March 31, 2018

Cut Us Off Again!

This post is simply a list of the Grateful Dead shows that were cut short by their power being shut off. As you might expect, all these shows are from the early days, none after 1970 - back in those days, the Dead were more like "psychedelic guerrillas" crashing through music venues that were ill-prepared for them, and performance conditions could be more chaotic and haphazard. Some of these shows are well-known, but it happened more often than we know about.

We'll start with an interview Jerry Garcia did with Dennis McNally, complaining about this issue, which happened to the band repeatedly.

Garcia: There was a while there when every tour, our second set - the last half of our show, somebody would fuckin' turn off the power, would shut us down. And we started to get pathological about it. It happened all the fuckin' time. And we started to get crazy behind it. You have no idea what it's like - building up and all of a sudden the power is gone... Someplace in Ohio or some dumbshit college somewhere, and it just makes you crazy. It just made us furious. I mean, goddamn.
It seemed like that never stopped happening for one year, maybe '69 or '70 or somewhere in there, right when college campuses were in their greatest upheaval. So everybody associated us, for some reason - I don't know why, God knows we were never very political - but they associated us with danger. As soon as they started seeing people freak out, they thought, 'Okay, that's it. We're not going to let this go any further.' Boom.
Jesus Christ, I mean, that's the evolution, really, of our whole sound system and our power things - with those big fuckin' things that clamp onto the main trunk route - that stuff all evolved from that. We want something that nobody can fucking turn off, ever. It was like they drove us to it, I must say. We were perfectly happy with our regular amplifiers, but they wouldn't let us go on.
It was weird. It was so funny. I mean, everybody did it. Bill Graham even did it to us up in Montreal... [Expo '67 in Montreal, 8/6/67] The audience started freaking out and the cops started getting uncomfortable and Bill Graham told us to stop playing so exciting. 'Okay Bill, okay, we'll play some lame shit.' You know what I mean? What kind of thing is that to say to us? I mean, that's what we're there for. That's what the crowd is there for. That's what everybody is there for, and we knew nobody was going to get hurt. They were all like girls and stuff like that. We knew nobody's going to get fuckin' hurt. It was, like, crazy, but it scared them. It used to be that anything that looked like it was out of control scared them, scared the cops.
Mountain Girl: People have to stop dancing right now and sit down!
Garcia: Oh yeah, stop dancing. I mean, sometimes where they were so hard-assed to the kids. Someplace like Memphis - [6/19/70]
Mountain Girl: Or Ohio, University of Ohio.
Garcia: This was a municipal facility because the cops there were regular city cops. I mean, if somebody got out of their chair - if they got out of their fuckin' chair, the cops would come, like three or four big cops, and would come and bang them.
And I mean, this is during that time when cops were constantly getting onstage, constantly getting in our faces, and we were constantly having to shut [down]. It was happening all the time. There would be this 6-foot-6 cop ready to deck Mickey, or whoever the loudmouth in the band was. And I'd have to jump in there with my guitar and say, 'Hey, wait a minute.' And the guy would swing at me and I'd have to - fuck, I mean, push them off the stage. It was frequently hairy during those [shows]... For about a year, it characterized our shows.
Mountain Girl: I think that gig with the cops was like Toledo, Ohio, or something like that...
Garcia: There was more than one.
Mountain Girl: I remember it was really scary.
Garcia: I remember one was outside of Kansas City - I guess it was Kansas City - and it was some little soldiers-and-sailors kind of hall, one of those kinds of places. We came out after the show and half a dozen cops were beating the shit out of some skinny little hippie. One of them could have killed him. I remember getting so furious... It was so cruel and uncalled for. And it was like, I can't understand this. That was during that period of time when it seemed like our audience was catching shit all the time and our shows were being cut off all the time.
(from Jerry on Jerry, p. 166-170)

Phil Lesh also recalled the Memphis show in an interview: "In Memphis it was really an uptight performing situation. If anyone stood up in their seat they got busted, and I mean busted. Even if you thought about moving, you got wiped on the head, dragged out and taken to jail." (The Dead swore they'd never play Memphis again, and didn't return there until 1995.)

