"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, April 29, 2014

Wings Spread Wide

Last year at this time, word had begun to leak that there was going to be a new 1977 box set coming from Dead.net. Before the dates of the set were released, I was hoping that the set was going to be the five night Palladium run. It was sited as being a five show boxset so I was hopeful, until they mentioned that none of the shows had been released in any sort of way. The following night (4/30) was released as part of the Grateful Dead Download series. Maybe my dreams will come true in later years, but for now I'm waiting on another announcement. Some runs that should get attention at some point; Europe 81, Orpheum 76, and Red Rocks 78. Till then download the soundboard of the show HERE and HERE.
This is the first Grateful Dead show in New York City since the year beforehand at the Beacon, which was the first run in four years. The Beacon run features one of my favorite "Help/Slip/Franks," and the band picks up right were they left off with a soaring version of the the trio. A little extra mustard and salt is sprinkled on the "Slipknot," adding some depth and attitude to the opener. Before "Franklin's" comes steaming in. They give some flexibility to by opening up space for a delightful Phil solo, as the "Fore winds roll us gently home." At the end of the song the band takes a cigarette break and the audience goes into a frenzy of song request calls. The funny one that you can make out is "Alligator," which was preformed for the final time six years to the day. The first set is punctuated with a gorgeous "Loser" and rambunctious "Music Never Stopped." The "Loser" is spectacular, and is the perfect example of how a song from six years can sound revitalized and reach new highs.
The band opens the second set with a crunching "Samson," before letting loose on a sublime "Sugaree." This is another song that was starting to flourish in 1977, where the band was not afraid to push the song past the 10-12 minute mark. Really exploring the songs every realm. Bobby quickly picks up the end of the song and speeds through "El Paso." A lucky fan calling from the gallery gets his wish, when they play "Brown Eyed Woman" seconds after he calls for it. Next the band builds on opening the set up, when they rock out an "Estimated Prophet." As the juices start flowing the band quietly sneaks into "Scarlet," which gets wrapped up in "Fire" jam, before being paired for the first time with "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad." It's the only time the two songs were paired together, but a familiar "Not Fade a Away" jam comes out of "Going Down the Road" before being bailed on for the drummers. Jerry's slide rolls the band into "The Wheel." This slowly comes to a stop as Jerry slides into "Wharf Rat" and the crowd very enthusiastic approves. Garcia really throws his heart into it as he sings the sad ballad. "She's been true to me" lyric fades as the band kicks it into gear for the set closer of "Around and Around." The marvelous encore of "Uncle John's" leaves the audience dancing on through the night. 
I: Help, Slip, Franks, Minglewood, Jed, Cassidy, TLEO, Big River, Loser, Music
II: Samson, Sugaree, El Paso, BE Woman, Estimated, Scarlet, GDTRFB, NFA Jam, Drums, Wheel, Wharf Rat, Around E: Uncle John's

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The JGB Finale

Ask any DeadHead when was Jerry's last show and they will rattle off, Soldier Field 7/9/95, but ask them the last Jerry Garcia Band gig and you'll get a blank stare. So I'm taking this opportunity to break this trend. Today is the anniversary of the final JGB show and as a DeadHead would imagine it occurred at the Warfield Theatre. Jerry played more shows there than any other venue. His first gig there was with the Grateful Dead on 9/25/80 as part of the 15 anniversary tour. Over the next 15 years he would play a total of 120 nights there with the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia Band, and Garcia/Grisman band. This was his final show here. 
Most DeadHeads dread listening to anything for 1995, because Jerry was not at his best but on this night he wasn't at his worst either. The most played song by JGB, "How Sweet It Is" opens the show. As most JGB shows, Jerry fills the set with songs he loves by artist that he listens to. This show features nods to Dylan, Van Morrison, and the classic Band tune "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." 
Garcia did at one point try to make JGB an alternative place for songs that he penned with Hunter but that was quelled when he claimed to have given away as many copies of "Cats Under The Stars" as were purchase in the record stores. He plays two songs off of this album in "Run for the Roses" and maybe his most loved song "Reuben and Cherise." A song the Grateful Dead played 3 times in 1991, even though it was in his solo band rotation from 1977. He closes the show with the upbeat "Midnight Moonlight," which he had been playing since 1973 with Old And In The Way, a band that was started with his compadre John Kahn. This was the last the two played together on stage. 
The last two songs Jerry recorded with JGB was "Coffee and Cigarettes" and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" for the movie "Smoke" soundtrack. He went back in the studio after Soldier Field with David Grisman to record "Blue Yodel #9" for the Jimmie Rodgers tribute album that Bob Dylan put together. So he had a couple of more months of creating music after this finale. 
Download the only available AUD of today's JGB show HERE and HERE.
I: How Sweet, Stop That Train, Simple Twist, Run, You Never Can Tell, Sis & Brothers, Deal
II: He Ain't Give You None, Struggling Man, Think, Reuben Dixie Down, Midnight Moonlight

