"If you tell the Truth, you don't have to remember anything"
-Mark Twain
"You realize, of course, that everything I say is horseshit." -Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years 82

There are so many reasons why New Years is the greatest holiday in Grateful Dead history. The first New Years gig was in 1966 and was of course a Bill Graham Presents event. They skipped 67, but played there first Winterland New Years gig in 1968. This cumulated 10 years later when the band closed the Winterland with there midnight show in 1978. "Closing of Winterland" was later released as a CD/DVD, but before that David Lemieux said that it was the third most requested archival release to Cornell '77 and Venture '72.
Being that New Years is the date that just keeps on giving, I've decided to honor the holiday with an New Years Eve show and a Midnight show, which will be published at midnight. Both of these shows features special guest and the first is 30 years ago, New Years '82, which you can download SBD's HEREHERE, and HERE.
The show opens with a whimsical "Cold Rain and Snow," because this was Jerry and Mountain Girl's first wedding anniversary. When he sings, "I married me a wife, she's been trouble all my life," he is taking a humorous jab at MG. Bobby of course follows that up with "Girl now you made me love ya, woman, now your man is gone." The first special guest of the night, Matthew Kelley sits in on this  excellent "CC Rider." An energetic "Cumberland" is followed by a sweet "Far From me" and an enticing "Cassidy." Jerry gets gitty again with this "Ramble on Rose." Bobby then graces a crowd to rousing version of "LL Rain," before Jerry caps the set with Chuck Berry-esk "Day Job."
The Grateful Dead played "Sugar Magnolia" at the start of more New Years sets more than any other song. The tradition was started at the request of Bill Graham who called it his favorite Dead song. Don't adjust the volume because through the "Mags" there is the pre-recorded music that is competing with the band through the PA. So "Sugar Mags" is how the band rings in the New Year, and before they get to "Sunshine Daydream," they slyly progress into "Sugaree." From here the band pops into a lively "Woman are Smarter" before a graceful "Ship of Fools." The "Playin'" that comes next is thick with waves of notes that flutter up and down through the cosmos. Out of "Space" the second special guest of the evening joins the band, John Cipollina plays on the rest of the second set. "NFA" a song that would have fit nicely in the Quicksilver catalog because of the rhythmic beat of the song, features some great interplay between Garcia and Cipollina. "Deal" comes flying out of a dissolved "NFA," before the hitting beat of "Sunshine Daydream" closes the set.
The third set starts with a third set of special guests joining the band on stage, the blues legend Etta James and the Tower of Power horn section. They had joined the band the night beforehand for the encore. These two nights saw two non-Pigpen version of "Hard to Handle," which Ms. Etta James took lead vocals on. "Lovelight" has a perfect transition into "Tell Mama," and to think 4 years earlier the Blues Brothers would have loved to make this transition. The "Hard to Handle" is worth the 11 year wait, as Etta and Tower of Power kick the song into high gear. Then Bobby and Etta take vocals on the first "Midnight Hour" since the final gig at the Fillmore East, which was 730 shows ago! The long over due wait was well worth it.
Again at midnight EST, I'll publish another show blog. If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to the Furthur New Years show live from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on the Grateful Dead channel number 23. Once again thanks to my fellow traveler Peter White for creating these images for this blog. Follow him on twitter @pawhite.
I: Cold Rain, CC Rider*, Cumberland, Far From Me, Cassidy, Ramble, LL Rain, Day Job
II: Sugar Mags, Sugaree, Woman, Ship, Playin', Drums, Space, NFA**, Deal **, SSDD**
III: Lovelight***, Tell Mama***, Baby What you Want***, Hard To Handle***, Midnight Hour***, E: Brokedown
*Matt Kelley **John Cipollina ***Etta James & Tower of Power

