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May 5, 1967

Fillmore Auditorium
San Francisco, California
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As the band is tuning up, someone - perhaps Jerry - reports, “I just saw a narc down there in the audience…If you see one, step on him.” From there, a lovely He Was a Friend of Mine comes forth. The subdued organ and drums, combined with the beautiful vocals and sparse, rounded guitar create a perfect version of Dylan’s lamentation. But don’t be confused by the heartfelt rendition, the boys are utterly addled with acid. This fact becomes abundantly clear in the tuning that follows. As Pig plays a haunting, whirling organ, the boys moan and freakishly yell. Then the band delivers some random banter, before engaging the crowd in a call and response (“Everybody say fuck!” “FUCK!” Everybody say primate!” “What?”). It all really needs to be heard to be fully appreciated. A rush into Golden Road - just one of three times the Dead played the tune live - spirits everyone from the hallucinatory absurdity to the roaring psychedelic Grateful Dead dance machine. The band follows that up with New Potato Caboose, which is frantic and brilliant. However, it is the Alligator that takes the cake, gyrating and charging, throwing off sparks in an absolute furor of lysergic energy. And the insane Alligator vocals at the end launch it even further into the kaleidoscopic stratosphere.

There is an enormous amount of discussion on Archive about this recording, especially considering it is only four songs long. But the volume of conversation says something about how great this show is. And, as a number of those posters suggest, it is quite possible that this show is actually from later in ’67. Regardless, you should enjoy it now!

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