Fifty-four years ago tonight, Grateful Dead set up shop at the Electric Theater in Chicago, IL for a thrilling two-set performance in The Windy City. Parts of the show would ultimately go on to be officially released as the 26th edition of the Dick’s Picks live album series, and after listening to the concert from start to finish, fans will understand why.
The performance that night came just a few months prior to the release of Aoxomoxoa, although the band made sure to include nearly all of the songs from the then-forthcoming album into the two sets, including “Dupree’s Diamond Blues”, “Mountains of the Moon”, “St. Stephen”, “Doin’ That Rag”, “China Cat Sunflower “, and—interestingly—a tape recording of “What’s Become of the Baby” played over the PA during “Feedback”. The first half of the single-set show also heard Ron “Pigpen” McKernan throwing in some additional verses into his performance of “It Hurts Me Too”.
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The show that night also included a mix of tunes that the band regularly performed in the early, “primal-Dead” era of the 1960s. The first half of the concert featured some early-Dead favorites, including “The Other One” and “The Eleven”, Pigpen’s trademark blues tune “Turn On Your Love Light”, and “Morning Dew” (although the latter was left off the official Dicks Picks release). The show also saw a rare cover of Jimmy Reed‘s “I Know It’s A Sin”. Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart shared the limelight for a drum solo later on in the evening, followed by an 11-minute “Viola Lee Blues”, and a lovely a cappella version of “And We Bid You Good Night” to close out the show.
Fans can relive the performance that night via the fan-recorded audio below.
Grateful Dead – Electric Theater – Chicago, IL – 4/26/1969
[Audio: Matthew Vernon]
Fans can also head to Spotify to hear a portion of the show’s recordings featuring on Dick’s Picks Vol. 26.
Grateful Dead – Dick’s Picks Vol. 26: 4/26/69 Electric Theater, Chicago, IL 4/27/69 Labor Temple Minneapolis, MN