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Some times Santa's sled can slow down the travel of love one's and bandmates. That's what happened on this date in 1969 to Billy Kreutzmann and the Grateful Dead. This facilitated the second ever Acoustic/Electric show in GD history, which you can download HERE and HERE.
As Jerry says at the beginning of the show "Billy is somewhere over Omaha right now but we assured that he'll be here soon." Instead of making the audience sit around between acts, Bobby and Jerry decide to play a couple of songs on acoustics. Eventually Phil joins the boys but the audience that was coming to see a set similar to the "Live Dead" release are now seeing a bunch of country and bluegrass standards. The really gives it to Bobby because all his songs come from Country Western TV shows, which a Texan is of course familiar with, and an interesting dialog ensues. Eventually Bobby calls a song to which you hear Jerry respond, "I don't know that one. Do you?" Bobby does and sings "The Master's Bouquet." Jerry's musicianship shines through as he manages to play along and sing harmonies. You really understand why Jefferson Airplane used him as their "Musical and Spiritual Adviser" on "Surrealistic Pillow." Jerry introduces the crowd two new songs, "Black Peter" and "Uncle John's Band," and Billy arrives right before the last acoustic song.
If I can pose a question it would be, why no "Dupree's" or "Mountains of the Moon?" Both songs fell out of their brief rotation in July of this same year. Did they have to play Country & Western songs? Too bad I wasn't backstage to ask.
The Electric starts with a furious "Casey Jones." Knocking the socks off the crowd, in a couple of months "Workingman's Dead" would be released and this song would be on everyone's turntable. While Jerry, Bobby and Phil were playing a wooden set, Pigpen was obviously backstage drinking. He sings a pretty sloppy "Hard to Handle." He comes in early on the second verse and then forgets most of the verse as he tries to keep up. A psychedelic "China/Rider" features some outstanding transitional leads by Phil. Then listen to Jerry's voice go falsetto on the "I wish I was a headlight" line. He did this a couple of times (Comes a Time in 71 and So Many Rds in 95), this is the first time I know of, and when it happens he seems shocked like he doesn't know where to go next. He resumes in his normal voice for "I'd shine my light through the cool Colorado rain."
The band goes "Full Psychedelic" as they slide in to a 23 plus minute "Dark Star." The full super powers of this "Dark Star" unfortunately fall victim to the tape change in the middle of the second verse. Before that their is beauty and fear in the catechism of the musical landscape. As the tape cuts back in the band is in the middle of "Speedway." This version features the short lived background vocals. They got dropped faster than "Sweet Suzie." Pigpen was then given a chance at redemption, as the "Lovelight" rift lifts the roof off the place.
After this lone night in Texas, the band went on to play three nights in Boston, which included a New Years show. This is the only New Years show that the band played outside of the greater San Francisco/Oakland area. My next post will feature at least one of the fantastic New Years show the band played.
Acoustic: Monkey & Engineer, Sadie, Long Black Limousine, Around This World, Master's Bouquet, Black Peter, Uncle John's
Electric: Casey Jones, Hard To Handle, Cold Rain, China Cat, Rider, High Time, My Uncle, Dark Star, Speedway, Lovelight

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Here is the most compelling Christmas song Jerry Garcia ever played, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. This was recorded live in December of 1991, with David Grisman and company. Why they never recorded this to be on their "So What" jazz album is beyond me.
My announcement about the future of the my blog is that I want it to continue for as long as possible. So in order to make it last, I'm going to spend the next doing a concept year. The next year will be everybody who played in the Heart of Gold Band. These will be Special and not so Special Guest, which will be left to my own discretion. The Allman's, The Band, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, and the police as in the cops will be some of the Special Guest.
I'm really looking forward to this project, even though my busiest time of year is going to be right when MB (Mountain Baby) comes, so I'm going to be busy. MB has to learn to rock out and nap time will fully be utilized as writing time.
I'm going to start this on New Years and end on next New Years, (even though this blog was started impulsively on Cornell 77 day) because there is so many amazing New Year shows and guest. I hope you enjoy this, even though years like 76 and 77 won't be featured in the next year.
Please feel free to RT, MT, or whatever else you have to do to tell your friends because "The Candyman is in town."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


