Today In Grateful Dead History: December 23, 1970 – Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA

skeleton&rosesThe setlist for this show (the only show played on this day in history) is somewhat shrouded in mystery.  It appears, from my basic research, that the original circulating copy of this show had a bunch of material tacked on from the December 17th show from the Matrix, leading to some confusion about what songs were really played on the 23rd.  As far as I can tell, this is the appropriate version, and since it’s a Charlie Miller transfer, I’m going to go with him.  Here’s what we’ve got:  Deep Elem Blues, Beat It On Down the Line, I’m a King Bee, Me and My Uncle, Cumberland Blues, Me And Bobby McGee, Dire Wolf, Good Lovin’ > Drums > Good Lovin’, Casey Jones > Uncle John’s Band.

Lost Live Dead has a fantastic post describing the circumstances leading up to this show, but neither he nor his commenters talk much about the performance itself.  That could be because there is not a lot worth discussing in detail.  The first portion of the show is very sloppy.  For instance, this version of Me and My Uncle is the only time that I can recall hearing Bob Weir laugh his way through an entire song, maybe due to the feedback that keeps creeping into the mix.  Everything here sounds pretty hollow, as if the sound crew just didn’t have it’s act together. (I would blame it on the Dead being the opening act for Hot Tuna, but there are plenty of good sounding shows where the Dead shared the bill).  However, Jerry’s solo on Me and Bobby McGee may be a contender for the best solo on that song ever taken – I can’t recall hearing a better one.  Also, if you’re a fan of Drums, this has to be one of the longer performances of that song in the early 70’s.

Here you go – have at it:


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