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Dead of the Day: January 23, 1970

Honolulu Civic Auditorium
Honolulu, Hawaii
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The China Cat opener does not get a lot of attention given the latter half of the show, but we love Jerry’s crisp, bright guitar licks and the chaotic mix of the keys and Bobby’s rhythm work in the middle distance. A lengthy, smooth transition into Rider kicks off a sweet version of the tune. And, after that, the boys roll out one of the best Black Peters they ever played, full of pathos and beautifully rendered. At the end, Jerry had to fix a broken string, “on account of he broke it,” according to Bobby before he takes the opportunity to tell his Yellow Dog Story. Fortunately, the band rescues us with a raging Hard To Handle with a serious bluesy jam through the second half. A very nice Mama Tried and Dire Wolf take it from there to another rocker in Good Lovin’. Next, the boys head into an Other One Suite for the ages, every bit as sweet as any other you might care to throw out there. From the first tocsin notes of Cryptical, the playing grabs you with its intensity, focus, and power. The Drums cascade along before gathering power to the point of quaking. Then all hell breaks loose as they storm into The Other One. But the energy does not dissipate as the band creates one filthy, imaginative jam after another through a mesmerizing dozen minutes before slowing it into the closing Cryptical. After it is all over, a second of pregnant air descends before the first sounds of Dark Star arise. The Dark Star that emerges is transcendent; no words can do its wonders justice. Following it, a precious, meditative few chimes usher us into an equally magnificent St. Stephen. The Stephen segues right into a roiling Lovelight that does not let up for well over half an hour. Throughout, Pig balls, raps, and flat-out preaches while the rest of the boys back him up in a rushing, bluesy, psychedelic blur of headiness. An odd splice - quite possibly from a different Lovelight altogether - with about three minutes left in the track is the only blemish on this otherwise incendiary show. 

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