RECENT 'DEAD' CONCERT IN CINCINNATI LIVELY
The Grateful Dead is a musical family. They are not rock stars - rather they are simple folk playing genuine, honest rock and roll.
The Dead are playing with a sweet country flavor at present. Songs like "Sugar Magnolia" and "Candyman" are a pleasant transition from their earlier pennings.
But, the Dead are at their optimum (and I like them best) when they freely improvise around a basic rock pattern. They ended their recent set in Cincinnati with an old Crickets tune, "Not Fade Away", and if you were fortunate enough to have a tape of their performance (it was broadcast live and the reproduction was excellent) listen to "Not Fade Away".
Here the Dead improvise the way they used to. Complex, interwoven passages that border on the cosmic.
I miss the "Dark Star", "Turn On Your Love Lite" Dead and hope that they are merely going through a stage.
All the Dead were at the concert with the exception of Pigpen who is ailing with liver and ulcer problems. On the tour Keith Godcheaux is sitting in on keyboards and vocals as a replacement.
At Taft Auditorium they played a lot of new songs. The Dead are in a constant musical evolution. A song never sounds the same twice and Godcheaux added a distinctive personal touch that was flavorsome indeed - but it wasn't Pigpen.
A brief word about the audience - DISGUSTING. Between songs and even before songs ended a certain few would bark out their favorite Dead tunes. They got so obnoxious that at one point Garcia said, "Hey, are you trying to play cop?"
One yokel kept screaming for the Dead to play "Truckin". Garcia once again, "Hey man, you may dig 'Truckin' but what about those who don't?"
I got to the concert too late to see the Purple Sage and apparently the audience didn't see them either.
(by Mike Kelly, from the Journal-News, Hamilton OH, 9 November 1971)
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'GRATEFUL DEAD' GLOOMY, 'NEW RIDERS' STEAL SHOW
Somehow a concert by the Grateful Dead can end up being gloomy. Not even helium-filled balloons with "The Grateful Dead" printed on them could cut through the feeling of depression at Saturday night's concert at Taft Auditorium.
Perhaps it was the drugs. I had the feeling even the drinking fountain was laced.
Or maybe it was people's clothes. Both performers and audience could have been dressed in khakis and looked just as cheerful.
But most of all I think it was the steady, pounding beat of The Grateful Dead. Their performance was sturdy, and well executed, but the music tended to lumber and bear down on the listener.
The rock group is made up of five men playing three electric guitars, piano and drums. But instead of using the tone colors of the individual instruments, they stick to one basic sound that has neither very much color or originality.
I wish the whole concert could have been performed by the warm-up group. I have never heard better country music.
The New Riders of the Purple Sage use three electric guitars, a slide guitar and drums - very close to the Grateful Dead instrumentation. But whereas the Dead were dreary, the New Riders were rhythmically sophisticated, glorious in their mellowness, and thoughtful to the point of having good counterpoint.
From the tearful "The Last Lonely Eagle" to the rocking "Louisiana Lady" they were original and constantly engaging. The orchestra pit was full of people bouncing up and down in time to their music.
The concert was an instant sell-out, largely, I guess, due to the Dead's reputation.
(by Rob Cook, from the Cincinnati Enquirer, 31 October 1971)
Thanks to Dave Davis.