The Grateful Dead were just starting to hit their stride as a professional rock and roll band by the time the free-lovin’ 1960s were starting to come to an end. The San Francisco band continued to grow in popularity by the end of 1969, thanks to notable appearances at events that year including Woodstock and their own festival-turned-disaster that was Altamont. By the end of the year, however, there was no denying that the band had grown into becoming a major creative influence throughout the San Francisco music scene, and their presence trickled down to the southern part of the state to reach some of the artists who were making noise in Los Angeles.

One of the other popular California bands at that time was none other than Crosby, Stills, & Nash, who were also finding their own voice and leaving a footprint in popular music amid a turbulent era in American culture at that time. It seems only natural that these two musical forces would intersect and combine folk/rock influences thanks to their similar approaches to challenging oppression with a collective ethos centered around peace, love, and music.

While Jerry Garcia would later contribute to David Crosby‘s 1971 album If I Could Only Remember My Name, Stephen Stills was also a friend of the Dead, and even sat in with the band during their performances of “Casey Jones”, “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”, “Morning Dew”, “Black Peter”, and more during a show at the Thelma Theatre in Los Angeles on December 10th, 1969.

In celebration of Stephen Stills’ 78th trip around the sun today, January 3rd, relive the Dead’s performance at the Los Angeles venue in 1969 with sit-ins from Stills sprinkled in throughout.

Grateful Dead – Thelma Theatre – Los Angeles, CA – 12/10/69

[Audio: Jonathon Aizen]

[Originally published on January 3rd, 2020]