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|THE HOLLYWOOD FESTIVAL.
May 23rd and 24th 1970.
The Grateful Dead. Part 3.
from unknown Music papers: Thanks to Simon
Phillips for providing these clips and the accompanying photos.
you read about the Grateful Dead are invariably based on comparison with
previous appearance. like " They
were sloppy and didn't get it on like they did last time they played the
and " as
usual , they took about half of their marathon set to warm up"
Well at the Hollywood
most of us in the audience were witnessing the spectacle of a Dead set of
the first time in our lives and only the records. worn out till the grooves
had worn out served as a foretaste or comparison.
Of course the music they played was for the most part completely
different . "Wait till you hear our
new things "Pigpen told
me . " we've gone right back to simpler more
straight forward type of stuff." And so they
traditional Americana that has always been peeping through their music has suddenly
become prominent : traditional blues ( I
Know You Rider-
variously known as Woman
Blues or Circle
Round the Sun
) traditional folk (a 900 miles derivative) , traditional country ( riding the
train, high on cocaine" - well I said traditional TYPE ) traditional cowboy
epics ( Me
and My Uncle
the John Phillips
/ Dino Valente
classic ). traditional pop ,Good
Lovin ,Not Fade Away
) and traditional R&B - Hard
to Handle ).
Most of this material represents the new Dead style music and presumably comprise
the new album " Working
man's Dead ."
The pop stuff , they've always been doing - I remember them saying in interview"
we'll play our half hour version of In
the Midnight Hour"
to anyone who'll listen.
Then they played a superb" medley " consisting of most of the Live Dead album . Incredible . And I don't use that word lightly . It was incredible ... the awe , the music the excitement, the whole scene.Sure vocally they are weak. Garcia, who does most of the singing, has a reedy , most unforceful, undistinguished voice and neither Weir or Lesh are that hot either.
On the other hand, Pigpen, almost totally obscured by his giant organ ( that phrase sounds suspicious) swings into his vocals with tremendous gusto and turns cruddy ancient pop songs into driving classic performances. But musically , they cut most other rock bands to ribbons.
red Gibson looked
so flimsy in Garcia's
hands that it looked like ti would break like balsa if he squeezed it -
but it seemed like very time he touched it , beautiful .,clear ringing
notes poured out : and on Me and My Uncle
He was just fucking fabulous. Phil Lesh's
bass playing was superbly inventive and Bob
Weir was nice as a complementary lead guitarist.
As they began each piece,. the three of them zigzagged from the back to
the mica at the front of the stage . Squeezing past the two drummers , Mickey
Hart and Bill
Kruetzmann , who hammered phrases at each other
and occasionally attacked us with other percussive devices like gongs and
I can't rally agree with one other appraisal of the Dead, that their music is like a synaesthetic assemblage of disparate ingredients and tonal colours whose procession from start to finish is non focussed but dynamic , because I don't really know what all that means , but I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.
Before the festival I'd spoken to this San Franciscan cat who had told me that he was dubious about attending. There had been a full moon a couple of days before and now with the moon in Capricorn , things were bound to go wrong.
last time the signs were like this " He said. "
Quicksilver's roadie nearly hanged himself with
an amp cord "Well Wall Street had its worst day
in seven years, but the Dead were totally magnificent .
Grateful Dead at Hollywood
Stills of the Dead taken from standard eight film shot by Bob Colover
Hollywood festival menu
Many thanks go to Garry Marsh for his fantastic archival material which has enabled us to construct most of the site. Also to Martin Williams for his oral history and colour photo of the stage and site ,Simon Phillips for all the Grateful Dead archival material and Bob Colover for the film footage .
We have been endeavoring to collect audience or sbd tapes of the performances at this festival , so we can effectively review the performances, provide set lists and band line-ups. The intention is to also display as many personal histories of the festival as possible.
If you can contribute in any way, with tapes, reviews from the music press, photos or personal histories, please Contact us.