Friday, September 2, 2022

Palo Alto Rock Concerts 1970-73 (Palo Alto VI)

The terraced lawn of Frost Amphitheatre, at Stanford University

Palo Alto, CA had something going on in the late 60s, with free concerts in the downtown El Camino Park, the thriving Poppycock club and the occasional Stanford rock concert. Yet live rock music had almost evaporated in Palo Alto in the early 1970s. Unlike most '60s towns, Palo Alto had no problem with protest, anti-war sentiment, weed, long hair or the threat of promiscuity. Palo Alto had been a nexus of ban-the-bomb liberalism since the 1950s, and parents were not threatened if their kids became hippies. What Palo Alto didn't like was noise and hassle downtown. The free concerts were chased away, ultimately to Stanford's Frost Amphitheatre, and the Poppycock got no love. It would close by mid-1970

Palo Alto would re-assert itself later on, as it always does. As Silicon Valley began to thrive, the Keystone Palo Alto became the premier South Bay rock club once it opened in 1977. By 1986, Bill Graham Presents had opened the Shoreline Amphitheatre, so every major rock act would play the town next to Palo Alto. Of course Shoreline was in Mountain View, the next town South, because actual live rock music was noisy. Hey, Palo Alto never changes.

There was an interregnum, however, in the 1970s. There were no thriving original rock clubs, no permanent rock concert venues, and only the most grudging concessions to live rock from Stanford University. This post will review live rock concerts in the Palo Alto and Stanford area from 1970 through 1973, when it seemed like Palo Alto's tendency to avoid excitement of any sort would nearly chase rock out of town.

A November, 1969 flyer for the Poppycock club at 135 University Avenue in Palo Alto. It was open from Spring 1967 until mid-1970. It would re-open as In Your Ear in May, 1971, but it burned down on New Year's Eve 1972.

Palo Alto Rock and Roll Status Report, 1970: An Audience, But No Venues
Palo Alto, California, is only a town of about 60,000, about 35 miles South of San Francisco, and yet it looms large in the world, far out of proportion to its modest size. Palo Alto residents, like the residents of most small towns, think the world revolves around itself. The principal difference between Palo Alto and other towns is its tendency to invent or encourage institutions that redound to the importance of Palo Alto--Stanford University, Hewlett-Packard, The Stanford Shopping Center, Acid Tests, The Grateful Dead, Mapquest and Google, for example, just to name a few. All of these institutions re-write history in Palo-centric ways that reaffirms the town's importance. Residents of neighboring communities find Palo Altans self absorbed and self-important, which we probably are, but our next innovation will just reconfigure the past in a way that justifies our own narrative. And so it was with psychedelic rock and roll in the 1960s.

In 1970, Palo Alto's population was about 56,000, which it always is. There were plenty of teenagers. Stanford University was right next door. Palo Alto was famously liberal, and Palo Alto's firmly anti-war parents had no problem with long hair and rock music, even if they didn't find it interesting themselves. Palo Alto wasn't rich yet--that would come later--but it certainly wasn't poor. Live rock music was centered around Bill Graham Presents shows in San Francisco, at the Fillmore West or Winterland. Graham and other promoters also regularly booked shows at the Berkeley Community Theater. Really big bands, like the Rolling Stones, would play the Oakland Coliseum basketball arena. Palo Alto rock fans, whether Stanford students or not, had to drive to San Francisco or Berkeley. Granted, in those days, outside of rush hour, it was no more than an hour drive to either city.

San Jose was growing in population, and wasn't far away, but Palo Alto and Stanford paid no attention to San Jose. Everyone in Palo Alto read the San Francisco Chronicle and looked to see what was doing in the City and Berkeley, not San Jose. There were periodic rock concerts in San Jose, sure, but Bill Graham didn't book shows there, and Palo Altans looked North, not South. There was plenty of interest in live rock music in Palo Alto, but no one was booking it.

Palo Alto and Stanford actually had plausible venues. El Camino Park in Palo Alto was right downtown and next to a shopping center, and had been used plenty of times in the 60s. There were other possibilities under the control of the city, as well. Stanford had plenty of venues. Yet neither Palo Alto nor Stanford wanted to book rock concerts, and Stanford only did so grudgingly. Inevitably, too many people showed up, and the University usually regretted it. Neither Stanford nor Palo Alto needed the money that might have come from successful rock concerts, and both entities saw rock concerts as a sort of necessary evil to placate the local teenagers. 

The Poppycock had been an initial success, drawing long haired hippies to downtown on weekend nights, much to the dismay of the town. By 1970, however, rock music was getting bigger and bigger, and the 250-capacity Poppycock was having a hard time booking popular acts. Downtown Palo Alto had no bars--I kid you not--and clubs could only sell beer and wine if they sold food (The Poppycock was a Fish 'N' Chips take-out), yet another barrier to competing venues. Palo Alto had managed to squeeze out the one thriving rock nightclub in downtown Palo Alto history, and the city didn't regret it. The Poppycock was next to an abandoned storefront that was a hangout for assorted speedfreaks, and the city used that as an excuse to threaten the club's beer license. By April 1970, the Poppycock had closed.

That left Stanford University, and Stanford wasn't any more rock-and-roll-positive than Palo Alto.

January 30, 1970 Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Big Brother and The Holding Company/Charlie Musselwhite (Friday) KZSU and The Poppycock present
The solitary indoor live rock presentation in Stanford or Palo Alto during Winter 1970 that featured a professional band who had actually made a record was on Friday, January 30. The show was at the 710-seat Dinkelspiel Auditorium on the Stanford campue (at 471 Lagunita Drive). Dinkelspiel was used almost exclusively for classical and "serious" music. There wasn't even folk performers at Dinkelspiel. The last electric performer at the venue had been Buddy Guy, back on October 15, 1967. 
 
Somehow, campus radio station KZSU and the Poppycock had teamed up to present Big Brother and The Holding Company at Dinkelspiel. Opening act Charlie Musselwhite was a regular headliner at the Poppycock, and had released a few albums on Vanguard (his most recent would have been Tennessee Woman). KZSU's participation probably allowed the Poppycock team to rent out the hall. Big Brother was just getting back together. They were a much-beloved 60s San Francisco group, of course, but fans knew them for Janis Joplin, and she had left the band. Yes, Big Brother had existed before Janis, and in fact they were an interesting group, but it wasn't what people wanted to hear. The show was enthusiastically previewed in the January 30 Stanford Daily, the student newspaper, but I could find no trace of it afterwards, nor were there more rock shows at Dinkelspiel. It must have bombed. 
 


April 12, 1970 Frost Amphitheatre,
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Cold Blood/Elvin Bishop/Aum/Lamb/Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks/Jon Buckley (Sunday)
Frost Amphitheatre was a beautiful grassy bowl at the edge of campus, at Campus Drive and Galvez Street. Frost was situated somewhat between downtown Palo Alto and the Stanford Shopping Center. It had been built in 1937, to honor a student who had passed away. Frost had a seated capacity of about 6,900, but without seats it could absorb as many as 11,000. Frost was mostly used for graduation, speeches and major events. For the most part, it had been too large for the rock shows of the 60s (at this time, Fillmore West had a capacity of around 2500, and Frost was over four times that), but that was starting to change. 

Once Palo Alto had forced free concerts out of El Camino Park, and after an intriguing failure West of the freeway in August 1969, Stanford University allowed a series of benefit concerts at Frost Amphitheatre in August and October 1969. These events were paid, not free, but the general assumption was that there would be plenty of room for everyone to hang out and dance, since Frost was so large.
 
Even before the Benefits, first in July 1968 and then in June of 1969, Stanford had allowed multi-act events at Frost. Country Joe McDonald and Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks, among others, had played on  June 29, 1969. It seems that all the acts were acoustic, or mostly so. The event had been billed as "The Festival Of Growing Grass." 
 
This Spring 1970 event was billed as the "2nd Annual Green Grass and Blue Sky Frolic."  Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks were acoustic, and Lamb, if somewhat electric, was more about songs than rocking out. But there wasn't any doubt about Cold Blood, Elvin Bishop or Aum. All of them were Fillmore West regulars, ready to rock it loud and hard. All three were booked by Bill Graham's Millard Agency, whose strategy was to bring third-on-the-bill Fillmore West acts to the suburbs. 
 
Elvin Bishop, from Tulsa by way of Chicago, had joined the Butterfield Blues Band in the early 60s. Bishop had initially shared guitar duties with Michael Bloomfield on the band's first album. Bishop had graduated from wingman to lead soloist for two albums (1967's Resurrection Of Pigboy Crabshaw and '68's In My Own Dream), and then left the Butterfield band to move to the San Francisco in 1968. He had been leading his own group in the Bay Area since early 1969. In mid-69, Bishop had released his debut album The Elvin Bishop Group on Bill Graham's Fillmore label, distributed by CBS. 
 
Cold Blood had evolved out of a Peninsula band called The New Invaders (and at one point, The Generation). Lead singer Lydia Pense (Woodside High School) and lead guitarist Larry Field were both from Redwood City. The New Invaders had been one of the first bands on the Peninsula to mix rock guitar with an R&B horn section. Lead singer Pense, though under 5 feet tall, could absolutely belt it out--she had won a talent contest for best singer at the 1965 Teenage Fair held in Redwood City.

While Cold Blood shared some horn players with Tower Of Power over the years, and is generally seen as an East Bay band (because of their sound), in fact they were a true Peninsula band. Cold Blood was signed to Bill Graham's other label, San Francisco Records (distributed by Atlantic). They had also released their debut album in mid-1969, and got a lot of local FM play with their cover of Sam & Dave's "You Got Me Hummin'."

AUM (pronounced "ohm") were a Bill Graham-sponsored power trio who had released two albums in 1969 on Sire. Lead guitar, harmonica and vocals were provided by Wayne "The Harp" Ceballos, along with Ken Newell on bass and Larry Martin on drums. Their albums weren't bad, given the typical 60s exuberance. By 1970, however, the band's moment had kind of passed. Still, they were an energetic live band. 
 
