For popular musical archaeologists, an amazing artifact has dropped into the laps of the kids over at the Wesleyan Argus.
A student fundraiser dialing for dollars called an alum, and ended up with an audio link to a Grateful Dead concert held on Foss Hill in 1970.
The music is audible, but just barely, under several interesting conversations recorded in the foreground.
This addendum was found in the New York Times:
April 10, 2009 9:40 pm
I am not a Deadhead nor have I ever claimed to be one. But circumstances were such in the Spring of 1970 that a classmate at Wesleyan and myself soon became caught up in one of the momentous moments in the school's history.
The recent incursion into Cambodia and then Kent St massacre soon after galvanized students across the country. All that and more culminated in The Strike In May, The Dead were playing in the East and, as noted by readers who attended, the Binghampton gig was one of their best.
I was Chairman of Student Events Committee. A classmate told me he was close to The Dead's manager or someone in the band. They were very tuned into what was happening and wanted to do something special. Wesleyan was the right place. "How much will that cost?", I asked, knowing full well our budget had already been blown. "Nothing... They'll place for free!" I thought, why not? This would be a perfect way to go out.
We had a dusk-to-dawn concert planned at the foot of Foss Hill and had lined up some great talent. Plus, our own funky and famous Gamelan players would be playing forever, sort of a sedative, when the high-pitched bands stepped down and in contrast, Wesleyan's world class Indian sitarist-in-residence and his cohorts would be going bonkers on tablas and pakhawaji.
This was going to be our own Woodstock Word about the concert and The Dead coming to Wes never got out until a day or so before the concert. If it had, Wesleyan would have looked like Yasgar's farm. The Dead came and they played and the place was really excited and turned on.
The concert became a paradigm for most of us. Certainly, all the anger, frustration and anxiety over Vietnam had pre-occupied our lives for years seemed to come to a head that May. The tension that had built up in all of us was vented both on stage and in the audience.
More mellow than crazy. It was real '60's. 1970 must have been monumental for The Dead and their fans. Deadheads may claim to have been at or heard the best of The Dead but unless they were at Wesleyan that night on Foss Hill in May, 1970, they haven't been There. And, it didn't cost a dime! — Maurice H., VT
Not that anyone cares, but there's also a Phish file at the Argus site. As for other historically famous Wesleyan shows, I know there's a bootleg of Van Morrison's early 80's show at the hockey rink (with Dave Edmunds and Rockpile opening). And I vaguely remember a very hot Little Feat (with Lowell George) show from the seventies. I'm sure there were many more.