The Grateful Dead’s 1970 trip to New Orleans resulted in them being thrown in jail, and while no one ended up doing hard time on the drug charges, the experience did inspire Robert Hunter when he penned Truckin’ shortly thereafter. The bust took place after the January 30th show, and while the Dead were out of jail and able to play on the 31st (a strange show that turned acoustic after Phil’s bass amp blew out), today’s show with Fleetwood Mac was actually billed as a benefit to raise funds for the Dead’s legal defense.
This is not an ideal recording, but if you are interested in the full Bob Weir guitar class, you’re going to really want to start at the beginning of the show, because he is turned way way up in the mix. Since Bob is usually too low for my taste, it’s nice to hear him out front here, and he shreds it, especially on China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider. The mix adjusts after this sequence and Bob is not quite so prevalent a little later on when the Dead torch Good Lovin’, making up for slightly sloppy execution with tremendous energy and noise.
Most of the rest of the songs here are average at best, but then we get to the monster at the end – The Other One>Turn on Your Lovelight, featuring Peter Green from Fleetwood Mac on a very quiet guitar. The Other One is a pretty epic ten minutes of power, but that’s nothing compared with the 40 minute nuclear explosion that is Lovelight. This is not the longest Lovelight ever, but it’s pretty close and it features some very heavy guitar indeed – just wait for the closing guitar sequence. To my ear, the coolest part is the middle section, with dueling organ and a little space in the jam. It kicks in around the 23 minute mark. Unfortunately, there are a lot of little drop outs and pans back and forth at this point of the recording, but it’s worth listening through the glitches.
Clearly the Dead don’t sound too worried about their brush with the law – this Lovelight is a boot square in the ass of the New Orleans P.D.
To listen to the (flawed) soundboard, go here: https://archive.org/details/gd1970-02-01.126275.sbd.lee-smith.flac16