"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, June 25, 2013

When They Come To Call On You

Twenty-five years ago today, Bruce Hornsby first sat in with the Grateful Dead, which you can download HERE. Before jamming with the band Jerry says in a jovial manner, "We don't just let anyone sit in on accordion." This is ironic because the first instrument Jerry got was an accordion, which he convinced his mom to let him trade in for an electric guitar. Just imagine what the hot opener of "Stranger/Franklin's" would have sounding like if Jerry was on accordion, Phil on trumpet, and Bob on wash board. Nightmares.
At this time in his career, Bruce was as popular as he ever would be. His debut album, "The Way It Is," was released to critical and fan acclaim. This was part of the tour with The Range, that was in support of this album. It must have been a thrill for a kid to play with the band he used to cover in high school. Bruce's brother recuted him to join their Dead cover band, which consisted of most Europe 72 songs. Either way Bruce was not the only one who was pleased with his performance. As soon as "Memphis Blues" ends, Phil exclaims "Whoa!"
He left an impression on the band and was invited to join the band two years later, after Brent Myland passed. Between touring and recording with The Range then touring with the Grateful Dead, Bruce only spent a total of two weeks at home in 1990. 351 days he was on the road. The brutal schedule got to him so in 91, he left the band but not before he got a gift from Phil that would last a lifetime. Phil and his wife Jill passed on a Faberge Egg that was given to Phil by his mother. The Egg was suppose to provide good luck to couples that are trying to conceive. After receiving the Egg Phil and Jill had their two boys, Brian and Grahame. Phil passed the Egg onto Bruce, who later had twins. 
A couple of years ago, I got to meet Jill and I asked her about the Faberge Egg, because of a the old college try wasn't getting it done with my wife and I. She flattered me by inquiring if I was old enough to be in this situation (I think it was because she didn't think she was ready to be a grandma) but I assured her that I was much older then her sons. She very sweetly didn't know what happened with the Egg, even though I just want to know where to buy one, and it wasn't need as my wife and I were lucky enough to be conceive two boys; Jerry and Brennan. 
I: Stranger, Franklin's, Box, Sugaree*, Memphis Blues*, West LA, Cassidy, Deal
II: Victim, Blow Away, Foolish Heart, Terrapin, Drums, Space, Other One, Wharf Rat, T Stones, NFA E: Knockin'

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice

Before Bobby fell. Before he told people to "Shut The Fuck Up." Bobby in all his short shorts magic was kicking the static out of his amps lazy ass.
Here is the pro shot video  of the Summer Solstice show from 1989. With a special guest appearance by the big man Clarence Clemons. Funny enough, Jerry and Clarence were both in-between lovers at the time and were entertaining being roommates. That would have been the coolest house o the block. If only MTV could have aired it as The Real World.
I: Hideaway, Touch, Minglewood, Ramble, Box, Dire Wolf, Masterpiece, Row Jimmy, Cassidy, Deal
II: Scarlet, Bucket*, Ship*, Estimated*, Eyes*, Drums, Space, Truckin'*, Other One*, Dew*, Lovelight* E: Brokedown*
* With Clarence Clemons

Made A Fine Connection

Today we go back 29 years for a SEVA Foundation benefit, which saw the re-minted The Band opening for the Dead. Four of the original five members of The Band reformed in 1983 and began playing shows together for the first time since the band's split after the 1978 concert "The Last Waltz." Replacing Robbie Robertson on guitar was Jim Weider and Randy Ciarlante. This show is the first time since the 1973 Watkins Glen show that members of The Band collaborated with the Grateful Dead. Instead of playing on of The Band's great songs, the collaboration is on the old songs "New Orleans," "Big Boss Man," and "Iko." 
The Grateful Dead sets that proceed the encore with The Band is full of tasty nuggets. The early "Bird Song" is like a venture on a powder day up on the trees. Floating through a cloud till you get to the bottom and its the turn around where you realize how far you've come. Then the sequence of "Dupree's/LL Rain/Might as Well" is fantastic. Each song is a jem. Then the second set highlight is the "Terrapin." The song starts off slow and builds to the closing jam where Phil drops to massive bombs. Download an audience copy of the show HERE
I: Bucket, TLEO, CC Ruder, Bird Song, BIODTL, Dupree's, LL Rain, Might as Well
II: Scarlet, Fire, Good Times, Samson, Terrapin, Drums, Space, Wheel, T. Stones, NFA E: New Orleans*, Big Boss Man*, Iko*
*With The Band

