrance and a different address (119 University). Last I looked, there was some sort of high-tech startup there, but they had already moved to San Francisco, just like those who had come before them.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

July 2, 1967, El Camino Park, Palo Alto, CA: Mary Poppins Umbrella Festival and Be-In (Early Palo Alto)

Fans at the Mary Poppins Umbrella Festival and Be-In at El Camino Park in Palo Alto, on Sunday, July 2, 1967. The photo by Bill Howell is from the Stanford Daily of July 4 '67.
It is a classic trope of Grateful Dead historians to recall and describe their first Grateful Dead show. I can recall my first Grateful Dead show, a little bit, but if I had not spent many years trying to track it down, it might have been largely forgotten until now. Over the years, I confirmed bits and pieces of information about the show, but other facts were contradictory or uncertain. Indeed, my research was more archaeological than historical, taking a few known details and attempting to construct a complete picture.

My principal effort was focused on the date. However, thanks to the Internet--if only Classical Archeologists had access to some sort of Ancient Roman Internet, but I digress--I am happy to report that while I wasn't far off, many of my suppositions were actually incorrect. A premier Grateful Dead scholar found a detailed review of my first show, in the Stanford Daily campus newspaper, and now the facts are clear: on Sunday, July 2, 1967 at El Camino Park in Palo Alto, the Grateful Dead headlined the Mary Poppins Umbrella Festival and Be-In.

Some Historiography
I will deal with the history of the history of the Palo Alto Be-In in my appendix, in the interests of college professors who care about such things. However, a few key points are worth making at the beginning of this post. In 1972, I got an FM radio of my own, and my musical world expanded. I promptly listened to all my older sisters LPs, and I rapidly decided that the Grateful Dead were my favorite group. Within a few months, I recalled that I had already seen the Grateful Dead. I remembered that when I was 9 years old, my family had gone to El Camino Park, Palo Alto's oldest park (ca. 1914) and seen the Grateful Dead at a free Be-In. I distinctly recalled the park and the psychedelically painted drumset, along with hippie girls painting people's faces. This wasn't really a recovered memory, since it had only been five years earlier. I asked my older sister about it, and she recalled that the Dead had played "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl."

Whenever a performance date in Grateful Dead history is disputed, readers reflexively cite existing sources. In this case, however, every single citation has me as a source, without exception. The first Grateful Dead list that circulated were from the Paul Grushkin Book Of The DeadHeads, which was based on Dennis McNally's current list at the time (and itself based on the Janet Soto list). More informally, a list compiled by John Dwork circulated amongst various people. I had told both Dennis McNally and John Dwork about having seen the Grateful Dead in Palo Alto in 1967, and that is why early lists say "June 1967" without a date. I also made sure that the editors of Deadbase knew about it, and that is why "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" appears in Deadbase setlists for the Palo Alto Be-In (dated "June-xx-1967").

Once the Internet was fully operational, I made an extended effort to identify the exact date of the Palo Alto Be-In. Indeed, in a lot of ways, searching out dates such as this was one of the reasons I started this blog. In any case, for reasons I will detail below I came to the conclusion that the likely date of the Palo Alto Be-In was Saturday, June 24, 1967. Subsequently, this date has been accepted as definitive and circulated in various sources, such as I can say confidently that I was the source, not just because I was the only person interested, but because since I now know the date was wrong, I can say with certainty that no one independently confirmed my research.

The July 4 1967 Stanford Daily had a relatively detailed news article about the Sunday July 2 Be-In at Palo Alto's El Camino Park (text reproduced below)
The Stanford Daily, July 4, 1967
The Stanford Daily was the campus paper for Stanford University. Per its name, it appeared 5 days a week during the school year, and once a week the rest of the time. Stanford being Stanford, and all, they have digitized their archives and seem to have continually improved their search function. As a result, a professionally trained researcher was able to find a news article about the Grateful Dead's appearance in Palo Alto, repeated here in its entirety.

Free Sounds, Free Snacks, Free Sun Highlight Be-InSunday the Free University and The Experiment staged their Mary Poppins Umbrella Festival and Be-In at Palo Alto Park from 1 to 6 p.m. The action started promptly at 1:00 with four bands, the Anonymous Artists, the New Delhi River Band, the Solid State, and the Good Word supplying entertainment for the crowd. Gradually listeners grew from a few hundred to a few thousand. Beads, flowers, headbands, bells, painted faces, and multi-colored clothing were in abundance on Be-In participants. Smiles and happy laughter came from all directions during the easy-going afternoon. Free oranges and punch were provided by the Free University and The Experiment, while wandering participants also gladly surrendered their refreshments to those around them. One incident which marred the pleasant atmosphere of the Festival occurred when a policeman found a young man with an American flag draped casually over his shoulder. He was beckoned aside by the policeman who took the flag away and inspected it for possible stains or tears. However, the flag-bearer ran away at the first opportunity, leaving the officer with the flag.  
The highlight of the afternoon came at 4:30 when the Grateful Dead stepped on stage. As the group launched into "Dancing in the Street," the crowd of 4,000 moved closer to the stage. After coaxing from the "Dead," some of the crowd started dancing in a large circle, holding hands and swirling around. Snake dance lines wound through the crowd while tamborines, marracas, kazoos, and bells kept the beat of the music. The "Dead" kept up the performance for about a half hour, and then promised to come back for more. After they left the stage, the audience settled down and listened to some blues and more psychedelic music from the other bands. At the Be-In, the Free University provided tables for class enrollment and sold copies of various underground publications.

If you click on the link, you will see some contemporary photos. One of the photos has an intriguing caption:
The typical Be-In crowd was on hand Sunday at El Camino Park. The crowd includes those who are seriously involved in the aims of FUPA and The Experiment and the clean-cut teenagers who wish they had the guts and don't.

A cryptical poster for the May 14, 1967 Be-In at Alma Park in San Jose, featuring Country Joe and The Fish, The New Delhi River Band, Sweet Smoke, The Anonymous Artists Of America and Wakefield Loop
What Do We Know?
El Camino Park was an athletic field across from both The Stanford Shopping Center and ‘El Palo Alto’ (the tall tree that gave the city its name). The Park (at 100 El Camino Real) was at the intersection of Palo Alto Avenue, Alma Street and El Camino Real at the Palo Alto/Menlo Park border, and within easy walking distance of downtown. It is Palo Alto’s oldest park, first open in 1914. As a metaphor for the history of the Grateful Dead, El Camino Park was perfect: it was within walking distance of both The Tangent (at 117 University Avenue in Palo Alto) and Magoo's Pizza (at 639 Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park), as well as Kesey's Perry Lane cottage, The Chateau and Dana Morgan Music, so the whole arc of the Grateful Dead's history was as near as could be.

Palo Alto and Stanford University were less politically explosive than UC Berkeley across the bay, but no less embedded in the 1960s. There were two main activist groups in the Palo Alto area. One was called "The Experimental Group", or sometimes just "The Experiment," based at Stanford University. There was also a group of people who founded the Mid-Peninsula Free University, known as the MFPU, and colloquially as "Free U." Both of these groups were trying to provide what they saw as a relevant, alternative education not constrained by the traditional boundaries of a University. While The Experiment was based on campus, and Free U off campus, many of the participants were the same people. The instructors for both movements included both University Professors and regular people in the community. By early 1967, The Experiment and MPFU had merged, and they decided to hold a Be-In in Palo Alto as a fundraiser.

