Dead World Roundup
You Can't Go Back And You Can't Stand Still…
So… anything interesting happen since the last Almanac?
We kid, of course! 2015 has been among the most eventful and memorable years in the still-unfolding history of the Grateful Dead and the extended family of Dead Heads — a year that brought to a close one phase of that history, but simultaneously opened up a realm of infinite possibilities for the future; a year in which the importance and influence of the Dead was acknowledged and honored around the world, and interest in the band reached what may well be an all-time high.
The primary reason for this, of course, is that 2015 represented the 50th anniversary of the year that a group of like-minded misfits fell together in a suburb to the south of San Francisco and started a rock & roll band, with no fixed objective but to have a real good time and see where the journey took them. Little did they know that they would eventually become one of the most beloved bands in rock history, and that their appeal would endure for more than five decades (and counting).
As the year began, rampant speculation and rumor about what might be done to observe the anniversary gave way to reality, with the news that the four surviving core members of the band — Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart — would play three shows over the Fourth of July weekend, in the very place the Grateful Dead had given its final performance as a touring band with Jerry Garcia some twenty years earlier: Chicago's Soldier Field. Joining the longtime partners in this momentous event would be some old friends and kindred spirits: Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti on keyboards and, in the crucial lead guitar role, a musician who was profoundly influenced by the Grateful Dead and went on to co-found an iconic band of his own: Trey Anastasio. To invest the occasion with even greater significance, it was also announced that these would be the last formal concerts by the "Core Four" as a unit (although the door was left open for the possibility of future collaborations by various subsets of the four). The shows were appropriately named "Fare Thee Well: Celebrating Fifty Years of Grateful Dead."
The reaction to the announcement was immediate and overwhelming, producing a ticket demand of historic proportions. GDTS-Too (the successor to the Dead's old in-house mail-order ticketing service) was absolutely swamped with the traditional brightly designed envelopes containing ticket requests, and industry behemoth Ticketmaster reported the largest single-day online traffic for any event in the company's history. In light of this extraordinary response, the band members and their management, along with promoters Peter Shapiro and Madison House, took action to meet that demand: by reconfiguring the seating plan for Soldier Field to accommodate more fans; and by scheduling two additional concerts the weekend before the Chicago shows, not far from where it all began in the Bay Area — to be exact, at Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, in Santa Clara, CA. The West Coast shows, not surprisingly, sold out instantly as well.
Knowing that there would still be countless people unable to be at the shows in person, the band and promoters strove to make sharing the experience possible far beyond the confines of the two venues. All five shows were offered for purchase via webcast, and the Chicago weekend was also available through cable pay-per-view or simulcast to hundreds of movie theaters and selected music venues around the country. The audio portion of the Chicago run could be heard on a one-hour delay by SiriusXM satellite radio subscribers across North America.
Between the mad rush for tickets and the shows themselves came the months of waiting and anticipating, accompanied by a tidal wave of media attention to the upcoming concerts in particular and the Grateful Dead in general, from just about every major broadcast outlet, newspaper and periodical, with some magazines putting out entire special editions devoted exclusively to the Dead — not just expected music-oriented sources like Rolling Stone, but venerable mainstream publications such as Life and Newsweek. Numerous new books on the Dead were issued or are slated for publication in the near future, and various honors and accolades bestowed on the band, individually and collectively. Significant among these was the well-deserved induction of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame, taking their place along such names as Gershwin, Porter, Dylan, Lennon, McCartney et al.
In May, the Garcia/Hunter songbook was also celebrated at a very special event at Maryland's Merriweather Post Pavilion (a venue familiar to many a Dead Head): a concert titled "Dear Jerry," featuring an eclectic all-star cast, all performing songs written or interpreted by Jerry, including Messrs. Lesh, Weir, Kreutzmann and Hart (appearing individually and in various collaborative contexts), as well as Allen Toussaint, David Grisman, Sam Bush, Jorma Kaukonen, Peter Frampton, Buddy Miller, Jimmy Cliff, moe., the Disco Biscuits, O.A.R., Los Lobos, Trampled By Turtles, Widespread Panic and Eric Church, plus an excellent house band fronted by Don Was, who also served as the concert's musical director.
