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Dead of the Day: November 12, 1971

San Antonio Civic Auditorium
San Antonio, Texas

There are not too many shows on this date, and, all being from the early years, even fewer that are available on Archive. But our Dead of the Day is still a gem. From out in San Antonio, Texas, in 1971, it is an early Keith show, and he really throws down. For instance, Keith plays some wide-open keys on the Truckin’ opener, which comes to a raging, romping jam in the latter portions. Even with Pig being really ill and not present, you can tell the band is still having a great time with a “why thank you, sports fans” after that first tune. And Phil follows it up by inviting everyone down from the balcony into the empty seats on the floor. Apparently, because the band’s equipment had arrived late, the New Riders did not go on until eleven in the evening, and the Dead did not take the stage until after one. Thus, a lot of people had already left the venue. The late hour and lack of crowd certainly did not affect the music, though. In fact, a few songs later the boys deliver a positively hypnotic Sugaree, which slowly builds until it too reaches an incredibly intense level. The Jed will also make you stand up and take notice, as the Black Peter does later in the set. To be sure, there are a lot of great renditions here in the first set with Jerry on fire, Keith playing like his life depends on it, and the rest of the band adding some hot work. The second set offers more of the same with the exception of The Other One suite, which is supremely off the hook. The drum solo after the Cryptical is what really sets the tone as Billy lays down a scintillating, moody beat. Then a monster Other One comes out that reaches rarified territory. The Casey Jones that ends the set is also a real treat.

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