Jesse Jarnow

Archive for February, 2020

hampton grease band, 1967-1973

Hampton Grease Band
Lost Live Grease: a chronology, 1967-1973

a work in progress

(please comment with all corrections/memories/additions or email!)

Hampton Grease Band: Harold Kelling, Jerry Fields, Mike Holbrook, Glenn Phillips, Bruce Hampton

Notes: Dates & setlist information from Great Speckled Bird archive, Glenn Phillips’s fantastic memoir Echoes: The Hampton Grease Band, My Life, My Music and How I Stopped Having Panic Attacks, and elsewhere. Tons of further info & stories about the Atlanta ’60s-’70s music scene available via The Strip Project. Except for circulating tapes (7/5/70, 5/7/72), all setlists are approximate.

Also including dates for spin-off bands the Stump Brothers (Glenn Phillips, Mike Holbrook, Jerry Fields), Avenue of Happiness (fronted by Mik Copas with Bruce Hampton on guitar), and the Starving Braineaters (Harold Kelling’s post-Hampton Grease Band project).

1967

fall ’67 William Franklin Dykes High School, Atlanta, GA
Fixin’ To Die, Turn On Your Lovelight, I’m So Glad, Agony

fall ’67 Poison Apple Room, Stables Bar and Lounge, Atlanta, GA
jams with harmonica player Bill Dicey
patron pulls gun and demands James Brown cover, band plays Popcorn, parts 1 & 2

 

1968

summer 1968 (left to right: Harold Kelling, Glenn Phillips, Bruce Hampton, Charlie Phillips)

early ’68 Catacombs, Atlanta, GA

spring ’68 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
weekly free shows

7/13/68 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Piedmont Park Be-In with Celestial Voluptuous Banana, Strange Brew, Danny & Jim, Toni Ganim, Guerilla Theatre

9/28/68 Catacombs, Atlanta, GA

10/xx/68 University of the South, Suwanee, GA
opening for Procul Harum

11/8/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA
with underground movies

11/9/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA
with underground movies

11/15/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA
with underground films
Rock Around the Clock

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 11/18/68: “The band was working under at least one handicap (a new drummer)… Everything considered, Grease was very together Friday night — I particularly remember several tripartite guitar improvisations that transcended the dimensions of stage, band, instruments, performers and audience. A high point was Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock,’ played almost straight and proving just how really hip the Grease Band is.”

11/28/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA

11/29/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA

11/30/68 Peachtree Art Theater, Atlanta, GA

 

1969

Piedmont Park, 8/31/69

1/4/69 Revolution Club, Marietta, GA
with Radar

1/25/69 Revolution Club, Marietta, GA
with the Glorified Square

2/14/69 The Spot, Atlanta, GA
Discovery Inc. presents. With Radar.

3/7/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with Leonda, billed as the Incredible Hampton Grease Band

3/8/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with Leonda, billed as the Incredible Hampton Grease Band
Rock Around the Clock (or previous night)

3/21/69 Bloody Eagle, Atlanta, GA
with the Fifth Order

Great Speckled Bird, 3/31/69

3/29/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Great Speckled Bird 1st Birthday celebration with Crust, Smoke, Nail, Little Phil and the Night Shadow, Toni Ganim, Anne Romaine

4/10/69 Underground Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Banana, Perpetual Motion, Electric Collage Light Show

4/11/69 The Spot, Atlanta, GA

4/14/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/15/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/16/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/17/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/18/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/19/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/25/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/26/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

5/11/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with Allman Brothers Band

5/24/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/25/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/26/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/27/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/28/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/29/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/30/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/31/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

6/14/69 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

7/7/69 Unitarian Universalist Church, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, billed as “Lecture & Music: Can Discord Be Beautiful?” with Mr. Hoffman

7/7/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with the Grateful Dead, Chicago Transit Authority, Spirit, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, It’s A Beautiful Day, Allman Brothers Band

7/18/69 High Mausoleum, Atlanta, GA
Element, accompanied by Richard Robinson (electronics), with Frank Hughes lights

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 7/28/69: “A free-flowing synthesis of light, sound, and action, Element featured the addition of Richard Robinson’s electronic music to the Hampton Grease Band, and backed by one of Frank Hughes’ fine lightshows… The Grease Band, aging like wine in a barrel, played relaxed and mellow and yet upon occasion got up and took right off. Especially tasty was some of Harold Kelling’s lead guitar work. It is said that they were even better on Saturday night.”

7/19/69 High Mausoleum, Atlanta, GA
Element, accompanied by Richard Robinson (electronics), with Frank Hughes lights

8/5/69 Georgian Terrace Hotel, Atlanta, GA
with the Allman Brothers Band


Hampton Grease Band with Electric Collage Light Show, 8/18/69 (more here)

8/19/69 Georgian Terrace Hotel, Atlanta, GA
with Know Body Else, Fear Itself Booger Band, Electric Collage Light Show

 

8/31/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
billed as the Original Hampton Grease Band; with Robin
Turn On Your Lovelight

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 9/8/69: “The band is set up then and they begin a long instrumental riff, relaxed and feeling out the day, getting themselves together and the audience together with them. Harold Kelling’s long easy guitar notes climb up and soar out over insistent rhythms working through bass, drums, and second guitar. The music is alive and the audience is betting behind it now as the band finishes out the number and Bruce Hampton takes the mike, tightens the tempo and starts to take care of business, laying down hard-driving lyrics that soon have the crowd swaying, clapping, and then some are up dancing. And on. The music and the gathering went steadily up from there. Shouting and stomping vocals. Beautiful stretched-out instruments, silver singing guitar solos beating against the raindrops. ‘Gonna Let My Love Light Shine.’ Blues. Soul. Rock. The drummer leans into it. Incredible counterpoint guitar work between Glenn Phillips and Harold Kelling, perfectly matched, pushing each other on out, exploding in sound, exploding the people who are following the music now like a jazz audience, applauding riff after riff.”

9/7/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA

9/14/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
police riot; band plays without Bruce Hampton

9/21/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Mini-Pop Festival with Booger Band, Brickwall, Radar, Sweet Younguns
Wolverton Mountain, San Antonio Rose, Rock of Ages

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 9/22/69: “The Hampton Grease Band blew everybody’s minds with its sounds, and then brought out a 16-year old black saxophonist, showing a healthy disrespect for the labels we often put on our music and contributing an afternoon of Bill Haley and Pharoah Sanders, The Ventures and John Coltrane.”

9/27/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with the Hand Band, Boogie Chillun, Lee Moses, Allman Brothers Band, Joe South

9/28/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Jam (feat. members of Allman Brothers, The Second Coming, Mother Earth), unknown group, The Younguns, Lee Moses, Allman Brothers Band
Wolverton Mountain

10/18/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Piedmont Music Festival with Allman Brothers Band, Mother Earth, Boz Scaggs, the Second Coming, the Booger Band, Radar, Jackie Wilson

11/21/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with David Boice

11/22/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with David Boice

11/23/69 Georgian Terrace Hotel, Atlanta, GA
Turkey Trip with the Younguns, Allman Brothers Band (originally scheduled at Duke Tire Co.)
Hendon, Charlie, Halifax, Has Anybody Seen My Gal, Reelin’ and Rockin’, Wolverton Mountain
E: Rock Around the Clock

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 12/1/69: “Just let me say in that their performance at last week’s Turkey Trip, the Hampton Grease Band outdid themselves, performing a mostly all-new set of extended musical explorations that included a longer ‘Mr. Bones,’ and ode to ‘Charlie,’ an incredible hymn to the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia (its lyrics sounded like they were taken from the pages of the World Book Encyclopedia!), a great moment by Hampton on (of all things) ‘Has Anybody Seen My Gal?’ in which he combined vocals with dance and comedy and reached the level that he was worked for these many years, unbelievable instrumentalizations by Glenn and Harold, Charlie and Ted, and a closing ‘Wolverton Mountain’ that drove the crowd into hysterics and brought Hampton & friends back for a fantastic ‘Rock Around the Clock’ — All Hail the Sounds of Suck Rock!”

12/11/69 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/xx/69 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA

12/18/69 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 12/22/69: “It would be nice for The Bird if the Hampton Grease Band would start doing some less than incredible stuff — our writers are exhausted from thinking of superlatives. But judging from their Standing Room Only five-hour set at the Twelfth Gate on Thursday night (we even postponed our own Coop meeting so we could go and listen), the Grease Band evidently intends to get better and better and even better. What can we say except that this was the largest crowd ever drawn to that establishment (same for the Cellar Door the week before), and for a 50¢ charge, Bruce Hampton & Co. did one of the best things we’ve ever heard. Rumor is that this will be a weekly rendezvous of the Twelfth Gate and the Grease Band ($1 charge), so our advice is–whenever you see the name of this band, go, listen, be thankful for one of the best musical collaborations in the country.”

12/22/69 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Community Center benefit

1970

Sports Arena, 1/25/70

 

1/xx/70 Atlanta, GA
Mike Holbrook joins.

1/xx/70 Charlotte, NC

1/xx/70 New York City, NY
studio demos
Hendon, Evans, Hey Old Lady/Bert’s Song

1/25/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with Fleetwood Mac, Radar, River People
Jam, Rock Around the Clock

Jerry Fields: “It was sold out, and any other band would be going, ‘Oh, this is our big break.’ Instead, we go out and we jam for half an hour. No key, nothing — I just count to four, and we go.”

Clifford Endres, in Great Speckled Bird, 2/2/70: “The light-fingered Grease grope, however, is another order of magnitude – or something. The immortal Hampton, leader of the grope, materialized in the limelight to lead off the set performed the ultimate putdown of any and all guitar solos that ever were or will be, including Hendrix, Page and Townsend! And it totally confused whatever musical expectations the audience might have had. Captain ornu Greaseheart then took a saxophone and the band into an egg-sucking number which betrayed influences of Coltrane, Zappa, Pharoah Sanders, and AM radio feedback. Grunts, yelp, words, harmonies, discords, rhythms and counterpoints welded the audience together in miasma of jelly. Glen [sic] Phillips and Harold Kelling, amply supported by the wild drumming of Jerry Field [sic] and the elaborate bass figures of Mike Holbrook stretched into an amazing play of lyrical guitar lines that seemed to have no horizon.
‘They play music that sounds like music feels (!),’ said the beautiful blonde, stoned. Well, it got me off said the beautiful blonde, stoned. Well, it got me off, too. Great to hear how much tighter they have got since last hearing them, some months ago. Apparently the set was cut short become of time hassles, but Hampton closed with a ‘Rock Around the Clock’ that brought the audience to its feet–some of them even getting religion, or so it looked–and the farthest out band around these parts left the stage.”

1/30/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/31/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/19/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/20/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/27/70 The Zodiac, Atlanta, GA

3/19/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/20/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/21/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/22/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/29/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with What Brothers, River People, Ruffin

Charlie Cushing in Great Speckled Bird, 3/30/70: “Finally, the Hampton Grease Band, fresh from its sold out performances at Aquarius ’70! The band has added a sixth member, Bill, who reads newspapers (to himself).”

4/5/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with John Mayall, Chakra

4/17/70 The Warehouse, New Orleans, LA
with Country Joe and the Fish

Glenn Phillips: “We started the concert by mimicking the F-I-S-H cheer, shouting at the audience, ‘Give me an S. Give me an O. Give me an F. Give me an A. What’s that spell? SOFA!'”

4/18/70 The Zodiac, Atlanta, GA
with Interprize

4/24/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

4/26/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
Benefit for Midtown Alliance and Community Center, with Radar, Stump Brothers, Axis, Perpetual Motion, Brick Wall, Georgia Power Kompany, What Brothers, Ruffin

4/29/70 Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH
with Mountain
Wolverton Mountain

4/30/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Allman Brothers Band

Allman Brothers cancel after road manager Twiggs Lyndon is detained for stabbing a Buffalo club owner over nonpayment.

5/1/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Tony Williams’ Lifetime feat. Jack Bruce

5/2/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Tony Williams’ Lifetime feat. Jack Bruce

5/3/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, CA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers. Community Benefit. Bruce Hampton joins for several songs.

5/8/70 Glenn Memorial Auditorium, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
with B.B. King and Pegasus Light Show

5/10/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with the Grateful Dead (plus most of the Allman Brothers)
Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey?, Evans

5/16/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/17/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

5/23/70 Dobbs Hall, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Mik Copas sings with band.

5/30/70 Alumni Memorial Building, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Benefit for the Atlanta Mobe. With the Electric Collage Light Show.
Mik Copas sings with band.

6/6/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
6/7/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show. Stump Brothers at Spring Peace Festival with Axis, Ether, Celestial Voluptuous Banana, Country Pye, Eric Quincy Tate, Light Brigade, Eros, Robyn, Perpetual Motion, Ruffin, What Brothers, Stuff, White Lie, Stonehenge, Last Era, Bremrod, Booger Jam, Total Electric, Corn Cobb Jam, Pegasus Lantern Light Show

6/20/70 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA

Hampton Grease Band, Piedmont Park, 1970

6/21/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show. Stump Brothers with Axis, Celestial Voluptuous Banana, Eric Quincy Tate, Nancy Harmon & The Victory Voices, Robyn, Twelve Eyes, What Brothers, White Lie, Pegasus Lantern Light Show

6/28/70 Chastain Park, Atlanta, GA
Main Event with Radar, the Glass Menagerie, Howard Hanger Trio, Robert Edwin, Linda Harrell, Frank Boggs, Singing Mothers

6/28/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
billed as Hampton Grease Jam, with Chakra, Milan, Flint.

7/5/70 Middle Georgia Raceway, Byron, GA
Atlanta International Pop Festival. With Allman Brothers Band, Radar, Savage Grace, Gypsy, Goose Creek Symphony, Ballin’ Jack, B.B. King, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Procul Harum, John B. Sebastian, Mountain. Hampton Grease Band played twice.
Halifax, unknown, Maria, Hendon, Wolverton Mountain, Treat Her Right > Bony Maronie
E: I’ll Go Crazy, Rock Around the Clock

7/10/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/11/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/18/70 Love Valley Music Festival, Love Valley, NC
with Johnny Jenkins, Tony Joe White, Donnydale, Catfish, Freedom ’70, Peace Core
Ascendant

Jerry Fields: “The scariest gig I remember doing was Love Valley — it was like a redneck Woodstock. Guys were walking around with six-packs of beer on their hips and shooting fireworks at ground level, like parallel to the ground. We went on after a group that performed naked, and they turned on their fog machine for their last song, ‘A Little Help From My Friends.’ Then we came out and opened with ‘Ascendant’ [by John Coltrane bassist Jimmy Garrison, on Elvin Jones’s The Ultimate]. At the end of the song, it was total silence — there was no crowd response at all. There were 75,000 people there, and they didn’t react. It was a really weird feeling — it was like we were in a void.”

7/24/70 Trinity Presbyterian Church Coffee House, Atlanta, GA

7/28/70 Maxwell’s Coffee House, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

8/1/70 AMB Auditorium, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Avenue of Happiness

8/7/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Radar

8/8/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Radar

8/13/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/14/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/15/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/20/70 Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, GA
with Fleetwood Mac

Great Speckled Bird, 8/31/70: “The real show that night was the Hampton Grease Band and their traveling asylum—two or three dozen people in various activities: reading, sewing on a flag, meditating, watching TV, and two go-go girls dancing in black tights, and the band played on! Unbelievable was the guitarist from Avenue of Happiness (which is a whole other trip in itself) coming out and playing a chainsaw during one frantic song. The playing included an attack on a log! The Grease has never been so insane, except maybe the night they flooded the Catacombs by ripping out the plumbing by swinging from the pipes! Another in the continuing saga of ‘Thick Grease.'”

summer 1970

8/27/70 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

8/28/70 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

8/29/70 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

9/12/70 Pittman Park, Atlanta, GA
Festifall, with Radar, Black Traffic

9/12/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/13/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/18/70 AMB Auditorium, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
with Stump Brothers, Avenue of Happiness

9/19/70 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA

9/24/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/25/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/26/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Avenue of Happiness feat. Bruce Hampton on guitar

9/27/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with Allman Brothers Band, Eric Quincy Tate, Avenue of Happiness, Stump Brothers, Chakra

9/29/70 West Georgia Fairgrounds, Carrollton, GA

10/11/70 Memorial Coliseum, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
with Three Dog Night
Apache, Evans, Bony Maronie

10/15/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

10/16/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

10/30/70 Apostolic Studios, New York City, NY
10/31/70 Apostolic Studios, New York City, NY
11/1/70 Apostolic Studios, New York City, NY
Music To Eat sessions
Halifax, Hendon, Evans

11/14/70 Trinity Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

11/20/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Avenue of Happiness, Screaming Gypsy Bandits, Balderdash

11/21/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Avenue of Happiness, Screaming Gypsy Bandits, Balderdash

11/22/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Winter

11/26/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/27/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/28/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/6/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

12/11/70 Memorial Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Anti-War Benefit. With Fifth Order, Aurora Light Show

12/19/70 Trinity Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

12/23/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

12/24/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/25/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/28/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

12/31/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

1971

Municipal Auditorium, 1/16/71

1/3/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

1/4/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/5/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/6/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/7/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/8/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/9/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/10/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/11/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Little Feat

1/12/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Little Feat

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 1/25/71: “On the bill with Little Feat were the Stump Brothers, one of the Hampton Grease Band’s spin-off groups and always a smile to hear. The Stump Bros. are good musicians and generally play good music which runs from solid rock to primitive jazz with lots of echoes from the Fifties especially in the horn riffs. But this night (Tuesday) John Ivey had joined them on bass. I don’t know whether the addition is permanent or not but I hope it is, because Ivey’s playing took the whole group into another dimension of music. More than technical mastery of his instrument he possesses a musical conception of the bass that is way out front, in both roots and vision, of almost everybody around since Albert Stinson.”

1/13/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Little Feat

1/15/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Fox Watson

 

1/16/71 Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, GA
with Allman Brothers Band
unknown new songs, Evans, Rock Around the Clock, Bony Maroney

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 1/25/71: “They turned in a fine set, introducing some new material in the tradition of their tight and complicated best, moving from rock into free jazz breaks a la Roland Kirk with flutes, sticks, and weird little noisemakers and putting down some electronic music on top, too. Strange how the shadow of Zappa peers out from the music of both Hampton and Little Feat in different ways, but it does. The Greasers went on into a great parody of Detroit rock, did their old standby ‘Jim Evans,’ and wound up with ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and ‘Bony Maroney’ just so we wouldn’t forget where they come from — rock classicsville. Their record will be out soon on Columbia, and as an indication of just how good they are–which we who hear them so often tend to forget when the shock of surprise wears off–listen to WREK and the mix they have of ‘Jim Evans’ from the forthcoming album. It relates to the schlock around it like pearls to swine.”

2/4/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/5/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/5/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

2/6/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/21/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/25/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/26/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/27/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

4/2/71 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, Avenue of Happiness

4/3/71 Memorial Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Anti-War Benefit. HGB featuring Wesson Oil, with Stump Brothers, Henley Walron’s John, Core Dump, Aurora Light Show

4/25/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

4/29/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

4/30/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/1/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/2/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/22/71 Gainesville Music Festival, Archer, FL (maybe)
5/23/71 Gainesville Music Festival, Archer, FL (maybe)
with RGF, Power, Stonehenge, Joe Taylor, Celebration, Image, Mudcrutch

6/5/71 Fillmore East, New York, NY
with Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Head Over Heels. First show with Syd Stegall (keyboards).

6/6/71 Fillmore East, New York, NY
with Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Head Over Heels

6/13/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

6/xx/71 Atlanta, GA

Glenn Phillips: “When the band returned to Atlanta, we played at a club owned by a local politician… The next day, when we went back to the club to get our equipment, we discovered that the owner had shut the place down because of financial problems and had locked our equipment inside.” Band is on local news.

 

7/1/71 Central Theatre, Passaic, NJ
with Alice Cooper

7/9/71 Eastown Theatre, Detroit, MI
with Bloodrock, Suite Charity

7/10/71 Eastown Theater, Detroit, MI
with Bloodrock, Suite Charity

 

Atlanta Municipal Auditorium, 7/17/71

7/17/71 Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, GA
First show without Harold Kelling, with Allman Brothers Band, afternoon show only.
new song, Pump Face, Evans

7/22/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/23/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/24/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/25/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Record World, 9/25/71

8/25/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/26/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/27/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/28/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/29/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/30/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/30/71 WKCR, Columbia University, New York City, NY
interview

9/3/71 Winston-Salem Convention Center, Winston-Salem, NC

9/4/71 Hickory Club, Hickory, NC

9/5/71 Hickory Club, Hickory, NC

9/16/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/17/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/18/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

10/8/71 J&J Center, Athens, GA
with Terry Melton and the Laughing Disaster, Milkweed, Acme Blues Band, Smokewood

10/15/71 Point After Club, Hickory, NC

10/16/71 Point After Club, Hickory, NC

10/17/71 Point After Club, Hickory, NC

11/1/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Lawton Singh, Iskon

11/26/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/27/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/30/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness; last show with HGB-related lineup

1972

Head Rest, 8/12/72

1/7/72 Marietta Teen Center, Marietta, GA

1/13/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/14/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/15/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/16/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/4/72 The Rat, Gainesville, FL

2/5/72 The Rat, Gainesville, FL

2/20/72 Double Calf, Louisville, FL
with Buster Brown

2/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/26/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

3/xx/72 college, SC [maybe]
with Bette Midler and Barry Manilow

3/9/72 Student Center, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
with Sewer System, Brer Rabbit, Hydra

3/13/72 People’s Place, Atlanta, GA

3/16/72 Music Connection, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Atlanta Rhythm Section

3/17/72 Music Connection, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Atlanta Rhythm Section

3/18/72 Music Connection, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Atlanta Rhythm Section

3/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

3/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Harold Kelling & the Starving Braineaters

4/23/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/1/72 One Eyed Jack’s, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/2/72 One Eyed Jack’s, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/3/72 One Eyed Jack’s, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/6/72 Pickens High School, Jasper, GA

5/7/72 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with Mahavishnu Orchestra
unknown instrumental > Peter Gunn Theme > 7000 Tears, Alphonso and Louise, King of the Road, Pump Face, Creator > unknown instrumental, Knowing You, Tom Corn
E: Rock Around the Clock
broadcast several weeks later on WREK

5/11/72 North Springs, GA

5/12/72 Andalusia High School, Andalusia, AL

5/26/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/27/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

6/10/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

7/14/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/15/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Hubbler
“Hubbler” included on Glenn Phillips’s Lost At Sea (1975)

7/28/72 People’s Place, Atlanta, GA

8/12/72 Head Rest, Atlanta, GA
with the Chambers Brothers
I Go Crazy, Sunshine Of Your Love parody

8/18/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/19/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/20/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
broadcast live on WREK

8/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

8/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

8/26/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

9/2/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: jam with Glenn Phillips, Mike Holbrook, Jerry Fields, Bill Porter, Starving Braineaters, John Ivey (bass), Al Smith (saxophone), Lance Mohammed (saxophone), Bill Breeze (vibraphone), Tim Embry (electric violin)
broadcast live on WREK

9/7/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/8/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/28/72 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with Cheech & Chong

10/5/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

10/6/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

10/7/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

courtesy Bill Hardin

10/14/72 B & B Ranch, Duluth, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters, with Fletcher and the Piedmonts

10/20/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

10/21/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

10/29/72 Lake Spivey, GA
Concert For Bangladesh, with Wet Willie, Eric Quincy Tate, Stonehenge, Road Apple, Kudzu

11/2/72 Mississippi John’s Coffee House, Williams Center, Georgia State University, Statesboro, GA

11/3/72 Recital Hall, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
broadcast live on WRAS

11/22/72 Municipal Auditorium, Panama City, FL
Thanksgiving festival. With Mourning Glory, The Machine

11/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/12/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/13/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/14/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/15/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/16/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/17/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/21/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

1973

1/4/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/5/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/6/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/2/73 Last Resort, Athens, GA

2/3/73 Last Resort, Athens, GA

2/9/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/10/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/23/73 Great Southeast Music Hall
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

2/24/73 Great Southeast Music Hall
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

3/2/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA

3/3/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA

3/10/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

3/11/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

3/24/73 Jekyll Island, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters, with Hydra

3/31/73 Recital Hall, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
final Hampton Grease Band show, featuring a marching band and appearance by Harold Kelling.

4/6/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Kudzu

4/7/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Kudzu

4/8/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Kudzu

5/4/73 Country Store Restaurant, Athens, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

7/31/73 Coffee House, West Georgia University, Carrollton, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

 

Me too, Pat. Me, too.
Great Speckled Bird, 1/21/74

 

APPENDIX: Hampton Grease Band songlist

Originals:

Agony
Alphonso and Louise
Charlie
Creator
Evans (a. Egyptian Beaver, b. Evans)
Halifax
Hey Old Lady/Bert’s Song
Knowing You [speculative title]
Lawton
Hendon (a. Spray Paint, b. Major Bones, c. Sewell Park, d. improvisation)
Hubbler
Maria
Pump Face
Six
7000 Tears [speculative title]
Tom Corn [speculative title]
Upper and Lower Dresden

Covers:

Apache (The Shadows)
Ascendant (Jimmy Garrison)
Bony Maronie (Larry Williams)
Fixin’ To Die (traditional)
Has Anybody Seen My Gal (California Ramblers)
I’ll Go Crazy (James Brown)
I’m So Glad (Skip James)
King of the Road (Roger Miller)
Reelin’ and Rockin’ (Chuck Berry)
Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley)
Rock of Ages (traditional)
San Antonio Rose (Merle Haggard)
Sunshine Of Your Love parody (Cream)
That’ll Be The Day (Buddy Holly)
Treat Her Right (Roy Head & the Traits)
Turn On Your Lovelight (Bobby “Blue” Bland)
Walk Don’t Run (The Ventures)
Wipe Out (The Surfaris)
Wolverton Mountain (Claude King/Merle Kilgore)
Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey? (Hughie Cannon)

new fillmore east/n.f.e. theatre/village east/villageast/the saint, 1972-1988 (fillmore east, post-bill graham)

(Photo by John Rosenthal)

Also very much a work in progress!

Originally opened as the Commodore Theatre in 1925-1926, used for Yiddish vaudeville and movies, the auditorium at 105 Second Avenue in Manhattan was most famous as the Fillmore East, which Bill Graham operated from 1968 to 1971. But the room had multiple other lives as a music venue, including the Village Theatre, from 1965-1968.

After Bill Graham closed down the Fillmore East in summer 1971, it sat vacant for barely a year. In July 1972, Frank Morgenstern purchased the building (Billboard, 7/22/72, p. 16), announced plans to open as the Village East, but sold the building by fall, before putting on a single show (Rolling Stone, 10/26/72). From November 1972 until early 1973, shows were booked as Village East/Villageast.

In 1974, the building was purchased by the Brooklyn Yeshiva. Later that year Barry Stuart (aka Barry Stein) reopened the venue as the New Fillmore East, but changed it to N.F.E. Theatre after Graham’s disapproval, and shows lasted into early 1975. Several famous bands used it as a practice space, as well. In the ’80s, it became one of Manhattan’s last pre-AIDS mega-discos, The Saint, with the venue entrance possibly moving to 223 E. 6th Street, and hosted

Please post corrections, comments, memories, etc., or email me at link on the right, including with information about for DJs, light artists, and other performers at The Saint.

Village East/Villageast

November 17, 1972
Virgin, rock opera by Father John O’Reilly (opening)

Following three-city promotional tour (Record World, 11/25/72, p. 27).

December 15, 1972
Bloodrock, Elephant’s Memory, Trapeze

Went until dawn, per Billboard. Trapeze has their van and gear stolen (Cash Box, 12/30/72, p. 30).

December 16, 1972
Bloodrock, Foghat, The Fabulous Rhinestones

December 22, 1972
New Groups of the ’70s to Rock the Ages

December 23, 1972
New York Dolls, Teenage Lust, Eric Emerson with the Magic Tramps

December 27, 1972
Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Estus

December 28, 1972
Steve Miller Band, Seatrain, Speedway Johnny (early show only), Rick Roberts (late show only)

Reviewed in Billboard, 1/20/73, p. 18.

December 30-31, 1972
Roy Buchanan, Crazy Horse, Full Moon, Speedway Johnny (early show, 12/30 only), Rick Roberts (late show, 12/30 only)

Reviewed in New York Times, 1/1/73; in Cash Box, 1/13/73 (p. 24).

January 12-13, 1973
Miles Davis, Paul Winter Consort

In Miles’s band: Reggie Lucas, Cedric Lawson, Bala Krishna, Mike Henderson, Badal Roy, Mtume, Al Foster, Dave Liebman. Miles returns to the stage after a car crash in which he broke both legs.

February 2-3, 1973
Joy of Cooking, Goose Creek Symphony, Full Tilt Boogie Band

Photo of marquee by John Rosenthal.

December 26-30, 1973
KISS

KISS rents the Fillmore East to rehearse for their full debut with make-up on December 31st at The Academy. Photos.

January 8, 1974
KISS

KISS plays a promotional event to launch their first album for Casablanca.

New Fillmore East/N.F.E. Theatre

December 7, 1974
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bob Seger, David Barretto

re-opening, written up in New York Times
promoted by Barry Stuart

December 31, 1974
Ike and Tina Turner Revue, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Hidden Strength

Reviewed in Billboard (1/25/75, p. 26)

January 14, 1975
Weekly Tuesday talent night begins. Say it lasted for 3 iterations?

January 18, 1975
Roy Buchanan, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Hydra

Reviewed in Billboard.

January 21, 1975
Talent night

January 29, 1975
Talent night

February 3-9, 1975
Blue Oyster Cult rehearses with full lighting rig.
The Dictators also rehearse there during this period.

February 14, 1975
Papa John Creach, Barnaby Eye (cancelled)

Gossip about cancelled shows in New York Times.

February 20, 1975
Elvin Bishop (cancelled)

February 21, 1975
Deodato (cancelled)

February 22, 1975
Argent (cancelled)

The Saint

1980 DJs: Alan Dodd (opening night, 9/20/80), Robbie Leslie

1981 DJs: Robbie Leslie

March 1, 1984
Grace Jones

March 19, 1986
Spin 1st anniversary party: Red Hot Chili Peppers

May 29, 1986
‘60s Ball: Bob Weir, Jorma Kaukonen, Country Joe McDonald, Steve Kimock, Peter Yarrow; Chambers Brothers; Buffy Sainte-Marie (recording)

October 9, 1986
They Might Be Giants

October 31, 1986
Shriekback

August 7, 1987
Dead or Alive

January 15, 1988
Relix 15th anniversary party: The Dinosaurs, Country Joe McDonald, Wavy Gravy (M.C.) (recording)

Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna sat in. Reviewed in New York Times.

January 29, 1988
The Chambers Brothers
Psychedelic Daze Revue

February 19, 1988
Iron Butterfly, Richie Havens, The Vipers
Psychedelic Daze Revue

village theatre, 1965-1968 (fillmore east, pre-bill graham)

(Photo via Frank Mastropolo & John “Beedo” Dzubak of Kingdom Come)

Very much a work in progress!

Originally opened as the Commodore Theatre in 1925-1926, used for Yiddish vaudeville and movies, the auditorium at 105 Second Avenue in Manhattan was most famous as the Fillmore East, which Bill Graham operated from 1968 to 1971. But the room had multiple other lives as a music venue.

The bookings by a variety of promoters during the year before Bill Graham’s arrival are perhaps even more eclectic than what followed when Graham took over, perhaps the city’s greatest “lost” rock/jazz/poetry/political/folk venue. (And, after the Fillmore East, it had another checkered life as the New Fillmore East, aka the N.F.E. Theatre, aka the Village East, subject of a separate, much briefer chronology.)

Thanks immeasurably to the work Corry Arnold (of the mighty Lost Live Dead, Hootrollin, and Rock Prosopography) and Marc Skobac, and the It’s All the Streets You Crossed Not That Long Ago blog (who posted tons of great Village Theatre ads and ephemera for the initial research and inspiration, as well as the Independent Voices database.

Please post corrections, comments, memories, etc., or email me at link on the right.

March 28, 1964
Lenny Bruce

November 19, 1965
Donovan

Donovan’s New York debut, promoted by Harold Leventhal, longtime manager of Pete Seeger, The Weavers, and many others. Leventhal had also put on Bob Dylan’s first formal New York concert at Carnegie Chapter Hall in 1961.

November 24, 1965
Chuck Berry, The Blues Project, The Undercurrents

Chuck Berry was backed by Al Kooper and the Blues Project. Hosted by Jack Walker.

November 30, 1965
Lenny Bruce, Monto Santamaria & Co.

July 29, 1966
The Avant-Garde, presented by Joe Pinelli & Lovebeast Enterprises, MC: Alan Grant
Ornette Coleman Trio, Giuseppi Logan Quartet, Frank Smith Sextet

August 12, 1966
The Avant-Garde, presented by Joe Pinelli & Lovebeast Enterprises, MC: Alan Grant
John Coltrane Quintet, Marion Brown Quintet, Jeanne-Lee/Ran Blake Duo

August 26, 1966
The Avant-Garde, presented by Joe Pinelli & Lovebeast Enterprises, MC: Alan Grant
Archie Shepp Quartet, Albert Ayler Quintet, Frank Smith Sextet

Sepember 19, 1966
Mark Lane on JFK assassination.

September 20, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

Billed as “a series of three psychedelic celebrations.”

September 27, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 3, 1966
LeRoi Jones

October 4, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 11, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 18, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 25, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 1, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 8, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 15, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 22, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 29, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

December 6, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

Allen Ginsberg appeared at the December 6th performance.

December 22, 1966
Jazz concert, featuring Stokely Carmichael

December 26, 1966
John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman Trio

John Coltrane with Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali, Sonny Johnson, Omar Ali, and Algie Bata. Many photos. Gig details.

January 29, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam: Broadway Dissents, featuring Alan Alda, Ruby Dee, John Henry Faulk, Jules Feiffer, Diana Sands, George Tabori

February 2, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam: Judson Chamber Ensemble, Bread and Puppet Theater

February 4, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam: Children’s program at 2 pm: Chalk Talk with Maurice Sendak, Eva Merriam (poetry), Yakim Mime Troupe, films, folksingers; The Last Word (at 8 pm): Jack Glick, Daniel Magrin, Cyrelle Ferman, Phil Corner

February 5, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in the Vietnam (4pm): Art Farmer, Jimmy Heath, Jackie McLean, Burton Green and Vincent Gaeta, Clifford Thornton, Pharaoh Sanders, Jeremy Steig, Joel Freedman

Just Music?” report from the Village Voice by Michael Zwerin
Everybody’s Stepchild,” Michael Zwerein, continued

February 14, 1967
Sweethearts’ Day Poetry Reading featuring Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, Ishmael Reed, Peter Orlovsky, Allan Katzman, David Henderson, Lorenzo Thomas, Paul Blackburn, Joel Oppenheimer, Len Chandler, Ronald Stone, Denise Nichols, Hart LeRoi Bibbs, Tom Dent

February 17, 1967
Jonas Mekas and Film-Makers’ Distribution Center present Lenny Bruce (1965)

February 22, 1967
WBAI Benefit: Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Chad Mitchell Trio, Patrick Sky, Judy Collins

February 25-26, 1967
Albert Ayler Octet

Performances from February 26th were released on In Greenwich Village (Impulse, 1967) and The Village Concerts (ABC Impulse, 1978)

March 3, 1967
Lucas Hoving Dance Company

March 10, 1967
Pomare Dancers

March 12, 1967
Kay Boyle Tribute to the Rev. A.J. Muste: Daniel Berrigan, Dorothy Day, Dave Dellinger, W.H. Ferry, Fred Halstead, Alfred Hessler, Nat Hentoff, Arnold Johnson, Sidney Lens, Bradford Lyttle, David Miller, Bayrd Rustin, I.F. Stone, Marge Swann

March 13, 1967
Eleo Pomare
Subscription dance series for 10 Mondays presented by Eugene Dildine and the Village Theatre

March 17, 1967
Philadelphia Woodwind Quartet, Ornette Coleman Trio

March 20, 1967
Midi Garth (dance)

March 25, 1967
Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba, with Flip Wilson
presented by V. Steven Truett

March 27, 1967
Yukiro (dance)

April 3, 1967
Norman Walker (dance)

April 10, 1967
Paul Sanasardo (dance)

April 14, 1967
Angry Arts (afternoon and evening shows): Free Spirits, Judy Wieder, Robin Roberts, Barbara Dane, Blues Project, Dave Van Ronk, Penny Whistlers, Chad Mitchell Trio, Gene and Franceca, The Magicians, Children of Paradise, Izzy Young (M.C.)

April 17, 1967
Mariane Perra

April 22, 1967
Klay Folk Festival: Beers Family, followed by old-fashioned hootenanny
Presented by Berale Klay and Goya Guitars

April 27, 1967
Merle Marsicano (dance)

April 28, 1967
Chuck Berry
Presented by Psi Upsilon Fraternity

May 1, 1967
Lucas Hoving (dance)

May 2-4, 1967
Abolafia Presidential Love-In (aka Abolafia Cosmic Love-In, aka Cosmic Love Convention): possibly featuring Group Image, Eric Andersen, Alec Leonhardt, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Richie Havens, Paul Krassner, Free Spirits, Children Of Paradise, Elaine White, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Described as a “72-Hour Freakathon for Hippies and Saints,” Louis Abolafia was a nudist/love candidate for President and early hippie advocate for the town of Woodstock. Memories from Abolafia’s brother. Associated Press photo.

May 8, 1967
Meredith Monk (dance and music)

May 12, 1967
Malvina Reynolds and the Pennywhistle Singers
Bernie Klay & Goya Guitars presents

May 13, 1967
An Evening With God by Renewal Magazine in Celebration of the Penetcost starring: The Rev. Malcolm Boyd, Dick Gregory, Paul Krassner, Dr. Timothy Leary, Len Chandler, Dr. Harvey Cox

May 15, 1967
Bhaskar (dance)

May 18, 1967
3-Penny Poetry Reading For Life Against the War in Vietnam: Andrei Voznesensky with Sam Abrams, David Antin, John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Gordon Bishop, Karl Bissinger, Robert David Cohen, Phillip Corner, Gregory Corso, Robert Creeley, Joe Early, Clayton Eshleman, The Fugs, Donald Gardner, Malcolm Goldstein, Jackson Maclow, Lewis Meyers, Joel Oppenheimer, Jerome Rothenberg, Joel Sloman, Gil Sorrentino

May 19, 1967
Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theater, The Pennywhistlers
Bernie Klay and Goya Guitars Presents

May 20, 1967
Tribute to Chaim Towber

May 27, 1967
Horace Silver Quintet, Morgana King, Ahmad Jamal Trio

June 3, 1967
Herbie Mann, billed as Impressions of the Middle East.

There was some kind of bazaar set up in the lobby. Herbie Mann’s 1967 album, The Wailing Dervishes, was recorded at this performance, featuring Rufus Harley, Reggie Workman, Bruno Carr, Moulay “Ali” Hafid, Chick Ganimian, Roy Ayers, Steve Knight, Esber Köprücü, Hachig T. Kazarian, Steve Knight, Oliver Collins, and James Glenn.

June 5, 1967
Ruth Currier Dance Troupe

June 11, 1967
WOR-FM 1st Anniversary Party (early & late shows): Blues Project, The Doors, Janias Ian, Chambers Brothers, Richie Havens, Jeremy and the Satyrs, plus Jim Lounsbury, Johnny Michaels, Scott Muni, Murray the “K”, Rosko

June 12, 1967
Charles Weidman Theater Dance Company

June ??, 1967
Trips To Wear (fashion show): Third Eye Band, Quintet Revolutionary

June 25, 1967
Songs For Synanon: Count Basie Band, Arthur Pryscock, Stan Getz Quintet

June 26, 1967
Tamara Woshakiwska, Charlotte Honda and Margot Parsons (dance)

June 28, 1967
Bread For Heads Festival: Mothers of Invention, The Fugs, Left Banke, Allen Ginsberg, Tim Buckley

July 8, 1967
Blues Project, The Who, Richie Havens, Chrysalis, Third World Raspberry (playing after)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

Purportedly the final Blues Project show.

July 21-22, 1967
The Byrds, Vanilla Fudge, The Seeds (late only on 7/21, early & late on 7/22)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion (7/21 added later)

July 28, 1967
Janis Ian, The Grass Roots (early & late)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

August 5, 1967
Janis Ian, The Association, Jake Holmes (early & late shows)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

August ??, 1967
Luis Valdez’s Teatro Campesino

August 16, 1967
The Community Breast, A Benefit For The Community (sponsored by To Each All Things): Tiny Tim, The Fugs, Judy Collins, Richie Havens, Peter Walker
Proceeds to Diggers, Provos, and the Communications Company. Pearls Before Swine cancelled.)

August 21, 1967
Barry Gordon

August 24, 1967
Benefit for the Harlem Six and the black people of Dorchester County, S.C.: James Baldwin, Richie Havens, Ossie Davis, Dick Davy, Frank Mitchell Quintet, Bob and Joe

Billed as James Baldwin’s “first major address in 2 years.” Per the East Village Other, 8/24/67, “Baldwin will relate the unrest in America’s Negro ghettos to American foreign policy in a benefit performance tonight… Baldwin is returning to this country from a two-year writing tour in Europe and Istanbul. Co-sponsoring his appearence are the Charter Group for a Pledge of Conscience and the Dorchester Committee of New York City.

August 25, 1967
The Yardbirds, The Youngbloods, Jake Holmes
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

The night Jimmy Page learned “Dazed and Confused” by hearing Jake Holmes perform it.

August 26, 1967
New Stars in ’67 starring Henry Bell with Julie Janeiro, the Jacksonians, the Young Long Islanders, Samuel Avital, Burton Greene, Sandy Allyne, Martha Reynolds, Yvonne Warden, Mother Hive, Sampson Horten Orcehstra

September ??, 1967
Peace rally with H. Rap Brown & others

That New Black Magic! Keep It Violent,” Leticia Kent in the Village Voice.

September 2, 1967
Mitch Ryder, Vanilla Fudge, The Illusions

September 5, 1967
James Cotton Blues Band, New York Blood Sweat and Tears (billed as Al Kooper/Steve Katz), The Kingdom Come

September 6, 1967
The Glories, The Vibrations, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs

September 8, 1967
Sri Swami Sivananda with Bob Fass, Dr. Joseph Gelberman

September 9, 1967
The Doors, The Vagrants, Tim Rose
Dynasty Presents

The Vagrants (from Queens) featured Leslie West, future co-founder of Mountain.

September 22, 1967
Dick Gregory, Charles Mingus, Andrew Hill

September 23, 1967
Cream, Canned Heat
(Moby Grape cancelled.)

They Play Blues, Not Superstar,” Richard Goldstein in Village Voice

September 30, 1967
Cream, Soul Survivors, Richie Havens

Cream only played early show.

October 7, 1967
Wilson Pickett, The Paupers, Eric Anderson

October 11, 1967
The Weekly Freakly

Announced as a weekly series in Billboard “featuring Lower East Side talent and top recording acts,” I’m going to assume it only happened a handful of times and vanished.

October 14, 1967
Sarah Vaughan and Arthur Prysock
V. Steven Truett presents…

October 15, 1967
October Breakout, MC: Bob Fass
3 pm: Richie Havens, Eric Anderson, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Paul Krassner, Archie Shepp Quartet, Jeremy and the Satyrs, Barbara Dane, Matt Jones
8 pm: Phil Ochs, Charles Mingus, Tim Rose, Moondog and Strings, Paul Krassner, Joe Frazier, Paul Knopf, Bill Fredricks, Elaine White
produced by Topic Magazine and United Jazz Workshops

October 18, 1967
The Weekly Freakly

October 20-21, 1967
Otis Redding and Carla Thomas (cancelled)

October 20-24, 1967
Festival of Changes, A Celebration of the New Destiny; The Sight & Sound of San Francisco Scene: New Salvation Army Banned, The C.I.A. (Center for Interplanetary Activity)
visual disorientation by Liquid Sandwich, Aurora Glory Alice

October 25, 1967
The Weekly Freakly

October 27-29, 1967
Donovan (cancelled)

October 28, 1967
Procol Harum

October 30, 1967
Half Note 10th Anniversary Show: Paul Anka, Carmen McRae, Cannonball Adderley Quintet, Bobby Hackett, Al Cohn (conductor), Alan Grant (M.C.)

October 31, 1967
Halloween Party

November 3, 1967
Yardbirds, Vanilla Fudge (early & late shows)

November 4-6, 1967
Jefferson Airplane (cancelled)

November ??, 1967
James Cotton Blues Band, Blood Sweat and Tears

November 7, 1967
Wilson Pickett, Martha and the Vandellas, James Cotton

November 10-11, 1967
The Doors (cancelled)

November 11, 1967
Moby Grape

November 12, 1967
The Buck Owens Show (4 pm & 8:30 pm): Buck Owens with the Buckaroos, Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins, Rose Maddox
Bob Wyld and Art Polhemus Present

November 17-18, 1967
Electric Flag, Charles Lloyd (cancelled)

November 18, 1967
Charles Lloyd Quartet (early & late)

November 19, 1967
Cosmos presents: Moondog and Mimi Sym, Group Image & Lights, Aluminum Dream, Tiny Tim, Federal Duck, Charles O’Hegarty, Kingdom Come, Lee Crabtree, Grey Company, Pageant Company, plus underground film, Izzy Young (M.C.)

November 23-24, 1967
(early & late) Moby Grape, Druids of Stonehenge, Charles O’Hegarty, Kingdom Come

November 25-26, 1967
The Who, The Vagrants, Rich Kids
Gary Kurfirst Presents

Perhaps when The Who first met Vagrants/Mountain guitarist Leslie West, who would go on to play on the Who’s Next sessions. Promoter Gary Kurfirst would go on to manage Talking Heads, Blondie, The Ramones, and many others.

December 2, 1967
Mass Meeting, planning for Stop The Draft Week, December 4th-8th, organized by Fifth Avenue Vietnam Peace Parade Committee

December 26-27, 1967
Grateful Dead, Peggy Emerson, Take Five

It snowed through a hole in the ceiling. Complete program for the shows. Program features a track list and coupon for the forthcoming live album Take Five were recording that night, allegedly to be released soon on Constellation Records (of 322 E. 44th Street), but I can find no further evidence of this album, Take Five, or a New York company called Constellation Records. Anybody?

February 2, 1968 [moved to Anderson Theater]
Country Joe & the Fish, Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band, Soft White Underbelly

Soft White Underbelly was the prototype version of Blue Oyster Cult, who later used the closed-down Fillmore East/Village Theatre as a rehearsal space in 1975.

February 23-24, 1968
Pearls Before Swine

#deadfreaksunite 1979

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

#deadfreaksunite 1979
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org.

1/5/79 philadelphia: the 1st of 2 consecutive fridays at the spectrum, making up cancelled gigs from november. 14-minute SUGAREE opens the year, lazy & getting lazier until garcia kicks into gear for final solo, & unfortunately weir & his slide follow suit. blazing fast MAMA TRIED/MEXICALI BLUES with liquid garcia leads, carrying into BROWN EYED WOMEN. weir watch: GOOD LOVIN’ rap expanding for the new year with references to other pigpen standards (TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT & MIDNIGHT HOUR) & getting both dorkier & tighter. i’m pretty sure there’s some deadhead in the foreground of this audience tape occasionally punctuating songs with tambourine. audible during IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES & a few other quiet places. 60 minutes of ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE > BLACK PETER. long descent into hopped up & slightly metronomic EYES that loosens a bit beneath garcia’s guitar chatter. most of DRUMZ/SPACE MIA. garcia steers TRUCKIN’ confidently into the always-rare NOBODY’S FAULT, 1st since 10/77 (& last ’til ’81), a leftover from the very early days, with a microcosmic turnaround into BLACK PETER.