The story of MPFU in Palo Alto is an interesting one, but outside the scope of this blog. Suffice to say, the notion that Universities should and could teach something other than just traditional disciplines came pretty directly from the Free U. On one hand, this opened up wide pedagogic vistas for professors from diverse disciplines to take new approaches to their classes. On the other hand, the idea that "Basket Weaving" was a legitimate subject for higher education--your mileage may vary--also came directly from the Free U, as a look at their earliest catalogs will tell you.

On January 14, 1967, the first Human Be-In was held at the Polo Grounds in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The name "Be-In" was both a play on and a distancing from the traditional campus events protesting Civil Rights and the Vietnam War: Sit-Ins, Teach-Ins, Do-Ins and so on. The Human Be-In was implicitly detached from politics, much to the dismay of the Berkeley activists like Jerry Rubin who spoke there. In a real but informal way, despite there being no Internet, Be-Ins caught on. By June of 1967, Be-Ins had been held in Los Angeles (Griffith Park), Vancouver (Stanley Park), San Jose (Alma Park), New York and elsewhere. San Francisco bands showed up wherever they could. In many cities throughout 1967, particularly those near college campuses, there would be a little "Be-In" with a local band, but it was no less real to the participants, even if it had no Fillmore groups.

Since the network news had covered the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park, the music industry caught the wave, and it all led to the Monterey Pop Festival on the weekend of June 16-18, 1967. All of the San Francisco bands, with only the barest of record sales, if that, were high profile guests with hip acts from London, Los Angeles and New York. Attendance at the Monterey Fairgrounds was somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000, far more than anyone had anticipated. After Monterey Pop ended, the Dead's crew cheerily absconded with the rented Fender amps. According to Rock Scully and a few others, they used the amps to put on free concerts for a short while. The Palo Alto Be-In was clearly one of these events. After a while, Scully contacted Fender and told them in which warehouse their borrowed amps were located, and invited them to pick them up. Scully thoughtfully added, "if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to where flowers in your hair."

Just a few days earlier, on June 28, 1967, the New Delhi River Band had played a lunch time show at the ritzy Cabana Hyatt House on El Camino Real. History has no record of who was Miss Boutique
The Warlocks, The New Delhi River Band and Some Palo Alto History
The members of The Warlocks had lived in Palo Alto prior to 1965, even though many of the most famous events in band history took place in nearby Menlo Park. On December 18, 1965, the Grateful Dead had played the Palo Alto Acid Test at a then-new club called The Big Beat (the story of which is told in fascinating detail in David Browne's new book So Many Roads).  Still, The Grateful Dead had left Palo Alto behind in February 1966, leaving first for Los Angeles and then returning to the Haight Ashbury. The Dead had played Stanford University once, at Tressider Memorial Union deck on October 14, 1966, but they had not played Palo Alto proper. This isn't surprising--there were no venues in Palo Alto for them to play.

David Nelson, a co-conspirator of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter since early 1962, had "gone electric" a little later than his friend Jerry. However, in mid-1966, Nelson had founded the New Delhi River Band, which had sort of become the leading psychedelic band in the South Bay, however dubious and unremunerative an honor that might have been. I have made a study of the long-hidden history of The New Delhi River Band, and suffice to say by mid-1967 they were at the high water mark for a local band. The NDRB included bassist Dave Torbert and future Kingfish drummer Chris Herold along with Nelson (guitarist Peter Schultzbach and singer John Tomasi were also members). No recordings of the band have yet surfaced--Nelson says he has some--but all accounts say they were a fine psychedelic blues band.

Garcia, Nelson and Robert Hunter had formed the bluegrass trio The Wildwood Boys in 1962. Five years later, Hunter was in New Mexico, but both Garcia and Nelson were playing guitar in psychedelic blues outfits. The Dead had an album and were Fillmore and Avalon headliners. The New Delhi River Band were just headliners at the Fillmore of the South Bay, The Barn in Scotts Valley, an important and now-lost venue. Here they were playing for free in front of 5000 people, where it had all began. It had to seem like big things were just around the corner. And they were, although not in the way that everyone might have envisioned.

Mary Poppins Umbrella Festival and Be-In, El Camino Park, Palo Alto, CA: New Delhi River Band/Solid State/The Good Word/Anonymous Artists Of America/Grateful Dead
Although details about the Palo Alto Be-In have been hard to come by, quite unexpectedly several rolls of film turned up. Happily, they are in the safe hands of the Grateful Dead Archive at UC Santa Cruz, and can be viewed in detail by anyone so inclined. If only every Dead show had 145 photographs.

From the photos, we can see pictures of the Grateful Dead performing, along with another group, The Anonymous Artists Of America. According to an eyewitness from an earlier post of mine on this subject the AAA (as they were known) came on after the Dead. Given the newspaper article, it makes sense that the Dead played from about 4-30-5:00pm, and then the AAA came on to end the event. So it seems that the photographer arrived at the show with the Dead, and stayed until the end, which is why there are no photos of the earlier bands. [update: careful analysis from a Commenter shows that the photographer must have been there the whole time, but he seems to have focused on the Dead. There appear to have been several other bands, but not pictures of all of them performing. Two bands preceded the Dead, neither of them NDRB or Solid State. AAA seems to have been after the Dead, and there was at least one other band after that, but impossible to discern more than that. There was also a peculiar band playing ornate marching band instruments that performed from a flatbed truck). 

The Anonymous Artists Of America were formed by a bunch of Stanford University dropouts. They had an electronic music device, a sort of primitive synthesizer called a Buchla Box, designed by electronic music pioneer Don Buchla. The AAA lived in a giant, crumbling mansion in the San Bruno Mountains that used to belong to a railroad baron. The AAA weren't really very good at their instruments, by their own admission, but they focused on being creative. The AAA was very hooked into the Prankster/Underground scene, and indeed they had performed at the infamous Acid Test Graduation on Halloween 1966.

The AAA also played regularly at The Barn in Scotts Valley. Often the New Delhi River Band would headline Friday nights, while the AAA would headline on Saturday. The members of AAA are pretty obscure today, but one of the singers was Jerry Garcia's wife Sara. After Jerry and Sara had split up, Sara--a Stanford dropout herself--had left the Pranksters and joined up with the AAA. So it was no surprise to see them at the Palo Alto Be-In.

I have to assume that The New Delhi River Band and Solid State started off the Be-In. [update: a careful look at the complete photo set shows that the first two bands were neither New Delhi River Band nor The Flowers. So there must have been more groups, and those two might have come on at the end, after The Dead and AAA. It's plain that the Daily writer didn't really know, and was taking someone else's word for everything but the Dead performance he witnessed]. If it really started at 1:00, and the Dead came on at 4:30. something else must have filled up some time. Palo Altans who attended many of the El Camino Park Be-Ins have the traditionally vague memories, and they recall seeing Timothy Leary, Eldridge Cleaver and others speaking at them. However, I don't know which events they might have been. More likely, speakers from the Free U filled up time between acts.

Solid State was the new name of a local psychedelic jazz rock band formerly called The Flowers (sometimes just Flower). They had been hooked in with Ken Kesey, not surprisingly, since tenor saxophonist Paul Robertson was one of Ken Kesey's attorneys. Another member of Solid State was bassist Gordon Stevens, whose family ran Stevens Music in San Jose (at 1202 Lincoln Ave in the Willow Glen neighborhood), where all the San Jose band like The Syndicate Of Sound got their gear. For much of the Spring, The Flowers had been the house band at The Poppycock, Palo Alto's first psychedelic club. Even I don't know anything about The Good Word.

