Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grateful Dead Tour Itinerary March-April 1968

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 that these posts make useful forums for discussing what is known and missing during each period. So far I have reviewed
Rather than go in strictly chronological order, I am focusing on periods where recent research has been done by myself or others. Over time I hope to have the entire 1965-70 period. 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. Where relevant, I am focusing on live appearances by other members--mostly Jerry Garcia, as a practical matter--in order to get an accurate timeline.

What follows is a list of known Grateful Dead performance dates for March and April 1968. 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. As a point of comparison, I am comparing my list to Deadlists, but I realize that different databases may include or exclude different dates (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 a legendary rock band in 1968, were living hand to mouth and scrambling to find paying gigs. Even by 1968, most paying performances were on Friday and Saturday nights, so I am particularly interested  in Friday and Saturday nights where no Grateful Dead performances were scheduled or known.

I have linked to existing posters where available.

March 1-2, 1968 Looking Glass, Walnut Creek, CA Grateful Dead
This event and venue are the most mysterious of this time period. Lewis Carroll was considered "psychedelic" at the time, so a coffee house, nightclub or venue with a name like "Looking Glass" would seem to be a Grateful Dead-friendly establishment. Nonetheless, I know nothing about any such place in Walnut Creek beyond this reference from Deadbase. I know of no tape, eyewitness account or poster from this show, nor any other reference to a rock club in Walnut Creek.

Walnut Creek is in Contra Costa County, just over the hill from Berkeley. However, it was a sleepy town at the time--there will still walnut trees there--and the County was not particularly friendly to hippies or anything associated with them. My guess is that The Looking Glass was an effort to start some sort of psychedelic outpost in Contra Costa that was shut down almost immediately--whether by permit problems, police harassment or just financial inadvisability.

[update] Apparently the address of The Looking Glass was 1300 Boulevard Way in Walnut Creek, still a valid address. This leads me to think there was a long-lost flyer that generated this date. I can't help but think that this was a booked date that never occurred, because the venue never opened.

March 3, 1968 Haight Street Fair Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead had moved to 710 Ashbury in about September 1966, but the neighborhood had declined and the Dead had become a tourist attraction. Various entities persuaded the city to block off Haight Street for a few blocks and have a Sunday afternoon party, which was the genesis of today's Haight Street Fair. The Dead had already effectively moved out of 710 by this time, so irritating the City was not a concern (although perhaps it was a goal). After promising not to play, the Dead arranged to have two flatbed trucks back up to each other, and with a ready made stage the band had an impromptu hour-long show as a goodbye to Haight Street.

The show was taped, although the taper's batteries ran out. I have read that the batteries ran out because they had been used to tape Cream at Winterland the night before.

Deadlists shows the Grateful Dead performing on March 7, 1968 outside of San Quentin, but Ross has persuasively argued elsewhere that the actual date was February 15, 1968. March 7 is not impossible, but I don't know of any confirmation of a second show.

March 8-9, 1968 Melodyland Theater, Disneyland, Anaheim, CA Jefferson Airplane & Friends
The Jefferson Airplane "and Friends" were billed at the Melodyland Theater in Disneyland. The "Friends" turned out to be the Grateful Dead. I assume that the show was booked with the idea that another San Francisco band would join the Airplane, but it hadn't been determined who it would be. I doubt there was anything secretive or special about the Dead not being advertised in advance.

Melodyland regularly had name entertainers. Disneyland made a few stabs at being hip, and gave it up. There were early and late shows on Saturday March 9.

March 11, 1968 Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento, CA Cream/Grateful Dead
Cream, busy conquering the world, played Sacramento Civic Auditorium, with the Dead opening. The San Francisco bands were very impressed with Cream. Jerry Garcia and Jack Casady talked at least casually about forming a power trio (presumably as a sideline).

Tom Constanten sat in with the Dead for this show, per his website. TC was still in the Air Force at the time, based in Nevada, and made appearances when he could.

March 15-16, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead
March 17, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA Grateful Dead/Blue Cheer
The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and The Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane had decided they were letting concert promoters make too much money off them, and banded together to open their own place. As a result, none of those bands played Bill Graham's Fillmore nor Chet Helms's Avalon during the first half of 1968, as they were competitors. Old age and revisionism caused everyone to conveniently forget the fact that Bill Graham (and Chet Helms) and the bands were dueling with each other, and Graham won. While I don't think band members personally disliked Bill (or Chet) they weren't necessarily enamored of promoter's business practices either.

The Dead effectively ran the Carousel, as the other bands only provided finance and played some gigs. The Carousel operation was professionally unwise from beginning to end, showing that Graham and Helms did bring something to the table, even if it wasn't always overtly apparent. This was the Dead's third booking at the Carousel. The first was the debut on January 17, then the famous Valentine's show on February 14, and then this weekend. This weekend was the Airplane's debut at the Carousel. For the final night (Sunday March 17), Blue Cheer was booked instead of the Airplane.

Part of the March 17 show was released in 2005 as Volume 6 of the Grateful Dead's Download Series.

March 18, 1968 Pier 10, Washington and Embarcadero Streets, San Francisco, CA KMPX Strike Rally Traffic with Jerry Garcia/others
KMPX-fm was the first underground FM rock station, and it was critical in promoting the new rock bands. When the staff went on strike, all the bands supported them. The strike began at 3am on Monday March 18. The station was at 50 Green Street, and a flatbed truck was set up nearby at Green and Embarcadero to allow bands to perform in support of the strikers. Creedence Clearwater Revival were very proud of being the first on at 3am, although that was too noisy for the neighborhood and the cops shut that down. The Grateful Dead may have been planning to play, having come over after their Carousel show, but it was not to be.

Around 9 am, however, the music started up again at Pier 10, near Washington and Embarcadero. San Francisco has always been a pro-Union town, and the cops would not hassle a strike, so the bands were free to play. In any case, they were far from any residential area.

Steve Winwood and Traffic played, as they were headlining two weekends at the Fillmore, thanks to KMPX's constant play of their debut album. Various musicians sat in for "Dear Mr. Fantasy," including Jerry Garcia. Remarkably, art student Andrew Wong took a bunch of great photos that are well worth looking at

March 20, 1968 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA KMPX Strike Benefit
There were a number of events in support of the KMPX strike (and the strike of its sister station, KPPC in Pasadena). One of the first events was a benefit for striking staff at the Avalon on Wednesday, March 20. Although the Grateful Dead are reputed to have played this show, I have never seen confirmation, and in fact I do not have any idea who played.

