08-30-80 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pa. (Sat)

08-30-80 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pa. (Sat)

1: Stranger, Peggy-O, Cassidy, FOTD, Minglewood, Cold Rain> L. L. Rain, Easy To Love You, Althea, Jack Straw

2: Scarlet> Fire, C. C. Rider> Ramble On, Estimated> Eyes> Drumz> NFA> Black Peter> Sugar Magnolia

E: Saturday Night

The Grateful Dead played the Spectrum 53 times between 1968 and 1995. I had the pleasure of stepping into this venue twice. Once, to see The Dead last year (May 2009), and for the closing of The Spectrum, which Pearl Jam played (October 2009). I can honestly say that I wasn’t sad to see the demise of this venue, but it will forever be a legendary one for The Grateful Dead.

Set I

This is one show that I can say the band starts out on fire! There is some added element, possibly Mydland, that makes this “Stranger” feel like it has an element of 70s funk. Garcia and Mydland both add to Weir’s vocals fabulously.

Garcia’s vocals sound great on this “Peggy-O.” The band is in synchronicity with each other. Probably one of my favorite “Peggy-Os.”

Weir’s vocals on this “Cassidy” are very strong and clear. It isn’t anything spectacular, but a tune that is easy on the ears.

“If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight…” Who doesn’t like a good “FOTD?” Weir and Garcia sound great together on this version. The jam is beautifully played; making this 9 ½ minute “FOTD” one not to be missed.

Mydland adds a lot to this “Minglewood.” Weir’s vocals are a bit scratchy, but overall sound pretty good. He actually says, “A couple more shots of whiskey, these Philly girls start looking good” and “It’s T for Philadelphia, where the little girls know what to do.” At least we know that he knows what city he’s in. Garcia really wails out some nice chords on this as well.

“Cold Rain” starts out with a bit of feedback, but Garcia sounds so smooth. His voice resonates clearly, and his playing is near flawless. I do think that Weir doesn’t harmonize as smoothly as Garcia does. It almost seems like his voice is trying to overpower Garcia’s.

Weir takes his overpowering vocals into “LLR.” I almost feel like telling him to calm down at the beginning of the song. His vocals quickly improve into a standard melody. Garcia really starts to rip it up at about the 2:45 minute mark. Wow! I’ve always enjoyed the end of this song with Weir just belting it out. This one is pretty good. There isn’t a “just another fucking rainy day,” but it is heartfelt and powerful nonetheless. I’ve heard many different “rumors” about what this song is about; including a Yugoslavian model Weir had an affair with while on tour in Europe. I would be happy to hear any and all ideas about this song that anyone out there might have.

They finally let a Mydland tune slip in. “Easy To Love You” is a favorite of mine. I just really like the whole melody. I think Garcia compliments Mydland so well on this one. There is about a minute of dead air at the end of this track.

Garcia’s vocals continue to radiate during this “Althea.” The lyrics from this song have always gotten to me, such as “there are some things you can replace, others you can not…” There never seems to be a bad version of this song for me.

I think my feelings about “JS” are pretty well known from my previous reviews. This version doesn’t let me down at all. A strong way to close first set, especially since Weir requests us to “…hang loose and everybody get to know each other.” Is he trying to force us all to be friends? 😉

Set II

“Scarlet>Fire” is a nice way to open a second set. Garcia falters on some of the “Scarlet” lyrics. He pulls it together though because, “once in awhile you get
shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” The “Fire” really sounds great. You don’t want to miss out on this version of the combination.

Weir really rocks out “CC Rider.” His vocals are strong and the band really does sound good.

The crowd erupts when Garcia sings, “just like NYC” during “Ramble On Rose.” I’m not sure why, considering they are in Philadelphia. I suppose that many New Yorkers probably did travel to this show. I sometimes travel to Philadelphia to see shows now.

Weir sounds really good on “Estimated.” His vocals have certainly improved since first set. He does flub some lyrics at about the 5 ½ minute mark. Mydland’s keys really come through on this one. It’s nice to hear him tinkering away. This is a very even keel “Estimated,” that does not include any overly excited Weir vocals, if you know what I mean.

The band goes right into “Eyes” from “Estimated.” A special treat indeed. This “Eyes” does seem like it is being played a quicker tempo than normal, although I have heard it played even faster than this. I like a slightly slower “Eyes,” but am not overly picky about this song, as it is one of my favorites.

