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

Friday, November 22, 2019

Ray Trifari at Georgetown Decides to Tape the Beautiful Show from the Front Row of the Loge: February 18, 1971

Look Below for Famous David Gans/Phil Lesh Discussion of this Show 

Once upon a time there was a guy named Ray Trifari who started to like the Grateful Dead.  His first show was at Georgetown in October 1970, although he was at Woodstock but did not see the Dead.   
Add him at @RayTrifari  and tell him what you think 

And then on February 18, 1971, he and a college buddy drive up to the Capitol from DC to sit in the front row of the loge and tape the Grateful Dead and the NRPS. Note the ticket is for the rescheduled December 17, 1970 date. 

The reason I met Ray was when in 2018 I found his review of this show in the Georgetown Hoya student newspaper and I reached out to him. 

Luckily for you, Charlie Miller, Scott Clugston, Matt Smith and the team of volunteers from America at Lossless Legs made this available for you here or

A few years back, someone posted a radio broadcast of this show. Even though Ray worked at the famous Georgetown radio station WGBT ("which was run by hippies", see below), Ray never knew this tape was broadcast once. I checked you can even hear Ray's name at the end of the tape.  But Charlie and guys have patched this and made it just exactly perfect.

More from my conversations with Ray, who is another in the line of Heroes in the Grateful Dead universe.

Thanks, Dave. Hope all is well in sunny Pasadena, one of my favorite places. Stayed there last October for the World Series. Very convenient to Dodger Stadium.
Apr 24, 2019, 4:53 AM
Ray Trifari
I went to the first two shows at the Lyceum, so I missed the epic “Morning Dew” performance. I went to my last show in 1994 at RFK.  I tailed off after I graduated from college. Heavy concentration 1971 - 1974. All over the US.
Ray Trifari
So am I. I hope those tapes are OK. {we didn't know at first)
May 1, 2019, 6:07 PM
How many shows total you go to.    Did you go to 1973 rfk
May 1, 2019, 6:08 PM
Ray Trifari
No, I was out of DC that summer. I’ll have to add them up for you. I have all my ticket stubs. Thanks to you, I have been rebuilding my memory from my college years.
May 1, 2019, 6:11 PM
Ray Trifari
So he’s played them and the recording is intact?
Fri 6:27 PM
Still waiting to hear back
Yesterday, 5:29 PM

It took awhile, as Ray didn't label all this reels and we had to search for the last one :)
I think there may be a NRPS from this show as well.

Lots more on this famous show
including David Gans playing it for Phil Lesh

Interview with Phil Lesh
April 2, 1997

Dead to the World, on KPFA 94.1 FM in Berkeley

David Gans, host

[Music: Grateful Dead, jam from "Wharf Rat" back into "Dark Star," 2/18/71 CapitolTheater, Portchester NY]

David Gans: Well, you asked me to turn you on to some Grateful Dead music, Phil, and that's about the prettiest passage I know.

Phil Lesh: Wow. Ah. Ah. When was that from?

Gans: February 18, 1971, Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY. It was coming out of the first "Wharf Rat" ever and back into "Dark Star."

Lesh: Ohhhh. . .

Gans: Pretty stuff.

Lesh: Oh, that's just gorgeous.

Gans: You recognize that voice? That's Phil Lesh over there, on the other side of the counter here at KPFA.

Lesh: Aw, that, that -- I'm sorry, that just, that brought tears to my eyes.

Gans: Well, good. I'm glad you liked it!

Lesh: Yeah, that's gorgeous. Is it longer than that? I mean, is there more of it?

Gans: No, that's pretty much it. "Wharf Rat" kinda winds down, and that's the jam that kicks in; it's about five minutes' worth, and then it's back to the conclusion of "Dark Star." I've been advocating that night for quite some time to you guys over there in the Vault, so --

Lesh: Yeees.

Gans: -- maybe you'll check out some of the rest of it. First "Bird Song" that night; several firsts that night.

Lesh: Oh, you bet, you bet. Thank you very much.

Gans: Oh, good. I'm so glad you liked it, Phil.

Lesh: That's gorgeous. Thanks, man.

Gans: We're here for two hours, and Phil brought in some interesting music, and I brought in some interesting music that features Phil, and we've got some things to talk to you about. We're going to take some phone calls a little later on - don't call in now -- and I think you probably will emerge from this next two hours somewhat enlightened, vastly amused, and two hours older.

Lesh: We can guarantee that.

Gans: And that's *all* we're willing to promise, really. So what's goin' on, Phil? How ya been?

Lesh: Well, pretty good. Hangin' out with my kids a lot. Today they played basketball, for hours. Bompita, bomp bumpida, buh bomp bomp, unhh g'*dang*, boo bampida bamp bamp bedee bamp bamp bamp g'*dang*, umpida gamp. . .

Gans: Mm-hm. Is the hoop on the house, so you hear every --

Lesh: Well, no, it's one of those portable ones on wheels. You pour water in the base, and it sits in the driveway, and they just go back and forth and around and around.

They both play piano, too, though.

Gans: Yes, I heard Grahame playing piano at the Christmas party; it was a lot of --

Lesh: Yeah, his specialty last year was "Silent Night," and he plays it really beautifully, with a lot of feeling. And just since then, he's gotten so deeply into it that he now protests when he's told there's not enough time to practice today.