The Grateful Dead finished their fall 1973 tour with two shows in Tampa Florida. Today is the anniversary of the first of the two nights. The second night was released as Dick's Picks Volume 1 in 1993. Download the show HERE and HERE.
The show opens up with a fluffy "Tennessee Jed," which was used as an opener only four times and this is the third time it was done. A rare comical drumming error by Billy occurs durning the beginning of the "LLRain." Billy is playing the beat for "BT Wind" and when Bobby sings the first line, sheepishly Billy drops into a lazier beat for the correct song. There is no mistake by the band member for the upbeat "TLEO," which features the break and the third verse that later versions abandoned. After a lively "Bobby McGee," the piano needs to be tuned and this prompts Bobby to improv a story for the folks in the crowd. It's a story that he builds from audience participation, which makes it kind of funny considering "Holland was now neutral." Lucky the piano gets tuned in time for a prefect "BE Women." The set ends with a blazing "Jack Straw" and "China/Rider." The "China Cat" glows like an early winter sunset. A crest of sparkling glowing colors, peaking as it flows into the "Feeling Groovy" jam that eases into the "Rider."
The second set of music gives you something to write home about.
                                               Dear Mom, 
                                               You missed an amazing set of music. 
                                                                         Your Son
The band strings together three rockers to open up the set. Then Jerry calls "Row Jimmy" and plays a slide solo between the verses that melt like butter on your heart strings. So delicately each quiver of each note is song unto itself. The jamming begins with "Weather Report Suite." The accumulating comfort the boys have with the song has grown in the two months since it's debut. The a master seamstress the band sews together "Let It Grow" and "Dark Star." The "Dark Star" floats for a while around the theme before disintegration occurs, but the energy of the lead in "Weather Report" is something the band doesn't lose. The keen listener will pick up on different proposed directions for the "Dark Star" to go in, but Jerry stays the course. The presented themes are "Sugar Mags," "Mind Left Body," and "Other One." At about the 20 minute mark, Jerry stumbles up yet another theme and in order to aline the stars, he pauses for a "Drums" break before vaulting into an "Eyes." Phil's bass solo jam at the "Eyes" sets up the band for energetic out put jam, till Jerry and Phil hit these excitable alternating notes that peak the song. A magnificent "Wharf Rat" is pulled from the "Eyes" jam, before being kicked into high gear for the set closer "Sugar Mags." Listen to Phil in the background scream at Bobby right before the "Mags," "Go ahead." Yeah Bobby, what you waiting for go ahead.
I: Jed, My Uncle, Don't Ease, LL Rain, TLEO, Bobby McGee, BE Women, BIODTL, Peggy-O, El Paso, Deal, Jack Straw, China Cat, Rider
II: Promised, Bertha, Greatest, Row Jimmy, WRS, Dark Star, Drums, Eyes, Wharf Rat, Sugar Mags E:Uncle John's

Saturday, December 15, 2012


On this date in 1986, the house lights went down and the band took the stage for the first time in 5 months.  It was the band's longest hiatus since 1975 when they took 8 months off. This was a forced hiatus because of Jerry Garcia's diabetic coma. The coma was brought on by his poor diet, which mostly consisted of chili dogs and Haagen Dazs ice cream.
In July of 1986, Jerry's housekeeper Nora found him moaning on the bathroom floor (remind you of Elvis, anyone). She called an ambulance and he was taken to Marin General Hospital. Unable to correctly diagnose his problem and knowing his drug history, they believed he was having a heart problem. In attempt to revive him they shot him up with Valium, which caused him to go into cardiac arrest. Jerry died there on the table because Valium is the only drug that he was allergic too. However, he hospital was able to revive him.
Even after Jerry was stabilized, he was having difficulty getting enough fresh oxygen into his system. It was a long standing problem he had due to his sleep apnea. Doctors tried to get his then wife, Mountain Girl, to agree to a tracheotomy. Smartly she refused. She figured that Jerry would rather be dead than unable to ever sing again.
Jerry was in the coma for several days and reportedly when he awoke from the coma the first thing that he said was "I'm not Beethoven. I'm not dead yet." MG believed that he said "I'm not deaf yet" but regardless his apparent wit was somewhat there. Although he was fully coherent, the coma scrambled his brain. He knew things but he did know how to do things. So when Steve Parrish brought his guitar to the hospital, he didn't remember how to play it, which not only frustrated him but scared everyone around him. If Jerry can't play, then there is no Grateful Dead. MG enlisted Merl Saunders to come and visit him to help unscramble the musical block in his brain. Merl encouraged Jerry's musical memories and the building blocks gradually started to build as the pieces were all put together.
Jerry was released from the hospital and moved in with MG and the girls. Friends came by to spend time with him and most of them heard him talk about how relieved he was to have broke his habit. His Persian habit was broken by the coma and his perspective on the habit changed drastically. In 75, he would do it in front of friends and tell them "This is what I'm into now." By 86 he would say "the only difference between me and the junky on the street is I play in a Rock band."
Despite the fact that doctors suggested he rest longer, Jerry and the boys couldn't wait to get back on stage and you can download the proceeding show HERE and HERE. Theories on the opener varied immensely amongst the fans; "Black Peter," "Death Don't," or "Dark Star" were all thrown around as possibilities. But, when they took the stage the band raged a tongue and cheek version of "Touch." Fans rejoiced because Jerry was back.

