Like last week, we have some of the excellent music from the band’s first-ever concerts outside of California, in a foreign country no less (or, as Homer Simpson calls Canada, America Junior). From 7/30/66 at the PNE in Vancouver is this nifty twosome of the quintessential 1966 jamming vehicles, Cream Puff War-Viola Lee Blues. As it turns out, the band stayed in British Columbia for a week, where they then played the Afterthought in Vancouver on August 5 and 6, 1966. Sharing the bill at those shows was the Vancouver band the United Empire Loyalists. Jeff Ridley, a member of the United Empire Loyalists, shares this interesting anecdote about the Grateful Dead’s first Canadian visit: “The UEL shared the bill with the Grateful Dead for the first time at the Afterthought in the Pender Auditorium the week after the PNE gig. Our manager, Jerry Kruz, had gone to the PNE 'trips festival' and saw Big Brother & the Holding Co. with Janis, and the Grateful Dead. Jerry thought the Dead had potential and asked them if they'd like to play at his club the following week which they agreed to do. Jerry put them up in a motel for the week. The Dead wanted to do something to publicize the upcoming Afterthought gig. While driving around Vancouver they saw the bandstand at English Bay so they got all their equipment, set up in the bandstand and played a concert. Traffic stopped; it hit the papers; it was quite an event. The Afterthought gig went really well; the place was packed. It was supposed to stop at midnight but at midnight the Dead were playing, coincidentally, In the Midnight Hour. The police came and said to Jerry: 'you have to shut this down.' But Jerry said: 'you want to stop it, you go in there.' But they declined and the Dead played into the wee hours.”
Our next stop this week is in 1974, at Dillon Stadium in Hartford on July 31, one of the longest Grateful Dead performances on record. From the third set, we have the big jam featuring Truckin’>Jam>Mind Left Body Jam>Spanish Jam>Wharf Rat. There is plenty of interesting music in this 40 minute piece. And from the first set, an interesting and quite common combination performed in the summer of 1974: Mississippi Half-Step>It Must’ve Been The Roses.
Moving out of our date-appropriate week, we have the mid-first set songs from 5/5/78 in New Hampshire, El Paso and a nice, mellow They Love Each Other, along with the encore of Werewolves of London.
And, getting back into the groove of the week, we have the first set closing trio from 7/31/82 at Manor Downs in Austin, TX, Brown-Eyed Woman>The Music Never Stopped>Deal. This is drawn from the cassette master, as 1982 fell in the interregnum between the reel-to-reel recordings (end of 1979) and the Beta PCM digital recordings (end of 1982).
Next we’ll go forward seven years, to the excellent Cal Expo run in August, 1989. These shows are often overlooked due to the three-night runs of shows that sandwich them (Alpine in July, and the Greek shortly after), but there was plenty of great music played at Cal Expo. First up we have the very unique pre-Drums sequence featuring Truckin’>Wang Dang Doodle>Crazy Fingers>Cumberland Blues>Eyes of the World>Drums. Very cool indeed. And from the next night, an equally intriguing pre-Drums sequence of Hey Pocky Way, Playing In The Band>I Know You Rider>Terrapin Station. Nobody saw that Playing>Rider segue coming, I’m sure. These Cal Expo 1989 recordings were drawn from the VHS PCM digital masters, as the crew switched from recording to Beta PCM to VHS PCM in 1989. So far, these VHS PCMs have proven to be more robust and reliable than their Beta counterparts.
Finally this week, by special request, we have a Pigpen song from 4/7/72 at Wembley Empire Pool (later Wembley Arena) in London: Mr. Charlie from the first set. As we’ve mentioned, some of the multi-track master of this show has severe technical problems, but as evidenced here and on the wonderful Steppin’ Out with the Grateful Dead album, there is plenty of great material.
Check back next week when we’ll have more August Grateful Dead material. Feel free to write with questions, comments or suggestions for the Tapers Section.
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