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  • October 16th, 2017

    Here’s Some of the Best Bob Weir Moments at The Cap

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    Happy 70th birthday, Bob Weir! Bob Weir has played The Cap 31 times, 18 times with the Grateful Dead from 1970 – 1971 alone, and 13 times since our reopening in 2012. Last year, we had the honor of celebrating Weir’s 69th birthday, and it was truly an exceptionally special experience in many ways. Bob Weir, you’ve influenced our lives more than you could ever know. Thank you for your beautiful music! Let’s crank up the amps and raise a glass to the one and only Bob Weir!

    Watch the entire performance from Bob Weir’s 69th birthday featuring members of The National, Steve Kimock, and Jon Shaw, playing songs from Blue Mountain and other Grateful Dead gems.

    Here’s a few of our favorite Grateful Dead stories from the Dead’s legendary 6-night run in February of 1971!

    1. February 18, 1971

    Let’s start this list off by saying that the soulful blues passion of Ron “Pigpen” McKernan was present for each show, making these shows that much more special.

    On this night, the Grateful Dead decided to debut five original songs. The crowd was treated to debuts of “Bertha,” “Greatest Story Ever Told,” “Loser,” “Playing In The Band,” and “Wharf Rat.” songs that remain fan favorites to this day.

    Other highlights include a memorable and mystical “Dark Star,” played early in the first set, and with the iconic “Beautiful Jam.”

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    2. February 19, 1971

    This show marks the beginning of a 4-year stretch in which Bill Kreutzmann was the sole drummer for the band. It wasn’t until October of 1974 that Mickey Hart would return. The opening act for several of these shows was New Riders of the Purple Sage, and at that time, Jerry Garcia was a member of the band. Garcia would play pedal steel with NRPS during this night. Two debuts also made the stage this night, including “Bird Song” and “Deal.”

    Dubbed Three from the Vault, a double-disc would later be released on June 26, 2007, more than thirty years after this historic show.

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    3. February 20, 1971

    During this run of shows, Dr. Stanley Krippner, a psychosomatic medicine doctor, introduced an ESP dream experiment he wanted to observe with the band and the patrons as subjects. The doctor was very interested to see how psychedelics and an audience of 2,000 would affect “mind to mind transmissions.”

    The experiment was focused on dream telepathy, with the senders being the audience of Deadheads and the receiver being English psychic subject Malcolm Bessent, who had scored well in previous ESP experiments.

    Each night in the sleep lab at Maimonides, Bessent would go to bed early so that he would be asleep by 11:30PM, when the experiment would begin. At that same time, the audience in attendance at the Grateful Dead concerts would be shown a series of six slides that were being projected onto a large screen above the stage.

    The first five slides shown to the audience read:

    1. You are about to participate in an ESP experiment.
    2. In a few seconds you will see a picture.
    3. Try using your ESP to “send” this picture to Malcolm Bessent.
    4. He will try to dream about the picture. Try to “send” it to him.
    5. Malcolm Bessent is now at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory in Brooklyn.

    Unfortunately, it was noted early on in the experiment that most people were already in an altered state during the concert, altering their results.

    4. February 21, 1971

    Highlights from this show include a powerful version of “Easy Wind,” sung with the iconic grit, passion, and blues that Pigpen was known for. A smoking hot 16-minute version of “Good Lovin'” brought the house down as the second to last song of the night.

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    5. February 23, 1971

    The energy was at an all time high during this performance, with Phil Lesh’s thundering basslines leading to some fine musical moments. The band also paid tribute to Janis Joplin, with a gentle version of “Bird Song.” Janis, who at one point dated Pigpen, also played The Capitol Theatre the previous year on August 8, 1970.

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    6. February 24, 1971

    A stellar “Casey Jones” takes us into the last night of the Grateful Dead’s February 1971 run at The Cap. This show contains a nearly 20-minute “Good Lovin’ > Drums,” one of 7 versions from this era of the song “King Bee,” and one of the most well known versions of “Turn On Your Lovelight.” Let shine, let it shine, let it shine!

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