The Fillmore East in NYC hosted many legendary concerts over the course of its short existence, but arguably the most epic affair took place on this date in 1970. How’s this for a lineup? Arthur Lee & Love followed by the Allman Brothers Band and the Grateful Dead. Not too shabby, huh? Yet add in that the Dead’s main set ended with an insane Superjam that saw the band joined by Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Mick Fleetwood, Butch Trucks, Danny Kirwin, Peter Green and Berry Oakley.
The Superjam segment of the Dead’s set started off with a “Dark Star” that was jammed into the thematic “Spanish Jam” and comes to close with a near 30-minute “Turn On Your Lovelight.” Phil Lesh discussed the evening extensively in his 2005 auto-biography Searching For The Sound. Lesh reveals that the collaboration came together organically, so much so that Phil was surprised when he heard Duane Allman’s slide and realized someone was sitting in. The bassist calls the resulting music, “a surprisingly coherent free-for-all, with five guitarists, four drummers, organ, and – Pigpen roaring over it all.” Phil was impressed by Gregg Allman’s voice, writing Gregg sounded “like a fifty-year-old black man even then.” Lesh was more than happy to turn over bass duties to Berry Oakley during “Turn On Your Lovelight” when Phil told the ABB bassist, “I just want to listen to this for a while.”
Thankfully, the jam was recorded by tapers John Chester and Alan Mande in the basement of the Fillmore using a Revox reel-to-reel tape deck with 15″ reels so we can listen for a while as well. The resulting recording is available via Archive.org:
Here’s a more complete version of the Dead’s performance at Fillmore East that night: