Get ready to go to church! Your classic 1969 show here: both sets pretty much just roll from one song to the other and the ending crescendo leaves you a little breathless and maybe even surprised you’re not at the show, but still sitting in your house – wife and babes all tucked in – with the headphones blasting. The first set has some great grooves – the crushing Other One that opens and you wonder, if this is the beginning, where are we going to end up? (You end up with a St. Stephen that leaves you feeling like you were on the working end of a heavy bag.)
Many of the comments on the Archive single out the opening to this show as its major highlight: Liamfinnegan asks, “if anyone knows another Dead set-opener in their history that rips better than this one, let me know.” Another Archive reviewer, clementinescaboose, posted, “the New Potato Caboose is one of the greatest and most unique versions, even if it’s not perfect. Phil is absolutely ON FIRE! Such a great opening combo – maybe the best ever!” Soon we come back to earth with an easy mellowness, ending with Doin’ That Rag and easy-going, but strong Cosmic Charlie. You’re feeling good and ready for another dose.
The second set has all the heat our little, mortal minds can handle: they lull us into a late 60s-the-sun-is-shining-on-everything-so-brightly hypnotic groove with delicate versions of Dupree’s Diamond Blues and Mountains of the Moon. Then we suddenly snap-to in the strong current of an early Dark Star and are soon pressed into a hot version of St Stephen>The Eleven>Lovelight combo. It’s heavy density. You’re floating, not fighting.
doug_the_dude captures the general feeling of the entire show: “the opening Other One stands up and practically *dares* you to compare it to any other rendering of the entire suite. The rest of the show really exists in the wake-explosion of this opening chaos – and it all serves it well. The quite-amazing Lovelight mirror-bookends it, with Pigpen reminding us he’s the real frontman, even though he’s been completely absent all night!”
1: Cryptical Envelopment-> The Other One-> Cryptical Envelopment-> New Potato Caboose-> Doin’ That Rag-> Cosmic Charlie
2: Dupree’s Diamond Blues-> Mountains Of The Moon, Dark Star, Saint Stephen-> The Eleven-> Turn On Your Lovelight
E: Hey Jude
How to Listen:
This show has been commercially released as “Fillmore West 1969: Complete Recordings.”
Here’s a copy of the show at the Archive.