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That Eyes...goddamn.  I know there were several peaks for the band, but I don't know that the Eyes of the World from this show wasn't the best they every played a song.  It's an absolute masterpiece. It's Haydn's Surprise Symphony, Beethoven's 5th, Mozart's Symphony No. 35.  Really it's even better than those since it was unplanned and unrehearsed and completely improvised.  It's fucking magic is what it is...it's the only way you can explain it. 

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6 minutes ago, Lobo said:

^

What does that mean?  

Playing in the Sand - it's a big four night show at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun with 3 nights of Dead and Co, and a night of a couple other groups. In 2020 the off night was Lettuce and Foundation of Funk. The stage is right on the beach next to the water, and the staff just keeps bringing you beer/margs/food the whole time. It's wild and a ton of fun

I went to the 2020 one with my deadhead in-laws and had a fucking BLAST. It's expensive as hell but it's an awesome time. Their site is melting atm but you can look at packages and tickets at https://playinginthesand.com/

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I like to post this every once in awhile just to remind us that there are true pro musicians out there who know exactly how to lead a band and work a crowd.  Every woman in the audience wanted Chris Stapleton to serenade them all night long, and they all . . . plus Keith Urban . . . wanted to fuck Justin Timberlake into the next county.

 

 

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I'm thinking about doing a little spring fling in the coming weeks and listening to each of the shows from the 77 East Coast Spring Tour.  The dates are below.  I've had a few meetings rescheduled from early morning starts to a more manageable time.  It should be fun.  I'll listen to each of the shows on the same date starting in Philly...and yes, I will isten to 5/26 and give zero fucks. Here are the shows and dates below:

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On 4/6/2021 at 7:07 PM, jimmyjazz said:

I like to post this every once in awhile just to remind us that there are true pro musicians out there who know exactly how to lead a band and work a crowd.  Every woman in the audience wanted Chris Stapleton to serenade them all night long, and they all . . . plus Keith Urban . . . wanted to fuck Justin Timberlake into the next county.

 

 

Why the fuck is justin timberlake's clown ass on the greatest band in the world's thread?

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On 4/7/2021 at 9:59 PM, Hate said:

I'm thinking about doing a little spring fling in the coming weeks and listening to each of the shows from the 77 East Coast Spring Tour.  The dates are below.  I've had a few meetings rescheduled from early morning starts to a more manageable time.  It should be fun.  I'll listen to each of the shows on the same date starting in Philly...and yes, I will isten to 5/26 and give zero fucks.

explain

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3 minutes ago, elguapo said:

Why the fuck is justin timberlake's clown ass on the greatest band in the world's thread?

It was intended for the Stapleton thread . . . not sure the mixup.

And this isn't The Clash thread, I don't know WHAT band you're referring to.

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explain

That was in reference to WhaTheBuck stating that 5/26 was the least “jammy” show he’d ever heard and basically saying that I don’t like the jams of the Grateful Dead. I also stated that the LL Rain may be my favorite and he said that is was the least jammy LL Rain ever. I then posted 5 or 6 LL Rain from May the were about the same exact length of time played and asked to explain the “jammy” differences between them all and was met with silence.

So I will listen to the show and give zero fucks. It’s got a great set list and the sound from the show is outstanding. It’s crystal clear and a great mix. Everyone really comes through on the recoding.
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It was intended for the Stapleton thread . . . not sure the mixup.
And this isn't The Clash thread, I don't know WHAT band you're referring to.

Lol...The Clash.
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I saw this posted in the covers thread and thought it belonged here.  Fucking brilliant version.

FWIW, I have seen both The Gourds and Bruce Robison play the stage outside my kids elementary school here in Austin.  They both have connections to the hood and put on great shows.  Bruce covered Tennessee Jed.  He is near the top of my list of artists to see every chance I get.

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1 hour ago, Druggist said:

I saw this posted in the covers thread and thought it belonged here.  Fucking brilliant version.

That's really nice.  They definitely channeled a vibe reminiscent of The Band, which I guess is appropriate for a project called "The Next Waltz". 

I'd have to say that's probably my favorite Grateful Dead tune.  That or "Friend of the Devil".