The resounding echo of the "I will get by, I will survive," sent out a ripple joy and happiness throughout the Dead community. Jerry's connection to the song had never been so vibrant as at this moment, as "the shoe is on the hand it fits."
Throughout the first set Jerry seems to be choosing songs for their lyrical wit. "Loser's" storyline doesn't seem to be relevant to his situation but if you break down the lines, this might be the most fitting song of the evening. "Cause I'm moaning low," "Never find another honest man," "Before you let that deal go down," and in recognition of his own morality, "I can tell the queen of diamonds by the way she shines." There is a lot of feeling in the way it's sung. Jerry not only took the 5 months off to relearn guitar but also wrote two new songs that were debuted at this show. The first is "Push Comes to Shove," which features the playful line "And love you till you die." Bobby even gives a little extra emphasis to the line "the dark in between you and me." Then of course there is "Candyman," the lines had never been so potent as on this night, "Hand me my old guitar, pass the whiskey around, won't you tell everyone you meet that the Candyman is back in town."
After the emotional first set, the band decides to lighten the mood with an "Iko" opener. Bobby lights up with a rousing "LL Rain," for which the crowd keys in on Bobby singing, "It's alright cause I love you." The next song debut follows, as Jerry manages to sing all the lyrics but in no distinguishable order. With this debut of "Black Muddy," Jerry had the three songs that he would contribute to the bands next album "In the Dark." Its also ironic that one of the songs that he created after his first death is the last song that he would sing on stage.
As soon as the song ends Jerry starts teasing the next song. Looking for a vehicle that he can cut loose on, the band jumps into "Playin'." Although Jerry was the one who had his brains scrambled, Bobby is the one who has difficulty with the song lyrics on this night. The band drifts off into the oblivion of the night until Jerry ambitiously finds the beginning of "Terrapin." Frankly the early 80's were not a good time for "Terrapins." Some started slow, then got sped up, before loosing the "Whistle is screaming." The one song that I was critical of in my GD Toast post was the "Terrapin," but some of that early swagger is back igniting this "Song of sense and color."
Out of "Space," Bobby completely flubs "Truckin'." Maybe it was the slight "Miracle" tease at the beginning but straight up Bobby flubs it. A graceful "Wharf Rat" leads the way for a spacey "Playin' Reprised" before capping the set with a rocking "Good Lovin'." Jerry and the boys definitely catch a fever because he could "Play his guitar like a bat out of hell."
I remember after Jerry died, listening to the GD Hour when Gans announced that he had a track from a recent Ratdog show that he thought we'd like. My first thought was, "great I like Eternity" but then I started hearing a Jerry chord progression from "Touch of Grey." I had never thought that Bobby or Phil or anyone else would start playing Jerry songs. The pace was a bit slower than Jerry's version but I was digging Bobby singing it. I was recording the show, and after listening back I was relieved because now, "We will get by, we will survive."

I: Touch, CC Rider, Push, BIODTL, Greatest, Loser, Cassidy, Althea, Esau, Candyman, Let it Grow
II: Iko, LL Rain, Black Muddy, Playin', Terrapin, Drums, Space, Truckin', Wharf Rat, Playin', Good Lovin' E: JBG

I'd like to thank my friend Peter White or @pawhite for creating all the images in today's blog. You can follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook. I'll have one more blog before the Christmas announcement. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012


