It is presently "commonly known" that the "An Evening With The Grateful Dead" show concept / set format debuted in Alfred, NY on Friday, May 1, 1970 [Deadlists | TJS | shnid 95683 | archive.org]. McNally (2002, 366) narrates things this way, Deadlists' entry presents the show in conventional AEWTGD form, and so forth. This post will establish that the 5/1/70 show didn't follow the conventional AEWTGD format, and cast some slight doubt on whether this was even an AEWTGD show at all. It'll also clear up some venue confusion and blabber about lots of other things.
I don't do much Grateful Dead, and tend to think it's much better done by others. But the NRPS-Matrix-1970 stuff, and a lot of what LIA has recently been writing about (e.g., "The Hartbeats-July 1970"), has me needing to reflect on the 1970 GD acoustic sets a little bit. My main aim was to get at the 7/30/70 and 8/5/70 sets, of which I have done the first. In trying to "get at" shows, however, I tend to start by listening to them, then by listening around them (e.g., to some other shows that might have some logical connection to the one under scrutiny), and then by listening to them again, hopefully consulting The Sources, taking notes on everything. Ridiculously roundabout process, but there it is.
Here, my idea was that bookending these 7/30 and 8/5 shows would be productive. So I picked 5/1/70 (the first known AEWTGD) and the Fillmore East 9/20/70 (a late-period AEWTGD show). Of course this turned out to be a ridiculous rabbit hole, since as it happens neither I nor anyone known to me has the New Riders set from 5/1/70, though Jim Powell documents it at Deadlists. Then the acoustic set turned out to be interesting, then the show turned out to have some interesting anomalies, then some bigger questions came into play. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I have a long (for me, not LIA!) post in the guise of listening notes involving, inter alia, analysis of some of the many narrative lines that pass through the particular node of An Evening With The Grateful Dead, Alfred, NY, Friday, May 1, 1970.
Common Knowledge Around This Node
First, McNally says the AEWTGD concept debuted in Alfred, NY on May 1, 1970. As I understand it, this is indeed so widely (if reflexively) agreed to that it's not even folk wisdom. I'd call it common knowledge. The 5/1/70 entry at Deadlists is structured just like the rest of the AEWTGD shows.
Second, the set structure of an AEWTGD show is also commonly known. The Deadlists entry for 5/2/70b includes Jim Powell's note "An Evening With The Grateful Dead 1970", with quotes from an interview Garcia did while in England in May 1970 (1). The upshot is that the AEWTGD set structure was as follows:
- (I) Acoustic Grateful Dead (AGD)
- (II) New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS)
- (III) Electric Grateful Dead (EGD)
By way of summary, common knowledge of 5/1/70 tells us two things:
- this was the debut of the AEWTGD show structure; and
- the AEWTGD show structure went AGD-NRPS-EGD.
Engagement with this show generates some small doubt about the first claim (though I think it's probably right). The second may still be true, but it's not what happened on 5/1/70. Making a mountain out of a molehill, I argue that the true running order of AEWTGD 5/1/70 was (I) NRPS, (II) AGD, (III) EGD.
Not a big deal, but interesting to me to note it. As I will argue below, this is a pivotal moment in Jerry's professional arc, where it was time to get down to business, start making a little money. After getting ripped off by Lennie, and with Mountain Girl looking to settle down with a their new baby, it's time to start generating some coin (pronounced as "kwahn," naturally). Anyway, things would get more and more institutionalized from roughly this period forward. Finding that the show format was not quite settled (or something prevented it from taking place, whatever it might have been ...) just gives a little finer grain on the evolution of things. Even if it's only one show, it connects the time period before the AEWTGD format was established with the time period during which it was in place.
The tape provides two clues as to this unusual set order.
- there' s a snippet of emcee talk at the start of the fileset which cuts in on "this bill is five hours long. Now, the Riders just filled up//" before cutting out and returning to the start of the AGD set. If this snippet were in the right place, it would suggest that the show order was NRPS-AGD-EGD, rather than the canonical AGD - NRPS - EGD. Now, that snippet could be in the wrong place, but I don't think it is.
- at the end of the AGD set Garcia says "We'll come back with our electric stuff in just a moment", over continuous tape. Now, could he have meant the New Riders? I suppose so, but I really, really doubt it. (Aside: this is also where Weir asks the crowd "You wanna hear Pigpen?" prompting Jerry to inform Bob, off-mic, that Pig "doesn't wanna do anything. LIA just did a Pigpen post and mentioned this, so I thought I'd note. We might even have a partial explanation via the partly redacted testimony below!)
