‘LIKE A LITTLE GEM’: THE GRATEFUL DEAD DO TWO AWESOME EARLY RARITIES LIVE ON TV IN 1969.
The Grateful Dead perform a delicate “Mountains of the Moon” and a rip-snortin’ “St. Stephen” from their 1969 Aoxomoxoa album on Hugh Hefner’s Playboy After Dark TV show. Aoxomoxoa is considered a strong highlight among the group’s studio output by fans, but “Mountains of the Moon” and “St. Stephen” were thought to be too hard to play live by Jerry Garcia—there were only thirteen live performances of “Mountains of the Moon” in total and after 1971 “St. Stephen” was only pulled out on very rare special occasions.
Despite this, Garcia once remarked that “Mountains of the Moon” was “one of my favorite ones. I thought it came off like a little gem.” It does, like something you’d hear at a Renaissance fair. And if I had to pick just one song by the Dead of this vintage to see them do live, it would probably be “St. Stephen” (no, “Dark Star,” no, “St. Stephen,” no, “Dark Star”…). Even with the hatchet-like unsubtle edits in this clip, it’s still pretty fantastic.