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San Francisco Rock: A Night at the Family Dog (1970)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | TV Movie
This film is straight-ahead footage of Santana, the Grateful Dead, and the Jefferson Airplane playing at The Family Dog in 1970. Each band does two songs, followed by a jam at the end ... See full synopsis »


Robert N. Zagone


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Santana ... Themselves
Carlos Santana ... Self - Santana
Mike Carabello Mike Carabello ... Self - Santana (as Mike Carrabello)
David Brown David Brown ... Self - Santana
Jose Chepito Areas Jose Chepito Areas ... Self - Santana
Michael Shrieve Michael Shrieve ... Self - Santana (as Mike Shrieve)
Gregg Rolie ... Self - Santana
Grateful Dead ... Themselves
Jerry Garcia ... Self - Grateful Dead
Bob Weir ... Self - Grateful Dead
Phil Lesh Phil Lesh ... Self - Grateful Dead
Ron McKernan Ron McKernan ... Self - Grateful Dead (as Ron 'Pigpen' McKernan)
Mickey Hart ... Self - Grateful Dead
Bill Kreutzmann ... Self - Grateful Dead (as Billy Kreutzmann)
Jefferson Airplane ... Themselves


This film is straight-ahead footage of Santana, the Grateful Dead, and the Jefferson Airplane playing at The Family Dog in 1970. Each band does two songs, followed by a jam at the end featuring musicians from all of the bands.

No interviews, no special editing techniques (OK, a few...), no brilliant cinematography -- you see the bands play, and that's it. (That means that if you like these bands circa 1970, you'll probably like this film. If you don't like these band, there is nothing for you here!)

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Documentary | Music


Not Rated

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Eskimo Blue Day
Performed by Jefferson Airplane
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User Reviews

Family Dog KQED circa 1970 Taping of the Dead, Santana and Jefferson Airplane - I was there.
16 May 2009 | by GeistkieselSee all my reviews

Circa 1970 a friend of mine was the janitor for the Family Dog and when he left town for a while I took his place as the 'official janitor' - I had arrived. I walked to "work" which was really cool - the Family Dog - a Rock and Roll Haven - was on the beach in the city, just over the hill from Fort Mason. About half way through the two week gig (yes, I had arrived) I walked up to the Dog and saw a van parked in front with people unloading music equipment. I went to the front door guarded by a stern faced rent-a-cop cop, and there, by my side, shoulder-to-shoulder was Grace Slick herself and using unconvincing rhetoric, I would add, she was telling the rent-a-cop to "let her in". The denial of entry was absolute, this man had his instruction from Chet Helms himself, the manager of the Dog. I was shoulder-to-shoulder with Grace when I looked the rent-a-cop in the eye and with unabashed inspiration, said, with a voice of convincing authority, "Hey, Man, open the door, we're the band." I was pure authority those precious few seconds, though I did not smirk a twitch as the rent-a-cop turned the tumblers and we passed through the portals ready to do what we came there for. When I confronted the barrier to our entrance Grace Slick, well she looked up at me with an undisguised look on her face, "Who is this guy?".

Later when the Airplane was waiting to perform a friend told me that Grace was in the band room upstairs and he suggested I go and talk to her. Sure why not says I. I opened the door and saw Grace alone in the room sitting on a couch with her back to the door reading a book. "What", thinks I, "Am I going to say?". I couldn't dare interrupt the lady with some trivial 'golly gee its sure good to meet you . . .' and rather than perturbing the reverie and perhaps embarrassing myself ( I can stand it when others say I should be embarrassed at something I have done, but I can't embarrass myself - I left the room - but there was a moment there when Grace and I shared the universe together, and quite frankly I got high seeing the lady, by herself, alone, a brief space, and her with quiet peace all about, I enjoyed the 'vibes' as they used to be called. - I certainly have the scene indelibly etched in my memory.

Later when the Airplane was on stage Grace and Marty Balins were singing, the audience was rocking, but cool hand Mike here was just standing off to the side, not moving a muscle. Grace looked at me like I was out of place or something, crazy maybe?. She noticed me and caught Marty's attention with some eye contact and directed his attention to me, and all of this without losing a note or phrase.I don't know what I was doing- some kind of reverse street theater - yeah, that was it, an actor with no lines? I chatted briefly with Garcia who was watching Santana perform - just another conversation, nothing of interest to report here. As an aside I did have a lengthy chat with Mickey Hart in a Hippy Commune (Frontiers of Science)in Lake County a few months before the KQED taping. Methinks I may have inhaled some second hand smoke then because I still get flashbacks, from the reefer, that is what it was, reefer, even today - talk about killer weed, wow!

I saw some dude pouring a white powdery substance in to a big plastic 25 gallon container and was wondering what he was throwing away when I saw he wasn't throwing anything away, he was mixing the powder with some fruity juice. Some people said they were "really high" - some seemed to entertain themselves by digging on the lights flashing somewhere in their heads.

The end of the show all, or most of, the three groups in a grand finale all crowded on the stage. One 'interloper', not a member of any of the groups was asked to leave the stage, but his banging on a tambourine or something making noise, continued, his ignoring the requests to leave was a challenge to those working feverishly to attach a hook on the end of a pole designed as it was to fit his neck. He did not want to give up his spot. With some gentle physical persuasion the anonymous tambourine player, personally I thought he showed some promise, left the stage visibly sadder, but he didn't seem any wiser - he just didn't put it together that he was, as I said above, an 'interloper', unwanted, unnamed, unknown and probably he doesn't even tell this story to his grand children - hooked off the stage - literally - ah the sweetest kind of humiliation.

Within a few months I headed for Berkeley across the Sea, AKA the San Francisco Bay seeking earnestly to improve my cash flow rate, which had been involved in a couple of years of intense inaction, that is until I walked by the sign, "Help Wanted" "Earl Scheib - Any Car any Color". I was, as Paul Newman remarked with the final lines of the movie, "The Color of Money", "I'm back".

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Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA

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KQED, NET-TV See more »
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