Ladies and Gentlemen
is from of series of concerts that the Grateful Dead performed
between April 25 – 29, 1971, at the Fillmore East in New York
City. At this venue Duane Allman sat in with the Grateful Dead on
several songs on April 26 and the Beach Boys on April 27, but none
of that material is included. The New Riders of the Purple Sage
performed at this billing too.
first two discs of Ladies and Gentlemen have plenty to offer.
They showcase many songs in their early stages of development
including both original and cover songs. Included are several blues
standards that feature Pigpen. They hit their country theme with
many songs, my favorite being an original "Cumberland
Blues," and many live versions of songs from their classic
CD’s Workingman's Dead
and American Beauty.
one and two of Ladies and Gentlemen are capped off with songs
that are typical highlights of their concerts in 1971, "Good
Lovin'" and "Turn on Your Lovelight."
Both songs are cover versions that are led by Pigpen and
each clock in at over twenty minutes.
jewel of Ladies and Gentlemen are the ending jams of disc
three and disc four. These
two pieces of music are top shelf material, no question.
It is difficult to choose which piece is better, though, I
would give the nod to the April 29 jam that is on disc 4.
The segment of the show that includes “Alligator” >
“Drums” > “Alligator” > “Going Down the Road Feeling
Bad” > “Cold Rain and Snow” is among my favorite 30 minute
pieces of music the Grateful Dead have ever performed. Within that
passage the introduction to "Cold Rain and Snow" is not to
be topped. Just before
the vocals, Phil places two bass notes that are just perfect.
three of Ladies and Gentlemen includes the “Dark Star”
themed set closer from April 28 that features former Grateful Dead
keyboardist Tom Constanten sitting in. The "Hard to
Handle" begs to be mentioned. It is version that was performed
on April 29. If it is not the best version the Dead have ever
played, certainly it is in the top three. The version from August 6, 1971, from Hollywood,
CA gets many votes for the best.; it is available on Fallout From
the Phil Zone.
and Gentlemen is
fantastic. It is four discs and is a lot of money, but it is worth
it. by Barry
Grade A +