Essential Listening: Night At The Family Dog (DVD) by Grateful Dead

Night At The Family Dog (DVD)
In December 1970, public television, then known as N.E.T. (National Educational Television), broadcast two specials as part of its Fanfare series. First, on December 6, there was San Francisco Rock: Go Ride the Music, a documentary about Jefferson Airplane. A week later, on December 13, came San Francisco Rock: A Night at the Family Dog. The latter one-hour program, videotaped in February 1970, featured 15-20-minute performances by Santana, the Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane, followed by a jam featuring members of the three groups.
Co-produced by music journalist Ralph J. Gleason, the concert was an unusual effort for a national television network in 1970, even a non-commercial one, and even more unusual was its presentation. There was no narration, there were no interruptions, there was just music.

Turning up on DVD a mere 35 years later, the show is an amazing time capsule of the psychedelic rock of its time, as Santana performs much as it had at the Woodstock Festival six months earlier, the Grateful Dead plays some of its early warhorses, and Jefferson Airplane remains a fascinating mixture of commercial appeal and hard rock. The film
gimmicks are kept to a minimum, although the director is fond of using slow motion to emphasize certain musical moments, as well as the bouncing breasts of several braless female dancers in peasant blouses who surround the Dead and the Airplane during their segments. ~ William Ruhlmann"