Grateful Dead: 1971 Capital Theater 1971-02-18   1 comment

Why This Concert?

I listen to the Grateful Dead every night for over an hour while I am on the treadmill.  During January I was listening to Fillmore and Winterland concerts from 1970 (the era of Workingman’s Dead).  The Dead were experimenting with a warm intimate sound during 1970.  Many shows featured a mix of acoustical sets (the NRPS were often in attendance).  This was the year I first saw the Dead live.  Clearly, however, there were issues.  The sound worked best in small halls, like the two Fillmores and just as clearly Bear’s abilities as a sound man had just about reached his (and the band’s) limit.  Although the funk of Dancing In The Streets and Turn on Your Love light still worked, you can hear both Bob and Jerry breaking out on some songs (China Cat) to a stronger more pure ROCK approach.  Johnny B. Goode and Not Fade Away both make tentative appearances during the year.

In 1971 the Band moved into a new and improved model, a new sound crew and new sound system were developed and the ability of the band to effectively play larger halls was perfected.  This is the year which moved towards the Skulls and Roses release (recorded in March and April).  The guitar sound is crisper (and louder).  In addition to Johnny B. Goode (which would find it truest form in 1972), often moves into the closing spot, replacing TOYLL).  Jerry is adding new songs (Wharf Rat, Loser, Bertha).  Both Bob and Pig are adding stronger, more focused, vocals.  This year’s version of the band snaps with energy.

This is a year which has been heavily documented with the live recording series from Dead.Net and include:

The Internet Archive has always been a great source for free concerts recordings of the Grateful Dead. The year 1971 is no exception.  Probably no single individual has done more quality sound processing of concert tapes posted to the Internet Net then a the great Charlie Miller and 1971 is not exception.  In this year alone, Charlie contributed 26 soundboard recording which he processed.  No single contributor has better sound processing skills or better musical taste than Charlie.  And we thank him for his contribution.  You can find my blogs on the Grateful Dead recordings on the Internet Archive here, here, here and here.

The February run at the Capital Theater is outstanding. The performance is great and the sound system (and sound processing are terrific). Among these dates the February 18th date is freely available and features some breakout performances, including Bertha, Loser, It Hurts Me Too and Truckin’.  Pride of place is the great sequence:

  • Mama Tried
  • Hard to Handle
  • Dark Star
  • Wharf Rat
  • Dark Star
  • Me And My Uncle


This is a nice long two set concert.  The first set begins with Bertha and Truckin and ends with Casey Jones.  The second set, not as strong as the first set, opens with a early short version of Playin’ In the Band and an eraly version of Sugar Magnolia (with Wah Wah).  The second set concludes with a nice sequence of:

  • Not Fade Away
  • Goin’ Down The Road, Feeling Bad
  • Not Fade Away
  • Uncle John’s Band

Wow. Nice. Here is a link list into the set.  Click on the date to jump to the Internet Archive’s player to hear the whole concert. Individual songs can be heard in modern browsers by clicking on the track title (free a track with a right click).


1971-02-18 Capitol Theater

01 06:54 Bertha
02 11:05 Truckin’
03 05:15 It Hurts Me Too
04 06:08 Loser
05 03:48 Greatest Story Ever Told ->
06 03:03 Johnny B. Goode
07 02:56 Mama Tried
08 08:01 Hard To Handle
09 07:02 Dark Star ->
10 07:20 Wharf Rat ->
11 07:19 Dark Star ->
12 03:40 Me And My Uncle
13 01:40 Tuning
14 06:53 Casey Jones
15 05:23 Playing In The Band
16 06:03 Me And Bobby McGee
17 07:15 Candyman
18 04:59 Big Boss Man
19 07:36 Sugar Magnolia
20 06:27 Saint Stephen ->
21 04:33 Not Fade Away ->
22 05:05 Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad ->
23 03:58 Not Fade Away ->
24 08:02 Uncle John’s Band

Download Tracks 08 through 12 here.

One response to “Grateful Dead: 1971 Capital Theater 1971-02-18

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  1. Wonderful stuff, man. Thanks for all the work!

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