Grateful Dead at Las Vegas Ice Palace 1969

Grateful Dead Las Vegas 1969 poster. Las Vegas Ice Palace Grateful Dead & Santana 1969 poster

Janusz Gottwald


Grateful Dead Las Vegas Ice Palace 1969


First printing lithograph, Excellent condition but altered - see below


Framed: 26" tall x 19 1/2" wide





The Marquee for the Show!

Frame at Angle


This unusual and exceptionally rare poster is a first printing but the top and bottom were removed as “extraneous” by the owner. It features a repeated Roy Lichtenstein type of cartoon panel in the foreground with a mushroom cloud behind.



The top of the poster, reading "Electronic Activities Present" has been sliced off as has the bottom ticket strip. While nowhere near the value of an uncut first printing, this poster image is still wildly rare.



In March 1969 the Grateful Dead were primarily focused on finishing the Aoxomoxoa album at Pacific Recording in San Mateo. As a result, their performances were confined to easy weekend trips, allowing them to make a little money while still staying around town to work on the record.



The Grateful Dead and Santana played an ice skating rink in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The Ice Palace was a ice skating rink in the Commercial Center on the corner of Sahara and Maryland Parkway. They would put boards over the ice and they had bleacher seats as well – there was no assigned seating. At this time, Santana was a popular San Francisco band, and they had played around California a bit, but their first album had not even been recorded (it would not come out until August). Both Santana and the Dead were booked by Bill Graham's Millard Agency, so the bands shared a lot of bills. The Millard Agency specialized in finding new concert opportunities around California and the West Coast for its San Francisco-based clients. This show seems to be a good example.


One interesting thing about the event is the notice on the poster that the show will be from 8:00-11:30 pm. It does seem surprising that 24/7 Las Vegas was putting a curfew on a downtown rock show. The time limit may have been because the show (or the permit anyway) was directed at teenagers, or it may have been Vegas distrust of hippies who didn't gamble or buy drinks, but it does mean that the show would not have run late. I do not know who The Free Circus were, or if they were a band or some sort of "act" (it being Las Vegas and all).



Someone in the Dead introduces Dark Star: "Next tune we're gonna do is something we wrote especially for the Ice Palace here in Las Vegas. We wrote it this morning." The Dead seemed not to have been too enamored with Las Vegas (or vice versa), as they did not play there again until 1981!

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