Gans: Wow!

Lesh: Can you imagine that? "But I *wanted* to practice." So, it's just really -- it's wonderful. He'll go to the piano now and just play spontaneously.

Gans: Does he make stuff up?

Lesh: He's coming to that. He's coming to that. He actually -- there's a little class that he has once a week in school where they're given a melody, and they're asked to harmonize it.

Gans: And Brian plays piano, too?

Lesh: Yes, he does, and he's getting ready to graduate from Book Two of the Suzuki Method, and he's doing wonderfully also.

Gans: Do they contend with each other over the piano?

Lesh: No, we have two. I have one up in my studio, and so they switch.

Gans: That's great, great. Well, one of the things we want to talk about tonight is this event that we're cooking up, that sort of has its origins in that Christmas party.

Lesh: That's right. Well, it actually goes back before the Christmas party. My kids have been in a [private] school, and there's a lot of -- in the parent meetings, and in various other activities that go along with being a parent at this school, you end up singing along with one another, in kind of a very casual, friendly context. And very few people are singers, but the feeling of it, that you get from singing well-known songs, or even songs that you just learn for the first time at that point, it really gives you a wonderful feeling of community.

And so we've started doing that at our Christmas parties, and at various other events. We sing a little song before we eat, a little blessing before we eat, and it's really -- we're thanking the Lord and the Earth for the food that we eat, and it really brings you together in a profound kind of way. And so, Jill and I were talking, and we thought it'd be a good idea to try to extend this kind of feeling to the Deadheads, because along the road, the last 30 years, it's been proven so many times that the Deadheads are the people who play the band.

Gans: Well, your music's been bringing us together in song for a long time.

Lesh: And the input that we always got from Deadheads, at the moment of making the music, was always a factor. There was always so much encouragement, to just really take it and run with it, from Deadheads. And we were thinking that it'd be a wonderful idea to have a get-together in some place that's large enough to hold a good number of people, and expand this kind of idea into kind of a sing-along, where the Deadheads would sing along with me and some other friends that I'd ask to come and join us in this event. We would sing well-known songs, Christmas carols, rounds -- rounds are so much fun, and they are so profound, to work with other people in a large group. To sing a simple round is truly an enlightening experience. Because once you get to the point where you know what *you're* singing, then you can relax and you can listen to all the other parts. And you're part of it. And you're generating this whole thing, which is related, everything is related. You're all singing the same melody, only you're starting in different places; you're starting at different times.

I've wanted to do some kind of a benefit performance; I didn't want to get a band together, or do anything like that, because, you know, the Grateful Dead was my band and I don't really want to do that sort of thing, but this kind of thing -- having a sing-along, and doing a benefit for some kind of organizations in the Bay Area that help bring creative nourishment to people who wouldn't ordinarily have that in their lives. We call it "Food for the Soul." And it's not going to be a performance; the audience as I say is going to be singing along with me and my friends. I'm going to invite some other musicians to come along and help lead the singing, and the audience is going to be the band in this one. We're hoping to have it in December, somewhere in San Francisco, and hopefully we can get it together to do all that.

Gans: Sounds like fun. And that thing of being part of something that's bigger than you and just the people in front of you is great. I remember you told me once a long time ago, when you started playing in the big band in college, that feeling you got when you walked in with a section --

Lesh: Yeah.

Gans: -- and there's nothing quite like it when the band hits a groove, and when a room full of people hit a groove together. It's a big thing.

Lesh: It could awe-inspiring.

Gans: Mm-hm. So block out the month of December, folks, and we'll tell you exactly what day and where it's going to be, a little later on in the year.

Lesh: And you're all invited, or as many of you as we can cram into this place, wherever it's going to be.

Gans: And it's going to be a lot of fun, *and* we'll see what kind of good we can do for some people who could use a little help.

Lesh: Especially in the realm of bringing an opportunity to do something creative to people, as I said, who wouldn't ordinarily have that opportunity. I think that's very important.

Gans: One of the things that I brought in for us to listen to this evening is a performance that you and some of your bandmates did with the San Francisco Symphony last year.

The Friday and Saturday programs were that long John Cage thing ["Renga with Apartment House"], but on Sunday, you guys got together with Michael Tilson Thomas. Let's talk about that a little bit.

Lesh: Well, that was the second program in Michael's "American Festival," and it was a marathon performance. It started, I think, at 2:30 in the afternoon and went till about 8:00, and it was a program of mostly short pieces, by local -- well, international, but centered around local/East Bay/West Coast/California maverick composers who weren't really considered part of the so-called mainstream. Lou Harrison was one of them, Varese was another, Steve Reich.... Meredith Monk performed, and there were several piano pieces performed that were written by Henry Cowell, who was, in a way, the sort of patriarch of this whole West Coast experimental scene. He was writing outrageous tone-cluster music at age 17 in the early part of this century, in the 'teens and '20s.

At the end of it, Mickey, Bob, Vince, myself, and Michael Tilson Thomas collaborated on a group improvisation, which was based on themes that Henry Cowell had composed, and that had been heard earlier in the program as part of the regular performance. This was a great deal of fun to do, especially to watch Michael really cut loose. I don't think he gets a chance to cut loose, playing the piano, very often.

