53 years ago tonight, the Grateful Dead returned to Bill Graham‘s the Fillmore for the second night of the band’s four-night run at the San Francisco venue. The performances have since become Deadhead lore, as the opening night of the run featured performances of “Dark Star” and “St. Stephen” which would go on to be included on the Dead’s seminal 1969 live album, Live/Dead.
Night two on February 28th, 1969, would end up being just as special. Following an introduction to the stage by Bill Graham, the Dead started the show with the firm opening chords to “Morning Dew” and simply never looked back.
The first set of the night featured bluesy jams like “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”, “King Bee”, and a raucous 19-minute version of “Turn On Your Lovelight” led by keyboardist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. By the time set two came around, with the “Cryptical Envelopment > The Other One” suite, the room was absolutely grooving to the sounds from Jerry and the boys. Of course, the band’s 20-minute delivery of their cosmic anthem “Dark Star” was a pure work of improvisational beauty.
The band continued with now-classics like “The Eleven > Death Don’t Have No Mercy”, “Alligator”, and “Caution (Do Not Stop On The Tracks)”. With some intense jamming between each song, and some feedback experimentation leading them out, the show closed with a proper “And We Bid You Goodnight” to what was a very good night indeed.
Relive the band’s performance at the Fillmore, on this day in 1969 below.
Grateful Dead – The Fillmore – 2/28/69
[Audio: Jonathan Aizen]
Setlist: Grateful Dead at the Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA – 2/28/69
Set One: Morning Dew, Good Morning Little School Girl, Doin’ That Rag, I’m A King Bee, Turn On Your Love Light
Set Two: Cryptical Envelopment-> Drums-> The Other One-> Cryptical Envelopment, Dark Star-> Saint Stephen-> The Eleven-> Death Don’t Have No Mercy, Alligator-> Drums-> Alligator-> Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)-> Feedback-> We Bid You Good Night