"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, February 27, 2013

Like A Puppet Show

Back in 1990 the Grateful Dead did a quick three night run at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum which was capped off with a Mardi Gras fiesta on the final night. These three shows where the prelude to magical time in Grateful Dead history, the Spring 90 tour. DeadHeads look at this time period in GD history with starry eyes, so it was very exciting when David Lemeuix and company announced the Spring 1990 Box set. So download a very good FOB Audience recording HERE.
The band opens up the show and immediately puts the audience "in the groove." In my opinion, this might be the best cover opener the band had and it perfectly describes the audience emotions for the music of the night. They follow it up with the funk groove of "Feel Like a Stranger." In the solo, the band settles in the murky waters and accelerates like a crocodile to the peak. The improve is so good Jerry immediately takes the band into "Sugaree." There is an upbeat glow to Garcia's voice as sings "Maybe I'll meet you on the run." What makes 1990 special is the way Brent is able to fit between Garcia and Phil and Jerry steps away from the "Sugaree" solo to let Brent play. The audience then joins along clapping the song into its final verse. Sweeping is right back into a dark pool, Bobby sinks into "Victim or the Crime." "So I wrestle with my angels" as the magically the solo melts into oblivion before being resurrected to end the song on note. Garcia pulls out a magnificent "Mississippi Half Step" where Jerry's voice shines like a jewel in the night. After "the hours we spent inside the Coliseum" the band jumps into a sparking "Bird Song." The midi comes out as Garcia plays clarinet. The entwining of Mydland and Lesh bombs steers this "Bird Song" into a very rhythmic tour de force.
The second set starts off with a Mardi Gras Parade, from which the band takes the stage. Feeding off the rhythm of the parade the band transitions the beat into "Aiko Aiko," where Michael Doucet and BeauSoleil joins the band. Michael Doucet plays fiddle, and fits seamlessly in the mix, for the next to cajan beat songs of "Aiko" and "Woman are Smarter." The first fiddle solo he takes is supplement with the Phil Lesh circling base lines, just like the rest of the set. Garcia jumps on the Midi for a pretty cool trumpet solo, while Phil thumps along in the background. It seems like Phil always starts in the same place but never finishes the phrase in the same place. At the end of "Aiko" Michael Doucet adds a fill that turns into a solo and sets up the "Woman" which he absolutely shreds. Bobby completely fired up afterwards thanks them. Jerry goes in a complete different direction after that 'Not your run of the mill' "Woman are Smarter," as he mellows with a gorgeous "Standing on the Moon." Bobby can't wait to rev the engine back up and does so in "Truckin'." Don't listen too close to the speaker because you might get hit with some Bobby spit. It was a flowing, "Knocked down gets to wearing thin." The "Truckin'" jam quickly metamorphosis into another spit flying number "Spoonful."
The Drummers definitely pick up on the Parade vibe and revisit that on the "Drums." And this "Space" is compelling with all the Midi sounds that each band member experiments with, and there is seemingly an underlining rhythm with it. So the pick of "The Other One" comes gradual and natural. Bobby with Healy on distortion sings the first verse of "Other One." Then Garcia takes a solo that is in the same catatonic realm as the earlier "Bird Song." After the second verse, the band channels the Europe '72 version of themselves as they prelude into "Dew." It is sung by Garcia with bold confidence that has seemingly been built just for this moment. The guitar cries, just before Garcia asks, "I thought I heard a baby cry?" There is a lot of emotion that Garcia feeds into the singing of this "Dew," which he whispers off into the solo. Phil quites his heavy pick, as the audience keeps beat, for Garcia's guitar moaning low. As the bandmate sprinkle in their instruments the music builds. Jerry then test the salt shaker before salting his plate, as the organ goes from chords to notes, and the enjoy the build. Then the organ rushes in with, Phil's heavy hand, and Garcia's peaking solo, ending in a crash. Bobby takes the reigns, "That shinny ball of hope we can call our own." "Throwing Stones" explodes into "Not Fade" as the band "Bop Bop, Bop-Bop" off stage. They returned to the stage only to bid Fat Tuesday a "Goodnight."
I: LTGTR, Stranger, Sugaree, Victim, Half Step, Masterpiece, Bird Song
II: Aiko, Woman, SOTM, Truckin', Spoonful, Drums, Space, Other, Dew, T Stones, NFA E: Bid You Goodnight

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