So the Grateful Dead came on at 4:30, per the Stanford Daily. This makes sense to me, too. My family must have heard about it somehow, and while my Dad didn't really care about rock music he was interested in culture. If there was an interesting cultural event happening a mile from our house, then he was intetested. So it makes sense that we got there at 4:00 or something, and heard the Grateful Dead play, and then left. Based on the review, and my sister's memory, perhaps the Dead only played "Dancing In The Streets" and "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl."

An MPFU newsletter that advertised a June 23, 1968 El Camino Park Be-In featuring The Sons Of Champlin, Charlie Musselwhite and Berkeley's Notes From The Underground
There were several more free concerts at El Camino Park. The Steve Miller Band and The New Delhi River Band headlined another Free U event on October 1, 1967. There were two more in 1968, one on June 23 that featured the Sons Of Champlin, and one on September 29 that featured Steve Miller (with guest Carlos Santana), Frumious Bandersnatch, Phoenix and possibly others. After that, however, even tolerant Palo Alto had had its fill, and there were no more free concerts in El Camino Park.

The MidPeninsula Free University had a tumultuous history, but it pretty well came to an end by 1971. David Nelson and then Dave Torbert had joined Jerry Garcia in the New Riders Of The Purple Sage. A close look at the Be-In photos shows John Dawson hanging out backstage, so he was there, too. So not only the Dead, but some other people at the El Camino Park Be-In went on to rock stardom, even if the AAA, the New Delhi River Band, The Good Word and Solid State are largely lost in the mists of time.

There were only two more rock events at El Camino Park. In 1972 there was a concert featuring the Indian Fusion group Shanti. And on June 8, 1975, Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders headlined at El Camino Park over Kingfish and the Rowan Brothers. The concert was not free, but it was a mellow event by all accounts. Did Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and Dave Torbert recall that they had played before, for free, on a Summer's Day in 1967?

Appendix: Historiographical Error Log
Since all the information about the Palo Alto Be-In comes from me, I thought I would briefly parse out how I came to my earlier incorrect conclusions. In a post some years ago, I proposed that the correct date was Saturday, June 24, 1967, and the groups were the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and The Holding Company and The Sons of Champlin.

Because of Rock Scully's assertion that they borrowed the Monterey Pop amps, used them and returned them shortly after, I knew that the Palo Alto Be-In had to be soon after the Monterey weekend of June 16-18. There was a big event on Wednesday, June 21, the Summer Solstice, so it seemed logical that the Dead would play the next weekend as well.

One of my eyewitnesses said he thought that the Palo Alto show was the day before Jimi Hendrix played for free in the Panhandle, and since that date was known to be Sunday, June 25, Saturday the 24th fit nicely.

The same eyewitness, a Palo Alto resident who went to most of the Be-Ins, couldn't remember whether it was the Dead or Big Brother. He admitted that it wasn't such a big deal to him: Jerry Garcia had been his guitar teacher, so although he liked the Dead, he had already seen them a bunch of times. He did distinctly recall the Sons Of Champlin, but now I think he was thinking of the 1968 show.

Various other people on Facebook posts and the like said that Big Brother played El Camino Park, which made it seem like they played. Based on Big Brother's schedule, the Palo Alto Be-In seemed the only likely candidate, so I figured they both played. It now seems that Palo Altans who recall Big Brother at El Camino were just imagining it. Big Brother did play a very obscure show at the relatively nearby Foothill Junior College, but it would be hard to mistake one place for the other.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

March 24, 1970, Pirate's World, Dania, FL (Truckin')

The traditional Grateful Dead concert lists all cite a Grateful Dead performance at Pirate's World, in Dania, FL, just North of Miami, on March 24, 1970. A 90-minute board tape with that date, apparently most of a complete show, seems to confirm the date. Yet this seemingly obscure event provides far more mystery than one might think. For one thing, Pirate's World was an amusement park, and the Grateful Dead didn't play a lot of shows at amusement parks. For another, it isn't even clear if March 24 was the correct date, and if it was, why was it changed? Finally, no matter what the date, the Grateful Dead spent some time that week sitting around the hotel pool. During those days, the Dead wrote "Truckin'", perhaps the band's most iconic song.

This post will look into the peculiar venue of Pirate's World, the ambiguous issue of the actual date they performed, and why exactly the Dead seemed to have enough time to sit around a hotel pool and write a song.

The Grateful Dead seem to have completed the basic tracks for Workingman's Dead from March 9-16, 1970, just before they went truckin' off to Buffalo
The Grateful Dead, Spring 1970
The first few months of 1970 were tumultuous for the Grateful Dead. They had been all over the country, from the Fillmore East to Hawaii and back, by way of New Orleans and St. Louis. They had fired their organ player, fired their manager, hired a new road manager and recorded an album. By March 8, they had already played about 34 shows (decide for yourself if they played Ungano's on February 12). As near as anyone can tell, the sessions for Workingman's Dead were February 16-19 and then March 9-16, when the basic tracks were completed.

The crazy touring schedule was a legacy of recently fired manager Lenny Hart, who--to put it kindly--did not have the best interests of the band in mind. By March, touring was under the control of new road manager Sam Cutler. Still, even Cutler's firm hand must have been tested by the peculiar concert schedule that the Grateful Dead were still obligated to fulfill. Somewhere around March, it started to become clear that Lenny Hart had ripped off the Dead for some serious money, $155,000 in fact, a huge sum for the time. Yet the Dead, always contrarian, chose to work their way out of trouble.

Having just completed basic tracks for what they must have known would be an excellent album, the Dead apparently decided they needed a "road song," like many other bands. Unlike other bands, however, like Canned Heat (whose "On The Road Again" had been a huge hit), the Dead had to bring their lyricist on the road with them. So for the March East Coast tour in 1970, the Grateful Dead were joined by Robert Hunter. Hunter had been backstage at many a Dead show, of course, but to my knowledge, he hadn't been on the road outside of California.

The projected tour was very brief:

Tuesday, March 17, 1970: Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, NY
Quixotically, the Dead began their little tour with a show with the Buffalo Philharmonic.

Friday and Saturday, March 20-21, 1970: Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY
The anchors for the tour were two double shows at the newly-opened Capitol Theater. The Capitol was in suburban Port Chester, in Westchester County. Westchester was within the New York Metropolitan area, but not at all the city per se.

Sunday and Monday, March 22-23, 1970: Pirates World, Dania, FL
The Pirate's World bookings appear to have been "routing gigs," paying shows at modest places that pay the hotel and travel bills between more lucrative events.

Friday-Sunday, March 27, 28 or 29, 1970: Winter's End Festival, Miami, FL
A major rock festival was planned for Florida. It's not clear which day the Dead would have played, but I think the promise of a good payday was what kept them on the road, and got them to Florida in the first place. It's likely that if the band wasn't expecting to play the Winter's End Festival, they wouldn't have booked Pirate's World.

After the band left New York, it seems that nothing went as planned. Thus the story that "Truckin'" was written by Garcia, Weir, Lesh and Hunter around a pool in Florida makes a lot of sense. The band thought they would be playing three shows in Florida, and they appear to have played only one. Thus there may have been far more time to sit around and write, rather than coming and going to and from various venues.

