March 31, 2018

Cut Us Off Again!

This post is simply a list of the Grateful Dead shows that were cut short by their power being shut off. As you might expect, all these shows are from the early days, none after 1970 - back in those days, the Dead were more like "psychedelic guerrillas" crashing through music venues that were ill-prepared for them, and performance conditions could be more chaotic and haphazard. Some of these shows are well-known, but it happened more often than we know about.

We'll start with an interview Jerry Garcia did with Dennis McNally, complaining about this issue, which happened to the band repeatedly.

Garcia: There was a while there when every tour, our second set - the last half of our show, somebody would fuckin' turn off the power, would shut us down. And we started to get pathological about it. It happened all the fuckin' time. And we started to get crazy behind it. You have no idea what it's like - building up and all of a sudden the power is gone... Someplace in Ohio or some dumbshit college somewhere, and it just makes you crazy. It just made us furious. I mean, goddamn.
It seemed like that never stopped happening for one year, maybe '69 or '70 or somewhere in there, right when college campuses were in their greatest upheaval. So everybody associated us, for some reason - I don't know why, God knows we were never very political - but they associated us with danger. As soon as they started seeing people freak out, they thought, 'Okay, that's it. We're not going to let this go any further.' Boom.
Jesus Christ, I mean, that's the evolution, really, of our whole sound system and our power things - with those big fuckin' things that clamp onto the main trunk route - that stuff all evolved from that. We want something that nobody can fucking turn off, ever. It was like they drove us to it, I must say. We were perfectly happy with our regular amplifiers, but they wouldn't let us go on.
It was weird. It was so funny. I mean, everybody did it. Bill Graham even did it to us up in Montreal... [Expo '67 in Montreal, 8/6/67] The audience started freaking out and the cops started getting uncomfortable and Bill Graham told us to stop playing so exciting. 'Okay Bill, okay, we'll play some lame shit.' You know what I mean? What kind of thing is that to say to us? I mean, that's what we're there for. That's what the crowd is there for. That's what everybody is there for, and we knew nobody was going to get hurt. They were all like girls and stuff like that. We knew nobody's going to get fuckin' hurt. It was, like, crazy, but it scared them. It used to be that anything that looked like it was out of control scared them, scared the cops.
Mountain Girl: People have to stop dancing right now and sit down!
Garcia: Oh yeah, stop dancing. I mean, sometimes where they were so hard-assed to the kids. Someplace like Memphis - [6/19/70]
Mountain Girl: Or Ohio, University of Ohio.
Garcia: This was a municipal facility because the cops there were regular city cops. I mean, if somebody got out of their chair - if they got out of their fuckin' chair, the cops would come, like three or four big cops, and would come and bang them.
And I mean, this is during that time when cops were constantly getting onstage, constantly getting in our faces, and we were constantly having to shut [down]. It was happening all the time. There would be this 6-foot-6 cop ready to deck Mickey, or whoever the loudmouth in the band was. And I'd have to jump in there with my guitar and say, 'Hey, wait a minute.' And the guy would swing at me and I'd have to - fuck, I mean, push them off the stage. It was frequently hairy during those [shows]... For about a year, it characterized our shows.
Mountain Girl: I think that gig with the cops was like Toledo, Ohio, or something like that...
Garcia: There was more than one.
Mountain Girl: I remember it was really scary.
Garcia: I remember one was outside of Kansas City - I guess it was Kansas City - and it was some little soldiers-and-sailors kind of hall, one of those kinds of places. We came out after the show and half a dozen cops were beating the shit out of some skinny little hippie. One of them could have killed him. I remember getting so furious... It was so cruel and uncalled for. And it was like, I can't understand this. That was during that period of time when it seemed like our audience was catching shit all the time and our shows were being cut off all the time.
(from Jerry on Jerry, p. 166-170)

Phil Lesh also recalled the Memphis show in an interview: "In Memphis it was really an uptight performing situation. If anyone stood up in their seat they got busted, and I mean busted. Even if you thought about moving, you got wiped on the head, dragged out and taken to jail." (The Dead swore they'd never play Memphis again, and didn't return there until 1995.)

Lesh also remembered the Montreal Expo '67 show, writing in his book:
"I notice that the entire area is full of people - and more are jamming in... The cops appear and join arms to keep the surging people off the stage (which is at ground level). All the while Bill Graham is standing behind the amps, screaming, 'Don't play so good!' and 'Calm it down!' We play on, exhilarated by the knowledge that the music is literally pulling people in off the street but oblivious to the fact that those same people are slowly being squeezed into paste. Finally, Bill runs onto the stage between Pig and Jerry, waving his arms and screaming, 'Stop! Stop playing!' We grudgingly acquiesce... I look up and see...[a] line of blue-shirted police standing nose to nose with...the band, and behind them, the distended faces of the public crushed up against one another."
(Searching for the Sound, p.110)

According to one paper, the 6/1/67 Tompkins Square Park show also ended prematurely: "The music could be heard for blocks in every direction... The Tompkins Square bandshell rocked...until a noise complaint was lodged in the late afternoon. Rather than tune down, the Dead turned off."
It's likely other free park shows came to a sudden end as well - such as their very first free park show, in Vancouver on 8/5/66. One witness recalled, "They were driving around Vancouver and saw the bandstand at English Bay. Without getting any permission, they decided they'd play there; they set up and were promptly shut down by the police." (A local promoter also said, "The bandstand show took place until the power was cut off.")

The Dead certainly faced some shows that were shut down by the police to control the crowd or just end the noise. But what Garcia doesn't mention is that more often, shows were ended by simple curfew issues, the venue not wanting the band to play overtime, or by noise complaints. These were problems the Dead didn't have to face much later in the '70s, but frequently dealt with in the '60s. 

We mostly only know about those shows that were taped, so this will be an incomplete list, but these are the shows I could find where the plug was pulled on the Dead:

1/8/66 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco (multiple edits/sources)
I don't think the band was stopped mid-song (the available recording is incomplete), but the police came in and tried to shut down the power. "The cops started shouting for them to close down but couldn't make themselves heard and started pulling plugs out... Finally they ordered the Pranksters to start clearing the place out." (Wolfe p.225)
"Around 2 AM the police came by to close the show... An officer came out onstage and motioned for the band to stop, and was duly ignored. The cops grew perplexed... They tried to use the house PA to announce closing... They began to pull power cords out of the wall, and MG followed them and plugged things back in. At length, the band stopped playing and the police dutifully began shooing everyone out, although it was a slow process." (McNally p.122)
(For a transcript of the end of the show, see Appendix B below.)

1/28/66 Matrix, San Francisco
The plug is pulled at the start of Midnight Hour.
Garcia: “Cut us off again. That’s what happens, there’s no place you can play.”
Weir: “The story of our lives, you play somewhere and somebody turns you off.”
Lesh: “Good night, ladies and gentlemen, and you too, you pricks.”

8/24/68 Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles (Two From The Vault)
The plug is pulled in the climax of Morning Dew.
Garcia: "Got turned off once again! Goodnight, everybody."
Announcer: "The law says that's all, so I guess that's it."

11/25/68 Memorial Auditorium, Ohio University, Athens (no recording)
Witnesses recalled: "The whole thing wailed until midnight, with some members of the audience dancing on stage." "Most of the crowd was standing instead of sitting, many on the stage, dancing on the floor. The electricity was deliberately cut off around midnight. I remember Jerry calming the crowd, preventing a riot."
"Around midnight, the band was ripping through a rendition of “Good Lovin’” that had the crowd dancing in the aisles. But right in the middle of the song a university official climbed on stage, opened the metal cover on a large circuit board, and flipped a couple of switches. With the exception of the drums, the music stopped dead. The official shouted to Garcia that the show was over. There was a whole lot of heckling, but not any real protest from the band. They unplugged their instruments, and eventually the roadies started packing up."
The band sang We Bid You Good Night to end the show.

1/24/69 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco
The power is cut off during the second set, in the middle of Lovelight. It sounds like Weir shouts, "There you have it! [to Pigpen:] All yours." Pigpen encourages the audience for a bit, and they don't want the show to stop - he tries to keep Lovelight going unaccompanied as the audience shouts and stomps with him, and the drummers keep going for a long drum break while the crowd claps. "More! More!" Some stoned nut climbs onstage to shout along with the drums, but to no avail, the show ends.
Considering the set had been only a little more than a half-hour long, the show must have been running overtime - and the Avalon was pretty strict about keeping sets short; the Dead's sets were usually under an hour.

4/6/69 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco
The plug is pulled at the end of the jam in Viola Lee Blues.
Weir: "It seems somebody is trying to tell us something."
The band ends the song by singing the last verse to a drumbeat.
The night before, 4/5, after It's A Sin Garcia had asked the audience, "What do you wanna hear that lasts for ten minutes? We got ten minutes left!" They then played a 20-minute Alligator>feedback. This may partly explain being cut off the next day. All the Dead's second sets during the April '69 run at the Avalon went for over an hour, much longer than usual for that venue. (For a couple other examples of similar 1969 behavior, see Appendix A below.)

