Friday, September 10, 2010

Grateful Dead Tour Itinerary February 1970

(a scan of a poster for the Grateful Dead appearance in San Antonio on February 21, 1970)

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 February 1970. 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 by 1968, were living hand to mouth and scrambling to find paying gigs. Even by 1970, 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.

In February 1970, the Grateful Dead were starting to reap the benefits of their great new album Live/Dead, released in November 1969, which was receiving plenty of airplay now that FM rock stations were all over the country. One interesting note about the month of January 1970 was the fact of only one scheduled show by the New Riders of The Purple Sage, and no guest live appearances by Jerry Garcia. Given the surprisingly numerous NRPS shows in November, I cannot think this was simply a coincidence. We have discussed possible reasons for the paucity of NRPS shows between December 1969 and April 1970 elsewhere, so I will not recap it except to say that it appears the Riders did not have a bass player.

February 1970 was a particularly momentous month for the Grateful Dead, notwithstanding the string of fantastic live performances. Sometime in the late January-early February period they recorded Workingman's Dead (the exact date has never been determined, to my knowledge), and while they toured madly throughout the month they realized that manager Lenny Hart was stealing from them. In late January 1970 Hart had proposed merging Grateful Dead operations with Chet Helms's struggling Family Dog on The Great Highway. This was actually a brilliant and intriguing idea, but while Helms may have kept somewhat casual accounts, he was no crook--when Lenny Hart refused to show him the Grateful Dead books, Hart had to scurry back to Novato. Sometime in February, per McNally, Ramrod told the band "it's [Lenny Hart] or me," and Garcia said "well, you know we can't do without [you]."

Lenny Hart had stolen $155,000, bankrupting the band for all intents and purposes. Throughout this, the Dead played absolutely remarkable music, and Hart's perfidy ironically condemned the Dead to endless touring, and their 1970 and '71 peregrinations produced legions of Deadheads.Yet somehow, in the midst of an irrational and ill-advised touring schedule--one of Lenny Hart's many failings as a manager--the Grateful Dead played epic performances throughout February 1970, while still finding time to fire their manager and record one of their classic albums.

I have linked to existing posters where available.

February 1, 1970: The Warehouse, New Orleans, LA: Grateful Dead/Fleetwood Mac Bust Benefit
The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac and The Flock had played New Orleans on the weekend of January 30-31, and the Dead were busted after the second show.

After bailing out over a dozen people, the Dead were out of cash, a clear sign of the hand-to-mouth life of a touring band in those days. They added an extra show at The Warehouse on Sunday night. Fleetwood Mac agreed to play as well, as they did not have a show until February 5 in Boston (The Flock had to move on). The show was well attended, thanks to the local FM station.

According to Fleetwood Mac's soundman Dinky Dawson (in his fine book Life On The Road, 1998: Billboard Books, p, 121-124), although the New Orleans cops were out in force looking to bust pot smokers, buckets were passed around for people to drop money in to help the Dead, and in thanks the band passed around bottles of Cold Duck (a cheap champagne-like concoction). They announced from the stage "its Electric Duck, so only take a few sips," and the New Orleans police, used to 200 years of vice, somehow missed the reference. Peter Green, and probably other members of Fleetwood Mac, ended up on stage during "Turn On Your Lovelight" (and who does that strange rap at the end?).

February 2, 1970: Fox Theater, St. Louis, MO: Grateful Dead/Aorta
The Dead's next show after New Orleans was a Monday night show in St. Louis, 700 miles to the North, a sign of the irrational touring schedule that soon-to-be-fired manager Lenny Hart was responsible for.  With an unplanned Sunday night show in New Orleans, and dead broke, I have always wondered how the band got their sound system 700 miles up the road in time for the St. Louis show.

My original theory is that the equipment truck left New Orleans Sunday morning (February 1) and the Dead played their Sunday show on Fleetwood Mac's sound system. The Dead and the Mac were among the first two bands to tour with their own PAs, and Dinky Dawson and Owsley were good friends and professional peers. Expedience notwithstanding, the Dead would have known they could put on a quality show using the Mac's equipment. I'm assuming that the band members themselves were going to fly to St. Louis in any case, so their plans would not have changed.

Notwithstanding my theory, a thoughtful Commenter found an interesting review of the show in the February 3 St. Louis Post Dispatch. It seems the Dead's equipment did not even arrive until 7:00 pm the night of the show. This fact points against my hypothesis, although going 700 miles in a truck even in two days in February could be no picnic (update: another Commenter found some evidence that the Dead's equipment had been held by the New Orleans police, so they had to rent locally, which would have explained the delay).

