Jerry Garcia - lead guitar, vocals; "Pigpen" McKernan - vocals, organ, percussion; Bob Weir - guitar, vocals; Phil Lesh - bass, vocals; Bill Kreutzmann - drums; Tom Constanten - guest keyboardist
This fourth night of the Dead and New Riders of the Purple Sage's final stint at the Fillmore East is probably the best overall performance of the run.
This show really takes off into the stratosphere during the second Dead set. After opening with a powerful rendition of "Hard To Handle," they head into improvisational territory. The "Cryptical Envelopment" sequence segues into a several-minute drum solo by Bill Kreutzmann before they launch into a truly inspired rendition of "The Other One." This jam transitions into a beautiful early version of "Wharf Rat," with emotional singing from Garcia and lovely improvisation from the band.
After an energized version of "Sugar Magnolia" this evening's special guests join in. Phil Lesh introduces former Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten who will be sitting in for the rest of the evening, much to the delight of the audience. The cards were in place for a psychedelic treat.
They didn't disappoint, as this final jam begins with an elegant version of "Dark Star" featuring Constanten's swirling organ. This additional instrumentation lends a feel of 1969 to the proceedings. Like the classic Live Dead LP sequence, "St. Stephen" takes off when "Dark Star" ends. This version is a little out of control, with lyric mistakes and some struggling to keep it together, but the sheer enthusiasm of the musicians is quite obvious. At the end of St. Stephen, the familiar Bo Diddley beat keeps the momentum up before they rip into one of the most aggressive "Not Fade Away" into "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad' sequences of their entire career. This is a performance for the ages with Garcia on fire and the entire band playing at maximum capacity.
No encore was performed this night, undoubtedly because there was nothing left after the energy level displayed during this final set. This is an outstanding show in general and the peak of this memorable run.