The year 1969 was a pivotal one for the Dead. They entered the year still playing the psychedelia that made them famous. But spurred on by friends like David Crosby (Crosby, Stills and Nash)and a growing shift towards folk-country-rock, Jerry and Hunter had a creative spurt that resulted in two of the band's most-loved albums, American Beauty and Workingman's Dead. The folk-influenced harmonies would make their appearance in the spring of '69 and by the time '69 was over the boys were playing an even blend of psychedelia and the "new stuff" upon which the Dead's legacy would be built. This two CD set captures the Dead performing two short one-hour shows as openers for Janis Joplin. Of the two, the second CD (the late show) is better in that it flows from from Mountains of the Moon into Dark Star>St. Stephen> The Eleven> Drums> Caution> Feedback > We Bid You Goodnight. Classic psychedelia. Pigpen fans will love the first (early show) CD more, as Pig rants and raves on great versions of Schoolgirl, King Bee and Lovelight. The boys tinker around at the end of the early show and do a less than harmonious encore of the Beatles' Hey Jude. Still, taken overall, this is great stuff. A four-night stand in late February in San Francisco would yield similar material and is treasured among traders. For an interesting contrast, check out Dick's Picks 16 from 11/8/69, in which the old psychedelia and the new material flow back and forth. This 2/11/69 two-CD set is a great historical document of the Dead as they began to leave psychedlia behind and seek new musical frontiers. With the exception of that off-key Hey Jude, this is a really, really nice couple of short shows to own.