The gathering of free spirits and hippies was an eye opening event for the band and specifically, Jerry Garcia. After coming down from 710, Jerry was awestruck, saying "There are so many of us." Later reflecting on the event he said, "It was all the people who were into dope of any sort." This was a much bigger scale event than the Acid Test the band was used to playing.
The dawning of age of Aquarius was clearly upon them as 30 thousand bohemian kids descended upon the Polo Grounds. Owsley was running around the event passing out his new strain of LSD that he called "White Lightning." Timothy Leary preached his "turn on, tune in, drop out" message, which every member of the Dead found to be appalling in its message and tone. They were all graduates of the Acid Test and were weary of his message and the politics of the time. According to Rock Scully, one of the event organizers and the Dead's manager, the only speaker that went over well with the crowd was Allen Ginsberg, who read "Howl" then led a chant of "Let's all breathe together."
The soundboard of this show can be downloaded HERE. They open their set with "Morning Dew." There is an edge to this "Dew." It announces itself as a proclamation that we are here and are radical in a different sort of way. Although Garcia shies away from the dissident political tone of the day, this statement of the atomic dawn amid crashing drums and beating rhythm guitars, channels the angry tone of the day and filters it into a beautiful falsetto. Garcia goes for it twice before breaking for the ending solo, which he crushes. This is the first known performance of "Morning Dew."
The Dead let Lloyd go off on flute as he does a mini nonsensical rap during the flute solo. They bebop the end of "Schoolgirl" to close the set. During the set a man jumped out a plane and parachuted into the crowd. Like the Dead's playing at the Be-In the parachute enveloped the audience, as the Dead had started to take a giant step forward into the human consciousness.
Morning Dew, Viola Lee, Schoolgirl*
*w/ Charles Lloyd