Band Grateful Dead
Venue Avalon Ballroom
Location San Francisco, CA
Date 1/27/67 - Friday posters tickets, passes & laminates
One [64:41:00] ; Viola Lee Blues [#21:09] ; [0:04] % [0:05] ; Cold Rain And Snow [2:50] ; Good Morning Little Schoolgirl [0:02#] ; Alligator [16:45] > Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) [19:29]
Comments List may be from any one of these three shows at the Avalon. Other artist(s): QMS. To see the concert art: < http://www.pompano.net/~goodbear/concert_art/01_27-28_67.html > Bart Wise: this show is an audience tape, not a soundboard. The break between Viola Lee Blues and Cold Rain and Snow sounds like a master tape pause, and nearby audience clapping is obvious between the songs. The vocals and organ are prominent in the mix and the guitar and drums are echoey and distant; this may indicate that the taper stood near a PA stack and a bit distant from the stage, thereby reducing the prominence in the mix of instruments which received less PA sound reinforcement. All instruments are audible and there is very little hiss. There is some distortion on loud vocal and organ passages. Morning Dew cuts in on the first note of the song, so probably only one or two seconds is missing. New Potato Caboose fades out to about 2 seconds of silence before Viola Lee Blues fades in; these are clearly cuts that occurred sometime after the master was made. About the date of this tape: my memory may not be exactly right, but I think this tape usually circulated as 1/28/67 until sometime in the 80's, when Deadbase started listing it as 1/27/67, at which point you started seeing it traded under that date. Under any circumstances, it has always seemed a little odd to me, a little too mature sounding and stretched out for my picture of what they were playing in the very beginning of 67. Despite the fact that there are too few tapes from that era to really make any conclusions about date from content, I decided to compare with other tapes with slightly more solid dates. First, I think this is probably all from one show, rather than a compilation as Jim Powell suggested. The whole tape has the same sound and the same mix of instruments, and from my own experience audience taping, even with the same rig in the same hall it would be unusual to get such similar sounding recordings on different nights. The chief point of inquiry was the version of Alligator. On 1/27/67, there is a drum intro and after the initial vocal section, the band proceeds straight into jamming without the intervening drum solo. After a few minutes of jamming, Garcia sings his "Alligator runnin' round my door" bit, which is followed by more jamming. Comparing this with other versions, we find that on 5/5/67 (a shaky date itself), 8/4/67, and 9/15/67, Alligator is begun not with a drum intro but rather with a Garcia guitar intro. In all three versions, the band jumps into jamming after the vocals without a drum solo, and in all three versions Garcia does NOT sing "Alligator runnin' round..." 11/10/67 and 11/11/67, on the other hand, both start with a drum intro rather than the guitar intro. There is the signature drum solo after the initial vocals, and Garcia sings "Alligator runnin' round..." on both. If I had to date the tape of 1/27/67 just on the basis of the above information, I would place it sometime in between 9/15/67 and 11/10/67. The three summer 67 Alligators are consistent with each other and different from both the "1/27/67" and 11/67 shows. As for the Viola Lee Blues, at over 21 minutes it certainly seems different from versions on 11/29/66 (about 10 min), 8/4/67 (about 12 min), 9/15/67 (about 10 min, but cut), and even 11/10/67 (about 15 min, but cut.) Who could know, but it seems like it probably belongs later in the year. "1/27/67" may be the right date, but it might also be a case of the taper later saying "I think this was recorded at the Avalon in early 67." Perhaps we should note something like "The date is slightly questionable; tape content suggests later in the year." tim Anderson: I've always been of the opinion that the drum solo in Alligator didn't start until Mickey joined up. Needless to say, I have no evidence to back this up. Just a gut feeling, and the mythology of the alleged two-hour Alligator on his first show, seems to point in that direction. David Sorochty: this tape sounds like an old audience tape, but with next to no audience noise. I believe this may be an audience