On Friday, January 30th, 1970, a new rock music venue, The Warehouse, opened its doors in New Orleans for the first time, with the Flock, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, and the Grateful Dead headlining. Admission was $4.50 in advance, $5.00 at the door. You could get in for free if you brought a scrap of carpet.
Discs 1 and 2 are the Dead's opening night performance, destined to be the last show with Tom Constanten on keyboards. Nineteen people, including the Dead (other than Constanten and Pigpen), would be busted on Bourbon Street at the Marie Antoinette Hotel in the French Quarter after the show that night. It was the last night of the Dead's pure, unspoiled hippie period.
The last part of Disc 2 is San Francisco avant-garde jazz/rock/blues band the Flock's raucous Saturday night performance, featuring Jerry Goodman on violin, later with Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Arrested at 3 am Saturday morning, the Dead spent the rest of the night in jail until bail was processed. Saturday night they played another show at The Warehouse. Half-way through, amid electrical problems, Phil Lesh's bass crapped out. The Dead, with their innovative sound technician, Owsley "Bear" Stanley, carried on with their first-ever, full-band acoustic set. Disc 3 is Saturday's electric set. Disc 4, the wearily sublime acoustic show, described as "a beautiful set" in Rolling Stone the following month. (The March 1970 RS article is included in the box set.)
A legal benefit concert was hastily organized for the next day, a cold and wet Sunday afternoon at The Warehouse, February 1st. Only about 850 attended. Despite the fact they still struggled with the sound system (hear "the Bear solo" on disc 6), Rolling Stone said "the bands blew the lid off the house." Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac played the first show. That's Disc 5. In a couple of months, Peter Green would give away his guitars and quit the music business in disgust. The show includes possibly the earliest live recording of Green's classic about the evil allure of money, The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown), over 15 minutes long .
Discs 6 and 7 are the Grateful Dead's "Bust Benefit" performance. Midway through, the Dead were joined by Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood, who wore an "Out of Order" sign around his neck. It was the only time Fleetwood Mac and Grateful Dead played together in public, and, yes, they blew the roof off The Warehouse.
The final track on Disc 7 was recorded 7 months later in San Francisco at the Fillmore West. It's the live debut of "Truckin'", the song that told the tale of the Dead's long strange trip through New Orleans. They wouldn't return for ten years.
Remember Owsley "Bear" Stanley, born Augustus Owsley Stanley III , January 19, 1935 – March 13, 2011, known to the newspapers as "The King of Acid," arrested and jailed with the Dead that weekend, who was also the Dead's masterful sound engineer, who created the famous Wall of Sound that revolutionized concert performancws, who recorded the Dead's live shows in this set, and who died this past March in a car crash near his home in Queensland, Australia .
Learn more about The Warehouse and see some great photos by Warehouse official photographer Sidney Smith: /2010/02/jbo-celebrates-mardi-gras-with-a-flashback-to-the-warehouse-the-new-orleans-venue-of-the-1970s
See a clip from the upcoming documentary about The Warehouse: /20483219
Over seven rare hours of a legendary, historic weekend CDs manufactured by Kunaki LLC for WhyArts Records