This forceful performance from 1970 runs very short and it’s clear that at least one or two songs are missing. Since the Dead were on the bill with at least one other band tonight (it’s all, apparently, very murky), it’s quite possible that this recording really represents most of the Dead’s performance, but there’s always the chance that there’s a whole other chuck of this show out there somewhere. So, if you’re reading this, and you have your hands on any other music from this night, I’m begging you, put it out there, because the show that we do have is sweet from start to finish.
This period of 1970 marks such a massive transition for the Grateful Dead, as their raucous, ear-splitting sixties sound was ever so slowly morphing into a somewhat quieter, subtler kind of music. This shift would take all of 1970 and some of 1971 to come to fruition, so we’re just at the cusp of a lot of momentous changes for the band, changes that really began in earnest with the departure of Tom Constanten in February.
What this means for the music tonight is that you’re still going to get the raw, blistering sound of 1969 Grateful Dead, applied in some cases to much calmer songs like High Time and Black Peter. If this doesn’t sound appealing, then your mind needs to be slightly adjusted, which this recording will likely accomplish right off the bat, as the aforementioned Black Peter swings through. Yes, it’s still the same old Black Peter you’re familiar with. But the tone is rugged. You’ll know what I mean as soon as you hear it – Jerry and Bob sound like they are trying to tear the strings off their guitars, just pulsing out the chords. China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider is very fast and almost overwhelmingly loud, but stupendous all the same. High Time is a revelation – the boys are screaming the chorus as if they mean every single word.
After some horrible cuts, we’re dropped into the middle of the rest of the show, which is Not Fade Away>Drums>Good Lovin’>The Other One>Not Fade Away>Turn On Your Lovelight. Crazy, no? The Good Lovin’ into The Other One is obviously the weirdest thing about this sequence, but, not surprisingly for the Dead at peak early 70’s form, it works great – a throbbing bass line, the guitars join in and then the tempo changes completely to get us into The Other One – this requires everyone to be in perfect sync and the Dead deliver. This Other One, by the way, is a tour-de-force. It’s only six and a half minutes long, but that’s because there’s just no way the boys can keep playing this quickly for much longer. The power never waivers during the transition back into Not Fade Away and then we’re just launched into Turn on Your Lovelight. The crowd goes bonkers, and rightfully so, as the Dead just continue to wail away on this piece until Pigpen does the Pigpen thing and we reach even greater heights. Unfortunately, the song (and the show) cuts off before the end, but the twenty-four minutes we’ve got are mind-blowing enough.
As I write this, I’ve already listened to this whole thing twice – I’m considering just leaving it on repeat for the rest of the day.
Listen here (it’s an interesting AUD): https://archive.org/details/gd70-03-07.aud.hanno.6156.sbeok.shnf