Did you know that Paste owns the world’s largest collection of live music recordings? It’s true! And what’s even crazier, it’s all free—hundreds of thousands of exclusive songs, concerts and videos that you can listen to and watch right here at Paste.com, from Louis Armstrong to The Who to U2 to Wilco. Every day, we’ll dig through the archive to find the coolest recording we have from that date in history. Search and enjoy!
On Sept. 15, 1976, the notorious Hells Angels motorcycle gang threw a party on a boat in New York Harbor and invited all their friends. Dubbed The Pirates Ball, the bill included the Jerry Garcia Band (with Keith and Donna Godchaux), Bo Diddley, and Elephant’s Memory, a New York band known for backing John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the early ‘70s.
The ship, the USS Duchess, shoved off from Battery Park in lower Manhattan, and promised not to return to dock “until the party is over.” It was a Hells Angeles bash, but anyone feeling brave enough (and, with any luck, had no sense of smell) could buy a ticket for $15. Why Garcia would want to be trapped on a boat with the Hells Angels after the disaster at Altamont seven years earlier, when an Angel infamously stabbed a festivalgoer to death right in front of the stage while The Rolling Stones played, is anyone’s guess. Garcia, who had been at Altamont with The Grateful Dead, later called the festival “a nice afternoon in hell.”
On the compact Duchess stage, with a noose dangling ominously in the background, Garcia and Co. played a relatively brief set, breaking out “Catfish John,” “After Midnight,” “They Love Each Other” and a few others. Watch below as they ramble through a nine-minute cover of Bob Marley’s “Stir It Up.”