of Cups Performance List Version 3.0 As of 6_15_05
is a list of Ace of Cups scheduled performances known to me.
Since the sources of these dates are usually posters or ads,
different shows may have been canceled or extended, and other
acts may have played besides those advertised. As a result,
I have little information about club gigs at this time. All
venues in San Francisco except as noted. Please forward all
new information, misinformation, updates and corrections. Thanks
to all the people, including band members, who’ve helped
with additional dates and details.
Spring 1967 forgotten venue, Etna, CA
manager Amborose Hollingsworth’s insistence, the band
debuts in a sleepy town somewhat near Arcata, far north of San
Francisco. This gig is described in the liner notes to the Ace
of Cups cd Its Bad For You But Buy It
(Big Beat CDWIKD 236, 2003).
lineup of Ace of Cups was:
Kaufman-guitar, harmonica, vocals
Mary Ellen Simpson-lead guitar, vocals
Marla Hanson-organ, piano, vocals
Mary Gannon-bass, vocals
Diane Vitalich-drums, vocals
and Summer 1967 -
few smaller shows in the Bay Area, described in the liner notes,
including the Tamarack Lodge near Bear Valley (see below), a
gig near Mt. Shasta, and a fund-raiser on Mt. Tamalpais.
The Panhandle, Golden Gate Park - Jimi Hendrix Experience/Ace
Free concert. This was the week after Monterey Pop, and the
Jimi Hendrix Experience was playing the Fillmore all week. The
Electric Flag were rehearsing at the Ace of Cups house in Mill
Valley, and that is how Ace of Cups got the call to open for
Hendrix in the park. Hendrix used Mary Ellen Simpson’s
United Artists potboiler documentary “Revolution”,
filmed in the summer of 1967, includes a brief clip of The Ace
of Cups performing outdoors, exact date unknown, possibly in
Golden Gate Park, but not in the Panhandle.
Mt. Tamalpais Outdoor Amphitheatre, Mill Valley
Thunderheaven Presents Festival of Growing Things -
Quicksilver Messenger Service/Blue Cheer/Sandy Bull/Congress
of Wonders/Charlatans/Wildflower/Freedom Highway/Melvin Q Watchpocket/Ace
of Cups/Lamp of Childhood /early posters included Miller Blues
Band/Hugh Masakela/Mt. Rushmore
Mt. Tamalpais Outdoor Amphitheatre, Mill Valley
Thunderheaven Presents Festival of Growing Things -
Big Brother and The Holding Company/Country Joe and The Fish/Miller
Blues Band/Sandy Bull/Congress of Wonders/Charlatans/Wildflowers/Freedom
Highway/Melvin Q Watchpocket/Ace of Cups/Lamp of Childhood /early
posters had Mt. Rushmore/Phoenix
According to Charles Perry, everyone who attended received a
packet of flower seeds. Apocryphally, the 6.10-6.11 festival
on Mt. Tam was the last rock concert at the venue, but perhaps
this event was already scheduled and didn’t count. Thunderheaven
was the production company of former Quicksilver patron Ambrose
Former Ace of Cups member Mary Gannon, posting on the yahoo
Cippolina group, said she does not recall Big Brother playing,
and that Quicksilver played both days instead. Also, according
to her, Eric Burdon appeared on one day. The Animals were at
the Fillmore that week.
Continental Ballroom, Santa Clara - Quicksilver Messenger Service/James
Cotton Blues Band/Congress of Wonders/Ace of Cups
The Ace of Cups meet Quicksilver Messenger Service manager Ron
Polte who ends up taking over management from Ambrose Hollingsworth.
67-Early 1968 -
Polte starts booking the band at local clubs, including The
Matrix in San Francisco, the New Orleans House in Berkeley,
and the Poppycock in Palo Alto (as a footnote, the Poppycock
may not have opened until 1969).
Family Park, Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose - Big
Brother and The Holding Company/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Mother
Earth/Mad River/Freedom Highway/Ace of Cups/Dr. West’s
Haight Ashbury Medical Clinical Benefit.
Avalon - Youngbloods/Ace of Cups
Avalon - All Men Joy/Blue Cheer/Ace of Cups/Black Swan/Creedence
KMPX Strike Fund Benefit.
KMPX-fm was the first underground rock station, but Tom Donahue
and his staff went out on strike in protest of ownership’s
refusal to share the wealth (the staff later moved en masse
to KSAN). The original handbill shows Ace of Cups billed over
Creedence, at that time an obscure club band from El Cerrito.
