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Dead of the Day: October 13, 1968

Avalon Ballroom
San Francisco, California

For our Dead of the Day, we head back to some primal stuff in 1968 at the Avalon Ballroom. The Dark Star that opens is all milky smoothness with Phil throwing in some chunky bass lines, Bobby streaking around in the middle distance, the drummers ratcheting the lusciousness up, and Jerry soaring off repeatedly. At only thirteen minutes, it is a fairly short version, but there is nothing missing from the ethereal goodness of it all. The Stephen that storms out next is also short, but oh so sweet. And then a monstrous Eleven follows on its heels as the boys romp through the sing-song lyrics and psychedelic playing. Without Pig, who was out caring for his girlfriend who had had a stroke, the band drives the tune ever harder with less of the calliope sound that usually provides an added bit of lightheartedness to The Eleven. Then, Death Don’t Have No Mercy caps the set in haunting fashion. The second set opens with a short Cryptical and Drums beginning The Other One suite. The Other One itself scorches with Phil and Jerry seemingly attempting to outdo each other while the drummers keep the pace at breakneck speed. As they head back into Cryptical, the band slows it down again, gathering themselves for the thunder that will pour forth in the latter half of the tune. On the New Potato Caboose that comes out next, Bobby’s vocals are supreme, but the band only takes the song so deep, transitioning into Drums rather quickly. And the Drums> Caution Jam> Feedback that finishes off the night is quite good, delivering a cacophony of elemental psychedelia on a tremendous evening of music during an outstanding year.

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