Gans: Tell us a little about Michael Tilson Thomas. He's new-ish to the San Francisco Symphony --

Lesh: Yeah, he's been the music director here now for -- this is the end of his second season coming up. And he's been a guest conductor here many times, through the '80s and early '90s. In a way, he's a protege of Leonard Bernstein; he was involved with the Tanglewood conductor's course, back in the late '60s, early '70s. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and he comes from a long line of performers and artists who I think are originally Russian. Their name was Tomashevsky, originally. He's been conducting all over the world for 25, 30 years, and he really brings a considerable amount of flair and panache to the San Francisco Symphony, which was, in my opinion, sorely in need of the same. The music director previous to Michael, Herbert Blomstedt, was an extremely competent and well-versed conductor, especially with the meat-and-potatoes Central European repertoire. That was his forte, and that was what was performed most often during his tenure, although there was a lot of contemporary music as well, to Herbert's credit.

But Michael now has -- in his first season, for instance, in every concert that he conducted there was an American piece performed, which means essentially contemporary music, because most American concert music dates from, at the earliest, the end of the 19th century. Michael is the kind of guy who has rhythm; he has rock'n'roll in his soul, whether he really plays it or not. And I think you'll hear that in this performance. I have certainly been enlightened by his interpretations of classic works from the late 19th century/early 20th century, because of this groove that he's able to elicit from an orchestra.

Gans: So what we'll hear now is Michael Tilson Thomas introducing the piece and making reference to the Henry Cowell piece that had just been heard, and then it'll be Phil, Bobby, Mickey, and Vince, jammin' with MTT. And this was recorded at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco on June 16, 1996, and it has taken us this long to get it out, in digits, get permission to play it, get you in here to talk about it, and here it is, folks. Thanks for waiting.

[Music: Michael Tilson Thomas, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Vince Welnick, "Space, for Henry Cowell," 6/16/96]

Gans: Phil, you brought in a piece of music by a fellow I've never heard of, named Colin Matthews.

Lesh: Right, he's a British composer, based in London. One of the things that he also does, besides being a composer, is he's the musical executor of the Benjamin Britten estate, and also the director of the Holst Foundation, which are two large organizations that exist to promote new music in Britain. But he's also a very fine composer, and this piece is really interesting to me. I'd heard a tape of it a while back, before it was recorded on CD, and it struck me that there was something very familiar about the end, the sort of the finale section of this piece. I didn't quite pick up on it for a while, but then I realized, finally, that it reminded me of "Dark Star." There's a melodic phrase: <singing> la-a-a da da da-a -- which recurs over and over again, at the end of this piece, and the harmony is very similar to "Dark Star."

So, in the course of events, I had an opportunity to come in contact with Colin Matthews, through the Rex Foundation sponsoring recordings of various music that was being recorded over there. I mentioned that to him, and he said, "This is not a coincidence, because I spent the latter part of the '60s immersed in "Live/Dead." And he said that his favorite part was the transition from "Dark Star" into "St. Stephen." And so I really thought that it'd be interesting to play this piece, for all you Deadheads out there, so you can hear how another kind of musician relates to the music we were playing back then.

Gans: This is the Fourth Sonata, by Colin Matthews, and it's 25 minutes in length.

Lesh: And worth every minute of your attention.

Gans: Cool. So just set yourselves down in front of the speakers, and take one more puff, and enjoy this.

Lesh: Turn the lights down low and the sound *up.*

Gans: There ya go. Talk to ya in a few.

[Music: Fourth Sonata, by Colin Matthews. London Sonfonietta, Oliver Knussen, cond. (Deutsche Grammophon 447-067-2)]

Gans: The name of this program is Dead to the World, my name is David Gans, and with me here in the studio is Phil Lesh, Grateful Dead -- actually, I remember a meeting not long ago when you introduced yourself as an unemployed musician. <laugh>

Lesh: <laugh> Well, that's essentially what I am.

Gans: But you are working on some stuff.

Lesh: Yeah, yeah. I can't stay away from music for long, but, you know, I really enjoy sitting in with friends when they come into town, and hopefully we'll be able to play a little something later on tonight where, for instance, Bruce Hornsby came to town and Bob and I sat in with him, and that was really, really a wonderful experience.

Gans: Yes, it was.

Lesh: But the Grateful Dead was my band, and I don't have any desire to form a band of my own, or tour with another band, or do anything like that.

Many people out there know that I was trained in classical music, and I studied composition for many years before joining the band. One of the things that I'm doing now is composing a song symphony that's based on Grateful Dead song themes -- the melodies of the songs, chord progressions, rhythmic riffs; I'm going to weave them all together into a seven-movement, 45-minute composition, which I'm working on now. Hopefully I'll have it done by this time next year. And there have been some record companies that are interested in it, and so hopefully I'll be able to find an orchestra to play it, and somebody -- maybe I can conduct it myself. I'm going to try and write myself into it. There might be a part where there'll be two conductors necessary...

In a way, it's my way of dealing with, finding closure with Grateful Dead music, and giving thanks in a way to Jerry and Bob and all the guys in the band for making up this wonderful music. I want to take and, you know, interpret in my own way. Of course, in the band, we all interpreted in our own way simultaneously, so this time I'm just going to do it all by myself and see what comes out. It's a very exciting project, and I'm really enjoying doing it. It's so pleasing to be able to just think and write and just have it come out.

