Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grateful Dead Tour Itinerary December 1966


A promotional picture of Jerry Garcia for the December 23-24, 1966 Grateful Dead show at the Avalon Ballroom, published in the December 20, 1966 San Francisco Chronicle
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. Rather than go in strictly chronological order, I am focusing on periods where recent research has been done by myself or others.  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 (other entries in my Grateful Dead tour itinerary series can be seen here).

What follows is a list of known Grateful Dead performance dates for December, 1966. 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.  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 an infamous  rock band by the end of 1966, were living hand to mouth and scrambling to find paying gigs. 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.

Grateful Dead Tour Itinerary, December 1966

A listing for the Grateful Dead/Jerry Pond shows at The Matrix, from the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, November 27, 1966
November 28-December 1, 1966: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Jerry Pond
The Grateful Dead had played the tiny Matrix club in January of 1966, but they rapidly graduated to shows at the Fillmore and the Avalon. For some reason, the band played a Monday-to-Thursday run at the Matrix at the end of November. It's hard to say why. If the Dead were desperate for money (their normal state) and the Matrix was financially worth their while, why hadn't they played there more often? Yet the Matrix only seated 100 people and dancing was not allowed (really), so it couldn't have been too lucrative.

I have floated the idea that the Dead were interested in getting a live recording of themselves, perhaps as a sort of demo tape. I haven't convinced everyone, but at least it's worth noting that the Dead played different kinds of sets than they appear to have played at The Fillmore. The opener was local folksinger Jerry Pond. The Dead did not play the Matrix again, although Jerry Garcia played there many times in subsequent years.

A promotional photo of Jerry Garcia and Pigpen, for the Grateful Dead/Country Joe and The Fish concert at Pauley Ballroom on the UC Berkeley campus. Published in the San Francisco Chronicle, December 1, 1966
December 2, 1966: Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Grateful Dead/Country Joe And The Fish
On Friday, December 2, the Grateful Dead headlined at the Pauley Ballroom in UC Berkeley with Berkeley heroes Country Joe and The Fish. Both bands were in the process of signing record contracts (the Dead with Warners and Joe and The Fish with Vanguard). Pauley Ballroom had a capacity of about 1000. It's unlikely the University allowed shows to go on past 11:00pm. This was probably the last live performance of Joe and The Fish with original drummer John Francis Gunning.

Saturday, December 3 is an open date on the Dead's calendar. If there is a rumor of a lost show, this seems a very likely date. Colleges and high schools were ending their terms, so there would have been a lot of activity, and perhaps the Dead played a dance or something. They were popular, but still broke, and could hardly turn down a paid booking.

Listing for the opening night of Grateful Dead's performances at the Fillmore on the weekend of December 9-11. Published in the San Francisco Chronicle, December 9, 1966
December 9-11, 1966: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Tim Rose/Big Mama Thornton
The Grateful Dead were sole headliners at the Fillmore for the first time on the weekend of December 9-11. They had shared top booking a number of times, depending on how you want to define "top," but there's no question they were the principal attraction this weekend. Big Mama Thornton was just starting to get known to white hippies, but she wasn't a big draw. Tim Rose had had some modest hit singles, and was getting a little radio airplay, but he was no headliner. Thus, the Dead were topping the bill by themselves, another sign of their rising popularity.

I have speculated about these shows at length, mainly from the point of view that Tim Rose almost certainly performed his own very different arrangement of "Morning Dew." The Dead's version is so different that I doubt there was any musical influence from Rose, but I wouldn't be surprised if hearing Rose's version was an impetus for Garcia and the Dead to start playing their own arrangement publicly.

December 14, 1966: Gym, City College of Marin, San Rafael, CA: Grateful Dead
This largely unknown show was a Pep Rally/Dance for Marin's junior college. My eyewitness was (then future) Sons Of Champlin road manager Charlie Kelly. When you read the entire tale, you'll see why Kelly's memories of the entire week are very clear, and while the show may have been Thursday December 15, there's no question that Kelly's reactions are accurate (to tell the tale briefly: Kelly returned home from basic training to celebrate his 21st birthday by seeing his childhood friends The Sons Of Champlin play The Avalon, and then shipped out to Vietnam, so it wasn't a week he would forget).