I am not at all ruling out that the Grateful Dead played; they very likely did. However, given that they played the Green Street event (March 18 above) and the Winterland show (April 3), there is an historic tendency to lump all the shows together. I'm not taking this show off the list, but it still stands as "unproven" in my mind. Update: Jef Jaisun mentions the Dead's performance in a Berkeley Barb article, so I am now treating this show is now confirmed.

March 22, 1968 State Fair Coliseum, Detroit, MI Eric Burdon and The Animals/Grateful Dead/Eire Apparent/Apostles/The Rationals
Detroit had an exciting rock scene, promoted by DJ Russ Gibb and based at the Grande Ballroom in Downtown Detroit. In some general ways, it was consciously modeled on the San Francisco scene, in that it attempted to be self-contained and driven by popular local bands rather than mainstream radio bands. With that being said, the Detroit scene was hard rocking and overtly political, in distinct contrast to the more laid back San Francisco scene.

The poster for this show features two shows at the much larger Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum (1120 W. State Fair Avenue, Detroit, MI). The Coliseum, built in 1922, had a capacity of 5,600. The idea was that Eric Burdon plus the Dead would bring a much larger audience than the Grande could hold, so the shows were booked at the much larger Fairgrounds Pavilion. In fact, however, the shows did not sell that well, and the second night was moved back to the Grande.

Eire Apparent were an Irish band associated with Mike Jeffereys, who managed both Jimi Hendrix and Eric Burdon. The Apostles and Rationals were Detroit bands.

March 23, 1968 Grande Ballroom, Detroit, MI Eric Burdon and The Animals/Eire Apparent/Apostles/The Rationals--Dead cancel
After the poor attendance at the Fairgrounds, the show was returned to the smaller Grande Ballroom. Animal guitarist Vic Briggs clearly recalls that the Dead went home on Saturday and did not play the Grande.

The Grande Ballroom, at 8952 Grand River Avenue, had been built in 1928. Its story is too long to tell here, but it's a great one. Since Russ Gibb closed the Grande in 1972, however, the building has remained dormant.

March 24, 1968 Fountain Street Church, Grand Rapids, MI Grateful Dead--canceled
As pointed out in the Comments, a Grateful Dead show was scheduled for Grand Rapids, and there's even a poster, but it was canceled because a heavy blizzard made the 150-mile trip unwise. I have to think bad weather also hurt attendance at the State Fairgrounds on Friday night (22) as well.

March 29-31, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA Grateful Dead/Chuck Berry/Curly Cook's Hurdy Gurdy Band
The Dead returned home from their weekend jaunt to Michigan to headline another weekend at the Carousel. They probably spent a lot of March working on Anthem Of The Sun, mixing down the live tapes from their February shows.

James "Curly" Cook, from Madison, WI had come out to California in late 1966 to join the Steve Miller Band. He fell ill in mid-1967, however, and was replaced by Boz Scaggs. Cook returned to action with his own band in 1968, although the only other member that I know was bassist Doug Kilmer.  Per common practice, I assume Curly Cook's band backed Chuck Berry for his set.

Many years ago, Bob Weir said that he learned the song "Me and My Uncle" in 1966 from "a hippie named Curly Jim." Grateful Dead scholars (including me) assumed that he meant that he learned the song from Curly Cook. A person who was there at the time, however, swears that there was an entirely different person on the scene named Curly Jim. She knew Curly Cook as well, and even sent me a picture of Curly Jim, standing on the steps of 710 Ashbury, but she doesn't remember his last name. Make of this what you will.

April 3, 1968 Winterland, San Francisco, CA 
Electric Flag/Grateful Dead/Moby Grape/Mother Earth/Youngbloods/It's A Beautiful Day
"Super Ball" KMPX First Birthday Benefit 
KMPX-fm had begun broadcasting rock music 24 hours a day in April, 1967, so calling this a "First Birthday" was accurate, although the first rock music on KMPX was actually broadcast from midnight to 6:00 am on February 12. This Wednesday night event at the largest arena in town (Winterland's capacity was 5,500) was a substantial event. The Electric Flag and Moby Grape were both high profile bands, as were the Dead, and Mother Earth, The Youngboods and It's A Beautiful Day all had local followings as well. The ticket price was $5.00, high for the era, and a sign that the event was a significant fundraiser. I assume the Dead only played one set, since there were at least six bands. Its worth noting however, that I am not yet aware of any eyewitness, tape or review of the Dead's appearance. Ross noted in the Comments that various groups (including the Dead) were invited but had not yet confirmed.

The Grateful Dead have no scheduled activity that I am aware of for the weekend of April 5-7. I assume that they were finishing Anthem Of The Sun at the time, although I don't know that for an absolute fact. Its possible that there might be at least one show for this weekend. It was pointed out in the Comments, however, that the Dead had scheduled some time at Criteria Studios in Miami, in order to work on Anthem. The exact timing of the studio work--where apparently little was accomplished--is unknown, but it explains the subsequent trip to Miami.

April 12-14, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Grateful Dead/Blues Image
Thee Image was Miami's contribution to the psychedelic landscape. It was a former bowling alley at 18330 Collins Avenue in North Miami, which I have discussed at length elsewhere. The Grateful Dead kicked off their Spring 1968 tour by playing two weekends there [update: from the Comments, it turns out a poster advertising the show endures].

It remains obscure what the Grateful Dead did in Miami during the week, but at least some of the time before or after the first Thee Image date was spent at Criteria Studios in Miami, presumably attempting to mix or overdub parts of Anthem Of The Sun. 

Blues Image were originally from Tampa, FL (and known as The Motions), but they moved to Miami to get more exposure. They helped run Thee Image, and acted as the house band, playing most nights. Blues Image had two drummers, but came to the idea on their own in the wilds of Florida. They were apparently an excellent band live, and their ok-but-not-great albums supposedly did not do them justice. They moved to Los Angeles in late 1968, and did have a big hit with "Ride Captain Ride" in 1970. [not on Deadlists]

April 14, 1968 Greynolds Park, Miami, FL Grateful Dead/Blues Image
The Dead and Blues Image held a "Love In" at a park near Thee Image on Sunday afternoon. Greynolds Park was at 17530 West Dixie Highway in North Miami Beach. The event was reported by the National wire services. The Dead were always willing to "break in" new territory by playing a free show to attract attention to their paid events.  [not on Deadlists]

April 19-21, 1968 Thee Image, Miami, FL Grateful Dead/Blues Image
This poster is well known, but few people have noticed that it says "held over," a reference to the previous weekend's shows. 

