The show opens with "Touch," and unfortunately Jerry sounds tired on it. His normally bright, tongue and cheek singing is missing from this version. So next Bobby howls a "Rooster," before a quick "Jack A-Roe." The set really starts to take form when Bobby bust out "BT Wind." Bruce's piano runs are too much for the mates to ignore and the pace and the show really amps up with Bobby's falsetto. He then channels that energy into his slide playing for "Stagger Lee." Then "Masterpiece" features some brilliant harmonies. Bruce starts branching out on a little piano piece as Jerry launches into a space spreading "Bird Song." An journey into the atmosphere, where for 15 minutes your feet don't touch the ground. A beautiful odyssey that is spearheaded by Bruce and Jerry.
Tim Wakefield didn't make his professional debut until 1992 and no word if this is where he learned his knuckleball from, because the band opens the second set with "Help/Slip/Fire?" This is the first time since New Years 1976-1977, that the Dead has broken split "Help/Slip" from "Franklin's" and it would be the last time.Dispute the Jerry oddball, this is a very Bobby energized show. A mammoth "Estimated" follows "Fire," which feature some venturous licks by Hornsby and Jerry doing his best Branford imitation on the Midi. The music builds as it twist until they get fixed on the two notes of "Truckin'." The power chords of the "Truckin'" open up as band interplays take over. Each one pick up on each other's grooves, which makes for a compelling jam the builds. Lots of Midi play durning the jam, a sound feast.
During "Space," Hornsby plays a descending chord progression, which sounds like "The Way It Is," but later reveals itself as "Watchtower." The long intro is where this "Watchtower" gets its punch as it fades quickly into "Dew." The end solo features some beautiful piano playing by Hornsby. Bobby sings a great "Lovelight," which is punctuated by Jerry on the Midi.
Tuesday night, the NBC show "Parenthood" featured the studio version of "Franklin's Tower." Ray Romano was listening to it and earlier in the episode he mentioned that in high school he, "hung out and listened to the Dead." In the episode, a couple had a code word for sex; "Funky Town," it would have been a lot cooler if they used "Lovelight" as their euphemism.
There were two other shows I considered for this date but I elected this show because "Help on the Way."
I: Touch, Rooster, Jack a-Roe, BT Wind, Stagger Lee, Masterpiece, Bird Song
II: Help, Slip, Fire, Estimated, Truckin', Drums, Space, Watchtower, Dew E: Lovelight