If the Grateful Dead were playing a College of Marin Pep Rally the week after they headlined the Fillmore, there's a good chance they were playing a college dance on Saturday, December 3 (above). 

The listing for the Otis Redding/Grateful Dead concert at the Fillmore on December 20, 1966, from the San Francisco Chronicle of the same date
December 20, 1966: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Otis Redding/Grateful Dead
Much has been in retrospect of Otis Redding's appearance at the Fillmore. Otis Redding headlined three nights at the end of 1966 (December 20-22), and although it was a midweek booking, since it was heading towards Christmas that may not have mattered as much. Bill Graham endlessly repeated the story that the Bay Area rock bands begged to open the show, and Janis Joplin demanded front row seats every night (I heard Graham himself tell this story at a lecture in 1976).  The story was generally told as a talisman to show either how much the rock musicians liked soul music, or how popular Otis Redding was in crossing over to a rock audience. Over the years, this story has been re-told many times, and sometimes it expands in the retelling.

The outlines of the story are basically correct. Otis Redding headlined three nights, and the Grateful Dead opened Tuesday (December 20) and Country Joe And The Fish opened Thursday (December 22). The middle night's opening slot was taken by the Oakland R&B group Johnny Talbot And De Thangs, who played both the local soul circuit and also on occasion at the Fillmore. I don't doubt that the Dead and Country Joe and The Fish were enthusiastic about opening for the great Otis Redding.

However, everyone seems to forget that the Fillmore Auditorium was in the heart of the largely African-American Fillmore district. Prior to Bill Graham, the Fillmore was an important stop on the R&B circuit, under the aegis of promoter Charles Sullivan, whose retirement opened the door for Graham to take over the lease. It's very likely that Redding had played the Fillmore before. In any case, while I don't doubt that there were a few open minded hippies in the audience, the fact is that most of Otis's audience was probably African American, and many of them would have lived right there in the Fillmore. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but I don't think Otis headlining the Fillmore signified anything more than that he was very popular and Graham knew a good booking when it came his way.

One implicit tip-off about the audience came from Graham's version of the story. If Janis was requesting front row seats every night, then there were seats, presumably folding chairs. The festival seating, light-show vibe was not in the cards for the no doubt well-dressed African American crowd. With all those caveats aside, it's still cool that the Grateful Dead were happy to open the show. They had just headlined the Fillmore 10 days earlier, yet they seemed to have been honored to have been on the bill, as were Country Joe And The Fish.
A poster for the Grateful Dead's appearance at the Continental Ballroom in Santa Clara on Wednesday, December 21, 196
December 21, 1966: Continental Ballroom, Santa Clara, CA: New Arrivals/Grateful Dead/Elgin Marble/Yellow Pages
The Continental Ballroom, at 1600 Martin Avenue in Santa Clara, not far from downtown San Jose, has a very intriguing and largely untold rock and roll history. The building was San Jose's main rock and roll palace from about 1965 to 1970, and lots of great bands played there. I don't know about the building's history or ownership (and not for lack of trying to find out), but in general it was not associated with a single promoter. Part of the legend of the Fillmore and the Avalon comes from their association with Bill Graham and Chet Helms, respectively, and both men were very good at memorializing their own achievements. That isn't to deny the importance of the Fillmore and the Avalon, but the Continental was an interesting place, too, but there was no major figure to tell the story.

The San Jose area had a thriving live rock scene from 1965 onwards. Initially, many of the popular groups were made up of local teenagers, like The Syndicate Of Sound, but there was a huge population of suburban kids with cars, and there was plenty of live rock. Some really good bands came out of San Jose as well, particularly the Chocolate Watch Band. However, San Francisco and Berkeley tended to look down on San Jose, and so the Watch Band and other San Jose groups never really got their due at the Fillmore (Graham's rivalry with CWB manager Ron Roupe didn't help). There were many great rock shows at The Continental with San Jose bands, and when the San Francisco bands got popular they played a lot of shows there as well.