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Brent Mydland Meltdown

Certain jobs don't allow for the occasional mental health day. I know as a kid, faking sick to stay home from school every once in a while was a necessity. Recharging the battery helped to get myself together and get me back onto the road to the place I needed to be to coup with the daily stresses. Musicians and athlete's work around gigs and games so they are not allowed to call in sick for a scheduled event.
On this date in 1986, the stress of an on going divorce and the fear of losing the relationship with his young daughter boiled over on poor Brent Mydland. In a show that featured some very energetic the depressive situation causes Brent to lose it during the final version of "Maybe You Know." 
The audience feels the different type of vibe when Brent doesn't leave the stage for "Drums." Instead he stays on playing off Billy and Mickey, before skipping "Space" and rekindling a haunting "Maybe You Know" for the first time since 4/26/83. Brent struggles to keep the song together and ends up pretty much confusing the drummers for the direction of the song. Pulling the final verse out he sings, "maybe you don't know how I'm fucken feeling, but maybe to you it don't seem so real" as he starts to breakdown. His bandmates sense his distress, and Garcia quickly tries to change the mood by infusing a lively "Going Down The Road," which Brent barely plays keys on, although he does chime in with "Feeling bad bad bad." Jerry then turns to "Morning Dew" to speak to Brent. Singing "I thought I heard a young man cry today" and "I guess it doesn't matter" are directly sung to him. Brent is pretty despondent the rest of the show. He doesn't play keys after "Going Down The Road," though he sings on this and a little on "Not Fade Away."
The next night the band's opener seems to address this Brent meltdown. For the first time the boys open a show with the Phil Lesh classic "Box of Rain." Download the Aud of Brent meltdown show HERE. Below is a picture of Brent and his daughter at the keys from Shoreline in 1990. Him and Barlow penned "I Will Take You Home" for his little girl, and it was a favorite song of my son to fall asleep to as a baby. This song is also Barlow's favorite Grateful Dead song he wrote.
I: Half Step, El Paso, Row Jimmy, Esau, Cumberland, Desolation Row, Ramble, Let It Grow
II: Touch, Estimated, Eyes*, Drums, Maybe You Know, Dew, Around, NFA E: Don't Ease*
*with Jose Lorenzo

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Maybe You Know How I'm Feeling

