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Sunday, February 24, 2008

1967 March 18 - Winterland

Grateful Dead 1967GRATEFUL DEAD
Saturday, March 18, 1967
Winterland Arena, San Francisco. CA
Soundboard Recording

The Dead shared the bill with Chuck Berry, and opening act Johnny Talbot & De Thangs. Berry's set is played in between the two Dead sets (Jerry explains as much just before "Cream Puff War"), and we are treated to a Grateful Dead performance for the ages.

The first set gives us a tight and talented band. You can almost hear Bobby's eyes bugging out in the "Me & My Uncle" opener. Jerry's licks are fluid and sharp. "Next Time You See Me" is classic early Pigpen. And this early "He Was A Friend Of Mine" shows Jerry with vocal emotion, pulling us in, and commanding our attention. "Morning Dew' is more of the same. The band is making very few mistakes. The long set closing "Dancin' In The Streets" allows the band to flex its psychedelic muscle some. It feels good, and delivers nicely. They get nicely "out" and return for the coda with style.

March 17th, 18th, 19th 1967 posterThe second set has a distinctly different feel from the first. Perhaps the long break while Chuck Berry played, allowed the Dead time to socialize a bit, or perhaps simply by design, the second set is over-charged with psychedelic energy. The "Golden Road," while we are missing the start, is absolutely stunning. It's a crazy pop-song freak out that tells us that things aren't quite as classifiable as they were in set one. This isn't a country western song, it isn't a blues number, and it isn't a ballad. It's just gooooood psychedelic rock.

Next, while being underscored by other band members making animal noises, Jerry thanks the crowd five times in a row and welcomes the audience to the "post-Chuck Berry set." They then explode into "Cream Puff War." The band is comfortably home in this rockin' and blazin' number. Jerry firing off round after round of intense guitar licks.

But it's "The Same Thing" that really sees things open up. Starting off as another solid Pigpen blues number, Jerry's solo begins dismantling the borders of this song. He finds subtle pockets of inspirational phrasing that cause one to slip pleasurably off the edge of the song into a fluid dance of colors and shadows. Where ever he leads, we only want to keep going.

"Cold Rain And Snow" has that wonderful essence of Americana-Psychedelic-Folk-Rock that the band would richly develop as the years went on. Here, it explodes with Jerry's razor sharp licks.

Jerry Garcia Sept 15, 1967Then we get "Viola Lee Blues." You don't need to hear too many of these to understand that it was the band's Other One, Dark Star, Alligator, and Caution before any of those song made the stage. Upon listening to this one, it strikes me that anyone within ear's distance that night could easily have become completely drawn in and followed this band for the next 30 years. There are things going on in this Viola Lee that should not be happening in 1967. There are portions of the jam that sound exactly like 1971 Dead. The frenzy of jug band bluegrass energy is intoxicating. Just before the seven minute mark, Jerry begins fingering at the outer petals of the psychedelic flower. He's channeling in from deep space, like a passing comet.

Jerry Garcia 1967 Monterey PopThe song just folds and folds around and around, with bluegrass melting into Indian phrases, melting into outer space, emerging back into bluegrass again. Before it's over they've torn their way into the classic tiger-like shredding, stopping just short of the point that would soon lead into oceans of Feedback only a few months later. The song wraps up and moves to "Death Don't Have No Mercy" where Jerry croons the dark tale as a fitting send off. The song is cut, but by this point this 1967 tape has worked its mojo on you, and you're left in a different place than you were beforehand.

The Dead were good for that, it seems.

No AUD of this show for you to download. I can only offer you a link to the SBD stream on You'll likely find yourself wanting to hunt down a copy of this show.

03/18/67 etree source info
03/18/67 SBD Stream


  1. nice show! I actually bought this show as a bootleg sometime back in the early 90's. It was only one disc though. I actually just downloaded this off the LMA, but it can also be found elsewhere with ease!


  2. Just downright depressing looking at Deadbase or DeadLists through the years '67 and '68 -- so many dates with No Recording Available. Man... just... really kind of a bummer.

    Thankfully there are a few stellar recordings such as this one!


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