December 28, 2009 – 4:08 am

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Celestial Synapse 1969 [no label, 2CD]

Live at Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA, February 19, 1969. Good to very good soundboard.

As all Deadheads know, as a jamming band, The Grateful Dead are capable of playing some of the most melodious jams ever. So fans can sit back and chill out to the jams on Disc Two. But before that, as Dead shows go, with its chanting on Disc One, this can be considered to be part of a “very unique weird psychedelic jam set”.

Though this show has circulated as June 19, 1968 at the Carousel, as Tom Shyman explained when he shared the lossless tracks on the Dime site, this is actually the Celestial Synapse at the Fillmore West on February 19, 1969. The following are notes provided by Shyman:

From Mike Dolgushkin:
The show that circulates as 6/19/68 is misdated. It’s actually 2/19/69 - the Celestial Synapse at the Fillmore West. I listened to it not long ago and thought “no way this is June of ‘68.” It sounded real close in time to the Live Dead stuff, and you can hear TC [keyboardist Tom Constanten] poking out of the murk from time to time. Plus, it includes both Not Fade Away and The Main Ten, which started appearing on a more/less regular basis in April of ‘69.

What clinched the date was reading the Rolling Stone review of the Celestial Synapse in the booklet that came with the Fillmore box set. It describes everybody in the Fillmore getting naked and crazy at about two in the morning, among them Don McCoy from Olompali, who took the stage and started rapping. Bill Graham had to keep the security people from pulling him off. Anyway, on this tape, after Lovelight, you hear a bunch of whooping and hollering, after which someone gets on stage and announces “Hi, my name’s Don McCoy.” Apparently the date that’s written on the vault copy is hard to read; Dick originally thought it said 8/29/68. Another mystery solved. Tell your friends!”

From Eric C (not exact wording)”
John Cipollina is on this! Listen to mid way thru the jam and you can hear his guitar come out of the murk for a few minutes.

Thanks to Tom Shyman for sharing the tracks.

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1
Track 101. Lovelight (29.3MB - visit the html page to download the track)
Track 102. Not Fade Away (5.7MB)
Track 103. Lovelight (13.1MB)
Click here if you reside in the United States
Click here if you reside outside the United States
Track 104. Stage Banter (4.7MB)
Track 105. Chanting (31.2MB - visit the html page to download the track)

Disc 2
Track 201. Jam (9.9MB)
Click here if you reside in the United States
Click here if you reside outside the United States
Track 202. The Main Ten (6.7MB)
Click here if you reside in the United States
Click here if you reside outside the United States
Track 203. Jam (32.7MB - visit the html page to download the track)
Track 204. The Other One Jam (17.7MB - visit the html page to download the track)

Notes that originally accompanied the tracks:

This is a very strange show. The start of Lovelight is clipped, with the recording improving from what is a ragged condition at first. The sound system has technical difficulties, with an intermittent buzz during portions of Lovelight from a bad electrical connection. There is some minor static at 9:30 of the first track. The vocals are very low in the mix, and difficulties with the sound system might explain a lack of singing during the second set, though the jams are very inspired. The recording includes a group chant between sets, which may include members of the band, crowd, a woman who sounds like Grace Slick, a child, an imposter-drummer, security etc.

Click here to order Grateful Dead recordings.

  1. 13 Responses to “THE GRATEFUL DEAD - FILLMORE WEST 1969”

  2. hey bigo, thanks! i got the last two dead shows you offered last year. the one with john fogerty where the 3 ccr tracks skipped real bad and a few days later you offered better rips and i replaced the tracks. then the one with ornette. i like it the best of the two. after i fix these tags, i will listen to it.

    will play costello walking. i was playing beck-the velvet underground & nico again yesterday walking. i like it. also played sat and sun dexter gordon & friends-keystone korner, sf, ca 12.31.80. it’s a good one. buster williams is on my facebook friends. i sent him a link so he can download it.