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This 88 show is solid, but goddamn you could hear what was coming in the next year or two before Brent died.  They were about to morph into a complete fucking powerhouse of a band the way they hadn't since 77.  I'll never forgive nor understand the demons that Brent had because he was driving that train in 89-90 and he was taking it to unbelievable heights!

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On this day in 1989, the Grateful Dead played the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois.  I have a special affinity for that place as it's where I saw my last two shows with Jerry. 

 

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On 3/21/2021 at 10:32 AM, Druggist said:

I just got this.  It is as good a show as they ever played.  I remember reading that it was on the short list for Dick’s Picks Vol 1,  but they couldn’t get a complete show approved.  
the Cumberland is easily my favorite version and most of the other songs rank amongst my favorite 2 or 3 versions.  I cannot wait to give it a spin.
 

 

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I’ve been putting off this reply for too long. One of the reasons I don’t post in this thread more than I do is because I have too much to say and it’s easier to just put it off.

I made a mistake before confusing DP 36 with DP 31. I wasn’t paying that close attention but I contend it was an easy mistake to make based on the similarity of the album covers. I’m not even sure if I had the Philly Spectrum show from ‘72 on tape. It may well have been a show from later on (or maybe more than one). I’ve thrown away more than 200 tapes after converting to digital and never saved the Word doc containing my old tape list. I should’ve saved that.

I have a post-it note on the back of my copy of DP 36 that says, “Bluegrass MLB Jam at about 30:00 in Dark Star.” So keep an ear out for that. I’ll check it out but first I have to listen to the last disc of that Fillmore West ‘69 run. (More on that later.)

 

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Also, I had heard that DP 36 was considered for DP 1. That was mentioned in Dick’s ‘Dex which came along with DP 36. It’s a handy resource that details every DP release and also has a list of all the songs and on which releases they appeared.

I just forgot. Getting old sucks, right?

 

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So anyway, back to that Fillmore West ‘69 box set. I listened to the third night, March 1, and it’s good. It’s not awesome. It does have the lone New Potato Caboose of the four night run but it doesn’t compare to the version on Two From the Vault which is just a monster. But I love the song so it’s always welcome. They play a killer Cosmic Charlie and encore with a disaster of a Hey Jude by Pig. That doesn’t compare to the Mr. Fantasy > Hey Jude Reprise they played with Brent in the late 80’s.

I’m not a huge fan of Pigpen. I appreciate his role in the band but I often find myself skipping past his songs. Especially Chinatown Shuffle which got played at every single show on the Europe ‘72 tour. But I thought the Lovelight on 3/1/69 stood out. Not so the next night. Mostly I think the band got better after his...departure. He could be particularly annoying on early versions of Dark Star when he played his repetitive ‘Be-Doo-Doop, Be-Doo-Doop, Be-Doop’ keyboard line (sometimes tacking on an extra ‘Boop’ at the end just for good measure).

The final night, March 2, was the peak show of the run. They start off with Dark Star > St. Stephen > The Eleven and it just jams your socks off. It’s scorching. Then they cut into Lovelight and I felt that stepped all over the jam and cut it short. Then you get a Doin’ That Rag followed by Cryptical > Other One > Cryptical > Death Don’t. All well and good. Then they play a Morning Dew that is every bit as hot as the one from Cornell 5/8/77 (and isn’t listed in my Deadbase but I assume it appeared where they say it did).

The final disc is Alligator > Drums > Jam > Caution > Feedback > We Bid You Goodnight. Buckle up. (Death Don’t, Feedback, and Goodnight appear on Live Dead.) I’ve just been waiting for the proper time and, um, “circumstances” to tackle that last disc. It’s not something I want to approach casually.

Then after I’ve done that I’ll check out the DP 36 Dark Star again and see if I was right about that Bluegrass MLB Jam or if I was just imagining things.  

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28 minutes ago, WhatTheBuck said:

So anyway, back to that Fillmore West ‘69 box set. I listened to the third night, March 1, and it’s good. It’s not awesome. It does have the lone New Potato Caboose of the four night run but it doesn’t compare to the version on Two From the Vault which is just a monster. But I love the song so it’s always welcome. They play a killer Cosmic Charlie and encore with a disaster of a Hey Jude by Pig. That doesn’t compare to the Mr. Fantasy > Hey Jude Reprise they played with Brent in the late 80’s.

