Friday, October 29, 2010

November 9-16, 1970 New York: Action House, 46th Street Rock Palace, Fillmore East (November 1970 Itinerary)

(scan of the ad for The Action House in Long Island, from the Village Voice of November 5, 1970)

The Grateful Dead had an East Coast road trip in November 1970 that has captured the imaginations of Deadheads over the years, primarily due to some amazing tapes that have memorialized those events. However, there are a few other shows that have little or no taped evidence that shed some interesting light on the Dead's rising but still shaky professional status at the time. While not unknown, the week of shows from Monday, November 9 through Monday November 16 are largely overlooked events. If only because I have found ads for some of the events (thanks to the fantastic Its All The Streets You Crossed So Long Ago blog about New York rock prosopography), some of these less remembered events deserve a second look.

Itinerary Overview
The Eastern leg of the Dead's Fall 1970 tour was:
  • October 30-31, 1970: SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY (early and late shows)
  • November 1 or 2: Lion's Share, San Anselmo, CA (Janis Joplin wake)
  • November 2: Harding Theater, San Francisco, CA (NRPS--unconfirmed)
  • November 5-8, 1970: Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY
  • November 9-10, 1970: The Action House, Island Park, NY
  • November 11-14, 1970: 46th Street (Brooklyn) Rock Palace, New York, NY
  • November 15, 1970: The Armory, Albany, NY (GD did not play)
  • November 16, 1970: Fillmore East, New York, NY
  • November 20, 1970: The Palestra, U. of Rochester, Rochester, NY
  • November 21, 1970: Sargent's Gym, Boston U., Boston, MA
  • November 22, 1970: Middlesex Community College, Edison, NJ
  • November 23, 1970: Anderson Theater, New York, NY
Very briefly, fine tapes of the four Stony Brook shows, most of the Capitol shows, the Palestra (Nov 20) and one of the New York City shows (originally circulated as Nov 23 but more likely Nov 16) have circulated widely for many years. This run of shows is memorable for great performances, unexpected material and special guests (Jorma Kaukonen, Steve Winwood and so on). Other blogs analyze the tapes better than me, so I will not dwell on them here. I am interested in the week of November 9-16, and the complex financial dynamics underlying the Grateful Dead's touring at the time.

Grateful Dead Finances
In March 1970, the Grateful Dead had been forced to fire manager Lenny Hart, since he was stealing from them. He had taken something like $155,000 from them, a lot of money back then, effectively bankrupting the band. They had no choice but to tour relentlessly to retire the various debts they had accrued. Amazingly, they had recorded an album that was receiving huge airplay on FM radio, but Workingman's Dead had only been released in June 1970. Although the album was a big success, the nature of the record business was that the band would see little or no money from the record for some time, since it would initially just retire the substantial debts the group had accrued in the previous 3 years of recording for Warner Brothers.

With the help of their new road manager Sam Cutler, the Dead streamlined and normalized their touring, crisscrossing the country in an orderly fashion, trying to work every weekend and as many nights as possible in between. The group was making money on a cash flow basis, but they still had substantial obligations, and thus no choice but to maximize their touring revenue. In 1970, almost all rock concerts had two, three or four acts. One advantage for the Dead for touring with the New Riders of The Purple Sage was that by providing their own opening act, the band could ask for more money. No one had heard of the New Riders, of course, but the main purpose of opening acts was to encourage people to come early so that they would buy popcorn and soda.

As the 1970s and 80s wore on, both Bill Graham and the Grateful Dead were heavily invested in the idea that they had been partners since the early days of the San Francisco underground, but that isn't really borne out by the facts. While I think that the members of the Grateful Dead genuinely liked Bill Graham personally, they did not hesitate to compete with him by opening the Carousel in 1968, and Graham in turn snatched the Carousel away from them to start the Fillmore West (admittedly, it was losing money under the Dead's management). Professionally, the Dead understood that while Graham paid his bands--not true of every promoter--he had a business to run that did not always stand to favor the Grateful Dead. Thus when the Dead obtained bookings from promoters competing with Graham, the band did not hesitate to take them. The Dead always needed the money, and they had few illusions about Graham's willingness to use them to profit himself, if fairly enough.

