Garcia said “We were great for seconds on end.” I was lucky to see Jerry play for about 1,000,000 seconds exactly. Thanks for your 1,000,000 views here . Dave Davis wrote this blog for 500 posts and 5 years from 2015 to 2019. Contact me at twitter @gratefulseconds

Monday, May 20, 2024

Interesting Band Gig Income for the Grateful Dead in 1979

I'm over 400 pages in my draft of my book on The Economic History of the Grateful Dead and I've discovered a fascinating fact.

While the Dead ended up playing 52 shows at Madison Square Garden in New York for the first two they were vastly underpaid.  

With about 20,000 tickets sold always at the Garden, and about $9.28 in average ticket price, the band got less than 20% of ticket sales.   Most gigs for the band were about 45%-50% of ticket sales in this era.  

This got fixed in September and remained about half for the next 50 shows.

I'm curious why the first Garden shows were so low paid.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

April 30, 1977: My Only Dead Show in New York City

Published on 1-30-2016

So it was another Spring Saturday during my Senior year at Andover, so I hitchhiked down to New York City to see the Grateful Dead.  At the time, it was just Dave as usual trying to see a show, but looking back it was quite the adventure.

I left in the morning, writing down in the log that I was "going home to Maine for the weekend:, but instead I headed down Main Street to the 495 on-ramp and onto the big Apple with about $25 in my pocket. I recall numerous short rides, somehow a detour to Long Island and a few train rides but I ended up on East 14th Street at the Palladium a.k.a. Academy of Music, the closest Grateful Dead at the Fillmore East experience I would ever had, And I did not have a ticket.

According to the Billboard article below from March 26, the five Palladium shows sold out after a single announcement on WNEW-FM

Peter Simon's Backstage Photo from Grateful Dead 365

The Palladium as Academy of Music 1871
 I remember looking up above the building at an open window a few hours before the show and there was Phil Lesh lookimg out with people yelling Phil give me a ticket,

Billboard Review with very incorrect setlist

Six months earlier, in October of the prior year, I had learned the art of buying a scalped ticket paying $18 for a $6 face value ticket for game one of the World Series at Fenway Park.  This day, I was able to secure one seat way up in the balcony for $19 seriously eating into my bankroll.  Very few ticket scalpers in those days in Manhattan in the bands rare shows in the city (only Beacons in 1976 and the night before) since prior to Europe 1972.  My ticket does not survive, so I will present this facsimile:

So on to the show. Just incredible, my 5th show overall and my 2nd St Stephen. I would only here one more in my next 75 shows.  I had seen show four in Springfield the prior Saturday and would go on to hear Boston and Hartford over two of the next four Saturdays. I am pretty sure I met Jerry Moore or Les from Relix or both. And I luckily was "adopted" by some local Deadhead who made sure my mind was feed and that I got to Port Authority after the show.

This was the famous "backwards" set one. Guess which is correct:

The Music Never Stopped                                           The Promise Land
Bertha                                                                           Mississippi Half Step
It's All Over Now                                                         Looks Like Rain
Deal                                                                              Peggy-O
Mama Tried>                                                               Me & My Uncle>
Me & My Uncle                                                           Mama Tried
Peggy-O                                                                        Deal
Looks Like Rain                                                           It's All Over Now
Mississippi Half Step                                                    Bertha
The Promise Land                                                         The Music Never Stopped

You should buy Grateful Dead download series #1 (number one, no less) and listen.
No photos exist of this show but I believe this is a Jim Anderson from four night later at that mind-bending May 4 show.

The second set was stellar and Stella.  My second Scarlet>Fire was followed by Good Lovin, a twist from the week before and then after Friend of the Devil and Estimated, we got the jam St Stephen>Not Fade Away>my first Stella Blue>St Stephen>Saturday Night. It;s not a coincidence the first line of this post has so many S's.  Then we got the encore treat of my first Terrapin.  I would hear this song all over the map in the coming months and years paired with all kinds of songs, but you always remember your first one. That's why it's playing now.

