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Friday, November 27, 2009

NRPS: ca. 11/1/1970?

The San Francisco section of the "From the Music Capitals of the World" Feature in the November 21, 1970 issue of Billboard (p. 25, available via Google Books), written by Mary Turner, indicates that the New Riders of the Purple Sage performed at an event called "Marathon 70," put on by Both/And Productions, over the Halloween Weekend of 1970. The image is below.
We know that GD and NRPS were at SUNY Stony Brook on Halloween night (Saturday). We also know that the GD were in Port Chester from Thursday, November 5th.

Did the NRPS (and Jerry) come back to the Bay Area rather than just hanging around the east coast? Hard to say for sure, but there seems to be enough evidence (fragmentary, but independent) suggesting that they did, and thus that this gig might well have happened.

First, the Jerry Site lists a Monday, November 2nd "Jerry Garcia and Friends" show at the Harding Theater, SF, based on information contributed by Joey Newlander from a listing in the Berkeley Barb. TJS further speculates that the gig did not happen, what with the GD out east. OK.

Second, the PERRO tapes (in this case, sessions for David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name) include at least one cut ("Cowboy Movie") said to have been laid down at Heider's in SF on Tuesday, November 3rd. (This has always been important to me, since that was the date of my birth and I *love* the idea that that's what Jerry was doing on that day!)

Third, Good Times (v.3 n.43, 10/30/70, p. 16) ran a listing for a Garcia/Saunders show at the Matrix on this same night, Tuesday, November 3rd.

Fourth, though not independent of #2, I also have a PERRO session listed for Wednesday, November 4th, though I have no notes on where that information might have come from.

Now we have a fifth piece of evidence in the indication that NRPS might have been back in the Bay Area in between Stony Brook and Port Chester.

I am going to go ahead and speculate that the "Halloween Weekend" notion plus the gigs seemingly booked for every other night during this short window, both militate in favor of a Sunday, November 1, 1970 listing.

I'd like to hear from anyone who knows more about this event ("Marathon 70") and/or the Both/And. Thoughts?


  1. Do you have a venue for this?

    Much as I would love this to be true, isn't the timing such that "Halloween Weekend" would conflict with the Stonybrook show? Still, its a very tempting thought.

    If the Riders and Jerry left Stonybrook after the late show and took a 6am flight to San Francisco, they would arrive before noon, so its possible that they played on Sunday, if the event was still going on.

    In any case, it sounded like a cool show: Jerry Hahn Brotherhood was a great band, Les McCann is great, Big Brother (1970 edition) was pretty exciting, and Bobby Hutcherson is great too.

    Another way to look at it is if Jerry didn't go to San Francisco on the week of November 1-6, where did he go? Considering he probably spent the previous week in New York City (after the 11/24/70 show), what would he have been doing in New York for two weeks?

  2. Was this actually at The Both/And club? The Both/And was at 350 Divisadero, and was connected to both the jazz and rock scenes. I thought that the Both/And was closed by then.

    The Harding Theater was at 616 Divisadero (still is), so perhaps the canceled Monday night event was connected to this event. I wonder if it was held there? That would actually fit with the timeline, in an oddball kind of way.

  3. I have discovered that while the Both/And was at 350 Divisadero in the 1960s, it moved to 620 Divisadero, probably in the early 70s. I would guess that "Marathon 70" was the 620 site.

    The Harding Theater was at 616 Divisadero, so it seems awfully likely that Big Brother and NRPS (whom I suspect was the real identity of Jerry Garcia and Friends) played the Harding as part of Marathon 70. I've got to assume the club was the main venue, but they might have used the Harding for a bigger event.

    The second site of the Both/And has been used more or less continuously as a music venue in SF since the 1970s. For a while it was the VIS Club (I saw Firehose there), then The Kennel Club for many years (I saw NRBQ there, I think) and now it is called The Independent. The current address is 628, not 620, but its the same place. The boarded up Harding is visible (at 616) on Google Street View.

  4. This definitely appears to have happened, though there's no specific confirmation of NRPS. A few more bibliographic entries:

    listing: San Francisco Chronicle, October 30, 1970, p. 45;
    postscript: Wasserman, John L. 1970. On the Town: Marilyn Maye--Zing in the Anthem. San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 1970, p. 58.

    Anyway, I guess I'd conclude that NRPS probably did play this on 11/1/70.

  5. The Independent was called the Justice League before it was The Independent.


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