4/17/69 Quadrangle, Washington University, St Louis (Download Series vol. 12)
A minute into Caution, the band stops playing as the cops intervene.
Garcia & Lesh: "They're taking our road manager to jail if we play any more, so we  ain't gonna let our road manager go to jail. We like him a lot, he's a real good guy, and you people are really good too."
(This was an outdoors show in the rain. The cops seem to have been hanging around for a while - after Lovelight, the audience was getting frantic for the show to go on and shouting for more, and Garcia explained, "Okay, okay - gotta change a string - just broke a string... Save the hassles for the heat - really, who needs it, man? The rain won't hurt you, you won't melt, you're not made of sugar - for god's sake, people!")
A newspaper article reported: "Police in St. Louis County got several calls [from residents] about midnight complaining that the amplified beat...was audible a mile away. About 300 young persons, many in hippie attire, were found grouped around a band shell on the quadrangle, listening to music played to the flashing of psychedelic lights. Police suggested the Grateful Dead stop living it up, and the concert ended."

12/13/69 Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino
The stage power is cut near the end of Lovelight, as they're winding up the song. It's not very dramatic - there's some stage yelling, but otherwise you might think the Dead just stopped playing. The vocal mics were turned off, so someone shouts unmiked to the audience, "They pulled the plug on us! Show your appreciation."
(There's a faint onstage conversation 23 minutes into the track, which I can't entirely make out, starting, "What the fuck happened?" "Those dirty bastards...")

2/20/70 Panther Hall, Fort Worth -- or possibly 2/21/70 Convention Center, San Antonio (no recording)
"One night Quicksilver opened, playing very well. This challenged the Dead, who responded with a fine set that was abbreviated when the police pulled the plug, a not-uncommon event in those days. Furious, Ron Polte shouted at the promoter, 'Those guys earned that fucking encore,' and found himself being tackled by a police officer. The ever-volatile Mickey Hart grabbed a mallet...[but] Garcia managed to interpose himself between [Mickey and] the officer..." (McNally p.284)

2/22/70 in the Houston Coliseum also had police troubles according to a newspaper review: "When Quicksilver finished and the lights were up, the police imposed their order on the thousands of people... With a little pushing and shoving, everyone was put back "in their proper place". When it looked like all was calm and quiet, out came the Dead... [But] with twenty policemen in every aisle and any semblance of freedom completely lacking...they tried to get it on but just couldn't find the spark... The Dead just went through the motions."
Houston witnesses added: "No one could get close to the stage in those days with the Houston cops!" "The Sunday afternoon show ran kinda long and the people running the hall needed to clear everyone out to make room for wrestling that night. The police made their presence known and the Dead's set was shortened. I remember Bob Weir talking about the situation with a riot-helmeted Houston PD officer." (This was pretty much also what happened at the 10/5/69 Dead/Airplane show in the Houston Coliseum, which the police also cut short, pulling the plug in the Airplane's set for inciting the audience to dance.)

(For other accounts of the Dead confronted by Southern police, see: )

4/25/70 Mammoth Gardens, Denver (not on tape)
An audience member recalled: "The power was cut off around 2 AM as Mammoth Gardens was in what was essentially a residential neighborhood which frowned upon loud music being played in the wee hours. Power cut twice then the band called it quits... The band would have likely played all night so that was why the power was cut twice to try to get them to stop. The first time they just fired right back up. It was funny and amazing." 
(This is not mentioned in a newspaper review of the show.)

This was the last example I found. There are probably other shows I've forgotten about, so please comment on any other shows that were shut down prematurely! 

I don't think there are any instances of this happening after 1970 - during 1970-71, perhaps the Dead became better at sticking to curfews and playing shorter shows as needed. (For instance, on 3/24/70 Garcia ends the show saying, "Our time's up, see you later!" Or at the end of 4/7/71, Garcia announces, "Because of the curfew stuff, we have to knock off. I'm sorry.")
One good example is 4/22/71, in the Bangor Auditorium, where they had to stop at midnight when the house lights were turned on.
After Good Lovin', Garcia says: "That seems to be as much time as they'll let us have in this place. They're just about to pull the plug on us!"
Lesh: "Let's do one more! If they cut us off in the middle of a song, you'll know who's doing it."
They wrap up the show with a quick Johnny B. Goode.
(One thing noticeable in all these shows is that it's almost always Garcia who explains or apologizes to the audience.)

Sometimes the power would also go out inadvertently during a show.
5/10/69, at the Rose Palace in Pasadena, is a good example, with the power cutting out twice: in the opening Hard to Handle the instruments drop out in the solo, and Pigpen sings the last verse to the drums.
Pigpen: "I think our electricity went out or something."
Garcia: "See, here in the rock & roll universe, there's such a thing as power failure."
Weir: "Anybody got a deck of cards?" 
Then the instruments drop out again during the climactic Morning Dew jam.
Weir: "Well, what the fuck?"
Garcia: "That's what happens when you play too loud... That's what happens when you have a good time."
Weir: "Did you say 'good time'? You're under arrest."
Garcia: "Somebody out there's got an electric razor plugged in, or something."
Weir then regales everybody with the Yellow Dog Story til the power is restored.

Sometimes the Dead had their own equipment problems they couldn't overcome - for instance, 1/31/70 at the Warehouse in New Orleans. The bass amp starts buzzing and they stop the electric set, calling Bear for help.
Weir: "We got a busted amplifier here."
Garcia: "We got a severe technical problem."
Weir: "So you guys can hang out and chatter amongst yourselves, and feel free to wander around and make friends...while we try to work it out."
They play an impromptu acoustic set (despite having only one acoustic guitar on-hand), while the amp keeps sputtering and Garcia explains, "We're still working on Phil's bass frantically in the background." But they never do get it fixed, and close the show acoustically.

Power cuts could happen sometimes in later years too - on 7/10/90, the Dead played in a lightning storm, and in a nearby strike the stage power went out shortly after Promised Land started; after waiting a few minutes for the power to be restored, the Dead picked up the song where they'd left off:  

* * *

1969 Overtime

Along with 4/5/69, there are a couple other known examples where the Dead intentionally played overtime.
On 2/6/69 in St. Louis, they opened for Iron Butterfly (the Dead had also opened for them the previous day in Kansas City, and had not been impressed). After Lovelight, Lesh says, "The Iron Butterfly will be on in a minute," but Garcia has other ideas: "Okay, we have some more time, we're gonna play a little more." Then they proceed with a 22-minute Cryptical>Other One>feedback suite.
As the Dead leave the stage, the crowd is going wild and calling for more, and the announcer says, "Did you like them? Listen, we're going to have a very brief intermission, because I know you're all waiting to see the Iron Butterfly. [calls of "No! No!"] They're going to call out the heat and close up this place in about an hour and a half. So we're gonna have to get on with the show."
(According to the unverified account of one person who said he was backstage: "The set was supposed to end with Lovelight. But...after listening to the Dead burn the house down, Iron Butterfly didn't want to come out. So, the Dead came back on to play a "few more minutes" and proceeded to add insult to IB's injury with the Cryptical sandwich, Feedback, and AWBYG." If there was only 90 minutes left before closing time, the Dead would have played longer than the headlining band!)

The other more famous example was on 4/26/69 in Chicago, where the Dead played a set of almost three hours (including a 40-minute encore) to keep the Velvet Underground from playing a second set. This was in revenge for the previous day, when the Velvets had done the same to them.
The Dead probably played over-long sets other times too that we don't know about (or can't tell from tapes), though it must be said that usually they were good at playing short hour-long sets when opening for other bands, or when facing a time limit (as in a rock festival).

1/8/66 Dialogue

The tape of this night is heavily edited, making it extra-chaotic - the pranksters were recording over several microphones, then cut the tracks up in different combinations on various video releases.
Police: "Everybody out, the dance is over, you're to clear the hall."
Babbs: "This is incredible! The chief security has suddenly taken over and informed - he has made his extraordinary announcement - and has pulled the plug on the band - completely nullifying the engines!" "We've lost all power! ...I see that the electrician is running down now trying to get things reestablished... We're into emergency power now, having to rely on the energy which the passengers are able to create by donating everything they have..." [Babbs' lines may have been dubbed in later.]
The pranksters take over and start trying to clear the hall: "Everybody enjoy theirselves? Let me hear you say yeah!"
"We're planning on having other gigs in other cities, and if we have a hassle here, there's not gonna be another hall that'll have us, so we'd appreciate it if....everybody use their heads."
Kesey: "Everybody be calm now - don't press forward and kill any little 13-year-old girls. Everybody keep very calm, there's nothing to worry about at all."
Weir: "Don't pay any attention to Kesey! confusion...demented chaos..." He calls out to Jerry: "On the Road Again to get the people on the road."
Garcia: "We can stay here until hell freezes over, but we have to turn everything off."
People keep yelling and making noises, and someone moans, "Go home to your families, you don't want to stay here...leave, the cops..."
The pranksters don't seem to be herding people very well in the confusion, as some girl keeps wailing into a mic. "Okay, let's everybody go home man, everything's over, we don't have no choice." "We don't want any trouble here." "Everybody out now - this has been a nice party - let's not spoil it now." "That won't work, [those] tactics won't work around here." "Everybody go home now please!"
Pranksters observe the scene: "Total chaos everywhere...rack and ruin... Let's let them run it out. Let the energy just eventually wear out, let 'em just stay here." "The cops seem to be turning everything off, and they have asked everybody to be turned off, that's impossible, you know as well as I do nobody's gonna be turned off - we're not machines after all, we're human beings! Can't turn us off, hell no! Cops, ridiculous!"
Weir has a moment of contemplation: "Sad, isn't it? You know, when you come to one of these things, you want to have a lot of clean fun, you know, good clean fun...enjoy yourself and not hurt anybody, you know? And well, that's what people come here to do, and then they get kicked out, you know? It's really a pity. It's a cryin' shame."
Weir then tells the police: "Arrest everybody, but don't hurt any of the equipment, you know, it's our livelihood."
People are yelling & making noises into the mics, and Weir & others decide to yell Star-Spangled Banner at the crowd. "We're just signing off." "Good night ladies & gentlemen, we enjoyed having you here!"
The recording ends with continued noise-making and babbling. "Nobody can seem to find out how we're supposed to turn off this PA... We're supposed to turn off the PA fellas, does anybody know how to turn it off?" "I don't know, we seem to be loosening the crowd here with the microphones, and there just seems to be nobody doing anything that we're supposed to be doing, it just seems to be orderly chaos - everything goes on in here then is just let out into the street, it's gonna be terrible... Yes, in the end nothing but mindless chaos..."