The review also reveals that the show was part of the homecoming weekend of St. Louis University, explaining the sold out (3,000 capacity) show on a Monday night. We have an excellent tape of part of the show, and the newspaper describes some of the rest of it, so we have a relatively good picture of this hitherto obscure event.

One other footnote: the group Aorta featured guitarist Jim Vincent (aka Jim Donlinger), who ultimately moved to San Francisco and joined the group Lovecraft (different than but related to HP Lovecraft, but I digress). Vincent ended up playing in Howard Wales's band in early 1972, and thus played with Garcia when Jerry sat in with Howard Wales a few times.

February 4, 1970: Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Santana/Kimberly
This show was filmed by KQED-TV in San Francisco for Public Television. It has since been released more or less as broadcast (on April 27, 1970) as A Night At The Family Dog. From the vantage point of this century, it's a wonderful view of three of San Francisco's finest bands, looking young and strong and playing some of their best music, with a lively crowd. It's well worth viewing.

Nonetheless the TV broadcast gives a somewhat misleading picture. Santana never actually played The Family Dog and the Airplane were too big to play there except for unannounced stealth shows. The Dead played there regularly, but all three bands would never have played together in such a small place. The crowd at the Wednesday night show was all invited, and apparently there were considerably fewer than were usually let in to a sold out show (according to Ralph Gleason's February 6 column in the Chronicle). 

That being said, the musicians and audience are clearly enjoying themselves, so even if the bands played limited sets in a sort of artificial situation, its as good a picture as we are going to get of shows in those days. A local group called Kimberly warmed up the crowd (per Gleason), and the broadcast (and the video) included a jam with Jerry Garcia, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, Michael Shrieve, Carlos Santana, Gary Duncan and Paul Kantner, and there's no doubt that the musicians were having a good time.

February 5-8, 1970: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Taj Mahal/Big Foot
The Grateful Dead played a four night run at Fillmore West. In contravention to the practice of previous years, the Dead played one long set instead of two sets separated by the other two bands. Put another way, this was an early instance of a "modern" configuration where the opening acts did not come on after the headline act had played the first set.

Taj Mahal had an excellent live act who had never broken through beyond a certain level. His band featured the great, underrated guitarist Jesse Ed Davis (among many other accomplishments, Davis played lead guitar on the original recording of Jackson Browne's "Doctor My Eyes").

Big Foot was a power trio from Sacramento. Although hardly remembered today--outside of Sacramento--there is an interesting footnote to their story. Big Foot featured guitarist Mike Botham and drummer Reed Nielsen, and played original material in a manner similar to Cream. Nielsen went on to pair up with former Sanpaku guitarist Mark Pearson, and form the Nielsen Pearson Band, where he switched over to guitar and piano. Subsequently, Nielsen has become a successful Nashville songwriter for the likes of Vince Gill and Tim McGraw. A lot of Nashville songwriters used to be in a band, long ago--but I doubt any of the other successful ones were a drummer in a power trio that opened for the Grateful Dead at Fillmore West.

February 11, 1970: Fillmore East, New York, NY: Grateful Dead/Love/Allman Brothers Band
The Dead played a Wednesday at Fillmore East, and then skipped a night and played the customary Friday-Saturday weekend show. This was completely unprecedented in the history of the Fillmore East. No other headline band at Fillmore East broke up a run with a day off--much less to play a relatively small club uptown.

The reason, as we have ultimately determined, was that Warner Brothers wanted the Dead to play an industry "showcase" at Ungano's (see below), and a few shows at Fillmore East essentially financed the trip. Since the Fillmore East was among the very few venues were the Dead were willing to play on the house sound system, they could simply fly to New York (with their guitars) and play the Fillmore East without the equipment truck.

The Dead had met the Allman Brothers, but never heard them play (although Jerry and Duane Allman had jammed in Atlanta on July 7, 1969). February 11, 1970 was a truly legendary night. After a perfunctory, if enjoyable early show, most of the Allman Brothers and some members of Fleetwood Mac (in town with nothing to do) joined the Grateful Dead onstage for an epic rock jam that included an unforgettable "Turn On Your Lovelight."

