June 28 to July 4, 2010
Here we go, barreling through the start of the summer and ending the week here at the Tapers' Section with the 4th of July. This week we're going to cover 16 years of Dead, with music from 1973, 1985 and 1989.
Our first selection is from the late summer of 1985, on 9/3/85 at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, where we have the entire first consisting of Feel Like A Stranger>TLEO, Rooster, Dire Wolf, Cassidy, Big RR, Music>Don't Ease. That's a fairly typical song selection from 1985, but it's loads of great tunes, so no complaints here.
From a few years later in Miami, we have music from the penultimate show of the Fall Tour of 1989, on 10/25/89 in Miami, the entire first, which features Hell In A Bucket ; Sugaree ; Just A Little Light ; Friend Of The Devil ; Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again ; Cold Rain And Snow; Picasso Moon; Deal. This tour is filled with great music, from the start of the tour in Hampton to the final night in Miami (with that epic Dark Star!). This night in Miami is occasionally overlooked due to the next night's excellence, but as you'll now hear, there's lots to love about 10/25/89.
Lastly this week, we have music from 10/30/73 in St. Louis, the second of two nights on the great Fall Tour of 1973. From this show we have Here Comes Sunshine, Me and My Uncle, Ramble On Rose, Looks Like Rain, Deal, Mexicali Blues, TLEO. There are a couple of repeats from this week's earlier selections, but these versions are very different, especially the version of TLEO, which features an entirely different tempo and melody. Just goes to show why we keep listening to this band; there's always something new and interesting. When asked by my old film school friend Jeff how many versions of Sugar Magnolia can I possibly hear, I responded “all of them!”
We'll see you here next week for more great tunes. We don't yet know what we'll play, but we expect it'll be good. Feel free to write the address below with questions, comments, praise or complaints. We're you're one-stop, catch-all, answer-every-email place to voice your opinions about the music and our work here.
Spacebrother, I concur, perhaps it was donna's horrible screaming that kept a lot of folks away from the 70's dead, I know I for one could not stand her screaming, as soon as it was apparent that she was in the mix, it got cut off. This, in my opinion, makes 80's dead a lot more enjoyable. Now I have given a good listen to the selection here from the 70's and you can't hear her, which makes this an awesome selection, and in many ways Keith was the perfect keyboard player for this band, where some times Brent could be a little heavy handed, taking over the mix, Keith blended with the mix adding to instead of dominating. Very interesting comments from everyone, and I too concur with the Professor, even tho those ingredients were harder and harder to gather as the years went on but it was always a treat to go and hope for the best, and usually getting something that was worth the trip. I enjoyed every dead show I went to, and enjoy listening to all that I didn't get to see. I just can't be sacreligious when it comes to these guys, I love them.
Thanks David again and please, play some second set material.
i did say musical, not musicological. speaking as a musician, i do feel that the comments i remarked on can be objectively argued: "unlistenable, banal, tired, screechy." there is the matter of taste, and that is subjective, and of course i cannot argue that the music is better or worse in that regard. i just feel that those characterizations aren't entirely appropriate for this week's selections, though they are accurate statements for some dead shows, sequences, and songs.
so while i can accept the Prof's characterizations being purely those of taste, there is substantive criteria that counters the opinions expressed, and in a careful analysis i believe i could get the Prof to agree on some different characterizations voiding his specific taste; and then agree that to his ears, in full knowledge of that which he desires of the dead, that the tracks are indeed below standards of fulfillment.
now i for one do not think the Prof a blind man, unless we are to take the song's meaning further to the point where he takes our hand and says 'don't you see?' -i just think that these tracks are a much further cry from the banal, tired, and unlistenable dead, as other material may be. my only effort was to diminish the degree to which this week's music was cast aside. i greatly appreciate the wealth of tastes out there; some folks really dig 94-95 stuff... not me, but some. with the addition of some funky flavors of the early 80's via Brent, i completely subscribe to the Prof's ingredient list for the finest serving of the Grateful Dead.
I still love to listen to every era of Dead music, even at their ugliest, especially nowadays.
Suffice it to say, there were shows in all era's that fit somewhere into a catagory of "the Good, the Bad and the Ugly". They were only human after-all. During the "frat boys" era, I thought they were as focused in '88 (Oxford Plains, Alpine Valley, Greek and Laguna Seca immediately come to mind) as any year. One criticism I have about the '72-'74 (or even through 'early '79 for that matter) would be Donna's caterwalling. Sometime's whenever I hear that Yeeeeahyeeeeeeeeeayeahyeahyeayeah during Playing in the Band, it's as if someone is scraping their nails across a chalk.