Today we go back to another show from the Spring 1983 tour. Last year I featured the two Meadowland gigs from this tour, which featured the special guest appearance by Stephen Stills. Earlier in the tour the magical combo of "Help/Slip/Franks" was rekindled in the lineup for the first time since 1977. This of course means these were the first time Brent Mydland got to tackle this combo.
This was the band's second ever performance in Vermont and it passes the James' litmus test for a great 80's show because it features two Brent songs. This is the first time that the Bob and Jerry show had two songs sang by the keyboardist/vocalist since 5/26/72, when Pigpen sang a couple of tunes in the Europe '72 finale. The two Brent tunes are not the only reason why this show is great. It is a torrent affair. A night where everything click. Oh yeah and there is a massive Morning Dew. Download the SBD HERE and HERE.
My love for this show goes back to the 90's and my tape trading days. I remember I only had the second set of this show on the heavy duty black Maxell xlls. I even remember that I used a green marker to write UVM and blue for the date. It was lucky that it was a black Maxell because I listened to this show incisively. So the first set is newish to me. Although I've had this show since discovering archive.org. The show ignites with "Jack Straw." "West LA Fadeaway" is less than a year old and this one seems to be loose and venturous. The cowboy combo has a welcomed twist with "Mama Tried/Cumberland Blues." The "Cumberland" is electric, Jerry is on fire and provides an electric solo. Unfortunately the set closer of "Might As Well" is missing from the digital copy. 
I first got this tape around the same time that Dick's Picks 6 came out, which is from the same year and features similar second sets. But this show got listened to far more than the 10/14/83. The second and third digital drop outs occur during the "Scarlet," but the "Fire" is clear and fabulous. As if the "Scarlet/Fire" weren't enough, the band follows it with another sublime combo of "Estimated/Eyes." As the "Eyes" fades the drummers try to claim the beat but Brent stays on and debuts "Maybe You Know." A real spirited version of the tune before leaving the drummers to their craft. Please remember this tune because my next post will center around this song.
If I can make a request, please listen to this "Dew" with headphones on at some point. This is the first time that a "Morning Dew" comes out of "Space." They would do it a handful of times afterwards but not as magical as it was on this night. "Throwing Stones" gets called for next, and like the "Dew" beforehand has a lengthy intro. Then the boys close with a bone crushing "Good Lovin'." They then encore with the third song that was debuted in 1982, with "Touch of Grey."
I: Straw, TLEO, BIODTL, West LA, Mama Tried, Cumberland, Ramble, Far From Me, Esau
II: Scarlet, Fire, Estimated, Eyes, Maybe You Know, Drums, Space, Dew, T Stones, Good Lovin'
E: Touch
The next Dave's Pick has been announced. The first night of this run was going to be a blog last year for the Special Guest year, because Stephen Stills sings on "Lovelight," but I went with the Branford show from 1993. Regardless this is the best album artwork yet. "Sleepy Alligator…"

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Was Closing The Door

On this date in 1990 the famed Spring Tour came to a close. In spectacular fashion the band closed out the tour with a barn burn in Atlanta's Omni. There were many hot shows from The Omni, if you follow me on unsocial network, you might have seen that 3/30 was the twenty year anniversary of final Grateful Dead Dark Star. Another Omni occurrence on 3/27/95, Garcia and the boys played close to a 20 minute "Sugaree" and 25 minute "Uncle Johns," in a manic show. This show also has my favorite "So Many Roads," but this is my favorite show from the venue, and not just because they played two Brent songs. Download the SBD HERE and HERE
The show opens with the excitable double opener of "Shakedown" and "Hell in a Bucket." Shows like this means that band is rip roaring to go. The "Shakedown" is thick like a milkshake that you cannot fully suck up that straw. The "Bucket" is sharp and makes room for a splendid "Sugaree."
The second set blasts off with a methodical "Estimated." There aren't too many "Estimated" set openers but when they do they are normally well played and longer than usual. The jam moves into the bright passageway that opens into "Scarlet Begonias." Earlier in the tour, the band opened 3/16 with "Scarlet/Estimated" and this show they flip the combo. The "Scarlet" is extreme lively and almost mistakenly moves into "Crazy Fingers." Spring 90 tour featured three "Scarlet Begonias" and only one "Fire on the Mountain," which speaks to the band's comfort and confidence to move in and out of combos and keys.
The "Playin'" may be shorter than the "Estimated" but the jam is very consistent and energetic like the early 70's version.  This might be why this "Space" is particular weird and light after such a tight "Playin'" jam. "Drums/Space" transitions into the familiar "I Will Take You Home," before charging itself up in "Going Down the Road." This sets up the popular "Throwing Stones/Not Fade Away." With the fun audience banter "Mmmbop" ending to the set. The tour closes out with the encore of "And We Bid You Goodnight," which the band would only play two more times.
I: Shakedown, Bucket, Sugaree, We Can Run, Masterpiece, Row Jimmy, Picasso Moon, Jed, Promised
II: Estimated, Scarlet, C Fingers, Playin', Drums, Space, Take You Home, GDTRFB, T Stones, NFA
E: Bid You Goodnight