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Monday, April 21, 2014

GD at University of Utah, April 12, 1969

The University of Utah's daily campus paper, the Chronicle, had very few little fragments on the GD show held in the Union Ballroom on campus on Saturday, April 12, 1969. Taboot, I couldn't get access to a decent scanning arrangement, as you'll see. So, no page details, etc. Scans below, here's what I find.

SDS Ball, The Grateful Dead and Spirit of Creation, Lights by Five Fingers. Two shows, 8 and 10 p.m., $2 for students and $3 for non-students.

I know you can't read the text from the next two bits, but they have some interesting tidbits. This little blurb "Grateful Dead at SDS Ball" says that the group had been scheduled to come earlier in the year but had to reschedule. I did not know that. No time to search around when this might have been or what might have happened.

This last illegible bit says that the writer interviewed the GD before the show, and they said that they'd have two records coming out, a studio one and a live one, within the next month or two. I don't know the timelines of Aoxomoxoa and Live/Dead, but this sounds a little bit ambitious. Anyway, FWIW.

I might be able to get a few more scans from the Salt Lake City Tribune, but we'll see.


  1. "SDS Ball," huh? As in, the Students For A Democratic Society? I wonder if the whole Ball (with the Dead as headliner) was moved from an earlier date, or if the Dead's new date coincided with the Ball? If the former, and I'd guess it is, that's a nice little curiosity, only two months before SDS spawned the Weathermen.

    1. It was a common arrangement in the 60s (and later) that any events on a campus had to be sponsored by a student group. So the SDS may have just been a willing funnel for the arrangement. In Berkeley, a student who was an original member of Country Joe And The Fish (bassist Richard Saunders) formed a "student organization," called The Pretentious Folk Front, for the sole purpose of providing a platform when his friends wanted to book bands.

      The local hippies who wanted to bring the Dead in were probably also members of SDS, so they may have simply been "the sponsors" of the event.

  2. Too bad good scans weren't available! These are interesting tidbits.

    The two records' release was just a matter of scheduling. Aoxomoxoa must have been all but done since it was released in June. Live/Dead was ready to go, but the Dead (or someone) decided to delay the release of that one.
    At any rate, the Dead always had a habit of saying records would be released earlier than actually happened.

    The 4/12/69 tape reveals two short sets, each under an hour, presumably the early & late shows. Clearly the Dead weren't given much time that night to do their stuff!
    I don't know about the rescheduling from an earlier date, but this date was part of the Dead's short college tour of April '69. These seem to have been hit & run shows in relatively random locations to build up a college audience. I assume even in '69, the local hippie/underground populations of places like Tucson, Omaha & Lafayette weren't huge. On the other hand, presumably the Dead played these colleges because they'd been invited; many of these stops wouldn't have been regular booking locations. Corry would know more about that, I guess:

    1. Colleges in the 60 had substantial entertainment budgets, do booking agents had been doing business with them for years. The change in the late 60s was that some hippies would take over "the Entertainment Committee" or whatever it was called, and book some Fillmore rock band. So the colleges had been used to booking some folksinger, or something, or maybe The Association, and somehow ended up with the likes of The Grateful Dead.

      The all-time classic for this was the 1969 Ohio University Junior Prom, for which the headliner was the talented but easily consumable Jose Feliciano. To placate the longhairs, or whatever, they booked a then unknown English band with only one album. Needless to say, by the time the concert actually happened (May 17 '69), Led Zeppelin was no longer unknown, and things turned out very differently indeed.

      I don't think that the U of Utah students were expecting The New Christy Minstrels, but I suspect a lot of people were attending because it was a weekend and a rock band was playing.

    2. It's only amazing technology that made these scans possible. Holding a tablet up to one of those very old fashioned analog microfilm readers was, I thought, quite a clever workaround.

      I checked the Salt Lake Tribune from this time and from the '73 show, but I found nothing, not so much as a listing for either.

  3. I'm the radio producer up at K-UTE and was able to get some decent scans from the April 11, 1969 edition of the Daily Utah Chronicle. We're playing the concert on air today and I wanted to use the original ads in the Chronicle. I hope this helps you out!


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