"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, 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. 

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