•08/31/2012 • 2 Comments
Now that the tour has ended and I have deflated a bit….
I want to thank everyone who followed, interacted and volunteered their insight along the way. Especially Jay @ The Dead Blog, Tubs/Harvey Road, and my brother Dave. Many thanks go out to the folks who traveled around with the Grateful Dead and took the time to record each show, building a wealth of recorded history with which this project was possible. With the countless hours in the decades the band played, these dedicated fans worked to record each show, sometimes having to cut and splice from multiple sources to make an authentic replication of a performance. Thanks for passing these along to not only friends, but to generations of curious listeners. And of course many, many thanks to the artists themselves, the Grateful Dead, who overall created some wonderful music and a unique culture full of happy travelers. These fans came from many different places and walks of life to enjoy the moment, and many have never left.
I was eighteen years old when Jerry Garcia died. I had just graduated highschool in June and was working for the school district for the summer. I was driving back from my lunch break and had heard “Truckin’ ” playing on WEBN. I hadn’t thought to much about this until I pulled into the parking lot next to a co-worker, Carrie. She had her car door open and was listening to the radio for the last few remaining minutes of her break. She was crying. I got out of my car, walked around and stood by her for a moment. I didn’t have to ask what was wrong, the radio was informing me, and she listened again to the news with a heavy heart. I had no idea that Carrie was a fan, nor did I have any idea as to what the music of the Grateful Dead meant to her. But I remember waiting by her car as she calmed herself down before getting back to work. I had only limited exposure to the band’s music and the culture that surrounded it at the time. So Jerry’s death didn’t derail my thoughts or emotions in any way. I didn’t understand the significance of that moment till , really, this last year. His impact, and the bands impact on millions of people over multiple generations was immeasurable. It wasn’t just Jerry Garcia who died that day, it was the Grateful Dead that was gone. And for all those fans at the time, the seemingly endless roadshow had come to an end. They knew, Carrie knew, that the world had changed. The long strange trip would never be the same if it was to be at all.
I will leisurely keep on wondering down the road of Grateful Dead music, listening to shows I missed on this journey, and may or may not post my thoughts along the way. I’m also looking forward to revisiting the ones that stood out the most for me. No timeline or pressure. From here on out its listening when the feelins’ right. I would love to hear any show recommendations, so tweet me the date or post it here on the blog.
Thanks again to everyone who followed along,
•08/18/2012 • 1 Comment
Set list: Touch of Grey, Little Red Rooster, Lazy River Road, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Childhood’s End, Cumberland Blues, Promised Land, Shakedown Street>Samson & Delilah, So many Roads, Samba in the Rain>Corrina>Drums>Space>Unbroken Chain, Sugar Magnolia, Black Muddy River, Box of Rain
The second night at Soldier Field and at least I’ve got the full show here. The first set has pretty good energy, as the band kicks things off with “Touch of Grey” . I always dug a nicely jammed “Little Red Rooster” and the band tosses this out but it doesn’t reach the heights I was hoping for today. “Lazy River Road” is decent, as is “When I Paint My Masterpiece”, but the “Cumberland Blues” was a great surprise and hit the spot. “Shakedown Street” opens the second half of the party, to my delight. Unfortunately this set starts to lose it’s good vibes after “Samson & Delilah” when the band ties a string of not so awesome tunes. Even after “Drums>Space” it doesn’t really pick up that much. “Unbroken Chain” is mediocre and I’m still not sure I like the vocals, it just sounds awkward to me. Hadn’t heard “Black Muddy River” in quite some time and some how it seems appropriate tonight, but they don’t carry on with this song for as long as they used to. No emotional guitar solo from Jerry this time. Thankfully they leave on a good note, encoring with a good “Box of Rain”. That’s it, that’s all the Grateful Dead shows I’ve got. Glad to have my brother Dave, who gave me this collection, here to listen to the last show with me today. Now for some drinks and a fire under a beautiful Colorado sky.
Highlight: Shakedown Street
Recommendation: One for the Heads
•08/17/2012 • Leave a Comment
Set List: Terrapin Station>Drums>Space>The Other One>Visions of Johanna, One More Saturday Night, U.S. Blues
Well shii-att! This is only a part of the second set of this second to last show that I have from the collection. The “Terrapin” isn’t all bad and actually the “Drums” was very upbeat, rather charging. They do resurrect some Bob Dylan this time around with a good “Visions of Johanna” that really takes the set on this tape. Though they do keep rock alive with “One More Saturday Night” and a “U.S. Blues” encore to tidy it up at the end.