Lesh also remembered the Montreal Expo '67 show, writing in his book:
"I notice that the entire area is full of people - and more are jamming in... The cops appear and join arms to keep the surging people off the stage (which is at ground level). All the while Bill Graham is standing behind the amps, screaming, 'Don't play so good!' and 'Calm it down!' We play on, exhilarated by the knowledge that the music is literally pulling people in off the street but oblivious to the fact that those same people are slowly being squeezed into paste. Finally, Bill runs onto the stage between Pig and Jerry, waving his arms and screaming, 'Stop! Stop playing!' We grudgingly acquiesce... I look up and see...[a] line of blue-shirted police standing nose to nose with...the band, and behind them, the distended faces of the public crushed up against one another."
(Searching for the Sound, p.110)

According to one paper, the 6/1/67 Tompkins Square Park show also ended prematurely: "The music could be heard for blocks in every direction... The Tompkins Square bandshell rocked...until a noise complaint was lodged in the late afternoon. Rather than tune down, the Dead turned off."
It's likely other free park shows came to a sudden end as well - such as their very first free park show, in Vancouver on 8/5/66. One witness recalled, "They were driving around Vancouver and saw the bandstand at English Bay. Without getting any permission, they decided they'd play there; they set up and were promptly shut down by the police." (A local promoter also said, "The bandstand show took place until the power was cut off.")

The Dead certainly faced some shows that were shut down by the police to control the crowd or just end the noise. But what Garcia doesn't mention is that more often, shows were ended by simple curfew issues, the venue not wanting the band to play overtime, or by noise complaints. These were problems the Dead didn't have to face much later in the '70s, but frequently dealt with in the '60s. 

We mostly only know about those shows that were taped, so this will be an incomplete list, but these are the shows I could find where the plug was pulled on the Dead:

1/8/66 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco (multiple edits/sources)
I don't think the band was stopped mid-song (the available recording is incomplete), but the police came in and tried to shut down the power. "The cops started shouting for them to close down but couldn't make themselves heard and started pulling plugs out... Finally they ordered the Pranksters to start clearing the place out." (Wolfe p.225)
"Around 2 AM the police came by to close the show... An officer came out onstage and motioned for the band to stop, and was duly ignored. The cops grew perplexed... They tried to use the house PA to announce closing... They began to pull power cords out of the wall, and MG followed them and plugged things back in. At length, the band stopped playing and the police dutifully began shooing everyone out, although it was a slow process." (McNally p.122)
(For a transcript of the end of the show, see Appendix B below.)

1/28/66 Matrix, San Francisco
The plug is pulled at the start of Midnight Hour. Someone had been trying to shoo the Dead off stage - before I Know You Rider Lesh says, "Let 'em throw us out then," and Midnight Hour is introduced as "the last song."
Garcia: “Cut us off again. That’s what happens, there’s no place you can play.”
Weir: “The story of our lives, you play somewhere and somebody turns you off.”
Lesh: “Good night, ladies and gentlemen, and you too, you pricks.”

2/22/68 Kings Beach Bowl, North Lake Tahoe
One witness recalls, "The show was finally stopped when the powers that be turned off the electricity to the stage...otherwise it would have gone on for hours upon hours into the early morning. Bobby came forward and apologized for not being allowed to play longer since they wanted to." 

8/24/68 Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles (Two From The Vault)
The plug is pulled in the climax of Morning Dew.
Garcia: "Got turned off once again! Goodnight, everybody."
Announcer: "The law says that's all, so I guess that's it."

11/25/68 Memorial Auditorium, Ohio University, Athens (no recording)
Witnesses recalled: "The whole thing wailed until midnight, with some members of the audience dancing on stage." "Most of the crowd was standing instead of sitting, many on the stage, dancing on the floor. The electricity was deliberately cut off around midnight. I remember Jerry calming the crowd, preventing a riot."
"Around midnight, the band was ripping through a rendition of “Good Lovin’” that had the crowd dancing in the aisles. But right in the middle of the song a university official climbed on stage, opened the metal cover on a large circuit board, and flipped a couple of switches. With the exception of the drums, the music stopped dead. The official shouted to Garcia that the show was over. There was a whole lot of heckling, but not any real protest from the band. They unplugged their instruments, and eventually the roadies started packing up."
The band sang We Bid You Good Night to end the show.

