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Thread: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    People have been posting on facebook about the recent anniversary of Watkins Glen, 7/28/73 - 48th anniversary, a bit random - including one mind-blowing post from which I learned the entire event is available as audio posts on youtube. That includes Grateful Dead's soundcheck the day before, which ran nearly two hours and has become the stuff of legend, as well as The Band's soundcheck and the free-for-all jam that followed the Allman Brothers' set. Ain't technology grand? Here are the links, in day-of-show performance order - Dead, Band, Allmans.

    Grateful Dead - Soundcheck - soundboard recording

    Grateful Dead - soundboard recording

    The Band - both days
    The first few songs of the soundcheck are rough, but it gets sorted out.
    End of show jam featuring members of all three bands is at the end of this (out of sequence; so it goes).

    Allman Brothers Band

    Personal note - I could have gone to this. My best friend from high school was bopping around the country on summer vacation in his VW bug, and showed up where I was going to school, saying "Let's go!" My school had a trimester system - that meant year-round, even in summer - and I was way behind in a couple of classes. So I decided to be responsible and passed on what would have been a great time. I wish I'd gone and kept going. That BA in Art never did much for me, not directly. Oh well! But now I get to hear it all, in air-conditioned comfort.

    So after spending a bunch of time with this yesterday and this morning, I got a reminder in my email that today is Jerry's birthday. Coincidence? Be that as it may, dead.net is promoting this time of year, from his birthday to his ascendance, 8/1 - 8/9, as The Days Between (or The Daze Between). I imagine there will be lots of groovy stuff, so check it out if you're so inclined.

    What's this got to do with mandolins? Apart from Grateful Dead having produced two of the most-often played mandolin features in rock history, thanks to David Grisman's contributions to "American Beauty," not much. But that's enough. There are lots of Deadheads around here, so it seemed a good idea to spread the word.

    Days Between link
    Last edited by journeybear; Aug-01-2021 at 11:15am. Reason: neatness counts
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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    These are amazing. That must be the 48 mcintosh amps and mobile digital recording truck (I think Zappa's recordings from 70's are from a similar recording rig tho I can't find info on those piles of equipment now). (Too bad also the 0ther bands couldn't have been recorded digitally)

    For context, that was the Dead with Keith /Donna Godchaux, Allmans with new bassist, Berry Oakley had passed away previous November, and the Band didn't have personnel changes but they were starting to back Dylan and they did have tension between members.

    the sad Wikipedia stub: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer...t_Watkins_Glen

    At that time I was starting to consider going to Dead shows, I had a high school friend who went to all the shows in Wisconsin and illinois but I couldn't really go far from home.
    Last edited by gtani7; Aug-01-2021 at 12:52pm.
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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    I was at the Watkins Glen concert. I was 16, and went to visit a girl I knew. She asked me if I would go with her because she didn't want to hitch hike alone(We were in the Philadelphia suburbs). We got there on Friday afternoon, after the fences had been torn down, and found a place to sit near the stage. The main memory I have is that Dickey Betts was really on fire the whole show.
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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    I was there also. What I remember most was the weather: very hot and humid with at least a couple of pelting thunderstorms, then chilly, damp, and muddy in the early AM after the concert. The sound was in and out. There was a permeating odor of human sweat from half a million plus bodies mingled with thick marijuana smoke. I was 16. I had hitch-hiked up and hoped to meet up with some hometown folks, but it was so crowded that I couldn't find anybody. I thought I spotted the back of the head of one fellow I knew, but by the time I traversed the few yards between him and me, he had disappeared into the crowd.

    Some folks I didn't know invited me to sleep in their van after the show. I was very grateful. The idea of rolling out my sleeping bag in the mud was not very appealing.

    I also remember that during the jam, somebody who couldn't sing got up on the stage and sang anyway, something sentimental. I thought it was Bill Graham, but I don't know for sure, and I couldn't find it on the youtube soundboard recording. And anyway, most of us were so blasted and worn out that we couldn't tell what was going on.

    The traffic jam on the way out was like nothing I had ever seen. I walked several miles-- I was walking faster than the cars were moving. Some locals with a van who knew the back roads were running a little bus service, and they picked up me and several others and dropped us off at Horseheads so we could pick up route 17 [now I-86] and head back east.

    It was such a unique event that it would definitely qualify as something to tell your grandchildren about, but the problem with that is that most of us who were there don't remember very much . . .
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-01-2021 at 2:20pm.