1/7/79 madison square garden: the grateful dead’s madison square garden debut, the 1st of 2 shows, rescheduled from november. shredding JACK STRAW. after electric & acoustic outings in november, JACK-A-ROE makes a welcome & uptempo return to rotation. garcia’s voice is scratchy, but he delivers it confidently along with colorful & panoramic guitar breaks. 2nd set opening I NEED A MIRACLE cracks into small but real jam, shuffling & swerving, pushed by garcia & keith, before quick fade entrance into 1st MSG version of SHAKEDOWN STREET, a song built for ‘70s NYC. big cheers for “don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart…” 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. a natural-seeming upshift segue into a hyperspeed EYES bearing little rhythmic relation to its original incarnation but possessing elegant garcia curls in outro. finally, mickey’s balafon spills into SPACE, a flowing flow with garcia garciaing before weir finds an unusually voiced path into NOT FADE AWAY, balafon continuing under song, which maintains its strange colors & keeps peaking. in a few places, tape preserves the clattering popping sound of fireworks with a nostalgic analog warmth, before one remembers that people are setting off fireworks inside. during last songs, tape also captures the sound of the PA trying to eat itself.

1/8/79 madison square garden: no, seriously, at almost any point during this tape, audience members are clapping along. 19-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener, with a big swell between, all filled with casually tidal garcia guitar. 21-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN to open set 2. donna vocalizes far into transition, which isn’t great, but garcia pulls out bold high-speed threads. deep & present FIRE vocals, but garcia’s scratched voice is flickering in/out like a radio station. briefly starlit, TERRAPIN STATION glides into 40-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT.  PLAYING stays in one place but is a total ripper. crowd excitedly claps in 4, nearly blurring out extra 2 beats as mickey’s marching snare driving jam. only a wisp of SPACE before a compact & quickly churning OTHER ONE. GOOD LOVIN’ is still goofy af, but might prefer it to AROUND & AROUND as a show closer, if only for the variety & energy. but why so many oldies, weir?

1/10/79 nassau coliseum: more than 3 hours of music, almost single-handedly accounted for by semi-rare ROW JIMMY. MUSIC NEVER STOPPED burns slightly hotter than usual, middle jam turning liquid, with palpable sense of garcia surfing the outro. 51-minute DARK STAR > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > ST. STEPHEN, or just DARK STAR > WHARF RAT > ST. STEPHEN? DARK STAR is longer & more luminous than the new year’s bust-out, a patient flow around a pulse that never breaks open until just before the DRUMZ. most conversational balafon SPACE yet, flying bits of dialogue for a few enthralling minutes before mickey backs out & phil rumbles louder. also a reminder that weir makes better squiggly noise without using a slide. not particularly incendiary, but the last ST. STEPHEN ’til 10/83 & the last time DARK STAR & ST. STEPHEN appear in the same set.

1/11/79 nassau coliseum: weir’s clive davis-referencing JACK STRAW lyric mutates further, “used to play for acid, now we play for clive.” vocals are raw & jam overblows ending, but a ripsnorting melodramatic shoot ‘em up. not a great version of the song, but smokin’. to open the 2nd set, keith & jerry (especially) continue to push I NEED A MIRACLE into jam territory until weir pulls band back. maybe a slight instance of keith parroting garcia’s lines, but mostly just outward-looking chatter.
rare full band absurdity after weir wishes mickey & donna happy birthdays.
garcia: by the oddest coincidence, it’s also bob’s birthday!
phil: & mine too!
donna: & it’s keithy’s birthday, too!
weir: the birthday brothers band!
donna: the birthday brothers & SISTERS band.
fun 70-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. new spaces in long HE’S GONE, quiet floating garciaisms during intro & action-packed outro with garcia/keith dialogue & hideous weir slide guitar (with some efx?). hand-DRUMZ & garcia build to a super tight TRUCKIN’ which spirals into a graceful but inevitable slow motion fall into THE OTHER ONE. vocals aside, STELLA BLUE is a thing of a beauty, especially the whispered metallic blooms of garcia’s last solo. set-closing GOOD LOVIN’ & CASEY JONES encore both thunderously tight. enormous song-long CASEY JONES singalong audible on the soundboard, especially in the cracks between garcia’s vocals.

1/12/79 philadelphia: garcia’s voice is at seemingly maximum scratch, making this a pretty tough listen. semi-miraculously, they manage not to repeat anything from the previous weekend’s spectrum gig. 55-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD is multiple shades of choogle with no space-outs or ballads. DANCING is all high-speed jerry, culminating with 7 minutes of technicolor solo shredding over the drums.

1/14/79 utica: making up a cancelled show from 12/2/78. 1st COLD RAIN & SNOW since july opens, now with weir on slide, one more evolution for one of the oldest songs in their repertoire & not its best look. the last version with keith & donna. multiple accounts of keith nodding out at his keyboard & later fighting with donna onstage. audience tape quality makes it hard to listen closely, but neither is evident. repeated fireworks throughout, sometimes close enough to the mics to distort the signal. music picks up with spritely DIRE WOLF. still chuffed to have JACK-A-ROE back in play, both ‘cuz it’s great & ‘cuz it’s more variety for garcia. 2nd set opening I NEED A MIRACLE has short but still developing keith/jerry jam, leading to looser than usual BERTHA groove. 64-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > IKO IKO > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER. audience clapalong in 4 creates wooziness in ESTIMATED jam, which breaks into cascades by end. EYES is hyperspeed caricature, occasionally impeding on garcia’s vocal phrasing. 1st IKO IKO since egypt is 13 minutes of sluggishness, after which garcia hits accelerator & goes screaming off towards a version of THE OTHER ONE exactly half that length.

1/15/79 springfield, MA: perhaps JACK-A-ROE works well ‘cuz it’s too fast for weir to attempt slide guitar? last ROW JIMMY of the godchaux era. when both garcia & weir play slide, it borders on theramin-like wooze, but locks later. clicked-in peaks during CASSIDY. “our bass player phil was last seen consorting with a couple of aliens. we are, of course, hoping everything turned out alright. anyway, if you see our bass player, won’t you please send him home…” keith/jerry I NEED A MIRACLE jams remain an unexpected treat. under 7 minutes, but garcia leads a nearly perfect segue into SHAKEDOWN STREET, complete with a pause for the doom chord, then blows the 1st lyric. 2nd half dives into pocket. garcia’s vocals are tough, but glowing improv in TERRAPIN STATION. the starlight jam crosses 2 minutes, with everybody contributing confidently & delicately. the outro, too, has surprising & dramatic full band zags. excellent 41-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, breaking down into intimate garcia/weir/godchaux/lesh quartet jam, 1st DRUMZ segment with no kit thumping (atmospheric!), articulated balafon + band improv (weir’s slide borders on tolerable), & patient PLAYING reprise. CASEY JONES bypasses both the predictable jerry ballad & weir rocker slots & is a far better way to end a proper set than weir singing a ‘50s rocker (which he does in the encore anyway). weir watch: chuck berry gets birthday shouts before & after JOHNNY B. GOODE encore, despite it absolutely not being his birthday.

1/17/79 new haven: making up a cancelled show from november. both sets get straight to jams & 2nd is nearly all suite-ed. short SHAKEDOWN STREET opens show & 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN begins 2nd half with especially potent weir/keith conversation during transition. 72-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > JAM > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. more burbling weir/keith rhythms push subtly at ESTIMATED, bursting into another speedy caricature of EYES, garcia’s guitar sounding like infinitely skipping pebbles. post-DRUMZ starts unpromisingly with weir on slide, but stays fascinating & builds slowly. while mickey keeps drumzing, kreutzmann gets behind kit & jam gets delicious, early ‘70s quintet style, for a few minutes. an early ’79 highlight. weir watch: NOT FADE AWAY pleasantly fades instead of becoming a screamfest. forced segue from BLACK PETER into AROUND & AROUND falls/splats twice. on the other hand, admirably smooth move from AROUND & AROUND into set closing GOOD LOVIN’.

1/18/79 providence: excellent donna & weir blend on LOOKS LIKE RAIN, neither overpowering. RAMBLE ON ROSE, a song whose simple rhythm keeps it sweetly close to its original arrangement, is detailed & fun. garcia’s voice sounding as together as it has since summer. except for acoustic gigs, benefits, & miscellaneous one-offs, the last grateful dead show without a DRUMZ segment. old fashioned 44-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. OTHER ONE breaks open into mild churns & chaos.

1/20/79 buffalo: 1st (& increasingly rare) theater show of the year. donna has departed the tour. starting an hour late, apparently, a bit of a rough evening in erie county, at least until the jam suite. garcia often forgets that he’s the only backing singer, missing cues, energy, & small chunks of his vocal range. but then a 50-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > JAM > OTHER ONE > DARK STAR > NOT FADE AWAY with 2 “like whoa!” peaks. weir’s guitar sounds uncharacteristically warm, especially as ESTIMATED settles in. metallic billy/jerry wilding right before DRUMZ. 1st peak is 2.5 minute post-DRUMZ jam. mickey drops onto balafon, billy heads directly/confidently for the kit. brief quintet dead jam swells up, the balafon like a pinball. semi-graceful OTHER ONE wind-down, serving the same function as the long-forgotten written ending. 2nd peak is the 9-minute DARK STAR, the last ’til 12/81 & the final version with keith godchaux’s moody conversational keys. post-verse jam folds into rich density until weir utterly ripcords a moment of beautiful strangeness with NOT FADE AWAY. c’mon, man! but NOT FADE AWAY is also brief & unusual, barely 5 minutes, garcia latching onto a playful calypso-like melody during intro that informs the rhythmic feel of the solos/jams. great until the sickly slide guitar enters.

1/21/79 detroit: another rare theater show. part of it is the tiny, tinny audience tape, but band is at far from full sparkle. sleepy but rippling FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. without donna to abet, weir stays chill during the DEAL ending & it’s quite appreciated. no starlight jam in TERRAPIN STATION. 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE. hard to make out details, but PLAYING melts forcefully &, in the last few minutes, breaks into cool rhythmic pixelations. rare night where SPACE is longer than DRUMZ, though each is barely 6 minutes. balafon/garcia jams mostly buried in tape fuzz. after this show, the band gets 3 weeks off, before improbably picking up the tour a few hours down the road in indianapolis.

2/3/79 indianapolis: opening what will be the dead’s final tour leg with keith & donna jean godchaux. 1st CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER since 12/77, only 2nd since 10/74, back in rotation for good. not as vista-filled as early ‘70s, but in bright, triumphant shape even with a new weir slide part. satisfying rainbow peaks in MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. highlight is 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. song portion of SCARLET isn’t much, but fierce guitar break leads to unrelenting & nearly butterfly speed transition jam. 54-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. a ruminative ESTIMATED flows, accelerates, & blooms with speedy drama into speedier EYES. SPACE is aimless autopilot, destination never in doubt. I NEED A MIRACLE jumps into a new late set spot, making it a very rare (& welcome) 2nd set/encore without any oldies.

2/4/79 madison: “st. paul, minnesota” gets semi-local cheer during BIG RIVER. especially leisurely turns on FRIEND OF THE DEVIL & TENNESSEE JED. blazing LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION, perfect for garcia’s almost-the-‘80s shredding. exceptionally beautiful vocal performance by donna jean on FROM THE HEART OF ME, band sounds great, too, on an unfortunately chatty audience tape. nice fade, clean ending. 84-second starlight jam midway through TERRAPIN STATION.
overheard on the audience tape:
deadhead #1: DO ST. STEPHEN!
deadhead #2, clearly some distance away: OKAY!
52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > IKO IKO > BLACK PETER. hard to hear everyone during bopping & static-seeming PLAYING jam, widening at end. chattering garcia cut through. occasional keyboard sparkles & spacious jazzy comping suggest action under surface. balafon SPACE is mostly idle crosstalk before last IKO IKO of keith & donna era, disappearing ’til 8/80. audience tape ambience enhances the swampiness. donna’s voice sounds great.

2/6/79 tulsa: the final grateful dead show for which no tape has (yet) surfaced. the next-most-recent missing gigs are from ’71. setlist only.

2/7/79 carbondale: show starts on up note, cutting in midway through the 1st DON’T EASE ME IN since 8/74, another warlocks song returned to the songlist for good, sounding almost identical to when they last played it. according to roadie steve parish’s memoir “home before daylight,” this was the night garcia gobbled a lot of valium before the show. bad scene. garcia actually sounds fine ’til STAGGER LEE, ~35 minutes in, before the obvious wobbles start. then, yuck. all that survives of 2nd set is 18 minutes of the last keith/donna DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ. garcia sounds slightly better, but maybe for the best that the rest is missing.

2/9/79 kansas city, ks: as band comes on for 2nd set, crowd starts clapping NOT FADE AWAY rhythm & band starts playing it. the 1st time that happened & definitely not the last. NFA’s only time as a set opener between ’70 & ’88. 53-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > COMES A TIME. long HE’S GONE jam starts awkwardly, but finds cool shapes as weir stays off slide & drummers make graceful switch to hand percussion. improv goes in/out of focus ’til it’s 5 minutes of just garcia & drummers. elegant chill/thump/chill DRUMZ before garcia picks up shredding. 1st COMES A TIME since 5/78, last with keith, disappearing again ’til 5/80. as in ’78, no donna. garcia doesn’t hit all the big notes, but it’s all beautifully damaged & spiraling.

2/10/79 kansas city, ks: weir watch: though it’s sorta mumbled, i believe @clivedavis has now been excised from the JACK STRAW lyrics. 2-hour 2nd set starts with the last SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with keith & donna. 24 minutes & way sedate, even on the crisp audience version. jerry’s voice not helping. the transition jam goes deep, but FIRE is equally mellow. starting to cut to the wire: maybe the best FROM THE HEART OF ME yet in terms of donna vocal, band performance, & crispy recording quality. 63-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. by now, EYES is more or less a different arrangement & everyone agrees on speedy tempo. a fairly tight specimen, with old-fashioned darting bass. DRUMZ starts/stays on hand percussion. full stop before long SPACE, starting drummerless, like “modern” segments. partially due to clean soundboard, it’s especially rumbling/dislocating. double encore is sweet, but they’ve really gotta both be weir songs?

2/11/79 st. louis: the end of 2 solid months of “shakedown street” touring in st. louis, keith & donna’s last road gig. 1st MIGHT AS WELL since 5/77, fit for garcia’s newer limited range, & still a good forum for keith’s boogie. 1st set is under an hour, despite weir’s two mini jams, LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION & a wide, soaring MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. garcia is ready to chatter on 2nd set opening SAMSON & DELILAH. keith’s last CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is excellent. garcia finds nice floating melodies during the transition, somehow almost beatlesy. 47-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. the action is all in the PLAYING, which spiders & turns in place, breaking into freakiness for a few minutes at end. keith’s last STELLA BLUE, hanging in the song’s sad space, low in the mix as always. I NEED A MIRACLE gets a little happening, the last of the keith/jerry jams there, weir’s slide adding color, before an admirably slick turn into GOOD LOVIN’.

2/17/79 oakland coliseum arena: the show was a benefit for environmental cancer research, promoted by bill graham, with speechifying by jane fonda & tom hayden, as well as a pre-show screening of “fun with dick & jane” (starring fonda). beginning of the post-winterland era & bust-out city! 7 songs not in rotation when the band last played california over new year’s, more than half of those getting their 1st airing in a year or more. show opens with 1st GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD since 10/74 & it rips. garcia’s solo is a multi-stage flare. 1st HIGH TIME since 5/77 is reassuringly crisp & even jaunty, with confident harmonies, garcia navigating well. short potent LAZY LIGHTNING/SUPPLICATION. a fond farewell to donna jean’s FROM THE HEART OF ME, a song i’ve genuinely started to dig, specifically its delicate bounce & the way the melody lands on “safe & warm…,” & garcia’s squigglies of course. not the definitive version. 1st BIG RAILROAD BLUES since 10/74, folk stomping like 1970 again. busy & fun, with mickey’s locomotive snare drumming & phil’s bass leshing. fantastic TERRAPIN STATION with soaring starlight break & widening outro but garcia’s voice weakens by the end. 53-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > SHAKEDOWN STREET > PLAYING IN THE BAND. right-on free keyboard sparkles as PLAYING melts. stuttered entrance to the 1st WHEEL since 2/78 (& last ’til 8/80). now as ever, too short. half-graceful pause before SHAKEDOWN, which has some tempo issues at first. garcia rockets off when they hit the jam & all adjust around him, eventually melting, going bright, & reforming into PLAYING. weir & donna get one last SUNSHINE DAYDREAM together, but they really wail out & shriek & hoot & go screamo on the ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT encore. peace out godchauxs.

4/16/79 club front: nearly 3 hours of practice with new keyboardist brent mydland, running through core songs, but with a solid hour of jams that go way deeper than what the dead did onstage that spring. tape drops in mid-jam, band in a surprising, darting “blues for allah” mode, garcia & lesh bombing around & making high speed turns while brent finds space. drummers lose thread, but don’t give up & jam keeps moving before landing in NOT FADE AWAY. impressive deep space detonations. “war is hell,” notes weir. good callback by garcia a little bit later: “i lost my slide in the war.” weir suggests the jams are scaring his dog. brent works on synth drones underneath DRUMZ. nothing rom the tour was this noisy.
bit on-the-nose:
hart: we started that jam the other day… we went into THE OTHER ONE.
lesh: you did, i didn’t. (to brent:) it’s nice, sometimes we have half the band playing one tune & half the band playing another tune. it depends which drummer you’re listening to.
field recordings of weir & the drummers waging battle over the tempos of PASSENGER & I NEED A MIRACLE. weir trying to get the drummers to play faster & the drummers fucking with him. weir’s not havin’ it. pleasant 10 minutes of the band jamming on the SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN transition, with thrills as they veer off-course, before cursory but solid 20-minute version of the two songs, along with garcia sweetly going over the lyrics with brent. an oddity: GLORIA > LINDA LU, both led by weir. part of the warlocks’ early repertoire, GLORIA would turn up onstage in the fall. no hint that weir’s heard patti smith’s version. LINDA LU is by ray sharpe, from 1959, & the dead’s version is fun but generic bar blues. gorgeous 4-minute garcia/mydland/kreutzmann jam, brent taking moody rhodes leads, picked up by garcia. kretuzmann still sounding dope af as single drummer. working on a groove, brent adds busy keys, & turns into ranging 17-minute (mostly) trio jam.

4/22/79 san jose: the grateful dead’s 1st show with keyboardist brent mydland. bill graham-presented stadium bill with charlie daniels & greg kihn. on opening JACK STRAW, mydland switches between twinkly electric keys & hammond organ as rhythm section gets even more oversized. drum roll madness & cartoonishly emphasized beats & bass bombs. some rain during LOOKS LIKE RAIN. subtly new feel for SUGAREE with organ, but jam peaks are subverted by weir’s abrasive slide guitar, which maybe hasn’t gotten much off-stage practice. NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES also extra-big, also with ugly slide. brent’s organ fits the power dead style more than keith’s keys. brent’s voice really makes its entrance on PASSENGER, stepping into donna’s part, duetting with weir. they sound pretty solid together. perhaps emboldened by the new percussion array, drums reaching tipping point of being over the top more often than not. set break swag watch: mickey hart can be seen sporting a promotional shirt for the band’s cancelled shows at madison square garden the previous year. (i saw one of these in dan healy’s stash, too.) 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, brent leading into jam with cool pitch-bending prophet-5 synth solo (thought it was guitar at first) while garcia lays back. mickey dabbles on extra percussion during transition, including seed shells. 63-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. nifty jam pockets on ESTIMATED & HE’S GONE when weir colors & flutters. such a great jammer when he doesn’t play slide. he & mydland seem to occupy closer tonal/rhythmic space than weir & keith did. DRUMZ is the debut of the beast, new circular array with roto-toms, hand percussion, etc.. according to some sources, this show was also the 1st appearance of the beam, but i hear no evidence. hart & kreutzmann (& maybe others) seemingly play everything else, though. enticing ARP synth blurps as OTHER ONE coalesces. tom-toms accelerate to ludicrous speed as garcia solos. speedy & semi-spaced 2-minute meltdown, brent on organ, bridges to WHARF RAT. double encore of SHAKEDOWN STREET, electric keys sparkling just right.

5/3/79 charlotte: opening a 9-show spring tour, brent mydland’s 1st road outing. phil joke: “what’s the difference between disco dancing & pea green paint? you can teach someone to disco dance.” audience tape captures array of “disco sucks” resopnses from crowd. the outro of ROW JIMMY switches to a double-time shuffle, like it’s ready to burst into FRANKLIN’S TOWER. doesn’t feel quite appropriate, but some of brent’s coolest keys of the night. gonna be a while before i’m used to having a hyper-masculine voice in the harmony mix. 59-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER > NOT FADE AWAY > PLAYING IN THE BAND. major change in PLAYING jam: starting with this version, the jam floats on the 10/4 intro groove instead of slashing into chaos, another step towards less far-out jams. weir watch: echoing delays & piercing lead figures, latter get big woos. garcia/band lock in cool spaces around both. brent lays back on B3, upping noise as jam dissolves. DRUMZ go from big to little. teasing ARP blurts as SPACE starts, but brent switches to keys/B3. dissolve back to PLAYING almost opens into starlight via garcia/mydland/weir conversation, plus perfectly obstinate lead bass counterpoint.

5/4/79 hampton: brent’s singing gets cheers on MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP opener, but too amped for my taste, overpowering garcia. the keys open up the jam’s feel, closer to real segue into FRANKLIN’S TOWER. subdued jam, but brent’s comping finds new rhythmic corners. though there are a few exceptions, this is the 1st tour where both weir & garcia aren’t repeating songs on consecutive nights. garcia had been mostly doing this already but there aren’t really that many new (or revived) weir songs in rotation, so maybe it’s intentional? subtly new feels for lots of songs, even MEXICALI BLUES, less manic & overtly polka-like with brent on B3. even sprouts a mini-jam. maybe it’s that ol’ analog warmth of the vinyl transfer, but weir’s slide is almost enjoyable on DON’T EASE ME IN & other spots. 68-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND. EYES no longer floats but is tethered by hi-hat, also giving everybody a pulse to bomb around, brent’s electric keys sounding warm & rhodes-like. the arrival of the beast drum array is perhaps unsurprisingly making DRUMZ a bit more bombastic. oh well. happiest surprise so far is the arrival of ARP SPACE, with 2 minutes of bleep grids. in virginia, “new york” gets a cheer in TRUCKIN’. phil has stopped singing on TRUCKIN’ with the arrival of brent. even with extraneous tom toms, STELLA BLUE is surprisingly restrained. solid acceleration/crossfade into AROUND & AROUND, a real segue.

5/5/79 baltimore: healthy 14-minute SUGAREE, weir’s slide a bit cushioned by brent’s new B3 part. an up note is that garcia’s voice is sounding better. a down note is that the amped mydland sometimes overpowers the softer garcia during group vocals. juiced up 11-minute DANCING IN THE STREETS set closer. i dig the percussive new electric keys. philly, baltimore, & DC shout-outs get predictably huge cheers but (as with TRUCKIN’ the night before) so does new york city. nyc dead freaks represent! 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN has subtly new flavor. extra-busy drums during transition jam, the usual cowbell plus chattering snares/cymbals. brent’s B3 adds percussive color & sustain to garcia & weir’s weave. weir at his best. 51-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. finally, the 1st real jammin’ of the mydland era. HE’S GONE slips into prettiness as drums disappear, fading back with hand percussion. SPACE builds patiently/inevitably to THE OTHER ONE, nice float en route. weir watch: 1st tour where weir’s really started to affect his voice with precocious cowboy vocal fry/scratchiness/growls, adding “y’all” to OTHER ONE & elsewhere. SUNSHINE DAYDREAM is now a solo weir scream fest. duck!

5/7/79 easton: lightweight 1st set, but 2nd set gets going with 11-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener, engaging busy chatter from mydland’s electric keys, finding his own spot in the bounce. too short. extra-present bass this tour. maybe part volume, part player. 72-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. the swirling synth era arrives with the chorus of ESTIMATED. wild free jazz garciaisms just before threading into maybe the fastest/busiest EYES yet. thrilling, dense outro. DRUMZ is less interesting this tour so far due to the beast percussion array. more thunder, less textural weirdness. very much digging brent’s willingness to cycle through SPACE tones, though not feeling a lot of coherence to it yet. john cipollina makes himself known during NOT FADE AWAY, punching hole into cosmos with a silvery guitar burst. radical, rattling, & sometimes obnoxious basslines. cipollina shifts band into fantastic pocket, garcia tracing moody changes, just before fold into BLACK PETER. unusual & sometimes nice to have another lead guitarist in garcia’s ballad space, & cipollina outlines the chords in his own way, though weir is back on his slide guitar bullshit. with cipollina at full shred & playing little counterpoints, i’m into this version of AROUND & AROUND even before the double-time rave-up. brent’s big B3 swells get cheers.

5/8/79 state college: can hear practically hear the building bumping on opening PROMISED LAND. 26-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with enormous energy, dynamics a bit inaudible in places owing to hyperactive clap-alongs. scenic jam plateau with brent on B3. 55-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > CHINA DOLL > PLAYING IN THE BAND. small but major change for brent’s 1st version of PLAYING (good ear @21stCenturyDead), jam floating on the song’s 10/4 intro groove, instead of dropping into the hard-slashing 7/4 time of versions through the godchaux era. though there will still be major versions, this is when/why/how it stopped going as far out. PLAYING jam is mostly garcialogue, opening up slightly during last segment, when mydland switches to electric keys. DRUMZ gets quiet, but lost in the crowd/clapping. ambient whooshes in SPACE, brent sketching shapes, before jam defaults to OTHER ONE. quick verses & nifty exit jam in progress when garcia speeds away. as band catches up (& hart, i suspect, quits with the repetitive hi-hat) improv opens into high-diving wonderment.OTHER ONE folds into 1st CHINA DOLL since 5/77. garcia’s voice has definitely been mending & this revival seems like he knows it. some delicacy is lost on the audience tape, but drumzers remain chill & song gets across, as does garcia’s beautiful, arcing solo. 10-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET is (as always) satisfying in the encore slot, one final boogie & just long enough to get a little zoned.

5/9/79 binghamton: 16-minute SUGAREE opener, fluttering upwards despite weir’s slide, brent’s B3 working wonders. lots of “take a step back” variations as slightly pissed lesh does crowd control. “you’ll be able to hear us. we’ll make it loud for ya, don’t worry.” weir announces phil is sporting a pigpen shirt. i wonder if it’s an original ‘60s model or newer edition? brent mydland’s 1st CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, mostly on electric keys, the transition subtly entering its own power jam phase, slightly more driving. 38-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ, followed by full stop & vague tuning before WHARF RAT. some disjointedness, but a few really great jam moments. HE’S GONE has minimalist, entwined garcia & weir leads during outro. lines in TRUCKIN’, ranked by loudness of cheer, 5/9/79: 1.) “new york,” 2.) “cocaine,” 3.) “buffalo,” 4.) “what a long, strange trip it’s been.” big peak early in jam also rightfully gets big woos. thrill-out exit jam is even better, overtaken by DRUMZ too soon. WHARF RAT has 2 really astonishing garcia-driven peaks, neither solos nor jams exactly, & a perfectly smooth segue into AROUND & AROUND that weir redirects into SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

5/11/79 billerica: i dig the space mydland is carving for himself in FRANKLIN’S TOWER with the electric keys, giving some internal movement to a jam that can often turn static/monochromatic despite its gallop. 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. EYES is typical hyperfast specimen. busy drums subdivide it from big soaring flow into lots of unceasing miniature dialogues. short brent/drummers epilogue is 1st of many, kinda vanilla here. ultra stark SPACE, filled with quiet tones & fuzzy ambience. long BLACK PETER works well. garcia’s in excellent voice, weir’s slide guitar is mostly subsumed by the audience tape & even sounds tasteful, sad & sweet garcia tone on the solo, drummers stay calm. I NEED A MIRACLE/BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’ combo jumps to set’s end for 1st time. garcia seems to dig into BERTHA solo slightly differently when not an opener. road manager (rock?) begs off encore ‘cuz brent is apparently sick, “so we can play tomorrow in style.”

5/12/79 amherst: a heady spring fling triple-bill at @UMassAmherst, with roy ayers’ ubiquity & the patti smith group, the biggest show of ’79.  a very mellow spring fling for the dead, though the far-off tape is probably accentuating that. slow songs abound. i’ve come around to the sleepy late ‘70s FRIEND OF THE DEVIL over the years, but it’s a bit of a buzzkill early in the 2nd set. the little starlight jam in TERRAPIN STATION has temporarily lost its sparkle, brent still figuring out the chords & kinda blowing through some changes. drummers seem eager to get drummering. 52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. during PLAYING, woman in the crowd screams (unintentionally?) almost right where a donna scream could go. exciting jam moments as mydland’s electric keys come to front, handing off with garcia. though a bad recording, early SPACE achieves a beautiful dissonant coherence. perhaps a whispering ghost of the MIND LEFT BODY jam as NOT FADE AWAY transitions to STELLA BLUE. serious missed opportunity not to have patti smith out for one of the oldies, at least. SHAKEDOWN STREET encore is so laidback it’s almost, like, ambient funk. not really embarrassed to admit that i only just noticed that ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT has been played exclusively on saturdays since 10/77.

5/13/79 portland, ME: tonight’s new song for brent is JACK-A-ROE, taking a lightly funky turn with bouncing electric keys & weir’s light rhythm. JACK STRAW is notably slower than other recent versions. assured 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN opens 2nd set. subtle percussive keys at start of beautiful transition jam with lush, fresh feels before the segue via B3 colors & quick-dotting garcia figures. 57-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. patient HE’S GONE stays compellingly lyrical through intro/middle/outro solos. action-packed 18-minute TRUCKIN’. brief NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE quotations. drummers split for 5 minutes of nearly solo garcia space & return for abstract weird-out. heavily cut DRUMZ sounds interesting, oh well. SPACE continues in lovely very jerry mode.

6/28/79 sacramento: a theater warm-up before a pair of big weekend shows in the northwest. tempos seem more languid, some arrangements more fluid. wasn’t even sure what NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES was at first. brent gets another initiation into the dead when weir has the crowd wish him happy birthday on a day other than his birthday. STAGGER LEE stretches, weir’s slide almost erased by the tape. brent’s new song for the evening is MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, his new sparkly keyboards also erased in the murk. 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, brent jumping into the transition jam with joystick-bending tweedles & moans, while garcia gleefully skates, reprising the squigglies at the end of FIRE. prophet-5 or something else, @otdispace? 49-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. harshly, the soundboard is missing the unique & smooth transition into a full-gallop late ‘70s EYES, which thins out & lands gracefully, too, brent doubling a garcia pattern. DRUMZ goes from big to little, beastly thuds dissolving to handdrums & a long obvious ascent into NOT FADE AWAY. creative acts of levitation by weir help shape the last peaks of the jam.

6/30/79 portland, OR: at the portland international raceway, with a reunion set by ex-byrds roger mcguinn, gene clark, & chris hillman, plus the david bromberg band. short 1st set hampered by technical problems. before the 2nd, weir dedicates proceedings “to the memory of lowell george, he was good while he lasted.” the little feat founder & “shakedown street” producer had died the day before. FRIEND OF THE DEVIL is sleepy as always, but clicks into some kind of slightly more uptempo magic for, like, 30 seconds near the end. “no nukes!” someone shouts between songs. 56-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. best part of sequence is garcia spiraling HE’S GONE upwards into a coda that recalls the then-departed CRAZY FINGERS. almost no SPACE before THE OTHER ONE rises. like the set as a whole, it’s kinda paint-by-numbers. but it also still peaks impressively.

7/1/79 seattle: the last dead appearance by wolf, jerry garcia’s custom guitar, for nearly a decade. 19-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener, a decent segue for once. weir’s rhythm guitar is abnormally high in the mix & it’s a cool perspective on his playing, at least ’til he whips out the slide later in the set. 53-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE > TRUCKIN’ > AROUND & AROUND. wild PLAYING stays interesting, even as DRUMZ encroach, garcia & kreutzmann digging in, brent jumping into conversation on B3. good specimen of early beast-era DRUMZ, big & powerful before move to hand percussion. finally, a somewhat developed SPACE. mickey leading with sandpaper scratches, before rhodes sparkles, garcia flows, ARP whooshes, & a sweet mutant descent into STELLA BLUE. miraculously smooth segues in & out of TRUCKIN’. still a shock to hear a B3, like howard wales on the album. the slowly coalescing jam into AROUND & AROUND is the textbook opposite of a ripcord transition. wow bob wow!

8/4/79 oakland auditorium arena: jerry garcia’s 1st full dead show playing his new custom irwin guitar, tiger, his main instrument for the next decade. band also debuts a new sound system with @MeyerSound, featuring (at least at these shows) the wall of sound vocal array. weir begins show by having the crowd wish a belated happy birthday to garcia, a rare instance of truthful birthday-wishing on weir’s part. subtle musical changes. NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES slows down a few clicks, sounding close to the yet-unwritten WEST LA FADEAWAY. many songs sound thinner with mydland’s sparkle-heavy rhodes. garcia & weir debut 1st songs of the year. garcia/hunter’s ALTHEA is sly & wise, feels like new lyrical turf. alternate lyric: “honest to the point of innocence.” minus the drums & singing, weir/barlow’s LOST SAILOR almost sounds like a DARK STAR jam. i enjoy it some days. 58-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE. SHAKEDOWN slashes from funk into a jam with a smooth no-count-off segue into PLAYING. garcia plays in shorthand for the song but makes up for it in the jam. brent’s 1st huge PLAYING. jam is taut & weird, moving through pockets at convincing speed. garcia disappears for a bit & it’s almost easy to miss, returning for more quick guitar dots & freak sesh with drummers. mydland’s chiming keys fits in way better here. smooth DRUMZ deceleration to hand percussion features the return of what i think is a balafon, a nice sparse half-melody that gives shape & motion to blustery roto-tomming. STELLA BLUE is a fucking mess, not finding its pulse until garcia’s outro solo.

8/5/79 oakland auditorium arena: 20-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener is way less sleepy on the audience tape. why is brent’s rhodes so chime-y, though? aren’t rhodes usually full & warm? probably a good tempo to pace for a night of twirling. weir & garcia’s new songs get paired again. the rhodes sounds great quietly conversing with garcia’s soloing, but not enough sustain for songs. ALTHEA already settled into late 1st set slot, almost written for it. 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN makes more sense on the audience tape, with bass & rhythm guitar, but still not a burner. big elevation when garcia goes surfing on smooth fuzz right after the transition. 66-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > HAMZA-EL DIN TUNE > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. garcia’s guitar butterflies crash upwards into a lightning EYES, more chaos splatter than grace. big bass non-solo at the end. nice non-bombastic middle zone in DRUMZ of chaotic bells & quick-moving percussion, prelude to an appearance by hamza el-din, who (over mickey & billy’s tars) sings a song that is neither OLLIN ARAGEED nor the others he sang with the dead in ’78. short deep SPACE. someone in crowd shouts for DARK STAR, which earns cheers. a pair of fuzz-tone power solos on WHARF RAT earn more. after a rare 2-song encore, band called back for rarer double encore.

8/12/79 red rocks: didn’t click ’til just now but, on the other 8/79 shows & tonight, but (besides ALTHEA) weir has all but ditched playing slide guitar! garcia’s LOOKS LIKE RAIN solos have been getting gradually fuzzier/bigger, but drummers really latch on here & break through. wonderful & brisk BROWN-EYED WOMEN with crisp lyrical solo. main items of deadhead lore: someone fell off a cliffside & died while trying to sneak in; on & off drizzles all night & distant lightning over denver account for various audible cheers on tapes; lots of red dragon LSD going around. also, of course, ken kesey & bill walton sightings. phil jackson, too. 69-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. busy dyno-rhodes solo by brent in ESTIMATED, like chattering vibraphone, later conversing with garcia. used on “so many roads.” stunning segue into speedy late ‘70s EYES. for 2nd show in a row, garcia sings EYES’ opening line as “sleepy summer home.” jam bursts open, led by butterfly garcialogues, band focuses, blurs, & melts into the far out as mydland dials in moog pans & bleeps, drummers go free & band stays noisy. i think this is the 1st show where sound engineer dan healy audibly tweaks DRUMZ with reverb. sounds rad & psychedelic as they shift to the big toms & more amazing during long bells segment (with ken kesey, according to one account), which leaks into SPACE. (cc @otdispace) snaking, unusual, & patient build to NOT FADE AWAY, continuing to develop ideas even as it normalizes. oh wait, false alarm about weir abandoning slide. it’s here soiling BLACK PETER.

8/13/79 denver: rained out at red rocks, the dead move to mcnichols arena in semi-nearby denver. 11-minute opening SHAKEDOWN STREET has some rockin’ bass fuzz. jam doesn’t go far, but then garcia locks into conclusive-sounding theme & it feels like it has. the garcia segments of the 1st set are pretty sweet. the dyno-rhodes twinkles on the slow FRIEND OF THE DEVIL are nice. CANDYMAN seems to have escaped late ‘70s cartoonificaiton. LOST SAILOR getting bigger, but weir’s starting to go screamo on the “driftin’ & dreamin’” ending, which is a bit harsh. I NEED A MIRACLE twists into a not-quite-jam & does a not-quite-segue into BERTHA. 59-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > WHARF RAT > TRUCKIN’. a slow, gradual transition into THE OTHER ONE, but not much happening on the jam front tonight, at least with the full band. having dan healy add processing to the DRUMZ opens up whole new vistas. even when there aren’t effects, great stereo feel to the recording. no SPACE, but gentle swirl of bells & dyna-rhodes act as prelude to WHARF RAT. TRUCKIN’ opens up into a short & quiet NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE blues noodle, which would make a graceful landing/coda, but they jam for a few more minutes anyway.

8/14/79 denver: debut of brent mydland’s 1st grateful dead song, EASY TO LOVE YOU, co-written with john perry barlow. crowd cheers when he starts singing. but, yikes, a hearty no thanks. been years since i heard this song & still not really into any aspect of it. 66-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. garcia keeps at the starlight jam in TERRAPIN but mydland’s not there yet. garcia’s outro variations get closer to breaking free, flowing into a great no-count segue. PLAYING jam slashes & dances & slashes again, busy miniature conversations. healy adds dubby DRUMZ echo just before transition to hand percussion. mickey (i assume) stays active in SPACE, bells meshing with brent’s dyna-rhodes. gorgeous STELLA BLUE outro.

8/31/79 glens falls: 3 more new songs for mydland. DIRE WOLF & CASSIDY in 1st set, GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD in 2nd. sparkling dyna-rhodes opens up CASSIDY jam a bit. only 2nd GREATEST STORY since ’74, losing some of the manic urgency & detailing of the old PUMP SONG groove. 1st SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, by weir & john perry barlow, following LOST SAILOR as it will for most the next 7 years. the band’s final intentionally constructed mini-suite. not totally finished, with alternate lyrics. 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET gets plunky as jam moves towards peak. garcia & mydland tease out an insistent groove the band doesn’t fully exploit, sometimes hard to tell what’s guitar & what’s keyboards. 58-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. tape switches to audience source during garcia’s butterfly acceleration into EYES, making it seem even more caricatured. lovely, fast arpeggio flowers as it fades.

9/1/79 rochester: at john scher & WMJQ’s upstate jam at holleder memorial stadium. also with the greg kihn band & the good rats. odd pairing all around. heads really, really did not like the good rats. band threw rubber rats at the crowd, who threw the rats back & then some. languid 1st set, with some big sunshine during back of 20-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener. some tape speed issues there, too, or maybe it’s my brain. weir watch: LOST SAILOR deserves a better ending than these screams. SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE finding its legs, here with a relentless forward-driving beat by the drummers. weir gets the soon-discarded lyrics a bit better. weir, to local surveillance: “this set is respectfully dedicated to all the little mice & rats trapped in laboratories all over the world & also to the keepers of the peace up on that building over there with their cameras & binoculars. looking out for your best interests.” short 2nd set gets right to 61-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > I NEED A MIRACLE, but the jams peak early. chatty & uneven half-hour SCARLET > FIRE, weir’s slide very thankfully buried. after 2nd verse of FIRE, colorful & flaring garcia pyro show before he pops a string. short bass/keys jams, phil bellowing along on a chorus. mellower outro. confused plop into bland DRUMZ. what happened to all the echoes & spaced bells from august? hand percussion-laced SPACE coalesces into crashing density, disperses, then builds on weird pulse & soars into WHARF RAT with a big arcing solo & half-smooth charge into MIRACLE. after that, it’s rock medley time, apparently with the sun setting just as garcia hits the “…until the sun goes down” line in BERTHA.

9/2/79 augusta: mydland’s bell-like dyna-rhodes works well on ROW JIMMY, which has some nice quiet & almost spare guitar spaces. but one of those songs/versions where having a 2nd drummer borders on criminal. brent’s 1st RAMBLE ON ROSE. the song’s slow boogie-woogie piano (virtually built for godchaux) definitely doesn’t translate to the rhodes, sounding way dinky. besides various keyboardists’ sounds, though, one of the most unchanging songs in garcia’s book. w00! brent’s finally connecting with garcia during TERRAPIN STATION’s short starlight jam. lovely prelude to 52-minute LET IT GROW > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE > TRUCKIN’. 23-minute LET IT GROW is 1st since 5/78 & longest post-’74 version, i think. mydland starts on organ. the sustain (instead of keith’s conversational/percussive attack) gives jam a different & more generic feel. after eventual switch to rhodes, a delicious dissolve with ARP. aha, there are DRUMZ’s zoned-out bells, though they get swallowed up in under a minute. big bass & nice atonal zaps during haunted SPACE drift towards STELLA BLUE. NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE instrumental coda to TRUCKIN’ is oddly graceful landing.

9/4/79 madison square garden: fuego garcia throughout the 1st set, marred by weir’s slide on SUGAREE, obscured by ME & MY UNCLE, but building/soaring through 1st big LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE. great 1979 model electric dixieland on slow bouncing TENNESSEE JED. big cheer for the lyric “where’s the dog star?” in weir/barlow’s new LOST SAILOR, the crowd presumably hearing “dog star” as “dark star.” as a side note, besides SAILOR/SAINT & the SHAKEDOWN STREET encore, all songs have been in the band’s repertoire for at least 7 years. audible “china cat!!” requests from multiple heads before 2nd set, which opens with the 1st NYC version of CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER in 5 years can really feel the garden bounce, even on the soundboard but especially on the audience tape. 53-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT feels like a complete statement. long HE’S GONE rolls patiently upwards into high-speed almost-OTHER ONE territory, starting a new era for the song as a 2nd set jam anchor. some shoes-in-dryer drumzing but gongs & chaos give the rhythm devils sequence a psychedelic edge as it crosses into hand percussion. purposeful, ruminative SPACE & properly arena-sized WHARF RAT, though almost crashes at the bridge.

9/5/79 madison square garden: short but pleasant 1st set, less than an hour. bouncy mid-tempo PEGGY-O. big cheers during LOSER & elsewhere, apparently the house lights being thrown on occasionally for crowd control. 2nd set is crisp & colorful, if a bit paint-by-numbers. 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER, followed by typical late ‘70s I NEED A MIRACLE/BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’ rock medley. improv highlight is 13-minute SPACE, building quickly to atonal symphonic chaos, it thins out into a jam tenuously threaded by floating drums, threatening to cohere but unspooling into garcialogue & more purposeful turn towards BLACK PETER.

9/6/79 madison square garden: house lights apparently left on for much of the 1st set & parts of the 2nd. harsh! phil makes an excuse about wanting to see the audience, but it’s seemingly to deter people from crashing the floor. enjoying LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE as a peak-building set closer but lands abruptly here. 2nd CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER set opener in 3 garden shows, 14 minutes & a joy. big cheers as it lands in RIDER, but that might be the houselights again. 54-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. great PLAYING widens like waves in a storm, slowly getting more kinetic. chopping & busy improvisation, with all players adding busy detail & mostly staying clear of one another. the beginning of DRUMZ is action packed, with toms & gongs & the sound of revving motorcycle engine combining into glorious near-rhythmic chaos. doesn’t fully develop but tumbles out into a short SPACE without dissipating. during the descent into STELLA BLUE, garcia maybe almost/accidentally/kinda brushes into the MIND LEFT BODY progression for a few seconds & band follows. doesn’t quite soar, but a nice little clearing before a long, languorous STELLA BLUE.

10/24/79 springfield, MA: fairly biz-as-usual tour opener. SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE is one lyric draft closer to final form. no more alternate verses, though there’s still tweaking to be done. 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN has subtle new colors. mydland moves to crunchy synth & takes dyna-rhodes solo, but weir is the hero with palm-mute delay pedal rhythms (during the transition especially) & big crashing chords under garcia’s finale solo. 37-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > PLAYING IN THE BAND. PLAYING gets portentous with big bass melodies, but dribbles down into hand percussion. sweeping SPACE. phil has a sustain pedal! moar! further good news: the steel drumz are back. mickey (i assume) hits a hand percussion groove that sounds like an ARP pulse, ready for snaking guitar, but garcia’s already tuned into WHARF RAT.

10/25/79 new haven: great pacing in 2nd set, opening with 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET that dives into percussive crosstalk between garcia & mydland. rare 2nd set PASSENGER & FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, which manages slight punchiness in its slow arrangement via brisk rhodes solo. 52-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE touches many satisfying corners. butterfly segue into EYES, which opens into ornery bass leads & ARP washes & thoughtful garcia squigglies & weir harmonics & pitch-bending prophet-5 mixed low. DRUMZ stays spaced almost the entire time, with synth noise starting under the hand drums. gongs & cymbals & rhodes twinkles trace a gentle path to whispered STELLA BLUE, with drawn-out satisfying peak.

10/27/79 south yarmouth: an offseason saturday at the coliseum owned by linda & vince mcmahon. major 2nd set dance party, opening with half-hour DANCING IN THE STREET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER dense with garcia/mydland laser beams & rolling bass, flowing via an outro chorus from DANCING’s disco-bounce right into FRANKLIN’S choogle. 50-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. HE’S GONE itself is a l’il wobbly but accelerates into churning not-quite-CAUTION jam. major! OTHER ONE doesn’t fully capitalize, though twists & turns convincingly after the 2nd verse. rare soundboard from the era with suitable bass, thundering properly & cushioning even weir’s scrawny slide guitar as garcia tears through a burning NOT FADE AWAY. unfortunately, the slide continues into BLACK PETER.

10/28/79 south yarmouth: 30-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opens, garcia sounding a bit out of breath throughout. some good boogie, but listless playing, as garcia keeps going & going. smokin’ 15-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, inventive co-leads by weir during conversational transition, busy enough that the dyna-rhodes sparkles properly. weir starts singing garcia’s “headlight” verse during RIDER, which is somehow charming. 38-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE. group soars into jam, mydland’s B3 sustaining a dense atmosphere under garcia before switching over to more conversational rhodes rhythms & figures. stellar flow from PLAYING into concise & high-energy DRUMZ, hart going berserker on steel percussion while kreutzmann holds down kit. hard stop before SPACE, but makes musical sense, echoed percussion mixing with synth. great human-toned noises from lesh?

10/31/79 nassau coliseum: rare CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER opener, markedly more languid than at previous show. less ecstasy, but a wonderful opening bounce. garcia’s voice is a bit trembly. weir apparently pops & changes string mid-jam. a packed floor at the coliseum. lots of “take a step back” variations, including from a mellllllow garcia. a number of surreal weir jokes: “what’s the difference between a frog? … and the answer is: one leg is both the same.” healthy 17-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET 2nd set opener turns briefly outward via garcia/mydland conversation, pushing & pulling to an indeterminate space that seems as if it could turn anywhere, so they head back into SHAKEDOWN. leisurely 69-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > TRUCKIN’. speedy late ‘70s EYES is in full bloom with tasty garcia & a densely chirping dyna-rhodes outro that amps up into a weird, beautiful power jam as the drumzers try to take over. SPACE drifts with cartoon melodies, bass chords, rhodes cascades, & weary garcia themes. weir goes into WHARF RAT, but garcia isn’t done drifting. when the song reaches the “bonny lee” line, audible on the soundboard tape, a woman very loudly screams “THAT’S MY NAME!!!” TRUCKIN’ is a big exuberant mess, with an arcing garcia solo that fans into temporarily infinite open space before crashing into the coda, peaking again, & alllllmost landing smoothly.

