Clipped From The Cincinnati Enquirer
Saturday, December 7, 1968 Soundings Grcalful Dead concert captures 'participation' BY JIM KNIPPENBERG Hair and lights were all over the place last Friday and Saturday at the Hyde Park - Mt. Lookout Teen Center, as the Oreatful Dead oozed above ground to do their thing. The concert was one of those truly sensational things that hardly ever happens but when it does, it's an experience to be remembered. remembered. Having had time to think, I analysed what it takes to make such a concert what has to be there before the magic takes over. I FOUND there were many unique tilings going together to make the show a great one. first of all, there was the geography of the teen council building itself. It's small. So small in fact, that you can't even call it dinky you have to say it's Intimate. Intimate. Intimate surroundings are very conducive to a good rock show. Of course there were no chairs. People just sat crass-legged crass-legged crass-legged on the floor like oriental meditators. THEN THERE'S the light slwnv. A color wheel cast its projections on the wall behind the stage and shadows shadows of light passed over the attentive group as pinpoints of color periodically burst above the crowd. As the group plays, the lights keep a strange sort of time with the music sometimes right in time, and sometimes so vastly dissonant that some sort of "theory of polarities" seems to be operating. OF COURSE there's the group itself. They come on all smiles, chattering with the audience, tuning their instruments and Just being ugly. Beautiful! Their sound is something else again too. The Greatful Dead Is a large group three guitars, two sets of drums, two keyboards and a horn. And their sound Is everywhere. everywhere. It fills every corner of the hall, but isn't painfully painfully deafening (as one might think in such cramped quarters); It vibrates vibrates every floorboard, but Is never oppressive. This is the kind of show the Dead like best. One where people don't just sit like statues and listen because because they paid $3 for a ticket, but one where people people sit on the floor, dance, THE CINCINNATI Jim Knlppenberg and in general "experience" the music. Because you can feel the vibration of every drumbeat, because your eardrum feels the reverberation of every guitar scream, because every progression on the keyboard rattles your brain, because every swirl of light covers yours and the performer's face and captures your eyes, because everyone is so close together and so near the stage, because everyone is lorded over by some huge communal over - soul, you don't watch a Grateful Dead concert, you participate. YES, IT'S ALL of these things which work together to achieve the final effect that Greatful Dear charisma. charisma. It is also these very same things which work together to make a great concert, and which also help to make rock music one of the most exciting, alive and ever-explosive ever-explosive ever-explosive fields on the horizon today.