52 years ago today, the Grateful Dead took the stage at the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, also known as the Greek Theatre at the University of California Berkeley, for the first of 29 total performances they would hold at the famous outdoor venue throughout their career.
The October 1st, 1967 concert, which was a benefit show for the University’s Economic Opportunity Program, also featured performances from jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd and Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete.
Not much is known about the Dead’s set that night, as fans wouldn’t begin taping or cataloging the setlists for a few more years. The Dead, which was still very much in its infancy as a rock act and had only released their debut album seven months prior, did make sure to perform “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” at the event, but no other reliable setlists are available for reference.
There is some notable historical context associated with the show, as the band’s famous home at 710 Ashbury was raided by the police the following day, where Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Bob Weir were arrested, along with manager Rock Scully, Danny Rifkin, Bob Matthews, and several others.
The band returned to the Greek Theatre in 1968, but that would be their last performance at the outdoor venue until they returned for a three-night run in September 1981. The Dead made a point to return to the Greek Theatre with annual three-show runs at the venue each year throughout the decade until August 1989, when by that point the Dead were simply too popular to continue playing there. Click here to listen to Bob Weir’s isolated guitar parts from the Dead’s final show at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre in 1989.
#GratefulDead | “Potpourri” benefit concert for the Ecnomic Opportunity Program | Greek Theatre – Berkeley, CA | October 1st, 1967 | 📷: David Seabury https://t.co/kiBXnX3krT pic.twitter.com/emlFFTHe1I
— Jerry Garcia (@jerrygarcia) October 1, 2019