Today’s show from the Boston Music Hall in 1971 reminds me a lot of the August 4, 1971 show from the Terminal Island Correctional Facility, in that it’s short on jams but filled to the brim with hard core rock n’ roll and peak Pigpen.
All of your favorite non-jammy early 70’s Dead songs are here, and they are performed with a TON of guitar. In fact, you can hardly tell if Pigpen is playing at all given all of the noise from Jerry and Bob. But this is glorious rock n’ roll, and it’s nice to hear Bob higher up in the mix.
The funny thing about this show is that Black Peter, one of the slowest songs in the repertoire, is probably one of the best songs at this up tempo show – it’s as if the band was warming up only to slow things down. Later on, Smokestack Lightning is a thrilling Pigpen performance and Casey Jones has an interesting ending.
Don’t skip Track 18 – labeled “Tuning”. This is a very delicate minute-long jam that stops you dead in your tracks, especially given how rockin’ the rest of the show has been. It’s like a little dose of ’73 popped up here in ’71. Of course, once this moment passes, we’re back to the rollin’, with a heavy Not Fade Away>Turn On Your Love Light>Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad>Not Fade Away to end the show. This isn’t going to win style points, but at this show, it’s all about the feeling, and this show is a party, start to finish.
Here’s the link to the soundboard: https://archive.org/details/gd71-12-02.sbd.lai.6255.sbeok.shnf