Gans: I'm looking forward to hearing it. I have here on tape your exploits as a guest conductor with the Berkeley Symphony from three years ago.

Lesh: Yes, I remember that. That was a very exciting experience for me, conducting music that I really, really love: Stravinsky and Elliott Carter.

Gans: I've got the Stravinsky cued up here, so why don't you talk a little bit about the piece and then we'll listen to it.

Lesh: Well, this is an excerpt. It's not exactly a bleeding chunk, because it's more or less self-contained, even in the ballet score. It's called the "Infernal Dance," from "The Firebird," by Stravinsky, and this is the big scene for the villain. "The Firebird" is a ballet, and this is the scene where the villain gets to prance around and show everybody how baaaaad he is.

Gans: You'll hear briefly an introduction by Jeffrey Shattuck Leiter, who was the acting mayor at the time, and also the master of ceremonies of this guest conductor evening. I want to add, though, that it was a fascinating and sort of bizarre night, because you were the only, like, real musician-like guy. The other conductors were [UC Berkeley] Chancellor Tien; the elephant mascot from the Oakland A's; the basketball coach from Cal --

Lesh: From Cal, at the time, Todd Bozeman; Maxine Hong Kingston, who did beautifully, I thought.

Gans: She did, she was wonderful. And there were several other interesting characters, um --

Lesh: I can't remember now.

Gans: Yeah, I don't either <laugh>, but --

Lesh: It was three years ago, remember.

Gans: -- but here's Jeffrey Shattuck Leiter introducing Phil, and then you'll hear Phil conducting the Berkeley Symphony. This was recorded May 11, 1994.

After this, we'll take some phone calls. We would like to hear intelligent questions, articulate praise, no cranks, please. And --

Lesh: <laugh> Aw, crank it up if you want to.

Gans: Oh, okay. <laugh> Here we go.

[Music: "Infernal Dance," from "The Firebird Suite ," by Igor Stravinsky, Berkeley Symphony, Phil Lesh conducting,5/11/94]

Gans: Hello, we've got our first caller on the line. Are you there?

Caller: I wanted to ask Phil Lesh a question on symphony survival. I'm calling from Davis, near Sacramento. We recently lost the Sacramento Symphony, just last year, and as a side note, at the same time, we seem to have been able to, as a city, grant the Sacramento Kings [NBA basketball team] a $70 million loan --

Lesh: <laugh>

Caller: -- to stay here in the city.

Lesh: Right.

Caller: Which is an interesting juxtaposition of the two forms of culture, and I wonder, from Phil's perspective, what it is that we as a concerned populace can sort of do about loss of important resources, like that symphony. I will mention that I did happen to go to Davies Hall and see Phil, with the rest of the boys, and quite enjoyed it there, and I think you in San Francisco should consider yourself fortunate that you have such a vital and lively symphony that you --

Gans: Well, we have a stadium boondoggle happening here in Oakland and one in San Francisco as well, but you raise a very interesting question: why is it that football teams get gigantic municipal bailouts and symphony orchestras can't survive?

Lesh: Well, isn't it a question of economics? I mean, sports are big, big, big business. And they're always going to be big business because they're the most popular form of bread and circuses that exist in our country, and in fact in the whole world. So that's something that's just a fact of life, I think. What's also an unpleasant fact of life is that the arts are being devalued, constantly and continually, in this country. And it's not just in Sacramento -- it goes all the way to the halls of Congress, as I'm sure you're well aware. I don't have an answer for that. All I can say is, I'm doing everything I can to promote awareness of art and culture, on every level that I can, but when you don't have any kind of music education in schools anymore, then not only do you not have people who can play instruments and perform and create music, but you don't have people who are aware listeners. And that goes for drama, and it goes for art, fine art, painting and drawing, and that goes for any art, any cultural activity. So what it boils down to, in my humble opinion, is that we need to support the arts in schools, and at every other level in the education of children.

Gans: Let me ask you one question. Do you vote?

Caller: I do. Religiously, almost.

Gans: Yeah, I've always done that, too, and I always found it kind of disturbing that so many of my counter-culture brethren decided that it wasn't worth it and they were just empowering the creeps and all that stuff. But you know, politics is all about marketing to the populace, and once they figured out that many people like us weren't voting, they stopped pandering to our concerns and started pandering to the concerns of the people who did show up. And I wonder what would happen if every Deadhead in the country dropped in again and voted, whether it would change anything.

Lesh: That's the one place to start, as far as I can tell.

Gans: Write your Congressman. Write your city councilman. Show up at city council meetings. Participate.

Lesh: Yeah. Protest. Vote.

Gans: Raise hell.

Caller: Thanks for your help, Phil.

Lesh: Take it easy.

Caller: Bye.

Gans: We've got another caller on the line here. Are you there?

Caller: Hey, how you doin'?

Gans: How are you?

Caller: Pretty good. I'd like to say hi to the both of you, and thanks to the both of you for bringing us the music. My question goes out to Phil. I'd like to hear your general insight into the Grateful Dead's music and direction that kind of happened in the '90s and up until the end. In my opinion, it seemed like such a breaking ground for the Dead. You know, although I'm young, I like to think I've listened extensively to all the years, but I kinda was always -- I couldn't [help thinking] what was happening in the '90s was such a great, great point; but I've heard Phil comment, [at] various times -- I never really was sure what your opinion was of the material in the '90s.

