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 of Cups
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 amp.
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
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 Hollingsworth.
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
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 Medicine Show
Haight Ashbury Medical Clinical Benefit.
Avalon - Youngbloods/Ace of Cups
Avalon - All Men Joy/Blue Cheer/Ace of Cups/Black Swan/Creedence Clearwater
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
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
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
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 Shock
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
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. noted).î
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 mention
Robertson Gym, UCSB, Isla Vista,CA - Canned Heat/Poco/Ace of Cups
Winterland - The Band/Sons of Champlin/Ace of Cups
First live appearance of The Band (as The Band, rather than as the
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
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 of
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 Way
This Monday night show was a benefit for the forthcoming (and ultimately
canceled) Wild West Rock Festival in Golden Gate Park.
- 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 Fort Ord.
Griffith Park, Los Angeles - Jefferson Airplane/Sons of Champlin/Ace
A Monday afternoon free concert. The LA Police attend, in full riot
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
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
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
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
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 Records Party
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.