New York City, Fall 1970
New York City has always been America's live entertainment capital, and of course live rock and roll has been popular in New York since the days of Alan Freed in the 1950s. Nonetheless, when Graham opened the Fillmore East in Greenwich Village in March, 1968, he imported the San Francisco notion that live rock music was Art, just like Jazz, Ballet and the Symphony. The Fillmore East was more like a Broadway theater (in an East Village kind of way) than a dingy dance hall, and it made rock music Serious Business.

By 1970, however, Graham's approach to rock music was the coming industry standard, and well capitalized competitors were coming into the New York market. The Fillmore East was the prestige booking in town, but it was not particularly large, so by 1970 Graham wasn't guaranteed to get every rock band who came to New York. New York's great public transit allowed teenagers from all over the Tri-State Area to come into the Village to see shows at Fillmore East (at least the early show, assuming their parents were compliant or ignorant). However, New York City suburbs themselves were the source of a lot of rock fans, and promoters were starting to see that shows could be promoted in the suburbs, as there was already a huge rock audience there.

Howard Stein's Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York was one of Bill Graham's fiercest competitors. Port Chester is about 35 miles Northeast of Manhattan--about 90 minutes driving in traffic--on the Northeast side of Long Island Sound, right near the Connecticut border. Numerous teenage rock fans who could not or would not be able to come into Greenwich Village, particularly for a late night event, suddenly found major rock acts accessible in Port Chester. The Dead, like many other groups, played both the Capitol and the Fillmore East, but there was overlap in the bookings and Graham and promoter Howard Stein were rivals for the Dead's East Coast appearances.

The Dead's Halloween booking at SUNY Stony Brook was in Long Island, far by road from Manhattan and all but inaccessible to Port Chester. In any case, SUNY students would have been a big part of the Stony Brook audience. In the week between Halloween and the Capitol, Jerry Garcia and probably the rest of the Grateful Dead appear to have flown back to San Francisco for Janis Joplin's wake, and the band probably even played (NRPS may have played a show too). When the Dead returned for the Capitol show on Thursday, November 5, however, they began a brief frenzy of shows that has remained largely unnoticed.

Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY November 5-8, 1970 (Thursday thru Sunday)
The Dead's four night stand at Port Chester has been fairly well analyzed, thanks to some fine audience tapes that have endured, so I will not belabor it here. Suffice to say that instead of playing two shows each night, the band played one long show each night, opened by the New Riders. Port Chester seemed to have little concern about curfew, and the shows were famously long.

The Action House, Island Park, NY: November 9-10, 1970 (Monday and Tuesday)
The Action House shows seem to have been almost under the radar, but they definitely happened. Only some fragmentary tapes survive, some of which appear to from other dates altogether, but advertisements for the show confirm the existence of these two shows.

The Action House, near the Southern shore of Long Island, was essentially a discoteque with live bands, a common 60s configuration. The Action House had played a big role in the 60s rock scene in New York, particularly in the Summers when it would be open most nights of the week. The house band in 1966-67 had been The Pigeons, who became the very successful Vanilla Fudge. As The Fudge moved up the ladder, they were replaced by The Vagrants (from Queens) who featured guitarist Leslie West, who became famous in Mountain (surely you recall the great "Mississippi Queen"?). For a look at some of the interesting acts who played The Action House, see Its All The Streets You Crossed.

The Voice ad listed up top is from November 5, the first day of the Capitol booking, and Island Park (on the Southern shore of Long Island) is a long way from Port Chester. My guess is that the promoter's agreement with the Dead was that the shows would not be publicized until shortly before. This would insure that the Capitol shows would do well with advance sales. Also, the Village Voice ad (up top) only promotes a show on Tuesday, November 10. However, we know from the ad from Deadlists (above) that there were two shows. I have to assume that both shows were always scheduled, and first one (Tuesday Nov 10) and then the other (Monday Nov 9) were added as ticket sales warranted.

