|The David Singer flyer for the Dead/Airplane shows on October 4 and 5, 1970. The Sunday, October 4 show was broadcast on KSAN-fm and KQED-fm to provide a true Quadrophonic mix|
In the first installment of this series, I described the very earliest live FM broadcasts of rock shows. The first show broadcast, to my knowledge, was the HALO Benefit at Winterland on May 30, 1967. I remain alone in asserting that the Dead did not play that show, even though they were billed, but the show was unquestionably broadcast, as KMPX-fm's Tom Donahue can be heard as the host on a circulating Quicksilver tape. In any case, the Grateful Dead and Country Joe and The Fish broadcast live 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. Now, in this post, I am going to look all four of the Grateful Dead's live broadcasts in 1970, an unscheduled guest appearance by Jerry Garcia and Duane Allman and a brief acoustic performance. During this period, we can see the Grateful Dead experimenting with different ways of getting their music heard. None of the circumstances of any of the 1970 broadcasts were ever duplicated, but it makes a good case study on how the Grateful Dead determined the best way to promote their music to their own benefit.
[update] As always, Commenters have made tremendous additions and corrections to the blog. Thanks to cryptdev, LIA, runonguiness, DavMar77 and everyone else. I have interpolated the key points into the blog, but the Comment thread--as always--is worth reading in its entirety.
|Workingman's Dead was released in June, 1970, although FM radio stations had been playing tracks earlier than that|
The Grateful Dead surprised the music industry, and perhaps themselves, by making 1970 the year that they went from being infamous to successful. As the year began, Live/Dead had just been released (in November, 1969), and it got its share of airplay, as FM rock radio had become popular throughout the country. A concert industry had developed beyond the Fillmores and a few big cities, so the Dead had more opportunities to play live. As more people heard the Dead in person, particularly in colleges, more of them got on the bus, and few ever got off.
It was fortunate that the Dead were willing to take advantage of the burgeoning concert circuit, since they were effectively broke. The Dead had spent an inordinate amount of money in 1968 and '69 making Aoxomoxoa, so they weren't getting much from Warner Brothers. In the meantime, they had discovered that manager Lenny Hart was stealing from them, so he had been summarily fired in February of 1970. Sam Cutler took over as tour manager, and the Dead evolved a strategy of playing as much as possible, thus building up their audience while they made money the only way available to them.
However, despite or perhaps because of their difficult financial situation, the Dead managed to record and release two iconic albums during 1970, making them accessible to a much wider audience than ever before. Workingman's Dead (June 1970) and American Beauty (November 1970) were hugely popular on FM radio. Even though no one song was a true hit, for many people, tracks like "Friend Of The Devil" or "Casey Jones" were the first Dead songs they heard, and it made the band all the more attractive as a concert attraction.
Nonetheless, the Dead did not let either their financial difficulties or the chance for conventional success stand in the way of innovative ideas. The Grateful Dead continued to experiment with FM radio broadcasts throughout 1970. I do not think they had a specific plan in mind. In their prime, however, the Dead would assent to any idea that seemed interesting or untried. Looking backwards at their FM broadcasts from that year, we can see the ways in which the band determined how to make FM radio broadcasts into a tool that would allow the band to succeed on their own terms.
May 2, 1970 Gymnasium, Harpur College, Binghamton, NY
Broadcast: June 1970, probably June 21, KPFA-fm Berkeley
The first and most important Grateful Dead FM broadcast of 1970 was one of their most legendary, the broadcast of the May 2, 1970 show at Harpur College (now SUNY Binghamton). The entire show was recorded and broadcast on KPFA-fm in Berkeley, and apparently on WBAI-fm in New York. As far as I know, the show was not broadcast live, but was broadcast on a Sunday night some weeks later. I believe the date of the broadcast was June 21, 1970. The show was the source for numerous bootleg lps, and it was one of the first widely available circulating tapes, so the Binghamton show was widely heard even before it was released in 1997 as Dick's Picks Volume 8.
