"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

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.

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