Lamb was a songwriting duo featuring Barbara Mauritz (piano) and Bob Swanson (guitar). They were managed by Bill Graham's organization, and they would release their debut album A Sign Of Change on Graham's Fillmore Records label (distributed by Columbia) later in 1970.  By this time, Lamb probably had a  bass player and maybe even a drummer.
 
The opening act Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks was mostly acoustic, but not precisely mellow. Hicks had been around the San Francisco scene as long as there had been one. He had been the drummer in the Charlatans, the band that started the psychedelic ballroom revolution in Virginia City, NV. Later he had switched to guitar, so he could sing more. The Charlatans played loud, psychedelic blues, however, and Hicks had other interests. He formed a "side group" with local violinist David LaFlamme to play a sort of modified swing music. When LaFlamme left to form It's A Beautiful Day, Hicks left the Charlatans and formed Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks. 
 
The band had released an album in 1969 on Epic, Original Recordings. The group wore Edwardian clothes, and it looked like a repackage of an old album. While the band played acoustic swing music, kind of, Hicks' wry, cynical lyrics were a striking contrast to the music. The album included future Hicks' classics like "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away" and "I Scare Myself." Nobody sounded like Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. The band in Spring 1970 was probably Hicks on lead vocals and guitar, Jon Weber on lead guitar, Sid Page on violin and Jaime Leopold on bass. "The Hot Licks" personnel varied sometimes, but at this time I believe it was Maryann Price and Naomi Ruth Eisenberg.

Jon Buckley was a local blues and folk singer (no connection to Jeff Buckley).
 

April 26 1970, Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Country Joe and The Fish/Eric Burdon & War/Joy of Cooking/Tower of Power (Sunday)
The second Spring show at Frost featured genuine Fillmore West headliners. There was no mention of the show in the Stanford Daily, so while it must have been approved by the University, to a large extent it seems to have been put on by outside promoters. Country Joe and The Fish were established local stars, having headlined the Fillmore, Fillmore West and Avalon many times. Eric Burdon, meanwhile, had been a star even longer than Joe and Barry. He had a new album and a new band.

Unlike many Stanford rock concerts from this era, we have a lot of information about this show. Esteemed rock scholar CryptDev attended the show, and besides his detailed recollections, he posted amazing photos. If you want to flashback to April 26, 1970, he's your ticket. On top of that, an audience tape of both headliners circulates in the usual places. It's not particularly high-fidelity, but it's listenable as an historical document. So we know the length and breadth of both Joe and the Fish and Eric Burdon and War. 



Eric Burdon Declares War
Eric Burdon had become hugely popular as the lead singer of The Animals, leading the harder-edged salient of the British Invasion. The Animals made  white America aware of the likes of John Lee Hooker. Uniquely, Burdon threw it all over, and after an August '66 trip to San Francisco, dumped his band and "went psychedelic." Ultimately, Eric Burdon and The Animals (as Mark 2 was known) would move to Los Angeles, and they too were successful, with songs like "San Franciscan Nights," "Monterey," and "Sky Pilot." It's easy to see Burdon as histrionic and dated now, but he was a powerful singer with a great band, and he earned his success. I have detailed the history of the latterday Animals elsewhere, but suffice to say that by the end of '68 they, too, had run their course.

After a brief stint in USC Film School, Burdon ended up fronting a Los Angeles band called War.
War was a six-piece jazz band, all African-American. They were playing some bluesy jazz, with a nice groove you could dance to, but still interesting to hear. Today, we take the intersection of jazz and blues into funk for granted, but that wasn't the case in 1969. I think a lot of musicians were doing this in nightclubs, particularly late at night, but Burdon and War brought this out in the open. By some combination of events I haven't figured out, Burdon and War added harmonica player Lee Oskar (originally based in Sonoma County), and Oskar's harp increased the blues edge of the band.

As for Burdon, he was a well-known singer with many hits under his belt, and he did exactly none of them with War. In fact, he sang in a jazzy style that was different than either the John Lee Hooker-inspired vocalizing of the original Animals or the more rock-oriented style of the Fillmore lineup. On the live tape from Frost, War grooves along with Burdon inserting vocals here and there, often outside of any exact song structure. Some of his lyrics appear to just be improvised, sort of proto-raps (albeit not rhythmically). It was a daring thing to do for a star without a band.
 
[Burdon's set was] a loose, open ended affair with lots of extended instrumental jamming. The centerpiece of the set was a fully formed version of “Spill the Wine,” which went on to be the group’s biggest hit. They also played a highly stylized interpretation of the Stones tune “Paint it Black,” and wound things up with a bluesy version of “Mystery Train.” Onstage, Burdon epitomized the ‘long haired leaping gnome’ image with which he self-identified in “Spill the Wine” while his bandmates showed the formidable instrumental chops that served them well for decades after parting company with Burdon in 1972.
Producer Jerry Goldstein had taken Eric Burdon and War into Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco in January 1970. Burdon and War had played around live a little bit, and I think Lee Oskar had got into the band around this point. Eric Burdon Declares War was released on MGM in April 1970. Thanks to Burdon's vocals, the album hasn't aged well, but in fact it was way ahead of its time. It has a nice groove, and you can dance to it, but you can listen to it, too. It wasn't exactly jazz, but it was way above pop music and more complex than the blues. The fact that it was a popular album opened the ears of the music industry to much more diverse and talented artists doing interesting things in soul, jazz and rock. Burdon, whatever you think now, helped kick that door open.

Of course, all anyone remembers now about Eric Burdon Declares War was the unlikely hit single "Spill The Wine." The song highlighted one of Burdon's rambling grooves, and devoid of context it seems like a parody. Heard in the context of an hour-long set, it made sense, but as a stand alone song it was dopey. War, fortunately for them, went on to have many popular hits afterwards, and everyone just blames "Spill The Wine" on Burdon. Hindsight is easy, but Eric Burdon and War were an interesting band that were ahead of their time.

Country Joe and The Fish, meanwhile, much as I love them, were kind of at their sell-by date, and I think both Joe McDonald and Barry Melton were aware of that. The band would release CJ Fish in May 70, their 5th album on Vanguard. The Frost show was a prelude to the group's final national tour. The end of the line came in mid-June.

OK--not really. Joe and Barry would get back together, and reform periodically, and even released an album in the late 70s. But the first, historic run of Country Joe and The Fish was grinding to a halt. The Frost show featured the Woodstock lineup with Mark Kapner on organ, Doug Metzner on bass and Greg Dewey on drums. They were solid live, as CryptDev recalled, but it wasn't particularly memorable.

Berkeley's Joy Of Cooking, a swinging rock band led by two women (guitarist Terry Garthwaite and pianist Toni Brown) opened the show. Tower Of Power was booked, although CryptDev does not recall them. Maybe he missed them, or maybe they didn't play. One odd characteristic of Frost shows from the 1969-70 era was that the opening acts on the poster were often not the bands who actually played.

Miles Davis at Frost, July 12, 1970. Produced by Bob "Cully" Cullenbine
July 12 1970 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Miles Davis Quintet/Cold Blood/Victoria (Sunday) Benefit for Stanford Community Children's Center-Produced by Bob Cully Cullenbine
The Summer of 1970 featured four Sunday afternoon rock concerts at Frost Amphitheatre. All four shows were benefits for the Stanford Community Children's Center and "Legal Defense." Per the July 12 poster (above), the producer of the first show--and likely all of them--was local figure Bob "Cully" Cullenbine. At the time, concerts at a Not-For-Profit Institution had to be benefits. Keep in mind, however, that this would have only applied to any profits--the bands, the promoter and the University were all getting pre-determined fees. This oddity is why college concerts of the era always have tiny print explaining that they were a "benefit' for some organization. It does not mean any money was transferred to the charity. 

Bob "Cully" Cullenbine (1938-2018) was a typical 60s Palo Alto character. Apparently well-educated, he had been a Merry Prankster in the early 60s, and in the later 60s had been one of the key figures in the MidPeninsula Free University. The MPFU, or "Free You" as it was known, was founded in Palo Alto in 1967 as an alternative to "straight" education of the sort taught at Stanford. The MPFU was the driving force behind the Be-Ins and free concerts at El Camino Park. MFPU taught classes downtown. If you've ever wondered where the 60s cliche of classes in "Underwater Basket Weaving" came from, it was the Free You. Thanks, Palo Alto!  The Sunday afternoon Frost shows seemed to have stemmed from the 1969 Frost shows that replaced the free Be-Ins (Cullenbine lived a long life on the Peninsula).

Miles Davis wasn't exactly rock, of course, but by 1970 he was playing the Fillmore West and had a fully electric band. The lineup in July 1970 would have been: Miles Davis (tpt); Steve Grossman (ss); Chick Corea (el-p); Keith Jarrett (org); Dave Holland (el-b); Jack De Johnette (d) and Airto Moreira (perc). His current album would have been the amazing Bitches Brew, though the music he played at Frost would have been similar to Miles Davis At Fillmore (recorded Fillmore East June 17-20, 1970, released October 1970). 

Cold Blood was back, giving everyone something to dance to--Miles wasn't really for dancing. Victoria (Victoria Domagalski) was a singer-songwriter, also part of the Bill Graham stable. Her debut album, Secret Of The Bloom, would be released on Graham's San Francisco Records label (distributed by Atlantic) sometime in 1970.
 

 

July 26 1970 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Boz Scaggs/Elvin Bishop Group/Fast Eddie/Mad Dog Benefit for Stanford Children's Community Center and Legal Defense (Sunday)
Boz Scaggs was another Fillmore West regular. He had just released his debut album on Atlantic, but it only got airplay in the Bay Area. Elvin Bishop was back, too. Fast Eddie was a Peninsula band. When the Poppycock would briefly re-opened in Fall 1970 as Mom's, Fast Eddy was one of the house bands.  Mad Dog is unknown to me [update: our Italian Commenter notes that Mad Dog featured Palo Alto guitarist Mike Shapiro. Shapiro, along with drummer Ron Cox and bassist Steve Leidenthal, had all been in the William Penn Five).
 

