Descriptive Essay

421 WordsAug 9, 20122 Pages
asd s the kind of thing that physicists and palaeontologists dream about: being able to look back and determine the exact moment that a star or a dinosaur came into being. For the contemporary live sound business, that moment was the night of 2nd February 1970 at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri. It's about as good a story as it gets in an industry filled with great tales. In 1970, the original jam band, the Grateful Dead, were about to take their career to the next level, transitioning from the fuzzily focused psychedelia of the 1960s to the more earthy ur-Americana of Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, both of which were released that year. But even with those landmark records, the Dead routinely experienced mediocre record sales. Their popularity as a live band, however, was indisputable. Tens of thousands of rabid fans would converge at venues worldwide to gyrate through the Dead's legendarily marathon concerts, some of which would go on for as long as six hours. What they were listening to up to that point was a sound system developed in part and operated by someone well known to the counter-culture and law enforcement alike as either simply Owsley or Bear (real name Augustus Owsley Stanley III). In addition to his work as the Dead's touring sound FOH mixer, Owsley had several interesting side careers. The most notable was as a chemist, though not of the sort that his father, a former governor of the state of Kentucky and former member of the US Senate, might have condoned. Owsley is estimated to have produced roughly five million 'hits' of LSD in the mid-1960s in San Francisco, the ground zero of hippiedom and the petri dish for the Grateful Dead. Owsley, not unexpectedly, was plagued by criminal prosecutions (though in his defence it should be noted that when he began cooking the stuff in 1965 LSD was not yet illegal in the US). One condition

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