So I was just sitting here doing some computer stuff, listening to the Grateful Dead sing The Wheel. I was thinking that sometimes male and female voices just don’t mesh as well as they should, in the digitally compressed MP3 files we’re listening to these days. I brought up iTunes to see more about the song.

I have several versions of The Wheel, and this one was recorded at Swing Auditorium in February 1977. In the next minute I learned that Swing Auditorium was in San Bernardino, CA.  It was built in 1949 and could hold 10,000 people. Check out all the famous groups who played there.

The auditorium was struck by a small plane on 9/11/1981 and had to be demolished. Imagine that. 20 years to the day before the day we call 9/11, there was a 9/11. Not a terrorist though.

I can’t quickly find any photos of Swing Auditorium in Google Images, and frankly this post isn’t worth much more time. But here is a photo of The Dead playing there in 1977.

Click here to see it full size

Yep, that was taken on the very night I’m listening to, in Feb. 1977. The voices I was hearing are the guy 2nd from left and the girl 3rd from right. Jerry Garcia and Donna Jean Godchaux. He’s dead, she’s not. So it goes.

The wheel  is turning
and you can’t slow down
You can’t let go
and you can’t hold on
You can’t go back
and you can’t stand still
If the thunder don’t get you
then the lightning will

Would you like to hear that recording of The Wheel too? Click here. That should open your computer’s music player and play the song. If not, go to this directory page and right click the link that says “the wheel ….” Select Save Target As … or Save Link As … depending on your browser, then download it to your hard drive.

Small wheel turn by the fire and rod
Big wheel turn by the grace of God
Everytime that wheel turn round
bound to cover just a little more ground