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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jerry Garcia at the Matrix, 1970-1971

As I noted a little bit ago, Ross Hannan sent some wonderful info on Matrix gigs. In this post I respond to some of his listings with questions, additional or different information, etc. I was just going to email this, but one never knows when someone else might see this and be able to weigh-in.

So this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of Garcia at the Matrix. This only touches on dates about which I have something to say. Perhaps after we hash this out I'll just post a full list of Garcia @ the Matrix for the record.

So, top line of each is Ross's entry. His comments, if any, appear on 2nd line in quotes. My response follows.

Monday, April 20, 1970 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders
I have Garcia and Wales. Source: Berkeley Barb, April 17-23, 1970, p.6.

Monday, April 27, 1970 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders
I have Garcia and Wales.. Source: Berkeley Barb, April 24-May 1, 1970, p. 8.

Thursday, April 30, 1970 Sandy Bull
"Seemingly spurious New Riders of The Purple Sage show listed on The Jerry Site for this date - with associated recording."
I assume there's evidence for Sandy Bull. How does that stack up with the evidence for NRPS (a tape)?

Monday, May 18, 1970    Jerry Garcia, Howard Wales and Friends
Tuesday, May 19, 1970    Jerry Garcia, Howard Wales and Friends
Wednesday, May 20, 1970    Jerry Garcia, Howard Wales and Friends
What is the basis for the second two nights? Sources traditionally list Monday, 5/18.  Evidence for this includes an ad in Good Times (v.3 n.20, 5/15/70, p. 24), and information from the Garcia vault. (Coincidentally, I believe that this is the show that was released as Side Trips.) I'd love for these shows to have happened, so please do tell!

Monday, May 25, 1970    Monday Night Jam
Scenedrome listing in Berkeley Barb (May 22-28, 1970, p. 18) lists "Howard Wales, Jerry Garcia & Friends". I realize that Garcia was probably not home from England ...

Monday, June 01, 1970    Monday Night Jam
I show this as Wales/Garcia, based on calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.22 (5/29/70), p. 24. (I  know these are not mutually exclusive listings ... just want to fill in artists, as possible.)

Wednesday, July 29, 1970 Harvey Mandel
Thursday, July 30, 1970 Harvey Mandel
"The Jerry Site lists NRPS as performing - but it seems spurious to me."
I have the same question as for 4/30/70. Is it possible that NRPS also played? TJS listing is based on tapes, nothing more. AFAIK, FYI and FWIW.

Wednesday, September 02, 1970 Seatrain, Kracker Jacks
"The Jerry Site lists NRPS as performing - but it seems spurious to me."
As just above: the tape is the only evidence for a NRPS gig, AFAIK.

Monday, October 12, 1970 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders and Friends
Obviously, if GD were in New Jersey, JG would not have been at Matrix, however it was billed. Deadlists says this about this GD date: "According to Marc Schaeffer the Dead played another, unscheduled concert at this venue [Marion Shea Auditorium - Paterson State College, Wayne, NJ] on 10/12/70. There is a review in the student newspaper (not informative, according to Schaeffer) but apparently no tapes of the show. There is no SBD of this show in the vault." I'd like to find this review. In its absence, I'd be willing to consider that this GD date is a phantom.

Tuesday, October 13, 1970 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders and Friends
Wednesday, October 14, 1970 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders and Friends
After 10/12 GD gig in NJ, they were in Philly on 10/16. Of course they could have come home in between, though why they would have done so isn't clear to me. I am skeptical that Garcia was at the Matrix on these nights.

Monday, October 19, 1970 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders and Friends
Seems more possible to me than the previous. GD were in Minneapolis on 10/18 and would go to DC on 10/23. Everyone has always assumed that they didn't fly home (one of the many reasons that the "10/21/70 Matrix Jam" tape, said to include JG, has been called into question). But the more I learn from Lost Live Dead & related, the more closely I look, the more I am open to the possibility that, for whatever reason, he could well have gone from Minn to CA back out to DC.

Wednesday, October 21, 1970 Santana, Quicksilver Messenger Service [without John Cippolina]
Some day there needs to be a whole post on this. Any thoughts on whether the circulating tape has Garcia on it? Some discussion of circulating recordings at

Monday, October 26, 1970 Jerry Garcia and Friends
GD were in St. Louis on 10/24 and would head out to Stony Brook for show on 10/30. The more I know, the more I buy that Garcia could have flown home in between and played this Monday night Matrix session with Merl.

Tuesday, November 03, 1970 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders and Friends
In years past I would have doubted this (from Stony Brook on 10/31/ to Port Chester on 11/5, via San Francisco in between?). But given other evidence (e.g., here and here), I find this date plausible.

Monday, February 08, 1971 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders
Tuesday, February 09, 1971 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders
I have never seen these dates. What info supports this listing?

