Thursday, May 2, 2013

Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia Tour Itinerary June 1969

The Menlo Hub, at 1029 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, probable site of The Underground, where Jerry Garcia first started to play with John "Marmaduke" Dawson  in 1969 (it's also not impossible that the Su Hong restaurant next door at 1039 was the site)
I have been constructing tour itineraries for the Grateful Dead for brief periods of their history. There is so much information circulating on websites and blogs (including my own) that go beyond published lists on Deadlists and Dead.net that these posts make useful forums for discussing what is known and missing during each period. Rather than go in strictly chronological order, I am focusing on periods where recent research has been done by myself or others.  My principal focus here is on identifying which dates have Grateful Dead shows, which dates might have Grateful Dead shows, and which dates are in dispute or may be of interest (other entries in my Grateful Dead tour itinerary series can be seen here).

What follows is a list of known Grateful Dead performance dates for June , 1969, including performances by individual band members. I am focused on which performances occurred when, rather than the performances themselves. For known performances, I have assumed that they are easy to assess on Deadlists, The Archive and elsewhere, and have made little comment.  I am not considering recording dates, interviews or Television and radio broadcast dates in this context. My working assumption is that the Grateful Dead, while already an infamous  rock band by the end of 1966, were still living hand to mouth in 1969 and scrambling to find paying gigs.

Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia Tour Itinerary June 1969
June 4, 1969: The Underground, Menlo Park CA: John "Marmaduke" Dawson
As I had previously discussed in the May 1969 itinerary, Jerry Garcia had taken to backing John Dawson on Wednesday nights while he played his songs in a hippie hofbrau, so that Garcia would have a venue to learn pedal steel guitar. After the first time, which was either May 7 or May 14, Dawson invited David Nelson, and they had a little trio. Nelson probably played electric guitar, and Dawson played acoustic. Nelson hadn't been doing that much, and he and Dawson had been talking about how they could make a go of a band using Dawson's songs. With the unexpected presence of Garcia as a sideman, lots of possibilities opened up.

This foundational saga of the New Riders Of The Purple Sage has been repeated many times by all three of the participants. Nonetheless, it has been surprisingly difficult to lock down any details. I am pretty sure I have determined where the Underground was located, at 1029 El Camino Real, near both Kepler's Books and Magoo's Pizza. The establishment at that address today is called The Menlo Hub (above). I still have yet to find an ad, listing or flyer, so I have no idea how Dawson was billed, or if he was advertised at all, so I can mostly only try and pin down dates by triangulation.

However, I do have somewhat of a confirmation of the June 4 date. The South Bay's most popular rock club was The Poppycock, at 135 University (at High Street) in Palo Alto. The headliner for June 4th and 5th (Wednesday and Thursday) was a band called Southern Comfort (some members of the band ended up playing with Mike Bloomfield, and saxophonist Ron Stallings even ended up in Reconstruction). One member of the band told me that he recalled playing the Poppycock one night--they played there many times--and they were planning to go over to "some coffee shop" nearby because they had heard on the musician's grapevine that Garcia was playing. However, just as band members hopped into their van for the journey, having unloaded their equipment at the club, they got busted by the Palo Alto police. While nothing came of the bust (and the Palo Alto police did not return any weed, thus thoughtfully preventing crimes from being committed), they never got over to see Garcia. This strange little story points at Wednesday, June 4, which is as near as I have gotten to a confirmed date of Marmaduke date at The Underground.

The cover of the 1968 album Electric Band by The Glass Family, on Warner Brother Records
June 5-8, 1969: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Junior Walker And The All-Stars/The Glass Family
The Grateful Dead were now a headline act at Fillmore West. For this Thursday thru Sunday booking, they were supported by Junior Walker And The All-Stars and The Glass Family. The Glass Family were a psychedelic power trio from Southern California, who had released one album on Warner Brothers in late 1968. It's likely that the Warners connection helped get them on the bill with the Dead. Junior Walker, of course, was an R&B singer/saxophonist on Motown, best known for hits like "Shotgun" and "Roadrunner." At the time of this show, Junior Walker And The All-Stars were riding high with the song "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)' which would reach #4 on the pop charts.