This is the anniversary of the third night in a four night run at the Felt Forum. This is the first run that the Grateful Dead played at 33rd and Seventh Ave but it wasn't the last. They played the big room at Madison Square Garden 52 times and 1971 is the only time that the Dead played the little room now known as The Theater at MSG.
Download a soundboard HERE and HERE, to hear Bill Graham introduce, "Beneath all the madness, the Bundle of Joy, The Grateful Dead." As the great energy that is created "Truckin'" opens up the show, with a slick maddening solo. Before the next song the great indifference of Jerry is hear ask he says, "If your standing in front of a spotlight, move away from it, if you care. Thats if you care." So should he move or not? After the "Loser" and "Mr. Charlie," you'll hear some one yelling at the guy, so I'm guessing he listened to Garcia.
The set really gets going with the "Jack Straw" and then the "China/Rider," where the in-between jam sounds like someone's guitar goes out of tune. They catch it in time for the cooking "Rider." Then comes the Grateful Dead Christmas classic. "Run Rudolph Run" song was only preformed by the band about 5 times and all during December of 1971. (It was also an answer to the Blair Jackson Quiz I put on Facebook.) Now it should also be noted that Pigpen left the band because of health problems after the Bronx gig in August of 1971. He returned to the band in December and this was one of the playful new songs that he brought. Who know if he would have brought it back in December of 72 because his last gig with the band was in June of 72.
The first set has a marvelous bone chilling "Black Peter." An entertaining "Next Time" shuffle, is a real crowd pleaser, before they is closed out with a bone crushing "Casey Jones."
The second set features the developing "Playin' in the Band." The song was debuted in February and has slowly begun its is grow into the jam vehicle that would dominate a set in the upcoming year(s). The germination of what's to come is heard in Garcia's guitar work and support of Phil and the newest member of the band, Keith. "Cryptical" comes next and you can hear the bands uneasiness with the song. They would play once more in 71 and once in September of 72, before the skelton would go into the closet until 5 from 85. The "Drums" launches them into the "Other One," which disintegrates into a "Dark Star/Wharf Rat" type jam. They never get there, instead Bobby ignites the stage with a raucous version of "Bobby McGee." The band slowly moves back into the "Other One." Then the band falls into the "Wharf Rat" that they intended to get to earlier. A very energetic "Saturday Night" is played before the crowd pleaser "Uncle John's" closes out the night on top of Penn Station.
I: Truckin', Loser, Mr Charlie, Straw, China, Rider, Run Rudolph, El Paso, Jed, Mexicali, Black Peter, Next Time, Casey Jones
II: Big RxR, My Uncle, Ramble, Cryptical, Drums, Other, Bobby McGee, Other, Wharf Rat, Saturday Night, Uncle Johns

Last night at the TRI Studios, WeirHere, Bobby reiterated that there will be a Sandy Benefit that and some friends will be doing from there in January. More info when available, and make sure you look up Heartof Goldband on Facebook for breaking news. You can subscribe or friend the site.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Today is the anniversary of one of my favorite shows from one of my top 5 favorite years in Grateful Dead history. This show was released as part of Dicks Picks Volume 14. The second set is one of those sets that flow and grows as the set goes on and it is an awe inspiring snapshot of the band at their best.
The second set opens with a beautifully delicate "Wharf Rat" that phases magnificently into "Half Step." The ending coda of "Half Step" provides the perfect segue in a infinitely spacey "Playin'." The "Playin'" opens a giant void and like a vacuum sucks up all the energy of the day. It's a pretty epic jam that slides into "Mind Left Body Jam." The pick out "He's Gone" before speeding into "Truckin'," as the song sequence ends in a beautiful "Stella Blue." They started out delicate and end the set delicately. Gorgeous. They encore this set the only way they saw fit with a crushing "Morning Dew."
Since it was released, I'm going to fast forward 4 years as I present for the first time a JGB show. Ironically Jerry was in the same city on this date in 73 and 77, Boston Massachusetts. Download a very good Audience version of the Early and Late show HERE and HERE.
This band featured Jerry, John Kahn,  Keith and Donna Godchaux, Maria Muldaur, and Buzz Buchanan on drums. At the time, Maria Muldaur was an established musician. She had a hit single in 1973 with "Midnight at the Oasis" and was a favorite at folk venues throughout the country. It was around 1974, that she started dating John Kahn, whom had started his musical relationship with Jerry Garcia in the early 70's. He gigged with Garcia and Wales, Old and in the Way, Garcia and Saunders, and every incarnation of JGB. Sadly Kahn died of a heroin in 1996.
The digital copy has scrambled the order of the songs but it hasn't effected the yumminess of the night's song selection. The upbeatness of "How Sweet it is" makes it no wonder why it was the most frequently played JGB song. The vastness of the "Knockin' on Heaven Door,' which tops off at 16 minutes (longer than some "Dark Stars"). And my favorite Jerry Band song, "Mission in the Rain." Jerry said about the song, that even though he didn't write the lyrics, that it was an autobiographical song. He called that part of the genius of Hunter. The song really gets to me especially when I hear him sing the lyric, "All the things I planned to do I only did half way." Me too.
EARLY: How Sweet it is, TLEO, That's What Love, Simple Twist, Second That Emotion, Gomorrah, Harder They Come
LATE: Love in the Afternoon, Tore Up, Knockin', Mystery Train, Cats, Mission

