Jerry Garcia - lead guitar, vocals
"Pigpen" McKernan - vocals, organ, percussion
Bob Weir - guitar, vocals
Phil Lesh - bass, vocals
Bill Kreutzmann - drums
This is the opening night of the Dead's last run of shows at the Fillmore East. New Riders of the Purple Sage, with Jerry on pedal steel guitar, are also on the bill. Considering what was still to come, this show is more of a sound check and warm up exercise for the rest of the run, but it does have some fine moments.
This recording contains just the last 46 minutes of the second set. The jam out of "Drums" is a great one, with Pigpen's vocal improvisational keeping up with the instrumental all the way. This time period was an especially inspired one for Pigpen, whose creativity and expressiveness often matched Garcia's. Some of the former's spontaneous raps are quite funny and add an element of humor to the proceedings. The jam ends as the band segues into a reprised version of of "Good Lovin'."
They slow things back down with a contemplative take on Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home," with Garcia on lead vocals. After this, they play around while tuning - the theme from "I Dream Of Jeanie" is among the teases - and finally launch into the sizzling crowd pleasing "Not Fade Away," now including a "Going Down The Road Feelin' Bad" sandwiched in the middle.
They close the night with the ever lyrical "Uncle John's Band," gentle and powerful with its communal reverberations - an appropriate way to begin this memorable run.