June 19, 2018

1967 Mystery Show Photos

Compiling the list of 1967 shows, I came across photos of several shows that are unknown and undated. I thought I'd post the photos here, in case any readers have clues about the dates!

The first show - in the Panhandle, April or May 1967:

We can generally narrow down a date range for a photo by the instruments the Dead are playing, which changed from month to month. This show was played sometime between 4/9/67 and 5/29/67. The Dead might have played in the park any number of times that spring, but one tempting date was 5/14/67, when Jefferson Airplane are known to have played in the Panhandle with "others" - and photos show the Airplane's truck parked close to the same spot:

But it turns out the Dead photo is from a different day, since they weren't mentioned in a news report of the May 14 show. (For that matter, these Airplane photos may be from a different date as well.)


The second show - in the Spreckels Bandshell, Golden Gate Park, summer 1967:

This distant photo doesn't help with even an approximate date, except for the season, but the "Jazz Rock Concert" was clearly a scheduled event, likely with other bands playing as well. The San Francisco Examiner probably had a listing for the concert which can be found - although the Dead may have substituted for a different band.

This concert was on July 6. An Examiner listing has been found:

Once again tomorrow, from 1 to 3 p.m., another in The Examiner's summer-long free jazz-rock concerts will be held in the band concourse at Golden Gate Park.
Featured band will be the famous Warner Brothers' recording stars the Grateful Dead, acclaimed as one of the foremost groups in the hard blues-rock tradition known around the world as the "San Francisco Sound."
Joining with the Dead will be the Mt. Rushmore group, among the strongest of the newcomers on the local rock-concert scene and recent participants on another peak, Mount Tamalpais.
Be our guests: bring the kids, a picnic lunch, and enjoy your park, and your music.
Joining The Examiner as sponsors are the San Francisco Youth Association and the Recreation and Park Department." 
(from the S.F. Examiner, July 5, 1967)


The third show - somewhere in August/September 1967:

This photo was published in the Taping Compendium, labeled only "Paloma, California, circa 1967." The photographer was Don Snyder (who published a similar shot in his 1979 book Aquarian Odyssey).
There is no chance the Dead ever played in the town of Paloma, though if the label's right, it's possible they might have played in some venue or area called "Paloma" or "La Paloma," of which there are many in California. Snyder was visiting the Bay Area from New York and didn't necessarily keep a good record of where he took his photos; but he definitely photographed Chocolate George's wake in Golden Gate Park on 8/28/67, so this show is thought to be near that date.
If it's not from an unknown show, it could possibly be from one of the Lake Tahoe shows the previous weekend, or from Rio Nido the next weekend. I'm uncertain how far outside San Francisco Snyder would have traveled, though.


The fourth show - in Golden Gate Park, June or July 1967. This was a large event with many photographers present:

Considering the size of the crowd, other bands probably played as well. Jack and Jorma from Jefferson Airplane were there, though I don't know of any photos of the Airplane playing:

There was at least one mystery player who appeared on stage before the Dead:

These photos were formerly thought to come from the 6/21/67 Summer Solstice festival in the park, until film of the Dead's actual 6/21/67 performance appeared. So this show was played sometime between then and the brief Northwest tour in mid-July. No Golden Gate Park appearance is known in that time range, though it's surprising that an event this size never appeared on any Dead show lists. (Whenever some of these photos are posted online, they're generally labeled as the January Be-In, which is not the case.) My speculation is that this was some forgotten Fourth of July celebration in the park.


Correspondent Dan Sullivan writes: 

I've been doing photo research and writing captions for a forthcoming book, Jim Marshall's Grateful Dead, and one of the photos that's been impossible to date accurately is the one of Jorma, Jerry and Jack giving Jim the finger at that mystery free show in the park.  

Well, I recently came across a contemporary mention of a free show in the park on July 4th, 1967.  It's in the "Ad Libs" event listings section of Ralph Gleason's SF Chronicle column the day prior (7/3/1967, page 29):  
"...there's free music in Golden Gate Park all day tomorrow in the meadow where the Summer Solstice was held.  Free food, too.”

