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April 12, 1970

Fillmore West
San Francisco, California
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On this day in 1970, none other than Miles Davis, having just released Bitches Brew, opened for the Dead at the Fillmore. It was actually the final night of a four night run. It was, because it could not have been anyone else, Bill Graham who put together the bill. Davis writes about the experience in his autobiography:

That was an eye-opening concert for me, because there were about five thousand people there that night, mostly young, white hippies, and they hadn’t hardly heard of me if they had heard of me at all….The place was packed with these real spacey, high white people, and when we first started playing, people were walking around and talking. But after a while they all got quiet and really got into the music….After that concert, every time I would play out there in San Francisco, a lot of young white people showed up at the gigs.

Davis goes on to say that him and “Jerry Garcia, their guitar player, and I hit if off great.” For his part, Phil reports in his own autobiography that

As I listened, leaning over the amps with my jaw hanging agape, trying to comprehend the forces that Miles was unleashing onstage, I was thinking, What’s the use? How can we possibly play after this? We should just go home and try to digest this unbelievable shit.

But the Dead did not go home and, instead, unleashed a powerful three-set show of their own. Pig bawled throughout the show, and the boys put together one of the all-time great Dancin’ In The Streets. Be sure to check out Miles’s unbelievable shit too.

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