St. Stephen (Live at the Fillmore West San Francisco, 1969; 2001 Remaster)
Label: Rhino/Warner Records
One of the most powerful, telling live recordings ever, this album is the first to reveal the epic grandeur of the Grateful Dead's early performances. Recorded at a series of Bay Area shows in 1969, Live/Dead is the best place to start understanding the band's sprawling psychedelic rock. The "Darkstar -> St. Stephen -> The Eleven" triptych contains the very essence of the Dead: dark, mysterious, intricate musical interplay paired with dazzling lyrical imagery. And Pig Pen's "Lovelight" is the sweaty, soulful sound of '60s-style free love.