The Grateful Dead demonstrated this past holiday weekend (11, 13-14) that they have arrived as a top draw act. Following its New Years' weekend sellout, the Dead returned to headline the six-show holiday concert at the Fillmore East, NY. Playing to a near-capacity house, the shows grossed $55,000. The all-California bill included Love and the Allman Bros.
The Grateful Dead's approach to rock is based upon their inventive explorations of driving blues, country & western, hard rock and well conceived eerie atonal passages. With Jerry Garcia's crystal clear guitar serving as a starting point, the sextet has a spontaneity that finds all the members sharing equally in the final product. Phil Lesh's imaginative bass lines combine with the stereo drumming of Bill Kreutzman and Mickey Hart for a unique rhythm section, while Bob Weir's smooth guitar fills the gaps. The Grateful Dead have attracted one of rock's most dedicated followings with their no-gimmick music.
One of the earliest of the Los Angeles rock groups, Love has undergone extensive personnel changes since 1965 with leader Arthur Lee the lone holdover. Whether belting away or projecting a sensitive vocal, Lee is a unique singer whose lyrical vocals mellow the quartet's hard rock emphasis.
Like the Dead, the Allman Bros. are a hard blues band whose emphasis is on extended instrumentals. The sextet has the ability to drive each other and motivate the audience, but at times get hung up with repetitive chord patterns.
(by Jeff, from Variety, Feb 18 1970)