Grateful Dead: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA 3/2/1969 (Rhino) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 29th, 2024  

Grateful Dead

Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA 3/2/1969


Dec 04, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

March 2, 1969 was something of the end of an era for Grateful Dead. By the end of the year, they were starting to leave behind so much of their psychedelic past, or at least incorporating more of the folky/bluesy elements that would show up on their 1970 masterpieces Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty.

For Black Friday Record Store Day, Rhino released this final performance from the band’s four-day stand at the Fillmore West, pressed onto five vinyl records, nine sides and an etched 10th. Listening to Grateful Dead concerts on vinyl is always something of a challenging experience, at least in this era of the band, just because the songs tend to be so long, and the vinyl format necessitates getting up and sitting back down so many times. But it really is the preferred format for such terrific musicianship.

And this set is no different. The band’s set on this night was similar to the previous three nights, but this time they start with “Dark Star.” Some playful banter with emcee Bill Graham is evident. The jams are winding and trippy as all late-‘60s Dead concert jams were. Staples of the period, “St. Steven” into “The Eleven,” the “That’s It For The Other One” suite, and the closing “Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)” into “Feedback” to “And We Bid You Goodnight” are all present and highlights of the set.

For completists, Rhino already released the first three nights of the band’s 1969 Fillmore West stand in vinyl box set form. And this one completes the set. But as every Grateful Dead show does, it also very much stands alone as a product of its time, in this case that of a band ending its first era before transitioning bigger and better things. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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