"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

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Grateful Dead The Last One

In 1974, The Grateful Dead played their last gig and welcomed special guest Mickey Hart to stage. Now some of you are counting the flaws with that sentence, and it is true but first let me explain. Mickey left the band after the 2/18/71 Port Chester gig, and the band never asked him back or looked for another second drummer. The band grew in leaps and bounds, and then when they essential found their identy as a band in 1972, Mickey was long gone. I always thought that the line of "China Doll" was a reference to Mickey's departure when Jerry sang, "Stranger ones have come by here before they flew away." So by 1974 the memory of Mickey Hart was lost on his fellow bandmates and especially his former partner Billy Kreutzmann. 
On the afternoon of the 20th, Mickey showed up at Winterland with his drum set in the back of his Buick and everyone but Kreutzmann was cool with him sitting in. Billy claimed that they were now a one drummer band and didn't need him but his fellow mates  and the crew talked Billy into letting him jam the second and third sets. The band isn't the only ones excited to see Mickey is here, at the beginning is "Seastones," you'll here Mickey setting up and talking to the crowd. 
Download the soundboard show HEREHERE, and HERE. Reunited the band opens up the second set with a song Mickey co-wrote with Bobby and Hunter, "Playin'." This song is a prime example of how much the Grateful Dead had progressed since Mickey's last gig, which also happens to be the night they debuted the song. The four minute song had transformed into a musical vehicle, which they played for 46 minutes earlier in the year on 5/21. Drastic changes from Port Chester 1971. This version doesn't get that far, because the drummers quickly rekindle they musical relationship on a "Drums" solo. The heavy backbeat "Not Fade" comes from and goes back into the drummers solos. An explosive "Other One" storms out of the solo, before a gorgeous "Wharf Rat." Listen as Jerry sings the final verse, Keith is an all star playing a monstrous electric keyboard flurry, when Jerry clearly plays "You know he had to die" rift from "Cryptical" in the background. As the Mickey composed "Main Ten" jam victoriously leads them into the concluding "Playin' in the Band," which pretty much signifies that Mickey was no longer a special guest and officially back in the band.
I: Cold Rain, Mama Tried, Deal, BIODTL, Loser, Jack Straw, Jed, El Paso, Brokedown, China Cat, Rider, Around
II: Playin', Drums, NFA, Drums, Other One, Wharf Rat, Playin'
III: Good Lovin', Roses, Promised, Eyes, Stella, Sugar Mags E: JBG, Half Step, Bid You Goodnight
Set II & III with Mickey Hart

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