Dave's Picks Vol. 3

Recorded at the Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL (10/22/71)

Released: 2012


Bertha [6:12]
Me and My Uncle [3:24]
Tennessee Jed [6:33]
Jack Straw [5:01]
Loser [7:28]
Playing In the Band [6:31]
Sugaree [7:20]
Beat It On Down the Line [3:55]
Black Peter [9:16]
Mexicali Blues [3:45]
Cold Rain and Snow [6:11]
Me and Bobby McGee [5:57]

Comes A Tine [7:36]
One More Saturday Night [4:37]
Ramble On Rose [6:27]
Cumberland Blues [5:58]
That's It For the Other One > [28:06]
I. Cryptical Envelopment
II. Drums
III. The Other One
IV. Cryptical Envelopment
Deal [5:33]
Sugar Magnolia [6:53]
Casey Jones > [5:54]
Johnny B. Goode [3:50]

Auditorium Theatre, 10/21/71

Truckin' [11:11]
Big Railroad Blues [3:27]
The Frozen Logger [0:54]
Dark Star > [14:57]
Sitting On Top of the World > [3:21]
Dark Star [2:12]
Me and Bobby McGee [6:16]
Brown-Eyed Women [4:23]
St. Stephen > [5:54]
Johnny B. Goode [4:14]


Liner Notes:

“ I know this song it ain’t never gonna end…”

The fall of 1971 marks a major turning point in the Grateful Dead’s sound. After Mickey Hart left the band for personal reasons in February ’71 (he would officially return in 1976), the group carried on as a quintet, though Pigpen sat out many songs and jams. So there are long stretches of music from the spring and summer of ’71 that feature just the quartet of Garcia, Weir, Lesh and Kreutzmann.

It was a pretty swingin’ and flexible foursome, too. But Jerry, in particular, was hungry for another musical texture to augment the new songs that he and Robert Hunter were churning out one after another in a continuation of the burst of creativity that had produced the incredible bounty of songs that made up Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty, both released in 1970.

Enter Keith Godchaux, or, more precisely, enter his wife, Donna. She cornered Garcia at one of his side gigs with organist Merl Saunders at the Keystone Berkeley late in the summer of 1971. As her painfully shy husband looked on, she boldly declared to Jerry, “Well, Keith’s your piano player, so I want your home number so I can call you up and come to the next Grateful Dead practice,” she recounted to me in a 1985 interview. Sunday of that same week, Keith showed up for a rehearsal, only to learn that it had been called off, though Garcia was there. So the two of them played together and eventually Bill Kreutzmann came by and joined in. They were impressed enough that Keith was asked to come back the next day for a full-band rehearsal, “and by the end of that day Keith was on the payroll,” Donna said. (Donna would become a singer in the band in March of ’72).

Though Keith had been a passionate fan of the band for a while, he hadn’t really played heir music much before he joined the group. But he did have a background in classical, jazz and some pop, and had increasingly turned to rock ‘n’ roll in the couple of years before he hooked up with the Dead. And it was quickly apparent that he was a very quick study with a fantastic ear. At a few days of rehearsal at the end of September and the beginning of October ’71 (some of which exist on tape), the band threw every weird wrinkle of their vast repertoire at their eager recruit--new songs, Dead classics, spacey numbers--and the quiet but confident Keith blazed right along with them; a natural fit from the start.

There was going to be a little extra added pressure on Keith, too: Pigpen was in very poor health following the Dead’s summer tour--the cumulative effects of ongoing liver disease--and ordered to stay home and recuperate during the band’s month-long fall tour, which stretched from October 19 at Northrup Auditorium in Minneapolis through November 20 at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. So Keith would have to carry the keyboard load himself (he played piano 95 percent of the time; organ on just a couple of numbers here and there), and the group had to adjust its repertoire to compensate for the missing Pig-sung tunes. This was definitely a new sound for the Good Ol’ Grateful Dead.

As fate would have it, in September ’71 I started my freshman year at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago. I had 13 Dead shows under my belt (all in New York and Connecticut) since my first in the spring of ’70, and was thrilled when, shortly after arriving in the Midwest, tickets went on sale for a pair of Grateful Dead/New Riders of the Purple Sage shows at the Auditorium Theatre in the heart of downtown Chicago. The double “Skull and Roses” live album had just come out, too, and I was wearing it out on my turntable--much to the annoyance of some of my dorm mates--along with my other Dead discs, which now included a couple of live bootleg LPs I’d bought outside the last Dead show I’d been to, at Gaelic Park in the Bronx at the end of August.

That Gaelic Park concert and the other Dead show I saw in the summer of ’71, at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, had both been huge outdoor affairs with upwards of 10,000 or more in attendance (some “cult” band, as they were often called). So you can imagine how pumped I was the first time I stepped into the beautiful Auditorium Theatre, October 21, 1971, to see the Dead. it was bigger and much more ornate and beautiful than the Fillmore East (which I loved), but still seemed positively intimate compared the big outdoor venues the band’s newfound popularity occasionally demanded. At the time, I didn’t know the band had played the Auditorium for the first time in late August of ’71 (parts of those shows were immortalized on Dick’s Picks 35 and Road Trips Vol. 1, No. 3: Summer ’71). I had no Dead Head friends at NY at that point; I went to both shows along. How sad. (Not really).

