"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

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Heroes And Villians

The first concert that I ever bought tickets for was the Grateful Dead. Matt and I went to get bracelets after school and the following Saturday we gathered with all the other DeadHeads in front of the Toy Box, as families with small children gathered in the park across the street to play tee ball and soccer. The Toy Box opened up just before 9 and asked us all to wait on the sidewalk till our number was called at 10. The employee came out and called a number as we all nervously looked at our list. I remember my number sucked. I was like the last one on line but Matt got a good number, so I passed my dough off to him and he went in to get the tickets.
Now even though this was the first time I went to a concert it wasn't the first time I had seen live music. Once a week we'd go to see free concerts at the Flint Park bandshell. Some random cover band would play as I would run around the lawn and try to get my parents to buy me ice cream.
The only other time I saw live music was at Yankee Stadium. My little league team celebrated the end of the season by going to a Yankee game. My father managed a building near by and arranged for us to park there. It was a glorious afternoon game and afterwards the coach took a survey, who wants to go and who wants to stay and see the Beach Boys? Home meant the official end of the season and staying meant hanging on a little longer. We all wanted to stay and watch the Beach Boys. They set up the stage in centerfield, which was good for us because we were situated over Dave Winfield's shoulder there in Right Field. The Beach Boys came out and played like five songs and we danced in the seats and aisles, singing, "Bermuda, Bahamas come on pretty mama."
This is the anniversary of the only time the two California bands, the Beach Boys and the Grateful Dead collaborated. Of course this collaboration took place in New York. Download the SBD HERE and HERE.
If I had a dime for every time my mother said to me, "Enough with those dumb concerts," I'd be a wealthier man. She went to Woodstock. She said she used to go to the Fillmore East every weekend till it closed, but when she had family she settled down and left those days behind. That hasn't been me. I have the itch and I can't live without the exhilaration in my life. One of the most live wired I ever saw my dad was at the one and only concert I dragged him to, Paul McCartney. I got six tickets; my parents, sister and husband, Matt and I went to the Garden. Our seats were side stage and after two hours of Sir Paul's music, he left the stage before his encores. I remember my dad yelling over to me with a huge smile "The only thing left for him to play is Hey Jude, he has to encore with it, he has too." When Paul came back to the stage without a guitar in hand, he walked over too the piano and my father jumped out of his skin with excitement.
I: Truckin', Mama Tried, Bertha, Next Time, Cumberland, Bobby McGee, Loser, Hard To Handle, China Cat, Rider, Casey Jones
II: Sugar Mags, Deal, Uncle, Bird Song, Playin', Dire Wolf, Searchin'*, Roit in Cell Block*, Good Vibrations%, I Get Around%, Help Me Rhonda*, Okie*, JBG*, Sing Me Back, Uncle Johns, Lovelight
* With The Beach Boys
% Only the Beach Boys

For all those worried. Bobby was seen out at dinner last night in Greenwich CT and as of now there has been no cancellation to the Furthur gig in Atlantic City.

Friday, April 26, 2013

On Down The Line

In an interview in 1970, Jerry Garcia said that there are 2 rooms that were made for the Grateful Dead to play their music in, the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester and the Fillmore East on 2nd Avenue in New York. Ironically the band would not play either of those venues again after May of 1971.
This is the anniversary of the final run at the Fillmore East and you can download the soundboard of the show HERE and HERE. This show features a guy who with his band played more gigs at the Fillmore East than any other band, which is why they were tapped to close the venue on April 30, 1971. Long before the Allman Brothers March Madness residency at the Beacon Theatre, The Brother's were main stays at the Fillmore East.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, cause the first set features a guy who between ever song screams over the bands tuning for "Dark Star." Well after a jumping blues version of "Hard to Handle," the band sets off on the "Dark Star" journey. Much like the Capitol Theatre 2/18/71, this "Dark Star" features a very rhythmic life beat, after all 2/18/71's is nicknamed "Beautiful Jam" and occurred just two months prior. Like 2/18/71, the band runs into "Wharf Rat," and this version which is cut, can be heard in it's entirety on "Skull and Roses." Although there is a fade out of the jam, the band quickly gears up the set closer of "Casey Jones."
 Daune Allman join the band for the first three songs of the second set, "Sugar Mags," "Hurts Me Too," and "Beat It On Down The Line." Masters of this "Sugar Mags" were recently provided to Duane's granddaughter who put together "Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective," a seven CD box set. Duane's playing on these tracks are an interesting twist on the normal Garcia solos. Duane had one speed, which was go-go-go. He was always aggressive player. His energy would slide cross the guitar and liven the spirit.  My favorite part of the sit in is the slide solo on "BIODTL." It has some magnificently energy and at the end of it, he puts this little cap on the solo that always makes me smile.
As Skydog leaves the stage, keeps the energy alive as they rip into "China/Rider." Pigpen then jumps into "Good Lovin'," which Billy takes a lengthy solo on the skins on. Jerry pulls out "Sing Me Back Home," a song that has not been fully developed in the last month of the band playing it. Then the end the night with their favorite closer "Not  Fade/Going Down The Road/Not Fade."
Last night the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester christened their Lobby Bar "Garcia's." Jerry's daughter Trixie was made the announcement on stage after Furthur's set. I'm still waiting for word if this bar opening is the reason Bobby fell on stage last night and couldn't finish last night's show. Ironically he fell durning "Unbroken Chain" when Phil sang, "They say love your brother but you will catch it when you try." I think it's now ok for you DeadHead shirt maker to make a parody of "Boston Strong" and do "Bobby Strong."
I: Big Boss, Loser, Playin', Hard To Handle, Dark Star, Wharf Rat, Casey Jones
II: Sugar Mags*, Hurt Me Too*, BIODTL*, China Cat, Rider, Good Lovin', Sing Me, NFA, GDTRFB, NFA
*w/ Duane Allman