February 16, 2018

Buzz-Saw Music: Fillmore East, June 14, 1968 (Guest Post)

Essay by Ben Dyment.

The Background

If one-line summaries were being passed around on this band, ‘for years I ignored them’ would be mine. I cast the Dead aside as one of ‘those’ bands I’d heard enough half-truths and opinions about, usually through the eyes of other musicians and would-be critics. As I made my way through other SF bands of the same era, I still saw them as something else, the ones with such a towering reputation that it blotted out whatever origins they may have had. The few times I’d try playing a Dead song, it just seemed so removed from those other bands - there was none of the same energy and bright-eyed rush I expected to find.

It wasn’t until a trusted source recommended Live/Dead that I finally lost my inhibitions and started to get into them. It sounded weird, stretched out but thematic, interesting. Enough so that I kept going, digging into other ‘69 shows, ‘70, going backwards, discovering the Acid Tests, Aoxomoxoa, and finally Anthem Of The Sun, a record of extreme innovation and fractured beauty that stood up with other so called ‘difficult’ albums I had previously assimilated, such as Twin Infinitives by Royal Trux, Harsh ‘70s Reality by The Dead C or Faust’s The Faust Tapes. These were works meant to be ascertained, analyzed, deconstructed. To me it had as much in common with those as it did with albums of the era like Crown of Creation, Wow, White Light/White Heat, Electric Ladyland, etc. I still have little interest in anything past the Workingman's Dead era, mostly because they seemed to lose a lot of the propulsion and energy that initially sustained them - I know it’s heresy among some, but given the choice between a ‘St. Stephen’ from ‘77 vs. one from ‘68 roaring out of the amps, I know what choice I’ll make.

Forced to pick one year of Dead shows to stick to, I’d go with ‘69, but there’s something special about ‘68 that slipped away like ether relatively quickly. With the introduction of the Anthem songs to the set, the music grew larger, longer, looser and just plain weirder. There was increased concentration on long segues, turning songs into suites and running entire shows into one longform piece. The whole notion of taking everything further and farther out became their raison d’etre.

Of the many surviving tapes from this era, this is easily one of the greatest. Friday, June 14th, 1968 marked the Dead’s first appearance at the Fillmore East in New York City, playing opposite The Jeff Beck Group (and The Seventh Sons). [1] To anyone else, following the powerhouse Beck Group would have been cause for concern, but the Dead were never the average band.

One of the first things that appealed to me about this show was the sound of the surviving tape. It’s accepted that the general populace, even those inclined towards live shows, don’t really have a stomach for anything too ‘lo-fi’, and while I can understand that feeling, I definitely don’t share it. To me, a tape like this is the epitome of what I search for; I want to hear the sound of the room, especially when we’re talking classic ballroom venues, built for sound and volume. Sometimes the vocals get drowned out, the bass turns to mud and midrange is king, but to hear the backline blowing off the stage, bouncing off the ceiling and onto the walls is crucial, and lets you really get a sense of how everything really sounded. There’s a partial soundboard of Caution going into the final Feedback, [2] but I’m not going to bother with it here because frankly it doesn’t carry the same weight for me - it’s too dry and you lose all the atmosphere of the room and no sense of audience perception. The saturated, lo-fi nature of the AUD source only serves to push the sound into a more accurate approximation of how it felt to be pounded and blown back by this juggernaut of psychedelic SF noisemakers. They didn’t just want you to sit sanguine and approach the music from an intellectual standpoint, they wanted you to dance and when they moved into stranger territory they wanted to blow your head off too for good measure.

The Show

For a band whose first album was a regional footnote at best and whose second album was still a month away from release, it wouldn’t have been out of line for a concertgoer to assume they’d hear some familiar material, but the Dead never cared much for that in this era; in fact, save for the cover of ‘Lovelight,’ the entire set was comprised of relatively new, unreleased material. [3]

Faced with having to follow The Jeff Beck Group’s set, they decided to go for sheer power and blow the roof off with an opening ‘Feedback’, one of the first things people still talk about when discussing this initial Fillmore appearance. Over the years it’s been suggested that this is a false song order, just a by-product of tape trading splicing the closing ‘Feedback’ in half to fit a side, but a simple listen to the SBD fragment reveals the fallacy of such a claim. Whatever the case may be though, let the tape speak for itself.

Even the most crazed ‘Viola Lee’ openers of ‘68 don’t quite compare to this introduction. The crashing wave of electric carnage hits like a neutron bomb, instantly putting everybody in the building on high alert and reducing all that went on before the Dead to another time and place – that was then, this is now. It’s cavernous and relentless, saturating the stage and the ears, the band playing the amps playing the band, letting the sound spread out and stick to every surface, slowly winding down to suggest they’re going somewhere further but giving no indication where that might be; you’re stuck in no man’s land, hanging on in the immediacy of the moment, until Phil starts slowly strumming the opening chords to ‘The Eleven.’

‘The Eleven’ is a song so ingrained in most people's heads as part of a certain running order that you can’t quite imagine they’d lead into it this way, but they do, starting in with a little hesitation before blowing into the initial round of calliope psych melody, Weir and Lesh digging into the rhythm tight and slick while Garcia dances around his lines with a torrent of major key runs - you can just picture him doing his tightrope move, bobbing back and forth along the stage. The vocals come in and are admittedly pretty deep in the depths of the mix, sounding more like ghosts of the undead, but it’s no problem, just hearing them play is good enough. Everyone is moving fast, propelling the music headfirst into torrid, brutal and boundless delirium.

The Dead had their (literal) Wall of Sound era, but I tend to associate 1968 with the ‘wash of sound’ style, particularly in Pigpen’s keyboards. When you hear something like ‘The Eleven’ on this tape, the whole band is locked into each other’s nuances well enough that it’s almost difficult to ascertain individual movements unless you’re well acquainted with the material. When Constanten showed up in the following months, the keyboards shifted towards the baroque style of Aoxomoxoa and Live/Dead, which was great in its own right, but sometimes it’s the ‘68 material that’s the most enjoyable, still a little scuzzy, rawer, more appealing.

‘St.Stephen’ is still relatively new, having only debuted a month or so before, [4] and you can hear its fresh nature as the band pounces into it with an audible enjoyment. Garcia jumps the gun in eagerness to start it up, and they run it up at a quick pace. It’s almost a ‘blink and miss it’ kind of situation, especially for an unfamiliar audience, but the light and playful nature of the music is like daylight coming in through the rafters, especially after the previous act’s pentatonic blues jams. As it gets underway it starts to sound like the band is just picking up more and more energy - Garcia’s solos are so fluid and constant they sound like sticking your whole head in an electrical socket and keeping it there. Weir is throwing rhythm chords down not even trying to keep up, just keeping a solid background down. The whole band sounds like the hand of God crushing a mountain to make a river, and plays with a confidence evocative of this period; even when they don’t know where they’re going, they always sound like they’re doing it with belief that they’ll get farther towards a goal. The whole band rises in crescendo to meet the highest parts of Garcia’s solo and then one graceful upswing chord and - it’s done, a clean break, something that ‘Stephen’ wouldn’t get for much longer.

‘Alligator’ starts up with a fade-in - whether or not this means we’re missing something in between is unknown, but who cares, it’s on and ready, Kreutzmann and Hart rolling into the opening beats like they’ve been playing it all their lives before Garcia rolls into his opening riff. The whole song is an aural kaleidoscope, pure painted sound, as the band moves like a train that won’t stop for anybody, content to ride at the speed of sound. There’s this one little part in ‘Alligator’ that always gets me, right when Garcia starts a run and the whole band does this lurch, drop and hit back against his two notes. Well, he’s dead accurate this night and it comes off beautifully, in fact all his leads are like coiled wire on this one, liquid ease. The complacency that dogged them in later years is nowhere to be found here; this is dance music, pure and cosmic. Garcia explained as much in an interview circa March 1967, stating that, “At this point, the experimentation we’re doing now isn’t a matter of drug experimentation; we’re experimenting with music.”