“Drums>Space” are transitioned into very nicely from “Eyes.” As you know, this is my go get a beer/take a pee time. I really enjoy this one though. The crowd seems to enjoy it too.

I don’t have a Deadbase X handy right now, but I would assume that “NFA” is not a common song to come out of “Space.” I can only think of one other show, and that’s January 14, 1978. I think that this “NFA” is just OK. I don’t think it’s the best spot in a setlist for it to be planted.

This “Black Peter” is just as lackluster as “NFA.” The band picks it up for “Sugar Magnolia” though. Weir and Mydland sound celebratory during this rockin’ version of “Sugar Mag.” Weir belts out the lyrics to this quick “Sunshine Daydream” following “Sugar Mag.” A very nice way to start a dance party with this combination! I will admit that Weir does start screaming a bit towards the end of this, but it’s all in fun, right?

Encore

“OMSN” is probably my favorite encore. “At the stroke of midnight, the place is going to fly!” I sure know that I would have been rockin’ my socks off at this show. Well, that is if I could navigate around the horribly compact concrete seats boxed within the narrow aisles.

Out of the shows that I’ve reviewed so far, this may well be my favorite. I’m actually not sure why this was never an official release. Phenomenal show, by a phenomenal band!

Happy listening:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1980-08-30.sbd.fishman.fix-34939.107394.flac16

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

05-25-77 The Mosque, Richmond, Va. (Wed)

05-25-77 The Mosque, Richmond, Va. (Wed)

1: Half Step, Jack Straw, TLEO, Mexicali, Peggy-O, Cassidy, Loser, Lazy Lightning> Supplication, B. E. Women, Promised

2: Scarlet> Fire, Estimated> He’s Gone> Drums> Other One> Wharf Rat> Other One> Wheel> Around

E: Johnny B. Goode

This show was “new” to me, so I took two days to write up my thoughts on it. I listened to the whole show twice. Once on Thursday, and then again tonight. I think that listening to it for a second time allowed me to pick-up on many more things than I did during my initial listening. I will definitely be revisiting this show in the future.

There are many versions of this show available for streaming. I picked the Charlie Miller soundboard. I do not think an explanation needs to be stated for my reasoning.

Set I:

I can honestly say that I think “Mississippi” starts this show off slow. I think that this song can either be rocking, or not. In this case, it is not. The GD was often known for starting shows out rocky, as most bands need some time to get adjusted. This is not any exception to that rule. Garcia’s vocals seem somewhat weak and thin. I do however think that Garcia’s guitar playing around the middle of the track redeems it.

“We can share the women, we can share the wine.” How can you not like these lyrics? I don’t like women (well, we know what I mean) or wine, but I think I could for the GD after listening to this song. I’ve always loved the back and forth vocals between Weir and Garcia on this tune. It adds a more developed style that seems layered, and more complicated than standard tunes. I think DJ Godchaux adds some nice back-up vocals to this version as well. Both guitars make this version extra melodious (does this even make sense?).

Garcia and DJ Godchaux compliment each other well on “TLEO.” There is an almost jazzy-quality to this version. Garcia comes through with exact precision. There is some dead air at the end of this track, as it seems that there is on the previous tracks. You might need to do some fast-forwarding, or obtain some patience.

The band transitions to Weir playing a traditional “Bobby Country” tune. “Mexicali” always makes me want to dance around. The tempo of this song is upbeat, and Weir’s vocals are fairly flawless (how often does this happen?). The band plays a quick version of this song without any jamming. This song is a nice way to pick up the pace.

Garcia’s vocals start this “Peggy-O” fairly slow. The song seems to drone on for ages (this could also be for the pure fact that I’m not a huge fan of this tune), but Garcia’s guitar makes up for it somewhat. His playing seems to really be on fire, and this version of “Peggy-O” is not an exception. I do think that the rest of the band seems to be a couple notches below Garcia during this tune.

This “Cassidy” is almost psychedelic. The jam is killer with Garcia, once again, shining through.

“Loser” starts out slow, with Garcia’s vocals seemingly to be a dragging a couple notches below par. This “Loser” does have a killer guitar jam in the middle of it though. Garcia’s vocals may not be up to 100% snuff during this show, but musically he surely is.

I got just what my family doctor ordered (oops! wrong song!) next. This “LL>Supp” is absolutely amazing! If you know anything about me; you know what I probably think about this. Weir’s vocals are killer, and the jam is absolutely delightful (would I say anything different though?). I think DJ does some on spot back-up vocals on this one though. WOO! I’m all tuckered out from dancing around!

