Friday, May 28, 2010

GD at Eagles Auditorium, Seattle, WA, January 1968

 I am going to argue that the Quick and the Dead played Eagles Auditorium in Seattle, WA on Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27, 1968, and *not* on Monday 1/22 and Tuesday 1/23. This may well be widely accepted, but since the tapes still circulate with the latter dates, and Deadlists remains a bit noncommittal, I thought I'd lay it out.

Argument 1: The GD played Eagles Auditorium on Friday 1/26 and Saturday 1/27, 1968.

There is both ex ante and ex post evidence for this.

For ex ante evidence, to the left is an item in the Seattle Times dated 1/23/68.

Here is a calendar listing for 1/27/68, published on the day of the second (Saturday) show:
There were also articles written ex post in the Helix, as the following two. Note that I am not entirely sure about the volume/issue/date. I noted these as v2 n 13 (2/1/68), but according to the University of Washington's Special Collections Helix scans, this is v2 n10. The microfilm from which I was working made it exceptionally difficult to figure out this sort of thing, insofar as it was legibly identified at all.

What do we learn from this? The Quick and the Dead played late January 1968 Friday-Saturday shows at Eagles Auditorium. The GD, on 'jc''s account, opened the second show with Lovelight.

There is a poster in Art of Rock, plate 3.104, p. 287; see also p. 249.

By the way, the liner notes from the Golden Road boxset give the Seattle Eagles Auditorium dates as 1/26-27/68.

In sum: I believe the evidence establishes that the GD played Eagles Auditorium on January 26-27, 1968.

Argument 2: The Quick and the Dead did not play Eagles Auditorium in Seattle on January 22-23, 1968 (Monday-Tuesday).

As far as I can tell, the only evidence in support of this dating is the labeling of GD vault tapes. Now, I am aware that notwithstanding the chemicals that could have been involved, GD vault tape labels are incredibly reliable. So when I say "only" I don't mean to deprecate this empirical source; I merely mean to say that this is the unique evidence that is known to me. Material from "1/23/68 Seattle" has been issued on the official release Road Trips v2 n2, and of course material with both dates has circulated for some time in collecting circles.

Evidence against the 1/22 and 1/23/68 dating is entirely mostly of the "dog that didn't bark" sort. There are no known posters. There were no show announcements in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the University of Washington Daily, nor, most importantly, in that masterpiece of Seattle psychedelic underground journalism, the Helix.

Update: I have found a dog barking, albeit quietly, about 1/23/68. The Seattle Times, January 14, 1968, p. 85 (or is it B5?), has a little item entitled "Hanauer, David in 10-Rounder Here" about a World Wide Boxing Club event. Seems Jack Hanauer, a middleweight from Pasco, was going to meet Indian Joe David of Oakland. There were a few other fights on the card. Most importantly, the fight was scheduled for January 23rd in Eagles Auditorium. Indeed, the January 23rd opening date for the fight club was announced as early as 12/31/67 in the same paper.

Based on spending a little bit of time with these sources, I am 100% persuaded that any GD show at Eagles and/or otherwise in Seattle would have been advertised and/or otherwise covered in some of these sources, ex ante and/or ex post. The GD's first visit to Seattle, AFAIK, was in July 1967. That show was extensively advertised, including with a poster. The "Be-In" that afternoon at Golden Gardens Park, before the Eagles' show, was reported in the P-I. Similarly, the Eagles Shows on September 8-9, 1967, featured a nice ad in the Helix. The January 26-27 shows were advertised widely and much-discussed.

Finally, reading the above in particular, there is just zero intimation that the GD shows on Friday-Saturday are taking place after a set of Monday-Tuesday shows that same week. Does this make sense? There's no mention anywhere that they had just played the same venue a few days before. By contrast, there's lots of "sense" in the coverage that the Quick and the Dead came upon a Seattle that was barely ready for them. The rube Seattlites are made to seem like they have a lot to learn. Hard to imagine that'd be necessary if the GD had warmed them up just a few days before.

In sum, notwithstanding the apparent existence of taped in the GD vaults labeled with these dates, I argue that no GD shows took place at Eagles Auditorium in Seattle on January 22-23, 1968.

I have no idea what would explain the mislabeling of the tapes. Maybe 1/22-23 were originally scheduled, and maybe since the GD were recording for the album tapes were pre-labeled before they were rescheduled. Just one less thing to do on tour, and all that. I have no idea. But unless some other evidence turns up, I am compelled to conclude that 1/22-23/68 Quick and Dead shows are phantoms.