The Harpur College broadcast is rightly legendary--four hours of music, including an acoustic set, a New Riders set and two crushing electric sets. The acoustic set and the New Riders sound familiar to us now, but in 1970 they would have been fabulous, unexpected delights. Whenever exactly the show was broadcast, Workingman's Dead would have just been released, or just about to have been, and the New Riders were little more than a rumor. Most rock shows featured an hour-long performance by the headliner, if that. Four hours on stage, and a wide range of music that had barely been heard on record, was completely unthinkable.
Yet to my knowledge, for all the interviews with the Grateful Dead over the years, no one has ever pursued how the KPFA broadcast came about. Was it the Dead's idea? Was it KPFA's? I highly doubt it was Warner Brothers' idea--the idea of giving away music for free must have been anathema to them. Yet given the legendary status of the broadcast, why wasn't it repeated? Why didn't the Dead do it every year? We can only speculate, but given what we know of what the Dead did with FM broadcasts in the future, we can make some interesting inferences.
KPFA had a significant if now somewhat forgotten role in promoting live rock music in the Bay Area in the 1960s. Every Sunday night, KPFA would broadcast an hour long live concert from a recent show at the Fillmore West or Family Dog. Although I think most or all of the tapes were broadcast in mono, the tapes were the source of many of the cleanest board tapes from the 1969 era, particularly from lesser known bands. I do not have a list of those broadcasts, and I don't know if anyone does. However, I think KPFA Sunday night shows were the source of many circulating 1969 Grateful Dead soundboards, before they were superseded by the originals. KPFA had also broadcast the April 6, 1969 show from the Avalon, with the Dead, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and AUM, so they were very supportive of the Grateful Dead's live FM adventures.
[update] cryptdev was an earwitness, and he has plenty of valuable insights (or inears?)
The KPFA broadcast series was called "Stays Fresh Longer" and indeed consisted of one live broadcast every Sunday night at, if I remember correctly, 10 PM. I religiously taped these shows in 1970 and shows included the following:
Miles Davis Fillmore West 4/10/70According to some very vague but plausible rumors, much of the technical support for KPFA's early forays into live FM rock broadcasts were provided by one Owsley Stanley. Stanley was known as a familiar sight in Berkeley folk and rock clubs, and indeed his first Berkeley residence (on Berkeley Way and McGee Street, according to legend), would not have been far from the KPFA studios. In the Spring of 1970, the very same Mr. Stanley would have been prevented from traveling with the Grateful Dead thanks to getting busted on Bourbon Street in February, so he might have been available to help with a broadcast of a complete Grateful Dead show. [update] cryptdev:
Youngbloods - Pepperland 1/71
Joe Cocker Fillmore West 4/26/70
Sons of Champlin 10/24/69
HP Lovecraft from the New Orleans House in 1969
and of course the Dead 5/2/70 show
I remember the regular emcee of the show saying that the Dead had provided the tape of the Harpur show for Broadcast. Since this was just before Bear was incarcerated, it is indeed possible that he contributed the tape.Whatever the role of mysterious ursine characters, the KPFA broadcast set the table for future Grateful Dead FM broadcasts, even though that future would not be seen for another nineteen months. The key difference between the Binghamton show and its predecessors was that the Grateful Dead's show was broadcast in its entirety. The previous stabs at Grateful Dead broadcasts had included complete sets, but never both sets, much less three Grateful Dead sets and one New Riders set. Without question, amongst bands that had made records, the Grateful Dead were playing the longest concerts in rock music, and here they were broadcasting every note.
Deadheads have always treated as an afterthought the fact that the New Riders of The Purple Sage set was broadcast as well as the Dead. In June, 1970, when the tape was broadcast, Workingman's Dead would have just been released. Most FM stations would have already been playing the album for some weeks, so regular radio listeners would have heard songs like "Uncle John's Band" and "Casey Jones," and thus even in places where the album was not available Deadheads would have had some consciousness that the band was no longer all-psychedelic, all the time.