The “BEW” is definitely worth jamming out too. I just sat down, and now I’m back on my feet. I think that this is really the first time in the show that you can hear Kreutzmann and Hart clearly. I think the band harmonizes fairly well, with a few barely noticeable moments that are off.

I like how clear Weir’s vocals are on this “Promised Land.” Keith Godchaux’s keys really stand out on this too. It’s nice to hear him break through. A really great ending to this power packed first set. This surely must have been a crowd pleaser.

Set II

I can only imagine that this “Scarlet>Fire” got people to their feet. I can say that DJ is a little overpowering in this version. I do love her vocals added normally, but this is not one of her stronger moments. The jam during this is quite delightful though. It is sure to put a smile on your face.

The “Estimated” is not the best one I’ve ever heard. I am not an overt fan of this song in the 70s. I much prefer 80s versions. The 70s versions always seem more psychedelic-based than the 80s ones. What can I say? I like Weir screaming this song, as opposed to actually singing it.

The band starts quietly harmonizing to open this “He’s Gone,” with Garcia definitely standing out from the rest. Garcia’s vocals remain strong for the rest of this tune. DJ really sounds great, this is a huge redemption from her performance during “Scarlet>Fire” Weir belts out some nice added vocals in the midst of this. This may very well be one of my favorite versions of “He’s Gone.” There’s “nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile!” I’m sure smilin’ now!

The five minute “Drums” that proceeds is barely worth a mention, but the “TOO>Wharfrat>TOO” most certainly is. The drums are strong at the beginning, giving added power to the start of this song. Garcia is shining just as bright as he has all night long. His playing has truly turned to almost perfection by this point. I think that the drummers really add a lot to this as well. Weir’s vocals during “TOO” are strong and the supporting vocals meld this piece together nicely. The highs of this version are very intense, and the lows lull you to a different realm. The “Wharfrat” begins somber, and Garcia’s vocals are soft. They reel you into believing that you should open your ears to “hear a story.” This song always breaks my heart. While I am not a recovered substance abuser, I have known many in my life and have attended many Wharfrat Meetings during setbreaks over the years as a supportive influence. This song may be one of the hardest hitting ever written about the battle that many people face with drugs and/alcohol. The drums before the lyrics “I’ll get up and fly away” are very potent. It really touches on the pain individuals feel that are troubled. You shouldn’t even attempt to miss these 30 minutes. In fact, if you don’t have time to listen to the show then just listen to this sandwich.

“The Wheel” was only played six times after “TOO.” This version is the first one to be busted out in that slot, and it would not be repeated until June 27, 1983 (thank you to my very trusty Deadbase X). It is a perfect song to be played after the overtly intense “TOO,” and I’m not sure why they didn’t bust this song out after “TOO” more often. While this song sounds light-hearted to the previous vocals and instrumentation, it is filled with truths that should be recognized. The playing is light and the vocals sound great in this short 5-minute version.

The show ends with the Chuck Berry classic, “Around and Around.” This song at times can be very rockin’, but Weir almost sounds defeated at the beginning. He picks it up about 3 ½ minutes into the tune, and by about the 4 ½ minute mark the whole band is jamming out. They get softer towards the end, almost to being non-audible, only to crescendo the tune right back up. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of this song being played by the GD, but I think this version is very well put together.

The band encores with another Berry tune, “Johnny B. Goode.” Weir must have really gotten the crowd rockin’ with this version. It is sure to make you want to get up and dance.

This is the only time the band played at The Mosque. They wouldn’t return to Richmond until 1983, when they would play The Richmond Coliseum four times between October of ’83 and November of ’85, and not return afterwards. Many reviews have stated that this show is better than The Barton Hall show, from two weeks before. I’m not sure that I can agree with that, but it is one damn fine show – especially for taking place mid-week.

Happy listening:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1977-05-25.sbd.miller.87539.sbeok.flac16

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

05-03-87 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford U., Palo Alto, Ca. (Sun)

05-03-87 Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford U., Palo Alto, Ca. (Sun)

1: Touch, Promised, Row Jimmy, Peggy-O, Good Times, Cassidy, Don’t Ease

2: Iko Iko, Stranger, Ship Of Fools, Estimated> Drumz> Other One> Black Peter> Throwing Stones> NFA E: NFA>

E: Mighty Quinn

“Little Bunny Foo-Foo” tuning with vocals by Brent before “Peggy-O” – FM broadcast KZSU-Palo Alto

I used the upgraded Matrix recording by Bill Tetzeli, which almost sounds completely different than the original audience recording.

