GRATEFUL DEAD, NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE
FILLMORE EAST, NEW YORK
The Grateful Dead gave one of their fullest Fillmore East programs, May 15, with the New Riders of the Purple Sage. It was the first New York appearance of the two associated groups, the only acts on the bill.
The show was divided into three sets. In the first, the Grateful Dead, with Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir on acoustic guitars, was strongly country oriented. Garcia and Ron (Pigpen) McKernan had vocal leads. McKernan also was strong on keyboard and harmonica. Weir, the rhythm guitarist, and bass guitarist Phil Lesh aided in the vocals. In the set's last number two members of the New Riders joined in, guitarists David Nelson and a member referred to only as Marmaduke, who, in that group's good country set, displayed a good country voice.
Garcia, switching to steel guitar, and drummer Mickey Hart are members of both units, the next set showed. Bass guitarist David Torbort completed the New Riders, whose fine country set built the evening's intensity. Weir joined in the last number.
The closing set in the first show had the Grateful Dead, with both drummers, Hart and William Kreutzmann, at full intensity for one of their best outings. By the time the Warner Bros. group and mainstay of the San Francisco influence reached "Saint Stephen," the audience was spontaneously on its feet with the music.
(by Fred Kirby, from the Cincinnati Billboard, May 30 1970)
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(FILLMORE EAST, N.Y.)
Billed as an evening with The Grateful Dead featuring The New Riders Of The Purple Sage, a country extension of the Dead, Bill Graham presented the San Francisco unit as the sole act on the Fillmore East, N.Y. bill. The unusual booking was prompted by the loyalty the Dead inspire from its followers and the knowledge that the band is most alive when there is no time limit placed upon its set.
By devoting an entire evening to the Dead, Graham was able to solve a problem the sextet had presented in the past. Since the normal Fillmore bill includes three acts, the majority of Dead fans have refrained from attending the early show where the band was limited to an hour set, resulting in sellouts for the late shows, but less than capacity for the first show. With tickets scaled to $5.50, the pair of concerts grossed $22,500.
Presented in three segments, an evening with the Grateful Dead featuring the New Riders Of The Purple Sage falls more into the category of a music experience than a concert. Over the course of five-and-a-half hours, the Dead's trip through every facet of contemporary music, from soft folk to eerie electronic explorations, exemplified an affinity for freedom and spontaneity that was reflected in the festive atmosphere that pervaded the Fillmore.
Part one featured five members of the Dead presenting an acoustic set of tranquil country-folk that provided a relaxing warmup to the energy that followed. The pace was then quickened by The New Riders Of The Purple Sage, a unit that features Jerry Garcia playing pedal steel guitar, drummer Mickey Hart, David Nelson playing electric guitar, bassist David Torbert and rhythm guitarist Marmaduke. Marmaduke's vocals lend a cajun flavor to the country sound that derives its main impetus from Garcia's unique steel guitar style.
The evening reached its zenith with stage three, the electricity of the Dead: Garcia, Hart, drummer Bill Kreutzman, bassist Phil Lesh, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir and organist Pigpen. Now when any rock band employing horns is said to fuse rock and jazz, the Dead, sans horns, perhaps best exemplify the qualities that are indigenous to jazz, freedom and improvisational instrumental jams. With Garcia's piercing guitar riffs leading the way, the Dead cohesively follow him through excursions that are as powerful as any in rock without sacrificing clarity.
(by Jeff, from Variety, May 27 1970)
ROAD TRIPS 3:3