Monday, June 10, 2013

Settle One Old Score

For the last weeks the weather around here has been just about perfect. Every time I look at my thermometer the temperature is around 73 degrees, the windows are down and the tunes are rocking. My second favorite year in Grateful Dead history is 1973 and today is the 40th anniversary of a mammoth three set show from RFK. All the May 1973 shows the band played were three set shows, the previous show was not a three setter because the Allman Brothers Band closed the show, but on this date the Dead closed out the evening with three sets. For the third set the Brothers stuck around to help them blaze it. Download the show HEREHERE, and HERE.
For the final time in Grateful Dead history, the band opens up a show with "Morning Dew." It's really a genius move to move the audiences conscious after rocking out to two sets of the Allmans. So after changing the tone Bobby changes it yet again by following up the "Dew" with "Beat It On Down The Line." The first feature a hopping "Jack Straw" and the last appearance of "Wave That Flag." The songs lyrical pattern was too confusing for Jerry to keep with, so he made Hunter give him a re-write. This is the only time Garcia did this to Hunter, most of the editing of Grateful Dead songs were by Jerry. Two of the most memorable rewrites are "They Loved Each Other" and "Here Comes Sunshine," and both original versions are played here. The first set closes with two big exploratory jam vehicles in "Bird Song" and "Playin'." The "Bird Song" jam starts off with some good interplay between Jerry and Bobby before both follow Phil's playing, a common theme at this show. The "Playin'" jam is all about Jerry Getting weird on the guitar. His leads throughout the jam aggressively lead the band into the weird. Although the "Playin'" is under 20 minutes long, it feels like it is much longer because of the weirdness.
 The second set starts off with a beautiful "Eyes/Stella Blue" combo. The lead bassist Phil Lesh definitely establishes himself here as being the driver of this song and set. Phil squeaks in his fills throughout the Jerry solos, then dominates the outro jam. Phil lays it down to the point, were Jerry clearly follows him as he signals the end of "Stella Blue." Lead Bass! The floppy hatted Lesh steals the "Dark Star" later in the set. Amidst all the chaos of the "Dark Star" the utter domination of bass floppy hat, the rest of his band mates slow and pause as the lead bassist solos. The rifting slowly moves into a blues jaunt that the rest of the band picks up on and the jam leads them into the harrowing verse. The band shoots back into a chaotic jam of echoing feedback as another blues rift is played, but this time by Garcia, as the slow glow of "He's Gone" is played. After the serene "Wharf Rat," the music starts twisting and turning as "Truckin'" comes flying out of it. But for as much energy as the "Truckin'" produces, it fizzles quite quickly after the verses. Let's face it, five years later the second set would have ended after the "Around" if there was a drums solo thrown in there somewhere. Bobby unhappy with the fizzle closes the set with a pumping "Sugar Mags." 
The third set opens with two Grateful Dead debuts; "Train to Cry" and "That's Alright Mama," and neither song would preformed again by the Dead for next 18 and 13 years respectively. Both songs though were songs that Jerry Garcia preformed for years with his solo projects. "Train to Cry" sounds like the Dead preforming it, but "That's Alright Mama" is when the Allman's flavor starts taking over. The Dickie Betts solo transforms "That's Alright" into "Jessica" and then "Blue Sky." Each of the four guitarist has their own distinct tone. Each one is great. The "Promised" is a bit slower and not as potent as the normal, but it has a little more flare. The "Not Fade/Going Down The Road" is fantastic, energetic and electric. Sizzling solos and soaring vocals make this a stand out version among the plethora version of the combo. The "Johnny B Goode" might as well have lit the stage on fire because no one else could have managed to provide the heat that these band provided on this night. 
I: Dew, BIODTL, Ramble, Straw, Wave That Flag, LLRain, Box, TLEO, Race is On, Row Jimmy, El Paso, Bird Song, Playin'
II: Eyes, Stella, Big River, HC Sunshine, Around, Dark Star, He's Gone, Wharf Rat, Truckin', Sugar Mags
III: Train to Cry, That's Alright Mama, Promised, NFA, GDTRFB, Drums, NFA, JBG
*The Third Set with the Allman Brothers Band

