Fillmore East: April 1971

Fillmore East: April 1971

4.5 4
by Grateful Dead

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By the dawn of the '70s, the Grateful Dead had stretched their musical tendrils around the world, but few places provided the band as fertile a patch of creative territory as the Big Apple. Some of the most fondly remembered (and most bootlegged) Dead shows of that era took place in New York, at Bill Graham's Fillmore East, and that's the genesis of this amply sized


By the dawn of the '70s, the Grateful Dead had stretched their musical tendrils around the world, but few places provided the band as fertile a patch of creative territory as the Big Apple. Some of the most fondly remembered (and most bootlegged) Dead shows of that era took place in New York, at Bill Graham's Fillmore East, and that's the genesis of this amply sized four-disc collection, culled from the band's April 1971 stint. Although it's punctuated with widely aired classics -- from a jovial, set-opening "Truckin' " through a loose-limbed "Me and My Uncle" and a dizzy "Good Lovin' " cleaved by one of Hart and Kreutzman's more visceral "Drums" workouts -- the set is just as rich in unusual performances. A slinky version of Smokey Robinson's "I Second That Emotion" resounds with yearning, while the climactic closing punch of "In the Midnight Hour" and "We Bid You Goodnight" capture the intense bond between the band and their audience. There are plenty of other emotional moments as well: The rendition of "Me and Bobby McGee," coming just months after the death of Janis Joplin, is strikingly melancholic, a mood that lasts into the next track, "Uncle John's Band." The presence of Tom Constanten adds palpable heft to "St. Stephen" and "Dark Star," both of which sound even more ominous than usual. As you'd expect from the Dead, each of the 40 songs has its own unique presence, but despite the radical mood shifts, they hold together remarkably well, making for a long, exhilarating trip indeed.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
1971 was a good year to catch a live Grateful Dead show, and the Fillmore East was a good venue to catch them at. Ladies and Gentlemen...The Grateful Dead presents some four and a half hours of Grateful Dead garnered from their final five-day run at the Fillmore East in 1971 before it closed down for good. Compared to larger arenas, the 2400 seat venue had an intimate feel, but Bill Graham had decided to shut it down due to the high cost of bringing bands to the theater. While adjusting to the absence of their second percussionist Mickey Hart, the Grateful Dead are in good form for these performances. There are a number of great songs/jams on these four discs, starting with a gentle, nine-minute "Bird Song," which inspires a delicate vocal from Garcia. Lesh's bass work perfectly underpins his lead guitar lines. There's an excellent "Dark Star" that flows into "St. Stephen" and "Not Fade Away." Both "Bird Song" and "Dark Star" generate mellow, relaxed jams that fade calmly in and out of one's consciousness. A ten-minute "Morning Dew" is similarly peaceful, flowing and building to its climax, and one shouldn't miss Garcia's take on Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home." Bob Weir is also in fine form, singing a superior version of "Dark Hollow" backed by some fancy, bluesy, fingerpicking by Garcia. Weir also shines on "Me and My Uncle," and a nice, five-minute version of "El Paso." The same relaxed confidence serves "Me and Bobby McGee," a perfect example of the Grateful Dead's ability to put their own stamp on someone else's song and make it work. There would be moments during the late '70s when Weir would speed up the vocals on songs like these, as though he were in a hurry to finish them. On these discs, though, he approaches the songs with an assured calm and turns in some of his best vocal work. Pigpen sings a number of songs on the album, and while he is in good form, his blues style seems increasingly at odds with the band the Grateful Dead was becoming. The band had always played funky blues workouts like "Mr. Charlie" and "Hard to Handle" well. But much of the blues material here seems to be a holdover, with cuts like the six-minute "It Hurts Me Too" going on forever. Even worse, is the shouting and sexual innuendoes throughout "Turn on Your Lovelight" and "Good Lovin'." Pigpen fans will undoubtedly find these observations unkind, and point out that these were some of his better performances during what Blair Jackson calls, "his last truly healthy tour." Still, the band was in the process of change, adding lots of new material, and this growth moved them away from their earlier, more bluesy, more Pigpen centered incarnation. Ladies and Gentlemen...The Grateful Dead may not present the perfect performance, but it does provide a nice document of the band during their early-'70s glory days. This was an exciting time for the band, and these four discs capture that feeling. It is perhaps somewhat ironic that releases like this one and the Dick's Picks series have revealed the depth and ability of the band much better than any of their studio releases from the same period. One no longer needs to be an avid tape collector to hear the Grateful Dead at their best.

