4.9 – 4.12.1970 Fillmore West

Having sized up Bill Graham’s Fillmore audience with two nights at Fillmore East the month prior, the Miles Davis sextet arrived at Fillmore West well-prepared for a four-night run opening for the Grateful Dead. They were also riding high on the release Bitches Brew, unleashed just days prior on March 30th, and by all accounts were fully intent on upstaging, outplaying, and straight-up out-psychedelicizing the Dead with nightly mind-melting sets.

Bassist Phil Lesh recalls his reaction to the April Fillmore West shows in his memoir, Searching for Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead

As I listened, leaning over the amps with my jaw hanging agape, trying to comprehend the forces that Miles was unleashing onstage, I was thinking, “What’s the use? How can we possibly play after this? We should just go home and try to digest this unbelievable shit.

Like most of Miles’ Fillmore gigs, all four nights were recorded, with the evening of April 11th memorialized on the Columbia double LP, Black Beauty.

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