Saturday, 12 September 2009

The Canyon Shows

The tiny out-of-the-way town of Canyon, CA can be found in the hills behind Berkeley (between Berkeley and Moraga). Canyon was a peculiar outpost for avant-garde filmmakers like Robert Nelson, and there were many Berkeley connections, not least folk singer Paul Arnoldi who was a regular on the Bay Area "scene" was a local resident. The two known concerts in Canyon in 1967 were held outdoors, one in a Eucalyptus Grove and the other at a private school.

The first show on July 16, 1967 show was a benefit for the local store and Paul Arnoldi hand crafted a cardboard poster advertising the perfomanves of Country Joe and The Fish (who had played a 1:00 to 1:45 afternoon set at the Fantasy Faire in Devonshire Downs - a few hundred miles south), The Youngbloods, Blackburn & Snow and the Notes From The Underground as well as himself. The one off poster has now made its way to the UK and is being held hostage by a renowned collector in the West Country. No doubt efforts will be made to free it at some point. The event ran from 2 pm through midnight and featured dacing amongst the 200 year old trees and the After Dark Light Show. Handbills were also produced for the event and these appear now and again on different coloured paper.

In September 1967 Country Joe and The Fish returned to play a party at a Private School in Canyon. Little is known of the event other than Country Joe and The Fish were joined by the Grateful Dead and Johnny Talbot & De Thangs. If you know of any advertising for this event, or can even specify an exact date in September we would be really grateful. This was a turbulent time for Country Joe and the Fish - they had completed an East Coast tour in August and very early September but by October 6 the Berkeley Barb was reporting that Joe had left the band. This would result in Joe taking off to perform in the Pacific Northwest and the band to play a number of shows under the name The Incredible Fish.

1 comment:

  1. I know an eyewitness to this show--two in fact--which is how we are certain it occurred. There are black and white photos of Country Joe and The Fish and Johnny Talbot and De Thangs (the camera ran out before the Dead played).