On this day in 1968, music fans and curious onlookers flooded Haight Street in San Francisco to experience the Grateful Dead, who had set up flatbed trucks on the Haight-Ashbury avenue for one of their now-famous free concerts in their earliest years as a band.
By 1968, Haight-Ashbury had become overrun with wannabe-“hippies” and adventurous runaways from around the country who flocked to the California city in search of the free-spirited movement made popular by media coverage of events like “The Acid Tests” and the “Gathering Of The Tribes/Human Be-In”, which regularly hosted bands like the Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and more. While members of the Grateful Dead were beginning to ditch the crowded Haight-Ashbury in favor of the California countryside by 1968, the band still held firm roots within the city and made a point to continue playing San Francisco rather often as their popularity grew with the release of their debut album in 1967.
On March 3rd, the city co-sponsored a daytime festival on Haight Street in hopes of smoothing the then-rising tensions between law enforcement and the growing number of youths populating the city. The Dead set up their equipment on two flatbed trucks, plugged their gear into the electrical supply coming out of the nearby Straight Theater, and delivered a set to thousands of fans in attendance that included “Viola Lee Blues”, “Smokestack Lightning”, “Turn On Your Lovelight”, “Hurts Me Too”, “The Other One”, “Dancin’ In The Street”, and more.
Relive the Grateful Dead’s now-famous free concert on Haight Street from March 3rd, 1968 with part of the show’s audio below, as captured by future Grateful Dead Records employee Steve Brown.
Grateful Dead – Haight St. Performance – 3/3/68
[Audio: Jonathan Aizen]
Setlist: Grateful Dead | Haight Street | San Francisco, CA | 3/3/68
Set: Viola Lee Blues, Smokestack Lightning, Turn On Your Lovelight, It Hurts Me Too, Cryptical Envelopment > The Other One > Cryptical Envelopment, Dancin’ In The Street
52 years ago today @GratefulDead played Haight Street in San Francisco. Some of the show was recorded from the audience by future Grateful Dead Records employee Steve Brown.
📷 at left Jim Marshall, at right Steve Brown. pic.twitter.com/1yN2SJyUEN
— David Lemieux (@lemieuxdavid) March 3, 2020