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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NRPS 9/15/71 in NYC?

A mention in the "From the Music Capitals of the World" feature in Billboard, September 11, 1971, p. 22 says that "Columbia's New Riders of the Purple Sage play the Manhattan Center Ballroom, Wednesday (15) at 34th St. & 8th Ave."

Hard to know what to make of this. That particular week was a blank slate until recently, when in my searching around I discovered listings and such for the following gigs:

Friday 9/10/71, JGMS @ Harding Theater, SF (1)
Thursday 9/16/71, JGMS @ Keystone Korner, SF (2)
Friday 9/17/71 and Saturday 9/18/71, NRPS @ Friends and Relations Hall, SF (2, 3)

So while it's not impossible that JG could have gone east to play with the NRPS on 9/15/71, it seems pretty unlikely, doesn't it? I'd be grateful for thoughts and/or leads about how to figure out whether this happened. Who would have been promoting Manhattan Center gigs at that time?

(1) listing in Hayward Daily Review, September 16, 1971, p. 25.
(2) Oakland Tribune, September 15, 1971, p. 25
(3) there is also a poster IIRC.


  1. I've been thinking about this, and I actually think its pretty plausible. Here's my reasoning:

    Manhattan Center was convenient if you worked in Manhattan, so the "promoter" would have been Columbia Records, who would have been pushing the forthcoming New Riders album. Attendance would have been largely limited to invited guests of CBS--djs, promo guys, etc. That's why we don't have a bunch of artifacts and memories from the show.

    Remember that if you look at your proposed schedule, there are two sets of equipment--the only variable is Jerry. Garcia-Saunders equipment never left San Francisco, while his pedal steel and the NRPS stuff flew East. All Jerry has to do is fly to New York Wednesday, play Wednesday night, leave at noon on Thursday (musician's dawn) and arrive in SF at about 3'o clock (because of the time change). Plenty of time to get to the Keystone Korner.

    Remember also that if there were a delay, Jerry would just cancel out of the Keystone Korner gig and make it up a few days later.

    This all sounds like a "go" to me--book it! Great find.

  2. Thanks!

    And the NRPS equipment could make it back from NYC to SF in time for the 9/17 gig? I don't know much about Friends and Relations Hall (isn't it somehow related to the Family Dog?) ... I guess if the record co. was footing the bill it could be done, otherwise seems economically infeasible.

    I have another mystery NRPS issue that I'll post shortly.

  3. Friends and Relations Hall was the new name for what had been the Family Dog On The Great Highway, at 660 Great Highway. At this point, it was just a hall for rent.

    I don't think the NRPS toured with their own sound system, not all the time anyway. So it seems like there would have been plenty of time for the band to get home with their guitars and play a gig on Friday night.

    If this was a CBS-sponsored gig, as I have proposed, then plane tickets both ways would be par for the course (charged against the band's royalties, naturally).


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