"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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


On this date in 1985, the Grateful Dead rolled into the University of South Carolina for a special Halloween night gig. DOWNLOAD a very good audience copy of the only time the Grateful Dead ever played in South Carolina.
When the band comes to the stage they start tuning and that progresses into a spacey jam that has a couple of Garcia lead teases. The first is a classical piece "Peer Gynt in the Hall of the Mountain King," and that changes into "Funiculi Funicula." Then Bobby lets out a howl signaling whats to come, as the jump into "Werewolves of London" for the first time since 7-8-78. Singing and smiling, Garcia has a hard time with the lyrics but manages to get through most of it. As mentioned in 7-8-78 blog, Donna vocals and Bobby's slide is missing from this version, but they make up for it through their enthusiasm in the song. Instead of letting the moment die, Bobby calls for "Music" as it comes charging out of "Werewolves." Afterwords Bobby announces, "Welcome music lovers." Jerry uses the pause to tease "Teddy Bear's Picnic" before starting the slow rant "West LA."
Later in the set is a fun "Jed," where based on the crowd reaction is very fulfilling. There was heavy rains in South Carolina on this day so Bobby sings them dry with "LL Rain." Wonderful interaction between Bobby's vocals and Jerry's guitar, that shoots the band into the set closer, "Never had such a good time, in my life before."
There is a lot of anticipation with the opening of the second set, and the wah-wah tips the crowd on whats to come. A massive "Shakedown St" opens the second set. The band gets into it and lays down the funk for the next 15 minutes. Garcia lays heavy on the wah-wah, as Phil entwines his funk, Brent sparkles his keys, and Bobby's falsetto; "Just gotta poke around". "Playin'/Ship of Fools/Playin'" comes next. An airy spooky haze of a "Playin'" sandwich. There is scary element to the improvisational music, as the howling spook from the earlier jam can be heard during "Drums/Space." Pieced together out of spookiness is the Brent jaunt "Mr Fantasy," as a raucous "Not Fade" caps off the set.

The real star of this show is the return of "Werewolves," Which was played at every Halloween show therefore after. This includes every time JGB played a Halloween show.

I: Space, Werewolves, Music, West LA, Mama Tried, Mexicali, Jed, LL Rain, Might as Well
II: Shakedown, Playin', Ship of Fools, Playin', Drums, Space, Fantasy, NFA E US Blues

Thank you Becky for dealing with my singing of "Peer Gynt," without you, I wouldn't have identified the pieces title. With the power being down I'm going to find it hard to do this blog, I had planned to do one on the fifth and the sixth, but I guess we will have to wait for the 14th.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


In a recent UStream interview, Dave Lemieux said that the coolest place that he ever saw the Grateful Dead was at the Zenith in Paris, France. They played two shows at the Zenith, and download the SBD of the second night HERE and HERE.
The show opens with a majestic "Touch." Then after the "Candyman" the crowd starts a "We want Phil" chant that he quells by speaking the few words in French that everyone know, "Para Le Foo France?" That gets a roar from the crowd as he obliges the crowd with "Box of Rain." Bobby kicks it up with a "Mexicali/Maggie's Farm," which features the trading of verses between all the members of the band. The set closes with the Grateful Dead debut of the Hornsby song "Stander on the Mountain."
Hornsby only played this song three times with the Dead, because he never liked how his songs were interpreted by the Dead. If anyone has ever seen Hornsby with his band, you see that not only is he the composer but the conductor also. The Dead did play that way. They played off of each other, but at any given moment that could be any member of the band, so without a leader, he songs come off unrehearsed.
"Victim" opens the second set, its a Phil bomb laden version. The dark jam brightens into a marvelous "Eyes" were Phil's baseline along with Hornsby's brilliant piano drives Garcia guitar into full realization of the song. The familiar partner comes next like a "fire wheel burning in the air." As "Estimated" starts to evaporate, there is a brief "Bid you Goodnight" type jam before settling on "Uncle John's." Listen to "Drums/Space" and you'll notice two electrically engineered animal sounds; cow and duck. Phil explodes the band into "The Other One," which Hornsby has some interesting piano rifts on. The band is really in sync as they close the set with "Wharf Rat/Sugar Mags." The night comes to a close with beautiful "Knockin'," as Phil again shows off his French skills by saying "Goodnight."
I: Touch, Walkin' Blues, Candyman, Box, Mexicali, Maggie's Farm, Althea, Cassidy, Jed, Stander
II: Victim, Eyes, Estimated, Uncle John's, Drums, Space, Other One, Wharf Rat, Sugar Mags E: Knockin'

Next post coming on Halloween as long as I have power.