1/24/69 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco
The power is cut off during the second set, in the middle of Lovelight. It sounds like Weir shouts, "There you have it! [to Pigpen:] All yours." Pigpen encourages the audience for a bit, and they don't want the show to stop - he tries to keep Lovelight going unaccompanied as the audience shouts and stomps with him, and the drummers keep going for a long drum break while the crowd claps. "More! More!" Some stoned nut climbs onstage to shout along with the drums, but to no avail, the show ends.
Considering the set had been only a little more than a half-hour long, the show must have been running overtime - and the Avalon was pretty strict about keeping sets short; the Dead's sets were usually under an hour.

4/6/69 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco
The plug is pulled at the end of the jam in Viola Lee Blues.
Weir: "It seems somebody is trying to tell us something."
The band ends the song by singing the last verse to a drumbeat.
The night before, 4/5, after It's A Sin Garcia had asked the audience, "What do you wanna hear that lasts for ten minutes? We got ten minutes left!" They then played a 20-minute Alligator>feedback. This may partly explain being cut off the next day. All the Dead's second sets during the April '69 run at the Avalon went for over an hour, much longer than usual for that venue. (For a couple other examples of similar 1969 behavior, see Appendix A below.)

4/17/69 Quadrangle, Washington University, St Louis (Download Series vol. 12)
A minute into Caution, the band stops playing as the cops intervene.
Garcia & Lesh: "They're taking our road manager to jail if we play any more, so we  ain't gonna let our road manager go to jail. We like him a lot, he's a real good guy, and you people are really good too."
(This was an outdoors show in the rain. The cops seem to have been hanging around for a while - after Lovelight, the audience was getting frantic for the show to go on and shouting for more, and Garcia explained, "Okay, okay - gotta change a string - just broke a string... Save the hassles for the heat - really, who needs it, man? The rain won't hurt you, you won't melt, you're not made of sugar - for god's sake, people!")
A newspaper article reported: "Police in St. Louis County got several calls [from residents] about midnight complaining that the amplified beat...was audible a mile away. About 300 young persons, many in hippie attire, were found grouped around a band shell on the quadrangle, listening to music played to the flashing of psychedelic lights. Police suggested the Grateful Dead stop living it up, and the concert ended."

12/13/69 Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino
The stage power is cut near the end of Lovelight, as they're winding up the song. It's not very dramatic - there's some stage yelling, but otherwise you might think the Dead just stopped playing. The vocal mics were turned off, so someone shouts unmiked to the audience, "They pulled the plug on us! Show your appreciation."
(There's a faint onstage conversation 23 minutes into the track, which I can't entirely make out, starting, "What the fuck happened?" "Those dirty bastards...")

2/20/70 Panther Hall, Fort Worth -- or possibly 2/21/70 Convention Center, San Antonio (no recording)
"One night Quicksilver opened, playing very well. This challenged the Dead, who responded with a fine set that was abbreviated when the police pulled the plug, a not-uncommon event in those days. Furious, Ron Polte shouted at the promoter, 'Those guys earned that fucking encore,' and found himself being tackled by a police officer. The ever-volatile Mickey Hart grabbed a mallet...[but] Garcia managed to interpose himself between [Mickey and] the officer..." (McNally p.284)

2/22/70 in the Houston Coliseum also had police troubles according to a newspaper review: "When Quicksilver finished and the lights were up, the police imposed their order on the thousands of people... With a little pushing and shoving, everyone was put back "in their proper place". When it looked like all was calm and quiet, out came the Dead... [But] with twenty policemen in every aisle and any semblance of freedom completely lacking...they tried to get it on but just couldn't find the spark... The Dead just went through the motions."
Houston witnesses added: "No one could get close to the stage in those days with the Houston cops!" "The Sunday afternoon show ran kinda long and the people running the hall needed to clear everyone out to make room for wrestling that night. The police made their presence known and the Dead's set was shortened. I remember Bob Weir talking about the situation with a riot-helmeted Houston PD officer." (This was pretty much also what happened at the 10/5/69 Dead/Airplane show in the Houston Coliseum, which the police also cut short, pulling the plug in the Airplane's set for inciting the audience to dance.)