I’m not a huge fan of Pigpen. I appreciate his role in the band but I often find myself skipping past his songs. Especially Chinatown Shuffle which got played at every single show on the Europe ‘72 tour. But I thought the Lovelight on 3/1/69 stood out. Not so the next night. Mostly I think the band got better after his...departure. He could be particularly annoying on early versions of Dark Star when he played his repetitive ‘Be-Doo-Doop, Be-Doo-Doop, Be-Doop’ keyboard line (sometimes tacking on an extra ‘Boop’ at the end just for good measure).

The final night, March 2, was the peak show of the run. They start off with Dark Star > St. Stephen > The Eleven and it just jams your socks off. It’s scorching. Then they cut into Lovelight and I felt that stepped all over the jam and cut it short. Then you get a Doin’ That Rag followed by Cryptical > Other One > Cryptical > Death Don’t. All well and good. Then they play a Morning Dew that is every bit as hot as the one from Cornell 5/8/77 (and isn’t listed in my Deadbase but I assume it appeared where they say it did).

The final disc is Alligator > Drums > Jam > Caution > Feedback > We Bid You Goodnight. Buckle up. (Death Don’t, Feedback, and Goodnight appear on Live Dead.) I’ve just been waiting for the proper time and, um, “circumstances” to tackle that last disc. It’s not something I want to approach casually.

Then after I’ve done that I’ll check out the DP 36 Dark Star again and see if I was right about that Bluegrass MLB Jam or if I was just imagining things.  

That Fillmore 69 box set is great.  I’ve mostly listened to the 28th and the 1st, but need to go back to the 2nd.  I remember being a big fan of the last disc.  
also, if I remember correctly, the New Potato Caboose on the bonus disc (6/8/69) has an epic Phil jam in it.

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I'm off to a late start tonight so I probably won't try to start a show.  I'll just hop around downloaded shows I have tonight.  I need a good road trip show though so I may do a little digging. I want to go with something I've never heard before so I'm leaning 4/17/83 from Brendan Byrne Arena - East Rutherford, NJ.

 

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There’s a woman who started working as a cashier at the liquor store in the old Dublin Kroger in the past several months. She’s got tattoos and kind of bright red dyed hair and has a freak thing going on. Despite my hippy past I never got a tattoo and only pierced one ear, my left of course, and haven’t worn an earring in close to 30 years at least. I used to have long hair that reached down to my lower back but cut it off in 1993 when I got a real job and wanted to sleep for 45 minutes longer before having to shower and dry my hair before going to work.

But I’m familiar with and comfortable around anyone who doesn’t conform to social conventions, from the pierced and dyed to the tattooed and oddly dressed. From the blue-haired guy at Taco Bell to the fuchsia-haired gal at the liquor store to the bearded transitional woman at the deli counter. If the Dead taught me anything it’s that we're all on our own trip and it’s all good so long as we’re not hurting each other.

Now, I figured she’s probably into different music than I am. My friends who were getting into tattoos in the 90’s weren’t Deadheads, although they were still Deadhead-friendly and could get off dropping acid and listening to Live Dead. I’m sure she has more tattoos than I can see but she has a visible mushroom tattoo on her chest and when I see a mushroom I think of the Allman Brothers. So the last time I was there to buy a bottle of gin I asked her about it. Lo and behold she does like the Allmans. And then she blew my mind by lifting up her sleeve and showing me the Jerry Garcia tattoo on her shoulder. It was pretty nice, too. The next time I go back I’ll ask her if I can take a pic and if she lets me then I’ll post it here.

I asked her if she ever saw a show and she said her mom saw a show when she was in utero. So, no. I asked her if she has a bootleg collection and she said yes. We need to discuss this further. (Or Furthur.) It’s been a hard year and I’ve been disappointed by “friends” who claim to like the Dead but couldn’t name more than a few songs by ear and who espouse political views that I wouldn’t expect from college educated people who smoke pot, work in the software industry, and claim to like the Dead. I have a large music collection and I feel like it would do me good to share it with someone who might appreciate it. If you’ve got a Jerry Garcia tattoo then you’re probably a prime candidate.