Friday, October 26, 2012


On this date in 1989 the Grateful Dead closed out their fall run in Miami, Florida. This fall tour is the precursor to the excellent tour that was just released as a boxset, the spring of '90. Three of the seventeen shows from the fall '89 tour are official Grateful Dead releases, "Formerly the Warlocks" and "Nightfall of Diamonds," and this show features the one "Dark Star" from the tour that wasn't released. Download the SBD copy HERE and HERE, though I do have to worn that there are a few drop offs in this copy.
The show opens with a great "Foolish Heart," and it kind of ends in a disastrous bang. It's clear that Garcia likes this jam and wants to use the song similar to "Shakedown," were it can be an exploratory first or second set opener. I'm not comparing "Shakedown" to "Foolish Heart" as songs, just the way the band uses them. Bobby follows "Foolish Heart" with a great "Rooster." In my opinion, the best "Rooster's" are early in the sets and all feature the coy Brent verse. Later in the set, the band plays a very lively "BE Woman," then contrast it with a dark "Victim." The "Victim" jam slides down a shaded path at dusk, dark notes on a dark guitar, that drifts into the abyss of the night sky. This vehicle drops to the cold dark center of the universe, black, as the bright opening to "Don't Ease" shoots us back to Earth and the end of the set.
There is a casual manner in the slight jam as the band takes the stage and drops into "Estimated" to open the second set. "They're gonna light my way," a line that is very prevalent because of how this tour is a foreshadow of what is the best tour of the Brent Myland Grateful Dead era, Spring 90. As the jam fades Jerry starts the "Blow Away" rift, although there isn't the reprieve after the "Wait a minute" line, it's a solid version. The band falls back into that fiddling jam that started the set before jumping into "Dark Star." Of the three of this tour, this is the longest and it is also the first 25+ version since the 70's, though there aren't many versions in the 80's. There is 12/31/81, 7/13/84, 10/9/89, and 10/16/89. Since the band had just started to play "Dark Star" on a regular biases there is conformability with the song and that is what gives it its depth and length.
This "Dark Star" is like a wave that you catch as it lifts you, then carries you on it's crest through the theme, the cosmos and the verses, until the wave crashes with the end of the second verse.  However,  the motion of the water doesn't end there and neither does the band. The water rushes on and up to the shore, the music does the same until the dry sand is beneath your feet and "Drums" plays on.
Don't skip "Space," there is ambient keys played by Brent and as Deadbase notes, there is a "Close Encounters" type sound to it. There is a brilliant breakdown of the chord structure at the end of "Watchtower" to transport them into an elegant "Stella Blue." This "Stella" does have that special reflection in Garcia's voice and that firm tenderness of his guitar. A moving rendition that is played into "NFA," which Bobby's guitar work is fantastic on. As always the crowd doesn't let the "NFA" clap chant die, as the band reprises it briefly before closing tour with "Bid you Goodnight."

I: Foolish Heart, Rooster, Stagger Lee, Uncle, Big River, BE Woman, Victim, Don't Ease
II: Estimated, Blow Away, Dark Star, Drums, Space, Wheel, Watchtower, Stella Blue, NFA E: Bid You Goodnight

Dave's Pick's 5 has been announced and it is a monster of a show from UCLA on 11/17/73. In the announcement, Mr. Lemiuex apologizes for the fact that it took 40 years to release this show, with the show highlight being "Playin'/Uncle John's/Dew/Uncle John's/Playin'," we accept your apology.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


