December 12, 1980
Set List:Alabama Getaway
Greatest Story Ever Told
Friend of the Devil
Little Red Rooster
Looks Like Rain
China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
Eyes of the World
Around and Around
Don't Ease Me In
Attendees of this show
Rode down from Berkeley in the back of Grey Wicker's pickup truck. I recall the Auditorium as only being half full. I also recalled the music being great.
You'll note from the date that John Lennon had been killed just a few days prior. Some unofficial GD tour posters being sold outside featuring an open coffin, undoubted printed before the event, just struck me as way too tacky and I couldn't bear to look at them.
Like a lot of people of my generation (including the band, I presume), I was still hurting. I must've been looking a bit forlorn, because a girl from San Diego asked me why I was so sad, got my answer, and assured me he was alright wherever he was.
The band played through it, and through He's Gone for that matter.
The mood was to lighten the next 2 nights in Long Beach
(though in those days there were plenty of repeats over 3 nights).
A little less than a year later, on September 11, 1981, a small private plane crashed into the roof of the Swing Auditorium. Although replacing the roof wouldn't have been too prohibitively expensive by itself, the unfortunate fact that the Swing had been built by a WPA crew during FDR's administration meant that it was not up to current seismic resistance standards, and that meant that the entire building would have had to have been retrofitted with earthquake-resistant construction features in order to get the roof replacement plans approved. The operators of the National Orange Show Fairgrounds (where the Swing was located) weighed the costs and decided that a bulldozer was cheaper, which effectively removed San Bernardino from the list of cities that major bands would be able to play for the next 15+ years. Since the Dead had played at the Swing three times in four years, one can only imagine that they would have kept it in their list of regular show venues, even though it was a smaller facility than at most of their other concerts.
The Swing typically had a LOT of walk-up ticket purchasers on the day of the show, since it only EVER sold out about 3 or 4 times, and since all of the tickets were General Admission--if you got to the box office early on the day of the show, you had as good (or better) of a seat as anyone who had bought one a couple of months earlier. As a result, the VERY recent death of John Lennon had to have had a major impact on walk-up tickets, resulting in the comparatively small crowd for this show.
This was my 2nd Dead show, and, I'd have to say, when I got on the bus. I was never really into dancing of anykind before that nite. But, I remember trying to walk normally through the crowd on my way to the head and the snack bar and you just couldn't do it. I HAD to "dance" my way through the crowd. I thought it was kinda weird but cool at the same time. And it was the only way to get back to my seat in the balcony section with my drink intact. After I sat back down and was enjoying the show and watching everyone dancing around me, it finally hit during Around and Around. I did just like the song says-
"Well it sounds so sweet I had to take me a chance,
I rose out of me seat Lord, I had to dance,
Started moving my feet, well a clapping my hands.
Well I kept on dancin', going 'round and 'round,
Hey! reelin' and a rockin', what a crazy sound."
I didn't care who was watching me make a fool of myself, I HAD TO DANCE! It felt so GRATE!
Some of the most powerful emotions I've felt have been GD related. God I love it and wouldn't change it for the world! Since then I've seen about 30 something more shows. I'm so glad for the music.
This show was right after Lennon was murdered. No doubt a very long version of "He's Gone" was for John.
the hall was lightly attended; the crowd still and PETIFIED at the loss of John Lennon. I waltzed into the pitt and hawked Wier..trying to silly up the works. Danced as a shaddow in the doorway to "truckin'" at the end...its seemed appropriate, my name is Michele.
keep your character, enjoy living, share your fortune,
OXOX Merple Reddin