(For other accounts of the Dead confronted by Southern police, see: )

4/25/70 Mammoth Gardens, Denver (not on tape)
An audience member recalled: "The power was cut off around 2 AM as Mammoth Gardens was in what was essentially a residential neighborhood which frowned upon loud music being played in the wee hours. Power cut twice then the band called it quits... The band would have likely played all night so that was why the power was cut twice to try to get them to stop. The first time they just fired right back up. It was funny and amazing." 
(This is not mentioned in a newspaper review of the show.)

This was the last example I found. There are probably other shows I've forgotten about, so please comment on any other shows that were shut down prematurely! 

I don't think there are any instances of this happening after 1970 - during 1970-71, perhaps the Dead became better at sticking to curfews and playing shorter shows as needed. (For instance, on 3/24/70 Garcia ends the show saying, "Our time's up, see you later!" Or at the end of 4/7/71, Garcia announces, "Because of the curfew stuff, we have to knock off. I'm sorry.")
One good example is 4/22/71, in the Bangor Auditorium, where they had to stop at midnight when the house lights were turned on.
After Good Lovin', Garcia says: "That seems to be as much time as they'll let us have in this place. They're just about to pull the plug on us!"
Lesh: "Let's do one more! If they cut us off in the middle of a song, you'll know who's doing it."
They wrap up the show with a quick Johnny B. Goode.
(One thing noticeable in all these shows is that it's almost always Garcia who explains or apologizes to the audience.)

Sometimes the power would also go out inadvertently during a show. One early example was the Dead's own record release party at Fugazi Hall in San Francisco, 3/20/67 - Ralph Gleason reported, "Monday night's party for the Grateful Dead was aborted when the power failed and the Dead's set was chopped short."

One eyewitness reported a power failure at the 12/9/67 Atwood Hall show in Worcester:
"Maybe 40 minutes into the set...I realized that all of the little red lights on the guitar amps had gone out. The Dead had blown out the power, but I was so entranced, I didn't even notice. The stage lights were still on, they were on a different circuit. The band members all picked up percussion instruments and just kept playing. (Maybe this was not the first time this had happened). They kept jamming until [a stage tech] threw the breakers and the power came back. The Dead played a while longer until the circuits heated up and they blew the power again. It was no use, they excused themselves, and promised to come back, which they did in April of 1969."
(When the Dead returned on 4/20/69, Garcia announced, "Last time we were here it was a colossal disaster - this time it'll be worse.")

On 12/21/68 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the Dead faced repeated power problems. During the opening Lovelight, the guitars drop out around 12:20 while Pigpen is rapping - they shout, "Power! Power!" and soon the guitars come back.
Then, the Cryptical reprise is interrupted by power failures - around 11:00 in the Other One suite, the guitars drop out for a few seconds but then come back, only to drop out again after 11:30. The drummers carry on; after a minute and an ominous equipment hum, Garcia trickles back in and noodles a bit with the organ, but the other instruments remain dead.
Weir tells the audience, "C'mon now, we need a little bit of power. Y'all get up and start dancing and clapping your hands, we can generate a little power - c'mon now!" This seems to work, for the guitars promptly come back on, and they finish the tune. 

5/10/69, at the Rose Palace in Pasadena, is another good example of power failure, with the power cutting out twice: in the opening Hard to Handle the instruments drop out in the solo, and Pigpen sings the last verse to the drums.
Pigpen: "I think our electricity went out or something."
Garcia: "See, here in the rock & roll universe, there's such a thing as power failure."
Weir: "Anybody got a deck of cards?" 
Then the instruments drop out again during the climactic Morning Dew jam.
Weir: "Well, what the fuck?"
Garcia: "That's what happens when you play too loud... That's what happens when you have a good time."
Weir: "Did you say 'good time'? You're under arrest."
Garcia: "Somebody out there's got an electric razor plugged in, or something."
Weir then regales everybody with the Yellow Dog Story til the power is restored.

