The Grateful Dead demonstrated this past holiday weekend (11, 13-14) that they have arrived as a top draw act. Following its New Years' weekend sellout, the Dead returned to headline the six-show holiday concert at the Fillmore East, NY. Playing to a near-capacity house, the shows grossed $55,000. The all-California bill included Love and the Allman Bros.
The Grateful Dead's approach to rock is based upon their inventive explorations of driving blues, country & western, hard rock and well conceived eerie atonal passages. With Jerry Garcia's crystal clear guitar serving as a starting point, the sextet has a spontaneity that finds all the members sharing equally in the final product. Phil Lesh's imaginative bass lines combine with the stereo drumming of Bill Kreutzman and Mickey Hart for a unique rhythm section, while Bob Weir's smooth guitar fills the gaps. The Grateful Dead have attracted one of rock's most dedicated followings with their no-gimmick music.
One of the earliest of the Los Angeles rock groups, Love has undergone extensive personnel changes since 1965 with leader Arthur Lee the lone holdover. Whether belting away or projecting a sensitive vocal, Lee is a unique singer whose lyrical vocals mellow the quartet's hard rock emphasis.
Like the Dead, the Allman Bros. are a hard blues band whose emphasis is on extended instrumentals. The sextet has the ability to drive each other and motivate the audience, but at times get hung up with repetitive chord patterns.
(by Jeff, from Variety, Feb 18 1970)
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GRATEFUL DEAD, LOVE, ALLMAN BROTHERS
Fillmore East, New York
Love, with only Arthur Lee still around from the original group, were strong in the second show at Fillmore East, Feb. 11. The West Coast group, in its first Fillmore East appearance, was sandwiched between two acts returning after brief absences, Atco Records' Alllman Brothers, who opened, and Warner Bros. Records' Grateful Dead, who headlined.
The Dead, one of the pillars of the underground, were in good, untheatrical form, while the Allman Brothers, stressing instrumental over vocal material, also were good. The Wednesday shows were added to the regular Friday-Saturday schedule because of the next day's Lincoln's Birthday observance.
Lee's distinctive voice is Love's key, whether singing in blues style or high folk style. Lee also played a strong rhythm guitar. Lead guitarist Gary Rowles also [shone], while bass guitarist Frank Fayad and drummer George Surinach contributed importantly to the Blue Thumbs Records' quartet's sound.
(by Fred Kirby, from Billboard, 21 February 1970)
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LOVE FILLMORE HIGHLIGHT
NEW YORK - Blue Thumb's legendary Love highlighted a friendly and entertaining weekend at the Fillmore recently.
Love was formerly an Elektra group, but the only remaining member of that group is the leader and lead singer Arthur Lee. The group, entertaining, different and pretty together, received a well deserved ovation. Also on the bill were the Allman Brothers.
The Grateful Dead headlined the bill and, as always, were excitedly applauded by their fans who view them as the world's greatest rock band. They have their ups and downs, but they are generally extraordinary.
(by Dan Goldberg, from Record World, 28 February 1970)