February 12, 1970: Ungano's, New York, NY: Grateful Dead
I have written about this show at length. Contrary to some speculation, it was advertised in the Village Voice (scroll to the right). Thanks to a truly amazing Comment Thread, I now can state for a fact that the show occurred and also explain why the Dead played a mid-town Manhattan club (at 210 W. 70th Street) in the midst of a Fillmore East run.

This show was a Warner Brothers showcase for Talent Agents and other music industry professionals. The Dead were a great live act with a hot new album (Live/Dead), but not everybody knew that. It is worth noting that the Grateful Dead became big on the East Coast college circuit after this, and while I would not attribute that to this show alone, it had to be a factor. A commenter on an earlier post, who worked at Ungano's, makes a critical point
What we actually wound up becoming was a show case club for agents, record companies and managers.We we uptown and not far from most of their offices, so 210 West 70th turned out to be an ideal location.
The Fillmore East was in Lower Manhattan, while Ungano's was way uptown (near Central Park--Seinfeld territory), so it was not a competitor to Greenwich Village venues like the Fillmore East. At the same time, professionals working in mid-town at all the record companies could get to Ungano's easily, so the club made a great industry showcase that did not realistically compete with Village venues.

February 13-14, 1970: Fillmore East, New York, NY: Grateful Dead/Love/Allman Brothers Band
These epic shows have been well documented, and I could hardly add anything here.

February 20, 1970: Panther Hall, Ft. Worth, TX: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Grateful Dead
The Dead played a few Texas shows with Quicksilver Messenger Service. Quicksilver had not toured since late 1968 (they only played a few shows in 1969), but their first two albums remained staples of FM radio, so they were as big or bigger than the Dead. The 1970 lineup included not only the "classic" Quicksilver quartet (John Cipollina and Gary Duncan-guitars, David Freiberg-bass, Greg Elmore-drums) but Nicky Hopkins on piano and Dino Valenti on vocals. Although Hopkins was universally appreciated, opinion about Valenti was decidedly mixed and remains so to this day.

According to my analysis, since the Dead flew to Fillmore East, the equipment truck would have driven from San Francisco and met the band in Texas.

February 21, 1970: Convention Center Arena, San Antonio, TX: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Grateful Dead/John Mayall with Duster Bennett/Its A Beautiful Day
Both this show and the Houston show the next day were billed as kind of indoor rock festivals. John Mayall was a headliner in his own right, and Its A Beautiful Day had a popular debut album. The show started at 6 pm, a clear sign that patrons were in for a lengthy evening.

John Mayall's band was a variation on his Turning Point/Empty Rooms band, a quartet with an acoustic guitar, flute and electric bass, and no drums. The late, great Johnny Almond was the lead soloist on flute and saxophone (formerly of Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, with Andy Summers), Jon Mark played acoustic guitar and Alex Dmochowski played bass. People with too many albums will recognize Dmochowski under his nom du Zappa "Erroneous," playing on Waka Jawaka and Grand Wazoo. When Mayall ended this lineup in June 1970, Mark and Almond formed the excellent Mark-Almond Band.

Duster Bennett was a kind of "one-man band" who played the blues and toured with John Mayall. For Mayall's encore, Bennett joined in with Mayall's band.

Update: correspondent Gerard writes in not only with a description of the event, but photos of the Dead and Quicksilver

Here are photos of The Dead and QMS 2/21/70. These are blown up from slide negatives so they are kinda fuzzy. San Antonio had quite a few concerts back in the late 60's. Bands would play there rather than Austin because San Antonio had bigger facilities and a bigger population. Austin didn't become the music center it is now until much later. I was a fan of all the San Francisco bands and to be able to see all of these acts on one bill was amazing. I normally taped all the shows I went to with a little cassette recorder. I got all the preliminary acts but 3/4 of the way through the Quicksilver set the recorder ate my tape so I didn't have one left over to tape the Dead. You can go on SugarMegs and find the tape I made of Quicksilver. It is the one getting all the bad reviews about the sound. I wish there were better versions out there but beggars can't be choosers. I had a seat in the back so I had to stroll up the aisle to take photos and hurry back to keep my seat. I went up to take the Dead shot and right when I got to the front they broke into Turn on Your Lovelight and all of a sudden I was surrounded by dancing hippies. I had to stand on a chair to keep from getting crushed so that is why that photo is taken from a higher perspective, no pun intended. I wish I could find a set list of what The Dead was playing back then because I didn't recognize a lot of the songs and I had the first 4 albums.