11/1/79 nassau coliseum: sez weir, “i have it from a usually reliable source that russia just bombed staten island & if you live there, don’t bother to go home tonight.” not my era for LOOKS LIKE RAIN, but some gorgeous garcia curlicues. 35-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is longest ever & satisfying all the way. unhurried garcia/mydland/weir dialogues, bliss corners, minimalist delays, synth peaks, & general dreaminess. SCARLET tastier than FIRE. maybe a post-’77 template & def an all-timer. otherwise sleepy TERRAPIN STATION channels the LP version’s mystic energy during outro, prelude to 40-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. brilliant weir rhythm colors during first part of PLAYING. mydland gaining confidence, jumping from keyboard to keyboard with busy conversational leads as jam melts. SPACE coalesces into brief triumphant theme in the MIND LEFT BODY/BEAUTIFUL JAM universe.

11/2/79 nassau coliseum: another seemingly infinite MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opens, a 29 minute warm-up that doesn’t quite bloom until the end. a nearby drum mic catches lots of between-song mickey chatter of the “hey weir!!” sort. all-transitioned 2nd set. weir plots 1st half just off-mic, culminating in not-quite-audible conversation with mickey about what it means to just go “out” on his new song. I NEED A MIRACLE > BERTHA has a short questing garcia transition, rock prelude to the main event. 59-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. wild 19-minute SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE is a screamer, 1st jammed version & longest ever, staying high density & content rich while zoning & zipping inside the song’s atmosphere. excellent to have a new option for the deep jam slot with SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, the 1st new song to move there since ESTIMATED PROPHET in ’77, though this is the only tour where that will be its semi-regular role. along with the reborn HE’S GONE, promising new fun. hand-DRUMZ punctuated by breathtaking zonk-sweep noise from lesh (i think), melting into SPACE. bells & gongs make it feel extra beautiful & alien, as they always do. encore is mydland’s 1st CASEY JONES.

11/4/79 providence: 2nd set opens with 1st ALABAMA GETAWAY, snarling southern rocker with ominous, biblical lyrics. garcia/hunter’s last dead song for 3 years. maybe not major, but a great addition to the set & perfect crossfade into 1st GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD since may. 67-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. as HE’S GONE winds down. weir hits new changes &, impressively, the band charges headlong behind him for a good moment before dissipating into episodic bubblings. unfortunately, not much going on after that. SPACE is emptier than usual, volume swells & ambient organ, before barely a sliver of THE OTHER ONE, under 5 minutes. weir attempts his roger daltrey stutter during AROUND & AROUND.

11/5/79 philadelphia: another CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER opener, garcia really starting to lean into the “i wish i was a headlight” verse. ALTHEA begins 2nd set, lazily slipping over 10-minute mark for 1st time. 78-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > ESTIMATED PROPHET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE. nearly an hour of jams before DRUMZ hit. rare EYES at the top of the jam sequence throws the other predictable elements into glorious disarray. EYES breaks 20 minutes, new speedy backbeat thumpy & vaguely discoish, dripping into a pro no-count segue into the 7/8 time of ESTIMATED. garcia shifts & everybody follows. lovely to hear FRANKLIN’S in a prime 2nd set slot, soaring up & out into thick & thinning air. SAILOR/SAINT moves into the post-SPACE ballad slot for the 1st time. emotionally weird to hear a sensitive weir tune there, but it works & the crowd eats up the unreleased SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, which drops almost too naturally into SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

11/6/79 philadelphia: the new ALABAMA GETAWAY, tight & vicious, drops into the show-opener slot for the first time, here moving on the next beat into THE PROMISED LAND, its most frequent pairing in the next years. only JACK-A-ROE of tour leg is bright with dyna-rhodes. prime specimen of the explosive ’79 JACK STRAW with over-the-top tom-tom shoot-outs, dramatic thumps on the bridge, & a big cheer when weir sings his “used to play for silver, now we play for clive” variation. guess clive davis was big in philly? short 2nd set jumps right into the ethereal with TERRAPIN STATION opener, the middle jam more like gathering mist than glowing starlight, but getting back to lovely indeterminacy. prelude to 47-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. PLAYING rides upwards on slashing guitars with dive-bombing bumblebee rhodes twinkles. hart moves to hand percussion before miniature garcia/kreutzmann corner. desert-y SPACE & solid BLACK PETER.

11/8/79 landover: 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is modest compared to previous week’s epic & much more upbeat. skittish weir figures under the transition, syncing up on little rhythmic keyboard bursts with brent’s keys deeper into FIRE. 50-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > MORNING DEW. SAILOR/SAINT’s 2nd time in the jam slot isn’t as coherent, drums fizzling into the noodle sea. like many fall ’79 tapes, can hear mickey shouting for/at monitor mixer harry popick. only MORNING DEW of ’79 (& 1st mydland version) is successfully epic, to my very pleasant surprise. 1st since 4/78 & 2nd since 6/77. iffy early on, but it clicks, overflowing with lead bass, garcia’s voice & guitar both hitting the big notes, enormous end.

11/9/79 buffalo: top of 2nd set is A+. glorious 25-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER. minus the beat, DANCING peaks are very bright & ‘69ish. ace segue via bouncing synth into focused FRANKLIN’S with ferocious rave-up end. garcia remembers all the words, too! 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. instruments fit together well during spacious ESTIMATED. subtle delays on weir’s guitar. amazing what a little reverb will do to make the dyna-rhodes sound good, too. enormous HE’S GONE clicks upwards into a bright & constantly moving jam, never fully settling around a theme that’s not quite GLORIA. echoing SPACE percussion & uncharacteristically melodic bass before locked-in WHARF RAT.

11/10/79 ann arbor: brent’s 1st COLD RAIN & SNOW (weather appropriate, apparently) & 1st HIGH TIME (2nd since 5/77, powerful garcia vocals with the harmonies reshuffled slightly). LOOKS LIKE RAIN intro has a whooshy synth that i think is supposed to be wind/rain? 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. PLAYING jam works itself into a mild froth. wispy SPACE with occasional keyboard delays & big bass thromps as band settles into NOT FADE AWAY.

11/23/79 san diego: is ALABAMA GETAWAY the most dylanesque garcia/hunter song? made such wonderful sense when dylan covered it during the never-ending tour. weir watch: as 1980 primary season gears up, an announcement that “our drummer back here, billy, would like to announce his candidacy for the highest office of our land… don’t forget to vote for him, so thanks!” 2nd set starts with 21-minute MUSIC NEVER STOPPED > SUGAREE. rare MUSIC opener, the middle jam jams into a moment of indeterminacy & a nice unexpected segue. long SUGAREE gets harsh with weir’s slide guitar, but finds a wonderful gentle pocket when he switches to rhythm. very ’79 sequence, the 4th of the year, with 56-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. short but slashing mydland/weir jam after garcia exits early pre-DRUMZ. brief, tantalizing ARP/percussion duo in SPACE before faux-clav & slide-touched NOT FADE AWAY. encore shout-out from weir to “that tall guy over there for bringing us down here,” presumably @billwalton, doing that arms in the air thing.

11/24/79 san diego: last CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER show opener for a few years, starting sleepy but finding a nice lowdown spot mid-jam. the ALABAMA GETAWAY > GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD pairing is my favorite new move. great miniature jam in GREATEST STORY, garcia turning out a beautiful & lyrical solo melody that could almost be its own song. 45-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT. soulful moaning lead tones in PLAYING, loping into an easily conversational garcia/kreutzmann-led free space, chased by chattering weir. short SPACE is a moody, cloud-gathering prelude to LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, unreleased & new to most of the crowd. wish there was more SPACE, but a nice late show set-piece.

11/25/79 UCLA: weir issues stern tempo warning to the drummers before TENNESSEE JED &, indeed, it does come out at something like the just exactly perfect tempo, yielding a nifty curlicue pocket. on 2nd set opening 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET, betty’s well-balanced mix highlights everybody equally. great group percolation, the ball bouncing especially between weir & mydland while garcia weaves. jam sort of fizzles confusedly into a deflated BERTHA. 55-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE. abbreviated HE’S GONE compared to other monster fall versions, but OTHER ONE rolls deep & jagged & dense & wooly by ’79 standards. thromping bass-heavy SPACE turns into short, fascinating weir/lesh duo. jam abbreviated when weir ripcords to TRUCKIN’, which lesh has given up singing on, perhaps temporarily but definitely for the best. MIND LEFT BODY-like descent bridges to STELLA BLUE.

11/29/79 cleveland: occasional sound problems. near the start of the 2nd set, the revamped HIGH TIME sounds powerful & heavy in a centerpiece spot, garcia getting inside the vocal, sweet high harmony by mydland, the drummers never overdrumming. 50-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > BLACK PETER. great ESTIMATED, garcia alternating between butterfly shreds & slower phrases to subtle dramatic effect. EYES breaks apart into drones & moans & a short deep jam backed by hand drums.

11/30/79 pittsburgh: lots of not-quite-segues happening on this tour, as if the band finally read a review that joked about their tuning breaks. tonight, 15-minute 1st set-closing DANCING IN THE STREET doesn’t-exactly-tumble into DEAL. 25-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is front-heavy, which is ace by me, going deep squiggle. super-sleepy TERRAPIN STATION has with bonus mini-jam before last verse & extra-languid starlight transition. could use more twinkling dyna-rhodes. 52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT. slide-sullied PLAYING jam has big piping synth washes & bubbles, reprising in SPACE & turning into sirens. 1st DON’T EASE ME IN encore, a nice change there.

12/1/79 pittsburgh: mellow mood prevails, garcia singing extra-quietly throughout. 17-minute SUGAREE has a variety of spaces, flavorful garcia emerging from B3 solo. mix does mostly decent job masking weir’s slide, which sounds like a wobbly malfunctioning tape track. 67-minute HE’S GONE > C.C. RIDER > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. HE’S GONE spirals upwards rises easily, weir dropping into the GLORIA changes & kicking energy up further. prophet-5 solo sounds thin, but garcia joins & spins jam out further with much great invention. a smooth descent lands in the grateful dead debut of blues standard C.C. RIDER, sung by weir. hardly a hot take, but i’m way not into weir’s blues tunes. thankfully, unlike most, this version slips back into nearly 5 minutes of twisting non-blues jamming.

12/3/79 chicago: standard but also excellent* & joyous 27-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN opens 2nd set. drums are less shoes-in-a-dryer & more bouncing superballs. after peak, garcia ends FIRE solo in lower registers. (* except weir’s slide. ew.) 71-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT > TRUCKIN’. mydland & the dyna-rhodes finally jump into TERRAPIN’s starlight jam with garcia. but, wow, what a sleepy climax. brief PLAYING doesn’t get too far out, though thoroughly enjoyable & subtle conversation bounces between drummers, lesh, mydland, & everybody, really. SPACE charges out of DRUMZ at full speed, briefly thrilling, but folds inwards after 30 seconds or so.

12/4/79 chicago: 2nd set opening CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is way mellow, drummers laying further back in the pocket than usual. perhaps because of this, the rest of jam feels less lyrical, too, with some confusion as they arrive in RIDER. 67-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. i adore FRANKLIN’S in the jam slot, escaping its endless circular groove, drummers surfing, garcia pushing, & turning itself inside out without losing momentum. DRUMZ/SPACE transition is 3 minutes of stereo-panned rhythmic patterns that i briefly thought was ARP. beautiful echo effects & celestial dyna-rhodes. are those actual gongs? gorgeous cymbal mix. NOT FADE AWAY powers into monstrously weird thunder.

12/5/79 chicago: band leans hard on the new songs in the 1st set, playing 5 of the 7 originals that will end up on “go to heaven,” ALABAMA GETAWAY as opener & then 4 in a row to end. SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE feels a bit abrupt as a closer. enjoyable off-mic mickey hart in 1st set: “let’s go back into ALABAMA GETAWAY! let’s close it out with ALABAMA GETAWAY! ALABAMA all night!!”
weir, after GREATEST STORY: we probably won’t get that one right next time, either.
later on – weir: that’s right, practice makes perfect.
garcia: we’re gonna keep practicing ’til we get it perfect.
weir: that’s why they call us the just exactly perfect brothers band. [x/x]
18-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opens set 2. long vocal exit & longer static bounce for dancers. garcia’s mu-tron tone sometimes hard to distinguish from mydland’s synth. the last chord tumbles into SAMSON & DELILAH, a recent pairing they’ll keep doing. 54-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. HE’S GONE feels extra stark, with fewer garcia flourishes/curlicues, & really taking its time, 12 minutes before it even gets to the jam, which heads swiftly & smoothly for THE OTHER ONE. band rushes through both OTHER ONE verses & dissolve, as usual in ’79, but tonight the jams keeps developing, cohering via hand percussion & free drums until suddenly they’re at full speed, then breaking down to sub-bands, musicians coming in/out briefly. beautiful flow into lovely stereo-mixed DRUMZ via some kind of drone/string percussion. it’s all vibey hand percussion, only moving over to the big roto-toms when the band comes back out. BLACK PETER, one day after its 10th birthday, sounds present & dynamic. garcia’s voice & guitar double each other during the “run & see” outro, dropping the words & sort of even scatting a little before a mammoth guitar bridge into a rock medley.

12/7/79 indianapolis: 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER opens 2nd set, feeling fresh, with none of the indecision of the weird chicago version. also a reminder that everything makes more sense when the bass is mixed this well. 51-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. wonder of wonders, EYES is at its slower mid-‘70s tempo/feel! i think it’s cuz garcia started from a cold stop, but feels luxurious & ends with floating, swelling conversation. as soon as SAINT ends, the drummers immediately (& somewhat awkwardly) drop the pulse & leave everybody else in an ambient pool that drips into echo-laden DRUMZ.

12/9/79 st. louis: 58-minute TERRAPIN STATION > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. beautiful starlight transition in TERRAPIN, longest yet i think, garcia & mydland fluttering into nearly weightless BIRD SONG-like territory. surprisingly natural dissolve from unresolved last chord of TERRAPIN into LOST SAILOR intro. mickey (i assume) stays off drum kit for most of the song & plays hand percussion with gently dubby echoes, which sounds really great. again, the drummers drop the rhythmic thread at the end of SAINT, but this time garcia accelerates. by turn, everybody else charges into high energy coda. it peters out, but they re-coalesce into a great kreutzmann-carried jam that descends gradually. DRUMZ builds, recedes, & carries into unusually well-developed & multi-sectioned SPACE, with stray percussion complementing ARP freak-outs. also unusually, everyone is still weirding when garcia slides into patient BLACK PETER.

12/10/79 kansas city, ks: under the “sweet william he is dead” verse of PEGGY-O, unexpected glassy, ethereal volume swells by mydland. 20-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER. “winter’s here & the time is right,” but not for long. the last DANCING ’til ’81. too bad. half-smooth gearshift into FRANKLIN’S, which doesn’t quite unlock, but drummers find groovy plateau. 50-minute LET IT GROW > HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT is an old-fashioned sequence that could’ve happened (sort of) in ’73-’74. 2nd LET IT GROW of mydland era, still finding its legs. last peak of TRUCKIN’ is legit mammoth. band in-joke leaks into off-mic commentary during DRUMZ, kreutzmann: “this one’s for bobby, he’s running for president, too!” big SPACE synth washes resolve to pipe organ-like lead-in to WHARF RAT. mydland’s falsetto on JOHNNY B. GOODE is pretty, uh, extra.

12/11/79 kansas city, ks: entire show is deeply enjoyable because of weird ultra-democratic mix, all instruments basically as loud as garcia’s guitar, especially lesh’s bass. it’s pretty glorious! some good off-mic drummerly chatter throughout, too. 59-minute TERRAPIN STATION > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER is a bit disjointed but has some brilliant jamming. cool echoed percussion during LOST SAILOR, buried in the psychedelic mix like a studio production. band kersplats on the transition into SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, leading to half-effective improvised prelude. when song proper ends, drummers drop beat & band tumbles into kinda dinky groove but cohere into floating hippie reggae & eventually a keyboard/drummer jam. BLACK PETER is especially over the top with the new mix, but it sounds that way on stage, too. band empties the tank on rare double-barreled encore closing the tour with the usually show-opening pair of ALABAMA GETAWAY > THE PROMISED LAND.

12/26/79 oakland auditorium arena: big shows all around: a new healy/ultrasound/@MeyerSound PA (with parts of the wall of sound), DIY taper innovations, the unveiling of @SEVA_foundation with wavy gravy & ram dass, the birth of shakedown street (see below), & a late batch of betty cantor-jackson tapes. weir’s C.C. RIDER cover moves to its permanent home, adding blues-rock drag to 1st sets through much of the next decade. hometown debut for ALABAMA GETAWAY fares better. deep nonstop 2nd set led by 82-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BROKEDOWN PALACE, bookended by bust-outs. 1st UNCLE JOHN’S since 10/77 latches effortlessly back into happy garcia flows during solos, perfect segue. after well-developed ESTIMATED jam, garcia butterflies away & changes channels several times (shaking off lesh’s attempt to segue into HE’S GONE) while band catches up & attempts to re-shape behind him. cool co-leads by weir in places. following the thundery DRUMZ, echo-touched percussion leads into textured (& almost ‘90s-sounding) SPACE, cymbals tapping around feedback & beep-waves & blobs of decoherence. fresh-feeling alien solo variations in the back half of NOT FADE AWAY, swelling & speeding & pulling back kinda awkwardly into 1st BROKEDOWN PALACE since 10/77. rather different with mydland’s high harmony & B3. slightly faster & drummier, too. weir’s chuck berry double-shot feels extraneous, but the 17-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND is just exactly generous. even if it’s more a burp than a segue, it feels like a summation of the new version of the band that solidified on fall tour. 40 years ago tonight, as well, was the unofficial birth of shakedown street, the vending/camping bazaar outside grateful dead shows. lots of big offstage action during the 1979 new year’s run, which i wrote about extensively in “heads.”

12/27/79 oakland auditorium arena: notably short 1st set, barely 45 minutes, a taste of days to come. BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (with 12-beat intro) is mydland’s 1st. for a few minutes, currently the warlocks. 1st bay area CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER since ’77. 52-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. once again, garcia starts EYES from a clean break & once again it’s a nice chill tempo. doesn’t travel far (or segue well) but the conversation feels substantial & thoughtful. SAINT ends almost cleanly & after a pause everyone takes off jamming again, nearly 8 minutes of high-speed conversation, going back into SAINT briefly (sort of). when garcia exits, mydland/weir/lesh stay engaged & keep improvising on thick new dyna-rhodes-driven changes. during quiet parts of DRUMZ, mickey’s nagging of weir & monitor mixer harry popick come through the PA on audience tape. thought that was only a soundboard thing! bells & cymbals continue into short SPACE as lesh & weir (i think) layer on old-fashioned feedback & squalls.  2nd encore is BROKEDOWN PALACE, 2nd version in 2 days after being revived the previous night & it’s much tighter already. i don’t think anyone was complaining. garcia sounds great. hearing mydland’s voice in the mix is still weird, though.

12/28/79 oakland auditorium arena: beautiful SUGAREE opens with lush weir colors before & after atrocious slide. after listening to a bunch of HIGH TIME ’69, it’s striking how differently garcia occupies the song a decade later. different highs, different times. 50-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. satisfying multi-section 17-minute PLAYING. weir & mydland dive into descending pattern that sets tone for high-energy jam that’s never quite predictable. deep in jam, weir uses slide with delay pedal & sounds alright. love all the beautiful bells (or little gongs?) that continue to show up DRUMZ as well as whoever seems to making shapes tonight on a pennywhistle. UNCLE JOHN’S doesn’t grow naturally from SPACE, but the ending is peak ’79 energy.

12/30/79 oakland auditorium arena: another short 1st set, contiguous & not-that-long 2nd set. 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN reaches deep during SCARLET especially, garcia honing in on new space, switching over to rhythm for a moment, as if claiming it. 44-minute LET IT GROW > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. LET IT GROW dances through high-speed garcia/mydland needlework before winding down. hand percussion under SPACE swirls, garcia edging on middle eastern modes before good noise swells. after yet another chuck berry oldies twofer by weir to close 2nd set, garcia takes over encore & offers a much more elegant way to finish a show with DON’T EASE ME IN / BROKEDOWN PALACE double-shot.

12/31/79 oakland auditorium arena: after JACK STRAW opener, 16-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER is perfect for the ratcheted-up new year’s energy, garcia surfing & soaring through sing-song melodies while heads dance into the ‘80s. 2nd set starts at midnight with SUGAR MAGNOLIA & bill graham descending from the rafters in a butterfly costume with stealies on the wings. SUNSHINE DAYDREAM will bookend the 3rd set, a classic new year’s move. straightforward show, chaotic mood. only jam is 3rd set 50-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. UNCLE JOHN’S is keyed up, too, outro unfolding into triumphant mutant inversions & melts. hand-DRUMZ-y SPACE is pretty much NFA from the start, slowly cohering.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

#deadfreaksunite 1969

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

#deadfreaksunite 1969
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org.

1/17/69 santa barbara: with santana at a long-mysterious venue. 17-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opener starting to space just slightly. pig’s a bit slurry at the start, but he & band really starting to click on moves between sections. garcia & lesh get with the pretty locked-in riffs. 2 box back nitties cues. with this begins the 6-year golden age of DARK STAR suites where virtually everything is reliably magical, here a 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. during 13-minute DARK STAR, mickey (i think) hits tom-tom accents during 2nd jam, but still no kits. TC’s organ is (as will be the usual) barely audible, sometimes floating through as vague but pleasing ambience. DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY is starting to get spare & gothic, a song i never quite appreciated fully until @amirbarlev’s @LongStrangeDoc. pretty sure pigpen kept playing organ on this one. 26-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE. 8-minute OTHER ONE with 3D pre-verse nebula. 1st dead version of COSMIC CHARLIE after the hartbeats’ 10/68 debut. raw & unnecessarily complicated comix-y fun. hard not to see mr. natural in title role.

1/18/69 los angeles:  the grateful dead occupy playboy after dark & allegedly dose the coffee urn & hef’s pepsi with LSD, a story i’d believe slightly more if any of the dosed ever told it. aired in july ’69. at a fake playboy mansion, jer raps with hef & the dead play 3 songs not yet on their albums. a studio set with “books not even worth stealing,” according to TC. “that’s the big one up there at night,” sez jerry, introducing MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON & looking fuzzy without his glasses. beautiful, thoroughly baroque, & totally hifalutin (or just totally high) acoustic/harpsichord version, with weir on 12-string. ST. STEPHEN edited heavily & TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT in background under the credits. both play more like ‘60s montages than actual performances. fun crowd shots. does maybe seem like a real party is starting?

1/23/69 avalon ballroom (rehearsal): run-through of THE ELEVEN 3 days before the “live/dead” take. apparently, someone’s taken TC outside & gotten him stoned. DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES rehearsal the day before its proper debut has full drums, closer to the later versions.

1/24/69 avalon ballroom: early set opens with 30-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE. increasingly rare CABOOSE never clicks. vocals frayed, awkward bass solo, jam in 13 doesn’t fly. whole night slightly too ragged for live album. earliest live taped versions of 2 “aoxomoxoa” songs: DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES & DOIN’ THAT RAG. pig plays harmonica on DUPREE’S, threading it to the jug band. RAG has tasty jerry outro. i adore this early garcia/hunter period, surrealism similar to the scene’s posters/comix. 19-minute standalone DARK STAR opens late set. cloud-bursting post-verse jam peaks with dense bass leads, cymbal action, & nifty inverted rhythms by weir. TC’s circus organ still buried except when band gets quiet. garcia pops string, aborts 2nd verse, jams more, tries again. TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT missing song verses, mostly just garcia shreds. at one point, voices cheer in swells, just off mic. plug gets pulled (or power fails) & pig continues mic-less: “fuck it.” total hippie chaos ensues. chants, incoherence, DRUMZ, etc. the 3 shows are also the reopening of the avalon ballroom by a new family dog splinter group, the somewhat ironically named soundproof productions. for a dose of the san francisco ’69 DIY scene politics.

1/25/69 avalon ballroom: occasionally off-kilter mix, irresistible music. getting right to it, set 1 is 52-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. TC’s organ is way overdriven in places & sounds boss but too loud. late show begins with the 2nd proper versions of the 3 newest songs, all well improved over their debut takes, especially COSMIC CHARLIE, buoyant & exuberant. funny that it recycles “hung up waiting for a windy day” from ALLIGATOR. of early dead tunes, ALLIGATOR may’ve undergone the most wee tweaks in sections/lyrics/parts/tempos, now with kinda goofy vocal jam. 22-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT greeted with enthusiasm. weir & pig take solo vocal lines during closer.

1/26/69 avalon ballroom: stoned crosstalk as band gets ready, lesh quoting REVOLUTION 9. 1st set is 37-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > CLEMENTINE > DEATH DON’T HAVE MERCY. mix is borked ’til midway into OTHER ONE. garcia immolates during CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro. last known CLEMENTINE, lesh/hunter moodiness forgotten ’til resurfacing in the ‘90s. 1st since 2/68 & rewritten. REVOLUTION 9 callback during new quiet section earns laughs from crowd. listen as the song disappears from memory during segue into DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. TC has no swing whatsoever, but he sounds convincingly psychedelic on CLEMENTINE. nor does not he have an ominous blues setting, playing organ on this take of DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, a task he will be relieved of soon. late set is 40-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. perhaps playing to the 16-track (& LP side limitations) 10-minute DARK STAR is shorter than recent takes. it’s a solid edit, garcia glides through episodes quickly/dramatically in 2nd half. ST. STEPHEN slightly rough in places, but then band turns corner into just-exactly-perfection, even the vocals, with both THE ELEVEN & LOVELIGHT at full snarling speed, & soon constituting a side-and-a-half of “live/dead.”  listened to this LOVELIGHT gazillions of times but never noticed phil singing off-mic response vocals during the 2nd verse ’til just now. great version that moves quickly from idea to idea, landing naturally at big finale. phil: “and leave it on!!”

2/2/69 minneapolis: the opening of new psychedelic venue. local band blackwood apology leads off with rock opera “house of leather.” 90-minute set is band’s archetypal “compact” approach when coming to a new town, with long pigpen rave-ups bookending psychedelic suites. crowd not buying at first. walk-outs & heckles. lesh & garcia heckle back. jerry: “we come all the way across the country & leave the comfort & beauty of california & come out in the cold miserable rain & snow & what do we get? people who can’t dig it. too weird!!” garcia pretty much rips into 16-minute DARK STAR, which is charged & beautiful, with early feedback clouds, aggressive for a song with only hand percussion. 20 more sharp minutes of ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, with ugly tape cuts. TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT entering its own golden age, with rolling pigologues deep inside the groove while the band turns effortless corners & surfs weird pockets atop circular double drumming. the 1st reference to “pocket pool,” i guess?

2/4/69 omaha: a small club on their first trip to omaha. opening act was the unknown, from st. louis. another night of the dead getting hassled. garcia heckling a heckler: “hey far out man. this is too much. this is the lamest trip we’ve been taken on in our entire career, absolutely the lamest.” people calling requests, too. off-mic, garcia suggests MORNING DEW. phil: “is that what somebody wants to hear?” jerry: “it’s what *i* want to hear.” weir, getting in tune: “close enough for progressive rock…” tight, powerful DEW follows. 37-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. tape is sped up, making DARK STAR sound particularly strident. DEATH DON’T remains extra-atmospheric, pigpen back on organ, though cut-off again. 36-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > CAUTION. 1st taped instance of band dropping the CRYPTICAL epilogue, someone onstage calling an audible, a nice move. drummers use chant for reentry before action-packed CAUTION. gets to deep blissful spot, turns noisy & atmospheric while pig is still singing, reforms, peaks, & zooms off the rails. tape cuts out mid-feedback.

2/5/69 kansas city, ks: first visit to kansas, opening for the iron butterfly. missing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opener & dropping right into the suites, mainly a fantastic 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. beautiful gliding DARK STAR, but the more pummeling jams win the day & audience. a perfect shift into pretty ragin’ CAUTION. pig’s section is short. garcia & weir sing long drone tones over feedback before short screamo vocal jam. a cool development in the post-CAUTION meltdown is TC matching garcia/weir/lesh’s feedback with organ drones. friendly ovation early in BID YOU GOODNIGHT. crowd gets into it. long version, garcia hitting the weird lines about the child-eating beast.

2/6/69 st. louis: st. louis debut, their 2nd night opening for the iron butterfly. MORNING DEW is prelude to 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. fantastic shimmering peak to DARK STAR with lead bass & chiming weir, along with twisting garcia threads. LOVELIGHT only sort of gels. the dead get some extra time & burn through THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, exiting upwards into feedback (TC leaning on the organ, phil looking for melodies) & into BID YOU GOODNIGHT, earning a nice reception.

2/7/69 pittsburgh: incredibly heavy triple bill of the grateful dead, the velvet underground, & the fugs, each playing an early & late show, MC’d by paul krassner. 48-minute early set is DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. typically lovely neon skywriting in DARK STAR. power failure almost kills flow before fluid & bombastic THE ELEVEN. LOVELIGHT scrambles midway & never fully ignites. late show capped by half-hour ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT that peaks as much as ambles. cooking CHINA CAT squigglies after drum break & gradual float before CAUTION. feedback starts conversational & dissolves slowly. handy overview of the checkered relationship between the ex-warlocks.

2/11/69 fillmore east: early & late shows opening for janis joplin, her post-big brother NYC debut. maybe because they’re sharing a bill with janis, early show is blues-heavy. 1st taped KING BEE since ’66, a pigpen standard for the next 3 years. the debut of the short-lived pig-sung HEY JUDE. charming but silly, especially the nah-nahing coda. late set begins as mickey presents bill graham with the cowbell that graham played on the night he “became part of the grateful dead,” aka when the dead dosed him & graham jammed. “welcome to the band, bubby,” mickey says. a monster late show, 1st time adding new acoustic songs to front of suite, a powerful sequencing with quiet transition to electricity. 54-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DRUMZ > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. middle DARK STAR jams fully conversational, phrases & ideas spread between musicians, TC starting to get into the weave, often punctuated by garcia soaring over the top with a crystal lead.  garcia keeps pulling out peaks in CAUTION. they even earn an encore, far from the usual in early ’69. big ’n’ bright COSMIC CHARLIE, particularly violent tape cut after 2 minutes.

2/12/69 fillmore east: missing the beginning, 34 minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. pro deceleration into ultra-quiet DEATH DON’T. big reception from NYC heads afterwards. 32-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT has the most sustained bliss of the set, big jams swelling/receding after the drum break, basslines pulling cool harmonies from garcia’s wilding. CAUTION hovers at the edge of chaos after the vocals, splitting open methodically & surrendering to chaos. feedback codas developing a nice arc with miniature episodes, here cosmic TC noise blurps “peak” with garcia’s volume swell melodies.

2/14/69 philadelphia: the 1st of 2 nights at the original electric factory. 53 minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. even with beginning cut, DARK STAR is longer than usual, garcia extra-lit & lyrical throughout. the 2nd set is probably missing some parts afterwards after the DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY ending, but i’m really starting to see why it was such a band favorite, a quiet/spacious non-pigpen landing after a good freakout.

2/15/69 philadelphia: fantastic show start to finish. new songs really clicking, beginning with opening DOIN’ THAT RAG, with a few nice lyric variations. surprisingly assertive & worked-out harmonica part by pigpen throughout COSMIC CHARLIE. only time, i think? big cheer for MORNING DEW, its 1st time punctuating a big psychedelic suite. set-closing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with long early stretch of archetypal explosive garcia blues breathlessness while conversations spin behind him. 2nd set flow exquisitely, beginning with 49-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. during MOUNTAINS garcia solos confidently on acoustic right up til switching off. 1st DARK STAR to crack 20 minutes, though could be ‘cuz garcia pops a string & disappears for 4 minutes, resulting in a lush weir/lesh/TC jam. nice window on weir’s playing, which is great. jazzy, spacious, & filled with strange movements & occasional lead flourishes. 47-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT also stretches extra-wide & extra-gnarly. instrumental BID YOU GOODNIGHT jam acts as bridge into CAUTION & prelude to beautiful set-closing vocal version. big cheers. grateful thanks from garcia.

2/19/69 fillmore west: part of an acid test-like event called the celestial synapse, with an appropriately weird & anarchic tape (often misdated 6/19/68). icky buzzes ’til midway through sloppy 35-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 1st recorded NOT FADE AWAY since ’66. pigpen sings 1st line & weir takes rest, doing it in the choppy ’66 arrangement, ala the stones. tape rolls during break. naked tripping commune leader raps. audience oms for 22 minutes, led by stephen gaskin, later leader of the farm. various heads (& kids?) take mic, babble over om, jam on dead’s percussion. stage takeover, chanting. fascinating field recording. 2nd set is fantastic & ranging 47-minute jam, slowly coalescing into 1st version of THE MAIN TEN (the theme that would become the PLAYING IN THE BAND intro), a vivid DARK STARish episode, unidentified flying shapes, & OTHER ONE variations.

2/21/69 vallejo: luxurious 73-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. thrilling new episode in DARK STAR, the sputnik jam spiraling into an overdriven garcia peak with busy movement & the drummers shifting to their kits. the longest version of THE ELEVEN, i think, just over 20 minutes. doesn’t necessarily go many new places (garcia once called the song a “trap”), surfing the big strange groove because they can & maybe practicing for the live album they’re recording next week. during deep-pocketed TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, maybe the only time i’ve ever heard pigpen refer to himself in the 3rd person. as in, “wake up, ‘cause the pig is hungry.” MORNING DEW to close.

2/22/69 vallejo: trying new setlist tweaks at out-of-town gig. powerful 54-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. 22-minute DARK STAR turns alien after the sputnik jam again, making cover for cool drum entrance. 2nd set has 56-minute DOIN’ THAT RAG > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. another extra-long THE ELEVEN (as per usual this month, seems), with dug-in bass solo.

2/27/69 fillmore west: can hear how amazing the sound quality is during a few of the tech breaks during the early show as the stage creaks in stereo. love the sound of garcia counting off songs with reverberating boot stomps. delightfully high garcia banter, better heard: “it’s really too weird up here, man, it really is… beyond the pale.” my favorite part, off-mic, “beyond the fuckin’ pale.” then, a stomp into the perfect THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE. great dynamics, packed with mini jams. the late show (following sets by sir douglas quintet & pentangle) begins after 1 in the morning on a thursday night. DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES sets up 56-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR glows from the start, all the episodes developed over the past year & even the past week combine for perhaps the single classic take. also a break through: for 1st time, kreutzmann adds exquisite whispered drums from early on, going in/out as song peaks/recedes. (a pretty astounding comparison of the 4 different mixes of the 2/27/69 dark star.) TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT has a few idyllic “goin’ to the country” references but, more, a document of pigpen getting confident in pushing his vocal tics between speaking & singing with band improvising with him. hey, maybe the all-time COSMIC CHARLIE, too?

2/28/69 fillmore west: their 2nd night of 4 with sir douglas quintet & pentangle, each playing early/late sets. early show is pigpen special, getting 3 tunes. long late set introduced by bill graham: “the last of the gay desperados…” 19-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE is prelude to 53-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. epic 20-minute DARK STAR moves away from pulse after the 1st verse, disintegrating after the sputnik jam & out into quietly swinging weir/lesh/kreutzmann space jazz (hart on guiro) before garcia enters quietly & builds back towards song. mickey shoots off small cannon during ST. STEPHEN. drums fade entirely halfway through THE ELEVEN while everybody else keeps ripping, then return. sounds great. jam digs in deep. conversational flows. 39-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. fantastic ambient vibrations by TC during post-CAUTION feedback. mickey shoots cannon again. noise-squelched BID YOU GOODNIGHT. “goodnight from all the electronic mice,” sez jer.

3/1/69 fillmore west: bill graham introduces the band, “the american version of the japanese film ‘the magnificent seven’…” whole early show is deliberate 44-minute suite. no real jams to connect the songs, just short purposeful pauses. last recorded THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE combo, as paired on “anthem of the sun.” bass-led 13s jam in NEW POTATO is fuzzyblissy, before a peaceful crossfade to DOIN’ THAT RAG & COSMIC CHARLIE. garcia, before the late show, charmingly, “hey, this is gonna be good, you guys!” (collective band laughter, but he’s right!) bill graham: “the great high hope…” & band starts into an hour of purposefully sequenced music, beginning with DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES. 58-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR is bolder by the night. kreutzmann’s drums enter subtly, cymbals first, under dense conversation & vanish again. spiky sputnik meltdown & resolution before 2nd verse. ST. STEPHEN has mickey’s cannon & a good cosmic aside by weir, “except in california.” garcia/drummers jam leads into LOVELIGHT, which hits weave. TC starting to fit in. his playing isn’t bluesy but colors the jam under pig’s raps in a very deady way. encore is the 2nd & final HEY JUDE, lost ’til the ‘90s. this time, the 1st half is tentative & it’s the coda that works, achieving primal liftoff with gang chorus (& presumably a singalong) with garcia shredding.

3/2/69 fillmore west: hard to tell what’s happening, but i think bill graham comes out to introduce the band, garcia declares “free turf!” & launches into 57-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, the entirety of the early show. another night, another amazing & sensitive 20-minute DARK STAR. kreutzmann’s cymbal-masked drum entrance in the post-verse jam is starting to solidify. natural feeling TC organ runs. sputnik episode deconstructs into jagged secret codes. “help, help we need some organized minds up here,” garcia begs before late show. DOIN’ THAT RAG showing signs of developing jam. way powerful 34-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, the latter perfect from the start & chosen for “live/dead.”  54-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT takes its sweet time getting to CAUTION with slow deliberate bass jam. a showstopping combo since ’67 (& on “anthem of the sun”), ALLIGATOR > CAUTION becomes a rarity after this. post-CAUTION feedback highlighted by sublime minute-long volume swell coda by garcia, on “live/dead” along with BID YOU GOODNIGHT, which cuts on master after 36 seconds. beautifully sung, but too bad they didn’t have a full take with all the verses.

3/15/69 san francisco hilton: on phil lesh’s 29th birthday, the grateful dead at the black & white symphony ball at the san francisco hilton, annual benefit for the SF symphony. weir’s mom was on the entertainment committee. short charming onstage soundcheck, all band members conversing with owsley. show opens with debut of otis redding’s 1968 hit HARD TO HANDLE, sung by pigpen. both pig & band almost have grip on song, equally feeling their ways through the jam. 58-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. mushy tape, but i think both drummers come in midway through 15-minute DARK STAR for the 1st time, soaring in through big garcia note cloud, only fading during final chorus.

3/28/69 modesto: 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. long DARK STAR takes 15 minutes before drums enter. tom toms flare briefly, dissolving & reforming several graceful times behind garcia’s guitar. band aborts set break after realizing they only have a little time. ken babbs or some other weirdo jabbers & 22-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE ensues. CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT’s reprise rushes past peak into chiming coda, woozy climax, & feedback landing.

3/29/69 las vegas: las vegas debut & only show there ’til ’81. rare mickey talk. “the next thing we’re going to do is something we wrote especially for the ice palace here in las vegas, we wrote it this morning.” cue 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 15-minute DARK STAR feels particularly forceful, with big bold lines over the pre-verse jam, & a spiky (even icy) post-sputnik disintegration near the very end that phil leads back towards prettiness as drums swing quietly. signs of a budding head scene in las vegas, 2 years before hunter s. thompson’s arrival, though the promoter was apparently a san francisco computer programmer, temporarily in las vegas for work.

4/4/69 avalon ballroom: the dead’s last weekend at the avalon ballroom, freak staple since ’66, with the flying burrito brothers & aum. perhaps already influenced by sneaky pete’s pedal steel with the burrito bros., garcia plays slide guitar during the intro to THE OTHER ONE. mega-allmansy 1st 90 seconds or so. very present TC throughout 22-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, doing his best to get funky, with mixed results. cool & confident atonal organ burps. more slide guitar by garcia. 40-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN. after intro, DARK STAR locks on jaunty shaker/guiro groove & kreutzmann’s drums enter before vocals for 1st time. post-verse rides brighter, drums accenting sputnik jam before disintegration into gongs, space, & resolution. nice stereo drum mix, good for untangling drum parts on ST. STEPHEN & what’s happening as they spool into THE ELEVEN, kreutzmann in the left channel & hart in the right, & eventually break apart into chaos & noise to close the show.

4/5/69 avalon ballroom: 1st set is the psychedelic special, DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES as prelude to 46-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, now the third time they’ve played this whole sequence. 17-minute DARK STAR has bold post-verse garcia lines. kreutzmann finds an entrance point, taps a cymbal for a bit, & eventually drums come in for spell, exiting just as naturally. quiet/savage harmonic weirding by garcia before double-drummer swell into 2nd verse. attention “william tell” truthers (including the person who labeled this recording): here’s a version of ST. STEPHEN with the “william tell” ending that jumps right to TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with no sign of THE ELEVEN until they actually play it in the 2nd set. after the fantastic berserker early versions of COSMIC CHARLIE, band has slowed it waaaaay down, & i can’t say it’s working super well vocally or otherwise. 1st taped CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER in a year, debuted in early ’68, set aside for some reason, & revived for “aoxomoxoa.” less manic & a l’il stiff, but garcia’s solo instantly blooms into the familiar CHINA CAT jam. awkward modulation to DOIN’ THAT RAG, now with vocal reprise. end of CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT downshifts with astonishing smoothness into THE ELEVEN & accelerates from there. jam opens up into the return of the garcia-sung IT’S A SIN, played by the hartbeats in ’68, pigpen on harmonica.“whaddya wanna hear that’ll last 10 minutes?” garcia asks, which results in 20-minute ALLIGATOR > BID YOU GOODNIGHT with drum interlude, dense feedback, bells, volume swell melodies, organ whistles. wonder how “sound proof productions” did with all that.

4/6/69 avalon ballrom: 1st proper date since late ’68 with no DARK STAR. weir asks for requests. 1st recorded BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE since 3/68 & 1st IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE since 12/66, slowed down & lovely. “what else do you wanna hear that we used to do?” garcia asks. deep DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, fantastic guitar tone & stark responsive organ by pigpen. more third person from pig during TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT: “tell ‘em pig said it was okay.” 1st VIOLA LEE BLUES since early ’68. big cheers. smashing until after 1st jam’s big peak when the amps go out. “somebody’s trying to tell us something,” observes weir before vocal/drums reprise. farewell, avalon ballroom!

4/11/69 tucson: the grateful dead begin a 2-week cross-country tour with their only ever gig in tucson, at a WPA auditorium. again coming out of THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, a restrained & spacious IT’S A SIN with pigpen’s harmonica getting nearly equal billing with garcia’s guitar/vocals. more garcia slide on HARD TO HANDLE, getting tighter. 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, with gaps in middle. after jamming on it in february, THE MAIN TEN (future PLAYING IN THE BAND intro) arrives during the DARK STAR drum swell. TC dials in the swirls.

4/12/69 salt lake city: the dead play utah for the 1st time, at the student ballroom, presented by the students for a democratic society. an early & late show.weir’s yellow dog joke, his perennial tech break time killer, makes its on-tape debut in two parts, with GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL in the middle. pigpen charmingly hijacks all the punchlines. “you don’t have to laugh. nobody does.” HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE, always rare (at least on tape), returns to the rotation & jams out for the 1st time, crossing 10 minutes as garcia’s fuzzy curlicues spiral upwards & back to a whisper. opening the late show, 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. as drums become more fixed part of DARK STAR, new spaces emerging, like garcia’s alien toned extrapolation, here backing off to give extra jam space to TC. garcia brings slide over to LOVELIGHT. also some gonging. nice drums/guitar breakdowns. one rap culminates in a solid mid-song grunt-fest. gettin’ freaky in mormon country. jam lands into feedback session but tape cuts out after a minute.

4/13/69 boulder: 25-minute (& incomplete) TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opens & takes its sweet time warming up, building to pigpen crowd work to get the vibe on for the evening. a mellow contrast with the busy show-closing version the night before. 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. stunning 24-minute DARK STAR with harsh gap during post-verse acceleration. kreutzmann rides cymbal for a bit before bringing in kit for swingin’ bliss jams with garcia, lesh, & weir. breakthrough! while still totally shredding, THE ELEVEN is relaxed, almost laidback, getting quiet in the middle. sweet landing into DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, perfect dynamic & delightful quiet guitar tones. after almost 2 hours, band takes set break. 14 minutes of ALLIGATOR, with a short garcia/drummers jam, chanting, peaks, & BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme before the tape cuts off.

4/15/69 omaha: presented by radio free omaha. compact HARD TO HANDLE opener effective in new role as pigpen icebreaker, as are a few familiar songs from their first album, including recently-returned BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, confident & driving. another great CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER again downshifts haltingly into DOIN’ THAT RAG, its most frequent destination for the next little while. 27-minute set-closing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT starting to hit marathon proportions, wee bit tiring here. apparently revived a few days previous, 1st taped SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD in over a year, the old reliable post-jugband zig-zagger, pretty much unchanged since ’66. love this groove. 29 fuzzy minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN before tape runs out. strident garcia throughout. TC comes alive, leaning into organ noise & adding blossoming crystal infinities under garcia arpeggios. quick MAIN TEN theme before 2nd verse.

4/17/69 st. louis: outdoors. tape begins with lost dog announcement & promoter introduction, kreutzmann & hart’s intro dictated by weir: “thumpy & dropstick on drums.” HARD TO HANDLE opener with lyrical garcia slide. “i understand this is tornado weather,” weir says, almost excited. 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > IT’S A SIN > ST. STEPHEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. dramatic kreutzmann drum entrance in DARK STAR, riding cymbal under feedback/gong, snare snapping in just as garcia starts lyrical solo, the whole jam growing ever more conversational. 1st split-open ST. STEPHEN replaces the “ladyfinger” bridge with IT’S A SIN with pigpen harmonica spotlights. clever, but a little bit of a momentum killer. after the “william tell” ending, they again skip THE ELEVEN, upshifting into LOVELIGHT. after 23-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE they segue perfectly into CAUTION, which ends after 49 seconds. “they’re taking our road manager to jail if we play any longer, so fuck you…” says phil to the fuzz. more polite so-longs from other band members.

4/18/69 lafayette: indiana debut. experimentalist george stavis opened. wonder if he & garcia interacted? nice spooky film soundtrack playing as band tunes up. no real jam suite, just a smooth & apparently spontaneous phil led segue out of CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT into another groovy SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. another marathon 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. the 1st taped BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE with flexible intro count, 13 beats.

4/20/69 worcester: rescheduled from 4/19. rahsaan roland kirk pulled a gun & demanded to headline. as the band sets up, garcia: “last time we were here, it was a colossal disaster, this time it’ll be worse.” weir: “we gotta start with something good to make it bad.” (apparently it involved multiple power outages.) 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. muffled tom toms accent DARK STAR middle before sputnik jam draws in cymbals & pivots briefly to flaring chaos. as 2nd verse is about to drop, garcia adds soft, beautiful melodic thread. acoustic DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES & MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON close the set, their 1st time not serving as prelude to DARK STAR & co.. MOUNTAINS gets a short outro solo.

4/21/69 boston: set 1 closes with 22-minute ALLIGATOR > DOIN’ THAT RAG, connected by drum break, garcia/drumzers jam, garcia/lesh/kreutzmann segment, & BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme. garcia keeps turning it around & uses it as half-effective bridge into DOIN’ THAT RAG. short FOXEY LADY tune-up noodle opens 2nd set, instigated by garcia/hart/lesh, i think. 66-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. glassy glockenspiel chatter by hart before/during sputnik jam during DARK STAR. brief drums. revived VIOLA LEE BLUES sounding a l’il woozy (or maybe just out of tune) as the encore, though gets better as it goes, finally blowing out into feedback with gonging, garcia leads, more glockenspiel, & TC organ colors before the tape cuts out.