Lesh: Well, I'm not sure I understand -- so most of the shows that you attended and the music you've heard has been from the '90s, is that right?

Caller: Well, '87 and up.

Lesh: Uh-huh.

Caller: But, you know, I tried to say, I've listened to all of the stuff and I've always loved it, but it's kind of just a question for your general insight on how you thought the direction went in the '90s, especially during Vince and Bruce shows. It seemed like it really was a new, exciting point, and I'd kinda like to hear what you thought of that.

Lesh: Well, it definitely was, at that point, because we had two new keyboard players, and there was the potential for even greater interaction. And many times that did take place, but what I've said in the past, and my gut feeling, is that it was started to calcify in a sense. For one thing, we had been doing the same two-set format, where we'd open up with the first set, [which] was usually just songs by themselves, and kind of a warm-up set where we'd just feel our way into what was going on, and the vibe, if you will, of the audience; and then a second set where we would try to stretch out and really create something new, especially in the transitions between songs and in the jams that would be part of the songs, and between them.

And that format was -- we'd been using that format, I guess, since the late '70s, and it was starting to get very predictable. In other words, certain songs would surface in the same points in the set every so often; it was like rotation. And everybody in the band was aware of that, and we were trying to figure out new ways to do it. Sometimes we would decide before we went on for the second set that we were going to tell a story, in the "Space" part, and that all the songs that led up to "Space" would lead up to that story, and the songs after that would lead away from it. And we would try all kinds of mental tricks, really, to bring freshness to that part of the show, and to the format.

But we were really locked in to that kind of format, and as the '90s wore on, it became for me more solidified, in that sense that there weren't as many of those magical shows that were just magic all the way through as there had been in earlier years. And I think that when you play together for 30 years, there is the potential for that to happen. And I'm sorry to say that it did feel to me that that was what was happening in the '90s. Not that there weren't great shows, and not that there wasn't plenty of fine music played. It's just that the consistency and the height of where we could take it, with the help of the audience, was less, I felt, in the '90s. Of course, we didn't survive to play all the way through the '90s, so I can say that -- as I said, everybody in the band was aware of this, and we trying to figure out ways to make it different. And there was a movement afoot to take another year off, and if we had been able to do that, and rethink everything, I think when we came back it would have been very different.

Caller: Yeah, the millennium would have been interesting.

Lesh: Yeah, *very* interesting.

Caller: Thanks a lot for your comments.

Lesh: Well, thanks for your question, man. I'm pleased to be able to address that.

Caller: Great. Good night.

Lesh: Good night.

Gans: Thanks for calling. Hello, you're on the air. Keep it clean.

Caller: Hi, it's Jeremy.

Gans: Go ahead.

Lesh: Hi, Jeremy.

Caller: Hi. Um, wow, I'm kinda tingly being on the air, but I had a question about a specific show, actually. I'm thinking of the '95 Seattle show, that ended in "Not Fade Away." And I remember after, when you guys all went off the stage and the drummers were -- it was just Mickey and Bill, and I remember afterwards, when the crowd was still clapping, watching Mickey just going nuts, and jumping around, and Billy came over and gave him a hug, and then at one point I think Mickey was on the ground, like, stomping on the ground, he was so excited. And I wonder if you remember that, if you know what it was he was so happy about.

Lesh: Was this at the very end of the show?

Caller: Yeah, it was right at the end of the second set.

Lesh: Right after "Not Fade Away," was the closer?

Caller: Mm-hm.

Lesh: You know, I'm sorry to say, I don't remember.

Gans: <laugh>

Lesh: If I heard the music, maybe I could figure it out from there.

Caller: Right.

Lesh: I remember being at the show, because a lot of my relatives were there <laugh> --

Caller: Uh-huh.

Lesh: -- but, I don't remember what it -- oh, and I also had pneumonia.

Caller: You had pneumonia?

Lesh: Yeah, I had pneumonia --

Caller: Aah.

Lesh: -- and I just came from the hospital to play that show.

Caller: Wow. I was wondering why you were always -- that whole series, you were pretty much always the first one off.

Lesh: Yeah, I was not feeling well at all, to be perfectly honest with you.

Caller: Right.

Lesh: But I don't remember why Mickey was so excited.

Caller: Yeah, it seemed like after you guys went off, they stayed and played drums for a while. And I remember listening, after they stopped, to the crowd's chanting, and it sounded -- there wasn't like one solid voice, there were lots of fractures going on.

Lesh: Well, that to me is part of the magic --

Caller: Yeah.

Lesh: -- that would happen at a Grateful Dead show. When the band would leave the stage, and then the audience would just take over, and keep the groove goin'.

Caller: Yeah, I was --

Lesh: And for all I know, that groove is still goin' somewhere, and I'll bet it is.

Caller: It is, yeah.

Lesh: And I like to think of it that way. <singing> You know our love will not fade away, a-boom bap bap, a-bap bap -- you know?

Caller: Yeah.

Lesh: I mean, that defines it. That defines the experience for me. And I wish I could give you more details about what was going through Mickey's mind, but --

Caller: Right.

Lesh: -- I'll have to ask him.