The third clue about the running order comes from Philip Orby's testimony to me in private correspondence. I reprint most of it below. He has clear markers for the progression of the show and clearly remembers it as NRPS-AGD-EGD. (I have a few thoughts on the use of single testimonials as evidence in my post on a possible JGB show in Salinas on June 24, 1981.)
I should note that another attendee, MAXROD, recounted the standard AEWTGD set format to me. But he noted that he relies on present information in reconstructing some things, and so I think this should be discounted.
Based on all of this I conclude that this show ran NRPS-AGD-EGD, rather than the AGD-NRPS-EGD progression that is usually assumed.
Here's where this leaves me: do we even know whether this show was even billed as "An Evening With The Grateful Dead"? I have never seen any ticket stubs or ephemera, no contemporary press items, anything. McNally says it was the debut of the format, and that's pretty powerful stuff. It certainly should have been, given that it's the first show of a very important tour, one that would set the Grateful Dead on a solid foundation of economically viable touring for the next quarter-century. So we don't have any reason to doubt it, and lots of reason to think it was. It's just a question, is all.
"An Evening With The Grateful Dead": Some Reflections
Anyway, the AEWTGD show structure/concept was important in a lot of ways.
First, as Corry and many others have noted, it allowed the GD to travel with a small number of additional bodies (Dawson, Nelson and Torbert) for a reasonably big payoff: they had their own opening act and could probably demand premium prices for the 5+ hour evening of music (see LN note #1 below to hear the Alfred emcee or organizer making just this point to what sound like a bunch of bellyaching anarchists, radicals, leftists, pinkos and other unsavory types). Especially after Lennie Hart robbed them blind, the Grateful Dead needed to start generating some serious cash. It's no coincidence that 1970 would be probably their heaviest touring year (I could run the numbers easily enough, but I don't feel like it). The AEWTGD show format brought financial benefits, full stop, and that was important for what needed to become, at this point more than ever, a true working band. One that will pay off in the long run. One that will allow these guys to buy a ranch in Marin or Sonoma, do a little "livin' off the fat a the lan'", as a different "Lenny" might say. With characteristic insight, McNally (2002, ch. 31) titles this chapter, running March-July 1970, "Might as Well Work". He really does have a way with words ... this captures a ton.
This tour would continue to solidify the Grateful Dead as a nationally viable band, a process the "end of the beginning" of which would be the slightly tighter March-April 1971 tours to midwest and northeast towns and colleges. This would stand them in good economic stead for no less than a quarter-century.
Second, related, McNally (2002, 366) astutely notes that with the AEWTGD, the GD would become a "full-range band" (Garcia's term) musically, with a huge repertoire and incalculable creative/exploratory possibilities. It's no coincidence that McNally (2002, 366) uses AEWTGD as launching pad for a pithy summary of the rest of the GD's history and the band's astonishing range over most indigenous American musical forms: "Over the next two decades they would play nearly 500 different songs, of which roughly 150 were originals. Those 350 cover tunes would span a large portion of American music, to a level unmatched by any other band." He goes on to enumerate the genres embodied in this repertoire: rock and roll, blues, jug band music, folk, Stax-Volt, rhythm and blues, rockabilly, country-western, gospel, sixties garage rock, calypso, western swing, and New Orleans (McNally 2002, 366-367).
While this range would continue to expand after 1970, the basic set structure of 1970 (less the NRPS) would become the basic set structure of Grateful Dead shows forevermore, with first sets focused on shorter, often more basic, tunes, and second sets more exploratory and often more potent. This arrangement made sense, of course, allowing the band to loosen up a little bit before pushing the limits. It worked well for the band, and was a functional adaptation. I don't think there's any path dependence to it out of the AEWTGD structure. I merely note that it is a form that found first expression in the AEWTGD show.
Third, most importantly, one might consider NRPS as Garcia's first real side project, where "real" means both that things were planned rather than ad hoc and, related, that there was money involved. This would be the very first time in Jerry's life --I am confident about that-- that he'd be onstage in front of a paying, non-Bay Area audience in a band that had been billed as something other than "Grateful Dead".
