"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, May 17, 2013

In Hopes He Will Come Back

Today is the anniversary of the first show Grateful Dead show played in Alabama. Although they promise to come back after the encore, they never did come back to Tuscaloosa. The band played four more shows in Alabama and all of them were "In downtown Birmingham." Download a Soundboard of this show HEREHERE, and HERE.
This show will also be the final show of the next box set that is due to be released in June, "May '77." In the video announcement, David Lemieux calls this his favorite show of 1977, which puts it in a very special class of shows. 
Like its predecessor, Cornell 77 (which is exactly a week before) the band opens with Bobby screaming his lungs off for "Minglewood." Then an outstanding "Half Step" transitions perfectly into "El Paso," like it was always meant too. One Bobby song and one Jerry songs account for the most tender moments in the first set, the transcendent "LL Rain" and the tranquil "High Time." And the first set is capped by a superb "Scarlet/Fire." The next "Scarlet/Fire" would be on 5/21 and is my favorite version of the combo, and this one displays some of that brilliant playing by the band. The layers of this transition is marvelous. Phil starts the bomb dropping as Jerry steps on the petal and Bobby holds it for a bit longer with a twinkling guitar rift, before the descention into "Fire." Superburb. 
The second set is vintage tour de force Grateful Dead, crushing the spirit of rock and roll pixie dust all over the audience. A mind-numbing sequence of "Samson/Bertha/Good Lovin'" ignites the set off into bouncing bliss. The key change between "Samson" and "Bertha" is a little rocky, which why it didn't become a regular combo like "Bertha/Good Lovin'," but is joyous in its receiption. Later the band vaults themself into another sequence, which ends the set in a massive display of excellence. "Terrapin/Playin'/Drums/Wharf Rat/Playin'." Boom! Talk about going home happy.  Phil amazing play on "Terrapin," Jerry's fantastic leads on "Playin'," and Donna's precious background vocals on "Wharf Rat" goes to show the sum of the parts are not more important than the whole. 
I have a confession to make. But it's sort of a secret. So. I love Donna's blood curling call to the "Playin' Main Ten" reprised march. It's usually loud as hell, although this one is not, and how many times have you left a concert and said "It was no good because it was too loud." The loudest concert I've ever been to was the Black Crowes at Irving Plaza. My ears were ringing for three days afterwards. It was epic. I loved it. Just like I love Donna.
I: Minglewood, Half Step, El Paso, TLOE, Straw, Jack A Roe, LL Rain, Jed, Passenger, High Time, Big River, Sunrise, Scarlet, Fire
II: Samson, Bertha, Good Lovin', BE Woman, Estimated, Terrapin, Playin', Drums, Wharf Rat, Playin' E: Sugar Mags

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