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Dead of the Day: February 13, 1970

Fillmore East
New York, New York

Widely considered one of the greatest shows of all time, the February 13, 1970 date at the Fillmore East is our Dead of the Day. With four sets - an early show, then an opening electric, an acoustic, and a mind-blowing electric closer to the second show - the day is a bit uneven in terms of tempo, but totally rocks from top to bottom. With such an unbelievable set of tunes, it is hard to pick out highlights beyond just pointing to the third set of the second show. That features an amazing Dark Star, followed by a scintillating Cryptical>Drums>Other One>Cryptical, all finished off with a drop-dead Lovelight. Each one has been voted the best version of the given song, and it is almost as if Jerry threw down, Bobby tried to top him, and then Pig just brought it in the end. While the last set overshadows the rest from the day, the entire thing is finely executed. Other highlights - it is hard to even call them highlights given how good the night is - include the Rider, Me and My Uncle, and Uncle John's Band, which has to be one the best acoustic ones ever.

Even if you have never listened to the show in its entirety, some of it may be familiar. Selections from this night and the next comprised Bear's Choice. And, the third set of the late show was released along with the final one of the next night as Dick's Picks Volume Four. Moreover, the Feelin' Groovy Jam from the middle of the Dark Star, all fifteen minutes of it, was featured in Greyfolded. When you sit down to listen to the show, be sure to give the early show and the first two sets of the later one their due; it is easy to overlook them given the heroics that followed in the third set, but these are gems in themselves.

This date was the second of a three-night run at the Fillmore East where the Dead shared the bill with Love and the Allman Brothers' Band. We featured the first night, February 11th, because of, among other things, the face-melting Lovelight with most of the Allmans and a few others sitting in. The Allmans tore up their set on the thirteenth, as they did throughout the run, and you can check out some of the music on their release, Fillmore East, February 1970 (if you can get your hands on a copy). However, none of the Allmans joined the Dead on stage during this final night, allowing Jerry and the boys to shred all on their own.

While the music on this night is unreal, it is also interesting to contemplate just how much the Dead's sound had changed between 1969 and this show in early 1970. They went from an all-out psychedelic steamroller to a tight, versatile band that could enchant you with American Beauty-esque tunes, wail on blues numbers, and bring an evolving psychedelic/rock and roll jamming. They were still figuring out how to mold it into a single, holistic show here in early 1970, but their evolution, virtuousity, and pure awesomeness is on full display.

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