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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    By chance, a few minutes after I read Journeybear's original post, I was reading Bill Kreutzmann's memories of this event in his memoir, Deal. He felt that the Dead were far from their best at the festival, but had warm memories of the Sound Check concert. Apparently, the Dead and the Alllman Brothers had a serious rivalry, and the Dead were outdoing the Allman Brothers by performing a full concert after the Brothers and The Band had done two or three tunes for their sound checks. Kreutzmann felt both that the Allman Brothers outperformed the Dead, but that The Band's concert was the highlight of Watkins Glen.

    As an aside, I have mixed views on the book -- Kreutzmann has good stories, but he's not the most thoughtful or insightful person going, and the writing, done with or by Benjy Eisen, is atrocious. If the book were posted on the Cafe, Journeybear would be busy for weeks, commenting on the grammar!

    Added:
    And besides, Dawg isn't mentioned once in the index.
    Last edited by Ranald; Aug-01-2021 at 1:35pm.
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    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    I didn't hear the Dead's soundcheck. From what little I remember, their show was on the rough side, but the Allmans were hot. They had just lost Berry Oakley, and I believe that Watkins was Lamar Williams' second gig with them. Their attitude seemed to be that even though they had taken a heck of a beating, they could still do it, and they were going to prove it to the audience.

    I think The Band was in good form [if they ever put on a weak show, I haven't heard of it], but the sound was in and out so much during their set that it was hard to hear them well.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-01-2021 at 4:21pm.

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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    I didn't hear the Dead's soundcheck. From what little I remember, their show was on the rough side, but the Allman's were hot. I think The Band was in good form, but the sound was in and out so much during their set that it was hard to hear them well.
    I've listened to bits and pieces totalling less than an hour. The Dead's main set sounded pretty good. I've been trying to figure out why the soundcheck keeps getting called "legendary." Good "Bird Song," yes, but "Sugaree" was slow and had no solo. Haven't gotten to the second set yet (of a soundcheck! ) but the set list looks ... meh. So I'll have to listen and see. Allmans sounded good. Really nice "Blue Sky." Haven't listened to The Band yet. So pretty much reserving judgment, other than as noted.

    About the sound - the wiki went on at length about the use of delay mechanisms, then a new technology. Their assessment was that this made the sound throughout the festival area excellent. I'm more willing to take the word of someone who was there and whose taste I know and respect, but I'm still a bit perplexed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    If the book were posted on the Cafe, Journeybear would be busy for weeks, commenting on the grammar!
    And who needs that, even me! Thanks for the warning.

    Looking at this, I would have hated being there.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    The sound problems weren't because of delay mechanisms working or not working. They were because the speaker arrays kept dropping in and out, probably due to a combination of bad connections due to the thunderstorms, and the power amplifiers overheating. A speaker array would work for a few minutes, then drop out. When they got it back on line, the audience in that area would cheer, and then a few minutes later it would drop out again.

    None of this is evident in the soundboard recordings because everything was working fine on stage and in the sound booth, at least once they got their levels set. So the recordings are good. The problem was with the speakers in the field. If you look at Journeybear's picture, you will count somewhere around 9 speaker arrays, and his picture only shows a portion of the crowd.

    There was a rumor floating around in the months following the concert that the attendance estimate of 600,000 was too low, and that estimates from Air Force reconnaissance photos indicated that the attendance was closer to a million.

    I see from googling the festival looking for pictures that some people are calling this "The Forgotten Festival." I don't know why. There are still at least a couple of hundred thousand of us who were there and are still around, and although we may not remember the details, we haven't forgotten the experience.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-01-2021 at 3:33pm.

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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    Right? This is far from forgotten. Just because there was no official film made of it, as at Woodstock or Monterey, it lives on in the minds of many, even those who didn't go. Interesting to see no one held another festival there until Phish hosted a three-day event in 2011.
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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    I believe earlier attempts were made to hold other festivals, but the locals had had enough.

    That part of New York was [and still is] quiet rural culture, and they probably weren't very comfortable with huge crowds of young suburban and urban folks descending on their quiet corner of the world en masse. The population of Schuyler County was around 17,000 in 1973. Today it is 17,600.

    Hmmm. . With my local population growing quickly as folks abandon the Northeast and the west coast to settle in the sweet soggy south, and my preferences for a fairly quiet existence, that doesn't sound too bad. Problem is, the winters can get pretty cold around the Finger Lakes, and I don't know whether an aging musician can make a living up there.

    Now that I think about it, if I lived in such a quiet corner, I would rather not have a quarter of a million folks suddenly inundate the area, even if it was only for one weekend every few years.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-01-2021 at 4:36pm.

