"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, December 31, 2013

A Bird Within Her Sing

Last year when I was trying to figure out which of the great New Years shows to do, I was impressed by the guest that would come out and jam with the boys. Looking at that is what inspired me to do a theme year on special guest with the Dead, which concludes with this blog. If it hasn't been completely obvious already that my favorite guest to sit-in is Branford Marsalis. His relationship with the band was pure brilliant. He had the ability to fit seamless in the spaces between, to enlighten the stage and to blow the audience down. Download the show HERE and HERE.
This is the second time Branford joined the band on stage and so much had changed since the March gig. Brent died and now there was two keyboardist filling those spaces. This means that there was less room on stage for him, but he finds his way on the songs that he blew down in March. "Bird Song," "Eyes," and "Dark Star" all worked well and were quickly recycled for this gig. And though "on man gathers what another man spills," Branford yet again makes these song breath new with the Dead. The new jams in "Other One," which is teased in "Dark Star," flat out explodes onto the scene. Phil might have been holding that one in since 1972. A very tranquil "Wharf Rat," and the heavy "Not Fade Away" are both welcome additions to the Branford catalog. Just to show that old friends don't get forgotten, Hamza El-Dim also guest on "Drums." The band would be called out for two encores after this night's amazing performance.
The band would preform one more New Years show before ending the tradition. New Years was a big event and the show man Bill Graham was there year after year to be their New Years mascot. Bill passed in 1991 and so did the band's desire. I remember hearing Garcia in an interview in the mid 90's mention that he didn't ever see the band doing another New Year event and of course he was unfortunately right.
I Bucket, Jack A-Roe, Wang Dang, Row Jimmy, Mexicali, Big River, Bird Song*, Promised*
II: NFA*, Eyes*, Dark Star*, Drums**, Space*, Other One*, Wharf Rat*, NFA* 
E1 The Weight* E2 JBG*
* With Branford Marsalis **With Hamza El-Dim

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