Sometimes the Dead had their own equipment problems they couldn't overcome - for instance, 1/31/70 at the Warehouse in New Orleans. The bass amp starts buzzing and they stop the electric set, calling Bear for help.
Weir: "We got a busted amplifier here."
Garcia: "We got a severe technical problem."
Weir: "So you guys can hang out and chatter amongst yourselves, and feel free to wander around and make friends...while we try to work it out."
They play an impromptu acoustic set (despite having only one acoustic guitar on-hand), while the amp keeps sputtering and Garcia explains, "We're still working on Phil's bass frantically in the background." But they never do get it fixed, and close the show acoustically.

Power cuts could happen sometimes in later years too - on 7/10/90, the Dead played in a lightning storm, and in a nearby strike the stage power went out shortly after Promised Land started; after waiting a few minutes for the power to be restored, the Dead picked up the song where they'd left off:  

* * *

1969 Overtime

Along with 4/5/69, there are a couple other known examples where the Dead intentionally played overtime.
On 2/6/69 in St. Louis, they opened for Iron Butterfly (the Dead had also opened for them the previous day in Kansas City, and had not been impressed). After Lovelight, Lesh says, "The Iron Butterfly will be on in a minute," but Garcia has other ideas: "Okay, we have some more time, we're gonna play a little more." Then they proceed with a 22-minute Cryptical>Other One>feedback suite.
As the Dead leave the stage, the crowd is going wild and calling for more, and the announcer says, "Did you like them? Listen, we're going to have a very brief intermission, because I know you're all waiting to see the Iron Butterfly. [calls of "No! No!"] They're going to call out the heat and close up this place in about an hour and a half. So we're gonna have to get on with the show."
(According to the unverified account of one person who said he was backstage: "The set was supposed to end with Lovelight. But...after listening to the Dead burn the house down, Iron Butterfly didn't want to come out. So, the Dead came back on to play a "few more minutes" and proceeded to add insult to IB's injury with the Cryptical sandwich, Feedback, and AWBYG." If there was only 90 minutes left before closing time, the Dead would have played longer than the headlining band!)

The other more famous example was on 4/26/69 in Chicago, where the Dead played a set of almost three hours (including a 40-minute encore) to keep the Velvet Underground from playing a second set. This was in revenge for the previous day, when the Velvets had done the same to them.
The Dead probably played over-long sets other times too that we don't know about (or can't tell from tapes), though it must be said that usually they were good at playing short hour-long sets when opening for other bands, or when facing a time limit (as in a rock festival).

1/8/66 Dialogue

The tape of this night is heavily edited, making it extra-chaotic - the pranksters were recording over several microphones, then cut the tracks up in different combinations on various video releases.
Police: "Everybody out, the dance is over, you're to clear the hall."
Babbs: "This is incredible! The chief security has suddenly taken over and informed - he has made his extraordinary announcement - and has pulled the plug on the band - completely nullifying the engines!" "We've lost all power! ...I see that the electrician is running down now trying to get things reestablished... We're into emergency power now, having to rely on the energy which the passengers are able to create by donating everything they have..." [Babbs' lines may have been dubbed in later.]
The pranksters take over and start trying to clear the hall: "Everybody enjoy theirselves? Let me hear you say yeah!"
"We're planning on having other gigs in other cities, and if we have a hassle here, there's not gonna be another hall that'll have us, so we'd appreciate it if....everybody use their heads."
Kesey: "Everybody be calm now - don't press forward and kill any little 13-year-old girls. Everybody keep very calm, there's nothing to worry about at all."
Weir: "Don't pay any attention to Kesey! confusion...demented chaos..." He calls out to Jerry: "On the Road Again to get the people on the road."
Garcia: "We can stay here until hell freezes over, but we have to turn everything off."
People keep yelling and making noises, and someone moans, "Go home to your families, you don't want to stay here...leave, the cops..."
The pranksters don't seem to be herding people very well in the confusion, as some girl keeps wailing into a mic. "Okay, let's everybody go home man, everything's over, we don't have no choice." "We don't want any trouble here." "Everybody out now - this has been a nice party - let's not spoil it now." "That won't work, [those] tactics won't work around here." "Everybody go home now please!"
Pranksters observe the scene: "Total chaos everywhere...rack and ruin... Let's let them run it out. Let the energy just eventually wear out, let 'em just stay here." "The cops seem to be turning everything off, and they have asked everybody to be turned off, that's impossible, you know as well as I do nobody's gonna be turned off - we're not machines after all, we're human beings! Can't turn us off, hell no! Cops, ridiculous!"
Weir has a moment of contemplation: "Sad, isn't it? You know, when you come to one of these things, you want to have a lot of clean fun, you know, good clean fun...enjoy yourself and not hurt anybody, you know? And well, that's what people come here to do, and then they get kicked out, you know? It's really a pity. It's a cryin' shame."
Weir then tells the police: "Arrest everybody, but don't hurt any of the equipment, you know, it's our livelihood."
People are yelling & making noises into the mics, and Weir & others decide to yell Star-Spangled Banner at the crowd. "We're just signing off." "Good night ladies & gentlemen, we enjoyed having you here!"
The recording ends with continued noise-making and babbling. "Nobody can seem to find out how we're supposed to turn off this PA... We're supposed to turn off the PA fellas, does anybody know how to turn it off?" "I don't know, we seem to be loosening the crowd here with the microphones, and there just seems to be nobody doing anything that we're supposed to be doing, it just seems to be orderly chaos - everything goes on in here then is just let out into the street, it's gonna be terrible... Yes, in the end nothing but mindless chaos..."