Many other acts may have actually played this benefit, including
the Grateful Dead.
or 7.68 Outside The Ark, Gate 6, Sausalito - Quicksilver Messenger
Service/Ace of Cups/Freedom Highway/Phoenix/The Boogie/Pacific
Flash/Morning Glory/The Smoke/Dino Valenti/Clover/Gail Garnett
and Gentle Rain and many more
A benefit (admission 1.00) 10 am -8 pm.
Avalon - The Fugs/Ace of Cups/All Men Joy
All Men Joy was a San Francisco group. Duane and Gregg Allmanís
group at the time was The Hour Glass.
Straight Theater - Big Brother and The Holding Company/Sons
of Champlin/Congress of Wonders/Curley Cookeís Hurdy Gurdy Band/Indian
Head Band/Ace of Cups/Phoenix
ìTime Again to Save The Straight Theater.î
Avalon - Quicksilver Messenger Service/Ace of Cups/Flamin Groovies
Balconades Ballroom, San Jose - Flamin Groovies/Ace of Cups
The Balconades Ballroom was an old Ballroom in San Jose (from
the 1930s or before). It had been part of a Country and Western
circuit for performers like Hank Williams and Bob Wills back
when San Jose was an agricultural center and the biggest radio
station (KEEN 1370 AM) played country music. There were some
rock shows at Balconades in 1968.
Straight Theater - Notes From The Underground/Ace of Cups/Liberty
Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park - Quicksilver Messenger Service/Ace
A free Summer Solstice concert. Date contributed by Kenneth
Loh based on his photo.
Avalon - Quicksilver Messenger Service/Ace of Cups/American
Indian Dancers Benefit for American Indian Well-Baby Clinic.
The Poster is in Paul Grushkinís fine book The Art of Rock.
Sound Factory, Sacramento - Steppenwolf/Ace of Cups/Initial
The Bold Knight, Sunnyvale - Sons of Champlin/Ace of Cups
The Bold Knight was a ìteen clubî (underage welcome) in Sunnyvale,
a suburb of San Jose. It was located on 769 North Matilda Avenue.
The Garage at Tamarack Lodge, Calaveras County - Ace of Cups
The handbill (reprinted on the cd) says ëFriday August 3 and
Saturday August 4í, but that fits no year that the Ace of Cups
performed, so the handbill must be inaccurate. I have assumed
that the correct year is 1968 (when 8.3-4 would have been Saturday
and Sunday), but in fact I canít be sure. The handbill says
ìon highway four, the road to Bear Valleyî. Bear Valley is a
ski area in the lower Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the venue
was probably a ski lodge.
Sound Factory, Sacramento - Quicksilver Messenger Service/Ace
of Cups/Congress of Wonders
Palace of Fine Arts Festival - Mike Bloomfield Jam Band/Quicksilver
Messenger Service/The Lamb/Linn County/AB Skhy/Ace of Cups
Miller has a detailed review in her diaries. The billing was
somewhat different than what she describes, and its not clear
who were no-shows and who she simply missed or didnít comment
on. John Handy, Steve Miller, Big Mama Thornton, and HP Lovecraft
were billed, and Mike Bloomfield was not. Miller specifically
refers to HP Lovecraft as no-shows, but the rest arenít referenced.
Faren Miller (then a teenager, and a thorough and accurate diarist)
says ìThen we went to the middle stage, where we stayed for
the rest of the afternoon. All of a sudden the Quicksilver/West
Pole people showed up, because the Ace of Cups were coming on.