In the Fall, I doubt the Action House was open most weeknights. However, it would make business sense if a headline act was willing to play. Although the Dead's motives for playing weeknight gigs are plain--they needed the money--it might seem surprising that the promoters of both the Capitol Theater and the Brooklyn venue would not contractually prevent a weeknight booking in Long Island by their headline act. Of course, those who read widely know that Action House owner Phil Basile appears in (non-fiction) books like Wise Guy (the Nicholas Pileggi book that was the basis for the Ray Liotta/Joe Pesci Goodfellas movie). His business associates were not friendly people, and perhaps Basile had leverage where other promoters did not. In any case, it does seem that the Dead played two nights at a disco in Long Island between weekend engagements, but I'm not aware of a lot of eyewitness accounts.

46th Street Rock Palace, Brooklyn, NY: November 11-14, 1970 (Wednesday thru Sunday)
The 46th Street Rock Palace (at 46th and New Utrecht, near Borough Park) seems to have been a brief but substantial effort to compete directly with the Fillmore East. Brooklyn is accessible via Subway just like the East Village, so it presented a direct threat to Bill Graham. The Capitol Theater in Port Chester encroached on Graham's territory, leaving room enough to co-exist, but a converted movie theater in Brooklyn was a direct assault. However history has been smoothed over, the Dead could hardly have been in Graham's pocket if they signed up to do shows for his biggest potential threat. I can't imagine this went over well with Bill.

A tape only endures from the first night (Wednesday Nov 11). We know surprisingly little about the other nights, besides fragmentary reports of some setlist highlights. The same suspects who attended Fillmore East shows must have seen these shows, but we know almost nothing. Its another sign of how much we depend on surviving tapes, and how skinny are information is without them.

The Armory, Albany, NY: November 15, 1970 (Sunday)
The Grateful Dead and the Buddy Miles Express were booked to play a Sunday night concert in Albany. During the show, a bomb threat was phoned in, and the police cleared the building. The Grateful Dead did not return to the arena, however, and Buddy Miles announced from the stage that the Dead were no longer present, much to the audience dismay. I have written elsewhere about the Dead's curious departure, and the Comment thread has some interesting (if unprovable) speculation.

Fillmore East, New York, NY: November 16, 1970 (Monday)
Given the  competition going on between Bill Graham and his rivals, how did the Grateful Dead come to play the Fillmore East on Monday, November 16? First, it should be noted that the Fillmore East was never open on Mondays. The fact of a Monday night show in itself raises a flag of interest.

The Monday night show appears in no ad or handbill that I am aware of. During the Mothers Of Invention concert at Fillmore East on Saturday, November 14, a very pregnant Grace Slick came on stage and announced that the Dead and the Airplane would be playing Fillmore East on Monday night (the evening was hardly over--John Lennon came out to jam later in the show). Intriguingly, a flyer exists advertising Jefferson Airplane at the 46th Street Rock Palace on Monday, November 16. A careful look at the ad from the Village Voice (from October 15, 1970) shows the odd text "due to circumstances beyond our control, all shows cannot be publicized call theater for listings."

Since the Airplane were booked at Fillmore East on November 25-27, I think that their booking at 46th Street violated their contract with Graham. Graham asserted himself by taking the Airplane back from his competitors. He booked the Dead as well, probably just to show that he still had some pull with them, and knowing they could not turn down a paid gig. As it happened, Grace's pregnancy prevented her from performing, and Hot Tuna took over the Airplane's part of the Fillmore East show. What evidence exists suggests that Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen and Papa John Creach played with the Dead in the first set.

In the second set, it appears that Steve Winwood and Ramblin Jack Elliott and possibly others (like Will Scarlett) performed with the Dead as well. Traffic was in town to play Fillmore East (starting Wednesday Nov 18), so it made for an amazing night. Although I am no expert on tape provenance, a tape that circulated for years as "Anderson Theater Nov 23" appears to actually have been from Monday November 16 (a mis-dated but fantastic Traffic tape was actually from Nov 18 rather than Nov 23).

The Grateful Dead appear to have played ten out of twelve nights from November 5 through 16, and I think there must be many great memories and insights from those missing days, even if tapes never surface.