Wednesday, March 03, 1971 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders
Didn't GD play Fillmore West this night? It's on the COAU Carousel list. Wouldn't that preclude Garcia at Matrix, ads notwithstanding?


  1. Its very interesting to see the Garcia Matrix appearances posted in this format. One thing that stands out is how many dates based on Matrix tapes appear to be spurious.

    Richie Unterburger, in his new book about the Velvet Underground, describes in some detail how the Matrix tapes were recorded and preserved. My conclusion from reading him is that you can't believe anything about the date on a Matrix tape box. At the minimum, tapes were recorded over, spliced together and otherwise pieced together, and there seems to have been no interest in preserving accurate dates.

    It does seem that the month of a performance is more or less correct--thus the April 30, 1970 tape was probably recorded in April of 1970, but there's no reason to believe it was recorded on April 30.

    Until Ross's research, there had been no meaningful effort to figure out Matrix dates in their totality, and it has effectively pointed out how vaguely dated the tapes are (for every group, not just Garcia).

    To top it off, based on discussions elsewhere, it appears that some tapes recorded by Matrix people were not recorded at the Matrix at all. To use April 30, 1970 as an example, if it has an accurate date then its from somewhere else, like the Inn Of The Beginning.

    Many of the tapes from the Matrix (of all performers) are very likely to be edited from several nights, possibly from separate runs. I don't know what the Matrix tape box labels actually say, but I'm not inclined to believe much on them. This would explain why so many NRPS/Garcia tapes have mystifying dates that don't fit the touring schedule at all.

  2. A couple of points:

    (a) Corry is correct in that seeing the JG at the Matrix dates displayed like this does focus the mind. When time allows I will try and figure out the source of some of these dates of mine.

    (b) As for the Matrix tapes, and I cannot speak for the later tapes (1970 has my interest dwindling), but I am pretty certain that a number of the early tapes were recorded at the Fillmore and actually have the correct date but wrong venue assigned to them. However, many of the tapes were without doubt from the Matrix - but dates are seemingly a real mess.

  3. With respect to the possibility of Garcia flying home for Oct 19, 1970, between Minneapolis (10/18) and DC (10/23):

    American Beauty was released in November 1970 (I don't know the exact date), and the album was recorded at Wally Heider's in SF. I have to assume that the band, or at least Garcia, had to approve the final mix or pressing (or whatever the process), which would be a good incentive to fly home.

    Jerry being Jerry, he played a couple of gigs, too, but his motive for travel may have been album related.

  4. The two NRPS dates (4/70 & 7/70) are from the Matrix but the dates are probably wrong. Back in 1974 or so, Peter Abram allowed two tape collectors to separately make first generation reel copies DIRECTLY from the Matrix master reels. Abram was under the impression they would never give the music out and holds a grudge to this day. The tapers insist no such verbal agreement was ever made. Each set is about one hour long.

    I was told this by both Peter and one of the tapers.

  5. Is the grudge still in effect (a scant 37 years later)?

  6. Grudge is far too gentle a term to use for how Peter feels.

  7. 38 years, this year. Hurt feelings are tough things. Senses of betrayal even tougher. As one with no recollections or feelings involved, and as an amateur musicologist, I can only try to keep hope that all of the Matrix Tapes will see the light of day (and be heard / felt in some darker places, like ear canals) some day.

  8. Such grudges are, sadly, not uncommon among some old-time tapers who preferred to keep their recordings to themselves... "Leaks" like this could sometimes have the effect of having the original tapes locked up inaccessibly, & permanently, by the offended taper.
    Of course, Abram may have had reason not to want his reels circulating - the musicians, if they ever noticed, could readily conclude that he was 'releasing' these sets to collectors himself. (The Dead were already relatively pissed by the Vintage/Historic-Dead releases from 1966 tapes.)

    Anyway, deadlists notes that Bill Gadsden and Peter Kafer copied Abram's Matrix reels (the Dead ones, anyway) in the summer of 1974. Such an early date for copying always struck me, and I've wondered what the circumstances were...

  9. "Such grudges are, sadly, not uncommon among some old-time tapers who preferred to keep their recordings to themselves... "Leaks" like this could sometimes have the effect of having the original tapes locked up inaccessibly, & permanently, by the offended taper."

    Considering what tapers had to go through back then to record a show and the fact that you needed "trade bait" until the 21st century I'm not surprised at all that tapers didn't want to give away their hard-earned treasure. I'm a taper, and I have recordings that I won't share for one reason or another (usually because of a jerk in the audience), so I completely understand where guys like Abram are coming from.

  10. Jerry was definitely not back in time from England to play the Matrix with Howard Wales on Monday 1970-05-25. He arrived back on the 26th.

    The Official Book of the Deadheads has a photo of a page from Jerry's passport on page 111. It contains the stamp

    MAY 26 1970

    It also contains the entry stamp for his return from Herouville, that was "NEW YORK, N.Y. 347 Jun 22 1971"

  11. Amazing details that I had missed. Thank you so much!


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