I don’t know her name. It might be “Angelle.” (And why wouldn’t it be if she was born to hippy parents?) But she seems nice and I feel like I want to give her the gift of music. Obviously I don’t know much about her or her tastes. I believe that if you only own one jazz record then it should be Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. I actually bought a used copy at Half Price Books for $4 that I thought I might give her (or someone) just because. But it was too scratched and skipped when it played and had to be returned.

Anyway, last night I dug into my box of Legion of Mary bootlegs thinking that might be a good way to go. Of course I could ask her first what she has, likes, and wants before giving her any discs. This was just for research purposes. I listened to parts of several really good recordings but they all had some tape cuts that made them less than perfect. When you’re an experienced Deadhead, you learn to overlook those little deficiencies. But if I’m gifting someone a recording who might not be accustomed to those shortcomings then I’m looking for the best quality I can find.

I stopped searching on 5/21/75. Man, this show kills. It’s better on CD than mp3 but if mp3 is the best you can do ten it’s better than nothing. Have at it  

 

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On 4/9/2021 at 10:56 PM, Hate said:

Tonight is 4/9/88 from The Centrum in Worcester, Mass.  This video has great fucking sound!

 

 

Man, always love "When I Paint My Masterpiece" cover.

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I got around to listening to that last disc of 3/2/69 last night. Hoo boy! That’s what it’s all about, man. I mean...goddamn.

I mentioned before that I thought the Lovelight kind of stepped on the Eleven jam earlier in the show. Maybe Pig was drunk that night because the only times when that last disc didn’t sizzle were when Pig was singing. Alligator seemed sort of lethargic until after Pig sang his last verse and then the energy immediately kicked in.

They move pretty quickly into Drums. Billy and Mickey do drum solos better than just about anyone. Drum solos could be overdone and abused by so many artists during the 70’s. I like the Allmans but the self-indulgent drum solos in Mountain Jam can get tedious and that “song” is a good example of why they earned the nickname, “a poor man’s Grateful Dead.” The first time I know of that the Allmans played Mountain Jam wasn’t until 4/11/70 in Cincinnati at Ludlow Garage. I was thinking about how much I enjoyed the Dead’s drum solos versus the Allmans’ but that wasn’t the last time I’d think about Mountain Jam while listening to this disc. “Drumz” wasn’t always great and, while I was attracted to the fact that the Dead had a portion of their second set devoted to drums and space when I was going to shows from ‘87 to ‘94, I prefer the earlier years when they just happened wherever and whenever. But I’ve heard them do some amazing things. I love the back and forth and the conversation between those two “rhythm devils.” When the rest of the band comes back on they go into a vocal counting off with a “Yaka-taka-taka” thing that I want to say I’ve also heard when they played with Hamza El Din in Egypt in ‘78.

Then they go into this 25 minute jam that is the jewel of this entire 4-night run. Oh. My. God. The Dead have great songs and great lyrics but when Bill Graham said that the band wasn’t the best at what they do, they’re the only ones who do what they do, this is what he was talking about. That jam is full band improvisation at its highest level. There were times when it was so beautiful it brought me to tears. There were other times when it made me laugh out loud because it was so ridiculously awesome. And just the mastery of it all. There were times where I felt it could go in all sorts of directions, including Mountain Jam. Did I hear a hint of that? Nah, couldn’t be, right? They could’ve gone into Not Fade Away. There was just this swirling madness and they were in complete control the whole time. You know the We Bid You Goodnight theme they play in Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad? Well, they went into it during that jam. They wouldn’t play GDTRFB until 10/10/70, more than a year-and-a-half later. But you could hear it coming and when it became realized it was just pure joy. That was one of those laugh out loud moments. And with a tear in the eye because it was all just so goddamn perfect. (Btw, GDTRFB appears in the 1940 film version of The Grapes of Wrath. Great movie. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.)

Then Pig comes back on and while he’s singing Caution, things aren’t that stimulating. But as soon as he’s done, things take off again. I don’t know if any Deadhead ever listed Caution as their favorite song. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone say they have a favorite version of Caution. But if there’s a better version out there, I can’t tell you what is. Such a jam. Great moments from Phil. And then Feedback. Man, what a trip that must have been. I would’ve loved to have experienced that live and in person with a headful of acid. I mean, I’ve done so listening to the Live Dead album but it’s different in context and I can only imagine what it must have been like to actually be there.