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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    I was there. Most of my memories don’t involve the music, which was ok, but not great. First was the heat amd walking up the hill from town in it with thousands of people. The night before the concert started the highway on the way in was dead in the water. Everyone eventually turned off their vehicles right on the road. We spent the night sleeping in the grass on the side of the road. It was am incredible party all night with thousands and thousands of people sharing pot, booze and food. I think that was better than the actual event. There was a pond that was tightly packed with naked people trying to cool off. The water looked nasty and we stayed out. I had just graduated high school and was impressed by the hundreds or even thousands of women walking around topless. The size of the crowd was unbelievable. It took a long time to get close to the stage. How about the skydiver? He jumped out of the plane with a flare in his hand. Everyone started cheering and it was deafening with 600,000 or so people. What we didn’t know until a little later was he burned to death on the way down to our deafening cheers. That was strange. It was a wild couple of days. I was there with my brothers, cousin, a few friends and my new girlfriend, who dropped acid the night before on the highway and had a bad trip. She was freaked out and withdrawn at the festival. I thought the Allman Brothers were the musical highlight, they sounded a lot tighter than the other bands. I wasn’t at all impressed with how the Dead played.

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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce.b View Post
    I was there. Most of my memories don’t involve the music, which was ok, but not great. First was the heat amd walking up the hill from town in it with thousands of people. The night before the concert started the highway on the way in was dead in the water.
    Resulting in the legendary Dead in The Water album?
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    I see where the crowd size estimate of 600,000 may have been low, considerably low, and there may have been a million or more people there. I'm thinking now discretion was the better part of valor (is that how it goes?) and I was wiser to have passed.

    I didn't go to Woodstock either. That was mostly because I couldn't afford the ticket. The princely sum of $24 was beyond my reach, as an impoverished high schooler. No one knew it was going to end up being "free." But I did go to the Newport Jazz Festival a month and a half previous, July 4th weekend, for the first time they had rock acts there. The Friday night show was spectacular - Ten Years After, Jethro Tull, Blood Sweat & Tears, Jeff Beck Group (Rod Stewart on vocals, Ron Wood on bass), and headliner Rahsaan Roland Kirk. People pushed over some fencing and got into the festival (seated) area. I stayed with the folks sitting on the hill further out from that ruckus, and could hear and see just fine. It was a non-camping event, but I lived within easy hitchhiking distance. Went back Sunday evening for Led Zeppelin and others. They didn't have rock acts the next year because of the shenanigans, then they went with them again in 1971 - including Led Zep again. Same ruckus, so they stopped having rock acts ever again.

    I don't know why I didn't consider Woodstock would go the same way. Honest, law-abiding citizen (mostly), perhaps? Oh well!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    Thanks for the links!

    I went to Watkins Glen. Fun and entertaining, and I bumped into a lot of friends. The music wasn't memorable. The Allmans pretty much sounded like their records. The Dead seemed to be having fun, but they didn't really throw themselves into it the way they often did.

    I don't even remember the Band. I saw them a couple of other times (Woodstock, Felt Forum), and they were electrifying. At Wakins Glen, it seemed like no one was really on. Good music, potables aplenty, but I mainly just remembered being tired.

  18. #15

    Default Re: Jerry Garcia, Days Between, Watkins Glen, And Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce.b View Post
    I was there. Most of my memories don’t involve the music, which was ok, but not great. First was the heat amd walking up the hill from town in it with thousands of people. The night before the concert started the highway on the way in was dead in the water. Everyone eventually turned off their vehicles right on the road. We spent the night sleeping in the grass on the side of the road. It was am incredible party all night with thousands and thousands of people sharing pot, booze and food. I think that was better than the actual event. There was a pond that was tightly packed with naked people trying to cool off. The water looked nasty and we stayed out. I had just graduated high school and was impressed by the hundreds or even thousands of women walking around topless. The size of the crowd was unbelievable. It took a long time to get close to the stage. How about the skydiver? He jumped out of the plane with a flare in his hand. Everyone started cheering and it was deafening with 600,000 or so people. What we didn’t know until a little later was he burned to death on the way down to our deafening cheers. That was strange. It was a wild couple of days. I was there with my brothers, cousin, a few friends and my new girlfriend, who dropped acid the night before on the highway and had a bad trip. She was freaked out and withdrawn at the festival. I thought the Allman Brothers were the musical highlight, they sounded a lot tighter than the other bands. I wasn’t at all impressed with how the Dead played.
    Ditto dat! (See post 14.)

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