Sunday the Fillmore runs from 2pm until 10pm with the regular weekend cast of Dino Valente, the Jefferson Airplane and the Quicksilver Messenger Service. In addition (as this is a benefit for the U.S. Strike Committee), there'll be special lights by Head Lights and Dan Burns, costumes and appearances by the New Delhi River Band, the Loading Zone, Country Joe and The Fish, the Grateful Dead if they're back from their recording in L.A. and others.The implicit reaction to this information--it was mine, certainly--was "the Dead didn't play, because they probably weren't done recording." But we have absolutely no evidence one way or the other. Maybe the Dead did play--as you'll see, its hardly beyond the realm of possibility.
The February 3-4-5 Fillmore shows are known from their posters. It is my understanding that there was a separate poster (or flyer) for the February 5 benefit, which has led to confusion about the February 5 gig as a whole. Gleason's comment seems to confirm that the regular bill (Airplane/Quicksilver/Valenti) had merged with the benefit. Perhaps there had been an idea that the main bands would play in the afternoon and the benefit would be at night, but for whatever reasons they seem to have become one show.
The Quicksilver and Airplane performances are known from tapes at Wolfgang's Vault, which are remarkable documents in their own right. However, since Wolfgang's Vault has the dates wrong (they list the shows as February 4-5-6 when they are February 3-4-5) it is safe to assume that their staff has little more information than what was written on tape boxes, so no conclusions can be drawn from those tapes (other than that Quicksilver was a hell of a band even back then). It does appear that the show listed as February 6, 1967 must actually be February 5.
The truth is, I don't know of any review of the February 5, 1967 show at the Fillmore, or any web account of the show, or any other record not based on reading the poster and listening to poorly dated tapes. It was a benefit, and since no one was getting paid, anyone could have shown up or not, with little consequence. What if the Dead turned up at 9:00pm and plugged in and played a set? What if Jerry Garcia sat in with Country Joe and The Fish? All of our information is assumed, and Gleason was a lot more connected than we are. The Dead were at least planning to show up--did they?
Its a well known story that the Dead were given a certain budget to record their first album in five days, and told that if they finished early, they would get cash, so its unlikely their recording in Los Angeles ran overtime. If nothing else, since their last known show was January 29, 1967 at the Avalon, it pretty firmly locks in the recording date for the Dead's first album (deaddisc.com take note). But if the Dead got it done in 5 days, as the legend goes, with cash on the barrelhead to boot, why couldn't they be back at the Fillmore by Sunday night? Is there a review that proves otherwise?
The one person who might recall the answer to this question would be David Nelson. His New Delhi River Band were Palo Alto's finest, and they were a big deal in the South Bay (at The Barn and elsewhere), but they never made many waves in San Francisco despite their efforts. To my knowledge, this was New Delhi River Band's only Fillmore appearance, and I'll bet Nelson remembers if his old pal Garcia and his band showed up.
What do we know?
- The Grateful Dead hoped to perform at the Fillmore on Sunday, February 5, 1967 if they were finished recording in Los Angeles
- The Dead have repeated many times the story that they rushed the recording of their first album because it was in their financial interests to do so
- No unmediated review or eyewitness account of the February 5 Fillmore show has surfaced, and anyone might have played