    By Ed Saad on Dec 28, 2009

  3. Hello Ed
    Thanks for your comments. Always glad to hear from you. Enjoy the music. Cheers.

    By bigozine2 on Dec 28, 2009

  4. Very Strange Show ? What do you expect… we were all high on electric kool-aid… it all worked out beautifully at the time… perhaps not so today but somethings do get dated…

    By jacques on Dec 29, 2009

  5. More Grateful Dead, please!! Thanks again, BigO!

    By Shaun on Dec 29, 2009

  6. Very cool and intersting to see this appear on the BigO. Been a fan of your site for many years. Glad to see this puppy make the rounds!

    Have a great new years.

    All things San Fran 60’s and/or John Cipollina,
    -Tom S.

    By Tom Shyman on Dec 29, 2009

  7. I love the weirdness. I love ‘69 Dead shows. Thanks so much.

    By John on Dec 30, 2009

  8. Only for Dead Head’s.Top

    By Udo on Dec 30, 2009

  9. Great, thanks for this. The Dead Live! (Sorry, an old one I know).

    By Paul on Jan 1, 2010

  10. Great show. It’s very obviously from the “Live/Dead” era which means it’s somewhere between January and April 1969.

    By John on Jan 6, 2010

  11. Hi, thank you so much, Eric and Roio.
    We so appreciate being able to download and to listen
    to this album.
    Up until last night, we had no idea
    that it even existed.

    Here’s a little story surrounding this event,
    its founder and The Grateful Dead:

    My husband was the founder of a commune /
    research facility called Harbinger,
    at Harbin Hot Springs, from 1967 to 1969.
    This facility was the site for an organization
    which he also founded called:
    Frontiers of Science Fellowship (FOSF).

    Frontiers of Science Fellowship
    hosted this CELESTIAL SYNAPSE event,
    on Feb. 19th, 1969.

    My husband became good friends with Jerry Garcia.
    Bill Graham, the owner of the Filmore Auditorium,
    actually even made a financial contribution
    to this event.

    The Grateful Dead also played a benefit
    for Harbinger / Frontiers of Science Fellowship,
    at the request of Bert Kanegson (sp.?),
    former manager for the Grateful Dead,
    who became a participant at Harbinger.

    Bert’s wife ended up storing the library,
    from Harbinger, after the group broke up,
    shortly after the CELESTIAL SYNAPSE.
    Bert came to the new, east coast Harbinger site,
    in Sheffield, Massacheussets (in late 1969),
    which never fully unfolded.
    (There was a dispute
    between the owner of the 27-room facility
    and some who arrived, from Harbinger,
    who insisted on using drugs on the premises,
    next door to the owner’s home
    (as if their sentiments hadn’t already destroyed
    the undertakings at the original facility!).

    The property owner in Sheffield,
    was Dr. Eleanor Hamilton, Ph.D. (’Ranger’)
    who had, in her possession, all of the unpublished manuscripts of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, M.D.,
    which my husband had the opportunity
    to read and digest.
    Eleanor had hosted my husband’s stay at her home,
    at the end of a Pleasant Valley Conference, in NY state,
    which she attended,
    which conference was paid for, by Richard Hockey.

    My hubby participated at Woodstock; he personally knew Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie and others.
    Barbara Dubee, Richie Havens’ mate,
    and a former girlfriend of Arlo Guthrie,
    had been a participant in Harbinger.
    Hubby actually lived with Arlo, at his home,
    in Washington County, for some months, in 1970.

    In 1971, hubby was one of the THREE producers
    of the first Glastonbury Festival, in the U.K.
    with Andrew Carr and Arabella Churchill.
    He was also the Media Director.
    He appeared on British television,
    in Plymouth, England,
    on behalf of the Producers.
    David Bowie, Fairport Convention, Traffic, Mellanie, Brinsley Schwartz, Gentle Fire, and others
    were involved with that production.
    A movie, by the name of Glastonbury Fayre,
    was filmed by Nicholas Roeg,
    and is available online.
    All of this took place on Worthy Farm,
    in the Vale of Avalon, in the middle of the Glastonbury Zodiac (south of the Glastonbury Tor).