Now, if this is speciation it's also necessarily a process (i.e., unfolds over time), and a slow moving one at that. NRPS is like the fish with legs, wading out from the deep murk to catch some sun and dry land fun, and then stumbling back into the ocean for the night. The thrust of Jim Powell's analysis at Deadlists over the years has been the NRPS was indissociable from GD during the AEWTGD era. They are essentially the same. AGD, EGD and NRPS are all part of the thing called GD, in this lexicon. That's fine, and there's no reason to argue any of these points since they're just definitional, and can't be resolved through logic or evidence. There are just tradeoffs to be made through different conceptualizations. And I do tend to take a different view. I do think of NRPS as qualitatively different as the first institutionalized (professionalized, monetized, whatever) expression of Garcia On The Side. By this point, only Garcia and Hart were in both bands, though "Bobby Ace" Weir would occasionally lend a hand on NRPS sets while Nelson and Dawson would quite regularly come out and help AGD on the gospel numbers. Anyway, I take Garcia playing for paying east coast customers in a band billed as something other than the Grateful Dead represents a major change which would manifest itself over the next 4 years in the gradual development of a full fledged GOTS touring career.
A Few Questions About AEWTGD
First, has anyone ever considered the extent to which AEWTGD might be tied up with Lennie's perfidy (accepted, no longer denied, from ca. March 1970) and with the engagement of David Torbert as NRPS bassist around this time? Or is this already well-known and I just missed it? Corry has done the key work on the latter question and has expressed puzzlement at the whole story of Torbert's engagement. I think it's all of a piece, and all driven by the need to pay the bills. Oh, and more grownup stuff in Jerry's life: Annabelle is born on February 2nd (yes, two days after the New Orleans bust, and Garcia in St. Louis), and around this time (I can't pin the timing down) it seems that Mountain Girl starts house-hunting in western Marin. There's something of an evolution toward AEWTGD, of course. A look at growth of country and acoustic stuff in 1969, culminating in the impromptu acoustic set on 12/19/69, establishes the basic idea of a separate acoustic pre- or interlude. But it sure seems to me that around March 1970 everything comes to a head.
(Aside: if they really needed the money, it would have made the most financial sense to have Phil Lesh continue playing the bass for the New Riders. The fact that they went out to get Torbert suggests, first and foremost, just how little interest Phil Lesh had in doing that [or they in having him do that].)
Second, has anyone ever narrated the interwoven trajectories of Casady and Garcia around this period? They obviously played together in their first dalliances outside (but during the existence of) their "day" bands. As enterprises in exploring roots music, Hot Tuna and Dawson-Garcia --> NRPS have some similarities. In 1969, Hot Tuna was playing an interlude set at Jefferson Airplane shows. I don't know if they were ever billed as a distinct act (I assume so), but if so there's a really close analogy to what Jerry would do with the New Riders. I should probably consult Tamarkin's Got a Revolution! on this point, but I seem to recall these parallel parts of the CVs aren't narrated - the focus is (reasonably) on where the lines intersect. My point is, it would be interesting to me to learn that JA/Tuna had established the precedent of using a barely-speciated spinoff as a way to fill a complete billing (and be paid accordingly). Subsequent parallel history shows the side-projects becoming more speciated and independently institutionalized over time.
The recording is a hodgepodge of three sources:
- Source 1: SBD -> Master Reel -> CD (Deep Elem Blues through Cumberland Blues)
- Source 2: SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat -> Sonic Solutions -> CD (The Race Is On through the middle of Drums)
- Source 3: SBD -> Master Reel -> Reel -> Dat -> Sonic Solutions -> CD (middle of Drums though the end of the show.
The recording is characteristically excellent, except that source 2 seems to run fast to my ears, notwithstanding that it shouldn't, per the stated lineage.
Regarding the metadata surrounding the show, the location/venue is extremely confusing. There are at least three name variants running around: Alfred University (TJS), Alfred College (Deadlists), and Alfred State College (the Soto-Arnold Grateful Dead List, about which I hope to post reasonably soon). McNally (2002, p. 366) doesn't give the name of the college, only the town. So, which was it?
Well, if we allow our trusty Google to take us to a map of Alfred, NY, we see the "University" the "State College" variant, and a "State College, Alfred Campus" variant. Sheesh.
Anyway, trying to be all scientific, I conducted searches in Google News Archive for the year 1970 for the name variations using an exact phrase search. The candidates and the number of results returned follow.
- "Alfred State College": 4
- "Alfred College": 2
- "Alfred University": 69
Wrong. I will list this as follows: Gymnasium, Alfred State College, Alfred, NY. This is based on various eyewitness testimony.