I never saw the Grateful Dead in New York City again. But it was a sweet experience and remembrance that I will cherish forever.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

The Sound Check for the Wall of Sound, March 23, 1974

otiginally publiched 2/28/19 3:49 PM
  The music is listening
Play on you tube 

This is another in the famous show series aka Dicks Picks 24. AKA The Sound Check.
Sadly this is the last of the three Playin in the Band>Uncle John's Band>Morning Dew>Uncle John's Band>Playing in the Band shows.  They almost couldn't get the initial Playin out of first gear.

The other other show ever with Playin>UJB>songs>UJB>Playin (aka Double sandwich) will occur in six years up in Lewiston, Maine.

As with all 1974 shows this one is FAB. And it comes with lots of newspaper and magazine coverage which you can read here. Have fun as usual.

Healy and the Grateful Dead became willing guinea pigs for John Meyer, then of McCune Sound; Ron Wickersham of Alembic; and others on the scene who were looking for ways to deliver music painlessly and efficiently at the often ridiculously high SPLs of the San Francisco sound and rock music in general.
“Those guys were long in the design and prototype area,” Healy explains, “and we were long in the criteria. We built a system and scrapped it, built another one and scrapped it. We never had a finished system, because by the time we’d get one near completion it was obsolete in our minds, and we already had a new one on the drawing boards.”
The concept of speaker synergy and phase coherency in particular was understood by the early Seventies, and several designers had come up with ways of implementing it. John Meyer and McCune Sound developed a three-way, tri-amped single-cabinet system with crossovers that reduced phase shift considerably. It was a significant improvement, but there was plenty of work yet to do.
While Meyer was in Switzerland studying every aspect of speaker design, acoustics and the electronics of sound, Healy and Alembic and the rest took off in other directions.
The Dead debuted a new system at San Francisco’s Cow Palace on March 23, 1974, in a concert dubbed “The Sound Test.” Bassist Phil Lesh calls it the “rocket gantry” and maintains that it was the best PA the Dead ever had.
“It was the ultimate derivation of cleanliness,” Healy explains. “No two things went through any one speaker. There was a separate system for the vocals and separate systems for each guitar, the piano, and the drums. You could get it amazingly loud, and it was staggeringly clean, cleaner than anything today. It still holds the record for harmonic and most especially intermodulation distortion.”
Healy calls this system’s theory of operation the “as above, so below theory. If you stack a bunch of speakers vertically and stand close to one, you hear the volume of that one speaker. If you move a little farther away, you hear two speakers; move away some more and you hear three. If you have a lot of them stacked up high, you can move quite a ways away and the volume stays the same.”
There was no mixing board in the house. Each musician controlled his own instrumental volume, because his speaker stack was its own PA system.
Guitarists Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia each had about 40 12-inch speakers in vertical columns, and bassist Lesh had a quadrophonic system. Vocals also were delivered to the band and the audience by the same speakers. Each singer had a pair of mikes, wired out of phase so that background sound arriving equally at both was canceled, while what was sung into one mike was passed on to the amplifier.

Grateful Dead
Dick's Picks Volume 24

Cow Palace - Daly City, CA

[March 23, 1974]
(Grateful Dead)
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2002, Volume 9, #6
Written by John Metzger
The subject of Dick’s Picks, Volume 24 is the Grateful Dead’s concert on March 23, 1974 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California. It is a performance that is notable not only for marking the debut of the "wall of sound" — the band’s homemade state-of-the-art PA system — but also for being one hell of a show. From start-to-finish, the band was in top-notch form, fully exploring each selection with astounding curiosity — a feat that was remarkable even by 1974-standards, a year filled with one groundbreaking concert after another.
The "wall of sound" was actually a massive array of small hi-fi speakers stacked behind the musicians. The arrangement eliminated the need for individual monitors, and the band was able to hear exactly what the audience heard. In addition, each member was able to have total control over his or her volume in the mix. Perhaps, this is why the music contained on Dick’s Picks, Volume 24 has an almost Beatle-esque quality to it in the way that the instruments slip and slide around one another with studio-like precision.
Then again, the Grateful Dead were masters of improvisation, and by 1974, the band had fully fused jazz into its Americana-based repertoire. The breezy flare of Bill Kreutzmann’s percussion drove the songs, anchoring them to a sometimes solid (Promised Land), sometimes nebulous (Playing in the Band) foundation, while each of the other musicians layered their instruments accordingly. On Brown-Eyed WomenBob Weir’s rhythm guitar textures fed Keith Godchaux’s own keyboard accompaniment, and on Scarlet Begonias, all the sounds blurred together to form a joyously variegated dance. Deal began as a relaxed groove, but grew to a raging inferno, while on Cassidy, the band freely roamed in the space between each beat. And then there’s the breathtaking convergence of Playing in the BandUncle John’s Band, and Morning Dew — a highlight, not only of this concert, but of the Grateful Dead’s career.
In the end, the "wall of sound" proved to be too cumbersome to utilize. (It actually took three fully functional systems — one being torn down, one being set up, and one being used — to mount a tour). But for one year, at least, concert-goers stuck in the back of large arenas could actually hear what all of the musicians on stage were playing. Nearly thirty years later, we’re all still waiting for someone to top it. starstarstarstarstar
Dick's Picks, Volume 24 is available f