Since the San Jose market was oriented towards teenagers, a show on December 21st was effectively a weekend, since it was the Wednesday before Christmas and almost all students would have been out of school. Note the Munsters theme on the poster--this show isn't really directed at a psychedelic crowd. At this point, the Grateful Dead would have merely been a name that San Jose kids would have seen in the paper. However, San Jose had the kind of market where teenagers just went out to have fun, and saw whoever was around. They may have been kind of surprised by the Dead, but in fact San Jose had some good bands, so the kids probably really liked it. The light show may not yet have been a typical thing at San Jose shows. Elgin Marble was a local San Jose band who were around for a few years, but I don't recognize The Yellow Pages.

A mention of the upcoming concerts at the Avalon Ballroom on December 23 and 24, 1966, featuring the Grateful Dead, Moby Grape and the Steve Miller Blues Band, from Ralph J. Gleason's column in the San Francisco Chronicle on December 23, 1966. Note the listing for the Smokey Grass Boys at The Jabberwock; the Smokey Grass Boys was a bluegrass band featuring David Grisman, Herb Pedersen and Rick Shubb
December 23-24, 1966: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Moby Grape/Steve Miller Blues Band
With the Fillmore closed for Christmas, the Grateful Dead took the opportunity to headline on the weekend before Christmas (Christmas was on a Sunday). The San Francisco Chronicle published its second picture of Jerry Garcia in a month (above). One of the reasons that Garcia became such a figure long before the Dead's music itself became popular was that he seems to have received a lot of publicity of this sort, probably much to his own dismay.

This weekend's shows at the Avalon were more important in the histories of Moby Grape and the Steve Miller Band than for the Grateful Dead. Moby Grape had debuted the month before, after rehearsing at The Ark in Sausalito. Their manager Matthew Katz had put on a show at California Hall at the end of November, but he had no idea about underground promotion, and there were only a few dozen people present. Moby Grape immediately split with Katz--with whom they are still in litigation 46 years later--and guitarist Peter Lewis started booking the gigs. Lewis had gotten the Grape a few nights at the Matrix, and now they were on the bill at the Avalon. Moby Grape was a great band, and a great live band, and playing the Avalon meant that everyone was about to find that out. Lead guitarist Jerry Miller had been friendly with Garcia since the Warlocks days, when Miller (and drummer Don Stevenson) had been in a group called The Frantics.

Steve Miller had been based in Chicago, but he had scouted out the Bay Area in Fall 1965. He returned in his VW Microbus on October 15, 1966, stopping off at the Fillmore to jam with his friend Paul Butterfield. By Thanksgiving, he had imported some friends from Madison, WI and they started playing as The Steve Miller Blues Band. They weren't making any money, however, and Miller was still living in his van. Once Chet Helms offered the group $500 for this weekend at the Avalon, Miller was in town to stay.

December 25, 1966: Christmas Party, Big Brother house, Lagunitas, CA
In December, 1966, the Grateful Dead were living in an unused resort camp in Lagunitas, in the San Geronimo Valley. The Dead shared the camp with Quicksilver Messenger Service. Living "next door," a few miles away, in a rambling ranch house, were Big Brother And The Holding Company. For obscure reasons, Big Brother called their house "Argentina." On Christmas, Big Brother had a Christmas party, and invited their next door neighbors. Big Brother, Quicksilver and the Grateful Dead had an all day and all of the night Christmas party for all their friends and roommates, and apparently the jamming went on constantly.

Members of all three bands had begun 1966 as penniless folk musicians who were experimenting with electric music. They barely had any gigs, and had no realistic chance of succeeding in the music industry. By the end of the year, all three bands were popular local attractions who were making enough money to support themselves and their friends, and the music industry had come to them. The bands had made few, if any concessions to conventional business practices and they knew that their music was getting better every day. By all accounts, it was a happy, memorable party for everyone who attended, before it all went national during the so-called Summer Of Love in 1967.

