Fox Theatre - December 10, 1971
December 10, 1971
FM broadcast KADI - final "China Cat Jam" - also: NRPS
Attendees of this show
My father wasn't convinced that he wanted to turn me and my runnin' buddies loose in downtown St. Louis on a Friday night. Considering I'd only had my license a few months and we were heading to a "Grateful Dead" concert (whatever in mercy's name that could be?)... and not to seem totally uncool, and to further prove that he would facilitate my cultural development, (and to make sure nothing unseemly might happen)he decided to tag along.
Shortly after we departed he asked what sort of alcoholic beverage might be suitable for such an occasion. Since none of us were really drinkers (and we had an ample supply of other party favors) we didn't have much of a response. Finally, I think it was Tom, or Mike, said he thought that the bass player usually held up a bottle of Ripple from time to time. So, pop stopped of at the local IGA and left us in the car until he returned with a brown grocery bag with 3 big bottles of Ripple. Off we went.
General admission of course, so standing in line was understood. Pop was getting a kick out of the crowd as it assembled. Being a General Motors executive, this wasn't the typical "Theatre" crowd he was used to. When we got to the door he walked in with his grocery bag like it was his lunch, no questions asked.
We sat in the last row of the floor seats. The Fox was fairly run down back then, not bad, but they used it for midnight flicks and concerts, and you could smoke in it, so you can imagine. When the lights went out the air soon filled with a cloud of sweet perfumed smoke. Every time someone tried to pass Pop a doobie he'd hold up his bottle of Ripple as if to say, "it's cool'. He offered it to us several times, I finally took a pull off of it when cottonmouth set in. Wasn't bad, at least it was wet. By the end of the night it tasted pretty good actually.
The show was amazing. And amazingly long. They did songs that seemed to feature Pigpen(Mr. Charlie) then Jerry(Loser), then Bobby (El Paso), then they would take off into the great abyss, which became a series of swirling waves of electric tones and pulsating rythyms that filled me to the marrow with some kind of oscillating tingling rushes of pleasure. In and out, like the ocean surf, then crashing like an avalanche, or receding like babbling brook of tuning sounds. People dancing in the aisles. Bodies floating like spirits. Whole lot of smiling and head rolling going on. Just like today.
Pop passed out a couple of times. The last time was during a the Other One/NFA/GDTRFB sandwich jam. He woke up as they broke into NFA for the 3rd time. He looked at me and asked, "are they still playing the same damn song?"
To this day, if you ask him how he liked the show, or the Dead, he replies, "they know one good song...of course they play it all night" and indeed they did. I think the boys took the stage around 7pm and we didn't leave until the management turned the lights on around midnight. It seemed endless, but you never wanted it to end. Life was never quite the same after that. 37 years later the magic is still there and Pop and I still talk about the night he drove us to the Fox.
Me & My Uncle
Beat It On Down The Line
Next Time You See Me
Big Railroad Blues
Playin' In The Band
Run, Rudolph, Run
Comes A Time
Drums-> The Other One->
Sitting On Top Of The World->
The Other One->
Not Fade Away->
China Cat Sunflower Jam->
Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad->
Not Fade Away
E: One More Saturday Night
That's a great story! You can't make shit like that up, man. Too funny!