Picks Volume 3
CD400 - Rhino records 2012
Dave's Picks Volume 3, October 22, 1971
In all the years that archival Grateful Dead recordings have been coming out, there have been just three from the red-hot fall of 1971, Keith Godchaux's landmark first tour with the band. Now there is a fourth: Dave's Picks Vol. 3 features the complete October 22, 1971 concert from the beautiful Auditorium Theatre in Chicago on two discs, with a third disc culled from the previous night's scorcher at the same venue.
Keith came into the band in mid-September '71, at a time when Pigpen was desperately ill and the band was hungering for something new to help fill out their sound. A sparkling pianist, Keith was a complete unknown at the time, yet, miraculously it seemed, fit in with the Dead immediately. The live 'Skull & Roses' double-album (recorded in the winter-spring of '71) had just come out, and the band was still enjoying a surge of unprecedented popularity since Workingman's Dead and American Beauty were released the previous year.
They were on a roll! Never ones to rest on their laurels, however, the band continued their torrid pace of introducing new songs: 'Sugaree' and 'Brown-Eyed Women' first appeared in the summer of '71, and that fall, when the band with Keith hit the road, starting out in Minneapolis (10/19) and then moving on to Chicago (10/21-22), they had a whole bunch of other freshly minted tunes waiting to be born''Tennessee Jed,' 'Jack Straw,' 'Mexicali Blues,' 'Ramble On Rose,' 'Comes A Time' and 'One More Saturday Night,' all of which appear on this set.
The sparkle and verve that Keith brought to the band is immediately apparent, as he tears through rockers and bouncy mid-tempo numbers with the confidence of someone who had been playing this music forever. If the quiet keyboardist was nervous or unsure of himself on this first jaunt, it certainly wasn't apparent. And you can feel the electricity in the rest of the band, as Jerry, Phil, Bob and Bill absorb and play off of the amazingly inventive musings of their new recruit. Of course Pigpen's absence was deeply felt (and the band acknowledged it at every stop), but Keith's entrance was so seamless and the energy he injected into the music so impressive, the group didn't appear to lose any of the momentum they had been building tour after tour.
The songs are a blend of old, still-recent (from Workingman's Dead on) and brand-new. One forgets that crowd-pleasers such as 'Bertha,' 'Deal' and 'Playing in the Band' had come into the repertoire only eight months earlier, and 'Truckin'' and 'Sugar Magnolia' were just over a year old. Even a bunch of the cover tunes were relatively recent additions''Big Railroad Blues,' 'Me & Bobby McGee' and 'Johnny B. Goode.' Keith handles all of those (and earlier chestnuts like 'Cold Rain and Snow' and 'Beat It On Down the Line') with his characteristic aplomb, but perhaps most impressive is how he fares on the Dead's big jamming numbers. On Disc Two, you'll hear his thoughtful and inventive contributions to a truly stellar, 29-minute version of 'That's It for the Other One.' And on Disc Three (from 10/21), listen to him as he navigates through a spectacular 'Dark Star,' which is split by a spirited romp through 'Sitting on Top of the World.' The encore of 10/21 also features the first of only three 'old school' (pre-hiatus) versions of 'St. Stephen' Keith played on.
(selections from 10/21/71)