August 9 1970 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: QMS/AB Skhy/Beggar's Opera/ Robert Savage Group (Sunday) Benefit for Stanford Children's Community Center
The last Frost concert of the Summer featured the re-organized Quicksilver Messenger Service. Quicksilver had nearly broken up in late 1968, when guitarist Gary Duncan had left the band to form a group with folk singer Dino Valenti. When the Quick's second album Happy Trails had been released in early '69, Duncan was already gone. The album, however, had been a huge hit on FM radio. English pianist Nicky Hopkins had joined the band in his place, and the band put out the thin and unsatisfactory Shady Grove ablum later in 1969. 

Duncan and Valenti had returned to the fold in early 1970, however, and Quicksilver Messenger Service looked to be on firm footing. The twin guitars of Duncan and John Cippolina mixed beautifully with Hopkins' piano, and Valenti brought some songs and charisma to the stage. It didn't last, however. By August, Hopkins had left the band, and while Quicksilver had released a new album, Just For Love, the band was more focused on Valenti. There was sort of a hit--Valenti's "Fresh Air"--but old QMS fans were restless. CryptDev attended this show, and reported an enjoyable show tempered by frustration that the old Quick were no longer the same.
Per CryptDev, AB Skhy and Beggar's Opera did not perform. The opening act was the Robert Savage Group, a trio led by former Leaves guitarist Bobby Arlin.

October 9 1970 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Sly and The Family Stone/Carp (Friday) 8 pm
Stanford tried something different for the Fall Quarter. Sly and The Family Stone, one of the biggest live acts in the country, headlined a Friday evening concert at Frost. This was really different. Unlike some of the other acts who had played there, Sly was a genuine star who could really sell out Frost. On top of that, there had not been an evening rock concert at Frost, save for one Youngbloods' performance in May, 1968. On Saturday, there was a high-profile football game with powerful USC visiting Stanford stadium. Friday night at Frost with a full-fledged star was new territory for Stanford University.

Sly and The Family Stone were apparently epic, as they usually were in those days. The group still had the classic lineup that had made the first several albums. The house was packed--too packed in fact. The university felt that this was not an event they wanted to repeat, and decided against future night-time concerts at Frost. 

We forget how Sly and The Family Stone were not only groundbreaking, but gigantic as well. In October, 1970, they had not released an album since There's A Riot Going On in May, 1969. Yet in between they still had released two giant hits, "Hot Fun In The Summertime" and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)." Both of those would come out on the November 1970 Greatest Hits compilation. Meanwhile, songs like "Dance To The Music" and "Everyday People" were already classics. Sly had torn it up in the Woodstock movie, too, with "I Wanna Take You Higher." As if that wasn't enough, Sly and The Family Stone was one of the few live acts that attracted both black and white audiences. Everybody loved Sly, and everybody wanted to see him. 

Of course, any Sly and The Family Stone concert in those days came with all sorts of baggage. For one thing, Sly was notorious for not showing up on time, or maybe not showing up at all. Even in the era before social media or even cable tv, it was widely known that Sly was unreliable (if you're interested in this topic, check out Joel Selvin's 1998 book Sly And The Family Stone: An Oral History). The undertone was that Sly was totally stoned out.

The real flash point for Sly and The Family Stone, however, was not actually his responsibility. Sly was a massive hit artist, by any standard. Numerous songs off his albums (and additional singles) were played on numerous different stations. They were funky, you could hum their memorable choruses, they could stretch it out, and you could dance to them. Plus the lyrics were timely, and they looked psychedelic cool. Thus Sly drew a substantial audience of both black and white fans. Much of the tension surrounding his concerts came from an unstated but very real tension from powers-that-be over possible "troubles."

The Stanford Daily reported on Sly and The Family Stone at Frost (October 9) on Monday, October 12.

I think, generally speaking, kids in the audience usually got along fine. Any differences were easily forgotten once a few joints were passed around. Security teams and cops were not going to treat black and white fans the same, however, and I think this subtext contributed to the endlessly peculiar official reactions to any Sly and The Family Stone concert. Stanford was no exception. Look at the description of the show in Monday's Stanford Daily (highlights mine).
Sly and Family Stone Play To Full House (by Don Lindemann, Stanford Daily Monday October 12 1970)
Sly was satisfied, the police were pleased, the organizers were happy and receipts were ample from almost 9,000 paying customers, insuring future rock concerts on campus. But crowd confusion and security problems at the concert with Sly and The Family Stone Friday night in Frost amphitheater here dimmed prospects for a future outdoor evening concert.

Sly will collect more than $17,500 for the ASSU-sponsored concert, a financial success despite some 2,000 freeloaders in attendance.

The gates were opened to everyone at 8:30pm following repeated charges on the fence by a crowd variously estimated from 75 to 300 persons. However, most of those with tickets were already seated by this time after waiting in long lines for up to an hour.

Gates Opened
According to Mark Randolph, one of the concert organizers, the gates were opened for two reasons.

"First, if we hadn't, there would have been sufficient disruption to stop the concert and we didn't think that would be fair to those who paid," and Randolph. "Secondly, we didn't want people to get hurt trying to climb over the fence."

Adam Levin, member of the ASSU Council of Presidents, was pleased with the concert, but said, "I think it's doubtful we will have another concert of this kind in Frost Amphitheater." He emphasized that a similar program could be held in a facility with fewer security problems, such as Maples Pavilion.

"I'd like to make it clear that nobody ripped down any fence," said Levin. He felt the problems were handled smoothly by security forces, which included 50 deputy sheriffs from Santa Clara County and some 75 student police.

Levin said the Sheriff's department "told us it was the best organized rock concert they've ever policed."

Levin and Randolph both praised Leo Bazile, former chairman of the BSU [Black Student Union], and the BSU for help in marshaling and ushering. Levin added that the student police, formed by several fraternities, "performed magnificently."

According to observers, the disruptions started about 8:15 p.m. when a crash was heard from the fence area to the left of the main gate. Following cries of "Let's get the fence," part of the crowd rushed up the slope and began pulling at the six-foot chain-link fence.

Several officers reportedly tried to clear the area by raking the fence from the inside with nightsticks. The crowd remained, some throwing dirt, until several other officers ran up from behind and cleared the hill.

The crowd, many shouting obscenities, made several other changes near the main gate before the organizers threw open the entrances.

Financial figures for the concert were incomplete at press time but organizers indicated that it probably made a profit.

Sly Pleased
Sly though it was great, according to Randolph, who talked to him afterwards. "He was very pleased with the crowd and the way it reacted to him," said Randolph.

Levin complimented Randlolph for his role in the concert preparation. "Mark has been through hell," said Levin. "I'm proud of him and everyone involved in this. Student groups really responded. The believed the time had come when Stanford could have first-class entertainment."

Levin himself received praise from Bob Grant, another member of the Council of Presidents. "He worked his tail off," said Grant, "and deserves a lot of the credit."

I do not know exactly what happened. My suspicion is that it was white hippies who wanted to get in for free, since the organizers were concerned that "people might hurt themselves climbing over the fence." The former chairman of the Black Student Union "helped with the ushering," but several fraternities formed a "student police" force. Do you think there had been a "student police" force for Quicksilver or Country Joe and The Fish earlier in the year? Official tension was so high that up to 2000 fans outside were let into an already-sold out venue. The fear factor had to be off the charts, and I would ascribe that to the irrational fear that a "mixed' crowd could only lead to "trouble."

In the end, as the article makes clear, night concerts at Frost Amphitheatre were off limits. Another, unstated subtext was that acts who would bring African-American fans who wanted to dance would not be playing Stanford. Aretha Franklin? Sure (November 5 1971). Miles Davis? Of course (October 1, 1972). The Isley Brothers, or Earth Wind & Fire? Nada.

Stanford beat USC 24-14, behind Jim Plunkett. The "country-gospel" group Carp opened the show.


October 30, 1970 Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: New York Rock and Roll Ensemble (Friday)
The New York Rock and Roll Ensemble was a rock group featuring classically trained musicians. They toured around and performed with local symphonies in each region. The group had played Stanford various times before. This sort of hybrid hasn't aged particularly well. The main force in the NYRRE was keyboard player Michael Kamen, who would play with David Bowie in the mid-70s, and later was very successful creating film scores. Unlike the Electric Light Orchestra, the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble didn't have any memorable songs. 

This November 15, 1970 concert was held at the Baylands softball complex on the Eastern shore of Palo Alto, near the dump and the harbor. It was not repeated

November 15, 1970 Baylands Park, Palo Alto, CA: Big Brother and The Holding Company/AUM/Tower of Power/Nevada
(Sunday) Autumnal 2
By the end of 1970, live original rock music had been all but extinguished in Palo Alto. The Poppycock briefly re-opened around this time as Mom's, but they featured two house bands that played covers (Fast Eddie was one, and the other was The Sheiks). There didn't seem to be any plausible venues in the area, despite the potential audience. There was one intriguing experiment, but it didn't really go anywhere.

Palo Alto actually extended Eastward on Embarcadero Road, across the 101 freeway, all the way to the San Francisco Bay. Way back in the 1950s, Palo Alto had created a little harbor (locally known as the "Yacht Harbor"), some landfill ("the dump"), an airport, a duck pond and a wetlands preserve. In 1969, Palo Alto took some of the leftover land and had created a softball complex, with lights. To settle the El Camino Park Be-In issue, the city had offered the newly-opened softball complex for the Be-In in August of '69, but the concert was a flop. By the next year, the softball complex was in full-time use during the summer (which remains the case). 

In November, 1970, Palo Alto tried again, with the "Autumnal 2" concert. I don't know what or where "Autumnal 1" might have been. Big Brother had replaced Boz Scaggs, and AUM and Tower of Power at least had local followings. I speculated about this concert at some length elsewhere, but I don't have any details beyond the flyer. This concert was a prelude to Shoreline Amphitheatre. The venue was just across the freeway, easy access, good parking, US 101 acting as an implicit buffer to the noise--all the pieces were in place. It just took another 15 years to make it happen.

