Show Details

Alexandra Palace



Grateful Dead

September 11, 1974

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Set List

Show Notes

* w/ Ned Lagin

  • Jerry Garcia guitar, vocals

  • Bob Weir
    guitar, vocals

  • Phil Lesh
    bass, vocals

  • Bill Kreutzmann

  • Keith Godchaux

  • Donna Jean Godchaux

Show Facts

Parts of this show have been officially released on "Dick's Picks, Vol. 7"

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Simon Moulds | Thursday, May 23rd, 2019


User avatar

Simon Moulds | Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

I didn’t even like the Dead, I didn’t really get them. Got persuaded to go anyway, by Pete (calling from the other side of London), if only to see the sound system he described, which sounded like a crazy man’s ravings.

We meet up at Wood Green, walk up the hill to the Pally. What a great location, spectacular venue on a hill in Victorian parkland in the middle of the city (my first visit). There’s this weird scene, strange, bizarre but relaxed and friendly people, dervish-like twirlers, tables of free stuff in the hall, a beautiful moonlit rose garden with fountains in the centre of the building, accessible through the French windows. It must have been the … We unexpectedly find Jane (in the gents – it’s a much shorter queue, she says, laughing) … and this monolithic PA. It’s a wall. I’ve never even imagined anything like that before. I’m afraid I’m going to be deafened and I’ve got nothing that will do for ear-plugs.

They start to play, it’s the cleanest, clearest sound I’ve ever heard at a live show, it’s got perfect dynamics and not too loud at all. They play as an ensemble, intricately balanced, weaving the sounds like master craftsmen, no flash, no posing, no histrionics. They make it look easy. This is relaxed but seriously good music. Before long I’m at the front, Jerry’s smiling directly at me (I know, everyone says that, but it’s true, and I’m beaming back at him). I’m wondering who the woman is, who appears every now and then to sing backup on stage. Is she in the band, or can anyone just get up and sing? In the set break, there seems to be some problem with the equipment that is getting attention – the bass player remains to assist some roadie working on the keyboards/piano (at least, that’s what I thought was happening until a couple of years later when I heard Seastones). I want them to play Dark Star but they don’t. People are calling for “St Stephen”, “Cosmic Charlie”, “EVERYTHING”, but it doesn’t matter, I want them to play anything they like for as long as they like.

Four hours later, this is easily the greatest show in every respect that I’ve ever witnessed, and the greatest sound system I’ve ever heard. And I’ve missed my last train (they played three sets and I wasn’t going to miss a note).

I walked the long way home the rest of the night. Dawn was breaking as I reached Northwood, in the emerging light I could see four or five funky looking long-hairs in the distance ahead of me. I knew where they’d been. It’s too late/too early for bed. College in a couple of hours but I’m buzzing on a sublimely natural high for the rest of the day.

Now I get it.