Oct 23, 2020

October 31, 1971: Ohio Theater, Columbus OH

The Ohio Theater was the happy site of a post-Halloween party Sunday night, with the Grateful Dead and New Riders of the Purple Sage providing musical tricks and treats. 
Many in the more-than-packed house were in costume and the concert induced dancing in the aisles, the orchestra pit, and even the box seats.
The show had been sold out well in advance, but people didn't seem to pay much attention to seats, anyhow. 
The New Riders opened the concert with John Dawson songs and rearranged favorites such as "Hello Marylu" and "Honkeytonk Women." Along with Dawson, David Nelson and David Torbert, Perry Garcia played pedal steel guitar. 
Although the Riders are friends of the Grateful Dead, and Garcia performs with them, they are a group of their own. West Coast Country-Rock would best describe the style of this delightfully new group. 
It's near impossible to describe, define or categorize this group. They are the Grateful Dead, and have been for seven years now - an established, polished, together aggregation. 
So many others have tried in vain to commercialize on what the Dead first laid down. 
Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, and Keith Godshaux (filling in for Pigpen, who is recuperating from surgery) were simply outstanding. 
Much of the material was new. "Jack's Straw" was particularly effective, and Godshaux provided excellent keyboard - quite noticeable throughout the concert, but especially during "Back to Tennessee." 
As the concert roared to its finale, the lid came off when the Dead worked their way into "Kasey Jones" and completely "psyched" the house with "One More Saturday Night" and "Hand Jive." 
The Grateful Dead have come a long way since their early days in San Francisco, but somehow have been able to evolve within their own style - which is dynamic.
(by Peggy Clark, from the Columbus Dispatch, 1 November 1971) 

Thanks to Dave Davis

Released on Dick's Picks 2.

1 comment:

  1. This short review from the Columbus Dispatch isn't the best writing, but no doubt the reporter was hurrying to dash off a brief piece for the newspaper deadline. It still has a few items of interest.

    This wasn't one of the shows broadcast on radio, and the October 31 Dispatch had proclaimed that the concert was "a complete sellout." The reporter observes that the place was "more than packed" with the Dead fans dancing in the aisles as usual (and many of them in Halloween costume). One showgoer recalls, "At some point, the audience just had a party by themselves, and the band just sort of played along." Phil requests early on, "Don't jump up and down on the nice seats, jump up and down on the floor!"
    Many attendees remember the Halloween night festivities, and one calls it "ass-to-ass packed." The Dead had some equipment troubles at the start of the show, and some listeners could barely hear Keith. Boots was also onstage doing his pyrotechnics.

    The New Riders' set wasn't recorded as far as I know, but Clark names a couple songs from it. She says the Dead played 'Hand Jive' but her notes were in error; it was almost certainly the closer in the NRPS set, as it often was on that tour.
    She doesn't try to describe the Dead (calling it "impossible"), but she knew enough about them to notice that "much of the material was new." She compliments Keith's playing in "Back to Tennessee" and says that "'Jack's Straw' was particularly effective." (I wonder how she knew the name of that song, there's no way she could have known just from listening!)
    She's another reporter who left after the first set, though, thinking that the concert came to a roaring finale with Casey Jones and Saturday Night. (Phil introduces the last song of the set: "This here's a new one designed to rock you all the way out to the parking lot.")