Supposedly, one of the reasons that Jerry Garcia chose Forest Knolls in Lagunitas for his final rehab was that he though it was on the same site as the Dead's 1966 camp in Lagunitas. It wasn't far away, in fact, but it wasn't actually the same site. Here's to hoping that Jerry ended that final night jamming with Janis, Cippo and Pigpen anyway, just as he had 29 years earlier.

 A poster for the "Beaux Arts Ball" at Governors Hall in Sacramento on December 28, 1966
December 28, 1966: Governors Hall, Sacramento, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service
There are a number of posters for this event. There is a poster with no groups mentioned that advertises the event at the College gym, and it appears that "The Beuax Arts Ball" was a presentation of a student group at Sacramento City College.  Two others that advertise the Dead and Quicskilver at Governors Hall at the Fairgounds do not seem to be directly school connected, although I cannot read all the writing. To my knowledge, this would have been the Dead's (and Quicksilver's) Sacramento debut.

In many colleges, certainly on the West Coast, an annual "Beaux Arts Ball" was a sort of campus wide arts festival, but it's a little odd that it was taking place when school would have been out of session. It may be that "Beaux Arts Ball" was a promotional title of sorts, and didn't really have any meaning beyond that. It doesn't quite explain the Sacramento City College poster, but that could be a parallel event, or a poster from another year. I have contacted Sacramento sources who may have attended this event, but they haven't recalled anything yet.

A poster for the Grateful Dead's headline appearance at the Santa Venetia Armory, near San Rafael, on December 29, 1966, with Moby Grape and The Morning Glory
December 29. 1966: Santa Venetia Armory, San Rafael, CA: Grateful Dead/Morning Glory/Moby Grape
Ralph and Al Pepe promoted dances in Marin County. They often used the Santa Venetia Armory. Although it was a separate town about 2 miles North of San Rafael, Santa Venetia is almost a separate district of San Rafael.  The Santa Venetia Armory, at 155 Madison, was the National Guard Armory, and apparently a regular site of “Teen” dances in the mid-60s.  It was used briefly for psychedelic rock concerts in 1966-67, before it was superseded by the Fillmore and the Avalon.

While typical Pepe dances had local bands who cranked out cover versions, they seemed to have recognized that the Fillmore bands were a little different. Almost all the Pepe posters are done in the same boxing style. The highlighted L-I-G-H-T-S  suggests that the music won't quite be the regular dance fare. It's important to recall, however, that the Fillmore and the Avalon were promoting themselves as dance halls, and most of the the audiences were young, so a dance wouldn't be an alien setting by any means for the Dead. In any case, if Pigpen was cranking it out, there would be plenty of dancing going on.

Moby Grape was playing their second booking with the Dead in a week. Morning Glory were a local Marin band who had sort of an Airplane sound. They weren't bad, actually, and released an OK album on Fontana a year later.

A picture of Marty Balin from the December 29, 1966 San Francisco Chronicle listing of the New Year's Eve concert at the Fillmore on December 30 and 31, featuring Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service
December 30-31: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service
The Grateful Dead played the first of their legendary New Year's Eve shows in 1966. The initial version featured Jefferson Airplane, the Dead and Quicksilver for a show that was advertised from 9pm to 9am. I wonder how many sets the Grateful Dead played, and who jammed with who? Of course, as I have discussed elsewhere, 60s shows like this were so epic that no one can remember a thing about them.

