Tuesday, February 16, 2010

660 Great Highway, San Francisco August 26, 1969 Family Dog on The Great Highway: Great SF Light Show Jam

This paragraph from Ralph J. Gleason's column in the August 25, 1969 San Francisco Chronicle says
Tomorrow night at the Family Dog on The Great Highway there will be a lightshow spectacular--The Great SF Light Show Jam--with 13 different light shows and taped music from three years of unissued tapes from the Matrix including tapes of Big Brother, Steve Miller, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service
I had seen the Great SF Light Show Jam listed on various obscure flyers and thought little about it, since Light Shows are inherently of the moment. The idea that the Light Shows were performing to years of unissued live shows recorded at the Matrix--well, that's something else entirely.

Now, various Matrix tapes have circulated over the years, and I wouldn't be surprised if the ones that were used for the Family Dog show were the ones that we have already heard. Still, its a really intriguing thought. And the tapes must have sounded awfully good, not degraded (since so little time had passed) and blasted over a real concert sound system.

Sic transit gloria psychedelia. 

Update: The event seems to have been repeated a month later (on Thursday, September 25, 1969). Given the description, I don't think new tapes were added to the mix (since other, non-Matrix, tapes were used also), but its still interesting to think about (the clip is from Ralph Gleason's SF Chronicle column, September 24, 1969).


  1. This is another great find - but I fear not a Family Dog show as hinted at - just run at the Family Dog - probably by the Light Show Artists who were fighting their corner to have the same standing as the bands. In all probability this would have been arranged by Peter Abhams.

  2. Certain excellent sounding Matrix tapes were widely disseminated back in the 1980s, and no doubt before. I can't help but think that some of those copies were generated by preparing for this show. Like
    Jefferson Airplane 2.1.68
    Grateful Dead "12.1.66" (actual date obscure)
    Steve Miller Blues Band 1.27.67
    Quicksilver 3.19.67

  3. I am not so sure these are the same tapes. The sound gear and "tapes" that went missing on the weekend of August 1-3, 1969 are likely to have been lost to history. The running of the Matrix has changed a number of times in both ownership and management over the previous years. Knowing who has the early tapes and where they currently are, it seems unlikely that they are the same. It also seems unlikely that near four year old recordings would be sat around in the club. I would guess that the recordings were more recent, or possibly even blank tapes yet to be used. Of the known tapes - there are none after the January 29, 1969 Jorma/Jack recording before the theft in the August.

    One of the reasons why some folk are so keen to get hold of the tapes is just to figure out what they are and have them labelled correctly. I am pretty sure about some being recordings from the Fillmore rather than the Matrix; although it is clear that some are from the Matrix (I recall a poor copy of the Jerry Pond tape from the Matrix doing the rounds some years ago). I am convinced the Pond tape is from the Matrix but is misdated. You will recall a few years ago that you put the effort in to identify the correct date on the Final Solution recording from the Matrix - the same efforts will no doubt be required. The end of show announcements are a nifty way of sorting out such dates. I hope that we have the opportunity to sit there in our old age and figure these out.

  4. It turns out the event was repeated, a month later, so I added the Chron clip describing it.

    Still an intriguing event, no matter how you look at it.