"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

Saturday, July 28, 2012


For the past five years my wife and I have gone up to lake Seneca to stay with my cousins. Like myself, my cousin married a Buffalo girl. He, also being from the New York City area, has spent a lot of time in the car driving to visit the in-laws. The major difference between our two trips, is that my cousin did most of his trips before 390 linked route 17 to i90. Since he didn't have that road, they choose route 14 to cut up on, and so they would cut up through Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake. They fantasized about buying something on the lake. They eventually bought property and built their own place. We've utilized their generosity with visits every summer.
Thank God for iPods. The first time I went up there, I remember scrambling through my iPod when I drove through Watkins Glen. The Summer Jam in 1973 was running through my head. How could it not. I remember it wasn't in my iPod and all weekend I was pissed that I had taken it off a month or so earlier. Coming home I transferred it back and rocked out to the "Bird Song," "Jam/Wharf Rat," "China/Rider," and the "Eyes."
The following year and the subsequent years before leaving, I would make sure that the iPod included 7/27 and 7/28. On the drive to and fro, I always listen to the shows. So now anytime I listen to the show I think of hiking up the Glen, waterskiing on Seneca, and ice cream at Mac's. The one consolation about that first trip without 7/28/73 was on my wife's trip to the Windmill, I found a pair of Steal Your Face pajama pants for $5.
Here is 7/27 and 7/28 and the REST of the show. I will be listening to the show today as I participate in a bike ride around Keuka lake. Its a benefit ride for diabetes, a disease that effects my sister in-law. It's a 44 mile ride around the Y shaped Finger Lake.
You'll remember that Jerry slipped into a diabetic coma in 1986, from which he woke from sober and unable to play guitar.
7/27/73; Promised, Sugaree, Mexicali, Bird Song, Big River, Jed
II Half Step, My Uncle, Jam, Wharf Rat, Around
7/28/73; Bertha, BIODTL, BE Women, Mexicali, Box of Rain, HC Sunshine, LL Rain, Row Jimmy, Straw, Deal, Playin'
II Around, Loose Lucy, Big River, He's Gone, Truckin', Nobody's Jam, El Paso, China Cat, Rider, Stella, Eyes, Sugar Mags E Sing Me E2 NFA Mountain Jam, JBG
Yes, it was one of those hot hot days in Upstate New York. Humidity was through the roof and relief came in the form of thunder showers, which you'll notice in the "Box," "Sunshine," "LL Rain" combo of songs. It should be noted that this is the last "Box" until 1986. Phil gave up singing lead until '86 despite the fact that he had two songs on their next album. 
Levon Helm wrote about a thunder shower that rolled through during The Band's set causing them to stop playing. During the shower, Garth climbed behind the keys and started riffing. As the music built, the rain slowed down, and The Band picked back up their instruments to hammer the crowd with "Chest Fever."
This is the only performance the Grateful Dead did of "Mountain Jam" a song derived from Donovan's zen song "There is a Mountain." The chorus that is recognizable in the jam is "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."
On this "Mountain Jam" the Allman's, the Dead, and members of The Band are all sharing the stage. This Jam was a staple of the Allman Brother's concerts. Ironically the inspiration for the "Jam" comes from a guitar quoted by Garcia at the end of "Alligator" on the Grateful Dead studio album "Anthem From The Sun." At the end of the song Garcia plays an instrumental quote of "There is a Mountain" on his guitar for about 8-10 seconds. The Allman's took that "Jam" and made it epic, like this version on 7/28/73.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012


35 years ago, the Grateful Dead released their first album in two years, Terrapin Station. The album's title track is the most ambitions song the Dead ever recorded. At just over 16 minutes, the title track features a string arrangements and a choir.
The Grateful Dead had long wanted to control their own destiny in the studio and be allowed to produce their own records. In the recording of their second album they actually drove the producer so crazy that he quit in the middle of making the record. Eventually the record company got tire of fighting and allowed the Grateful Dead to produce their own records. After the success of "Workingman's" and "American Beauty" the band decided to start their own record company. "Wake," "Mars Hotel," and "Blues for Allah" were all self produced albums that failed to sell well.
"Terrapin Station" marked a change of philosophy and the record sold well, peaking at 28 on the album chart in 1977.

Estimated Prophet
Dancing in the Street
Samson & Delilah
Terrapin Station
Peggy-O (Instrumental)
The Ascent
Catfish John
Fire on the Mountain
Dancing in the Street (live 5/8/77)

The album featured tracks written by, Weir, Lesh, Garcia, and the first song written by Donna Jean. This song was written for roadie Rex Jackson whom died in a car accident. The band later used Rex's name when they discovered the tax benefits of creating their own charity.
The studio version of "Dancing" lacked the funk and jam of the live version. Though as event in the 5/8/77 version, Bobby rarely got the lyrics right at the beginning of the song. Bobby commonly starts the "Calling out line," to early.
The bonus track of "Fire" has completely different lyrics then what they had been performing live up to this point.

