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|THE HOLLYWOOD FESTIVAL.
May 23rd and 24th 1970.
Grateful Dead. Part 2.
Grateful Dead onstage at the Hollywood Festival 1970 © Sylvia ,
courtesy of Garry Marsh
from unknown Music papers: Thanks to Simon
Phillips for providing these clips and the accompanying photos
Critical reaction to the Dead's
first ever performance in the UK was mixed, to say the least. It seemed , as
ever, that people either LOVED them to bits, or thought they were DIRE.
Some things they just don't change...
The Grateful Dead
disappointed me . I hasten to add a lot of people really dug them. They
looked very nervous when they started and the sound just wasn't that
good. Their three part harmonies were pretty suspect. There were long
pauses between each song and the overall presentation was strangely
They did things like Hard
To Handle and Good
Lovin'. They looked amazingly tense and
uncomfortable for a band with such as strong reputation. They may have
been one of the first West Coast bands, but as far as I was concerned
, judging them by this gig , it looked like a lot have overtaken them
now. To be fair ,they played a very long set and things got better as
they went along.
seemed quite happy. I seemed quite bored.
Among the best numbers were the far reaching Dark
Star , a cowboy song delivered by Weir and Pigpen's
version of Good Lovin',
the old Rascals hit
. In fact their vocal work was really outstanding -and they are primarily an instrumental
Grateful Dead , of course was the
name on everybody's lips and they didn't disappoint. Playing at fearsome
volume they demonstrated to the full that American knack of relaxation.
They are at their best stretching out and improvising and during their
three hours at Hollywood there were many magical
moments. Particularly from Bob Weir ,
surely the most inventive second guitarist in rock and Jerry
Garcia whose soloing was pungent and immensely
sure -footed . The two drummers meshed superbly , whether playing a
couple of deceptively simple duets or providing a surging torrent of
backing rhythm and Phil Lesh
is a great bass player.
we all sat under the broiling sun for an hour whilst the roadies
set up Grateful Dead's
rather tatty equipment. Despite bringing a whole removal van full ,
they ended up using a bare fraction of it , which annoyed the promoters
who had warned the Dead they wouldn't need all that stuff.
Perhaps it was sunstroke setting in, but the Grateful Dead seemed
disappointing . They were incredibly loud , Garcia's guitar work was
very polished but for a lot of the time he and rhythm guitarist Bob
Weir seemed to work against each other . Their repertoire varied from
close harmony CSNY type work to solid rock , at times sounding like
the Mothers Of Invention .
a shame that there's been the big myth surrounding them ,if they'd have come
on incognito with no pre-conceived ideas to live up to we'd probably have raved
Dead at Hollywood
Stills of the Dead
taken from standard eight film shot by Bob Colover
thanks go to Garry
Marsh for his fantastic archival material which
has enabled us to construct most of the site. Also to Martin
Williams for his oral history and colour photo
of the stage and site ,Simon Phillips
for all the Grateful Dead archival material and Bob Colover
for the film footage .
We have been endeavoring to collect audience or sbd tapes of the performances
at this festival , so we can effectively review the performances, provide set
lists and band line-ups. The intention is to also display as many personal histories
of the festival as possible.
you can contribute in any way, with tapes, reviews from the music press, photos
or personal histories, please Contact