John Dawson - guitar, vocals; David Nelson - lead guitar, vocals; Jerry Garcia - pedal steel guitar; Dave Torbert - bass, vocals; Spencer Dryden - drums
This is The New Riders of the Purple Sage opening for the Grateful Dead during their last run of shows at the Fillmore East.
The entire NRPS set is here and, like the other nights, most of the material from their debut LP is performed. Garcia's pedal steel flavorings are everywhere, and he seizes the chance to get really weird on "Dirty Business," processing the pedal steel through various effects including a wah-wah and a fuzzbox. The most unusual thing about this set, however, is NRPS' attempt at a full blown take on Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi." Garcia really noodles around with the tune, and though obviously under-rehearsed, it's one you won't find on any other NRPS recordings. They also play respectable covers of John Fogerty's "Lodi," the Billie Joe Royal hit "Down In The Boondocks" and the ubiquitous "Six Days On The Road," a song every country-influenced band back then seemed to include in their repertoire.
No matter what genre the New Riders were trying to engage, they always added an inflected sound uniquely their own. In any case, it's thrilling to watch a band like this beginning to coalesce, to test the air with their collaborative wings - flourishing and taking flight.