April 26-28, 1968 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA Grateful Dead
Philadelphia was one of the largest markets in the country, but it took a little while for a psychedelic rock scene to develop. After various smaller venues sputtered in 1967 (The Trauma at 2121 Arch and the Kaleidoscope in Manayunk), the Spivak brothers and Larry Magid opened the Electric Factory in a former tire warehouse at 2201 Arch Street. Electric Factory opened in February 1968 with the Chambers Brothers, and it presented all the top acts of the 1960s. Electric Factory was the biggest rock promoter in Philadelphia for many decades, and is now part of LiveNation.

Rock Scully has an hysterical story in his book about this Grateful Dead's appearance at the Electric Factory (pp. 145-47), as the band was offered free accommodations in a hotel above a blues bar for the weekend. When the band arrives, however, they discover they will be spending the weekend in a house of prostitution. All but Pigpen are completely unsettled--Pigpen spends the weekend hanging out at the blues bar--and Rock has to scramble to find students willing to put the band up for the weekend. The interesting note in his story was that the band would have no money for another hotel until they played the shows, a sharp indicator of the hand-to-mouth touring in the 60s.

Incidentally, the Grateful Dead played for the Electric Factory promoters the next year, and more or less continuously for the balance of their career, so any misunderstandings seem to have been resolved. I have to assume they got to stay in hotels on later trips.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

March 17, 1969 Winterland, San Francisco Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Sons of Champlin "Monster Jam" for Olompali,

Earlier, I had found a reference to this show and speculated that a 1969 Benefit Jam for Olompali might include members of the Grateful Dead or Jefferson Airplane. Expert research by Ross turned up the goods, namely an article from the March 17, 1969 Berkeley Barb (left) promising that the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sons of Champlin and others would perform. The article says
A "Superjam" dance and concert will be thrown at Winterland this Monday, St. Patrick's Nite, to benefit the Chosen Family that was busted and burned out at Rancho Olompali in Novato.

Featured will be musicians from the leading Bay Area rock groups, according to Bob McKendrick from Olompali, the Airplane, the Dead, and Sons of Champlin are expected to show up; also jamming will be the Garden of Delights, and a blues-rock group new to San Francisco, Red Mountain. Glen McKay's Headlights will provide enlightenment for all. The Superjam is for a good cause . . . something like 18 to 20 people from Olompali haven't the bread to pay their attorney's fees, and they are all homeless, as Burdell Mansion on Olompall burned down after the bust.

The Benefit is being sponsored by the Deja Vu Foundation, Inc., in association with Crinkle Productions, and will happen at Winterland, Post and Sterner Streets in The City. That's Monday, March 17th, from 8:30 pm till 1 am; donation asked at the door will be $3.00 . . .for some beautiful people.
Rancho Olompali was the Marin County retreat for the Grateful Dead in Spring 1966, before they moved to 710 Ashbury (via Western Marin) in September.  It was owned by Don McCoy, who later lived across the street at 715 Ashbury. In 1967, McCoy started a commune called The Chosen Family. A fire caused by faulty wiring burned down the mansion, possibly connected to a drug bust at the same time.

Most San Francisco bands didn't work Monday nights, so a benefit for friends was somewhat easier to put together. Some will recognize Bob McKendrick (the Olompali resident quoted in the article) as a promoter of San Francisco rock shows in 1966 and 1967. Mind you, calling the event "Super Jam" and not mentioning the groups by name means that its not an absolute guarantee that the complete Dead or Airplane showed up. The show could very well have featured some combination of Hot Tuna and/or Mickey and The Hartbeats instead, although to me that makes the show even more intriguing.

Rancho Olompali, and the mansion on it, had a long and complicated history dating back to 1843, General Vallejo and Mexican California. The property had ended up in the hands of the University of San Francisco by the 1950s. In the 1960s, they attempted to sell it various times, but when various buyers defaulted, the property kept reverting back to USF. I assume Don McCoy gave up on the property as well. In 1977, the State of California purchased the property from USF, and turned it into Olompali Historic State Park. The address of the park is 8901 Old Redwood Highway, 3.5 miles East of Novato, CA.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fillmore West June 6 and 8, 1969-Guest Appearances

The existing tape of the Grateful Dead's performances at Fillmore West on June 6 and 8, 1969 raises a number of curious questions. Not least among those questions is who actually plays on stage during some parts of those shows. McNally alludes to a June 1969 show at Fillmore West when Jerry Garcia was too dosed to play, and Phil Lesh recounts a similar story about jamming on stage with Elvin Bishop. Were these the same shows? There's no point in asking the participants.

According to Deadlists (and the Archive) both the June 6 (Friday) and June 8 (Sunday) tapes feature Elvin Bishop, and some have theorized that the tapes might be mislabeled and belong to the same show. In any case, numerous numbers from June 6 and June 8 feature lead guitarists other than Jerry Garcia. The opening numbers of June 6 lack Garcia, and Weir and Lesh even joke about it. On June 8, the middle of the set is taken up with a performance of blues standards, lacking any Grateful Dead vocalists for the most part, until Pigpen joins in at the end. A careful listening of both nights, however, suggests a wide variety of guests, and a somewhat simpler narrative.

The existing first set of Friday, June 6 features
  1. Smokestack Lightning (13:12)
  2. Green Green Grass Of Home (4:25)
  3. Me and My Uncle (3:56)
  4. Checkin' Up On My Baby (5:26)
  5. Beat It On Down The Line (2:39)
  6. Turn On Your Lovelight (46:59)
Garcia joins for "Lovelight." The implication is that another set follows. Was Garcia too high to play? It would make a great story. I think the actual story is more prosaic, but no less fascinating. Garcia said once in an interview that he was late to a Fillmore West show and found the Grateful Dead on stage with Wayne Ceballos of Aum on lead guitar. I think June 6, 1969 is that show.

Wayne "The Harp" Ceballos was the leader of the group Aum. Aum was managed by Bill Graham, booked by Graham's Millard Agency and they played many shows with the Grateful Dead.  After the opening number, Weir and Lesh joke about being "sadly depleted" and says "one guitar player is pretty much like another."