Caller: Great, yeah.

Lesh: If I -- yes, I will ask him about that. So, thanks for the turn-on.

Caller: Great, yeah, thanks for talking to me.

Lesh: All right, my pleasure.

Gans: Thanks for calling.

Caller: Bye.

Lesh: Bye.

Gans: Hello, you're on the air with Phil Lesh.

Caller: Hello, Phil?

Lesh: Hello.

Caller: I have a question for you about the last show the Dead played. The last song they sang, *you* sang: "Box of Rain."

Lesh: Yeees.

Caller: The last lines of that song are pretty haunting, listening to that tape, thinking that was the last word that would ever come from a Grateful Dead stage.

Lesh: Yes, but we didn't know that at the time.

Caller: Yeah, well, how did you happen to pick that song to sing?

Gans: You sang three songs that night; that was pretty damn unusual.

Lesh: Yeah, that was unusual, and the two encores was very unusual.

Gans: Yeah.

Lesh: Maybe it was -- I'm trying hard to remember my state of mind. I think maybe it was, I didn't want the show to end with "Black Muddy River." I don't know.

Gans: Mmm.

Lesh: Maybe that was it.

Caller: Well, thanks for singin' it, man. It was great.

Lesh: Well, thank you for saying so, man. I mean, that song means a lot to me; I always try to put everything I can into it when I sing it.

Caller. Thank you. Bye-bye.

Lesh: Bye-bye.

Gans: Hello, you're on the air with Phil Lesh.

Caller: Phil, um, I have more of a comment than a question, and it has to do with our Deer Creek show in '95.

Lesh: Uhh, okay.

Caller: That was my first time back there; I'm a California native. And I have a feeling, for you guys on the stage, that you were relatively disappointed with us, as a group of fans.

Lesh: How so?

Caller: Well, because although there are many different factions of Deadheads out there, we should have banded together and tried to prevent that problem.

Lesh: You know, I don't think there's anything that anybody could have done to prevent that problem. Because, first of all, we were becoming aware during that tour that there was a group of people that was following the band around, and they weren't interested in coming in to the shows, they were just interested in hangin' out outside and tryin' to break in. It was a thing. It was an adventure for them. And so, they became -- they were successful in their desire, at that one place. And we were upset, we were disappointed. I know we wrote a letter about that, and put it out.

But I hate to say that we weren't interested in assigning blame, because *somebody* was responsible for doing that, but I think it was just one of those things that -- looking back on it now, you know, from the vantage point of 20-20 hindsight, I've got to say that I think it was inevitable that something like that happen. And, in fact, that was the tour from hell, because many, many bad things happened on that tour. In St. Louis, some people were hurt seriously when some fans got on top of a roof that was where other fans were underneath it, at a park somewhere, and it collapsed. And so, you know, it's one of those things where we just -- it was starting to make us wonder whether we were doing the right thing or not.

Caller: Yeah, well, as a group, we did respect your decision to cancel the July 3rd show. That was [our] wedding anniversary, and it was a big blow to us, but we did respect that decision. And I feel as a group of fans at St. Louis, we were in the process of *fixing* our internal problems. We were banding together, and really trying to figure out how *we* can make it work, for all of us.

Lesh: Well, that's certainly all that anybody in the band could have asked for. And we respect your desire to do that, and I'm only sorry that we couldn't be out there playin' some more, you know, so that you could enjoy it.

Caller: Yup. Well, I enjoy seeing you around the Bay Area, so keep it up.

Lesh: All right, sir. Thank you.

Caller: Thank you.

Lesh: Bye.

[Music: Bruce Hornsby & band with Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, "Not Fade Away," 4/12/96 -- aborted]

Gans: All right, I made a mistake here. Phil wanted me to play something else, so he's going to talk to you for a second while I recue it. <laugh>

Lesh: It was my mistake. This is from the Hornsby, Weir, and Lesh performance. Bruce Hornsby brought his band to San Francisco about a year ago, and Bobby and I sat in. I thought it was "Not Fade Away" that was the outstanding one, but it was "Lovelight" that was the strangest, because John Molo, Bruce's drummer, and I got into a very much different groove for "Lovelight," I think. As a matter of fact, David, can we play "Truckin'," "Lovelight," *and* "Not Fade Away"?

Gans: <off mic> Of course we can, Phil! This is *your* radio show.

Lesh: Okay, we're going to give you the main body of that set, because I really had a good time doin' this, and I hope you enjoy it, too.

Gans: And now, here we are at the Fillmore Auditorium April 12, 1996, Bruce Hornsby with Phil and Bob.

[Music: Bruce Hornsby & band with Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, "Truckin'," "Lovelight," 4/12/96 Fillmore Auditorium]

Gans: We've been listening to Bruce Hornsby and band, with special guests Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. That was recorded almost exactly a year ago, April 12, 1996 at the Fillmore, and you heard "Truckin' " and "Lovelight." That was fun for you, huh, Phil?

Lesh: Oh, man, it was really a great experience. Bruce's band is so different from the Grateful Dead; there's no lead guitar player, for one thing. And the rhythmic emphasis is so different, and John is such a great drummer. I really got off playin' with the whole band. The horns, you know -- it was wonderful.

Gans: Is there a chance you might pop up somewhere along the Furthur tour again this year?