December 3, 1970 Maples Pavilion, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Moody Blues/Elvin Bishop Group [replacing Trapeze] (Thursday)
Maples Pavilion was Stanford's new basketball arena, which had opened in January, 1969. It had a basketball capacity of 7,392. The pavilion (named for alumni Roscoe Maples, an Oregon lumber magnate) was at 655 Campus Drive, so it was between central campus and El Camino Real in Palo Alto. Access from the Peninsula was very easy, making it easy for off-campus fans to attend games. Ray Charles had played at Maples in April, 1969, but there had been no concerts at the pavilion since then.  

The hugely popular Moody Blues headlined Maples in December. This event was the true christening of Maples as a concert venue. Although Stanford would have a contested relationship with live rock music throughout the 1970s, Maples Pavilion was clearly intended to be the primary rock concert facility on campus. The Moody Blues were appropriately high profile for the venue debut. The Moodies had formed in England in 1964, and by 1970 they were gigantic. They had scored numerous hits, like "Nights In White Satin," "Tuesday Afternoon," "Ride My See-Saw" and "Questions." Their current album was A Question Of Balance, which had been released in August of 1970. It would reach #3 in the US. The Daily reported that 8300 fans attended the Maples' show, which must have been maximum capacity. The English band Trapeze was supposed to open, but they had visa problems, so the Elvin Bishop Group appeared instead.


Bob Litterman gave a glowing review in the Monday Stanford Daily. His comments also showed how the Sly concert was still first and foremost in Stanford University's calculation
The concert was the first one ever in Maples, which according to Public Events Director Tom Bachetti was lent with "fear and trepidation" by the athletic department.
Outfitted with $50,000 dollars worth of new sound absorbing fixtures, the pavilion turned out to be quite suitable for the event. Not only were the acoustics good, but the special floor which rests on springs and bounced with the music added an extra dimension to the hundreds of spectators who were allowed to sit, stand, dance and freak out on tarps which served to protect the basketball floor.

Just in case anyone missed the subtext of the Athletic Department's "fear and trepidation" at using their new arena for a rock concert, Litterman added that "Security arrangements for the concert were not nearly as extensive as those earlier this year at the Sly and the Family Stone concert in Frost Amphitheatre." The fact that Stanford had paid $50K for improved sound was a sign that the school intended Maples to be a "multi-use" arena, not just a sports facility. In fact, Maples was a pretty good concert venue, even if the University only used it grudgingly. 

Palo Alto Rock and Roll Status Report: End of 1970
There was an eager audience for live rock in Palo Alto, but few opportunities. There were no nightclubs that booked original music anywhere on the Peninsula. Stanford was grudging in its use of Frost Amphitheatre, and uncomfortable when a popular act succeeded there. Maples Pavilion was new and upgraded, however, and seemed promising. For the time being, however, Palo Alto and Stanford rock fans still needed to go to San Francisco or Berkeley for live music.



February 5, 1971 Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Firesign Theatre (Friday)
The Firesign Theatre was a comedy quartet, not a rock band, but this was a rock and roll event. The Firesign Theatre had become well-known improvising hip comedy on KPFK-fm rock radio in LA. By 1968, however, the troupe was recording sophisticated comedy albums for Columbia, with elaborate scripts, overdubs and stereo sound effects. Cuts from their albums were regularly played on FM rock radio. The Firesign Theatre's third album Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers, released on Columbia in July, 1970, was a huge underground hit. The album was a continuous "radio drama" over both sides of the LP. It was regularly played in dorms and FM radios throughout the country. 

April 2, 1971 Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Sha-Na-Na (Friday)
Sha Na Na had been formed by Columbia University as in intentionally retro 50s/60s rock act, complete with choreography and 50s gear.  They had been booked at the Woodstock Festival because they were popular in the New York area. Many of the members of Sha Na Na were still Columbia students at the time. They were part of the Woodstock movie (released March 1970) and became a popular National act. By 1971, Sha Na Na was touring around, booked at both Fillmores and playing all over. The Stanford Daily reviewed the show on Tuesday (April 6), and noted that while the performance was very fun, it was basically the same showbiz act that the band had done at Woodstock.

Laura Nyro's Christmas and The Beads of Sweat, her 4th album, released on Columbia in November 1970

April 4, 1971 Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Laura Nyro/Don Cooper
(Sunday)
In contrast to the slickness of Sha Na Na, Laura Nyro epitomized the sincere performer who played her own music from the heart. Laura Nyro (1947-1997) had been born in the Bronx. Her songs merged the popular Brill Building sound with soul music, so her songs were catchy, deep and danceable--a formidable combination. Her 60s hit songs are familiar to everyone of a certain age: "Wedding Bell Blues" and "Stoned Soul Picnic" (both Fifth Dimension), "And When I Die" (Blood, Sweat and Tears), "Eli's Coming" (Three Dog Night) and "Stoney End" (Barbara Streisand) are just the most prominent.

Her actual recording career was more checkered. More Than A New Discovery, her debut, had been released by Verve Folkways in February 1967. Nyro had then appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in July, but her soul sound did not go over as well as the more feedback-heavy acts. David Geffen then took over as her manager, and managed to void her previous contracts on the grounds that she had signed them as a minor. Nyro went to Columbia, where she had released Eli and The 13th Confession in 1968. It was followed by New York Tendaberry in Fall 1969. By 1970, Geffen and Nyro had sold her publishing (through Tuna Fish Music) for $4.5 million, a huge number. They split the money, and Nyro was then free of having to worry about her next hit.

As a result, Nyro did not perform much. Thus, her concerts were more like special events. At this time, her most recent album was her fourth, Christmas and The Beads of Sweat, released on Columbia in November 1970. Daily reviewer Jane Corrigan could not say enough nice things about Nyro (April 6), who held the crowd rapt while accompanying herself on piano. Corrigan only regretted that Nyro never acknowledged the enthusiastic packed house. 

Singer/songwriter Don Cooper opened the show. 

 

April 16, 1971 Maples Pavilion, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Chicago/Madura (Friday)
Rock music returned to Maples Pavilion with Chicago. Daily reviewer "Captain Hornsby" (in the April 20 paper) reported a huge crowd, but poor sound. Chicago has just released their third album (Chicago III) in January, which would reach #2. The band had a string of huge AM hits, the most recent of which was "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is," which had reached #7 in October 1970.

Madura was another Chicago-area band on Columbia (just as Chicago themselves were). The guitar/organ/drums trio configuration wasn't uncommon in the 60s. 

On May 20, 1971, the site at 135 University Avenue reopened as a music club called In Your Ear. Nominally, it was a jazz club, much more in the comfort zone of Palo Alto. Intriguingly, the club had a  booking policy similar to the future-version of the Great American Music Hall: not just jazz, but blues, folk and thoughtful (though not rowdy) rock. It was much more the Palo Alto style. I don't know what the economic prospects of the club might ultimately have been, but a fire in the pizza oven burned the club down on New Year's Eve, 1972-73.



May 23, 1971 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Tower Of Power/Country Weather/Stoneground/Blue Mountain
(Sunday) afternoon show
Rock music returned to Frost Amphitheatre, for the first time since the Sly debacle in October. This time it was the familiar Sunday afternoon booking (1:00-5:30pm), with much smaller acts. All the groups had local followings, and the headliner had even released an album, but they weren't major acts. 

Tower of Power, out of Fremont but now based in Oakland, were managed and booked by the Bill Graham organization. The band had released their debut album East Bay Grease on Graham's San Francisco Records label (distributed by Atlantic). Tower's horn section was show-stopping from the beginning, and even the early version of Tower was a knockout live.

Country Weather was out of Contra Costa County and featured guitarist Gregg Douglass. They, too, were booked by Bill Graham's Millard Agency. Despite some efforts, Country Weather did not release an album while they were still together, but they had played Fillmore West and other halls many times, so they were well known around the Bay Area.

Stoneground had been put together by KSAN impresario Tom Donahue in 1970 for an intended movie about a "traveling Woodstock" called Medicine Ball Caravan. The Grateful Dead were booked for the movie, but backed out at the last minute. Stoneground would release their self-titled debut album on Warner Brothers later in the Summer  of '71. Among the key members of Stoneground were singers Sal Valentino, Lynne Hughes, Annie Sampson and Deirdre LaPorte. Guitarist Tim Barnes also sang. Pete Sears had been the pianist for the album, although he might have been replaced by Palo Alto's own Cory Lerios by this time.

Blue Mountain was a 10-piece Palo Alto band. 


July 18, 1971 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Cold Blood/Elvin Bishop Group/Lamb/Sopwith Camel (Sunday) 1 pm
Rock music returned again to Frost with a Sunday afternoon concert in July. What should have been a pleasant little event turned into a debacle. On the heels of the Sly concert, Stanford ultimately found an excuse to ban rock music from Frost Amphitheatre, a ban that would officially last four years. 

To some extent, the event was similar to the May event. Three of the four booked acts were part of the Bill Graham stable, and all of them had played Stanford many times before. All three of them had two albums under their belt. Sopwith Camel had been an original Fillmore band back in '66, and had some success with the hit single "Hello Hello." They had broken up, but had just reformed again in Spring 1971. All of these groups had some following, and between them could have attracted a decent size crowd that would have been easily accomodated by Frost. 

The problem at Frost was that numerous people showed up and demanded to be let in for free. Remember, this "strategy" had worked at the Sly concert. Also, it's little remembered that most of the year, the gates to Frost were un-locked and the locals treated it like a public park (as a child, my father would regularly bring us there to walk around in the hopes of tiring us out). It also meant that the locals knew exactly where it would be easy to sneak in. Thus there was a running drama of hippies trying to sneak in, security trying to stop them, and sporadic violence. Various people got bloody from thrown bottles and the like. It was not a good scene.

Carlos Santana and new band recruit Neal Schon on stage at Frost Amphitheatre in Stanford on July 18, 1971. The Santana band was not advertised, but debuted their new lineup.

Another long-forgotten factor was that there was a surprise guest appearance at the concert. Santana, a major band if there ever was one, used this Frost show to make an un-announced appearance by their newest lineup, feauturing Redwood City's own Neal Schon sharing lead guitar duties with Carlos Santana. An event that featured all Bill Graham acts seemed like the perfect place for the Bill Graham-managed Santana band to debut, without creating unrealistic expectations. I assume that everyone figured that Frost had enough excess capacity to handle any additional ticket sales.

