Saturday Dead (Zimmer's Picks): 2.21.69 & 2.22.69

Words By Andy Zimmer

In late-’68/early-’69 the Dead were working with Warner Brothers, with whom the band was under contract at the time, to record material for what would become the Live/Dead album. This album, culled from several different concerts, is an undisputable winner in the Dead’s discography and captures the band at a creative zenith. At that point, the band’s songwriting was constantly improving and their musical improvisations had taken on a life of their own... this was “Primal Dead” at its best. 1969 was really a year that the Dead blew the lid off of the music scene and really defined what one could take away from “a Grateful Dead experience”.

Just before their well-known run at the Fillmore West in late-February/early-March of 1969 (from which much of the Live/Dead material was taken), the band played two nights at a little bowling alley in Vallejo, CA. Even though none of the material ever found its way on to the Live/Dead release, the shows themselves are spectacular. The song selections are typical for the era, but there is nothing typical about the shows. I really enjoy the “Lovelight” from the first night and “Mountains of the Moon” and”Death Don’t Have No Mercy” from night two. But the most compelling reason to give these shows a listen is for the absolutely killer versions of “the Eleven”. Both renditions are a psychedelic vortex of awesomeness... any fan of early-Dead needs to spend some quality time in front of their speakers with these shows cranked up to... well, 11!

Because it was impossible to pick between the two shows, and since both versions of “the Eleven” are so tasty, this week I have included both nights for your aural pleasure. One more thing... just a quick disclaimer. Before playing these shows, make sure that any young children, or elderly individuals, are out of earshot. Because these shows will destroy an unprepared mind!

Grateful Dead Live at Dream Bowl on February 21, 1969.

Good Morning Little School Girl, Doin' That Rag, Dark Star-> Saint Stephen-> The Eleven-> Turn On Your Love Light, E: Morning Dew

Grateful Dead Live at Dream Bowl on February 22, 1969.

Set 1

Dupree's Diamond Blues-> Mountains Of The Moon-> Dark Star-> Cryptical Envelopment-> Drums-> The Other One-> Cryptical Envelopment-> Death Don't Have No Mercy

Set 2

Doin' That Rag-> Saint Stephen-> The Eleven-> Turn On Your Love Light


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