Oct 12, 2017

July 9, 1970: Fillmore East


The Grateful Dead blew everyone's minds at the Fillmore East, where they appeared four consecutive nights, beginning at midnight and playing until 6 in the morning.
The Dead, composed of Jerry Garcia on lead guitar and vocals, Bob Weir on rhythm guitar and vocals, Pigpen McKernan on organ and vocals, Phil Lesh on bass and vocals, and both Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman on drums, were one of the first components of the San Francisco sound. However, unlike many of the groups who quickly became successful then, they've lasted.
The Dead is perhaps the best rock band in the country. They can play everything from country to acoustic love songs to rock 'n' roll to ear-shattering psychedelic rock - and all of it well. Highly accomplished musicians, they've won themselves a devoted following unequalled in rock music.
They may be the most revolutionary band as well, for without any political rapping or harangue, they create such good vibes that their fans feel truly liberated. The Fillmore crowd was no exception. The entire audience was almost constantly on its feet each night, dancing till dawn.
The Dead build up their set very carefully, first playing a lot of soft, acoustic numbers, many from their current album, "Workingman's Dead." Then the New Riders came on stage, with some members from the Dead. Jerry Garcia was on steel guitar and Marmaduke, who also sat in on several songs with the Dead, on vocals and guitar.
They played some country and two spectacular versions of Rolling Stones songs, "Connection" and "Honky-Tonk Women." Garcia's steel guitar on Honky-Tonk was spectacular.
After another brief intermission, the Grateful Dead, with both drummers this time, returned, accompanied by on-stage flares and a huge neon sign that spelled the group's name. They played "Casey Jones" from their new album, and songs they've performed before from other recordings, including "Dark Star" and "St. Stephen." They wrapped up at 5:30 a.m. with "Uncle John's Band," the audience still wanting to hear more.

(from the Journal News, White Plains NY, 1 August 1970)

Thanks to Dave Davis.

Alas, no tape!

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  1. A short review, but an exciting find. There's no tape of the July 9 Fillmore East show (in fact it's the only lost Fillmore East show of 1970), though the rest of the run was captured on rather crappy recordings. Sadly, the usual Fillmore crew tapers missed this run, with some of the best shows of the year.

    As is quite common in 1970 reviews, the Dead are called "perhaps the best rock band in the country." Aside from the variety of their music, they're also "revolutionary" since "they create such good vibes that their fans feel truly liberated." The lucky Fillmore audiences danced til dawn - and there can't have been many bands where at 5:30 am they "still wanted to hear more." (Some who attended this run have mentioned how strange it was leaving the shows at sunrise: "It was weird walking out of the Fillmore into early daylight.")

    From the setlist details, it's apparent the reviewer attended the first show on the 9th.
    - acoustic show with one drummer, and Marmaduke on several songs (probably gospel tunes; David Nelson probably guested on mandolin as well, as he usually did at this time, but the reviewer wouldn't know who he was). Some songs from Workingman's Dead.
    - NRPS: Connection, Honky Tonk Women
    - electric Dead: Casey Jones, Dark Star, St Stephen, Uncle John's Band

    This confirms the report on deadlists:
    "David Ross recalls attending a show from this run, apparently the 9th. He remembers that among other songs they played 'a Dire Wolf with Jerry on pedal steel guitar during one of the acoustic sets, and an Uncle John's Band... a Casey Jones, a Dark Star and a Morning Dew.'"
    Deadlists also notes a few stray songs on tape that may come from this show, including a set-opening Easy Wind, but they don't circulate online.

    I'm excited to confirm another 1970 Dark Star from the Fillmore East (it must have been spectacular), but it's sad knowledge since the Dark Star is lost.

  2. It's possible that the circulating 7/10/70 tape actually comes from July 9, and this review is of the actual 7/10/70.

    One Archive reviewer of the tape states:
    "This is not 7/10/70. I was at 7/10/70. Dead at Midnight!
    The electric set opened with Morning Dew.
    They also played Dark Star into St Stephen into NFA into Lovelight.
    Mickey had some snare problems that stopped them at some point."

    Blair Jackson in Skeleton Key (p. 91) also states that he went to one of the July '70 concerts: "At the one I attended (alas, there's no known setlist for 7/10/70) they raised the giant light show screen during the 'Lovelight' closer and projected the lights onto the crowd. When they opened the side doors at the very end, morning light streamed in - it was 5 A.M."