In all of the years that archival Grateful Dead recordings have been coming out, there have been only two from the red-hot fall of 1971, Keith Godchaux's landmark first tour with the band. Now there is a third. Dave's Picks Volume 3 features the complete October 22, 1971 concert from the beautiful Auditorium Theatre in Chicago on two discs, with a third disc culled from the previous night's scorcher at the same venue.
The sparkle and verve that Keith brought to the band is immediately apparent on Dave's Picks Volume 3. He tears through rockers and bouncy mid-tempo numbers with the confidence of someone who had been playing this music forever and you can feel the electricity in the rest of the band, as Jerry, Phil, Bob and Bill absorb and play off of the amazingly inventive musings of their new recruit. The songs are a blend of old, still-recent (from Workingman's Dead) and brand-new (“Tennessee Jed,” “Jack Straw,” “Mexicali Blues,” “Ramble On Rose,” “Comes A Time,” “One More Saturday Night”). One forgets that crowd-pleasers such as “Bertha,” “Deal” and “Playing in the Band” had come into the repertoire only eight months earlier, and “Truckin'” and “Sugar Magnolia” were just over a year old. Even a bunch of the cover tunes were relatively recent additions - “Big Railroad Blues,” “Me & Bobby McGee” and “Johnny B. Goode.” Keith handles all with his characteristic aplomb, but perhaps most impressive is how he fares on the Dead's big jamming numbers. On Disc Two, you'll hear his thoughtful and inventive contributions to a truly stellar, 29-minute version of “That's It for the Other One.” And on Disc Three (from 10/21), listen to him as he navigates through a spectacular “Dark Star,” which is split by a spirited romp through “Sitting on Top of the World.” Lest we forget to mention, the encore of 10/21 also features the first of only three “old school” (pre-hiatus) versions of “St. Stephen” Keith played on.
As always, the 3-CD set has been lovingly mastered to HDCD specs by Jeffrey Norman from the original vault reels, and the eco-friendly Digipak includes a booklet with an essay by Blair Jackson about the show and, in this case, some very cool photos of the interior of Chicago's historic Auditorium Theatre.
This limited edition of 12,000 numbered copies (for those who didn't subscribe, we've only got 2800 copies left for purchase) will definitely sell out - and fast - so if you want to make sure you get your copy, pre-order it today!