Friday, November 30, 2012


Today is the anniversary of a show that was the focus of the excellent piece in The New Yorker by Nick Paumgarten. If you missed it you can read it HERE. It's quite amazing that 32 years ago another stop along the road can be the focus of a piece in The New Yorker. Is there any other band that could command that type of reverence? (And I'm not talking about two widows fighting over an estate, thank God that was settled a long time ago.)
It's funny but a week before this piece was made public, my friend, Jonas texted me that he was listening to the Fox Theatre 11/30/80. I knew it was a bit of a test so I quickly responded, "Ah yeah, great Scarlet/Fire. I have an AUD of that show." This is the same show talked about in The New Yorker piece, but I did some digging and came up with a SBD copy that you can download, HERE and HERE. If you want to hear the balcony Audience from the article, it can be found HERE and HERE. Although the quality is listed as a FOB, we know that Dr. Bob Wagner recorded the first set from the second to last row of the balcony and the second set from the side of the balcony. I guess that his balcony could have technically been in front of the Soundboard area, but a FOB usually means on the floor in front of the Soundboard. I do have to say that when ever I'm searching shows on Archive, I usually will prefer to go for a Bob Wagner show. Like Betty, he had a great ear for recording, it's just that he didn't have the bands equipment.
While the "Scarlet/Fire" is the highlight from the night's events, there is a underline groove that the night possess. It can be felt in opening solo of the "Stranger," the singing of "Wine ain't sweeter," and the entwining of Jerry notes and Phil's base at the end of "Playin'." The transition of the "Scarlet" into "Fire" is just the perfect moments of a groove that links the two song into a deadhead's subconscious.
In the follow up to the article, Nick Paumgarten picked his top ten none GD release concerts. I was shocked that he was able to limit himself to only ten picks. I gush about all these shows, because I love the band and appreciate their ability to sparkle on any given night, which I guess is why 32 years after a concert, the band could have an article written about them in a major (non-music) magazine.
I: Stranger, Loser, Cassidy, Ramble, Rooster, Bird Song, Uncle, Big River, Roses, Sailor, Saint, Deal
II: Scarlet, Fire, Samson, Ship, Playin', Drums, Space, Wheel, China Doll, Around, JBG
(last electric Bird Song was 9/15/73)