Highlight: Visions of Johanna
Recommendation: One for the Heads
•08/16/2012 • Leave a Comment
Set List: Shakedown Street, Wang Dang Doodle, Jack-a-Roe, Mama Tried>Mexicali Blues, Loose Lucy, Picasso Moon, Box of Rain, Rain, Samson & Delilah>Ship of Fools>Truckin’>Rollin’ & Tumblin’>Samba in the Rain>Drums>Space>Wharf Rat>NFA, Brokedown Palace
I actually really enjoyed this show, and the band is sounding much better today than from the Shorline show I went through yesterday. “Shakedown Street” gets everyone moving right away and as always loosens me up like a tall glass of scotch, groovy. The following set just keeps the flow feeling good. A solid “Jack-a-Roe” and “Mama tried>Mexicali Blues” boost this set higher than most of the shows I’ve heard this year. The second set has an unusual duo, “Box of Rain>Rain” that gets a pretty mellow mood going, this has a nice “Samson>Ship of Fools” follow-up. I can’t remember the last time I heard a “Ship of Fools” that made me listen as astutely as this one. “Truckin'” gets the classic jam session and grooves on into an old school blues tune, “Rollin’ & Tumblin’ “. The band sounds great and doesn’t seem to reflect the sad state I’ve heard from them in this last year of shows, they’re just jammin’ tonight. After a decent “Drums>Space” break they get on with a good “Wharf Rat”, classic “NFA” follow-up, and an excellent “Brokedown Palace” encore. Besides some of the typical fodder songs thrown in, this show was fun. And again they make a good move by leaving the Bob Dylan out of it.
Highlight: Truckin’>Rollin’ & Tumblin’
Recommendation: A Good & Fun Show
•08/15/2012 • Leave a Comment
Set List: Alabama Getaway, Greatest Story Ever Told, Candyman, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, Ramble on Rose, El Paso, Bird Song, Promised Land, New Speedway Boogie, That Would be Something, Way to Go Home, Saint of Circumstance>He’s Gone>Drums>Space>Easy Answers, Standing on the Moon, Around & Around, Lucy in the Sky
I recall this date very well, not for any reason surrounding the Grateful Dead, but for a bit of my own history. I was in Red River Gorge Kentucky, and this was the day I did my first lead climb, on-sighting “Creature Feature” at Phantasia Wall. Very life changing, zen moment. The band however is in California back at the Shoreline Amphitheatre performing a rather mediocre show. Most every song is decent, just not hot. The band tries to get the spark, but the energy is stagnant and makes for a dismal sound. In the first set the band plays the amped up version of “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”, I can’t say I’m a fan of this newly remodeled sound, but whatever. The “Bird Song” at the end of the set is pretty well done, and gets off into it’s usual craziness, of course they have to squeeze in a “Promised Land” before taking a break. The second set starts out with a good “New Speedway Boogie” and then goes onto a drawn out “That Would be Something”. The only thing I really found interesting was the gregorian chanting going on in “Drums>Space”. This is new and made for something very different, and the crowd really gets a kick out of it from what I can hear. Jerry musters up some belting vocal energy for a long “Standing on the Moon”. And before a lousy encore of “Lucy in the Sky” the band plays the slowest “Around & Around” I think I’ve ever heard. Fast or slow this song still sucks.
Recommendation: One for the Heads
•08/14/2012 • Leave a Comment
Set List: Eyes of the World>Saint of Circumstance>Samba in the Rain>Unbroken Chain>Corrina>Drums> Space>Easy Answers>Days Between>NFA, U.S. Blues
Just the second set here in Tampa, and if the first set was anything like this second set, then it was a pretty awful show. This set starts out with some potential in “Eyes of the World”, but the band doesn’t seem together tonight. This is very evident in “Saint of Circumstance”. Their energy just isn’t flowing together. The set list isn’t all that exciting either. “Samba in the Rain”, “Corrina”, “Easy Answers”, just one bummer after another. The last three songs are probably the best part of this tape. “Days Between” is affective with it’s melancholy nature. “NFA” does a decent job of waking up the crowd and getting them involved in the show again. A nice “U.S Blues” encores, but lacks the energy it once had to rock your face off.
Highlight: Days Between
Recommendation: One for the Heads
•08/13/2012 • Leave a Comment
Set List: Shakedown Street, The Same Thing, Althea, Memphis Blues, Tennessee Jed, Promised Land, Here Comes Sunshine, Eternity>Crazy Fingers>Estimated Prophet>Drums>Space>The Last Time, Wharf Rat> NFA, Unbroken Chain
The crowd in Memphis is sure getting a good treatment with these two shows. This second night’s set list is fun and even though it isn’t all played that clean, I enjoyed it. They open with the instant party mix tune, “Shakedown Street”, I was happy to here this, an instant good mood, and it definitely added to the positive energy of the show. The band follows up with good versions of “The Same Thing” and “Althea” before getting to some songs specifically for the Memphis crowd. Dug this first set. A pretty decent “Here Comes Sunshine” opens up the second half of the show and is grouped nicely with a grooving “Eternity>Crazy Fingers> Estimated Prophet”. The “Drums>Space” is cut short on this tape, and what I did hear wasn’t impressive enough to make me feel like I missed out on anything special. The late “Wharf Rat” was really nice and added that extra kick of sweetness in what has been a pretty sugar free year. They put “Unbroken Chain” in the encore spot and it pans out nicely.
Highlight: Wharf Rat
Recommendation: Best of the year so far.