John Dawson - guitar, vocals; David Nelson - lead guitar, vocals; Jerry Garcia - pedal steel guitar; Dave Torbert - bass, vocals; Spencer Dryden - drums; Guest: David LaFlamme - violin
By early 1971, The New Riders of the Purple Sage had acquired a year of touring experience with the Grateful Dead and their first self-titled album was hitting the charts. The group now had ex-Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden on board and Jerry Garcia's pedal steel guitar playing had developed and become an integral part of the band's sound. This show was part of the first Fillmore West run to feature New Riders of the Purple Sage as a headlining act, supported by James and the Good Brothers and Boz Scaggs.
Opening with "Workingman's Blues," a song they never recorded for release, a show begins that will eventually feature several more rarities as the night progresses, as well as a few surprises. Once again, the setlist weaves material from their first album throughout the length of the show. Jerry Garcia is in particularly good form on this night and adds a lot of flavor to the show, noodling around on country classics like "Long Black Limousine," "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down," and "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line."
In addition, one finds throughout the show remarkable versions of tunes from their debut LP. "All I Ever Wanted," an uncharacteristically sweet, forlorn love song by John Dawson, is absolutely beautiful. It's taken very slowly and Garcia's yearning pedal steel guitar has never sounded more emotional. "Dirty Business," on the other hand, journeys into the outer regions of space, egged on by David Nelson's fuzzed-out guitar leads and Garcia's gurgling pedal steel embellishments, strained through a wah-wah. David LaFlamme, violinist and lead vocalist for It's a Beautiful Day, sits in, adding some country fiddle flavor to the blend. LaFlamme also sits in on "Glendale Train," contributing fiddleplaying that fits in perfectly.
As with the previous night's recording, the last two songs are missing from this recording, but what's captured is an exciting show with almost everything played well. The rarely performed songs and the presence of David LaFlamme and Jerry Garcia make this one of the most enjoyable 1971 era NRPS shows.
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