The segment on June 6 clearly features Wayne Ceballos on guitar. Whatever the Archive notes might say, its not Elvin Bishop singing on "Checkin' Up On My Baby," and it sounds a lot like Ceballos. Ceballos also seems to be singing Jerry's part on "Beat It On Down The Line" (and it isn't Elvin). Ceballos speedy style is very prominent on the solo on "Beat It." Jerry Garcia was famously late to shows, and I think this was the night that Bill Graham got fed up and simply put the band on stage with whatever player was in the house. Listen to it and decide for yourself. Garcia steps up on "Lovelight" and presumably Ceballos steps aside.

The June 8 show features some classic Dead, yet it is then followed by an odd segment that runs
  1. Turn On Your Lovelight (34:47)
  2. The Things I Used To Do (7:47)
  3. Who's Lovin You Tonight (5:13)
The vocals on "Turn On Your Lovelight" are provided by Wayne Ceballos, who probably also played guitar. Any idea that Pigpen was incapacitated or unavailable is undermined by the fact that at the end of "Lovelight" Pig introduces Wayne Ceballos. Yet Pigpen himself seemed to have no involvement in "Turn On Your Lovelight." It appears that Bob Weir was onstage, but he may have left at some point. Its important to remember that "Lovelight" was an R&B standard at the time, and many musicians knew the song well. Thus if it sounds like someone was "playing Weir's part," in fact they were just playing (more or less) the same guitar part from the Bobby Blue Band record that Weir was playing.

A careful listening to the entire "Lovelight" jam suggests a variety of other guests. From the middle of the song onwards there is some pretty substantial conga playing, a lot more active than Pigpen usually contributed, and possibly some additional drummers as well. There is a distinctly Latin feel, and that points directly at Santana's rhythm section. There were very few Latin percussionists playing in a rock vein at that time, and anyway, how many of them were friends with the Dead? Santana had just had a dynamic jam with the Dead in San Diego (on May 11), and had been in San Mateo recording their groundbreaking first album. I've got to assume they were taking a break in recording and went to the Fillmore West to hang out and play.

Because of the recording obligations, Santana only had some occasional local gigs at the time. According to the most reliable source, Santanamigos, Santana had no shows between a Merced show on May 30 and the Palo Alto High School Graduation Dance on Tuesday, June 10. The "Lovelight" jam also features some electric piano that doesn't sound at all like Tom Constanten, or for that matter anything like Gregg Rolie, who would have taken over the organ (rather than piano) if he were there. It beats me as to who it might have been--Albert Gianquinto?--but its got a different feel to it. Also, since Elvin Bishop ends up on stage on the next number, I have to think he had joined in on stage after the drum solo, if not before.

After the "Lovelight," Pigpen, of all people, comes out and introduces Wayne Ceballos (whom he calls "Wayne The Harp"). Pigpen rarely acted as Master of Ceremonies on stage, so this leads me to think that June 8 was the day that the whole band was too dosed to play. If Garcia was offstage, Weir had left (halfway through "Lovelight") and Lesh was as gone as he says he was in his book, that would leave Pigpen. Its still odd that Pig wasn't on for "Lovelight," but keep in mind that in the 1960s, a bunch of musicians who didn't know each other would have considered the song a standard that everyone knew, so they may have started it without Pig on stage.

Afterwards, Elvin Bishop and Pigpen briefly discuss (on and off mike) what songs to play, and settle for a couple of blues numbers. Pigpen isn't sure of the lyrics to some songs, and in fact sings the lyrics to "It Hurts Me Too" to "Who's Loving You Tonight." I don't know who else is onstage with Pig and Elvin, but I don't hear a second guitar, so I think its just Pig, Elvin, Phil and the drummers. Lesh's description of the event (pp. 146-150) more or less fits the tape, given the inherent confusion of such narratives (ahem).

The balance of the tape is the regular Grateful Dead. I have to assume there was a delay, if not a complete set break. In conclusion, I believe the June 6 and June 8 tapes to be accurate as marked. I think June 6 was the day Garcia was late, and Wayne Ceballos played for the first 5 numbers, and I think June 8 was the day Garcia was simply too high and stood down for the middle of the concert. It sounds like every (good) musician backstage was invited up for a jam on June 8, and if anyone could find a photo there might be some interesting people on stage.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia Tour Itinerary November 1969

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 that these posts make useful forums for discussing what is known and missing during each period. So far I have reviewed
Rather than go in strictly chronological order, I am focusing on periods where recent research has been done by myself or others. Over time I hope to have the entire 1965-70 period. 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. Where relevant, I am focusing on live appearances by other members--mostly Jerry Garcia, as a practical matter--in order to get an accurate timeline.

What follows is a list of known Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia dates, including The New Riders Of The Purple Sage, for November 1969. 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. As a point of comparison, I am comparing my list to Deadlists and The Jerry Site (for Garcia dates), but I realize that different databases may include or exclude different dates (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 a legendary rock band in 1969, were living hand to mouth and scrambling to find paying gigs. Even by 1969, most paying performances were on Friday and Saturday nights, so I am particularly interested  in Friday and Saturday nights where no Grateful Dead performances were scheduled or known.

I have linked to existing posters where available.

November 1-2, 1969 Family Dog On The Great Highway Grateful Dead/Danny Cox/Golden Toad
The Grateful Dead headlined Saturday and Sunday at the Family Dog, while playing Friday night--which was Halloween--at San Jose State. Its my belief that the Dead were effectively promoting the Family Dog shows themselves, and both wanted to insure that they didn't compete with themselves (thus playing a small venue in San Jose) while insuring some sort of payday (since there was no guarantee of a profit at the Family Dog).

After the Summer debacles of the Light Show Strike and The Wild West cancellation, Chet Helms's Family Dog was in dire financial straits. It appears from various flyers that many of the shows at the Family Dog for the back half of 1969 were put on by different promoters, who would rent the Dog and its equipment. I think the Dead were effectively co-promoters of this show, although I can't prove it. Then-manager Lenny Hart was working closely with Chet Helms at the time, accounting for many of the performances at the Dog by the band.

The only handbill for this show, while elegant, seems to be very simply put together and was probably cheap and easy to produce, a sign of a low-budget program. My assumption is that the Dog show could not be advertised until the Winterland shows were complete. The fact that there was a different show on Friday night, without the Grateful Dead, indicates that there was no late change of plans involving the San Jose State show.

