When Phil’s on, the band’s on. That’s for damn sure—and with the release of Dave’s Picks Vol. 3, we get to hear Phil Lesh in all of his glory. Not only is he wailing on the bass, but he’s wailing on the vocals as well, which really gives songs like Jack Straw, Tennessee Jed, and BIODTL that extra dose of cool. Listening to him howl “Rain and Snoooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-woah-oo” sends psychedelic shivers down my spine.
October ’71. What’s really great about Volume 3 in particular is that it is another look into Keith Godchaux’s first tour with the Dead. The addition of Keith in the band was something remarkable, regardless of who your favorite keyboard player might be. I was totally taken aback by how, for the lack of a better word, “on” he was. Disregarding what feelings you may have had (or still have) toward Keith at the end of his tenure with the Dead, he was on fire during this tour—majestically riffing along side and never combatting, but always adding to what Jerry, Bobby, Bill, and Phil put on the plate (and believe me, it’s never overwhelming).
I think credit must be given to where it’s due and we must applaud David (Dave) Lemiuex for working hard and providing us with such crisp sounding 1971 dead. Ultimately, what deadheads will appreciate, as I know I did, is that the stereo image is so great. Jerry on one side, Bobby on another, Keith is prominent in the mix, and Phil is LOUD and out there. This is a big step up from the Charlie Miller SBD that you’ll find on Archive. Dear Deadheads, Be Grateful For Dave!
Dare I say that this version of the Other One, complete with Cryptical Envelopment, is so good that it rivals some of my favorite Dark Stars? Beware: it might rival your favorite Dark Stars too! At this point in the review I’d usually suggest that you should, well, go out and buy this album…but unfortunately, Dave’s Picks Vol. 3 is sold out, so if I were you, I’d ask around and maybe a nice head that bought it will let you borrow it or you could work out a trade. It’s a must-hear killer show and definitely guaranteed to leave a smoking crater in your mind, make you tremble and explode, and absolutely take you Furthur!