  1. I find your argument completely convincing in every way, and I've even argued it myself. Here's the problem though: the Dead were in Eureka, California on January 20, 1968, and their next gig was Friday, January 26, at Eagles. What were they doing in the meantime?

    I have been so focused over the years on debunking the January 22-23 date--my principal argument was that they wouldn't play two nights on Monday and Tuesday--that I haven't thought about the intervening week.

    I haven't listened to the Eagles tapes in a long time. Any chance that the tapes are just a rehearsal? If they drove to Eagles and set up their equipment, what else would they do?

    Even if you don't buy that theory--I don't buy it--what were they doing? Playing a biker bar on Ballard Avenue? Stranger things have happened.

  2. I was wondering the same thing. Like you, I can't imagine them *not* playing for such a long stretch at that point in time. I find the idea that they might have used Eagles as a rehearsal space plausible, though of course the tapes will tell and the odds are against it. I have an email into Boyd Grafyre ... here's hoping he might reply and shed some light.

  3. I've long thought that Jan 26-27 were the correct dates, in spite of the GD themselves apparently labeling the tapes Jan 22-23... It's good to see a post laying out the proof like this!

    It does seem beyond belief that there would be two additional (and totally unremarked) shows at Eagles a few days before the 26th. Our tapes are not rehearsals, and I doubt there were rehearsals at Eagles.

    I don't think the date gap is so hard to explain...there are a couple possibilities:
    1) they didn't play anywhere. Jan 21-25 was, of course, a Sunday through Thursday - not exactly a group of days you'd expect to find a heavy touring schedule.
    2) a lost show or two. There are three "lost" shows later in the tour, each one at an Oregon college (and each in the Sunday-Tuesday range, too)...perhaps the Dead found themselves at some Washington college that first week?
    3) Perhaps a planned show somewhere was cancelled?

  4. Corry has me persuaded, through his general accounts of how stuff was booked and through his persuasiveness in claiming that the GD were basically hand-to-mouth at this stage, that they would really have needed the gigs during the 21-25 window. So I'd guess #2 or, perhaps most probably, #3. Given the obscurity of some of the other shows, it could pretty much be anywhere north of San Francisco.

  5. Just to add a little more ex ante evidence that I just ran across -

    The 1/24/68 University of Washington Daily at, p. 8 has an ad with some great trippy artwork for the show.

    Similarly, the 1/25/68 issue has a short article about the upcoming shows. You may need to zoom/pan to see article, top right of p. 7.

    (the UW Daily is available at the UW Student Newspapers Archive at

    Interestingly, the article states, "The Grateful Dead have appeared several times in Seattle, and performed at the Golden Gardens Be-In this past summer." In the dog that didn't bark vein, one thinks they surely would've mentioned if the GD had played just a few nights before.

  6. The article from 1/23/68 would say they were playing there "tonight" if they were - but of course it doesn't....

  7. I have found a dog barking, albeit quietly, about 1/23/68. The Seattle Times, January 14, 1968, p. 85 (or is it B5?), has a little item entitled "Hanauer, David in 10-Rounder Here" about a World Wide Boxing Club event. Seems Jack Hanauer, a middleweight from Pasco, was going to meet Indian Joe David of Oakland. There were a few other fights on the card. Most importantly, the fight was scheduled for January 23rd in Eagles Auditorium.

    Indeed, the January 23rd opening date for the fight club was announced as early as 12/31/67 in the same paper.

    Maybe didn't happen, but to me it's another point against a GD gig on this date (not that I needed convincing).

    Could have been canceled.

  8. Anyone remember the Dead could not get anyone to get up and dance at there first Seattle show at eagels? Everyone one sat on the dance floor like a bunch of Hippies!

  9. Was that Sunday, July 16, 1967, by chance? There was also a "Be-In" at Golden Gardens earlier int he day.

    Couple of references to the Be-In:

    Hilda Bryant, "The Cool Brave Heat For 'Gentle Sunday'," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 17, 1967, 3.

