The Grateful Dead were one of the leaders in San Francisco’s music scene throughout the 1960s. So, it came as a surprise to no one that the then-young band was tapped to be part of the “Gathering Of The Tribes/Human Be-In” weekend event at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park back on January 14th, 1967.
Interestingly enough, members of the band, as well as San Francisco-area residents and Pranksters alike, had just completed an exciting year of growth in 1966 that saw the actual “Summer of Love” while also the criminalization of LSD in late 1966. That didn’t stop attendees from enjoying what was a seminal weekend of music and togetherness, as the three-day event helped establish the Counterculture generation’s new presence in American society.
Day two of the weekend event included appearances from notable guest speakers, including Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsburg. The day’s events also featured performances from Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Country Joe & The Fish, The Charlatans, just to name a few. Hippies and early Deadheads in attendance were treated to a three-song performance by the Dead, including “Morning Dew”, “Viola Lee Blues”, and “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”. All three covers would appear on the band’s self-titled debut album when it arrived later that year on March 17th.
Grateful Dead – Golden Gate Park – 1/14/1967
A young Jerry Garcia belted out the solemn lyrics of “Morning Dew” during a nine-minute performance of the song, which would also go on to become one of their trademark ballad covers throughout their 30-year career. A super-heady version of “Viola Lee Blues” followed, with Garcia spending the majority of the performance riffing away on his guitar, along with a collaborative jam amongst all the members. The band turned back to the blues, featuring Ron “Pigpen” McKernan blowing away on his harmonica throughout their closing number of “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”. The entire performance was somehow taped even in those early days of the Dead. Fans can tune into the audio below to revisit the historic day’s performance.
Grateful Dead – Golden Gate Park – San Francisco, CA – 1/14/67
[Video: John Philbin]
Setlist: Grateful Dead | Golden Gate Park | San Francisco, CA | 1/14/1967
Set: Morning Dew, Viola Lee Blues, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl