"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, July 31, 2013

The Mark Just As Plain As Day

Twenty-Five years ago today, the Grateful Dead closed out summer tour. This was the third night at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey and David Lindley opened the show, followed by Los Lobos. The final night Jerry sat in with Los Lobos for the first time since 1986, which was also Jerry's first public appearance since he recovered from his Diabetic Coma. On this day Jerry played "Georgia Slop" and "All Night Long" with Los Lobos.
David Hidalgo returned the favor by coming out and sitting in with the Dead on "Rooster" and "West LA." This is the only time anyone from Los Lobos sat in with the Dead. Yet the following summer Bob and Jerry recorded some songs with Los Lobos in the backstage parking lot of Foxboro. Download the soundboard HERE and HERE.
The show begins with "Half Step," and before Hidalgo could get turned on all the way, Healy gets him in the mix for the second bar of his solo during "Rooster." Like the previous show from 1988 that I featured, Jerry and the band gives there guest room to let their freak flag fly. The crowd eats up the Hidalgo solo's and like Hornsby, he is one of the next generation of musicians. Instead of establishing themselves durning the 60's, they were born durning the 60's, and for all the complaints about the crap on the radio, there were musicians there to carry that torch. The band quickly progresses into "West LA," which is played with some real vigor. And with that David Hidalgo is excused from stage. Twenty-Two years later, Hidalgo and Los Lobos would release their own version of "West LA Fadeaway" on their album "TIN CAN TRUST."
The first set is closed out with the final version of "Gentleman Start Your Engines," "Masterpiece," and a cosmic "Bird Song." The second set opens with a crushing version of "Bucket." Then there is a unique combo of "Woman/Terrapin/Take you Home." The band masterfully works through the key changes and does not seem to come off awkward. The cool "Take you Home" specifically features some great interplaying from Jerry and Brent. Then post-Space there is an intense combo of "Other One" into "Miracle." The segue is seamless and sets up a big walk off "Dew." This "Dew" differs from the blogged about Alpine 88 one, whereas there is a significant build to this end solo. It's like the pent up gratitude for Hidalgo comes spraying out in this beautiful guitar solo. The band then encores with the only "Midnight Hour" of 1988, something special indeed.
I: Half Step, Rooster*, West LA*, Uncle, Big River, Ramble, Start Your Engines, Masterpiece, Bird Song
II: Bucket, Foolish Heart, Woman, Terrapin, Take You Home, Drums, Space, Other, Miracle, Dew 
E: Midnight Hour
*With David Hidalgo
Check out TRI Studios tonight at 8:30 EST for Bob Weir and Warren Haynes celebration of the start of the Days Between. 
Look for a new JGB release to be announced tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

You Know What This Song Is About

After a four night run at the Fillmore East, the Grateful Dead returned home to play two shows at the Euphoria Ballroom in San Rafael. The first show was an acoustic/electric show, and the second show was all electric and punctuated with a visit by their friend Janis Joplin. This would be the last time that she gigged with the boys before her October death later in the year. Download the soundboard of the show HERE.
1970 was a year of growth for the Grateful Dead. They started off the year touring to promote their album "Live Dead," but at this time the audience noticed that the songs were getting shorter with the departure of Tom Constanten in February. In May "Workingman's Dead" was released to critical acclaim and six months later "American Beauty" was released to similar fanfare. The band also played more gigs (142) in 1970 then any other year. The band was busy.
This is a glowing example of the Dead constantly making strides in their songwriting and preforming. Two months earlier at Harper College in Binghamton (Dick's Picks 8), the Dead played "Candyman," which consisted of one verse, a chorus and simple guitar chords. At this gig "Candyman" has developed into the mold of the song that would appear on "American Beauty." The "Attics" here has some beautiful harmonies and Garcia's guitar is the only instrument that is played throughout. Then the "Not Fade/St Stephen" is a hard rocking matrix, which would soon be reversed as a combo, and is fueled by a scintillating transition. Then of course the band keeps the loving spirit of Janis alive with the romantic version of "Lovelight."
China, Rider, Candyman, Lovelight*, Casey Jones, Attic, Cumberland, NFA, St Stephen, Uncle Johns
*with Janis Joplin