Out of ‘Alligator’ comes a surprise ‘Lovelight’ segue, one that Phil seems to initiate, though that’s just going by aural assumption. Pigpen’s vocals were pretty drowned out in ‘Alligator’ but are loud and present now, commanding from the stage. They get into it like they’re getting paid by the note, which considering who was running the Fillmore, they probably were. It’s loose yet still tight, heavy lightness; Garcia’s not sticking to any strict tempos here, he’s running through his repertoire but going fast and loose with the rules and it sounds fun. After a couple minutes of breakneck soloing, he comes back down and the band swings back into the main melody. Pigpen gets the audience clapping along and they do so generously - you can hear the ambience of the room in this part and hear the enthusiasm of Garcia riffing against Pig’s rap, Kreutzmann and Hart staying soft, Weir angling for a harmony. Pig starts in the “lookin’ everywhere” lines and almost threatens to spiral into a total collapsed rhythmic stutter before they pull back and restrain, edge it out just a little more, play off the tension, and then it’s off to the next number.

By the time the band breaks into ‘Caution’, all bets are off. Garcia signals the change with a ham-fisted power chord assault worthy of Townshend at peak operating power, his Les Paul practically snarling with unbridled fury. Lesh picks up the mood and slides into a ceaseless, undulating pattern of notes, saturating the low-end with a constant stream of sound. Hart and Kreutzmann stick to the top end percussion, letting the guitarists take center stage in the mix, maintaining a rolling coital clashing rhythm. Garcia’s barrage of lead lines are so densely packed that he begins to sound like he’s overdubbing himself in real time, no room to think, just feel. Some of it reminds me a little of my absolute favourite ‘Dark Star’, from a show in Monterey exactly one year later, in that they’re both fantastic examples of everything coming together to propel his playing into further reaches, his fingers running independently of his brain like a somnambulist playing through his sleep, oblivious to the external world. In a recent interview, Mickey Hart summed up this feeling as such:

“The thing is that we always left the room – consciously or unconscious – with improvisation. [...] You can do whatever you want in a song as long as you identify the song with a beginning and ending – sort of, kind of [laughs] – and then say, “Okay, nothing in this is crystallized.” [...] We don’t have to play four-minute songs. We were marginalized and laughed at and misunderstood for many years, but it didn’t matter. It really didn’t. We actually took great pride in that – that we were breaking ground. It all depends what you’re after in music. It’s easier to play the same songs every night. But is it the easy part of music? Perhaps.” [5]
As the freeform excursion starts to migrate back towards familiar areas, Pigpen comes back in with a brief harmonica interlude, initially just playing against the drums before Garcia starts playing off him - he pulls a slide from his hat and runs wide with it before it disappears again - did he even have a slide or was he rubbing up against the mic stand or something? For a couple minutes it’s unlike most performances of the song, totally spaced out and in its own realm. “She told me that all you need, all you need, oh.” They pick up speed again and now Garcia’s guitar is melting, dying on the vine - it almost threatens to turn into a ‘Dark Star’ to my ears. The closing segment just after Pig sings where it sounds like they’re playing in reverse is always one of my favourite moments in ‘68 shows; I’m always left impressed by how they manage to pull that off live - when you hear ‘Anthem’ you figure it’s just a product of tape manipulation, but they really did it with nothing more than imagination and some strategic volume knob rolls.

The closing ‘Feedback’ once again carries a sound like the band is somehow playing back the whole set and dragging it through the tape machine in real time, the amps howling back but groaning along at the wrong speed, pouring out like a Velvets show (ironic considering they were on the Dead’s turf during this time, playing at the Avalon in June ‘68). Hart and Kreutzmann are spewing out fills until the whole band seems to stop and turn to catch their looming shadows -  the percussion chimes start slowly tingling up the spine, feedback still ghosting around the room but mixed up, careful, studious, slow drones eloquently sinking in rhythmic gnashing, and then - the final chimes, a tape slip and applause. [6] It’s the Anthem Of The Sun, circling ‘round forever.


The Seventh Sons opened, followed by the Jeff Beck Group. The Grateful Dead headlined, closing the show. There were early and late shows (8:00 & 11:30), and the tape is from the late show. So far no contemporary review of the shows has been found.

[2] A 30-minute fragment, released on the Fillmore West 1969 bonus disc.

[3] Though ‘Alligator’ and ‘Caution’ weren’t released until the Anthem album, New York concertgoers had very likely heard them in previous Dead shows, so the material wouldn’t have been all-new to Dead fans who’d seen them before. (The Dead had played a run at the Electric Circus and a couple free shows a month earlier, and several shows at the Palm Gardens and the pre-Fillmore Village Theater back in December.)

[4] Two other early ‘St Stephens’ from this month (and a fragment of a third) can be heard on this collection – tracks 1, 31, and 40. These ‘Stephens’ have the same arrangement as the 6/14/68 version, but are not as fiery.

[5] ‘Dead Notes #15: The Mickey Hart Interview’, Aquarium Drunkard, January 2018 -
[6] The ghostly chimes (glockenspiel?) can be heard better on the audience tape than the SBD. Afterwards, the SBD tape captures an announcer naming the bandmembers as the audience calls for more.

The photos are from the Shrine in Los Angeles, May 1968; photographer unknown.

January 28, 2018

Thoughts on Seattle 1/27/68 (Guest Post)

Some thoughts on the setlist and recording of 1/27/68, on the show’s 50th anniversary.

By John Dunn


Eagles Auditorium, Seattle
(banter in italics & quotation marks)

Set 1
“Dancing is good for you” >
Dark Star >
China Cat Sunflower >
The Eleven
“The cops say you can’t dance” >
Viola Lee Blues

Set 2
“How many times?” >
Beat It On Down The Line
Hurts Me Too
That’s It For The Other One >
Clementine >
New Potato Caboose >
Born Cross-Eyed >
Spanish Jam >
“See you the next time we’re in Seattle”

1) A 32-minute fragment from the Other One suite to the Spanish Jam (dated “1/23”):
2) A 12-fragment of the end of the Spanish Jam, dated 1/27:
(A fan edit of the full Spanish Jam is available here: )
3) A number of 1968 reels were rediscovered and released on Road Trips Vol.2 No.2 in 2009, including several tracks dated “1/23.” David Lemieux said these reels were not the original show masters, but compilations of individual songs or sequences from various shows – not complete shows, and not necessarily in order.


BEGINNING OF THE SHOW :   This is probably the only element of this show about which everyone is in agreement…

1) We know that the first set opened with Lovelight … and that it was stopped immediately after that song for an announcement about dancing

-- This is one of the rare situations where a newspaper report (in this case “The Quick and The Dead” by Scott White, from the Seattle Helix of 2/1/68) gives detailed-enough information to allow us to reconstruct some elements of the setlist from an early show: “The Dead started their set with Love Light, a hard pounding song, in an attempt to move the audience.  A few moved.  In walked the license inspectors.  Boyd [Grafmyre, the promoter] asked the Quick to tell the audience to stop, and when they refused, he explained the situation himself.  We stopped.”

2) There is reason to believe that Viola Lee may NOT have been the first song played after the show restarted

-- In the past, I had always figured that Viola Lee might be song #2 from the first set, coming immediately after the incident described above (based on the comments “the cops say you can’t dance” and “well THAT was short-lived”, both of which sound as though they were made fairly soon after the dancing stopped).  However, the rest of the banter doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that they’d be saying if the cops were still around (“the cops ain’t god”, “they didn’t say you can’t take off your clothes and wriggle around”, etc).

-- I bring this up because the newspaper report suggests that the cops actually didn’t leave right away, but instead stuck around for a couple of songs: “We stopped [dancing].  For about two songs.  The inspectors left, the Dead came back on, and dancers danced.”  Also – just before the “cops say you can’t dance” comment, somebody (possibly Bob or Bill?) says something like “(inaudible) still here?”, as if he’s wondering whether the inspectors had finally departed.

-- In short … maybe this banter didn’t come immediately after Lovelight after all, but a few songs later after the cops had left (though almost certainly still in the first set).  One possible scenario:  The show was stopped briefly after Lovelight, so that Boyd Grafmyre could tell everyone to quit dancing.  Then the Dead played “about two songs” where nobody danced, the show may have paused again so that they could tune (or for more announcements) … and once the Dead realized that the inspectors were gone & the coast was clear, they talked to the crowd & kicked into Viola Lee Blues.  This would still be soon enough after Lovelight that the two aforementioned comments (“the cops say you can’t dance” & “that was short-lived”) don’t seem out-of-place.


END OF THE SHOW :   We’ve reached a point where I think that most people have come to agreement about this as well.  However, for the sake of completeness I’ll set down the basic argument for the last 45 minutes of the second set…

1) TIFTOO is certainly in Set 2

-- I have occasionally seen proposed setlists that put TIFTOO in the first set (opening the show). However, in every single two-set show from January-thru-March 1968 for which we have confirmed setlists for both sets, TIFTOO is in Set 2 (rather than Set 1).  Tough to imagine why it would be any different at this show.

2) Therefore, Spanish Jam is the end of the show …

-- If you agree that TIFTOO is in Set 2 … and you buy the premise that 1/23 = 1/27 (and therefore assume that everything from both dates originates from the same performance) … then TIFTOO > Clementine > NPC > BCE > Spanish Jam is clearly the end of the show (based on the “see you the next time we’re in Seattle” comment that comes at the end of the 1/27 fragment).