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Friday, July 20, 2012


Tom Davis died yesterday. He was a comedian, a writer, and a Saturday Night Live cast member in the 70's. He and Al Franken were the pivotal voices to bring the Grateful Dead to SNL on 11/11/78. There first live Television performance.
After the performance, Davis, Franken, and Garcia joined together to develop the Kurt Vonnegut book "The Sirens of Titan" into a movie. Garcia and Davis spent many hours together writing and developing the script.
The two had Bill Murray commit to the lead role of the movie. The three had a meeting were they pitched the movie to Universal but were turned down..'
Even though the project never got off the ground Jerry Garcia retained the rights of the script till the day he died. Davis said that he hoped to see their movie made before he died, unfortunately he did not.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Download my SBD copy of Alpine Valley on 7/19/89. This is the final night of the three night run. Part of this first set was used in the "Downhill From Here" DVD. 
This is the conclusion of the three night run in 89 at Alpine Valley. This is the first night that the first set doesn't start off with two typical opening songs. The first night opens with "LTGTR" and "Stranger," the second night starts with "Touch" and "Straw," but this night starts with "Bucket" then jumps into "Sugaree." A welled played "Sugaree" at that.
The maturity of "Althea" is complete here. You can see how far it's come in the ten years on the road and this is why this song would later be used on the live album "Without a Net." The DVD picks on this first set before the "West LA" then the feature song of the first set "Desolation Row." Even though Bobby catches himself messing up the lyrics, it was voted as the best Dead version of "Desolation Row." The song is all about the interaction of Bobby's singing and Jerry's guitar that makes the ten verses song build till Bobby pulls the plug just to sing "Everybody's shouting Which side are you on?" I know where I stand.
Phil opens up the wet second set with "Box of Rain." Jerry then starts one of his newish songs, "Foolish Heart," which if you listen to the solo Jerry extends. He goes right through Stop, and pushes the solo higher and higher until they peak again. This is considered the second best versions of "Foolish Heart" for this solo work. Bobby then brings the crowd back to the rain with a stirring "LL Rain."
Then the band opens up the flood gates with "Terrapin Staton."
From the on set the "Terrapin" is soft and building, as Jerry weaves the tale to be told. This opens up into an interesting jam that entwines Phil, Jerry and Brent. This builds until he sings as the band enters "Terrapin." Although Jerry does sing the line, "To get to Terrapin" the band gets us there anyway. The band delights us for an extensive jam which stays on the theme until "Drums" takes over.
Post "Space" the tempo quickens as the band clobbers with "The Other One" and then tumbles through the repeat "The Wheel." As the song fades, Jerry picks up the scales as he throws down the gauntlet and drops into "Dew." The previous year, Jerry sang a heavy version of "Dew," here he takes down the volume for as sagacious "Dew." His vocals on the song are meaningful and complimentary. They work as an engineer for the rest bands instruments. Quite when need be. Powerful when they need to be loud. The crowd cheers the last "I guess it doesn't matter" as solo starts with a whisper and builds to a crescendo. At the peak, it sounds like the whole band is shuffling and crashing their instruments to full power. Then Bobby caps the night off with "Lovelight."
I: Bucket, Sugaree, Mama Tried, Mexicali, Althea, Victim, West LA, Desolation Row, Deal
II: Box, Foolish Heart, LL Rain, Terrapin, Drums, Space, Other, Wheel, Dew E: Lovelight

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Download my SBD of the show from 7/18/89 at Alpine Valley. This concert was used as the second annual Grateful Dead at the movies.
One of my favorite Grateful Dead treats is the split up of "Sugar Mags" and "Sunshine Daydream." The first time they did it was in Boston on 6/28/74 and after that, there was always a little bit of extra excitement when they would open the set with a "Mags." "Scarlet" is the easiest structurally for the band to slide into and since it's in the same key the transition could be seamless. The band did it more on New Years then any other date because "Sugar Mags" was Bill Graham's favorite song and they were playing to his request.
I remember the first time I heard this split up. I was in a 80 something yellow VW Rabbit and it was this very show. My friend was at this show, his preaching of '89 shows is why its my favorite year from the 80's. I was blown away by the show and I still am. The "Mags" "Scarlet," the hot "Eyes," the powerful "Throwing Stones" and the electric "SSDD." It is a great listen and for the last month my alarm clock has been programmed to wake me up to "Sunshine Daydream."
"Sugar Magnolia" is significance is greater the song, it is the songwriter that emerges from it. In 1968. Bobby was kicked out of the band. In the days leading up to his brief departure, Jerry and Phil ridiculed the simplicity of his songs "Born Cross-Eyed" and "The Other One." So after Bobby returned from his two day hiatus, he didn't add any new songs, only covers. That all changed in 1970 with "Sugar Magnolia." 
I: Touch, Straw, Jack A-Roe, Minglewood, Friend, Memphis Blues Again, Bird Song, Promised
II: Sugar Mags, Scarlet, Woman, Eyes, Drums, Space, China Doll, Fantasy, Jude Finale, T. Stones, SSDD E: Quinn