Ron and Frank Polte and the ìAce of Cups manî [roadie] arrived
along with the girls. Ron looks almost like a cartoon character
with his pointy nose, his lank thatch of hair, and his inevitable
black leather jacket. The Ace of Cups looked pretty good: Mary
Simpsonís hair is longer, and she less resembles Jimmy Murray
now; Mary Gannon was demure in a white-collared purple smock
dress and black tights; Marla wore dark pants and shirt and
she was barefoot; Diane wore the flowered bell bottoms her mother
had made for her and a black velvet blouse; Denise looked incredible
in a white East Indian pajama outfit, and her hair was tied
back from her ears with a long blue scarf. All of them sang
beautifully, their voices enhanced by the placeís echo-chamber
effect. One number was actually a trio of gentle songs sung
by both Marys and Denise. They ìcranked it upî with Denise doing
ìGypsy Boyî, jumping all over and madly playing harmonica. Every
song was a delight, as (San Francisco Chronicle music columnist)
Ralph Gleason would say (he was there), and I couldnít quibble
with the girls musicianship at all. They write their own material,
and they put most groups to shame in that area. Marla sang ìLord,
Lord, Lord, Wonít You Listen to Your Childrenî. They did a tribute
to life in the country (ìsitting on the back porch, smoking
a peace pipeî); another song, ìCirclesî, put down city life
-- obviously, the Cups live in the country. They closed with
the acapella ìNo More Warî, an appropriate song in these days
after the Chicago Democratic Convention. Later in the show Miller
describes the Cups coming back on stage to sing with Mike Bloomfieldís
group; ìBut both eyes turned to the stage when Bloomfield suddenly
called up all the Ace of Cups to join him. Giggling, they formed
a semicircle around a microphone and practiced a few ìBaby's"
under Mikeís direction. ìWeíre the Bloomettesî Denise laughed.
(She was now wearing the gold-rimmed spectacles sheíd donned
offstage.) The Cups provided soulful background while Mike sang
a blues song. Heís a good singer as well as guitarist, and he
also plays organ. Everyone loved the Cups.
Community Theatre, Berkeley - Grateful Dead/Steve Miller Band/Ace
The Bank, Torrance, CA - Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons
of Champlin/Love Ace of Cups
Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar, CA - Grateful Dead/Buddy Miles
Express/Taj Mahal/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons of Champlin/Mother
Earth/Curly Cookeís Hurdy-Gurdy Band/Youngbloods/Ace of Cups/Phoenix
Buddy Miles Express is billed as ìFormerly: The Electric Flag.î
An eyewitness reports that Steve Miller Band performed as well,
with Boz Scaggs still in the band. This would have been one
of the last shows with Scaggs in the band.
Avalon - Quicksilver Messenger Service/Black Pearl/Ace of Cups
Faren Miller has more comments from the Saturday night (10.5.68)
show (she was a college freshman at the time): ìIt really wasnít
fair to make the Ace of Cups come on after that. Theyíre charming
girls, but they have none of the Quickís [relative] professionalism.
Luckily, they made a good impression by virtue of their charm
and their fine songs. After a good ovation for one number, Mary
Gannon (the brunette) smiled, ìThanks, men.î The Cups were loveably
disorganized, haphazardly picking each song before they played
it and tuning as much as the Quicksilver (John attributed the
Quickís problems to the full moon). Mary Simpson called to the
equipment man for help. She had no makeup but was dressed well
in a dark minidress, dark tights and black boots. Sheís getting
less and less tomboyish. Mary G. wore a green and buff Indian
tunic over brown velour trousers. Diane, whoís always darling,
wore a patterned blouse and a fringed miniskirt over bare legs.
Good old Denise had white trousers and a dark top, and she was
wearing her spectacles. Her masses of frizzy hair waved about,
though part of it was tied back. It must grow very quickly.
Marla was plainly dressed in dark slacks and shirt. She looked
like a serious little girl most of the time, except during some
vocal solos (and also when she was talking with the equipment
man, and with David Freiberg who got her beaming in short order).
The Cups only had one set, so it was longer than the other groups.
They sounded a bit shrill on most of the up-tempo numbers, while
instrumentally theyíre adequate, but after the Quick.... Still,
there were some lovely moments in their set, and they made a
lot of friends tonight (especially with the men, as Mary G.
The Ace of Cups play various clubs around the Bay Area, including
The Inn of The Beginning in Cotati and The Poppycock in Palo
Alto. The Poppycock, on High and University in Downtown Palo
Alto, had previously been The Top of The Tangent, where Jerry
Garcia and others had played in a jug band that the preceded
the Grateful Dead. The venue burned down in about 1971.
Avalon - Cleveland Wrecking Company/Ace of Cups/Conqueroo/Morning
The Family Dog was no longer promoting shows at the Avalon.
This show was promoted by Sound Proof Productions. A stage announcement
for 3.23.69 says Linn County will play this night, and doesnít
Robertson Gym, UCSB, Isla Vista,CA - Canned Heat/Poco/Ace of
Winterland - The Band/Sons of Champlin/Ace of Cups
First live appearance of The Band (as The Band, rather than
as the Hawks).
Civic Center Plaza Sons of Champlin/Ace of Cups/Freedom Highway
Date contributed by Kenneth Loh, based on his photo.