tape that was recorded with the mics up high enough to eliminate crowd noise. That would be unusual for a tape this old. Immediately after they finish Cold Rain and Snow you can hear a Schoolgirl tease for about two seconds before the tape cuts off. I believe that DeadBase's comment that Alligator is uncertain does not mean that they are in doubt about its existence in this show, rather they mean that the general consensus is that Alligator was not played until later in that year, so Alligator throws doubt on the dating of this tape to January 1967. Jim Powell: SET1 [78:17] Morning Dew [7:10] % New Potato Caboose [8:40#] % Viola Lee Blues [21:47] % Cold Rain and Snow [2:56] % drums [0:04] > Alligator [17:42] > Caution (Do Not Stop on tracks) [19:50] % Most circulating copies of this tape require speed correction. This tape sounds like it was made with mics set up on the stage lip. The clapping (e.g. at the end of CRS) proves the tape was made with AUD mics. The minimal amount of audience noise proves the mics were placed way up front. The mix on the tape is the result of the mics' placement in relation to the various monitors on stage, plus the acoustic sound of the drums, plus the spillover from the PA stacks. Plainly these six tunes belong to the same show but it is not clear from the tape whether they belong to one set or two. New Potato Caboose fades down at the end, probably close to its conclusion. DeadBase lists a Good Morning Little Schoolgirl following Caution but the tape of Schoolgirl [17:42] circulating mislabeled "1/27/67" with this date is actually from 4/9/70. This tape used to circulate labeled "1/28/67" until DeadBase labeled the list "1/27/67," noting that it might actually belong to 1/28 or 1/29. Pigpen is of course the vocalist on Alligator. The performances on this tape are so incendiary that it's hard to believe it comes from so early in the year, but it certainly comes from before Sept. 67, since the inimitable Mr. Billy the K is the one and only sole drummer on the tape. and actually, after listening again to 11/19/66, the strongest performance of 1966 circulating, I find it much easier to believe that the 1/27/67 tape could actually be dated properly. I suggested that this tape was a "composite" because I remembered suspecting the Schoolgirl, and when I checked it just now, it was obvious that the Schoolgirl is an entirely different mix, even before I identified it as being in fact 4/9/70. on the 4/9/70 Schoolgirl Pigpen tries to start the vocals 8 bars early, but quickly cuts himself short -- this is its easiest identifying mark. This tape of Fillmore West 4/9/70 also circulates with some bizarre chick wailing overdubbed in one channel, mislabeled "Fillmore East 7/10/70." Does anyone have a copy of the Avalon 1/27/67 tape with a version of Schoolgirl that seems to actually belong to 1/27/67? After listening again to this tape I am inclined even more strongly to nominate it as the strongest performance of 1967 circulating. (Truth to tell, there isn't a lot of competition, however.) I still suspect that 1/27 may in fact be a falsely dated composite of shows from later in the year, especially given the well developed Alligator > Caution. I don't know if we'll ever have a definitive answer regarding the source(s) for that tape, but it's probably worth noting that the date is uncertain for more than just the Alligator > Caution. David Sorochty: I saw the posts on these shows and was kind of surprised, especially about 10/22 and 1/27. I say that since 10/22 is CD type quality soundboard and 1/27 is a grungy echoey aud tape, they don't sound anything alike. Maybe they are two different sources for the same show? Anything is possible with these old tapes I guess. So I'll sit down and do a careful comparison. DeadBase X has this to add: "This tape, which is of uncertain origin, also exists dated as 1/24/67, 1/28/67 and part of 2/12/67. Keep in mind that some sources claim Alligator was not performed until June."

It's been confirmed that the segment Morning Dew [#6:54] ; [0:01] New Potato Caboose [8:25#] ; [0:02] is actually from 10/22/67
Recordings (?) SB, from A unknown generation source. Often circulates labeled "1/28/67."
Download Sources
Contributors Jeff Tiedrich, Bart Wise, Teddy GoodBear, Jim Powell, DeadBase X, Tim Anderson, David Scott Allan, David Sorochty, "The Art Of Rock" book, Adrian M. Johnson, Charlie Miller
Caretaker Teddy Goodbear email update