Baron Wolman's logbook says this concert took place on July 4th, 1967. He says it's the Human Be-In, which is clearly wrong, since that took place in January.  And Ron Rakow's Relix article gives the location as Speedway Meadows. 

Now, Gleason doesn't specifically mention the Dead playing on July 4th.  But they were in town, having played a free concert in Palo Alto on Sunday, July 2nd and about to play another free show at the Golden Gate Park bandstand on Thursday, July 6th.  

The Airplane had finished a short Midwest tour in Beloit, WI on Sunday the 2nd, as noted here:

Assuming they flew home on Monday the 3rd, Jorma and Jack would have been in town to hang out in the park on Tuesday, July 4th.  

Regarding the specific location, it's clearly not the wide-open Polo Fields, per the photos looking out from the stage.  

A contemporary handbill for the Summer Solstice show says: 

"...the day long festivities will begin throughout the park. There will be a barbecue picnic celebration East of the Polo Fields at noon."  

Speedway Meadow is directly east of the Polo Fields (Lindley Meadow is to its north).  

So, I conclude that Baron Wolman has the correct date but the wrong event.  And Ron Rakow has the correct location: Speedway Meadows, now known as Hellman Hollow, which is where the food was happening during the Summer Solstice concert in June.  And that's the date/location we've gone with for the book!


If anyone knows what dates the other shows might be from, please comment!


  1. All this is even more tricky involving the stories and pictures of 67-06-21: 1 – it's always told there were 2 revolving stages/truck stages in GoldenGatePark ... yes, pics show truck stages in GGP 2 – but what about the famous Charlatans pic w/ the SummerOfLove banner ? that is in the Panhandle ... is it also 67-06-21 ? ... could this be the "second stage" or even a third ? 3 – another pic of the Airplane at the Panhandle shows part of the exact SummerOfLove banner behind Dryden, so very likely these Airplane pics are 67-06-21

    1. It's a tricky question!

      1) That Charlatans photo is generally dated 6/21/67, but on no evidence I know of, except for that banner. (And the "Council for a Summer of Love" had been formed clear back in April.)
      2) Assuming that banner was only displayed at one show, that would mean it was a single Charlatans/Airplane show in the Panhandle. But that wouldn't explain why they were playing there that day when all the other bands were over on Speedway Meadows.
      3) Two later witnesses say they saw Jefferson Airplane playing in Golden Gate Park that day (along with Big Brother). But they may be unreliable - this isn't verified by contemporary sources (news stories or films), which is an odd omission, considering the Airplane was the most famous band in town.

      It's perilous trying to piece together these ancient events from incomplete sources and a few undated photos - but hopefully one good source or witness will turn up!

    2. By the way, there is some (rather poor) film of that Charlatans show, a couple minutes of news footage of the park crowd:
      https://www.oddballfilms.com/clip/13165_9243_haight_hippies10 (after :50)

      It doesn't help at all with the date or whether the Airplane were present, but you can hear a couple Charlatans tunes.

  2. I have 41 pics from that day. Would be a shame to have them sit here with the wrong date on them the whole time. Hopefully someone will come forth with some reliable info as to which day it actually was.

  3. After finding the Berkeley Barb's report of the Solstice celebration in the park, which doesn't mention Jefferson Airplane, I find it increasingly hard to believe that the Airplane played in Golden Gate Park with the other bands. Though later witnesses remember them there, memories are not the best evidence, and it seems unlikely that the most well-known band in the city would not be spotted in any available film or photos or contemporary news reports.
    I remain agnostic as to whether they played over in the Panhandle that day with the Charlatans, or whether those photos come from some other nearby date.

