"Pigpen" McKernan - vocals, harmonica; Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals; Bob Weir - guitar, vocals; Phil Lesh - bass, vocals; Tom Constanten - keyboards; Bill Kreutzmann - drums; Mickey Hart - drums; Guest: Janis Joplin - vocals on "Lovelight"
This is the third night of this memorable Fillmore West run. An outstanding show from beginning to end, containing several song transitions unique to this show and a wonderful version of "Lovelight" with Janis Joplin sitting in. This is one of the all time classic Grateful Dead shows.
Beginning quietly and in extremely unusual fashion for 1969, they kick the show off acoustically. They open with "Dire Wolf" and continue with an acoustic rendition of "Dupree's Diamond Blues." The audience must have had no clue where the band was going with this unusually quiet behavior, as they continue with an acoustic rendition of the rarely played, "Mountains Of The Moon." This is when things really begin to get strange.
As "Mountains of The Moon" winds to a close, a lovely little improvisation begins with Garcia playing delicate acoustic leads over the rest of the ensemble. Several minutes into this improvisation, Garcia switches to electric, and without missing a beat the group transitions directly into "Dark Star." It's a remarkable transition, and the "Dark Star" that follows features beautiful introspective playing from everyone before tearing off into the cosmos.
As on the classic Live/Dead LP, after 20 minutes or so, "Dark Star" ends by launching directly into "St. Stephen," followed by "The Eleven," with Phil Lesh's bass leading the way throughout this remarkably intense reading of this complex composition.
Rather than the obvious "Lovelight" that would usually follow this sequence, the group heads in a radically different direction by playing two songs from their debut album, "Sitting On Top Of The World" and "Cold Rain And Snow" before finally ending this incredible sequence with the a cappella tag that concludes "Doin' That Rag."
A short perfunctory version of "Me and My Uncle" follows before they end the night with "Turn On Your Lovelight." This is an all time classic performance. After several minutes of getting the momentum back up, Janis Joplin hits the stage. Janis and Pigpen are perfectly comfortable with each other as they trade scat vocals and improvise lyrics while the band continues to vamp underneath. It's obvious that Janis and Pigpen are having great fun together, and this remarkable performance closes a thoroughly magic evening of vintage live Dead.