"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, December 26, 2012


Some times Santa's sled can slow down the travel of love one's and bandmates. That's what happened on this date in 1969 to Billy Kreutzmann and the Grateful Dead. This facilitated the second ever Acoustic/Electric show in GD history, which you can download HERE and HERE.
As Jerry says at the beginning of the show "Billy is somewhere over Omaha right now but we assured that he'll be here soon." Instead of making the audience sit around between acts, Bobby and Jerry decide to play a couple of songs on acoustics. Eventually Phil joins the boys but the audience that was coming to see a set similar to the "Live Dead" release are now seeing a bunch of country and bluegrass standards. The really gives it to Bobby because all his songs come from Country Western TV shows, which a Texan is of course familiar with, and an interesting dialog ensues. Eventually Bobby calls a song to which you hear Jerry respond, "I don't know that one. Do you?" Bobby does and sings "The Master's Bouquet." Jerry's musicianship shines through as he manages to play along and sing harmonies. You really understand why Jefferson Airplane used him as their "Musical and Spiritual Adviser" on "Surrealistic Pillow." Jerry introduces the crowd two new songs, "Black Peter" and "Uncle John's Band," and Billy arrives right before the last acoustic song.
If I can pose a question it would be, why no "Dupree's" or "Mountains of the Moon?" Both songs fell out of their brief rotation in July of this same year. Did they have to play Country & Western songs? Too bad I wasn't backstage to ask.
The Electric starts with a furious "Casey Jones." Knocking the socks off the crowd, in a couple of months "Workingman's Dead" would be released and this song would be on everyone's turntable. While Jerry, Bobby and Phil were playing a wooden set, Pigpen was obviously backstage drinking. He sings a pretty sloppy "Hard to Handle." He comes in early on the second verse and then forgets most of the verse as he tries to keep up. A psychedelic "China/Rider" features some outstanding transitional leads by Phil. Then listen to Jerry's voice go falsetto on the "I wish I was a headlight" line. He did this a couple of times (Comes a Time in 71 and So Many Rds in 95), this is the first time I know of, and when it happens he seems shocked like he doesn't know where to go next. He resumes in his normal voice for "I'd shine my light through the cool Colorado rain."
The band goes "Full Psychedelic" as they slide in to a 23 plus minute "Dark Star." The full super powers of this "Dark Star" unfortunately fall victim to the tape change in the middle of the second verse. Before that their is beauty and fear in the catechism of the musical landscape. As the tape cuts back in the band is in the middle of "Speedway." This version features the short lived background vocals. They got dropped faster than "Sweet Suzie." Pigpen was then given a chance at redemption, as the "Lovelight" rift lifts the roof off the place.
After this lone night in Texas, the band went on to play three nights in Boston, which included a New Years show. This is the only New Years show that the band played outside of the greater San Francisco/Oakland area. My next post will feature at least one of the fantastic New Years show the band played.
Acoustic: Monkey & Engineer, Sadie, Long Black Limousine, Around This World, Master's Bouquet, Black Peter, Uncle John's
Electric: Casey Jones, Hard To Handle, Cold Rain, China Cat, Rider, High Time, My Uncle, Dark Star, Speedway, Lovelight

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