Friday, March 7, 2008

The Dead goes to prison

Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, circa 1968

On a strange stop on their long, strange strip, the Grateful Dead played an afternoon concert on the lawn outside San Quentin State Prison in California n this date in 1968, a Thursday. I looked long and hard for details of this show and could only find one entry, from someone named David Higginbotham, who attended the show, but whose memory seems a little sketchy. He dates the show March 15, but the Deadnet site says the concert was on March 7. This is his report posted on the Deadlist site:

"Regarding this 'free' concert. It did happen as the previous commentator states, on a spit of land opposite the prison, separated by a body of water, amongst some trees, on a flatbed truck with an incredible echo reverberating back from the other side.

"I cannot say exactly who played or any titles, but I do recall Jack Cassidy and his Guild Bass. We hitch-hiked to attend the event which was learned about either over radio KMPX or by word of mouth. I did not stand close to the stage for some reason long forgotten. Possibly to not jeopardize my ride back to the city. It's possible also that we either, arrived late, left early, or the show was cut short."

The dead played 115 shows in 1968, including a concert Dec. 28 in Houston. That show was number 113, their third to the last for the year.

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