Our Dead of the Day brings us back to 1970 for the legendary Harpur College show. It is hard to express just how unbelievable this show is. A wonderful acoustic set leads off with some lovely versions, much like the previous night at Alfred. Each and every song is a spectacular rendition, from Don’t Ease Me In with Pig’s great harp work to the hot jam that is Cumberland. And after listening to that Uncle John’s that closes out the set, you can pretty much die happy. But you don’t have to because there is an outstanding second set, beginning with an earth-shattering Stephen that heads straight into The Other One Suite, which is pure fiery bliss. Then Phil, with some quaking bombs, leads the boys into an intense Cosmic Charlie that hits you over the head with the Dead’s ridiculous powers; this song flat out rocks with its psychedelic vocals and whirly, funked out playing. The rest of the set is all equally out of sight, including the face-melting Dancin’ in the Streets that puts a cap on the set. We are not sure exactly when it will dawn on you that this is clearly one of the most epic shows ever, but it surely will be sometime during that set, if not earlier. And, what’s more, there is another set – a sort of extended encore – yet to come with, among other gems, an absurd Viola Lee. As we said, it is really difficult to put into words how incredible this show is.
This show was released as Dick’s Picks 8. While there is a decent soundboard of some of the show (the first recording above), there is no crisp version of the entire night out there, and even this partial board is wanting in quality. The only complete recording on Archive is the second recording above, though it is of relatively poor quality. It also has a few songs out of order, though it does have, as a bonus, one of the New Riders sets from the same night. The Dick's Picks is a pristine recording but does not include the Cold Rain and Snow.
Other May 2nd Shows and Recordings:
- 1969 - Winterland Arena - San Francisco, CA - unknown setlist, not on Archive
- 1980 - Hampton Coliseum - Hampton, VA
- 1981 - The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA
- 1987 - Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford University - Palo Alto, CA