Ross for the scan)
Previous posts on the late 1960s in Oregon have focused narrowly on specific venues in Portland, whether high profile like the Crystal Ballroom or less well known ones. However, while Portland had a thriving local rock scene in the 1960s, the signal feature of Portland rock music was geography. Since Portland was on an Interstate Highway midway between San Francisco and Seattle, it made the city an attractive stop on many West Coast rock tours. Portland was not a large city in the 1960s, but its location meant that numerous bands played a show in Portland while heading North and South.
I should emphasize at the outset that my blogs have a very narrow focus towards Fillmore and Avalon style underground ("psychedelic") 60s rock bands. In fact, the whole Pacific Northwest had had a booming live music scene since the early 1960s, and rock bands all over Oregon played weekend shows at armories, rec halls and community centers all around the state, and continued to do so throughout the 1960s. However, my historical focus is on the sort of bands who played the Fillmore and Avalon, or at least aspired to do so.
I am attempting a list of every out-of-state touring rock band who played in Oregon in 1967 (1968 and 1969 will follow). I am not counting regional bands from Washington or Idaho as "out-of-state"-my focus is on bands who were on tour who played a show (or a few) in Oregon. This list is drawn from my own research and the lists of various bands' rock concert history. Within the confines of my interests (i.e. Fillmore bands), it is as complete as I can make it. I have included shows from my Crystal Ballroom or other lists if they feature touring bands. Anyone with additions, corrections, insights or recovered memories (real or imagined) is encouraged to Comment or email me.
Portland Rock Shows 1965-66: Pre-History
Although there was plenty of live rock music in Oregon prior to 1967, a few shows stand out as harbingers of things to come.
August 22, 1965 Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR The Beatles (two shows)
The Portland Memorial Coliseum, at 300 N Winning Street, opened in 1961. It had permanent seats for 9,000, and could include up to 14,000. At the time it was opened, it was the largest multi-use facility in the Pacific Northwest. It served as the major venue in Portland for music and sports until the Rose Garden Arena was opened in 1995. The Coliseum was the original home of the NBA Portland Trailblazers. Initially, it seemed unthinkable that a pop music event could fill such a large arena, but as was often the case The Beatles pointed the way forward.
The Beatles played two shows for 20,000 screaming fans, and members of the Beach Boys (then on tour) attended the show. According to Keith Badman’s definitive tour history of The Beach Boys, Carl Wilson and Mike Love visited with the Beatles between shows. Paul asked them “where’s Brian?” and Carl replied “Oh, he’s given up touring. He just stays at home producing and recording our records.” Paul replied “That’s a good idea,” presaging the Beatles abandonment of touring a year later.
Late September or Early October, 1965 Reed College, Portland, OR
Joe McDonald and Barry Melton
At the other end of the spectrum, this obscure event, only barely recalled by Joe McDonald, was the first “tour” by Joe and Barry, planting the seed for Country Joe and The Fish. The pair took the Greyhound Bus, and played in someone’s living room as well as at the very progressive Reed College. This informal trip was one of the first glimmerings of a West Coast underground as a network for rock performances outside of any mainstream radio or television coverage.
January ?, 1966 Beaver Hall, Portland, OR Acid Test
Psychedelia was introduced to Portland without warning, as Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters held an Acid Test at tiny Beaver Hall, at 425 NW Glisan St (at NW 5th Avenue). The Grateful Dead were in tow, and Phil Lesh (at least) recalls it, but no one is certain of the exact date. Maybe January 1, or maybe January 14, no one can recall exactly when--but Portland was officially "on the bus."
The Byrds were reputed to have played Beaver Hall in early 1966, and very well may have, but the definitive history of Byrds performances (Chris Hjort's excellent book So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star) has not yet uncovered a specific date.
March 6, 1966 McNeal Gymnasium, Southern Oregon State College, Ashland, OR Beach Boys (afternoon concert)
Southern Oregon and upper Northern California were a separate economic entity from the other two states, and in some ways a separate cultural entity as well (google "State Of Jefferson"). While the Beach Boys were hardly as cool as the Beatles or Stones, they were still hugely popular.
July 21, 1966 Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR Rolling Stones
Although everyone loved The Beatles, Oregon was more inclined to the Rolling Stones side of the British Invasion.
August 20, 1966 Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR Beach Boys
The Beach Boys were big enough to play Portland Coliseum as well.
September 3, 1966 The Armory, Salem, OR Yardbirds
British Invasion type bands probably played Oregon all the time--I haven't been tracking them all--but the Yardbirds loom much larger than most. The Yardbirds were on a completely insane West Coast tour, so nutty that lead guitarist Jeff Beck got sick--or fed up--and had quit the tour eight days earlier. So on August 25, 1966, at San Francisco's Carousel Ballroom, bass player Jimmy Page switched to lead guitar (rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja moved over to bass). Thus Page played in his first power trio at the future site of the Fillmore West, one of the key places where Led Zeppelin would reveal themselves to the world in early 1969.
