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51 Years Ago Today, The Warlocks Played Their First Show as the Grateful Dead

December 04, 2016
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Paul Ryan 

Today in 1965, Ken Kesey's Acid Tests in San Jose hosted the very first show of the Grateful Dead playing under the name that would carry them through the next 50 years. Formerly The Warlocks, the band would debut the new name in San Jose at the famed Acid Tests after Jerry Garcia went looking for a new band name following the discovery that someone else was calling themselves The Warlocks.

"I picked up the dictionary and literally the first thing I saw when I looked down at the page was The Grateful Dead," Garcia said (via the Jerry Garcia Facebook page). "Nobody in the band liked it, I didn't like it either, but it got around that that was one of the candidates for our new name and everybody else said, yeah that's great. It turned out to be tremendously lucky. It's just repellent enough to filter curious onlookers and just quirky enough that parents don't like it."

While not their first show, here's an early video of the band in 1968.



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