Read more: Grateful Dead - Dick's Picks 24 - March 1974 (Album Review)

Art by Gary Kroman
It’s spring of 1974, Daly City, Calif., at the famed Cow Palace where Ken Kesey and many Dead associates piled into the psychedelic Furthur bus to see The Beatles in Tom Wolfe’s famed novel, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The date is March 23rd, and LSD guru, obsessive soundman, and all around freak Owsley “Bear” Stanley’s vision of a kaleidoscopic skyscraper of speakers is coming to fruition. Even for seasoned roadies RamRod and Kidd Calendario, positioning the roughly 50 JBL speaker cabinets was grueling, backbreaking labor, but it paid off. Not only in the several ounces of premium weed that would fill their cubbies at the office each month, or the eternal throngs of beautiful hippie girls thrown at them from every direction, but in the band’s sound, which attained a dynamic so clear and sustained, that each note was as clear as a freshwater stream or a blue sky of deepest summer. On this night, Owsley’s Wall of Sound would propel the evening’s proceedings, which included debuts of nascent material, some hints of the forthcoming records Wake of the Flood and From The Mars Hotel, and most importantly, absolutely ineffable improvisation.
Set one starts with a very strong “U.S. Blues,” before channeling Chuck Berry via Bob Weir via “The Promised Land.” After an exemplary “Brown-Eyed Women” and a happy-go-lucky-cowboy-Bobby “Mexicali,” the band takes a step back, and lets the music relax and open wide for a mellow, downright sexy “Tennessee Jed.”
The key word in this set is patience. While many 60s, 80s, and 90s Dead shows featured a non-stop percussive assault from dual drum sets with very little space or room to breathe, the early-to-mid 70s had very precise, carefully emphasized, beautifully understated drums, as Bill Kreutzmann adapted and grew more comfortable holding the percussion reins following Mickey Hart’s departure three years prior. The fairly new keyboardist, Keith Godchaux, also revved the band up in a powerfully uplifting way. Nearly every song from this show is a near-perfect, key version, the band’s persistent work and time on the road clearly apparent.
European tour staple “Black Throated Wind,” which would leave the repertoire later that year and would not reappear for two decades, followed, and then the first “Scarlet Begonias.” A strong, yet elementary version, the cadence and rhythm would develop further with time, however the choppy-yet-symmetrical vibe and danceability were certainly present. “BIODTL” nods to the Dead’s earlier days, with Donna Jean Godchaux, belting her heart out more-or-less in key (Although Phil is actually more in key.) A delicate “Must Have Been The Roses” takes us back to cowboy town with “El Paso.” Both were strangely omitted from the official live release of this show, Dick’s Picks Volume 24. Jerry digs into his solo repertoire for “Deal,” followed by the debut of  “Cassidy,” the Weir-Barlow ode to their fallen Prankster brother Neal Cassady.  Next up is a baby-making sequence of “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider” in which Jerry and Bobby’s guitars offer a sprightly dance that mimics the early spring weather and surely reflects the loving vibe of the crowd and the early 70s in general. The major descending riff that often pops in “Dark Star” also makes a brief appearance here. A lovely “Weather Report Suite” and “Let It Grow” cap the first set, with pedal steel from Jerry sounding not unlike Zappa’s “Watermelon In Easter Hay,” and with four part harmonies, due in part to the band’s recent vocal work with Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Set two has a very rough but turbo-charged beginning. “Playin’ In The Band” has a false start, as if the band is so eager to dive into the colossal jams of the evening that they trip over themselves in a jumbled rush to the goal line. A mere five minutes in, the deep, psychedelic underbelly of this set begins to show, via fervent, wah-infused cyclical Garcia licks, perfectly articulated in context by a road-hardened beast of a band and the superb clarity of the Wall of Sound. Around 10 minutes, the musical quilt thickens, as each member’s thread intertwines deeper and further into the song, like the roots of a tree extending and braiding, giving a stronger form and stability to the music. “Playin’” also begins a type of passage that the Dead inadvertently pioneered: the musical palindrome.
In a recently refined ability, the Dead effortlessly morph into “Uncle John’s Band,” which in turn delves into the post-apocalyptic “Morning Dew,” before the final phrases of “Uncle John’s” resurface, along with frenetic dashes of guitar from a buzzing Garcia. The music gradually spaces itself out, with emphasis coming from different directions and hitting varied, sporadic intervals, as the “Main Ten” riff (As it was called before “Playin’” was built around it) emerges, before some Donna howling signals the refrain and the gorgeous sequence of “Playin’ In The Band” > “Uncle John’s Band” > “Morning Dew” > “Uncle John’s Band” > “Playin’ In The Band” comes to its beatific conclusion.
Set two finishes in a rather straightforward manner, hardly approaching the energy or all-encompassing depth of that first hour. Crooner Jerry and cowboy Bobby switch off one-after-another for the remainder of the set, with “Ship Of Fools,” “Big River,” “Ramble On Rose” > “Me and My Uncle,” more Chuck Berry with “Around and Around,” a particularly emotional, lilting “Wharf Rat” into a raucous “Sugar Magnolia.”
The band brings it home for a slow, sultry encore of “Casey Jones” followed by a shit-kicking “One More Saturday Night.” The Wall of Sound looming behind them like a massive robotic tower, it must have been clear to see that the Dead were no longer a group of acid-loving California hippies from the cozy Bay Area. Rather, this was a finely tuned machine; a behemoth rock band with a painstakingly and expertly developed sound and ethos that exuded sheer excellence.