After what seemed like an eternity, summer arrived, and with it the Fare Thee Well shows, which, judging by an overwhelming percentage of audience feedback, not only met but far exceeded all expectations. Had the shows merely been an excuse for a huge and emotional family reunion of the Dead Head community, that might have been good enough, but they were that and much more – particularly in Chicago, in which that entire great city became the site of a multi-day festival celebrating the Dead and the community that grew up around them. It seemed as if every club and theater in town had relevant musical offerings, whether by GD cover bands or artists whose original work bore the unmistakable influence of the Dead. Hotels and restaurants rolled out the red carpet for fans, and the Field Museum, right next door to Soldier Field, staged a beautifully curated exhibit called "Everything Is Dead," featuring many rare and precious historical artifacts, from Jerry Garcia's "Tiger" guitar to a stunning display of the decorated envelopes sent in to GDTS-Too by ticket seekers.
But in the end, it was, as it had always been, the music that mattered most, and in that department the band delivered the goods and then some. We suspect that most people deeply interested enough in the Dead to be reading this will have experienced the shows in some form, whether in person, through the various broadcast options or recordings you've heard (or will yet hear) after the fact, so we won't attempt to recount the musical details in this space, as we know everyone will have their own memories and opinions about the high points. We'll just say that it was so good to see so many in our tribe together again in joyous communion with the band and with one another, and to feel a part of something that reached far beyond those venues and around the world.
One fan couldn't make the shows, either in Santa Clara or his hometown of Chicago, but he sent a message on behalf of the nation on the 4th of July that summed things up nicely:
"Here's to fifty years of the Grateful Dead, an iconic American band that embodies the creativity, passion, and ability to bring people together that makes American music so great. Enjoy this weekend's celebration of your fans and legacy. And as Jerry would say, 'Let there be songs to fill the air.'"
And as soon Fare Thee Well was over, the next phase of the adventure was already beginning. As Phil Lesh said in some touching remarks to the Soldier Field audience toward the end of the final show, it felt like "a crossroads rather than an ending" — with each of the musicians ready to get on with their lives and careers and, as Phil also put it, "take some tangents." Within weeks of the final Chicago shows, each member of the band was engaging in new collaborations and/or resuming existing musical relationships in a variety of settings.
Bob Weir, after taking the latter part of 2014 off for some much-needed and well-deserved R&R — that's "rest & recreation" rather than "rock & roll, and his first sustained break from performing and touring since he was in his teens — came back in fine form, as we knew he would. While he kept a fairly low profile in terms of live playing for much of the first part of the year, preparing for Fare Thee Well, Bobby made a few notable appearances in various forums, such as sitting down with Dan Rather for a revealing hour of conversation on the veteran journalist's AXS-TV series "The Big Interview." Filmmaker Mike Fleiss's labor-of-love documentary, "The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir," which was enthusiastically received at a handful of film festivals in 2014, finally became available to the wider audience it deserves when Netflix picked it up for viewing on its streaming service. A Weir media appearance that would prove to have special significance was a February guest shot on CBS TV's "The Late Late Show," which was employing a changing cast of interim hosts in the period between the departure of Craig Ferguson and the arrival of James Corden. On the night Bob dropped in, the man behind the desk was none other than singer-songwriter-guitarist John Mayer, who has made no secret of his recently discovered love for the Grateful Dead. After the two chatted a bit, they joined Mayer's band for performances of "Truckin'" and "Althea," and something just seemed to click — something that would set the wheels in motion for new musical fun yet to come.
After Fare Thee Well and before getting down to business with Dead & Company, Bob found a little time for some onstage fun, including performances at the Peach Music Festival with Billy & The Kids and New Orleans' fabled Preservation Hall Jazz Band. At the Lockn' Festival, Bobby was designated a kind of roving guest artist, making a return appearance with Billy & The Kids, sitting in with the Tedeschi-Trucks band and delivering a fine after-hours solo acoustic set.
