You are here

Dead of the Day: April 21, 1969

The Ark
Boston, Massachusetts

Our Dead of the Day takes us to Boston and the beginning of a three-night run at the Ark back in 1969. Hard to Handle opens the show with some funky slide guitar, adding an interesting note to a tune that is otherwise dominated, in all the best ways, by Pig. But the set really gets started with The Other One suite, which proves to be so much more than the sum of its already spectacular parts. Cryptical sets the stage, unfolding into a short Drums before The Other One bursts forth with all the energy and verve that tune can muster. Barreling forward with Jerry in face-melting form, the boys suddenly slow things up just enough for Bobby to deliver the first verse. They then race off again, continuing to burn and churn. The second Cryptical is monumental in its own right, as Jerry sets the band off on a mind-blowing jam to close it out. The rest of the set is solid with a fine jam leading into an excellent Doin’ That Rag. The second half opens with Phil and Jerry playing around with a powerful, though short, Foxy Lady Jam. The Dark Star that emerges next is haunting and fearless, searching and then roaring off into worlds unknown. Eventually, though, it leads into an epic Stephen that does not look back, rushing headlong into a tasty, eleven-minute Eleven. Jerry blisters away while the drummers blast out a beat and everyone hints at the Lovelight that will follow. When that Lovelight finally arrives, the boys spill forth with a smoke and fire jam. Then Pig drives the message home with his gritty blues delivery, coming together with the rest of the band for twenty-five minutes of raging, delicious ferocity to end the set. But the band comes out for a tremendous Viola Lee> Feedback to send the crowd home awed and panting. This is raw, no holds barred Dead, a relentless, fearless fury that occasionally rumbles into a little trouble, which just makes it that much more brilliant and majestic.

On this night at the Ark, Peter Simon, one of the great music photographers of the era, took some luscious photos of the boys, including the one to our right. Through the years, Peter has photographed most of the major rock acts of the sixties. He has also been taking pictures of his home island of Martha's Vineyard for the last half century. A few years back, he published a DVD retrospective of his work, and he has a number of coffee table books to his credit, including I and Eye, Pictures of My Generation.

Search for shows