Danny Cox was an African-American folk singer from Kansas City, friendly with Brewer & Shipley, who later put out a 1971 solo album (produced by Nick Gravenites) on which both Merl Saunders and John Kahn played (Birth Announcement on Dunhill). The Golden Toad played Medieval and Renaissance music on traditional instruments, and were well known for playing the Renaissance Faire in Marin (and elsewhere). Golden Toad leader Bob Thomas was an old friend of Owsley's, and among many other accomplishments created the Grateful Dead's 'Lightning Bolt' logo, as well as the covers to the albums Live/Dead and Bear's Choice.

November 3-4, 1969 The Matrix, San Francisco New Riders Of The Purple Sage
According to Ralph Gleason's column in the San Francisco Chronicle, the New Riders played on both Monday (Nov 3) and Tuesday (4) (the clip is from the November 3 Chronicle). [not on TheJerrySite]

November 6, 1969 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati New Riders Of The Purple Sage
Garcia and the New Riders played a Thursday night show at the tiny Inn Of The Begining in Cotati (the clip is from Ralph Gleason's column in the November 5 Chronicle). [not on TheJerrySite]

November 7-8, 1969 The New Old Fillmore, San Francisco Grateful Dead/South Bay Experimental Flash/Alligator
The captioned photo from the November 5 San Francisco Chronicle says "The Grateful Dead will play the Fillmore Auditorium this weekend--the first "big name" rock band to appear at the Fillmore since it was taken over by Al Kramer and the Flamin' Groovies."

In early 1968, the Grateful Dead and other San Francisco bands had decided that they were tired of playing for other people (Bill Graham and Chet Helms, mainly), and opened their own venue at the Carousel Ballroom (1545 Market at Van Ness). The well-intentioned venue, mainly run by the Dead, foundered financially. Bill Graham then moved from the Fillmore (on 1805 Geary) to the Fillmore West (the former Carousel) in July 1968. He had snatched the lease on the Carousel Ballroom out from under the Grateful Dead (and the other bands) and expanded his empire and trumped his competitors in one fell swoop. The Grateful Dead returned to working for Bill Graham, if somewhat grudgingly. The November 8 concert was released on Dick's Picks Vol. 16 in 2000.

As the month of November shows, however, the Dead weren't fully on board with the Graham empire, even though they apparently quite liked Bill personally. They regularly played for Chet Helms at the Family Dog, and now they were the first major band to play for the promoters who had taken over the original Fillmore. The Flamin' Groovies, who did not have that much of a following at the time, had been around for some years and knew everyone on the scene.

The South Bay Experimental Flash were from Richmond in the East Bay. The band Alligator is unknown to me.

November 13, 1969 The Poppycock, Palo Alto New Riders Of The Purple Sage
The Poppycock, at 135 University Avenue (at High Street) in Palo Alto, was a fish and chips/beer joint that was also Palo Alto's first regular rock venue. I have written about this elsewhere--suffice to say this would have been Jerry Garcia's first paying gig in Palo Alto since before the Warlocks were formed. 

Ralph Gleason did not mention the New Riders playing the Poppycock on Thursday November 13, in itself not typical but not significant. However, Gleason does mention the New Riders playing on the next Thursday (November 20-see below). The poster does seem to imply that the New Riders will be playing multiple Thursdays.

November 15, 1969 Lanai Theater, Crockett Grateful Dead/Black Diamond Blues Band
The Chronicle notice (right) says
The Grateful Dead will be featured for a "Moratorium Day Gathering" from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. tonight at the Lanai Theater, Second and Starr streets, Crockett.
The Black Diamond Blues Band and the Dr. Zarkoff light show will complete the bill. Crockett is located 10 miles north of Richmond on Highway 80.
The Moratorium was part of a Nationwide anti-Vietnam War protest. Many events on that day were "Moratorium" events. I don't doubt the Grateful Dead were opposed to the Vietnam War, but so many events were pegged as Moratorium events, it probably meant less than it may appear.

From scattered information, I believe that Quicksilver manager Ron Polte was part of a group promoting the Lanai Theater as a concert venue, although I am not certain of that. There were a series of concerts there throughout November of 1969, and once again the Dead were leading the way in trying to establish new venues in new places, even in the Bay Area.

I have been to Crockett, although not recently, but it is a small out of the way place even now, and it must have been quite remote in 1969. The town is on the Northeast corner of the San Pablo Bay, on the Carquinez Straight. Second Avenue and Starr Street is right on the Carquinez Straight, just East of the Carquinez Bridge and Highway 80. Crockett, despite being unincorporated Contra Costa County, has always been the corporate headquarters of C&H Sugar, so the area around Crockett was always an important commercial area. Perhaps the Lanai Theater served to entertain the local workers, maybe during WW2 or earlier, but I know nothing about the venue (update: thanks to reader Peter for sending in a great handbill from the Crockett show)
A handbill for the Nov 15 '69 Crockett show [h/t Peter]
Today, Crockett has a population of about 3200, and the corner of Second and Starr seems to be a new housing development. I see no trace of the Lanai Theater, whatever it was. The Black Diamond Blues Band is also unknown to me.

November 18, 1969 Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco New Riders Of The Purple Sage/David LaFlamme "Square Dance"
The Family Dog was always in dire financial straits, but Chet Helms always had a sharp ear to the ground. Often on Tuesday nights, the Family Dog would spread hay bales around and have a country rock show, some years before that became popular. It would be interesting to know if David LaFlamme played with the New Riders or had his own group (other than Its A Beautiful Day), or both. LaFlamme was friendly with Garcia, so he probably played with the Riders at least a little bit. [not on TheJerrySite]

November 19, 1969 Fillmore West, San Francisco New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Big Brother and The Holding Company/Barry McGuire & The Doctor Naut Family
Although the Family Dog's benefit was originally advertised for Winterland (see the Berkeley Barb ad above), the show was moved to Fillmore West. Ralph Gleason in the Chronicle comments (above) on the unlikeliness of Bill Graham helping out the Family Dog by letting them use the Fillmore West instead of Winterland. I take this as a sign that Graham no longer considered Chet Helms a threat, and preferred to have him struggling along in the relative isolation of the Great Highway.