Bob made another momentous announcement: that he's working on his first album of new material in far too long — a collection of what he describes as "cowboy songs," but one that will surely have a distinctly contemporary perspective, given Weir's choice of collaborators, including singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, Josh Kaufman of The Yellowbirds, The National's Scott Devendorf and Walter Martin from The Walkmen. And our old friend Joe Russo has been in on the fun as well.
What a difference a year makes! When the Almanac caught up with Bill Kreutzmann at the 2014 edition of the Lockn' Festival, he told us that while he intended to keep playing music for many years to come, he considered himself effectively retired from touring. Bill said he planned to pick and choose opportunities to play with varying combinations of collaborators at selected festivals and other special events (and, in the future, at a venue he's been planning to open at his home base in Hawaii), but that he was done with the rigors of the road. Well, somewhere along the line, Billy's wanderlust made a big comeback. It was at Lockn' that he found the nucleus for what would become a brand new band. Stepping into the festival lineup on short notice to fill in for the absent Bob Weir, he fronted a one-off ensemble called "Bill Kreutzmann's Locknstep Allstars," a mix of old friends and new, including Steve Kimock, Oteil Burbridge, Taj Mahal, Papa Mali, Keller Williams, Aron Magner and Tom Hamilton. The latter two — Magner, keyboardist with the Disco Biscuits and Hamilton, guitarist-vocalist with Joe Russo's Almost Dead and his own band, American Babies — would soon find themselves extending their musical relationship with Bill, who had such a good time at Lockn' that he decided to start a whole new combo with Aron and Tom, rounded out by bassist Reed Mathis (from Tea Leaf Green, the Marco Benevento Trio, the Golden Gate Wingmen and other bands, and who had worked with Bill in the original lineup of 7 Walkers). An apt name was chosen for this convergence of the veteran Kreutzmann and these talented young guns: Billy & The Kids. As Bill was more than a little busy prepping for the shows in Santa Clara and Chicago and his new collaborators had their own thriving endeavors to pursue, B&TK played a handful of well-chosen gigs scattered through the year — a few dates in the spring, in the Northeast and in Colorado during the U.S. Cannabis Cup festivities (a week that also saw Bill & Mickey Hart doing their Rhythm Devils thing with the Disco Biscuits at Red Rocks), the "Dear Jerry" show and festival dates during the summer, including Gathering of the Vibes, the Peach Festival and Lockn' (the latter two featuring memorable guest appearances by Bob Weir, plus the added treat of Mickey dropping in on the Lockn' set for a bit).
Another important milestone in Bill's year: the long-awaited publication of his memoir, "Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams and Drugs With The Grateful Dead" (written with Benjy Eisen), a frank, funny and vivid account of the highs and lows of the Long, Strange Trip. In between and sometimes concurrent with his musical activities, Bill managed to squeeze in a substantial tour consisting of book signings, moderated Q&A sessions and numerous media appearances (including an entertaining visit to Conan O'Brien's TBS show, highlighted by Billy's colorful account of the Grateful Dead's chemically enhanced 1969 encounter with Hugh Hefner on "Playboy After Dark").
Mickey Hart, as ever, has been spending a lot of his time hanging out at the edge — of sonic possibility, of scientific exploration, of human consciousness itself — always looking for ways to stretch the boundaries, if not erase them outright. For Fare Thee Well, this meant yet another evolutionary step forward in the marriage of rhythm and technology that Mickey has been helping to effect for much of the last five decades, as he developed the most sophisticated and responsive incarnation to date of his dazzling array of percussion instruments both acoustic and electric, and particularly the wondrous invention known as The Beam, which was deployed to maximum effect at Levi's Stadium and Soldier Field. With the able assistance of the resident technical innovators and Meyer Sound's LEO quadraphonic system, Mickey was able to deliver sound of astonishing clarity, power and nuance to everyone in every corner of those vast spaces — sound that could be not only heard but felt — one of Hart's recent preoccupations is experimenting with frequencies that the human ear can't perceive as sound, but which nonetheless can have profound and beneficial neurological and physiological effects on the listener.