'69 Multi-Purpose Room, Campolindo High School, Moraga, CA -
Ace of Cups
Reported by a student at the school at the time. Moraga was
just over the hill from Berkeley. The Grateful Dead also played
a gig at this high school during this period (on 5.16.69). A
ìMulti-Rurpose Roomî was '60s California public-school speak
for a gym/auditorium.
or 69 St. Elizabethís High School, Oakland, CA - Quicksilver/Ace
Reported by a poster on the Ace of Cups message board as well
as the johncipollina.com guestbook. It is possible that the
posters referred to different gigs, but I doubt it. If Quicksilver
played, then the show has to be 1968.
Unitarian Center (SF) - Sons of Champlin/Bycycle /Freedom Highway/International
Press/Indian Gold/Ace of Cups/Mark of Kings/Dementia/Dr. Zarkof/Phoenix/Freedom/Interplayers
Circus/Douglas Waugh/Morning Glory/Kevin, Gino and Cynthia
Benefit for The Fellowship Church at the Unitarian Center (poster
from AOR). The church was on Geary at Franklin.
Bullfrog Music Festival, near Estacada (Clackamas County), OR
- Jefferson Airplane/Sons of Champlin/Ace of Cups/Portland Electric
ZooBand/FamilyTree/Mixed Blood/other local bands
A 3-day festival held outside Oregon City (about 20 miles south
of Portland) on private land at Bullfrog Lake Trailer Park.
Fillmore West - Jefferson Airplane/Ace of Cups/Phoenix/Fourth
This Monday night show was a benefit for the forthcoming (and
ultimately canceled) Wild West Rock Festival in Golden Gate
- Iron Triangle, Seaside ëNicksilverí/Ace of Cups
The actual billing of Quicksilver is unknown, but probably wasnít
ìQuicksilver Messenger Service,î according to a 1997 interview
with David Freiberg. The lineup was Freiberg, John Cippolina,
Greg Elmore, Nick Gravenites, and possibly a brief guest appearance
by Nicky Hopkins. The Iron Triangle was a former burlesque club,
no doubt usually in service of our nationís soldiers at nearby
Griffith Park, Los Angeles - Jefferson Airplane/Sons of Champlin/Ace
A Monday afternoon free concert. The LA Police attend, in full
Fillmore West - Quicksilver Messenger Service/Youngbloods/Womb/4th
Way/Ace of Cups/The Committee
Benefit for Wild West Festival Organizer. Quicksilver headlined
another Wild West ëmakeupí gig at the Avalon the next night.
According to the ever-reliable Faren Miller, Mary Simpson had
left the group by this time. Miller attended and wrote down
her usual detailed observations:
ìThe Cups evoked strange thoughts in me, because the group has
gone through a situation paralleling the early Quicksilver.
Mary Simpson (who always reminded us of folksy Jimmy Murray)
has left, just as Jimmy left. The result is the same too: a
revitalized group. The Cups have improved remarkably, however,
while the Quick mainly recouped. At last the Cupsí cycle of
good-show-then-bad-show has been broken. Their set was glorious!
The theme of the benefit (as I should have mentioned above)
was ìLetís Get It Togetherî, and thatís just what the girls
have done. Their set opened with a driving song worthy of any
top S.F. group. Mary Gannon seems to have a new Fender bass
with a great tone, and it boomed while Denise rasped out lead
guitar and Marla played some fine organ. Diane is less tentative
on the drums. By their sound the Cups could have been a seasoned
male group, though their appearance seemed really incongruous.
[Oops ... even a female diarist could make such casually sexist
remarks in the days before Womenís Lib! Sorry gals.] Mary G.
had a long red dress tied at the waist with a dangling sash
- she was barefoot, and the dress kept slipping off one shoulder
as she jerked wildly with the bass. Dianeís long hair (lighter
at the edges now) hung over the drums, unlike any shaggy-haired
male drummerës. Tiny bespectacled Denise hopped about, also
barefoot, wearing jeans and a red velvet tunic, her frizzy hair
flying. Marla leaned over her electric organ, a long ribbon
in her hair. Between songs, the Cups were the picture of disorganization:
retuning, saying ìI forget the chordsî or ìWhatíll we do now?î,
but once they began to play they were excellent. The music was
strong, the lyrics feminine (if a bit one-track-minded). On
ìIím Looking for a Pathî Mary sang with Denise chiming in on
choruses. Next they did a song about looking for a man (a great
screamer blues by Denise). Then a song about hoping for a man
to return, with fresh-baked bread, candles, and love waiting
for him (A real house-and-hearth number). Then the lovely ìWelcome,
Jolinaî about birth, followed by ìGypsy Boyî (ìI wanta have
your babyî). A few songs later, the set closed with a spoof(?)