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston Strong

Boston has always been a great town for musicians to entertain their audience, because the four major colleges in the town, young audiences make for an energetic crowd. There have been some very special shows in Grateful Dead history in Boston. The first time Bobby decided to open with "Sugar Mags" and close the set with the "Sunshine Daydream" coda was in Boston in 1974, this was memorialized in Dick's Picks 12. Dick's Picks 14 is Boston 73, Dick's Picks 17 is Boston 91 and most recently the final Road Trips is from the Boston Music Hall in 1976 and is also the second tape I ever owned. The only New Years show that the Grateful Dead ever played outside of California was played in Boston in 1969.
Boston 5/7/77
All that being said, I have never lived or wanted to live in Boston. I'm a New Yorker and a big Yankee fan. I love the spirit of competition. I love the rivalry and the excitement it brings, without it there is really no point to playing the game. Its what makes sports so compelling. Unlike some, outside of baseball, I can like Boston sports team (I'm currently wearing a number 4 Bobby Orr Bruins jersey) and have enjoyed plenty of "Wicked" concerts in Boston. Even though I was mugged one time outside of the Boston Garden looking for tickets for that evening concert.
Boston 5/7/77 
Bob Weir has always been the athlete of the band, whereas Jerry and Phil have been the most anti-athletic members of the band. Ironic that it was Jerry that saw the story of the Lithuanian basketball team and decided to sponsor them. Bobby last year talked about a flag football league that he was in, not bad for a senior, and would customarily go on runs around the cities when on tour. In fact, the line from "Saint of Circumstance" that goes "I sure don't know what I'm going for, but I'm gonna go for it for sure" came to Bobby when he got stuck in a sudden rain shower while out for a jog.
Boston 1969 
I mentioned four Grateful Dead releases but the most traded GD show might be 5/7/77 show, which you can download HEREHERE, and HERE. Sprung from the infamous Spring 77 tour the good times are event from the hysterical laughter after some feedback in the "Bertha." Stupendous versions of "Peggy-o," "Half Step," and "Music" in the first set. And the second set is filled with song choices which would set up their most famous show on the very next night, Cornell 77. A seductive "Terrapin" stutters into "Samson" to open the second set. The first ever "Estimated/Eyes" combo bleeds into "Drums" before getting circled back by "The Wheel." This "Wharf Rat" much like 5/3/77 and 5/22/77 has one of those magnificent Garcia intros where the band steps asides as he runs his fingers up and done the fret board like Da Vinci's brush across the Mona Lisa. These and the Boston Music Hall's 12/2/73 are my favorite versions of "Wharf Rat." Then the band wraps up the night with "Around and Around." Just another brilliant night in Boston. These "Ships of Fools" have always played up to the Boston crowd because Boston has always been Grateful Dead strong.  
Boston 12/2/73
If you are on Twitter, the @GDTLP has dedicated this next week to Boston shows. So follow along for 1 PM work day shows. Also @TigerRose420 posted all these wonderful images of the Boston bound Grateful Dead, after the events on Monday. Thanks for remind me of the spirit of the town.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Love The One You're With