    "Hippies, 'Straights' Attend Be-In," Seattle Times, July 17, 1967, p. 44.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. When the Grateful Dead performed their free, open-air concert that warm Sunday afternoon at Golden Gardens Park off Ballard in Seattle, I had never heard of them before. I just happened to be at Golden Gardens that day, and I saw them perform on a wooden stage between the railroad tracks and the Seattle Parks Department building, under a canopy of trees. Up above us there was an airplane trailing a banner that said "THE GRATEFUL DEAD". Over the years I somehow misremembered the year as three years earlier, but the "Summer of Love" year makes more sense. I am here to bear witness because today in 2018 I told my new friend (codename) Petra that I had been to a Grateful Dead free concert at Golden Gardens Park, and she seemed not to believe me, so I Googled it, and here we. There was indeed a Grateful Dead performance at Golden Gardens Park on Puget Sound in Seattle WA USA.

    3. Yes, and there were reviews in the newspapers, too, though I can't seem to find my copies. One of them had "Gentle Sunday" in the title.


  10. You know, it finally occurred to me that Anonymous's comment of 12/10 is reflected in the Helix article above about the 1/26 show:
    "Throughout the evening, both the Dead and Quicksilver kept urging people to dance; but with very few exceptions everyone just sat on the floor and was subdued. Even the applause was rather mild, considering what was happening onstage."
    (The article about the 1/27 show also mentions that when the Dead tried to move the audience with a hard-pounding song, "A few moved.")

    Quite the contrast to later Dead shows!

    Anyway, my main reason for commenting is to quote a pertinent review from Deadbase X (perhaps already noted on lostlivedead or somewhere).
    Gregg Bucci wrote (in reviewing 5/2/70) that the Binghampton college library had a good collection of underground papers:
    "There is a goldmine worth of material in those papers. I distinctly remember reading one of the papers, I think it was the Oracle, and coming across a review of a Dead show from Seattle. The show was from the Eagle Auditorium sometime in late 1967, early 1968. I believe that the review even had a picture of the band from the show. It stated that after 45 minutes of tuning up and noodling that the band had to cancel the performance because they were tripping too heavily to play. They may have played a song or two, but I'm pretty sure it said that they tried to play but just couldn't get it together. If you ever want to spend your vacation doing some interesting research, those newspapers could well provide you with a rewarding one."

    So I'm wondering if the article has been identified, what show it's talking about, and if that's what it actually said? It's certainly not about one of these Jan '68 shows.

  11. I will take a shot at finding the item LIA. To my knowledge the only Eagles Auditorium shows were:
    July 16, 1967
    September 8-9, 1967
    January 26-27, 1968
    November 17, 1968
    The reference to the Oracle is an odd one really and I suspect it was meant to be to Paul Dorpat’s Helix (which ran from March 23, 1967 to June 11, 1970). I will check the Oracle’s – and I have a full set to check – but am none to confident. I have quite a few copies of Helix which I will also dig out and check to see what we can find. I guess there is the slimmest of chances the reference should have been to the Spokane Natural, again I can check those. Certainly visiting San Francisco bands (notably Country Joe and The Fish, Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane) were pretty big news in the Helix.

  12. Yellow Shark, that's great, thank you in advance!

    I highly doubt this ends up being an oblique reference to, say, abortive show on one of these phantom dates (1/23 or whatever). I'd guess it's some conflation of stuff, such as the reviews I have already identified (both from the Helix, a treasure trove!) with some none-too-reliable personal memory. Or even reasonably reliable memory. The Dead shows of January '68 were full frontal assaults. They blew out a shitload of decibels in a reasonably compact amount of time. Once you factor in all of the resulting cerebral short-circuits (and allow me to stipulate temporal relativity), it may only have been a half hour. And I am quite sure they were "tripping too heavily to play" ... I just doubt that that actually stopped them from doing so (playing, that is).

  13. In search of Gregg Bucci's sighting of an Eagles show review (see 12/26/11 comment above), which has been bugging me all these years, I've been looking through this collection of Helix scans from 1967-68:
    And I don't think any such review was in the Helix. They religiously covered most of the Dead's visits to Seattle:
    July '67 - Eagles ad, interview
    Sept '67 - just an Eagles ad [although the blog includes a number of photos from the free park show]
    Jan '68 - two articles & photo
    Nov '68 - Eagles ad, two articles
    (And an interview after the Aug '69 Aqua Theater show.)

    Unfortunately there's no way to know which paper Bucci actually saw, or whether it was actually an Eagles Auditorium show reviewed. So the search continues...


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