On this date in 1971, the Grateful Dead rolled into Detroit. This is one night after the recent Dave's Pick 3 from Chicago, which you can download a FM Soundboard copy of HERE and HERE.
The show opens with two DJs talking about being "Ripped off by the cops," and that is because before the show the police raided the GD vans and arrested Ramrod. At this time Bear Oswley was in jail, so Ramrod was developing into the head roadie, which he officially became in 1976. The nickname of Ramrod was given to Lawrence Shurtliff by Neal Cassidy and Ken Kesey while touring Mexico with the Merry Pranksters. It was during the Acid Trips that he first met the Dead, and in 1967 he was hired by the Dead to help with all the equipment for the live shows. He stayed with the band till their end in 1995.
I know that there is a lot of static on the recording, but this only lasts to the first chorus of the opener, "Bertha." A fitting opening considering what had transpired earlier in the evening. In the breaks between songs, you'll notice that there is quite the verbose audience member. In pretty innocent style, someone throws a smoke to Jerry after "Bertha." So Jerry thanks the guy saying, "It's mighty Christian of you." "Playin'" comes next and the band is starting to find the spaciness in the song. Phil introduces "Loser" as a song about, "More than one card game." As the band tunes before "Mexicali," Bobby is playing the chorus of "Greatest Story," a song that was dropped from the line-up from April 1971 till March of 1972.
Later in the set the scream of song requests gets pretty intense and the band tries to calm them down, but their refusal to fulfill the requests and the long pauses, causes the screaming to spread across the crowd. The band tries to appease the crowd, by saying "Later," but the audience isn't buying it. In a way the audience's screams are for the band to go back, but this is a band that is continuing to re-invent themselves. The band that started in 1965 and three years later didn't play any of the same songs that they did in 1965. It's now three years later and there are three songs that are still in the rotation, and one (St. Stephen) was about to be dropped. They progressed from a blues band to a psycadelic jam band to a kickass Rock 'n Roll band.
The second set starts with the crowd pleaser, "Casey Jones." Whimsically Bobby announces, "This one, that guy out there might like, it's kind of a death and destruction song," as the band jumps into "Me and My Uncle. A rocking "Jed," finds Jerry messing up some lyrics, "Blacken my dog and kicked my eye!" The new Hunter/Garcia ballad "Comes a Time," leads the band into the only song of the night to break the 10 minute mark, "Truckin'." The jam of the song quickly loses the shuffle as it shifts into a building block jam until it cools and "Truckin', I'm a going home." Actually they were right back at the Easttown the next night, but this time with Ramrod.
I: Bertha, Playin', Loser, Mexicali, Sugaree, Straw, Big RxR, El Paso, Ramble, Bobby McGee, Cumberland, Brokedown, Saturday Night
II: Casey, Uncle, Jed, Sugar Mags, Comes a Time, Truckin', BE Woman, NFA, GDTRFB, NFA