The Grateful Dead at San Antonio Convention Center, February 21, 1970. Photo by and courtesy of Gerard Daily. Jerry on a Fender, Bob playing a Gibson

Quicksilver Messenger Service at San Antonio Convention Center, February 21, 1970. Photo by and courtesy of Gerard Daily. John Cippolina on stage left, Gary Duncan with the Gibson guitar on stage right, just in front of pianist Nicky Hopkins

February 22, 1970: Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TX: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Grateful Dead/John Mayall with Duster Bennett/Its A Beautiful Day
This show began at 1 pm.

February 23, 1970: Austin Municipal Auditorium, Austin, TX: Grateful Dead
The Dead played a Monday night in Austin. If there was anywhere in the South where the Dead might have gotten a good crowd on a Monday night in February of 1970, it was Austin, but I still wonder about the wisdom of this show. I'm not aware of a tape, review or eyewitness, so I have no idea how it was received or whether the show was well attended.

February 23, 1970: Winterland, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Santana/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Its A Beautiful Day/Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks
The Grateful Dead were busted in New Orleans, and still out on the road, but they were hurting for cash, since they had to bail out something like 19 people. The other San Francisco bands held a benefit for them, appropriate since the Dead had done so many benefits for others. According to Ralph Gleason's February 25 Chronicle column (above), the benefit raised $15,000 for the band. I believe this was the only time there was a benefit for the Grateful Dead themselves.

February 27-March 1, 1970: Family Dog on The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
The Grateful Dead ended the month with a three night stand at The Family Dog. Whatever the exact timeline of the month's events, Lenny Hart was surely fired by this time. It must have been odd for the band to play a weekend for Chet Helms, knowing that their former manager had booked the date as part of a dubious rip-off. The Dead were personally friends with Helms, so socially it was probably manageable, but it must have added to the strangeness of the weekend (and I'm not counting the fact that Lenny Hart was the drummer's Father).


  1. A couple comments -

    I've read Workingman's Dead was recorded after the Fillmore East run. There is nearly a two-week show gap between 2/14 and 2/20 they put to good use.

    There is a tape for the 2/23/70 show, revealing a rather short & ho-hum show (at least to my ears - some songs appear to be missing). The Dead complain about the sound, and perhaps faced a time limit. Were no other bands on the bill?

    There is a very informative newspaper review for the 2/2/70 St Louis show, from the Feb 3 St Louis Post-Dispatch:
    It's really worth quoting in its entirety, but I'll just note that it reports about 3000 attendees; the concert was "part of the homecoming festivities of St Louis University"; and there was an opening band, Chicago group Aorta.
    The Dead were delayed, not starting the show til 10:15. "They and their equipment did not arrive in St Louis until nearly 7 pm." (Which seems to contradict your theory.)
    The Dead had their usual effect on the audience: at the end, "the crowd cheered and screamed for more."

    1. Do you have an image or pdf or something of this review? For whatever reason, I seem unable to access it with the URL you supplied. TIA.

    2. Pardon, I didn't see this earlier.
      That link seems to be down, alas!
      But it's on the clippings archive:

  2. Ok, this is a completely fascinating review, which points towards debunking my theory about using Fleetwood Mac's equipment on February 1 (although 700 miles in a truck is a long ride even for two days).

    One other footnote: the group Aorta featured guitarist Jim Vincent (aka Jim Donlinger), who ultimately moved to San Francisco and joined the group Lovecraft (different than but related to HP Lovecraft, but I digress). Vincent ended up playing in Howard Wales's band in early 1972, and thus played with Garcia when Jerry sat in with Howard Wales a few times.

    1. One of the local St. Louis newspapers (St. Louis Globe-Democrat) published a HUGE picture of the Dead on stage at the Fox. It was published on Thursday, February 5, 1970.

      It was a really good show. Kind of subdued and dreamy. And it wasn't a long set at all. Good moments, but a bit of a disappointment.

      Owsley WAS in town for that show. A buddy of mine picked him up at the airport.

  3. The St.Louis show got me to thinking--the Dead's show in Austin must have been some University related event. Why else would they play Texas on a Monday night?

  4. "There is nearly a two-week show gap between 2/14 and 2/20 they put to good use."

    Not trying to nitpick, but that looks like six days to me. That's not to say that they couldn't have recorded it in that span -- what's the conventional story about how quickly they recorded WD?