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dylan And The Dead

Today's anniversary show we go back to Giants Stadium in 1987 for the Dylan and The Dead tour. I don't have the soundboard of the Dylan and the Dead but you can download an audience copy HERE. Then you can rip a soundboard copy of the Dead's set HERE and HERE. 
Jerry Garcia used to refer to Sue Swanson as the band's first fan. A classmate of Bob Weir, she and a bunch of her friends were there in '65 as the band played their first few gigs before kicking Dana Morgan Jr out of the band and asking Phil Lesh to join the band on June 18th. She was also there when Kesey and the Pranksters recruited the band to "preform" at their Acid Tests. So it's no wonder that she was referred as the first fan by him. 
As their first fan she did a good job of introducing the band to other people and musicians. In 1965, the most popular solo musician was Bob Dylan. That year he released two emincely popular albums in "Bring It Back Home" and "Highway 61 Revisited." For as popular as those albums were, audiences would flock to his shows to see the folk star preform these songs solo acoustic. Dylan was quite the visionary, and he started performing electrically with The Band, causing audiences to revolt. He might be the first preform to not give the audience what they wanted. Even Shakespeare gave the audience what they wanted by reviving his character of Falstaff in Henry the IV Part II. Bob cut across the grain, which was smart because in the long run it kept him relevant in the music scene. Albums like "Blood on the Tracks" and "Desire" would have been lost as solo acoustic albums in the disco 70's era. 
So in the height of the Bob Dylan stardom, Sue Swanson meet Bob Dylan in the San Francisco airport. She approached Dylan and told him that he should hook up and listen to her favorite band the Grateful Dead. They were still two years away from recording their debut album, when she told him this. He probably thought nothing of the band that she told, even though he would have  appreciated the same songs that the band were performing at the time like "Viola Lee," "Cold Rain," and his own "Baby Blue." 
Twenty-one years later, Bob would tour as an opening act for that same band and would lay the ground work for a 6 show tour where they would combine forces. These shows were recorded and released as a live album. The visual recording is this show was preserved and can be played below. 
I: Bucket, Loser, Greatest, Loser, Tons of Steel, Ramble, Masterpiece, Push, Promised, Bertha
II: Dew, Playin', Drums, Space, Other, Stella, T Stones, NFA
Dylan: Slow Train, Memphis Blues, Long Time, Highway 61, Baby Blue, Thin Man, John Brown,  Wicked Messenger, Queen Jane, Chimes, Joey, Watchtower, Times 
E: Touch, Knockin'