After the Carousel show, the Yardbirds had played San Leandro (26), Santa Barbara (27), San Diego (28), San Jose (30), Pismo Beach (31) and Stockton (Sep 1). After a day's rest, they played the Armory in Salem on September 3, and then went on to Hawaii (!) for the next night's show (Sep 4).
Salem was the state capital. I believe the National Guard Armory was a common site for teen dances. There likely would have been numerous other support acts on the bill.
1967 Portland Rock Concerts
January 20, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR Weeds/Tweedy Bros/Family Tree
The Crystal Ballroom, built in 1914 at 1332 W. Burnside Street, (at SW 14th Ave) had been Portland's premier venue for soul and R&B in the early 1960s. However, promoter Charles Sullivan, who also held the lease at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, retired at the end of 1965. While Bill Graham picked up his lease in San Francisco, the Crystal remained dark until it was taken over in January 1967 by Caffe Espresso booker Coleman "Whitey" Davis and his partner Mike Magaurn. The Crystal immediately became Portland's coolest concert venue again.
The Family Tree were from the Stockton, CA area, and featured lead singer Bob Segarini. They were popular up and down the West Coast, particularly in the Central Valley.
The Sopwith Camel, an original San Francisco underground band, had also been one of the first to be signed by a record company. Their song "Hello Hello" was a modest hit single, although apparently they were a different sounding band in concert. The Crystal promoters invited them up from San Francisco for a weekend.
The Family Tree returned to headline another weekend. I believe the other two groups were from Seattle.
February 19, 1967 Caffe Espresso, Portland, OR Them Again/Earl Benson
The Caffe Espresso (at 409 SW 13th Ave at W. Burnside St) was right around the corner from the Crystal Ballroom. It had been one of the first venues to regularly book psychedelic rock bands every weekend, but its tiny size mostly confined it to local groups. For some reason or another, however, Them Again played there on Sunday, February 19.
Them Again was almost certainly the Irish group Them with a new lead singer. Kenny McDowell had replaced Them founder Van Morrison. There is a story of Them Again playing the Crystal Ballroom, leaving the crowd with the impression they had seen Van Morrison, so perhaps they played the Crystal around this time (although it seems odd that they would also play a coffee shop around the corner as well—see The Crystal Ballroom October 17, 1967).
March 18-26, 1967
Buffalo Springfield played several dates in the Pacific Northwes, including some in Oregon.
March 22, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR Buffalo Springfield/Mr. Lucky and The Gamblers/Warlocks/Weeds
This was a Wednesday night show, a rarity for the Crystal.
March 23, 1967 Second City, Corvallis, OR Buffalo Springfield/The Seeds/Paul Revere and The Raiders
Corvallis was the home of Oregon State University, the second largest University in the State (U. of Oregon, in Eugene, was the largest). I don' t know anything about the venue. Paul Revere and The Raiders were huge in Oregon (as in the rest of the country), and The Seeds were popular too, so this must have been a substantial place.
March 30, 1967 [venue], Portland, OR Butterfield Blues Band/Country Joe and The Fish/The Youngbloods
I assume that this show was at one of the standard Portland venues (Crystal, Masonic Temple, etc), but I don't know which one. Mike Bloomfield would have just left the Butterfield band, leaving the guitar chair in the capable hands of Elvin Bishop.
April 14-15, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR Family Tree/Warloks (14)/Redcoats (15)
The Warloks (with a K) were from Tigard, OR, a suburb West of Portland. The Warlocks were a Seattle band, to my knowledge (unless the spellings on previous posters were just wrong).
April 22, 1967 PSC Ballroom, Portland, OR The Heirs/Blue Cheer
This was at Portland State College. The handbill says ‘Blue Cheer—from the Fillmore in San Francisco.’ Blue Cheer were a fairly unknown band at this point, and had only started to play around San Francisco relatively recently.
April 23, 1967 Caffe Espresso, Portland, OR Blue Cheer
Since Blue Cheer had come up from San Francisco, they played a Sunday night show at Caffe Espresso to go along with their Saturday event. Its likely they were expecting to play shows through the weekend of April 30 (see May 14 below).
May 14, 1967 Portland Spring Trips Festival Portland Armory, Portland, OR
The Wailers/Blue Cheer/P.H.Phactor Jug Band/Weeds/Red Coats/Courtmen/Tweedy Bros/Impacts/U.S. Cadenza/7th Resemblance/Russo and Brentano/Poverty Five/The Gazebo/The Seventh
This show was rescheduled from April 30. Based on the billing, it looks like a hitherto typical Northwest "Teen" dance reconfigured under the guise of a "Trips Festival." The Wailers were already legendary in Seattle, but had reconstituted themselves somewhat as a Folk-Rock band, and they were joined by Blue Cheer (if in fact Blue Cheer made the show). The rest of the acts seem to be a mixture of budding folk-rockers and more dance oriented bands, as near as I can tell.
