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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Old And In The Way at the Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara

Several years ago, Richard Greene was kind enough to work through some of his old datebooks with me over the phone. He showed himself at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara on Thursday, April 12, 1973, a date for which no Old And In The Way (OAITW) gig has been listed. I thought it was possible that he was playing with someone else this night --the man has always been highly sought after-- but I listed it as OAITW and vowed to check for clarification the next time I found myself in S.B. In the meantime, I even surmised that one of the undated OAITW live sets in circulation could be the very show, given the provenance of the tape, the room feel, other details.

I don't know about the tape, but I did turn up more confirmation for the gig

! ad: Daily Nexus, April 12, 1973, p. 5.

Nice to see Doc Watson opening the show, a year before he and Jer would share billings at the Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival in Marin. Note two shows. Note further that Richard doesn't make the billing, though he was apparently there.

Anyway, this is now pinned down just a little bit more. And here's the Granada in the present time:
Last note: the ad here says "Theatre", and in comments JGBP points out that the current website also has it that way. Just note that Cinema Treasures and a 1975 LOM ad both say 'er', apparently incorrectly.

UCLA Acid Test (CXL)

! ad: Daily Bruin, March 16, 1966, p. 2.
Preface

Suggested audio accompaniment for this post: http://tinyurl.com/hthnmgb, especially 30 minutes in when Ken Babbs is just raving, and things are just WILD.

The UCLA Daily Bruin has been digitized, and is accessible via the Daily Bruin Print Archive at http://samhoff.github.io/archive/. The access is rather cumbersome, basically at the volume level, and this runs from spring to spring. I recommend 1) targeting a date and searching on it, 2) verifying the resulting date range, 3) clicking on "Back to Item Details" toward the top-left, 4) right-click-and-saving-file-as... (or whatever you Macs do), using either the PDF (quite large files) or, for a first sweep, text (much smaller). The text can be searched for your key terms. But I will say, just looking at the text, the OCR'ing appears highly imperfect. So you might need to try many different searching strategies to find anything. I had a pretty low yield rate on the things I was interested in.

Discovery

Since I didn't have a canceled UCLA Acid Test in my cxl spreadsheet field, it didn't exist for me, even though I guess your average w00k might know of it. So I got inordinately excited when I found stuff around it, until reality came around and burst my bubble.

Anyway, still fun.

Preview

I found the preview first, and it is just about the most distilled piece of Babbsiana you'll ever encounter.
Barring the apocalypse, GSA ASUCLA, will allow the Merry Pranksters of Intrepid Trips, Inc. to let loose their version of interpersonal nuclear fission. The Acid Test, from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. March 19 in The Student Union Grand Ballroom. What is The Acid Test? Well, it is a sort of a happening, a very total happening. There is no audience, no group of performers; everyone comes and the thing happens. There is music — The Grateful Dead will play genuine rock-'n-roll for dancing. But anyone can play music — there will be mikes and amplifiers available — and any person or group is urged to bring their equipment. There will be movies, three or four at a time, of the Pranksters and others doing whatever they do. But anyone can bring their own films and/or equipment. There will be people in strange clothes; come as you will. There will be strange lights, strobes and color wheels; bring more if need be. There will be Neal Cassady of On The Road doing battle with the fabled Thunder Machine, Roy's Audioptics, the Electric Man, the Psychedelic Symphonette, assorted miracles and marvels, more noise and yet more music. Tickets ($1.50 for students) are on sale at the Kerckhoff Hall Ticket Office or can be purchased at the door.
! preview: “Acid Test to Happen Here,” Daily Bruin, March 11, 1966, p. 14

In my recent post on the 1/17/69 UCSB show I posted about the winky-winky LSD references. Three years earlier, before acid was illegalized, there is no winking, there is just straight-up "come drink some acid punch with us and trip your _____ off right here on campus", presumably decodeable by enough Initiates to make it a happening.

I love the thought of Cassady ("of On The Road") doing battle with Babbs's Thunder Machine, the soundimage of whatever Roy's Audioptics was capable of laying down, "mindless chaos" as Garcia says in the late 33 minute of the audio accompaniment - the whole scene, naturally enough. Is "the Electric Man" anyone special? I'll leave this mostly to the commentariate to have at. Links to existing work will be gratefully received.