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Check The Weather Charts

Today we go back to the glorious summer of 1989 tour for a show from Giants Stadium. Download a copy of the the SBD HERE and HERE.
The show gets down into a thick sweet groove with the opening combo "Stranger/Franklin's." The "Stranger" is thick on the funk and "Franklin's" is the light fluffy whip cream on top. At the 8 minute mark, Jerry uses the "Franklin's" to quote a song that would appear later in the show. Later in the set there is a brilliant "Masterpiece," that Bobby choose to act out. During this song the heavens open up and buckets of rain start to fall from the sky. The thunder showers were severe, and lead to a comical interlude between Bobby and Jerry. Lightning that was not lazy stuck the parking lot area and there was even a tornado warning that went up there in Jersey. Garcia choose a very non rain song, "Tennessee Jed," but slightly changes a lyric in the song to address the situation. "You know, you bound to wind up WET." Bobby tries to wrap up the set with a phenomenal "Music," but Jerry quickly transitions into "Don't Ease" to wrap up the set.
The song Jerry teased in "Franklin's" opens up the second set, "Foolish Heart." Out of "Foolish Heart's" dissolution, Brent steps up and calls for a powerful "Just a Little Light." The band then propels itself through the mystical "Playin'/Uncle John's" combo. A week later at Alpine they played a better version of this combo but this "Playin'" is the dynamic of the two songs. Jerry flubs the lyrics to this "Uncle Johns" but gets pull back onto the tracks by Bobby.
The fun begins durning "Drums." The Neville Brother join the Rhythm Devils on stage and provide Billy and Mickey with some added hands. Don't skip the "Drums" here because there are some interesting grooves played and there is a Jimi Hendrix "If 6 was a 9" tease. Out of "Space," the Dead/Neville jam out a bumping "Iko." Jerry trades of vocals and guitar licks with the Neville's before shredding "All Along The Watchtower." Slowly the joined forces let Jerry take the decent into "Morning Dew." After transcending the fellow musicians, Jerry starts finger picking a glorious "Sugar Mags." The two bands then return to the stage to encore with "Knockin' on Heavens Door," and even though Bobby predicted it, no audience members floated up to eye level.
I: Stranger, Franklin's, Walkin' Blues, Jack A Roe, Masterpiece, Jed, Music, Don't Ease
II: Foolish Heart, Little Light, Playin', Uncle Johns, Drums*, Space*, Iko*, Watchtower*, Dew*, Sugar Mags*, E: Knockin'* 
We have an announcement of the next installment of Dave's Picks. The gig is from Horton Field House from Normal Illinois on April 24, 1978. The April 78 run featured a lot of high energy tight shows. This tightness later came apart when the band work with Lowell George in the studio in July and August of that year. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Little Red Rooster's On The Prowl

On this date in 1986, the Grateful Dead first got to play with Bob Dylan on stage at the Rubber Bowl in Ohio. In a very unceremonious manner, Dylan strolls out in the middle of the first verse of "Little Red Rooster." Sharing leads on "Rooster" with Jerry, Dylan manners to slide nicely between the guitar work of Weir and Garcia. Dylan then takes the initiative to start the only version of "Don't Think Twice" the Dead would ever preform. Garcia then quickly leads the band into the first Bob Dylan cover the band ever played as Dylan and Garcia duet on "Baby Blue." The triple bill of Dylan, Petty, and the Grateful Dead provided a long saught after combination.
The summer shows concluded three shows later with a second guest appearance by Dylan, but as Garcia left the stage after the tour finale there was obviously something wrong him. After this tour Garcia slipped into a diabetic coma. This year was much like the start of this second set, started fired up with this "China/Rider," before slipping into a dreamy "Playin'," only to emerge in "Desolation Row" without Jerry. We are all lucky that it didn't end the way this show did with "A Box of Rain will ease the pain and love will see you through." Download the Charlie Miller audience HERE
I: Alabama, Greatest, TLEO, Rooster*, Don't Think Twice*, Baby Blue*, Candyman, Uncle, Mexicali, Don't Ease
II: China Cat,  Rider, Playin', Desolation Row, Drums, Space, Truckin', Black Peter, Sugar Mags 
E: Box of Rain
Sometimes I forget to mention stuff that is currently going on in the Grateful Dead world. Like this excellent new live show from the Jerry Garcia archives, featuring special guest Bela Fleck. If you didn't pre-order it then I highly suggest that you dig into the piggy bank for this show. Jerry and the gang are firing on all cylinders for this one, check it out HERE.
Also the Jerry Garcia Orchestral shows have debuted and there are videos galore on YouTube, which you can find HERE. Then finally Bob Weir just wrapped up some solo gigs opening the AmericaramA shows. He guested with My Morning Jacket on songs like "Rider" and "BE Woman." Then sat in with Wilco on a plethora of songs like; "Ripple," "Friend," "California Stars," "Bird Song," and "Dark Star." "Never mind he stumbles and falls," Bobby just can't be contained.