  5. And by the way, once the Archives open up maybe we'll get this kind of information. I am hoping there will be studio logs and such that will tell us precisely what days they were recording the various albums.

  6. Its an apocryphal tale that recording Workingman's Dead "took a week," but when you look at the touring schedule you have to wonder what week it might have been. It may have been recorded in a much more scattered fashion than has originally been thought.

  7.'re right, don't know how I thought 2/14 - 2/20 added up to "nearly 2 weeks"! With travel time deducted, it would be more like 4 days... In the long-term though, the short trip through Texas gave them just a few days outside San Francisco in-between 2/14 and 3/7, so for most of those weeks they were definitely in San Francisco.

    Blair Jackson (Grateful Dead Gear) says that recording took place "during a couple of weeks in February." Bob Matthews says, "We went into the studio first and spent a couple days rehearsing, performing all the tunes. When that was done I sat down and spliced together the tunes [in an album sequence]. We made a bunch of cassette copies and gave them to the band. They rehearsed some more in their rehearsal studio, and then they came in and recorded."
    In Jackson's Garcia bio, he says, "Shortly after the bust, the Dead went into Pacific High Recording and cut their studio album in just ten days."
    McNally's bio, though not date-specific, puts the recording after the Fillmore East shows. "They went into Pacific High Recording, a tiny room half a block behind Fillmore West, and rehearsed for a week. Then [after Matthews gave them the album-sequence tape] the band rehearsed for another week... They went into Pacific High to record Workingman's Dead, and in about three weeks they had an album."

    It's irritating that McNally does not mention any dates, so this sequence could be anywhere from first week of Feb to the middle of March. He implies that it was mid-March, when Lenny Hart was discovered and fled, that the album was recorded. (Not sure when the exact date of this was, but McNally twice places it in March, not February. It must have been before the March trip to the East coast, when Sam Cutler was their road manager.)
    What the account does make clear is that there were two separate studio sessions, the first one a kind of 'practice run', with perhaps a week of rehearsals in-between.

    There's the CD liner notes (by Steve Silberman), which say the album was recorded in February. "The New Orleans bust went down two weeks before the Workingman's sessions began." He also says the album was wrapped up in a couple weeks. He even gives the recording date for one song: Dire Wolf was recorded on February 16.
    (He agrees that Lenny fled while the album was being recorded, but this places it a month earlier than McNally does.)

    And yes, a Grateful Dead studio log would be of great service! Or even better, a "Grateful Dead Day-by-Day Chronicles" kind of thing...

  8. Alex Dmochowski played bass. People with too many albums will recognize Dmochowski under his nom du Zappa "Erroneous," playing on Waka Jawaka and Grand Wazoo

    Good bass player--like FZ, Erroneous helped create that 70s fusion-funk sound (quite different than Mayall's blues bands, which sounds pretty dated). Wazoo has some of FZ's patented bizarre-ness, but also a few classic jams (e.g. Eat that question). Sugarcane Harris also played with FZ ...and Mayall I believe. Great player but sad case. Probably another reason FZ turned a bit anti-dope (at least narcotics)

  9. Some years ago I had the pleasure of studying with George Suranovich, who was Love's drummer during the February run at Fillmore East. He related a couple of memories, one being that Duane Allman and the Love members skipped out during one of the Dead's sets to see Pharoah Sanders at Slug's Saloon, the other that the Dead refused to share their nitrous tanks with Love. By the way, Scholastic Books published a paperback in the early 70's about the Fillmores, and it included the chapter "A Night at the Fillmore", which happened to be one of the February 1970 shows at Fillmore East. Unfortunately the author (David Dachs?) was not impressed by the Dead or Allmans and instead devoted over two pages to George's drum solo. His review of the Dead's set includes mention of a girl in the audience yelling a request for "Schoolgirl", to which T.C. (sic - it would have been Pigpen) groans and Jerry tells her to play the record at home instead. Worth checking out if you happen across it. Anyway, thanks for the incredible blog and the work involved, surely the epitome of a labor of love!

  10. What a great detail about Love and Duane Allman going over to Slug's to see Pharaoh Sanders. If you follow the link to the Ungano's ad and go over to page 44 of the Voice (pg 24 of 42 on the Google version) you can see the Slug's ad. Slug's was at 242 East 3rd St (between B and C), an easy walk from 2nd Ave and E 6th street (FE was at 105 2nd Avenue).Pharaoh was booked at Slug's from Feb 10 to Feb 15.

