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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Joined: Oct 2 2007
gotta love


almost as good as 1990!

thanks for this.



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