Fox Theatre - St. Louis on 03.18.1971
29 Jun 09:00 PM
Until 29 Jun, 11:45 PM 2h 45m

Fox Theatre - St. Louis on 03.18.1971

Dead Set Live
Organized by Dead Set Live

An Electrifying Night: The Grateful Dead's 03/18/71 Show. When it comes to the Grateful Dead's legendary performances, 03/18/71 stands out as an absolute rocket ship, especially the second set. The energy radiating from the band that night practically leaps off the tape. Stories abound about Bear brewing his electric Kool-Aid (typically orange and distributed throughout the theatre for casual consumption), which persisted well into the 70s. This atmosphere of electric excitement is palpable not only in the music but also in the abundant between-song banter. By the time set two rolls around, the show is saturated with that unmistakable "vibe."

Set One: Classic Grateful Dead. Set one epitomizes "good old Grateful Dead." The band is relaxed, in the groove, a bit cocky, and thoroughly enjoying themselves. The recording picks up moments after the start of "Casey Jones," flowing through a stellar set of tunes. By the time they reach "China Cat Sunflower," the band is locked in. Jerry Garcia's guitar sounds exquisite, and Bobby Weir takes a nice solo on the way to "I Know You Rider," showcasing Jerry's prowess as both a lead and rhythm guitarist. Despite a reel flip that momentarily interrupts the set, the music remains superb. The harmonizing between Phil, Jerry, and Bobby, with Billy’s shuffling beat and Garcia’s mellow lead lines, is delightfully satisfying. The set ends prematurely when a string breaks during "Cumberland Blues," prompting Jerry to suggest a ten-minute break.

Set Two: A Musical Journey. In a bid to make up for the abbreviated first set, the band opens set two with a fantastic jam of "Truckin’ > Drums > The Other One > Wharf Rat." The energy bursting forth during Jerry’s power chords in "Truckin’" is nothing short of awe-inspiring, demanding a pause to appreciate Jerry's intensity. "The Other One" follows, marked by an intense, spidery, and darkly emotional journey through musical landscapes. Garcia’s tone burns with his signature yearning and crooning intensity, especially evident in "The Other Ones" from '71. The ensuing "Wharf Rat" is still finding its legs, but the music that follows ranks among the year's most enjoyable.

Highlights and Humor. Skipping the next three songs would be a colossal mistake. "Sugar Magnolia" kicks off amidst humorous band teasing, with Jerry chiding Bobby for his tempo. The song itself is a masterful performance, Jerry’s wah-wah pedal adding a psychedelic touch to their rock-folk leanings. The energy is palpable, with Jerry's backing vocals adding a special charm.

The band then delves into a song pairing after much debate and crowd encouragement, performing "Greatest Story Ever Told > Johnny B. Goode." "Greatest Story" is rich with Garcia's wah-wah work, pulsating with psychedelic overtones. The seamless transition into "Johnny B. Goode" is explosive, showcasing the band’s intensity and cohesion. A brief pause for a broken string sets up the home stretch.

"Not Fade Away" leads into a beautifully shuffling transition to "Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad," a relatively new addition to their setlist, yet fully integrated and showcasing their folk/acoustic maturity. This segment exemplifies pure Grateful Dead-ness from 1971, radiating warmth and rewriting the rules of psychedelic music. A reel flip momentarily disrupts the flow, but the rest of the show is well-preserved.

A Fiery Finale. Instead of returning to "Not Fade Away," Jerry cues up "Caution," its only appearance in 1971. The band dives into a bluesy journey, with Pigpen's harmonica leading the charge. The music slowly dismantles into chaos, culminating in a primal "Feedback" session, the last of its kind on a setlist. This final segment spirals into an otherworldly experience, each band member contributing to a "found music" tapestry that resonates deeply, awakening a sense of interconnectedness.

03/18/71 remains a testament to the Grateful Dead's unique ability to blend humor, technical prowess, and raw energy into an unforgettable musical experience.

The Fox Theatre: A Jewel of St. Louis. The Fox Theatre, located in St. Louis, Missouri, is an iconic landmark that has been a centerpiece of the city's cultural and entertainment scene for nearly a century. Known for its opulent design, historic significance, and diverse programming, the Fox Theatre continues to captivate audiences and preserve the grandeur of early 20th-century architecture.

The Fox Theatre, affectionately known as "The Fabulous Fox," opened its doors on January 31, 1929. Built by William Fox, the founder of the Fox Film Corporation, the theatre was part of a chain of movie palaces designed to offer an extraordinary cinematic experience. The St. Louis Fox was one of the first theatres to be equipped for sound films, reflecting the rapid technological advancements of the time.

The architecture of the Fox Theatre is a testament to the opulence and grandeur of the era. Designed by the architectural firm of C. Howard Crane, the theatre showcases a stunning blend of Siamese Byzantine style, characterized by lavish ornamentation, intricate detailing, and a rich color palette. The auditorium, with its gilded decorations, grand chandeliers, and a majestic proscenium, seats over 4,500 patrons, making it one of the largest theatres of its kind in the United States. Architectural Marvel.

Walking into the Fox Theatre is like stepping into a bygone era of extravagance and elegance. The lobby, with its towering columns, intricate mosaics, and lavish furnishings, sets the stage for the visual feast that awaits inside. The auditorium's ceiling, designed to resemble a starry night sky, creates an enchanting atmosphere that enhances the theatrical experience.

One of the most striking features of the Fox Theatre is the massive Wurlitzer pipe organ, originally installed to provide music and sound effects for silent films. This magnificent instrument, with its rich tones and intricate design, remains a beloved part of the theatre's heritage and is still used for special performances and events. Revival and Renaissance.

Despite its early success, the Fox Theatre faced challenges in the mid-20th century, as the rise of television and changing entertainment preferences led to declining attendance. By the late 1970s, the theatre had fallen into disrepair and was at risk of demolition. However, a group of dedicated St. Louisans, led by philanthropist Mary Strauss, recognized the cultural and historical significance of the Fox and embarked on an ambitious restoration project.

In 1981, after an extensive renovation that restored the theatre to its former glory, the Fox Theatre reopened to the public. This revival marked the beginning of a new era for the Fox, transforming it into a premier venue for live performances, Broadway shows, concerts, and special events. The meticulous restoration preserved the theatre's original splendor while incorporating modern amenities to enhance the audience experience. Cultural Hub and Community Treasure.

Today, the Fox Theatre is more than just a performance venue; it is a cultural hub that plays a vital role in the St. Louis community. The theatre's diverse programming includes everything from Broadway musicals and ballet performances to rock concerts and comedy shows. This eclectic mix ensures that there is something for everyone, attracting a wide range of audiences and fostering a vibrant cultural scene.

In addition to its entertainment offerings, the Fox Theatre is committed to education and outreach. The theatre hosts educational programs, workshops, and tours, providing students and community members with opportunities to learn about the performing arts and the theatre's rich history. These initiatives reflect the Fox's dedication to nurturing the next generation of artists and audiences.

The Fox Theatre stands as a testament to the enduring allure of grand architecture and the transformative power of the performing arts. Its rich history, stunning design, and vibrant programming continue to make it a beloved landmark in St. Louis. As the Fox Theatre approaches its centennial, it remains a shining example of how a community's commitment to preservation and the arts can breathe new life into a cherished institution. For those who step through its doors, the Fox Theatre offers not just a glimpse into the past, but a living, breathing celebration of culture and creativity.

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