Aftermath: November 20-29, 1970
November 20, 1970: The Palestra, Rochester, NY (Friday)
This rightly famous night is well documented, with Jorma Kaukonen sitting in for an entire set, and John Dawson stepping up to sing a song as well.

November 21, 1970: Sargent's Gym, Boston, MA (Saturday)
Ned Lagin sat in with the Dead for the first time this night. Meanwhile, the Allman Brothers were playing the Boston Tea Party across time. Early on the morning of the 22nd, Duane Allman, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir drop by WBCN-fm in Boston and play a little acoustic music over the air (the shy Pigpen demurs). Even more strangely, the opener for the Dead and the Riders was a trained Chimpanzee act. Apparently, the poor chimps were very upset with the firecrackers and noise of the rowdy Boston rock crowd.

November 22, 1970: Middlesex Community College, Edison, NJ (Sunday)
This show is unknown save for the date itself. It has always fascinated me. Of course, it fascinated me mainly because I lived in Middlesex County for some time, and I would see signs for the Community College (now County College) on Route 1 or I-95 as I went through Edison, and I would think "the Dead played here in 1970?"

The Dead simply needed money, and adding a modestly paying night in what was probably a Community College gym was worth it, a clear sign of their dire financial situation. If anyone knows anything at all about this show, or would just like to speculate about the Dead in Middlesex in 1970, please Comment.

November 23, 1970: Anderson Theater, New York, NY (Monday)
The Grateful Dead and The New Riders played a Hells Angels party on their last Monday night on the East Coast. The Dead had a Friday show in Chicago, so they would have had to finance their trip to the Midwest, and playing an Angels party was probably fairly lucrative. The Anderson was a former Yiddish Theater in Greenwich Village, not far from the Fillmore East. Whereas the Fillmore East had gotten fixed up and become a rock palace, however, the Anderson was still fairly run down. As such, however, it was easy to rent. The show would not have been advertised, except in the most casual sort of way, so the existing handbills were suitably vague.

The interesting consideration about The Anderson, however, is how our assumptions about the show have been upended. For many years the event was generally known as a "Hells Angels Benefit" (itself a misnomer), and some great tapes circulated of Traffic and the Grateful Dead, with Steve Winwood and others sitting in. It sounded like a fantastic Greenwich Village party, and most knowledgeable heads contemplated the event in their minds as they listened to the tapes.

I'm sure it was an interesting night, but none of the things we imagine were necessarily the case. The Traffic tape that circulates (with Ric Grech on bass--great stuff) was actually from Fillmore East on November 18. The Dead tape was finally determined to be from Fillmore East on November 16. What happened on Monday, November 23? No eyewitness actually seems to know, or recall. Suburban kids wouldn't have come on a Monday night and perhaps a lot of regular Heads took a pass on a Hells Angels party, but the Village Voice did review it (thanks to JGMF for uncovering this). It seems that Traffic didn't play at all, and a mime (Joe McCord?) opened for the Dead and the Riders. Does anyone really know anything else about the November 23 show that isn't misrepresented from some other date (usually Nov 16)?

November 27, 1970: The Syndrome, Chicago, IL (Friday)
The Dead played The Syndrome in Chicago on a Friday night. It seems odd that there the Dead had no Saturday night show booked anywhere. I have to think that some event was canceled.

November 29, 1970: Club Agora, Columbus, OH (Sunday)
There was a Club Agora in Cleveland, so I assume this was an affiliated venue. I don't think the Cleveland venue was that large. This seems like another show that the Dead took on to make Sunday a paying night, perhaps to make up for a canceled show (somewhere) the night before. The surviving tape suggests that it was long, but not a marathon, appropriate for a college town on the last night of Thanksgiving weekend.


  1. A nice overview of a frustratingly 'lost' month. It's remarkable how many shows in a row the Dead played that month - it must easily have been their most grinding tour yet, though granted there wasn't much travel time necessary. (And I think it's the tour where Garcia was first confronted with the difficulty of being a "celebrity" in NY, which I recall him giving an angry interview about.)
    Given how many New Yorkers saw these shows, it's pretty sad how few memories/setlists/tapes are out there.