Friday, June 7, 2013

Now She's Gone And I Don't Worry

Today is the anniversary of a great show from 1969 from the Fillmore West in San Francisco. The Dead was in the mist of a four night run at the Fillmore and they capped off the show with help from a fellow member of the San Fran music scene. Download a soundboard of this show HERE.
The show opens up with the debut of "Dire Wolf." The song's chorus originated from Garcia's paranoia of the Zodiac killer. The popular acoustic duo of "Dupree's/Mountains of the Moon" shoots out of the debut, which the band then picks up the electric instruments as they slip into the void. This "Dark Star" is the band stretching their legs and losing themselves in the moment. The song quickly loses it's schematic pattern yet somehow manages to stay in the realm of "Dark Star." And as the final verse is sung the band springboards into their "Live Dead" song pattern. An explosive "St Stephen" with the "William Tell" coda, runs into a strong version of "The Eleven." The band masterfully splits up to meet again on the eleven and after meeting up the band diverges from the "Live Dead" song pattern. Instead "Lovelight," Garcia quickly transitions the band into a bouncy "Sitting on Top of The World." The unusual combo works well and it is surprising that they never tried it again. "Cold Rain" is the bit of blues as the psychedelia of "Doin' That Rag" tops off a long stream of music. The brief breather is Bobby laying down the most played song in Grateful Dead history. Then the show closer, "Lovelight" is started by Phil's fingers dancing across his fret board. After Pigpen takes the verses, Jerry takes a very rhythmically bluesy breakdown to the jam till the special guest comes shouting out "yeah." Janis Joplin joins the Grateful Dead for the first time on stage. Pigpen and Janis didn't only have charisma in the bedroom. The two share lyrics and rants as the top the set with this icing on the cake.
Dire Wolf, Dupree's, Mtns of the Moon, Dark Star, St Stephen, Eleven, Top of the World, Cold Rain, Doin' That Rag, My Uncle, Lovelight*
* With Janis Joplin

DeadHead world can rejoice. The Prankster's video footage of Venture 8/27/72 is finally officially getting released. On Jerry Garcia's 71st birthday the Grateful Dead will be back at the movies. More information on Sunshine Daydream can be found HERE and to view my post on this show check SUN STROKE SERENADERS.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Marmalade Skys

On this date in 1995, the Grateful Dead started what would be last three concerts in California. This first night was highlighted by the very guest appearance by the Guyoto Monks during "Drums".  
6/2/95 first set features an expansive "Bird Song", which you'll hear Vince crow in the middle of the jam. Then just as the band pulls the "Bird Song" back to the final chorus there is a bit of an ambivalent jam which drifts into a kicking "Promised Land." 
The second set opens with "New Speedway," which shuffles into the blues romp "That would be Something." You never know how or why the Dead did the covers that the did, if Jerry was to cover any song off the "McCartney" album, you would figured it would have been "Maybe I'm Amazed" with JGB. It would have been legendary, but instead we "TWBS," which fit quite nice as an in between song. The energy the is created by this "Saint of Circumstance" is sizzling but then there quite the uncertianity when the song fades out. The band doesn't leave the stage so the build a sweet "He's Gone." There is a very nice jam that comes out of the "He's Gone" before Mickey brings the Guyoto Monks for their chant. Afterwards "Space" ends up sounding very Celeste. The post "Space" the "Standing on the Moon" is fantastic. The coda to the song "Rather be with you" is soul satisfying. I love hearing Jerry sing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," which fitting song being that he was once nicknamed "Captain Trips".
I: Alabama, Greatest, Candyman, Schoolgirl, Ramble, El Paso, Bird Song, Promised
II: Speedway, TWBS, Way to Go, Saint, He's Gone, Drums, Chant*, Space, Easy Answers, SOTM, Around E: LSD
* With the Guyoto Monks