Read more:

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Gigs by The Grateful Dead and Post Jerry Ensembles

 First Time I Saw:

Grateful Dead        June 9, 1976

The Other Ones     September 18, 2003

The Dead                June 24, 2004

Furthur                    July 4, 2010

Fare Thee Well        July 3, 2015

Dead & Company   November 7, 2015   

21st Century Dead: The Shows I Saw 2000-2019

The best post-Grateful Dead Jam in my View, March 30, 2002, The Eleven/Millennium Jam

This was originally posted June 17, 2020

My history with the Grateful Dead covers over 110 concerts over a 45 year period between 1975 and 2020.

I saw the Grateful Dead 80 times between 1976-1987 and once in 1994

I saw Jerry Garcia Band and various Dead spinoff bands 14 times between 1975-1981

And I saw Dead spinoff bands 19 more times between 1990-2019

This post gives you my memories of these shows I saw since 2000.

Phil Lesh & Friends/Bob Dylan 6/29/2000 Irvine, CA

I had discovered my co-worker Evan Moore was a huge Dead Head on the day that Jerry died. I have gone to most of these shows in the 21st Century with this cat.  Our first show together was this show in Irvine (where I had never seen the Dead).   This was the only show I saw the underrated Robben Ford and the Little Feat duo of Paul and Bill. I'm lucky I saw this config once. It was a fun 105 minutes, feeling off a cliff, and only the second time I had seen a member of the Dead in 13 years.

Oh, and Bobby Dylan opened with that fantastic Charlie Sexton and Larry.

Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar), Charlie Sexton (guitar), Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar), Tony Garnier (bass), David Kemper (drums & percussion).

Duncan And Brady (trad.)

That Lucky Old Sun (Haven Gillespie/Beasley Smoth)

Masters Of War

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

Tangled Up In Blue

Searching For A Soldier's Grave (Johnnie Wright, Jim Anglin, Jack Anglin)

Country Pie

Tell Me That It Isn't True

Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood)

I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)

Drifter's Escape

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat

Things Have Changed

Like A Rolling Stone

Forever Young

Highway 61 Revisited

Blowin' In The Wind

Phil Lesh & Friends 11/18/2001 Lewiston, ME

I saw Phil in Lewiston 21 years after the Dead show there and 36 years after this fight.

