"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, January 22, 2014

Close Encounters of the Dead Kind

After coming off what is considered by most to be their greatest year, 1977, the band auspiciously started 1978 with two gig where all the vocals were handle by Bobby. The Jerry laryngitis shows started 1978 and fall tour would end with the band canceling multiple gigs due to Jerry's illness. Yet in between there are some very special and invigorating shows. This is the first great show of 1978, download the SBD HEREHERE, and HERE.
This show like their most famous Cornell '77 show opens with "Minglewood." They follow it up with an upbeat. "Dire Wolf" like they would later do on their best show from this year 7/8/78. I draw this two comparisons because this gig is right in between these two legendary gigs and it provides some context to it's place on the GD timeline. This has always been one of my favorite "Cassidy" for whatever reason. It all fits together well and is white hot. The "Row Jimmy" here is electric. This is a clear graduation from the slow and steady 1973 versions that I love. The slide playing is spectacular. Bobby really seems comfortable playing over this chord progression. 
The second set "Samson" also features some extra vigor, which is a complete foreshadow to the bands April tour. April 78 features some of the liveliest versions of the bands song catalogue. It you ever need a three hour energy shot of music just pull a show from April and you'll be at SPAC in no time. The "Terrapin" is much more textured as the puts their heart on the line. 
"The Other One" is a mind altering substance as they toy around with it as Bobby crushes both the verses. Afterward the band gives Garcia room to insert of of his ballads but instead he teases the Theme to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Although he doesn't play the full chromatic theme the audience picks up on it and cheers him on to keep up the jam from one science fiction fan to another. Most didn't realize that not only was Garcia a fan but he appeared in the film, his second ever appearance in a movie. In 1977, Garcia appeared as one of the stars of "The Grateful Dead Movie" (of course) and as an extra in "Close Encounters." He is one of the many people who is standing on the Indian hillside in the first twenty minutes of the film. I don't think that even Jerry could have picked himself out of all the extras there. Jerry uses this "Close Encounters" jam to segue into a crushing "St Stephen" bypassing the ballad.
This wouldn't be the only time in 1978 that pop culture snuck into to Grateful Dead rotation. On 4/19/78, Bobby was practicing his slide to the radio. He yelled over to Steve Parrish that was walking by, "Tell Garcia, I'm not going on stage unless he sings this song tonight." So that night they encored with the first ever "Werewolves of London."
I: Minglewood, Dire Wolf, Cassidy, Peggy-O, El Paso, Jed, Straw, Row Jimmy, Music
II: Bertha, Good Lovin', Ship, Samson, Terrapin, Drums, Other One, Close Encounters, St Stephen, NFA, Around, E: US Blues

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