Set I:

The opening song, “Touch of Grey,” starts out rockin’! It is a strong testament to what the band has recently been through, with Garcia’s illness and recovery.

“Promised Land” continues this show’s strong start. Weir begins singing before he is supposed to about the 1:20 mark, and the crowd cheers.  Mydland adds some nice supporting keys to this song.  There is about a minute of dead air at the end of the track.

The 10-minute “Row Jimmy” is a real treat for fans of this tune, although Garcia seems to be having some voice issues. He clears his throat a few times at the beginning of the song.  Garcia’s guitar licks are amazing though. It’s almost like he’s one with the guitar during the jam about 2 ½ minutes into the song. I think the band harmonizes the chorus well.

Following this track there is about 5 minutes of Dead Air. It seems that up until this point the band has been having some tuning, as well as vocal issues. Garcia begins tuning to the children’s song, “Little Bunny Foo Foo,” which was a very popular children’s song at the time. After some initial tuning Brent breaks into the chorus of “Foo Foo” while being backed by a drumbeat. He probably senses that the audience is restless, but nonetheless it is very cute and the crowd goes wild.

The “Peggy-O” that comes from the “LBFF” is really great. Garcia’s vocals are noticeably stronger. This is a very tight “Peggy-O,” in my opinion.

The “Good Times Blues” (sometimes referred to as “Never Trust a Woman”) is Mydland through and through. He sounds great on this bluesy tune. I do believe that this version of the song started my obsession with Mydland songs. This song was only played 42 times during Mydland’s run with The Grateful Dead. I feel a connection, because the following lyrics are a bit like the way I run my life (I think we all do to an extent):

Gonna see some good times
Gonna get to ring that bell
Gonna see some good times
Some times to make up for when I’m not feeling well
I must be due some great times
‘Cause right now I feel like hell

This “Cassidy” is fairly delightful with Mydland backing Weir up. This “Cassidy” feels as though it’s on a quicker tempo than normal. The jam is extremely upbeat, and the final chorus into the ending of the song is quite amazing.

They quickly jump into “Don’t Ease Me In” and keep the upbeat tempo going.  Garcia sounds good, and Mydland’s keys come through strong. A nice first set finish.

Set II:

The band begins the second set with a mellow “Iko, Iko.” Garcia takes a strong lead in this song. His vocals are still a bit weak, but all things considered it seems pretty impressive to me. Mydland once again rocks out on the keys and supporting vocals, adding his touch of Blues influence into the song.

Weir starts out the “Stranger,” with Mydland, once again, giving strong supporting vocals. Weir really wails his guitar out during the jam. I have always liked this song, so it almost can never be done wrong in my mind.

Garcia’s vocals on “Ship of Fools” are strong. His guitar playing is wailing. Although, this has never been a dancing song, it seems to even more slowed down than normal.

“Estimated Prophet” starts out very smooth. The band’s playing is superb, and Weir’s vocals are clean.

“Estimated” is followed by 9 minutes of “Drums” and 11 minutes of “Space”, which I am not really one to rate. I can’t say I hate Drums>Space. I see the purpose of it (it allows me to get a beer and take a pee break). In fact, I have seen some real shining moments come out of this combination, however this Drums>Space is fairly standard, if not lackluster.

Dan Healy loops the beginning of “The Other One” that bursts out of “Space.“ I really appreciate all of Healy’s hard work over the years. Moments such as this one are always extra special.  I honestly think that this is without a doubt my favorite song out of “Space.”

Garcia begins a soulful “Black Peter.” He really wails this one out (in Jerry fashion, of course). The lyrics, “one more day I find myself alive” seem extra special during this time period. The harmonizing on the chorus is magnificent. The “see here how everything lead up to this day and it’s just like any other day that’s ever been” is one of my favorite Grateful Dead lyrics. This goes down as another magnificent Hunter tune.

“Ashes, ashes all fall down!” “Throwing Stones” is a masterful cry against the establishment written by Barlow. I always loved the lyrics of this song. The jam around the 3 ½ minute mark gets a bit chaotic in this version, but still a decent version.

