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21 July 2017


End of the road, so let's go out with a blowout.

First, 1972.  The Paramount Theater (Northwest) in Seattle, Washington.
A couple of years ago, I walked a lot for exercise during July and early August and had quite a few shows from 1972 to keep me company.  This is a very good show...damn, they were still just getting started, you know?

Next, 1974.  The Hollywood Bowl.
An audience recording showcasing the power of the Wall of Sound, and the power of the '74 sound.  Excellent stuff.

Next, 1984.  The Ventura County Fairgrounds.
Very strong show, and an attendee's account claims that the crowd got into the Olympic spirit (the Games of the XXIII Olympiad were in Los Angeles) by holding up cards to "score" tunes as they were played.  I'll bet the boys were amused.

Finally, 1990.  The World Music Theater in Tinley Park, Illinois.
Not my ticket.
A tremendous show.  One of Brent's last.  It's well worth a listen.

My summer session course ended yesterday, so I just want to thank those folks for tagging along, and anyone else out there who may see this and (I hope) dig it.

I have enjoyed sharing some thoughts and impressions and, most importantly, MUSIC.  It's a significant part of my life and continues to speak to me with messages both silly and profound...old and new...sacred and and dead.

I hope you have enjoyed the summer so far and will take advantage of what is left in whatever ways you see as good and kind and FUN.

Fare you well
Fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul

Set lists after the break...

20 July 2017


Only one show today.  In fact, there is only one show to choose, as they never played on this date in any other year.

1994, at Deer Creek.  It's a decent show, and apparently some rank it quite highly for the year.  Of course, for some, that's barely saying anything, since by this point things were almost done.
I won't go that far, and I leave it up to you to see if you can dig it.
This is Vince Welnick.  He replaced Brent Mydland in the fall of 1990, after Brent's passing at the end of summer (Bruce Hornsby also sat in from time to time during Vince's early days with the group, but it never became permanent).  He used to be part of The Tubes, responsible for the hit single (and music video) "She's a Beauty."

With the Dead, he had a rough tenure - I've mentioned that Brent had a hard time fitting in, and I have read that the same was true for Vince.  I can't imagine how hard that sort of role would be to fill.  Also, even though I am not a huge fan of the tunes he brought to the group (including "Samba in the Rain," performed in the second set of this show), I have a soft spot for Vince.  I wish he was still with us.

Garcia's passing hit him very hard.  He was not able to escape his demons, and apparently tried to commit suicide in late 1995.  He recovered enough to keep going, still pursued by depression, and in a 2003 interview he was quoted as follows:
In 2006, he killed himself.  Rest in peace, Vince.

Be good to yourself.
Set list after the break...

19 July 2017


This is around the time that some summer tours start to wrap up, and I'm certainly winding down as well...

Today we begin with night three at Alpine Valley.

Very tasty stuff once again, and some of it (highlights from the three-night run) made it to an "official" 1997 DVD release called "Downhill from Here."  I always considered that title an accurate, if not amusing, bit of wordplay.

This is, again, a superb show.

Then we return to 1974, and make another stop in Fresno, at Selland Arena.
This is an outstanding show.  The portion of the second set beginning with "He's Gone" is just spectacular, and well-known in the Dead community as a result.  Enjoy it!

Set lists after the break...

18 July 2017


Today we are looking for some continuity...well, sort of, anyway.

First, a show from 1972 again, this time at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey.
This stadium isn't there was demolished in 1985.  This is a fine show, a long 1972, they were hitting a stride that stretched clear into 1974, right up to the "retirement." Fabulous stuff.

Next, back to 1989, the second night at Alpine Valley.  A super show, with some very high energy - especially as the second set got rolling.

Finally, back to 1976...the final night at the Orpheum.
No, I don't really know if each of the nights is "worth" posting...but I did it anyway.  I love 'em that much.

I hope you've enjoyed them, too.

Set lists after the break...

17 July 2017


Today, featuring a few shows again.

First, back to 1976, night five at the Orpheum.

Then we move ahead to 1988 at the Greek Theater, which was a benefit show for the Rex Foundation.  The group had participated in several charitable benefit concerts through the years, but in 1983 they formed the Foundation to (slightly) better organize the process of giving and make sure the money actually went to those who could use it...which, sadly, does not always happen when you give.

It's a great show.  A highlight for many folks is the moving rendition of "Believe It Or Not," an excellent song played only sparingly (like a handful of others), for reasons no one may ever know.

Finally, let's move to 1989 for a stop at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin.
Although it was relatively close to my hometown, I never attended a show there - which just confirms that I am an idiot.  The Dead (and many other groups) apparently enjoyed it, and the 20 (or so) shows they played there over the years are quite good.

