Grateful Dead

Fillmore East (New York, NY)

Apr 26, 1971 - Set 1

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  1. 1 Big Boss Man 03:31
  2. 2 Loser 09:40
  3. 3 Playing In The Band 07:45
  4. 4 Hard To Handle 13:07
  5. 5 Dark Star 12:33
  6. 6 Wharf Rat 06:59
  7. 7 Casey Jones 05:34
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Jerry Garcia - lead guitar, vocals
"Pigpen" McKernan - vocals, organ, percussion
Bob Weir - guitar, vocals
Phil Lesh - bass, vocals
Bill Kreutzmann - drums

This is the first set on the second night of the Dead and New Riders of the Purple Sage's historic final run at the Fillmore East. The Dead's first set is unlike all the other nights of this run, as they do not stick with tight arrangements of songs from Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. In fact, the only song to fall in that category is the set closer, "Casey Jones." Before that, we have Pigpen leading the band through a cover of "Big Boss Man," a song they hadn't played much since 1966, and a ferocious take on Otis Redding's "Hard To Handle."

On this night, every song with Pigpen on lead vocals is a memorable version (the above mentioned two, as well as the second set "It Hurts Me Too" and a killer almost 20-minute romp through "Good Lovin.") and these performances prove just what a motivational factor Pigpen was to the band. New songs destined for Garcia and Wier's solo albums the following year also surface ("Loser," "Playing In The Band") but the most unusual aspect of this set is a rare 1st set "Dark Star." This version is not as exploratory or aggressive as it usually was, but the relaxed approach brings out some of it's prettier aspects not revealed in other versions. As "Dark Star" dissolves at the end, a spine tingling moment occurs as it segues directly into the beginning of "Wharf Rat." Although flawed by a reel change, this version has the same smoldering intensity as the version featured on the Skull & Roses album, recorded just two nights later.

After a set-closing take of "Casey Jones," the Dead leave the stage to prepare for their second set of the evening - a set where they would be joined by the legendary Duane Allman.