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
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
More here http://rockprosopography101.blogspot.com/2010/03/kinetic-playground-chicago-il-4812-n.html
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
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:
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
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 setlists.net; but most interesting is an entry on dead.net by someone who apparently wrote down the setlist at the time (with some errors) -
Hard to Handle
Brokedown Palace [out of place]
I Know You Rider
Cryptical Envelopment [= Other One]
Goin Down the Line [BIODTL]
Mona - Not Fade Away [played later on, w/o Mona]
Me and Bobby McGee
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
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
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
So no more reviews sadly
The last mention of the Dead is in the very last edition of the paper