"Pigpen" McKernan - vocals, organ, percussion; Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals; Bob Weir - guitar, vocals; Phil Lesh - bass, vocals; Bill Kreutzmann - drums; Mickey Hart - percussion; Guest: David Nelson - mandolin, vocals; Guest: John Dawson - guitar, vocals
After the incredible quantity of music that has been played over the course of the evening, one might expect the Dead to be a little tired by this point, but they still have a few good hours in them and deliver one of the most consistently great sets of the year.
This electric second set, while short by Dead standards, is remarkable as they pack an extraordinary amount of raw energy into an hour. It begins with an enjoyable version of "Casey Jones," then a relatively new song. The song is fresh, Garcia's singing is spot on, and they are obviously having fun playing it. With that as a warm-up exercise, Pigpen takes center stage and they kick off into "Easy Wind." This smokes from the get-go, with Pigpen blowing blues harp and singing with great conviction. Bob Weir gets to take some rare lead guitar duties, and he and Garcia explore some interesting territory during this jam.
After that workout, they slow things down and perform "Attics of My Life" for the very first time. While the harmonies are not comparable to the lush American Beauty version they'd soon record, this debut performance is a delight to hear.
Now it's time to reach the psychedelic rangers in the crowd and they begin with "St. Stephen" featuring another hot jam in the middle, before segueing directly into the opening suite from Anthem of the Sun. Following the drum sequence, they absolutely rip into "The Other One," and the playing is ferocious and exploratory at the same time, with incendiary lead guitar and bass and the two drummers functioning as one mind. Following the "Cryptical" reprise, they slide into "Cosmic Charlie," thus book-ending the Anthem of the Sun suite with the first and last songs from the Aoxomoxoa LP - psychedelic indeed.
The crowd brings them back for an encore and Bob Weir chooses "New, New Minglewood Blues" from their first album. Although only three and a half minutes long, this version is totally out of control. I'm not sure if Weir was exaggerating his lead vocal on purpose or attempting to invoke laryngitis, but he sings with true hilarious reckless abandon here.