"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

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.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Tonight Bobby sat down with an amplified electric guitar and sang a pretty cool version of "Here Comes Sunshine." Afterwards he answered some questions from twitter.
By far the best one was; "Bobby any chance you'd auction off any of your Daisy Dukes?" To which he replied, "Ha, Daisy Dukes, I never hear that one." Really???
As the questions concluded, Bobby announced that he was going to be holding a benefit to support the victims of Hurricane Sandy in the near future. Let the rumors begin as to who will be joining the band.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Last night at the Wellmont Theatre in New Jersey, Phil and Friends opened up there brief Northeast tour with the approbate Grateful Dead album "Wake of the Flood." It was fitting tribute to the victims of Sandy, one week beforehand. Several New Jersey residence are still without power, there are gas lines that are hours long and as if it couldn't get any worse, it's snowing.
The album that came out on October 15, 1973, now seems to have new meaning like its a concept album like "Dark Side of the Moon." "Mississippi Half Step" is the story of Sandy hitting the shore, and the aftermath is captured in "Let Me Sing Your Blues Away." Then "Row Jimmy" is fighting the flood waters and "Stella Blue" is the pain of sifting through the rubble of the left over personal affects. "Sunshine" is the purging clean up and "Eyes of the World" is the news coverage that this area has gotten. "Weather Report" is the Nor'easter that was then rolling though dumping heavy wet snow on the area that is still piecing together their lives.
I'll see you in the " Wake of the Flood" at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I've been a New Yorker my whole life. Even when I lived elsewhere, most people could tell that I was New Yorker by my accent, and being a New Yorker and not a Manhattanite, I see the beauty in New York State as a whole. Lucky my Deadheadism, has me traveling from place to place to see the next show.
Currently, a New Yorker's life could not be any worse. Sandy has robbed and pillaged our homes and lifestyle. The line from The Talking Heads song "Life During Wartimes" is echoing in my head, "Sound of gunfire off in the distance, I'm getting used to it now." Well that gunfire is the constant hum of the generator off in the distance. But I'm not used to it, and I hope that I don't grow accustom to that generator hum.
In the aftermath of Sandy, I had seen the damage first hand and had a choice to make. Knowing very well that when Con Ed says seven to ten days, they mean ten of eleven days. There was colder weather moving in and I saw that the best option for my infant son and pregnant wife was to get them out of harms way. So I packed them up and drove them to be with her family in Buffalo. Lucky my sister in-law was willing to cut off some of the drive by meeting me in Elmira, so I could get back to the house and work.
I don't mind driving. I could drive for days. Now with iPods, iPhones, and Satellite radio, driving is easy. I remember shuffling through a case of 240 tapes, looking for a tape and realizing that the tape I was looking for was in the trunk, in another case. I put on a show, listen to NPR or Stern, or call a friend and hours melt away on the vacant asphalt.
I was lucky. The power came back, even though my parents, brother and sister all still don't have lights. So this weekend I drove up to Buffalo. I saw a college hockey game. I went to a romantic dinner at the Roycroft, where our wedding reception was held. And took my one and half year old son ice skating for the very first time. Then drove back, with extra containers of gasoline.
I listened to 6/12/76 (because my Dave's Pick 4 got to my house an hour after I left) and 1/20/79 on the way up there. On the way back, I was thinking of New York State. Over a year earlier, I was in Cooperstown when Irene hit. My wife and son went back to Buffalo, while I drove through the demolished Catskills region. I saw at town that was completely washed out. Shop owners all wore wadders and carried out soaked garbage bag after garbage bag. I saw a house that was folded on top of its self. I drove till I got to a bridge on route 28. The bridge was shut down till an engineer could come a clear it. I waited an hour before I tried about ten other routes all of which were blocked. Eventually I drove back to the Cooperstown area before, coming down i88 to Binghamton so I could get 17. Binghamton, a small town in the middle of New York, who's claim to fame is the University and the AHL Binghamton Senators. That and two legendary Grateful Dead shows that I spun on our recent trip home, 5/2/70 (Dicks Picks 8) and the fall tour closer of 11/6/77.
Please download the show HERE and HERE, on it's 35 year anniversary. Hopefully it finds you in better condition than us New Yorkers. Two things to pay attention to when listening to this show; Jerry forgets the second verse of "Scarlet," and this is the last time that "NFA" breaks "St Stephen" at the verse. Also, please remember to vote.
I: Half Step, Jack Straw, Jed, Mexicali, Uncle, Friend, Minglewood, Dupree's, Passenger, Dire Wolf, Music 
II: Samson, Sunrise, Scarlet, Fire, Good Lovin', St Stephen, Drums, NFA, Wharf Rat, St Stephen, Truckin' E: JBG

Every year we choose a charity to donate to on Boxing day, December 26, as a family. Last year, I lost my Grandma to breast cancer so we gave to the Susan B Komen fund. This year we will be giving to the Red Cross for all the work they do for people in need, as we are seeing in New York right now.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Today is Bill Walton's 60th birthday. Over his long strange trip, Bill Walton managed to see over 350 Grateful Dead shows and is still a regular at Dead related events. He even made the epic trip to the Pyramids to see the band play in 1978.
I do not know much about Basketball, because I am a hockey fan, but I know Bill Walton was a prolific college player at UCLA and then was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers. He had some problems there with management and when it came to contract talks, he said that he would only resign if the Grateful Dead was hired to play at half time and after every home game. Yeah that would have worked well for the Dead.
I bumped into Mr. Walton one night in San Diego. I was seeing a Dead cover band at a bar named Winston's, between sets I went outside for a smoke. All of a sudden I saw these legs coming out of the bar, and I instantly recognized Bill Walton. I approached him and asked, "So what do you think of the band?"
His response to me, "Well I love all the songs." So do I, so do I.

I have a post coming tomorrow on a show and life after Sandy.