Yet the New Riders were a new thing. It was unthinkable in 1970 rock that a genuine rock star would play live with an opening act, generally eschewing the spotlight. Nobody but the Dead were broadcasting live FM shows, anyway, save for some out-of-the-way experiments. The concept that a bona fide guitar hero would play a different instrument in an opening act and then broadcast it on the radio was unprecedented. Warner Brothers must have had an apoplectic fit. Still, as far as 1970 went, hearing the Dead live on the radio, for those lucky enough, or hearing a tape, for those so equipped, must have been a revelation, and they barely seem to have noticed the New Riders.
Numerous bootleg lps were produced from the KPFA broadcast--yet another subject--and I can assure you that even in 1974, when I first got my hands on such items, the acoustic "I Know You Rider" and blazing electric "Dancing In The Streets" absolutely spun my head around. I know I wasn't the only one. Bootleg lps had a much bigger role in spreading the word about the Dead in the early 70s than anyone wants to concede today. There was even a New Riders bootleg from the show, though it's impossible to determine if it came out before the first NRPS album.
July ? 1970, "KSAN studios": Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, John Cipollina, others
broadcast: July ?, 1970, KSAN-fm, San Francisco, CA
[update] This tape has floated around for years, and its provenance and dating is uncertain. However, crypdev recalls hearing it on KSAN around July 1970, and that sounds plausible. Why it was recorded for broadcast isn't clear. The existing tape is Weir singing a few country numbers, backed by Garcia on pedal steel and other musicians. Garcia's voice can be heard, and the others are supposedly John Cipollina and Pete Sears. If Pete Sears was in town, it was because he was playing the Fillmore West with Silver Metre (July 18-22), but there's no guarantee that it's him. Crypt recalls
another curiosity not mentioned was the 7/70 broadcast of Garcia/Weir/Sears/Cipollina at KSAN studios. This has circulated with a variety of dates, some suggesting that it was Bill Champlin rather than Pete Sears playing keys. I tuned in to this just as it was wrapping up, and heard the players announced. Garcia and Weir also said they would drop by the next night to play some more. I was glued to my radio the next evening, tape deck poised, but they never showed.
KSAN didn't really have studios where a band could play. I assume they were actually using Pacific High Recorders, on 60 Brady Street, soon to become Alembic Studios. In any case, no members of the Dead ever participated in a KSAN broadcast that was this informal ever again.
August 23 (?), 1970 KCBS-tv Studios, San Francisco, CA
Broadcast: August 30, 1970 KQED-tv and KQED-fm, San Francisco
For their next broadcast experiment, the Grateful Dead went in the opposite direction of the KPFA adventure, and performed just five songs in the
Given the paucity of professionally shot video from this era, it's interesting to see the Dead perform in a properly lit environment, and the performances aren't bad. But it's still a kind of lifeless TV show, limited to half an hour, and nothing like the real thing. It's no surprise that the Grateful Dead didn't repeat this experiment. However, I think the Calebration show was an indicator that the Dead were experimenting with different venues and mediums for getting their music heard, beyond the existing confines of rock touring, FM radio and record sales.
[update] I was wrong. The show was filmed at KCBS-tv studios, and broadcast on KCBS (Channel 5), with FM on KSAN and another commercial station. Cryptdev:
There were only two Calebration broadcasts. The first one comprised sets by Boz Scaggs and Linda Ronstadt, and the second was the Dead, followed by R&B singer Swamp Dogg, and then by Quicksilver - each played about 30 minutes. All were clearly recorded in the same studio, but it was NOT KQED. I believe the show was broadcast on KCBS, with the FM feeds at KSAN and another commercial station. The broadcasts included advertisements which would not have been broadcast on public TV or radio.According to one commenter on the Archives, Calebration was a regular show that was actually broadcast on two FM stations simultaneously, to create a Quadrophonic sound mix. I can't confirm that, but since that is what KQED did a few months later at Winterland, it sounds plausible. In any case, for all of the progressive vibe, short-form television shows were not conducive to Grateful Dead music, so the band seems to have moved on, never to repeat the experiment. They did go on to perform more extensive live shows on television on various occasions, but I am not aware of another effort to shoehorn the Grateful Dead into a standard-length television format.