Lesh: There's a possibility, yeah. I haven't been asked, and I don't know what the plans are for the tour.

Gans: Well, Hornsby's going to be on the tour, and Ratdog, so. . .

Lesh: Hey, well, I'm open.

Gans: All right. You do have a performance coming up in just a few days you wanted to talk about.

Lesh: That's true. Actually, the year anniversary of what you just heard, my son Grahame and I are going to be in a play together, and I'm acting for the first time in front of an audience that doesn't consist of a high school drama class. This is a very interesting experience for me. The play is called "The Sacred Drama of Eleusis," and it's based on the mystery teachings of the Greek religion, and it has to do with the legend of Demeter and Persephone, and the abduction of Persephone -- who is the goddess of fertility, I think -- by Pluto, the Lord of the Underworld, and I play Pluto, the Lord of the Underworld.

Gans: *You* play Pluto?!

Lesh: Yes, Pluton, actually, in the play. And I play him in my most stentorian voice. This play is fascinating because the Greek mystery religion is very similar, really, to what would happen at Grateful Dead shows, because there were consciousness-altering substances that were ingested at the mystery initiations, and this play deals with the descent of the soul into matter -- that is to say, the incarnation of the spirit, which each one of us carries in him or herself, from the spiritual world into matter, into the material bodies that we inhabit on this planet. And this is a metaphorical description of the descent of the soul, and also its remembering of its divine origin and its redemption.

And it is very fascinating and, as I say, it has a lot of parallels to the Grateful Dead experience, in that these dramas were performed to the initiates in an altered state. It's going to be performed in April, on the 12th and the 13th, at Dominican College in San Rafael. The venue is called Angelico Hall. And I think Deadheads would find it very interesting on a, dare I say, cosmic level.

I'm going to hype this shamelessly, because tickets are available. You can call for tickets at (415) 897-8438. It's been an uplifting experience for me to perform in this, or to work with this theater group, which is made up largely of amateurs. It's a community theater group, and there are a lot of kids in it, from school -- actually, from eight schools in the Bay Area; kids from the eight schools are going to be performing in it.

When we rehearse, it's fascinating because we do -- I don't know if any of you folks know Eurhythmy, but Eurhythmy is a science, an art of movement that is aligned with planetary and cosmic principles. And so when we rehearse this play, the first thing we do is we do Eurhythmy figures in a circle. And one of the figures we do is the infinity symbol, a lemniscate; with certain music we dance an infinity symbol. And there are various other patterns that we dance that are like expanding and contracting starburst kind of patterns, and this really puts you in tune with something that's higher than yourself. And I think that Deadheads, as I say, would really enjoy seeing this.

Gans: You are going to play --

Lesh: Pluton, the Lord of the Underworld. <in character> "Who dares enter the Gates of Hell? A living man? May he perish by fire!"

Gans: Ooh, I like it. Sounds good. Phil, it's been a pleasure to have you here. I hope maybe you'll come back sometime and bring some more of your interesting music, maybe take a few more calls.

Lesh: I'd love to do that.

Gans: Any time. We miss Eyes of Chaos/Veil of Order around here at KPFA. Got a call earlier in the evening from somebody who misses having you and Gary [Lambert] on the air once a month playing the cool, new, weird stuff, so --

Lesh: Well, I kinda miss that myself. Maybe --

Gans: Any time.

Lesh: Okay.

Gans: Wednesdays from 7 to 9. You want to come in, you bring a stack of those weird CDs, I'll put ya on the air.

Lesh: You got it. I'll be back.

Gans: I will leave you with the music we began this program with, a sweet jam from 2/18/71, and I'll see you next week.

[Music: Grateful Dead, jam from "Wharf Rat" back into "Dark Star" 2/18/71 CapitolTheater, Portchester NY]

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Entire History of The Grateful Dead in the Chicago Daily News, 1966-1978

The Grateful Dead first played Chicago in November 1968.  The archives of the Chicago Daily News have just come online. This post tracks the Dead in the Daily News from 1968 to 1978.  The paper ceased publishing in 1978. During this era, the Daily News was The Chicago paper following the Grateful Dead most closely.

Era 1: August 1966- August 1968, Pre-Dead Appearing

August 27, 1966
First mention of the Dead 
Note the Pigpen Description

July 20, 1967
Early Grateful Dead media attention often focused on Pigpen

August 26, 1967
Looks at the Dead in Canada

September 30, 1967
Still No Interest In the Dead in the Windy City

Now a Word from Our Sponsors
October 28, 1967

November 26, 1967
A Tribute to Bill Graham, posted here on
November 3, 2019

February 16, 1968
On a Friday night, the Dead were off traveling 
between shows in San Quentin and Fresno
But in Chicago, they were on WSDM on
Underground Den

Era 2: November 1968-December 1969
The Grateful Dead Come to Chicago
This is an Ad from a Student Newspaper, the Daily Northwestern
on November 22
which is the earliest Ad I know of the Dead's Chicago Debut
The only known setlist is 
Cryptical Envelopment > The Other One > Cryptical Envelopment ; 
Alligator on night one.
On November 23, the Chicago Daily News give a much less 
college-centric list of upcoming events

There was no show reviews in the Daily News

The student paper gets the jump om January 16, 1969 
on the return (and last) 
engagement at the Kinetic Playground  
on January 31 and February 1
while the Daily News 
waits until the night of the show to mention the Dead in a flip manner
(No setlists yet on these shows)
Note the mention of both the Electric Theater Co and the Kinetic.
Dick's Picks 26 says the Dead played at the Electric Theater
both the papers may differ in calling it the Kinetic.

