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Sunday, April 17, 2011

NRPS-Matrix-1970 02 of 7: LN19700430: Thursday, April 30, 1970

NRPS-Matrix-1970: a seven part series discussing New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS) gigs at the Matrix, 1970, including listening notes on the circulating tapes, speculation on dates, observations on playing, general pontificating.
  1. Introduction
  2. LN19700430: Thursday, April 30, 1970
  3. LN19700707: Tuesday, July 7, 1970
  4. LN19700729: Wednesday, July 29, 1970
  5. LN19700730: Thursday, July 30, 1970
  6. LN19700902: Wednesday, September 2, 1970
  7. Analysis and Conclusions
This is the earliest putative recording of a NRPS show at the Matrix in 1970, and it embodies many of the general features of the NRPS-Matrix-1970 nexus. The tape ultimately derives from the "Matrix Tapes", soundboard (line) recordings on reel-to-reel tape. It is said to be set I only.

The date of this recording is questionable, for two main reasons. First, the Chicken on a Unicycle (COAU) Matrix list shows Sandy Bull at the Matrix this night, and Ross Hannan classifies this listing as spurious. Second, as I will elaborate at much greater length in installment four of this little series, the material from "4/30/70 set I" duplicates "7/29/70 set I," and I find the latter dating much more likely to be approximately correct.

I do not know of any evidence other than tape that supports a 4/30 dating. Because I conclude that this is a mislabel and I discuss the material at length in the corresponding (late July) context, I won't go on at any length, and my listening notes will be much lower-res than subsequent ones will be.

I will just say that in an absolute sense, the April 30 date makes some sense. We currently believe that NRPS played a "stealth" gig on 4/29/70 at the Peninsula School in Menlo Park, CA. We also know that the "An Evening With The Grateful Dead" concept took its show on the road starting the night after this, Friday, May 1, 1970 at Alfred State College in Alfred, NY. We know that across the decades Garcia liked to do some low-key local shows to warm up new bands and/or new members, especially in advance of a national tour.

But there's just no evidence whatsoever that NRPS played the Matrix on 4/30/70 except this seemingly-mislabeled tape. So I'd say science requires us to list this date as doubtful unless and until something else comes up.

Quick question for the cognoscenti: did the Matrix show weird movies at set breaks? Marmaduke mentions this at the end of the tape. I am 95% sure this material dates from after mid-June 1970, if that matters. Sounds like a Family Dog thing to me, but what do I know?

New Riders of the Purple Sage
The Matrix
San Francisco, CA
"April 30, 1970 (Thursday), set I only"

(13 tracks, 68:38)
01. Tuning [0:41]
02. Watcha Gonna Do [4:05] [0:40]
03. Glendale Train [5:21] [1:16]
04. Lodi [4:00] [1:07]
05. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving [4:33] [1:07]
06. Sweet Lovin' One [3:38] [0:08]
07. Portland Woman [5:22] [0:24]
08. Delila [3:43] [0:22]
09. /Dirty //Business/ [9:38]
10. /Last Lonely Eagle [6:12] [1:40]
11. Hello Trouble [3:21] [0:10]
12. Big Yellow Taxi [3:09] [0:57]
13. The Weight [6:48] (1) [0:11]

Lineup:
John Dawson - rhythm guitar, vocals;
David Nelson - lead guitar, vocals;
David Torbert - bass, vocals;
Jerry Garcia - pedal steel guitar;
Mickey Hart - drums.

Recording Specs:
MSR (Peter Abrams) > 1 reel (fstop) > CD > EAC (extraction) > CD Wave (tracking) > Sony Sound Forge Studio 7.0 (minor editing) > Trader's Little Helper (flac8 encoding).

JGMF Notes:
! R: I don't think the stated lineage is accurate. There's probably at least another reel gen in there.
! Date: I don't think the date is accurate, either. This is the same material identified as 7/29/70, set I, and I believe the July date is closer to accurate than the April date. They may well have played on April 30, 1970 and they may well have done so at the Matrix (though Yellow Shark doubts this). But I don't think that's what this material is. See notes for 7/29/70 for elaboration.
! R: some distortion on the vocals and some hiss, but a pretty decent recording. The only edits undertaken were to remove small anomalies @ the start of Portland Woman and Last Lonely Eagle.
! R: t09 Dirty Business seems to clip in. It also has a brief splice @ 7:46 and clips out near the end.
! R: t10 LLE clips in.
! (1) "Thank you. We'll see you after a few weird movies."

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