Valley of the Dead: Stanford

How to connect to the history of the Grateful Dead without a ticket.
Here are the places where history happened.
Dancing on the grass at Frost Amphitheater, April 28, 1985. Photo: Regan McMahon 2012

Frost Amphitheater

Galvez St. at Campus Dr.

After years of closing Frost to any kind of live musical performance that could be considered risque, Stanford has reopened the venue to rock & roll and pop acts. The Dead and their members played at Frost a number of times throughout the '70s and '80s before the group outgrew the venue and Stanford closed it to all but campus events. However, just last month, on May 16, the venue was the site of the Frost Music & Arts Festival, featuring the superstar electronic music producer Flume. Those who attended say Stanford security conducted thorough searches of all who entered. What a buzzkill.

Tressider Memorial Union

459 Lagunita Dr.

Located at the center of campus, these days Tressider Memorial Union features a Starbucks and CoHo (coffee shop and performance space), The Stanford Store, a number of eateries and more. Back in the mid-'60s the area was quite similar—though it lacked a Starbucks. A flyer inviting anyone and everyone to "FREAK OUT With The GRATEFUL DEAD" at Tressider has been dated to Oct. 14, 1966. No known rock & roll shows were held after that date. We can only wonder why.

Stanford Coffee House

459 Lagunita Dr.

Many folk singers played at the Stanford Coffee House during the early '60s. Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter performed there as a duo at least once.

Roscoe Maples Pavilion

655 Campus Dr.

Home to both men's and women's basketball at Stanford, as well as women's volleyball, Maples Pavilion, as it is most commonly called, hosted only one Grateful Dead show: on Feb. 9, 1973—a month prior to the death of founding member, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, who passed on Mar. 8, 1973.

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