January 15, 1978
It Must Have Been the Roses
Brown Eyed Women
Music Never Stopped
Samson and Delilah
Friend of the Devil
Playin' in the Band
Previous Show« Bakersfield Memorial Auditorium - January 14, 1968
Attendees of this show
I was at this show. Fresno State was out of session, and Fresno itself was not exactly Grateful Dead Central. Selland Arena held several thousand (comparable to Oakland Auditorium), and there were maybe 1,000 people, at most. You could walk to the front of the stage and lean on it without touching another person (my friend Mike and I actually did that, just to say we were at a Dead show where we could do that). Later we heard a story that Bakersfield was similar, and everyone with a Bakersfield ticket was told they could go to Fresno for free (never confirmed).
The atmosphere was completely flat. The first set was terrible. Jerry dropped his hands during the Big River solo and let Keith finish, it was that lame. Why had we driven 3 hours from Berkeley? It was as bad as I had ever seen the Dead play.
For the second set, the band played a few numbers, and started to get rolling, and then started into Playing In The Band. Jerry, Bob and Phil huddled around the drums, in a circle, playing for themselves, as there was no crowd to speak of. Playing In The Band from Fresno remains the single most incredible sequence from over 100 Dead shows--from worst-ever to the wildest, spaciest music imaginable. Wharf Rat was unreal, and the balance of the second set was great. The acceleration of going from worst to first created escape velocity, and we know how that goes. We practically flew home.
It just goes to show ya--you never know.
In another bizarre footnote, one of my friends (Jeff from Fresno) had seen the Sex Pistols the night before at Winterland (I had passed, because I had to write a paper). I believe he may be the only human to see the Sex Pistols and the Grateful Dead on consecutive nights.