October 4, 1970 Winterland
Broadcast: October 4, 1970, KSAN-fm and KQED-fm, San Francisco (Quadrophonic), KQED-tv
The October 4, 1970 Winterland show was a major event, featuring broadcasts of complete performances by three of San Francisco's most legendary bands. Not only was the Winterland show broadcast live on KQED-tv, the audio was broadcast in true Quadrophonic, with a feed to two separate radio stations (KSAN-fm and KQED-fm) mixed together. Many people recall rigging up two stereos in their room to get the full quadrophonic effect while they watched the TV with the sound turned down.
KQED-tv (Channel 9) was San Francisco's Public Television (PBS) station, and it was a pretty hip and forward looking organization. Through a connection with Ralph Gleason, KQED had regularly broadcast San Francisco rock bands on TV shows, from as early as 1967. Among many other things, KQED would produce Sesame Street (it debuted on November 9, 1969) which included sub rosa participation from many members of the San Francisco rock scene, including Grace Slick.
KQED also had an FM station, and while it did not play rock, the station was willing to use the FM band to simulcast TV shows. From that point of view, KQED was as open minded and forward looking a station as the Grateful Dead could have asked for.
Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service had booked Winterland for two nights, Sunday October 4 and Monday October 5. Bill Graham held the lease on Winterland, and the bands would have hired his crew to run the shows, but BGP would not have been the promoter of the event. All three bands played one extended set each. To my knowledge, all three headline bands were broadcast, and there were between set interviews as well, so it was a true audio verite broadcast.
The October 4 show was a major event, but it was a major event that was overshadowed by the tragic death of Janis Joplin in a hotel room a few hundred miles to the South that very afternoon. My general understanding is that people at home had heard the news that Janis Joplin had died, but initially backstage interviews suggested that her friends in the bands had no idea. Rightly or wrongly, people could not help but feel that Janis should have been in the hall at Winterland with her friends, rather than alone in a hotel room in Hollywood, and it added to the sadness of any memories of the event. Fans and band members rarely mention the event except to lament Janis's passing.
There has never been another live remote Quadrophonic FM broadcast, to my knowledge. There may have been a few experiments before, if the Commenter who said that the Calebration show did it regularly (which seems plausible), but I am aware of none after October 4. Any tapes that endure are almost certainly from one feed or the other, and thus the true effect of the mix can never be recaptured. Notwithstanding that Quadrophonic never caught on--it was the "Surround Sound" of its time, and an early effort by the music industry to find a rock-friendly sound format that would generate highly profitable sales, an end not fully achieved until the Compact Disk--any FM Quad broadcast required not one but two stations, and outside of San Francisco that was a problematic proposition indeed.
One crucial factor to consider with respect to live FM broadcasts on commercial stations is the financing of any broadcasts. FM rock stations (higher than 92.0, anyway) were businesses, and hip or not, they could only afford to broadcast hours of live rock if it was paid for. In order for the Grateful Dead or anyone else to broadcast a live concert on KSAN, someone had to pick up the cost of the advertising that would be lost by a continuous broadcast. For a lengthy multi-act show, or even any Grateful Dead concert, broadcast on the top FM rock station in a major market, this could turn into real money.
KSAN, among many other innovations, pioneered sponsored live broadcasts, as local hi-fi retailers Pacific Stereo often presented the station's "Live Weekend" broadcasts, with ads before and after each set. However, I don't believe that major bands would have tolerated a sponsor at the time, even a "cool" one like Pacific Stereo. I presume that the record companies of the bands footed that bill. My guess is that RCA (Airplane), Warners (Grateful Dead) and Capitol (Quicksilver) committed themselves to a certain dollar amount of ads over the next 30 days, or some similar arrangement, rather than strictly laying out cash.