I believe--I have no proof--that Graham's professional fear was that a deep pocketed competitor (such as Concerts West) would engage Helms's expertise while leasing Winterland. Graham was not threatened by out-of-town operations without local knowledge, nor threatened by Helms's un-business like ways, but I think he feared an alliance. Thus a weak Helms on the edge of San Francisco served Graham's competitive interests.

The funny booking of Big Brother was because the band had not really played yet since Janis Joplin had left the group, and they were trying out their revised act (revised in the sense that it was their original configuration). Barry "Eve Of Destruction" McGuire was playing the Matrix this week. Note that Steve Miller Band appears to have dropped out of the show.

Berkeley Tribe, Nov 20 '69, listing NRPS at the Poppycock on Nov 26
November 26, 1969 The Poppycock, Palo Alto New Riders of The Purple Sage
JGMF found this listed in the Berkeley Tribe. Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the third week in a row that the Riders were booked at the Poppycock.

November 20, 1969 The Poppycock, Palo Alto New Riders Of The Purple Sage
According to Ralph Gleason's Chronicle column of November 19, 1969, the New Riders played the Poppycock on Thursday, November 20. It appears that the New Riders were playing multiple dates at The Poppycock. [not on TheJerrySite]

November 21, 1969 Cal Expo Building "A", Sacramento Grateful Dead/Country Weather/AB Skhy/Commander Cody/Wildwood KZAP Birthday Party
KZAP-fm was the progressive FM station in the Sacramento area. This show was probably the station's second "birthday." The Cal Expo was part of the California State Fairgrounds.

AB Skhy featured Howard Wales on organ. Wales and Garcia had already jammed publicly, at the Family Dog on August 28, 1969, but I'm not aware of a time that AB Skhy had played on a bill with the Grateful Dead.

November 22-23, 1969 Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Anonymous Artists Of America/Devil's Kitchen
Crack research staff found this date, advertised in the Berkeley Tribe. 

November 23, 1969 Boston Music Hall, Boston, MA: Grateful Dead/Country Joe And The Fish/Pacific Gas & Electric (two shows: likely canceled)
A handbill for this event recently surfaced. I think this booking was canceled, which I explain in another post.

November 27, 1969 Family Dog on The Great Highway New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Lamb/Cleveland Wrecking Company/Deacon and The Suprelles/Rafael Garrett Circus
This was part of a multi-media extravaganza including stage performers and films (whom I have not listed). This was probably an all-day community event to celebrate Thanksgiving. San Francisco has always been full of people from somewhere else, so the only family they have for Thanksgiving is their friends.

Rafael Garrett, by the way, was almost certainly a jazz musician otherwise known as Don Garrett (he regularly played The Matrix). He played bass with Archie Shepp, and bass clarinet with John Coltrane, and was a pioneer in what would now be called "World Music."

This one has been on Ross's list all along, and I never noticed it--whoops. [not on TheJerrySite]

November 28-29, 1969 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati New Riders Of The Purple Sage
The New Riders returned to Cotati for yet another show, this time apparently for a full weekend. Its possible that the Riders played Friday (28) and that Joy Of Cooking played Saturday (29), but I will take Gleason at his word here, even though his hastily-typed Ad Lib section often had typos or casually elided certain bills. Nonetheless, although two bands was uncommon at the Inn Of The Beginning, it was a weekend. Although Joy Of Cooking became quite popular, releasing a few fine albums on Capitol. at this time they were hardly known outside of San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley (where they gigged regularly at Mandrake's, the New Orleans House and The Freight and Salvage). [not on TheJerrySite]

Rather surprisingly, the New Riders seem to have played 10 shows throughout the month of November, along with 6 Grateful Dead shows. While the rest of the Grateful Dead seems to have had a casual month on the home front, Garcia, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart kept up a fairly busy schedule. The only truly unaccounted for weekend nights were Friday, November 14 and Saturday, November 22 (update: The New Riders played the Family Dog). While I don't see any active reason that that those dates have to have been filled, given Garcia's frantic activity level, who knows what else we might find?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Family Dog At The Great Highway, August 13, 1969 New Lost City Ramblers/New Riders Of The Purple Sage

In my previous post, I speculated about what may have occurred at The Family Dog on Thursday, August 28, 1969. The show is only known from Bear's handwritten label on the tape, which says "Hartbeats-Family Dog 8/28/69." I have never found any evidence of an advertised show or an eyewitness, which begged the question of how Howard Wales ended up there, as well as the identity of the mystery flute player.

However, Ross has done some critical research in contemporary Berkeley papers, and his Comments were so revealing, I am posting them in their entirety. To summarize, however, we have some good evidence about a number of events:
  • A hitherto unknown performance by the New Riders of the Purple Sage on Wednesday, August 13, 1969 at the Family Dog On The Great Highway, billed as part of a "Hoe Down" with the New Lost City Ramblers
  • A firm identification of Jerry Garcia at a meeting of the Family Dog on Tuesday, August 19, which would explain Dennis McNally listing the date, even if it is unlikely that Garcia played, and
  • The likelihood that the Family Dog was being used by musicians for public jam sessions during the day, which sheds an entirely different light on August 28, 1969
Here are Ross's comments:

Part 1: My comment is going to be a mixture of fact and speculation. I have not checked with Jerry Garcia’s Middle Finger but have looked at the Jerry Site regarding various dates in August 1969 and this post – and the associated scanned evidence which will have been mailed by the time you read this – will resolve or speculate to resolve:

(a) Propose an alternate solution for the August 28, 1969 tape – based upon something confirmed shouted by Jerry Garcia on August 19, 1969 – seemingly confirming that the Grateful Dead returned to San Francisco right after Woodstock.
(b) Provide a rationale for the removal, or at least annotation of, the tentative Tuesday, August 19, 1969 date from the Jerry Site.
(c) The erroneous use of the word “Tuesday” in the Berkeley Tribe.
(d) A new date for the New Riders of The Purple Sage, with “Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, and starring the fair-haired John Dawson on vocal and acoustical (sic) guitar”.

Part 2: The story starts around 6:00 am UK time this morning. With a cup of tea in hand I set about reading the overnight postings from Corry and found this article speculating on the August 28, 1969 Hartbeats tape. As ever, the conjecture was well founded. After hunting through the relevant copies of the Berkeley Barb, San Francisco Good Times and the Berkeley Tribe to no avail, I stumbled in to an article I must have only read recently and somehow not taken in. It sat immediately below a piece on the Wild West Festival which I recalled scanning only a few weeks ago. I am unable to post the article as part of a comment, but will e-mail it to both Corry and Joe this morning. So for now I shall quote from the article.