    A small query - the Allmans opened for the Dead on 11/21/70? What? I've never read this before. The Allmans were playing at the Boston Tea Party that night.

  2. whoops, you are correct about the Allmans at the Tea Party and not Sargent's Gym. I lost track of that detail, and I'll fix it.

  3. Some more random comments:

    For what it's worth, Marty Weinberg said he did not go to the Action House shows, but did go to the Rock Palace shows, and taped each night. But if he made tapes, they haven't survived - the one from the 11th seems not to be his. (One stray uncirculated fragment from his surviving reels, with a new Til the Morning Comes and Good Lovin', may be from one of these shows.)
    Witnesses say the Wednesday & Thursday nights at the Rock Palace were barely half-full; but Friday & Saturday were quite crowded. Apparently Hot Tuna joined them on the first two nights.

    Our half-hour tape from the 11/9 Action House show is not too revealing (deadlists speculates it's an excerpt from a once-longer tape); the available tape dated "11/10" is a fake from other dates.

    Our (much better) tape of the 11/20 Rochester show is alleged to be Marty's - however, he says he wasn't there, and one Archive witness says a student taped the show.
    Witnesses agree that Jefferson Airplane was playing at the Rochester Memorial Auditorium that night, and they announced that they'd be jamming with the Dead after the show. So Jorma and Jack must have made a quick dash to the Dead's show! (Clearly they knew the Dead would be playing late...)

    The Rochester show was organized by the college's concert committee. Blair Jackson talks about how the Dead aimed for colleges on this tour, since colleges had student activity groups with good budgets and a desire to book cool groups.
    McNally mentions that the Dead's new booking agent was Ron Rainey, who specialized in setting up college shows "because colleges had budgets."

  4. The mysterious 11/15 Albany show: stories definitely differ about this night. (McNally adds the detail that promoter George Freije booked the Dead at the last minute after Delaney & Bonnie canceled.)
    One reporter wrote in an article (for underground paper Lotus-Nexus) called 'Ungrateful Dead Rip Off Tri-Cities' that the Dead "walked out of the Washington Avenue Armory Sunday night with $7500 cash in their pockets without ever appearing onstage." But McNally concludes that it was a false report - the bomb threat was an excuse for the promoter to end the show early, and the Dead had not been paid after all, so they had no reason to stay.
    Perhaps Sam Cutler would remember that evening, as he was very aggressive about getting the band's money... (Some students even claimed that Cutler would flash a gun to make his demands.)

    McNally also mentions that the October 31 Stony Brook evening was "a totally chaotic show which included a bomb threat: the gym was cleared, the audience exited - and 2000 additional people re-entered." As a result, the early show ran to midnight.
    This Stony Brook show is also notorious for having the sound run by a student crew, much to the band's vocal displeasure. McNally makes an aside that, due to the low budget of the tour, the Dead were not carrying their own sound system - but I'm not sure if this applies to the whole tour. If so, I guess this was the last tour where that was the case!

  5. And lastly -
    The Dead had also started the tour in New York, back on October 10 at Queens College - so by the time November started, they were already well into their eastern tour. Compare that to the mere 17-day eastern tour back in May '70! Clearly, either the Dead had become more assertive (or willing) in booking shows, or the demand for them had grown much greater since early '70, thanks to the new album.
    (It's worth noting that the New Riders did not join the Dead's tour until October 23 - on Oct 10 Weir tells the audience, "Marmaduke stayed home. There's no New Riders tonight. This is the economy package.")

    Though not strictly part of this November overview, I should mention that the first show on Oct 10 in Queens had a very disruptive crowd (Festival Express-style) who tried to break in, clashed with police, blew whistles & called for a free show. The Queens college paper claimed that the Dead even left early because "they were afraid of the audience."
    It seems the Dead on this tour were repeatedly faced with unruly mobs - a couple Archive reviewers of 11/21/70 claim that a horde of ticketless fans rushed the doors and burst into the show.
    Garcia was interviewed by Good Times magazine the day after the Queens show, and he was quite upset:
    "Last night, if that's an example of what it's going to be like, I'd just as soon fucking retire, man. I don't want to make any performances when there's that kind of shit going on; I really don't."
    He was also disturbed by the new influx of fans grasping for his every moment. "Why the fuck should they mob musicians? I mean, it's weird. I don't really have anything to say, you know? That's why I play. I like to avoid adding to that celebrity bullshit. I would rather be playing good music and getting off that way than having to go on all the celebrity trips."

