Grateful Dead

January 7 - January 13, 2008

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

Like the last few weeks, this week here at the Taper’s Section we’re going to focus on one year in Grateful Dead history, and this week we’ve selected 1974 as our year.

Our first selection this week is a quintessential 1974 piece of Grateful Dead music, specifically a first set closing Playing In The Band from 6/16/74 in Des Moines, Iowa. This is a terrific concert, and coupled with the next show, 6/18/74 in Louisville, would make an outstanding CD release someday. I sure hope so. This Playing In The Band clocks in at more than 25 minutes and in addition to featuring some of the characteristics of a 1974 Playing, such as the jazzy passages and the deep space explorations, it also includes some remarkable sounds emanating from Keith’s fingers. By the sounds of it, Keith has left his piano bench during this Playing In The Band and is having a ball toying with some of Ned’s Seastone’s effects and synthesizers.

Next up from the end of July is a quartet of songs from 7/31/74 in Hartford, CT, one of the longest Grateful Dead shows ever played (including a lengthy Seastones interlude). From that excellent show we have Bertha, Big Railroad Blues, Eyes of the World>China Doll. This has always been a favourite show, and it contains a little bit of everything, including a magnificent jam toward the end of the concert. This show would be followed by the two concerts in Philadelphia on 8/4&5/74 and the final show of the tour on 8/6/74 in New Jersey. That would be it for east coast appearances of the Wall of Sound, for after these August shows, the band would go to Europe in September followed by the five night run at Winterland in October, which would be the start of the hiatus that would last, for the most part, almost two years.

Finally this week we have a great jam from the first of the five nights at Winterland in October, 10/16/74. The first jam of the second set features this interesting Seastones>Jam>Wharf Rat>Jam>Eyes of the World (we hope you don’t mind two versions of Eyes of the World this week). While looking through the Grateful Dead Movie outtakes in 2004, we discovered that only a few songs from the first show were filmed, mainly as lighting and syncing tests. Fortunately, one of the songs filmed was the long Playing In The Band that would be featured in the Movie, as well as the second set Truckin’ jam. If another DVD is ever produced from the remaining outtakes (and there are plenty that have not yet been seen), hopefully this jam from 10/16/74 will be included. Also filmed from 10/16/74 was the post-show birthday celebration in honour of Weir’s 27th birthday. Cake was brought out, as was Champagne, with Bill Graham overseeing the festivities. There is plenty of outtake footage from backstage where the band and friends REALLY dug into that cake. Quite a sight. There’s also a funny scene in which Bobby sheepishly walks into a dressing room before the show, Parish asks him what’s under his arm in the box, and Bobby shyly tells him it’s a birthday present from his dentist: a waterpick. Big Steve howls at that one.

Thanks for stopping in. Be sure to check back next week when we’re sure to have more great music. As always, we encourage you to write to the email address below with questions, comments, suggestions or requests.

David Lemieux
vault [at]


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beenwaytoolongatsea's picture
Joined: Aug 22 2007
sounding great in two thousand eight


open the door hear seventy four, all very very very nice ............ day break on the land !!

Joined: Jun 4 2007
What was the longest show they ever played?

David- Your comment about the 7/31/74 show in Hartford being one of the longest shows ever got me thinkin. What was the longest show ever? Does anyone know? Closing of Winterland? Also- how long was it? Thanks- William-O

gdradio's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007

i am realizing that I overlook '74 too often... now I want to do some digging!
Streaming Grateful Dead and more

sjbutler's picture
Joined: Nov 27 2007

...did anyone else notice that the "Big Railroad Blues" is really "Big River?" Too funny, although I would have preferred BRB.

That being said, how can I even begin to possibly complain about these choices?!? I was bummed about facing my first full 5-day work week since before Christmas, but hearing all of this greatness from '74 has made the day rather enjoyable. I haven't made it to the 10/16/74 selection yet, but can't was my birthday, but too bad I was only turning one year old! Would someone please get around to inventing a time machine? :)

Joined: Aug 21 2007

Thanks for the funny backstage stories, DL.

kuu's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007

you could have two eyes and still not see. dave keep the history comin with the musicKUU

Joined: Jul 20 2007
Awesome eyes :)

Can't wait to listen! Thanks David :) More grate tunes I am grateful !!

Joined: Jun 11 2007
another cd release?

I noticed in the second paragraph of the trading section for 1.7.08-1.13.08 that another cd release may be in the works. If that's so, can I throw a suggestion for a release into the ring? I have never heard 10.21.72 Nashville, TN. This show is kind of out of reach of a lot of people. It was never a "Dicks Pick" or a "download from the vault" and no one I know has any part of this show. I would pay if you guys in the vault, and Rhino, decided to release some part of it or all of it.....I don't know how other heads feel about that.

Joined: Jun 4 2007

My first show!!! Bizzare-this weekend I wrote about 6-16-74 in the "what got you on the bus" section and next I see that someone posts a pic of Bobby from that very show.
And now, David, you give everyone a taste of that Playin' that I was raving about in my post.
Hummm, what does this all mean? Oh well, I can't ponder on that. But thanks for completing this trifecta, and the screams of delight that you hear, will be mine if 6-16 & 18-74 are officially released.
Love it, take care and Bravo!! Tim

cactuswax's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
man o man

REALLY can't wait to listen to these. As far as I'm concerned, there could've been FIVE Eyes from '74 and I wouldn't mind. And yes yes yes, please put out that outtakes DVD.

In other words, thanks again DL!!


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