The piece appears on pp5 and pp24 of the August 22-29, 1969 Berkeley Tribe – anything contained in parenthesis within quotations has been added by me.

Our story begins: “It was Tuesday afternoon (August 19, 1969 – a known date of the meeting of the Common) at the Family Dog.” Just to be clear to some readers who may not be totally au fait with the location, the Family Dog had relocated from the Avalon Ballroom to the Family Dog at the Beach on the Great Highway by this time.

So attempting to address the four issues noted above in order:

(a) The second paragraph is what prompted me to write this, and I quote: “Nights? Nights?” Jerry Garcia was shouting, “what about during the day? We got musicians running around looking for a place to jam – why not here?”. The article then goes on to discuss various matters including the previous week’s hoe down, the following week’s light show and tape experience and generally encourage folk to come together to rejuvenate what was clearly a waning scene. So how about this: What if Chet did take Jerry’s advice and opened up the Great Highway for musicians to jam during the days? What if this tape is from August 28, 1969 and was recorded in the afternoon – when Andy Kulberg, or any one else for that matter, would likely have no binding commitments? Reading this article has raised an issue that I had never considered before – that maybe there were daytime jams with a “hanging out” style audience at the Family Dog. This would suit the itinerant musician Garcia. We know that the venue was used for meetings during the days – and meetings of the Common were reasonably well recorded.
(b) I am going to take a flyer that the tentative date on the Jerry Site was originally sourced from someone reading this article, figuring out that Jerry was there during the day – reading a review of the NRPS appearance with the erroneous “Tuesday” and mistakenly assuming a NRPS show on the same date. As I will explain below, the “Tuesday” should have been a “Wednesday” and on the basis I would either annotate or remove the reference to a NRPS show on this date. However, I could imagine future prosopographers speculating that we now have evidence of Jerry returning to San Francisco immediately after Woodstock, and of Jerry being at the Common meeting in the same building earlier in the day, then it would not be unreasonable to assume that he took to the stage, guitar in hand, later that evening. There is nothing to substantiate that – but I would guess it could be speculated that it happened that way.

Part 3:
(c) About a quarter of the way in to the article discussion begins “Last Tuesday (August 12, 1969) night, the Common put on a good ol’ hoedown. The dance hall was transformed in to a psychedelic barn with bales of hay, charcoal-roasted corn at ten cents a hit, and the New Lost City Ramblers (who were scheduled to play the Family Dog on August 15 and 16 with Mike Bloomfield & Nick Gravenites, Southern Comfort, Devil's Kitchen and Taj Mahal). Now the hoedown and square dance is a well documented event with a handbill circulating. I don’t have a copy to scan but it does appear in Eric King’s book as FD-690813 – and the date can be clearly seen as August 13. This is key to fixing the date. The hoedown had been advertised in the press and on a handbill as August 13, which was a Wednesday rather than a Tuesday. As such I consider the use, by Art Johnson of the Berkeley Tribe, of the word “Tuesday” in relation to the hoedown and square dance was erroneous – and probably led to an incorrect entry being made in to the database at the Jerry Site.
(d) So hopefully I have now established the date of the hoedown, square dance, hayride and apple bob put on by the Common as Wednesday August 13, 1969. So to continue. The article then has a lengthy paragraph discussing a barter system that folks with no money could use for entry. This is then followed by the following eye watering paragraph: “At the square dance Tuesday (should be Wednesday as shown above) a new San Francisco band made its debut (not quite a debut but certainly an early show). The New Riders of the Old Purple Sage, with Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, and starring the fair-haired John Dawson on vocal and acoustical (sic) guitar. The sound was as smooth as the Dead is, yet it had this sweet country pulse and tune that made you swoon.” Too good to be true. Again I think reasonable justification for the erroneous Jerry Site date. I did for a lingering moment think that the Tuesday referred to in the above quotation could have been August 19, but the following paragraph discusses the previous week’s event, a sock hop put on by Fuzzy Dice Productions. That was held on Thursday August 7 – and again it is well documented.

Although it is still pretty early on a Sunday morning, I am reasonably comfortable with these ramblings. Ross.

Ross insights lead me to a few interesting follow up points.
  • The August 13, 1969 "Hoe Down" show is known from an existing flyer, but no acts were listed. Mike Seeger and The New Lost City Ramblers were playing the weekend show at the Family Dog, so its plausible that they were in town early. In 1992, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman released their cd Not For Kids Only, an album modeled directly on the work of Mike Seeger and The New Lost City Ramblers. Its interesting to see that Garcia actually shared a bill with him. 
  • As Ross points out, we know that Jerry Garcia was at a meeting at the Family Dog on August 19, but we don't know if he--or anyone--played. Probably not, but we know he was there...
  • If the Thursday, August 28 show was a musicians jam session held during the day, all sorts of mysteries become clearer. The show was never advertised because it wasn't really a show, beyond the fact that a few casual fans wandered by. If it were an afternoon show, working musicians like Howard Wales or Andy Kulberg (if he was indeed the flautist) would have no interference from their nighttime gigs.
  • The mysterious September 7 jam tape (rock and roll oldies with the Hartbeats, Jack, Jorma and Joey Covington) might be more likely to be in the afternoon than in the evening.
  • I have always dismissed the Thursday, September 11, 1969 date at the Family Dog as an illusion: it was a Thursday, it wasn't advertised, and it made no sense. I'm changing my tune. While the tape itself is a bit of mystery--a nicely recorded audience tape of a single tune, "Easy Wind," with an earlier, simpler arrangement and a guest slide guitarist--the date suddenly makes lots of sense. If it was a Thursday afternoon jam session, some Dead members were there and played some music. It was never advertised, because it wasn't a show, and it was more of a "Hartbeats" event (if you will) than a Dead show. I'd still like to know what happened to the rest of the tape, but it may not be a Grateful Dead tape at all.
  • Incidentally, if my supposition about September 11, 1969 is correct, the guest slide guitarist could be anyone in the Bay Area. I have always dismissed the idea that it was Jorma Kaukonen, as he didn't play slide much at the time (or ever, really). Since everyone is eligible as a possible guest, I'm going to nominate one Robbie Stokes. Stokes was the lead guitarist for a band called Devil's Kitchen, who had relocated to the Bay Area from Carbondale, IL and had become the house band at the Family Dog. Since their equipment was permanently set up there, they jammed regularly with visitors. Stokes, an excellent slide guitarist, went on to move to Marin County, and played on Mickey Hart's Rolling Thunder and Robert Hunter's Tales of The Great Rum Runners.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Hartbeats" Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA August 28, 1969

The Hartbeats show on August 28, 1969 at Chet Helm's Family Dog On The Great Highway is only known from a tape in the Grateful Dead vaults. The tape is very interesting indeed, and yet, to my knowledge, nothing else whatsoever is known about this show, even though it begs a variety of very interesting questions. I am writing this post to consider the various unknowns about this show, in order to indicate how many interesting questions remain unanswered. Anyone with some hard information, or even entertaining speculation, is encouraged to Comment.

