The Palestra - November 20, 1970
November 20, 1970
the set breaks may be wrong - last "All Over Now": 09-06-69  - only "Darlin Corey" - also: NRPS
Attendees of this show
I don't have it out in front of me, but the set list in Deadbase X is correct. As for set breaks, there were 2 sets, the first set ending with Casy Jones, the 2nd beginning with All Over Now. This was my first show, I was 15 years old and got dosed on the apple cider that appeared near the stage in unlabeled gallon jugs.
This was an incredible show, unfortunately the sbds were apparently lost and the only known audience tape is of poor quality (but I have a copy anyway).
Really, only two sets? Well, it was my first show, quite the trip/scene, and could easily be that my memory made it more monumental than it was. I (mythically) remember NRPS (the Jerry-Lesh-Hart) version, acoustic Dead (hmmm, I'm doubting this more and more, mistaking the NRPS for that), then 3 electric sets with Jorma jamming with them in the last one. Some remember Jack also jamming with them, however I just remember Lesh greeting Jack and trying to get him on stage by playing the White Rabbit bass riff while they were back of the stage between sets.
Many many stories my group of friends have told about that concert since, again and again. I'll paste in below two that I wrote up for Deadheadland.
My recollection is that it was OJ (supplied by the campus hotshot student organ player and his crew), being passed around on stage and into the audience. Dang, I like apple cider; don't care for OJ much.
It's a shame Bob Stone didn't bring enough tape with him to tape the extra-long concert, shame the subsequent clandestine dubbing off that tape (thanks "peter_r" et al) and/or the original tape wasn't better, and shame the SB got lost. Sigh. Great show in my memory. I spent many years acquiring the skill to listen to poor AUD tapes, and imagining the greatness, from my copy of that show and others back then.
1970, November. I owned all the Dead albums, listened to them fairly frequently. Across the hall from me, in the dorm, was a fanatic for them, a veteran Deadhead. "Fred J" we called him.
Friends of his from other cities were coming in for the show at the U of R Palestra, including a hippie busload from Buffalo. I had never been to a Dead concert but Fred J had been working on me for weeks to make sure I was properly appreciative of this momentous event.
The Palestra, the gym, wasn't very full. On the gym floor were folk dance types doing various patterns. There was plenty of room to sit or lie down. Clusters and groups.
First up was New Riders, with Lesh on bass, Mickey on drums, Jerry on pedal steel. It was the most cosmic, sweet, soaring pedal steel I've ever heard in my life. And I grew up in Texas.
With the gym being so sparsely populated, I wandered around but mostly stood up near the stage.
Fred J wasn't there yet. I was amazed. His friends were there. Painted faces, tie-dyes, incense, etc.
[shift to present tense] Jerry's spinning psychedelic pedal steel swirls that both reminded me of Texas country music and energy flows out of Ditko illustrations in Dr. Strange comics.
I keep looking at the gym doors, hoping Fred J would show up soon. I want to experience this with him.
He does. He comes through the doors and stops. His mouth drops open staring at Jerry. He slowly comes down the steps, walks across the gym floor, staring at Jerry in amazement. I'm standing next to the stage, the band on a platform about 1 foot off the gym floor.
Fred doesn't see me. It's as if he sees no one but Jerry, his mind filled with Jerry's pedal steel.
Fred keeps walking.
He walks right up onto the stage, until he is standing right in front of Jerry. He looks at Jerry's fingers, at Jerry's bowed head, at Jerry's fingers, ... over and over, slowly ... amazed. I'm standing off stage right behind Fred, ready to grab Fred, pull him off stage.
At a pause in Jerry's playing, Jerry looks up at Fred with a smile, does a small shoo-ing gesture with one hand, and says "step off the wah-wah pedal, son".
Fred wakes up. Shakes his head. Says "oh, sorry, man" and steps off the stage. Jerry continues playing.
Thanks, Jerry for the compassion, patience, and personal touch.
1970, November, my first Dead concert. By then I fancied myself a somewhat expert appreciator of guitar playing and I sure had heard the Dead albums many times.
It was taking place in the sparsely populated gym at my college. Plenty of room to move around, dance alone or in groups, whatever.
I stood next to the stage, Jerry's side, in front of the pulsating tie-dyed speakers. Big smile on my face.
Jerry’s guitar had one of those grooved plastic decals on it which changed picture as the angle changed. I forget what the other picture was, but I ageed with the one that said “fastest fucking fingers in the west”.
The stage was a platform about 1 foot above the gym floor. A modest pile of speakers.
I noticed a fellow college student to the left of the stage, behind the stack of speakers. Easily visible but he was into his own world there, between the stage and risers, his eyes closed, playing air guitar, cued into Jerry.
I sure had played air guitar plenty of times by myself, in the privacy of my own room.
I watch him and Jerry. He's kinda playing what Jerry is playing. He seems to actually know how to play guitar.
Jerry wandered around the stage a bit, looking at and interacting with various band members and looking at the audience as he played.
Jerry notices this air guitar guy. Jerry walks over to stand next to him. I see Jerry peer at what the guy is doing with his hands. Jerry actually starts to play, pretty much, what the air guitar guy is playing.
I'm watching both of them enthralled.
A big smile comes across the guy's face, his eyes still closed, and he sways a bit more. I can easily imagine he thinks he's really in the groove with Jerry.
Then he opens his eyes, sees Jerry, is startled and his hands stop.
Jerry smiles and nods at him. Jerry motions with his hands at him, encouraging him to play the air guitar some more.
The guy is stunned but he eventually sheepishly grins, closes his eyes, at first tentatively, then back into the groove, plays his air guitar again.
Jerry imitates him some, then plays counterpoint, duets some.
Jerry eventually nods at the guy, and wanders away.
That was one happy audience member. Me too. And all the others who witnessed it.
Thanks Jerry for playing for and playing with us.
Cold Rain & Snow, Me & My Uncle, Next Time You See Me, China Cat Sunflower-> I Know You Rider, Sugar Magnolia, Friend Of The Devil, Mama Tried, Drums-> Good Lovin'-> Drums-> Good Lovin', Cumberland Blues, Candyman, Truckin'-> Drums-> The Other One-> Saint Stephen-> Not Fade Away-> Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad-> Not Fade Away-> I'm A King Bee, Casey Jones It's All Over Now*, Jam*, Around & Around*, Jam*-> Darlin Corey*-> Jam*-> Jam*, Uncle John's Band