Opened in March 1968 by concert promoter Bill Graham as the East Coast counterpart to his San Francisco-based Fillmore Auditorium, New York City-based Fillmore East served as an incredible hub of live music in the late ’60s and ’70s. Dubbed the “Church of Rock and Roll” for good reason, Graham had a knack for uniting some of the era’s most unique and explosive artists under the same roof, which through the years included John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Van Morrison, Led Zeppelin, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
On February 11th, 1970, Graham booked a triple billing of the Grateful Dead, Los Angeles psych-rockers Love, and a relatively unknown group from the Atlanta area, The Allman Brothers Band.
Though the Allmans and Dead had met some months prior at the first Atlanta Pop Festival, it wouldn’t be until the bands’ 1970 Fillmore East billing that the two iconic jam bands collaborated on stage.
The Allman Brothers’ set that night included originals “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed”, “Trouble No More”, and the always gargantuan instrumental that is “Mountain Jam”, along with covers of Blind Willie McTell‘s “Statesboro Blues” and Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man”.
Playing both an early and late show—as was customary at the Fillmore East—the Dead began its afternoon performance with an intense “The Other One” that segued into “Cryptical Envelopment” before finishing up with “Dire Wolf” and “Casey Jones”. The latter two would appear on the Dead’s soon-to-be-released studio album, Workingman’s Dead.
“Not Fade Away” was used as a launchpad for the evening set, which also included another pair of Workingman’s cuts, “Cumberland Blues” and “High Time”. For their rendition of “Dark Star”, the Dead welcomed Duane Allman to add some mesmerizing slide guitar on the psychedelic anthem, which was later augmented further when Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green (who was not on the bill that night but had been a fan of the Dead’s since playing with them in San Francisco in June 1968) and Love’s Arthur Lee (percussion) were added into the performance.
As the “Dark Star” jam built and boiled with the three guitar players on stage, the song gave way to a rare Miles Davis-inspired “Spanish Jam” just as Gregg Allman slid onto the organ bench. Finally, as The Dead’s own Ron “Pigpen” McKernan busts into a raging “Turn On Your Lovelight”, Gregg gets in on the party to trade vocals with Pigpen on this show-stopper.
Relive what was an unreal on-stage meeting of The Dead, The Allmans, and Peter Green with the full-show audio from February 11th, 1970, below.
Grateful Dead – Fillmore East [Full-Show] – 2/11/1970
[Audio: Darrin Sacks]
Setlist: Grateful Dead | The Fillmore East | New York, NY | 2/11/1970
Early Show: The Other One > Cryptical Envelopment, Dire Wolf, Casey Jones
Late Show: Not Fade Away, Cumberland Blues, Cold Rain And Snow, High Time, Me And My Uncle, Dark Star*! > Spanish Jam*# > Turn On Your Lovelight#
Encore: Uncle John’s Band^
* with Duane Allman and Peter Green
! with Arthur Lee
# with Duane Allman, Gregg Allman and Peter Green