Thought I'd shake things up a bit with a 69 review. Thank God they released this one in it's entirety to us! Not really a hidden gem, but if you were on the fence about buying it...
San Francisco, CA
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl 13:35; Casey Jones 4:53; Dire Wolf 8:26; Easy Wind 9:04; China Cat Sunflower 3:47> I Know You Rider 5:42> High Time 7:50; Mama Tried ; Good Lovin'>Drums>Good Lovin' 9:19: Cumberland Blues 4:19
Two [1:36:32+] [0:30]
Dark Star 14:12> The Other One 12:04> Dark Star 1:02> Uncle John's Jam 2:35> Dark Star 3:07> St. Stephen 7:46> The Eleven 15:03> Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) 17:28> Main Ten Jam 3:10> Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) 9:02> Feedback 7:58> And We Bid You Good Night 3:21
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl: Pigpen is feeling his oats, and he wants to sow them. A solid effort. Very soulful, as it should be. Of course, if you don't like harmonica, stay away... and shame on you.
Casey Jones: One of the earliest Casey Jones, this one is brimming with energy. Bobby is excited, vocally. Amazing sound quality for such an old show, but, that's what we paid for!
Dire Wolf: I love these older, extended Dire Wolfs. This one was damn near 2.5 times longer than the latter day efforts, sprinkled with tiny jams. Phil is doing a great job throughout, and Jerry is happy to be alive at the end.
Easy Wind: I like this song, but I don't love it. I love when it starts building momentum... then it slows down returning to the chorus. This really only occurs at the beginning. Is that the blues progression Swami had mentioned to me... I don't know about all those musical terms, and I don't play. I just listen and try to learn. A good work tune! I am not sure of the history of this, but I am guessing it is a traditional chain gang song, or a more contemporary attempt to sound like one.
China>Rider: This China Cat rocks. Great setlist placement. Jerry is on fire during this. Bobby holds up his end of the bargain. Great jamming here, tons of energy, more than you get in any other period. The drumsssss, ah, nice symbol action, while Phil starts jamming out too. For the first time in the set the boys really head into uncharted territories. The segue to Rider is perfect (other than my mp3 player skip, can we eliminate that?). I believe I read that the guys had not taken any harmony lessons (perhaps explaining a later quasi-obsession with it), and it shows, but who cares. Good ol' americana here.
High Time: Nice, soft organ work at the intro, setting the tone for the song. Very mellow, and Jerry is singing from the heart here.
Mama Tried: A solid rendition, no complaints here.
Good Lovin': Is that the Beach Boys coming on stage? Great intro, tons of energy which is sustained forever as Pig carries us through this long time standby in its early days. Phil drives the beat. The drums get a turn, until Jerry and Phillip decide to resume. Then we have every one back in action, and the sound builds to a nice climax. Jerry leads the way, with Pig cleaning up behind him.
Cumberland Blues: Good old American dead! I love this song. I don't think I have heard a bad rendition of it. I just wish they jammed it out more alla Phil & Friends decades later... Can anyone recommend a nice, long one?
Dark Star I: Washboards away... we have the set opening with Dark Star, which will be a recurrent theme in the set. Jerry has a nice sound. And, look, TC may have refused LSD, too bad for him, but he was already there anyhow! He really was made for this tune. The drums accentuate at the right moments... Jerry is all over it... solid work when they hit the theme and before. It's always such a reward when the first words escape his trap, this is no exception. I prefer when they barely eek out, but here he really belts the first "DARK STAR" out, then goes to eeking. When we return to the jam, it starts slow and really, really builds up, perfect for a segue into...
The Other One: Yes! Bursting in like gang busters, Phil is clearly excited, and Jerry goes to the next level... all the energy he was penting up during Dark Star come flooding out! Awesome! It doesn't drift into space as the early 70s versions did at times... it is just a hard driven, jam packed festival of power. Perfect... after that you might need to relax else you gonna wig out!
Dark Star II: So, here we relax a bit. No, we don't, the return is still very high powered, a high powered minute... Leading us into...
Uncle John's Jam: Nice work boys. Something they had been toying with I guess... as of yet without lyrics. Nice to hear the roots to this song. It was just begging for lyrics to be written. A nice jam at this point.
Dark Star III: This time we slow it back down.
St. Stephen: Immediately after a soft finish for DS, the boys come ripping out into St. Stephen. Hyped and ready to roll. You get everything you would expect here. Performances like this are the reason why for the next 20 years, some wasted mofrappy in the audience could be heard screaming for "SAINT STEPHEN!". A true Jerry showcase. The jam before the final chorus is awesome, with some early fanning going on in there. William Tell is lumped in with this Stephen on the track breakdown.
The 11: Such a strange, but great tune. Powerful. Too bad this was never dusted back off for some hi-octane 80s cocaine based dead! The keyboard work here is a little repetitive, just counter that by focusing on Jerry full of juice and perhaps acid. It is interesting, for me at least, to wonder what, if anything the band, or individual members, may have been on during certain performances... anyhow... whatever it was, it certainly was working this night!!!
Caution I: Has there been a bad caution? seriously? Solid jamming on the tail of the 11... gets the full train rhythm going, I almost got run over at one point by the sound waves Phil sent blasting out of my sub woofer... Pig breaks it down nicely, going to that gypsy woman. Symbols start busting, and Pig fights to be heard, but he loses, so he screams for a second, and we head off down the track again, with plenty of speed. The rapping gets a little slow for me, but I can tolerate that if I can tolerate Jerry on Crazy Fingers. Someone else does some rap for a bit, which then disintegrates and heads directly into...
Main Ten: Playing in the Band. Just as earlier, with the UJB jam, here we get an early taste of PITB theme. Pretty cool, this show has both of those colossi. Some goofball is humming along very loudly for a second in the beginning, but thankfully he quits. The jam is nice, still in its formative days but we see where it is going.
Caution II: Yep, back at ya! Right when you thought it was safe to cross that suspended railroad bridge, here comes the freight train.
Feedback>WBTGN: Feedback is often a painful experience for me, one of those you had to there things I think. Good night!
Set One Summary: Great Schoolgirl, Pig in general getting in some good work. When it is Jerry's turn to shine, he does. Phil is all over it throughout. Highlight = Schoolgirl, China>Rider, Good Lovin'
Set Two Summary: You get it just about all here, this is what we come for... The DARK STAR sequence is out of control. Outstanding. The 2nd verse was sung already in the first go around of DS, and here it is again. The fun doesn't stop there though. The entire set is on fire... ridiculous. Highlight = ALL
Overall: The second set definitely outshines the first, solid from start to feedback. Get the whole show, for sound quality like this some 40 years later, when those 40 years stretch back into low-tech times, is pretty amazing! You get what you pay for sometimes.