    My husband was actually originally invited to the U.K.
    at the request of John Lennon,
    and ended up staying there for 11 years.
    The words to ‘Imagine’
    and the words to ‘Instant Karma’,
    came out of some of their conversations together.
    John Lennon recorded some lyrics,
    written by my husband, titled “Aquarius Coming”,
    left behind, in a box, in Vevey, Switzerland, in 1979.
    We have never been able to find anyone to return there,
    to find this, what would now be considered,
    a valuable recording.

    My husband is 74 years young now, (I’m almost 50).
    He’s still the loving and loveable hip hippie
    he ever was.
    He took people off of drugs
    and turned them on to meditation.
    He gave them back the control
    over their own nervous systems.
    As Jack Nicholson, the actor, reported to me,
    while we were visiting he and Rachel, in 1990:
    “It’s cheap and it’s legal”.

    He continues to be very keen minded
    and a beautiful, contented spirit.
    He has written 4 books and thousands of pages
    of inspired writings. All FREE online.
    We have over 1,000 hours of audio recordings,
    which our webmaster, thankfully, transferred
    from old reel to reels and audio cassettes
    (just in the nick of time!).
    The Structure and The Dynamics of Oneness
    ANACLYSM Radio Program

    facebook group: Harbinger Revisited 1967 - 1969
    contact Jennifer: [email protected]

    Thank you for sharing the music,
    thank you for letting me share a little history.


    By Jennifer on May 1, 2010

  12. Dear visitors to this site:
    Again I thank the Grateful Dead for their help and support
    for Frontiers of Science Fellowship, between ‘67 and ‘69.
    I wanted to inform the people at this forum, those interested
    in this band, and this particular album,
    and those who were involved
    and inspired by in Frontiers of Science Fellowship
    and Harbinger Commune, lifestyle and principles,
    that the founder of these organizations,
    passed away, in October, 2011.

    However, for those of you who are interested in reading books,
    short writings and listening to audio recordings on a variety of issues and subjects (life from a biophycisict’s point of you), please enjoy the free website, and if you need help navigating it, or if you have any questions, please contact me: Jennifer: ecohealth(at)rogers(dot)com. I will do my utmost to help.
    The loss of this soul’s presence, is a loss for the planet (I think so anyway).


    By Jennifer on Mar 2, 2012

  13. I worked for/with Dr. Eleanor Hamilton all through college at the camp she and her daughter April ran in Cape Breton, NS. So similar we were thought, that they nicknamed me “Little Ranger”.

    I am interested in how/references to the unpublished papers of Wilhelm Reich. Any clues?

    Thank you,


    By Ellen S. Adler on Jul 19, 2012

  14. Interesting note, my late father, Stephen Gaskin, wrote extensively about this event in his book Amazing Dope Tales and Haight Street Flashbacks in a chapter titled Synapse Dance. Throughout the mp3 “chant,” the repeated, sustained note is my dad blowing his cow horn (I’d know it anywhere), the one he started the Om with at his Monday Night Class events in San Francisco in the mid Sixties. In his telling Tim Leary was also at this event. The after party was held at Harbinger (now Harbin Hot Springs) on February 22, which burnt to the ground on September 14 of 2015. This after party also features in my dad’s book as well as in Ellen Klages’s book, Harbin Hot Springs: Healing Waters Sacred Land. I have hazy, eight-year-old memories from both these events.

    Thank you for making these mp3s available. It’s comforting to hear dad blow his horn and as I write my memoir of growing up in San Francisco in the Sixties, on The Farm, and on a small intentional community in British Columbia with my mother, who is also writing her memoir, finds like this page are like striking gold.
    Best, Dana Gaskin Wenig

    ps: In an odd coincidence, my mother’s brother and his wife were very close friends with Dr. Eleanor Hamilton (Ranger) and her husband Tajar. Discovering the Hamrick/Hamilton connection a few days ago about blew my mind. (My parents divorced when I was four, so my two timelines are pretty distinct from each other.)

    By Dana Gaskin Wenig on Sep 22, 2015

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