Guess folks think I am the blind man! For the record, I attended about 100 shows in the 80's so its not that I got on the bus earlier and simply did not attend later shows. OF COURSE David does us all a great service by posting this material, and by varying what eras of the Dead he presents us with. But is not this "comments" section for, among other things, expressing our opinions, negative or positive, and thereby eliciting comments and discussion? Why keep one's negative opinions to oneself--is not discussion and critique what we are after? I have learnt much from those who have, over time disagreed with me--I have been directed to shows I was not aware of and listened to them, sometimes changing my opinion on this or that. Questions of objectivity vs. subjectivity get, quite frankly, too technical for this forum, but to claim that on "objective musicological grounds" I (or anyone else, for that matter) must be wrong is a major stretch (I am, among other things, a card-carrying musicologist--that does not make my opinions right, but I do know what the hinge upon). Shout out to Day of the Green, love it (and much else from the underrated '76 tour). Hey, folks simply don't like it when others don't like what they do. Give me a healthy Jerry, a focused band, an audience that was not simply frat-boys making believe they were hip, a sympathetic venue, and the Dead not just going through the motions to pay the rent (admirably of those other than just themselves), sets not formulaic, Bobby minus his slide, etc and so forth.... Well, there must be much here to start a new round of recriminations! Suffice to say the only thing I love more than the dead is the community of dead-heads, keep the inspiration flowing, and the words glowing "with the gold of sunshine."!
Although the 9/3/85 Kansas City selection is ok (3.25 out of 5), a better selection would have been from 6/28/85 Hershey or from 6/30/85 or 7/1/85 Merriweather Post, in my humble opinion. But still I am grateful for your 9/3/85 selections.
Thank you for all you hard work.
I haven't gotten yet to the '85, or much of the '89. The only clip which I've given a substantial listen to so far is the '73 clip. Donna seems to be absent, not singing. There's probably a reason for that but all in all it makes this a quirky show. A quick hop over to the Taper's Section Index @ IA will show that these are all new appearances of much or all of this material. I especially like that you decided to play more of the Kiel. Great stuff as you said, play "all of them"!
I just reread my earlier post in this thread and what I mean to say was "Not many would argue that this band's music WASN'T better in the 71-74 era." I certainly feel those particular years were the band's best. My point was: Nothing even in the good catagory after those years? You gotta be kidding me! Take a listen to Fox Theatre Atlanta 11/80...Yes that is Brent on the keyboards and the boys were totally stoked after their great acoustic runs at the Warfield, Sanger and Radio City.
Great memories do make one partial to the era in which one attended shows but recordings don't lie.
Maybe Picnic was just visiting retribution on the Prof naysayers, not all Brent lovers (in which case I apologize). I'm well aware of the Prof's preferences, and I totally respect them. I guess for many, it depends on when you got on (and off) the bus. I find myself drawing an unwritten line sometime after '91, and while I know there were still some great shows after that, I simply don't cast my line at that particular fishing hole because the lakes prior to that are already vast enough to keep me happy. So I'm not surprised if a '73 head isn't interested in the '80's.
The "what changed in '75" is duly noted, but one listen to Day on the Green '76 should dispel the notion that it was all downhill after that.......
Very happy for the '85, and Gr8ful Ted, I remember the 2nd-set-opening Starlight Theater Cryptical fondly.... While simultaneously lamenting that I only had it for a couple weeks before some "brother" lifted it (along with the rest of an 8-pak cassette holder) out of my friend Lee's bus on the Cap Centre '87 parking lot. Of course the dearest gem in that pak was 3-02-69 ~ which I finally recovered with the Fillmore box. I'd say it was that long-lost tape more than anything else that drove the urgency of that purchase (a crucial urgency, as we all know) ~ so thanks, dude, your selfishness resulted in something special. May that help lift the karma you acquired in the process.
Anyway, that was the only straight ahead That's It For the Other One out of the handful of '85 breakouts, as I recall. (Maybe only it & the Greek had the full "know he had to die" reprise?) Could've sworn that first set had Ain't Superstitious, though.....but as I said, I didn't have the tapes long.
As for David giving us music we haven't heard before, he's posted all sorts of stuff in the past ~ Feb '70 performances I've never heard (one featured a post-2/14 Mason's Children, before which time the Valentine's performance was widely cited as the final performance), and remember that Good Lovin' -> China Cat -> Good Lovin' sequence from Jan (or was it March) '71? Picnic, I'd urge you to digging into the Taper's Section archives. And by the way, don't call me a dickhead because I love the Brent era. And I DO LOVE the Brent era.