This was the the tiny local dance hall on Hwy 50 (a bit South of the campground/beach near Bijou) where the fairly redneck locals went to sneak drinks, cop a feel, and pick a fight. The size of a small house, capacity might have been 250 tops. The house band was Dave Burgett, a Detroit-style R&B band in matching outfits covering Mitch Ryder etc. Definitely NOT the Avalon. Then in the summer of '67 some wonderful maniac booked acts like the Dead, Buffalo Springfield and Electric Prunes in there. Many of the locals I hung with didn't know quite what to make of this strange stuff, ESPECIALLY the Dead.
This show had a powerful impact on me. I was a high school sophomore, spending a week at Lake Tahoe, water skiing, and wake surfing with my best friend and his family. My friends parents dropped us off at the "Dance Concert". We had absolutely no idea what was going on. We were SoCal surfer dudes in striped T's, shorts and deck shoes. The small crowd and the Band looked like nothing we had seen before. The "hippie girls" we tried to dance with wanted nothing from us. Most of the audience was seated on the floor, smoking something and doing drugs we knew nothing of. Jerry came out after break and announced "The word for tonight is Freak". "Freak, Freak" cried the band and the audience soon joined in, "Freak, Freak". My buddy and I looked at each other, stunned. But, the MUSIC? that we understood. Fantastic. Mostly from the first album, and some of what would later come out on Aoxomoxoa. Jerry was flying high and Ron was in rare form. We soaked it up like a sponge and our lives were never the same thereafter.
Happy Birthday Pigpen! A member of the 27 club along with Jim M., Jimmy H. & Janis J, Born Sept. 8th, 1945 Died March 8th, 1973 Reincarnation about April 27th, 1973 So -- another way to say this is -- in about 50 days, Happy 40th Birthday Pig! Hope you're still singing in a blues band somewhere down under in Australia. Life is rather strange, brother, wherever, whenever you might be....