  6. I had basically reproduced the Forgotten NY Places account of 11/11/70 awhile back at JGMF ( Funny stuff.

    BTW, the Crossland account of 11/23/70 is not in the Village Voice, but in the more underground East Village Other.

    I agree that this definitely seemed like a tour from hell. They needed the money, things were probably heavy re: Mickey because of Lennie, etc. etc. The shows have a kind of dark, brooding aspect to them (though this may just be some aspect of the low quality of most of the available recordings).

    By the way, the Jay Itkowitz interview of Garcia from October 11, 1970 is online at

  7. The Jay Itkowitz interview is quite fascinating. He asks a lot of questions that (fairly or not) wouldn't get asked in later years. I love the detail that Bill Graham used to call up Kreutzmann back in 1965 or 66 for advice.

    This had to be the last tour when they went out without a sound system, quite a fascinating detail in its own right.

  8. Thanks for the interview, it's very interesting.
    It definitely shows what a barebones tour it was when Jerry says, "We don't take anybody on the road with us or anything. We don't make that much bread... If we were making enough bread to be able to afford to do that, we would have had our own PA last night, and we would have gone through a number of sound tests to do what we could to make it better. But we don't have any control over any of that."
    That changed pretty quickly!

    It's also interesting that the New Riders weren't at the early October shows because the Dead couldn't afford to bring them to play small places. "A lot of times the promoter says, 'No, we don't want the New Riders 'cause we don't know who the fuck they are!'"

    And Jerry still considers the Dead to be kind of a small cult band: "We're only really big here in New York. The rest of the United States - they don't know who we are, and around home, people know us just because we've been there for so long. And other places, you know, they've never heard of us in the South. We don't do that much traveling, man. We don't work all that much..."
    He doesn't sound like a guy who's about to start a two-month tour to raving audiences!

    And though he's used to the small crowd of fanatical deadheads at home who see every show, he's uncomfortable with the new crowd of fanatical east-coast fans: "In New York, you can't get a moment's peace... You can't go and sit somewhere and get your head together and cool yourself out a little before you play, 'cause there's a million people going 'Ahhhhh!'"
    What's funny is that there are a bunch of comments in Archive reviews from east-coast kids about how they "hung out" with Jerry before or after a show...not quite realizing the 'pressure trip' they were laying on him.

  9. I was at the Anderson Theater Hell's Angels concert. While I was tripping my recollection is the pantomime guy was definately there. Then New Riders came and did their set and I swear the Dead then did an acoustic set, followed by a long electric set or two. The show began before 9 and I think I got out of there about 4 AM, by which time I was fairly straight. All these years the set list has Steve Winwood and other guests, kicking off with Casey Jones, and I've always known this was wrong. Casey Jones was one of the final songs that night, perhaps an encore. So as long as we don't have an accurate accounting of that night the speculation will continue (especially as to whether they played an acoustic set).

    1. Zigmeister, thanks so much for this eyewitness report. Just because your memory may be foggy doesn't mean it was wrong. As I said, the tape that circulated with the Nov 23 date was actually from the week before.

      It would be very interesting if you saw what was perhaps the last acoustic set for nearly a decade (well, other than Loyola '78). Fascinating.

  10. It would be neat if the Dead had played an acoustic set there - there was a long & accurate review of the show in the East Village Other, though, and they don't mention an acoustic set, saying it was Riders then electric Dead. I think they would have mentioned an acoustic set if there was one - they do describe the mime opening - but the writer was tripping too!

    Some songs are mentioned, including Midnight Hour, NFA, and Casey Jones near the end of the set, finishing the show with Uncle John around 3 AM.