4/22/69 boston: band maybe starting to realize the value of lead with familiar songs, opening 1st set with the recently revived SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD & 3 others from the 1st album. they sort of take requests. monitor hassles & feedback-laced DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES, then extra-long 81-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 4th & final time band played this 6-song full-set sequence & a rare repeated setlist. lush 27-minute DARK STAR is longest yet, 9 minutes pre-verse, with quiet drum episode. after pause for mickey’s gong, kreutzmann jumps on kit & everyone surfs. following sputnik jam, lesh hints at CAUTION, band goes abstract, lands drumless, & peaks again before verse 2. 29-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT is also the longest yet, getting into band improv, including nice zapped-out garcia & swelling CAUTION jam before final vocal reprise. someone popped a string & sounds like end of show is missing.

4/23/69 boston: a legend-cementing show in boston to close a 3-night midweek run at the ark & begin a new era of setlist hijinks. garcia: “this guy’s gonna make a little speech…”  promoter: “monday night i didn’t know how to introduce the people up here, because i’d never heard them live, [now] i know even better. this is the best fucking rock & roll band in the whole world…” floating HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE opens. someone requests MORNING DEW. “no,” says garcia to general laughter. requester responds inaudibly. garcia, droll: “fuck you.” phil: “you gotta stick around to hear MORNING DEW.” jerry: “yeah, ’til morning. ha, ha, ha,” & counts off… well-plotted 47-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > IT’S A SIN > ST. STEPHEN > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. only hand percussion ’til 2/3 into 21-minute DARK STAR. little cloud of abstract wilding after the sputnik jam. harsh tape flip midway, but ST. STEPHEN drops “william tell” end for 1st time, bridging right to CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT. loving the happy bounce of SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD as a destination in the jam suite. garcia accedes to request & MORNING DEW opens set 2. big cheers. 48-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > JAM > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. rare flying mid-jam segue into THE ELEVEN. an audible, i think. drummers cue time signature change with joint pattern. band hits rising chords without single-note figure usually used as pivot. extra-long 17-minute THE ELEVEN with mega-tight post-verse shred jam that turns into a gradual deconstruction into CAUTION by way of melodic garcia & lesh dialogues, a BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme that edges into MOUNTAIN JAM, & more. CAUTION is fantastic, too, peaking big & folding back in half-time for more pigpen, with sweet garcia volume-swells. glockenspiel floats through feedback before BID YOU GOODNIGHT. crowd going just absolutely bananas for encore on a wednesday night in boston. drummers tease at NOT FADE AWAY, but IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE. over-emotive garcia leans into it, starting to turn into a great singer. maybe it’s the new monitor system.

4/25/69 chicago: the battle of the ex-warlocks. 1st of infamous 2 nights with the velvet underground & detroit band SRC. conflicting stories. based on the tape, i have a new theory. popular version is that the velvet underground played an extra-long opening set, leaving the dead only an hour, & that the dead opened 2nd night & retaliated. doug yule tells it several ways: but the tape says… strangely humdrum. 5 of the 6 songs are covers. pigpen gets 2/3 of the mic time. can see serious R&B-head lou reed deeply not digging this. no hint of jams/psychedelia/weirding. forceful 23-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. after LOVELIGHT, weir announces “we’re gonna come back & do a 2nd set in a little while & we’re gonna bring on 2 other real good bands & they’ll blow your minds anyway…” so, based on that… i think the shows were scheduled fillmore-style, alternating acts, with early & late sets for each. on night 1, the dead opened & the velvets played so long that the dead couldn’t do a late set, which (in turn) the dead did to the VU the next night.

4/26/69 chicago: night 2 of the formerly-the-warlocks battle with the velvet underground, in which the dead take their revenge. after the velvet underground blew through the dead’s late set the night before, the dead do the same to the velvet underground. a firsthand report, culled from ye olde dead.net. 21-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > DOIN’ THAT RAG. only taped instance of an acoustic/electric transition after MOUNTAINS into anything besides DARK STAR. a nice alt-universe suite, even if it’s barely a segue into DOIN’ THAT RAG. 25-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > THE ELEVEN > THE OTHER ONE > IT’S A SIN. maybe ‘cuz of impending segue, OTHER ONE is one of 1st to turn inside out, imperceptible A+ time signature shifts. quick 2nd verse, using CRYPTICAL tag as a transition. back-to-back revivals by weir, 1st taped NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES & SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES since ’66. former is yet another 1st album tune revived. on latter, sounds like garcia’s itchin’ to get home & play his new pedal steel. the shift to LSDC&W begins (again). garcia still can’t quite get all the words to IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE, but singing them with more conviction. really great. ST. STEPHEN again drops “william tell” ending into 33-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, pig & phil doing, uh, crowd work. wild 40-minute VIOLA LEE BLUES > WHAT’S BECOME OF THE BABY > WE BID YOU GOODNIGHT encore. 20-minute VIOLA LEE has fierce CAUTION JAM as last peak before dissolving into feedback, the studio BABY played on top. breathtakingly psychedelic. only done once. kinda like the high harmony part someone (presumably not a band member) is singing off-mic during BID YOU GOODNIGHT.

4/27/69 minneapolis: set bookended by TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, opening with 28-minute LOVELIGHT > ME & MY UNCLE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, both perfect segues. 1st taped UNCLE since ’66, maybe closer to rolling ’80s groove than what it would become before that. hour-long DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > LOVELIGHT. 26-minute DARK STAR has beautifully developed pre-verse jam(s). post-verse gongs lead into wild kreutzmann-fired space with most celestial TC organ playing yet & new corner after new corner. the 2nd LOVELIGHT is a bit redundant, though does yield more jam pockets than pigpen raps, which is a nice balance change. MORNING DEW on the other hand is a jawdropper. fantastic vocals by garcia.

5/3/69a rocklin: an hour-long afternoon set at the sierra college pop festival, their 1st of 2 gigs that day. some of my fave jerry banter: “we’ll mention that nobody here is made of sugar & nobody will melt if it rains. the worst thing that could happen is that we might be electrocuted en masse & that’s not so bad, shit.” also: “hey man, we’re just hassling up here, can’t you understand? we’re in the middle of a hassle. if you want, you can hassle along with us… this is just life. this is no show. this is the way we live. we’re just hassling here in an attempt to make some simple music.” more great tech break theater, including jerry on phil’s broken strings, eric clapton references, & weir inviting a dog onstage. weir also tells what seems like a puzzling & tasteless joke but i think is connected to real rock & roll lore, though can’t verify weir’s bit. anyway, solid MORNING DEW opener, a favorite of dick latvala. most of set is 25-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with a few gnarly guitar jams & not a whole lotta pig raps. all pretty low stakes, including BABY BLUE & BEAT IT DOWN THE LINE.

5/3/69b winterland: alternating sets with mongo santamaria & the jefferson airplane.
lesh: direct from the sierra pop festival, here’s bill graham.
garcia: direct from bill graham, the gospel truth!
crowd (led by weir?) sings “come all ye faithful… to winterland.”
graham: san francisco’s own seven samurai, the grateful dead…21-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE with the action shifting from the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro to the OTHER ONE middle jam, sailing & diving & thinning out in the middle. muddy tape, but cool garcia dialogues with TC’s B3 & then phil’s bass.

5/7/69 polo field: a wednesday afternoon in golden gate park with the jefferson airplane, just ‘cuz. loose & lovely & audibly lysergic. definitely the end of an era, the last free san francisco park gig ’til ’75. coming out of jam, only hart drums on ME & MY UNCLE. charming garcia announcements about lost kids & found car keys. dude asks heads to stop standing in front of speakers. “aw, go away, ya cop,” sez jerry. much other trippy crosstalk. it’s bill the drummer’s 23rd birthday & he shows up properly late, missing the opener, i think here sporting his pigpen shirt. almost 3 minutes of a mystery instrumental, possibly just improvised. weir starts fingerpicking chord changes & rest of band gradually joins. can anybody identify it? gets cut off as it starts to pick up speed. a tape gap, probably with some songs missing, cutting into 13-minute THE OTHER ONE > SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING. dense pre-verse OTHER ONE peak & thinning in the middle. 1st taped SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING since 3/68, only the ending, perpetual pigpen rarity. 1st taped GOOD LOVIN’ since ’66, with jerry on vocals instead of pig, singer on the utterly manic early versions. the only dead song to have 3 different lead singers at various points. and i think mydland sometimes took verses in the ‘80s, too? 55-minute DARK STAR > DRUMZ > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT to close. languid 1-verse DARK STAR moves adjacent to usual motifs without hitting them directly, veering into many short & melodic garcia pockets, with subtle, supportive vox organ & chiming lead bass.

5/10/69 pasadena: opening for “cream’s farewell concert” movie. a hippie introduces the band, leading the crowd in a long “gong bong,” a breathing exercise to get you hiiiiiiiiiiiiigh “without all the dirty dope.” power failures interrupt HARD TO HANDLE & MORNING DEW & i still dig it more than cream. 72-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. mushy sound in parts of DARK STAR, but garcia’s guitar peaks & turns throughout, kreutzmann’s drums flocking around it. before last verse, a quiet space builds back to fierce swirl.

5/11/69 san diego: an afternoon bill (& FM broadcast) with canned heat & santana. raging MORNING DEW opener. 29-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL with smooth segue & radio crosstalk about canned heat, mostly confirming it at 5/11. 30-minute ALLIGATOR > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with much of santana seemingly joining. percussion interludes extra drumzers drumzing, making chaos, a vocalist, & supposedly carlos, but i don’t hear him.

5/16/69 morago: a high school in the east bay. not a great set, but good stories. after the grateful dead get hired to play a high school, they open with the most appropriate/inappropriate song in their repertoire, pigpen singing GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL. fairly tame set, including a lightly jammed DOIN’ THAT RAG & a 22-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with pig exhorting people to get their thumbs out of their asses. someone’s shouting for ST. STEPHEN. principal supposedly turns lights on mid-song.

5/23/69 hollywood reservation: the  dead headline (i think) the first rock festival held on native american land to avoid local laws, including joe south, muddy waters, & more. another big MORNING DEW. many sets now open with pig/jerry/weir alternation. ME & MY UNCLE is weir’s 1st new cover in a bit & will become band’s most played song ever. always garcia who signals it so far. love the big spaghetti western leads. 68-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. languid pre-verse rambles but band jumps confidently into post-verse noise/swell/launching before thinning back out. a few icy, spiky episodes by garcia provide lift-offs. cohesive half-hour LOVELIGHT finale, feeling like an equal balance between big colorful garcia leads & extended pigpen parts, including a cool pig/drummer breakdown.

5/24/69 hollywood reservation: on one hand, the dead seem determined not to repeat what they did the night before. on the other, they open with a 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, which they’d played for half an hour to close the previous set. some fun new turns within. alternate universe suite #1: 28-minute HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, all magic segues. great acceleration into the brightness of CHINA CAT, which opens into (a slightly flat) THE ELEVEN via a different path than ’68. i’ll admit to having a soft spot for weir’s joke about the yellow dog, told during tech breaks, but this is a particularly terrible & painfully slow iteration & rightfully bombs. after he says “shit,” concerned non-dead voice off-mic remarks “did he just swear?” alternate universe suite #2: 24-minute ALLIGATOR > ST. STEPHEN > BID YOU GOODNIGHT is less successful, but still fun. extended ALLIGATOR drumz segment slams into ST. STEPHEN without the chiming intro & exits to feedback without the “william tell” ending.could be wrong, but i think the big rock pow wow was the last time the grateful dead & timothy leary shared a stage. pretty sure i’m not buyin’ anything tim’s selling.

5/30/69 portland, OR: springer’s, a hippie ballroom. ripping: ’77 MORNING DEW. rippinger: ’69 MORNING DEW. another show-opening gong rush. mickey never should’ve gotten rid of it. jerry pops strings. “you can talk amongst yourselves, or maybe it’s ‘talk amongst yourself’ or ‘you can talk to yourself.’” 23-minute DARK STAR > COSMIC CHARLIE. band rushes out into DARK STAR jam, which stays bright (& mildly out of tune), with a fracturing post-sputnik freakout, before ignoring the 2nd verse, dissolving purposefully down to quiet, & back up into COSMIC CHARLIE. 39-minute ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, cutting off (maybe) at the end. THE ELEVEN gets up into peak flows & LOVELIGHT stays vibrating, bouncing between garcia jams & pigpen scenes. once again, from michael lydon’s great 1969 rolling stone cover feature.

5/31/69 eugene: 1st recorded COLD RAIN & SNOW since 10/67, pretty much still in early/speedy LP form with pronounced guitar break. long tech hassle with ken babbs stand-up babble. “remember, there’s more of us in this room than anybody else!” student tries to get people to dance.
garcia: it’s free turf. anybody can do anything they wanna do.
babbs: we can take it, we’ve been stoned!
garcia: *been*?
shift continues: 1st tape of weir doing curly putman’s GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME, c&w hit in ’65 for porter wagoner, global #1 in ’66 for tom jones, & solid lol about weed for heads in ’69. tape sez garcia’s playing pedal steel, but it’s just faux steel licks on 6-string. 20-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. properly berserker THE OTHER ONE jam, starting to explode outwards from the middle of its suite. prankster chaos continues throughout, people shouting onstage during music. babbs grabs mic during 30-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with decidedly mixed results, though occasionally amusing crosstalk. 2nd set opens with (i think) the longest ever HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE, almost 15 minutes. occasional windows of sweet & brilliant garcia solos, but whole jam never quite comes into focus, or perhaps tune. 29-minute DARK STAR > DOIN’ THAT RAG. free drummin’ post-verse weirdness opens into crisp-phrased sputnik jam & further abstractions. babbs’s voice occasionally pokes through as jam coalesces prettily. tape cuts before DOIN’ THAT RAG jam & the segues might continue. some spun prankster (not kesey or babbs, i don’t think) takes the mic at the beginning of IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE for pseudo-heavy rap & tries to sing with garcia throughout. not a keeper take.

6/69 pacific high recording (maybe): jerry garcia solo demo featuring 3 future grateful dead classics, all debuted that june & included on “workingman’s dead” the following year. garcia & robert hunter’s 1st real forays into americana. all 3 songs are breakthroughs in different ways & begin a new, simpler phase in garcia & hunter’s songwriting. a few takes of DIRE WOLF. some are pretty chipper, garcia overdubbing spritely & fluid acoustic leads. only one pass through CASEY JONES, garcia & hunter’s update of the old ballad. fully formed, intro lick already there. a few subtly different flourishes, jerry shifting into a sweet & winning falsetto in places. love the folk feel, before the dead made it gigantic. a 5-minute blues instrumental with garcia overdubbing slide guitar. generic, but with enough chord changes that it sounds like a song sketch. unfinished garcia, but not terribly compelling either. HIGH TIME is another major new move for garcia & hunter, a relationship song that’s neither psychedelia nor overtly building on folk tradition. more forceful than the fragile dead versions to come. also new: garcia’s beautifully wounded, quiet vocals. will be more fragile & beautiful when it slows down even more. #deadfreaksunite [x/x]

6/5/69 fillmore west: opening an eventful 4-night run at the fillmore west, alternating sets with jr. walker & warner bros. labelmates the glass family. early show closes with 25-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, another wild middle jam, but the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro is still where the jam’s at, with an unusual & patient organ-padded section early on & soaring upwards from there. sweet landing. alternate universe mini-suite: punchy 8-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. the segue works just exactly dandily & the jug/folk/rock destination is similar in concept to I KNOW YOU RIDER if not quite as cathartic. 67-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR continues to dissolve earlier pathways, weir adding great mini-leads during post-verse jam, contributing to peak. THE ELEVEN ends with thoughtful, quiet conversation.

6/6/69 fillmore west: the night jerry garcia showed up late & bill graham made the band go on with another guitarist, ome of many random june ’69 guest appearances. probably. the result is a preview of dead & co., garcia replaced by a blues hammer, in this case wayne ceballos of aum. after SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING, people shouting “where’s garcia?” lesh: “[we’re] sadly depleted…” in response to crowd, “well, one guitar player’s pretty much like another.” ceballos joins ragged BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE & leads sonny boy williamson’s CHECKIN’ UP ON MY BABY. bulk of set is interminable 47-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. garcia returns midway through. maybe. hard to tell what’s going on, but sounds like a mega-jam to me, at times bordering on a shreds video.

6/7/69 fillmore west: show begins with live debut of DIRE WOLF, mostly just a peppy solo acoustic performance by garcia with the band (kinda) following. MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON set ups the DARK STAR suite for the 8th & final time, one ending of the “live/dead” era. 46-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY maybe missing between last two. dreamy but rapt DARK STAR intro. post-verse slashes, weir digs into sputnik jam. nearly solo garcia space feeds into outro variations. boffo entrance to THE ELEVEN, fierce & detailed, as is SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, its last version serving jam-suite duties ’til ’72. janis joplin comes out for concise, screamodelic 20-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, one of 2 tapes of her with the dead. lots of sweet & funny answer vocals between janis & pig. not transcendent but better than the other guest versions from this run.

6/8/69 fillmore west: an infamous show in internal band lore. the most fun set of the run, before garcia & lesh (& others) get too dosed & sit out much of the late show. early set opens with 13-minute DANCING IN THE STREET, 1st since spring ’68. drummers are ready, locking in immediately. jam gets deep & bright, garcia pulling out neon threads, weir working gear shift, band moving together. slowed-down mutant reentry. no real segues, but set keeps flowing. HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE is perfect, with languid garcia phrasings. last recorded version of NEW POTATO CABOOSE, 13 minutes & a doozy. some grunge, but bass jam surges into sustained bliss exactly as designed. vocals almost sound okay. late show is a mess, multiple accounts of LSD-dosed apple juice below. on tape, it begins with 36-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT fronted by aum’s wayne ceballos, elvin bishop on guitar. tag-team superjam features some decent chaos & probably increasingly fewer dead members. elvin bishop & pig duet on THE THINGS I USED TO DO & WHO’S LOVING YOU TONIGHT, with the dead drummers & probably other musicians, before garcia rematerializes for slightly woozy but happening 21-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE. multiple people dosed the apple juice at the 6/8/69 dead show with an estimated $50,000 worth of LSD crystal, led by notorious acid dealer goldfinger. unsurprisingly, accounts differ. first up is from dennis mcnally’s official bio. a long account of the 6/8/69 dosing by phil lesh, from his memoir. jerry garcia & mountain girl remember the 6/8/69 mega-dosing to dennis mcnally (in “jerry on jerry”), the bad trip that would inspire robert hunter to write “black peter” (& stop doing LSD for a while), & perhaps the story of CSN’s true influence on the grateful dead, when garcia/hunter listened to the band’s first album over & over as hunter was coming down.

6/11/69 california hall: most of the grateful dead at san francisco’s california hall, at a scientology-related benefit, billed as bobby ace & the cards from the bottom of the deck. no tape, but a songlist exists from an early deadhead whose other lists match up to tapes. a prototype of the new riders of the purple sage, one of jerry garcia’s first outings playing the pedal steel, besides coffeehouse gigs with john dawson, playing a slew of songs that would make their way to dead sets soon & a bunch that wouldn’t. the show was a “quasi-benefit” for… scientology. according to dennis mcnally’s bio, weir was ending his brief dalliance under TC’s tutelage & was exiting with a benefit to, uh, get clear.

6/13/69 fresno: everything is a bit frayed. nice to hear TC’s keyboards distinct in the mix during an otherwise sloppy HARD TO HANDLE, though. maybe he’d’ve been better served by a rhodes, or something more percussive? aum’s wayne ceballos comes out for GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL, not ronnie hawkins, despite deadbase’s claims. 15-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > MORNING DEW settles down easily, but DEW loses some oomph without the dramatic gong intro. with no DARK STAR, a 42-minute ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. could be the recording, but feeling a little edgeless. ceballos & sanpaku flautist gary larkey (probably) hang for LOVELIGHT.

6/14/69 monterey: in the college gymnasium at @mpcmonterey, with aum & the bitter seeds the 1st “electric” DIRE WOLF, mostly garcia solo again, guitar a bit out of tune. lesh picks it up as it goes along, the drummers accent occasionally. except for the great new song in the middle, just an absolute mess, really. 53-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. pre-verse DARK STAR jam is big & assertive over hand percussion, chunky & rhythmic garcia leads, hard-fuzzed (with aggressive lesh) as drums enter. wayne ceballos of aum comes out again for LOVELIGHT, the 4th time in a week, & doesn’t add a whole lot. mercifully short, with a 5-minute drum break (plus chanting).

6/20/69 fillmore east: a 2-night stand at the fillmore east with savoy brown, the buddy miles express, & @joshualightshow, celebrating the release of “aoxomoxoa” & instead debuting a virtually new grateful dead. it’s not bill graham introducing the band. instead of the nitrous-hosed psychedelia from their brand new album, the band opens their big NYC gig with george jones’s OLD, OLD HOUSE, sung by bob weir. garcia’s on pedal steel for the 1st time with the dead. nice! one of two known dead versions. garcia on pedal steel for DIRE WOLF, too, 1st version of briefly lived arrangement with weir on lead vocals. he & the song sound great except for weir’s affected cowboy drawl. garcia’s back on 6-string for debut of merle haggard’s MAMA TRIED, sung by weir, playing acoustic. then, holy crap, the 1st version of garcia & robert hunter’s HIGH TIME. garcia’s vocals sound almost perfect & fragile & quiet, jumping easily into upper registers. a spare drum part that sometimes seems almost non-existent. weir’s harmonies are rough but sweet. eventually, they get to DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES, the 1st song of 2 songs featured from the new album. garcia calls his 12-string a “dozen wire.” 52-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR itself is missing a chunk, not even 8 minutes. perhaps because of a popped string, garcia switches to an acoustic during one of the LOVELIGHT breaks & it sounds boss.

6/21/69 fillmore east: GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME opens, garcia on pedal steel. “there’ll be a brief pause while we allow you to consider the new development,” he notes. no one shouts “judas!” but there’s some chatter in the room. wish the audience tape was less muffled! ME & MY UNCLE makes a lot more musical sense in a set with pedal steel & songs like HIGH TIME, which is sublime even on this shitty tape. garcia’s voice & TC’s keyboards whisper through the murk. starting to build transitions from americana to psychedelia. 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > MORNING DEW, a more forced segue than the other iteration of this combo, the latter getting polite applause when it starts. (also an indication of how polite/quiet the crowd is the rest of the time.) 22-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > OL’ SLEW-FOOT is perfectly mid-’69. engaging post-DRUMZ jam continues into deep OTHER ONE. a big tape flip in CRYPTICAL, but comes back in time to catch garcia switching over to pedal steel & weir counting off into the 1st recorded version of crockett/webb’s OL’ SLEW-FOOT, probably picked up via porter wagoner. wild steel licks.

6/22/69 central park bandshell: a sunday in the park with the grateful dead, their last free show there, appearing each june since ’67 at the naumberg bandshell. legendary show for the parkies, the LSD-dealing graffiti artist longhairs who hung around the bandshell throughout the ‘70s, because it was the day owsley came to the park. 12-minute DANCING IN THE STREET opener is all sunshine despite the fuzziness. the 1st recorded CASEY JONES, presumably debuted during an untaped set at the fillmore east over weekend, floating in on a jam that sounds like a slightly brisker ROW JIMMY. sounds more familiar by the time the ending ramps up. 1st taped SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES with garcia on pedal steel, sparkling through the audience tape guck. weir & lesh’s harmonies sounding a little better. 30-minute DARK STAR > THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > IT’S A SIN with some tape cuts/fades. DARK STAR pre-verse jam gets down to stark garcia/lesh space, with quick post-verse shift into 1st OTHER ONE fully severed from CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT segments. using OTHER ONE end tag, band lands in ST. STEPHEN, leaving it unfinished & shifting into IT’S A SIN at the “ladyfinger” bridge, before 22-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer. there will be rumors of free dead shows in central park for years to come. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

6/27/69 santa rosa: with an unnamed prototype of hot tuna & the cleanliness & godliness skiffle band. 1st 9 songs all drawing from folk/americana, almost all new or revived in the past 2 months, featuring occasional acoustic guitar/pedal steel/guests, before shifting over to psychedelia. a little kid introduces the band, “from good ol’ san francisco, the good ol’ grateful dead.” opening OL’ SLEW-FOOT features pete grant on banjo, an old garcia buddy from the palo alto scene. marmaduke might be singing, too? i adore garcia’s harmony on MAMA TRIED. per @corry342, cleanliness & godliness’s tom ralston subbed for a delayed mickey hart early in the show. to my ears, only MAMA TRIED sounds like it has extra percussion. (garcia played pedal steel with c&g, too.) 2nd taped version of CASEY JONES, again starting with short jam, garcia still figuring out intro lick. but vocals come in so forcefully that it’s a surprise not to hear the crowd cheer in recognition. some rhythmic discombobulation & extra chords, but shaping up quickly. in the context of all the other folkiness, the 1st taped version of pigpen doing BIG BOSS MAN since early ’67 plays like a labor song (which it totally is!) & a seemingly clear antecedent to EASY WIND. cool, loose feel. but they’re still weirdos: 40-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN JAM > GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME. long DARK STAR has rhythmic swells & post-verse flows. hart’s jackhammer snare pushes up/out, lesh teases LOVELIGHT, weir hits new patterns, & all land gracefully. once again, the band exits from psychedelia with garcia shifting to pedal steel for a weir c&w tune, getting as far as THE ELEVEN transition jam before attempting a crossfade into GREEN, GREEN GRASS. IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE going well before tape cut.

6/28/69 santa rosa: chaos prevails as show starts, bordering on a hootenanny. phil introduces OL’ SLEW-FOOT winking to owsley: “this song is about bear drops. does a bear drop in the woods, that is the question?” pedal steel, pete grant on banjo, onstage fireworks. grant plays banjo for 1st few songs, mostly inaudible. enjoying the bright combo of the pedal steel & TC’s glassy keyboards, though. someone is audibly talked down from setting off further fireworks. a voice off-mic, maybe jerry, “you see what they were going to light?!” garcia switches back to electric for MAMA TRIED, played extra slow (yes, slower than the recent dead & bro debut), which sounds nice in places but doesn’t quite hold together. maybe it would with pedal steel? john “marmaduke” dawson doubles weir on ME & MY UNCLE with his odd, high voice, which almost kinda works. it’s marmaduke’s 1st official appearance with the dead. garcia’s been backing him on pedal steel at coffeehouses, soon to be the new riders of the purple sage. no real psychedelic jams & just one song from their brand new album, DOIN’ THAT RAG. only improv is a 28-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer, pulling out all the stops, downshifting into a mini swing episode. many electric garcia shreds en route.

7/3/69 colorado springs: sharing a bill at reed’s ranch with alice cooper & beginning an 11-day jaunt to the east coast. indoors, despite the venue name. a 90-minute set opening with another pedal steel double-shot. 2 c&w covers by weir that never made it into the dead’s canon (& are ignored by even deep cut cover bands): SLEWFOOT & GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME. zero songs from the last 2 albums. hart (audibly) playing kit on HIGH TIME for 1st time & wow is it a mess. sweetest jam is melodious & bittersweet 13-minute HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE, a keeper. unusually, TC leads start of 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT jam, which goes off the rails in a mostly good way around halfway through, into propulsive guitar, but can’t quite recover the groove or momentum for the finale.

7/4/69 chicago: with the buddy miles express & the sir douglas quintet at the kinetic playground. owsley is not having it anymore with weir’s lame jokes, pausing the tape in the middle of the yellow dog story & later during some other joke that i don’t think i’ve heard on another tape. two pedal steel double-shots, including the late set debut of gene crysler’s 1966 song LET ME IN, sung by weir, learned (as usual) via porter wagoner. onstage firecrackers (by mickey?) during OL’ SLEW-FOOT, effective & dramatic from a psychedelic/musique concrète POV. using the post-verse tag, THE OTHER ONE lands in HIGH TIME, replacing the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro. an early iteration of a garcia ballad following a big frothing jam. i like TC’s chugging organ on the still-developing CASEY JONES. weir watch: “someone in the front row is wearing a heapload of suntan oil & it sure smells weird up here & i thought i’d tell you.” ST. STEPHEN drops “william tell” ending & jumps right to 25-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, more firecrackers, though no sign anyone realizes it’s july 4th. it could easily be someone lighting shit on fire just ‘cuz, shockingly common at ‘60s dead shows.

7/5/69 chicago: after crashing MORNING DEW opener, 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE. DARK STAR folds into sparse, questioning abstraction after sputnik jam. less a segue than a dissolve into a lovely but hissy/garbled BABY BLUE. the CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER jam keeps getting more raging & the band is still looking for a destination, trying out songs like puzzle pieces. tonight, it’s HIGH TIME. nope, next! another slow MAMA TRIED. mega-extended TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT feels like its own country, 34 minutes tonight, with cool improvised bridge/turnaround that pig latches onto.

7/7/69 atlanta: for free in atlanta’s piedmont park with spirit, chicago, allman brothers, & hampton grease band. the dead’s 1st gig anywhere between virginia & florida. the day after the atlanta pop festival, many of the bands play in piedmont park. the dead didn’t play atlanta pop, but show up & close the night with a 2-hour set anyway. another big MORNING DEW opener relies more on the band’s propulsive groove than garcia’s dramatic solos, though they’re that, too. garcia hits big vocal notes in HIGH TIME, his range almost audibly expanding. crowd is audibly way into it, with big cheers/claps at DARK STAR’s peaks &, later on, a few different spontaneous chants & clapalongs during TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. monster 84-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. lush 27-minute DARK STAR, half before 1st verse, weir & lesh planet-hopping with garcia from the start & avoiding the usual byways. chaotic but awesome 37-minute LOVELIGHT finale has gregg allman on keys, probably duane on guitar, & perhaps the hampton grease band, spirit, & chicago horns. cool “shine on me” harmony. l’il breakthrough for pig, drawing out many new & unfamiliar phrases.

7/11/69 new york state pavilion: on the site of the 1964 world’s fair in queens, across from shea stadium. the closest thing to an east coast acid test, according to nyc dead freaks. long tech break to begin the tape, in case anybody is making a mix of weir’s nonlinear jokes. garcia on 12-string electric for opening DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES & DIRE WOLF. last DUPREE’S ’til 1977 revival. garcia reclaims the DIRE WOLF lead vocals from weir with gusto, no longer playing pedal steel. but HARD TO HANDLE features garcia on pedal steel for the only time, a lovely twist. CASEY JONES allllmost has intro lick in place. fun alternate suite: 52-minute ALLIGATOR > THE OTHER ONE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. nearly 15 minutes of garcia shreds after ALLIGATOR drum break, twisting into triplets. LOVELIGHT cuts after 8 minutes & could conceivably be 4x longer.

7/12/69 new york state pavilion: last tape with a pedal steel segment to open. fare thee well to MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, too, the last recorded version, & the only one with a jam, gentle & modal. too bad about tape quality. can occasionally hear jets whooshing over from LGA. 11-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > MAMA TRIED. because of the tape quality, severely underrated CHINA CAT with extended intro & perfect segue out of the now-familiarly raging jam. the 2nd c&w/folk tune to work in the slot, MAMA TRIED is now creeping back to a faster tempo. 61-minute DARK STAR > THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR drops in post-verse, kreutzmann already on drum kit, good swells, sputnik jam that sounds headed to the second verse, but swerves into THE OTHER ONE instead. after THE OTHER ONE post-verse tag, someone onstage (phil?) shouts for more DARK STAR, but garcia’s already into the ST. STEPHEN intro. shouty & participatory LOVELIGHT, with pig pulling people onto the mic, including mickey hart.

8/1/69 family dog: on his 27th birthday, jerry garcia refuses to cross the picket line of the light artists’ guild strike at the family dog. the dead play without him. garcia & others retreat to van, smoke jerry’s “superweed,” & plan community meetings for DIY scene. the subsequent meetings, “the commons,” are part of a complex summer in san francisco, including the conception, planning, collapse & cancellation (!) of the utopian wild west festival. to be held in golden gate park, it would’ve rivaled woodstock. according to one news report in local paper good times, the dead (minus garcia & hart) played a set, “jamming with two flautists from the audience & a conga drummer off the beach.” the meetings go well enough until jawdropping blow-out between local spiritual guru stephen gaskin & promoter bill graham.

8/2/69 family dog: with the light show strike suspended, the grateful dead make their full debut at the family dog at the great highway, the collective’s new venue in old ballroom at playland by the sea, on the ocean “at the edge of the western world.” a fun & confident set, the new songs are both tight & playful. opening CASEY JONES is filled with forceful miniature jams, lots of TC’s keys. HARD TO HANDLE warps & woofs conversationally. david nelson adds b-bender solos to MAMA TRIED & SLEW-FOOT. pedal steel mini set features the dead debut of george jones’s SEASONS OF MY HEART, TC gamely adding some lovely organ colors. garcia gets a sweet dive-bombing fuzz tone for 2nd half of his OL’ SLEW-FOOT solo. only out jam is 25-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, though the most psychedelic part of the recording is when tape-heads go amiss near peak of 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, leading to some far-out whooshing & image distortion.

8/3/69 family dog: a violinist & saxophonist join, identified by deadbase as david laflamme + charles lloyd respectively, but almost certainly neither. “hey, the bear’s got a banjo,” garcia remarks before 1st song. (“get away with that thing!” someone adds.) owsley did own a banjo. his copy of pete seeger’s “how to play the 5-string banjo” with his name inscribed is now in ned lagin’s collection. maybe he wanted to jam? violinist plays on nearly every song, fitting in casually, starting with opening HARD TO HANDLE. A+ chaos, especially BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (with 28-beat intro), a candidate for mickey hart’s most wonderfully anarchic drum performance. sax joins for 1st taped dead version of HI-HEELED SNEAKERS since ’66, garcia & pig sharing vocals, violin adding hot jazz vibes. violinist stays for HIGH TIME. sure sounds like a rumbling synth in places, too, but how? fuzzed b-bender solo by david nelson on MAMA TRIED. a ranging, raging 72-minute DARK STAR > ALLIGATOR > THE OTHER ONE > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT with the saxophonist & violinist, who both seem to know what they’re doing & fit shockingly well. besides side jams, the 1st time anyone’s joined for DARK STAR. 23-minute DARK STAR has full sputnik meltdown before 1st verse. the usual motifs are there, but guests drive new textures & new peaks. the saxophonist spins around garcia & adds active themes in every zone. violin is more atmospheric, but usually on point. who are they?! OTHER ONE continues epic hippie-jazz free melts. sax gets honky but freaky as jam deconstructs, almost floats back to DARK STAR, & becomes fire music as CAUTION erupts. americana themes by guests in last feedback swirls before garcia reclaims stage.

8/16/69 white lake: after mountain & before credence clearwater revival. @andyzax & @briankehew’s new mix of the dead’s woodstock set features 14 new minutes of pristine stage chaos before & after the music. chip monck & ken babbs tag team on the mic. can’t hear getting weir getting knocked by shocks from the microphone, but hear some of his complaints. “kinda zappy up here.” great pre-set raps by babbs, tripping face, including a nice “this land is your land” reference.” terrible dead set. 1st ever show-opening ST. STEPHEN. weir skips 2nd verse & garcia follows before fizzling into sleepy MAMA TRIED at “ladyfinger” bridge, inexplicable even on film. were they going to segue back? was it a tech issue? was jerry too high & forgot? on a pure chaos level, the woodstock tape is highly entertaining, if awkward. babbs, keeping together relatively well, tries to hold crowd during 11-minute break. most of his psychedelic raps stop landing, but still less insufferable than monck. country joe offers an acid warning. excellent stoned crosstalk with weir & owsley as they try get the microphones on. weir also starts to tell the YELLOW DOG STORY but doesn’t get going, which is surely for the best. fashion watch: garcia wore his faded pigpen shirt. only 19-minute DARK STAR gels, halfway through, sliding into a dazzling post-verse jam with bright garcia/lesh/kreutzmann peaks but skipping 2nd verse & petering into HIGH TIME. ambitiously quiet song under circumstances. walkie talkie chatter via lesh’s bass. as band kicks into interminable 37-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, rando grabs mic & starts trip-babbling about “the third coast,” interrupting pigpen. for a rando, he’s kinda great! ken babbs sez he led the dude away by dangling a joint like a carrot.

8/20/69 seattle: rained out at the seattle aqua theater, the dead play their 1st post-woodstock show at el roach, a local bar & “favorite movement hangout,” according to the seattle helix. no tape.

8/21/69 seattle: playing in front of a moat. rained out the night before & rescheduled. 1st co-bill with the new riders of the purple sage. 1st taped version of EASY WIND, sung by pigpen. 1st dead song written solely by robert hunter, band alternating between a pair of rolling blues grooves. fantastic HIGH TIME, garcia singing confidently, group vocals/harmonies coming together. rare NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, the last taped version ’til 5/70, featuring sanpaku’s gary lackey on flute & vocalizin’. lackey sticks around through CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER, staying enthused, a very period sound. ultra-compact 29-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DARK STAR > COSMIC CHARLIE. DARK STAR is shortest of the era. with both verses & no apparent cuts, it doesn’t break 7 minutes, though the jam flows & finds a quiet destination. like an update to the 7-inch version. the real news is that the slow version of COSMIC CHARLIE is finally working, with confident vocals & tight playing, as well as a good tape flutter dissolve at the end. a virtual b-side to DARK STAR.

8/23/69 mount st. helens: the tiny & entirely forgotten bullfrog 2 festival, featuring the dead, taj mahal, & a bunch of bands that sound like they were invented by thomas pynchon. assume new colony is not new colony six?  a week after woodstock, another festival set that’s way better. again, very present organ playing by TC; HARD TO HANDLE solo underscores its similarities to the VIOLA LEE BLUES groove. rare dedication by pigpen, “for calypso joe, from new york.” intro lick now in place, the last appearance of the looser CASEY JONES with pre-verse solo & mini jams. 2nd EASY WIND swerves into blues-choogle & crosses the 10-minute mark. they’ll rein it in soon. 73-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. long DARK STAR has important new move, dropping the pulse & going free/percussionless after the 1st verse, then voiding, gonging, arpeggiating, building, surfing, peaking, peaking, peaking. 27-minute LOVELIGHT seems somehow reasonable, with inventive pockets & grooves before pigpen turns over the mic to randos & then it’s less interesting. perhaps the new post-woodstock policy of allowing randos their turn?

8/28/69 family dog: a thursday afternoon jam session at the family dog, minus TC & pigpen. making his first appearance on a dead-related tape, a.b. skhy’s howard wales on organ, soon a regular garcia collaborator. band warms up with 2 early dead standards, IT’S A SIN & HI-HEELED SNEAKERS. not coincidentally, both soon jump into the garcia solo songbook. wales is hyperactive, almost cartoonishly shreddy. 64-minute DARK STAR > THE ELEVEN JAM. wales runs rampant over song parts (& even over garcia), short circuits usual jam patterns & kicks band into wild new spaces. the least deferential guest ever. occasional dead air, but mostly busy mad scientist inventions. there’s a mystery flute player in the mix, too, but virtually impossible to hear. wonder if it’s the same mystery flute player as 8/3? once owsley levels the mix & garcia starts following wales, zig-zag improv thrills ensue, wales & garcia clearly finding conversational ground.

8/29/69 family dog: with the new riders of the purple sage, the rubber duck co., & commander cody, with bands alternating sets from stages on opposite sides of the room. CASEY JONES tightens up. still a bit of a mini jam, but mostly hard charging confidence. (maybe too confident in the case of mickey’s chattering cowbell midway through.) screams for HEY JUDE are met with giggles. “HEY JUDE is a lost cause,” weir says. “the first request that blows our mind, we’ll do,” offers jerry, which yields an exuberant (& short) medley of early dead/warlocks covers: 11-minute NEW ORLEANS > SEARCHIN’ > GOOD LOVIN’. gary “u.s.” bonds’s NEW ORLEANS is solid, great dual lead by weir & pigpen. too bad it didn’t stick around. 1st recorded SEARCHIN’ comes back raucously, too. lesh charges into GOOD LOVIN’ but garcia takes over. the old crazed jerry-sung version. 1st taped DIRE WOLF since the july east coast tour, slowed down slightly & with less of a rock feel. sung solo by jerry, again with no harmonies. skittering drums, but closer to its familiar & comfortable form. messy but quite charming. 30-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT is great for half. rare instance of pigpen trying to get the crowd to shout louder. seems to be ending for, like, 10 minutes. “thanks for keeping us high,” jerry says genuinely.

8/30/69 family dog: kinda iffy performance for the most part. the last of 5 pretty awkward CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > DOIN’ THAT RAG pairings. they’ll get there yet! 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > ELEVEN JAM > DRUMZ > HIGH TIME. another pathbreaking DARK STAR, dropping pulse & building from silence towards gorgeous melodies. garcia pops string & weir jams briefly on TIGHTEN UP, 1st of several great DARK STAR themes over next years. sweet feedback solo by garcia before last verses of ST. STEPHEN. after the “william tell” outro, band shifts time signature but loses the thread despite lesh’s attempts to steer. confused DRUMZ segment lands in not-fully-convincing HIGH TIME.

9/1/69 prairieville: the new orleans pop festival, held at the international speedway near baton rouge, playing after lee michaels & before the jefferson airplane. labor day festival set in front of ~25,000 people. perhaps the most passive-aggressive stage intro ever: “if you will, one of the slowest fucking groups, but one of the finest in the world, the grateful dead…” mostly quite compact, including an enthused CASEY JONES opener. one of the only versions of EASY WIND played anywhere near an actual bayou. still tightening, but swells to convincing swampiness. 60-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR drops briefly to pulselessness after the verse but doesn’t quite find a coherent path back to the peak, though nice garcia/TC conversation. during LOVELIGHT (& i might be reading too literally) pigpen seems to attribute the “wake up in the mornin’ ‘bout a quarter-to-five” bit of his rap to chuck berry, perhaps “reelin’ & rockin’.”

9/6/69 family dog: a surprise show with the jefferson airplane at the family dog. more craziness out by the pacific. a few warm-up tunes, including rare HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE & then a bunch of warlocks-style rarities, goofing around & half-accidentally workshopping. 1st taped BIG BOY PETE since ’66, olympics cover with exuberant group vocal by jerry/pigpen/weir. sharpest of the ’69 garcia-sung GOOD LOVIN’s. 1st ALL OVER NOW maybe since ’66, band figures it out onstage. much like the late ‘70s versions, but with more swingin’ drums. 1st “modern” NOT FADE AWAY, led by weir with pigpen on harmonica. pulled out earlier in the year at manic ’66 speed, it slows down enough to emphasize the pulse. garcia hits bliss zones before an almost-crisp pullback segue into EASY WIND. MIDNIGHT HOUR also returns to rotation in the closer slot, 1st on tape since 8/68. not a super snappy version, but pigpen does some heavy crowd-work, apparently targeting anyone sitting on the floor. according to this intel by somebody who worked at the family dog, the bands played on the venue’s two stages at the opposite sides of the room & then jammed back & forth from them. maybe that’s what happens at the end, but i’m skeptical. triumphant post-woodstock jefferson airplane in a small club. powerful at times. closer is frequently enthralling 30-minute VOLUNTEERS with garcia & hart, apparently longest jam in taped airplane history. spencer dryden is a monster! what a great drummer.

9/7/69 family dog: delightful sunday hang with members of the grateful dead & the jefferson airplane at the family dog, playing oldies & oddities. no real noodles, just rock songs! garcia/kaukonen/casady/kreutzmann/covington, if i had to guess. loving the garcia/kaukonen vocal tandem on buddy holly’s PEGGY SUE & jimmy reed’s BABY WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO & garcia’s solo vocals on THAT’LL BE THE DAY & JOHNNY B. GOODE. only times for all of them, i think. garcia asks for requests, someone calls for WIPE OUT, & the drummers & garcia launch into a big surf rumble that’s not quite WIPE OUT but all fun. lands (briefly) in a fragment of BIG RAILROAD BLUES, which would jump into the dead repertoire the next year. things are petering out by the time someone (joey covington, supposedly) takes the mic for garage-slop 6-minute LOUIE LOUIE > TWIST & SHOUT > BLUE MOON. the latter is a chill coda, led by jorma, i think. miraculous how concise everything is.

9/17/69 alembic: rehearsal at alembic, the new sound workshop in novato inspired by owsley & still one of the world’s premier guitar/bass makers. tape begins with garcia, lesh, & constanten (i think) running through a generic R&B instrumental that would sound like a vamp if not for lesh shouting out occasional section changes. run-throughs, arrangement, & 3-part harmony work on 2 songs with garcia on pedal steel, SEASONS OF MY HEART & mel tillis’s SAWMILL. garcia will soon abandon trying to sing & play pedal steel at the same time, but not yet. band spends half-hour figuring out themes & tags from various classic cartoons & get deep into it, some with pedal steel, presumably as many joints circulate. TC excels. a lot of extremely quality garcia giggles, as entertaining as the music. 20 minutes of slowing the tempo & spacing out the feel of old staple COLD RAIN & SNOW, removing the harmonized guitar break. the pivot between the amphetamine version on the debut album & the arrangement they played through ’95. mickey hart might be the only drummer here? a few casual passes of DIRE WOLF, slowly firming up. 22 minutes of jamming on THE ELEVEN, apparently experimenting with new rhythmic variations. garcia & lesh give hart shit for losing track of the pulse, the only tense part of the tape.

9/26/69 fillmore east: opening for country joe & the fish, plus sha na na. 45 minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > KING BEE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. the recording of DARK STAR is murky af, but the post-verse space-out is as lush as a liquid light show, spinning into the 1st FEELIN’ GROOVY jam. so blissy. far-out tape bleed during DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, the ghost of some opera singer or blues belter on some earlier layer of tape.

9/27/69 fillmore east: last time as an opening act, playing 1st at the early show before country joe cedes the late headlining slot to them. bill graham introduces the band, “the magnificent 7 of san francisco…” before a straight-forward set for the early saturday crowd. highly condensed jams & miniature choogles, presumably saving the real freakiness for the untaped late show. NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME resurfaces for 1st time on tape since 3/67. set’s most open moment is soaring jam in CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > HIGH TIME, the last taped version before the arrival of I KNOW YOU RIDER. more a dissolve than a segue. 1st great DIRE WOLF. just as they joked on previous week’s rehearsal tape, the band is now dropping miscellaneous cartoon-ish themes into tuning breaks sets. here they include TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME, 3 days after the mets clinched the national league east.

9/29/69 cafe au go go: newly reopened cafe au go go in the west village, where they played on their 1st trip to NYC in ’67, a single alluring tape side includes fascinating & thrilling alternate universe suite with 26-minute DOIN’ THAT RAG > THE SEVEN > GOOD LOVIN’, both segues clearly planned-out next-beat pivots. this must’ve happened other times. 1st of only 2 surviving versions of THE SEVEN, instrumental sequel to THE ELEVEN, plotted carefully with intricate garciaing. final taped version of the jerry-sung GOOD LOVIN’, too, here just a platform for a drum break.

9/30/69 cafe au go go: sharing a bill for the only time with the holy modal rounders. 1st taped CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. 9 minutes, missing beginning. short & undeveloped jam compared to last few versions of CHINA CAT, but can’t argue with that landing. group vocals only on RIDER & big sparkling garcia breaks. tape warp/speed issues get pretty unbearable during 24-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE. lots of great OTHER ONE themes, though, some adjacent to SPANISH JAM. clean end after the 2nd verse tag, no sign of CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT.

10/24/69 winterland: between the jefferson airplane & sons of champlin. band opens with 4 freshest songs, all destined for “workingman’s dead,” followed by big new CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER combo, weir’s transition sounding like GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. much yelling at bear about monitors & mics. 9 minutes of THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE, an obvious but dizzying segue that’s almost too much, peaking & peaking & peaking before pulling back slightly into the verse of COSMIC CHARLIE.

10/25/69 winterland: 59-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. brilliant weir-driven DARK STAR, playing co-leads & pushing band through blissed new FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP themes while garcia soars, & more co-leads before last verse. stephen stills joins band on guitar/vocals for LOVELIGHT & energy level seems to dip a bit, perhaps cuz stills’s guitar is buried in the mix. hard to pick out stills all the time, but jam hits some moody non-blues.