On New Year's Day, the Grateful Dead played with Big Brother at the Panhandle near Golden Gate Park. As a practical matter, assuming that the Dead played in the early afternoon, they must have gone straight from the Fillmore over to the Panhandle. Big Brother had also played a New Year's Eve show, at an obscure venue in Golden Gate Park called Kezar Pavilion. While Big Brother was not booked until 9am, since they and the Dead both lived in Lagunitas, neither of the bands would have made any effort to go home before playing in the afternoon.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia in Santa Cruz County (Revised)

[this is a substantial revision of an earlier post]

On April 24, 2008, the Grateful Dead announced the gift of their archives to the University of California at Santa Cruz Special Collections Library. The archive includes all the non-musical material accumulated by the Dead over the years, from contracts to fan letters, and it will not only provide a major insight into an important California cultural phenomenon in the second half of the 20th century, it will end up being really helpful to the likes of me. Rotating displays of some of the material will apparently be regularly on display at McHenry Library at UCSC.

The Grateful Dead and UC Santa Cruz were always like minded entities, despite a lack of formal connection. Wikipedia summarizes the pre-history of UCSC by saying "the formal design process of the campus began in the late 1950s, culminating in the Long Range Development Plan of 1963." The same might be said of The Grateful Dead. Since the Dead and UCSC were both founded in 1965, they have both been devoted to different ways of doing things, whether dispensing with grades (which UCSC did not give until 1997) or refusing to play a song the same way twice. In honor of the Archive, this post will trace the limited appearances of The Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia and other Grateful Dead members in Santa Cruz County.

The City of Santa Cruz and its University are isolated from the rest of the Bay Area by mountains, cliffs and the Pacific Ocean. Thus it had remained economically isolated until the last few decades, and part of Santa Cruz's charm was its insularity. This meant, however, that major rock shows were few and far between.

The Grateful Dead in Santa Cruz County
The Grateful Dead were booked in Santa Cruz County twice, and they were definitely in Santa Cruz County at least twice, but whether they played twice remains obscure.

November 27, 1965 Ken Babbs Ranch, Soquel: Acid Test
There was an Acid Test at Ken Babbs' house in the Santa Cruz Mountains, written about in Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. By all accounts, the Grateful Dead-who were still probably called The Warlocks, depending on who you believe--were there but did not perform, unless they did. So, to summarize, the Grateful Dead or The Warlocks were there and did or did not perform, probably.

(the poster for the Grateful Dead concert at Cabrillo College Stadium, Aptos, CA on September 2, 1967. Thanks to Ross for the scan. The show most likely did not take place)

September 2, 1967 Cabrillo College Football Field, Cabrillo Junior College, Aptos, CA
Benefit for SCA Santa Cruz
Grateful Dead/Canned Heat/The Leaves/Andrew Staples/Sons of Champlain (sic)/New Delhi River Band/Second Coming/New Breed/BFD Blues Band/Gross Exaggeration/Yajahla/Tingle Guild/People/Jaguars/Art Collection/Morning Glory/Ben Frank’s Electric Band/New Frontier/Chocolate Watch Band/The Other Side/E-Types/Mourning Reign/Imperial Mange Remedy/Omens/Ragged Staff/Talon Wedge & Others.

This two-day Festival (Saturday and Sunday September 2-3) over Labor Day weekend, with music from 3-12 pm each day, is widely known because the poster for it appeared in Paul Grushkin's book The Art Of Rock. The "beneficiary", SCA Santa Cruz, is now unknown to me, but the wording suggests that this was a campus sponsored event (which had to be not-for-profit). The bands listed above were spread out over the two days. The Dead would have been booked to play on Saturday September 2, as they had another gig (at Rio Nido Dance Hall) on September 3. The Dead, Canned Heat,  and San Jose's own Chocolate Watch Band were the big names. The other booked acts were an interesting mixture of mostly South Bay bands, including David Nelson and The New Delhi River Band.

However, intriguing as all this sounded, I looked into it at some length and I don't believe the event ever took place. I talked to a number of old South Bay types, none of whom recalled it. While it's impossible to prove a negative, one member of a band booked at the event (the E-Types) did not recall it either, and he played Cabrillo many times back in the day, so I think this is one of those events that was planned but never happened. 