    I recall that "Night At The Fillmore" book. I think it even had a photo. I remember being livid that it was just about a drum solo, and I kind of blotted it out of my mind.

  11. I am just reading an interview with Mickey Hart from the 3/21/70a Port Chester GD show, and he says "we finished an album just the other day."

    I am guessing they finished it between the March 8 show in Phoenix and the March 17 show in Buffalo.

    If that's the case, what the heck took so long to get the record out? Could the mixing, etc. (which Mickey says might still need to be done) all the way out to production really take three months?

    Jackson, Harry. 1970. On Tour with the Dead. Zygote, July 22, 1970: 41-44.

  12. A useful find in terms of dating Workingman's. Remember, when Hart says the album is "finished," he's talking like a drummer. His part was over. Notwithstanding mixing, overdubbing vocals, and whatever other tasks may be required, the Dead were touring relentlessly.

    I also think record companies timed releases. So the record may have been finished by the Dead in April, but Warners may have been planning a promotional campaign, manufacturing the discs, printing the covers, shipping them to stores, and so on. I assume that a company wanted a certain number of releases each month, so the release dates of certain albums were sped up or slowed down based on how full the pipeline might have been.

    Also, the Dead weren't big sellers (prior to Workingman's), so Warners wouldn't have prioritized its release. Its very possible that the Dead's role in the album was effectively done by April 30, and it still took 60 days to hit the stores.

  13. "the Dead were touring relentlessly"

    I don't disagree, in general, but note the following:

    5 nights off between 2/14 and 2/20
    5 nights off betwee 3/1 and 3/7
    8 nights off (GD!) between 3/8 and 3/17
    9 nights off between 3/24 and 4/3
    5 nights off (incl. Sat.) between 4/3 and 4/8

    I haven't gone and checked the whole year, but I do see a long GD respite between the Calebration show (8/30) and the start of the Fillmore East run on 9/17.

    It might make sense to assume that all of these GD touring hiatuses had to do something with getting records together ... if not recording, then post-production and all the rest.

    I find that nine-night opening before Cincinatti on 4/3 particularly interesting. If it's true that they were still working on the album, it puts a little different gloss on the "recorded in 10 days" history of Workingman's.

  14. I think that post-recording tasks took the same amount of time for an album regardless of how long the basic tracks took to produce. Mixing, overdubbing harmonies, fixing mistakes and so on generally don't involve an entire band.

    When bands in days of yore talk about "how long it took to record an album" they generally mean how long the whole band was in the studio producing the basic tracks. I think after 10 days or so (the second 10 days, anyway), the Dead had a tape that sounded like what we would recognize today as Workingman's Dead, if a bit rough around the edges.

    Certain famous classic rock albums like Who's Next and Led Zeppelin (I) supposedly took less than a week to record. In simple terms, I think that means Keith Moon and John Bonham were in the studio for a week. Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page spent a lot more time in the studio making the albums work, but the basic record had been made.

    Other albums, like Sgt Pepper's or Ummagumma had lengthy, complex recording histories with sessions going on for months, so that's very different than Workingman's Dead or Who's Next.

  15. Here is an interesting tidbit from that timeframe...

    Looks like the Dead's PA equipment got confiscated in New Orleans so they had to use a local guy's gear in St. Louis. That local guys name is Bob Heil and he is now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

  16. Liberty, this is an extremely interesting little tidbit. It certainly explained why the Dead were late setting up.

  17. He says in the interview he headed off with the equipment to New Jersey for the rest of the tour. Do you think it was his gear that got played at the Fillmore East gigs a few weeks later?

  18. The Dead apparently used the Fillmore East PA at the Fillmore East. Graham used to brag about the fact that FE was the only place where the Dead used the house system. It certainly explained why the Dead could fly into New York, do a Fillmore East show and take off, because they didn't need to truck in their system. So I doubt the St. Louis guy's system was used in February.

    However, if he had a good system that the band liked, he may have been involved in Buffalo and Port Chester in March, or possibly even the May tour. I realize that doesn't fit his exact timeline, but my general take is that when dealing with 40 year old memories, people remember events clearly but not the timeline.

  19. What about the Ugano's show? Would they have used the house gear for that show?

  20. They definitely would have used the house system for Ungano's. I doubt their rig would even fit in the door. Of course, the question is whether they actually played there.

