New vinyl pressing – on Halloween 1971 night—captured on this three-sided double-LP—the Grateful Dead played the most ethereal, dreamy, and, yes, spooky version of “Dark Star” ever recorded; it’s almost as if Jerry Garcia was communing with his ancestors (and maybe John Coltrane) for the first seven minutes of his beautifully structured, contemplative and yearning solo. Then, after the vocal verse, Garcia, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, and bassist Phil Lesh take turns suggesting a new improvisational theme before the band telepathically picks up on a two-note theme and Garcia launches into some of the most ecstatic guitar playing ever captured on tape anywhere (labeled by some the “Tighten Up” jam after the Archie Bell & the Drells song; others hear an embryonic “Eyes of the World”). The rest of the show keeps flying high; the whole band is on fire during “Sugar Magnolia,” a rare, early-‘70s performance of “St. Stephen” (the final live version until 1976) swaggers like it should, and a great “Not Fade Away”/ “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad”/ “Not Fade Away” medley rounds out the show…a “hallowed” performance indeed.
Available from Real Gone Music.