"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
A third night was added to this Winterland run, which featured Sons of Champlin, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Unlike the proceeding night when the Dead closed the show, on this night they performed before Jefferson Airplane's set. It is likely that this recording is incomplete, but what was recorded is quite interesting. Nothing is repeated from the previous evening and the focus is on tighter song arrangements, as apposed to exploratory improvisations.
The set opens with what is essentially a sound check. While monitor adjustments are being made, Jerry Garcia begins picking away at the country standard, "Deep River Blues," with the band falling in behind him in a relaxed fashion. The set begins proper with Pigpen leading the band through Otis Redding's "Hard To Handle." Equipment problems prevent this from reaching the heights of other renditions but it is quite enjoyable nonetheless. Garcia then delivers a fine take of "Cold Rain And Snow" before Weir takes over on vocals for John Phillips' "Me And My Uncle." Pigpen again takes over vocal duties for a bluesy rendition of "Next Time You See Me" featuring nice harmonica and guitar interplay.
The rest of the recording provides a nice glimpse at three songs that would be recorded the following year for the classic Workingman's Dead LP. Garcia dedicates "Dire Wolf" to "The Zodiac Cat." With its refrain of "Please, don't murder me," this song seemed to be appropriate at addressing the Zodiac Killer, a serial killer who had been terrorizing the San Francisco area for some time. It's quite interesting to hear this song in such an embryonic state and featuring Constanten's keyboard embellishments, which would be long gone by the time it was recorded.
The laidback feel continues with an early version of "Casey Jones," played here at a considerably slower tempo and featuring a carnival-like atmosphere. Again, Constanten's organ is key to the uniqueness of this early arrangement. The strongest performance of the set is "Easy Wind," which concludes the recording. This is also taken at a slower pace than later versions, but the band does take some interesting twists and turns here and there. Pigpen's harmonica playing gets another showcase and the band bounces along nicely during the only jam to ensue on this recording.
All in all, a laidback set that reflects the fact that it was a Sunday night and the band was tired from the previous two nights of the run. Still, there are some unique arrangements and it's an enjoyable recording.