"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, September 10, 2013

Ring Like Fire

Today is the anniversary of what my friends and I used to called "The other Branford show." Although this is the third time Branford played with the band, it was the second time on the East Coast. Since we were located in NY, our tape collection seemingly consisted of primarily East Coast shows. We a handful of Winterland, Oregon, and Red Rock tapes thrown into the mix. So download the SBD HERE and HERE.
The setlist from this show and the initial Branford show, which I blogged about Here, are very different. They only have three songs in common and if you factor in his sit in for New Years 1990, there is only one song that was played at all three of these gigs; "Dark Star." It's no wonder that Branford has had someone shout out "Dark Star" at every gig he played after Nassau 90.
This show differs from the other two Branford gigs, whereas this is less of the band playing songs that they want him on and more of a Grateful Dead show with Branford. That might seem a bit backhanded but it speaks to the comfort level between the band and Branford.
This line-up of the Grateful Dead offer a different dynamic for Branford. Bruce Hornsby occupied the space between Jerry and Phil, so there is less room for Branford on stage. He finds a nice place to find his groove on "Shakedown," which Phil sucks the band into his zone for as he is almost bass slapping for. "CC Rider" is the first blues number that the band plays with Branford and he fits in as well as the '91 "Train to Cry" coda to "CC Rider." Although the next three songs aren't horn songs, Branford manages to slide in a play some tasty licks. "High Time" sets the tone for some of the prettiest playing that Branford does all night.
The second set engages with "Help/Slip/Franks" opener. Similar to the "Bird Song" from Nassau '90, there is a moment in the "Slip" where Branford gets it. He circles around the closing rift of the song and then finds all the right notes to act in unison with band. It's beautiful and awe inspiring all at once. As the "Estimated" ebbs and flows, the band steps into a spectacular "Dark Star," which bookends "Drums/Space." The "Dark Star" clocks in at 25 minutes and if you include "Drums/Space," it is about 38 minutes of exploratory music. This is 5 minutes shorter of the longest "Dark Star" ever. Then Bobby being Bobby moment of the set kicks in with "Miracle," and is followed by a salutary "Standing on the Moon." The sad saxophone notes that Branford plays at the end of the song give me the chills every time I hear it. Then a song written for horn, as Branford and Vince duet on "Lovelight." Jerry jazzed from the sit-in introduces Branford before the "Baby Blue" encore.
I: Shakedown, CC Rider, Train To Cry, BT Wind, High Time, Cassidy, Deal
II: Help, Slip, Franks, Estimated, Dark Star, Drums, Space, Dark Star, Miracle, SOTM, Lovelight 
E: Baby Blue
With Branford Marsalis

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