[update: for a contemporary discussion and resolution of these mysteries, see my post here]

Known Facts

  • Knowledge of the show comes from a Bear cassette master of the show labeled "Hartbeats," with the date of the show and presumably the location. 
  • Although there are some tape flips and some resulting missing snippets of music, the show seems to be 81 minutes and sounds like a complete set.
  • The band lineup appears to be Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart and organist Howard Wales.
  • A flute player joins in at the beginning of "Dark Star," just shy of the 10-minute mark, but he is hard to hear and seems to drop away
Inferred Facts
  • Chet Helms saw the Family Dog as a "community resource," so casual jam-type shows seem to have been common, if hard to trace
  • The Grateful Dead were playing on Friday and Saturday night (August 29-30), so it seems plausible that they might set up their equipment a day early to have some kind of jam session.
  • This is the first time I am aware of Howard Wales playing with Jerry Garcia
  • Howard Wales band, AB Skhy, had moved from Wisconsin in May 1968, but to my knowledge they had not played with the Grateful Dead prior to this date
  • I know of no advertisement, notice, flyer or review of this show, and I have looked at just about all of the SF Chronicles as well as the relevant listings for the Berkeley Barb (and Tribe), and there is no listing or mention for even a "jam session" at the Dog
  • Did anyone other than Owsley use the name "Hartbeats" for this show? Was that just convenient shorthand for a jam, or was that a name that Garcia and others actually used? It wasn't actually used in 1968, and although I'm aware that it appeared on a 1969 bill at the Matrix and 1970 at the Dog, but we don't have have tapes of those shows
  • Assuming we have the complete "Hartbeats" set, did any other bands appear? If they did, did any Grateful Dead members (or Howard Wales) sit in?
  • Who played flute?
Some Speculation
August 1969 is exactly when Garcia starts working publicly with the New Riders of The Purple Sage, and I don't think its a coincidence that the same time frame seems to indicate the first stirrings of what would become the Jerry Garcia Band, through the circuitous route of Howard Wales jam sessions at The Matrix in 1970. The Family Dog on The Great Highway was intended as a sort of hippie clubhouse, and Dead manager Lenny Hart had good relations with Chet Helms. On top of that, since the Dead were debuting at the Family Dog the next night, the pre-opening night jam may have served as sort of equipment check as well.

The 1968 Matrix tapes that circulate as "Mickey and The Hartbeats" were actually billed as Jerry Garcia And Friends. Garcia made a casual remark between songs that the band was known as Mickey And The Hartbeats, which may have been a sort of joke, and the name has stuck over the years. The Hartbeats were billed twice more in, at the Matrix in February 1969 (Monday thru Wednesday February 24-26) and at the Family Dog in April 1970 (Friday thru Sunday April 17-19). We know nothing of the Matrix shows, and have only a setlist for the April shows, which suggests that it was a tryout of the acoustic configuration that would debut publicly on the May 1970 Eastern tour. We can make assumptions about what "Mickey And The Hartbeats" implied, but there is surprisingly little real information. Nevertheless, it seems that "Hartbeats" implied Jerry Garcia and other Dead members, but no commitment to playing regular Grateful Dead songs or a typical set.

Given the distance of the Great Highway from the rest of San Francisco and particularly Marin, I am less likely to think that anyone there just "dropped by," in distinct contrast to, say, Broadway, where the Matrix was located. Someone invited Howard Wales, and someone invited him when Constanten wasn't present. This leads me to think that Wales had already jammed with Garcia, since it seems like such a trek. I am sure Wales wanted to jam with Garcia, but he was a working musician with a band, so coming out to a jam would take time away from his band, and he would be less likely to do it if he wasn't guaranteed a real chance on stage. Howard Wales may be the one person who really recalls this event, since to Lesh, Hart and Kreutzmann (and the crew) this was just another night at the Dog.

As for the flute player, no one obvious comes to mind. I have examined the tendency of Deadheads to assume that Charles Lloyd always played with them, and I find that is as unlikely as ever. Since I am the official historian for Sanpaku, whose flute player had jammed with the Dead as recently as the week before, I was able to confirm that Gary Larkey did not play with them that night. I looked at various jazz bookings, at the Both/And and elsewhere, but no obvious candidates present themselves. The reed-less McCoy Tyner Trio was playing the Both/And, and while there was a jazz festival in Concord, no flute players stuck out as likely to make the trip far across the bay.

As long as I am reduced to shooting in the dark for a flute player, I will throw out two names:
  • Andy Kulberg of Seatrain: Kulberg had played bass and flute for Blues Project, and his band Seatrain still played the Blues Project instrumental "Flute Thing." Seatrain, based in the Bay Area, was billed at the Matrix all week. Granted, this would have created an inherent conflict--what was Kulberg doing at the Dog on a night when he was booked at the Matrix?--but the Dog may have started early and Seatrain may not have had to come on at the Matrix until later. 
  • Steven Schuster: Schuster, a fine sax and flute player, had been the equipment manager for Quicksilver Messenger Service since 1967, and was a regular part of the scene. His instrumental abilities would come more to the fore in the 1970s, when he was a member of the Keith And Donna Band. 
I could speculate more and more about different possibilities for the August 28, 1969 Family Dog show, but so little is actually known that it would be counterproductive. However, I am very interested in anyone else's ideas, and anyone who has the faintest scrap of information is also encouraged to weigh in.

Update: Ross did some great research, and suggests that this show took place during the afternoon. This would explain why the show was never advertised, since it was just a jam session, and why working musicians like Howard Wales and perhaps Andy Kulberg could jam without conflicts.