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Valley of Silicon










Filmed live at Shoreline Amphitheatre, September 1, 1990.

"On September 1, 1990, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, the Jerry Garcia band performed a particularly poignant kind of magic. A Grateful Dead show was originally scheduled for that date but was cancelled due to the untimely death of the Dead's brilliant, passionate keyboard player, Brent Mydland, in late July. Rather than cancel the gig, the Jerry Garcia Band stepped in to deliver one of their most heartfelt performances."

The DMF is excited to have Producer

Special Features: 
5.1 Surround Sound 
Interviews - Blair Jackson talks with Robert Hunter and band members 
Songwriter mini-documentary/photo galleries

Palo Alto, California, for a town of under 60,000, has a surprisingly high profile. Founded to accommodate Stanford University, the town has achieved renown as the incubator of Silicon Valley, The Grateful Dead and Google, just to name a few major icons.

Nothing illustrates Palo-centrism so clearly as the narrative of the early Grateful Dead. The story is regularly told of how Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter and others were struggling folk musicians and beatniks in Palo Alto, met Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters and formed The Warlocks, participated in the Acid Tests, changed their name to the Grateful Dead and moved to San Francisco to change the world. However, surprisingly few of the seminal events took place in Palo Alto proper, and many of the important places in early Grateful Dead history actually took place in Menlo Park, the town just North of Palo Alto. 

Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter's first paying gig as a folk duo in the South Bay was at Peninsula School in Menlo Park.

Tom Wolfe immortalized Ken Kesey's house on Perry Lane in his book The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. According to no less of an authority than the Archivist at the Palo Alto Historical Association

 Thus the first Warlocks gig was in Menlo Park, at a pizza parlor in Menlo Park.  Magoo's Pizza was either at 635 Santa Cruz Avenue or at 639, as near as I can determine.  635 Santa Cruz is a restaurant called  The Left Bank

The Underground, El Camino Real May-June 1969
The story of Jerry Garcia and Menlo Park was not quite over, however. In April 1969, while on tour in Colorado, Garcia bought a pedal steel guitar. Looking for an opportunity to play the instrument, he discovered that old Los Altos pal John Dawson was performing his own songs at a Hofbrau in Menlo Park called The Underground, somewhere on El Camino Real in Menlo Park. Another old South Bay friend, David Nelson, without a band at the time, joined in playing electric guitar.

Dawson, Nelson and Garcia would go on to found the New Riders of The Purple Sage, although they would not be known by that name until August. The trio played most Wednesday nights at The Underground, however starting May 7 (probably May 14, May 21 and June 4 also, and possibly June 18). Their last gig at The Underground was probably June 25. It is a little-remarked fact that the first gigs of both the future Grateful Dead and the future New Riders took place within walking distance of each other in downtown Menlo Park.


The amphitheatre was built from 1985-1986, by the city of Mountain View, in cooperation with local promoter Bill Graham, as part of the Shoreline Park project. Graham designed the amphitheatre to resemble The Grateful Dead's "steal your face" image. Each row of fixed seating at the amphitheatre has a pitch of three feet, providing ample legroom and space for dancing.

The premiere season was during the Summer of 1986; it was planned to open with a concert by The Grateful Dead, who had to cancel, due to Jerry Garcia's coma. They returned and performed on October 3, 1987 and June 16, 1990, these shows were recorded and later released as a live album, entitled View from the Vault, Volume Three.