However many people knew about Santana's impending guest appearance, it would have added to the pressure on the security, who was probably expecting a smaller, more casual crowd. Santana was closer to Sly, a hugely popular act with a broad (spell that "not all White") audience. Add in the business that hippies expected that "music should be free" and trouble followed. After this show, Stanford University decided to ban rock bands from Frost Amphitheatre.

July 24, 1971 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford U., Palo Alto, CA: Joan Baez (Saturday) 3pm
Joan Baez played to a packed house at Frost, but of course while her audience was broadly "rock," as in young people, she didn't play rock music nor inspire people to dance. 

The August 10, 1971 Stanford Daily gave the lay of the land (LightIntoAshes via JGMF Comment Thread):
Violence and other trouble at a July 18th concert in Frost Ampitheater has apparently expedited a moratorium on rock concerts in the ampitheater. The moratorium has evidently been contemplated for quite awhile, but the final decision by Director of Public Events Tom Bacchetti to impose it was speeded by problems at last month’s Cold Blood-Elvin Bishop concert.
Non-rock events such as the Joan Baez and Arthur Fiedler concerts will not be affected, nor will rock concerts in other locations, such as Maples Pavilion. But no rock events will be staged in Frost until after an investigation is made by the Committee of Public Events this fall. [ . . . ]
At the Cold Blood show, a number of problems arose including the burglary of a concession truck, the collapse of a tree limb filled with people and fighting, which flared up throughout the later stages of the afternoon.
The fighting involved only a few of the greater than 12,000 people in attendance, but what did occur was bloody and violent. No one was seriously injured, but a few people had to be treated at Stanford Hospital. [ . . . ]
No concerts had been scheduled for the rest of the summer but a rumored Stanford Legal Defense concert featuring the Grateful Dead, which was being considered for September 26th, will apparently have to be postponed or cancelled since Bacchetti says that no rock shows will be presented until the committee has studied the situation this fall.
Bacchetti said that he had been approached by a potential promoter of the Dead show who had wanted to know if the show could be presented if the Dead performed "folk" music. Bacchetti said that he considered the chances "very slim" and added that the promoters would "have to do a lot of convincing.""
(Don Tollefson, “Moratorium Set On Frost Rock Concerts,” Stanford Daily 8/10/71)

September 4, 1971 Flint Center, De Anza College, Cupertino, CA: Elvin Bishop Group/Boz Scaggs/Blue Mountain (Saturday)

In the early 70s, there weren't any ongoing rock venues in the Palo Alto area, but Stanford wasn't the only place to consider. A community college district had been formed in the Palo Alto in 1957, and by now it had two full college campuses. Foothill College was in Los Altos Hills, just above Palo Alto, and further south was De Anza College, in Cupertino. The Foothill campus had opened in 1961, and De Anza in 1967. Los Altos and Cupertino were on the Northern and Southern ends of Santa Clara County. In 1971, De Anza opened the Flint Center, a 2400 seat auditorium at 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd (named after Chancellor Calvin Flint). The Elvin Bishop/Boz Scaggs booking seems to be the first use of Flint as a rock concert venue.

October 3, 1971 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Harold Land and Bobby Hutcherson/Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders (Sunday) afternoon-Pamoja Sunday Jazz Series
Frost Amphitheatre was still used regularly for performances, just not rock ones. There was a jazz series, and the first event was held at Frost, featuring West Coast jazz stalwarts Harold Land (tenor sax) and Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), supported by...Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders. Now, sure, Garcia and Saunders played jazz, sometimes, but would Land and Hutcherson (fine as their music was) be headlining Frost without Jerry? Peculiarities like this were a reminder of how detached the University administration was from what was really going on.

The Stanford Daily commented on this, with an utterly straight face (Daily via JGMF)

This first concert [in the Pamoja Sunday jazz series at Stanford] will not be affected by the University's current moratorium on rock concerts in Frost, imposed after violence marred a summer Cold Blood-Elvin Bishop concert there. A Grateful Dead concert that had been tentatively planned for this week has been indefinitely postponed until the Committee of Public Events studies the situation this fall. There is a slight possibility the Dead will play in Maples Pavilion this fall. 
The student sponsors of the Sunday jazz concerts have taken the Swahili name Pamoja Na Nafase, which means 'together with opportunity'. Their aim is to provide a steady source of funds for minority scholarships through a string of concerts and a night club for black artists in the campus Women's Clubhouse."
"Everyone should bring blankets, a picnic lunch, and be ready to enjoy a rewarding afternoon of authentic up-to-date black jazz from the finest artists available", said one principal.
Jerry Garcia had just started playing around the Bay Area with his "club band," which hitherto had only played the Matrix and then Keystone Korner. This Stanford show was Garcia's first in the South Bay, and I believe his first outside of a bar. Merl Saunders played organ, former Creedence member Tom Fogerty played rhythm guitar, and John Kahn (bass) and Bill Vitt (drums) were the rhythm section. Per a Stanford Daily review (and eyewitness CryptDev), Garcia and Saunders played about an hour. There were only two vocals from Garcia ("One Kind Favor" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"), so the premise that they were a "jazz" band could be maintained.


October 8, 1971 Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Country Joe McDonald/Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks (Friday) -canceled
This scheduled show was canceled, fairly close to the show date. I have to assume that lack of ticket sales was the reasons, since none other was given.  Country Joe and The Fish had broken up (not for the first or last time) over the Summer.

October 17, 1971 Flint Center, De Anza College, Cupertino, CA: David Crosby & Graham Nash/Judee Sill (Sunday) Pacific Presentations
The David Crosby & Graham Nash show was (as far as I can tell) the first major popular music event at Flint Center, and it was a fairly major booking. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were one of the biggest rock acts in the country. Both Crosby and Nash had released solo albums on Atlantic Records earlier in the year, Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name (February '71) and Nash's Songs For Beginners (May '71), and now the pair were playing some shows as an acoustic duo. They would go on to release an album together in April '72, which would peak at #4. While Stephen Stills and Neil Young were better known than Crosby or Nash, the latter two were still huge rock stars by any accounting.

Crosby and Nash were playing two nights at Berkeley Community Theater on Thursday and Friday (August 14-15), so playing another show on Sunday night made good sense. On the first night in Berkeley, Neil Young had dropped in to sing along. I don't think Neil showed up for Cupertino, but in fact I don't know anything about this show. Judee Sill was friends with Graham Nash, and she had been signed as one of the first acts on manager David Geffen's Asylum Records. Her debut (with one track produced by Nash) had been released in September. 

The most intriguing detail about this show was the fact that it was promoted by Pacific Presentations. Pacific Presentations was run out of Los Angeles by Sepp Donahower, who had been a key figure in the Pinnacle team that had promoted shows at the Shrine Exposition Hall in the 60s. Pacific specialized in putting on shows throughout the country in secondary markets. So although Bill Graham had booked Crosby and Nash at Berkeley, here was an out-of-town competitor booking them just 50 miles to the South. Pacific Presentations were sharp--if they were booking shows in Cupertino, there was a market. 

Although Flint Center was a nice hall, and was heavily used by both De Anza College and others--Steve Jobs unveiled the first Mac computer there in 1984--it was used for relatively few concerts. Flint's importance as a local hall was broad, and rock concerts were only occasional over the years. Flint Center was finally closed permanently by De Anza in 2021.

November 5, 1971 Maples Pavilion, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Aretha Franklin/King Curtis and The Kingpins/Tower of Power (Friday)
Live electric music returned to Stanford University, although this time it was the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. She was backed by King Curtis and The Kingpins, who also did their own set. Tower of Power opened the show, appropriately enough. Aretha was as revered then as she is today, but she wasn't a huge draw at Stanford. Per the Daily reviewer (Monday November 8), there were about 4500 at the Maples concert. The reviewer said she was "disappointing," only playing flat a 40-minute set. Fortunately, however, she rose to the occasion with a great encore.

Palo Alto Rock and Roll Status Report: End of 1971
Live rock music was more popular than ever in 1971, and there were plenty of young adults and students to attend shows in the Palo Alto area. They had access to cars, and Palo Alto parents were not particularly concerned with the pernicious influence of rock music. Still, there were very few opportunities for bands to perform. The only rock nightclub was In Your Ear (at 135 University), which mostly booked jazz and blues, with just the occasional rock band. Stanford had the good venues, but no incentive to put on concerts.

The December 2, 1971 Stanford Daily reported that a committee would review Frost concerts, with an eye to considering them, but it didn't look hopeful. Maples Pavilion was a viable venue, but it needed acts big enough to bring a crowd, and in any case concerts would have been second to any basketball games. There were a few other venues around, including Flint Center, but no promoter seemed to be in place to take a stab at filling the needs of the local rock audience. Palo Alto and Stanford rock fans still expected to go to Berkeley or San Francisco to see live rock music.

January 23, 1972 Spangenberg Auditorium, Gunn High School, Palo Alto, CA: Doc Watson (Sunday)
Gunn High School had been Palo Alto's 3rd and most recent High School, opened in 1964 in South Palo Alto (at 780 Arastradero) to account for the constantly expanding student population. Country Joe and The Fish had played the Gunn gym in the Summer of '67, but by and large there hadn't been any popular music there. Nonetheless Doc Watson was booked for a Sunday night at the 925-seat Spangenberg Theater, the main auditorium at the school. I'm not sure why this unique exception was made. It does show, however, that there was no lack of places to put on shows in Palo Alto, just some resistance to actually putting them on.

January 29, 1972 Old Pavilion, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Cold Blood/Stoneground/Blue Mountain/Great Nameless Wonder Band (Saturday)
Before NCAA Basketball became a proverbial ‘big deal’, the Stanford basketball team had played in a 1200-seat auditorium built in 1921, at 615 Serra Street (at Galvez Drive). Maples Pavilion had opened in 1969 to replace it. There had been one previous rock concert that I know of in the building. On October 6, 1966, the day LSD had been made illegal in California, the Grateful Dead had played for free in the Panhandle. That night, the Butterfield Blues Band and Jefferson Airplane had played the basketball Pavilion (with Jerry Garcia supposedly in the front row). There hadn't been a concert there since. Musta been a great time.