A newspaper ad for The Capitol Theater in Port Chester for March, 1970. Almost all of these bands played Pirate's World as well during the first half of 1970
The Grateful Dead On The Road
The existing ticket for Pirate's World (up top) suggests that two shows were originally scheduled. Tickets were probably printed some time in advance. Yet there is only one tape, from a different date. There are various eyewitnesses, and none of them refer to multiple shows. So it seems that the shows that were originally scheduled for Sunday and Monday, March 22 and 23, were converted to a single show on Tuesday, March 24. This change in schedule is logical for a variety of other reasons as well.

First of all, in order for the Dead to have played Pirate's World on Sunday, March 22, they would have had to load out of the Capitol in Port Chester, get to La Guardia, fly into Miami and load in to Dania, some miles to the North, in about 16 hours. A tall order indeed, even for the vaunted Dead road crew.

Secondly, a Sunday and Monday booking was fairly unprecedented for Pirate's World. There is an excellent, detailed list of Pirate's World shows (at the always exceptionally well researched Concert Archive), and almost all shows were only weekend shows. It does seem that the week of March 20-28 was some effort at a sort of "Spring Break" series, since there were concerts booked all week. However, this was never repeated, so it suggests that the promotion wasn't very successful. The scheduled bookings for Pirate's World that week were:
  • Friday and Saturday, March 20-21, 1970: Country Joe & The Fish, Rose Creek Band
  • Sunday and Monday, March 22-23, 1970: Grateful Dead
  • Tuesday and Wednesday, March 24-25, 1970: Youngbloods, Storm
  • Friday and Saturday, March 27-28, 1970: Chambers Brothers, New Society Band
So in order for the Dead to have played Tuesday, March 24, the Youngbloods would have had to be moved or canceled. Now, I don't know anyone who has a complete Youngbloods tour list--OK, I do (me), but it ends in 1969--but if the Dead were reduced to one show, it seems reasonable to assume that the Youngbloods were reduced or rescheduled as well. Perhaps the Youngbloods just played Wednesday (March 25). So for now, I'm pretty comfortable with the Dead having played Tuesday, March 24, 1970 at Pirate's World. They probably got into Florida Sunday night, and hung out for a Tuesday show in anticipation of the big festival the next weekend.
Ahoy, mateys. Note the aerial trams overlooking the buccaneer-filled water at Pirate's World.
Pirate's World
Pirate's World was an 87-acre amusement park that had opened in 1966, just North of Miami in Dania, Florida. It was located just East of US1, North of Sheridan Street (the community is now called Dania Beach, FL, and Sheridan Street is also FL822). Most of the rides were pirate themed, and there was a body of water, and one of the rides was a trip on an "actual" pirate ship. The amusement park was initially very popular when it first opened, until Disney World came on the scene in Orlando in 1971. Pirate's World closed in 1975, although it is fondly remembered by young people in the area at the time.

There had been a variety of efforts to find suitable rock venues in the Miami area in the 1960s, and the Dead had played a critical role, if to little avail. Early in 1968, the Dead had played Thee Image, Miami's own Fillmore, and the band had also kicked off a series of free concerts at Graynolds Park. Later in 1968, the band had played a rock festival in nearby Hallandale (Dec 28 '68) and then, after Thee Image had closed, at a rock festival on the Seminole Indian Reservation in West Hollywood (May 23-24 '69),and at a speedway in Hollywood (Dec 28 '69). By 1970, police and civic pressure had forced touring rock bands to play outdoors in the Pirates World amusement park in Dania, just North of Hallandale (and just South of Fort Lauderdale). Note that the ticket stub suggests that when purchasing a ticket "all rides free." I wonder how "The Other One" would have sounded on a roller coaster?

From the point of view of the park, it seems that the concerts were an effort to bring in teenagers. Certainly the events were memorable for those who went. An eyewitness recalls
The concert area at Pirates World was inside the large amusement park. Maybe 2,000 people? 100 feet of floor space between the stage and a row of wooden bleacher seats that faced the stage. Totally open air, don't even think there was a roof over the stage.
lived in Ft Lauderdale from 67-69...returned to NYC in 69 and went back to Fla. numerous times. Happend to be there when this concert was announced and holy shit!I was in a band in NYC during 65-67 and bass player was a huge Dead fan. He was with us in Fla and attended this concert, too.Prior to concert, 5 of us decided to take the ride across Pirates World, sort of an ore bucket thingy. While we're waiting to get into our cage, who's in front of us but Garcia amd his entourage...we wait and they get into the cage...a few mniutes later ( we had an abnormally long wait) we get into our cage...proceed to go 1/2 way across the grounds, about 50 feet in the air, and the ride stops...we decide it is the cops who want to bust us (Fla. in 1970 was, shall we say, intolerant of long hairs) so we start smoking everything we have...3-4 jointz each at a time...paranoid, the ride finally moves and we get to the end and the kid who opens the door says "Garcia told us there were a bunch of heads behind him, and to make sure you got a good long ride."
best ride of my life.
57 years old now and man, do I miss the 60s.

A flyer for the original iteration of the Winter's End Festival in Miami, scheduled for March 27-29, 1970. Originally planned for a site just north of Miami, eventually an abortive version of the event was held at a place called Bithlo.
Winter's End Festival
The big event, however, was the "Winter's End Festival" scheduled for the weekend of March 27-29. JGMF did some excellent work looking into this canceled event, and has some excellent links. He also found the flyer above, which shows us that the original site of the Winter's End Festival was North of Miami, but still South of Pirate's World. This may account for the Dead having reduced from two dates to one, if local fans were expecting a big festival the next weekend.

I have since found out, however, that the actual story of the Winter's End Festival was far more complex and crazy than JGMF's links suggest. It was the last in a line of Florida rock festivals that always kept moving due to local pressure. The promoter of the festival turns out to have been an infamous character named Tom Forcade. Forcade (1945-78) was either a provocative entrepreneur, or an entreprenurial provocateur, depending on how you see things. Saying that Forcade was "a character" does him a disservice. He is worthy of an entire book, which is apparently being written. Suffice to say, and I say this advisedly, the most mainstream thing that Forcade ever did was start High Times magazine. Just to reiterate--starting High Times was Forcade's straightest, most plausible venture. I hope the book comes out soon.

In any case, Forcade promoted the Winter's End Festival near Miami, and it fell apart and kept getting moved. It finally moved to a place called Bithlo, Florida, in between Miami and Orlando. While I'm sure Bithlo is a pleasant suburb now, at the time it was just empty county land. Nonetheless, apparently Orange County Sheriff's deputies made every effort to dissuade and arrest festival goers. Some version of the festival took place, but the Grateful Dead did not participate. There are many crazy memories, if you poke around. The JGMF comment thread has some good ones:

I attended this concert and Johnny Winter, Mountain and the Allman Brothers did play and were incredible, the hog farm was there and did their usual great job with what they could pull together. Locals caused some difficulties - breaking into cars/mini buses and stealing whatever they could find, causing some fights, etc. But overall it was a decent experience for a crowd in the hot Florida sun and cool evenings. Looking back now, amazing that no one died but leave it to youth..... 

I was there with 3 buddies that drove down on spring break from Indiana State. While I remember it being a generally epic time details are unclear do to the orange barrels. I remember about all the Hog Farm had was huge kettles of onion soup. Nutritious! Wavy Gravy took over emcee chores and continually extolled its virtues and thanks to the farm. I remember him voicing the warnings of bad mescaline going around and where the first aid tents were. I remember the Governor of Fl waking thru and declaring the site a disaster area to allow for food aid because the stores were wiped out. Remember the naked mud slide area! As for bands, clearly remember Johnny and Edgar Winter (first time I jeard them together), Leslie West and Mountain, Allman Brothers, and seems to me Tin House and Rush who I hadn't heard of before. Unlike previous post i remember bands for the whole 3days. Pretty big mess on sunday after it was over. Left after concert was over to head down to Lauderdale where the engine in my buddies Comet Blew. Hung for a couple days til the cash was gone and hitched back to ISU. Remember getting run off the road in TN by an 18 wheeler! Dang hippies! Great fun! Peace out!