Archive.org hosts no fewer than four filesets for this date. We are indeed fortunate! Among these one can find these two pieces of testimony (edited for grammar, etc.) .The first is available at the archive.org item for this fileset, where commenter "thejeffy" says this:
I was there. I was a freshman. The show was at the Tech college, across the valley. ... [I] remember hanging out with Phil and Mickey as they loaded the station wagons to split after the show. I think there were maybe 50 people at the show
On an older fileset, "Tom209" says
My first Dead show. We came from St. Bonaventure. It was in the gym. I think I saw Jerry, sitting in a men's room sink, playing a guitar ... and a conga line around the stage for LovelightCorrespondent Philip Oby graciously gave me a full narrative that really ties everything together and paints a picture of the scene and some crucial details about the show.
It was the homecoming concert for Alfred State College, a SUNY affiliate. I went to Alfred University, the best ceramics school in the good old USA. We called the kids across the street “techies.” Both schools are located in the rolling hills in the southern part of the beautiful Finger Lakes area of NY in the charming little town of Alfred NY. I’d love to know which techie had the brilliance to get the Dead for their homecoming. But attendance was open to both schools.Fantastic. Thank you again, Philip. And since Philip's narrative is so rich, I'll add the additional color of MAXROD's account:
The show started around 8 PM. Most of the people there at the beginning of the show were unfamiliar with the Dead and had no idea what they were getting into. The show opened with the introduction of the New Riders of the Purple Sage (Jerry on steel and Mickey Hart on drums) and during the break at the end of a very solid set the audience dropped from about 250 people to around 150 hearty souls. I guess they thought it was country music.
The next set was acoustic Dead à la Workingman’s Dead. [ed. Awesome story about Pigpen redacted. But if the [redacted] in which Pigpen is alleged to have partaken was particularly potent, that might explain why Pigpen didn't come out and sing a song or two at the end of the acoustic set.] The acoustic set ended, the band took a break and again the audience was cut in half, so there were 50 - 75 knowledgeable souls left.
By now it was almost 11 PM. The roadies moved the equipment they used for the first two sets, revealing an impressive wall of amps. The Grateful Dead came onstage and Jerry walked up to the mike and said (and I quote): “I guess all we have left now are the connoisseurs.” And then they promptly blew our socks off. All I remember of the next few hours was dancing and cheering. The sun was soon to come up ... That was my first show. ... I have no ticket stubs or ephemera. It was a free show paid for by Alfred State College.
May 70 was a very wacky month. I was a senior in H.S. and the world was getting very wobbly … Vietnam raging, domestic turmoil over it, racism rampant, Kent State only a few days away, 5-4-70, then Jackson State … RFK, MLK. But there still were Dead shows to go to, thank goodness, my first being in early Feb 70 Fillmore East. I had a whole bunch under my belt by the time May rolled around.
Alfred College. The show was in a gymnasium. I had a ticket that someone gave me so I don’t think it was free, but I couldn’t tell you how much it was. Wasn’t very big as I recall. This was still part of the Dead’s touring routine, not unlike a Willie Nelson family show, where folks come and go in all sorts of combos. ... Those acoustic sets back then more often then not turned into a hybrid type acoustic/electric by set’s end, and sometimes also acapella for the gospel tunes.
Anyway, all of the above leads me to list the venue as "Gymnasium, Alfred State College, Alfred, NY". No idea why "AU" was so much more in the news in 1970 than "ASC", but there you have it. Homecoming, tiny crowd, May 1, 1970. I can almost smell the tear gas. But, as Maxrod's point about the fluidity of personnel and the hootenanny style swapping around players and instruments really underscores, things were also loose and fun and interesting. In my listening notes below I observe that the acoustic set does just sound like fun, and the band is pretty damn tight. Good music. And good call, homecoming committee! Way to go, techies! One final note: the Soto-Arnold list has had the name of the host institution right all along, but that knowledge never made the leap to bits and bytes.
References, then listening notes after the jump.
(1) Whenever it comes to 1970 Grateful Dead, Deadlists remains indispensable, due not least to the exemplary scholarship of Jim Powell. His posts for the year are powerfully researched and argued, based primarily on careful auditing of every available scrap of tape. His scientific progress was documented through the Deadlists project, which needs to take its place in my overall narrative of the List-Making Tradition As It Relates To Garcia And The Grateful Dead, or whatever I am going to call it. I would welcome input from Deadlisters who have any recollections to share, though I suspect that a ton of the history is still just available on the same servers as in ca. 2000, threaded in the way that listserve/online discussions were, a beautiful record to what was a monumental endeavor. The fact that it is still relevant today --and it absolutely is-- based on the original data protocols and research is a great testament to what was accomplished. Tip o' the hat to all involved.
