Wednesday, September 30, 2009

November 15, 1968 Coliseum, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR: Grateful Dead/Mint Tattoo/City Blue

I was looking at a poster site and discovered an unknown Dead show. The link is here.

The poster advertises The Grateful Dead with Mint Tattoo and City Blue at the Oregon State University Coliseum, in Corvallis, Oregon on Friday, November 15, 1968. The dead were scheduled for Vancouver on Saturday, November 16 and then Eagles Auditorium in Seattle on Sunday, November 17. Most San Francisco bands like to play dates in two or three of the Northwest cities on a weekend, as it made sense to stop in Oregon on the way to Seattle or Vancouver. I do not see this show listed in Deadlists or, and up until now knew nothing about it.

According to Deadlists, the Vancouver show on Saturday the 16th was canceled, but the Dead played two shows in Seattle, one an afternoon benefit. I wouldn't be surprised if the afternoon show was only possible because the Saturday show in British Columbia had been canceled. The Moody Blues were playing Eagles on Friday and Saturday, so they couldn't add a show there on Saturday night.

This begs a couple of questions:

was the Corvallis show canceled, along with Vancouver? My guess is that it was not, because it may not have been financially viable to do only one paying gig in Seattle for the entire trip.

was there a stealth show in Oregon or Seattle on Saturday night? This is intriguing, because if you were in a rock band and had a free Saturday night in the Northwest, what would you do? We need to keep our eyes open for unexpected Dead sightings in the Northwest on November 16, 1968, because they might be true.

Mint Tattoo was a Bay Area based band featuring Sacramento musicians, guitarist Bruce Stephens and organist/bassist Burns Kellogg (plus drummer Gregg Thomas). Mint Tattoo released an album on Dot in 1968, and then Stephens and Kellogg joined Blue Cheer in 1969. I don't know anything about City Blue; presumably they were a Corvallis band.


  1. I've wondered about this show for a while (that poster appeared on ebay 2-3 years ago, I put it up on the GD poster archive at so it's nice to see some of your speculation.

    I believe I saved the ebay auction's web page so I'll go back and see if the seller had any additional info. (I'm guessing he didn't, otherwise I would've put it on the poster archive page)

  2. One other point - you questioned whether the 11/17 afternoon show was possible only because the 11/16 show had been cancelled. The poster and a newspaper ad (Seattle Helix) for the Seattle shows clearly indicate two shows were scheduled, one at 3 and one at 9. So the cancellation of the Vancouver show had no bearing on the Seattle afternoon show.

    Poster and ad are at

  3. Do you have any idea how near to November 16 the Vancouver show was canceled? Its plain from the advertisement that the afternoon benefit was scheduled, but my question would still be whether it was added later (albeit still in time to advertise) because of a cancellation. A night time show in Vancouver means a load out after midnight, and then a 3-hour drive to Seattle for a noon load-in. Not impossible, but kind of a squeeze. If there's no Vancouver show, then its just a leisurely drive up to Seattle for Sunday's show.

  4. The Grateful Dead may have been in Eugene as the did a number of free shows at the EMU ballroom around this time

  5. hodesy, your comment is very interesting. There had to be a reason to leave a "hole" in their schedule on a Saturday night (November 16). A planned stealth free concert at Eugene would certainly fit the bill.

  6. I would have thought that any stealth appearances at EMU would have been mentioned in the U of Oregon newspaper, the Daily Emerald. There were reports of the January '68 and January '70 shows, but nothing from November '68. is where you can do some poking around.

    That said, it's entirely possible that something happened and wasn't mentioned, or that it was mentioned and didn't end up getting indexed in the library database. With such a precise date, I'd think it'd be worthwhile for any intrepid Corvallis- and/or Eugene-based affiliates of LLD to go spin some microfilm ...

  7. Also, a free Dead concert at EMU Ballroom may not have been authorized. Some student group might have gotten permission for a dance, and not named the group. As a result, it may not have been referenced or reviewed. Another thing to look for would be events at EMU Ballroom on that date that could have been co-opted (a student dance marathon, etc).

  8. This definitely took place. Marshall Adams, guitar player for Big City Blue had this to say: "Big City Blue came together for the Grateful Dead Concert at OSU Gill Coliseum in Fall Term 1968. We were to open and Mint Tattoo was to also be featured. We had one set of material with Jimmy Hibbs doing most of the vocals and rhythm guitar, Jim Knight on Bass, Ron Leach on drums, and Marshall Adams on lead guitar and folk flute. Well we opened and it went quite well.........35 minutes later we went back on and did our set again. Seems that Mint Tattoo was busy out in the parking lot doing whatever bands would do in a parking lot."


  9. Dark Toast, thanks for the on-the-scene report.This certainly confirms the event. A great story about Mint Tattoo as well.

    Do you have any idea if the Grateful Dead played anywhere in Oregon the next night (Saturday November 16, 1968)? There were periodic rumors of free stealth shows at EMU Ballroom in Eugene, and I was wondering whether Nov 16 might have been such an event.

  10. I don't have info on an EMU show, but I do have info on other undocumented Dead shows. I'm going to send you an email in a few minutes.