-- I am aware of and understand the very legitimate concerns that some have regarding the differing audio signature between the incomplete Spanish Jam at the end of this sequence (dated 1/23) & that on the fragment dated 1/27.  Won’t rehash this here, except to add my thoughts…

a)  Unlike most vault tapes (which are straight two-track recordings), these shows were recorded on four-track tape.  This means that we aren’t listening to them in their original “raw” form – that is: at some point, somebody had to combine tracks together to produce the current two-track file.  I’ve often suspected that maybe the differing instrument “placement” in the two mixes might have occurred if the original four-track recordings were reduced to two-track data files differently – e.g. tracks 1&2 left/3&4 right on the file dated 1/23, versus 1&3 left/2&4 right on the 1/27 file (or 1&4 left/2&3 right, or any of these three combinations with left & right switched).  Given the fact that the two tape boxes apparently have different dates, it wouldn’t be surprising if the initial tape transfer or subsequent mixing-down to two tracks was done by different people (or even the same person at different times), which would certainly explain this.

b)  It’s harder to account for the different sound levels (e.g. much more prominent bass in the 1/27 fragment).  However, the tape dated 1/23 clearly is a bit more deteriorated than the one dated 1/27 (still in good shape, but somewhat more tape hiss), and if the deterioration was primarily on a single track – for example, an outside track that contained the bass input – that might explain the variation in sound levels.

3) … and the cut in Spanish Jam is likely a reel flip

-- It looks as though TIFTOO might have been the first song on a reel in this show – it begins an uninterrupted stretch of music ~32-33 minutes long, which happens to be roughly the duration of a 7-inch reel (depending, of course, on the speed at which it was recorded).  If that’s the case, then the reel would have ended about five minutes into Spanish Jam, which is exactly where the song cuts off.  This would necessitate a reel flip, which in-turn would explain how the two “halves” of Spanish Jam got separated.  And … yes … I know that there’s also supposedly a reel flip in New Potato Caboose (or at least there is a notation to this effect on the Miller 1/23 Archive file, although I’m not sure I hear it), but I wonder if that might just have been a tape machine that was accidentally stopped for a few seconds, since the timing is otherwise perfect for one reel.

-- The missing segment of Spanish Jam (lost in the presumed reel flip) could be huge, but could also be as little as 60 seconds (I agree wholeheartedly with the comment made by “Mr Completely” in November 2017 here).  The Spanish Jam from the night before, 1/26 (aka “1/22”) has a segment at about 4-to-5 minutes in that’s similar to what we’re hearing on the 1/23 tape when it cuts off (i.e. a building jam with regimental drumbeat).  Over a period of a minute or two this goes through several cycles, transitions to an eight-bar-long quiet segment with lead guitar alone, and then transitions again to a segment with the prominent “ascending” bass riff that’s almost identical to what’s being played at the start of the 1/27 tape.  This 1-to-2-minute-long segment would actually make a workable patch between the 1/23 & 1/27 Spanish Jam fragments, and suggests that the missing portion may be no longer than this.


CONSIDERATIONS THAT MIGHT SHED LIGHT ON THE REST OF THE SHOW :   Now comes the hard part.  Trying to figure out a running order for this setlist looks like a fool’s game when you figure that we don’t even know how much of the show we’re missing.  However, I think there’s a pretty strong argument that we might not be missing any of it, and will discuss why below.  If you use that as a starting point, and toss in an added assumption that would enable us to figure out which songs could-and-could-not have been adjacent to one another, then all of a sudden it turns out that there aren’t that many possibilities.

My “reasoning” is below.  Let me say up-front that I recognize that what I’m theorizing here is improbable-as-hell … but go with me for a moment and see what you think.  A word-of-warning – at some points here I cross the line from mild speculation into wild speculation, so I beg your indulgence!

1) It isn’t entirely clear how long the Seattle shows ran

--  The advertising poster pre-printed in San Francisco says 9pm-2am, but both the Seattle newspaper and another poster printed by the promoter in Seattle state that the shows would start at 8pm and end at 12 midnight (and those, being done locally just before the show, are probably more likely to be correct).

-- This is important, because newspaper reviews of this tour – including one of the Seattle show from the night before – suggest that the show involved more than one set from the Dead (“the Dead’s first set” is mentioned; it’s unclear if Quicksilver had one or two sets, but most likely they played two as well) … meaning that the evening involved 3 or 4 sets of music, with associated set breaks in between.

-- The Dead tapes that we already have from 1/27 total up to about 1:48 running time … and because these are compilation tapes, there may have been a lot of “dead air” between songs (e.g. extended tuning, technical fixes, etc, when there was no music and no direct interaction with the crowd) that isn’t on tape.  Accounting for that, the songs that we have probably took up a solid two hours (or more) of actual stage time.

-- Once you add to that a set or two from Quicksilver, the down time between each set, the down time associated with the show being stopped by the cops, and the fact that this was an era when shows never seemed to start on time, it gets a little hard to believe that the Dead’s two sets could possibly include much more music than what we’ve already got on tape (and this is especially true if this was in fact only a four-hour show, because actual stage-time-with-music was likely far less than four hours).  In short, we might actually have all the Dead’s music from this date…

2) It may be possible to infer how many reels of tape were used to record this show

Here’s some “wild speculation” …

-- If we ASSUME that 1/23 = 1/27 (meaning that everything from both dates is the same show & that Spanish Jam is therefore the end of the show), and…
-- If we ALSO ASSUME that the 32-minute run of songs that begins with TIFTOO (i.e. TIFTOO > Clementine > NPC > BCE > Spanish Jam#) constitutes a single reel, and…
-- If we FURTHER ASSUME that they were using only reels of the same length (~32-33 minutes) to record the entire show (this may be a big “if”, given comments in Phil Lesh’s autobiography suggesting that Dan Healy recorded the tour on a variety of tapes and at a variety of speeds, although one would assume that at any one show they would use the same type of reels all the way through)…

-- THEN – if all of that is true – there would have to be either 2 FULL REELS or 3 FULL REELS of tape that PRECEDED TIFTOO.

3) If the above is correct, then we can infer how much recorded material we might expect to find from this show

-- “2 or 3 full reels” would likely mean either 64-66 minutes (for 2 reels) or 96-99 minutes (3 reels) of tape time, unless a reel was flipped early.  This is in addition to the roughly 32 minutes of tape that contains TIFTOO>>>Spanish Jam plus the 12 minutes of tape containing the second half of Spanish Jam.

-- How that translates to “actual on-stage time” is, of course, something else entirely … as it depends both on how much time was lost in the reel flips as well as on whether-or-not the tape was paused between songs (see below).  In light of the above comments on the total-duration-of-the-show, if the tape ran constantly I wouldn’t be surprised to find three reels of material before that final medley … but if the tape was paused between songs, then it’s certainly possible that all of this might have fit onto two reels.

4) It is possible that – unlike practice at later shows – the tape machine was routinely stopped between songs on this tour

“Standard practice” with regard to tape-pauses-between-songs on soundboards in the Archive seems to vary somewhat from show-to-show …

-- On many tapes in the Archive, they seem to have just let the soundboard tape machine run on between songs.  This means that we get the whole thing: all the songs, all the banter, and most-or-all of the “dead air” in between (as described above).  On others, it seems as though the tape was stopped briefly during extended tuning breaks – however, there’s usually still a fair amount of dead air left over.

-- On the Great Northwest Tour of 1968, however, we have almost no examples of “dead air” at all.  All that we have from ANY of the Northwest shows – both on the official releases & on the archive tapes – are isolated single songs (occasionally with a little adjacent banter or very brief tuning) and uninterrupted medleys of multiple connected songs.  I can’t think of any segment in any show from any source that consists of individual-songs-in-sequence (i.e. single song > tuning/dead air > single song > dead air > etc).  See appendix.

-- This makes me think that on this tour they might have routinely stopped the tape machine almost immediately at the end of individual songs or medleys, and not restarted until it looked as though the band was ready to start playing again (or until they started bantering).  Doing this would make sense if they were trying to maximize the amount of actual music on each reel – and there are several reasons that this could have been the case here: 

a)  They were trying to record the shows for use on Anthem, and didn’t want too many mid-song reel flips…
b)  They were on-the-road & might have wanted to minimize the number of reels that they had to carry with them, and…
c)  Frankly, they may simply have needed to conserve tape (their financial situation at the time has been described as “hand-to-mouth”).

THE REASON THAT ALL OF THIS MATTERS … is because if they WERE stopping the tape machine between songs in this fashion, and this WAS in fact only a four-hour show, and they WERE recording it on ~32 minute reels, then we would probably expect to find somewhere in the neighborhood of 64 minutes (two reels) of recorded material that preceded TIFTOO, and this would consist almost entirely of music & banter, with very little dead air.