The Auditorium Theatre was and is an architectural jewel. It was designed primarily by the noted Chicago architect Louis Sullivan--he of the famous “Sullivan arch”--and opened in December 1889. It was the first venue for both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Civic Opera, and it was also used for political speeches (future presidents Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt appeared there) and various other functions. With its banded gold-arched ceiling, classical and art nouveau-inspired murals and architectural details, plush chairs and wide, deep balconies, it hearkened back to European roots, but still seemed modern and original. It closed during the Great Depression, but the large building surrounding the theater was used as an army servicemen’s center during the Second World War. It wasn’t until well after the war that the opulent theater was restored to its former glory.

Beginning in the late ‘60s, the Auditorium hosted many rock concerts, but only unde the proviso that the crowds treat the place respectfully. As I learned at those October Dead shows (and many subsequent concerts I saw there, from Pink Floyd--their “Meddle” tour came to town five days after the Dead--to Mahavishu Orchestra, T. Rex and others) the white-gloved, flashlight-wielding, fascistic Andy Frain ushers were hard disciplinarians. Smoking was out of the question, of course. Even dancing in your sear was forbidden, though I seem to recall they eventually gave up trying to enforce that. Both nights, the house lights were left on partially--so they could better keep an eye on us.

The Auditorium concerts were just the second and third shows the Dead played with Keith Godchaux, and they featured a plethora of new tunes that had been premiered the first night of the tour in Minneapolis, including “Tennessee Jed,” “Jack Straw,” “Ramble On Rose,” “Mexicali Blues,” “One More Saturday Night” and “Comes A Time.” Still quite new at the time were such summer ’71 introductions as “Brown-Eyed Women” and “Sugaree,” and then there were “Deal” and “Playing In The Band,” which date back to the February ’71, but, in the case of the latter, was still in an early developmental stage. The rest was a mix of tunes from Workingman’s Dead (“Cumberland Blues,” “Black Peter,” “Casey Jones”) and American Beauty (“Truckin’,” “Sugar Magnolia”); a few from the formative late ‘60s--”That’s It For The Other One,” “Dark Star,” “St. Stephen” (each performed at one of the two shows), “Cold Rain and Snow” and “Beat It On Down The Line”--and a handful of somewhat recent covers, such as “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Johnny B. Goode” and “Big Railroad Blues,” all of which were on “Skull and Roses.

Though you will find a few rough edges here and there as the band feels its way through the new material, most of what appears on these three discs--the complete 10/22/71 concert and selected highlights from the 10/21 show--is remarkably well-played and full of vigor. The two big jamming vehicles--a 28-minute, multi-hued romp through “That’s It For The Other One,” and a sparkling and powerful “Dark Star” split by the rare “Sitting On Top Of The World”--sound so fresh and alive with the addition of Keith’s piano work. You can really hear that everyone in the group is jazzed by their new direction--listen to Phil steam through “The Other One”! And though I suppose it’s fair to say that some of these songs more fully burst into bloom the following spring in Europe, there is nothing at all tentative about this music--the group hit the ground running and didn’t let up for the next three years, even as Pigpen came and went.

I want to single out one other song for special mention--”Comes A Time,” which the group played at most stops on the tour that fall. This gorgeous and haunting number totally knocked me out these first two times I heard it. It was one of those tunes that really stuck with me long after the shows were over, and it remains one of my all-time favorite Hunter/Garcia numbers. If you’ve never heard one of the fall ’71 versions, you will be surprised to hear the final verse that Garcia later excised from the song: “The words come out like an angry stream/You hear yourself say things you could never mean/When the heat cools down and you find your mind/You’ve got a lot of words you’ve got to stand behind.” Heaviness.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that the 10/21/71 show was broadcast live on WGLD-FM in Chicagoland, one of 11 shows from the tour that went out over the airwaves in different cities. This was a great promo for the band and also helped alleviate the high ticket demand in some places. These shows were widely taped off the radio and were among the first great soundboard tapes that many budding collectors owned. A little known fact--which I only know because I had a friend back at my dorm at Northwestern taping the Auditorium show for me--is that the 10/21 show was not broadcast on 10/21 because of some sort of last-minute hassle with one of the local unions. Instead, a tape of it was aired the following night, 10/22. It took many years for a tape of 10/22 to surface at all: there is no mention of it in the Grateful Dead Taping Compendium Volume 1 (published in 1998) and just a partial list in Deadbase XI (published in 1999). Before I got the assignment to write about these shows, I hadn’t heard 10/22 since that night in 1971. What a treat for me--and now for all of you!

--Blair Jackson



Grateful Dead

JERRY GARCIA: Lead Guitar, Vocals
PHIL LESH: Electric Bass
BOB WEIR: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

Produced for Release by DAVID LEMIEUX
Executive Producer: MARK PINKUS
Associate Producer: DORAN TYSON
Recorded by REX JACKSON
Archival Research: NICHOLAS MERIWETHER/USCS Grateful Dead Archives
Photography: CHIP WILLIAMS/Courtesy of Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt Univesity
Art Direction & Design: STEVE VANCE



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This album was released in September 2012.

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