Another quarter, and another Dave's Picks rolls out, the industrious folks at Grateful Dead Industries keeping up their manic pace of releases. Something tells me that Annabelle still doesn't need to work at Dairy Queen.
As Disaster Amnesiac has spieled at length two times this year already as regards this series, I will try to keep my comments pithy.
What we get from Dave's Picks Volume 3 is three discs documenting two nights at Chicago's Auditorium Theater in October of 1971. Significantly, they document Keith Godchaux's earliest moments with the band in a live setting, along with Pigpen's complete absence. As regards the former fact, one can hear him already putting his stamp to the band's sound, from his honky tonkin' work on the then emerging early 1970's tunes (Tennessee Jed, One More Saturday Night) to more free form approaches (Dark Star). Regarding the latter, Pig's absence is noted from the stage by the band; they do sound a bit nervous when talking about it in between songs. Definitely a harbinger of the Jerry-centric band that would go forward for the next two and one half decades.
The rest of the group is in fine form as they trot out so many of the tunes that would become their standard fare (Deal, Loser, Jack Straw), and play the hell out of their older ones (Dark Star, That's It for the Other One, St. Stephen). The version of Jack Straw is notable as it has not yet become the Bob/Jerry duo it would quickly evolve into; the Dark Star for its spectacular drop into the ancient Dead territory of Sitting On Top of the World and subsequent quick spring right back out of it. Phil Phans will also be stoked at his presence on the mic as a harmony singer on many tracks. Jerry shines brightly on Comes a Time. The man loved the ballad form, and it shows here.
Disaster Amnesiac will always marvel at the way in which the Grateful Dead fused earlier American musical forms with their electric Psychedelia. The band reveled within an on-going musical process. How many other bands can really say that they approach their music with such adventurousness?