Grateful Dead

May 14 - May 20, 2007

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

This week, we’ll span 23 years of the Grateful Dead’s recorded history, from 1970 to 1993. This gives a good opportunity to demonstrate how much the band evolved over the years, always challenging themselves to sound a little different, while all the while carrying forth the spirit of controlled chaos their music had always represented.

Our first jam this week is the set-closer from 5/14/70 in Kirkwood, MO, featuring unique combination of New Speedway Boogie>St. Stephen>Not Fade Away>Lovelight. These late-set jams in 1970s certainly did have the ability to surprise in their sequence selection.

Onto 1974, as the first Wall Of Sound tour continues after the Reno show we heard from last week. First up is this neat sequence of Weather Report Suite>Dark Star>China Doll from 5/14/74 in Missoula, MT, the only show the band would ever play in that great state. Next up on the tour was a show three nights later at the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver, BC, former home of the Canucks. The first set ended with this typically deep 1974 version of Playing In The Band. Finally from this week in 1974, we have the beautiful second set jam from 5/19/74 at Memorial Coliseum in Portland, OR, then home to the Trail Blazers, currently home of the WHL Winter Hawks. This jam, somewhat typical of the era, doesn’t disappoint: Truckin’>Jam>Mind Left Body Jam>Not Fade Away>Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad. There was certainly some inspired playing on this tour, which is not surprising considering the force and power of the music now coming from behind the band during the Wall Of Sound period.

In 1977, the Spring Tour was continuing, and it seems that every night on the tour brought out some unique sequence, a rare song, or simply perfect performances. The show on 5/15/77 in St. Louis had a little bit of all of that: St. Stephen>Iko Iko>Not Fade Away>Sugar Magnolia, a jam that featured the first-ever version of Iko Iko. Also from this tour, on 5/17/77 in Tuscaloosa are these mid-first set songs, Passenger-High Time.

Onward a year later, and by popular request, the absolutely monster rendition of Let It Grow from 5/14/78 in Providence. Not only is this a great, powerful version, but it’s also one of the longest versions ever played, and worth every second of it. Certainly a Hall Of Fame candidate. Also from 1978, two classic bits from the tour-ending shows in Chicago: from 5/16/78, the second-set-closing Space>Comes A Time>Sugar Magnolia and from the final show of the tour, 5/17/78, Funiculi Funicula, Lazy Lightning>Supplication. Although some nights were better than others, during the April and May, 1978 tours, it is apparent Jerry never fully got over the laryngitis that hit him in January, as evidenced a little bit on this Comes A Time. It’s still a heck of a great version, and worthy of hearing.

Lastly this week, we’ll jump ahead 15 years to 1993, to Las Vegas, where the band found itself in fine form after the triumphant Spring Tour of 1993. From the first set of 5/16/93, here is a nice combination of Althea-When I Paint My Masterpiece. More from May 1993 next week.

Be sure to check back next week to hear music from 1969, 1972, 1973, 1982 and 1993, plus a cool soundcheck segment from 1973. As always, you’re encouraged to write with questions or comments.

David Lemieux
vault [at] dead.net

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Joined: Dec 13 2007
Amazing line up

Thanks for yet another amazing line up. I can't believe I just now listened to this. This line up ranks up there with second week in May of this year in my book. Fun Stuff.

wilfredtjones's picture
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Joined: Jun 4 2007
tight Stephen

This has to be the tightest, grooviest '77 St. Stephen. To bad they don't complete it. It has that special '77 reverbed ambience putting it over the top. There's solace in the fact that it's the starting component of a sequence including the 1st Iko Iko segueing into NFA>S.Mag! Wow...there's a taste of a space jam in there too. Listen carefully and you may unlock the mysteries of the universe!!

GrayFolded's picture
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Joined: Jun 4 2007
The Let it Grow almost injured me....

I had to go to the bank this morning and threw it on my MP3 player, as I got off the bus (almost missed my stop) I started walking and almost smashed into a light post during the jam.....Super Intense...I can't wait to sip some tea and float away this weekend with that jem.....Thanks again David...

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