Our Dead of the Day is a soaring, multi-faceted, and beautiful beast from 1969. If you have ever listened to Live/Dead, then you have already heard parts of this show. The sumptuous, attention-grabbing throb of Phil’s bass ringing out to proclaim the oncoming gem of a Dark Star followed by the fast and tight, utterly stratospheric Saint Stephen are both culled from this night at the Fillmore West. But as you listen to the entire recording here, you will wonder how they ever made the decision to forgo the mind-blowing matter that fills the rest of this show. The Other One Suite is a thoroughbred of face-melting jamming, the Eleven is perfection embodied as the band streaks through the nursery rhyme-like lyrics and stretches the possibilities of musical exploration within that tight little tune, and Pigpen delivers again on the Schoolgirl and Lovelight, making you realize anew what a consummate bluesman and provocateur he was.
Not only did the band incorporate portions of this night on Live/Dead, they also released the entire show as part of the limited edition Fillmore West 1969: The Complete Recordings and a sort of highlight 3-disc set of the four 1969 San Francisco Fillmore shows as Fillmore West 1969. Back in November of 1969 when it was released, Live/Dead was a watershed for the band. Recorded by Bear over three different nights (January 26 and March 3, 1969 were the other two), the double album brought the Dead’s improvisational live style to the masses, converting thousands of fans both at the time and in the decades since. The album also proved to be somewhat of a commercial success, reaching number sixty-four on the chart and temporarily satisfying Warner Bros.
Listening to the full show from each of the nights that contributed to Live/Dead is a real treat that anyone who has ever marveled at that album’s awesome Dark Star> Stephen> Eleven and incredible Lovelight should experience. Go ahead and fire this one up now.