-- I point this out, of course, because that is in fact almost exactly what we actually have.  The “Seattle 1/23” tapes found in 2009 (all music & banter, no dead air) have a total running time of a little under 63 minutes …

-- If we use that leap-of-faith as a starting point, then it begs a follow-up question:  “Is it possible to fit the remaining songs from the Seattle 1/23 tapes onto two 32-minute reels, in a logical order, without requiring a mid-song-reel-flip in any of them?”  Believe it or not, it is…


1) The implications of reel length …

-- As noted above, Lovelight is clearly the show opener.  Many people think that the extended bantering (“the cops say you can’t dance”) followed by Viola Lee was likely the second track; however, as I argued above, I think there’s a strong argument that this likely occurred later in the first set.  I would now bolster that argument (for purposes of this theoretical discussion) by pointing out that since Lovelight is just short of 13 minutes long, that would leave only 19-20 minutes of time on the remainder of a 7-inch reel … and the Viola Lee banter-plus-song clocks in at 22:46. 

-- So if Viola Lee doesn’t follow Lovelight, what does?  According to the newspaper article, the show was stopped briefly after Lovelight so that Boyd Grafmyre could tell everyone to quit dancing, and the Dead played “about two songs” where nobody danced.  We only have five songs left unaccounted for:  Beat It On Down The Line, Hurts Me Too, and a medley of Dark Star > China Cat > The Eleven.  Beat It On Down The Line & Hurts Me Too are “two songs”, but they’re both short – together they add up to only about 8 minutes, which leaves us with 10-minutes-and-change on that first reel.  Dark Star > China Cat > The Eleven is three songs rather than two … but if you’d never heard China>Eleven before (which almost nobody had at this point, since they were brand new), you could easily mistake that for one long tune with several parts if you didn’t pick up on the time change.  Perhaps more important for this argument, that medley is just under 19 minutes long.  If the tape was in fact paused while the cops came in, then the 13-minute Lovelight plus this 19 minute medley adds up to … roughly 32 minutes of tape time, or one reel (with the reel running out as The Eleven peters out, which is why we hear no applause).

2) There is precedent for opening Set 1 in this fashion

-- The logical question, of course, is “how realistic is that?”  Did the Dead ever open (rather than close) shows with Lovelight, and did they ever play Dark Star in the first set?  A review of existing setlists from late 1967 & early 1968 reveals that they actually did each on multiple occasions.  In fact, Set 1 of the 1/17/68 show at the Carousel (only three shows before this one) opens with Lovelight … and is immediately followed by Dark Star > China Cat > Eleven.


1) The implications of reel length …

-- If my theory about tape-pauses-between-songs is correct, then the three remaining songs plus associated banter (Hurts Me Too, “the cops say you can’t dance” > Viola Lee Blues, and “how many times?” > Beat It On Down The Line) should all fit on one reel … and they do, adding up to just under 31 minutes.  Each is isolated (i.e. not part of a medley), so there’s no foolproof way to know in what order they might have been performed, or where the set break occurred.  However, certain clues in the songs themselves and in other period setlists can help us make a pretty good guess…

2) Viola Lee more likely occurred at the end of set 1 than at the start of Set 2 …

-- One could make a strong argument that the second set should open with Viola Lee Blues, as this song was often a set opener (Phil Lesh described it as one of their “favorite launching pads”).  If that’s the case, then the first set would likely have closed with Hurts Me Too and Beat It On Down The Line, as the first four songs alone would have made for an awfully short set.  However (as noted above), the banter preceding Viola Lee Blues – with its references to the cops and the dancing being “short lived” – sounds as though it must have occurred not long after the license inspectors raided the show, which would imply that it took place during the first set rather than the second.  Agree that it’s a little uncommon, though not unheard of, for them to play Viola Lee this far into the set … however, after at least one (and possibly two) interruptions, they might have chosen Viola to be sort of a “re-boot” of Set 1.  Parenthetically, this might also explain why they played it so long (~20 minutes).

3) The fact that That’s It For The Other One (TIFTOO) is the first song on a reel does not necessarily mean that it opened the second set …  

-- Most proposed setlists that I’ve seen for 1/27 assume that TIFTOO was the opener for either the first set or the second set, which is not unreasonable considering that it often was a set-opener in this era, and opened the Anthem album as well.  However, TIFTOO also frequently was NOT a set opener, e.g. 10/22, 11/11, 1/17, 3/3, 3/16, 3/29, 3/30 (not sure if 2/24 is truly middle-of-set or just middle-of-CD) … so it doesn’t absolutely have to be at the front end of the set.

-- I sometimes wonder if the frequency with which TIFTOO seems to show up at the start of reels on this tour (and in the rest of the immediate pre-Anthem era) maybe does NOT necessarily mean that it opened the set, but is instead an artifact of… a) recording methods, and/or… b) later use of the tape in the studio…

a)  By “recording methods”, I mean that because it was known that any live recording of TIFTOO might be used for Anthem, it’s possible that if TIFTOO was likely to be coming up in a show and the preceding reel was nearing its end, the soundman might have decided to flip the reel early in order to try to catch an uninterrupted TIFTOO from the beginning.

b)  By “later use of the tape”, I mean that the fragmented nature of most of what we have from the Great Northwest Tour suggests that the master tapes themselves may well have been chopped apart (probably to provide easier access to certain tracks).  Since we know that a whole bunch of different recordings of TIFTOO were used to create the final Anthem master, it is perhaps not surprising that we have a whole bunch of partial reels (i.e. less-than-30-minute fragments) that start with TIFTOO.

4) … and BIODTL > Hurts Me Too > TIFTOO is a logical alternative choice for a second-set opener

-- The extended banter before BIODTL would certainly be typical of a set-opener.  Could just be tuning, but it’s an awfully long conversation for a mid-set tune-up (although I will admit that the Dead have been known to do that).  Could have taken place in Set 1 after the show was stopped by the license inspectors, but – as with the banter before Viola Lee – it doesn’t sound like the sort of thing they’d be saying if the cops were still on-site (e.g. “you’re too stoned to stand up”).  This suggests that it occurred after the cops left … and the absence of commentary on the dancing situation suggests that it occurred after the Viola Lee banter, which would likely put it in the second set.

-- Interestingly, that same 1/17 show at the Carousel that I mentioned above (as a model for the start of Set 1) could also serve as a model for the start of Set 2:  It opened with BIODTL, which was followed by a slower-tempo atmospheric song (Morning Dew), which in turn was followed by TIFTOO.  What I’m proposing here is really just the same beginning, with a different “slower-tempo atmospheric song” (i.e. Hurts Me Too) substituted for Morning Dew.  In truth, that appears to be a pretty typical progression for this era – on every single one of the five known occasions in January-thru-March 1968 where TIFTOO appeared in the middle of a set, it was directly preceded by either Morning Dew (three times, on 1/17, 3/29, & 3/30) or Hurts Me Too (twice, on 3/3 & 3/16)..

-- If BIODTL was in fact the second set opener, and the tape was in fact being paused between songs as I’ve suggested, then a slightly-late restart of the tape might explain the missing first bars of Hurts Me Too.  I think that this position in the setlist could also account for the missing finish of Hurts Me Too.  If Hurts Me Too was the second song in the second set, it would have been played as the second reel of tape was coming to an end … and because it was the second set, it would have been obvious to the soundman that TIFTOO would be coming up soon.  Per the theory I stated above about reels-starting-with-TIFTOO, it’s conceivable that the soundman might have stopped the tape shortly before the end of Hurts Me Too, in order to allow time to flip the reel and catch the first notes of Cryptical Envelopment. This would leave us with an abrupt cut at the end of Hurts Me Too (which we have) and with about a minute or two unaccounted-for at the end of the second reel of tape (which we also have if this is correct).


1) Further parallels with the 1/17 Carousel show

-- The parallels with the 1/17 show aren’t limited to the starts of each set.  If you just switch the endings of the two sets from that show – i.e. move NPC>BCE>Spanish Jam from the end of Set 1 to the end of Set 2, and move the long R&B tune (Schoolgirl) from the end of Set 2 to the end of Set 1 (and substitute it with a different long R&B tune, i.e. Viola Lee) … all of a sudden 1/17 looks a LOT like what I’m proposing for 1/27.

2) The progression and balance of the two sets with this running order seems logical

-- What I really like about this proposed running order is the progression.  Each set starts with defined stand-alone tunes, moves into sequences-of-songs with more extended exploration, and finally ends up with really long jams (Viola Lee Blues in Set 1, Spanish Jam in Set 2).  It’s the first setlist that I’ve put together for this show that actually sounds right when I listen to it.

-- The only thing that seems odd about this sequence is the placement of Viola Lee this far into the set (as I mentioned, it was much more often a set opener).  However, after at least one (and possibly two) interruptions, they might have chosen Viola to be sort of a “re-boot” of Set 1.  Might also explain why they played it so long (~20 minutes).

-- Both sets are also fairly equal in length (a little under an hour each).  The Dead weren’t particularly known for equal-length sets, of course, but in this case it may have been a necessity due to time constraints.  As noted above, the showtimes listed in the Seattle paper and on the locally-printed poster suggest that the entire multi-set/two-band show was only four hours long … and that might mean that this was a more-structured affair than a “typical” Dead show, i.e. that much more attention had to be paid to how long each band was on stage for each set.