10/26/69 winterland: long soundcheck/tuning instrumental by weir that sounds fully formed enough to be a song. 1st taped live version of the slowed-down COLD RAIN & SNOW, still stumbling a little. garcia dedicates DIRE WOLF to the local serial killer: “this song is dedicated to the zodiac cat & also to paranoid fantasies everywhere… & everybody can sing along if they feel up to it, it’s real easy to sing.” lazy sunday vibes. garcia: “this is a sunday night, everybody try to remember that. it’s been a long, weird weekend.” great 11-minute EASY WIND gives weir a chance to flex his solo skills, finding a nice casual weave with jerry.

10/31/69 san jose: student union ballroom. not terribly halloweeny on tape tbh, but every day was probably halloween in the ‘60s. standard issue set with a batch of the new tunes & a few wee jams. DIRE WOLF is a warm singalong with almost nonexistent drums. can really hear garcia turning into a fantastic singer on HIGH TIME. big, soulful ache. 25-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE surfs a powerful jam corner before the 1st OTHER ONE verse but mostly lays low, besides wild psychedelic gonging by hart during outro. half-hour un-spooktacular TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with big happy garcia jams.

11/1/69 family dog: opening 2 nights on the great highway with danny cox, as well as the golden toad (feat. steal your face logo artist bob thomas). well-paced 2-hour set with nice balance between the new americana, psychedelic jams, & pigpen rave-ups. garcia keeps trying to sell DIRE WOLF as a singalong, “this is a song about… what you do when the wolf comes to the door.” the slowed-down arrangement of COLD RAIN & SNOW clicks up the tempo slightly & works much better. 1st taped version of GOOD LOVIN’ with pigpen singing lead, garcia still doubling him occasionally, with drum break & brief jam. no pig rappin’ yet. 15-minute HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE swells & recedes several times with beautiful volume swells by garcia. after returning to chorus, a trailing fade into glorious CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. (too bad, the actual FRIEND > CHINA CAT segue on 5/24 was boss.) big 31-minute ALLIGATOR > UNCLE JOHN’S THEME > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. with BID YOU GOODNIGHT melody as cue, garcia leads high-speed instrumental coda/verse/chorus/coda of not-yet-finished UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, clearly rehearsed, bridging to LOVELIGHT.

11/2/69 family dog: one of only 3 surviving versions of MIDNIGHT HOUR for ’69, notable (kinda) for weir-led jam. doesn’t quite take off. only taped SEASONS OF MY HEART with garcia on 6-string instead of pedal steel. 1st DANCING IN THE STREET since june is way truncated. nearly 10 minute GOOD LOVIN’ is great, its new arrangement borrowing from ALLIGATOR with a drum break followed by garcia/drummers jam & rest of band piling back on for speedy fun. an instant staple. 60-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. epic DARK STAR, settling post-verse into silence/gonging/pick scrapes/noise before the sputnik arpeggio sets up a perfect & gradual combobulation into triumphant FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP jams. stunning DEATH DON’T with intense dynamics & deeply present garcia vocals. also the last time it appears (on tape) in the DARK STAR sequence, perhaps not coincidentally as it is on “live/dead,” released the week after this show.

11/7/69 fillmore auditorium: back at the original fillmore auditorium, briefly returned to freak control & booked by the flamin’ groovies & co. as “the old fillmore.” good ol’ stage chaos (thankfully tracked out individually). someone plays the STAR SPANGLED BANNER on penny-whistle. new jams, CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER & the tightly turning GOOD LOVIN’, are compact platforms for sunshine. 67-minute DARK STAR > UNCLE JOHN’S THEME > DARK STAR > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. after post-verse DARK STAR gonging, slow-motion bassline makes shapes as drums slowly enter. brilliant rhythm guitar colors & round lead bass. after return to DARK STAR theme, a pass through the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam transitions to another worked-out instrumental UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, the whole song compacted into 100 seconds. a harsh tape flip misses the move back to DARK STAR, but it goes right back to soaring. next beat segue from DARK STAR into THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE suite, short & fierce, phil calling audible segue into LOVELIGHT before the last verse. big bass & conversational jams ensue, the sprawling LOVELIGHT dipping occasionally into zonk.

11/8/69 fillmore auditorium: possibly the night garcia was tripping so hard he thought assassins were after him. fierce CASEY JONES with audible italics from garcia on “take my advice you’d be better off *dead*” & followed by DIRE WOLF, with its “don’t murder me” chorus. wild & semi-disorienting co-leads by garcia & weir on EASY WIND. deeply present garcia vocals on the 1st great CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, over the top & intense, the 1st of many suite-ish pairings with HIGH TIME, equally intense. extra-charged GOOD LOVIN’, too. in the middle of all this, 1st recorded version of CUMBERLAND BLUES, rare garcia/lesh/hunter co-write, sung by garcia/lesh/weir over hot-rodded country-psych groove. 96-minute mega-sequence DARK STAR > THE OTHER ONE > DARK STAR > UNCLE JOHN’S THEME > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > THE MAIN TEN > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT just keeps giving & giving. post-verse DARK STAR rises up through the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam & straight into a far-out OTHER ONE, riding back into a DARK STAR peak before lesh leads the charge into the most realized UNCLE JOHN’S THEME, filled with triumphant garcia licks. slammin’ 37-minute CAUTION, depending how you count it, driving the late jam energy level way into wider spaces than TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, filled with walking bass heaviness & sparkling 8-minute feedback/organ/volume swell coda. a mid-CAUTION reel flip makes the sequence a bit confusing when an unidentified rando suddenly appears on mic to read a poem before band slips into 3 minutes of THE MAIN TEN, proto-PLAYING IN THE BAND jam. no idea. one of mickey’s friends? BID YOU GOODNIGHT feels slightly more crackling, too, with the fuller set of lyrics. was this the night garcia was extra-dosed? who knows? maybe it was one of the more discombobulated sets from december, but i hope not.

11/15/69 crockett: a moratorium day benefit. highlight is mini-suite with the 2nd CUMBERLAND BLUES bouncing right into CHINA SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, followed by the now-customary breath-pause segue before HIGH TIME. enjoying TC’s bright B3 between the beats on CUMBERLAND, especially. 43-minute (ack) TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with long amp outage. weir is of no help when enlisted for crowd-work, leading bad singalong. pig grabs harmonica, jams with drummers & keeps going when the guitars come back. sounds boss! wish he did this more often.

11/21/69 sacramento: 1st birthday party for sacramento freeform FM station KZAP, with the now-ubiquitous commander cody & plus a.b. skhy (feat. howard wales). 2 45-minute sets with a tech intermission. CUMBERLAND BLUES & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER are subtle anchors, great high-energy pivots between americana & psychedelia that make the whole flow more coherent. the compact GOOD LOVIN’ continues to yield subtle wonderfulness in its post-DRUMZ pocket, tonight driven around an ambiguous jazzy mode & building back to chorus.

12/4/69 fillmore west: 1st of scheduled 4 nights with flock & humble pie. stage announcements about the free festival with the rolling stones scheduled for saturday at sears point, including where to meet by the golden gate bridge for a bike pool. by the end of the night, organizers will be on the hunt for a new location. 1st BLACK PETER, garcia & hunter’s existential masterpiece, lyrics stemming from a notoriously bad trip by hunter. the song/structure are formed, the arrangement/dynamics are not. kinda herky jerky. great confident vocal by garcia, though. 38-minute DARK STAR > HIGH TIME. DARK STAR opens almost aggressively fast with drum kit from the start, a rarity. could be the mix, but feels disjointed. a few lovely bass leads. post-verse space builds & edges on joyous FEELIN’ GROOVY jam without ever resolving.
jerry: seeing as how we blew most of the set just remembering how to play…
phil: …so we’re gonna blow this part of the set remembering how sing a song we just learned last week.
the debut of UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, casually dropped at the end of a show. a little fast, no intro solo, but the verses & lilting/uplifting harmonies are worked out & stunning. outro jam curls alluringly, before last chorus & reprise of 1st verse as ending.

12/5/69 fillmore west: the last night of the ‘60s, the evening before altamont. with the venue nailed down for the next day’s free festival, more pre-altamont chatter. sez weir, “bear wants me to tell you to bring dope.” 2nd version of BLACK PETER feels more formed already. taper snaps along with CUMBERLAND BLUES & sings badly with COSMIC CHARLIE. less amusingly, in order to save tape/battery, he also pauses between songs (& during THE OTHER ONE drum break!), losing potential snippets of altamont banter & tantalizing bits of music. big: 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is longest yet, with a tiny taste of CAUTION during the transition. bigger: the 1st RIDER with jerry’s solo “i wish i was a headlight on a northbound train” verse. alluring sliver of UNCLE JOHN’S BAND followed by tiny fragment of THE MAIN TEN & a clean move into a gorgeous (& prescient) IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE. “that was me tying my shoelaces, in case you’re interested, folks,” the taper announces during segue.

12/7/69 fillmore west: opening with the 3rd version of BLACK PETER, a perfect post-altamont dirge, 10 minutes & taking its time. wonderful stark full group playing, so stark that the B3 is almost prominent. the sunshine is way compact, including the revived DANCING IN THE STREET, GOOD LOVIN’ (with garcia & weir co-leads), plus CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER (garcia’s “headlight” solo verse gone again) bridging to ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. might be the weird mix, but lots of back-channel full-group jams/conversations make an otherwise standard 27-minute LOVELIGHT fairly enjoyable, including lots of TC’s B3.

12/10/69 thelma: a tiny & briefly-lived club on the sunset strip called thelma. 5-song guest appearance by stephen stills, his 2nd of year, playing guitar on 5 songs & leading 1. he’s mildly discernible on CASEY JONES & shreds with garcia on GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL & EASY WIND. someone’s playing harmony lines & it sounds cool. stills leads BLACK QUEEN, from his self-titled 1970 debut, which will return the next time stills does, in another 14 years. TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT cuts off after 3 minutes, which i think i’m fine with. late show cuts off after 27-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE, which is too bad because it’s a pretty decent audience tape for the era.

12/11/69 thelma: BLACK PETER starting to explore ways to get from dirge to big garcia solo. drums disappear from DIRE WOLF, traded in for hand percussion, tightening up & paving the way for acoustic sets to come. early set closes with 46-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > CUMBERLAND BLUES. DARK STAR is almost by-the-book, imploding & following a glowing path upwards, flowing into peaks via the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam. transition into THE ELEVEN feels extra-exploratory with misterioso bass leads. 1st time CUMBERLAND BLUES comes out of a segue, which also seems to really lock in its manic LSDC&W groove. late show highlighted by intricate DANCING IN THE STREET, rapidly becoming a centerpiece again with good flow between drummers. never long enough. set capped by 26-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE.

12/12/69 thelma: over both shows (& 3+ hours of music), the dead play 7 of the 8 songs that will comprise “workingman’s dead,” with great dynamics from dramatic HIGH TIME to drumless DIRE WOLF, where TC’s B3 sounds vaguely garth hudson-y. in late show, 12-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > HE WAS A FRIEND OF A MINE, garcia kinda blows through the UJB outro & covers with vocals. jam spirals smoothly into 1st verse of the penultimate HE WAS A FRIEND, an eloquent coda rather than a springboard of its own. call for requests yields 54-minute show closing ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT, the jams getting good after the ALLIGATOR drum break & better during CAUTION. controlled mayhem but mayhem nonetheless.

12/13/69 san bernardino: with the flying burrito bros. & country joe & the fish at the swing auditorium. a decent showcase with occasional odd vibes. deep garciaing on HARD TO HANDLE. BLACK PETER has moved almost instantly from dirge to dramatic showstopper. garcia digs into his falsetto there & on CUMBERLAND BLUES. deep jams & expansive pigologues during TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, including discourse on pocket pool vs. real pool. pig gives shit to weir: “why don’t you tell somebody a stor-ay?” plug gets pulled after 24 minutes.

12/19/69 fillmore auditorium: 1st ever acoustic grateful dead acoustic set opens their last stand at the original fillmore auditorium. lesh is late, so garcia & weir do 4-song acoustic set, all dead debuts. the taper (bear?) pans voices/guitars around weirdly at first. weir does MONKEY & THE ENGINEER, a kids song learned via jesse fuller, formerly done by mother mccree’s. garcia’s LITTLE SADIE (via clarence ashley) is dark & gothic. lovely harmonies on stovall/george’s country standard LONG BLACK LIMOUSINE. BEEN ALL AROUND THIS WORLD feels well-worn. before latter, weir plays part of a tune that sends both into giggles. can anybody ID it? when lesh shows, band debuts the short-lived MASON’S CHILDREN, garcia & hunter’s 1st altamont answer song & maybe the dead’s last garage-psych blaster. cool 3-part lesh-heavy harmonies & questing solos. slight lyric difference, 1st line is “*the* mason died on monday…” so many new songs! UNCLE JOHN’S BAND starting to get slightly tamed. beautiful minimal intro solo by garcia with a vaguely calypso lilt & B3 counterpoint. mickey seems to be playing hand percussion during the verses, which keeps groove light.

12/20/69 fillmore auditorium: band opens with brand new MASON’S CHILDREN for 2nd night in a row, feeling their way between the verses. that & CUMBERLAND BLUES are the only songs played all 3 nights. 14 are only played once. 51-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. post-verse quiet builds into impressive B3/gong cloud & exquisite builds & valleys, including FEELIN’ GROOVY jam, en route to 2nd verse. great constanten throughout. debut of NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE, garcia/hunter’s 2nd altamont song, ominous & doom-laden & timeless. but a mess tonight, trying to find the tempo. the fairly involved answer vocals by weir & lesh don’t work, either, especially weir’s falsetto. its only time in the jam slot. pig & band don’t sync on 35-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, the band (intentionally?) blowing through several “now, wait a minute”s, collected as supercut at end of “dave’s picks 6.” nice ending with mickey’s cannon, though. anyone ever seen a picture of it?

12/21/69 fillmore auditorium: short sunday set opens with 16-minute SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING > NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. 1st SMOKESTACK since june. i think weir is trying to play slide in places? wrong year, buddy! 2nd SPEEDWAY has better executed answer vocals, soon toned down. another raging MASON’S CHILDREN. after slopping it up at the family dog in late summer, NOT FADE AWAY returns for good. weir counts it off & begins with vocal, buddy holly-style. pigpen does answer vocals & harmonica. 27-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > CUMBERLAND BLUES. not many zags in centerpiece OTHER ONE, floating in place, but still enjoyably conversational.

12/26/69 dallas: bill the drummer’s plane is late, so garcia & weir stall with 40 minutes of acoustic tunes, apparently not entertaining the idea of playing with only mickey. repeating 4 from last week at the fillmore, they introduce 3 new ones, jerry trying to hold crowd. a heckler complains that LONG BLACK LIMOUSINE sounds like country music on TV & garcia replies with one of my favorite all-purpose responses to anything: “hey, it’s not my fault if you watch TV, man!” (weir: “i watch all the country music i can on TV.”) only version of GATHERING FLOWERS FOR THE MASTER’S BOUQUET, bluegrass/gospel from 1948, led by weir, “more or less in keeping with the spirit of the season.” 1st acoustic BLACK PETER & thrilling UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, lesh joining on vocals, hart on light percussion. electric portion is a little rough around the edges & crowd doesn’t seem to be into it. during tuning break, garcia: “man, this place is really quiet, no kiddin’, are you people all sitting in the dark watching us goof around up here? …anybody want a microphone?” 24-minute DARK STAR veers into spare tangent before 1st verse. drums enter gradually with the sputnik figure &, amid dubby percussion noise, jam ascends on deep garcia inversions & fuzzed bass into the FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP themes. tape flips at end of DARK STAR & cuts back after 1 verse of NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. maybe nothing missing or (as on 12/19) the rest of a suite. brief 14-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer. promoter: “you’ve just had it done to you by the grateful dead.”

12/28/69 hollywood, FL: the middle day of the miami rock festival, billed as the last rock festival of the ‘60s. very festival energy, opening midway through BLACK PETER, slightly less dirge-like for festival duty, mostly pumping through big bouncing new tunes. CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER feels keyed up. punchy banter as pig urges the crowd to come closer & chaos ensues. pig: “if them things fall down it’s in *TROUBLE CITY* for you…  if you stay, you might get smashed, so it’s your decision.” apparently one of the light towers actually does falls over? (i absolutely adore the expression “in trouble city.”) MASON’S CHILDREN busts deliciously into jammyland. another “compact” 17-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, this one getting abstract just before the ending, with gongs & garcia inversions & new pig melodies to match.

12/29/69 boston: maybe the 1st weather-themed opener, with COLD RAIN & SNOW. BLACK PETER & EASY WIND feel sluggish this evening. MASON’S CHILDREN soars into mini-quest, though no destination. over 2+ hours, only 2 songs played during 3-show run in boston in april. before the 2nd set, garcia: “okay, is everybody ready to boo-gie?” (big cheers.) i can’t tell if garcia is being ironic or if he’s using the british pronunciation & we should’ve been calling it “new speedway boo-gie” all along? indistinguishable offstage screaming during GOOD LOVIN’ drum break, followed shortly by rando grabbing the mic, “I’LL GET THE FUCKING MICROPHONE–“ & sounds of rando being hauled away. thankfully, @internetarchive user Renegade53 provides an explanation. closing the show, 1st of many ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY pairings, here segueing at the “william tell” ending. jerry replaces pigpen as 2nd NFA vocalist during verse, though pig is still playing harmonica & howling during various refrains.

12/30/69 boston: with the introduction of the final “workingman’s dead” tunes, the band now enters the very brief half-year where the primal psychedelic repertoire lives side-by-side with the new americana at its full power. 2nd set opens with an early stunning version of UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. excellent harmonies & a beautiful middle solo that seems like it’s briefly made of light. MASON’S CHILDREN starting to sound big with good dynamics & punchy bass. delicious 45-minute DARK STAR > ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE ELEVEN > ALLIGATOR > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. last ‘60s DARK STAR. ambient glockenspiel jamming before verse. long gorgeous noise-space precedes a jam that takes a thoughtful & unpredictable path to a quietly blissed peak. tape flip sadly misses the 1st segue of the suite & most of ALLIGATOR, but THE ELEVEN goes way deep, escaping its circular jam & eventually moving back to ALLIGATOR by way of the BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme & a beautiful SPANISH JAM-like rumination.

12/31/69 boston: the grateful dead ring in the ‘70s at the boston tea party, their only new year’s gig outside of san francisco. new year’s energy is palpable & band has even less planned than usual. “did you hear that, man?” jerry asks weir during a tech break. “it’s a request for the joke about the dog.” “i’ll tell you at midnight,” weir tells the crowd & that’s just what happens. at midnight, the grateful dead begin the new decade by having bob weir tell a terrible joke, while TC offers comedic organ commentary. “well, it looks like the ‘70s are gonna be weird,” garcia announces. the midnight set gets into gear with 2 semi-connected suites, both with moments of big primal thrills before trailing into nothingness, 31-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION & 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > DRUMZ > THE ELEVEN. night closes with 30 minutes of loose garage/country that sound like a late night at the family dog, opening with a stomping BIG BOY PETE & an early standalone NOT FADE AWAY. kind of enjoying TC’s absurdist B3 parts. C&W mini-set led by weir, feat. george jones’s SEASONS OF MY HEART & 1st THE RACE IS ON, which will last on/off ’til ’95. final OL’ SLEW-FOOT & last electric SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES. garcia finds slipstream during set/year-closing DANCING IN THE STREET.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

 

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2019, night #8 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
29 December 2019
*(Hanukkah, night 8)*

opening act: Jon Spencer & the Hit Makers
mentalist: Zebrecky
mix CD: Georgia
benefiting: Equal Justice USA

whole set minus opener with Bill Frisell on guitar

Seven Day Weekend (Doc Pomus) (sung as “Eight Day Weekend”)
Return To Hot Chicken
More Stars Than There Are In Heaven
Super Kiwi
Barnaby, Hardly Working
Ashes
Detouring America With Horns
The Summer
Awhileaway
The Days of Wine and Roses (Dream Syndicate) (with Rob Zebrecky on vocals)
Little Eyes
We’re An American Band
Drug Test
I Heard You Looking (with Joe Puleo on organ)
I Feel Like Going Home

*(encore)*
Bridge Over Troubled Water (Paul Simon) (drone) (with Laurie Anderson on violin)
Venus In Furs (Velvet Underground) (with LA)
My Little Corner of the World (Bob Hilliard & Lee Pockriss) (with Marilyn Kaplan on vocals)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2019, night #7 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
28 December 2019
*(Hanukkah, night 7)*

opening act: Snail Mail
comedian: Matt Walsh
mix CD: YoshimiO
benefiting: RIP Medical Debt

Dream Dream Away
Cherry Chapstick
Avalon or Someone Very Similar
Beanbag Chair
The Race is On Again (with Dave Schramm on guitar)
Pablo and Andrea (with DS)
Season of the Shark (with DS)
From Black to Blue (with DS)
I’ll Be Around
For You Too
False Alarm
Autumn Sweater
The Story of Jazz
From A Motel 6
Blue Line Swinger

*(encore)*
with Robyn Hitchcock on guitar/vocals
Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window (Bob Dylan)
Kill Your Sons (Lou Reed)
Drug Train (The Cramps)
I Wanna Destroy You (Robyn Hitchcock)
Love (Robyn Hitchcock)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2019, night #6 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
27 December 2019
*(Hanukkah, night 6)*

opening act: Sylvan Esso
poetry/music: Luc Sante & William Parker
comedian: Brittany Carney
mix CD: James
benefiting: National Abortion Federation

entire set with Brian Chase on drums

Out of the Pool
And the Glitter is Gone
The Last Days of Disco
Don’t Have To Be So Sad (with William Parker on bass)
Outsmartener (with WP on horn)
Song For Mahila
Above the Sound (with Nick Sanborn on electronics)
The Crying of Lot G (with NS)
Satellite (with NS)
Center of Gravity
Mr. Tough
Styles of the Times
Shaker
Decora
The Story of Yo La Tango

*(encore)*
Shock Me (Lenny Kaye)
She’s My Best Friend (Velvet Underground)
Secret Agent Man (P.F. Sloan/Steve Barri) (with Allen Hill on vocals)
Hanky Panky (Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich) (with Amelia Meath on vocals & Brian Chase on drums)
Fourth Time Around (Bob Dylan)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2019, night #5 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
26 December 2019
*(Hanukkah, night 5)*

mentalist: The Amazing Kreskin
organist: Josh Kantor
opening act: Sir Richard Bishop
mix CD: Mary Halvorson
benefiting: Alliance For Justice

You Are Here
The Ballad of Red Buckets (with Sir Richard Bishop on guitar & Josh Kantor on organ)
Damage (with SRB & JK)
Upside Down (with JK)
Did I Tell You (with JK)
You Baby (P.F. Sloan/Steve Barri) (with JK & Sam Elwitt on guitar)
Eight Candles (Sam Elwitt) (with JK, SE, & Kevin Micka on drums)
When It’s Dark (with JK)
If It’s True (with JK)
I Should Have Known Better (with JK)
Paddle Forward (with JK)
Government Center (Modern Lovers) (with JK)
Ohm
Our Way To Fall

*(encore)*
Beautiful World (Devo)
That’s Cool, That’s Trash (P.F. Sloan/Steve Barri) (with JK, SE, & Todd Abramson on vocals)
Tom Courtenay (acoustic version)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2019, night #4 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
25 December 2019
*(Hanukkah, night 4)*

comedian: Todd Barry
opening act: Christmas
mix CD: Laurie Anderson
benefiting: Community Musicworks & Eva’s Village

Santa Claus Goes Modern (Sven Swanson) (plus Ira as Santa)
Big Day Coming (slow)
Can’t Forget
Let’s Do It Wrong
Point and Shoot
Laisse Tomber Les Filles/Chick Habit (France Gall/April March) (with Christmas’s Liz Cox on vocals & Michael Cudahy on guitar)
Moby Octopad (with C.J. Camerieri on trumpet & French horn)
Shadows (with CC)
Black Flowers (with CC)
Before We Run (with CC)
The Kid With the Replaceable Head (Richard Hell)
Nothing To Hide
Double Dare
Heroin (Velvet Underground, Roky Erickson arrangement) (with Lee Ranaldo on guitar & vocals)

*(encore)*
Junk (Christmas)
This Ain’t the Summer of Love (Blue Oyster Cult) (with Todd Barry on drums)
Temptation Inside Your Heart (Velvet Underground) (with LR & TB)
Temptation Inside Your Heart reprise (Velvet Underground) (with LR & TB)
Maggie’s Farm (Bob Dylan) (with LR)
Mary-Christ (Sonic Youth) (with LR)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2019, night #3 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
24 December 2019
*(Hanukkah, night 3)*

comedian: David Cross
opening act: Sun Ra Arkestra
mix CD: Ira
benefiting: National Immigration Law Center

Sun Ra Arkestra horns enter during “Speeding Motorcycle” & stay for rest of set.

Here To Fall
Stupid Things
Forever
Evanescent Psychic Pez Drop
Walking Away From You
The Weakest Part
Five-Cornered Drone (Crispy Duck)
Speeding Motorcycle (Daniel Johnston)
Dreaming (Sun Ra)
Clumsy Grandmother Serves Delicious Dessert By Mistake (Jad Fair)
Emulsified (Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers)
Big Day Coming (fast)
Little Honda (The Hondells)
Nuclear War (Sun Ra)

*(encore)*
This Diamond Ring (Gary Lewis)
Walk Away Renee (The Left Banke)
I’ll Be Your Mirror (Velvet Underground)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2019, night #2 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
23 December 2019
*(Hanukkah, night 2)*

comedian: Fred Armisen
opening act: Lucinda Williams
mix CD: Lariane Newman
benefiting: Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide

whole set with Janet Weiss on drums/percussion

Rock and Roll Santa (Jan Terri)
Green Arrow
Sudden Organ
I Was the Fool Beside You Too Long
She May, She Might
Madeline
I’m On My Way
Wallflower (Bob Dylan) (with Lucinda Williams on vocals)
Pale Blue Eyes (Velvet Underground) (with LW)
Get It On (T-Rex) (with LW, and Fred Armisen on drums)
Deeper Into Movies (with FA on keyboard)
Artificial Heart (with FA on drums)
Sugarcube (with FA on drums)
Mushroom Cloud of Hiss (with FA on drums)

*(encore)*
with Lenny Kaye (guitar/vocals), Bruce Bennett (guitar), Miriam Linna (percussion)
Yesterday’s Numbers (Flamin’ Groovies)
Have You Seen My Baby (Randy Newman)
Teenage Head (Flamin’ Groovies)
Slow Death (Flamin’ Groovies)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2019, night #1 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
22 December 2019
*(Hanukkah, night 1)*

comedian: Jon Glaser as the Man in the Green Mask
opening act: Steve Gunn and William Tyler
mix CD: Duane Harriott
benefiting: GLAD

whole set minus opener with William Tyler on guitar
whole set and encore with Fred Armisen on drums

From Me To You (The Beatles, sung as “From Me to Jews”)
Everyday
Here You Are
Stockholm Syndrome
Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House
The Point Of It
Swing For Life
Tears Are In Your Eyes (guitar instrumental version)
Shades of Blue
Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1) (with Steve Gunn on guitar)
Wharf Rat (Grateful Dead) (with SG on keyboard)
Today Is The Day (fast) (with SG on guitar)
Tom Courtenay (with SG on guitar)
Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind (with SG on guitar)

*(encore)*
Live Fast Die Young (Circle Jerks) (with Greg Hetson on guitar)
S&M Party (Red Cross) (with GH)
Chinese Rocks (Dee Dee Ramone/Richard Hell) (with GH)
Carbona Not Glue (The Ramones) (with GH)
White Christmas (Irving Berlin) (with “Jon” on vocals)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

woodstock 250

Woodstock 250
by Jesse Jarnow

“You could feel the presence of invisible time travelers from the future who had come back to see it.” – Jerry Garcia

“The fascist pigs are seeding the clouds, man.” – festival attendee in Michael Wadleigh’s “Woodstock” documentary

1.

On the bridge of the ship, the Technical Commander smiled down at the cars rolling easily up the New York State Thruway. The traffic jam hadn’t started yet. After the misalignment of the destination-location drive, they’d landed smoothly in the right year, materializing over the Finger Lakes 12 days in advance to watch the assemblage of the concert site and enjoy a leisurely cruise over the green treetops. It was all part of the package. The ship was fully stocked for up to two months of travel.

Below, in the glass-lined geosphere, he could see the ship’s dining and observation area, where most of the ship’s passengers would watch the music from a giant green hillside manicured to look like the original site, its bottommost wall a giant refraction screen focused on the stage rotating in geosynchronous orbit many miles below them. Using a combination of probes, mirrors, archival footage, pristinely restored audio, and algorithms, they could work around the impending storms and offer high-resolution real-time stage footage and sound.

Despite being mostly a fan of contemporary xxc’xxh-pop, even the Technical Commander knew that Woodstock wasn’t about the music, and he wondered idly if any of the people who’d bought the incredibly expensive tickets had smuggled drugs on board. What happened once the concert started really wasn’t his concern, though. That was when he had to do his real work. He’d enjoyed the cruise immensely, and the weather had been superb, with crystal blue summer skies unlike anything he’d ever seen in his own time. Even with the all-inclusive ticket prices being as they were, though, the new festival’s backers still required a greater return on their investment.

It was almost too bad the ship was going to have to stick around for the storms. He’d seen more than enough planetary weather disturbances in his day, many of which easily dwarfed the comparably tiny rains that were soon to arrive over White Lake. Below the ship, in the far distance, he could just make out the helicopters rising off and settling onto the landing pad behind the stage.

On the whole, he thought, the whole cruise was a somewhat frivolous use of the decidedly non-frivolous new time travel technology, even if it did have an obvious application in commercial tourism. The investors had bigger plans, and–until now–it had been the Technical Commander’s main job to run interference with the cruise’s promoter, who thought he’d thought up the whole thing himself.

They’d sent the silent probes out the previous morning, and the Technical Commander had another day to enjoy the cruise before he had to spend any real time with the observation gear. He floated into his sleep canopy and called up the holo-scan of the accompanying notes that came with a now 200-year-old release of the original festival’s recordings.

 

2.


The Technical Commander was jolted awake in the middle of his third sleep cycle by a clonk on the side of the ship. On edge anyway, he abandoned the last three hours of rest, put on his uniform quickly, gave a cursory check of his holo-ranks and encryption schema, and hurried towards the bridge via the walkway that circumnavigated the upper part of the geosphere. Even just going from his cabin to the bridge, he observed how much the party had grown. It seemed like there were two times as many revelers as when he’d retired a few hours earlier.

Before he could get to the bridge, he ran into the promoter of the cruise, long-haired and bright-eyed and wearing a spangled leather vest with no shirt beneath it. The cruise promoter didn’t say anything, but looked at the Technical Commander meaningfully and gave him an enigmatic wordless smile, grasping the Commander by the upper part of his arms and squeezing once before moving on in the direction he’d been walking.

All seemed normal on the bridge, though, with three officers monitoring the variety of atmospheric probes. They’d be invisible to anybody below, both the probes and the ship itself, their own physicality being fairly tenuous anyway.

After he confirmed on the sensors that there was nothing amiss on the hull, the Technical Commander took chance to again peer down into the geosphere. The large flat area nearest to him was filled with large tents for the cruise-goers to sleep under, if they didn’t want return to their cabins. Instead of giant striped tents, he saw clouds inside the geosphere. And, inside one of the clouds, he swore he saw a small bolt of lightning.

 

3.


As he stepped into the tall grass at the edge of the geosphere, the Technical Commander was shocked by what he saw, and he’d been present after the massacre at M’zzzzzzhhjjjj’kkh’h. At first, in fact, he thought the large fleshy shape on the ground in front of him was a flattened body-mass lump, an unfortunate but not infrequent side-effect of light-time jumps. But it turned out it was actually several bodies, not dead at all. He gasped as an arm reached out towards him and slithered tantalizingly up his leg, grasping firmly.

The Technical Commander pulled just out of the arm’s reach, realizing what he’d seen, and hurried on as several simultaneous orgasmic cries of various octaves emerged from within the lump, shrieking in delighted overtones. He turned for another look as he walked away, and an arm emerged–female, he thought–and flashed a fist of solidarity.

It was raining in the geosphere, as he’d suspected, but there were also atmospheric conditions of other sorts, including flowered marijuana smoke, prohibited on a time jump because it qualified as plant matter. But he knew it wasn’t the marijuana that was causing the precipitation. The rain was down to a drizzle, which felt warm and nice as the virtual summer day bloomed. But what shocked him more than the orgy-patch was that the field was now almost full, bodies filling the artificial hillside as far as his eye could see.

More than the smoking, the overpopulation was an impossibility, he knew, because they’d deliberately undersold the cruise in an attempt to offer the idyllic pastural experience the original promoters had failed to deliver. The Technical Commander walked down the hillside in the direction of the central viewing area. Not that festival goers on the surface could see it with the cloud cover, but–in the geosphere–the sun was coming into view around the planetary horizon, an inspiring view by itself. Another rainy day was breaking on the second day of the festival below them, some 250 years into the past.

A naked man covered in mud walked past the Technical Commander going the opposite direction, raising his eyebrows at the uniformed officer. He knew that geospheres could generate unintended rain systems, but he’d never experienced it. It was even more rare than that body flattening. And impressive. Nobody seemed to be getting hurt, he saw. They could always dry off in their cabins, if they all had cabins, and he set back up the hillside.

He made a zagging path through the festival site, which was ablaze with color and life, aiming vaguely for the hatch on the opposite site. Following the perimeter of the woods, he spied a group of people emerging from the grove of trees that stretched to the geosphere’s rear wall. The Technical Commander changed his course, and headed for wherever they were coming from. “No, there’s still a whole day before Jimi,” he heard someone explain, as he passed them. They eyed him suspiciously.

The Technical Commander followed the trail into the woods, and stepped over the battered-down fence they’d put there for verisimilitude. He heard the unmistakable whisper of electricity, a rustling in the trees, and the dropping of something heavy, which landed with a cushioned and nearly silent, mossy thump. A bearded man in t-shirt and jeans stood up groggily and looked around before walking–barefoot–past the uniformed Technical Commander, glancing as he walked by and emerged into view of the time cruise’s festival site. “Far fucking out,” the bearded man said.

 

4.


The junior officer called up another file and they scrolled furiously down the readings. The Technical Commander stood over his shoulder and glanced nervously at his communicator. It couldn’t be, but it was. The rain they collected at Woodstock–the rain they collected with their probes in the pure Catskills air, the rain they were tasked to bring home, the rain on which they depended–had chemical residues that weren’t supposed to be there.

They hadn’t been invented yet, not on Earth, anyway, byproducts of yet undiscovered alien technologies. They were–the Technical Commander couldn’t help but note–the same alien technologies being used to probe the old Earth’s atmosphere during a two-week span surrounding a rock festival in the summer of 1969. The decision to go to Woodstock had hardly been his idea, but it was the earliest date on which the Comptroller could get a firm time-handle that matched with the desires of the investors to harvest clean air from the past. It was the furthest point in the past at which they possessed enough documentation to make a fully realized jump. He cursed the producers for their thoroughness.

Once the investors had read about the festival’s history, the process had spun out of control, with all sorts of grand plans for the unveiling of the new technology back in the present day, many of which the Technical Commander couldn’t get his head around. As Woodstock became a bigger part of the picture, he’d been kept mostly out of the loop. Not that he minded. He was here to serve the original purpose of the probes that had been floating over White Lake for the past three days and nights, collecting a part of the past that could save the future’s future. The party in the geosphere was beyond both his understanding and his interest, except that it, too, had spiraled mysteriously out of control.

He continued to wonder where all those new people had come from. He’d been trying to conceptualize the correct measurements to assess for the reverse time-jump, but the readings had taken precedent. The Technical Commander tried to reassure himself that he had done what he’d come to do. The samples were safely stored and could be brought home to be extrapolated. Maybe there was some way to account for the readings.

The festival on the planet would be over soon enough, and the crowd would spread out from the Catskills around the New York area. He wished he could go back to the observation area and watch the cars disperse. He hoped the party in the geosphere was also winding down, and remembered that there was a way to monitor the action from the bridge monitor. The Technical Commander toggled over and immediately regretted it. Noise blasted from the small internal speaker on the console, a solid mass of overloaded sound, though once his ear adjusted he could make out a beat.

Switching cameras to the geosphere’s central viewing area, he discovered the source of the sound. He couldn’t get the camera to zoom in close enough, but there seemed to be a band.

 

5.


When the Technical Commander figured out where the extra festival attendees had come from and upped the security at their entrance point, it was too late. The new festival in the geosphere was in full swing, and three more bands had just arrived, each from the future, but only slightly. They’d heard about the Woodstock geosphere party upon the ship’s arrival home and, within a few weeks, jerry-rigged a hop-on scheme for the same time-space technology the ship was running, happily ignoring the feedback loop they created.

The Technical Commander had no way of knowing, but it had been a free festival almost all along. The schemers’ plan was to simply hide out for another week or two after the cruise’s reentry point, then resume their lives after their other selves had left for the party. But the Technical Commander had no time to wonder where they might go in the meantime, because the bigger problems were at hand. There was no question they’d added mass, and accelerating into the spin required for the jump home was out of the question with so many people loose in the geosphere. They would all need to find cabins, at the very least, or risk mass pulverization.

It was then that the beatific curly-haired cruise promoter reentered the bridge, still shirtless in a spangled leather vest, and wearing the same inscrutable smile as the last time the Technical Commander had seen him a few days previous. The promoter sat down on the seat behind the main bridge station and stretched out peacefully, though continued not to talk. He was in charge of unveiling the new technology once they got home, with a time-ship’s full of Catskills air, ready to be sampled, cloned, and pumped back into the Earth’s damaged ecosystem.

As they’d gone into departure mode, there was still a lot to be done at the site before the opening ceremony, but the Technical Commander hadn’t concerned himself with it. The site itself had been moved several times. Last he’d heard, there’d been objections to the newest location–a disused hujgdd racing course–and the impact it might have on what was left of the local surface-mining community. It was a particularly ravaged region, the desiccated fields and plains almost fully uninhabitable, though carbon-farmers had colonized large patches.

If the new technology worked, there stood to be a particularly dramatic recovery, whole hills that might be bloom into lush green within a day or two. Rains of actual water would come. It was what the Technical Commander had been dreaming of since the academy, the true liberation of planet. If it worked. The Technical Commander looked over at the cruise promoter, who now seemed to be staring at the technology around him in newfound wonder. His eyes seemed to be dilated, the Technical Commander noted.

Largely speaking, the Technical Commander was a patient man, he liked to think. He would not be standing on the bridge in 1969, otherwise, one of the first humans to observe a great vista of the past. But now the Technical Commander was ready to go home. When they did, they would arrive at the same moment they’d decided on, a month after their departure, no matter when they left 1969. He peered again at the geosphere, or what he could see of it. It was a free festival, and he knew that they did actually have time to lose.

the condo fucks at union pool, 4 august 2019

The Condo Fucks
4 August 2019
Union Pool
Brooklyn, NY
with 75 Dollar Bill

Experiment In Terror (Harry Mancini)
Bermuda (Roky Erickson)
Grey Hats (The Glands)
Look Back in Anger (Television Personalities)
Come See Me (Pretty Things)
Wild Honey (Beach Boys)
I Want You To Be My Boyfriend (Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers)
Just In Case You Wonder (Ugly Ducklings)
Stoned Out Of My Mind (The Chi-Lites)
With A Girl Like You (The Troggs)
Former Airline (Wire)
Sorry Suzanne (The Hollies)
Too Late (The Kinks) (with Rick Brown on vocals)
Get Down (Half-Life)
Frenzy (The Fugs) (with 75 Dollar Bill on horns)

The Condo Fucks also sat in with 75 Dollar Bill for “Friends & Neighbors” (Ornette Coleman)

Other 2019 Yo La Tengo setlists.

dead jams at union pool, with high time, 20 july 2019

 

Dead & adjacent jams
Union Pool
20 July 2019
before/between/after sets by High Time

“Biloxi” – Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders, 30 June 1972 Keystone Korner, San Francisco, CA
“Clementine” – Grateful Dead, 2 February 1968 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR
“So What” – Jerry Garcia Band, 2 November 1978 Keystone, Palo Alto, CA
“Slewfoot” – Grateful Dead, 28 June 1969 Veterans Auditorium, Santa Rosa, CA
“Henry” – New Riders of the Purple Sage, from Before Time Began
“Cream Puff War” – Grateful Dead, 1 December 1966 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA
“Passenger” – Grateful Dead, 8 June 1977 Winterland, San Francisco, CA
“Samba in the Rain” (instrumental edit) – Grateful Dead with Branford Marsalis, 16 December 1994 Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA (via Dead Is Jazz, 1993-1994)
“Help on the Way/Looseknot Jam” – Grateful Dead, 1975 Ace’s, Mill Valley, CA (via Knot Jazz, 1968-1994)
“Okie From Muskogee” – Grateful Dead with the Beach Boys, 27 April 1971 Fillmore East, NYC

“Evangeline” – Jerry Garcia Band, 10 June 1989 French’s Camp, Eel River, CA (via Electric on the Eel)
“Second That Emotion” – Grateful Dead, 29 April 1971 Fillmore East
“The Only Time Is Now” – The Emergency Crew, 3 November 1965 Autumn Records demo (via Birth of the Dead)
“You Don’t Have To Ask” – Grateful Dead, 29 July 1966 PNE Auditorium, Vancouver, BC
“King Solomon’s Marbles/Stronger Than Dirt” – Grateful Dead, 13 August 1975 Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA (via One From The Vault)

“Mason’s Children” – Grateful Dead, 1970 studio session (via So Many Roads)
“Operator” – Grateful Dead (from American Beauty)
“Casey Jones” – Grateful Dead, 2 August 1969 Family Dog at the Great Highway, San Francisco, CA
“Mississippi Half-Step” – Grateful Dead, 6 November 1977 Broome County Arena, Binghamton, NY
“Mississippi Moon” (alternate take) – Jerry Garcia (via All Good Things)
“Dark Hollow” – Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia, John Cipollina, July 1970 KSAN
“Lonesome Town” (acoustic) – Jerry Garcia (via All Good Things)

#deadfreaksunite 1978

#deadfreaksunite 1978
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

1/6/78 san bernardino: a bummer milestone in a biker town. garcia’s voice is gone. sings his share of songs in 1st set & clearly shouldn’t be. sounds so painful. jerry doesn’t sing during set 2, all weir. 61m PLAYING IN THE BAND > ESTIMATED PROPHET > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > TRUCKIN’. swell: far-out 23m PLAYING with bob/phil/keith playing hard & leading to big new spaces. not swell: garcia down with wook flu & MIA for solid 8m. jam borders on jazz odyssey ’til jerry returns briefly, disappears again, & weir leads an actual non-count-off segue (!!) into ESTIMATED. garcia’s back for ESTIMATED’s pre-verse squgglies & resumes trying to sing & aw jerry, please stop, man? jam gets suitably weird/deep. almost 12m TRUCKIN’ doesn’t truck anywhere per se, but keeps circling back to huge crest & they nail it each time & it’s awesome. when set ends, 2 people (bernardino bikers?) grab mics. “PRETTY FUCKIN’ NEAT, EH?” “GRATEFUL DEAD!” feel better, jer.

1/7/78 san diego: without garcia songs, 1st set is mostly tame. rippin’ JACK STRAW with bob singing both parts. but it’s rough, fam. bright 24m DANCING IN THE STREET, 1st since early fall, is consistently fun. drums/jerry segment recalls sloppy ’60s jamfests. easy crossfade to SAMSON & DELILAH. ~9:25 into gently zonked 10m PLAYING IN THE BAND, weir flirts with CLOSE ENCOUNTERS alien call with 2 quick mutated phrases, 1st in-jam appearance. new kalimba (mickey, i assume) twinkles briefly in DRUMZ. nice stereo thunder. NOT FADE AWAY hits blissful major peak.

1/8/78 san diego: last of the grateful dead’s 3 laryngitis shows without jerry vocals, not even backup. on opening JACK STRAW, weir modulates slightly singing jerry’s parts. maybe the only place this debacle feels cute. also the anniversary of the time weir gave bill graham a new nickname for his birthday, uncle bobo. something about the way the guitars sound on these tapes is starting to sound slightly harsh, almost like keith’s synth. some subtle change in tech? gliding mid-song peaks in 14m ESTIMATED PROPHET. fun expressive jam naturally escapes 7/8 for extended moment of martian jerry guitar. 16m OTHER ONE dissolves & reforms into righteously galloping & purposeful post-space swing weirdness before big resolve. phil, before encore: “if every place we place we played was like this, we’d live here!” okay, then!

1/10/78 shrine auditorium: jerry’s singing again, but… his voice is still gone & it hurts me to listen, so i have to skip most of his songs? weird. while garcia wasn’t singing, weir started doing C&W twofers every night (here MEXICALI BLUES > ME & MY UNCLE), now happening in more 1st sets than not. burning PASSENGER! fairly massive MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, too. more CLOSE ENCOUNTERS tunings. 52m ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > OTHER ONE > FRANKLIN’S TOWER. 1st FRANKLIN’S since 10/77, now separated from its suite. gargantuan solo on 13m ESTIMATED PROPHET & nice space-jazz piano comping in jam. forceful 9m OTHER ONE. keith goes uncharacteristically ape.

1/11/78 shrine auditorium: another night with jerry’s voice ragged from laryngitis & i’m gonna skip to weir songs (what have i come to?) & the jams. nuanced middle solo on 12m 1st set closing LET IT GROW opens to graceful multi-peaked jam & huge outro. round bass leads on sweet SAMSON & DELILAH. 62m TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > PLAYING IN THE BAND gets exactly, sufficiently weird. 21m PLAYING floats between restlessness & alien-toned mini-jams before bass/drumz interlude, free glide, & good group transition into ST. STEPHEN. garcia retains shine deep into ST. STEPHEN. NOT FADE AWAY drips effortlessly back into space. only ever PASSENGER encore. too bad, works well.

1/13/78 santa barbara: an anti-nuclear benefit at old movie theater with cool indoor village vibe. after night off, garcia’s voice is slightly more tolerable, especially on gentle tunes like FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. weir watch: blues-rocker growl getting more pronounced on ALL OVER NOW. silly global GOOD LOVIN’ rap keeps expanding. might be the 1st involving australia? 1st BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE since 3/77, jug band relic now permanently back in rotation. the charming kind of sloppy during beginning & end & also middle. 55m DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > JAM > WHARF RAT > TRUCKIN’. could equally call this the 1st modern DRUMZ/SPACE or a 34m DANCING. 13m JAM is a pretty wonderful sequence of miniatures, sometimes with drums, messy but somehow always fully locked on garcia’s continuous noodle/thread. like seemingly every spaced zone this month, garcia rides the edge of the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS theme, see ~5:28. had to skip WHARF RAT vocals, but dramatic & rippingly weird solos before a perfunctory TRUCKIN’, etc..

1/14/78 bakersfield:  the dead’s only (& mostly empty) show in the cradle of california country music, origin for a massive part of their sound. “we were kinda hoping more of you would show up,” phil says. “i heard there was a basketball game at the high school, so i can understand…” can still hear the less-is-more bakersfield influence in garcia’s phrasing, but the ’78 model dead is complete opposite, immediately obvious on all guns blazing/tom-tom thunder of JACK STRAW opener. in a related story, new for ’78: over-the-top distorted guitar solo on LOSER, tasteful shred. the drummers seem very excited by this development. recording sounds great, jerry’s voice doesn’t. still painful to hear, but finds little new turns between the cracks on LOSER & elsewhere. 49m ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > NOT FADE AWAY. 22m EYES pushes hard into weirdness, breaking apart but never quite re-gelling.

1/15/78 fresno: largely empty arena. 1st set is barely 60m, 2nd isn’t much more. previous gig at venue in ’74 was nearly full hour longer. bobby: “there’s a fellow up front who’s just declared nuclear war for some obscure purpose.” off-mic, billy(?) singing “i feel good.” still can’t believe phil didn’t debut another song for 15 years after PASSENGER (minus the excellent REVOLUTIONARY HAMSTRUNG BLUES, played once in ’86). 49m TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > WHARF RAT. 27m PLAYING among longest post-’75 jams. never quite coheres, though ends with 2m of almost-solo jerry.