And then closing with We Bid You Goodnight is perfect, of course, and there’s really nothing more that needs to be said about that. It’s been said many times but there is NOTHING like a Grateful Dead show. Whew! What a ride. 

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About Steve Kimock and KVHW. My goal here is to turn you on to KVHW but there will be a few steps to get there so bear with me. (No pun intended.) They were a perfect jam band. We’ve talked about the historic “Phil & Phriends” shows from back on 4/15-17/99 before. That was a big deal because it was a collaboration between the Dead and Phish for the first time after Phish, who started out covering some Dead songs, tried to distance themselves and avoid the obvious comparisons. They built their own following. The first barrier was broken when Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters (with Furthur the bus on hand in the lot) showed up and performed with Phish at FLPAC in ‘97. (I was there and apparently there was some really good family acid going around but I missed out on that.)

But it takes more than one guitarist to fill in for Jerry. Kimock was the counterpart to Trey Anastasio to provide the more spacey, jazzy, raga parts that you’d normally get from Jerry. Trey was the big name and the big draw but 4/17/99 was the Kimock show, the night they played Dark Star and Kimock’s song It’s Up To You, my favorite of his compositions.

At some time in the 80’s Jerry was asked about up and coming guitarists and he mentioned Steve Kimock. He definitely has that west coast sound and his tone is similar to Jerry’s. In 1988, Jerry sat in with Zero, Kimock’s band, at a show in Golden Gate Park. I had barely gotten into the Dead by that point and wouldn’t hear about Kimock or Zero until years later. But you can see Jerry and Steve jam together here:

You can also see bassist Bobby Vega, the “V” in KVHW, in the background wearing sunglasses and a sleeveless white shirt. He’s a total badass. You can see him on the left in this screen grab:

 

 

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I posted a Legion of Mary show before. I first heard about Zero in 1997 when Robert Hunter wrote the lyrics for most of the songs on their new album. Martin (pronounced “Marteen,” RIP) Fierro, the sax and flute player from Legion of Mary was in the band. Okay, I’m in. A friend and I went to see their show at a local club, the kind of place where you don’t buy tickets in advance, you just pay at the door. I’d have to go through my ticket stubs but I’d be surprised if I have one for that show. We started off the show playing pool in the next room. We could see them and hear them just fine but we didn’t take it too seriously. Before long we put down our cues and went to watch Kimock (and Vega who is awesome and really entertaining to watch.) Here’s a good contrast between the studio version and the live version of the first track from that 1997 album.

 

 

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The show has been ok so far.  You can tell they've only played 5 shows up to this point and nothing within a month of this show.  It's still a Grateful Dead show, so by default heir worst show is still better than any show you've ever been to.

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It's been a hell of a day so I'll probably start drinking a little earlier than normal.  Tonight will be 4/23/77 from the Springfield Civic Center - Springfield, Massachusetts. 
 

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On 4/22/2021 at 5:10 PM, WhatTheBuck said:

About Steve Kimock and KVHW. My goal here is to turn you on to KVHW but there will be a few steps to get there so bear with me. (No pun intended.) They were a perfect jam band. We’ve talked about the historic “Phil & Phriends” shows from back on 4/15-17/99 before. That was a big deal because it was a collaboration between the Dead and Phish for the first time after Phish, who started out covering some Dead songs, tried to distance themselves and avoid the obvious comparisons. They built their own following. The first barrier was broken when Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters (with Furthur the bus on hand in the lot) showed up and performed with Phish at FLPAC in ‘97. (I was there and apparently there was some really good family acid going around but I missed out on that.)

But it takes more than one guitarist to fill in for Jerry. Kimock was the counterpart to Trey Anastasio to provide the more spacey, jazzy, raga parts that you’d normally get from Jerry. Trey was the big name and the big draw but 4/17/99 was the Kimock show, the night they played Dark Star and Kimock’s song It’s Up To You, my favorite of his compositions.