(2) Dick Lawson, "What Will Be The Answer To The Answer Then?" Friends no. 8 (June 12, 1970), pp. 10-11, quote apparently from p.11. This is source 096 in the Dodd-Weiner annotated bibliography next note.
(3) Dodd, David G., and Robert G. Weiner. 1997. The Grateful Dead and the Deadheads: An Annotated Bibliography. Music Reference Collection no. 60. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
(4) McNally, Dennis. 2002. A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead. New York: Broadway Books.
"An Evening With The Grateful Dead"
Gymnasium, Alfred State College
May 1, 1970 (Friday)
Source 1: SBD -> Master Reel -> CD
Source 2: SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat -> Sonic Solutions -> CD
Source 3: SBD -> Master Reel -> Reel -> Dat -> Sonic Solutions -> CD
CD -> Adobe Audition v1.5 -> Samplitude Professional v10.1 -> FLAC
(2 Discs Audio / 1 Disc FLAC)
All Transfers and Mastering By Charlie Miller
November 6, 2008
-- Source 1 provides Deep Elem Blues through Cumberland Blues
-- Source 2 provides The Race Is On through the middle of Drums
-- Source 3 provides the middle of Drums though the end of the show
-- Part of the acoustic set with members of the New Riders
-- Thanks to David Gans for sources 2 and 3
-- Thanks to Joe B. Jones for his help with the pitch correction
[MISSING --Set I: New Riders of the Purple Sage--]
--Set II: Acoustic Grateful Dead (12 tracks, 61:01)--
d1t01 - (1) [0:08] // Deep Elem Blues [4:04] (2) [1:12]
d1t02 - I Know You Rider [7:35] (3) [0:30]
d1t03 - Monkey And The Engineer [1:38] ->
d1t04 - Candyman [5:05] (4,) [3:25]
d1t05 - Me And My Uncle [3:21] [0:23]
d1t06 - Mama Tried [2:53] [0:53]
d1t07 - Cumberland Blues [4:45] (5) [0:14]
d1t08 - The Race Is On [2:38] ->
d1t09 - Wake Up Little Susie [2:47] ->
d1t10 - New Speedway Boogie [8:02] (6) [2:21]
d1t11 - Cold Jordan [2:15] [0:22]
d1t12 - Uncle John's Band [6:05] (7) [0:09]
Jerry Garcia - ac-g (el-g on NSB?), lead and harmony vocals;
Bob Weir - ac-g, lead and harmony vocals;
Phil Lesh - el-bass, harmony vocals;
Bill Kreutzmann - drum;
Guest: John Dawson - harmony vocals (MAMU >> Race Is On, Cold Jordan);
Guest: David Nelson - ac-g, mandolin (Jordan only), harmony vocals (MAMU >> Race Is On).
--Set III: Electric Grateful Dead (8 tracks, 65:25)--
d2t01 - Not Fade Away [9:40]
d2t02 - Hard To Handle [6:55] [1:20]
d2t03 - Cryptical Envelopment [2:07] ->
d2t04 - Drums [2:07] ->
d2t05 - The Other One [9:53] ->
d2t06 - Cryptical Envelopment
d2t07 - High Time
d2t08 - Turn On Your Lovelight//
Jerry Garcia - el-g, lead and harmony vocals;
Bob Weir - el-g, lead and harmony vocals;
Phil Lesh - el-bass, harmony vocals;
Bill Kreutzmann - drums;
Mickey Hart - drums.
! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [ ] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [x:xx] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.
! TJS: http://www.thejerrysite.com/shows/show/2145. TJS has a partial NRPS setlist (Dirty Business, Last Lonely Eagle, Cecilia, Rainbow, Louisiana Lady, Honky Tonk Women) based on the Deadlists entry. That would seem to come from tape, but it's not tape that I have ever heard. I would love to hear it if anyone knows where it might be obtained.
! db: shnid 95683 (this recording). Despite the pitch diagnosis and correction evoked in the info file, source 2 seems to be running considerably fast. This is true of the acoustic and electric material it supplies, to my ears.