The fight was in the same hockey rink as the Phil show.  

This was the first time I saw the Q, and is seemed like an out of town show after I heard those amazing soundboards of Phil shows I had been listening to for the past year

This is a good recording of this show here:

This show is dedicated to my best friend Jim Roux, who died on September 11, 2001.  I went to his show with my brother Ralph, Jim's ex-wife Liza and his cool son. RIP Jimmy. I loved how Warren sang this one. 

So you know I've been a soldier in the armies of the night.

And I'll find the fatal error in what's otherwise all right.

But here you're trembling like a sparrow, I will try with all my might

To give you just a little sweetness,

Just a little sweetness,

Just a little light.

The highlight of this show is the start of set two with their The Eleven/Millennium Jam and split Terrapin.

the great Philzone site kept all the Phil records

Ratdog 12/31/2001, Oakland   (click link)

Phil Lesh & Friends 12/31/2001, Oakland (click link, this was my favorite 21st Century Dead show)


Click the blue to read a lot and listen to my favorite post-Dead show I attended.

Phil Lesh & Friends 5/25/2002, Greek in LA

This was my last Phil & Friends show. It was at the other Greek, the LA one which is a beautiful venue in its own right and the only time I saw a Dead related band there. Loved the Sittin on Top of the World and just about everything that played that night.  The Q were the one.

Ratdog (Private Private Equity Party)

2/4/2003, 4th and B, San Diego

This was the first show after Rob Wasserman left the band so Rob Baracco (that handsome bearded guy above who always hangs with my brother Ralph when he plays in Portland, Maine) played bass!

My friend Steve Plavin in NJ told me about this, so Evan Moore and I came down and pretended we were invited and immediately got in.  Bobby in front of like 200-300 people, most not caring, was fun.

Thanks to the site 

The Other Ones 9/18/2003, Irvine

My only The Other One shows with that sweet voice of Ozzy's daughter Joan. My  buddy Evan got us great seats, first row high up over the soundboard and he comes back to me before the show and says the setlist is in plain sight and they are opening with Help on the Way and that put a slight damper on this show. China Doll was the highlight for me. Listen here: China Doll


Ratdog 3/1/2004, House of Blues, Hollywood

This was the night of my last day as an Investment Banker. Hooray, I became sane again.

A very fun show with the Freebo.  This was my favorite Ratdog show. 

The Dead 6/24/2004, Irvine

Only saw this version of The Dead once, not very memorable

Ratdog 5/21/2005, Marin

Paid alot for meet and greet but Bobby doesn;t show, he has a gig with Wasserman.

Hung out with Robin a lot. My ex-GF and her sister did not enjoy. Preferred 2004 version

The Dead 5/9/2009 (click link, great night)

Fun night at the Forum

Furthur 7/4/2010, Oxford, ME

Only time I saw Furthur. Fun show millions of friends there

Fare Thee Well 7/3/2015, Chicago (click links)

Fare Thee Well 7/4/2015

Fare Thee Well 7/5/2015

Dead & Company 11/7/2015, Madison Square Garden

Free tickets from American Express

Dead & Company 7/7/2018, Dodger Stadium

Set I: Playing in the Band > Bertha, Jack Straw, Big Railroad Blues, Peggy-O, Ramble on Rose, [Technical Issues], Cumberland Blues, Deal
Set II: Sugar Magnolia > Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain > Althea > Eyes of the World > Drums > Space > Stella Blue > Sunshine Daydream
Encore: Brokedown Palace > Not Fade Away

Dead & Company 6/4/2019, Hollywood Bowl

Set I: A Love Supreme* > Shakedown Street* > Friend of the Devil, Alabama Getaway, Ramble On Rose, Brown-Eyed Women, Cassidy > Fire on the Mountain

Set II: Estimated Prophet > Truckin’ > He’s Gone > St. Stephen > Turn On Your Love Light > Drums > Space > Standing on the Moon > U.S. Blues

Encore: Brokedown Palace