Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Where Was the Grateful Dead on Sunday, August 24, 1969?

Here are the listings from the great San Francisco Express Times, vol. 2 no. 32 (August 21, 1969), p. unk. There's lots of interest here, of course. But I have circled the item that interests me most greatly. It's under the listings for Sunday, August 24, 1969, and reads as follows:

Hippy Hill: Trans-Cultural Rip-Offs, Inc. presents Steve Gaskin & the Grateful Dead in concert with Shiva Fellowship. Bring dope (the sacrament) and good vibes. noon. free.

"Hippy Hill", a.k.a. Hippie Hill, is apparently at the far eastern edge of Golden Gate Park, close to the entry from the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. It seems like a perfectly good place to go share a sacrament and a free show by the Dead.

The Grateful Dead List traditionally shows the GD at Paradise Valley Resort, Squamish, BC, at the Vancouver Pop Festival [ | deadlists]. There is a handbill, but I have never seen any eyewitness or other accounts of the GD's performance. This listing makes much sense given the band's presence in the Northwest (Bullfrog Festival in Oregon on 8/23/69).

That said, I find the listing in the Express Times to have a lot of verisimilitude. I have been reading a lot of stuff from ca. August 1969 around The Common and the Wild West Festival. The Dead doing a free gig in the Park makes sense in the context of all the shit that was going down, about which I will be writing, soon.



  1. I certainly have the Grateful Dead as a no show for the Vancouver Pop Festival but I have never been convinced by these Wild West related ads in the SFET. The following ads to the quoted one list Wild West Benfits at the Family Dog and Fillmore West and I would need to do some checking on these - but they may be spurious. I do know that the Family Dog had a "Light Show Jam" scheduled for the 24th and it has been mooted that this was a similar deal to that on the 26th when a number of light shows "performed" to taped recordings from the primamry SF bands playing at the Matrix.

  2. Thanks, YS! I didn't know that they were no shows at Vancouver and will update my lists accordingly.

    I have been entering these various things in the spreadsheets. I'll try to post updated copies to you soon so you can see what I have entered.

    The reportages by "Verne" in the SFET around The Common are absolutely fantastic. The WWF was tied up in all of this, of course, too. But August 1969 turns out to be a kind of last gasp attempt to make these public trips work out. All of this is really interesting context for the Jerry and the Jeffersons post I am sitting on (though I am glad I have, given that I have found some really interesting new stuff around The Common, the 9/6-7/69 shows, etc.).

  3. "Bring dope and good vibes."

    That should be printed on all concert tickets sold worldwide. Heck, it's great advice no matter where you're going.

  4. The Wild West Festival was canceled at the last minute, and everything associated with it was subject to change. I'm sure that Stephen Gaskin hoped the Dead would show up, and I'm also pretty confident it didn't happen. The whole weekend is rather murky, but escaping from a farm in rural Oregon is not like loading out of a Sports Arena that's near an airport. I don't see how the Dead and their equipment were ready to roll by Sunday afternoon, even if they bailed on British Columbia.

    The page is fascinating, however. I had no idea that the obscure rock club Orion, which I was vaguely aware of, was at 40 Cedar Alley. A nice picture of Cold Blood, too. It must have been taken from a low angle, because Lydia Pense is 5'0 in high heels.

  5. American English and its treatment of collective nouns as singular be damned, it should be 'Were'.

    I obviously don't know whether that gig happened, but let me suggest that some of your (YS and Corry's) skepticism is based, reasonably enough, on patterns that did not hold during this brief window. The Light Artists Guild strike was announced on 7/29/69, we know that it manifested at the GD show at the Family Dog on 8/1 (and I have some amazing reports on what actually went down!). YS speculated in connection with Corry's 9/6/69 post (I think) that that date (and the next night's anomaly) might have been a "makeup" for the canceled GD gig on 8/1. I think that's probably not quite correct, but that there is, indeed, a direct line from 8/1/69 to 9/6/69 and 9/7/69.

    Just as those dates are abnormal, lots of stuff going on in between was just a little bit different. Maybe they played acoustic on 8/24/69. Maybe something else. Maybe, as you suggest, the show on "Hippy Hill" didn't happen. But it very well could have. And the fact that such an impromptu gig in the Park was even mooted in August 1969 already suggests, to me, that normal patterns don't hold here.

    1. On the singular vs. collective, there's a little bit in a 6/13/72 interview that RoG uncovered where the interviewer conjugates as the GD are, then trips up over it - are? is? Garcia suggests "am". Kathy 1972, 19.

  6. Also, YS, on what basis do you conclude that GD did not play the Paradise Valley Resort on 8/24/69?

  7. Seems I had a Config Control problem – the Dead played Vancouver according to a change made in my list in 2002 but somehow lost right away. Perhaps with a change of computer. I have checked McNally and he concurs pp457. YS



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