1/17/78 sacramento: jerry’s voice is still pretty rough, but now more like a shorting-out cable, perfectly good signal between flickers, almost unnoticeable when singing with weir & donna. nice quiet lyrical jerry under most of LOOKS LIKE RAIN, including end, seeming to audibly cap weir’s vocal histrionics. 68m ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > JAM > DRUMZ > OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER > TRUCKIN’ stays compelling if not too exploratory. ESTIMATED dashes/darts before nice landing in HE’S GONE. after abbreviated vocal reprise, a bright solo that rises into a solid little 3m jam, winding down as drumzers signal imminent takeover. but keith(!) resists, noodling & assertively leading an unusual song-like jam that’s just him & drummers, then noodling some more. jerry returns for convincing SPACE-burp before DRUMZ as usual. 14m OTHER ONE keeps breaking through ever-briefly. good conversation all the way. BLACK PETER is almost quiet enough for garcia’s voice. soulful keys. nice weir counterpoint under solo.

1/18/78 stockton: end of the laryngitis run but garcia’s getting worse, back to almost full squeak. a few curious jam spaces within. MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP rages to inventive melodic peak. FRIEND OF THE DEVIL solo turning even more lyrical just as tape cuts off. 65m jam is slightly unusual TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > PASSENGER > ESTIMATED PROPHET > STELLA BLUE sequence. 20m PLAYING gets solidly out before garcia mysteriously departs for last 5m & then jam even turns more interesting, weir/phil/keith all space-jazzing aggressively. as on 1/6, weir leads great segue in garcia’s absence, here into 10m PASSENGER. garcia reappears for 1st verse. 1st jammed out version. weir spirals from outro & all zonk on cue into jerry-space. count-off segue into ESTIMATED, which loosens easily to 10m. keith might even lead the segue into STELLA BLUE? whole band is amazing & sensitive but jerry’s voice is in shards. i’ve never been so glad to hear a SUGAR MAGNOLIA closer. maybe not the AROUND & AROUND encore. 4 days off now. get better, buddy.

1/22/78 eugene: the so-called “close encounters” show. garcia’s voice is scratchy, but no longer cringe-inducing. extra piano oomph from the start, keith fully present for much of show. TENNESSEE JED doesn’t quite jam but rounds unexpected corners, weir & keith shaping counterpoints & jerry pulling out new melodies. garcia’s already very good JACK STRAW solo goes volcanic as drummers & rest of band rise to meet him, all soaring into audibly amped last chorus. great moments abound: the swelling jam in MUSIC NEVER STOPPED & even garcia’s solos on GOOD LOVIN’, crackling right through the turnaround. 61m TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY & really what matters is the OTHER ONE. 21m OTHER ONE hits zero gravity between verses but even better is gently weird post-song disassembly where garcia works in 5-note “close encounters” alien call. legendary deadhead moment. skipping the intro figure, garcia jumps right into ST. STEPHEN & keeps up the arcing guitar through unusually bendy NOT FADE AWAY. (i should also mention that i wrote a much longer essay on 1/22/78 for this show’s official release on dave’s picks 23!)

1/30/78 chicago: garcia’s voice is maybe achieving new post-laryngitis baseline. everything’s pretty okay, little is stellar. weir spiels about getting things “just exactly perfect.” off-mic, garcia: “i’m trying to make it as fucked up as possible. i’m not into that perfection shit. it’s almost perfectly fucked.” pause. “now then, where were we?” cue LOOKS LIKE RAIN. the LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION transition is where the CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER jam went to hide in the late ’70s. 53-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE > FRANKLIN’S TOWER, a rare & welcome garcia 2nd set triple play. 17m EYES gets down to space zone where garcia & kreutzmann assert themselves for not-fully-coherent weirding. during STELLA BLUE outro, drummers nudge towards groove & garcia almost immediately hooks into FRANKLIN’S. garcia’s guitar spends much of song shorting out. smokin’ last solo, though. burst of spinal tap-style radio interference during final drawn-out FRANKLIN’S peak is most genuinely psychedelic moment of night.

1/31/78 chicago: a near-perfect setlist for my taste, minimum bummer tunes, & a few flavors of jamming. beautifully wounded vocals on various lines of CANDYMAN. lyrical guitar swoops on THEY LOVE EACH OTHER. 1st SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN of ’78 is 22 minutes & satisfying if not quite molten. a languid & never-peaking post-SCARLET wander nevertheless. 58m TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > BLACK PETER > TRUCKIN’ > GOOD LOVIN’ flows most excellently. recording is tracked with DRUMZ/SPACE, but it’s really just an 18-minute PLAYING with fast-fluttering jerry/phil/drumzers chaos. BLACK PETER still elegant, but getting crunchier/louder/grizzlier with jerry’s new voice. mickey’s marching band snare leads hilarious/stumbly TRUCKIN’ segue, less than more in line.

2/1/78 chicago: with this show, i think this becomes the 1st 3-night run where garcia doesn’t repeat any songs. geeks come at me? recording missing SUNRISE, but still an abnormally short 1st set. only 50ish minutes? drummers abandon some delicacy on FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. welcome 1st RAMBLE ON ROSE of the year. the night’s heady sequence is 54-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > JAM > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT & it does get heady. neon squigglies of ESTIMATED land in HE’S GONE a little too easily before garcia veers off for a pretty & mostly coherent detour. mickey’s got a balafon maybe? he starts & ends DRUMZ off-kit, where he stays when a short bass solo flies into a telepathic high-speed 7-minute freak jazz jam, much in early ’70s quintet zone. much wowz. [a minute of breathing room & then a drop into busy 10-minute OTHER ONE filled with great moments, especially weir/keith crossfire under 1st garcia solo & a thorough late-jam melt. weir watch: on AROUND & AROUND encore, he starts d-d-doing a roger daltrey-like stutter, one step closer to ’80s/’90s form.

2/3/78 madison: opening with just exactly casual COLD RAIN & SNOW, 1st of the year. this is really the tour where garcia starts stretching his active repertoire. big semi-local cheer for “st. paul, minnesota” line in BIG RIVER. garcia’s THEY LOVE EACH OTHER solo is all arcing colors & curves. 27-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD starts with odd mix (no billy?) & gradually adjusts. EYES doesn’t stray, but stays bold & dense, great keith, & disintegrates semi-smoothly as weir counts off 39-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, which passes through normal noodles, a fresh 6-minute jam without garcia, thoughtful drumless space with garcia, a patient jerry-led turn into 1st WHEEL since 10/77 (& only version of ’78), & finds slow road back to PLAYING. also: the last show without a DRUMZ segment for a year. deadbase sez this only happened 5 times between this show & 1995. too bad. usually dig DRUMZ but like surprises more.

2/4/78 milwaukee: 1st DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES since fall is bright & purposeful & fun, garcia leaning into the lyrics. phil, afterwards: “and that’s a true story, folks!” 47-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER doesn’t travel far & leaves a bit to be desired for this listener. not much happening in short PLAYING but keith improvises surprising NOT FADE AWAY coda, suggesting new melodies that weir/donna kinda find; the sweet play of the game.

2/5/78 cedar falls: very lit show. the often sleepy TENNESSEE JED bounces at a pleasant clip & hits full weaving boogie. PASSENGER is extra-cranked. 29-minute deadhead-beloved SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN feels uneven. one drummer drives forward manically & SCARLET (the song) loses all chill/bounce, gets magical at jam. soaring/roaring guitar, piano detailing, endless little FIRE inventions, A+ outro. 29-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, a classic early ’70s combo & now maybe the last in this exact configuration. somebody let weir have a whistle & TRUCKIN’ has a new marching band count-off that i reluctantly support, getting the band more than more or less in line. jam sparkles briefly before DRUMZ. WHARF RAT spirals with surprising grace into AROUND & AROUND, which eventually achieves some decent burn. U.S. BLUES encore empties the rockets.

[between this & the next dead show in early april, the jerry garcia band (plus keith & donna) plays 18 gigs, including an east coast tour. so much for post-laryngitis recovery.]

4/6/78 tampa: garcia’s voice, not exactly rested since last shows in february, is still not recovered from new year’s laryngitis, & is now just his new “older” voice. going by photos from later in the tour, this is 1st show with keith on a sometimes sickly sounding yamaha electric piano, centerstage, between garcia & lesh. everybody finds space on swaying CANDYMAN, where garcia lands in good new spot for his more limited range. jam edges on somnambulant in mostly nice way. hour-long ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, a repeat sequence. kinda absurdly masterful 90-second group deceleration from deep space zonks of ESTIMATED into hippie gospel of HE’S GONE. 16-minute OTHER ONE feels nebulous.

4/7/78 pembroke pines: bumpy start, but deep version of the always timely SHIP OF FOOLS. kinda stunning jerry vocal with whispering solo. sparing harmonies with gorgeous quiet donna, especially during outro. 59-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER > PLAYING IN THE BAND. garcia gets a bit scrambled throughout TERRAPIN. not much that grabbed this listener. the steel drums & other chaos-making instruments arrive, but they’re not properly miked yet. looking forward to that. for 1st time since early 1970, at least on tape, DRUMZ crosses 10 minutes.

4/8/78 jacksonville: the birth of DRUMZ/SPACE, & big fun. started to get worried after the 1st 2 kinda glum shows of this tour, but a pretty wild set 2, maybe most their most experimental since ’75, has me back on the bus, as always. garcia in full sing-song guitar mode on THEY LOVE EACH OTHER both solo & asides between some lines. feeling DEAL, too. lovely quiet in LOOKS LIKE RAIN before building to drumzer thundzer. miscue in SAMSON & DELILAH & band runs through ending twice. afterwards, off-mic, a sarcastic voice (billy i think?) screaming, “WHO FUCKED UP? WHO FUCKED IT UP? WHO DID IT? DID YOU DO IT? *WHY* DID YOU DO IT?” crisp, exploratory 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN has miniature surprises; tension-building guitar shapes during transition, 2 confident FIRE verses, scenic climb to peak. wholly fun 56-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. bold playing during ESTIMATED/EYES combo & 1st clearly delineated modern DRUMZ/SPACE segment. EYES dissolves to the usual trap kit thumping before happy droning steel drum chaos with roadies & band members, still burbling under drumless SPACE. A+ feedback/noise, weir! brief CLOSE ENCOUNTERS call/response by jerry/phil. after weir earlier yelled at a roadie to “hammer in rhythm,” one now does that as the band kicks into SUGAR MAGNOLIA. keith jumps back in, too, adding nice figures, rare version that feels fully earned.

4/10/78 atlanta: the 1st example of what i’d call a bad show, some of the ugliest collective playing since late ’60s. weird night with a lot of silliness on & off mic. for once, it’s weir who sounds most heavily goofed. 2 long stupid jokes in 1st set & lots of pre-2nd set giggles. weir watch: now into the age of saying “thank you” in weird squeaked falsetto after various songs. did this make any sense at the time? another beautifully wounded CANDYMAN. lots of cool vocal variations, both lyric & melodic. love donna’s blend on the wordless ooh-ing chorus, less so elsewhere. MUSIC NEVER STOPPED verges on trainwreck, weir falling out of sync ’til donna laughs & forcibly takes charge during bridge. longer than usual jam that still feels off, partly in the mix, but largely in the playing. i think every musician ends on a different beat. slippage continues through set 2. SHIP OF FOOLS sounds sprung & hard to pinpoint 1 culprit. DANCING IN THE STREET ragged af too, trying to click together. as much as i loved the steel DRUMZ anarchy at previous show, tonight it fizzles. weir ripcords it by starting FRANKLIN’S TOWER, everybody else being exceedingly slow to join. it finally locks together, until they forget how it ends. BLACK PETER achieves some ragged elegance with straight-up garcia soul shouts, which weir tries to top on AROUND & AROUND. oh & then 3 minutes from the soundcheck of the band working on weir/barlow’s SALT LAKE CITY, from “heaven help the fool,” not played by the dead ’til ’95 (& then only once). kinda fun, really.

4/11/78 atlanta: absurd theory i’ve been testing is that when TENNESSEE JED gets interesting (1/22, 2/5), the 2nd set does, too. JED does have unexpected conversational feel here, but not sure hypothesis totally holds. 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is sparkling, fun, & exceptionally tight. SCARLET feels alive & moving from 1st beat. whole band surges through little bubbles & pockets during segue. especially potent & colorful FIRE outro solo. 45-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > IKO IKO. finally, the smallest variations during the TERRAPIN exit, garcia & keith testing new harmonies against cycling riff.  long 21-minute DRUMZ, more drum circle than heady anarchy, occasional hints of beauty via balafon/steel drums combo. wish they’d lingered. brief SPACE hints at bo diddley beat, restless & bound someplace predictable but 1st IKO IKO since november is also the 1st that feels substantial, starting with a cool, spare beat before fully kicking in, garcia diving into lyrics. groove widens/deepens/rolls impressively, finally finding feel separate from NOT FADE AWAY. garcia finds a nifty little pocket en route to SUNSHINE DAYDREAM & even phil seems to wake up more than usual, burping some weird-ass upper register counterpoints.

4/12/78 durham: 12-beat intro for BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, giving fodder to deadhead statisticians correlating the day-of-the-month effect. ROW JIMMY accelerates into an unusual peaking gallop, which sort of spoils the delicacy but feels kinda nice. long tuning/off-mic planning break in 2nd set, band referring to upcoming drums segment as “rhythm devils.” weir starts fiddling on guitar. billy: “SHUT UP WE’RE DOING A SHOW.” then: 69-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. weir watch: 1st falsetto shriek on ESTIMATED PROPHET. just one, but crowd cheers. NC heads, i love you, but you shouldn’t have encouraged him. garcia starts EYES at a weird tempo & it tumbles at a fest clip. jams are nice but jerry rushes vocals & mickey pushes into doubletime under chorus, ready to take over for the new showcase. to many, 26 minutes of DRUMZ is too long. i am not one of them. it’s like raw footage from a nature documentary. rest of band/crew join for chaos. jam briefly achieves sentience ~15:30, ends with 2 cool minutes of talking/steel drum duet, & also captures a shrieking roadie. after these big long weird-outs, growing more appreciative of the need for late set boogie-downs, but absolutely still beyond me why weir played AROUND & AROUND at nearly every show.

4/14/78 blacksburg: the last of a half-dozen 1977-’78 performances of DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES with 2-drummer/godchaux lineup, a vibe i was genuinely feeling, revived in ’82.
band responds to critics, short version.
garcia (off mic): “fuck ’em! i say, fuck ’em!”
weir: “when the critics criticize us for taking too much time between numbers, they’re criticizing us for not playing, & if they’re music critics, they should be criticizing the music.”
61-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER certainly makes room for exploration, but the expectation of DRUMZ increasingly leaks into the song that proceeds. high-speed 17-minute DANCING keeps up the boogie-oogie. big cheer for DC shout-out, unusually dope mid-jam start/stop move by drummers, skittering weir grooves, messy re-entry, & funny/committed vocal outro, even garcia getting into it. group DRUMZ takes ~10 minutes to hit pockets where onstage chaos begins to align. sparse ambient noise synth too, which also briefly appears in drum-punctuated SPACE alongside another synth that sounds a like ghostly human voice. a very ’78 BLACK PETER, with rare vocal growling by garcia & even more unusual singing along with a few phrases of his guitar solo. unless counting 1/13, 2nd set appears to be 1st to feature “modern” structure: HEADY/JAM SONG(S) > DRUMZ > SPACE > GARCIA BALLAD > ROCKIN’ WEIR TUNE(S), or reversing those last two.

4/15/78 williamsburg: 1st set doesn’t crack an hour. middle of LET IT GROW opens briefly into jam field that would seem pastoral & intimate if not for the cowbell hoppity-hopping all over it. big DEAL outro has heads amped before set break. 51-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > MORNING DEW. weir accidentally has distortion on during PLAYING intro, sounds boss. a lot happening in jam, moving more thrillingly together as music builds & melts & slowly disassembles into DRUMZ. steel DRUMZ appear instantly but levitation takes a while. another appearance by theremin/voice-like ghost synth. no SPACE, just NOT FADE AWAY with a cheer-earning intro modulation. near end, weir/lesh/drumzers latch onto pattern & seem PLAYING-bound until garcia diverts. surprise drop into only MORNING DEW of the year, 1st since 6/77, last ’til 10/79, final time with keith godchaux, & suitably fuckin’ devastating. mostly tight, too, with 2 big peaks, confident singing/playing, gorgeous quiet soloing, big ending. yeah.

4/16/78 huntington, WV: bursting with super-charged energy & oomph, especially in 1st set & through beginning of 2nd. kinda peaks early. everything’s a little edgy. during burning CASSIDY, keith & maybe jerry blow through the end-of-solo cue. after MEXICALI BLUES, weir forgets he’s been taking 2 C&W songs in a row. when he remembers, drummers don’t sound especially jazzed. rare 1st set SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN (1st since 5/77) is 19 minutes & feels compact. decent SCARLET but maybe my favorite FIRE vocal so far, ultra-present singing-with-a-smile garcia, with some equally friendly guitar. similarly crackling SHIP OF FOOLS. 55-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > IKO IKO, rare 2nd set without late show garcia ballad. tight pre-DRUMZ, but not particularly deep. solid backbeat behind the steel DRUMZ, but not enough chaos for me. IKO painfully slow.

4/18/78 pittsburgh: solid fun, though nothing leaving me swooning. casually luxurious 14-minute SUGAREE worth hanging onto. another day-of-month correlation for the opening hits of BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. 55-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > SAMSON & DELILAH. nice conversational breakdown on SCARLET spirals & slashes upwards, 1st FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN-less version since previous april & last ’til ’84. all kinds of delightfully indulgent madness during 18-minute DRUMZ. the ghost-synth is back (or maybe it’s someone singing?), sounding a lot like the 2-note “how-wooo” from a certain zevon cover debuted the following night. chill balafon/mbira duet at halfway mark. TERRAPIN STATION in the late set quiet slot is a literal garcia ballad & works well, if slightly muted, though the AROUND & AROUND comedown is a bit harsh.

4/19/78 columbus: great CANDYMAN, new trend (continued from 4/10 & 4/15) is garcia pluralizing “womens” in 1st line. beautiful PEGGY-O with ripping solo. weir & donna get screechy on the DEAL outro, weir being worse offender. the late ’70s were a real shouty time, huh? satisfying 72-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. song part of 14-minute ESTIMATED is iffy but weirds out with long vocalizing outro (both shrieks & quiet) & full neon unfurling by garcia. DRUMZ builds from extended quiet HE’S GONE ending, which works conceptually, at least. at 28 minutes, longest DRUMZ/SPACE yet. when kits leave, mbira duets with (i think) prayer bowl. drones & steel drums leak into garcia-led SPACE to add gorgeous & subtle alien moods. encore is giddy garcia-sung debut of zevon’s WEREWOLVES OF LONDON, then just cracking the top 50. big cheer when vocals start. even weir’s primitive slide playing is kinda fun. the last time the dead covered a contemporary hit, i think?

4/21/78 lexington, KY: clearly not a full house. both phil & weir encourage people in upper sections to abandon their seats & come down to the floor. do arena acts ever do that anymore? languid SHIP OF FOOLS with a great vocal, as always so far this tour. then a long break. weir gives shit to garcia for lighting a between-song cigarette & (some say) teases “going to california” but confirming that is a job for someone more led zeppelin aware than me. 63-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > JAM > STELLA BLUE > TRUCKIN’ > PLAYING IN THE BAND. PLAYING almost goes over the edge. kits disappear early into DRUMZ, which includes some awesome @akronfamily-style group chanting(?!) with donna (or another woman) up front. drumzers refuse to yield & 6-minute post-DRUMZ JAM darts between laser noodles & funk mush, before a graceful pull-up into a tasteful & tight & well-sung (for ’78) STELLA BLUE. love hearin’ TRUCKIN’ get melty, even if it’s only into PLAYING reprise. another WEREWOLVES OF LONDON encore, donna leaning in on “he’ll rip your lungs out, jim.” jerry sings, but feels like a full band party. so fun.

4/22/78 nashville: CANDYMAN vocals great, especially sweet jerry/donna blend. garcia’s post-laryngitis voice is finally to the point where the quieter/slower tunes are nearly all a joy. PEGGY-O, too. 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. EYES, especially, has a nice wind-down, followed by another participatory chaos session. more donna-led call/response chanting with the steel DRUMZ. people keep playing steel & percussion into NOT FADE AWAY & it sounds neato, occasionally (barely) audible as jam continues. wish it was way louder, since garcia & weir seem to perhaps be weirding along with it just before spiraling descent into WHARF RAT. titanic WHARF RAT. of the late set garcia ballads, it feels the least encumbered & most aided by 2 drummers. nice harmonies & 2 wonderfully godzilla-sized solos makes SUGAR MAGNOLIA feel like a chance to catch their breath.

4/24/78 normal: very fun & very ’78. big drums & a lot of weir slide playing. sort of enjoy some of his punctuations on RAMBLE ON ROSE. would enjoy them more with a softer tone, but that ship sailed before i was born. weir teases STAYIN’ ALIVE before counting off ME & MY UNCLE & it continues throughout, keith (!) dropping into the descending riff during breaks & under song. unusually phishy moves. equally high-steppin’ BIG RIVER, with more bee gees. no vocal reprise in CASSIDY. stellar 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with some great new shapes. weir plays slide throughout, which i think actually contributes a lot ’til he gets all shrill. rare garcia ad lib on FIRE outro: “let it burn, let it burn…” 54-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. TERRAPIN is sleepy but 20-minute DRUMZ/SPACE has more scary synth, now sounding like ghost seagulls, jamming with balafons. chanting is less convincing. properly cosmic sproinging noises. BLACK PETER is suitably weary (with more slide). WEREWOLVES OF LONDON is more subdued but it could be that it’s the tour closer. some call this tour the real end of ’77. we’ll see. 3 weeks off & then the northeast.

5/5/78 hanover: the only new hampshire show. sound of the band continuing to get bigger. 1st set songs like BROWN EYED WOMEN more & more likely to receive power guitar breaks with jerry shreds & muppet drumming. no chorus reprise in CASSIDY again. missed notes & vocal flutter for garcia on SHIP OF FOOLS, but carried by vocal charisma. totally enjoyable & filled with life. great soloing, obv. 65-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. gorgeous ESTIMATED tones. after barely a tour, DRUMZ/SPACE formula getting slightly crutch-like. more chanting, though somewhat randomly placed. garcia’s been speeding up EYES gradually all spring, but this one has a different feel, too, a stiffer/manic drum part that seems to codify the gradual tempo shift. as always, could be the mix, but feels like the drummers take over. tubular jerrying, though, really! whole band floats around a metronomic pulse on STELLA BLUE that feels like a big grandfather clock, oversized & haunting. definitely not sick of WEREWOLVES OF LONDON yet.

5/6/78 burlington: the day after the founding of ben & jerry’s the grateful dead introduce themselves to vermont with an excellent 12-minute SUGAREE that flows naturally from trance floatation to big peak & back down for last verse. over the top ending to LOOKS LIKE RAIN has jerry soloing & donna whoaing along with weir. w00. more polka-style STAYIN’ ALIVE quotes in ME & MY UNCLE, but also proto-SHAKEDOWN STREET crossfire from keith & jerry. manic DEAL. 42-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > JAM > WHARF RAT. thumpy 16-minute PLAYING hits sustained weird-jazz plateau that gets more beautiful & intricate as it gets quieter, but the DRUMZ kinda steamroll it. percussion chaos achieves grungy psychedelic density. highlight is concluding 5 minutes of steel drums & curlicue envelope filter escapades by garcia with too much rhythmic shape to call SPACE, before a little turnaround into WHARF RAT.

5/7/78 troy: especially present garcia soloing/back-up vocals on MEXICALI BLUES > MAMA TRIED. pretty lit FRIEND OF THE DEVIL with great guitar/piano detail. sounds way different when it switches to grotty audience source for 2nd half of song. sometimes it’s all in the mix. 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. donna sings all the way through the SCARLET jam & into FIRE & it’s kinda awesome, garcia jamming with her & playing/fluttering outside his usual bag. big FIRE with more chorus ad-libs but weir’s slide sounds sickly. 66-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > IKO IKO > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER. DRUMZ punctuated by random donna shrieks, which is rad. no SPACE, just crosstalk. tempo battles in BLACK PETER. U.S. BLUES encore feels huge, though.

5/9/78 syracuse: either it takes a second for the PA to go on or the taper waits for the lights to go down before raising mics above the crowd. only ever FRANKLIN’S TOWER show opener. does feel a little abrupt. 54-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. DANCING turns into big clap-along. dub/echo on percussion during SPACE (wish it was a soundboard!) before briefly locking together & building speed behind mutated garcia melts. keith & garcia turn a pretty & detailed corner after the last NOT FADE AWAY chorus but it just becomes a shortcut to a jerry ballad, in this case another quietly glowing BLACK PETER. kinda dig weir’s slide. weir watch: this show was (i think) the debut of bobby’s werewolf mask for another punchy WEREWOLVES OF LONDON. pictures coming later in tour.

5/10/78 new haven: 1st set barely cracks an hour, but ends with a 10-minute LET IT GROW that has a swelling middle jam & a nice weir/garcia charge in the outro before a half-segue into set-closing DEAL (which gets pretty hideously shrieky again). some moments of individual/collective discombobulation/disconnection especially during the 2nd set opening BERTHA > GOOD LOVIN’. slop never sleeps. 70-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. garcia doesn’t even state the EYES chords, just touches the rhythmic/harmonic idea & then he’s off into ever-speedier soloing, gorgeous & bird-like here. the DRUMZ synth now sounds like a snorting ghost-boar. into it. also the random screaming. no SPACE but an unusually patient OTHER ONE build beginning with drumzers on hand percussion, lots of theme/variation on the triplets. also a great post-verse disassembly.

5/11/78 springfield, MA: what grateful dead lore records as “the mescaline show.” couldn’t tell ya if it’s true, but things’re a little wavy, fersure, & way fun. garcia & weir especially sound like they’re ricocheting off the walls, vocal asides & noises & giggles & extra animation during the opening COLD RAIN & SNOW (rare in ’78), LOSER, & beyond. in general, the music has an almost tangible extra bounce. weir/donna vocals sound sweet on BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (with another day-of-month beat intro). maybe the screamingest LAZY LIGHTNING ending yet & kinda works. compact but adventurous 18-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. donna sings for much of jam, sometimes just off mic, garcia making room for her. sounds cool. weir watch: a development i love! a delay pedal, used to subtle & excellent effect. overstated vocal outro. 55-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. garcia/weir keep grunting & making random noises through 15-minute DANCING. song shifts into excellent open gallop, an almost phish-like groove in places, before doofy vocal jam reprise. transition from drum kits to chaos is pretty flawless. while missing the extra-high weirdness of other DRUMZ segments from this tour, it has a natural cohesiveness & flow with no real lulls. i’d call this as much evidence for the mescaline show as all the vocal emissions. short SPACE burps into NOT FADE AWAY. STELLA BLUE is nearly 9 minutes & feels like it’s just getting going. then, BAM, double encore with weir in a mask for WEREWOLVES OF LONDON.

5/13/78 philadelphia: 2 months after the jerry garcia band plays the spectrum (in its theater set up), the dead return. big MUSIC NEVER STOPPED closes 1st set, with a slow motion build. weir watch: silly GOOD LOVIN’ outro spoutings getting longer, band getting tighter around them. garcia briefly finds new corners in TERRAPIN STATION, a few phrases worth of elegant new turns before the concluding verse of LADY WITH A FAN. consistent & energetic 59-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER, joined by @billwalton for DRUMZ, according to an @internetarchive commenter. 14-minute PLAYING blasts forward but stays its course as it gets denser. another coherent DRUMZ. no dead air & nice flow between segments/ideas/sounds. 2-note melody (maybe from the ghost-synth), echoed balafon, kazoo, recorder & a descent into noise & SPACE. in unusual turn, guitarists interrupt a delicate musical moment when they come back. can maybe hear the seeds of I NEED A MIRACLE when weir plays slide guitar on TRUCKIN’ jam. BLACK PETER is metronomic & un-mysterious but also solid & confident.

5/14/78 providence: garcia’s voice fraying again. maybe compensating a little, starting to growl a bit on MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP & SHIP OF FOOLS & elsewhere. set-closing 17-minute LET IT GROW is longest yet, darting into open water, keith playing intricate details against garcia. 65-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD pushes each song just past where they would usually jump to the next. gorgeous & patient ESTIMATED with garcia mining quiet melodies. unfortunately, EYES has lost all its chill. garcia barely hints at the song, a musical raising of eyebrows, & then it’s a race. intricate patterns during a soft landing into DRUMZ. DRUMZ almost getting consistent enough to not annotate, partially because they figured out how to use the ghost-synth to patch over sparser sections. again, nice progression. no ballad. weir watch: deep into NOT FADE AWAY, he gets into some good distortion moves, though moving to squealing slide for 1st GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD since 10/77.

5/16/78 chicago: opening JACK STRAW gets intense with big drumming & garcia fanning his guitar, tom toms really cutting through on audience tape. more than a little bombastic, really, but it’s also sort of trending towards that. weir watch: growls starting to migrate from blues-rockers to other tunes, tonight on MAMA TRIED, the ‘80s coming in like a ton of bricks. also, already a rarity, the last 2nd set EL PASO.  switching to soundboard, a 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > COMES A TIME. nice conversational noodle on ESTIMATED. hard to tell if it’s the mix, but either the keyboard or its operator are absent for long stretches. hard musical splice to static DRUMZ, which never breaks open. jerry joins briefly before equally hard splice to SPACE, all delightful solo garcia. perhaps accidentally through a live mic, lesh: “can i have a beer, please?” weir: “say that again.” then: a long ambient burp. 1st COMES A TIME since 5/77, only one of ’78, & rather beautiful. big overdriven 1st solo with a few sections. nice use of delay by weir behind ruminative & bending outro. keith shows up, too, & drumzers stay just exactly chill.

5/17/78 chicago: lovely 24-minute double-shot garcia opener. 1st MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER, paired almost exclusively for next 4 years. easy shift into FRANKLIN’S. with weir playing messy slide, garcia builds on cool pattern late in jam, a new kind of coda. semi-rare 2nd set FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, played with 2nd set gravitas & a beautiful jam, with some floating keyboard colors from keith, who is fairly present on this show. 45-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > SPACE > TERRAPIN STATION. DANCING shimmies into liquid disco dead & almost gets out before returning to song & vocal reprise. long, even-keeled DRUMZ flows easily towards SPACE. donna & mostly phil scream/cackle/chant on & off chaos builds. there’s also a theremin-like pitch-bent single-note synth. when TERRAPIN STATION rises, band has to clear auxiliary weirdos from percussion. weir watch: slide guitar has now arrived in TERRAPIN & pretty much everywhere else. it’s really not always very pleasant, but it does seem to force garcia (& sometimes keith) to fill the space left behind, which can be fascinating, as on NOT FADE AWAY. and after the show billy kreutzmann & keith godchaux get into a fight at the hotel & billy splits & flies home, tour over.

6/4/78 santa barbara: the grateful dead start their 1st summer of nearly all  outdoor shows, at @ucsantabarbara. opening sets by the big wah koo (feat. ex-steely dan vocalist david palmer), elvin bishop (jerry sat in), & warren zevon (drunk & booed off). in some ways, the birth of the newer & even huger & drummier dead. big fun, but losing nuance. garcia ad libs on nearly every verse of BERTHA opener. BROWN EYED WOMEN is super-charged stadium-sized country-soul. even SHIP OF FOOLS is subtly shouty. weir watch: BIG RIVER is one of the most consistent-sounding songs in the band’s repertoire, but i’m less into versions where bobby’s growling. the drummers have ceased to pretend they’re going to play LOOKS LIKE RAIN with any kind of delicacy & start the song with a heavy backbeat, the guitar breaks getting muppeted-out with everything else. the era when song’s lyric sentiments & their arrangements begin to split. whoever claims the dead never played the same set twice, please compare the 2nd sets from 5/14/78 in providence & 6/4/78 in santa barbara. same exact songs & order, plus one extra encore in santa barbara. different jams, of course. 53-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ >  NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD not quite as deep as the providence iteration. ESTIMATED still delightfully languid af, but EYES is played in hyperspeed shorthand, like a rumor of chord changes. long post-DRUMZ theme/variation on the NOT FADE AWAY pulse, with ghost-synth theremin screams, garcia zaps, & brief noise hole as a motorcycle is rolled onstage, mic’d up, & revved in the bo diddley beat as band jumps into wild version. donna goes loco near end. weir joins. after some more screamy screamy, weir reiterates the band’s new nickname for promoter bill graham–uncle bobo–& asks everybody to thank him. thanks, uncle bobo!

6/25/78 eugene: 1st big outdoor oregon show since the ’72 field trip, co-headlined with santana (plus the outlaws & eddie money). no sit-in by carlos, but a visit from the pranksters. the acceleration into the thunderingly loose summer ’78 sound is complete. garcia’s going growly on some verses of PEGGY-O now, too. same jam sequence as 5/14 & 6/4 (plus a fiercer & more defined SPACE) in 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD. EYES feels vibier, somehow, & gets quiet. briefly. ken babbs joins the band with the pranksters’ thunder machine during DRUMZ/SPACE (rev’ing around 9 minutes into DRUMZ) but more audible is babbs periodically scream-singing melodies/poetry. can’t make out words, but kinda sounds like the godz. awesome. big CAUTION-like entry into NOT FADE AWAY. garcia hooks into deep melodic flow ~2:30. i know time travel will never be invented because no deadhead has ever shown up in 1978 to steal bob weir’s guitar slide(s) before every show, which i like to imagine as a montage. flashing guitar burns in GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, too, & even the following AROUND & AROUND, which drops down to a twinkling keys-heavy plateau.

7/1/78 kansas city, MO: willie nelson’s 4th annual 4th of july picnic, a rare opening slot, playing before willie & waylon jennings/jessi colter. they still do 2 sets. new era continues to take shape at arrowhead stadium. 45-minute 1st set opens with big rockin’ BERTHA > GOOD LOVIN’ combo for crowd unusually primed for cowboy dead, which they get to soon. thunderous drum fills getting more frequent. set 2 is mostly 59-minute suite: TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > ESTIMATED PROPHET > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, with increasingly rare post-DRUMZ jams. TERRAPIN outro starting to fuzz & warp. PLAYING gets slashy, DRUMZ consistent. totally pro flow! donna’s really goin’ for it of late. big screams during OTHER ONE chorus & weir’s chuck berry covers. a few excellent cornholio-like vocal bug-outs by her & others in DRUMZ & SPACE work slightly better, including by phil during the latter. a mark of a great late ‘70s WHARF RAT for me: when it sounds like a spiraling ’69 CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro, as this one does in a few spots, the drums getting bigger.

7/3/78 st. paul: 1st of 2 indoor shows of the summer. the drummers start LOOKS LIKE RAIN at full speed & stay fairly flat-lined even through weir’s expanding melodramatic outro, with donna +1’ing him. weir: “i believe it’s gonna rain today!” donna: “me too!” 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. garcia gets into staggered horn-like phrasings on SCARLET jam & an abnormal run of dense chording before segue, setting up a cool & unusually grooved FIRE with casually shredded end. 42-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. garcia sketches hard on DANCING & almost breaks through, like if an early ’68 DARK STAR got even faster & pigpen’s repetitive organ part was switched for an insistent disco hi-hat. one slight upshot of weir playing slide guitar is that garcia’s rhythm playing is inevitably pretty cool, too, as on WEREWOLVES OF LONDON.

7/5/78 omaha: weir playing slide guitar on SUGAREE is an equally terrible idea in theory & practice. sounds right queasy. again, it results in cool garcia rhythm moves, but makes it borderline unlistenable to me. setlist orders are starting to get ossified, as demonstrated by the exceptions that begin to pop up. here, the DEAL 2nd set opener, besides once else in ’91 — & it does feel a little strange in that slot. grooves getting increasingly metronomic on quiet songs like LOOKS LIKE RAIN & SHIP OF FOOLS. big booming offstage explosion during the latter, some kind of fireworks in the venue, probably, & garcia audibly cracks a surprised grin. 65-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > TRUCKIN’ > IKO IKO. 13-minute ESTIMATED has brilliant garcia dips/dances & a sputtering gear-shift segue into fluttering EYES with bass/drums jam. wish both songs were twice as long. AROUND & AROUND set closer feels redundant, as always, but especially so after IKO IKO. oddly, following it with another chuck berry song, PROMISED LAND, feels like a (very mild) pleasant surprise, its only appearance as an encore.

7/7/78 red rocks: 1st show at colorado’s outright mystical red rocks amphitheater, in a bright & beautiful recording by betty cantor-jackson. fun 9-minute TENNESSEE JED, keith edges on different keyboard colors early, perhaps triggering the playful & sing-song not-quite-solo/not-quite-jam. garcia disappears for 4 minutes as soon as SCARLET BEGONIAS jam begins. weir & co. make due, but music gets coolest when keith briefly steers. unusually sleepy FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. uneventful 1st half of 47-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER, but garcia lands in a brief NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE jam during NFA & kicks open a series of nifty & subtle turns. BLACK PETER is a pretty sterling example of garcia working with the limitations of his post-laryngitis voice, shortening/changing phrases to accommodate & finding cool alternate paths.

7/8/78 red rocks: 1st set is all summer, bright & cheery windows-down driving music. punchy BERTHA > GOOD LOVIN’ opener & skipping DIRE WOLF. even MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES keeps the sunshine bounce going. weir does all covers. 2nd set jam suite has a very welcome surplus of garcia songs in satisfying 68-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > FRANKLIN’S TOWER. 13-minute ESTIMATED blows into chaos, scattering free of 7/8 time signature & into the 1st pre-DRUMZ OTHER ONE since fall tour, regaining some of its sense of quest. garcia unspools some question marks at the end of EYES, too, before surrendering to the drumzers. ominous SPACE (sounding like ’69-era feedback at times) lands in stunner WHARF RAT with curling & purposeful intro solo & well-controlled garcia vocals. great usage of FRANKLIN’S as capper, garcia nailing a chill ‘75ish tempo & all of the verses. somebody correct me if i’m wrong, but i don’t think weir plays any slide guitar during this sequence, either, which could be another reason it’s remembered so fondly. rare 23-minute 3-song encore, bookended by TERRAPIN STATION & last of 9 gleeful ’78 versions of WEREWOLVES ON LONDON, retired ’til halloween ’85. so it goes.

8/11/78 front street: 13 tantalizing minutes of jerry, mickey, & hamza el-din practicing el-din’s OLLIN ARAGEED & jamming at the dead’s rehearsal studio, in preparation for the dead’s shows in egypt. garcia plays acoustic along with the hand percussion, droning gently & soloing beautifully, suggesting a parallel stub in which garcia committed to exploring african modes.

8/30/78 red rocks: starting down the road to egypt by returning to colorado’s red rocks. proceedings are considerably sleepy. maybe it’s the, uh, altitude? also could be that, after recording “shakedown street” earlier in summer, billy kreutzmann broke his wrist & went on this tour against doctor’s orders, playing drums one-armed. 18-minute SUGAREE all but crashes. 1st version of garcia & hunter’s STAGGER LEE, long story-song, pleasantly lazy, almost a new orleans shuffle. dynamic feels a wee bit flat. weir’s slide guitar not helping. weir watch: now adding falsetto to DEAL shriek-out. debut of weir & barlow’s I NEED A MIRACLE opens 2nd set, appropriately big blooze-rawk vehicle tailor-fit for late ‘70s weir with slide guitar & growling. 79-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > IF I HAD THE WORLD TO GIVE > IKO IKO. 1st half of suite is same as 7/8 show, but all a bit more mellow. mix is garcia heavy, all other instruments somewhat muted. subtle delay jams by weir in ESTIMATED. chill tempo & full changes return to 17-minute EYES. pleasant (even too long) valleys. garcia locks into great 2-minute jam before surrender. more cornholio yawps from phil during DRUMZ before ambient SPACE. exiting SPACE, garcia debuts new ballad IF I HAD THE WORLD TO GIVE, only played live 3 times. elegant changes/melody clunked up by 2 drummers. rippin’ octave divider solo, though! never really got this song until i heard the @bonifacebilly version, & i’m reminded why here. slow-motion IKO IKO followed by even more slow-motion AROUND & AROUND feels like a discombobulated set-concluding robotrip.

8/31/78 red rocks: powerful MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP opener, trickling into EL PASO, which makes musical/narrative sense, but seems to lose its desert twang. almost surprising that weir has never done it before. probably owes in part to kreutzmann’s broken wrist but NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, one of the best showcases for the late ‘70s double drumming, succumbs to click-track-like thud. debut of donna jean godchaux’s FROM THE HEART OF ME, which i think i’d actually like if it was done by the 1-drummer bright americana incarnation of the dead with keith on an actual piano. to open set 2: 1st version of garcia & hunter’s SHAKEDOWN STREET, a major new song & direction, dark-vibed & curling psychedelic disco/funk. crisp/concise/powerful/uptempo 7 minutes here with teeny jam, garcia way inside the lyrics. no backing vocals or wooing just yet. weir watch: a new section to his GOOD LOVIN’ rap, doing his best attempt at channeling pigpen (with donna’s +1 interjections) is all hilarious. weir: “a friend of mine used to tell me… got to have it russia & china & siberia & all those places.” donna: “everywhere!” deep SHIP OF FOOLS. 57-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > OLLIN ARAGEED > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. 14-minute PLAYING is deeply engaged, even keith. alien weir tones, donna moans, good use of slide. weird percussion bleeds (too briefly) into end of jam. long 16-minute DRUMZ with big post-kit themes proceeding with drumzerly logic, but also linked by ambient synth noise & drones. would love any informed speculation about the synth or its player! out of DRUMZ, 1st version of egyptian oud player hamza el-din’s instrumental OLLIN ARAGEED, rehearsed with him at front street earlier in the month. cool direction for dead post “blues for allah,” especially as mode snakes into garcia’s NOT FADE AWAY entrance.

9/2/78 giants stadium: the grateful dead headline their 1st show at giants stadium in new jersey, 3rd ever concert there, with willie nelson/waylon jennings duo & the new riders. “i dare say that everyone of us is exactly where we want to be right now,” promoter john scher introduces band, his 2nd big labor day show with them, after englishtown ’77. uneven mix & playing. on opening JACK STRAW, a pretty stark vocal contrast between the quite amped weir & the decisively not amped garcia. increasingly rare garcia banter when weir’s gear goes bust, notable for even rarer garcia usage of band motto/in-joke “just exactly perfect.” “took my 15-dollar bill,” garcia sings in FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, to some cheers, seeming like a deliberate reference. any ideas? subtle but uncanny turns in big solo/jam. also, keith’s keyboard seem to be covered in tin foil? weir watch: long spiel at the end of LOOKS LIKE RAIN, new falsetto scatting with garcia’s solo in I NEED A MIRACLE. and GOOD LOVIN’, oy, in addition to awkward rhymes, an attempt at a singalong, which i think is a 1st. 28-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is huge! guitarists exit for jam’s start & then take long route with sweet garcia climbs & divebombs. i even dig weir’s slide parts, though not his playing. 1st FIRE with new 3rd verse. better: all 3 sung with confidence! 52-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA swells/fizzles. rich crests & nice dissolve in ESTIMATED, long sunny EYES intro solo. SPACE is all of 75 seconds before 13 minutes of SUGAR MAGNOLIA, somehow.

9/13/78 cairo: soundcheck. the dead, hamza el-din, & co. rehearse el-din’s OLLIN ARAGEED. just garcia at first, weaving through clapping/singing. the dead playing african music is definitely the best musical product to come of the egypt trip. the other 10 tracks on the recording seem to be a mislabeled audience tape of hamza el din’s opening set the following night, leading rhythms on the oud, an african lute. also heady music!

9/14/78 cairo: the dead join nubian oudist hamza el-din & group & pick up pulse for 20-plus minutes of jams that wind dreamily from el-din’s OLLIN ARAGEED into far-out NOT FADE AWAY, garcia’s noodles connecting to el-din’s oud lines. my highlight of the run, easily. 1st set never quite recovers the magic of the opening sequence, though the up-front garcia guitar mix on the soundboard underscores his ancient hypnotic strategies, especially under PEGGY-O. 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN goes from messy to h3tty, absolutely lit garcia wilding out at full shred during transition (esp. on soundboard). syncopation almost crashes in each song. but in FIRE, mickey (i think) turns an extra beat into part of the jam & finds new groove. 43-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. uncertain TRUCKIN’ leads to big confident drop into OTHER ONE but doesn’t hold. very jerry SPACE with dark & hovering synth noise & mysterious corners.

9/15/78 cairo: again, the dead begin by jamming with hamza el-din & band on OLLIN ARAGEED, with garcia darting through el-din’s oud lines. garcia seems to head for MORNING DEW but weir steers towards THE PROMISED LAND instead. not much to grab onto in the 1st set, closing out with 2 new songs. I NEED A MIRACLE has a sluggish boogie-down. STAGGER LEE is crisper (though again marred by weir’s slide), not a exactly rousing set finale. 54-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TERRAPIN STATION. uneven song performances, but playfully building EYES solo/jam after 1st verse, weird gear shift midway through the last. as DRUMZ start, crowd claps in polyrhythms, with frequent syncopated crowd chants throughout. fun disassembly to flute/gong/synth, building back up via noise blasts & donna sounds & garcia leads & deep weir tones. perfect dissolve to TERRAPIN.

9/16/78 cairo: at the foot of the sphinx, the grateful dead perform under a total eclipse during their last show in egypt. messy but cosmic. most coherent performance of the egypt excursion & the night the bedouins threw down, supposedly. thrills throughout, but drum collapses in GOOD LOVIN’ are a reminder that kreutzmann is playing one-armed. even with mickey, he’s still bill the drummer. weir watch: GOOD LOVIN’ rap gets, uh, topical, “i don’t care how many wives you’ve got or camels you’ve got or how much money you have in the bank, everybody got to have lovin’.” on LOOKS LIKE RAIN, after “street cats making love” line, an onstage meow. hamza el-din’s performance comes at setbreak, joined by the dead for another great OLLIN ARAGEED, here with a herky-jerky segue (led by phil, i think) into a lurching FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, never quite igniting, stumbling/tumbling into IKO IKO. in the midst of all this, the final version of donna jean godchaux’s SUNRISE, which still gets a raw deal from deadheads. 2nd ever SHAKEDOWN STREET is 15 minutes, dropped into the pre-DRUMZ jam slot. slower & less punchy than debut. work-in-progress backing vocals appear for 1st time. garcia taps in & explores, getting deeply & wonderfully spaced over disco hi-hat, melting near end. DRUMZ/SPACE is under 6 minutes. wondrous synth bleats & what sounds like a street grinder’s organ, a 78 rpm record, or the innards of the electric piano? quick, effective drift into density & a great drop into slip-sloppin’ TRUCKIN’. beautiful lyrical solo in STELLA BLUE. i’m sure the shows fried all the minds present, but i can hear why they didn’t want to release them at the time. besides magical jams with hamza el-din, extremely musically uneven. oh well. next time, right?

[9/28/78-10/17/78 cancelled European tour]

10/17/78 winterland: the day after bob weir’s 31st birthday, the grateful dead open a 5-night stand at winterland, billed as “from egypt with love,” with slides from previous month’s pyramid shows playing on/off all night. 1st bay area show in 10 months, their longest gap ever, i think. not much to write home about, really, though hometown debuts for 3 new songs, including I NEED A MIRACLE & still-coalescing STAGGER LEE. nice 2nd setlist, with 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN & 55 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > IF I HAD THE WORLD TO GIVE, with gently open spaces in EYES & thoroughly deconstructed DRUMZ/SPACE. SPACE more notable for woman who stage-crashes & tells jerry (mid-jam) “i’d like to take banjo lessons from you.” jerry, politely bemused, without breaking noodle: “i don’t teach anymore.” repeats himself until (presumably) roadies escort her away. 2nd of 3 versions of the vaguely beatles-y IF I HAD THE WORLD TO GIVE, another jerry song more suited for the more spare garcia band, though they never played it.

