"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, February 26, 2014

If It's The End Or Beginning

Today is the anniversary of the first show of 1977. The board of the show can be downloaded HERE and HERE, although it should be noted that the "Playin' Reprised" is missing. Accidentally delete some years back and with Archive.org being audience only, I've been unable to replenish my copy.
Although the calendar states 1977, this show still has the loosely goosey style of playing that was typical in 1976. These first two shows are like that before they tighten things up starting three weeks later at the Winterland. They tighten things up because of the producer of "Terrapin Station" requested they do so during the recording process but also because the new song "Terrapin" demanded it too. The song was not something that the band could willy-nellie their way through. In this regard "Terrapin" is very similar to "St Stephen," which is why 1977 saw some of the band's best performances of the song. 
Of all the great Garcia/Hunter collaborations, "Terrapin" might be the most complicated epic of all them. So much so that Hunter didn't want the story to end. He continued to write coda's to epic, which he couldn't get Jerry to bring to the table with the Grateful Dead. Although Jerry co-wrote the music Robert Hunter on his record "Jack o Roses." Garcia might have wanted to let the song conclude with it's immaculate conception that delivered the song originally. Robert Hunter moved into a empty house, while cross town Garcia was driving around San Francisco. A monstrous thunder storm hit the Bay Area and Hunter started scribbling in his notebook while Jerry started singing a melody, and the next day they got together to fit melody to lyric page. Garcia said that writing a song was not normally a easy thing for him. In a 1991 interview he said, "I don't think I ever actually written from inspiration, actually had a song just go bing! I only recall that happening to me twice; once was with Terrapin and other was Wharf Rat." 
This is the only time that Grateful Dead opened a show with "Terrapin." It is one of two times that it appeared in the first set of a two set show. The band did struggle at times with the song but the song had the ability to evaluated the audience and turn a mundane show into a wow event. Like they did on 3/28/91 when an uneventful show turned into the first time since 7/8/78 and last time the band ever encored with "Terrapin."
So a couple of weeks ago, I met with an old friend of mine from High School. He was actually the one who gave me a ride to my first Grateful Dead show, since I didn't have my license yet. He and I set an appointment for this evening, so that I could get the Terrapin Turtles tattooed to my arm with my boys initials in the instruments. 
I: Terrapin*, Minglewood, TLEO, Estimated*, Sugaree, Mama Tried, Deal, Playin', Wheel, Playin'
II: Samson, Jed, Music, Help, Slip, Franks, Promised, Eyes, Dancin', Around E: US Blues
* First one

A couple of news bits, first there is a great new website for searching Dead shows and songs called deadstats.com. Then the most recent Rolling Stone (with Philip Seymour Hoffman) has Dave's Picks Volume 9 as number 30 on their list of Top 40 Albums. Lastly please sign your name to the petition to vote the Grateful Dead to the Kennedy Center Honors for 2015, which would be their 50th anniversary by following this link

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