Truckin' was written in March of 1970, made its live debut in August and was released on American Beauty in November.
Shot A Man In Reno?
McNally sets the scene:
In mid-March the Dead set off on tour, accompanied for the first time by Hunter, who had concluded that the band needed a road song, and that he needed to see the road to write the song...Later in the tour they reached Florida, and Hunter sprang the verses of "Truckin'" on them...Weir, Lesh and Garcia joined Hunter, and the four of them sat around the swimming pool with acoustic guitars and worked up the song (p364)

A few decades later, David Browne interviewed Robert Hunter for Rolling Stone, who added a few more details (Browne, not coincidentally, has just released his excellent new Grateful Dead book So Many Roads, which I can highly recommend)

Q: "Truckin'" also was completed on the road with the Dead, wasn't it?A: Yeah, I think it was in Florida, and I had been writing it for some time. I think I finished it there — it was not a song I just dashed off. And then I gave it to them. They were all sitting around the swimming pool, the guitars there, and they did a good job on it. I wrote all the lyric. "Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me" — I think that's Phil. It took me a couple of months to write and it maybe took 'em about half an hour to put it together
It is very tempting to look at the lyrics to famous rock songs and tie them to the biography of the writers. Certainly, when the band sings about getting "Busted, down on Bourbon Street," that very thing had happened less than two months earlier, and had been a famous event that fans were supposed to recognize, definitely an intentionally autobiographical reference. When they sing, "Dallas, got a soft machine, Houston, too close to New Orleans," we can look at the February schedule and see that the Dead had finally played Dallas (Feb 20) and Houston (Feb 22) just the month before. As for "Truckin', up to Buffalo," it's hard not to consider that Hunter and the boys were just in Buffalo less than a week before they wrote the song,

Nonetheless, biographical analysis does writers a great disservice. As a famous Classics professor once said, refuting the idea that the Roman poet Ovid's love objects were too realistic to be fictional, "raise your hand if you think Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die." Writers make things up. Sometimes, the fictions are constructed from real occurrences in the writer's life, but ultimately they are still inventions. We cheerfully assume that Hunter did not "cut his buddy down, dug for him a shallow grave and laid his body down." Yet, whenever the whiff of reality strikes us, we suddenly wonder if writers are incapable of modifying real events for their art. 

In fact, the Dead weren't in Dallas in February 20, as they were actually in nearby Fort Worth. Although Ft. Worth has just two syllables, it doesn't sing as well, so it became "Dallas." "New York, got the ways and means, but just won't let you be," is a true enough statement, so it doesn't matter that Hunter had actually been in suburban Port Chester rather than Manhattan. "Truckin'" is a road song, and the phrase "long strange trip" will be Hunter's legacy long after we have all passed. It is appropriate that it was written on the road, at some no doubt seedy hotel in a Miami suburb, while the band waited around for a big gig that was never going to come. But it's still made up. The only pity is that Hunter and the guitarists did not sit around the pool another day and take a crack at some other lyrics. 

Pirate's World Today
The town of Dania is now called Dania Beach. I assume, like most of Florida, it is full of new construction, housing developments and malls, sprawling in every direction. Pirate's World closed in 1975, overwhelmed by Disney World. There was supposed to be a Biblical Theme Park in its place around 1978, but nothing came of it. The park was replaced by housing, and erased from all but childhood memories. Still, if you Google Map Sheridan Street (FL822) in Dania Beach, FL, just East of US1 (N Federal Highway), there is still a body of water. It is called West Lake. Could West Lake be the last trace of Pirate's World? Of course, since it was an amusement park, there wouldn't exactly be sunken galleons with untouched treasure at the bottom. But still. Maybe you can stand at the corner of West Lake, shut your eyes, and crank up the March 24 '70 tape on your iPod. Maybe, for a minute, all rides are free, the band is playing and everything is possible. Then, after the moment passes, you can get back truckin' on.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Grateful Dead Live FM Broadcasts 1971 (FM IV)

A promotional poster for the Grateful Dead/NRPS show at the Easttown Theatre in Detroit, MI, on October 23 & 24, 1971. The cover to the new Grateful Dead album would have been provided as a "blank" to the promoter, who would have then had a local printer insert the concert details. Promoters could no longer afford to commission posters, but they would stilluse record company blanks. This is one indicator of Warner Brothers involvement in the Dead's fall '71 tour.
The Grateful Dead have been influential to the music industry in ways that are not always self-evident. One way in which the Dead have had a huge influence on the music industry was their enthusiasm for live FM broadcasts of their concerts. In the early 1970s, the Dead's willingness to broadcast their performances for free over the airwaves was in complete opposition to music business orthodoxy. Very rapidly, however, as the Dead started to sell records without benefit of a hit, the industry started to take notice. Live FM broadcasts became a staple of rock radio by the mid-70s, and they laid the groundwork for the explosion of music available on the internet, however distant that future might have been.

In the first installment of this series, I described the very earliest live FM broadcasts of rock shows.  The first Grateful Dead live concert broadcast was on KMPX-fm, from the Carousel Ballroom on February 14, 1968, and the resulting copies were foundational for Grateful Dead tape collectors over the years. There were a few other early experiments,including a live broadcast on Berkeley's KPFA-fm from the Avalon Ballroom on April 6, 1969, and a set from San Diego on KPRI-fm (106.5) on May 11, 1969. For my second installment, I analyzed how many of the Grateful Dead tapes from the 1960s that circulated in the 1970s and 80s were broadcast on San Francisco's KSAN-fm in the 1970s, although they were not in fact actually broadcast during the 60s. 

In my third post, I looked at all the live broadcasts by the Grateful Dead and various individual members from 1970.  None of the circumstances of any of the 1970 broadcasts were ever duplicated, but it made a good case study on how the Grateful Dead determined the best way to promote their music for their own benefit. In my fourth post, I looked at the Fillmore West broadcast of July 2, 1971. The Fillmore West broadcast was the basic blueprint for just about all the Grateful Dead concerts that were broadcast throughout the 1970s. KSAN-fm was the best rated music station in what at the time was the hippest music city in the United States. When a band played live on the air for nearly three hours, with no commercials (except during the setbreak), it was an unprecedented event. 

For this post, I will focus on the Grateful Dead's unprecedented Fall 1971 tour, where the band made 15 live broadcasts of complete concerts all across the country. Such an extravaganza was never duplicated again, neither by the Grateful Dead nor any other band. Yet it had far reaching implications for the Dead, as it ended up being essential to spreading their legend far and wide to young rock fans who would not otherwise have been able to see them.
A cover for one of the many bootleg LPs that were created from the Grateful Dead's July 2, 1971 Fillmore West FM broadcast on KSAN and KMPX. I had this bootleg--it was kind of an underground hit album in the Bay Area back in the day.
The Grateful Dead, Summer 1971
The Grateful Dead had delivered not just one, but two successful albums to Warner Brothers in 1970. While WB had initially considered the Dead a sort of prestige cult act in the 60s, the band had surprised the label by recording the very accessible Workingman's Dead. Workingman's was released in June 1970, just as FM radio was becoming a nationwide phenomenon. They followed it up with American Beauty in November 1970, which FM djs liked even better. 