This four-day stand at the Fillmore West by the Dead is infamous for a number of reasons. On Friday, June 6, the perpetually late Jerry Garcia arrived at the venue to find the Grateful Dead on stage with Wayne Ceballos of AUM playing lead guitar. Ceballos had been an old friend of the band, dating back to the Warlocks days, and Lesh had asked him to sit in, no doubt under threat from Bill Graham. Actually, the Dead sound pretty good with Ceballos playing Garcia's rig for the first six numbers.

The last night of the booking, Sunday, June 8 is even more infamous. Sunday afternoon, there had been a fairly substantial free rock show in Golden Gate Park, albeit not including the Grateful Dead. Probably as a result of that, a fair number of musicians seem to have been hanging out at the Fillmore West at the Dead show on that Sunday night. This Sunday night, however, was the time when Owsley distributed some chemical concoction that was far too powerful for human consumption. Phil Lesh and others have written about the difficulty of performing in such a state, with attendant results. From a surviving tape, it appears that Jerry Garcia and others sat out the second set. Elvin Bishop and Wayne Ceballos led the surviving members of the Dead and probably others (including All-Stars drummer Billy Nicks) through a 48-minute "Turn On Your Lovelight," and a few blues numbers to follow (I have written about that show at length also).

June 3, 4, 10, 11, 18 or 25?, 1969: Peninsula School, Menlo Park, CA: unknown billing
Peninsula School, at 920 Peninsula Way in Menlo Park, had been providing progressive education to the South Bay since 1925. In the fifties and early 60s, it was one of the few havens for the "ban the bomb" crowd who opposed the Cold War and the military-industrial complex. People who had attended the school included John Dawson, future Dead soundman Bob Matthews, future GDTS guru Steve Marcus and me, albeit not simultaneously. Afternoon rock concert events in the Spring and Fall seem to have been regular occurrences in the 1960s, dating back at least to 1967.

McNally describes "at least one embryonic concert" at the Peninsula School, where Bob and Jerry had played in 1961" (p.321). It's difficult to date this event, but there are relatively few plausible open dates in the month of June. However, the concert would have been in the afternoon. McNally implies that there was an actual rhythm section at this show, but I have never been able to confirm this. The New Riders Of The Purple Sage would go on to play Peninsula School three more times, and I have found eyewitnesses to all of those shows, but not yet to the very first one.

Given that the Peninsula School show would have been in the afternoon, one theory I have is that it was tied to another New Riders show. If they played the same night as at The Underground, it would make sense to play Peninsula and then The Underground. Alternately, it could have been the same afternoon as the California Hall show (June 11, below), too, since in those days Menlo Park and San Francisco were about 40 minutes apart (current Silicon Valley commuters would shake their head in disbelief, but it was true). Although this must have been an end-of-term event at Peninsula, earlier in June is still more likely than later in June, and late May is not totally impossible.

A poster for the California Hall show on June 11, 1969 with Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom Of The Deck
June 11, 1969: California Hall, San Francisco, CA: Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom Of The Deck
The California Hall show seems to be a unique occurrence in Grateful Dead history, but there were some tantalizing hints of things to come. Our knowledge of the show comes from a poster and a setlist. The setlist comes from a Deadhead named Judy Dawson (no relation to John that I know of), who had the foresight to write down what she saw. Yet we have no tape, so we can only guess what the show actually sounded like. The poster billed the band as Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom Of The Deck.

According to McNally (p.321)
it was a quasi-benefit for Scientology, because Weir had listened to [Tom Constanten] over the winter and studied L. Ron Hubbard's ideas as a way of strengthening his position in the band. After a few months he decided he neither felt nor played better, and was tired of paying money for nothing, so he quit. The benefit was actually his goodbye to Scientology, and featured Garcia, McDuke, David Nelson, Phil, Mickey, Peter Grant on banjo and T.C. on piano
Judy Dawson's setlist had 15 songs, all but one of them covers of country or country-style songs. From our current perspective, songs like "Mama Tried," "Me And My Uncle" and "The Race Is On" are familiar, but they would not have been to most of the audience. Most hippies knew exactly nothing about country music, so big hits like "Tiger By The Tail" and "Green Green Grass Of Home" might not have resonated. Of course, the three Everly Brothers songs  would have been recognized by everyone there, as would Joe South's "Games People Play," which was also a pop hit at the time. The entire crowd probably sang along with The Beatles "I've Just Seen A Face." The one original song was the newly-written "Dire Wolf," which would have sounded like a country cover.