    The photo of the Dead's Panhandle show is not from May 14. The May 19 Berkeley Barb had a long article on the events of May 14 (on p.5), and the Dead are not mentioned:

    "Fly Jefferson Airplane, gets you there on time."
    And that's precisely what more than 5000 people did Sunday afternoon in the Panhandle, despite efforts by City fuzz and outsiders to ground the flight.
    Festivities began about 2 PM when the West Coast Natural Gas tuned up and turned on.
    It took a little time for the growing crowd to get the idea that music is for dancing to, and soon hundreds of bodies were swaying rhythmically.
    Following the Gas' set, a barrage of apples and oranges filled the air about the stage. Some recipients, however, were so unkind as to heave the luscious fruits back at the stage, causing little damage but dampening the spirits of the joyous crowd.
    A while later lollipops were liberally sprinkled over the crowd in similar fashion. This time there were no returns.
    At 5 PM the Airplane taxied up and took off into "She Has Funny Cars." Throughout their one-hour set the Panhandle was blanketed by a tightly-packed mass of humanity that ranged from the stage near the foot of Oak all the way back to Masonic.
    On this day, a lot of people were uncool - not just the fuzz...
    At one point Eric had to grab the mike and verbally disciple a handful of juiceheads who were using the roof of the park john for a stage of their own.
    Among other things, their display offered a half-hearted strip tease by a super-soused chick.
    Said Eric, "Hey! Will you people on the roof just cool it! You can do that stuff in the bushes."
    At 7:15, not to be outdone, the cops got into the act.
    It seemed the super-soused chick, after descending from the john roof, began walking up Ashbury, where she and a male friend started getting down to the nitty gritty on somebody's front porch.
    Minutes later several patrol cars arrived and one fuzz collared the young man. The chick fled into the crowd which had gathered in the Oak and Ashbury intersection. As usual, traffic was blocked.
    [The] cops charged into the park... Back at the intersection, more than fifty fuzz had gathered, shooing people off the street and trying to get traffic through...
    [Altercations and arrests resulted, with wine bottles being thrown at the police cars. By 7:45 the crowd had diminished and the police left.]
    Soon the strains of twelve-bar blues called everyone back to the Panhandle. But somehow the happening wasn't quite the same.

    [The band that played after the Airplane isn't named, but may have included Eric.]

  4. Dave Davis found an SF Examiner listing for the Spreckels Bandshell show, revealing the date as July 6. This gives me hope that further newspaper searches may uncover the other park shows as well.

  5. here is a pic by Bob Fitch from that very same Charlatans gig, caption says June 21 1967

  6. oh – and Bob Fitch can be seen on that famous Charlatans pic, standing on top of a truck behind the band with camera in hand

  7. more on the speculation for the Fourth of July gig: Baron Wolman commented on one of his pics "My logbook says this was taken on July 4th, 1967, at the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park during the Summer of Love".

    1. Now that is interesting! Wolman keeping a contemporary logbook should be a very reliable source and if it identifies a photo of a cold day matching Jim Marshall's photos, hopefully with Jerry wearing that sweater and having a weird wiring loop on his Les Paul Special that's enough for me. What other wonders might Wolman's logbook reveal?

    2. I'll have to doublecheck the newspapers around July 4th, since it's beyond belief that a holiday "Be-In" this size would escape all press attention.

  8. "The fourth show" - the Ron Rakow article in Relix id's this as 'in the Speedway Meadow of Golden Gate Park'. He also identifies the rainbow pants as being made by Mountain Girl from "canvas that was used to make beach chairs". Full article, and a close in sequence color photo of Garcia as in your color no. 5:

    https://relix.com/articles/detail/ron-rakow-on-his-early-days-documenting-jerry-garcia-and-the-grateful-dead/ Ron Rakow on His Early Days Documenting Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead

    I-) ihor

    1. Quite the irony that this "lost" show of uncertain date had not only an enormous crowd but just about every photographer on the scene snapping pictures.
      For now I'm going with July 4 but I wish there was more evidence.

    2. A reader has found more evidence narrowing down the date of this show to July 4th! I've added his comments in the post.
      Maybe some more reporting of the event will turn up (probably not mentioning the Dead) - giant July 4 festivities are the kind of thing newspapers love to cover.
      I still wonder who the flutist/saxophonist in the photos was, if he's known.