3) If these songs were actually played in this order, with tape pauses between songs, and recorded on 32-minute reels, then everything that we have (reel-flips, lack-of-reel-flips, pauses, and timing) is explainable and fits together logically…    

REEL 1 – (running time = 31:48) 
          --- (set 1) ---
          Banter: “Dancing Is Good For You” >
          Turn On Your Lovelight
          * [tape pause for “quit dancing” announcement from Boyd Grafmyre] *
          Dark Star >
          China Cat Sunflower >
          The Eleven

>>>   Reel flip as “The Eleven” peters out, with the tape running out at about the same time, which is why we hear no conclusion/applause…

REEL 2 – (running time = 30:44)
          Banter: “The Cops Say You Can’t Dance” >
          Viola Lee Blues
          * [tape pause for set break] *
          --- (set 2) ---
          Banter: “How Many Times?” >
          Beat It On Down The Line
          * [tape pause between songs, late restart] *
          Hurts Me Too

>>>  Stop recording “Hurts Me Too” just before it ends, in order to fast-forward through the last minute or two of unused tape & flip the reel early (to try to catch the beginning of TIFTOO, since it might be used on the album).  Almost make it, but clip the first note or two of TIFTOO…

REEL 3 – (running time = 32:22
          That’s It For The Other One >
          Clementine >
          New Potato Caboose >
          Born Cross-Eyed >
          Spanish Jam #

>>>  No tape pauses, because “the music never stopped”.  Reel flip in Spanish Jam after the reel runs out mid-song, losing an undetermined amount in the middle of the track…

REEL 4 – (running time = 12:25) 
          # Spanish Jam >
          Banter: “See you the next time we’re in Seattle”

This scenario is, as I said, improbable-as-hell … but not out-of-the-question.  There’s a tiny possibility that it actually happened this way, and that we in fact have the whole 1/27 show.



On the other hand, if the taping WASN’T done with pauses between songs (i.e. if there was a lot of dead air that was cut out when these songs were compiled … which is, frankly, not-unlikely), then god-only-knows what order the songs found in 2009 were played in…

1) Nonetheless -- some things might still be inferred

-- In that case – presuming that you still buy the idea that TIFTOO>>>Spanish Jam# is one reel, that the remainder of Spanish Jam concludes the show, and that the entire show was recorded on one-size-of-reel – then if the tape was NOT paused between songs, TIFTOO must have been preceded by THREE 32-to-33-minute reels.

-- We only have a little over 60 minutes’ worth of recorded matter that precedes TIFTOO (i.e. the 2009 Road Trips tapes) – and if three reels adds up to over 90 minutes, this would suggest that there’s probably about half-an-hour of un-accounted-for tape time in the first part of the show, interspersed between the tracks that we do have.

-- “Un-accounted-for tape time” can be a lot of things, of course.  It would probably include some tuning/dead air, possibly an early reel-flip before TIFTOO, and could have included Boyd Grafmyre and/or the cops telling people they couldn’t dance.  However, it also would almost certainly include at least one or two more songs, such as Alligator and/or Caution. (David Lemieux reported that a ten-minute Alligator was left off the Road Trips release due to sound issues – but didn’t say which show it came from.)

2) However, even that scenario has its problems

-- I’ll admit that it certainly seems more plausible that the Road Trips songs were culled from a longer master recording, rather than just “happening” to fit perfectly onto a pair of reels when first recorded live (especially since these songs were apparently found on compilation reels – no good reason to cut them up if they already fit on a single reel).

-- If that’s the case, however, then it would imply that the Dead may have had between two-and-a-quarter and two-and-a-half hours of actual stage time at this show.  This is certainly possible if the show ran from 9pm-to-2am – however, if it only ran from 8pm-to-midnight, then this may not have been realistic, because when set breaks, late starts, and interruptions-by-the-cops are considered, the “actual stage time” for both bands probably wasn’t anywhere close to four hours.

-- If the show in fact only ran from 8:00-to-12:00, it’s difficult to imagine how the Dead could possibly have filled up a whole half-hour more tape than what we’ve already got, unless Quicksilver was limited to one fairly short set.  Despite the implausibility of the “two reel” theory, I still think there’s a small possibility that this might be the whole show … and in any case, the running order above is the way that I now listen to it (mostly because I like the flow!).

I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on all of this.  Thanks!


APPENDIX :   GREAT NORTHWEST TOUR  (January-February 1968)   
   No italics    =   Officially released tracks
   Italics    =   Unreleased vault tapes (available as commonly-traded bootlegs)
Light italics    =   Unreleased vault tapes (not in public circulation), or songs played by secondhand report only

1/20  (EUREKA)                                                                                                                   
(3 circulating fragments / total time – 1:06:02)
33:10 – Clementine (5:57) > New Potato (8:23) > BCE (3:41) > Spanish (10:10) > Caution Jam (1:51) > Dark Star (3:08-cut)
20:38 – Viola Lee
12:14 – Schoolgirl
(        ) – TIFTOO -- Unknown if tape still exists – Track discussed by Phil Lesh (interview: “Anthem to Beauty” film)
1/26  (SEATTLE)                                                                                                                   
(4 circulating fragments / total time – 1:12:36)
16:05 – Alligator
16:50 – TIFTOO (7:39) > New Potato (7:53) > BCE (1:18-cut)
33:40 – BCE (0:39-cont’d) > Feedback (4:50) > Spanish (8:22) > Dark Star (5:43) > China (4:13) > Eleven (6:39) > Caution (3:14-cut)
  6:01 – Caution (0:59-cont’d) > Feedback (5:02)
1/27  (SEATTLE)                                                                                                                   
(7 circulating fragments / total time – 1:47:19)
12:55 – Lovelight
18:53 – Dark Star (7:45) > China (5:08) > Eleven (6:00)
22:46 – Viola Lee
  3:38 – BIODTL
  4:20 – Hurts Me Too
32:22 – TIFTOO (7:57) > Clementine (8:32) > New Potato (7:57-possible cut?) > BCE (3:08) > Spanish (4:48-cut)
12:25 – Spanish (12:25-cont’d)
1/29  (PORTLAND – Portland State College)                                                                
(0 circulating fragments / total time –      0:00)
  0:00 – [        ]
1/30  (EUGENE)                                                                                                                   
(1 circulating fragment   / total time –    12:40)
12:40 – New Potato
(        ) – TIFTOO
(        ) – Gloria -- Unknown if tape exists – Songs played according to DeadBase XI (source of information not cited)

2/2  (PORTLAND – Crystal Ballroom)                                                                             
(3 circulating fragments / total time –    39:31)
14:01 – Viola Lee > Feedback
18:50 – TIFTOO (8:53) > Clementine (7:44) > Schoolgirl (2:13-cut)
  6:40 – Dark Star
2/3  (PORTLAND – Crystal Ballroom)                                                                             
(5 circulating fragments / total time –    59:42)
16:32 – TIFTOO (7:32) > New Potato (9:00)
  4:05 – Hurts Me Too
  4:21 – BCE > Jam (cut)
15:29 – Schoolgirl
19:15 – Dark Star (5:22) > China (3:20) > Eleven (10:33)
2/4  (ASHLAND)                                                                                                                  
(0 circulating fragments / total time –      0:00)
  0:00 – [        ]
(UNKNOWN DATE)                                                                                                             
(0 circulating fragments / total time –      0:00)
(~10) – Alligator -- Tape exists – Discovered with 2009 tapes, not released due to “sound issues” (David Lemieux)

23 circulating fragments / total time = 5 hours, 57 minutes, 50 seconds (not including non-circulating tracks)
11   –   Uninterrupted medleys (of multiple connected songs, without pauses of more than 1-2 seconds between songs)
12   –   Isolated single songs (with or without brief tuning/banter, but unconnected to other tracks)
  0   –   Individual-songs-in-sequence (continuous segments with extended dead air/tuning between tracks)



Most of the Northwest tour comes to us in fragments and excerpts – never a full uncut show – and considering how much of the Dead’s sets were continuous suites and long jams, with few standalone songs surviving on the circulating tapes, it’s to be expected that few pauses and tunings between songs would make it onto our tapes.
I was skeptical at first that Healy stopped the tape between songs – this seemed impractical to me, and would result in a lot of song beginnings being clipped. But this may have been his first time taping shows on tour, and unlike Bear, his purpose was to make recordings for use in the studio. Checking the tapes closely, a pattern emerged: there were indeed a number of tape stops and clipped starts in most of the winter ’68 shows.

1/17 – tape stopped in tuning after Lovelight, start of Dark Star clipped; tape stopped again before New Potato.
1/26 – tape stopped after Alligator, start of Cryptical clipped.
2/2 – tape stopped after Viola Lee, start of Cryptical clipped.
2/3 – tape stopped after New Potato, start of Hurts Me Too clipped; another stop after Schoolgirl, start of Dark Star clipped. There’s an apparent stop before Schoolgirl as well; and the reel-opening Cryptical is clipped.
2/14 – tape stopped after the first couple songs; the first three songs all have clipped starts.

Hurts Me Too and Cryptical both have clipped starts on 1/27, though we don’t know what preceded them.
There are still a few places between songs in the winter ’68 shows where the tape is left running, so perhaps we shouldn’t imagine Healy with his hand constantly on the stop button. Nonetheless, this was apparently his usual policy – to capture only the music, not the full shows. Since the tapes were meant to be cut up later in the studio for Anthem, this makes sense. If the idea was to fit more complete performances on the reels without mid-song cuts (at the cost of some trimmed song starts), it was somewhat successful, although several shows still have awful reel endings in the middle of a tune. Given the Dead’s tendency to play for over 40 minutes nonstop sometimes, this could hardly be avoided!
It’s doubtful that any of the Northwest tour shows survived the studio scissors intact – some were lost entirely, others exist only in stray reels. The taped shows from later in February & March ‘68 are in more complete shape, for whatever reason.

