Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Watkins Glen Outdoor Summer Jam Begins

The Watkins Glen outdoor summer jam was held outside of Watkins Glen, New York with The Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead and The Band. Over 600,000 rock fans attended. Many historians claimed the event was the largest gathering of people in the history of the United States. 150,000 tickets were sold for $10 each, but for all the other people it was a free concert. The crowd was so huge that a large part of the audience were not able to see the stage on July 28, 1973.

The Watkins Glen outdoor summer jam

The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen was a 1973 rock festival which once received the Guinness Book of World Records entry for "Largest audience at a pop festival." An estimated 600,000 rock fans came to the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway outside of Watkins Glen, New York on July 28, 1973, to see The Allman Brothers Band, The Band, and the Grateful Dead perform.

The Watkins Glen outdoor summer jam was produced by Shelly Finkel and Jim Koplik, two promoters who previously organized a successful Grateful Dead concert at Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1972.

Similar to the 1969 Woodstock Festival, an enormous traffic jam created chaos for those who attempted to make it to the concert site. Long and narrow country roads forced fans to abandon their vehicles and walk 5–8 miles on that hot summer day. A young woman, 8–9 months pregnant, travelled on foot as well. Once in the concert area, she went into labor. Ambulances struggled to reach her until after her baby was born. 150,000 tickets were sold for $10 each, but for all the other people it was a free concert. The crowd was so huge that a large part of the audience was not able to see the stage; however, twelve huge sound amplifiers, installed courtesy of legendary promoter Bill Graham, allowed the audience to at least hear.

Although The Watkins Glen outdoor summer jam was scheduled to start on July 28, thousands of music fans were already at the concert site on the 27th.

Robbie Robertson of the Band requested to do a soundcheck, but was perplexed that so many people were sitting in front of the stage. Bill Graham allowed the soundcheck with the crowd of people in front, and the Band ran through a few numbers to the delight of the audience. The Allman Brothers Band did their soundcheck next, playing "One Way Out" and "Ramblin' Man". The Grateful Dead's legendary soundcheck turned into a two set marathon, featuring their familiar tunes such as "Sugaree", "Tennessee Jed" and "Wharf Rat". They also performed a unique jam that was eventually included on their retrospective CD box set So Many Roads (1965-1995).

On July 28, the day of the concert, 600,000 music fans had arrived in Watkins Glen. The Grateful Dead performed first, playing two long sets. They opened with "Bertha" and played many hits such as "Box Of Rain", "Jack Straw", "Playing in the Band", "China Cat Sunflower" and "Eyes of the World".

The Band followed the Dead with one two-hour set. However, their set was cut in half by a drenching thunderstorm, in a scene again reminiscent of Woodstock, people were covered with mud. During the storm, keyboardist Garth Hudson performed his signature organ improvisation "The Genetic Method;" when the rain finally let up, the full Band joined Hudson on stage, and segued into their signature song "Chest Fever," in a manner similar to how the songs were presented on the Band's live album Rock of Ages.

Retro History for July 28 The 50s 60s 70s 80s

Retro History For The Decade 1980

1989 Braves Dale Murphy, hits 2 3-run home runs in an inning, 14th man to hit 2 home runs in an inning. Also ties record of 6 RBIs in an inning
1989 Cards' Vince Coleman is caught stealing ends record streak at 50
1989 NASA's Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, announce new high-temperature superconductors able to operate at 33 to 37 Gigahertz
1988 IBM announces price hike on older models
1988 Israeli diplomats arrive in Moscow for 1st visit in 21 years
1988 Jordan cancels $1.3 billion development plan in West Bank
1988 Winnie Mandella's home in Soweto, South Africa destroyed by arson
1988 Yankees' Tommy John makes 3 errors on 1 play yet beats Brewers 16-3
1987 42nd U.S. Women's Open Golf Championship won by Laura Davies
1987 Angel Cordero, Jr. becomes 4th jockey to win 6,000 races
1986 Bomb attack in East Beirut, 25 killed
1986 NASA releases transcript from doomed Challenger, pilot Michael Smith could be heard saying, "Uh-oh!" as spacecraft disintegrated
1985 13th du Maurier Golf Classic: Pat Bradley
1985 Alan Garcia sworn in as president of Peru
1985 L Brock, Slaughter, A Vaughan, and H Wilhelm inducted into Hall of Fame
1984 23rd modern Olympic games opens in Los Angeles
1983 AL President Lee MacPhail threw out umpire's decision and allows
1983 U.S.S.R. performs nuclear Test at Semipalitinsk, Eastern Kazakhstan U.S.S.R.
1983 George Brett's 2 run home run against Yankees on July 24 (pine tar game)
1983 NASA launches Telstar-3A
1980 Peru adopts constitution, Fernando Belaunde Terry becomes president

Retro History For The Decade 1970

1979 Dave Kingman becomes 6th to have a 2nd 3 home run game
1979 France performs nuclear Test
1978 600,000 attend Watkins Glen Summer Jam in New York
1978 At Old Timer's Game it's announced Martin will again manage Yankees
1978 Price of gold tops $200-an-oz level for 1st time
1978 U.S.S.R. performs nuclear Test at Semipalitinsk, Eastern Kazakhstan U.S.S.R.
1977 1st oil through the TransAlaska Pipeline System reach Valdez, Alaska
1977 Roy Wilkins turn over NAACP leadership to Benjamin L Hooks
1977 Test Cricket debut of Ian Botham vs. Australia Trent Bridge, 5-74 1st innings
1976 242,000 die in Tientsin-Tangshan (China) 8.2 earthquake
1976 8.2 and 7.4 earthquake devastate Tangsha, China (240-750,000 die)
1976 Eldon Joersz and Geo Morgan set world air speed record of 3,530 kph
1976 White Sox John Odom (5 inn) and Francisco Barrios (4 inn) no-hits A's
1974 69 die when packed bus strikes heavy truck, Belem, Brazil
1974 Carole Jo Skala wins LPGA Wheeling Ladies Golf Classic
1973 France performs nuclear Test at Muruora Island
1973 Jane Blalock/Sandra Palmer wins Lady Angelo's 4-Ball Golf Tournament
1973 Skylab 3's astronauts, Bean, Garriott and Lousma, launched
1972 39th NFL Chicago All Star Game: Dallas 20, All Stars 7 (54,162)
1971 16 time gold glover Brook Robinson commits 3 errors in 6th inning
1971 Dutch ends censorship of "Blue Movie"

Retro History For The Decade 1960

1965 Lyndon Baines Johnson sends 50,000 more soldiers to Vietnam
1964 England all out 611 in reply to Australia's 8-656 Match a draw
1964 Ranger 7 launched toward the Moon; sent back 4308 TV pictures
1963 Kathy Whitworth wins LPGA Wolverine Golf Open
1962 19 die in a train crash in Steelton, Pennsylvania
1962 Mariner I launched to Mars falls into Atlantic Ocean
1960 Republican National convention selects Richard Nixon as candidate

Retro History For The Decade 1950

1959 Great Britain starts using postal codes
1959 Hawaii's 1st U.S. election sends 1st Asian-Americans to Congress
1957 Jerry Lee Lewis makes his 1st TV appearance, Steve Allen Show
1957 Mickey Wright wins LPGA Wolverine Golf Open
1957 White Sox' James Landis struck out 5 times in a game
1954 Ernest Blochs 4th string quartet, premieres
1952 Rogers Hornsby replaces Luke Sewell, as Cincinnati Reds manager
1951 "Kiss Me, Kate" closes at New Century Theater New York City after 1077 performances
1951 Walt Disney's "Alice In Wonderland" released

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