The bulk of the rock audience  in 1970 was young people in suburbs and colleges. Many of them had probably heard of the Grateful Dead in a sort of legendary way, but the first music they heard by the Dead was most likely songs from Workingman's or American Beauty, played on the local FM station. Songs like "Uncle John's Band," "Casey Jones," "Friend Of The Devil" and "Truckin'" weren't exactly hits, but they were played often enough that rock fans recognized them. 

When the Dead discovered that manager Lenny Hart had been stealing from them in early 1970, they made the decision that they were going to tour their way back to solvency. With new road manager Sam Cutler heading up the wagon train, the band toured relentlessly throughout 1970 and '71. They found a welcome reception at college campuses all over the country. The schools had entertainment budgets, and they had students anxious to get a taste of a real Fillmore East band. The fact that the Dead kept releasing albums that actually got FM airplay only made them more attractive for concert bookings. 

The Dead seem to have considered the idea of a live album as early as October 1970. They finally took it seriously in the Spring of 1971, and recorded several shows on their Spring tour, with the idea of making a double live album. The band recorded shows at Manhattan Center and at Fillmore East in April 1971. They also recorded a show at Winterland on March 24, 1971. From the 9 shows, the band worked all summer to create a double live album.

The Dead had already released a double live album, of course, the immortal Live/Dead. Live/Dead, however, had been a pinnacle of sophisticated jamming that was modeled more on jazz albums than rock ones. The Dead's new album was structured more like a mini-concert. There would be one song from an old album ("The Other One") and a few new originals, but mostly there would be cover versions. The covers were both well-known and obscure, and all in all it represented a snapshot of the type of show the band was delivering across the country. 

As a result, the Dead had a fair amount of leverage with Warners, for a change: two hit albums in a row, rising concert receipts and yet still retaining some underground cachet. So at the end of the Summer, they told Warners that they wanted to release a double live album, which was surely good with the label. Popular road bands like The Who, The Allman Brothers Band and Grand Funk Railroad had released such albums, so it would have made sense to Warners. The Dead had an album and a cover, a version of a Kelly/Mouse skeleton-and-roses poster from 1966. They also had a proposal for a title: "Skullfuck." 
Grateful Dead, better known to Deadheads as Skull And Roses, was released by Warner Brothers in Fall 1971, and the company financed FM broadcasts at many cities where the Dead played.
Summit Meeting In Los Angeles
Warners had a complete cow over the proposed title, yet the Dead insisted. Ultimately there was a famous meeting between Warners and the band. The Dead insisted that "everybody" had to come, including crew members and girlfriends, so Joe Smith and the Warners team hired the Continental Hyatt House conference room, since they couldn't fit into any room at the WB offices. 

McNally describes the meeting in some detail. Smith ultimately persuaded the band that so few stores would carry the album with that title that it would be a financial debacle. Later Garcia and others said that it was all a big put-on, and they didn't really intend to follow through with it. The episode is very Grateful Dead, but it's worth noting that it was just the San Francisco hippie version of typical rock star behavior. People make fun of various bands for their requirements or excesses (brown m&ms, caviar, tvs thrown into swimming pools, etc) that their labels had to tolerate, and the Dead did the same thing. Admittedly, their version was less focused on the comfort of the band members and had a sense of humor, but ultimately it was rock starrish behavior nonetheless.

Nonetheless, Joe Smith prevailed, and the album title was changed to the cautious Grateful Dead. Smith correctly observed that ultimately the Grateful Dead were professionally ambitious, whatever other aesthetic values they may have had. Nonetheless, something critically important came out of the Hyatt House meeting. McNally:
[Another] piece of fallout from the meeting at the Hyatt House was a hefty promotional budget for the album, including about $100,000 for radio broadcasts of fourteen shows that fall, which would help make Skullf**k the Dead's first gold album. Their broadcasts were direct and effective, which was fortunate, because their other efforts would be less useful. [McNally, p.410]
The concept of free radio broadcasts in multiple cities was radical stuff, indeed. Up until this time, there had been relatively few live FM broadcasts of rock bands. The Grateful Dead, as usual, had been in the forefront. Their earliest live broadcast had been on February 14, 1968 (from The Carousel, via KPMX-fm), far before most other bands. Their most recent live broadcast had been intriguing, from the Fillmore West on July 2, 1971. Bill Graham had made an historic event out of the closing of the Fillmore, and record company support had allowed for the entire week of Fillmore shows to be broadcast in quadrophonic, on two radio stations at once. On July 2, entire sets were broadcast by The Rowan Brothers (with Garcia and Bill Kreutzmann as part of the band), the New Riders Of The Purple Sage (with Garcia) and both sets by the Dead.

Clearly, the Fillmore West shows were a model for the Dead. The substantial record company promotional budget was required because FM stations were not going to give up airtime for free. If a band played live on FM radio--this is still true, if bands still broadcast live on FM--somebody, usually the record company, had to pay for all the lost advertising time for the commercial free broadcast. Now, I suspect that record companies agreed in advance to a certain number of ads over the next month in return for free air time for their band, rather than a single cash payment, but it doesn't matter. It cost money to put a band on commercial FM radio, and Warner Brothers was willing to pay.

Economic Assessment
Using McNally's numbers, the Grateful Dead received a $100,000 budget to pay for broadcasts in 14 cities.  This amounts to around $7000 per broadcast. Some of that money would have gone to compensate the radio stations, and some would have gone to expenses, such as hiring local equipment and staff for the event. Live fm broadcasts were still new, and for many stations this may have been their first stab at it.

Record companies were not charities. The $100,000 they assigned to the Dead for promotional purposes would have been taken out of the Dead's future royalties. Using Ron Rakow's figure that the Dead were getting 31 cents per album from Warners (prior to going independent), this would have meant that the Dead would have had to sell about 323,000 albums to justify the costs of the broadcasts. I believe the Dead met that goal, but in an unexpected way that may not have been anticipated.

In formal terms, the band would have had to sell an extra 23,000 albums in each city that they broadcast. Its impossible to say whether they did or didn't, but it's not impossible that they met that goal in some of the larger cities. The real question would be whether the fans who heard the broadcasts and then bought the albums would have bought them anyway. However, it doesn't matter. Rather unexpectedly, one of the most important things that the tour did was create seeds for future Grateful Dead tapers. In many cases, the tapes stayed dormant for many years, but once taping took off, there were lost treasures from the 1971 tour to be found, and it added considerably to the excitement of accumulating Dead tapes in the later '70s.

In any case, thousands of rock fans all over the country heard their first Grateful Dead concert from the comfort of their own rooms, whether in the suburbs or the dorms. Plenty of those people got on the bus that very same night. It's hard to quantify how many tickets and albums were sold to people who heard those shows, but it was a lot--the $100,000 that the Dead gave up in royalties ended up being paid back many times over. In many ways, it could be argued that it was the best investment the Dead could have made in their own future musical success.