  1. I had thought 10/23/73 was cut off short because of security guards beating on fans during Casey Jones (Around minute 2:10:, but apparently they just stopped it short and then played Saturday Night afterwards (some sources don't have the Sat. Night).

    1. A few similar cases:

      6/30/74 - there was an announcement that the Dead were considering playing a third set but stopped the show because of an incident with the crowd after the second set.
      1/14/78 - Healy was arrested during the show. Lesh announces that they are cutting the show short because of it.

  2. I forgot to mention that police could also shut down a show due to bomb threats, which were pretty common in those days. Usually the place would be cleared and then after a search people would be let back in and the show would go on, but on one known occasion the show was just abruptly ended - at the U of Oregon in Eugene, 11/16/68:
    "A fake bomb planted near some amplifiers brought an early end Saturday night to a University of Oregon concert... Eugene police said someone attending the dance noticed the 'bomb' - consisting of seven wooden sticks, painted red to resemble dynamite, an alarm clock, battery, and wires - and reported it... Even though one of the band members held up the 'bomb' and indicated it was a fake, [the ballroom manager] decided to clear the Erb ballroom at about 11:40 p.m., police said. Police were called and took possession of the 'bomb.'"

  3. FWIW, at the '91 Nassau stand, 3/29's first set was cut short due to PA problems; the night before was extremely short, so they played a Terrapin encore; the night before that was extremely long/ went over the limit, and they had to pay a fine.

  4. 6/14/85 Greek Theatre. They played five songs of the first set, then left the stage due to technical difficulties. They came back and played the debut of Keep on Growing and three other songs. 2nd set is notable for the Morning Dew opener and a total of three Jerry ballads in the 2nd set--Dew, a pre-drums China Doll, and Comes a Time.

  5. A few more quotes on the Dead's attempted 8/3/66 park show, in Vancouver, BC:
    A local musician recalled, "They wanted to do some publicity for the gig they were playing that night so they were driving around Vancouver and saw the bandstand at English Bay. Without getting any permission, they decided they'd play there; they set up and were promptly shut down by the police. Everywhere they went they got shut down! Another time they were planning on playing Kits Beach on a flatbed truck which was all set up for that and we opened up. But by the time we finished our set the cops had already arrived and shut the whole thing down and again they didn't play."
    Promoter Jerry Kruz recalled, "We are driving along Beach Avenue when Garcia sees a gazebo bandstand [Heywood Bandstand] across the street from the beach on the way to the entrance to Stanley Park. Jerry says stop the car, he wants to check out the gazebo with the rest of the band. He then tells me...he wants to do a free concert at the gazebo. I ask what he means and he asks me if I want the dance this weekend to be a success. Sure, of course. Well, then, everybody has to know about it, he says, and what better way to tell them than a free show?
    Next thing I am doing is finding out how to get the keys to the gazebo and permission to do a free show. The keys were easy, the lifeguard at the beach across the street agrees to open up the electrical, and the next thing I know the band is in the gazebo setting up... I did not get permission from the city and it did not take long for the police to shut the whole thing down. [People] trying to drive through the area that day could not because of the traffic jam this event caused."