By 1972, the Old Pavilion was the home of various other Stanford sports teams.  The location was much nearer El Camino Real, far more accessible to Palo Alto and elsewhere than Memorial Auditorium at the center of campus. Cold Blood, Stoneground and Blue Mountain had all played around Stanford and the South Bay and were well known locally. The Great Nameless Wonder Band are unknown to me.

April 1, 1972 Gym, Foothill College, Los Altos, CA: Chuck Berry/Copperhead/Robben Ford (Saturday)
The Foothill College campus in Los Altos Hills had opened in 1961, and it had played its part in the '60s Bay Area rock music explosion. The original version of the Chocolate Watch Band, San Jose's finest '60s rock band, had formed at Foothill. There had been various concerts in the Foothill gym and caferia during that decade, as well. By the '70s, however, Foothill had all but ceased having rock events on campus. This wasn't some sort of cultural choice--it's just that the student body was rapidly expanding, and the facilities were constantly in use. The Foothill Gym, for example, supported numerous college sports teams.

Nonetheless, rock legend Chuck Berry headlined the Foothill Gym on Saturday, April 1. The event was even noted in the Friday (March 31) Stanford Daily, which did not normally note any events at Foothill. Opening act Copperhead was a newly-formed group featuring former Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist John Cippolina. Ukiah, CA guitarist Robben Ford had played with Charlie Musselwhite around 1970 and '71, and had gone on to lead the Charles Ford Blues Band with his brothers. Mark Ford played harmonica and sang, and Pat Ford was the drummer (Charles Ford was their father). They had released an excellent album on Arhoolie. I'm not quite sure if the "Robben Ford" billing indicated something different. Whoever might have been in Robben Ford's band, they were probably all backing Chuck Berry, since he never toured with a band. Berry figured--reasonably enough--that all rock bands could play Chuck Berry music, and required the promoters to hire a local band.

April 22, 1972 Old Pavilion, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Van Morrison/Delta Wires (Saturday)
In the Spring, Van Morrison headlined the Old Pavilion. Van Morrison had only moved from Woodstock, NY to Marin County the previous year. Morrison's most recent album had been released on Warners in October. It was the hugely popular Tupelo Honey, a monster hit on both FM and AM. Van could easily have played a much larger hall than the Old Pavilion, but he preferred smaller, more low-key gigs. Starting around 1970, Mike Bloomfield, Jorma Kaukonen and Jerry Garcia regularly played tiny local gigs, despite being big stars themselves. Van had immediately followed their lead, and would regularly play modest shows around the Bay Area for decades. Delta Wires was a bluesy band from the East Bay.

The Old Pavilion show was reviewed in the Stanford Daily. The reviewer complained that a sullen, insular Van sang beautifully but failed to communicate with the audience. This was a typical complaint him at the time. Still, the show was sold out and the venue seemed fine. To my knowledge, however, there was never another rock concert at the Old Pavilion. It is still in active athletic use as Burhham Pavilion.

Starting in April, a club called Isidore's started advertising in the Stanford Daily. Isidore's was at 3803 Stevens Creek Boulevard in San Jose, not that near to Palo Alto really, but there were no competing clubs in the area. On April 23 and 24, Isidore's was presenting the Chambers Brothers. I think the club mostly booked dance bands, but they would occasionally book bands with albums, and advertise them in the Daily.

April 30, 1972 Gym, Foothill College, Los Altos, CA: Mimi Farina &Tom Jans/Taj Mahal/The Committee (Sunday) Benefit Air War Vote
There was another event at the Foothill Gym, this time a Sunday night show with Mimi Farina, Taj Mahal and The Committee. This event also got mentioned in the Stanford Daily.  

May 6, 1972 Flint Center, De Anza College, Cupertino, CA: Buffy Ste Marie (Saturday)
Folk singer Buffy Ste. Marie headlined the Flint Center on Saturday, May 6, near the end of the term. After this Spring, however, popular music events at Foothill and Flint all but disappeared for some years.


June 4, 1972 Mayfield School, Palo Alto, CA: The Sons/Blue Mountain/Clover (Sunday)
Palo Alto itself was not without potential concert venues, but the town had little interest in using them. Mayfield School, for example, actually predated Palo Alto itself (the first school on the site was erected in 1855). The town of Mayfield, prior to its merger with Palo Alto, had built Mayfield School as a Grammar School in 1923. In 1925, Palo Alto and Mayfield merged. Over the decades, Mayfield School had served various educational functions. By 1972, it was the "Continuation School" for Palo Alto high school students who were not succeeding (I was at Paly during this period--when a fellow student disappeared from class, we would ask each other "did his family move, or has he gone to Mayfield?").

Mayfield School was at 250 El Camino Real, at the corner of El Camino and Page Mill Road. It was very centrally located and easy to get to, important for a prospective rock venue. In the Summer of '72, a concert was held on the athletic field (or playground) of Mayfield School. The show was a benefit for The Connection, which the poster said was "a new Coffee House, Theatre, Music and Craft Centre for High School Students." Although I do not recall The Connection, and it may never have been opened, it has the sound of a "space" (to use a modern term) for High School students who were otherwise likely to get in trouble. 

I have seen references to the event on Facebook Palo Alto groups, so it occurred. The headliners were The Sons, from Marin County, who had previously been known as The Sons of Champlin, and were sometimes booked under the name Yogi Phlegm. The band had changed from a sort of horn-driven rock in the 60s to a more free-flowing fusion jazz sound, and had changed their name, but "Yogi Phlegm" was widely hated. most significantly by Bill Graham, so promoters often booked them as The Sons. The core of the group, with Bill Champlin (vocals, guitar, organ), Terry Haggerty (lead guitar) and Geoff Palmer (keyboards) was still intact, along with a cooking rhythm section (Bill Vitt on drums and David Schallock on bass). The band's record contract with Capitol had lapsed, however, but the Sons were soldiering on. 

Clover, another Marin County band who no longer had a record contract (after 1970 and '71 albums on Fantasy), apparently did not show up. Intriguing as this booking was, there were no other public rock events at Mayfield School to my knowledge. The school was demolished for seismic reasons in 1982.

June 23, 1972 Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Cheech & Chong/Elvin Bishop Group (Friday) 7:30 and 10:00
Similar to the Firesign Theater booking that had started Winter Quarter the previous year, this end-of-Spring booking of Cheech & Chong was definitely rock and roll, even though they were comedians. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong recorded hip comedy about dope, cops, getting high and other hippie adventures. Tracks from their comedy albums were played on FM radio station with great regularity, and the duo's catch phrases were local hippie code ("Dave's not here"). The duo had just released their hit second album Big Bambu, designed like a giant package of rolling papers, with an LP-sized rolling paper inside (raise your hand if one of your friends tried to roll a j with it).  

The presence of the Elvin Bishop Group shows us definitively that this was rock event, but note that Cheech and Chong came on as the headliners.

July 2, 1972 El Camino Park, Palo Alto, CA: Blue Mountain/Gold/Clover/Mose (Sunday)
This ticket for a benefit concert at El Camino Park is fascinating and mysterious. Palo Alto had blocked Be-In concerts at El Camino Park in 1969, by enforcing a noise ordance. There had never been a paid concert at the Park, but the neighbors would have had just as many complaints. Still, Blue Mountain, Gold (from Berkeley), Clover and Mose (a Santa Cruz mountain band that would later change their name to Timber Creek) seemed to have been booked for an event. I don't know if it happened.

There was one other concert event in El Camino Park this year (see October 1 '72, below). Whatever temporary loosening of El Camino Park may have been happening in the Summer of '72, however, it did not persist.

July 29, 1972 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Elvin Bishop/Clover (Saturday)
The pent-up interest in live rock and the lack of venues on the Peninsula hadn't gone completely unnoticed. Marine World was a 60s-era park that was kind of miniature Sea World, half-aquarium and half water skiing with Orcas. It was owned by the ABC television network. The park was at Redwood Shores, a landfill near the Redwood City harbor, just 12 miles North of Palo Alto. Marine World didn't succeed, however, and in 1972 it had merged with Africa USA. It evolved into a zoo/aquarium/water-skiing-with-Orcas/lions jumping-through-hoops kind of place.

One of Marine World Africa USA's features was music shows at The Jungle Theater, capacity about 3800. On some Saturday nights, Marine World Africa USA booked "name" acts that had released albums. The idea was that they could draw teenagers and college students on date night. Admission to the concert included admission to the park. There were a lot of suburban teenagers who had access to their parents' car, but who wouldn't have had permission to go to Winterland. Marine World gave them a chance to see a "real" band in a suburban environment. The shows were booked by Roy Dubrow, who would go on to manage Morning Sun Productions, one of the few Bay Area promoters to compete with Bill Graham Presents.

July 30, 1972 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Hot Tuna (Sunday) -canceled
The July 18 Stanford Daily reported that Stanford Public Events director Tom Bachetti had given permission for a "Blues Concert" on July 30. The Daily reported that headliner Hot Tuna--featuring two members of the Jefferson Airplane--was actually a rock band. It's funny to laugh at this student subterfuge now, but it wasn't really a good faith booking. A very bitter July 21 Daily editorial published a photo of a bloody student injured in the July '71 Frost debacle. Once the cat was out of the bag, the Hot Tuna concert was canceled. There were no rock concerts in Frost for at least two years (depending on how you count). 

September 30, 1972 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen/Asleep At The Wheel (Saturday)


October 1, 1972 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Miles Davis/New Riders of The Purple Sage
(Sunday)
For all of Stanford's stout assertions that rock concerts were banned from Frost Amphitheatre, the school consistently undercut their own policies.  Miles Davis was the headliner on this Sunday, and Miles' 9-piece band was probably as loud as any rock band, although I don't think you could dance to it. Per an excellent site, Miles' band had

Miles Davis (tpt, org); Carlos Garnett (ss); Reggie Lucas (g); Khalil Balakrishna (sitar); Cedric Lawson (keyb); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); Badal Roy (tabla); James Mtume Forman (cga, perc)

and played a 67-minute set. We know the length because the show was broadcast on Stanford radio station KZSU-fm, which had been broadcasting live rock concerts since 1968 (and folk music before that). 