At some time in the 80’s Jerry was asked about up and coming guitarists and he mentioned Steve Kimock. He definitely has that west coast sound and his tone is similar to Jerry’s. In 1988, Jerry sat in with Zero, Kimock’s band, at a show in Golden Gate Park. I had barely gotten into the Dead by that point and wouldn’t hear about Kimock or Zero until years later. But you can see Jerry and Steve jam together here:

You can also see bassist Bobby Vega, the “V” in KVHW, in the background wearing sunglasses and a sleeveless white shirt. He’s a total badass. You can see him on the left in this screen grab:

 

 

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Thanks for the reminder about It’s Up to You.  That and My Favorite things were my two favorite things from that Phil and Friends show.  
 

I needed some good unfamiliar instrumental music while working on the last bit of a Master’s degree.  I have been streaming some KVHW on the Relisten app and am enjoying it.  
 

The AUD tapes are fantastic.  A bunch were transferred by Charlie Miller and that is always a good sign.

A few years ago I saw Bob play at the Moody with the guys from the National and Kimock.  I was disappointed that he did not take too many solos since I enjoy his playing whenever I come across it.

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Right now I am listening to KVHW 7/31/99.  Really good.

earlier I dug out my Europe 72 Vol 2 vinyl.  Every side of this one slams.  The Good Lovin has such a great groove and Pigpen’s improv is awesome.  It is shocking this did not make the Hundred Year Hall release.  What a show if this and the Dire Wolf were scraps that would not fit.  
The slowish laid back Deal is so different from later versions.  It doesn’t hit any peaks, but the groove is perfect.  So many great things on here.  I think it topped Vol. 1.

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I am going to check out 4/24/78 from Normal, IL today (Dave’s Picks 7).  So many songs from this show rate pretty high on heady version (The music Never Stopped, Me and My Uncle>Big River, Brown Eyed Women, S>F, Werewolves of London, etc), but I never have been able to get into this Spring 78 tour.  Not sure why, but I think its 43rd anniversary is a good reason to give it another chance.

 

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Continuing on...

1997 was a high time in the post-Jerry world and the jam band world in general. Jerry was obviously the man. But kudos to Bob Weir for being the first to continue on after Jerry died by forming Ratdogi and keeping the tradition alive while writing new and interesting music.

No one is a bigger Bobby fan than I am. But it was in 1997 that David Gans, host of The Grateful Dead Hour on NPR and author of Playing in the Band, the first book I read about the Dead and the best one that was available for years, convinced Phil Lesh to get back to playing music. In late ‘97 I got to see Phil play with Gans’ band at The Ashkenaz, a small club in Berkeley, and even won a 2-CD copy of a couple Grateful Dead Hour shows in a drawing. I never win anything. That show was later a Dick’s Picks release so, yeah, of course. We also saw Phil perform at Maritime Hall on that trip with a host of other Bay Area musicians. I can’t recall who all. I’d have to look it up.

Anyway, I dug out those GD Hour discs I’d won for the first time in years and, lo and behold, they were from that Philly Spectrum show on 9/21/72 which later became DP 36! LOL. I thought that was an amazing coincidence. They only contain the first set (with some extra filler). The highlight of the second set was that monster Dark Star > Morning Dew (more on that later) and there’s no way they could’ve fit that all in between commercial breaks. But if that doesn’t blow your mind then I’m sorry for getting your hopes up because it certainly blew mine.

 

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Then in 1998 we got The Other Ones with a great album and tour, with Kimock on guitar (and, to a much lesser extent Mark Karan who I knew from Ratdog and I wasn’t a big fan, he was just okay and I always felt like maybe Bobby chose him so there wouldn’t be a guitarist in his band who could upstage him, but that’s beside the point). They had Bobby and Mickey and Phil and also Bruce Hornsby on keys and Dave Ellis on sax. They had some great new tunes they could jam on. It was awesome and the closest thing I’d seen to the actual Dead since I gave up on them in ‘94.

We bought tickets to see them at the Henry J. Kaiser in Oakland to see them on NYE that year but then Phil had to cancel in order to get his liver transplant. So they rearranged the whole show with String Cheese Incident opening the show with an acoustic set. Ratdog, Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum, and Hot Tuna played. They had a big collective set at midnight and then SCI closed with a late electric set.