Today is the 30 year anniversary of a two night run at the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Spring 83 run is a vastly underrated run in Grateful Dead history. The UVM show from a couple of days earlier is among the finest of the first half of the 80's. These two high energy shows and thick jam made them a fixture in most Grateful Dead tape collection. That and the fact that the great Stephen Stills sits in for both the Jersey shows; which you can download night one HERE and HERE, and night two HEREHERE, and HERE.
The first night opens with "Minglewood," which always raises a red flag for me because it opened the infamous Cornell 77 show. The first set is punctuated with spacious "Bird Song" and a punctual "Brother Esau," along with the set closer combo of "LL Rain/Touch." The early "Touch's" are different because they end up sound more like "Bertha" than the hit, because of Brent's approach to the song.
The second set sees the band linking their two 1970 hit's together pre-Drums with the "Uncle John's/Truckin'" combo. Post "Space," Stills joins the band for the second ever "Black Queen." Bobby clearly gets charged up by the performance and calls his fading "Bob Star." as the band geared up "Other One." Stills returns to the stage and tries to keep up with Bobby's encore rap of "Johnny B Goode," but bails in the harmonies because Bobby is going too fast for him.
The second night opens with "Touch" and in a study of contrast, Bobby picks out "Rooster" out of the closing notes. As "Rooster" ends there is a ambient sound, which in the background is called a Transmitter. It actually sounds pretty cool, like future midi space sound, but "Parrish and the boys get under control as Jerry starts to pick out "Dupree's." An excellent "Let It Grow," which pushes the boardline of time and space, prompts Jerry to tear into one more rocker to close the set.
The fun begins with "Help/Slip/ Frank's" as a door swings open for the second set. Brent really works hard to keep the band together as interplay between Jerry and Phil pushes the "Slip" onward and upward. After a nice "Women" piggybacks on the the energy of the blazing "Franklin's," before venturing into to a mammoth "Playin'." Clocking in at close to 20 minutes this magnificent exploratory jam stretches and reaches the bounds of Grateful Dead excellence.
Again out of "Space," Stills marches out to join the band, this time choosing his most well known solo song. A hippie tribute to free-love, the band puts a charge into "Love the One You're With." Stills leaves the stage as the band uses "The Wheel" to circle back around to reprise "Playin'." An early version of "Throwing Stones," which doesn't have the full written and developed jam break, as Stills returns to help the band rock out the closer "Not Fade Away."
Furthur just announced their summer plans, it should be noted that the Brooklyn comes in between Phish's gigs at Jones Beach and PNC. Could that mean a special guest or two at any of these three gigs? This is the anniversary of the Warfield weekend in 1999 with Phil & Phriends.
I: Minglewood, Jed, Uncle, Mexicali, Bird Song, Esau, West LA, Maybe You Know, LL Rain, Touch
II: China, Rider, UJB, Truckin', Drums, Space, Black Queen*, Iko*, Bob Star, Other One, Black Peter, OMSN* E: JGB*
I: Touch, Rooster, Dupree's, BIODTL, Roses, Cassidy, Big RxR, Esau, Peggy-O, Let It Grow, 
Might as Well
II: Help, Slip, Frank's, Women, Playin', Drums, Space, Love the One*, Wheel, Playin', T Stones, NFA*, E: Brokedown
*with Stephen Stills

Monday, April 1, 2013

Barney And The Dead

In your not so typical fashion, Phil Lesh pulled an April Fools prank on not only the audience but his fellow bandmates also. Phil came out for the second set of the show in 1993 at Nassau Coliseum dressed as the lovable purple dinosaur. Phil's 2 sons, Graham and Brian, were fans of Barney and Phil thought it would be a funny trick to play on April Fools day. Phil came out dressed as Barney with his base strapped to him and neither the band or audience knew who it was. They played "Aiko Aiko" with Phil trying his best to find his base around the big purple costume. Afterwards, Jerry told Phil that a little warning would have been nice. Download the show HERE and HERE. This is a good show for 1993, with some of the newer material, like "Eternity," "Liberty," "Wave to the Wind," "Long Way," "Days Between" and The Beatles cover of "Rain" making appearances in the setlist.
I: Straw, TLEO, Minglewood, Candyman, Desolation Row, Stagger Lee, Eternity, Liberty
II: Aiko*, Saint, Crazy Fingers, Wave to the Wind, Drums, Space, Long Way to go Home, Days, Lovelight E Rain
*w/ Barney