In April the Dead came back to the Kinetic/Electric 
for part of Dick's Picks 26.
The Daily News calls it the Kinetic
and even mentions the shows a whole week 
in advance on April 19!
Dick called it the Electric
Help Corry

So after skipping Chicago for years, 
the Dead play three 2-night engagements in five months 
 (with a fourth two months later)
Interestingly, they have three runs over 8 nights in Chicago,
ten years later in 1979.

Era 3: February 1970-August 1971
Chicago Finally Gets! the Dead

On February 5, while the band was cooking at the Fillmore West with 
Cryptical Envelopment > Drums > The Other One > The Eleven> Caution Jam > And We Bid You Good Night Jam> Caution> Not Fade Away> Cumberland Blues, 
Wayne Crawford of the Daily News ends his review of Live/Dead with this:
"It's magnificent"

Even Diana Shore says positive things in April

On April 23, 1970, the Daily News reports on
 July 3-4 shows which never occured
and probably never scheduled as the Dead were
up in Canada on the Festival Express

April 27,1970
Mention of Poynette Festival 

Another Cancelled Set of Gigs, July 3-4, 1970
(Covered by JGMF 10 years ago)

On the day of November 27, 1970,
this show is finally in the Daily News

Grateful Dead Sources says the setlist was:

There are some vague memories of this show on; but most interesting is an entry on by someone who apparently wrote down the setlist at the time (with some errors) -

Casey Jones
Hard to Handle
China Cat
Brokedown Palace [out of place]
I Know You Rider
Cryptical Envelopment [= Other One]
Black Peter
Goin Down the Line [BIODTL]
Mona - Not Fade Away [played later on, w/o Mona]
Sugar Magnolia
Smokestack Lightning
Me and Bobby McGee
St Stephen
Good Lovin
Goin Down the Road
Uncle John's Band

Dead Sources has several reviews including the December 1, 1970 first ever review 
of the Dead in the Chicago Daily News, which actually ran in November 30, 1970.

I try in this fansite to contact folks who write glowing
reviews of the Dead.
Sadly, the great Wayne Crawford, who truly loved the Dead 
and many other types of music died in 2011, but it looks like he
had a great life

Shorter December 1 review

March 5, 1971
The Dead planned to returned to the Syndrome for one last show on March 19, 1971 
But alas he was closed down. So many cancelled shows in the second city.

By the way, Deadbase thought this was a show with no info but:

On March 5, we get the Daily Northwestern schedule for the Syndrome

The Daily News never listed this show, but did run this on March 18

August 23-24, 1971
The Last Pigpen shows in Chicago were at first mislabeled

Releases from these shows

The new reviewer was not as nice to the boys. even though almost all of 
both of these shows have been released.

The Addition of Keith & Donna During the One Drummer Era 4, Oct 1971 to 1975

Alternative Chicago View, 1971-1973
I did this piece a few years ago with no access to Daily News archives

October 1, 1971 Daily Northwestern

After no shows in 1972, This appeared in Rockford in 1973

Finally a Chicagoland show in the Feb 17, 1973 Daily News

Jack just couldn't dig the Dead during a prime March 1973 show
Critics hum 

Pigpens Death is too sad to put anything here

October 5, 1973

This show was not cancelled and lucky since 
set two was:
Morning Dew > Playing In The Band > Uncle John's Band > Playing In The Band  ; 
Mississippi Half-Step> He's Gone > Truckin' > Wharf Rat ; Sugar Magnolia

July 19, 1974
So many cancelled concerts in Chicago
For the third show in a row, Jack hates the Dead

Era 5: 1976 to 1978
The Dead Return But the Chicago Daily News Says Goodbye

June 19, 1976
Cool the Dead Go Back to the Auditorium as they would also in 1977
10 of their 51 Chicago 
Finally Jack plays nicer

Although Jack was harsh on the band, note that he wrote this in 1976

He reminds me of being critical of the sameness of the setlists in 1978
after going to 8 shows in 1977. 

Now the Daily News switched to Howard Mandel

Mandel's 411

The legend Lester Bangs reviews the Grateful Dead show at the Palladium in New York 
on May 1, 1977 the day the Dead play Chicago.
While both shows are in the first May 1977 Box Set, there is an awesome 
bonus disc for May 12 in the Winterland June 1977 box.

If you don;t know Lester, watch Phillip Seymour Hoffman play him in Almost Famous or read this 
book: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic by Jim DeRogatis.
He doesn't only review the show, he mostly reviews the world around the show.

1978: March 4 the Chicago Daily News ceased. But not before these amazing tales of our guys.
Thanks to all you reporters and reviewer. Even hard to please Jack came through in the end.

Luckily the Dead played in the Windy City in January 1978 so we get one final review out of the Daily News, this one by #5 John  Milward.

John is also one of the super talented group like here:

Let's see what John said on January 28, 1978, a few weeks before the paper shut down

Oops it's a preview
So no more reviews sadly

The last mention of the Dead is in the very last edition of the paper