Happy one and a half birthday to my bubby, Jerry. I love you more than words can tell.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Boy Bobby is turning 65 today. He was the youngest original member of the Grateful Dead. Bobby first encounter Jerry at Dana Morgan's music shop on New Years Eve. Jerry was waiting in the shop to teach guitar, his student never showed, but Bobby and some of his high school friends did. Instead of continuing onto the New Years party they stayed behind to jam the night away with Jerry. The first of many New Years shows.
Bobby was never a good student because of his Dyslexia, as the saying goes, Bobby never went a school that he couldn't get kicked out of. His affliction prevented him from excelling in his schooling and this lead to him causing mischief that got him kicked out of school. Since he wasn't in school he ended up spending a lot of time down at the Haight.
He wasn't in Jerry's early band, the Black Mountain Boys, but he was in Mother McCee's Uptown Jug Champions, when they decided to transition into an electric blues band, The Warlocks.
There are several great shows that also celebrate a birthday today; Winterland 1974, 1989's Nightfall of Diamonds, and the impromptu Melk Weg 1981 show. Europe 81 failed to provide the level of shows that 72 and 74 had before it, but this show helped the band rekindle some of its overseas magic. Download the soundboard show HERE and HERE
Phil said of this gig in his book: "When our shows in France were canceled, Rock decided, as sort of a stealth gig, to bring us back to the Melkweg for two nights, playing on borrowed instruments and amps. It was a total gas: I can't remember how long it had been since we played somewhere so small."
Bobby and Jerry were the ones who found the location and Rock decided that they should get the bandmates and Healy so they could play. They used borrowed instruments and played over the house PA, which is why you'll hear all sorts of level adjustments on the first song, "On The Road." Jerry is really roaring to go and you can hear that the way he so anxiously starts "Bird Song." A moment later he pauses on his bandmates as they spring off the deep end. They cap the set with "Ripple" and all seem to assure the crowd that they'd be coming back with an electric set. 
The electric is filled with bust out of songs they haven't played in 10-15 years. Some of the songs would make it into rotation, while "Hully Gully" made its only appearance. 
When Bobby orchestras "Gloria" it's clear the other members kind of know what is going on and but they are clearly making it up as they go along. As the jam out of the song, Phil imitates a riff that they haven't jammed since Pigpen was in the band. The music gets quite as they throw caution to the wind as Bobby takes vocals on "Lovelight." The ten year absents of the song and the new vocalist changed the song but that didn't stop Bobby from asking the crowd to "Shine on Me."
Dennis McNally in "Long Strange Trip" wrote; "It all worked. Clowning around between swigs on a vodka bottle, Lesh realized that he hadn't sweat so hard in ages, it was a health sweat."
"GDTRFB" brings the band back into a blazing "Playin' Rerprised." They take a breather for a really nice "Black Peter," where the line "Just wanna have a friend or two, I love at hand" really sticks out because of the intimacy of the gig. They cap the night off with a smoking "Sugar Mags." It's a 10 minute version because of the lengthy guitar solo while Bobby does his front of stage acrobatics. Those borrowed instruments were never the same after that night. 
I: Happy Birthday Bobby, On the Road Again, Dire Wolf, Monkey, Bird Song, Cassidy, Oh Babe, Race is On, Ripple
II: Playin', Hully Gully, Wheel, Samson, Gloria, Lovelight, GDTRFB,  Playin', Black Peter, Sugar Mags