Cabrillo College (at 6500 Soquel Drive in Aptos) was just 9.1 driving miles from the UCSC Campus Entrance, and Cabrillo is definitely in the UCSC zone, but I have a feeling that this event was planned and then scuttled by whatever powers-that-be were able to do so. More's the pity. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to Comment or email me.

September 24, 1983 Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, Watsonville, CA: Grateful Dead
During this period, the Grateful Dead and Bill Graham Presents were experimenting with different venues around California. While the site was pleasant, and the afternoon weather was great as always, the facility lacked the parking to manage thousands of Deadheads arriving at once, and the venue was somewhat overwhelmed, in the genial pleasant way that Deadheads used to do such things. Still, the band played well, and that's what matters. Nonetheless, I do not recall this venue being used for a major act again, I think mainly due to the parking situation.

The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville (at 2601 East Lake Avenue) are about 21 miles from the entrance to the UCSC campus. As far as I know, this is as near as the Grateful Dead performed to UCSC, unless someone can make a clear-headed case for the Acid Test (good luck with that).

The Barn, Scotts Valley-no, sorry
Due to a 1999 article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, there is a suggestion floating around the internet that the Grateful Dead played The Barn in Scotts Valley between 1966 and 1968. The Barn was Santa Cruz County's unique link to psychedelic culture, linked to the Pranksters and many other interesting people. Sad to say, fascinating as the history of The Barn actually is, the Grateful Dead never played there (for the record, the article says bands like the Dead, Quicksilver and Big Brother played there, but only the last two actually did).

Jerry Garcia and other Grateful Dead Members in Santa Cruz County
As Jerry Garcia increased his extra curricular activities outside of the Grateful Dead in the 1970s and 80s, he came to play Santa Cruz a few times. This coincided with the rise in Santa Cruz's population and economic profile, because of the University and its proximity to Silicon Valley. On a smaller scale, the same process occurred with other Grateful Dead members.

The Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium at 307 Church Street, as it appeared in 2011
October 5, 1973 Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz: Old And In The Way/Ramblin' Jack Elliott/Bruce Frye
Old And In The Way was a bluegrass band in which Jerry Garcia played banjo and sang. It was not "his" band, but he was so much more famous than the other musicians that Old And In The Way are remembered as Jerry Garcia's bluegrass band. This show was one of their last, and the other band members were Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Vassar Clements and John Kahn.

An old list compiled by Dennis McNally had a projected show at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on Friday, October 5. The band was also scheduled to play outdoors at Sonoma State College in Humboldt two days later (Oct 7). The Sonoma show was canceled, due to bad weather, but a show in San Francisco at The Boarding House was held the night after (October 8), and recorded for the band's groundbreaking 1975 album.  For various reasons the Civic show had dropped on and off various lists; I know the whole story, but its very wonky and boring to explain the whole thing, so I'm sparing everyone. However, you can now read the account of an eyewitness, who not only has a copy of the flyer,  but recalls that the show was broadcast on KUSP-fm .

The Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium at, 307 Church Street, is an excellent Art Deco style building that was completed in 1940. As Santa Cruz rose in importance, more and more performers started using the friendly little 2,000 capacity hall for warm up shows, or shows on off nights. Garcia played the venue several times in later years. The Civic is just 2.1  miles to the UCSC Campus Entrance, and that is as close as Garcia got to performing on the UCSC campus.

February 16, 1975 Margarita's, Santa Cruz: Kingfish
Margarita's was a new rock club in Santa Cruz, which was starting to show signs of growth from the University and the early impact of Silicon Valley. Margarita's was at 1685 Commercial Way, near Highway 1, where Soquel Drive turns into Soquel Avenue, near where Moe's Alley is today. Margarita's was about 5.7 miles from the entrance to UCSC. Bob Weir and Kingfish opened the club in a low-key fashion on a Sunday night. 

February 21, 1975 Margarita's, Santa Cruz: Good Ole Boys
This show had been a mystery for many years. David Nelson and Frank Wakefield had a bluegrass group, and Garcia produced their album (Pistol Packin Mama).  I learned about this date from Dennis McNally's list, but it seemed an oddity, and I doubted its provenance. However, a fellow blogger not only recalled Margarita's, he attended the show and describes it in some detail.