Opening the show were the New Riders of The Purple Sage. Both Miles and the Riders were on Columbia, which probably explains the connection, but it's still an odd booking. The New Riders were the country-rock offspring of the Grateful Dead, having released two albums already. Jerry Garcia, the original pedal steel guitarist, had been replaced by Canadian Buddy Cage, so the band could now tour full time. The New Riders were a rock band if anyone was, but somehow because they were opening for a jazz icon, the show didn't apparently "count" as a rock concert. 

So what happened? Same old, same old:

Fistfights and gate crashing marred the performace of Miles Davis and the New Riders of the Purple Sage yesterday at Frost Amphithetare. ASSU organizers opened the gates at 4 pm after a crown of 300 outside the amphitheater repeatedly rushed the gate and threw rocks at Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies hired to provide security.


October 1, 1972 El Camino Park, Palo Alto, CA: Ali Akbar Khan/New Maihar Band/Shanit/Talvadyan Rhythm Band/others
(Sunday) Benefit for the Ali Akhbar Khan School of Music
El Camino Park's second paying event (see July 2 above) was a benefit for the Ali Akbar Khan School of Music, and also a sort of Indian festival. Ali Akbar Khan himself was the headliner. Support acts included an Indian/Rock fusion band called Shanti, who had released an album on Atlantic. Shanti featured Zakir Hussain, the son of Alla Rakha, who had only moved to California in 1969 (replacing Shankar Gosh). Zakir became good friends and a musical collaborator with Mickey Hart. The Talvadyan Rhythm Band was a "world music" percussion ensemble. When Hart joined them, they would change their name to the Diga Rhythm Band.

The Ali Akbar College Of Music had been established in Oakland in 1967. Mickey Hart started studying at the school with tabla master Shankar Gosh in 1968, taking what he learned in the school back to Bill Kreutzmann and hence to the Grateful Dead. The College was based in a house in the Oakland hills, at 6024 Ascot Drive. The school outgrew the house however, and thanks to the timely intervention of Rhoney Stanley, the lease was taken over by Owsley Stanley, and the house passed into Grateful Dead legend. The Ali Akbar College Of Music then moved to San Rafael, where it remains today. 

I don't know anything else about this event, even whether actually occurred. To my knowledge, there was only one more paying event at El Camino Park, when Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir would play there on June 8, 1975. Otherwise, Palo Alto refused to let out the park for concerts, whether free or paid.

October 6, 1972 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Dr Hook and The Medicine Show/Tea Lautrec (Friday) 

October 14, 1972 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA:Elvin Bishop Group/Lamb (Saturday)

 


November 8, 1972 Maples Pavilion, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Stephen Stills' Manassas (Wednesday)
At this time, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were perhaps the biggest act in the country, even if they were sort of broken up, and Stephen Stills had a hugely successful solo career himself. He had just released the double album Manassas, and was touring with a group of the same name. The album was Stills' best solo work by a huge margin, and the diverse 7-piece band Manassas band always put on a great 2-hour show, ranging across electric, acoustic, blues and Latin music with ease. Chris Hillman (ex-Byrds, ex-Burritos) supported Stills with his own songs and harmony vocals, and Al Perkins was a great soloist on lead and pedal steel guitar. The show was well-attended and positively reviewed by the Daily.  

Palo Alto Rock and Roll Status Report: End of 1972
Live rock and roll was bigger than ever by the end of 1972, but Palo Alto and Stanford had little to show for it. All the good rock shows were in San Francisco, Berkeley or Oakland. The best venue in the area was Frost Amphitheatre, and Stanford had banned rock concerts there. Occasional rock events at Maples and elsewhere around campus were welcome, but hardly fulfilling. Summer Saturday nights at an animal-themed amusement park wasn't exactly the cutting edge of hipness.

There were only two real rock clubs in Palo Alto, and both had closed by year's end. In Your Ear, the intriguing jazz and blues club that had replaced the Poppycock, sometimes booked rock bands. Sadly, however, there was a fire in the pizza oven on New Year' Eve '72, and the club closed for good as a music venue. Another club, only barely legal, had opened near downtown, called Homer's Warehouse. It was an old quonset Warehouse on the opposite side of the railroad tracks. It sold beer, and the owners hadn't even told the landlord that they had opened a club. Reality had caught up with Homer's Warehouse, the owners had given up their lease in November of '72. So there wasn't anywhere off campus to see original live rock. The rock future of Palo Alto didn't seem bright.

January 22, 1973 Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Taj Mahal/Joy Of Cooking (Monday)
By early '73, rock acts at Memorial Auditorium were a regular thing, but they weren't an event. Both Taj Mahal and Joy Of Cooking had played campus very times. Both acts had record contracts (Taj on Columbia and Joy on Capitol) but they weren't major acts.


The January 30, 1973 Stanford Daily had a tiny display ad for the upcoming February 9 concert

February 9, 1973 Roscoe Maples Pavilion, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Grateful Dead (Friday)
In the midst of a very bleak period for Palo Alto and Stanford live rock music, the Grateful Dead arrived to perform a concert epic for the Palo Alto area, epic for Stanford and, on its own terms, a legendary show in Deadhead annales.  

By the end of '72, the Grateful Dead had released four Gold albums in a row, and they could sell out Winterland or Berkeley Community Theatre for multiple nights, even it wasn't a weekend. Palo Alto was acutely conscious of the Dead as the town's leading rock export, and Palo Alto was full of people who remembered, or claimed to remember, Jerry Garcia or the rest of them. Everyone insisted that their older brother or sister had seen them for free in the park. This was probably true--the Grateful Dead had played for free in El Camino Park on July 2, 1967. But they hadn't played a paying gig in Palo Alto or Stanford since. Their last paying gig in Palo Alto had been at Tressider Union on October 14, 1966, after which concerts at Tressider Union seemed to have been banned. Musta been a good time indeed.

So here were the Grateful Dead playing on a Friday night at Maples Pavilion. I believe there was one ad in the SF Sunday Chronicle and one in the Stanford Daily (above). I persuaded my cousin to take my friend and me, and then I myself rode my bike over to Tressider and got three tickets, as I recall. In any case, the show sold out quick. Hometown boys, making good.


On the Friday of the concert, the Stanford Daily published a cryptic article about security plans at the Grateful Dead concert. Specifically, the school announced that Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputies would not handle security for the Dead concert at Maples. The fights at Frost in 71 (Cold Blood) and 72 (Miles Davis) had pitched the Sheriffs against gate crashers. But the Maples concert with Stephen Stills had been trouble-free, and Stanford announced that the security contract with the County Sheriff had not been renewed. All security would be handled by about 20 Stanford police officers, mostly doing traffic control outside the concert. 

There were a number of messages being delivered in this article. The first, and most important to Stanford undergraduates, was that "no cops will be inside Maples busting you for smoking weed," a critical question at any Grateful Dead concert. There was a subtler message, probably not lost on the undergraduates either, that mellow, stony acts like Stephen Stills or the Dead didn't have "those people" as an audience, so they didn't expect trouble.

As for the concert itself, it was the stuff of legend. The Dead rocked hard, so hard that the entire stage bounced up and down on the springy floor during the uptempo numbers. Keith Godchaux had to adjust his hand position on the grand piano because his instrument was in motion. The Dead, in their 1973 prime, did two epic sets The show stands out in Deadhead history for a few reasons:

Maples was sold out. The Grateful Dead returned to their birthplace in triumph. The concert was epic. According to various later sources, the Grateful Dead were unofficially banned from campus. Same as it ever was.

March 4, 1973 Homer's Warehouse, Palo Alto, CA: Old and In The Way/Rowan Brothers (Sunday) 3pm and 9 pm
Just across from campus, rock and roll was stirring again. Downtown Palo Alto had made it clear that rock and roll was too noisy--the Poppycock was closed, In Your Ear had burned down and there was no appetite for rock concerts in El Camino Park. But there had been a tiny, slightly illicit club just across the railroad track. Homer's Warehouse was in a Quonset warehouse on Homer Avenue, on the opposite side of the tracks from downtown (for those who know the area, it was behind Town and Country Village and Hubbard & Johnson Lumber, now a parking lot for the Palo Alto Medical Center). As noted, club owner Bill Giussie had rented it from and 82-year old landlady, and did not tell her he was starting a rock club. He sold beer, probably illegally. Local bands--including a new San Jose band called the Doobie Brothers--played some shows. The place was popular with bikers. The cops just barely tolerated it.

After the club had closed in November 1972, the lease was taken over by two local entrepreneurs, Rollie Grogan and Andrew Bernstein. They had been running a local light show (Crimson Madness), but there wasn't really a market for that. They had put on a few local concerts, too, and figured they could make a go of Homer's Warehouse. They explained to the landlady what they were actually doing--she grudgingly approved--got their permits, and made sure the cops were cool. In February 1973, they opened for business with Stoneground. Fellow scholar CryptDev has the detailed history of Homer's Warehouse, from 1971 through its demise at the end of 1973.

Proprietor Andrew Bernstein told many colorful tales about Homer's Warehouse in his 2012 memoir California Slim: The Music, The Madness, The Magic. Bernstein had grown up in Palo Alto, had taken some banjo lessons from Jerry Garcia, and knew Garcia and Pigpen from the early days. He hadn't been in touch with the Dead since they left Palo Alto, but he had far more of an inside track than any other club owner would. Thus it's no surprise that Garcia played Homer's Warehouse a number of times. In this case, Homer's had one of the very earliest appearances by Jerry Garcia's bluegrass band Old And In The Way.

The ad (above) from the February 27 Daily was one of the few for Homer's Warehouse in the paper, as the club mostly promoted itself through hand-drawn flyers posted around town. The ad exposed the club to the undergraduate community. Since the club served beer, it limited underclassmen from attending (fake ID aside), but they were part of the audience. Note that David Grisman is called by his Nom Du Rock "David Diadem" (for a complete list of shows at Homer's, see CryptDev's blog).