    My current theory on Ungano's, played out in the endless comment thread, is that the Dead did not play on February 12, 1970, but they did play there on an earlier date, possibly Sept 24, 1969. That would account for the conflicting memories. It's just a theory, however, with no proof yet.

  21. There's a fuller interview with Bob Heil about the St Louis show here:

    As well as a very detailed technical article discussing that night:

    Here's a transcription of the interview:
    "One night I get a call from old George Bales, the stage manager at the Fox. He says, 'Hey, Heil, you still got those big speakers?' And I said, 'Yeah, why?' He says, 'We got a band here that came in and they don't have a PA. Can you bring 'em up here?' Cause he didn't know that I'd built this [giant sound system]. That band was the Grateful Dead, and if you know their history, that was the weird time when they played New Orleans; and their soundman Owsley Stanley was on probation, he wasn't supposed to be out of the state of California. The drug agents followed him that night after the concert, confiscated him and the gear, brought him back to California. The band didn't know it, they had already left for St Louis. When they got there, no PA... They had never played through anything like [my system]. Garcia went nuts; he said 'You're going on tour with us, right out of here.' I said, 'No, you don't understand, I can't do that.' The thing that really saved me was that my roadies knew every lick of Grateful Dead music, they were Grateful Dead fanatics. So that really helped, cause they could mix good. The union that night was incredible."

    And a third source:
    "The Grateful Dead came through town around 1971, and they didn't have a PA. Theirs was confiscated the night before by the feds because they weren't supposed to go out of California. Anyway, they show up at the Fox Theater. The Fox calls me and hands the phone to Jerry Garcia. He says, "You got a PA, man?" I said, "Yeah, I've got A4s, a whole bunch of McIntoshes."
    So I took it up there and we changed the world that one night. They freaked out. They took me right out on tour—right out of the theater that night off to New Jersey. Then it hit the front page of Billboard magazine that we had got the Grateful Dead contract, and the next thing you know, The Who is calling me, ZZ Top, Humble Pie, on and on..."

    (continued next comment...)

  22. I definitely have some questions about Heil's memory.

    The story he tells of Owsley's arrest is simply not true. We know Owsley was in St Louis: the newspaper reviewer saw him there, and he taped the show. (Heil's timeline is a little off, for it was only after the NYC shows that Bear was forbidden to leave California.)

    It's also vague just what tour the Dead took his sound system on. The Dead went straight home after the 2/2/70 show. The article above mentions heading off to New Jersey, which didn't follow St Louis in any tour of the time. (Heil isn't mentioned in any Dead source that I've seen. Also, other people could note this better than I, but are there any photos of the Dead using Heil equipment?)

    Heil also says that a front-page Billboard article said that he'd gotten the Grateful Dead contract. Unfortunately, I can't find any mention of Heil in a google search of Billboards until April 1972 - in fact, none of the articles about him in '72-74 mention any connection with the Dead. (For what that's worth - I don't know how complete those online searches are. Ironically, a big story about him in November 1974 is on the same page as an article on the Dead's Wall of Sound - even more ironically, Heil, when mentioning new guitar amplifiers, very briefly refers to Alembic (misquoted as "Olympic, a subsidiary of Grateful Dead.")

    My theory is that Heil encountered the Dead at the Fox Theater not in 1970, but during the March 1971 shows, which would explain why he didn't encounter Owsley. The Dead played a few shows around the midwest in March 71, and may have bought some of his equipment for the end of the tour.
    McNally writes, "Using local sound systems had caused many unacceptable sound problems the previous fall [1970], so in early 1971 the band purchased the Alembic PA." The first tour with the new PA was in April 71; so the March 71 tour may still have been using "local sound systems."

    Also notice - the photos used in that Performing Musician article of the "Feb 2 1970" show (presumably provided by Heil) are NOT from that show! They're from spring 1971 - you can tell by Garcia's guitar and the tie-dye amps, the same amps seen in other photos of the time. (If you look at the photo in the 2/2/70 newspaper review, the stage setup is quite different, along with Garcia's guitar & clothes.)

    Heil refers to doing the Who's Next tour sometime after that, which was in summer/fall 1971. (The Who may have heard about him since he did the sound for the Mississippi River Festival in 1971.)

    In the youtube video he also mentions how Garcia liked to hang out at his little store in Marissa, IL; and the Heil Sound myspace page says, "Heil Sound officially started when Bob Heil was coached by Jerry Garcia on the proper way to name a business." (Though actually, Heil Sound seems to have been founded in the 60s.)
    I wonder if he was boosting a very slight connection? His contact with the Dead may have been much more minimal than he remembers.

