Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October 3, 1970 Washoe County Fairgrounds, Reno, NV Grateful Dead/Hot Tuna

This falls into the category of "In The Strangest Places If You Look At It Right"

The above is part of an article on the experiences of Miss Nevada 1970, Vicky Jo Todd of Sparks, and her experiences in Atlantic City at the Miss America Pageant. The article is in what appears to be the "Women's" section of Reno's Nevada State Journal, for Friday, September 25, 1970. Leaving aside the breathless explanation of Miss Todd's experiences (she shared quarters with Misses Nebraska, New Hampshire and New Jersey!), there is a rather interesting postscript. During the interview, some organizers for a "Run For Peace" event gave her a ticket for a concert at the nearby Washoe County Fairgrounds planned for "Saturday Night," featuring the Grateful Dead and Hot Tuna.

Now, given that the date of the article is Friday, September 25, this would seem to imply that the date in question was September 26. However, we know the Dead played Salt Lake City that night. On the other hand, I doubt the Society columnist for a Reno newspaper was losing sleep over the exact chronology, and in any case he or she may not have known the exact day his article was running. Following that logic, the date referred to would be Saturday, October 3. That is an open date on the calendar of both the Dead and Hot Tuna. More intriguingly, they played Winterland on Sunday October 4, and as a rule of thumb working bands do not play Sunday unless they are playing the rest of the weekend.

This is hardly definitive, but its at least worth further consideration. If the Dead weren't going to work at all that weekend, then they wouldn't play Winterland, and if they were, where were they playing Saturday night, and for that matter Friday? Reno is an easy drive for a roadie, so the band's equipment could get up for the show on Saturday and be back by Sunday's Winterland show without difficulty.


  1. I met someone who grew up in Reno during this period and used to come into San Francisco (by bus) to see the Grateful Dead and others at the Fillmore West. He was certain that the Dead never played Reno during that time, or he would have known. The article does say "the music of the Grateful Dead and Hot Tuna," so who knows exactly what it meant.

  2. Reading closely, this article makes me skeptical that the show was going to happen.

    This group "Run For Peace" gave out tickets to a "planned" show at the Fairgrounds. "They were unable to 'communicate,' however, when the question came up as to who is paying these musical groups and how much."

    What it sounds like to me is that this group tried to put together some "Age of Aquarius" show, hoping that the Dead & Hot Tuna would come for a low (or no) fee, and the bands decided not to come.
    At any rate, the group's inability to state how or how much the bands would be paid, combined with the lack of report of any Reno show actually happening, pretty certainly make this a non-event!

    Miss Nevada, I'm sure, was disappointed.