Saturday, December 26, 2009

Moby Grape Performance History July-December 1967 (Moby Grape III)

Moby Grape was one of the best of the San Francisco groups, but their never ending run of poor choices and bad luck has insured that they lead the woulda-shoulda-coulda category, with a long series of frustrations punctuating their career. Over the years, the nonetheless fascinating story of Moby Grape has been documented fairly comprehensively. However, there is no longer a good Moby Grape performance history on the Web, or at least not an accessible one, so I have constructed one for the years 1966-69. It was originally based on the one that was available on the web some years ago, but I have revised and added to it considerably.

My focus on this concert history is on Moby Grape's actual performance history, rather than an attempt to document their recordings or other aspects of the band's history. I have had to give some thumbnail information in order to make the history coherent, but I am aware that I am simplifying or leaving out many aspects of the band's history due to my narrow focus on concerts.

The Moby Grape Performance History will be in 6 parts (1966, early and late 1967, early and late 1968, and 1969). The history represents the best information available to me at this time. Anyone with additional information, corrections or insights into missing or incomplete performance dates please list them in the Comments or contact me.

Part I: 1966
Part II: January-June 1967

Part III: July-December 1967 Performance History 
July 1, 1967 Earl Warren Showgrounds, Santa Barbara Jimi Hendrix Experience/Moby Grape/Tim Buckley

July 14-15, 1967 Centennial Coliseum, Reno, NV Moby Grape/Melvyn Q Watchpocket

July 17, 1967 The Scene, New York, NY Moby Grape
The Grape were advertised in the Village Voice as “returning for one night only,” so the record company must have flow them out there. I have no idea if this gig actually took place.

July 20, 1967: Bandshell, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA: Moby Grape/Melvyn Q. Watchpocket/Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band free concert
The San Francisco Examiner sponsored free Thursday afternoon concerts from 1:00-3:00pm in the Golden Gate Park Bandshell, with Examiner music critic Phil Elwood as the MC.

July 22, 1967 Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica Yardbirds/Moby Grape/Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band/Iron Butterfly/Strawberry Alarm Clock/West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Jim Saltzer presented this show.  The Yardbirds at this time featured Jimmy Page on lead guitar. Given that the Grape were supposedly in New York the previous week and Philadelphia the next night, I wonder if the band actually played this gig.

July 23, 1967 Convention Hall, Philadelphia, PA The Mamas and The Papas/Moby Grape/Blues Magoos

July 27, 1967 Upper Deck Club, Detroit, MI Moby Grape
The band also appears on the Robin Seymour TV show in Detroit on this day.

August 2, 1967 Eagles Auditorium, Seattle, WA Moby Grape/Crome Syrcus/Time Machine
A special rock-dance-light show extravaganza, as Crome Syrcus performed with a Dance Troupe.

August 8-9-10, 1967 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco Electric Flag/Moby Grape/Southside Sound System

August 10-11-12-13, 1967 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco Moby Grape/Canned Heat/Vanilla Fudge
There is a poster for these shows, but it does seem odd that the Grape played the Fillmore and Avalon on consecutive days, conflicting on one (Aug 10), given the fierce competition between Chet Helms and  Bill Graham.

Mad River substituted for Moby Grape at the last second on one night (probably Saturday, Aug 12), apparently because Skip Spence was incapacitated.  There is some evidence Big Brother played the 13th, most likely replacing the Grape as well—perhaps attorneys prevented them from finishing up the gigs, rather than “incapacitation.” There's obviously a story here, but no one seems to know what it is.

Its also possible the Grape were in Portland, OR, at the Crystal Ballroom, but it has been impossible to confirm who played Portland that weekend (Steve Miller Band is another possibility).

August 19, 1967 Earl Warren Showgrounds, Santa Barbara Jimi Hendrix Experience/Moby Grape/Tim Buckley/Capt. Speed

August 21-22-23, 1967 Whiskey A-Go-Go, West Hollywood Moby Grape/Afro-Blues Quintet

The Whiskey A-Go-Go was the hippest showcase club in West Hollywood.  Bands played for union scale in order to attract attention.

Moby Grape begins recording again in August. 

September 4, 1967 The Scene, New York, NY Moby Grape
The Grape performed live at The Scene, and the show was filmed for a TV show.

September 15-16, 1967  Continental Ballroom, Santa Clara  Moby Grape/Nu Delhi River Band/Om

September 22, 1967 The Action House, Island Park, NY Cream/Moby Grape
The Action House was a club/discotheque in Long Island, mostly featuring Long Island bands.  The former house band at The Action House had been The Pigeons, who had become famous as The Vanilla Fudge. The other major house band at the time was The Vagrants, who featured Leslie West on guitar.

September 23, 1967 Village Theater, New York, NY  Cream/(Moby Grape) (2 shows)
The Village Theater was an old movie theater in Greenwich Village on 2nd Avenue and 6th Street, that would later become famous as The Fillmore East. I am reliably informed that the Grape did not play these shows, however, and were replaced by Canned Heat.

October 7, 1967 The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI
There's a chance this is The Ark in Sausalito.