I do not believe any video from the show has survived either. A few old heads have fond memories of seeing a show live on TV with true Quadrophonic sound, but like a light show, it's here and then it's gone. By all accounts, the subsequent Monday night show (October 5) was depressing and unmemorable, so the fact that there was no tape doesn't seem a great loss.
[update] cryptdev clarifies some details
You are correct that all three bands were broadcast for the 10/4/70 broadcast, which was on KSAN and KQED FM. The Dead's set was underway when the broadcast started. I have never heard verification of whether Hot Tuna or the New Riders played beforehand - neither set was broadcast.November 22, 1970 WBCN-fm studios, Boston, MA Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and Duane Allman
Broadcast: November 22, 1970, WBCN-fm, Boston, MA
On Saturday, November 21, 1970, the Grateful Dead,
KMPX-fm in San Francisco had drawn up the blueprint for FM rock stations when it began in February of 1967. Stations in other cities soon followed. Boston, always hip thanks to a huge population of college students, joined the party with WBCN on March 15, 1968. Initially, WBCN broadcast from a room above the stage at the Boston Tea Party. On occasion, the bands playing the Tea Party could be heard behind the dj (to give you a comparison, imagine if KSAN-fm had broadcast from a room at the Fillmore). WBCN's legendary all-night dj, The Woofah Goofuh, had his own band, The Hallucinations, who often played The Tea Party themselves. Later, The Woofah Goofuh went on to become better known as Peter Wolf, lead singer of the hugely popular J. Geils Band. By 1970, the Tea Party had moved to the site of the old Ark, and WBCN had moved too, but they were both still central to the Boston rock scene.
Throughout the 1970s, there have been numerous instances of touring rock musicians having been invited into the dj booth and encouraged to play a few songs in an acoustic configuration. Some stations, such as WHFS-fm in Bethesda, MD, made a practice of this, and some great tapes have come from such sessions (there are some great Bruce Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt tapes from WHFS, for example). However, Garcia and Weir--and for that matter Duane Allman--seemed to have had little interest in doing this again. I'm not aware of another instance where Garcia, Weir or Duane played an acoustic number live on the air from the dj booth. So the peculiar event at WBCN seems to be another instance of the Dead getting in early on another way of playing their music to people, and choosing to pass on it afterwards.
December 27, 1970 KPPC-fm studios, Pasadena, CA: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, John Dawson and David Nelson
broadcast: December 27, 1970, KPPC-fm
[update] On the weekend of December 26-28, 1970, the Grateful Dead played three shows at the El Monte Legion Stadium, which was actually an indoor arena. El Monte is East of Los Angeles, 15 miles west and a world away from downtown LA, halfway to Pomona. It apparently wasn't Grateful Dead territory in those days, and Garcia, Weir and two New Riders appeared on KPPC on Sunday morning in an effort to encourage listeners to come down and see the shows on Sunday and Monday nights.
KPPC-fm had originally been started by "Big Daddy" Tom Donahue as a sister station to KMPX in San Francisco. I don't know if there was still a financial connection to Donahue, but KPPC was a hip LA station. The foursome called themselves "the Sunday Quartet" and played some bluegrass gospel material. Appearing in this fashion was somewhat different than the casual appearance in Boston, in that Garcia and company had a plan, and some music appropriate to a cramped radio booth. However, this experiment, too, was never repeated.
(thanks to numerous Commenters for reminding me about this one)
|An ad for upcoming Bill Graham Presents shows from the December 20, 1970, SF Chronicle, including the Grateful Dead at Winterland on New Year's Eve|
Broadcast: December 31, 1970, KQED-tv, KSAN-fm (four songs only), San Francisco
For the New Year's Eve 1970 show, the Grateful Dead tried a more modest broadcast approach. The Grateful Dead set on New Year's Eve was actually broadcast live on KQED-tv, but only the first four songs were broadcast live and in stereo on KSAN. There was no quadrophonic broadcast on a second station.