The next blog will be on Sunday and there is still a Special Announcement schedule for Christmas day. I started a companion Facebook page that you can find HERE, or search Heartof Goldband. I will accept any friend request I get.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Phil Lesh and Friends just wrapped up a successful East Coast run. Rock 'n Roll is alive and well biased on the quality of the musicianship of the Friends. Jackie Greene is a bonafided rock star. Very reminiscent of Bob Weir 72-74. Joe Russo is a golden drumming God similar to Billy Kreutzmann in those same solo years. Adam MacDougall was not afraid to push the limit through his keyboard weirdness. Then of course there is the perfect playing of John Kadlecik.
The Jackie Greene energy, really adds punch to the shorter songs like "Cold Rain" and "Tom Thumbs." Actually "Tom Thumbs" was so popped up it reminded me of My Chemical Romance's version of "Desolation Row." Phil was so fired up that he changed a line of the song, "And leaves you howling at the JACKIE."
Phil played 10 shows on this East Coast run, over that time he played 1 album, 114 songs and only repeated 54 of those songs. Phil really pushes his Friends and challenges them on and off stage to play the full Dead catalogue. And between Furthur and The Friends, Phil has played over a 170 shows this year. That is mostly thanks to his home venue Terrapin Crossroads. For those of you that think the 72 year is slowing down the most shows the Grateful Dead ever played is 145 in 1970, when Lesh was 30. I'm pretty sure he'll be playing in his 90's. With kickass friends like Jackie Greene, he might go into triple digits.
I went to two of the Capitol Theatre shows, you really can't beat going to a concert 10 minutes from my house. I could get home before the boys come upright from their bow if I wanted by especially the last night, I was more than happy to "Listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul."
Click HERE to view all the concerts that Phil and Friends played this tour. I do suggest the tour closer of 11/18, because as Phil said through a shit eating grin, "I think we left you with a good one."
I can't describe how happy I was to see the band open with "Jack Straw." The "Jack Straw from Wichita" break served as the perfect conduit to extract my pent up Grateful Dead energy. "Yeah!" I screamed as Jackie singing along. Listening to "tapes" is like substance but nothing can truly capture the live performance as being under the crushing sound of the speakers of a live show. (It's funny because HDTV has taken a lot of the drive out of going to a lot of sporting events.) Sometimes it takes half the show before that emotion comes out, in a song like "Other One" or "Terrapin," but it does boil over and come out at some point. If it didn't why would some go to so many shows. 
Pre show rituals vary. Some hit the bar, some hit the lot, some meander and others are looking, but on some level we are all there for the music. Entering a GA venue, everyone tries to scope out a spot for them and their buds. We got a great spot in the Phil Zone, as you can see from the pictures perspective, where despite our proximity to the stage we were not in a very crowded area. No need for the band to tell us to "Take a step back, and another step back."
Through the show there is same question asked, "What is this?" "Sounds like The Wheel." "It could be Sunshine." "I still think it will be Eyes." Then when they actually start everyone smiles because wrong or right we are all excited to hear this song. 
Then there are the left field calls. One of my friends asked me durning the Grateful Dead night out at the movies, "Is it me or Brent a little loud in the mix?" I looked at him like he had eight heads. "Brent is never too loud, what do think he's Donna." In an effort to prove my point I bought him a "Just a little sweetness, just a little light" Brent Mydland T-shirt. He was wearing it Sunday when Phil busted out "Just a Little Light" as he exposed it to me under his shirt and just laughed.
We all love these shows. Some say that they are keeping Jerry's spirit alive but I think that they are keeping OUR spirit alive. We need these shows to feel the blood in out veins and the love in our hearts. We might stand there saying "Dew Me. Dew Me" so when we "Walk me out," we are were we need to be, whether it is Phil or Ratdog, Dark Star or Furthur. "It doesn't matter anyway."
Happy Thanksgiving. I'm very thankful to have this space to speak my mind about the band I love, but today I'm going to spend these four days going back over the recent Spring 90 Box Set. I am going to recommend listening to something else. The classic Thanksgiving song, "Alice's Restaurant Massacre" by Arlo Guthrie. And if you have a long drive this Thanksgiving, The Band's "The Last Waltz," which if you are in San Fran you can see recreated by a bunch of musicians, like Joe Russo, at The Warfield. So finish that Tofurkey and "Listen to this movie Loud."

Last night, Bobby in his weekly WeirHere show from TRI, passed on my question. Speaking of Weir Here and Weir Everywhere, here is a great article from the New Yorker, and it hints at the next show I'll feature.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


This is the anniversary of a great Grateful Dead show from Cleveland, Ohio in 1978. Download the show HEREHERE, and HERE. Cleveland is now the sight of the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and surely this is one of the reasons why.
The show opens up with the combo "Half Step/Franklin's." Every time "Franklin's" would appear for the next year and a half would be out of "Half Step." "Franklin's" would be played out of "Half Step" more than any other song besides "Help/Slip," and the third pair for "Franklin's" is "Stranger." To keep the energy level high, Bobby dust off his cowboy boots for the next two numbers. Later in the set there is a beautiful building "LL Rain," along with a song off the recently released LB, "Stagger Lee." The set is topped off with a powerful "Lazy Lightning/Supplications."
The second set starts off the way most great Grateful Dead sets start, with them tuning up. The wah-wah petal seems to be a clear indication of what is going to open, but listening to the tuning it becomes evident that rapid running of scales that Garcia is doing is not going to end soon. So the drummers and Keith start filling in the gaps, which Phil starts to entwine and finally Bobby. The crowds exuberance can be felt in the cheering, as Garcia jumps off the wah-wah, as the jam fades in the Rhythm Devils lair. The jam pick up right were it lets off as they play ambient music for 25 minutes before settling into a song, "Jack a Roe." A song that is about as random as a finger thumbing through the encyclopedia. A song that they haven't played in well over a year. A very strange selection consider that this is the only time that the Dead played "Jack a Roe" in the second set.
Then listen to Bobby count off "5, 6, 7, 8" as the band jumps into "Playin'," as the jam takes on a similar tone to the jam that started the night. As a way of coming full circle the band pieces together the song that seemingly wanted to open with "Shakedown St." The song is well played out as they slow into the last of three performances of "World to Give." Although the lyrics of the song are referred to as Hunter's Hallmark card, the song is never given any legs to grow. It reminds me of "Believe it or not," which Garcia never gave any consistency to and so it faded to obscurity. The shame is the beautiful solo that ends the song, which Bobby compliments with some wonderfully haunting slide guitar work, until the fall back into the "Playin'" march. A monumental night.
I: Half Step, Franklin's, Mama Tried, Mexicali, Roses, LL Rain, Stagger Lee, Passenger, Peggy-O, Lazy Lightning, Supplications
II: Jam, Drums, Jam, Jack A Roe, Playin', Shakedown, World To Give, Playin', Around