  11. I was just in touch with an old friend from Brooklyn who's been trading tapes since the '70s and to his knowledge there is still no known tape of this show.

    Would love to see a pdf of the EVO review.

    1. Sadly, no tape. I will be posting the review soon.

    2. Here it is:

  12. I was at both the Action House shows - I lived in Long Beach just south of Island Park and hung out with a bunch of people that loved the dead - I didn't but liked this crowd & acid so eventually went to a bunch of shows with them. Recollection of both not crystal clear (lots of banned substances were involved) but second night packed and semi crowded the second night and a good time was had by all. A few complaints re: sound quality, but I always went to Dead shows for the party, and it didn't bother me. The AH was a local hang to us, saw some really good shows there, and IMHO and really great local place - the parking lot was an insane place to hang out.

  13. I found this recently, a Princeton University review with photo of Jerry and Papa John of the 11-16-70 show I'm only 4 years late to the conversation

    1. The conversation never ends, it just goes on a short break, and it'll be right back after a little while.

      This is a great link. I'd always wondered how there was certainty that Papa John Creach had jammed with the Dead, and now we know a source.

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  15. I was at the 11/23 Anderson Theater show; we (Sunshine) drove our bus down from CT and parked out front, talked to Sam Cutler about doing lights, but they already had a light show, and he asked us to do Security- at a Hells Angels gathering! He gave us tickets for our group (about 10 people), and told us to get arm bands and direct things out front until the show started. Around 4pm a local guy came onto the bus with a Yardley shave cream wooden bowl filled to the brim with acid in pill form, asked us to hand it out for free at the show. Believing we ought to know what we were working with, 3 of us dropped a tab each and went on with planning; around 5:30 we were not yet feeling much so we dropped a second...shortly afterwards, it hit hard, and we were off into a strange world...many of the Angels had 6' peeled-bark wooden cudgels; they parked bikes all across the front of the theater...I remember Pig Pen arriving and jumping up to hang between 2 large Angels...around 6pm a very large carbon arc spotlight on a trailer was lit up; soon after tht, a rival local motorcycle gang arrived in numbers and demanded to be let into the party. We 'security' guys were standing among them in the lobby, and at a moment some signal was given, the angels handed their cudgels to us security guys and punched the nearest rival gang member nearest them. We went down in a duck & cover move (probably for 4 or 5 seconds, seemed like hours), and when I stood up the rival gang had disappeared,the cops across the street were behind their cruisers with pistols drawn, and the angels near us said "Everybody inside!", and threw chins around the crash bars to secure the place.
    We had 3rd row seats dead center, and a small E-tank of N2O, and were settling in to await the start of the show when an angel came along and plucked several of us out of our seats, took us to the Green Room stage right and sat us at a card table with a 2' mound of weed, and just said "Roll!" we rolled joints for 20 min. or so, and then he sent us out to light joints and pass them down each row. They had sold about 1200 tickets- just enough to cover expenses. We also pased oround the little Yardley bowl...the Mime came out around 8:45 and using a giant prop joint entertained for about 25 min....then the New Riders, with Garcia on pedal steel, played a fairly long set...then a long break and finally the electric Dead, doing a lot of American Beauty and Workingman's Dead and some long blues with Pig singing lead and playing harp... most of the angels I met that night were friendly, well-spoken fairly interesting characters. Show ended around 4am, and it was 17 degrees when we went out--had to push-start our old Bluebird bus on 2nd Ave...before heading off to a commune in Cooperstown for the next 7 months.
    RIP Charlie Brown, one of our bus family that night, who died March 6, 2021 in San Diego; a real cosmic sdventurer.

  16. The evidence of the tapes shows that the sequence of sets at the four Capital Theater shows (Nov. 5, 6, 7, 8, 1970) was Acoustic Dead, NRPS, Electric Dead set(s), the same as it was at the Fillmore West shows in June and August and the Fillmore East shows of July and September. When there was no acoustic set, NRPS opened, when there was, it followed the acoustic set. The extant tapes leave no doubt about this. So do eyewitness reports -- I saw 8/19/70.