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Monday, July 16, 2012


Download my SBD copy of Alpine Valley 7/17/89.
As the summer of 1989 started to come to a close, the Grateful Dead were playing some of their most consistently complete shows. The band was running off the energy they had been gathering since Jerry recovered from his diabetic coma. The bands interactions and specifically the musical interactions between Brent and Jerry were at an all time high. Listen as their trade offs durning the final chorus of "Row Jimmy." The song really had hit its stride after road testing it for the previous 16 years.
The band is all smiles when they come on stage and open with "Let the Good Times Roll." An anthem that served as a foreshadowing of the night and the shows to come. The video is not the complete first night.
The video incorporates the second half of the first set from the final night of the run, before switching back for the complete second set. The camera catches some great moments like Billy pausing for what he thinks is the end of "Built to Last" until he hears them completing one more chord progression. The camera also pans from behind the band as the play the transition between "China" "Rider" and the audience is jumping as "Rider" emerges.
They captures Bobby's face catching himself as he starts sing the wrong lyrics to "Playin'." As Jerry finishes singing the "Be with you" climax he steps back to start to solo, as he pushes the glasses back onto he face the camera pans to Billy who is singing the line back at Jerry. A very funny interaction.
The band ends the second set with "And We Bid you Goodnight." A song that they hadn't played since the closing of Winterland.
I: LTGR, Stranger, Built to Last, My Uncle, Cumberland, All Over Now, Row Jimmy, Masterpiece, Push, Music
II: China Cat, Rider, Playin', Uncle John's, SOTM, Drums, Space, Wheel, GS Lovin, GDTRFB, NFA, Bid You Goodnight, E: JBG

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Saturday, July 14, 2012


If alive today, Woody Guthrie would have been 100 years old.
I am a Woody Guthrie fan. In high school, I "discovered" Bob Dylan and like most I started with "Highway 61 Revisited." Soon after I was on to "Bring it back Home" and "Blonde on Blonde," and so on and so on, until I picked up some bootlegs from the 64 and 65. I was in love with solo acoustic Dylan who was playful, sagacious, and perceptive.
After running into "saved" Dylan, it was time to start digging into some else, and knowing Dylan's influences, I started digging into Woody Guthrie. He was all that I loved about Dylan. His wit was astonishing. I discovered where Dylan got his "Knowed" line in "Don't Think Twice," when I first heard "Hard Travelin'." I heard his playfulness the song "Why Oh Why" and "Car Song." I understood his philosophy when I heard songs like "Pretty Boy Floyd" and "Pastures of Plenty."
I found his original version of "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad." It was of course much more stripped down than the versions that I knew with the Grateful Dead. It was sung different. The Grateful Dead version was playfully cheeky, where as Woody sang it as a more unfortunate tale. 
Jerry was taught the song by Rick Danko in 1970 on the Festival Express. Jerry takes to the song right away. A couple of months later the Dead installed it in their repertoire at Queens College and it remained a staple in there sets after that.
The Grateful Dead played on this date in 66, 67, 76, 81, 84, 85, and 90. The only time they played their Woody Guthrie standard is in 84 and 90.
Like Garcia, Woody lost his father at an early age. This loss forced Woody to get a job to feed himself and his family. He was shoe shine boy that saw a harp player making more money so he took up the same profession. Then picked up guitar before moving to California at 18. He later moved to New York, where he lived and later died of Huntington's disease. Though his voice was silent for many years, his mind never stopped creating lyrics, songs and music. In 1998, Nora Guthrie asked Billy Bragg to create the music to all the lyrics that he left behind. Bragg asked to add a collaborated and incorporated the band Wilco. Nora dedicated the album to their former home at 3520 Mermaid Avenue.
I always felt cheated that Jerry never got to hear that album. I always imagined him covering "California Stars" with JGB and "Way over Yonder in the Minor Key" with Grisman. At least we have this gem from the summer 1989 tour. The Grateful Dead filmed the tour with the thought of possibly making the Grateful Dead Movie part 2.