For this show, the Good Ole Boys were a quartet, with David Nelson on guitar, Frank Wakefield on mandolin, Garcia on banjo and Pat Campbell on bass. Garcia sang no lead vocals. There was a sparse crowd.  In 1975, while Garcia and the Dead were extremely popular in Santa Cruz, the city itself was still far enough from the Bay Area mainstream that Garcia could play a stealth gig without the club being swarmed.

March 7, 1975 Crown College Dining Commons, UCSC, Santa Cruz: Kingfish
I recently learned that the first performance of an active member of the Grateful Dead on the UCSC campus was Bob Weir and Kingfish performing at the Crown College Dining Commons on March 7, 1975. My source is a sure thing--he booked the show--and he promises to Reveal All, so I will link to the revelations when they appear.

A long lost poster for Keith & Donna & Friends at Kresge Town Hall, Kresge College, University of California at Santa Cruz, on May 11, 1975. (scan courtesy of JGBP; recconstruction thanks to JGMF)
May 11, 1975, Kresge Town Hall, UCSC, Santa Cruz: Keith and Donna and Friends/Eric Andersen
Another recent discovery was an early performance by Keith and Donna Godchaux's band at Kresge College a few months after Kingfish's appearance at Crown. This was an early lineup of the Keith and Donna band, with Tom Donlinger on drums instead of Bill Kreutzmann. Folk-rocker Eric Andersen was Bob Weir's neighbor, which is how he came to write some lyrics for "Weather Report."

I have written about the implications of this booking elsewhere. In any case, following on the Kingfish appearance, Keith and Donna were the other active members of the Dead to play on the UC Santa Cruz campus itself.

June 7, 1975 Margarita's, Santa Cruz, CA: Kingfish

An ad for Keith and Donna at Margarita's (h/t CryptDev)
June 20-21, 1975, Margarita's, Santa Cruz: Keith and Donna
Bill Kreutzmann had joined the Keith And Donna band by this time.

The poster for the Jerry Garcia Band shows at the Del Mar Theater in Santa Cruz on October 8, 1975
October 8, 1975 Del Mar Theatre, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band with Nicky Hopkins
The Del Mar Theatre is at 1124 Pacific Avenue. The theater opened on August 14, 1936. By the 1970s the theater was not in great shape, and the operators started filling out weekends with rock shows. Quite a few good shows were held there in the 1970s. The theater probably seated about 900.

This was one of the earliest shows by the newly organized Jerry Garcia Band, with the great pianist Nicky Hopkins joining stalwart bassist John Kahn and drummer Ron Tutt. Tutt also drummed for Elvis Presley, and the Garcia Band's touring schedule was limited to dates when Elvis Presley and The Grateful Dead were not performing. Due to the small size of the venue, the group played both early and late shows without an opening act.

The Jerry Garcia Band played the Del Mar Theatre twice more before it became a multiplex in 1978. The venue (still a movie theater, now refurbished), is 2.3 miles from the UCSC Campus Entrance.

The Del Mar Theater on 1124 Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz, as it appeared in 2011
February 26, 1976 Del Mar Theatre, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band
Grateful Dead pianist Keith Godchaux had replaced Hopkins, and his wife Donna had joined as vocalist.

Spring 1976, New Riverside Szechuan Restuarant, Santa Cruz: Robert Hunter and Roadhog
The New Riverside, opened in the early 70s,  introduced Szechuan cuisine to Santa Cruz. It was on the site of the Riverside hotel at 600 Riverside Avenue. There were sometimes performances in the "Back Room," and an eyewitness recalls a three-set show by Robert Hunter and Roadhog, including Hunter dancing on a table.

(Santa Cruz artist Jim Phillips's poster for the Del Mar August 19, 1976 shows)
August 19, 1976 Del Mar Theater, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band
Link Wray apparently opened one of the Del Mar shows, but I'm not sure which one.

