"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

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Head In Sparkling Clover

Today is the anniversary of the second acoustic/electric shows from 1980 that were billed as the band's 15th anniversary tour. The first show was filled with bust outs and this second one has it's own surprises. The bust outs from the night prior are all songs tapped to be part of the acoustic set. The band debuted "Ain't no Lie" and then busted out songs like "Bird Song" (382 shows), "Dark Hollow" (550 shows), "Monkey & the Engineer" (589 shows), "Rosalie McFall" (609 shows), " Been All Around This World" (706 shows), and the beloved "Ripple" which had only been played 10 times by the band. "Ripple" hadn't been preformed since the final Fillmore East show in 1971, which was a gap of 550 shows. 
Download today's Audience version of the show HERE. Five of these songs make a repeat appearance in today's acoustic set but the show starts with the beautiful "To Lay Me Down." A song that was lost by the Hiatus of 1975, and never got back in rotation until here. It's the first "To Lay Me Down" since 10/19/1974, which is a show gap of 311 shows. This is followed up by the biggest bust out of the run of shows. "On The Road Again  hadn't been played since 12/01/1966, a gap of 1128 shows. "Been All Around This World" comes next and its pretty obvious that the band really has figured out their flow in the Acoustic setting. The previous night's set is very disjointed. They take their time between songs to tune up and throw caution to the wind and play. Yet the acoustic set feels like fire side Grateful Dead music. "Bird Song" is still the most adventurous song of the acoustic set. This one leads them into the first acoustic "Cassidy," which is no slouch when it comes to jamming it out. The final acoustic debut of the evening, is "China Doll," which Brent shows off his haunting harpsichord playing. 
The set ends with "Ripple" and this is the one that the band chooses for "Reckoning." Does anyone know the special guest that runs across stage during this "Ripple?" Garcia introduces him right after he sings "Let there be songs to fill the air." Jerry then says, "That's Otis." Otis was Bob Weir's dog, named after the great Otis Redding. He wondered on stage during the performance and the crew coxed him backstage. Otis really exemplifies the evening's feel of being a couple friends just camping it out for the night. There is intimate theater setting, the hollow body instruments and sweet harmonies. The atmosphere is intoxicating. So much so that Bill Graham had drink enough of the cool aid and had the audience toast the band on the final night which you can read more about HERE.
A: To Lay Me Down, On the Road Again, Around This World, Dark Hollow, Rosalie McFall, Bird Song, Cassidy, China Doll, Ripple
E1: Stranger, Sugaree, Uncle, Big River, Peggy-O, Minglewood, Candyman, LL Rain, Jed, Sailor, Saint
E2: Scarlet, Fire, Estimated, Eyes, Drums, Space, NFA, Black Peter, Sugar Mags, E: Brokedown

Next Tuesday there is a new Old and In The Way release called "Live at The Record Plant Sausal." There is also a new GarciaLive due out in October. It is his one and only New Years show with JGB from 1975. Bob Weir and Mickey Hart makes special guest appearances. Also for the Grateful Dead's 50th Anniversary next year, Doug Irwin and Tom Lieber will be making 12 replica of Jerry's guitars, for more info follow this link HERE.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Just One More Thing From Me

Different generations of DeadHead's will talk about fondly about different shows that they caught. The generation above me usually brag about 1989, which was the start of a true renaissance in the Grateful Dead history. The generation before the '89ers brag about being at a gig on this day in 1980, in Lewiston Maine. The famous photographer Jay Blakesberg on his Instagram, (photo at the bottom of the blog) will occasionally release photo's of his friends getting down at this gig because it was a seminal show in the Grateful Dead's history. DeadHead's like him who missed 1977, usually mention this as being their crowning moment with the band.
I met a guy though work who had a dancing bear on the back of his car, he mentioned how when he dropped his daughter off at Cornell, that he made a stop by Barton Hall. Then he went on to tell me how the best show he ever saw was this Lewiston show. Which prompted a whole conversation about the show and my one great disappointment with the show, there is no true soundboard of the show in circulation. But you can find the FOB Charlie Miller transfer HERE.
The show kicks off with two blazing songs, and is followed by one of those versions of "Sugaree" that ranks as one of their best ever. The band gets into the solo of this "Sugaree" early and they come back around and destroy it again and again. Jerry leads the band through the show and the machine gun note laying is on that even on tape the volume of the jam comes through even on the digital copy for all 16 minutes of the song. Jerry's desire to rock it out doesn't only come through on the "Sugaree," but also on songs "Tennessee Jed," "Stranger," and "Rooster." The big twist of the set comes when the band plays the late set "China/Rider." Eleven songs into the set the band shows their first glimpse of winding down the set and yet they still feel the need to cap the set with "Promised Land." Thirteen songs in this marathon set.
The second set opens with a marvelous "Shakedown St," which might not be the longest in their history but has great energy. The band settles into the thick jam and at one point you can hear Jerry give a little giggle at his enjoyment of the groove. The band then takes their time to play some of their new material in "Sailor/Saint" and "Althea." All three songs are just over a year old and have developed in that time. After "Althea" the band cuts loose with a vanishing "Playin' in the Band." Very quickly the "Playin'" jam evolves into a manic spacey jam that "Uncle John's" is the light at the end of the tunnel for. They loose the "Uncle John's" before the ending of the song to a short "Drums/Space." A bit of that 70's funk comes through on this vintage version of "Not Fade Away." This slick song flows through a key change and into an audience appreciated "The Wheel." This allows the  band to finish what they had started with reprises of "Uncle John's" and "Playin'." Still enjoying the atmosphere, Bobby showman, ends the set with "Sugar Mags."
After a thirteen song first set, the boys play a thirteen song second set and cap the show with a double encore. To my memory, this is the last of the marathon two set Grateful Dead shows. It's not the six hour six set show of 5/15/70, but is similar to the 25 song shows of 1972 that would have the band on stage for four hours. To my memory this is the last of the marathon 25 song two set shows. Yes there are the three setters that could equal this song total but after the 15 year anniversary shows the band's first sets got shorter and shorter. So I believe that this is the longest show of the 1980's, which is why this night lives as a special evening in some DeadHead's memories. 
I: Alabama, Greatest, Sugaree, Uncle, Mexicali, Jed, Stranger, Friend, Far From Me, Rooster, China Cat, Rider, Promised
II: Shakedown, Sailor, Saint, Althea, Playin', Uncle John's, Drums, Space, NFA, Wheel, Uncle John's, Playin', Sugar Mags E: Saturday Night, Brokedown