May 28, 1967 Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR Jefferson Airplane/The Byrds/PH Phactor Jug Band/Magic Fern
The Jefferson Airplane were big stars by this time, and The Byrds had already become big stars, so this was a very high profile event (see the poster up top). The Magic Fern were from Seattle.
May 31, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR Fugs/Family Tree
July 14, 1967 Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR Herman’s Hermits/The Who/Blues Magoos
The Who started their first American tour by headlining at the Fillmore (June 16-17) and playing the Monterey Pop Festival with Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead (June 18). They spent the rest of the Summer on a mundane British Invasion tour with the poppy Herman's Hermits and New York's Blues Magoos.
The Masonic Temple, at 1119 SW Park was a smaller alternative venue to the Crystal Ballroom. The Crystal had a quiet Summer, for a variety of murky reasons, and it appears that the Masonic got some interesting bookings as a result. The Dead were on their way back from a weekend in Seattle and Vancouver, and as a result played a Tuesday night in Portland.
July 26, 1967 Masonic Temple, Portland, OR The Doors
The Doors played a Wednesday night show at The Masonic. Although still an "underground" band, even at this early date The Doors were very popular. Anyone who saw this show was quite lucky, as The Doors would not play any venue in Portland this small ever again.
August 4-5, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR Steve Miller Blues Band
For the murky history of who may or may not have played The Crystal Ballroom in the Summer of 1967, see my post here. I'm fairly certain that the Steve Miller Blues Band actually played, but exactly which weekend in August is currently murky.
August 11, 1967 Masonic Temple, Portland, OR Moby Grape/Peanut Butter Conspiracy
This date comes from The Peanut Butter Conspiracy list of shows, which refers to a double bill with Moby Grape. The Moby Grape list does not confirm this booking. However, while Moby Grape was billed at The Avalon (August 10 thru 13), on at least one or all of those shows they did not play. Supposedly it was because Skip Spence was unavailable, but perhaps it was because they had a gig in Portland.
October 6, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR Charles Lloyd/Family Tree/Weeds
The Crystal Ballroom came back to life in the Fall of 1967, and a few more shows are known. Charles Lloyd, an established modern jazz player, had found a new audience by regularly playing the psychedelic ballrooms.
October 13-14, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR Country Joe McDonald
Originally the Electric Flag was supposed to play this weekend, but some band members got busted in Los Angeles, and they were replaced by Country Joe and The Fish. But Joe and the rest of the band were squabbling, so Joe ended up headlining the shows as a solo act.
October 17, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR Van Morrison/Daily Flash
Van Morrison was on his first national tour, possible because "Brown Eyed Girl" was a hit in many markets. This was a Tuesday night show. There has been a long history of confusion about Them and Van Morrison appearing in Portland, which I have discussed in detail elsewhere.
October 20-21, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR The Incredible Fish
After Country Joe had played the Crystal--the "Fishless Joe"--the rest of the band played the next weekend--the "Joeless Fish"--as The Incredible Fish (Barry Melton, David Cohen, Bruce Barthol and Chicken Hirsh).
October 28, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR Electric Prunes
November 11, 1967 Coliseum, Oregon State U., Corvallis, OR The Doors
The Doors were huge, so they played two dates in Oregon, at the basketball arenas of the two biggest Universities in Oregon.
According to Doors drummer John Densmore’s autobiography (Riders On The Storm), former Daily Flash drummer Jon Keliohor substituted for his Laurel Canyon neighbor Densmore at the Eugene and Corvallis shows. Fortunately for Densmore, although Keliohor was a fine drummer, the band didn't like playing with a substitute.
November 12, 1967 MacArthur Court, U. of Oregon, Eugene, OR The Doors
November 18, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR The Incredible Fish
The Fish appear to have returned for another Saturday night at the Crystal, although I am not yet 100% convinced about this.
December 2, 1967 Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR The Doors
Just a month after playing two shows at Oregon's biggest Universities, The Doors return to play Oregon's biggest venue (this time with drummer John Densmore). There could be no clearer sign of how huge they were at this time.
December 3, 1967 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR BB King
BB King had probably played the Crystal Ballroom a number of times in the early 1960s, when the venue was run by Charles Sullivan. In late 1967, just as had happened at the Fillmore (also run by Sullivan until 1965), BB King played for a mostly white audience and blew them away, building a whole new fan base in the process.
December 29, 1967 Masonic Temple, Portland, OR Family Tree/Gentlemen Wild/Poverty’s People/Sound Vendor/Echoes/Epix “Grand Opening”
The poster says “Grand Opening”, but its not clear what that means. Perhaps new promoters had taken over. The ubiquitous Family Tree headlined over mostly regional bands.
Next: Oregon rock concerts, 1968.