10/18/78 winterland: 14-minute SUGAREE opener starts in unusual groove & feels rushed, losing its laidback feel. garcia plays his new STAGGER LEE for 2nd night in a row but still no san francisco SHAKEDOWN STREET debut. garcia loses thread in TERRAPIN STATION & maybe a bit of confidence, too, leading to super quiet jam interlude between verses before fierce ending. 50-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > MIND LEFT BODY JAM > WHARF RAT > TRUCKIN’. last 6 minutes of PLAYING is mostly just sweetly chattering garcia & hand percussion. lee oskar (of WAR) toodles generic harmonica during DRUMZ/SPACE, drumzers staying for latter. weir matches insistent percussion & oskar’s harmonica swoops with chopped rhythm that becomes the 1st real MIND LEFT BODY JAM since 10/74, 3 wild minutes with nifty new bridge, garcia tearing through ideas. disintegrates, but garcia incorporates melodies into big WHARF RAT. enthused TRUCKIN’ (with huge crowd reaction), sloppy af from the marching band whistle intro through multiple big peaks that never quite reach consensus. even more unusually it ends without a segue.

10/20/78 winterland: nearly all is crisp & well executed, even the endings. CASSIDY sprouts a miniature power jam with big groove. burning LOSER. punchy DIRE WOLF. aggressive bass on turn-filled burn through LAZY LIGHTNING/SUPPLICATION. starting to discern the musical relationship between MISSISSIPPI HALF STEP & FRANKLIN’S TOWER that inspired garcia to keep pairing them for the next few years, but wish they’d actually work out a transition. FRANKLIN’S starts strong, loses focus.52-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. 19-minute DANCING filled with fascinating & weird garcia inventions & almost fully destroyed by weir’s thin, lurching slide guitar. AROUND & AROUND ending is peak weir/donna shrieking, hilarious & insufferable. keeps going & going & going. but rare double encore also features hometown debut of SHAKEDOWN STREET, with 1st appearance of call/response backing vocals & wooing.

10/21/78 winterland: short set by nubian oudist hamza el-din, introduced by billy/mickey, joined by the dead for OLLIN ARAGEED. absolutely love hearing garcia trance on african jams, here with a solid next-beat segue into PROMISED LAND. another slide-damaged SUGAREE. 73-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > GOT MY MOJO WORKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. 15-minute ESTIMATED achieves warm & zonked flotation, sax-like blowing by garcia. lee oskar of WAR again joins for SPACE &, again, it diverts quickly, this time into the 2nd (& hopefully last) weir-sung GOT MY MOJO WORKIN’, last played 4/77. groove is sorta fun, like a tepid version of CAUTION.

10/22/78 winterland: tape opens with bill graham shouting out an early sign of the building deadhead scene: “some of you have been here for the last 5 days, sleeping outside. for those maniacs, we want to thank you very much for being here every night.” last of hamza el din’s opening sets leads as usual into OLLIN ARAGEED, which sometimes seems too long, but i’m still not sick of hearing garcia play it. never realized how many versions there were. a graceful upshift into rare show-opening DEAL. bill graham introduces 2nd set, announcing winterland’s impending closure. “we wanted to… let you know that we know what you know about these people. they’re not the best at what they do, they’re the only ones that do what they do… the grateful dead.” earliest usage? 26-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN starts big & bright, with a suspended moody space before the segue. sweet low-key FIRE, but never quite ascends to the heights. not terribly exciting 51-minute I NEED A MIRACLE > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD, but francis ford coppola can be seen here (bottom left) playing tambourine during the percussion jam. quicksilver messenger service guitarist john cipollina joins for 22-minute NOT FADE AWAY, low stakes until ’til weir shifts band into another brief & amazing high-speed 1978 iteration of the MIND LEFT BODY theme. 1st sighting of phil’s wristbands?

11/11/78 studio 8H: the dead’s saturday night live. 1st CASEY JONES in a year, for some reason. missed opportunity, if only to do the obvious & drop the rad title track from brand new album. garcia’s voice is scratchy again & weir’s anti-solo slide spotlight is lol. also, phil’s off-center “HI MOM” shirt. according to SNL writer tom davis’s account, the dead’s appearance wasn’t to promote “shakedown street” (released 4 days later), but because davis had convinced lorne michaels that the dead still had an audience. kreutzmann appears opposite bill murray’s nick the lounge singer, whose seasonal last name (different every appearance) is “sands,” maybe also a reference to nick sand, the infamous orange sunshine LSD chemist who went on the lam in ’76. for 2nd slot, weir crams in the new I NEED A MIRACLE & GOOD LOVIN’ (the LP’s single, for reasons i don’t grasp). group vocals sound nice. garcia shreds. weir is, uh, pretty intense. nice socks, buddy. also a nice reminder that band can still end a song on the same beat.

11/13/78 boston music hall: garcia’s voice back to sounding chalky. well-paced PEGGY-O flowers nicely. maybe the best STAGGER LEE so far, great vocal, good momentum. murky audience tape softens weir’s slide guitar, which sounds nice in places. weir watch: 1st geo-specific NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, “couple shots of whiskey, these boston girls start looking good.” 1st instance of “used to play for silver, now we play for clive” in JACK STRAW, shouting out record company boss @clivedavis. wild garcia solo there, too. 34-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER > PLAYING IN THE BAND feels both abbreviated & paint-by-numbers, though garcia leans into into some cheer-inducing soul belts in BLACK PETER.

11/14/78 boston music hall: SUGAREE opener starts bright & vivid, uptempo but still chill. crashes ensue, but bands dials in & sustains pep all night without rushing. had to make sure tape speed was right. most bopping STAGGER LEE yet. surprised that this has been getting more play so far than SHAKEDOWN STREET (8 versions compared to 3), but it’s with good results, finally getting graceful. not generally fond of I NEED A MIRACLE, but garcia rips on set-closing version. lots of songs with that extra little sparkle, really. good news: donna’s FROM THE HEART OF ME finally achieves the bouncing speed & musical confidence it deserves. bad news: donna’s having a fluttery night. 60-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD. ESTIMATED shifts into beautiful ruminative swing, with an unusually smooth upshifting segue into EYES. power solo out of WHARF RAT becomes a pre-NOT FADE AWAY fuse, where spooktacular donna exultation leads to more big garcia melodies, muted by a weir slide anti-solo.

11/16/78 chicago: i’ve come to enjoy the sound of a taper lovingly adjusting their levels (as during opening DIRE WOLF, THEY LOVE EACH OTHER, STAGGER LEE, etc.), reminding you that they’re there, too, on the other side of the mics & doin’ their best. (hi, mason.) weir watch: in ME & MY UNCLE, 1st (i think) “that’s me” after “i’m as honest as denver man can be.” charming deadpan tech break banter, “the drummer at stage [hart] left lost his little mind & beat his hi-hat to death” & standby of pretending it’s kreutzmann’s birthday. very nice to hear a more open jam return to the 1st set closing slot (which disappeared with LET IT GROW in spring), a 15-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > DEAL combo. way too short, but breaks into that all-important non-song zone before decent dissolve segue. 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN features a purposeful transition that widens from dense chording into squiggles & cowbells & disassembly, plus nice feedback touches by weir before a quiet FIRE. 50-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER > TRUCKIN’. maybe the 1st cheer i’ve heard on an audience tape for “steal your face…” line (though could’ve been happening since the ’76 live album). cheers for “nothin’ left to do but smile, smile, smile…” too. “PLAY SOME MUSIC!” audience member shouts during deepest DRUMZ/SPACE. “WHO THE FUCK WAS THAT?” someone retorts, presumably a time-traveling @otdispace. SPACE is chill handdrum/jerry jam that swells into a feedback knot. with some boomy/muddy room tone to thicken it on the audience tape, i don’t hate weir’s slide tone on BLACK PETER. at least until he goes above the 12th fret.

11/17/78a rambler room: a 45 minute surprise afternoon set at @LoyolaChicago as “bob weir & friends,” everybody minus billy/keith/donna, their only acoustic set between 1970 & 1980. only dead version of jelly roll morton’s WHININ’ BOY BLUES, led by weir. and the only dead TOM DOOLEY, a huge hit for the kingston trio in 1958, but garcia isn’t singing the kingston trio verses. (garcia, off-mic, not unhappily: “we sound horrible!”) getting ready for the dead debut of weir’s solo tune THIS TIME FOREVER, from that year’s “heaven help the fool,” off-mic, weir: “do you remember the changes?” phil: “no…” doesn’t quite hold together & all just as well, really. LOOKS LIKE RAIN lite(r). 1st DEEP ELEM BLUES since ’70 has weir on fret-buzzing slide. only dead K.C. MOAN is low stakes, future weir staple. already a solo garcia fave, 8 minute dead debut of KNOCKIN’ ON HEAVEN’S DOOR is just exactly perfect, avoiding metronomic plod of most electric versions. very welcome return of JACK-A-ROE, played a few times electric the previous spring (including its debut in chicago). it earns a big cheer, maybe from local tape collectors. surprisingly crisp. 1st DARK HOLLOW since some electric attempts in early ’71, slightly mushier. big fun with raucous weir/garcia tandems on terry harris’s BIG BOY PETE & set-closer of buddy holly’s OH BOY, both probably in the warlocks’ repertoire, neither played since ’70 & ’71 respectively.

11/17/78b chicago: 1st SHAKEDOWN STREET show opener sounds like it was recorded from the next room, crowd barely audible except when garcia finishes his scorching & concise psych/prog/funk solo. then they freak. weir watch: narrating the arrival of a roadie, “we have a trainer on the field. one of the speakers is… down.” 46-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TERRAPIN STATION has some lovely subtle moments, underserved by the tape, to put it mildly. late in colorful ESTIMATED, garcia floats cloud-like guitar lines that break up gracefully into EYES. SPACE has chiming/glistening percussion. also, a rare keith presence, with cool minimal keys & moody jazz(ish) comping, active playing that continues into TERRAPIN. CASEY JONES returns to encore duty after its SNL bust-out.

11/18/78 chicago: garcia seems to dig deeper than usual into BIG RIVER, with reciprocal crowd reaction. lots of barely audible off-mic drummerly chatter. audible, however, is the drummers’ obscene beavis & butthead-like off-mic insult fest before bright MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. satisfying & exploratory 14-minute SUGAREE with garcia turning phrases inside out & weir’s slide turned down far enough to be (almost) tolerable. STAGGER LEE is not, though, weir’s slide sounding like someone demoing the pitch bend wheel on a casio. weir’s got a cool delay going on his guitar during 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. wonderfully drawn-out transition is extended guitar/keys conversation, moody & even assertive playing by keith. jerry’s FIRE solo peaks with nicely weird & speedy build. weir watch: I NEED A MIRACLE moves to the front of the 2nd set & weir starts doing his rapping thing (“when i’m driving in my automobile!!”), which is errr uh yeah. but then it gets way cooking over a few healthy minutes of garcia rawk shreds. 44-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > OLLIN ARAGEED > WHARF RAT. THE OTHER ONE dissolves into 7 minutes of righteously weird & coherent openness with hand percussion & gongs & rumbles & jerry jams. with SPACE having been held for the evening, OLLIN ARAGEED (a rare airing without hamza el din) acts as an elegant bridge into an uneven WHARF RAT.

11/20/78 cleveland: increasingly rare show where the majority of the music is new to band’s repertoire within the past 5 years & more exciting for it. locked-in PASSENGER, donna sounding boss, inside the song & (mostly) blending with weir. sweetly bouncing 9-minute PEGGY-O. just like that, a faith-restoring 2nd set, opening (as they virtually never did) with extended locked-in improv. 16 hair-raising minutes (& DRUMZ interlude) in the swingin’ early ‘70s hippie-jazz mode & a confident turn into 1st electric JACK-A-ROE since 5/77. eyewitnesses say weir was MIA for much of the 2nd set, which is fascinating/significant because it seems to have inspired the unusual set-opening jam, something they never did again, as far as i know. 36-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > SHAKEDOWN STREET > IF I HAD THE WORLD TO GIVE > PLAYING IN THE BAND. my fave kind of sequence, built on big jams & newest songs. segue into SHAKEDOWN lurches without doom chord intro, but mostly works. shaky descent into last (& easily best) of 3 versions of IF I HAD THE WORLD. fully occupied vocal, weir on cool delayed guitar (a few nice slides, even), & right back into PLAYING ether. can’t believe they could just play sets like this when they wanted.

11/21/78 rochester: CASSIDY balloons into a CHINA/RIDER-like float, wish it hung there longer. DIRE WOLF gets an enthralling power solo/jam, garcia’s voice starting to go crinkly. 70-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER > TRUCKIN’. pointillistic garcia detailing in ESTIMATED. EYES outro is 2 minutes of joyous chord clouds that maybe could’ve developed into something deeper. SPACE winds in/out of NOT FADE AWAY pulse in mutated variations. deep into NOT FADE AWAY, band locks into brief high-speed changes with lovely garcia spins before gentle deceleration into BLACK PETER, all in one preposterously graceful minute.

11/23/78 landover: the dead play on thanksgiving thursday. eek, my throat hurts just hearing garcia trying to sing on the opening MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP & sounding so painfully scratched up, though he finds a sweet curling outro solo path. 10-minute DANCING IN THE STREET with playful exit before (finally!) 1st TERRAPIN STATION with a deliberate jam, a stardust float between last verse & “inspiration move me…” build. more turns in the landing, too, lesh rumbling awake. at 13 minutes, the longest yet. 37-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > OLLIN ARAGEED > SHAKEDOWN STREET > PLAYING IN THE BAND. cymbaly PLAYING jam as garcia & lesh go weird, tethered by hi-hat, unspooling too briefly into graceful free freakdom.2-minute wisp of OLLIN ARAGEED before garcia steps on mu-tron & pushes for SHAKEDOWN. drummers sound oblivious & finally jerry more or less slams into song & waits for all to catch up. donna harshes the WOO! with a shriek. easy melt back into PLAYING space.

11/24/78 passaic: promoter john scher (i think) intros the band, bit amped up. doesn’t quite have the drama of bill graham. amusing radio intrusions throughout during tuning breaks, including promo for lou reed’s live album “take no prisoners.” garcia’s voice getting worse. as always, lots of little new understandings from watching the dead play. didn’t grasp ’til now that STAGGER LEE is fingerpicked. are there others? keith often gets up & wanders around between songs, which i never envisioned. great close ups of garcia’s hands. weir watch: got a good ear for radio absurdity during dead air. among other bon mots, “this is your big opportunity to lean over & kiss your radio. don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed, just do it. nobody’ll think poorly of you. we all think it’s a good idea.” 13-minute FRIEND OF THE DEVIL starts ultra-sleepy, with an even sleepier half-solo by weir, before garcia amps it up with cascading sparkles. keith is nice here & throughout. given band’s ludicrous custom gear, keith’s dinky yamaha is extra ridiculous. 58-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > SHAKEDOWN STREET > DRUMZ > HAMZA EL-DIN SONG > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. ESTIMATED dives into bopland before an easy gearshift into SHAKEDOWN, which springs a jaw-dropping jam, big turns led by animated garcia. hamza el-din & blissed out mickey take centerstage with handdrums & el-din sings a tune which i’m almost positive is not OLLIN ARAGEED. he departs & rest of band returns & slide right into FIRE, garcia’s now voice painfully gone. weir charges into SUGAR MAGNOLIA & kreutzmann is drumming with it all the way, selling the segue. SUNSHINE DAYDREAM outro is just the right kind level of screamo for once, weir & donna’s voices even blending.

[11/25/78-12/2/78 cancelled northeast dates, rescheduled for january 1979]

12/12/78 miami: haven’t done the math, but seems like there’s a correlation between jerry pairing 2 songs (like this MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP/FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener) & weir doing his little country medley. the BIG RIVER break digs in hard again. guitar nerds: there’s no visual evidence for a few more shows (& i didn’t pick it out by ear tbh) but it seems garcia switched back to a travis bean for this southern run. 40-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY. inventive piano sparkles, but most of the jams feel pretty cursory. both ESTIMATED & EYES shimmy into infinity for a moment near their ends. enjoying the recent move of having NOT FADE AWAY begin on handdrums while spaced guitars wander around pulse. garcia splice-starts GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD fast & then mickey (i think) ratchets it up further. kinda thrilling, but slow down, hippies!

12/13/78 tampa: after his 2nd bout of the year with throat issues, garcia’s voice starting to edge towards the reedier (& sometimes kermit-like) ‘80s version, especially on CANDYMAN choruses. tight & nicely flowing 49-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > SHAKEDOWN STREET > BLACK PETER > PLAYING IN THE BAND. deep PLAYING jam, orbiting around kreutzmann’s old style free drumming, somewhat buried in the chaos & hiss. DRUMZ wends impressively to quiet noise. another night with super-responsive keith keys, especially on fantastic & conversational 11-minute SHAKEDOWN. great between verse tangent & a jam that peaks big before a confident & up BLACK PETER.

12/15/78 birmingham: PROMISED LAND opener with big cheer for the “midnight flyer out of birmingham.” hot SHAKEDOWN STREET, but i’d already gotten used to its brief run as 2nd set jam monster & sad to hear it shortened. 1st I NEED A MIRACLE/BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’ to open the 2nd set, regular sequence through spring 1980 after the latter two welded together in ’77. a reliable boogie-down i guess, but definitely part of the ossifying setlist structure. 47-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE > TRUCKIN’ > PLAYING IN THE BAND. condensed PLAYING freak-out with weir rhythm jitters & a particularly thudzy DRUMZ, at least on this tape. garcia enters handdrum SPACE at full shred & twists down to remarkably patient STELLA BLUE. minimal percussion at first, slightly awkward when drums enter. middle solo is an especially elegant & wondrous example of garcia building in sentences/paragraphs. pretty together-for-’78 TRUCKIN’ with the band hitting the big peaks in sync & even opening into increasingly rare jam for a few minutes before shifting back into PLAYING. extra enthused U.S. BLUES.

12/16/78 nashville: the night after ted nugent, the dead hit the municipal auditorium to a slightly smaller crowd. allegedly, garcia’s last show of his brief return to a travis bean guitar. easily stretching 13-minute SUGAREE opener with more weir slide makes me wonder if there were any nashville session pros in the audience & what they thought. totally crackling BIG RIVER solos. maybe garcia was wondering the same. “it’s great to be back to in the motion picture industry capital,” weir notes before BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, with a 16 beat intro, the return of the day-of-month effect. garcia drops his local references with CANDYMAN & TENNESSEE JED. patiently unfolding 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. once weir puts down the slide, really cool rhythmic interplay with keith’s keys. as always, wish keith was louder, but he’s moving the jam throughout. 58-minute classic combo HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. HE’S GONE widens with vocal jam (garcia doubling himself on guitar) & briefest stirrings of far-outness before dissipation. instead of SPACE, a long handdrum weird-out lead-in for 19-minute OTHER ONE. the post-verse outro jam blooms into high-speed shapes. WHARF RAT flows with power guitar heroics.

12/17/78 atlanta: little jumps out from the 2nd visit of the year to the fox theater. PASSENGER continues to feel big, donna & weir blending well. RAMBLE ON ROSE seemingly slowing even more. 53-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > OLLIN ARAGEED > SHAKEDOWN STREET. first part of suite floats as normal, with a moment of universe-creating swirl at the peak of ESTIMATED, but the post-DRUMZ feels freshest. phil seemingly tries to leverage one of the chromatic runs in OLLIN ARAGEED to segue into MORNING DEW but is ignored. instead, a semi-pro palm-mute count-off into a crisp SHAKEDOWN, which blurs between funk & bright choogle before a darkly spaced outro.

12/19/78 jackson: loping 21-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER combo opens. another night in the south, another bunch of local references. like the whole show, not spectacular but well-paced for twirling. i think there’s a dog barking onstage after FRANKLIN’S? enjoyable energy throughout. even the slow version of THEY LOVE EACH OTHER has some push to it, subtly responsive keys behind garcia’s solo. big LOSER, too. i think maybe phil is more present than usual for the era, even on EL PASO. fairly chill 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN to open the 2nd set, garcia soloing in quiet dashes/dots/exclamation points/question marks on both sides of the segue. weir’s slide especially ugly on the FIRE peaks, though. 60-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > NOT FADE AWAY. extra-active phil on TRUCKIN’, vocally & musically, leshing all over it. song widens instantly into rare conversational jam that melts into zonk. no donna post-TRUCKIN’, which works fine. building from handDRUMZ, OTHER ONE woozes between intentional & accidental discombobulation at first. segues in/out of STELLA BLUE are delightful, intro to deep melodic NOT FADE AWAY colored with STELLA BLUE chords.

12/21/78 houston: lyric scrambles by garcia on both opening JACK STRAW & following DIRE WOLF. in 2nd set, genderbending slip in TERRAPIN STATION’s verse about the sailor, “she loved a lady many years ago,” makes nice conceptual continuity with (unplayed) JACK-A-ROE, though. 41-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER > PLAYING IN THE BAND, missing end. PLAYING accelerates into wiry jam with garcia & the drumzers. airy balafon atop DRUMZ before the move to hand percussion. SPACE sorta loses the thread, but BLACK PETER is typically wounded & deep. some utterly lyrical solos, with jerry vocalizing along during the outro. but oy weir’s slide guitar.

12/22/78 dallas: TENNESSEE JED opens up into ascending garcia dixieland curlicues. weir’s slide sounds cool until it doesn’t. BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE gets mushy. impossible to count the intro beats. all the music is underserved by the audience recording, but especially the 27-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with a fluttering & thoughtful transition jam, piano & bass laying further back. 41-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT is cut off & feels abbreviated, anyway. only 13-minute ESTIMATED stretches. brilliant slow-motion piano. elegant guitar figure lands in EYES.

12/27/78 san diego: mix is grotty, but enjoyable breaks in FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, aggressive piano & goofy bass conversing around the changes. rare late-set MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP/FRANKLIN’S TOWER combo works well as a destination piece. weir watch: “meanwhile, the california harvest is steadily being eaten by bugs. we have an example here of a giant speaker-eating roach…” mellower than usual feel on BERTHA. donna jumps in on a few lines when garcia spaces. TERRAPIN STATION features another ineffable & brief starlight jam (4:23-5:19). or is there some other deadhead taper name for this? 36-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. last 2 minutes of PLAYING churns well. mickey’s new balafon DRUMZ segment sounds almost dreamy, but then gets swallowed by the thumps.

12/28/78 san diego: compact DIRE WOLF with guitar solo of pure fire. SHAKEDOWN STREET drops as a 2nd set opener for 1st time since debut & finding its swagger. jam is good platform for weir to play actual rhythm guitar. 52-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. EYES has gone & lost its chill again. bright side is they get to the jam faster, which is detailed & soaring. right before exit, lesh hints at TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. balafon interlude in DRUMZ moves to middle & gets more melodic, hope it integrates with other instruments. in rare move, keith joins SPACE & jam quickly coheres over hand percussion as keith/garcia make shapes & colors, pausing for a logical count-off into TRUCKIN’. short rippin’ TRUCKIN’. weir even contributes cool slide ideas before elegant garcia descent into epic WHARF RAT. uncharacteristically lit keith plays big inventive flourishes during bridge, at least ’til (equally uncharacteristically) garcia barks “QUIET!”

12/30/78 UCLA: adorable off-mic hart/weir bitch-fest after LOOKS LIKE RAIN. hart: “weir, you started that fucking thing off so slow!” weir: “i think you all came in slower & then it dragged!” by the end someone (billy?): “ARE WE NOT MEN?” were the dead hip to devolution? extra driving 18-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. normally i dig donna’s vocalizing on the SCARLET transition, but (after a nice entrance) not so much here. but when she stops, they’re in magical, flowing place. brief FIRE is nice, if not as graceful. off-mic, band plots jam sequence. phil, with mock urgency: “we’ve gotta do something else from the album, this is LA!” they end up playing 7 of 9 in total, probably a record. 64-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > SHAKEDOWN STREET > DRUMZ > OLLIN ARAGEED > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD. a lot packed into a messy & fun suite, but almost all the songs get short-changed. keith & jerry find a good spot in PLAYING, but jam peters out & garcia starts the last (for now) deep 2nd set SHAKEDOWN. on point, with hot jerry mu-tron, but also stays pretty inside until its last moments. only DRUMZ & OLLIN ARAGEED stretch out leisurely. more balafon (i think), getting better each show, then more thumpery. 10th & last OLLIN ARAGEED of the dead’s egypt year, this time with hamza el-din (& ensemble, including bill walton), 14 minutes of nubian noodles. brief space jam seems headed for PLAYING reprise, but lands in 1st ST. STEPHEN since january, perhaps accidentally. l’il sluggish, but still nice to have back. lee oskar of WAR toots harmonica on AROUND & AROUND & ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT & okay i guess?

12/31/78 winterland: KSAN broadcasters do pre-show color commentary, interview al franken & others, recount bill graham’s previous stunts, & do play-by-play as dan aykroyd handles the new year’s countdown & graham arrives from the rafters on a giant joint. (side note: if anybody has photos of bill graham crashing into santana’s new year’s ’77 show at midnight in a star destroyer & emerging as darth vader, please share them!)SUGAR MAGNOLIA opener is left unfinished, jumping right into 25-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN that is not actually messy af, but rich & present. set bookended by SUNSHINE DAYDREAM. weir watch: after some graham stage announcements, weir has crowd thank uncle bobo. off-mic, someone calls for ME & MY UNCLE BOBO. setbreak interviews include ken kesey & mickey hart discussing the finer points of shooting cannons onstage. 2nd set has matt kelly, weir’s bandmate in kingfish, reprising album role by honkin’ on I NEED A MIRACLE. garcia’s RAMBLE ON ROSE solo is extra buoyant. 52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY. sketches of weirdness before kinda tedious superjam. lee oskar toots harmonica, greg errico on drums, sadly way too brief noise by kens kesey & babbs & the thunder machine, shards of john cipollina guitar blastage. opening set 3: 33-minute DARK STAR > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > ST. STEPHEN. 1st DARK STAR since 10/74. big cheers & chills, but a mild letdown tbh. donna doubles jerry on chorus. better than i remembered, especially mini nebulae swelling into irresistible OTHER ONE bass drop. more new year’s craziness as dawn approaches & the dead close winterland & an era with 1st BID YOU GOODNIGHT since new year’s ’76 (& last ’til ’89), bill graham’s vague hints of a superjam TK, & breakfast. “you can stay as long as you like,” sez uncle bobo.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

#deadfreaksunite 1968

#deadfreaksunite 1968
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org. Many thanks to LIA for this excellent 1968 chronology, re-dating some circulating tapes, etc..

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978]

1/17/68 carousel ballroom: opening of ill-fated band-run venue & future fillmore west, with owsley stanley as oft-taping soundperson. alternating sets with venue co-operators quicksilver messenger service, both early & late shows introduced by kids, hanging late on a school night. opening the 1st tape of 1968: 19m DARK STAR > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN. just like that, earliest taped live versions of all 3, each a monumental addition to the songlist. missing intro, 5m DARK STAR bounces like the ’67 single version, immediately diving into pre-verse phil/jerry jam, the end tag linking to the early hyper CHINA CAT. time signature-shifting segue into THE ELEVEN is fully formed & already powerful, give or take vocals, the end jam disintegrating to feedback. 27m NEW POTATO CABOOSE > BORN CROSS-EYED > SPANISH JAM, 1st of the latter 2, neither quite as monumental as other “debuts.” NEW POTATO slowed from ’67, now maybe a little less graceful? CROSS-EYED is 1st tune solely by bob weir, busy & weird. 16m SPANISH JAM noodles in place. CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro veers into future OTHER ONE zones, with excellent segue into GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL.

1/20/68 eureka: deep north coast 1-off with quicksilver messenger service a week before their NW tour.21m VIOLA LEE BLUES hits 1-minute fire music crescendo, beautifully dense & too brief, before snapping to last verse. then, 33 totally suite minutes: CLEMENTINE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE > BORN CROSS-EYED > SPANISH JAM > CAUTION JAM > DARK STAR. 1st taped CLEMENTINE, rare lesh/hunter song, so rare its existence wasn’t remembered until the ‘90s, sung by garcia. lost coltrane-influenced modal dead jazz. love this melody/jam/mood. niiiice dissolve. the CAUTION groove bridges to DARK STAR segue via the latter’s short-lived jerry/phil call/response riff intro (which they kinda mess up). the 3 minutes of DARK STAR are organ heavy, with brief jerry squiggles before the 1st verse, after which the reel ends & the time machine breaks.

1/26/68 seattle: seattle debut, formerly dated 1/22. the 1st recorded hour-long suite, taped for “anthem of the sun,” is the extended groovy highlight. THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE > BORN CROSS-EYED > SPANISH JAM > DARK STAR > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > FEEDBACK > AND WE BID YOU GOODNIGHT. beautiful pre-SPANISH JAM feedback. intimate quiet noise carved by weir & garcia, occasional shapes of melody before gradual build. gentler, more successful version of the call/response segue into 1st fully taped DARK STAR, maybe already slowing. richest yet, jerry discovering space moves. THE ELEVEN vocals & song structure are tighter than previous airing & escape via jam for 1st time, trickling down & upshifting to CAUTION.

1/27/68 seattle: formerly dated 1/23. full (or nearly full) 2-hour gig scattered between taper-traded soundboard, 2 discs of 2009 “road trips.” song order approximate, but i think this is it. per clipping, TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opens. doesn’t quite have the mojo (nor do weir’s vocal attempts). also, cops busting dancers. all kinds of charming stoned crosstalk. jerry, oozing sarcasm: “well, the cops say you can’t dance.” pigpen wisdom: “cops ain’t god.” now 7 minutes, DARK STAR has tightest recorded version of early jerry/phil intro, lead bass, & peaking guitar before tag into CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN. ~46m of show-closing suiteness, THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > CLEMENTINE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE > BORN CROSS-EYED > SPANISH JAM. CRYPTICAL outro rainbows big, exits to jam, veers towards SCHOOLGIRL, & instead segues via quick rhythmic blur into heady swing of CLEMENTINE. weir(?) singing falsetto with big swooping intro notes of BORN CROSS-EYED. really a spectacularly complicated piece of psych-pop WTF but shockingly graceful (sometimes). 17m SPANISH JAM coalesces from loose phrases into stomping themes before trickling out. “see you next time we’re in seattle, i guess,” jerry says.

1/30/68 eugene: SDS presents the grateful dead. all that circulates of the band’s eugene debut (via 2009 road trips bonus disc) is 12-minute standalone NEW POTATO CABOOSE. everybody’s talkin’ (even pig) but not always the same conversation.

2/2/68 portland: 40 excellent minutes of the grateful dead meeting the legendary spring-loaded floor of the crystal ballroom. 14m VIOLA LEE BLUES opener is a real motherfather, as they say. early showoffy peaks & staying near high-speed crescendo for duration. CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro hovers before a swift move into last & crispest of 3 ’68 versions of CLEMENTINE, lost & gone temporarily. how did they never stumble into this 2-chord progression during an early ’70s DARK STAR? standalone DARK STAR closer. last with old intro. late-breaking realization: there are no kick/snare drums on these early versions, just busy hand percussion, cymbals, occasional muted toms, plus lead bass, repetitive organ, etc.. hip arrangement, really.

2/3/68 portland: excellent slab o’ primal dead that came into circulation in the early ’90s, soundboard quality getting better almost every show as dead’s crew learns to operate multitrack. opens with 1st OTHER ONE featuring “spanish lady…” 1st verse, apparently written after previous show. and in mexico late this night, beat hero & dead housemate neal cassady dies, maybe around time weir sings (the already written) 2nd verse ode to “cowboy neal.” heavy. NEW POTATO CABOOSE hits nice even float, jerry gliding with cloud figures, & builds from there, bobby kinda shredding alongside, even. 1st standalone BORN CROSS-EYED emphasizes how weird & packed & short it is, 2.5 minutes before the dribble into feedback. love it. pigpenology: in GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL, the 1st appearance of “box back nitties…” (via lightnin’ hopkins).

2/14/68 carousel ballroom: a valentine’s boogie at the official opening of the local bands’ DIY venue (& future fillmore west). very well-circulated in ye olden days, owing to largely to early FM broadcast & recordings made for (& used on) “anthem of the sun.” catches full flow of 2-set (early/late) hometown gig. early show built around 24-minute DARK STAR > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, starting to resemble “live/dead” sequence. 1st appearance of cascading jerry/phil DARK STAR vocals on refrain. plus, garcia’s 1-note minimal space-out jam episode starts to differentiate itself around the 4:00 mark. rippin’ CHINA CAT solos. super awesome grungy tone by weir en route into THE ELEVEN, maybe the coolest he ever employed? vocals are together & sound boss. garcia dedicates late show to friends who just had a baby “& also we respectfully dedicate this set to the memory of neal cassady,” who’d died in mexico 10 days earlier. weir: “and this song in particular…” for cowboy neal, heavy 35m THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE > BORN CROSS-EYED > SPANISH JAM. fierce licks in NEW POTATO especially & deep shifts between chaos & peaks during long SPANISH JAM. 30m ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > FEEDBACK has the “get up & dance…” snippet used on “anthem,” 1st appearance of “burn down the fillmore, gas the avalon” lyric (scene politics too real), & FEEDBACK that could’ve been jammed at a brooklyn DIY venue in 2018. someone announces a protest the next day: “remember, we are all prisoners until everybody is free, so tomorrow come to san quentin!” country joe & the dead’ll be there. freeform KMPX DJ handling remote broadcast signs off at 2:20 am. (phil lesh once called it his favorite show. despite being a classic & phil’s favorite dead show, this was also the night jerry pushed him down the stairs, pissed about how they were playing.)

2/22/68 lake tahoe: the first of 3 “trip & ski” shows in lake tahoe, in whichever order you choose. a half-hour vocalless fragment via the official taper’s section blog34-minute stack-o-trax/karaoke version of DARK STAR > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION. lack of vocals is fascinating especially on THE ELEVEN, hearing the song’s construction. also, bass mix is super loud & nice, with lots of lead phil to carry the jams. during CAUTION, garcia jams on the WE BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme for the 1st time, only a few bars, a few weeks before its 1st known version. also kind of fun to hear a totally skewed mix on CAUTION for different perspective, especially knowing that the recording from following night really is just exactly perfect.

2/23/68 lake tahoe: the best-sounding ’68 recording yet. 19-minute VIOLA LEE BLUES sounds like it’s going to break apart & does, drummers confused (in stereo), but all clicks back. another great 35-minute DARK STAR > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, perhaps the essential version of the sequence, given the pristine quality. beautiful drumless DARK STAR, the 1st taped version with the rewritten/semi-permanent synchronized intro, almost 7 minutes & turning splendiferous as garcia’s phrases get quieter & more spacious. drum mix makes everything sound awesome, kreutzmann & hart mostly really locked in, nice subtleties during back half of 10-minute BORN CROSS-EYED > SPANISH JAM (with a feedback landing between).

2/24/68 lake tahoe: despite another hi-fi stereo recording, doesn’t quite have the mojo of the night before, though still lots to dig & dig into. 17-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE missing oomph & reason becomes clear when phil announces, “if bill kreutzmann would just come back to the stage & play some more music, i promise to never say anything nasty about him again.” (garcia: “HAW HAW.”) side note, billy was apparently skied out, not a euphemism. billy’s back for 39-minute ALLIGATOR > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > FEEDBACK, including 1st recorded song sandwich (excepting blues medleys and/or drum interludes). during 2nd ALLIGATOR segment, garcia tosses in BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme again, now zapping the jam straight to bliss the way it will when it becomes part of GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD in a few years. FEEDBACK drips to an unexpectedly graceful & quiet ending as mickey (i assume) taps a triangle & eventually drops it gently, the music ceasing when it stops rattling.

3/3/68 haight street: enormous & illegal commando show on haight street during an afternoon of city-sanctioned music elsewhere. tape made by steve brown, who also snapped icomic pic of garcia on his way to work that day. fuzzyish mono audience tape. 21-minute VIOLA LEE BLUES opener goes effectively molten. weir’s not-quite-rhythm/not-quite-lead style already in full form in mid-jam. unusual & chill post-peak denouement. after that, it’s 30-plus minutes of pigpen songs. rarely documented SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING. weir takes last verse & outro of TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, pig singing backup. not sure that’s working. a black panther or ally gets on mic: “DON’T PUT DOWN THE FUZZ! THE FUZZ IS ONLY DOING WHAT HE WAS TOLD TO DO, BABY!” (phil: “by the landlord!”) “IT’S THE PEOPLE THAT TELL THEM WHAT TO DO [THAT] ARE THE DIRTY BASTARDS!” before a plea for huey newton. and barely a minute into CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT, presumably as the jams get going, the tape ends. steve had taped cream at winterland the night before & the batteries died.

3/16/68 carousel ballroom: the saturday of a 3-show grateful dead/jefferson airplane weekend at the carousel ballroom, their DIY venue. 2 sets, beginning with a 35-minute DARK STAR > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL that is either the end or the entirety of the early show. 1st 3 used on stellar “so many roads” box set. DARK STAR cracks 7 minutes, now growing roughly a minute a month so far. sweet garcia glides between verses. little SPANISH JAM-like minor turn as the band drops into THE ELEVEN. still working on exit strategy. 47-minute late show includes weir’s intro: “this set is irrespectfully dedicated to jerry van ram & posse.” garcia: “a little heat-eating music.” local cops, maybe? set-opening MORNING DEW isn’t slower, exactly, but feels more spacious & less manic, even during long peak. set’s fire comes during the ALLIGATOR portion of 30-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > FEEDBACK > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. sudden & layered FEEDBACK segment. 1st recorded BID YOU GOODNIGHT. sounds nice. the audience even claps along on the right beat!

3/17/68 carousel ballroom: 16-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT ends the early show, going through the moves. weir overdoes a reprise verse again. but then an entire late set’s worth of psychedelia. hour-long late show keeps energy roiling, all pretty crackling: THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE, CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > FEEDBACK. THE ELEVEN (11 minutes), CAUTION (21 minutes), & FEEDBACK (7 minutes) all on the longer side. CAUTION stays intense & almost chaotically blooms into major key glory 2/3s through. shifting FEEDBACK keeps digging for new textures.

3/29/68 carousel ballroom: opening a 3-night run at their own carousel ballroom, alternating sets with chuck berry & curley cook (who would play rhythm guitar on garcia/wales’ “hooteroll?”). early audience recording, likely by band/crew/owsley. really enjoying cranking it up between songs & listening to the audience chatter & remembering that all these people were cool enough to be seeing the dead at the carousel in ’68. 1st taped SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD since 7/66 & last ’til 4/69, but (being on their debut ’67 album) surely many missing versions. “we never did that one very good even when we were doin’ it,” notes phil. like a shot of the warlocks. early show closes with combo of rare standalone DARK STAR (ending on a single chord, which is logical but sounds weird) & MORNING DEW (really starting to figure out how to create a big peak before a quiet valley for 2nd verse). late show leads with TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT & follows with psych jams. can’t say i’m really enjoying weir’s early falsetto & his new role as junior LOVELIGHT hypeman. THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE links to NEW POTATO CABOOSE. i dig the weird garcia/lesh/weir harmony on the chorus, but adore garcia’s loping octave-jumping solo even more. 9 seconds of BORN CROSS-EYED before it & rest of the late set vanish.

3/30/68 carousel ballroom: 37-minute DARK STAR > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, last recorded instance of early suite with CHINA CAT inside, & last taped CHINA CAT ’til 4/69. DARK STAR now over 9 minutes, some long raga yarns before the 1st verse, garcia getting more confident & instantly looking for new destinations as soon as singing is done. pigpen’s organ part starting to get annoying. toodleloo to BORN CROSS-EYED, too, last recorded version of underrated garage-psych blaster. last taped SPANISH JAM until 1970 is mad spacious & lands in DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, settling into post-space slot like a proto jerry ballad.

3/31/68 carousel ballroom: cuts in mid-TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, kinda digging percussion/vocal breakdown chaos. last recorded BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE ’til 4/69 sounds like it’s about to giddily implode in the best way possible. “anybody got anything they’d like to hear?” garcia asks. funny hearing early dead freak requests & jerry’s responses. “SUZIE Q? far out.” a few COLD RAIN partisans. last taped DANCING IN THE STREET until 6/69 ensues, garcia/weir/lesh weaving blissful detailed pocket. missing the beginning & most of the vocals, 13 minutes of CAUTION > FEEDBACK > BID YOU GOODNIGHT is fierce & pretty, give or take nonlinear percussion during latter.

5/18/68 santa clara: entirety of set at northern california folk rock festival (taped by jorma kaukonen) is 40-minute freeform ALLIGATOR > CAUTION exploration in front of a festival crowd, with DRUMZ break, pre-allmans jam on donovan’s THERE IS A MOUNTAIN, & FEEDBACK outro, all made gnarlier (especially the organ) by the tape.
condensed excerpts from a post-show interview by @jormakaukonen.
jorma: a few words for the people please, bob weir?
weir: fuck the people! fuck the proletariat! [change in tone] hey man…
jorma: are you playing the shrine tonight?
weir: the real reason i’m late to the shrine is ‘cuz i’m getting hung up by this asshole with a tape recorder who… thinks he can have something & hold onto it forever. what i mean to say is… nothing lasts.

6/7/68 carousel ballroom (maybe): 47-minute reel of ST. STEPHEN > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE > ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > JAM > CAUTION. excellent drum mix. fades in on the last 17 seconds of (probably) the earliest recorded ST. STEPHEN with rough 2-minute organ-heavy outro jam that hints at the not-yet-written bridge to THE ELEVEN, before circling into CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT. keys-driven between-verse jam on the OTHER ONE, garcia laying back. 11-minute NEW POTATO CABOOSE labeled as having a THIRTEENS JAM but i think that’s normal. some wavy, majorly blissed garcia corners. the real shred comes post-DRUMZ, garcia just reeling off notes. kinda wanky, but cool conversational drumming to go with it, & also it’s beautiful. loses steam & lands in a kinda muted (& maybe soused) ALLIGATOR > CAUTION that fades early.

6/8/68 carousel ballroom: 29 minutes worth of ST. STEPHEN > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT from a co-bill with the venue co-operators jefferson airplane. fleetwood mac missed the run (their would-be U.S. debut) due to visa issues. earliest full ST. STEPHEN is raw, played fast & not settled into its groove yet, a few aimless noodles in middle/end. only garcia seems to have the words down. glockenspiel is already present. garcia & lesh use the old DARK STAR intro as a signal to end. band shifts from the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro into TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT in a different key than usual, which fucks up pigpen. weir semi-awkwardly takes 1st verse, band drops into a drum break, & recover.

6/9/68 carousel ballroom (maybe): weir: “whoever stole our scratcher, please bring it back. you can just unobtrusively start passing it forward & no one will ever know. reward offered. we need it for the next number.” don’t think it comes back. 1st long DARK STAR, 16 minutes, only one recorded between 3/68-8/68. 5 minutes before 1st verse. organ figure pulses but garcia liberates band around 11m mark. then: floatation (cruelly interrupted by a reel flip), hand percussion subtly shifting to kit for 1st taped time. also the 1st recorded DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN, landing the same way it always will. band starting to click closer to the classic ST. STEPHEN bounce, still working on phrasing/dynamic/flow. charmingly fierce & committed jerry.

6/14/68 fillmore east: 1st show at the village theater since bill graham turned it into the fillmore east. (also that night: rod stewart’s american debut, with jeff beck.) terrible sounding tape, exceedingly psychedelic set. a post from the alleged taper says the set actually opened with a long, quiet DARK STAR, but recording begins with magnificent feedback jam (plus glockenspiel) that flows into THE ELEVEN > ST. STEPHEN, only surviving sequence like that. 43-minute ALLIGATOR > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > CAUTION, last 30 in A+ soundboard (via non-streaming “fillmore west ’69” bonus CD). active pigpen harmonica, chatty drums, shimmering feedback/glockenspiel landing. dick latvala would apply a thunderskull.

8/21/68 fillmore west: massive amounts of lead bass before the first verse of THE OTHER ONE (& throughout), starting to feel jammier, but the high velocity CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro is still where it’s at, 9 minutes of crystal shreds. 21-minute ALLIGATOR closes the early show with a DRUMZ segment, a wooly garcia/drumzers tangent, dizzyingly awesome major key bliss peaking with a brief MOUNTAIN JAM, a gentle fuzz valley, & a BID YOU GOODNIGHT instrumental bridge back to ALLIGATOR before feedback set exit. late show begins with the 1st taped DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN, going into DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. 14-minute DARK STAR (missing beginning), back to hand percussion only, but curling outwards. lush solos push against repetitive keyboard part but never shake it. since last taped version in june, ST. STEPHEN has found its distinct bounce & vocal arrangement. 1st aside in pause after “what another man spills…” (phil: “well, i mean, ahumm…”) & 1st appearance of irish-sounding “william tell” bridge into THE ELEVEN.

8/22/68 fillmore west: 27 minutes (possibly even all) of the early show, consisting of ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. a smart build into a frenzied monster stomp & back down. late show introduced by bill graham: “clean cut but morally corrupt, the grateful dead.” 12 minute DARK STAR is last suiteless version ’til early ’69, pigpen’s carousel organ keeping band in orbit when garcia/lesh/weir conversation seems ready to fly off. dead problems, 1968 edition – phil: “turn the strobe light off, please.” jerry: “it makes clicks on the stage.” sure enough, audible tape noise seems to disappear. recognizable to the audience as (most of) side A of the band’s new “anthem of the sun”: THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE tags to a massive & essential 13-minute NEW POTATO CABOOSE featuring a bass-led bliss jam with multiple inventive peaks & no empty space. yes! followed by side B (& then some): 29-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > JAM > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. post-DRUMZ is a dependable high-speed ’68 freak-out, here with lesh-driven turns. CAUTION noise coda has too many connected ideas to be labeled FEEDBACK.

8/23/68 shrine expo hall: 39-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. archetypal ’68 DARK STAR, tethered by pigpen’s organ figure as band goes a-questing, though organ fades into garcia’s weaves after 1st verse & dissipates as jam peaks. but an underreported aspect of DARK STAR ’68: there are no drums, usually just quiet shakers, etc., so pig’s repetitive organ part is pretty much the rhythmic center, like the drone on 7” version, & intentionally so, i think. still wish i could mix it out much of the time. weir takes over the cosmic punchline during the pause in ST. STEPHEN: “i want you to know that’s how it is…” THE ELEVEN’s insane vocal arrangement/phrasing clicking into place. can’t believe how graceful garcia manages to sound singing these lyrics. 34-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > JAM > CAUTION, the real action building from the post-DRUMZ clouds. soaring garcia/lesh shapes edge into chaos, downshift (momentarily) to CAUTION, head back up, & then even further out.

8/24/68 shrine expo hall: recorded on vivid multitrack & released in 1992 as “two from the vault,” an early archival release & great document of primal dead. mellow & almost cocktail jazz-like 16-minute GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL before a 39-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY suite, simultaneously getting tighter & starting to open up. after 1st verse, 11-minute DARK STAR cracks free from pigpen’s organ part, overridden by garcia’s droned single-note signal, for brief & exciting group float, still more a prelude to the coming excitement. graceful deceleration into DEATH DON’T via garcia/pigpen dialogue. 30-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE with a purposeful dissolve segue, drums dropping out besides cymbals, weir adding his own 2nd leads behind garcia. another enormous NEW POTATO, maybe the highest-fi recording of the soaring lesh-cued thirteens jam. pigpen’s “she’s got box-back niddies…” spiel migrates to the slashing set-closing 17-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, though not yet the gear-shifting musical cue it will become. song earns big ovation & encore. 1st recorded (& always rare) MORNING DEW encore. garcia is starting build towards crescendo when the plug gets pulled. “the law says that’s all, so i guess that’s it…”

8/30 (or 31)/68 fillmore west: often mislabeled “8/28/68 avalon ballroom.” early show consists of 32-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY plus a “quick” 12-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 11-minute DARK STAR has the 1st instance of what old tapers called the “sputnik” jam, naming the gonging/chiming tones garcia plays around 6:30 here, a regular feature over the next few years (& on “live/dead”). most important (for now) it escapes the dreaded organ part. only surviving bit of the late show consists of a bill graham introduction fragment, proving the tape’s not from the avalon, & a 15-minute GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL that seems to curl occasionally into space, or it could be the distorted audience tape.

