Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Tale of Two Playgrounds: Grateful Dead Rock 35,000 Over 1973 and 1974 in Des Moines, Iowa


Even before the release of Road Trips Volume 2, Number 3, Des Moines 1974, was in my radar as a killer show with the Eyes>Big River, Playin' and cool set 3  Truckin>Nobody's Fault>Wild Jam et al. However, now due the magic of the internet, I can present here, the local POV of not only this show drawing 18,000 to the Fairgrounds, but the 1973 version that drew 17,000 too.  35,000 deadheads in the middle of the country in very short 1973 (one show) and 1974 (two show) Midwest tours :)

Following the Stanford breakout monster on February 9, 1973, the band played 7 shows in the midwest (plus one in Salt Lake City) including a show at the Fieldhouse at the University of Iowa in Iowa City om February 24. According to bigmoe53 "the fieldhouse was packed".  The Dead also played the Fieldhouse prior on March 20, 1971.

Iowa must have loved the Dead since two months later on April 29, the Des Moines Register announced a big new five-hour long day show  two weeks later in May 13 promoted by Bill Graham.


 There is an interesting comment in the review of the 1973 show, saying the band was pretty mellow and made no effort to rock out "It never quite happened" though Keith and Donna "gave the most hope of taking the concert from a mellow to a hard driving experience".

The Grateful Dead did come back to the midwest in October and November of 1973, but no Iowa date. It happened again the next year.

They raised the prices to $6 in advance and $6.50 at the door. Interesting that just days before the event, it is described as sort of tentative.  Des Moines was having a few problems at shows like ZZ Top and a Grand Funk show they were worried about.


The Road Trips show has a similar "mellow" review on page 11 below, but page 1 has a story about one of the promoters being stabbed by a guy trying to pry open the fence around the show to let people in for free (foreshadowing 1995, crazy)




I love the China>Rider from 1974 so thats what you get today as you look at this interesting history lesson from Iowa in 1973 and 1974.  The next show two days later in Louisville has an amazing once only  It's A Sin Jam, but from the size of things it looks like Kentucky in 74 preferred Kiss :)

Jerry in the famous Marin Academy shirt