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Dead of the Day: November 7, 1971

Harding Theater
San Francisco, California

Our Dead of the Day comes from one of the best shows of '71 out at the old movie palace turned concert venue, the Harding Theater, in San Fran. The first set begins with some funny banter and tuning before the band opens with a somewhat uneven Truckin’. But they quickly find their footing and deliver very fine versions of a meaty selection of songs, including really tasty renditions of Jack Straw and Cumberland. The most interesting section of the set, though, might be the first-ever, and one of only two, Hide Aways. Hide Away is an instrumental tune by bluesman Freddie King that the band kills; Jerry turns into a full-on rhythm and blues master while Keith is phenomenal, playing on a honky-tonk organ as he does throughout the show. They would next break out the song in 1989 at Shoreline, but as this lengthy discourse on the Dead and Hide Away makes clear, they jammed on the theme a number of times in the seventies. The second set picks up where the last left off, with tunes delivered in a rather straightforward manner, all well-played, but none jammed out to the very edge of their being, ready to melt faces or anything. But that will change with the fourth tune, a Sugar Mags that rips home into a stratospheric Dark Star. Phil comes roaring in throughout to deliver some pounding bass lines and the band is creatively playing off one another. From there, things get even hotter with the turn to The Other One after a little foray into a drum solo. The first listed Other One is fast and hot, sweating with energy. Then - and you really need to hear it to both comprehend and believe - the band, in full Other One mode, continues its psychedelic exploration right on through Me And My Uncle. As someone on archive says, it is almost as if The Other One is playing Me And My Uncle, which is not only a cool as hell thought, but also a pretty accurate description of what transpired. After MAMU, the boys launch right back into The Other One, and now the song goes completely otherworldly, brashly roaring into the ether, throwing off stardust and cosmic sparks the entire way. A nice Deal then segues into a beautiful Brokedown, which, with its slow pace, provides a relaxed counterpoint to what had just transpired, reinforcing the reflective nature of the lyrics. The Playin’ and Casey Jones that come out next are both exceptional in their brightness and lucidity; Keith and Jerry both kill it and Phil is, characteristically, bombing away while Bobby jets off in the background. But those two tunes end up just seeming like a warm-up for the outstanding, bone shaking, blistering Not Fade Away> Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad> Not Fade Away that closes out the set. Yee-hah!

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