March 17, 1973 Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Elvin Bishop Group/Mendocino All-Stars (Saturday) Spring Break
Although Elvin Bishop was a popular live act in the Bay Area, and certainly in the South Bay and at Stanford, his recording career had stagnated. Bishop had released his third album Rock My Soul on Epic in 1972, but they were on the verge of dropping him. Ultimately, Bishop would be signed by Capricorn in 1974, and his career would take off. At this time, however, the Elvin Bishop Group still featured organist Stephen Miller and singer Jo Baker, who had been with the band on Rock My Soul.

The Mendocino All-Stars were an outgrowth of a band called Cat Mother and The All-Night Newsboys. Cat Mother had been a Greenwich Village band who had come out to record their second album in San Francisco in 1970, and ultimately decided to move to the Bay Area. After some  personnel changes, the band had reconstituted itself as the Mencocino All-Stars. 

Stanford was in between Winter and Spring quarters. It was "Spring Break," but Stanford students had no tradition of rushing off to warmer climates, since Palo Alto had better weather than most tourist destinations.


April 6, 1973 Maples Pavilion, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: John Mayall/Mark-Almond (Friday)
The beginning of Stanford's Spring Quarter began with a Maples show featuring John Mayall and the Mark-Almond band. John Mayall was a big name to any knowledgeable rock fan, as his 60s Bluesbreakers had featured Eric Clapton, then Peter Green and then the Rolling Stones' Mick Taylor on lead guitar. Numerous other English blues and rock players familiar from the backs of albums had come through his bands as well. Nonetheless, by 1973, Mayall's albums were no longer prominent on FM radio, and the players in his band weren't going on to stardom.

Ironically enough, Mayall's band in the 1972-73 period was one of his most talented bands. Live tapes, and archival live albums, show that they played terrific music. Mayall, however, was more in an improvised jazz/blues bag, not playing the modified Chicago blues that he had played with his famous guitarists in the 1960s, nor did he have any well-known songs. So young college students had all heard of Mayall, but he wasn't really an appealing draw. For those undergraduates who went, they would have heard a great band, probably with Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Victor Gaskin on bass, Keef Hartley on drums, Freddie Robinson on guitar and Red Holloway on alto, absolutely swinging the blues. It's not clear, however, if fans were ready for Mayall's '73 music. His current album would have been Ten Years Are Gone, on Polydor. 

After Mick Taylor had left Mayall for the Stones in 1969, Mayall had formed a unique, drumless lineup featuring acoustic guitarist Jon Mark and sax/flute player John Almond. They had released the Turning Point album in 1970, with the great song "Room To Move," which got heavily played on FM radio. Mark and Almond moved on however, as all Mayall players did, and formed their own band. Mark-Almond played a unique style of folk-jazz-rock, very hard to describe but really excellent. 

Mark-Almond's current album would have been Mark-Almond '73 on Columbia. Their killer live band included ex-Mingus drummer Dannie Richmond (a jazz legend), bassist Wolfgang Melz (ex-Gabor Szabo), conguero Bobby Torres (ex-Joe Cocker) and trumpeter Geoff Condon (ex-Zoot Money, as was Almond). Guitarist Alun Davies, Cat Stevens' running mate, had shared vocals and acoustic guitar duties with Mark on the album, but I'm not sure if he was touring with them.

Mark-Almond were great live--I saw them a few months later at Winterland, I'm not guessing--but they, too were an acquired taste. I have to guess that Almond came out to blow some blues with the Mayall band. I don't know, however, if the 1973 Stanford audience was ready for these two bands.

 

June 7, 1973 Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks/Pure Food and Drug with Harvey Mandel (Thurs) 6 and 9 pm-canceled
This concert was canceled. Harvey Mandel was a Bay Area guitarist who had played with Canned Heat and John Mayall (right after Mark and Almond), and he had a new jazz-rock band. I assume the show was canceled due to lack of ticket sales. One characteristic of the rock market, in Palo Alto as everywhere, rock fans were less interested in smaller concerts. They either wanted to see a band in a club and buy a beer, or they wanted to see a major act, even at a larger place for a higher ticket price.



June 30, 1973 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Jesse Colin Young/Joy Of Cooking (Saturday)
Stanford University was not booking any rock shows in the Summer, and there were no venues in Palo Alto save for Homer's Warehouse. Marine World Africa USA, cheesy as it might have been, was the only rock and roll option for the Summer. The Daily reviewed this show (July 6), and mentioned that Toni Brown wasn't playing with Joy Of Cooking. The band would break up soon after this.

July 7, 1973 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA:  Crusaders/Randy Crawford and Temperance
(Saturday)

July 14, 1973 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Elvin Bishop Group/Stoneground (Saturday)

July 21, 1973 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Donny Hathaway/Taj Mahal (Saturday)

July 28, 1973 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Cold Blood/El Roacho (Saturday)

August 4, 1973 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Dr Hook and The Medicine Show/Sons of Champlin (Saturday)

August 11, 1973 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen/Waylon Jennings (Saturday)
Waylon Jennings was a popular country artist, but had just started playing rock gigs. He had opened for the Grateful Dead back in March, at Kezar Stadium. This double-bill is surprising, although if Cody and Waylon played on the same show, it must have been some fun.

August 25-26, 1973 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Tower of Power/California (Saturday-Sunday)
Note that Tower of Power had enough heft to headline two nights. California was a six-piece band with a horn section, somewhat in the style of Chicago. They had formed at Monterey Peninsula College.  

Gideon & Power's 1972 album on Bell (I Gotta Be Me) was recorded at the Keystone Korner, and included members of the Elvin Bishop Group (Stephen Miller and Bill Meeker)

September 8, 1973 Jungle Theater, Marine World Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Boz Scaggs/Gideon & Power
(Saturday)
By 1973, Boz Scaggs had released four albums. His most recent, on Columbia, was My Time, released back in Fall '72. He was popular locally, and got some FM airplay, but he hadn't yet broken out.  Per the Palo Alto Times (on September 6), Boz' band included Les Dudek on lead guitar, along with Tom Salisbury on keyboards, Rick Schlosser on drums and Gene Santine on bass.

Opening act Gideon & Power featured lead singer Gideon Daniels. They had released a 1972 album on Bell. They played in a sort of Gospel-Rock style. Varioius fine musicians went through Gideon & Power, including Mickey Thomas and Melvin Seals, who would join the Elvin Bishop Group (and Seals would go on to spend 15 years with Jerry Garcia. Power currently included ex-Cold Blood guitarist Michael Sasaki and organist Jymm Young.

September 15, 1973 Marine World/Africa USA, Redwood City, CA: Sons of Champlin/New Stoneground (Saturday)

September 30, 1973 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford U., Palo Alto, CA: Joan Baez (Sunday)
By this time, Joan Baez headlining Frost was practically a tradition. Note that it was the only remotely "popular music" type event at the Amphitheatre in 1973. 


December 1, 1973 Maples Pavilion, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA: Hot Tuna/Albert King Review/Mike Bloomfield-Mark Naftalin (Saturday)
The last rock event of the Fall '73 quarter had Hot Tuna headlining at Maples over Albert King and Mike Bloomfield. Why the Mike Bloomfield/Mark Naftalin band was added at the last minute doesn't make sense to me, since Hot Tuna was famous for playing marathon shows. In any case the December 6 Daily gave a fairly desultory review. The concert was thinly attended, at most a few thousand in an 8000-seat venue. Hot Tuna weren't the Airplane, and although they had three albums by this time, none of them were any kind of hits. Per the reveiwer, Tuna's linep was Jorma, Jack and drummer Sammy Piazza. Hot Tuna had played at least an hour when the reviewer left (there's no telling how long they might have actually played).

Albert King was probably really good, but while most white college rock fans recognized Albert from Eric Clapton albums and the like, he wasn't any kind of headliner like he had been at Fillmore West. And Mike Bloomfield, while usually enjoyable, played all over the Bay Area, so there wasn't much special about seeing him. Other than the Daily reviewer, the people who went to this show probably enjoyed it, but the problem was that it wasn't a major attraction. 

Note that the ad (above) says "Reserved Seat Loges Available" at the Tressider Box Office. I suspect this option was meant to encourage Stanford student on dates, with the idea that a young man wouldn't have to force his girlfriend to wallow about on the floor. I'm not sure how often this option would be available in the future.

Palo Alto Rock and Roll Status Report: End of 1973
Despite the desires and hopes of Stanford students and Palo Alto teenagers, neither place was conducive to rock and roll by the end of 1973. Palo Alto's only rock club, Homer's Warehouse, had booked Jerry Garcia, Commander Cody and other fun bands, but it had closed for good by December.  Palo Alto had a few potential venues--the Baylands softball field, El Camino Park, Mayfield School and some other places--but exactly none of them were being used for live rock music.

Stanford, meanwhile, had banned rock music from its biggest, most appealing venue, at exactly the time when live rock had expanded enough that major acts could fill Frost Amphitheatre. Maples Pavilion was an ok venue, but Stanford seemed grudging about booking rock bands there. In any case, basketball dominated the weekends there, and they wouldn't use it during the summer. There were a few smaller venues on campus, but the market wasn't really going that way, and in any case Stanford didn't care. 

That left Marine World Aftica USA over in Redwood City on Saturday nights. There were actually some good bands there, but rock and roll was supposed to be about rebellion and changing times, right? How did going to an animal-and-aquatic-themed park make you feel rebellious? Any rockers or aspiring rockers in Palo Alto had to look to San Francisco or Berkeley for hope. Palo Alto, as always, seemed to be a hotbed of social rest, and a place where rock and rollers were From. 

Appendix: Additonal Palo Alto Links

For a broad list of Palo Alto performance listings, bands and venues from the 1960s and 70s, see here

For the previous post in the series (Palo Alto Psychedelic Rock Shows July-December 1969 [Palo Alto V]), see here

For Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Stanford Rock Landmarks, see here

For complete performance listings of In Your Ear from May 1971 through December 1972, see here

For the best history of Homer's Warehouse performances (1971-73), see here