Our knowledge of the "lineup" comes from the poster, although I presume McNally talked so some people who were present or performed. However, the actual configuration of the show remains tantalizingly obscure. Was this a proto-New Riders show, with Garcia on pedal steel the whole time? Presuming Weir sang the Everlys songs--NRPS never did--who shared the vocals, Garcia or Dawson? Did Garcia and Weir did some of the numbers as acoustic guitar duets? What instrument did TC play, a Fender Rhodes, an upright, a Continental organ? Since Garcia and Dawson were rehearsing first in Weir's living room and then in Mickey's barn, this show was probably an outgrowth of those rehearsals, but we don't actually know what happened. There even may have been a separate New Riders set, since all we have to go on is Judy Dawson's list.

The Bobby Ace experiment was never repeated in this format, so there must have been some kind of dissatisfaction with how it played out musically. Nonetheless, the outlines of the future Grateful Dead plans can be seen, even with the limited evidence. I'm aware that "Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom" played with the New Riders on April 17-19, 1970, but I believe the circumstances to have been quite different. I suspect that show was an "acoustic Dead" set, a warmup for what was to come on the forthcoming "An Evening With The Grateful Dead" tour.

California Hall was at 625 Polk, and was just another hall for rent. I assume this show was put on by people associated with Scientology. Since the band were booked at Fillmore West, the show could not have been advertised as "The Grateful Dead" until June 9. In any case, whatever Weir's motives or obligations may have been, the band seems to have used the show as an exercise in trying out some different approaches. It would be nice to find some actual eyewitnesses to this show.

A poster for the June 13, 1969 at Fresno Convention Center (Selland Arena), with the Grateful Dead, AUM and Sanpaku
June 13, 1969: Fresno Convention Center, Fresno, CA: Grateful Dead/AUM/Sanpaku
During this period, the Grateful Dead were booked by the Millard Agency, Bill Graham's booking agency. One of Millard's strategies was to extend the reach of the Fillmore out to the suburbs and farther Northern California. By mid-1969, lots of rock fans had read about the San Francisco scene, but they couldn't get to San Francisco much or at all. This was even more true for high school fans, a big part of the rock audience in those days. Millard brought the rock audience to them, by bringing less well-known San Francisco bands to them. At the time, although the Grateful Dead were already legends, they did not in fact sell that many records, and were always available for far-flung gigs.

Fresno has always been a substantial agricultural town in California's Central Valley. In the late 1960s, Fresno had a population of about 150,000, although its economic importance was far larger than it's size (as of the 2010 Census, the population was 494,000). Fresno is about three hours from San Francisco, and almost equidistant to Los Angeles. The Fresno Convention Center, at 700 M Street, was built in 1965. I do not know for certain whether the 1969 show was played at the Selland Arena or the somewhat smaller Ernest E. Valdez Hall adjacent to it.

In any case, as was typical of the Millard strategy, the higher profile Grateful Dead were booked with two other bands from the agency, AUM and Sanpaku. AUM had just released an album on Sire Records, and Sanpaku were newly-signed by Graham's management agency, yet another affiliated organization. The booking concept was that the show would help build an audience for the two opening acts. In any case, for "Lovelight," Ceballos and Sanpaku flautist Gary Larkey joined the rave-up. Other musicians may have been on stage as well. Deadlists seems to list Ronnie Hawkins as a guest singer. I find this utterly unpersuasive in any way, and wonder what the source of that might be. My assumption is that Ceballos was singing as well as playing guitar.