    The Dead ran into the Vancouver police a few times on this trip... The first time was at a rehearsal at a local musician's house: Kruz recalled, "the practice turns into an out-of-control party. Next thing we know, the neighbours have called the police." A musician confirmed, "after the practice extended well into the evening and eventually turned into a party, a neighbour called the police and shut the festivities down."

    Kruz also told this story about the Dead's 8/5/66 show: "The Pender Auditorium show with the Dead was successful, but it was supposed to stop at midnight. “I remember the police coming in and saying, ‘You have to shut this down.’ The hall was packed. You couldn’t move. It was elbow to elbow... And I said to the police, ‘You want to stop it? You go in there.’ And they said no, and so the Grateful Dead continued to jam into the wee hours of the morning.”

    There were other occasions elsewhere when the Dead tried to put on a free show but were stopped by the police before they could play - like 3/18/68 Green Street, 6/9/68 Golden Gate Park, and perhaps others.

  6. In the short snippet of Feedback from 9/4/67, it doesn't sound like the Dead get shut off, but Garcia announces, "Well, we've been turned off again - it's now 1:00, folks, now the only thing to do is go home and screw."

  7. 2/7/69, the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh - in the Eleven, the guitars stop abruptly around 2:40, but the drummers carry on for a few more minutes until the band comes back and picks up where they left off. It sounds like a power failure, but there's no obvious stage talk about it, so the band might have just stopped for a drum break. There's some chatter onstage, but I can't make it out under the drums.

  8. A newspaper review of the 1/17/69 show at Robertson Gym, UCSB, describes both a power failure and an early cut-off, not apparent on the tape:
    "Just as the Grateful Dead began, the power blew and both drummers immediately went into solos as if it was part of the number. When the lights came back on several minutes later, most people suddenly realized what had happened." (Lovelight followed.)
    At the end of the show, while they were playing Cosmic Charlie, "the Grateful Dead were forced to stop playing after the house lights had been rudely blinked on-and-off several times. They probably would have continued for quite some time, as they usually do at their concerts."
    "They say that’s all there is, so I guess that’s all there is," Weir announces at the end.

  9. The previous note made me re-read this post, which is great. It made me think of a show on June 20, 1983 at the Merriweather Post Pavillion where bad weather caused the power to go off several times during the second set for seconds at a time but the band played through it all.

  10. 4/18/69 Purdue University - An audience member recalls: "The electric power went out in the middle of the first song "Hard to Handle" causing about a forty minute delay. I can still hear Pigpen swearing. They return and took it from the top."
    This would've happened before the recording started. The first thing on the tape is a bandmember asking, "Power? Finally works!"

    1. A 4/18/69 witness writes on the Archive about the power outage before the tape started: "The sound system blew a circuit breaker and the sound went dead in the middle of a song. Pigpen was not happy - his screaming expletives were quite loud, even without electric amplification."

  11. Another power outage!
    11/15/69, the Lanai Theater in Crockett - 24 minutes into Lovelight, the guitars die, but Pigpen & the drummers keep going like nothing's happened. After a while Pigpen remarks, "Looks like the electricity's gone off somehow back here - all the instruments don't seem to work no more." So he asks the audience to make more noise, Weir sings a bit and invites everyone to sing along, and things get silly as the band encourages the clapping to continue. Pigpen comes to the rescue with a nice harmonica solo (which almost never happened in Lovelight). By 29 minutes, the electricity's back and Garcia plays with Pigpen for a while in a neat bluesy jam. The next few minutes are really good, like a bit of Caution's slipped inside of Lovelight, before they get back to the regular routine. As far as power failures go, this one's great.

  12. Later in their career the Dead paid big-time to go overtime. On one run at MSG, the Dead were fined $42,000 for going one hour overtime for each night in the six night run. More in my upcoming book...

    1. I bet they preferred fines to having the power shut off on them!