Sunday, October 14, 2012


On this date in 1980, the Grateful Dead closed out their 15 night run at the Warfield Theatre. The shows were to commemorate their 15 year anniversary as a band and featured a stripped down acoustic set before they played two electric sets. These were their first acoustic sets since 1970, when their two most acoustic albums came out. After this show they played their first shows in New Orleans since the 1970 "Busted" show, then continued on to Radio City Music Hall for 8 more nights. Download the ACOUSTIC set, SET I, and SET II. Please note that the acoustic set is an Audience recording while electric sets are both soundboards.
ACOUSTIC: Dire Wolf, Dark Hollow, Roses, Cassidy, Around This World, Monkey, China Doll, Heaven Help, Bird Song, Ripple
I: Alabama, Greatest, Friend, My Uncle, Mexicali, Candyman, Rooster, Jed, Let It Grow, Wheel, Music
II: Scarlet, Fire, Estimated, Terrapin, Playin', Drums, Space, Miracle, Uncle John's, Dew, Playin', Good Lovin' E: US Blues, Brokedown
I started with the setlist because of how fantastic the song choices are this night.
The acoustic set features a beautiful "Roses" features Bobby and Jerry singing different choruses at the first break. The crowd then takes it upon themselves to sing happy birthday to Bobby. This is the first but not the last crowd interaction with the band. A lively "Cassidy" comes next and features some great guitar work by Garcia. He does this thing on the solo were he plays each note two or three times before moving to the next note. It gives the acoustic guitar solo much more potency. He uses this same soloing technique later in the first electric set closer. The set ends with the picturesque "Bird Song/Ripple." Both songs went missing from the Dead's repertoire in the early 70's and were revived for this special acoustic set. "Bird Song" stayed in rotation after this but "Ripple" would only be dusted off for special acoustic events, except the 9/3/88 Make a Wish night.
The "Friend" features a rousing electric piano solo by the newbie Brent Mydland. The crowd gets introduced to him by Bobby earlier in the evening, as he is thanked for bringing his Harpsichord for "China Doll." This is a new sound that the Dead is getting to play with. The last couple of years Keith would play his grand piano almost exclusively during the night. The first set ends with an absolute bang with "Jed/Let It Grow/Wheel/Music." The "Let It Grow" comes storming out of the "Jed" as "The Wheel" appears for the third time in a first set, and the last time. Then the steaming "Music," which Garcia emulates the "Cassidy" double note solo, as they close out the hot first set.
The band starts the second set popping version of " Scarlet/Fire." The transit jam is fluent yet spacey, as Phil entwines his baseline around Garcia guitar work until they drop the hammer on "Fire." The dark preachy "Estimated" falls next in line. The keen listener will pick up on a JGB tease at the 7:50 mark of the "Estimated," where Jerry plays the line "Picks up the rice where the wedding had been" of "Eleanor Rigby." From there the jam slows as they slide into a "Terrapin" that is a little sluggish. The remedy comes as the band vaults out of the "Terrapin" and into the "Playin'." The jam feature some great interplay between Brent's Electric Piano and Jerry's guitar.
"Miracle" springs out of "Space" and there is a bit of an awkward transit and the band jumps into "Uncle John's." There is a lot of life in this "Uncle John's" and as the song concludes the key of D enables that they can progress into "Dew." There is a lot of soul in this "Dew," and although short the end jam starts dim light and flowers into a shinning star. The music continues into the abyss as the final notes are sung, as it envelops into the conclusion of earlier "Playin'." It would have been enough to end with the rocking reprised, but Bobby caps the set off with "Good Lovin'."
As the band leaves the stage, Bill Graham goes to work. Bill was very touched by the intimacy of the venue and the special acoustic set and the memorial for past 15 years of shows, so he decided to show the band his and the audiences appreciation. Bill had waiters distribute champagne flutes to every audience member. As the band returned to the stage, the audience raise there glasses and toasted the Grateful Dead for all the years combined. 
On the Audience version, you hear Jerry get really moved by the toast as he saids, "You people are too much, too much!" This is unfortunately cut from the soundboard recording. Garcia is right, it's "Too Much," and the double up the encore this night. So when your friend says that you missed them riding a hot dog into the show or missed people dropping from the ceiling, you know that it isn't the coolest thing, because this was the coolest thing to ever happen in Rock 'n Roll.
This print is available for purchase at Wolfgangs Vault, and this is the only Dead picture that I have in my dining room, although I have other pictures throughout my house. I always felt that this picture of this epic moment is the perfect setting for the entertaining of one's guests.
I'd also like to wish my former roommate from Lake Tahoe and very happy wedding day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


A long time ago, I thought that I got rid of all my analog tapes, but this weekend I found a stash of tapes that were collecting dust in my parents second home in the Catskills. My tape collection started as being two or three on a bookshelf somewhere but quickly grew into a logistic problem or where to store and how to transport.
When I grew out of my bookshelf, I built an additional tape rack out of old hockey sticks. The stick blades were too thin for street hockey, so the Titan 2020 shafts wear cut assembled in two squares and screwed together with a small piece of stick acting as the filler. This way it was thick and strong enough to support the weight of the tapes, then I hung it on my wall.
My sister's boyfriend used to love quizzing me on the tapes I had on the wall. There were 46 tapes in one case and 23 in the other. He'd pull out Boston 6/10/76, I'd rattle off "Side A: Promised, Sugaree, Cassidy, They Loved, Music, Brown Eyed, Lazy Lightning/Supplication, and Side B: Row Jimmy, Big River, the gem Mission, LL Rain, Might as Well." He'd always be amazed at how I was able to retain the shows I had on the wall.
When I left for college, I had to figure out how to transport my tapes to and fro, because my hockey rack was a fixture in my bedroom. So, I acquired a traveling case to hold some of my tapes. I also found my mom's European backpack which had these side pockets that could have held all my socks and underwear or 22 tapes each. Of course I used it to transport tapes, which is saying a lot because I wore Teva's everyday (for about 2 years) and I needed thick wool socks in the winter.
At some point I bought a Case Logic, but that only held about 30 tapes so it wasn't an efficient option. Then one day my friend Geoff came into my dorm and said, "I found this new Case Logic. One that holds 240, 120 on each side." I was sold. I bought three of them; one for Dead, one for Phish and one for my Dylan and Tom Waits albums. 
Each tape and show was special to me. They were events. A snapshot in time and they needed to be treated that way. So I would use markers, pens, and crayons to make each Maxell XL look and feel different. Then I would vary the font I would use for Dead and if I really wanted to highlight a night, I'd use a tape cover. Nowadays this is harder. One thing I've started to do, is use the images from my blog post as artwork for each show. It gives each show its uniqueness.  
By the end of my college days, my tape collection was a thing of the past. I had moved on to Digital Audio Tapes, which meant I had to replace all those special events in a new improved format. I was able to replace some but it is still a work in progress. Then I moved on to CD's and now to my Digital collection of iTunes, iPods, and archive.org.
One spring day in 2002, I bagged up all my tapes into 3 or 4 black bags and left them on the curb. The next day they were gone, except these 30 tapes. Since I've romanticized my tapes in the last ten years, I'm going to send these to Boston, to my only friend with a tape player.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