Like his other Grateful Dead brethren, Mickey wound up this unforgettable summer at the Lockn' Festival, with a brief sit-in with Bobby, Billy & The Kids, and two late-night sets of his own with a new project he calls the Deep Rhythm Experience, with guest appearances by Steve Kimock and EOTO.
Mickey has been the most active among the Dead alumni in providing content for his website, www.mickeyhart.net, where he regularly posts news updates, blog entries and videos documenting his most recent activities. One notable example concerned a happy reunion with an old friend: the great saxophonist/composer Charles Lloyd, who paid a visit to Mickey's studio in April. In the formative days of the San Francisco scene, Charles became the first jazz artist to play the Fillmore Auditorium, in keeping with promoter Bill Graham's philosophy of expanding the musical horizons of the young rock fans who came to the venue. Lloyd developed a warm personal and musical relationship with many of the local bands, particularly the Grateful Dead, who credited him with inspiring them to pursue new improvisational possibilities. Together again, Charles & Mickey spent some time in what Mickey described as "the drone zone," spinning some improvisational magic. Check it out.
Mickey bestowed another lovely gift on us all during the weekend of the Chicago Fare Thee Well shows, with the premiere of a new video of the Hart/Weir/Hunter classic "Playing In The Band." But this was no ordinary performance of the familiar song. After laying down the basic rhythm track Mickey invited fans from all over the world to submit videos of themselves singing and playing along. The result was a wonderful celebration of our community, with footage of Mickey playing in the studio and vintage clips of the Grateful Dead intercut with a wonderfully random selection of individuals and groups — Dead cover bands, people at work, at play, at home, in military service… and yes, even some folks up in treetops (looking, presumably, for their kites) — all comprising this big and beautiful band in which we all have been happily playing for so long. Watch it here.
Phil Lesh continues to expand the diameter of his circle of Friends, adding new faces and voices to an already large and diverse group of collaborators, at his own Marin County venue Terrapin Crossroads and on his frequent forays back East for multi-night stands at the Capitol Theatre, plus performances at New York's Central Park and the Lockn' Festival. As has been his custom in recent years, Phil constantly tries out new combinations of players, mixing those deeply conversant in the Grateful Dead repertoire with relative newcomers to the music, with results that are never less than intriguing and sometimes downright revelatory. One of the most notable successes of the past year was a show at Terrapin with the brilliantly eclectic guitarist Bill Frisell, who joined Phil in a lineup that included drummer Billy Martin (of Medeski, Martin & Wood fame), longtime Friend Rob Barraco on keyboards and Dan "Lebo" Lebowitz on guitar. For the Lockn' Festival, Phil brought two distinct sets of Friends: one comprised of much of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood (Chris, Neal Casal, Adam MacDougall and Tony Leone), joined by Soulive/Lettuce guitarist Eric Krasno; and the other with longtime collaborators John Molo and Rob Barraco and an unprecedented meeting of guitar greats: Warren Haynes, Barry Sless and, making his P&F debut, Carlos Santana.
One of the most popular features of 2015 at Terrapin Crossroads has been Phil's own commemoration of the Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary — a series of shows, spread out across the Terrapin calendar, each celebrating a particular year from the Dead's three-decade touring career through the recreation of a setlist from that year, and with Phil adding some historical background in onstage interview sessions.
As we were in the final stages of preparation of the Almanac, there came a sobering revelation: an announcement from Phil that he'd been diagnosed with bladder cancer. The good news is that the cancer was detected and treated early, that there was no indication of the disease having spread, and that the prognosis for a full recovery is excellent, as well as a return to normal activity, musical and otherwise. We know that you all join us in sending Phil lots of love and healing energy.
