JAugustW your input is greatly appreciated seeing as most people here saw their shows in the 80's or are like me and were born after the fact (i was 4 when Jerry died), not to take anything away from all the other wonderful people who post here but i am fascinated by the fact that you said you first caught them in the late 60's/early 70's (or maybe i'm dreaming but i think i remember you saying that), but i have to ask people were actually upset with Workingman's Dead and American Beauty..it's not that i don't believe you, but those are my two favorite albums of all time and i can't wrap my head around anyone not liking them...that's crazy i can't imagine being a deadhead and then jumping off the bus right before it spiraled into something really, really amazing i bet they are kicking themselves now (or jumped back on and never admit that they weren't too fond of the new direction the dead went at the turn of the 70's)
if i may ask, do you have a favorite show from the earlier days JAugustW, i love the early stuff the best and would love to hear some stories from someone who was there early on
First of all, I agree with you about Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. Absolutely. Beyond that, I contend that they represent the two best back-to-back albums ever by anyone.
And, yes, I ran into any number of people who didn't like either then. Not "edgy" enough for them. Or "psychedelic." Or some fucking thing.
Unlike the way I am now -- a virtual recluse -- I interacted with a lot of people back then. Lived in a big house in North Oakland with about six others... always lots of people crashing (most of whom none of us even knew)... a party every day... so I always got lots of feedback and opinions. Probably heard it all, in fact.
My favorite show in those days? Well, I remember my first (Winterland; NRPS with Jerry opening... late '69? early '70?) as if it was yesterday. I have no recollection of ever being disappointed at any of my many subsequent Winterland shows, either... of which, I probably saw at least a third of all of them (the only reason I missed any was because I went back east a few times for long visits).
I do remember being at one of the most infamous Winterland shows ever, though. It made the SF Chronicle the next day. Somehow, a lot of people in attendance ended up getting dosed when they didn't want to be. Either that, or got dosed with something a lot more potent than what they were accustomed to. Anyway, I'm not bragging about that... just happened to be there.
I wish I could be more specific about those shows, but it was a long time ago, and they really do tend to blur into one another. Winterland was good times, though... the best. And I'm happy in the extreme that I got to be there.
But the '60s in general? The early days? Yeah, the music was something magical, but the rest of it, you can have. Too much madness unfolding. For me, anyway. That fucking war not only ruined or ended too many fucking lives, it turned too many of us against one another. Which I do remember. All too fucking well. And our country ain't over it yet.
P.S. just added... One of my best, best, best Winterland shows ever? Allman Brothers. I forget the year, but was it sweet!