June 14, 1969: Gym, Monterey Peninsula College, CA: Grateful Dead/AUM/Bitter Seeds
On Saturday night, Millard had booked the Dead and AUM at the Monterey Peninsula Junior College gymnasium. Monterey is a not actually very near to San Francisco. It may seem that way on a map, but I assure you it's a long drive. Monterey County also had relatively few residents, but there were hippie enclaves in places like Pacific Grove, as well as some soldiers from nearby Fort Ord.. As a result, there were few rock shows in the Monterey area, the legendary annual jazz festival notwithstanding.

My understanding is that the shows were booked by local hippie entrepreneurs. Just possibly some of those hippies had some other, mysterious, source of income beyond their little head shops near Cannery Row. In any case, local promoters financed some shows in Monterey in the Summer of '69, and Millard was more than happy to provide the bands. The Bitter Seeds were apparently a local group, but I haven't been able to find out anything about them.

June 18, 1969: The Underground, Menlo Park CA: John "Marmaduke" Dawson
Again, it has been very difficult to confirm any shows with Dawson, Garcia and Nelson, but this Wednesday night seems like an available date.

June 20-21, 1969: Fillmore East, New York, NY: Grateful Dead/Buddy Miles Express/Savoy Brown (early and late shows)
Although 60s album release dates are not to be taken literally, June 20, 1969 is often assigned as the release date for Aoxomoxoa. In any case, June 20 was probably the date that Warner Brothers began promoting the record.  Warner Brothers had a huge investment in the album (by the standards of time) and would have needed to make every effort to have it succeed, however unlikely that may have seemed. Since New York was one of the two poles of the record industry, headlining at the Fillmore East was as high a profile show as there was in the country. Journalists, agents and executives all turned out for the Friday night early show at Fillmore East, and it was usually reviewed in Billboard or other trade magazines.

The high profile of Fillmore East accounts for the weekend of Grateful Dead shows in New York unattached to any larger tour. The Dead would have flown out with their guitars but without their sound system, since they could have used the Fillmore East PA. We don't have a setlist for the Friday early show--I wonder if it was reviewed by the trades (Billboard, Cashbox, Variety, etc)?--but I wouldn't be surprised if the Grateful Dead responded to a high profile event by doing little off their new album and not particularly playing well. Industry people would not have been prevalent at the Friday late show nor the Saturday shows, so I'm sure the Dead played great.

Both the Buddy Miles Express and Savoy Brown were promising aggregations that were receiving a heavy promotional push by their respective record companies. This was true of every Fillmore East opening act at the time, and often enough true of the headliners as well (as it was this weekend). Buddy Miles had been the drummer in the Electric Flag, but when Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites had finally left by Summer '68, he had taken over and the group had been re-named the Buddy Miles Express. By mid-'69, the group featured old friends of Miles from Omaha, Billy and Herbie Rich. Herbie Rich played organ and saxophone and had been in The Flag, and bassist Billy had been in the popular soul group The Whispers, out of Oakland. Miles' new album was called Electric Church, and it included four tracks produced by Jimi Hendrix. Miles's heavy beat and the Express's versatile four-piece horn section seemed to open a new chapter in rock and funk, and the Buddy Miles Express influenced the music of Hendrix and Miles Davis, if in fact they are hardly listened to much today.

Savoy Brown was a hard working London blues band on their second tour of America. They had just released their fourth album, the excellent A Step Further on London Records. Some years later, a different lineup of Savoy Brown would have a decent-sized hit with the song "Tell Mama" (not the Etta James song). However, the sound of the mid-'69 Savoy Brown would sound familiar to most American 70s rock fans, since the group was anchored by 3/4 of the future lineup of Foghat. Savoy Brown had a somewhat bluesier sound than Foghat would, but the essential boogie of guitarist Lonesome Dave Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens and drummer Roger Earl helped Savoy Brown break through in America (band leader Kim Simmonds played lead guitar, and lead singer Chris Youlden and pianist Bob Hall completed the band). Foghat was a huge touring act in the 1970s, and at their peak around 1977 were a bigger live draw than the Grateful Dead.

