Hey Now Kids! Frequency of Dead show posting hasn't gone exactly as I've wanted it to lately but have no fear, the shows will continue to flow. I've got some requests to catch up on plus there's always this and that to mix things up.
To everyone who comments from time to time: though I've not responded on each post with comments, all your comments are read and appreciated!! Sugarmag and I dig hearin' from all the downloaders out there.
Anyway, onto the tunes for today...
Grateful Dead -- March 3, 1971
Fillmore West, San Francisco
Casey Jones, Hard To Handle, Playing In The Band,
Loser, Me & Bobby McGee, Next Time You See Me,
Beat It On Down The Line, Bertha, Me & My Uncle, Truckin'->
Drums-> The Other One-> Wharf Rat, Sugar Magnolia, I'm A King Bee,
Greatest Story Ever Told-> Johnny B. Goode, Good Lovin'
Right from the first song I'm not extremely impressed with this performance; Casey Jones doesn't do much for me. Hard To Handle is good to groove to and Jerry plays so well. While his playing is the strongest ever, still there's, it seems, a good bunch of Phil in the mix. That makes up for the boring first few minutes. It's not the most wonderful version ever but it does nicely. Playin' then comes and goes so quickly it's almost easy to miss it. For the next few songs there isn't a note out of place. Not bad listening but nothing special. I do love the organ on Bertha. Pig's way in front in the mix and goin' at it with a nice pace. Interesting to hear Bertha like this and the same thing is true with Truckin'. He's not wailin' so much on that but holy Hammond B-3, Batman. Despite some mix problems, a decent version is turned in with great playing all around. The highlight for me is probably The Other One. It doesn't truly dive off the deep end and end up in deep space, but that's a good thing -- it stays true to the tune at all times and makes for some nice exploration. The early Wharf Rat here is kind of bland and not packed with emotion that a really good version will have. Sugar Mag is brief and King Bee is flat. I think the sound quality take a severe dive from King Bee on and the rest just isn't that fun to listen to. While the quality sucks, Good Lovin' to close the show kinda makes up for the last 15 or 20 minutes of mediocrity. I'm tellin' ya, the boys just didn't much of a crap on this night; there are some nice spots of playing but they are uninspired for the most part.
Sound quality is a bit of an issue here. There's likely a cassette generation in the lineage. That doesn't noticeably diminish the sound of the music but certainly causes some hiss during the quiet moments between tunes but also during King Bee, which isn't at all nice. Here and there there are also some mix problems but it's not bad. Sorry to say one more problem that exists is a few mildly harsh cuts. This show is listenable but it's not the greatest by any means, in performance and sound quality.
The Deadhead's Taping Compendium, Volume 1:
An In-Depth Guide to the Music of the Grateful Dead
on Tape, 1959-1974 by Michael Getz and John Dwork
[out of print]
Early 1971 was a strong period for song development; many new songs were introduced into the rotation, and their structures defined. However, this was also their weakest period in terms of improvisational jamming. Indeed, this performance illustrates the shoot-'em-up bad band approach that the band had adopted at the time. Opening with a standard rendition of "Casey Jones," the band then attempts to loosen their collar with a respectable version of "Hard To Handle." The "Playing in the Band" that follows is picture-perfect for 1971; it successfully presents the structure of the tune in its earliest pre-embellished form. The rest of the set is similar, with the Dead cranking out tight renditions of each song, but without any noteworthy exploration. The second set starts out with an album-worthy reading of "Me and My Uncle" that, again, is tight and succinct with no real improvisation. The following "Truckin'" is made interesting by mix variations, with Pig's organ way out front until the second verse. Tame and structured, this version is probably most notable for the superb vocals from the frontmen--when they're audible, that is. On the outro, Jerry briefly teases the "Dust My Broom" riff before returning to the much safer E blues scale, where he continues with his standby licks. Eventually, the jam fades intro "Drums," which sounds very rehearsed and fails to elicit a noteworthy response. Continueing in the same vein, the following "Other One" is very polished, but conversely refrains from irrational musical regurgitation, Indeed, each note makes sense, each lick, each chop having a definite place within the song's parameter. The vocal delivery from Weir is confidently executed, as are the backups from Lesh and Garcia. On the jam between verses 1 and 2, the boys loosen up by a hair, displaying the first remote sign of emotion for the evening. Garcia even goes so far as to bend a string, between split-second outbursts of feedback that were probably unintentional. On the second verse, Weir overarticulates the lyrics, and the backups are a hair out of tune. Good sign. Opting for the sudden ending without an outro jam, the boys begin a very young "Wharf Rat" that appears without any real segue or resolution. Garcia's vocals on this are scratchy; at times he talks his way through the verses. Things begin to look better on the outro jam as the musicians show signs of restlessness, and the ending is much more graceful than that of the preceding "Other One."
The show concludes with a sluggish rendition of "King Bee." Pigpen scratches his strongest Slim Harpo imitations through this one, but is hampered by amateur harp licks and a weak solo from Garcia. Could've benefited from a slide on this one. The finale of "Greatest Story" > "Johnny B. Goode" is sleepily executed and lacks the energy of many other interpretations from this era. The "Good Lovin'" encore highlights this performance: strong rhythms from Lesh and inspired jamming from Garcia. Cautious to stay within the framework, Lesh, Weir, and Kreutzmann pound the foundation like a hammer around Garcia's pentatonic phrases. Just as it looks as if Lesh and Kreutzmann are to take over, Pigpen begins the rap. This is perfectly complemented by Kreutzmann's shuffling off-beats. The boys tease further unraveling following the rap, if only briefly, before Garcia leads the band back into the chorus, wrapping up an uneven evening at the Fillmore.
by BRIAN DYKE
|3/3/71 Fillmore West @ Archive.org: SBD for Listening Only|