Monday, August 28, 2017

Englishtown


Forty-eight years ago this month, I was ten and missed the Woodstock concert.  I expect I heard about it on the Evening News.  The Dead were weird ed  out at that show and played a short set of about 90 minutes started aroud 10:30pm on day two, August 16, 1969. For their effort in playing before 186,000 paying (before it turned into a free festival), the Dead made a cool $2,500 (Hendrix made the most about $18,000).   

Woodstock lead to a series of other Northeast big late-summer shows like Watkins Glen in 1973, but it wasn't until 1976 that the late summer giant outdoors Grateful Dead show in the Northeast became more like an annual tradition for a period in my youth.   

In 1976, there were the two Outdoor shows in Hartford at Colt Park on August 2, 1976 (my 3rd show) and the Roosevelt Stadium show in Jersey City on August 4, 1976.  These shows were hot performances which I covered in the pages of this blog.  The two shows drew 51,189 paid combined for slightly less than $400,000 in ticket sales.

Then there was the big one, Englishtown on September 3, 1977. Either "150,000 people rose for the Dead" or 107,000 (which was the announced tickets sales) for more than $1 million in ticket sales, the very first time the Grateful Dead as a headline would generate a $1 million gate.  They would go on to this more than 60 times over the next 18 years, but it was alot easier in the 1990's when ticket prices would run over the  $20 mark.

Jimmy Roux, Mike Barr, my brother Ralph and I and friends took the drive down from Maine on September 2 and spent the night at my Mom's sister Carol's house in Highland Park, NJ. Carol was a Ivy League chemistry grad, back when being a woman and doing that was almost taboo. We hung with my cousins Paul and Cathy and even kidnapped Cathy to go to show the next day.  Also Liz was there and Rick sullivan, but I didnt know them yet.

Apparently it's a 16 mile drive, the next day, but I recall hours of driving and parking probably 5 miles from the show.  We ended up with  pretty close seats about a 1/6th of the way back on the left.  I do recall all the train cars surrounding the Park in order to keep out gatecrashers.  

I do not recall with much clarity the sets by NRPS and Marshall Tucker Band. But I do recall the Dead show with much more vivid memories, like I have my entire life (having relived them with cassettes and later digital versions of all these shows).  And there were some very special moments on 9/3/77.  I must have listened to this show at least 50 times, even before it became the 1st Dick's Picks after Dick's death.  This was also a very very easy FM tape to get from the WNEW-FM feed of the show.

The first of the monster 1977 Half-Steps for the ages
The Music Never Stopped
Bertha>Good Lovin

The only version of  Estimated Prophet>Eyes of the World that came to a dead stop and did not continued into drums or another song.  It's a nifty little couplet too

He's Gone>Not Fade Away>Truckin'   Truckin returns after a nice litte two year sleep after a remarkable version of Not Fade Away for the ages.

Terrapin Encore: sweet, was supposed to the whole Suite but Mickey was still hurt from his car accident over the summer
Imagine the 40 MInute Terrapin Suite  (photo stolen from @thoughtsonthegd)
from David Gan's and Blair Jackson's Amazing Oral History

80 pages deep in Rolling Stone Magazine in the October issue after the show
My person copy Issue 250 10-20-1977  with Sex Pistols on cover

On Labor Day weekend, the Dead returned to the road in a big – almost risky – way. Scher booked the band into Raceway Park, a racetrack in Englishtown, New Jersey. The park normally held about 50,000; the band sold 102,000 tickets – up to that point its biggest nonfestival gig. Until then, everyone assumed the Dead's on-the-road success was a result of repeat business – the same fans buying tickets to more than one show. But Raceway Park proved that the Dead could pull in huge numbers for just one show. "It said, 'We're a big band,'" says Loren. "It put the Dead up there with anybody else who was performing: 'Yeah, the Allman Brothers are a big band, but they're not the Grateful Dead.' The industry stood up and said, 'Holy mackerel!'"    from Rolling Stone


How big was Englishtown compared to the competition?  It was the biggest single-day grossing concert of 1977.  Second was the Peter Frampton/Lynard Skynyrd/J Geils/Dickie Betts show at JFK Stadium in Philly on June 11. It was only the second show that the Grateful Dead performed at that grossed $1 million or more.  The first was Woodstock in 1969, with the Dead as simply a side-act.  The 600,000 at Watkins Glenn in 1973 paid a total of $200,000 with an estimated 20,000 ticket holders and 580,000 freebies.


from Dick's Picks 15 People of Earth...
Greetings from the great beyond. I am contacting you at this time to assure you that all is well and to let you know that Dick's Picks shall continue in my absence just as before. My plans for future releases are well known to my teammates and they have sworn with their blood to remain true to the cause. I hope this release will alleviate any doubts concerning my posthumous powers.
The Archivist formerly known as Dick


9/3/1977    Englishtown:            107,000  $1,091,790
9/2/1978    Giant's Stadium:        66,207  $  740,715
9/1/1979    Rochester                  19,064  $  191,830  (plus 59,267 at 3 MSG shows 9/4-6)
9/6/1980    Lewiston                     25,127 $  264,087




Howards Blog











A funny observation of the WNEW Broadcast
A Rock Band Supporting Their New LP

Some of the people who came "as far away as Maine" were Jim Roux, Michael Barr, my brother Ralphie and me."







JFK in Philly was the only stadium at the time selling 100,000+ tickets



Scher says he made $50,000 profit on Englishtown.  I bet alot more


































http://jranderson.photoshelter.com/gallery/Grateful-Dead-3-September-1977-Raceway-Park-Englishtown-NJ/G0000h4y2U8YMBPU


http://www.terrapinnation.net/viewtopic.php?t=1429

http://mashable.com/2015/07/03/grateful-dead-historical-photos-in-1977/

August 1977 Ad,  hmmm seeems kinda similar to last few LPS