On this date, 35 years ago, The Grateful Dead played their second of two nights in Portland, Oregon. Given its proximity to Ken Kesey and crew, this show was a prankster event. Download set I and II of this marvelous show.
I consider this to be the best first sets of 1977, because of the two notable bust outs and the energy that they exhibit throughout. They open the show with the first bust out, "Casey Jones," the first one since 1974. What could have happened if the band realized what they had done in this version and decided to continue to push the envelop? During the solo, Bobby takes his solo and as usual makes way for Jerry to take over the soloing duties. He caps off the solo then forgets the third verse complete, if you listen carefully you'll hear him try to mutter something. Before he steps back and unleases on his guitar, till someone hints at verse three, which comes out extra boisterous. Surprisingly the "Sunrise" is a highlight, they way the music builds and peaks. The second bust out is a Ken Kesey special, "Duprees." This is the first one since 1969, and is the first one that has a slightly slower pace funk to it. Just like the earlier bust out, Jerry has a hard time with the lyrics as he mutters them out of a guitar solo. The energy from the song is carried through the following two songs, "Let It Grow" and "Deal," as they close out the set with a bang.
Following up a high energy first set, some times the second can be a let down, but this one keeps up the pace with the first set. "Samson" opens up and is followed by an excellent "Scarlet/Fire." The bubbliness of the "Scarlet" and the darkness of the "Fire" is magnificent. Then Bobby takes over the set and proves the rock is king. The "Playin'" is not long but there is a musical breakdown that Jerry steers into "Drums." Then "The Wheel" comes out of "Drums," and features some real pop in the instrumental break. The fantastic combo of "Truckin'/Other One" comes spinning out of the "Wheel." The two songs get so blended that the "Other One" starts with the band seemingly not realizing the change. So before they spring off the Phil baseline they venture back into a "Truckin'" esk jam. With all the high energy music, the "Wharf Rat" seems mellower than normal. Yet the song is handled with brightness that is emulated by Keith's piano playing on the song. A raging "Sugar Mags" closes out the set. They encore the night with "Johnny B Goode," a song where the band sounds like Bruce Banner bursting into the Hulk. A magnificent prankster event that Jerry had the bust out but Bobby was good tonight.
I: Casey Jones, Straw, Sunrise, BE Woman, El Paso, Dupree's, Let It Grow, Deal
II: Samson, Scarlet, Fire, Playin', Drums, Wheel, Truckin', Other One, Wharf Rat, Sugar Mags, E JBG

Next blog isn't coming till 10/14. It's a story not widely told, so tell your friends, because its the bubbliest story in Rock 'n Roll history.
The next Dave's Picks Volume 4 was announced last night and it is looks like another shoot and score by Lemieux. It's a show that fall between two recent post "THOUGHT I HEARD" and "THE DAYS THAT ARE TO COME," from the College of William and Mary on 9/24/76. At first glance, I'm pretty stoked to hear "Franks/Music/Stella Blue." Yes please can I have another.