Monday, July 6, 2009

May 1, 8, 15,22, 1967 Rendezvous Inn, San Francisco: The Grateful Dead/The Wildflower

In May of 1967, The Dead, largely holidaying and rehearsing at the Russian River, had a regular Monday night gig at The Rendezvous Inn. The Rendezvous was a gay bar on Sutter Street, just above Powell, near Union Square. I don't know for certain the exact days, but McNally says they began "a brief series of Monday nights" (p.193) and the dates listed here are the first four Mondays in May. The band had a gig on May 29 in Napa, so I have assumed they played the first four Mondays in May.

There had been gay bars in San Francisco since at least the 1950s, though they kept a much lower profile than they did subsequently. The Wildflower, an Oakland group, played at least some of the gigs, and their manager was Bill Belmont (McNally, p. 288). Belmont worked for the Dead in late 1969.


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  2. In the new interview book Jerry on Jerry, Garcia remembers the Rendezvous gig - the thing is, he remembers it as being just one show, so I suppose McNally found elsewhere that it was a series of shows.

    "One of the weirdest gigs we ever played was one we played back when we were at 710 Ashbury early on. These guys came over and they were from this place that was a gay bar... We got hired for this gig and we were game. Sure, hey, yeah, twentieth anniversary of a gay bar... We went there and played, and the audience was all men, and this was in the days before guys were out in drag, so nobody was in drag, not a soul, and there were all these handsome young men. It was so strange... A wonderful audience. Just great. They were just as nice as can be, and they all politely kept their hands off Weir as we walked through the crowd... They were so well behaved. It was such a nice trip, but the unusual thing, there were no chicks, not a single chick there." (p.176-77)

  3. Thanks for this, a great find. One of the weird things about the Rendezvous gig(s) was that unlike every other 60s show, the attendees aren't anxious to admit they were there or describe their experiences.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Dead were booked for one show with an option (of sorts) for others, but actually played just one or two shows.