Tonight Furthur will play one mile away from Woody Guthrie's former residence in Coney Island, will they be "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad?"

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Friday, July 13, 2012


William Randolph Hearst donated the Greek Theater in 1903 and on this date 28 years ago the Grateful Dead made it legendary.
Download the soundboard HEREHERE, and HERE.
There is an audience recording of the show available on Archive that is very listenable, and if you'd rather hear the crowds reaction to the madness than download that instead. In fact, all three nights of the run are worth a listen. Each is compelling in its own way. This first night is probably the best show of the early 80's.
The show opens with your standard versions of "Bertha and "Greatest Story." A lovely upbeat "Dire Wolf" is followed by "CC Rider" where Bobby adds a premonitioning line. After singing, "See how the moon is shinning brighter," he adds "See it later tonight."
"Dupree's" comes later in the set and it features some really great guitar work by Jerry. But every time he comes out of a solo he struggles to find his spot in the lyrics. Its strange when you consider that they played this song more frequently in the early 80's then any other time. Bobby then amps up the set with "Bucket," which runs right into "Might as Well" to close the set.
A pretty amazing "Scarlet" opens up the second set. The end jam opens into a wide open ended jam that builds as Phil and Bobby morf into "Fire." Jerry is there for a bar then decides to jump into "Touch." The "Touch" is a shot of energy, though the song has not yet found the tightness that would turn it into their single. The band then slides back into "Fire," which is electric.
If the show ended with the heart wrenching "Stella Blue" and the rocking "Sugar Mags" the show would still be a show Heads go back to listen to. But, as the band took the stage Phil came up to the mic and said, "We're gonna try something, one night only, one night only." For the first and only time in Grateful Dead history, the band encored with "Dark Star" and as they launched into the song a shooting star illuminated the sky above them.
From the on set of the "Dark Star" the band seems a little tentative to be in this vehicle. The reason is that they haven't played a "Dark Star" since New Years 1981 and they wouldn't play it again until the Warlocks hit the stage in Hampton '89. Actually, this is only the second "Dark Star" that Brent Myland had played with the band. The first verse comes in the first minute of the song.
The band then starts to meander, slowly intertwining the main rift as they experiment, pushing the theme out as they blissfully inquire the notes of the spheres. The music pushes the band and either Jerry or Brent entwines the main rift as a reminder. The whole band returns to the rift as Jerry sings the second verse before sinking into the bold feedback. They do this until there is nothingness. The crowd is left wondering, did the "Dark Star" cause the shooting star?

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Several breaking news items came out today. First is The Grateful Dead Movie is going back into the theaters for one night only. The movie that premier 35 years ago at the Ziegfeld in Manhattan, will be in theaters August 1 at 7 PM local time. Ironically it will not be broadcasted at the Ziegfeld. It will be in 46 of the 50 states, you will not find it in North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, or Hawaii. I will be in attendance at New Roc for the movie. More info at www.fathomevents.com
Second announcement comes from Bobby Weir, who will be putting on a tribute concert in honor of Jerry Garcia 70th birthday at his TRI Studio. The concert will be held on Friday 8/3 and is being called "Move Me Brightly." The guest list includes Mike Gordon, Joe Russo, Neal Casal, Jeff Chimenti, and Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Actor Luke Wilson will MC the event, which will also feature interviews of Carlos Santana and David Crosby. You can view the concert at http://www.tristudios.com
Finally, Phil Lesh will play a Ramble with the the Dirt Farmer Band on July 21 at the Levon Helm Studio in Woodstock. This a one night only gig and tickets go on sale July 11 at 8PM, via the Levon Helm website.

I will be publishing some Grateful Dead writtings I've done for Jerry Week, so stay tune. I can be followed on twitter @potvinrocks

Sunday, July 8, 2012


This epic show from Red Rocks can be found HEREHERE, and HERE. I do not throw around the term epic very often but it's my obligation to tell the truth.