As the end of the year drew closer, yet another new chapter in the evolving story was about to begin. As mentioned above, Bob Weir and John Mayer hit it off very nicely in that one-off televised encounter — so much so that when John proposed a deeper exploration of the collaborative possibilities, Bobby jumped at the chance — and Mickey and Billy were persuaded to jump on board as well. With Jeff Chimenti and the brilliant bassist Oteil Burbridge completing the team, the new ensemble, called Dead & Company, announced two Halloween weekend shows at Madison Square Garden, both instant sellouts. Shortly thereafter, a full tour was announced with 18 additional dates, plus standalone runs at the end of the year in San Francisco and Los Angeles. We look eagerly forward to what this latest new permutation in the ongoing musical experiment, and to whatever lies beyond that.
As ever, none of this would be possible without the unlimited devotion of our Dead Head family, which continues to grow and prosper, with new and younger fans jumping on the bus all the time. We welcome all passengers, whether veteran or neophyte, and thank you for being the best traveling companions anyone could ask for.
And there may be no better words with which to conclude here than those spoken by Mickey at the final moment of the final show in Chicago:
“The feeling we have here… remember it. Take it home and do some good with it. I’ll leave you with this: please, be kind.”
This year, we are taking a look back at some of our favorite Tim Truman Comix.
Announcing Dave’s Picks 2016 Subscriptions And Dave’s Picks Vol. 17
If you’ve been following the Grateful Dead’s archival music release activities since 2012, which we expect you have, you’re no doubt aware that the Dave’s Picks series, which debuts limited-edition numbered releases four times a year, has become one of the most consistently interesting and highly anticipated offerings from the Dead’s vault. Due to continued demand, we're keeping the 2016 Dave’s Picks production run at 16,500 of each of the four releases, but as with the 16 previous volumes, we expect all of the four Dave’s Picks in 2016 to sell out quickly; some of the past releases sold out in less than 24 hours! The only way to make sure you get all four is to subscribe to the 2016 collection, featuring Volumes 17-20. In addition to the four CD releases in 2016, totaling 12 CDs, you’ll also get the subscription-exclusive bonus disc, which has proven to be one of the most highly sought after collectables we’ve ever released and free domestic shipping. Past subscriber bonus discs have included 7/29/74, 12/21/69, 12/11/69, and 3/27/72 and always features excellent music from the vault that will not be released outside of this offer.
And because we just can't contain our excitement, we will use this here spot to announce that Dave's Picks Vol. 17 is the complete show from July 19, 1974 at Selland Arena, Fresno, CA. Plucked from the Wall of Sound era, this one sees the band doing very big things including a 30-minute "Playing In The Band," a phenomenal "Scarlet Begonias," and "Weather Report Suite" with lots of great improvisational moments as well as a "Seastones" set. 7/19/74 has been on our shortlist for quite sometime and we can't wait for you to hear it mastered to HDCD specs. As for what’s to come after Dave's Picks Vol. 17, we've narrowed down the options and while we know you will be pleased, we've got to save some surprises for next year! To reiterate, the only way to avoid disappointment and be guaranteed that you'll receive all four Dave's Picks in 2016 is to subscribe. And if you act now, you’ll also get in on the Early Bird subscriber pricing of just $99.98. Talk about a perfect present for you and your favorite Grateful guy or gal!
DAVE’S PICKS 2016 SUBSCRIPTION BENEFITS
• Four Limited Edition, Numbered Releases
• Highly Collectible Bonus Disc
• Free Domestic Shipping
• Delivered Throughout The Year
• Early Bird Pricing - $99.98
• A savings of $37.94 over purchasing a la carte
Get one and gift one here!