The Rolling Stones bootleg Liver Than You'll Ever Be, while not having huge sales, was reviewed in Rolling Stone and had a huge effect on the record industry. It was essentially a well-mic'd audience tape of the Stones, using an Owsley tuned Dead sound system, and it scared the daylights out of the music business. 
The Spectre Of Bootlegs
When looking backwards, it seems strange that other bands did not copy the Grateful Dead. FM airplay was the key to success in attracting attention in the early 70s, and it was hardly a secret. Here were the Dead getting 4 hours a night, and sucking people into their universe for good. Back in the 60s, the Dead had struck upon the idea of playing for free in a local park to attract attention for the evening's concert. Using better technology, they were now playing for free for the entire region. All the mostly young rock fans who couldn't get tickets were listening in their bedrooms. The Fall '71 Dead could really bring it, too, so every listener got the full dose.

There were lots of great bands touring in 1971--why weren't they all doing this? Traffic, J Geils Band, Ten Years After, The Byrds, Poco, The Faces--where were they? All of them had great live shows (check out sugarmegs if you don't believe me) and could have owned the audience in every town, and yet they didn't do it.

The resistance to live rock broadcasts in the early 70s seems to have been driven by fear of bootleg records. Since the late 60s, mysterious albums with white covers had shown up in record stores, featuring studio outtakes or live recordings. Some of them were less than stellar, but some of them opened fans up to an entire new universe. Record companies were in a complete panic over the idea that their monopoly over artists could be disintermediated, and they were generally against anything that encouraging bootlegging. Most bootlegs only sold in the thousands, at most, but when they got reviewed in Rolling Stone corporate boardrooms got very nervous indeed.

Now, some bootleggers may have had artistic motives, but they weren't compensating artists, either. Almost no rock bands, certainly not the Grateful Dead, were actually sympathetic to bootleg records being sold. Nonetheless, those bootlegs were tremendously influential in the early 70s record industry. The Dead played an inadvertent role in the first successful bootleg of an audience tape, a live recording of the Rolling Stones at the Oakland Coliseum on November 9, 1969. The "release" of Liver Than You'll Ever Be was supposedly responsible for the corresponding release of the Rolling Stones live album Get Your Ya-Ya's Out. Certainly, bootlegs indicated a public taste for live rock, and numerous live albums were released in the early 70s.

As a fellow scholar has documented, the Grateful Dead were heavily bootlegged in the early 70s, and the band went out of their way to interfere with them. It may even be that the release of Skull And Roses was intended as a counterweight to available bootlegs. Nonetheless, the Dead looked into the abyss and created potential bootleg material by broadcasting live. The gamble paid off in every way. If only Traffic had done the same when they toured in Fall 1971, behind Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys, music history could have had a different twist to it.

The poster for the Grateful Dead/NRPS show at the Allen Theater in Cleveland, on October 29, 1971. Once again the promoter has used the WB-provided blank.
An Evening With The Grateful Dead
The Fall 1971 Grateful Dead broadcasts were unique in so many ways, it is difficult to absorb them all. For one thing, in 1971 the Dead were still promoting their shows under the rubric of "An Evening With The Grateful Dead." Most rock shows back in the day had two or three acts, but the Dead brought their own opening act and then played two sets of their own. The New Riders Of The Purple Sage, who up until the Summer of '71 had largely been a mystery, had finally released their debut album on Columbia Records in September. Jerry Garcia's replacement on pedal steel guitar, Buddy Cage, was already around and rehearsing with the New Riders, but Garcia still played with the Riders initially in order to publicize their new album.

Think about this for a moment. The Grateful Dead, though peculiar outlaws of a sort, were bona fide rock stars by any accounting. Jerry Garcia was far and away the most famous member of the group. And yet here he was appearing with the opening act every night. Plenty of sixties rock stars made guest appearances on albums in the 70s, indeed record companies made a point of publicizing those appearances. Yet the stars did not appear with the bands, much less opening their own concerts. Neil Young, for example, worked with the band Crazy Horse, but they did not open for him with Neil on guitar.

For at least 8 of the 14 shows financed by Warner Brothers, the New Riders Of The Purple Sage performed on the radio as well. Now, I'm sure that the Riders were subsidized by Columbia rather than Warners, but once again here was another anomaly. The Grateful Dead would be on the FM airwaves for close to four hours, but the most famous member of the band was on the air for an additional hour as well with the opening act.

I have heard a tape of the initial broadcast of the tour, from Minneapolis, and the New Riders played 75 minutes. During the set break, there was an interview with Garcia and others, from earlier in the evening. On top of that there was a tape of a sort of prose poem from Robert Hunter, who at the time was quite a mysterious figure. Thus the Dead dominated KQRS-fm  in Minneapolis for at least five hours, probably six. How many Deadheads got on the bus that night, do you think? In some form or another, the same thing must have happened in every city. The Grateful Dead reaped the benefits for many years.

Live broadcasts around a Dead tour should have celebrated the release of each Grateful Dead album, but it was not to be. By the time of the next album, Europe '72, the Dead were leaving Warner Brothers, so it wasn't like the company was going to strive to make it a big hit. Subsequent albums were released by the cash-poor Grateful Dead label, so they could not afford the strategy that would have worked. The only other time it was attempted was for the miserable Steal Your Face album, when United Artists supported a series of broadcasts on the East Coast in 1976, but that is a story for another post.

Many years after the fact, a King Biscuit Flower Hour recording of the complete concert by  Kingfish at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan, on April 3, 1976 was released. When this was released in 1992, it was the only live Kingfish on the market from the band in their prime. That's still the case, sad to say.
Aftermath: The King Biscuit Flower Hour
The Grateful Dead released their Grateful Dead album ("Skull And Roses") in Fall 1971, and the cross-country radio broadcasts helped propel the album into gold record status. Once a hipster cult band, the Grateful Dead were now big business. However, just as few acts bought into the Dead's scheme of playing free concerts to publicize local concerts, even fewer--as in none--would broadcast live shows across the country. Whether this was out of fear that they would be implicitly conceding that every show was the same, or just fear of bootleg records, it didn't happen. The broadcasts of the Fall '71 Grateful Dead tour were a signpost to new space, but it was a freeway exit that was never taken by other bands. And more's the pity for that.

However, there was a sort of successor to the Grateful Dead broadcasts, namely the syndicated FM radio show The King Biscuit Flower Hour. The Biscuit, as it was known, taped live concerts in mobile recording trucks and put portions of the shows on the air. Each show was about an hour, and often the broadcasts took place within several weeks of the original concert. LPs (and later cds) were circulated to the subscribing FM stations, and they would broadcast them on a fixed schedule. KSAN used to have The Biscuit on Sunday nights, as I recall.

The King Biscuit Flower Hour began in February, 1973. There's no way the founders weren't aware of the Dead's experiment. The Biscuit was far more controlled: once ads were included, the actual music portion was about 50 minutes or so. Sometimes there would be two or three bands, so some of the "sets" were shorter. Bands or their management would choose what they considered to be a good overview, usually a couple of classic hits and some songs from the newest album. If there were some bad takes the night of the recording, they weren't used for the broadcast.

For fans like me, The King Biscuit Flower Hour was a glimpse into what was happening at concerts I couldn't go to, a taste of what bands actually sounded like live. For the bands, it was a chance to get heard in my bedroom or dorm room, a time when I would give a band a full hour of my attention. For tapers, of course, King Biscuit shows often provided the earliest circulating FM tapes of many bands. King Biscuit continued to broadcast until 1993. The Grateful Dead appeared on the show a number of times, and that too provided some widely circulating tapes. Although a 1982 fire destroyed many original tapes, the surviving Biscuit tapes can be heard at Wolfgang's Vault.