It may seem strange that the show was broadcast on TV and yet not on FM radio, but the idea of broadcasting concerts in their entirety was still in its infancy, and the Dead had not yet figured out the optimal way to broadcast themselves. No other band was even close to doing such things, so the Dead were on their own as far as TV and FM broadcasts went. As far as I know, there is no surviving trace of the KQED-tv New Year's Eve broadcast. Given the mania for YouTube clips, it may be surprising that there are not even any memories of the broadcast (that I am aware of), but its important to remember the technology of the time. Televison, circa 1970, had tinny sound on little grainy screens, and many or most people watched on black-and-white sets. A live Grateful Dead broadcast doesn't seem that great in that context, certainly not without FM stereo accompaniment.
The driver for the TV only New Year's show was the economics underlying KQED. Back in those days, public television stations were well funded and selected their own programming. Big city stations like KQED also produced their own shows. A pre-soundboard FM from the KQED show preserved the music, so we can at least discern a little bit about the timing. Since (per Deadlists) the KQED station ID occurs mid-set, right before "Sugar Magnolia," it seems that the Dead came onstage around 11:00pm and played until 1:00am or so. On New Year's Eve, particularly in 1970, KQED would not have had a big night, so broadcasting a rock show from Winterland was a reasonable proposition. Obviously, someone in senior management at KQED was sympathetic to the Grateful Dead, since they broadcast them three times in 1970.
KSAN only broadcast the first four songs, about twenty minutes or so of music. Twenty minutes was a typical set between ads in those days, so KSAN would not have needed to be compensated for any lost ad time. By the next year, Warner Brothers and the Grateful Dead had a plan for promoting the band with live FM broadcasts, and it would have a significant affect on the Dead's career and the music industry in general, but that was still 10 months away.
In many ways, the Dead's interesting yet tentative broadcast efforts on New Year's Eve in 1970 were typical of that year's show in general. As I have discussed elsewhere, the circumstances leading up to the Dead's New Year's Eve were peculiar, as Bill Graham had temporarily lost his lease on Winterland, and at the same time the band had not yet figured out a format for New Year's. Throughout the 1970s the band pieced together what became the "traditional" Grateful Dead New Years, but it did not become fixed more or less in stone until the end of the decade.
Crypt clarifies the situation a little further:
The 12/31/70 show was also an attempt at a quadrophonic broadcast, with KSAN and KQED both participating. At that point, remote broadcasts required phone line connections between the broadcast studio and the venue, and these went terribly wrong right at the start of the Dead's set. The first few minutes of Truckin' were broadcast clearly, and then cut out. When I was at home taping, I frantically switched between the two stations, as KQED had a lower quality version of the feed for awhile, and then cut out. Since the audio was such a disaster, the radio stations bailed after Big RR Blues. Hot Tuna played earlier, and their set was broadcast, with a few audio glitches. As noted, the Dead's set was broadcast in its entirety on KQED-TV, and I got verification from David Lemieux at one point that neither the 10/4/70 nor the 12/31/70 video remains in either the GD or KQED vaults.
In 1970, the Grateful Dead tried a number of different approaches to live performance broadcasts of their shows, none of which were actually repeated. They broadcast an entire "Evening With The Grateful Dead" on a tape-delay basis, they did a casual radio special, they did a 30-minute TV special, they did a multi-band Quadraphonic-with-TV show, a few of them played acoustic in the dj booth and finally they did a live TV broadcast with a brief FM teaser. It seems plain in retrospect, and probably even at the time, that a live broadcast of a complete show in FM stereo on the city's leading rock station was the preferred solution, but that cost money and the Dead didn't have any. However, by the end of the year, the Dead had released a couple of albums that had started to sell, and Warner Brothers was beginning to think of them as something other than hip loss leaders. 1971 would be the year when the Grateful Dead set the template for live FM rock broadcasts, when Warners was looking to promote their live album, and that story will be the subject of the next installment.