Grateful Dead

Atwood Hall - April 20, 1969

Atwood Hall

April 20, 1969

Worcester, MA US

Average: 5 (2 votes)


Roland Kirk opened - poster lists the date as 04-19-69

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Attendees of this show


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Joined: Apr 21 2009
The Dead at Clark

Some recollections of this performance, and an earlier Clark visit, now missing from the database.

There was an earlier Dead show at Clark, the prior academic year, which is missing from the database. You can hear a reference to it in the recording of this concert, during the tuning, when someone says "The last time we were here it was a total disaster."

I was a Freshman in the fall of '67. The Dead made their first appearance at Atwood Hall in late '67 or early '68. They performed a lot of material from Anthem although it had not been released yet. I was sitting near the center aisle when all of I sudden, maybe 40 minutes into the set, Paul MacGalliard goes running down the aisle towards the stage. That's funny, I thought. I wasn't used to seeing Paul, a man of significant size, move so fast. I was working with the theater group, learning stage lighting, and Paul, who was a year or two ahead of me, tolerated me and taught me the ropes. Suddenly I realized that all of the little red lights on the guitar amps had gone out. The Dead had blown out the power, but I was so entranced, I didn't even notice. The stage lights were still on, they were on a different circuit. The band members all picked up percussion instruments and just kept playing. (Maybe this was not the first time this had happened). They kept jamming until Paul threw the breakers and the power came back.

The Dead played a while longer until the circuits heated up and they blew the power again. It was no use, they excused themselves, and promised to come back, which they did in April of 1969. We had new power lines in Atwood, installed especially for them.

Our Student Affairs Board (SAB) used to get great acts at times by trying to add an extra, non-prime night to an existing tour nearby. So if a group came to Boston for a Saturday night, we might try to book them for Friday, that sort of thing. For those who are not familiar with it, Clark's Atwood Hall is an intimate setting. It's a theater with a classic stage layout and balcony, but it seats only 658.

The date of (Saturday) April 19, 1969, which appears on the concert poster, could be correct. In '69 I drove to Boston the night before the gig and helped to collect the band at the Boston airport, and I helped them set up the following day; the performance could have been scheduled for a Saturday. However, the posters were printed far in advance, and plans sometimes changed at the last minute. If the band was running late, (and note that they played Indiana on Friday, April 18), then we would have pushed everything forward one day until Sunday. The band flew and the gear came by truck, and that is a long drive to do in a single day.

So when was the missing first concert? I don't know exactly, but it must have been when the Dead came East for a tour. They appeared in New York on Friday, December 22, 1967. The next earlier date in the database is Wednesday, December 13 in Los Angeles. So it's possible they came to Clark on Friday December 15, or Saturday December 16, 1967, but that would not have given them enough time to drive the gear from California. Another possibility is the first week of 1968, since they played Boston on Saturday, December 30, 1967. They could have played Clark Saturday, January 7, 1968, and had enough time to get back to Bakersfield for their next gig on January 14.

There is a remarkably good soundboard recording now available for streaming on Owsley has said that he used open reel when possible, but he could not always afford the expensive tapes. This was done on a non-Dolby cassette (the first Dolby cassette machine did not appear until 1971). It is remarkable what he was able to capture "with the tools we had," as Owsley likes to say. I remember him making the tapes, he was an educational experience all by himself.

hockey_john's picture
Joined: Aug 25 2012
Grateful Dead Live at Clark

Grateful Dead Live at Clark University on 1969-04-20 - Grateful Dead
Morning Dew, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, Doin' That Rag, Dark Star > St. Stephen > The Eleven > Death Don't Have Mercy; Encores: Dupree's Diamond Blues > Mountains Of The Moon

hockey_john's picture
Joined: Aug 25 2012
listening to this one now.

Nothing like waking up completely sober at 5 am listening to this old Dead stuff day after day. Started the morning with 2 21 69 dreambowl. Now on to this Clark U show . Just AMAZING how every show I listen to seems to out do the other.
Copying and pasting someone elses review of this day from the archives. Why because I think we should all know what happened on certain days in the life of the GREATEST band to ever live.

Reviewer: Al Astrella - - April 28, 2007
Subject: clark show
Hi RockDoc, thanks for review on Clark show. Like you, I saw a good number of shows at Atwood hall (Ten Years After was a great show).I do remember that poolin the basement. I wonder if our paths ever crossed? Are there any photographs from this show? And what is true date of this show? Poster says 19th, deadbase says 20th. Also, what is this about 2nd dead show? Deadbase does not list it, and I never heard of it. And I grew up in Worcester. Al Astrella

Reviewer: RockDoc50 - - April 26, 2007
Subject: Clarkie Experience
I was a freshman at Clark. Clark always had great music because of guys like David DePaul (rest his soul), Bob Eckert, and Steve DePaul who served on the SAB. How many other schools with a student body of under 1500 had Hendrix, the Dead (at least twice), Janis, Chuck Berry, the Chambers Brothers, the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, James Taylor, Ray Charles, Ten Years After, etc, etc, in the space of 4 or 5 years?? This was my first Dead concert--I had listened to the first album and Anthem of the Sun until the grooves were worn out. Aoxomoxoa and Live Dead would be released later that year. It was the first time I'd ever seen a man wearing a ponytail (or pigtails---Owsley!). Jerry without a beard. Weir looked about 15. Mickey Hart tried to pick up "Cowboy Neil's" girlfriend--he was pretty anguished over the whole deal Mountain Girl was there--she was incredibly beautiful back then. I was at Atwood Hall for the sound check. Roland Kirk made a big deal about who was billed as the first act. The Dead were consulted and said it was cool for Kirk to get first billing, but not before he actually pulled out a gun. That's a whole other story, but those who were there know it's true. There was lots of liquid stuff being passed around by Owsley. A post-party at Soupy's apartment with a cake that was literally green from the organic ingrediants (LOL). Bobby Weir was walking down the stairs telling someone that if they thought it was weird downstairs they should check out the upstairs.
The Dead were really phenomenal. They did St Stephen with canon and all. Duprees and Mountains of the Moon were treasures--I had never heard before because the album hadn't yet been released. This was the beginning of a long love affair between me and the Dead. Many visits backstage, first through my close friendship to Andy who got to know Jerry and other member of the Dead family pretty well, and later by my friendship with Steve Marcus, their ticket manager. One of my all-time best memories of Clark, though, was this concert. I'm amazed that it has been preserved all these years. Perfect flashback.


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Atwood Hall - April 20, 1969