The Be-In, a “gathering of the tribes” as it was called, brought together some 30,000 people from across the entire spectrum of the counterculture. Originally organized to protest California’s ban on LSD, the event became far more than just a political rally; it was a celebration and assembly of everyone from student radicals to hippies to beatniks to Hell’s Angels. In addition to the Grateful Dead, most of the rest of the Bay Area music scene performed, including Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Big Brother and the Holding Company. A host of folks appeared on stage, including Allen Ginsberg, Ram Dass, Gary Snyder, and Timothy Leary, who delivered his famous “turn on, tune in, drop out” declaration. And, of course, Bear was there with a specially concocted batch of acid. The media had a field day with the event, covering it in a frenzy of disbelief. Largely because of the media coverage, the Human Be-In ushered in the more widespread countercultural movement across the country and made San Francisco the destination for tens of thousands of youth who would descend on Haight-Ashbury and create the so-called Summer of Love.
The video above provides some raw footage of the event. You can check out some the Dead, playing Dancin' in the Streets and jamming productively, for a while after the 13:15 mark. And don't miss Ginsberg positively rocking out to the Dead at around 14:05.
There is an ostensible recording of the full Dead set - including a Morning Dew, Viola Lee, and Schoolgirl - floating around. Most folks agree that everything, most certainly the Dew, was from a later date, perhaps even as late as 1968. And no other recording, beyond the footage above, that we know of has surfaced.
Other January 14th Shows and Recordings:
- 1966 - Fillmore Auditorium - San Francisco, CA - unknown setlist, not on Archive
- 1967 - Fillmore Auditorium - San Francisco, CA - unknown setlist, not on Archive
- 1978 - Bakersfield Civic Auditorium - Bakersfield, CA
- 1979 - Utica Memorial Auditorium - Utica, NY