30 Trips Around The Sun
When we began discussing audio projects to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead back in 2012, we knew we wanted to do something completely unprecedented. We could think of nothing more exciting or ambitious than a career-spanning overview of the band's live legacy focused on what best tells the story: complete concerts. Our first criterion was the very best live music to represent any given year in the band's history. We wanted to make sure that there were not only the tent-pole shows that fans have been demanding for decades but also ones that are slightly more under the radar, but equally excellent. For those who listen to the entire box straight through, chronologically, the narrative of the Grateful Dead's live legacy will be seen as second to none in the pantheon of music history. - David Lemieux
Music aside, the Grateful Dead's most ambitious release ever, 30 TRIPS AROUND THE SUN, could never have happened without the strength, commitment, and patience of the Dead community. We set out to make something extraordinary with the band's rich cannon, but it would not have been complete without weaving in the experiences as told by fans, family and friends all around the world which were included in a beautiful leather-bound book.
For those keeping score, this mammoth box was the biggest in Grateful Dead history, featuring 30 unreleased live shows, one for each year the band was together from 1966 to 1995, along with a gold-colored 7-inch vinyl single bookending the band's career. The A-side is "Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)" from the band's earliest recording session in 1965 with the B-side of the last song the band ever performed together live, "Box Of Rain" recorded during their final encore at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 9, 1995.
We also made strides digitally, releasing 30 TRIPS AROUND THE SUN, in both FLAC (96/24) and 320 KBPS MP3 formats, on a gold lightning bolt with the Grateful Dead 50th anniversary logo engraved on the side — our most collectible item yet with just 1,000 individually numbered copies.
Fare Thee Well
There's a band out on the highway, They're high steppin' into town It's a rainbow full of sound, It's fireworks, calliopes and clowns...
We've taken on the great task of capturing all the monumental music and magic of Fare Thee Well at Soldier Field - Mickey, Bill, Phil, and Bob's last-ever performance together. This epic 50th anniversary celebration will be available in a variety of audio and video formats to suit your every need. Here's the breakdown:
FARE THEE WELL COMPLETE Dead.net is the only place you can get complete audio and video for all three shows including the intermission music by Circles Around The Sun (more about them coming up next). The two dead.net exclusive versions, one 12-CD/7-Blu-ray and the other 12-CD/7-DVD, will each be limited to 20,000 individually numbered copies on their first run. These versions will also feature an exclusive bonus disc featuring a behind-the-scenes look - footage from the Grateful Dead ticketing office documenting the 350,000 plus tickets requests received for the shows, vignettes from the parking lot scene at Soldier Field, and backstage material from the shows themselves - captured by Justin Kreutzmann.
Sneak Preview: Take a look at the video for "West L.A. Fadeaway," now rendered properly and in high-definition.
FARE THEE WELL JULY 5TH The very last show featuring the "Core Four." We've got full audio and video from the band's final performance on CD/Blu-Ray and CD/DVD sets. We're also offering up video only options on Blu-ray and DVD.
FARE THEE WELL BEST OF A compilation of all the best performances from all three shows on 2 CDs.
Let the music never stop!
Circles Around The Sun
The mystery of just who was behind those freewheeling tunes that kept the crowds groovin' during Fare Thee Well's intermissions has been revealed! Circles Around the Sun, a band convened by guitarist Neal Casal, formed specifically to record just for the shows and the results were so captivating, and the audience response so overwhelmingly positive, we decided to give the music a proper release.
INTERLUDES FOR THE DEAD will be available digitally and as a 2-CD set on November 27. In addition, a 180-gram vinyl version on two LPs will be available as a limited edition of 5,000 copies. And finally, as mentioned, all the music heard in Chicago will be included in the dead.net Complete versions of FARE THEE WELL.
What's In Store For You
New - Gifts, Apparel & Merch
This November, get FREE DOMESTIC STANDARD SHIPPING with purchases of over $75 or more. All orders, no matter the total, will include an authentic piece of memorabilia from the official Grateful Dead Archives.
In the Community
Memories of the Grateful Dead
Dead Freaks Unite! And how we did this past year to celebrate 50 years of the Grateful Dead!
