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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

HWJG: quick question on January '72 east coast tour

Howard Wales and Jerry Garcia (HWJG) is another one of these things about which I have a great deal to say, but no time to get it down except in dribs and drabs. So be it.

Quick question or two on the January 1972 east coast tour they did, Jerry's first non-GD-related paying gigs in the northeast, AFAIK.

First, slipnut over at The Jerry Site just posted two new gigs, based on credible-looking information at the Mahavishnu Orchestra set lists site. I believe that MO was also on Douglas Records and that MO was opening for HWJG at a number of the shows on the tour. The newly-considered are as follows:

  • Friday, January 28, 1972: Palace Theatre, Providence, RI
  • Saturday, January 29, 1972: University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

These gigs seem really plausible. Obviously the Friday-Saturday would be good nights to book. The venues also seem plausible: up to Providence from Boston on 1/26, and another college gig after the Villanova show on Sunday 1/23. Probably medium-sized rooms, probably just about right.

Still, it's surprising that these shows have never come to light (that I know of - prepared to be corrected, of course). East coast stuff tends to be documented pretty well.

(BTW, the MO site also lists a gig on 1/22 at Union College in Schenectady, NY, but doesn't indicate it was opening for HWJG ... I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was, though ...)

Lots more to say, but I'll just ask a second question --or pose a lament-- re: tapes.

The only circulating tape is January 26, 1972 from the Boston Symphony Hall, which was broadcast on WBCN. Tapes also masquerade under the date of 1/25, but they are from 1/26. There is nothing else in circulation from this tour. Indeed, the only other live HWJG in circulation is from the incredible, breathtaking, begging-for-a-volume-two Side Trips, Vol. 1 (Grateful Dead Records, GDCD 4061, October 1998), which I believe to have been recorded on 5/18/70 at the Matrix. Ken Lee, the usher whose masterful, spread balcony recordings from the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY are rightfully legendary, seems to have taped at least one of the shows from the Academy of Music in New York, NY on January 21; alas, the Port Chester Resurrection Project, which brought a handful of these (apparently massively numerous) tapes into clear light (some for the first time), has been stalled for several years at least. Please, please, if you know the folks involved, kindly, gently, respectfully ask them if they might be able to preserve those precious historical documents!

I have also long wondered about the Villanova show on 1/23. From the ad below, we see that it was sponsored by WKVU Villanova ... surely there was a broadcast to go alongside? And if so, didn't anyone tape it? Anyone want to check Villanova, starting with the station itself?

All right, enough hectoring. Really just wanted to see if anyone remembers these or other Wales/Garcia gigs in January, 1972!


  1. A radio station sponsoring a show didn't necessarily mean they broadcast it, nor even recorded it. Just that there was a cooperation between the promoter and the station.

    BTW, I don't think there is any more Wales-Garcia in the JG vault.

  2. Sadly, I have to agree with Mr. Gans's reasoning. A lot of campus events required a student organization as a sponsor, in order to get access to the buildings. So WKVU may have cooperated with the promotion and helped make it a "student" event, but it doesn't mean there's a tape.

    Alan Douglas was a jazz producer who had worked with John McLauglin (I think the album Devotion), although MO themselves were on Columbia. Douglas was apparently very much the kind of guy who tried to put different players together, like Jimi Hendrix and Larry Young, or John McLaughlin and Buddy Miles, so the Wales>Garcia>McLaughlin booking would be very much in his style.

    There is a lengthy, definitive biography of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but I haven't read it.

  3. Sorry to hear about the dearth of Wales-Garcia in the GD vault, David. That is a real shame, as I think the Side Trips release is incredible - as "outside" as Jerry ever played in such a sustained way (i.e., not a more temporary melt down during PITB or something). Howard doesn't seem to have any tapes, either, so I'd guess the only hope for more of that early stuff to surface would be if the Matrix tapes are ever brought into the light.

    Sorry to hear that the radio station connection doesn't mean a broadcast/recording. Let me ask the hypothetical, though: why wouldn't they have recorded or even broadcast it? I imagine that radio station folks, mostly students in this case, would relish the technical challenge of taping/broadcasting. I can't imagine that Villanova radio had a very rigid format ... anyway, I still hold out some hope that a visit to Villanova might be worthwhile.

  4. Why wouldn't they? Damn good question! Possibly there wasn't anyone on staff who was interested, or they didn't have the resources, or the band didn't allow it. It's also possible a tape was made that has never surfaced!

    BTW, I interviewed Jerry very briefly backstage at Shoreline when that Side Trips CD came out. He talked about how relentlessly "outside" that music was: "I'd lean over to John Kahn and say, 'What key are we in?' and he'd say, 'I have no fucking idea.'"

  5. My use of "outside" probably comes from that. It probably seeped into my brain from Matt Scofield's deaddisc entry for Hooteroll. There he credits an otherwise-unidentified interview from 1991 ... is that your interview? If so, do you happen to have the precise date? Hate to bother you, but if that interview is yours I want to be able to credit it as such. Thanks!

  6. I also lament that we don't have more from that Garcia/Wales tour... Hearing 1/26/72, it sounded to me like Garcia was adopting his "free space" style from the Wales sets for the Dead's shows later that year...

    Another good example of sustained "outside" Garcia (though more in the "whale songs" sense than the "free jazz" sense) is the 11/28/73 Palace of Fine Arts quadraphonic experiment.
    I used to think Ned Lagin was involved with that, but apparently not; I'm not even sure if Lesh was there (though he should've been!), as the announcer only mentions Garcia and Hart at the end.
    The full 2 1/2-hour audience tape of that was just recently released by the MOTB crew. (I think the jerrysite's 130-min SBD listing is errant.)

  7. By the way...the new re-release of Hooteroll includes two live tracks recorded January 28, 1972, at the Palace Theatre in Providence.

    If this is true (and it's not a mislabel for tracks taken from the 1/26 recording), there is another show from this tour in the vaults!

  8. WKVU guy here. 1974-78. The '72 crew was very hip and probably taped the show. I will post on the KVU Facebook age & see if anyone comes forward.

  9. Thanks very much for inquiring. Please do keep us posted if you learn anything (or not).

  10. Apparently, there were plans (ca. 2000-2001) to release the Wales-Garcia show in Providence as Live at the Palace Theatre, but for reasons unknown to me it never materialized. Instead we get two measly tracks. Oh well, better than nothing.

  11. I was at the Buffalo show and my sister stayed home and listened to it simulcast on the college FM radio station. Epic concert for both bands. Jerry went backstage a couple times, they said he wasn't feeling well.

  12. Thanks for posting, Anon. I have to wonder if anyone in Buffalo was rolling tape that night ... one can always hope.

  13. There is a recording from the gig in Buffalo.


      That is a recording of Mahavishnu's performance on 1/27/73, 2 days short of exactly one year *after* the show with Garcia.

  14. My brother has a poster of a Hooteroll Gig at Crouse Auditorium in Syracuse, NY from January 22. If I could attach a photo here I would.

  15. I think you would have to email, and I will post. Please send along to if you'd like, and thanks!


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