This year, for the first time in 40 years, there are no concerts happening at Alpine Valley for the summer concert season.  Apparently it is having a hard time attracting artists.  Perhaps I've missed my chances to ever get there for any show.  Oh well...

This is a great one.  Enjoy your day.

Set lists after the break...

16 July 2017


Today, three shows featured...and we'll go backward in time, while also featuring a bit more of the "audience" than previous posts.

We'll start in 1976, with the fourth night (they took the night off on the 15th) at the Orpheum Theater.
Two streams for this one.  The first is the "soundboard" recording, which apparently only exists for the second set of tunes.

Now, here is the complete show, apparently taped by a couple of attendees, from a lovely position: the front of the balcony (as in the photograph above).

Plenty of folks (myself included) aren't too fond of the audience tapes, and rarely listen to them...unless there's no other source, of course.

There are those who listen to nothing but the audience tapes as well, since it gives more of the feeling of actually being there...less detached and sterile, or something like that.  See what you think!

Next, we move to 1972 and Dillon Stadium in Hartford, Connecticut.
This show is a combination of sources, patched together to form the complete show.  1972 was a year of amazing shows...but again, not to everyone's liking.  For many, compared to what the scene had been in the mid 1960s, this was a completely different band - and not one they found as likable.  Of course, with all the shit that had gone down in the seven years they'd been together, things were bound to be different.  Some band members were even reaching (gasp) 30 years of age...crazy how that alters things.  If you're not there yet, believe's waiting.

Finally, back to 1966 at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco.
Maybe it's two shows, maybe it's out of order...I have no idea.  It's just a lot of fun to hear how things were in those early days.  Plenty of people, plenty of acid, plenty of volume.  Community...

Enjoy your Sunday.

Set lists after the break...

15 July 2017


Today, back to 1989 at the Deer Creek Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana.
This is a nice show.  The two songs played to open the second set are "Foolish Heart" and "Victim or the Crime," which were fairly new at the time...they made an odd pairing.  I like them both, although I am more fond of "Foolish Heart."

"Victim" was not at all popular, from many accounts I have read.  Not hard to hear why.  It's a difficult song, with lyrics that challenge.  A story (disputed through the years) goes that the lyricist (Gerrit Graham) was asked to change the word "junkie" since it touched a little too close to home for some in the family...interesting stuff.

I also think of that song in reference to perhaps the main reason Deer Creek became infamous, the "riot" of 2 July 1995.  Folks stormed the fences and broke into the show, injuring many and drawing the attention of the band.  They canceled the next night's show, and at the next tour stop (St. Louis) a letter was distributed containing the following text:

This Darkness Got To Give

Dear Dead Heads:

This is the way it looks to us from the stage:

Your justly-renowned tolerance and compassion have set you up to be used. At Deer Creek, we watched many of you cheer on and help a thousand fools kick down the fence and break into the show. We can't play music and watch plywood flying around endangering people. The security and police whom those people endangered represent us, work for us -- think of them as us. You can't expect mellow security if you're throwing things at them. The saboteurs who did this can only do it if all Dead Heads allow them to. Your reputation is at stake.

Don't you get it?

Over the past thirty years we've come up with the fewest possible rules to make the difficult act of bringing tons of people together work well -- and a few thousand so-called Dead Heads ignore those simple rules and screw it up for you, us and everybody. We've never before had to cancel a show because of you. Think about it.

If you don't have a ticket, don't come. This is real. This is first a music concert, not a free-for-all party. Secondly, don't vend. Vending attracts people without tickets. Many of the people without tickets have no responsibility or obligation to our scene. They don't give a shit. They act like idiots. They think it's just a party to get as trashed as possible at. We're all supposed to be about higher consciousness, not drunken stupidity.

It's up to you as Dead Heads to educate these people, and to pressure them into acting like Dead Heads instead of maniacs. They can only get away with this crap if you let them. The old slogan is true: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Want to end the touring life of the Grateful Dead? Allow bottle-throwing gate crashers to keep on thinking they're cool anarchists instead of the creeps they are.

Want to continue it? Listen to the rules, and pressure others to do so. A few more scenes like Sunday night, and we'll quite simply be unable to play. The spirit of the Grateful Dead is at stake, and we'll do what we have to do to protect it. And when you hear somebody say "Fuck you, we'll do what we want," remember something.

That applies to us, too.

Phil, Jerry, Bobby, Mickey, Billy and Vince
As I mentioned in a previous post, within a week the final concert had been played, and just over a month later Jerry was gone.  It was a surreal way for it all to come crashing down, and "Victim," for me at least, still conjures quite a bit of that.

Anyway.  Take a listen.  Have a good day.

Set list after the break...