It is possible that the show recording started mid-reel. If the band did want to conserve 4-track tape, it might make sense to continue on from where the last show stopped rather than switching to a new reel. But did they, in fact, fill up the last reel of 1/26 that had only 6 minutes of Feedback on it? Was something else added to the last reel of 1/27 with only 12 minutes of Spanish Jam? We don’t know what their practice was at this time.

I’m a bit troubled by the supposed reel flip in New Potato Caboose, mentioned by both Charlie Miller and deadlists – I can’t hear it on the circulating tape sources. Edits and crossfades are typically used to cover up mid-song reel flips, which makes for easier listening but hides the kind of reel clues this post investigates. If there is a flip in New Potato, it would make hash of some of the reel-length theories here!

It’s common enough to find channels reversed on different copies of a show (easy to accidentally switch these during copying), so I think the flipped channels on the two fragments of the Spanish Jam are just that. I don’t think it’s necessary to propose two different mixes from the 4-track; I think the sound difference is adequately explained by one tape copy being more degraded or multi-generational than the other. (What puzzles me more is how the end of the Spanish Jam came into circulation separately, from a different source & copying chain.)

The Helix review of the Friday 1/26 show mentions that Quicksilver took the first set, so likely both nights ran Quick – Dead – Quick – Dead. The interaction with the audience seems to have been the same as on Saturday: “Throughout the evening, both the Dead and Quicksilver kept urging people to dance; but with very few exceptions everyone just sat on the floor and was subdued. Even the applause was rather mild, considering what was happening on the stage.” Another reviewer also mentions, “Friday night Jerry Garcia told the audience to vote no on politics and dance. A few did and weren't stopped.”
Coming from dance-crazy San Francisco, “home of free souls, [where] they don’t take laws seriously”, the Dead must have found Seattle (and other cities with prohibitive dance laws) quite a change, and the sight of the whole audience quietly sitting on the floor left them bemused. Their repeated requests for people to dance have a mocking tone! It seems no more than a few people got up despite the Dead’s pleas…

The newspaper report is rather brief and vague on the sequence of events, but this is how I read it:
The Dead start their set with Lovelight.
The inspectors walk in, at an unknown point (possibly later in the set, or afterwards).
The promoter asks Quicksilver to tell the audience to stop dancing – during Quicksilver’s set. 
The audience stops dancing “for about two songs” (some unspecified short time, not necessarily “two songs” exactly, and in any case Quicksilver’s songs).
The inspectors leave, the Dead come back on (to start their second set), and dancing continues.  

This sequence of events is a bit different than what’s suggested above, and I think alters the possible setlist order. 
In spite of the tape edits, the 1/27 tracks on the Road Trips CD include some interesting banter before the songs, which helps to place their order.
LOVELIGHT (opening the show) -
Garcia: “Dancing is good though, dancing is good for you, everybody dance please.”
Pigpen: “Makes you nice and tired so you can’t get into any trouble later.”
BIODTL - the band debates how many beats to start BIODTL with, nine or seventeen?  
Lesh: “I only count eight people standing up… Those are the only ones I can see… If all these people here would stand up I could see ‘em a lot easier. I know you people, you’re too stoned to stand up!”
Weir: “If you get up and dance…you get hyperventilation, you get high… Good ol’ oxygen will do it to you every time.” (Lots of cross-chatter with four bandmembers talking at once, can’t make it out but Garcia calls the audience “lazy.”)
HURTS ME TOO – fades in, no context.
Garcia: “Well, the cops say you can’t dance.”
Pigpen: “Cops ain’t god.”
Lesh: “But they didn’t say you couldn’t take off your clothes and wriggle around!”
Garcia: “Right, you can still take off your clothes and wriggle around! [muted audience response] That was short-lived, wasn’t it.”  
DARK STAR – No banter, but it’s preceded by tuning, which suggests the previous song had been something long where they’d gone a bit out of tune.
THE ELEVEN – At the end, it sounds like they want to segue into another tune but peter out instead. Since it fades out here, it’s impossible to know whether any segue happened or they just stopped, but there might be a missing song next. The fadeout here may well be an edit for the Road Trips release, rather than indicating a cut in the original tape.

My proposed setlist suggestions:

FIRST SET (40+ minutes)
Lovelight (13) [reel 1]
Hurts Me Too (could be in either set)
[missing songs]
Dark Star>China Cat>The Eleven (19) [> ?] [reel 2]

SECOND SET (69+ minutes)
Viola Lee Blues (23) [reel 3]
That’s It>Clementine>New Potato>Born Cross-Eyed>Spanish Jam (46) [reel 4-5]

-- BIODTL was played in the first set, sometime after Lovelight, since the band is still griping about people not dancing; it seems the cops haven’t appeared yet.
-- Viola Lee Blues opened the second set. The quick instrument tests indicate the start of a new set – they’re picking up their guitars and drumsticks again, and turning up – and the banter refers to the cops who’d interrupted Quicksilver’s previous set.
-- The Dark Star suite is almost certainly from the first set, since otherwise the second set would be some 90 minutes long and there would be more reel cuts.
-- The Dark Star suite could fit on the same 33-minute reel after Lovelight, in theory. It’s tempting to link them, but the Dead at the time usually ended their sets with a big jam sequence (or Schoolgirl), and it doesn’t feel right to have BIODTL following the Dark Star sequence. (They played it after Lovelight on 3/31/68.)
-- The Eleven limps to a finish, and my feeling is that something followed it to end the set. Possibly a reel change after the Eleven interrupted whatever song ended the set, and Viola Lee rounded out that reel; the Other One suite evidently starts the next reel. (An alternative is that Viola Lee started a reel and another song followed it, which would make the second set extra-long.) Likewise, another song (or two) probably fit on the first reel following Lovelight.
-- What songs could be missing? The Dead’s setlists were pretty restricted at this time – the main candidates are Morning Dew, Schoolgirl, or Alligator.

I think there’s likely some music missing from the show, but not very much – maybe 20 minutes from the first set? If the full show ran from 8-12 as advertised, the Dead aren’t likely to have played much longer than two hours. The question is whether they could have played overtime, or if the Eagles Auditorium had a strict closing time. (Do any Seattle residents remember?) The show-ending Spanish Jam on 1/27 (the longest of the tour) doesn’t sound like they’re in any hurry to wrap up…
The tape from the night before, 1/26, features what seems to be a single long set of over 75 minutes, captured on two reels and an ending snippet. The Helix review mentions the probable cause: “The Dead's first set, though very good, was cut short when one of the two drummers put his foot (I think) through his bass drum.” So the Dead likely had some extra time to play in their second set that night.


Excerpt from a discussion on the making of Anthem of the Sun.
by Sandy Troy, Relix 1978 (from “One More Saturday Night,” p.137-140)

HEALY: We decided that we could collect a bunch of live tapes. We began recording with a small ¼-inch 4-track machine. That was big time in those days, because 4-track was big time, and ¼-inch tape meant that it was possible that we could afford to buy tape. The machine was an old Viking deck that the Bear made by taking two stereo machines and splicing them together into one machine. It was a real funky machine. You had to set it down and have a talk with it, warm it up, and if you got it just in the right mood, then it would record for you, and cease to stop and warble.
We collected about ten gigs’ worth of tapes… Somehow we had a real ½-inch 4-track for the [Lake Tahoe] gig, and that was like the big time…
Those days were before mixing boards or consoles. [In the studio] we had all these small 4-channel mixers, which would be stacked up to the ceiling, dozens of them all wired so they would filter down onto the tape tracks. We got all these tapes, and they were all recorded on different machines in different cities. The speeds were all different and weird and variable. There would be things wrong. The performance would be going along real good and, all of a sudden, someone would kick out a plug, or the power would go off and the performance would be ended prematurely.
We got back into the studio and it turned out that there wasn’t one performance that played all the way through and did anything. We decided that what we would do was just devise a way to be able to play them all by aligning and starting two different performances in the same place, and comparing the different meters and rhythms.
GARCIA: Four stereo pairs of completely different shows that all started in the same meter and had about the same tuning… The performances were all on different tape mediums, and there wasn’t the ability to have four 4-tracks all in one studio so that you could make it easy on yourself, just put on all the tapes and work through them. You had to convert. Columbus Recording had three 2-tracks, a mono, a 3-track and an 8-track, which was a brand-new thing that was the hot dog machine. We had to convert all the performances down to whatever tape machine there was in the studio. Some of the performances we took down to the 3-track, some we took down to the 2-track just so that we could have enough machines to simultaneously run it all. Then we transferred it all onto the 8-track machine… There would be times when [Healy] would be there with a thumb on the capstan motor of two machines, slowing down the speed.
HEALY: This was way before the days of variable speed.
GARCIA: It was part of the thing of having two different recordings of one performance and trying to get them to be in phase.
HEALY: Some of them were recorded at 7 ½, and some were recorded at 3 ¾.
GARCIA: It was really a fucking ordeal from a technical standpoint…