June 22, 1969: Great Lawn, Central Park, New York, NY: Grateful Dead
The Great Lawn is in the middle of Central Park, running from about 81st to 86th Streets (bracketed by 5th and 8th Avenues, of course--take the A, B or C to the 81st Street stop). I think concerts in Central Park were pretty common in the 60s, though rarely by groups headlining at the Fillmore East. Although this was a free concert, this was not a "guerrilla" show, even if whoever granted the permit didn't quite realize the stature of who would be playing. In any case, the show was well reviewed in both the Village Voice and Variety, and must have done the Dead a lot of good in Manhattan.

It's worth considering that all three bands playing the Fillmore East that weekend had new albums and were being pushed hard by their record companies. Yet only the Dead, the weekend's headliners, played free in the park, since it was against orthodoxy to "give it away." Yet the Dead must have made numerous new fans, and the positive buzz helped too, plus they got reviewed in Variety--all in all a good weekend.  Although the Buddy Miles Express was kind of flawed, if still interesting, Savoy Brown was a great band in 1969 and would have made busloads of new fans if they had played for free in Central Park. Yet it probably never occurred to the band, their management or their record company that it was a good business practice for a rising band to play for free on a summer afternoon in the media capital of America.

June 25, 1969: The Underground, Menlo Park CA: John "Marmaduke" Dawson
The Dawson/Garcia/Nelson performance at The Underground on Wednesday, June 25 has some confirmation, due to a setlist. I do not know the exact source of the setlist. I have assumed that this was another list from Judy Dawson. I was in contact with an old Palo Alto hand who said he recorded a  show at The Underground (since he was David Nelson's former housemate, this was not farfetched), but he said that no one made a copy of the tape and he had since lost it. While he has since passed away, its not impossible that someone made a list from the tape. In any case, the set list gives us a whiff of what the trio were playing. 
Tiger By The Tail / Fair Chance To Know / Mama Tried / The Next In Line / I'm In Love With You / Stagger Lee / Coat Of Many Colors / Whatcha Gonna Do / Truck Drivin' Man / If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving / The Race Is On / Six Days On The Road / Jailbait Gets You Busted / Close Up The Honky Tonks / Last Lonely Eagle / For What It's Worth / I Still Miss Someone / Together Again / Superman / Lay Lady Lay / If You Want To Run / Buckaroo / Long Black Veil / Me & My Uncle / Delilah
I recognize five familiar Dawson originals, as well as seven covers that turned up in Grateful Dead or New Riders sets over the years. As for the other songs, they offer a snapshot of the trio's taste:
  • "Tiger By The Tail"-a Buck Owens classic
  • "The Next In Line"-a big hit in 1956 for Johnny Cash
  • "I'm In Love With You"--too hard to idenfity
  • "Stagger Lee"-there are many versions of this, but it's interesting to see that it was part of the repertoire
  • "Coat Of Many Colors"-I had thought that this was the Dolly Parton song, but that was not released until 1971
  • "Jailboat Gets You Busted"-I assume this is the classic old country song "San Quentin Quail." Jim And Jesse had a hit with it about 1964, but there were lots of versions (no one sings this anymore)
  • "Close Up The Honky Tonks"-recorded by Buck Owens on his 1964 album "Together Again," which besides the title track, included "Truck Drivn' Man", "Hello Trouble" and "A11," which turned up in New Riders and Kingfish sets on occasion.
  • "For What It's Worth"-very interesting to see a contemporary hit in the set. Interesting, too, to think of Garcia's pedal steel channeling Neil Young's droning guitar part
  • "I Still Miss Someone"-although not precisely a hit, this Johnny Cash song was the b-side to his big 1958 hit "Don't Take Your Guns To Town," and a regular part of Cash's live shows.
  • "Lay Lady Lay"--this Bob Dylan song was a huge hit on the radio. At the time, it was just a song from the April 1969 Nashville Skyline album, and it also had been released as a single by The Byrds (the Dylan single was released that July).
  • "If You Want To Run"--I can't figure this out
  • "Buckaroo"-Buck Owens' instrumental theme song
I wonder if there weren't additional members of the 'band' by this time, beyond the original trio? In any case, anyone with additional suggestions or information about the songs on the setlist is encouraged to include them in the Comments.