Ad

The ad mentions Tiny Tim and Paul Butterfield, whom we were just discussing in a comment thread, coincidentally enough, and drops the canonical name for the liquid medium of choice. Uncle Sam is in the house. Good stuff.

Furthur

Universities document themselves religiously, full of their own senses of historical importance, and so I imagine that there might be materials in the University Archives about this. I didn't know of this cancellation, and even a closer scan of the Daily Bruin and probably the LA Free Press would reveal more. Perhaps Ross has already gone through it all and already knows everything I am saying! I thought it was fun.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dropping in Robertson Gym (gd1969-01-17)

The Grateful Dead and Santa Barbara are two great things that go great together. One little mystery has always centered on the location of the January 17, 1969 gig. The gig was absent from Deadbase, is listed as Unknown Venue chez Deadlists, and circulates from Vault -> Latvala -> world tape as “Civic Auditorium, Santa Barbara, CA”, which Corry has noted does not exist. He’s right about that (as far as I know), but his alternative explanation, that the gig was at the Santa Monica Civic, is incorrect.

The gig was in Santa Barbara. Like another one a mere four months later (5/29/69), it took place in Robertson Gymnasium (“Rob Gym” for those who pick up games there), on the stunning campus of U.C. Santa Barbara (UCSB). [update: I see that dead.net already knew this.] Must have been a ‘head or two on the Program Council that year, though, as I'll note, looks like only the latter was fully campus-sponsored.

Background: Grateful Dead in Santa Barbara

Deadlists:
4/29/67 Earl Warren Showgrounds Santa Barbara CA
1/17/69 Unknown Venue Santa Barbara CA
5/29/69 Robertson Gym - University Of California Santa Barbara CA
5/20/73 Campus Stadium - University Of California Santa Barbara CA
5/25/74 Campus Stadium - University Of California Santa Barbara CA
2/27/77 Robertson Gym - University Of California Santa Barbara CA
1/13/78 Arlington Theatre Santa Barbara CA
6/4/78 Campus Stadium - University Of California Santa Barbara CA

There are some interesting Jerry engagements in lovely old Santa Barbara, too, but I will break form and ignore them for now.

Ads and Such

With a little slaving over a hot microfilm reader, I found the following:

! ad: El Gaucho, January 16, 1969, p. 3;
! caption: El Gaucho, January 17, 1969, p. 1;
! ad: El Gaucho, January 17, 1969, p. 3;
! listing: El Gaucho, January 17, 1969, p. 5.

Here’s the day-of-show ad:

"Kappa Sigma presents In Concert Santana Blues Band / Grateful Dead / Travel Agency, lights by Dry Paint, January 17 [1969], 8:30 PM, Robertson Gym (Bring Your Own Pillow)"
Brief Analysis

Thank you, El Gaucho!

The ad reinforces the lost-from-memory feel of the gig, a bit of an in-your-face guerilla exercise with Kappa Sigma. The Santana Blues Band and its successors are well documented, and this show is not listed at the canonical Santanamigos site. If I were an objective observer, I would say SBB headlines over the Dead as a matter of presentation, which is pretty amazing given how early in Santana's run this occurred. It's useful to remember just how Spanish Santa Barbara is, perhaps - maybe Santana would bring the vaqueros' kids in from the high school.

El Gaucho advertises what's going to go down in technicolor glory, even through bad microfilm in black and white. In the sweet spot, top-left of the front page, soak in the picture of a bunch of crazed Deadfolk in various degrees of sprawling on the steps of 710 Ashbury, over caption beginning “DROPPING IN ROBERTSON GYM”, (caps original), and a–wink-wink and a-nudge-nudge.
Bring Your own Pillow


Perhaps it’s no surprise that the show seems to have fallen somewhat out of memory – many may not have imprinted for very long in situ, more the decaying trails of an up-close camera flash.

Listening to the Dead tape now and it's pretty bad. Pigpen is lost in Lovelight, even Dark Star > Steven > Eleven leave me totally flat. Death Don't is good, TIFTOO is fine but uneventful, and a *very* tentative Cosmic Charlie closes things out. The show is way below average for the period, for sure. It sounds like a good crowd which cheers a lot for the Lovelight (maybe the sound was bad), but eventually The Man drops in and shut things down, and young Mr. Weir puts a point on things:
They say that's all there is, so I guess that's all there is.
And goodnight to you, too.