Product Details

Release Date:
Grateful Dead / Wea


Disc 1

  1. Truckin'
  2. Bertha
  3. Next Time You See Me
  4. Beat It on Down the Line
  5. Bird Song
  6. Dark Hollow
  7. Second That Emotion
  8. Me & My Uncle
  9. Cumberland Blues
  10. Good Lovin'
  11. Drums
  12. Good Lovin'

Disc 2

  1. Sugar Magnolia
  2. Loser
  3. Ain't It Crazy (The Rub)
  4. El Paso
  5. I'm a King Bee
  6. Ripple
  7. Me and Bobbie McGee
  8. Uncle John's Band
  9. Turn on Your Love Light

Disc 3

  1. China Cat Sunflower
  2. I Know You Rider
  3. It Hurts Me Too
  4. Sing Me Back Home
  5. Hard to Handle
  6. Dark Star
  7. St. Stephen
  8. Not Fade Away
  9. Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad
  10. Not Fade Away

Disc 4

  1. Morning Dew
  2. New Minglewood Blues
  3. Wharf Rat
  4. Alligator
  5. Drums
  6. Jam
  7. Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad
  8. Cold Rain and Snow
  9. Casey Jones
  10. In the Midnight Hour
  11. We Bid You Goodnight

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Grateful Dead   Primary Artist
Jerry Garcia   Guitar,Vocals
Bob Weir   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Tom Constanten   Guest Appearance
Bill Kreutzmann   Drums
Phil Lesh   Bass,Electric Bass,Vocals
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan   Organ,Harmonica,Percussion,Vocals

Technical Credits

John Lee Hooker   Composer
Merle Haggard   Composer
Kris Kristofferson   Composer
Mickey Hart   Composer
Steve Cropper   Composer
Jerry Garcia   Composer
Grateful Dead   Arranger,Composer
Buddy Holly   Composer
Wilson Pickett   Composer
Otis Redding   Composer
Bob Weir   Arranger,Composer
Julie Kelly   Staff
Robert Hunter   Composer
John Phillips   Composer
Tim Rose   Composer
Norman Petty   Composer
Bonnie Dobson   Composer
Betty Cantor-Jackson   Engineer
Earl Forest   Composer
Fred Foster   Composer
Bill Harvey   Composer
Lightnin' Hopkins   Composer
Elmore James   Composer
Bill Kreutzmann   Composer
Phil Lesh   Composer
Bob Matthews   Engineer
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan   Composer
James Moore   Composer
Michael Peri   Staff
Marshall Sehorn   Composer
Ronald Knudsen   Staff
Dick Latvala   Tape Archivist
Rudy Clark   Composer
Randy Tuten   Cover Design
Bill Browning   Composer
Janette L. Simmons   Staff
Blair Jackson   Liner Notes,Program Notes
Traditional   Composer
Alvertis Isbell   Composer
Jim Preston   Art Direction
Juan Bautista Sánchez García   Staff
David Lemieux   Tape Archivist
Arthur Resnick   Composer
Peter Mcquaid   Staff
Naomi Alson   Staff
Elena Chieffo   Staff
Brian Connors   Staff
Connie Furtado   Staff
Lesley Hunter   Staff
Deborah Kamradt   Staff
Mary Knudsen   Staff
Russ Knudsen   Staff
Nancy Mallonee   Staff
Dennis McNally   Staff
Maruska Nelson   Staff
Basia Raizene   Staff
Forrest Schofield   Staff
Maggie Sichel   Staff
Fred L. Foster   Composer
J. Moore   Composer
Allen Jones   Composer
David Gross   Staff

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Fillmore East: April 1971 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
As a non-Deadhead I was looking for the best live performance box of the Grateful Dead and found it with these 4 CDs. If your only going to have one live Dead performance, this is the one to get. Performance plus price makes this fantastic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't care what any one says. This is and absoloutely incredible set. I'm only fifteen and this is what got me on the bus. I listened to it for a good two months strait, gettin off at somethin new everytime. This is an awesome buy for any deadhead.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutley love this box set! It paints the perfect picture of what the Grateful Dead is all about! A must have for any classic rock collection. If I had to be on a desert island with only 5 CDs, 4 of them would be this Box Set! The other one would be Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Deja Vu.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago