11/8/69
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Grateful Dead reviews of 11/8/69

 

Dick's Picks Volume 16 reviewWorkingman's Dead review

11/8/69

Live Dead reviewDick's Picks Vol. 8- review

 
Grateful Dead reviews of 11/8/69

The Grateful Dead
Fillmore Aud., ~ San Francisco, CA
11/8/69 

Disc 1  
 1. Good Morning Little School Girl (Williamson) - 13:33
 2. Casey Jones (Garcia / Hunter) - 4:51
 3. Dire Wolf (Garcia / Hunter) - 8:24
 4. Easy Wind (Hunter) - 9:02
 5. China Cat Sunflower (Garcia / Hunter) - 3:45
 6.  I Know You Rider (Traditional) - 5:40
 7.  High Time (Garcia / Hunter) - 7:48
 8.  Mama Tried (Haggard) - 3:10
 9.  Good Lovin' (Resnick) - 9:17
10. Cumberland Blues (Garcia / Hunter/ Lesh) - 4:19

Disc 2
 1. Dark Star
     (Garcia / Hunter   Kreutzmann  / Lesh / McKernan / Weir) -  14:09
 2. The Other One (Kreutzmann / Weir) - 12:02
 3. Dark Star -1:00 (Garcia Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan / Weir /Hunter)
 4. Uncle John's Band Jam (Garcia / Hunter) - 2:33
 5. Dark Star -3:05(Garcia / Kreutzmann / Lesh/ McKernan/Weir/ Hunter)
 6. St. Stephen (Garcia / Hunter / Lesh) - 7:44
 7. The Eleven (Hunter / Lesh) - 14:01

Disc 3
 1. Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks) (Grateful Dead) - 17:28
 2. The Main Ten (Hart) - 3:10
 3. Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks) (Grateful Dead) - 9:02
 4. Feedback (Grateful Dead) - 7:57
 5. We Bid You Goodnight (Traditional) - 3:28
 6. Turn on Your Lovelight (Malone / Scott) - 25:29


This show was released officially on Dick's Picks 16.

Review
11-08-69 Fillmore Auditorium:
The Midgard Serpent
How do like your shows to begin? Fancy intro of the band members, as on 8-13-75 [ONE FROM THE VAULT]? Rambling search through various feints & flurries until a song emerges, as on 12-31-84's "Shakedown Street" [included on SO MANY ROADS]? Casual band banter until the music starts, as on 5-02-70 [DICKS PICK #8]?

11-08-69 doesn't believe in any of that -- the first song ["Good Morning Little Schoolgirl"] starts without fanfare or warning, and the band is immediately grooving. It's obviously gotten well-used since its first appearance in their sets; no longer possessed of quite the urgency of earlier days, it sounds worn-in as an old leather chair. -- And no less comfortable for that, but they've moved on to other things, which is promptly shown by the song selections that fill up the rest of the first set: "Casey Jones", "Dire Wolf" and "Mama Tried" show the band firmly committed to their new directions.

Probably the most interesting aspect of this is listening to avant-garde keyboardist T.C. attempt to fit in with this "heartland" material. Wassamatter, TC; not avant enough for you? ;-) Obviously it was NOT (how could it be?), and he'd leave the band a few months later. Meanwhile, there were shows like this, where they stand with one foot in and one foot out -- as if unable to decide which kind of band they wished to be. Of the first ten songs, only "Schoolgirl" and "China Cat Sunflower" were performed the previous year; the rest were either revivals from 1966 ("I Know You Rider", "Good Lovin'") or new material first heard just a few months before. DEADBASE X, in fact, lists no previous performance of "Cumberland Blues"; it may well have been a debut.

So much for the "song" portion of the show: things really gear up during "Dark Star". Not as focused or as long as it had been earlier in the year, it compensates with diversity: a variety of jam styles are explored, including a "Groovy" jam, before winding its way into "the Other One". This is a flexible apellation, however; they show no more tendency to stay true to the "Other One" spirit than they had for "Dark Star", and Phil finds a way to work a "Groovy" jam into this one as well. The "Uncle John's Band" jam briefly surfaces just before we find our way back to "Dark Star" again -- a cameo, really -- and they finally come clean with the second "Dark Star" verse: completing what could be called a bizarre 33-minute Star that just *happened* to include "The Other One" and "Uncle John's Band" amongst its many jamified explorations!

Logically, "Dark Star" leads us straight into "Saint Stephen" and "The Eleven", both strong & throbbing -- an unintended nod to the release of LIVE DEAD that week, and just as central as "Dark Star" to what makes 1969 special. The vocal harmonies seem stronger than they had in the first hour -- no doubt due to having performed them so many times, as they would soon perform them no longer. But we need not think about that now; even my 17-month-old son spontaneously gets up to dance to the circular rhythm of "The Eleven". Song & words, music & time; sounds swirl around & around past words and notes and beats. Then the band shifts to another attitude, and the Jam section has begun.

Particles of "The Other One" seem to reappear -- as if the band wasn't completely satisfied with their visit to that territory earlier. OR perhaps they felt they'd gone far enough in this kind of jam, and wished to revisit TOO space for a step in anotehr direction. Whatever the reason, it seems to prove fruitful: they burn for a few minutes, step down a bit to reflect & look around. And that's when Phil suggests "Caution".

This causes a disc flip on DICKS PICK #16, and we get to hear Phil's bass notes suggest it again. This is immediately picked up, turned over, dropped down, dissected; several minutes of acute examination ensue. And then it comes again: assertive, propulsive, definite. Yes, it must be right this time, for Pig steps in an puts on the stamp of authorization: "I went downnnnnnn ...."

After this, of course, things rage & surge like the Midgard serpent, and we can forget about abstract concepts like 'time' or 'space', 'story' or 'music'. Here on out, it's all part of the same concoction. Pigpen's usual advertisement for a mojo hand is given at perhaps greater length, involving most of the band -- eventually all but turning into a rendition of "Got My Mojo Workin'". A segue into the proto-PITB "Main Ten Jam" proves an interesting side road, but the band just can't stay away; we're soon back to "Caution" territory again, and the Midgardian serpent finds Siegfried at his door. This is the stuff -- most of it sounds like they're either on the verge of "Feedback" or trying to blow out the amplifiers.

The amps don't blow, despite their best revved-up efforts, so they finally tumble into "Feedback" -- really, there was nowhere else to go. Here TC's additions seems most natural, adding odd sounds to ones already very weird. Several minutes of strangeness soften into some gentler sounds, but not for long -- the Serpent has one last death throe before it's all over. Well, mostly over; the boys then grace us with a eulogy in the form of a full-fledged "And We Bid You Goodnight" -- but, since when has that NOT meant the evening's Struggle With the Subconscious was thoroughly exhausted? Good night, Siegfried; Good night, San Francisco; Good night, Grateful Dead!
Ramble On Joe

Review of the Grateful Dead's concert performance on 11/8/69, at the Fillmore Aud. in San Francisco, CA.   
Grateful Dead reviews of 11/8/69

 

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