The subsequent Wednesday, July 2, was an unlikely night for a show, since I suspect the band was on the way to distant Colorado Springs for a daytime show on July 3. The following Wednesday the band was on the road, and on Wednesday July 16 the yet unnamed New Riders opened for the Grateful Dead at Longshoreman's Hall.

A poster for the June 27-28, 1969 concerts at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, as well as the June 29 show at The Barn in Rio Nido. Note that Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen, "From Jefferson Airplane" are atop the poster, and the Grateful Dead are just "special guests."
June 27-28, 1969: Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, CA: Grateful Dead/Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Joey Covington/Cleanliness And Godliness Skiffle Band
The Grateful Dead played a weekend of shows in Sonoma County. I have written about these shows at some length, so I won't recap every detail. "Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Joey Covington" would now be referred to as Hot Tuna, but they name did not come into use until Fall '69. At the time, the trio would just jam off familiar blues tunes, without the anchors of the actual songs we now associate with electric Hot Tuna.

The Cleanliness And Godliness Skiffle Band were a Berkeley group who had formed at the Jabberwock, out of the same stew that created Country Joe And The Fish (for the complete CGSB history, see our band history here). Initially a kind of acoustic skiffle group, a sort of New Orleans style jug band, by 1969 they had become semi-electric and were a sort of country-folk hybrid. On the first night in Santa Rosa, Mickey Hart was late. Uniquely, the Dead invited CGSB drummer Tom Ralston to sit in for Hart and share the drums with Kreutzmann.  "Dagmar," a sharp-eared reviewer, wonders
except that the drums sounded off for the first few tunes- up to "sittin", actually. something just didn't click, not sure what... maybe billy and mickey had to get their "country legs", so to speak. but, when "sitting" came on, it was back to good ole double drummin! boss man is smokin as usual. 
Garcia plays pedal steel guitar on a few numbers, Peter Grant plays banjo here and there, and Weir sings "Dire Wolf," so the Dead were in a pretty experimental phase.  I believe the "Dire Wolf" got released as a bonus track, although I think Hart had arrived and taken over the drum chair by then.

On the second night, as a kind of thank you for Ralston subbing for Hart, Jerry Garcia sat in with the Cleanliness And Godliness Skiffle Band, playing pedal steel guitar. The CGSB played a lot of the type of Johnny Cash and Joe South covers that the New Riders played, along with their own original material, but there was definitely room for some steel guitar, and in the memories of the band members it sounded great. CGSB harmonica man Brian Voorheis (in a personal email) doesn’t recall the precise set list, but he does remember some of the the country styled songs they were playing, some of which Jerry would have sat in on (quoted directly from his email):
"Who Will Buy The Wine" (from Skiffle album)
"A-11" (a Buck Owens tune about a jukebox selection that makes him cry )
"How High's The Water, Mama?" (a Johnny Cash classic sung by Gary [Salzman])
"County Fair" (a Gary Salzman original ),
and I may have done Johnny Cash's "There You Go" - can't remember if I was doing it yet. There could also have been Gary's other originals, 
"(It's Hard To Keep Your Head Above The) Waterline", and 
"I Couldn't Marry Juana (Cause I Couldn't Get Her Out Of Mexico)"
I feel confident that Jerry could have played "I Couldn't Marry Juana" with great sensitivity. Note that Garcia and Marmaduke were already doing "A11" themselves.

June 29, 1969: The Barn, Rio Nido, CA: The Grateful Dead
The Sunday night Rio Nido show was advertised on the same poster as the weekend Santa Rosa shows. However, the Rio Nido dance hall was tiny, with only room for a few hundred patrons. We are pretty certain that the Rio Nido show took place, since the announcer on Saturday night (June 28) reminds everyone of the show. However, the CGSB did not play and I don't think Jorma and Jack did either. The CGSB had had a pretty memorable weekend, and 40 years later they recalled the long drive back to Berkeley on Saturday night, still amazed that Garcia had sat in with them. If they had been playing Rio Nido on Sunday, they would likely not have driven back to Berkeley, and they would likely recall that show as well. It makes much more sense to think the Dead played the smaller Sunday night show by themselves.