about having an empty bed. See the thread here? The ìJolinaî
song was in two parts, moving from fast and rocking (about the
pregnancy -ìyour daddyís here and your motherís waitiní on youî),
to sweet and choral, while the lyrics nicely linked the seasons,
birth and death, and renewal. It got a very good reception,
as did all the set. Besides that marvelous screamer by Denise,
they had some great shouters. On one number, Marla used a wailing
voice, creaking with emotion, that was really effective. The
instrumental breaks were ìall fineî (as Ralph Gleason would
say). For ìGypsy Boyî, a big Barry-Meltonish fellow called ìEarthquakeî
was called upon to blow harp, and he did it quite well. During
the upbeat numbers, good old Frank Polte was jogging about at
the far left of the stage, a big grin on his face. Meanwhile,
Denise was dancing all over the place banging on a tambourine
- she got over to the right of the stage where a crazy guy had
been dancing in a freaked-out manner all through the set. A
wispy blonde occasionally danced there too, though she and the
guy never seemed to be aware of each other. The last number
was one that they evidently hadnít done in ages. Marla protested
that she couldnít remember it at all. Denise just had everybody
crowd together, so Marla came out from behind her organ. (Sheís
amazingly tall, maybe even taller than Mary, and both girls
dwarf little Denise). This last song was a slow 50s style ballad
with silly lyrics: ìItís just no fun (da da da da) when you
sleep alone (da da da da)î and ìWhat use are two pillows/ When
Iíve only got one head?î Mary delivered a brief monolog in the
middle, in true antediluvian rock fashion. Marla kept breaking
up, when not chiming in on the choruses. It seemed like a burlesque
version of the earlier ìplease come homeî song. So the Aceís
set ended without a single bad number. Maybe losing a member
forced them to come of age".
Fillmore West - Itís A Beautiful Day/Sanpaku/Sons of Champlin/Ace
of Cups/The Outlaws (Dino Valenti and Garry Duncan)/Terry Dolan
Bay Area Drug Committee Presents At Bill Grahamís Fillmore
West A Benefit Show Save The Children. This was the only appearance
by Duncan and Valenti as ëThe Outlaws.í
PNE Agrodome, Vancouver, BC Jefferson Airplane/Ace of Cups
Seattle Center Arena, Seattle, WA - Jefferson Airplane/Ace of
Cups >xx.1970 Lanai Theater, Crockett, CA Quicksilver Messenger
Service/Ace of Cups
Mary Gannon mentioned this on the Yahoo Cippolina group. Apparently
only 3 people attended, two of them West-Poleís managers.
Family Dog at The Great Highway - Terry Reid/Cat Mother and
The All-Night Newsboys/Ace of Cups
Friends and Relations Hall - Hot Tuna/Ace of Cups/Stoneground
and Relations Hall was the former ëFamily Dogí at 660 Great
Highway. By this time, guitarist Mary Ellen Simpson had been
replaced by Joe Allegra on guitar. Noel Jewkes (Denise Kaufmanís
husband) played horns with the group, and sometimes Jerry Granelli
joined Diane Vitalich on drums. A woman named Lolly Lewis also
sang and played piano during this period.
Friends and Relations Hall - New Riders of The Purple Sage/Country
Joe McDonald/Stoneground/Grootna/Ace of Cups
ìA Party for Mother Earthî.
Friends and Relations Hall - Hot Tuna/Stoneground/Ace of Cups
Itís not clear if the May and June shows are different gigs.
1971 Fiesta Del Sol, Havana, Cuba Referred to in the Ace of
Cups cd liner notes.
Friends and Relations Hall - Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna/Papa
John Creach/Jack Bonus/Ace of Cups/Black Kangaroo/One Grunt
Jeff Tamarkin writes about this in outtakes to his Got A Revolution
book. This was a 10-hour extravaganza, a private party for the
band and their friends. The Airplane were apparently much the
worse for wear when they came on stage. The show ended with
a jam featuring members of the Airplane, Dead, Quicksilver,
and inexplicably, Alice Cooper.
David Freiberg left Quicksilver for good in summer 1971 he played
bass for Ace of Cups (presumably replacing Mary Gannon). The
group petered out in mid-1972.