Grateful Dead

Berkeley Community Theatre (Berkeley,…

Aug 15, 1971 - Set 1

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  1. 1 Big Railroad Blues 05:42
  2. 2 Playing In The Band 05:43
  3. 3 Mr. Charlie 04:15
  4. 4 Cumberland Blues 05:44
  5. 5 Sugaree 07:46
  6. 6 Promised Land 03:27
  7. 7 Big Boss Man 05:29
  8. 8 China Cat Sunflower 04:48
  9. 9 I Know You Rider 07:38
  10. 10 Me And Bobby McGee 06:31
  11. 11 Casey Jones 05:16
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Jerry Garcia - lead guitar, vocals Ron "Pigpen" McKernan - vocals, organ, percussion Bob Weir - guitar, vocals Phil Lesh - bass, vocals
Bill Kruetzman - drums

Just a month after closing down the Fillmores, Bill Graham presented this two night stand at the Berkeley Community Theater, with the Grateful Dead and New Riders of the Purple Sage. These were marathon shows for Jerry Garcia, who was onstage with both bands. These were to be some of the last ever performances by the original five piece Grateful Dead lineup.

Just a few weeks after this show, frontman Pigpen would be diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, following years of alcohol abuse. The following month the group would begin rehearsals with Keith Godchaux, changing the sound of the band forever. Pigpen would return the following year, but would not be healthy enough to join the fall tour that October.

This is a most prolific era for lyricist Robert Hunter, who was now actively collaborating on new songs with Pigpen, Lesh, and Weir, as well as Garcia. He had penned the lyrics to both the Workingman's Dead and American Beauty albums, as well as much new material that would comprise Europe '72 and several of the band member's most beloved solo projects.

This second night is a bit more exploratory than the previous night, although it contains much of the same material. The pair of 1970 studio albums are represented by "Truckin'," "Casey Jones," and "Cumberland Blues." Again, a lot of newer material is being perfected, much of it soon to be staples of the bands repertoire. Garcia/Hunter classics like "Sugaree," and "Wharf Rat," were reaching the definitive stage of development. Pigpen's vocal dominance is again minimal, but when he does surface, it's thoroughly enjoyble. He again delivers one of the earliest performances of "Mr. Charlie" as well as "Big Boss Man," but on this night he returns at the end and belts out a fifteen minute "Turn On Your Lovelight," that harkens back to their primal sound.

They also pull out "China Cat Sunflower" which now transitions into "I Know You Rider" so fluently, it is hard to imagine the two songs apart. Again, Weir's "Playing in the Band" are still in a rather tame state, but this version expands a bit further than the previous night, as they continue to discover more potential in this song. Garcia is blazing for a minute there!

This version of "The Other One," is also a better developed reading than the previous night. Within it's furious improvisation and deep space, it contains a "Me & My Uncle" sandwiched in the middle and the transitions are quite remarkable. Following the second section, they finally wind down and drop directly into "Wharf Rat." It's a beautiful end to a remarkable jam sequence.

Following the before-mentioned set closing "Lovelight," the audience wows them back for an encore featuring a rip-roaring "Johnny B. Goode," followed by the a cappella gospel number "And We Bid You Goodnight."