This classic show opens with a rocking "Bertha" "Good Loving'" combo. Then the band plays "Dire Wolf," "El Paso," "It Must Have Been the Roses," and "Minglewood Blues" in which they find an energized groove to the first set. The "Ramble on Rose" is exemplary. Garcia is really jazzed up. He sings it like he can't get his vocals loud enough, which feeds his guitar work on the song. It is a rocking version. They end the set with two closing songs, "Promised" and "Deal," in which you'll notice that Donna Jean's vocals are at a perfect level.
"Samson" then "Ship of Fools" opens the second set, which really starts going as the band drops into an airy "Estimated." But before the "Eyes" combo can be completed the band explodes into "The Other One." The music here progresses into a Latin type jam as their speed propels them into "Eyes." As "Drums" drifts, Garcia falls into "Wharf Rat." He takes his time getting to the vocals, first choosing to indulge in a brief guitar solo. His vocals are encompassing and direct. You can hear him clear his nose after singing, "If he says I may." It is as if the lyrics in the break are getting to him.
The jam post "Wharf Rat" is loud and forceful with a rift that was common in '73. Then the band jumps into "Franklin's," where Garcia continues to emphasize his vocals in the song. Keeping with the key of A, the band ends with an excellent "Sugar Mags."
The band comes out and encores with "Terrapin" into "Saturday Night." The peak of "Terrapin" is raucous and loud. Their would only be one more time in Grateful Dead history that "Terrapin" was used as an encore.
The crowd calls the band back on stage for "Werewolves." Donna's and Jerry's vocals are goofy as they play off of one another and Bobby's slide guitar is brilliant. Bobby is the reason why "Werewolves" is put into rotation. Bobby had just decided that he was meant to be a slide guitarist. His slide worked well on songs like "Candyman" but didn't work for songs like "Fire." So one night Bobby has the radio on and yells to Parrish, "Tell Garcia I'm not going on stage tonight unless he sings that song tonight" as he points to the radio. The song on the radio was "Werewolves of London." (This is also the only song my 1 year old son Jerry can sing along with right now, "Ah Wuu.")
After the show the band goes into the studio to start recording "Shakedown Street" with Little Feat's Lowell George. "Werewolves" doesn't get played again until Halloween 85, and only returns for Halloween shows.
Here is Bill Walton, with Billy Kreutzmann and his two kids, Justin and Stacey on 7-8-78.
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Friday, July 6, 2012


25 years ago today, The Grateful Dead released their first album in seven years "In The Dark." The album featured their first and only top 10 hit in "Touch of Grey." Although the song was in the Grateful Dead's rotation since 1982, the album was the first recorded release of the song. It only took the Grateful Dead 22 years to write their first hit, guess they need to be road tested before they got their big break.
The video that they made for "Touch of Grey" was filmed in the Laguna Seca Raceway. The baseline tracks for the album was recording in the Marin County Veterans Auditorium. Mickey Hart suggested that they try to play and recording with the lights completely out, so that their sonic senses were the only one used in the recording. That is the origin of the album title.
The success of "Touch of Grey" brought in a new crop of people to their shows, which where nicknamed "TouchHeads." Bob Weir said about this success, "You know the pistachios that are too hard to open. Well now I throw those ones out."
There is a fallacy that this caused them to jump from the amphitheater to the stadium in 1987, is not true. The stadium tour was booked because the Dead had decided to co-bill shows with Bob Dylan. The fact that everyone of those shows where encored with "Touch" and "Knockin'" is circumstantial. This was record for their next release "Dylan and the Dead." But in 1988, the TouchHead phenomenon did prevent them from jumping back into the smaller amphitheaters. The Stadium summer tours were there to stay.
On this date the Grateful Dead also played a show at the Civic Center in Pittsburgh, found HERE. And of course they managed to not play one song from their album that came out this same day. They instead had the Neville Brothers join them for a majority of the second set. After the "Shakedown" "Samson" opener, the Neville's came out for "Aiko" "Day-O" "Woman" "Knockin'" and "Good Lovin'". Before sharing the stage for the final number "Johnny B Goode." The first set highlight is the "Desolation Row." Jerry inspired guitar work on the tune is extraordinary and the great harmony "Lovely mermaid flows" is chilling.

In full disclosure, I am a TouchHead. I considered that for the title of this blog but decided it sound too much like a website for Jerry Sandusky instead of Jerry Garcia.
It was 1987 and our family took its first trip to Disney World. I was ten. I was a manic going on rides and running the park and playing in the pools. The hotel room had cable. We didn't have cable at home until I was 16, which is why the 1993 NHL playoffs is so special to me. Every morning and evening I would have MTV on in the room. This was before MTV became MTC (More Televised Crap) and it seemed like I was seeing the "Touch of Grey" video twice a day. At first I did not get the lyrics, I thought it was autobiographical because Jerry looked to have a lot of grey. I loved the beat of the song and the up beat baseline that starts the song. I liked the "It's alright", the crowd in the video, and of course the skeletons. I didn't go out and beg my parents to buy the album or to take me to Giants Stadium, but the first concert I ever went to is and will always be the Grateful Dead.

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