Today in Grateful Dead History: August 19, 1970 – Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA

skeleton&rosesIt’s hard to beat the Grateful Dead’s August 18, 1970 show at the Fillmore West for historical value, so for the August 19th show at the same venue, we’re just going to have to settle for an above-average 1970 acoustic / electric performance.

Dead shows at this time usually featured an acoustic first set, a set by the New Riders of the Purple Sage and then a set of electric Dead.  Tonight’s show has a bunch of great acoustic numbers, including two that were only played 1970, Wake Up Little Susie and Cold Jordan.  For me, the acoustic highlight is the pairing of Ripple>Brokedown Palace as the songs were laid out on American Beauty.  The Dead only played these two songs together on four occasions – 8/18/70 (their live premiere), tonight, 9/20/70 at the Fillmore East and 11/7/70 at the Capital Theater (all great shows).  So it’s awesome to hear this combination tonight.

The electric set is pretty typical for the era, but there are some definite winners that you don’t normally think of – the set opening Cold Rain and Snow and an amazing, deep Easy Wind with some ear blasting solos from Jerry.  New Minglewood Blues is also hot, with Bob howling the lyrics with a sincere passion that goes beyond even his usual full-throated delivery.  To close things out, we’ve got a thirty minute Turn on Your Lovelight that is not exceptional, but Pigpen does rock out some profane suggestions for the lovers out there and David Crosby contributes some guitar at some point (it’s hard to hear him through the mud).

Like the 18th, the recording of this show is an audience tape of fair quality, but it’s plenty enjoyable.  Check it our here:


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