Once again Mydland plays a key role in the band’s performance. This “NFA” is a perfect way to end a set. The vocals are very harmonious, and the band is very spot on with each other. It seems that the combination of the individuals’ tones are very complimentary.  The crowd really gets into the interaction with the band during this song.

The “Quinn” encore really seals the deal on this show for me.  This may be my favorite Dylan cover that The Dead ever did. The theme of the song is basically being able to change despair into joy. The band does a great cover that will bring a smile to anyone’s face (and I’m sure people did leaving smiling after this show).

I really feel that Brent Mydland is the shining star on this show. It seems as though he is the glue that keeps the show going on. Unfortunately, Brent Mydland would overdose at his Lafayette, CA home a little more than 3 years later; leaving behind two daughters. He was the longest running keyboardist of The Grateful Dead; working with the band for 11 years.

Happy listening:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1987-05-03.weber.gardner.tetzeli.fix-1193.34396.reflac.flac16

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

06-28-69 Veterans Auditorium, Santa Rosa, Ca. (Sat)

This will be my first entry of the “A Dead Show a Day…” blog. I am a huge Grateful Dead fan, and attempt to listen to at least one show per day to feed the obsession (but it’s pleasin’). What better way to memoralize my favorite shows, than to write my thoughts concerning the show? I welcome any comments that anyone reading this may have; especially ones from individuals who attended the show I am reviewing for the day. “What a long strange trip it’s been…”

06-28-69 Veterans Auditorium, Santa Rosa, Ca. (Sat)

Slewfoot, Silver Threads, Mama Tried, Doin That Rag> High Time, King Bee, Top Of The World, Lovelight

also: Hot Tuna; Joey Covington; Cleanliness & Godliness Skiffle Band

I am personally a huge fan of this show. There is a soundboard recording that circulates (please see link to the LMA streaming version at the end of this entry), which is very crisp. 1969, I think, is a classic year for The Dead, which is rarely recognized. Several ideas have sprung to mind why this year seems to have fallen to the wayside, namely the explosion of other bands in the same genre, as well as the Woodstock event in Saugerties, NY.

This show starts out with “Slewfoot,” which was only played 9 times, all of which were in 1969. Jerry states at the beginning of the show, “this show is the ladies choice.” Bob retorts with, “we’re going to start out here with a bar fight.”  The repertoire makes me giggle. This wouldn’t be complete without the faux gun shots that are put in. I love this song. What a way to start a foot-stomping good time!

“Silver Threads and Golden Needles” is always a show stopper with Bob belting out the lyrics of love gone awry. This song was only played live by The Grateful Dead 17 times, making it a rarity. Janis favored this song on occasion in the 1960s as well, although it was first recorded in 1956 by Wanda Jackson. Over the years other women have recorded this song, including Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn.

“Mama Tried” and “MAMU,” two classic Bobby country tunes are played to almost studio quality sound, with Peter Grant on Banjo and Marmaduke on backup vocals for “MAMU.” Weir may have invented “y’all-ternative” before it was ever coined as a term.

“Doin’ That Rag” is always a favorite of mine. Only played in 1969, this song is an amazing reflection of a classic Hunter/Garcia tune. I feel as though this song never got enough play, and died well before its time; reasons unbenknownst to me. It is another song that makes references to card-playing (gambling) that is heard in many Hunter lyrics. The lyrics “One-eyed jacks” refers to the jack of spades and hearts. Different suits have always appeared to have meaning to Hunter, as he refers to them as emotion in his lyrics.

Jerry can almost bring tears to your eyes during “High Time.” This song was written by Garcia/Hunter and was first played on June 21, 1969 (a week before this show). This song quickly fell out of rotation after 1970, only to reappear in 1976 after the bands hiatus of 1975.

The bluesy influence of Pigpen on “King Bee” rocks the dance floor, as well as a speeded up version of “Sitting on Top of the World.” “King Bee” was played less than 40 times, and retired after the untimely death of Ron McKeran. The Grateful Dead brought it back twice (once in 1993 and once in 1994). I can not report on these later bust-outs, as I have never heard either of these  shows.

The set closes with a 28 minute “Lovelight!” The band harmonizes to virtual perfection. The jam is tight with bluesy undertones. I can’t even give this version enough verbose justification. You’re just going to have to listen to it.

Smokin’ show!!! This set is so filled with rarities, it’s a shame if you have never heard them. It makes me start my day in the exact right way.

Happy listening:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-06-28.sbd.samaritano.20548.sbeok.shnf

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment