Road Trips Decades
There are the occasional gems.... 3-17-93 is one such, and features a sampling of new songs (Eternity, Lazy River Road, Liberty, Days Between) as well as a nice 13-minute Shakedown opener, Handsome Cabin Boy jam out of space, and solid playing from Jerry throughout. The jams aren't terribly long (10-minute Dark Star, 7-minute Other One) but the band is on. One of just a couple or three truly satisfying shows I saw after '91, and the last--but if I caught a hot night in that era, I'm sure there must be others.
Am I the only one who liked Wave To the Wind? I thought it sounded very Wake Of the Flood-ish. If Phil has vetoed that one, maybe he'd allow If The Shoe Fits for release--pretty raunchy rocker, I like that one, too. The new tunes from this batch were rarely what I wanted to see, but hearing them compiled together on a CD, they hold together quite nicely. Lazy River Road never breathed fire, but it's a well-crafted song that I'd like to hear a good folk band do justice some time....
As for '94-'95, I only caught a couple, and others have described it well. The Shakedown & Terrapin I saw at my last show were beyond an off night, they really did feel like something was terribly wrong.
Question for the gallery, though......when did this numbness in Jerry's fingers thing get publicized? I'd never heard of this till the last couple years with Blair mentioning it in his blogs. Is this actually confirmed? Someone even suggested it was already happening in Spring '90, which it's hard for me not to scoff at. It almost sounds like excuse-making for the effect Jerry's other areas of decline had on the music down the stretch. I trust Blair, but again, I'd never heard of that till recently and it's never what other band members have pointed to as the element they were having to cover for. But if true, how frustrating for Jerry....
And I totally think a 5000 run of late stuff would sell. I think a 12K run would sell, too. As Anna says, it just might take a little longer. So what? Since when did every release have to sell out in presale to be judged a success, anyway?
With so many shows when Jerry and the band were simply magical,.... decades when they were physically, mentally and musically strong, ..why the desire to focus on Jerry's sad, painful decline. Perhaps there is more to it, (ie; new songs), but at least for me, there are so many wonderful Grateful Dead shows with them at their best, when they could conjure the universe and melt the faces off the crowd, that I would rather see released. I prefer to remember Jerry on top of his game, and listen to him shine. :)
That they release a two CD set with highlights from several shows 93-94 with these tunes played. Never happened. Going with the whole show format, you have to go two or very possibly three shows to get a representative sampling. The shows were much shorter and you could do a 4 CD release with two first sets and two second sets from different nights that would definitely cover the period's new songs.
Call me crazy but I think a limited to 5000 production run would sell out in six months. Yeah, it would take some time but there are enough collectors out there that it would ultimately sell out and cost a lot to obtain on E-Bay in the next ten years. I could be wrong but after being around these parts a while I think the bucks are out there to fill a hole in a lot of collections.
Just to be clear, I'm not defending latter day Dead as such. It probably won't sell very well (so the business case is questionable), and I won't play it a lot either, because entertainment value is not very high either.
But I would like a live version of new songs. This by itself rules out a complete show, so I would opt for an original Road trips style compilation with predominantly new songs, perhaps a Space/Drums and a few relative rarities.
I buy all regular releases. While this obviously does not give me any moral claim (and anyone can make suggestions anyway), I would still like to fill the gap. For all I care, it could also be a three disc bonus set to go with the subscription, but from what I read here this would definitely not help sell the subscription...
Again, I heartfelt agree with you about Jerry. I couldn't go to another show after Louisville in spring 93. This was the Bataan Death March begun. Who knew it would last 2 years? It's hard to conceive of right now. But like I said, Jerry belted out the ballads when he couldn't let his fingers do the talking.
It was sad, but if you were attentive then you saw a musician go to the limit. Liberty... the right to choose. What could you have done, what could you have said?
* 2 of the "new" GD songs I missed: Lone Way To Go Home & Childhood's End. Childhood's end - what an apt title for those still on tour.
~ How much we'll never know ~
Yeah, there were a few good moments in those later years... but to do what you're suggesting, David would need to find well-played versions of those particular tunes with good sound quality. And the "complete show" purists would howl! :o) I'd rather see the same sorta thing done with '85.
Sadly, the throngs of tone-deaf and/or oblivious folk at those later, doosier gigs - happily spinning away, unaware of what was happening on stage - would make quite a healthy market for releases from '91-'95. But those of us who left those gigs early, with tears in our eyes, probably ain't biting.
I more or less agree with you about the 4 last years of the Dead. Still, there are shows sprinkled throughout 92 & 93 that are worth release. I do agree with RB, though, that for completeness sake they should release a show or two or three (no more than) that encompasses the best renditions of Days Between, So Many Roads, Broken Arrow, Liberty, Eternity, Corrina, Lazy River Road, Samba In The Rain & Easy Answers. I don't include Wave To The Wind here because Phil has already vetoed any release. I don't see Rhino releasing cover tunes unless it is a compilation of the Dead's best covers. Lucy In The Sky,Tomorrow Never Knows, Baba O'Reilly, Day Tripper, Gimme Some Lovin', Gloria and so on (personally, I would leave off IFTL). The Dylan covers already have their own release. Similarly, they could release a Blues covers that could include almost the whole set played with Boz Scaggs at the Moscone Center in SF in 82.
Of course, that is my humble opinion without the benefit of knowing how many units they have to sell to make it worthwhile. If it just even pays for itself, for God's sake, do it!
Now, I have heard Lemieux say there are shows into 94 with some damn fine playing (presumably that would include Jerry) so I think the numbness thing in his hands and fingers could come and go, at least through 94. After listening intently to a good sampling of shows in 95, I find nothing there. Others would disagree. Certainly there were heartfelt vocals on many ballads.
You answered your own question - there's a very good reason so little post-1990 Dead has been released. The band spent its last four years propping up (at best) or covering for (at worst) the musician at the very core of its sound. Bad Garcia = bad Dead, period. Were there brief flashes of competent lead guitar from '91-'95? Sure. But they were simply fleeting glimpses of what used to be - and quite depressing for those of us with still-functioning synapses. It doesn't take perfect pitch to hear how badly G. struggled during that period. (There's only so much one can do on the six-string with numb fingers... while nodding off.) Best leave 99.9% of it in the vault and focus on happier times.
That said, I own all the RT releases ('cept the two from the 90's) and can't recommend the Summer '71 set strongly enough. Wasn't expecting much, but GOOD GRIEF. And possibly the best sound (all things considered) of the series.
By volume 4 full shows is what was marketed. It wasn't the approach taken at the beginning that's for sure (quite the opposite). Would track timings have anything to do with mixing up the flow? I bet they wanted to keep the sets intact. My issue (if I have one) with the April Fool's RT is they could have put better 1st set filler from the 31st on disc 1. What they chose wasn't the cream of the crop from that set in my opinion. The Bucket>Sugaree is better. Here, listen for yourself. Of course, all this is just splitting hairs. The Grateful Dead: The Best Band in the Land!
P.S. After another listen, I guess the Let it Grow is pretty good. So, I suppose it is a hard choice.
I recently bought two Road Trips, April Fools 88 and Big Rock Pow Wow and in spite of containing complete shows, the tracks bounce around from disc to disc and the complete show is thus played out of order. Does anyone know why this is so. It seems odd top say the least especially when you consider the complete show aspect was part of the marketing. Great show with great sound but puzzling nonetheless.