  23. Lemieux's new promo video on for Dave's Picks 6 contains a couple of interesting asides.

    Firstly, they had a rehearsal for the "Night At The Family Dog" TV broadcast on the preceding night, 1970-02-03.

    So they had to get back from St. Louis pretty smartish then, which makes the missing equipment issue all the more intriguing. Was it recovered from New Orleans in time? How did it get back to SF anyway? Was it trusted to a courier/freight company or did some of the crew stay down south or return south to transport it back. I can't see that they would have any spare manpower at that time.

    There's an Ed Perlstein photo of the Vault for this period in "Gray Areas" Vol 2 No 2 p 120 (published in 1993). It is in too low a resolution to read the tape spine labels but the caption dates two reels as 1970-02-03 but gives no location or act. One mystery solved, Family Dog rehearsal!

    Secondly Dave dates a Workingman's session as 16, 17, 18 and 19 February. Despite covering pretty much everything else for Jan and Feb 1970 he mentions no other Workingman's sessions so this looks to be the start.

    I won't comment on what he says about the upcoming St. Louis Picks 6 except to say that he says the booklet will include more press reprints than were in Vault 2. And I'm getting impatient.

    1. This is pretty interesting. We do know that Alembic was doing the sound for the "Night Of The Family Dog" show, so maybe the Dead dropped by with their guitars to "test it out." I can't imagine their sound system made it back from New Orleans that quickly, although I guess anything was possible.

  24. Argh... Now that 2/2/70 is being released, lots of people will be repeating the Bob Heil story as if it's true.
    There was no "missing equipment" issue in St Louis. Bear was not detained in New Orleans, he was at the 2/2/70 show with the band's equipment. The newspaper review specifies that they used the Fox Theater's PA system.
    Heil may have been involved, but it's more likely he encountered the band in spring '71, as mentioned in the comments above.

    It is cool to find out they were rehearsing at the Family Dog on Feb 3, though - even more fascinating to see it was taped!

  25. I was at the February 21,1970 show in San Antonio. I have some pictures of The Dead and Quicksilver that I can e-mail if someone provides a contact address. I am

    1. Gerard, thank you very much for the great photos and description of the San Antonio show. I included them in the post. I had always wondered why there was a QMS tape and no Dead tape.

  26. I stumbled onto an ad for the 2/21/70, which bills the room as Hemisfair Arena, which was another name the building went by, I guess.

    ! ad: San Antonio Express and News, February 1, 1970, p. 26.

    1. One 2/21/70 recollection also uses that name for the venue:
      "I saw the Dead play [Dark Star], along with The Eleven and St. Stephen, at the Hemisphere Auditorium in San Antonio back in February, 1970. I had never really listened to any of their music before that night but it was truly a life changing experience for me. I left that show with a newfound understanding of what music can and should be, and it was during Dark Star that I had that epiphany."
      "The last song was Turn On Your Lovelight featuring Pig Pen at the height of his powers. The house lights came on as soon as he sang “Lovelight,” a very impressive ending to a great Dead set. Other songs included Dark Star, St. Stephen, The Other One, the Eleven, etc. It was a classic electric acid rock Dead experience... Although the Dead...were already playing acoustic material at other shows in early 1970, they included none of that material at this show... It was such a life changing experience that I still remember this as one of the most meaningful concerts I have ever attended."

      The HemisFair Arena was built in 1968 for the San Antonio World's Fair. It's odd that the show poster calls it the Convention Center Arena (the actual Convention Center was in a separate building nearby, I believe), but I guess San Antonians knew where to find it.

  27. I came across that original poster at the top of the article, and now it is in my collection! Grateful.

  28. The Owsley Foundation have just released selections from the Commander's opening sets for the Dead at the Family Dog Feb 27 to Mar 1 with hi-res digital downloads of six complete shows to follow.

  29. Feb 21 1970 - San Antonio. There was one act not mentioned in the write up that took place before the main groups took the stage and the 'set' consisted of just four songs by a new band called ZZ Top.

    1. Were you at the show?
      Oddly enough, ZZ Top is also said to have opened for the Quicksilver/Dead show at Panther Hall in Ft. Worth on Feb 20, 1970.
      For instance here:
      There's one memory of them on a ZZ Top tour site:
      And apparently there's even a known setlist: