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Dead of the Day: November 15, 1971

Austin Municipal Auditorium
Austin, Texas

The show starts off with a smoking Truckin’ and rolls through a bunch of fine renditions before coming to the crux of the set in a fantastic Dark Star> El Paso> Jam. Keith - sounding a little like Bruce at his best on the piano - is tremendous in the Dark Star, leading a building jam in the latter portion before Jerry and Phil come in to share the duties on what is a terrific piece of music. Then a strangely potent El Paso takes over, eventually descending into a dark and wicked jam that suddenly explodes into roaring sweetness. The next major highlight will come towards the end of the second set, but in between there are some tasty tunes, including a beautiful Brokedown, a lovely Me And Bobby McGee, and a fiery Cumberland. But it is the Not Fade Away sandwich that is the real standout of the set. The NFA is bright and ripping, but it heads into a jam - sparked by a China Cat riff - that is something else entirely; the band is off on some completely different wavelength. Jerry streaks away while Phil bombs in and Keith keeps up on the keys. It is some funky, deep, and very heady stuff. From there, they ease into Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad, which meanders through a thick and inspired ramble before gaining energy and frothing forth. It then eases down again, pausing after a while for just a second before Billy brings it back into Not Fade Away, which, by the end, is seething.

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