The poster for the GD/NRPS November 20, 1971 show at Pauley Pavilion was the only unique poster of the tour.
Appendix: 1971 Grateful Dead Live FM Broadcasts
July 2, 1971 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/New Riders Of The Purple Sage (KSAN-fm, KSFX-fm)
As part of the closing of the Fillmore West, the entire week of shows was broadcast in Quadrophonic on KSAN-fm and KSFX-fm. The New Riders and Rowan Brothers were broadcast as well, though both were without records at the time. I have written about this show at length. It appears to be the template for all future Grateful Dead broadcasts, a complete show sent over the airwaves in its entirety, warts and all.

August 21, 1971 Mickey Hart's Ranch, Novato, CA: Shanti/(New Riders Of The Purple Sage)
Shanti was an Indian/American fusion rock band on Atlantic. There was an event at Mickey Hart's ranch that was either an FM broadcast or a TV/FM special. The New Riders also played, but it doesn't appear that they were broadcast. We remain in hope that audio or video survived, however. 

October 19, 1971 Northrup Auditorium, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN: Grateful Dead/New Riders Of The Purple Sage (KQRS-fm)
The Grateful Dead's fall tour, and Keith Godchaux's debut, began in Minneapolis. The New Riders album had just been released the month before, so the broadcast opened with a 75-minute New Riders set, featuring Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar. The set break included a taped interview with Garcia from earlier in the day, with weird crew noises in the background, and some sort of Robert Hunter "tone poem." The Dead played two massive electric sets. All told, they must have been on the radio for at least five hours, and probably more. I do not know how often this exact format was repeated on the fall tour.

Note all the touring bands playing the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, besides the Dead: Traffic, Jeff Beck Group, Jethro Tull and Ten Years After most prominently. Why don't we have FM broadcasts of all of them? 
October 21, 1971 Auditorium Theater, Chicago, IL: Grateful Dead/New Riders Of The Purple Sage (WGLD-fm)
The Grateful Dead went on to play two nights at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. The touring strategy seemed to be to advertise a show at a venue, and when it sold out they would add a second night. The first night in Chicago was broadcast on WGLD-fm, based in suburban Oak Park. Once again the New Riders were broadcast as well.

October 23, 1971 Easttown Theater, Detroit, MI: Grateful Dead (WABX-fm)
The Dead played two nights at the Easttown in Detroit, and once again the first night was broadcast. I am not aware that there was a New Riders broadcast that night.

The poster for the GD/NRPS shows at Rochester (Oct 26) and Syracuse (Oct 27). Since this design turned up again in New Mexico, it was most likely a WB-provided blank.
October 26, 1971 The Palestra, Rochester, NY: Grateful Dead
The Dead also played the Palestra in Rochester, and broadcast from there. Once again, the New Riders were not broadcast to my knowledge. I have to suspect that Columbia didn't want to pay up to promote the New Riders in smaller cities. I guess it didn't matter--the New Riders are unbelievably popular in Central New York unto this very day.

October 27, 1971 Onandaga County War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse, NY: Grateful Dead (WAER-fm)
In the smaller cities, I don't think there ever was an expectation of adding a second night, so the Dead just played Rochester and relatively nearby Syracuse.

October 29. 1971 Allen Theater, Cleveland, OH: Grateful Dead (WMCR-fm)
Following the schedule, the Dead played one night in Cleveland and the next night in Cincinnati.

Once again, the Skull & Roses blank was used for the Cincinnati shows. Many of these were probably hung up in record stores, and only preserved because employee fans took them home instead of letting them be thrown out.
October 30, 1971 Taft Auditorium, Cincinnati, OH: Grateful Dead/New Riders Of The Purple Sage (W???-fm)
The Dead played two nights in Cincinnati, and broadcast the first one. The New Riders were also on the broadcast again. I don't know the name of the Cincinnati station.

November 7, 1971 Harding Theater, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead (KSFX-fm)
The Dead played two nights at the very tiny Harding Theater in San Francisco. You can't believe how small that place must have been. A second show was added the night before (November 6). The show on November 7 was broadcast on KSFX-fm, a sort of corporate sister station to KSAN, as far as I know.

I believe the New Riders opened these shows, although I am not certain. If that is so, then November 7, 1971 was Jerry's last appearance as a regular member of the New Riders. He would make a few guest appearances in later year, but he turned the pedal steel chair over to Buddy Cage after this.

Note that Howard Stein was promoting Traffic and the Grateful Dead consecutively in both Chicago and Atlanta. The Traffic tour was awesome, and no board recording survived, or was even made. There are a few crummy audience tapes. The sound that you hear is only the low spark of high heeled boys. 
November 11, 1971 Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, GA: Grateful Dead/New Riders Of The Purple Sage (WREK-fm)
WREK is the Georgia Tech University student station, although it was far more powerful than typical college stations. In the early '70s, WREK appeared to have 3400 watts (KZSU-fm at Stanford, by contrast, had 10 watts).

The New Riders were broadcast as well, and Buddy Cage made his live debut with the band. That's pretty rare, when you think about it--a band member (of any band) makes his live debut on an FM broadcast.

The other blank turns up in New Mexico.
November 17, 1971 Civic Auditorium, Albuquerque, NM: Grateful Dead (????-fm)
After three dates in Texas, the Dead had another broadcast in Albuquerque. Why the Dead broadcast in Albuquerque but not Austin (Nov 15) or Fort Worth (Nov 14) is a mystery to me, but there must have been promotional cross currents of some kind that are now lost in the mists of time. JGMF has discovered that the Dead hoped to add a second night in New Mexico, but weak ticket sales prevented that. The show was broadcast, but I'm not sure on which station. I also believe that the only recording of the broadcast is from a microphone next to an FM radio, not a line recording at all.

November 20, 1971 Pauley Pavilion, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA: Grateful Dead (KMET-fm)
The Dead played their first concert at Pauley Pavilion. A lot of concerts in Pauley in those days were with restricted seating, so the band would have been playing to a smaller crowd than they would in later years. I don't believe the New Riders were broadcast. KMET was owned by the same corporation as KSAN (Metromedia).

December 2, 1971 Boston Music Hall, Boston, MA: Grateful Dead/New Riders Of The Purple Sage (WBCN-fm)
The Grateful Dead and the New Riders were both broadcast on WBCN on December 2. The bands had added another show the night before (December 1).

December 5, 1971 Felt Forum, New York, NY: Grateful Dead/New Riders Of The Purple Sage (WNEW-fm)
The Dead and the Riders also broadcast from the Felt Forum. The Dead's potential audience was still young in those days, and this broadcast had to have gotten tons of teenagers in Long Island, Westchester and Northern New Jersey on to the bus with an express ticket. I think the show was widely bootlegged however (I had one--it was great) and that was the sort of thing the New York-based record industry would notice. The band also played newly-written material that had not been released, and that must have seemed suicidal to New York record companies, even thought the opposite turned out to be the case.

December 10, 1971 Fox Theater, St. Louis, MO: Grateful Dead/New Riders Of The Purple Sage (KADI-fm)
The Dead and the New Riders also broadcast from St. Louis. If you map the Dead's broadcasts, you can see that much of the country was covered. How many albums were sold by these broadcasts? I feel confident that it was ultimately far more than 323,000.

December 31, 1971 Winterland, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/New Riders Of The Purple Sage (KSAN-fm)
The final broadcast of the year was the New Year's blowout at Winterland. This was probably not part of the original Warner Brothers budget, but it was broadcasts like this that popularized the idea that the Dead playing San Francisco New Year's was a thing.