  11. Hoping this blog post by Corry Arnold and the Deadlists entry can be brought into dialogue.

    Indeed, I would strongly urge Deadlists folks to comb through Lost Live Dead when undertaking updates (which are always very, very welcome - thank you).

  12. I always wondered what happened to that missing finger!

    This is Dave Sorochty the 1968 Deadlists caretaker. I am in touch with Corry as of yesterday.

    I've found out about a number of unlisted Dead shows on my own - ususally by checking for old newspaper listings on or the goodle newspaper listings. I start looking through Corry's pages and it looks like he has already foud out about most of them and more. Very cool!

    Teddy and I took things as far as we could back when we were originally updateing Deadlists. Things definitely need to be cleaned up, as well as to incorporate all the new info that has come out since then. I've been working on some updates, which you may have seen if you are on the Deadlists email listing.

    If there are any other web pages like this, please let me know.


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  14. I am happy to report that I can provide information on TWO Grateful Dead shows that are discussed in this post.

    First, as mentioned before, the 1968-11-15 Corvallis, Oregon concert at Gill Coliseum did occur. It received a front-page mention in the Friday 11/15 issue of the Oregon State Daily Barometer student newspaper[0]. The concert was also mentioned in a column in the Tuesday 11/19 paper[1].

    On to the exciting business.
    The same Tuesday column states that "they came, saw, conquered and ambled on down to Eugene for a Saturday concert."[1] This confirms the suspicion of the author that the Grateful Dead played a concert on 1968-11-16 in Eugene, Oregon. The venue for this show is not listed.

    Thanks to the Oregon State University Library Special Collections and Archive for helping me uncover this little piece of history.



  15. Formatting seems messed up...

    1. deadviz, this is awesome stuff.

      Amazing, 49 years on and we are still finding undiscovered countries.

    2. Wow, great to find another report on an unknown '68 show!

    3. That is cool. Do we imagine this took place in the EMU Ballroom? I know it would be provisional, but it seems likely.

  16. I FOUND IT!!!

    From the Eugene Register-Guard, Monday November 18, 1968, p.1B:


    A fake bomb planted near some amplifiers brought an early end Saturday night to a University of Oregon concert and dance by a rock group known as the Grateful Dead.
    Eugene police said someone attending the dance noticed the "bomb" - consisting of seven wooden sticks, painted red to resemble dynamite, an alarm clock, battery, and wires - and reported it to Anthony Evans, night manager at the Erb Memorial Union, where the concert and dance were being held.
    Even though one of the band member[s] held up the "bomb" and indicated it was a fake, Evans decided to clear the Erb ballroom at about 11:40 p.m., police said. Police were called, took possession of the "bomb," and were still investigating Monday.

    As far as I know the Daily Emerald from '68 isn't available online, but I bet it has some notice of the show if someone can search the microfilm.

    The Register-Guard had nothing in the way of rock listings, and no music ads (though it faithfully listed classical concerts, square dances, high-school recitals, glee clubs & so on). The "This Week At UO" column on Nov. 10 didn't show anything at the Erb Ballroom for the next weekend, and there was no advance notice of the Dead's show all week.
    (However, the Nov. 14 issue did note that the Gentlemen Wild, a Portland rock group, would play a dance at the Eugene Armory on Friday night.)

    1. Man, this is fantastic research. I had always thought that if it happened, it was because a student group had put on a "Dance" and not admitted who the band was. By late '68, the Dead would have made administrators nervous.

      The whole bomb story--it's like Thoughts On The Dead went back in time.

    2. Hi Corry, Can't tell you how exciting it is to run across your story. I was at the Eugene show. I was on my college debate team, and we traveled to Eugene in the fall of 1968 for the UO collegiate tournament which ended Saturday afternoon. After dinner, I wandered back to the EMU ballroom where tournament headquarters had been a few hours before, looking for anyone I knew. No debaters, but there was a Dead show going on. No one asked me for money or a ticket, though there were some hippies at a table outside the ballroom, maybe the student organization who put on the show? I went in, sat on the floor, and had my 17-year-old mind blown by "Truckin'" into "Morning Dew." I must have left before the fake bomb incident. I'd seen the Dead at Kings Beach Bowl in February (my first show) and was not impressed. Eugene changed my mind. I've looked for a reference to that show for the last 20 years since the various archives began to be published and couldn't find anything. Nice to know it wasn't my imagination. Thanks for your exceptional archaeological and prosopographical research.

    3. unk, thanks so much for the eyewitness account. Is the Internet great or what?

    4. Thanks, Corry342. Yes the Internet is a cool research tool. Any updates on who put the show on? If it was SDS, that would square with the casualness of the hippies at the door. I'll check the Daily Emerald next time I'm in Eugene. JGMF, you are absolutely right. I think my memory mixed up Europe 72 with the Eugene show, but I know for sure they did a killer "Morning Dew" that night. Thanks for the correction. Do either of you know if Tom Constanten was with the band then? Did he play that show/tour?

    5. TC was not supposed to have joined the Dead until the next week, in Ohio. Of course, TC's Air Force posting was in Las Vegas (as far as I know), and it was Saturday night, so maybe he got a day pass? Not at all far-fetched.

  17. i wonder if this will help id some of the mystery tape(s) from 1968?