December 16-17, 1977 Crossroads Inn, Santa Cruz: Robert Hunter and Comfort
The Crossroads Inn was at the Old Sash Mill complex, the site of a long ago sawmill at 303 Potrero. The Old Sash Mill was at the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 1 (River and Mission for you locals), hence the name 'Crossroads.' I don't know exactly when it opened or closed, but I do know that Neil Young's mystery band The Ducks played there during this period. To some extent, the Crossorads may have tried to pick up the slack caused by the disappearance of Margarita's as a venue.

I don't know which building in the Old Sash Mill the Crossroads may have been in. Anyone researching this critical issue is advised to stop in to the excellent Storrs Winery Tasting Room in the same complex. The Old Sash Mill is about 2.5 miles from the entrance to the UCSC campus.

Robert Hunter and the band Comfort were in the process of recording an album that was never released. They were an excellent live band with excellent original material, and its a shame the wide world never got a better look at them.

February 19, 1978 Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band/Robert Hunter and Comfort
Parts of this concert were recently released as part of the archival live cd Jerry Garcia Band: Bay Area 1978 on Grateful Dead Records.  Robert Hunter and Comfort opened the show.

The Catalyst, at 1011 Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz, as it appeared in 2011
March 30-31, 1979 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Reconstruction
Reconstruction was Jerry Garcia's jazz-funk excursion with Merl Saunders. From 1979 onwards, Jerry Garcia regularly played a circuit of larger Bay Area nightclubs, and The Catalyst in Santa Cruz became a regular stop. The Catalyst had opened somewhat earlier, as a coffee shop in the St. George Hotel at 833 Front, but it didn't start booking rock bands until it moved down the street in late 1978 to a converted bowling alley. The Catalyst, at 1011 Pacific Avenue, was the site of many fine Garcia shows for the next decade.  The Catalyst is 2.3 miles from the UCSC Campus Entrance.

Jerry Garcia played Santa Cruz 13 more times. For complete notes, see The Jerry Site.
May 27, 1979 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Reconstruction
February 7, 1980 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band
January 18, 1981 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band
January 29, 1981 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band
April 21, 1981 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band
June 25, 1981 Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band with Phil Lesh
February 2-3, 1982 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band
October 13, 1982 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band
January 18, 1983 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band
March 5, 1983 Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band
October 16, 1985 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia and John Kahn (early and late shows)
February 24, 1987 Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz: Jerry Garcia Band

Appendix: Other Performances
September 18, 1980 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz: Bobby And The Midnites
Bob Weir and Bobby and The Midnites made their Bay Area debut at the Catalyst on September 18, 1980. I have written about that run of shows elsewhere, as well as about the history of Bobby And The Midnites. Bobby And The Midnites also played the Catalyst on August 10, 1983 and August 11, 1984.

May 20, 1983 Dining Commons, Porter College, UCSC: The Dinosaurs
From 1982 through 1984, Robert Hunter was a member of The Dinosaurs. Other members of the band were John Cipollina (ex-Quicksilver), Barry "The Fish" Melton, Peter Albin (ex- and future Big Brother) and Spencer Dryden (ex-Airplane, ex-NRPS). Without trying, the group sounded like an old San Francisco psychedelic band, because that was who they were. Hunter was with the group when they played the Dining Commons at Porter College (College V for old-time Banana Slugs) on the UCSC Campus. There may have been a poster for this event. (Hunter and The Dinosaurs also played three shows at The Catalyst: Oct 14 '83, Feb 4 '84 and May 26 '84).

Jefferson Airplane Footnote
The Jefferson Airplane don't have an archive, to my knowledge, and it wouldn't be as interesting as the Grateful Dead's in any case. Nonetheless, just in case, the Jefferson Airplane played the UCSC "Spring Thing" dance two years in a row: first at the Cocoanut Grove on May 14, 1966, and then on May 11, 1967 at the  Cowell-Stevenson dining hall, right before a show at the Civic.

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