Jerry Garcia - lead guitar, vocals; "Pigpen" McKernan - vocals, organ, percussion; Bob Weir - guitar, vocals; Phil Lesh - bass, vocals; Bill Kreutzmann - drums
After a few months of recovery from managerial problems and the departure of drummer Mickey Hart, it's back to the original five piece prototype Dead lineup, with friends, The New Riders of the Purple Sage opening. This concert would conclude the Dead and NRPS's final five-night run of concerts at the Fillmore East.
Due to quality, length and variety of songs, as well as its being the last Dead concert ever at the Fillmore East, this is one of the most popular Dead concerts among collectors. While the previous night might have featured more consistently inspired playing, this show shimmers with fine moments. Many songs that would be recorded for Garcia's and Weir's first solo albums the following year are featured, as is a wealth of Garcia/Hunter material from Workingman's Dead and American Beauty.
Highlights include a hot jam from the band and vocal improvisation by Pigpen on "Hard To Handle"; an extremely rare electric version of "Ripple"; and favorites including "Playing in the Band," the always-tasteful "Dark Hollow" and the set closer "Casey Jones." Unfortunately "Bird Song," the band's tribute to Janis Joplin, is cut and incomplete, due to a reel change.
The tape mixes on this entire run of shows is spectacular, with every nuance of every instrument and vocal clean and clear. The tone of Garcia's guitar has never sounded sweeter and Lesh's bass comes through strong and punchy. After so many countless nights and memorable performances, fans would have to bid the Fillmore East goodbye. With such strong, memorable and energetic sets from The New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Grateful Dead, however, one could surely find a sadder way to say farewell.