October 13-14, 1967 The Ark, Sausalito Moby Grape/Big Brother and The Holding Company/Sons of Champlin
Most likely the Grape headlined Friday (13) and Big Brother on the Saturday (14). Neither band actually needed to play The Ark, so this would have been for fun or as a favor.

November 3-4, 1967  Concord Coliseum, Concord Moby Grape
The Concord Coliseum was at 1825 Salvio Road in Concord, just over the hill from Berkeley. The show was reviewed in the November 4, 1967 Oakland Tribune “Teen Age” section.

November 4, 1967 The Ark, Sausalito Big Brother and The Holding Company/Baltimore Steam Packet/Moby Grape
There is a conflict with the Concord show, but Concord would have ended early, and Big Brother had a conflict as well (they were scheduled at Winterland) Possibly both played late at night, or it was canceled.

November 11, 1967 Village Theater, New York, NY Moby Grape 
Moby Grape are based in New York during this period, mostly recording their second album and playing occasional gigs.

November 17-18-19, 1967 Café Au Go Go, New York, NY Moby Grape/Larry Hankin/Blood, Sweat & Tears
The Café Au Go Go was a popular club in Greenwich Village. During these shows, Al Kooper debuted Blood, Sweat & Tears to a friendly hometown audience. The roadies constructed music stands for the horn players, which Kooper called “probably a first in rock.”

November 23-24, 1967 The Village Theater, New York, NY Moby Grape/Druids of Stonehenge/Charles O'Hegarty/Kingdom Come

December 14, 1967 Terrace Ballroom, Salt Lake City, UT Country Joe and The Fish/Moby Grape/Spirit

December 1-2, 1967 The Ambassador, Washington, DC Moby Grape

December 5-6-7, 1967  The Trauma, Philadelphia, PA Moby Grape
The Trauma was the first ‘psychedelic’ club in Philadelphia.  It was run by the owners of Philadelphia’s leading folk club, The 2nd Fret.  This was one of the last shows at The Trauma, which was soon transcended by the nearby Electric Factory.

December 8, 1967 Grande Ballroom, Detroit, MI Moby Grape/The Rationals/Wilson Mower Pursuit
December 9, 1967 Grande Ballroom, Detroit, MI Moby Grape/MC5
 The Grande Ballroom was Detroit’s psychedelic ballroom, generally modeled on the Fillmore and Avalon but with an exciting Detroit edge.

December 15-16, 1967 Shrine Exposition Hall, Los Angeles Moby Grape/Country Joe and The Fish/Blue Cheer (15th)/United States of America (16th)
Pinnacle Concerts presented this show at the Shrine Exposition Hall, a convention center (at 32nd and Figueroa) that was often used for ballroom rock shows.

>December 18-23, 1967  Whisky A-Go-Go, West Hollywood Moby Grape (canceled)
Moby Grape was booked for several days at The Whisky, but apparently canceled.

next: Part IV January-June 1968


  1. Some comments:
    I have the December 5-6-7, 1967 shows at the Second Fret rather than the Trauma.
    Are we sure that the December 18-23, 1967 Whisky A-Go-Go shows were cancelled - I still have them listed (and on the Whisky page)?
    I have the Santa Barbara event on July 22 as cancelled.
    I also figure that with your addition at The Scene, we are missing some shows beteen July 17 and August 4 ot 5.
    August 10 to 13: I agree that shows at both the Fillmore and Avalon on August 10 seem unlikely unless one was an afternoon show - and that seems only a remote possibility for a Thursday. I have Mad River sitting in on August 11 rather than 12 and the BBHC show on the 13th is unconfirmed. Probably worth some additional effort to figure these out.
    An additional show on October 7, 1967 The Ark, Sausalito, CA Moby Grape, Baltimore Steam Packet, Only Alternative and His Other Possibilities (I originally though this to be 1966 - but it would make it too early for Moby Grape - but it seems very late for the Only Alternative (the last show I know of)).

  2. Re: July 17, 1967 The Scene, New York, NY Moby Grape....(a) also on the bill Tiny Tim and (b) Moby Grape cancelled!

  3. re: the concert on July 23, 1967 Convention Hall, Philadelphia, PA The Mamas and The Papas/Moby Grape/Blues Magoos
    Though he wasn't on the bill, there was a special guest star at this concert: Scott McKenzie who sang his hit, "If You're Going to San Francisco".
    I continue to find your site very valuable. Keep up the good work!

  4. I want to confirm Yellow Shark with respect to the gigs in December 1967 in Philadelphia. They were at the Second Fret, not at the Trauma. The Fret was owned by Manny Rubin.
    The weather was bad on the night I was there, and the crowd was not a sell-out. The opening 'act' was a dumb W. C. Fields movie, The Fatal Glass of Beer.
    The Fret was a long narrow hall, and the Grape were jammed into the small space that was the stage.
    They played most of the songs from the Moby Grape album.

  5. Played on the same concert with them July 4th weekend at Russian River, Rio Nido, Calif. (with Big Brother and Morning Glory and Overbrook Express)

    1. I was in the Overbrook Express and we played with them July 4th weekend at Guerneville, Calif. I found out later it was at the River Theater. Also on the bill was Big Brother and Morning Glory. Rich Irwin