! d1t01 (1) Emcee: "//this bill is five hours long. Now, the Riders just filled up//". If this snippet were in the right place, it would suggest that the show order was (I) NRPS, (II) Acoustic Grateful Dead, (III) Electric Grateful Dead. The standard understood order of the "An Evening With The Grateful Dead" 1970 show format, of which this is the debut, would be AGD - NRPS - EGD.
! d1t01 (2) JG off-mic: "I told him to turn on the monitors. I can't hear nothing from these fuckers." Weir, to sound guy: "Hey, some monitor action would be helpful, 'cause we can't hear jack shit up here as it is." Crowd member says "More beer!" Jerry and Bob: "Yeah, that's what it is, more beer. Turn up the beer knob." @ 4:44 JG, tuning, off-mic: "Smart college punks." Weir: "Right, right." Garcia, off-mic to sound guy: "Hey, turn up the microphone, ya prick."
! d1t02 (3) Weir @ 7:58 "We're gonna regale you with a tune about bold and shiny engines and blazing speed and simian creatures at the wheel." JG: "Yeah, yeah."
! d1t04 (4) JG, off- mic: "Let's get Dave and Marmaduke out here." JG: "We're gonna get some of the guys from the New Riders to help out with some of this stuff here for a little while." Various: "Hey Marmaduke and Day-vud. Marmaduke and Day-vud."
! d1t07 (5) PL: "Mathews, turn the guitars up in the monitors, please."
! R: d1t08-d1t12 the "source 2" acoustic material seems to be running fast. see the vocals in d1t08 The Race Is On, for example.
! d1t10 (6) BW, off-mic: "Let's do those gospel numbers." JG: "Huh?" BW: "Let's do those gospel numbers." JG, off-mic: "OK." BW, into mic: "OK, we're gonna do some more trio singing." Nelson, being weird: "OK" (lots of reverb/feedback) JG [inaudible question]. BW: "I think we could do 'em both. I'd like to do 'em both." JG: "Which two ... which one do you wanna do first?" BW: "Jordan. No, no, no. [inaudible]" - cross talk - DN: "They'll get it." [ed: seemingly talking about the crowd?] --mic adjustments, sounds just like a bluegrass concert!-- @ 9:46 Garcia asks Marmaduke, "You gonna sing on this?" Marmaduke is quick to voice-check a mic. @ 9:58 JG: "This is Serious." BW: "Sacred." @ end of track, cross-talk "Let's do Jordan."
! song: d1t11 "Cold Jordan" is equivalent to "Jordan". It's a traditional. It goes under both names, and others besides.
! personnel: David Nelson and John Dawsom are called out after Candyman and are basically around for the rest of the acoustic set, I'd say. They are clearly present on d1t05-d1t08 (MAMU, Mama Tried, Cumberland Blues, The Race Is On) and d1t11 "Jordan." Nelson plays mandolin for "Jordan". I am pretty sure they are not playing on UJB, not sure about d1t09 Wake Up Little Susie or d1t10 New Speedway Boogie.
! songs: Wake Up Little Susie -> New Speedway Boogie is the story of the 60s. Just sayin'.
! P: d1t12 UJB has a wonderful lively energy to it! Think of the juice they must have had going. They had been working on their show, getting the "Evening With the Grateful Dead" format together ... no mean feat for Weir to have his chops together on acoustic guitar and electric guitar enough to take it national. This is to say nothing of Garcia, of course, who was also playing pedal steel. Wow. These guys were just a tight fucking working band from this moment. During the rest of 1970 there are very few holes anywhere in Garcia's touring/playing schedule. They had been through a lot for five years, of course, and most recently Lennie Hart's perfidy. Mountain Girl may already have started doing some house-hunting, so Garcia needed to start earning some bigger paychecks. Time to grow up, boys. But start in an obscure little college, nice and easy, before tearing the roof off of Binghamton on your second night out. Man oh man, what a force of nature the thing was.
! d1t12 (7) JG after UJB: "We'll come back with our electric stuff in just a moment." Weir: "You wanna hear Pigpen?" JG, off-mic: "He doesn't wanna do anything."
! P: d2t01 Philip Lesh starts NFA off really meaning business about playing his 'lectrified bass guitar. But I find that this version isn't really clicking.
! d2t02 @ 7:51 JG teases "Sitting On Top Of The World", but the thrust of the tuning is toward the Cryptical that ensues.
! P: Overall, I find this electric set lackluster, "off". Maybe they were up too late the night before (4/30) playing with the NRPS at the Matrix. ;-) The acoustic set is excellent.