When we embarked on the journey of creating the 30 TRIPS AROUND THE SUN release, we knew there would be many tales to tell. So we set about collecting stories and original art from fans, family and friends. To say we were overwhelmed by not only the numbers, but the depths of your submissions, would be an understatement. There were many more enlightening, heartfelt, and worthy contributions than we could fit into the book that was included in the release, so we thought we'd share them here.
All In The Family
They say you can't pick your family but you CAN pick your Grateful Dead family. Ours is made up of a colorful cast of characters who help us bring you the very best experiences, release-wise. Check out the profiles on some of the folks who made this year's offerings look and read as good as they sound.
Dave's Picks 2015 Artist-in-Residence Micah Nelson gave us a little insight into his unconventional upbring (yes, the one and only Willie is his dad) and into how he juggles his time between painting, animating, and playing in not one, not two, but three bands(!) in this edition of All In The Family. Find out what the multi-talented and very busy artist has been up to here.
You may have heard us mention music scribe Jesse Jarnow's name a few times over this past year. He's contributed liner notes to the Dave's Picks series, mapped out Grateful Dead "monuments" for Chicago concert-goers, and put together an astoundingly complete list of the band's entire repertoire for our 30 Trips Around The Sun release. With a book about Dead Heads and psychedelic culture just around the corner, we figured it's high time we shed a little more light on his connection to the community. Get to know Jesse here.
Dead Covers Project
Each year you surprise us with mighty fine DEAD COVERS PROJECT submissions from here, there, and everywhere. This year was no different, the sights and sounds of Dead Heads doin' that rag warmed away those winter blues. We intend to carry on this new tradition come February, so while you've got your kinfolk gathered 'round for the holidays, set up the old video recorder (or the new-fangled high-tech phone) and put your favorite Dead ditty down for posterity. Stay tuned for more details on how to deliver your rendition to the Dead-o-sphere come January. In the meantime you can get to know a few of this past year's favorites with a round-up of our DEAD COVERS PROJECT PROFILES.
Leah & Aila
Budding singer-songwriters Leah Tashman and Aila Rose Macri touched us with their sweetly sparse rendition of "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo." Find out what these friends from Fire Island are up to now and why they owe their gratefulness to Aila's dad..
The Alice DiMicele Band
With thirteen self-released albums and almost 30 years of touring under her belt, Alice DiMicele is a master of her craft and knows how to delight her audiences be it on a large festival stage, a theatre, or a house concert. She’s shared the stage with some of music’s best including Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez, JJ Cale, David Grisman, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Winwood, and so many more. Read all about her current band and her connection to the Grateful Dead below..
David Bryan And Friends
David Bryan and Friends came together just a year ago but the spirit of the Grateful Dead is strong amongst its members, so strong in fact that leader David Bryan has made the Dead's legacy part of his life's work. He will soon be publishing a compendium of his theological writings about the band, entitled "The Grateful Dead Theology Project." Learn more about the group's connection to the Grateful Dead here.
30 Days Of Dead
Who needs a miracle everyday? We sure do and we bet you could use one too!
Each day in November we will be giving away a high-quality 320Kbps MP3 download. That's 30 days of unreleased Grateful Dead tracks from the vault, selected by Dead archivist and producer David Lemieux! Intrigued? We're also going to put your knowledge to the test and give you the chance to win some sweet swag from the Dead.
Most of you know the drill by now, but for those, that don't, here's the deal:
You know your Ables from your Bakers from your C's, but can your finely tuned ears differentiate the cosmic "comeback" tour from a spacey 70's show? Each day we'll post a free download from one of the Dead's coveted shows. Will it be from that magical night at Madison Square Garden in '93 or from way back when they were just starting to warm it up at Winterland? Is that Pigpen's harmonica we hear? Brent on keys? Step right up and try your hand all November long and win prizes while you're at it.
More '70s. Sure it's great, but....A little variety? 12-6-92? 4-1-91?
I never noticed, but then again, I have a difficult time listening to 74, because the sound is so bad. Exception is the 30 Trips show, and of course the Movie Soundtrack, but I don't like how the drums are mixed on that one, sooo...