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KVHW hadn’t been around that long yet. I hadn’t heard them but I’d seen setlists. I didn’t know who Alan Hertz, the “H” in KVHW was, but I damn well knew who the “W” was because I’m a big Zappa fan and the inclusion of Ray White in a Dead family band was really intriguing. I’d also seen that they were covering City of Tiny Lites. Oh, baby.

KVHW wasn’t playing on the main stage. They were playing upstairs in the “ballroom”so I ditched my friends to go check them out. It was a long wait in line to get up there but, when I finally got there, it was the coolest space I’d ever seen. It didn’t hurt that I could get a gin ‘n’ tonic from a full bar instead of the shit beer available downstairs. Or that I was tripping balls. That ballroom was nothing but marble floor, walls, and ceiling and they had liquid light projectors covering every surface. You know, those big pulsing blobs of color that you see in old films from the 60’s. And that sound was just so, so sweet. Those four pieces just fit together so perfectly. I moved up close to the front of the stage, packed a bowl of some good homegrown and shared it with the stranger next to me, and stuffed the plastic cup from my drink into my pocket when I was done because I wasn’t going to throw it on the floor or go looking for a trash can. They just blew my mind.

My only regret is that at some point I started thinking I should get back to my friends. What was I thinking? I could’ve stayed until the end and still gotten back downstairs before midnight. So I left without hearing them close with City of Tiny Lights. Goddamnit. But still, that was one of my all time top concert going experiences.

They were such an amazing band. When I say they were a “perfect jam band” I mean that every song was jammed out totally different every time. Not like how the Dead played Me & My Uncle differently every time. But every song had full band improvisation every single time. And they were only around for roughly two years and never once entered the studio. They were an improbable lineup that originally just got together to play out live and jam but they hit it off so well that they became a band. Ray White was amazing with his rhythm guitar and vocals but he kind of got more than he bargained for. I don’t think he ever thought it would grow into a national touring band and eventually his demons got the better of him. He failed to show up at some shows and they had to kick him out of the band.

They had the best live recordings because they let the tapers actually put their mics on stage and record directly from the monitors. And they’re all up at archive.org. I’ve got most on CD but not all. It’s worthwhile to start from the beginning and listen to the incredible energy and chemistry of those early shows. Man, what it must have been like to have been there for those.

Here’s a link to that first show I saw on 12/31/98:

https://archive.org/details/kvhw1998-12-31.shnf

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About that Dark Star > Morning Dew from 9/21/72. Back in the day I would’ve charted it out and we nerds would’ve obsessed over all the intricacies with notes on the timing of every movement. But I can confirm that it was definitely a MLB jam that was at least being foreshadowed at the 30 minute mark and by 34:00 - 35:00 it was full on MLB. And I think it’s fair to say it had at least a bluegrass twang to it. It was around that time that Jerry really asserted himself coming out of a more spacey jam that preceded it.

That was a beautiful piece of music. Jerry wasn’t too aggressive through most of it and neither was Keith so we got a lot of interplay between Bobby and Phil. Phil is always a major player in Dark Star because it’s a legitimate jazz tune where the bass carries the beat and the drums add color. So we got a lot of great interaction between the core four - Jerry, Bobby, Phil, and Billy. That whole “suite” (if you want to call it that) was very much an ensemble effort. It was pretty sweet, pun intended.

Maybe it was partially due to its placement in the setlist because it opened the second set instead of closing it. But that’s just a fine piece of music. It’s just over 12 minutes before Jerry sings the first verse of Dark Star, I don’t recall him ever singing the second verse. And the Morning Dew was the same without it being the ripping Jerry closer to the second set like we often hear. Just a beautiful song played with maybe a little more tenderness than the last one I commented on and compared to the one from 5/8/77.

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It was such a beautiful day today that I spent most of it outside.  I went to the driving range with my son after some errands this morning and then cooked fajitas during a spectacular evening.  I put on 4/25/77 while I played in the pool and then grilled to a perfect Texas spring sunset.  Today was a very good day! I'm going to finish it off with some bourbon, a bowl, and a little Grateful Dead. 

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This is on tap tonight.  4/27/77 from the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ.  This was the third night of a three night run at the Capitol Theater. 

 

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