The next post is going to be on Thursday and just a reminder that I'll have a blog announcement on Christmas. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


On this date in 1973, the Grateful Dead infiltrated the San Diego Sports Arena and laid down some heat. Download the soundboard copy of the complete show HERE and HERE.
With the announcement of Dave's Picks 5 from UCLA on November 17th, this show is now known as the middle child. A few years back the Grateful Dead released a box set of the three shows from Winterland on November 9, 10, and 11th, 1973. This is the one show that falls between these two releases. Actually, of the 11 shows from November of 1973, 6 of them have been official releases and with good reason. The Dead were firing on all cylinders and were experimenting while mixing up their song placement. The Denver 11/21 show that was released as Road Trips volume 4 number 3, used to be my go to show when asked by a friend to give them something they haven't heard. I got a lot of return customers because of that one.
The show opens with "Big Railroad Blues," which they only used as an opener 5 times and this is the last time they would do it. Three great rockers come next, "Jack Straw," a nicely jammed "Sugaree," and the upbeat "Mexicali." Some of the best versions of "HC Sunshine" were from the fall of '73. This one might be the finest. The break down jam is lengthy and has a thick groove to it. Right as this song was reaching its peak it was dropped from their repertoire. The song was played once in 1974 and then dropped until 1992.
The set closes with one of the best "China/Riders" of 1973. The energy is dripping from them as the song builds throughout the jam until the rambunctious "Rider." As the band crashes the song to the close, Bobby jumps them into the set capper "Around," from which afterward they have to take a break because Bobby was screaming so much he busted a vocal chord. (Not really.)
Like a lot of tapes I used to have, this digital copy has songs out of place because of the original transfer (by someone else) from CD's to disc. So the "Me & My Uncle," "GDTRFB," and "Saturday Night" that close the second set appear after the "Around." You were warned.
The second set opens with "Truckin'" that is the launchpad to a continuous jam that features an "Other One" triple decker sandwich. There is a great pause in the "Truckin'," I love the anticipation that it causes, until the crashing power chords come rocking in its place. The genesis of the transition to "Other One" is seamless and because of this Phil never gets to the exploding bassline, although he tries at least three times. After singing the first verse the song disintegrates into the cosmos. As the band plays on Bobby plays the whole first verse of "Big River," for which the whole band gets on the same page. They drop back into the cosmic "Other One" jam before a light fluffy "Eyes" starts, like walking on a clouds that are "Close on the heels of the day." The post "Eyes" jam is quick as the band jumps back into the second verse of "Other One." As the "Other One" ends in a furry, the band drops into the smooth groove of "Wharf Rat." Quick quiz, what is wrong with this version of "Wharf Rat?" If you guessed, "What did Jerry do with the 'More than my wine' line?", then you'd be right. But the heartfelt singing of the break makes up for it. My favorite version of "Wharf Rat" occurs two weeks later and is available on Dicks Pick's 14.
I: Big RxR Blues, Straw, Sugaree, Mexicali, HC Sunshine, BT Wind, Cumberland, Row Jimmy, Race is on, BE Woman, BIODTL, Jed, El Paso, China, Rider, Around
II: Truckin', Other One, Big River, Other One, Eyes, Other One, Wharf Rat, My Uncle, GDTRFB, Saturday Night

I have at least one more blog before Thanksgiving, but please check in on Christmas day because I have an announcement about the future of the blog.
Bobby will be playing songs and taking questions live from his TRI Studios for the next four weeks, 8:30 EST every Wednesday night. Word has also come that Phil is expanding his venue at Terrapin Crossroads, there is also talk that every show will be streamed live in the web. Also I will be at Phil at the Capitol Theatre on Thursday and Sunday. I hope to see you in Port Chester.