I would like to here more examples of sloppy playing. I recently delved back into DP 31 after a comment by wjonjd, and I love DP 7. I'm not an unreleased soundboard junkie, either, so 74 is largely unexplored. I thought DaP 9 and 13 were nice. I ripped 13 and Dave a new one initially, because of the poor audio, but then I got used to it. Sorry Dave. Dillon does sound bad - still not sure why it sells for $175 used, but there you have it.
Keithfan, love the Star Wars joke, so well placed.
Oh....and Thelma - is Uncle John'S Band not worth the price of admission alone?
I have been given the runaround by Dead.net customer service for weeks now. They have no answers regarding status and shipping whatsoever. They have now been flat out ignoring my email for the past week. Bottom line is, they have our money and don't care.
Very excited about the new Dave's Picks 17 July 19, 1974 release. For me the Wall of Sound era is really my favorite period of Grateful Dead music, and I know I'm not the only one. They may have been having a tough time enduring the grind of the double crew set up haul, but musically they were clicking on all cylinders. Unfortunately, '74 just doesn't make sense for any box sets, anybody listening to Dave's Picks 2 and the bonus disc can see why, amazing playing, but significant limitations in the quality of the original recording. More than most eras '74 really is perfect for archival releases like the Dave's Picks series. They clean it up as much as possible for the die hard deadheads but it's not going to be a broader appeal level sound quality for a mainstream release like a Sunshine Daydream or Crimson White and Indigo, or be worth the purchase price of a box set for most people. The playing could easily merit that, but recording quality means it comes out in drips and drops through the Dick's Picks and Dave's Picks series with the mind-blowing Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack (mixed from multitrack) as the one exception.
Let me preface this by saying that I've been a deadhead since 1980 and listen to the dead an average of 4 times a week to this day. Something happened between the May/June 1974 shows and when they started playing their July shows - and not for the better.
The detail and finesse of Jerry's playing featured in the February/May/June 1974 shows is replaced by sloppy erratic playing in July - frankly he sounds wasted and unfocused. The disjointed Dillon 1974 show was another awful pick - displaying the antithesis of what I've come to love about the 73/74 era - playing that was often delicate, intricate and beautiful.
The Selland show has some cool moments but also some cringe worthy moments - often within the same song - "He's Gone" for example. Ultimately it bothers me that Dave has a penchant for picking sloppy shows - the Thelma Theater 69 run is another example. And just in case I sound like I have nothing good to say - Dave's Winterland February 1974 pick was an excellent choice and is a beautiful show. My sincere hope is that more releases are of this caliber.
GD is so full of shit and themselves! This "celebration" has been total horseshit and a total fuckin money grab that is so un dead like I want to puke! GFYS!!!!!
Can someone tell why Donna Jean and Tom Constanten were not invited to the 50th anniversary shows? They definitely played a part in the Dead's long history.
Where did you learn that they are shipping the USB version in the next two weeks? The only information I have received, despite having my card charged in full on Sept 18 is the following chain email.
Response Via Email(Michael) - 10/27/2015 08:59 AM
Hang tight! Your USB is still coming down the line!
We're very sorry we don't have any further information for you at this time but we are working on it and we will get you an update as soon as we can.
In the meantime, we hope you are enjoying your streams of the shows available on the order status page. When you do receive your USB, you will find an original Grateful Dead concert ticket and backstage pass included as a token of our appreciation for your unending patience.
The Dead.net Team
I've never been disappointed with a Dave's Pick. But you need to spread out and find stuff from periods that I might not be looking in on my own. This upcoming DP will be the 4th from the Wall of Sound period. We've had back to back shows from 1978, two shows a week apart from 1969. Nothing prior to 1969. Nothing post-1980. I tend toward 1970's stuff, so I know that it's good. But there must be some shows from the 1980's that are worthy of release, aren't there? You're only doing this 4 times a year, so you really need to spread things out a bit. Nothing from the second half of their career? Really?
CDs went out....mine came 10/6
USB in next 2 weeks or so I'm told