9/2/68 betty nelson’s organic raspberry farm: glorious labor day jams at a delightfully archetypal hippie fest an hour northeast of seattle, maybe their best surviving festival performance. following way stoned stage announcements, a deep psychedelic set at the sky river festival, opening with charged-up 32 minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, last song mostly missing. brisk & drumless 14-minute DARK STAR is the 1st with a mix that almost fully disappears the organ part & it’s glorious, with brief sputnikisms. enormous roar on the studio-like soundboard when drummers switch to the kits & hit the snares for ST. STEPHEN. drums sounds vivid, though there are some vocal issues onstage (with garcia getting pissed at sound people afterwards). THE ELEVEN breaks out of its time signature in a newly graceful way, landing in a space that sounds almost like the prelude to a SPANISH JAM. 25-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > JAM > CAUTION to close. weir’s guitar distorts & overloads on the tape, sounding gnarly & amazing, even more so because (as always) weir is perhaps most inventive during feedback segments.

9/12/68 pacific recording: maybe a jam with david crosby & the animals’ vic briggs, but likely not? or maybe david nelson is involved? minus weir & pigpen, phil tries to teach the crazy instrumental phrasing of CLEMENTINE to unnamed musicians. they never quite get it. phil leads & sings CLEMENTINE. surprisingly cool & both gives me new appreciation for tune & understanding of why they dropped it. ends with 9m space jam, coalescing into freak-jazz chaos with hippie scatting that is probably not croz.

9/20/68 berkeley community theater: 45 minute benefit set for the ali akbar college of music. hippie percussion ensues. the least essential ’68 dead tape? played at the urging of ali akbar khan’s student mickey hart. supremely stoned banter as more drums get wheeled out. 39-minute ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DRUMZ, except that 27 of them are unevenly mixed tabla-enhanced DRUMZ with vince delgado & shankar ghosh, plus chanting. not terribly interesting to my ears.

10/8/68 the matrix: the 1st of the grateful dead spin-off shows known as mickey & the hartbeats, though here billed as “jerry garceeah & his friends.” 3 sets of jams with slightly different lineups, beginning with garcia/lesh/kreutzmann/hart. jerry: “everybody sitting close to the front of the stage, i’d like to caution you about mickey, ‘cause he spits frequently.” after a false start & amp blowout (garcia: “that means we’re washed up”), a 31-minute CLEMENTINE JAM > THE ELEVEN JAM > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. garcia & lesh overcompensate for the missing players & it mostly just melts into hippie blooze. 19 minutes of noodles on 1st taped THE SEVEN border on spinal tap mark II-ish territory, though bridge changes hint at a place where hunter lyrics might’ve gone. as garcia points out, it’s all just an experiment. 16-minute DARK STAR JAM > COSMIC CHARLIE. freed of structure & organ part, the results are new freedoms, empty voids, & astral episodic improv. the 1st real DARK STAR, kinda. earliest taped COSMIC CHARLIE is raw cloudbursting fun, no lyrics yet for double bridges. jefferson airplane’s jack casady replaces lesh on bass for set 2. at first, it’s m0ar bl00ze, but they latch into hypnotic 9-minute improv that stays coherent as it gets denser. 21-minute OTHER ONE jam, its 1st time sprung from its suite (& without its main author). “this band is called mickey hart & the hartbeats,” garcia announces. for set 3, meanwhile, elvin bishop replaces garcia. formerly of the butterfield blues band, bishop’s a better blues guitarist than garcia but i’ll pass. too much power, not enough jam.

10/10/68 the matrix: most of open jams of the primal dead era. they’re getting the hang of open improv. show begins with garcia & lesh lock into pattern & kreutzmann/hart drop in behind. bright 27-minute hippie jazz jam ensues, rich with bright turns & kreutzmann magick. less interesting when it’s just a half-hour hippie blues, as follows, though garcia delivers beautiful quiet (& almost folky) IT’S A SIN vocal, only version between ’66 & ’69. garcia invites still-unidentified dude named marvin to honk harmonica & sing. meh. 21-minute jam on NEW POTATO CABOOSE themes, turning minor briefly instead of the triumphant lesh-led bliss from late summer. doesn’t quite reach density & disintegrates. jack casady replaces lesh for set 2. 53-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT JAM > DRUMZ > JAM > OTHER ONE JAM > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY goes in/out of focus. neat chanting transition from DRUMZ to power bass, mickey clonks, delighted new OTHER ONE moves, & proto-TRUCKIN’ peaks. only taped instance (i think) of mickey on glockenspiel during intro to DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, beautifully quiet. not entirely together, but a nice idea that would’ve been cool to develop. lesh back on bass for set 3, inventive & flowing 29-minute DARK STAR JAM > THE ELEVEN JAM > THE SEVEN. kreutzmann on kit from the start, a big advance. awkward sometimes, but blissful as drums click. last SEVEN ’til 9/69 flies with cartoony garcia turns.

10/12/68 avalon ballroom: pigpen is absent, maybe temporarily fired, & band’s sound opens up. the 3 nights of hartbeats experimentation at the matrix are immediately obvious in 38-minute 1st set consisting of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. band sounds bolder on great DARK STAR, even weir. garcia & lesh soar. soundperson hilariously moves mickey’s very loud scratcher around in the stereo mix, panning it hard in rhythm, & kinda covering over kreutzmann’s cool switch from percussion to drum kit. set 2 is a 42-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE with concise drum breaks, major key bliss clouds (including NEW POTATO’s happy thirteens jam), & glockenspiel-laced feedback descent. attached to the front of this recording is a MORNING DEW without pigpen (often included on human be-in ’67 tapes) that’s perhaps from this week of shows. great, confident specimen of the early uptempo arrangement with big double-drummin’. maybe it’s an encore from this night?

10/13/68 avalon ballroom: an anomaly in grateful dead history, the only recorded show with the same exact setlist as the night before. another show without pigpen. maybe 2 shorter sets or 1 long one, but 1st half is 40-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. no stereo-panned scratcher on DARK STAR this time, but flowing momentum through jam. 33-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE shorter than night before. sparkling garcia bridge between the two. no blissy thirteens jam in NEW POTATO, going right to drum break (with chanting), CAUTION-y peaks, & feedback coda.

10/20/68 greek theater: the all cal rock festival. whole lotta pigpen, back in the band after being MIA on october tapes. jams getting interesting under his GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL & TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, with fun, conversational high-speed double-drumming & arcing garcia leads. powerful & crisp 36-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION. pig now playing some interesting organ under the sputnik jam & other DARK STAR episodes. big transitions with appropriately dramatic gearshifts.

10/30/68 the matrix: minus weir & pigpen, nearly 3 hours of music, though hard to tell where the set breaks are. tranquil & floating 17-minute DARK STAR JAM into DEATH LETTER BLUES, only recording of garcia singing the son house tune, barest hint of a VIOLA LEE-like rhythmic arrangement. “we’re just thrown together by fate, so we’re playing fate music,” garcia says, before fragmentary jams, best of which is 16 minutes of the band discovering how to play around THE OTHER ONE, rarely stating triplets but keeping the ball in the air. 32-minute CLEMENTINE JAM > THE ELEVEN JAM > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, hitting into serene & fuzzy stoner swing during nicely developed 14-minute CLEMENTINE JAM. elvin bishop (late of the butterfield blues band) joins for a winding & moody 17-minute improv that’s a cool example of garcia playing co-lead guitar. good shifts (& some cowbell fields), followed by nearly half-hour of longhaired blues. for good measure, another 19 flowing minutes on the DARK STAR theme to close out the night, more deconstructed bass leads than the 1st take & still going when the tape runs out.

11/1/68 chico: a mushy soundboard that turns psychedelically unlistenable for a bit. as the MC says when tape cuts in, “do what you feel like doing.” befitting an out of town show, 12-minute DARK STAR opener is less freeform & a little more energized than october versions, prelude to shredding THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE, the latter sadly cut off. but then somebody kicks out a plug or something & all goes fuzzy until the back half of a 22-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT, with a nice spaced landing. dig the graceful bookend of starting/ending show without drums. tape seem to end with the MC/promoter asking for volunteer roadies from the crowd to help break down the show. “we need all the manpower we can get to get out of here real fast. i forgot to…” & tape cuts off.

11/6/68 pacific high recording: 80 minutes of studio rehearsal with new auxiliary keyboardist tom constanten, set to join the band in a few weeks. begins with a bit of TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, making it clear they’re not replacing pigpen, even if he’s absent here. after a 13-minute DARK STAR, flowers blooming between verses, an hour of the band practicing (& talking through) the transition between ST. STEPHEN and THE ELEVEN. TC sounds pretty stiff throughout, often mimicking pig’s parts, though aggressively responds to garcia’s ELEVEN shredding during one take in a way he wouldn’t do much of onstage. lots of chatter, very little of it audible even on headphones. whoever labeled doesn’t seem to know the band’s individual speaking voices.

11/22/68 columbus: the 1st grateful dead show in ohio & the last before tom constanten joins as an auxiliary organist the next night. deadbase once reported that mickey’s the only drummer on this show, but almost positive that’s not the case on this MORNING DEW opener, which peaks quickly & gracefully. 36-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT is 1st taped appearance of the sequence that would appear on “live/dead.” garcia goes molten on DARK STAR. hard to hear drums, but pretty sure kreutzmann is right behind him. band starting to find some flow for under pigpen’s LOVELIGHT spiels. “box back nitties” line almost achieves drama. 27-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE. in latter, an efficient charge through the bliss jam & a great dissolve/resolution. BID YOU GOODNIGHT encore nicely accompanied by chimes, until boisterous clapalong springs up, which seems to tick song up a notch, drummers starting to add accents by the end. phil asks if there’s anywhere else to play.

12/7/68 louisville: 1st tape with TC & 1st trip to kentucky. abbreviated 22-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN opener. hints of free percussion & harmonics & spiraling TC organ before 2nd DARK STAR verse, but THE ELEVEN derails due to bad onstage echo. “nobody knows where present time is,” explains weir. a fairly sedated promoter seems to have access to a mic & provides stoned crowd control. “the curfew’s been cancelled, the kids are all in bed,” he announces. he’ll be back. 29-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE. OTHER ONE middle jam starting to catch, with garcia/lesh/TC weaving leads. nice space between the two pieces, coming to huge thirteens-driven crest. unusual 2nd set opens with the only known live version of ROSEMARY, a gorgeous & deeply underrated piece of quiet garcia/hunter freak-folk, swaddled in nitrous warble in its “aoxomoxoa” studio version & buried in tape hiss here. gentle arrangement, light shaker part. no bill kreutzmann on the 2nd set. “one of our drummers, uh, broke down,” jerry explains, doing some crowd work & asking for requests. (“kick it on down the line!” suggests the promoter.) other unusual song choices include HURTS ME TOO & HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE. drums are muted but mickey seems to do okay by himself during audience-requested MORNING DEW, followed by nice BID YOU GOODNIGHT. “you’ve just been victimized by the grateful dead,” jerry says.

12/16/68 the matrix: mickey & the hartbeats anchored by garcia, hart, & casady. set 1 is 40-minute jam with jefferson airplane’s spencer dryden on 2nd drums. cycling through blues feels, casady sometimes comically thunderous, but reaching impressive drive by end. nice soft landing. 2nd set is less bloozey & far more gripping, heavy 38-minute improv with big brother drummer dave getz, starting with DARK STAR theme. hart/getz lock in naturally & surf energy flows. bright coda with CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER teases. warning: cowbell. some recordings list a jam on pharoah sanders’s THE CREATOR HAS A MASTER PLAN, but i don’t think that tune was even recorded until 2 months later. lovely idea, though. still one of the more dashing & coherent hartbeats episodes.

12/20/68 shrine expo hall: 7 minutes of forceful THE ELEVEN ends with feedback fade-out, apparently an intended segue, but garcia stops to tune. then comes the 1st taped MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, baroque/freak-folk dead with a noodled outro. 15-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT is 1st with band creating effective drama behind all of pigpen’s big pivots — “lookin’ here & there,” “now, wait a minute,” & “box back nitties.” plus shmancy TC solos, matchmaking by pig, fade to near quiet, & big coda.

12/21/68 shrine expo hall: power keeps flickering during TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT & THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, making unexpected swells. comes back in time for a gentle CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT coda & quiet turn into HURTS ME TOO. weir watch: “we’ve got a choice between faster & louder, everybody who wants ‘faster’ raise your hand & shout… the A’s have it.” long ALLIGATOR sequence ensues. wonder what the louder alternative was? VIOLA LEE BLUES? typically raging 42-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. neat mutated guitar duo by garcia/weir in post-CAUTION feedback. pipgen participation in BID YOU GOODNIGHT, which jerry hands off to next band, pulse, who seem to pick it up from 2nd stage.

12/29/68 miami: hour-long festival set after hugh masekala & before marvin gaye. “we once put this song on a single; that’s interesting,” says phil, totally dryly, introducing 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. DARK STAR flows a little stiffly, & there’s the usual festy slop, but mostly it’s just garcia spitting fire at n00bs. 1st taped instance of the band going into THE OTHER ONE without the CRYPTICAL prelude.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2018, night #8 setlist

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Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
9 December 2018
*(Hanukkah, night 8)*

comedians: Todd Barry, and Toddophonic Todd
opening act: Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
mix CD: Dave Weckerman
benefiting: New York Civil Liberties Union

Tell Me When It’s Over (Dream Syndicate)
For You Too
The Evil That Men Do (Craig’s Version) (with Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet)
She Cracked (Jonathan Richman) (with SMOSP)
You Don’t Own Me (Lesley Gore) (with SMOSP)
Pablo and Andrea
Polynesia #1 (Michael Hurley) (with Peter Stampfel on fiddle/vocals)
Lewis (with PS)
Is That Enough (with PS)
Walk Away Renee (The Left Banke) (with PS)
New Amphetamine Shriek (The Fugs) (with PS & Jeffrey Lewis on vocals)
Autumn Sweater
Tom Courtenay
Blue Line Swinger
Take Care (Alex Chilton)

*(encore)*
That’s What You Always Say (Dream Syndicate) (with Steve Wynn on guitar/vocals)
Glide (Dream Syndicate) (with SW)
Apple Suckling Tree (Bob Dylan) (with SW & Dallas Good of SMOSP on organ)
The Days of Wine and Roses (Dream Syndicate) (with SW)
Griselda (Antonia) (with PS & Marilyn Kaplan on vocals)
My Little Corner of the World (Bob Hillard & Lee Pockriss) (with MK)

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yo la tengo, hanukkah 2018, night #7 setlist

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Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
8 December 2018
*(Hanukkah, night 7)*

comedian: Joe Pera
opening act: Heron Oblivion
mix CD: Georgia
benefiting: Environmental Defense Fund

Dream Dream Away
Satellite
Here To Fall
Barnaby, Hardly Working
Green Arrow
Moby Octopad
The Weakest Part
Mr. Tough
Nowhere Near
Goin’ Back (Carole King & Gerry Goffin) (with Meg Baird of Heron Oblivion on vocals & Kevin Micka on drums )
I Should Have Known Better
Out the Window
Sudden Organ
Heroin (Velvet Underground) (Roky Erickson version) (with Charlie Saufley of Heron Oblivion on guitar)

*(encore)* with Steve Gunn on guitar
Puss ‘n’ Boots (New York Dolls)
The Kid With the Replaceable Head (Richard Hell)
Turning Time Around (Lou Reed) (with John Cameron Mitchell on vocals)
Let’s Call the Whole Thing (George & Ira Gershwin) (with JCM & Preservation Hall Jazz Band)

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yo la tengo, hanukkah 2018, night #6 setlist

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Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
7 December 2018
*(Hanukkah, night 6)*

comedians: David Cross (as Rabbi Alan Sugarman)
opening act: Oneida
mix CD: Ira
benefiting: Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

James played bass with Oneida for their set. Georgia & Ira sat in on drums & organ for “Each One, Teach One” & “Sheets of Easter.”

whole set with Oneida (Baby Jane/guitar, Showtime/guitar, Kid Millions/drums, Bobby Matador/organ & bass, Snaps London/keyboards)

You Are Here
Night Falls on Hoboken
Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House
The Point of It
Little Eyes
Don’t Say A Word (Hot Chicken #2)
Damage
Big Day Coming (fast)
The Room Got Heavy
We’re An American Band
Mushroom Cloud of Hiss >
Dream Baby Dream (Suicide)

*(encore)*
To Sir, With Love (Don Black/Mark London) (with David Cross on vocals)
Swallow My Pride (The Ramones)
Pet Sematary (The Ramones) (with Clay Pigeon on vocals)
Don’t Come Close (The Ramones) (with Sharon Van Etten on vocals)
One Day (Sharon Van Etten) (with SVE on guitar/vocals)
The Dolphins (Fred Neil) (with SVE on vocals)

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yo la tengo, hanukkah 2018, night #5 setlist

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Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
6 December 2018
*(Hanukkah, night 5)*

comedians: Jon Benjamin & Jon Glaser (as Dave Franz & Dave Farina), and John Oliver
opening act: Bill Callahan with Jim White
mix CD: Yuka Honda
benefiting: Center For Constitutional Rights

Noise (Paul Simon, as Jerry Landis; Tico & The Triumphs)
Forever >
Stupid Things >
She May, She Might
Season of the Shark
I Found A Reason (Velvet Underground)
I Feel Like Going Home
I’ll Be Around
Shaker >
Styles of the Times
From A Motel 6 >
Drug Test
I Heard You Looking (with Joe Puleo on organ)
Our Way To Fall

*(encore)*
Touched By The Sun (Carly Simon) (with Bill Callahan on guitar/vocals)
Way Out West (Big Star) (with Jody Stephens of Big Star on vocals)
Baby Strange (T-Rex) (with JS on drums)
September Gurls (Big Star) (with JS on drums)
Blue Moon (Big Star) (with JS on vocals)

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yo la tengo, hanukkah 2018, night #4 setlist

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Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
5 December 2018
*(Hanukkah, night 4)*

comedian: Jim Gaffigan
opening act: Matmos
mix CD: Kid Congo Powers
benefiting: Union of Concerned Scientists

whole set (minus “Awhileaway”) with Matmos on electronics.

Everyday
Let’s Do it Wrong
Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1) >
Saturday
Above the Sound >
The Ballad of Red Buckets (with Dave Schramm on guitar)
Awhileaaway (with DS)
The Summer (with DS)
Cherry Chapstick >
Dreams (Fleetwood Mac) (with Dutch Worthington on bass)
Little Honda (The Hondells)
The Story of Yo La Tango

*(encore)* with Dave Schramm on guitar/vocals
The Way Some People Die
Wasn’t Born To Follow (Carole King/Gerry Goffin)
Then He Kissed Me (Phil Spector/Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry) (with LaLa Brooks of the Crystals, Kevin Micka on acoustic guitar, & horn section)
I Wonder (Phil Spector/Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry) (with LB, KM, & horns)
Da Doo Ron Ron (Phil Spector/Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry) (with LB, KM, & horns)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2018, night #3 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
4 December 2018
*(Hanukkah, night 3)*

comedian: Jo Firestone
opening act: Nancy
mix CD: James
benefiting: Reproductive Health Access Project

Bridge Over Troubled Water > (Paul Simon) (drone)
Big Day Coming (quiet)
Before We Run
House Fall Down
Ashes
Black Flowers
What Can I Say (NRBQ)
Sorrow (The McCoys)
Artificial Heart
Some Kinda Fatigue
Nothing To Hide
Sugarcube
Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind

*(encore)* with the Strangeloves & Matt Fiveash (bass)
Cara-Lin (The Strangeloves)
Night Time (The Strangeloves)
Hang On Sloopy (The McCoys)
I’m On Fire (The Strangeloves)
I Want Candy (The Strangeloves)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2018, night #2 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
3 December 2018
*(Hanukkah, night 2)*

comedian: Roy Wood Jr.
opening act: Blind Boys of Alabama
mix CD: Perfume Genius
benefiting: Committee to Protect Journalism

Ohm (acoustic) (with the Blind Boys of Alabama)
Jesus (Velvet Underground) (with the Blind Boys of Alabama)
False Alarm
Stockholm Syndrome
The Last Days of Disco
Beanbag Chair
Shades of Blue
The Story of Jazz
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (Van Halen) (Minutemen arrangement)
Decora
Double Dare
Ohm (electric)
More Stars Than There Are In Heaven (boogie version) (with Blind Boys of Alabama)

*(encore)* with Jon Langford of the Mekons on guitar/vocals
The Plans We Made (Lonesome Bob)
Girl From the North Country (Bob Dylan) (Nashville Skyline version)
Where Were You (The Mekons)
Hard To Be Human Again (The Mekons)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2018, night #1 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
2 December 2018
*(Hanukkah, night 1)*

comedians: Bridey Elliot & Rebecca Robles
opening act: Sun Ra Arkestra
mix CD: Joe Belock
benefiting: HIAS

whole set & encore with Jim White on drums. members of the Sun Ra Arkestra enter during “Dreaming” and stay for rest of set.

From Me To You (The Beatles, sung as “From Me To Jews”)
Here You Are > (with Arkestra’s Danny Ray Thompson on voicemail greeting)
I Was The Fool Beside You For Too Long >
Tears Are In Your Eyes
Out of the Pool >
Upside Down
Dreaming (Sun Ra)
My Heart’s Reflection
Deeper Into Movies
Emulsified (Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers)
All the Glitter Is Gone
Nuclear War (Sun Ra)

*(encore)*
For Your Love (Graham Gouldman) (with Matt Clarke on keyboard)
Look Through Any Window (Graham Gouldman) (with Graham Nash on vocals & Matt Clarke on guitar)
Bus Stop (Graham Gouldman) (with Graham Nash on vocals/guitar & Matt Clarke on guitar)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

alternate routes, episode 07

Alternate Routes
with Jesse Jarnow

1. “Trip Slug” – Bilders
Bilders USA recordings (unreleased)

2. “The Fading of An Old World” – Jonathan Richman
featuring Jonathan’s former Modern Lovers bandmate (& ex-Talking Head) Jerry Harrison
from SA (Blue Arrow Records)

3. “Faint Smell of Moss” – Dark Meat
from Teal Clods From Tim’s House (Free Music Archive)
coming soon on LP via Sunwatcher Records

4. “Telluride Speed” – Ryley Walker
Ryley Walker (guitar)/Bill McKay (guitar)/Ryan Jewell (drums)/Scott Colberg (bass)
NYCTaper recording made at Bowery Ballroom, New York City, NY, April 29, 2018.
studio version on Deafman Glance (Dead Oceans)

5. live at Union Pool – Chuck Johnson
NYCTaper recording made at Union Pool, Brooklyn, NY, April 12, 2018.
see also: Balsams (VDSQ)

all tracks posted with permission of artists/labels
DJ bed music by Paul Blanding

alternate routes, episode 06

Alternate Routes
with Jesse Jarnow

1. “He Sold His Soul” – Willie Klein with Two-Mule Team
recorded at Wonders of Nature, Brooklyn, NY, September 15, 2018
originally on Tape #1 & Mofungo’s Out of Line

2. “Even Now” – Sue Garner with 75 Dollar Bill & Talice Lee
recorded at Union Pool Front Room, Brooklyn, NY, July 16, 2017
originally on Shadyside (Thrill Jockey)

3. “WZN #4” – 75 Dollar Bill
recorded at Monty Hall, WFMU, Jersey City, NJ, October 7, 2017 (Free Music Archive)

4. “Sycamore” – Antenna
from You Don’t Have To Be Fashionable, vol. 6 (With A Messy Head)

5. “Hablo Picasso” – Carton Sonore
from You Don’t Have To Be Fashionable, vol. 6 (With A Messy Head)

6. “Out & In” – Sonic Youth
from Not The Spaces You Know, But Between Them (Three-Lobed)

7. “Za-Zen” – The Pen Test
from Interstate (Moniker)

all tracks posted with permission of artists/labels
DJ bed music by Paul Blanding

alternate routes, episode 05

Alternate Routes
with Jesse Jarnow

1. “Bread and Roses” – Marisa Anderson
PhilaTaper recording made at Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, July 5, 2018
recorded on Traditional and Public Domain Songs
new album Cloud Corner (Thrill Jockey)
PhilaTaper GoFundMe for Katie Wescott

2. “Deep Sea Diver” – Gwenifer Raymond
from Deep Sea Diver 7-inch (Tompkins Square)
new album You Never Were Much of a Dancer (Tompkins Square)

3. “Current” – Kristin Thora Haraldsdottir
from VDSQ Solo Acoustic, vol. 14 (VDSQ)

4. “The Two Worlds” – Brigid Mae Power
from Live at WFMU on This is the Modern World With Trouble, July 5, 2018 (Free Music Archive)
new album The Two Worlds (Tompkins Square)

5. “I’d Rather Be Hayin'” > “Space Drums” > “Route 5” – Wet Tuna
from Livin’ The Die (CD: Child of Microtones, LP: Feeding Tube, cassette: Baked Tapes)

all tracks posted with permission of artists/labels
DJ bed music by Paul Blanding

alternate routes, episode 04

Alternate Routes
with Jesse Jarnow

1. Sarah Louise – “Hellbender”
from VDSQ Acoustic Series, vol. 12 (VDSQ)

2. Itasca – “No Consequence”
with Dave McMaster on pedal steel
from Live at WFMU on the Avant Ghetto with Jeff Conklin, May 30, 2016 (Free Music Archive)

3. Paul Blanding – “Sketch #4 (Predator)”
from Krampusnacht (Music For An Unwritten Puppet Opera) (Bandcamp)

4. Thumbscrew – “Unconditional”
Michael Formanek (bass) / Tomas Fujiwara (drums) / Mary Halvorson (guitar)
from Ours (Cuneiform)

5. Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motal Band – “Dreaming in the Non-Dream”
with Peter Kerlin (bass), Jason Robira (drums), and Ryan Jewell (drums)
NYCTaper recording made at Union Pool, Brooklyn, NY, July 28, 2018

all tracks posted with permission of artists/labels

#deadfreaksunite 1977

#deadfreaksunite 1977
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

2/26/77 san bernardino: 1st dead show under a democratic administration since the day the band allegedly dosed hugh hefner. 1977 opens with debut of TERRAPIN STATION (properly, LADY WITH A FAN/TERRAPIN STATION). brisk & slightly rough &, like, pretty epic. debut, too, of weir’s fully-formed 7/8 space-reggae jam-piece, ESTIMATED PROPHET. globs of garcia mu-tron & godchaux synth-clav color. maybe it’s the mix or all the harmonics thrown into SUGAREE, but weir seems to have new effects/compression on his guitar, too. misterioso garcia thrills, assertive piano, & a sea of cymbals lead glorious drift in 25 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > THE WHEEL > PLAYING. SLIPKNOT shortening & loosening, drama lessening. would love a chart of garcia’s most frequently mangled couplets in FRANKLIN’S TOWER. EYES OF THE WORLD shifts into 2 minutes of just phil, keith, & drummers. big bass chords & quick sparkling dissolve to DANCING IN THE STREET.  AROUND & AROUND features full weir/donna shriek out & 1st signs of weir’s falsetto post-show “thank you!” squeak.

2/27/77 santa barbara: sunday night boogie in a college gym, surviving as solid audience tape by rob bertrando. ESTIMATED PROPHET played again (& at most ’77 shows), garcia embracing gnarly guitar-is-talkin’-to-me auto-wah. cooly aching PEGGY-O. GOOD LOVIN’ moves to 1st set, loses jams & vitality. last SCARLET BEGONIAS before discovery of FIRE. donna moans, jerry fractals. w00! 2nd set suite begins with ST. STEPHEN, pleasantly without NOT FADE AWAY inside for 1st time since june. NOT FADE AWAY follows anyway. post-DRUMZ garcia twofer: 2nd TERRAPIN STATION with glorious, building 1st MORNING DEW of the year as epilogue.

3/18/77 winterland: opener of 1st multi-night winterland run since 10/74. ’77 mojo almost in place, 3 major new songs on display. 1st gloriously sprawling ’77 SUGAREE, almost 15 minutes. l’il dead air but much flow, piano color, & garcia’s 1st use of effects on the song. dampened SCARLET BEGONIAS into 1st FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. no intro solo yet, dynamics TK, but big ending. an instant 2-chord jam standard. bill graham apparently hosted a giveaway quiz show at setbreak, which sounds like a very good or very bad improv comedy set-up. TERRAPIN STATION (garcia’s last prog tune?) with sole live AT A SIDING coda, instrumental only. a mystic destination, sadly abandoned. 10 minutes into 20 minute NOT FADE AWAY, garcia & mu-tron find new path to big peak. vocal ending flows into graceful ST. STEPHEN.

3/19/77 winterland: night 2 of 3. BERTHA opener still growing into new blocky & less swingin’ rhythm, keith finding piano corners. unusually heady close to long 1st set, 50m of ESTIMATED PROPHET, TERRAPIN STATION / PLAYING IN THE BAND > SAMSON & DELILAH > PLAYING. garcia sounds fully inside TERRAPIN STATION lyrics. elegant piano & panic inducing tape flutters. 1st next-beat segue into PLAYING. momentum, space, & patience with ideas from all on both sides of great 31m PLAYING/SAMSON/PLAYING segue, especially drawn-out reprise. grace & compelling music within, but 48m EYES OF THE WORLD > DANCING IN THE STREET > WHARF RAT > FRANKLIN’S TOWER feels scattershot. feels like they forgot how to jam on EYES, drummers staying static while other 4 go wild, but retreating & dissolving just as quickly. laser guitar bulletpoints on DANCING much more successful, ditto full force UNCLE JOHN’S BAND encore, 2nd in 2 shows.

3/20/77 winterland: sunday night dead. technically the 1st spring ’77 show. a few stunning spots, but mostly just very good. 1st BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE since 9/75, in fine shape, only song played from jug band era thru nearly the end. only ’77 version. last standalone SCARLET BEGONIAS, 13 minutes & wondrous. keith on synth for 1st time as garcia scouts new valleys. sublime inventive peak. faster than usual ROW JIMMY has more magnificently lyrical than usual solo & piano counterpoint, earning audible cheer on soundboard. after 10 locked in minutes, THE OTHER ONE breaks into another 5 minutes of almost entirely solo garcia, spinning threads out in space. on the other hand, the synth definitely doesn’t work on STELLA BLUE. 1st TERRAPIN STATION encore. satisfying!

4/22/77 philadelphia: spring tour ’77 opens! before the show, keith haring sells his bootleg dead t-shirts in the parking lot. despite dropped lyrics by garcia (an increasingly common occurrence), magnificent 10 minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP with big rippling crests. purposeful 21-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND to close 1st set. stays busy with cool double-drumming, mini-pockets, far-out synth colors. 2nd SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, a conversational & wide open path, rare song designed to be only jammed into. donna chants “fire! fire!” semi-off-mic during shift into FIRE. still 2 verses, lyrics jumbled or unfinished, tangible sense of play. great 20 minute DANCING IN THE STREET with long-unfurling ribbons of neon garcia but for some reason weir sings GOT MY MOJO WORKING. nope. nice garcia pair of THE WHEEL > TERRAPIN STATION to close encoreless show, latter with goofy 8-bit sounding polymoog.

4/23/77 springfield, MA: haven’t done the math, but tuning breaks seem to be getting longer in ’77. weir teases BLACKBIRD during one. no jam in CASSIDY yet, but garcia finds multiple cool turns in 48s solo. hadn’t noticed it missing, but 1st ME & MY UNCLE since 6/75. one big story of the tour is the arrival of keith godchaux’s polymoog synth, almost as big a change as having 2 drummers again. polymoog shows up on LOSER, SUGAREE, & other older tunes, sometimes a bit awkwardly. surf-like on ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. synth sounds better on newer songs, like break in MUSIC NEVER STOPPED & semi-drones in SLIPKNOT with cool garcia response. speedy SCARLET BEGONIAS takes quiet way into FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, wordless donna jean sounding more like patti smith than karen dalton. FIRE & ESTIMATED PROPHET are A+ platforms for almost-comprehensible garcia guitar chatter, ready for subtitling by acidhead linguists. huge FRANKLIN’S TOWER melts very briefly to audience tape at 1st peak, fun trompe l’oeil-like moment.

4/25/77 passaic: 1st of 3 nights at the *other* capitol theater. garcia’s vocals sound great everywhere, SHIP OF FOOLS especially. though mickey hart’s been playing it since 6/76, SCARLET BEGONIAS has completed transition from delicate groove to tom-tom thunder. could be the mix, but FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN feeling a mite sluggish, even as garcia’s solos hone in on his steel drum vibe. unlike FIRE (where garcia hasn’t sung a full 2nd verse yet; will notify when he does), he’s got the TERRAPIN STATION narrative down. small window of phil/garcia/billy free improv kicks in PLAYING IN THE BAND, weir disappearing for stretches, defaulting into DRUMZ. 16 minute WHARF RAT has most thoughtful jam of show, 6 minutes of weaving that might not go back into PLAYING but inevitably does.
4/26

4/26/77 passaic: crappy audience tape early on followed by great multi-camera footage of entire 2nd set & more. video has multiple revelations. one is that the stage lights go off during the long-ass tuning breaks. was that standard in ’77? garcia is at nearly Full Muppet (© @thoughtsonthedead), esp. during DEAL & ESTIMATED PROPHET, all animated eyebrows. very present. i think there are more shots of keith godchaux than all other 1972-1978 videos combined. but also the audience is sitting during DEAL? detailed jam in 14 minute DANCING IN THE STREET unfolds to slow rolling garcia slide guitar, chill marching drums, & perfect dancing piano. nicely liquid & sweet tempo’d EYES OF THE WORLD in post-DRUMZ slot breezes into space until drummers cut it off with SAMSON & DELILAH. great set, way fun to watch the musicians work throughout, especially the quiet drama of rare standalone STELLA BLUE.

4/27/77 passaic: last of 3 at the capitol & another remarkable multi-cam closed-circuit video. but why is the front row sitting?! again, could be the mix, but i think the tom-toms have finally overrun whatever sustained delicacy was left in LOOKS LIKE RAIN. godchaux still learning to drive his polymoog, sounding a little clumsy on ROW JIMMY & definitely more stiff than his piano playing. nifty laser beam pitch-bending by keith on ESTIMATED PROPHET. guitar solo seems about to turn jammy until weir cuts it off. band seems a little, um, *up* for set 2, especially. SCARLET BEGONIAS so brisk that garcia is almost shouting. same on RAMBLE ON ROSE. amazing to see full video of a ’77 SCARLET > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, garcia almost dancing, looking as exuberant & blissed as the jam. economic 16 minute SCARLET > FIRE, with 1st lesh-led segue into GOOD LOVIN’. too soon, but successful upshift give or take a brief stutter. TERRAPIN STATION requires something with gravitas to follow it. a jam? silence? here, a heavy MORNING DEW. works.

4/29/77 the palladium: the dead begin a manhattan residency in the spring of punk. just like before europe ’72, the dead take up for 5 shows at NYC’s old academy of music on 14th street. tight 29-minute HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER is perfect opener. short rich SLIPKNOT! that doesn’t delve far. during FRANKLIN’S, someone (on the audience tape, i think, but can’t be sure) rings a bell at the appropriate lyric. excellent swirl. fierce set-closing MUSIC NEVER STOPPED with rolling drawn-out peak. SUGAREE has backchannel drumz jam going on behind garcia’s solo. most of the show exists only as a muddy audience tape by jerry moore, except for 3 as filler on download series. SCARLET BEGONIAS takes bright CHINA/RIDER-like turn, veering into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, its last non-FIRE destination for a year. back to audience for NOT FADE AWAY jam, short bass solo, musical dissent, DRUMZ, & moar jerry: THE WHEEL decelerating into WHARF RAT. i sometimes wonder if any of the CBGB regulars made it into any of the palladium gigs & what they thought.

4/30/77 the palladium: crystal clear soundboard reveals highs & lows of godchaux’s polymoog on opening MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. for 1st time, weir pairs two country songs with a next-beat segue, in this case MAMA TRIED > ME & MY UNCLE, a favorite trick thru ’95. excellent 1st set jerry in PEGGY-O (getting less spare by the show) & another multi-peaked & mighty MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP. rare phil setbreak banter sighting: “thanks, folks, we’re gonna take a short break. y’all can do whatever you want to.” SCARLET BEGONIAS methodically climbs to a more leisurely FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. another quick dive to GOOD LOVIN’, a new norm.
in NOT FADE AWAY, weir heads for DANCING IN THE STREET, but garcia goes weird, keith gets noisy, drummers go off auto-pilot, & woooo. they land in a gently rushed STELLA BLUE, building back to ST. STEPHEN, band thrashing on riff until they finally find reentry point. encore is TERRAPIN STATION’s NYC debut, getting big cheers when then song starts, as if everybody knows it already.

5/1/77 the palladium: granted, i don’t listen to many audience tapes, but the 1st “freebird!” i’ve heard so far, just before CASSIDY. debut of donna jean godchaux’s 1st dead tune, SUNRISE. i actually like the tune, but also an energy drain midway into a dead set. developed & multi-chorused BEER BARREL POLKA because “billy had to catch the late flight to acapulco,” if you needed a new euphemism. solid 45-minute 2nd set jam suite (PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > COMES A TIME > PLAYING) fits perfectly on tape side. as so often in ’77, PLAYING & THE OTHER ONE are good but unadventurous & COMES A TIME is just jaw-dropping (with dramatic outro jam). sweet, confident BROKEDOWN PALACE encore, 1st since 10/74 & 1st with donna. smooth mid-tune polymoog switch by keith.

5/3/77 the palladium: tape flutter on soundboard adds analog nostalgia to slow jerry tunes like ROW JIMMY, PEGGY-O, & SHIP OF FOOLS. welcome return of JACK STRAW, 1st since 10/74 & 1st with donna taking over phil’s part. not as sharp as it’ll get, but sounding good. really digging these semi-regular blocks of 2nd set garcia, tonight FRIEND OF THE DEVIL & then 26-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > WHARF RAT. EYES on-point from the start, wonderful jerry vocal & short jam that opens into cool refreshing passage of almost totally solo garcia. last pre-cornell NOT FADE AWAY arrives at brightness by end. multiple voices shouting for TERRAPIN before encore.

5/4/77 the palladium: last of 5 nights in NYC & ready for the tour proper. big jams & nice soundboard with tuning breaks edited out. another typically dazzling MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP flows into BIG RIVER, less a segue than a pick-up, but a logical & lovely pairing. mixed properly (ie. very low), mickey’s SCARLET BEGONIAS cowbell almost sounds delicate, a little chaotic web for garcia’s guitar. great filler/oldie-free 2nd set, capped by TERRAPIN STATION & thorough, winding 37-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > COMES A TIME > PLAYING. drummers have to reset groove when COMES A TIME hits 1st change, but a real stunner with patient PLAYING reprise.

5/5/77 new haven: on the 12th anniversary of the warlocks’ 1st show at magoo’s pizza parlor, the sleeper of spring ’77’s big 4. wonderful 15 minute SUGAREE rolls from big noodle peak back down to quiet noodle canyon, like a hippie-jam version of terry riley’s “in c.” weir continues to establish his 1st set C&W double-slot, this time MAMA TRIED/EL PASO. PEGGY-O a showcase for weir’s guitar curlicues. garcia clearly ready to go out on ESTIMATED PROPHET, continuing to solo under weir’s final “nah nah”s instead of reverting to changes. some days, i prefer this SCARLET BEGONIAS to the cornell version, the jam getting more detailed & further afield before the climb. FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is a bit sleepier. nice shimmering fade on ending theme with a logical but magic-snuffing segue into GOOD LOVIN’. only standalone ST. STEPHEN of tour. ecstatic garcia riffage, lots of weir in the mix (here & for whole show), & mild TRUCKIN’ themes. opening with PROMISED LAND & encoring with JOHNNY B. GOODE, the dead continue to pledge allegiance to chuck berry.

5/7/77 boston garden: a classic & early high-rotation tape for me. everything smokes. tuning breaks edited for official release. thx! rare to hear keith godchaux as conversational, from BERTHA opener on. still only 45 seconds, but cuz of keith, CASSIDY solo is now a jam. quality weir banter, wishing kreutzmann happy birthday when it’s actually his birthday for once. rare on-mic appearance by mickey. great color/shapes by weir & cool interplay with keith on enormous 12:30-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP with extended ending jam. HALF-STEP so good that it buries keith’s switch midway to globby (but creatively played) polymoog. easy conceptual fade to BIG RIVER. 2nd set opening TERRAPIN STATION is at full glow, keith finding cool new piano spaces even in the relatively static (so far) outro. hey, keith’s dubby percussive polymoog on ESTIMATED PROPHET is way boss, too. somehow didn’t realize he was the tape’s secret hero. lesh sets tone on 11m EYES OF THE WORLD with big bass lead in intro. never a dull moment, all clearly listening hard to each other. perfectly patient post-DRUMZ build to THE WHEEL with equally great exit, very out for ’77. more lit keith & stretches of solo jerry. another reason i love this show (especially in the tape era): no songs i’d skip until set-closing AROUND & AROUND.

5/8/77 cornell: and here we are. took me a long time to accept this show/era as magical. the dead at their most normal. far out! all the songs just bop along, dependable & solid, with great singing/energy/dynamics, etc., somehow both intimate/close & enormous. i was shocked to eventually discover barton hall is a field house. i’d envisioned a lecture hall based on crowd on the soundboard. another way to dig godchaux’s polymoog on LOSER & other garcia songs: as stylized soundtrack to ’70s sci-fi westerns, maybe italian? as sweet as this ROW JIMMY is (& it’s sweet!), the polymoog & mickey’s pronounced backbeat keep me from liking it more than the ’73s. 16 minute DANCING IN THE STREET doesn’t go anywhere in particular, just grooves while garcia runs delicious riffs thru his mu-tron pedal. whether the best or not, surely the definitive SCARLET BEGONIAS/FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. perfect & triumphant with effortless flow. delirious bass slides fire SCARLET & godchaux’s WTF harmonized piano riff unfolds throughout jam, only time that happened, i think. for 1st time, garcia gets all but 1 line in FIRE! while gorgeous, the solos never felt transcendent to me. heresy! still THE version. all-time peaks in 16 minute NOT FADE AWAY & 14 minute MORNING DEW. stunning fluid double drumming on DEW peak. also: jerrrrrry! [i also wrote a long review about the may ’77: get shown the light box set.]

5/9/77 buffalo: another flawless night. @samgustin calls set 1 “the 3rd set of 5/8,” with no repeats from the evening before. promoted by future miramax magnates bob & harvey weinstein, who perhaps ripped the dead off. increasingly rare & magnificent HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER to open. rad, weird chord colors from weir in ace SLIPKNOT. 2nd set opens with 1st of many BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’ pairings. really not a fan of the latter’s jamless post-’76 versions. just an oldie. thrillingly, ESTIMATED PROPHET cracks open for 1st time, floating away from 7/8 time on expanded garcia phrases & out into jam space. fun-filled 42 minute jam sequence of ESTIMATED > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > COMES A TIME, getting even better post-DRUMZ. NOT FADE AWAY is as bright as night before & gets weirder as it winds into COMES A TIME, which is capped by peak lyrical garcia solo. unusually, garcia leads transition into SUGAR MAGNOLIA & it’s so gradual that it restores some chillness to the tune.

5/11/77 st. paul: little delights throughout the 1st set, including squiggly new places in RAMBLE ON ROSE & even LOOKS LIKE RAIN. masterful 13 minute big/small/big SUGAREE. good mix for digging weir’s oddball upper register non-reggae rhythms on ESTIMATED PROPHET. great singin’ on both SCARLET BEGONIAS & FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. seam-exposing transition & laidback FIRE until tumbling last solo. 1st non-encore UNCLE JOHN’S BAND since 10/74. 15m with questy jam, drummers moving into quiet with garcia. then, wondrous solo jerry. give or take the polymoog burp-drone organ, a flawless BROKEDOWN PALACE encore, jerry in perfect voice. (st. paul was also one of the shows where keith haring sold his bootleg dead t-shirts. read more in my book heads.)

5/12/77 chicago: 1st of 2 at creatively named auditorium theatre. great, of course, but comparably few eye-bulging moments. off-mic, mickey exhorts bobby to deliver “seatbelt” joke about venue’s balcony. to billy (presumably) “he didn’t deliver it right.” 55 minute 2nd set jam suite: TERRAPIN STATION / PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > COMES A TIME > PLAYING IN THE BAND. PLAYING is pretty static, but NOT FADE AWAY dazzles for last 4 minutes, effortless head jazz flow carrying especially to PLAYING’s ending. every ’77 COMES A TIME should be a national holiday. garcia’s voice is some kind of astonishing here. his solo, too.

5/13/77 chicago: 1st JACK-A-ROE, radical folk about male-presenting sailor. jaunty! garcia gets all the words. 1st set ending SCARLET BEGONIAS/FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN transition breaks down to drums/bass. uncharacteristically jambandy. mellow FIRE. 16 minute OTHER ONE long/wild for ’77. loud spiraling garcia with few sprung clock mini jams & another quiet, gorgeous solo jerry valley. final STELLA BLUE solo perfect & so very patient, surprise landing at semi-rare GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD.

5/15/77 st. louis: 2 more debuts, 1 soon-familiar pairing, 1 fresh tuning move, & no hometown chuck berry covers on a sunday special. 1st PASSENGER, by lesh/peter monk, sung by bobby/donna. big energy & garcia slide. maybe lesh’s most structurally simple/direct song? after PASSENGER, a hot 3m, mickey off-mic to weir: “we gotta let the end of that cook longer!” 1st FUNICULI FUNNICULA tuning jam. 19 minute DANCING IN THE STREET 1st set closer goes further than much-loved 5/8 version, hitting assertive 2 guitar tangle mid-jam. set 2 jumps right into 35m ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SAMSON & DELILAH. 1st ESTIMATED/EYES, norm ’til late ’80s. ESTIMATED only breaks free of 7/8 briefly, but good drama. EYES takes its time. flowing bass intro & short well-developed outro. ST. STEPHEN veers into NOT FADE AWAY as usual, but garcia & co. sing IKO IKO atop it before singing NFA. fun but half-baked. 10 minute NOT FADE AWAY defaults to boogie & gets interesting & way cool for last 2m before weir starts SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

5/17/77 tuscaloosa: 1st show in alabama. could be recording, but amped up. phil no longer sings, but mucho surliness both off/on mic. noir-shuffle on JACK-A-ROE, like never-ending tour dylan. PASSENGER doesn’t jam (& won’t, really), but great underrated set addition. 1st HIGH TIME since 9/76 tour opener, sounding only slightly tentative at the start. happily/unexpectedly, keith sticks to piano. another delicious set-closing SCARLET BEGONIAS/FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, mickey singing (i think) his FIRE verse way off-mic around 8:50. deep pathways in groovy-but-sure-wish-it-was-longer PLAYING IN THE BAND, kicking off 37 minute PLAYING > DRUMZ > WHARF RAT > PLAYING. 5 minute DRUMZ finds a little topography. “my hands are insured” someone says. given mickey’s post-tour accident, wonder if that was true. to cool effect, garcia builds into WHARF RAT intro as drumzers are still drumzing. short heady path back to PLAYING.

5/18/77 atlanta: a beautiful betty board taped over a non-dead tape somewhere on the chain. spectral signals during tuning breaks. only ever DEAL opener. besides that, EYES OF THE WORLD, & JACK-A-ROE, though, garcia calls exclusively slow, meandering songs. dripping 8-minute IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES has only the briefest of solos & clear swaying garcia/donna/weir harmonies. 24 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES not extraordinary, but generous with overflowing happy garcia leads. moar solo jerry in THE OTHER ONE. the quiet garcia comes to anti-climax with nearly 16 minute & sometimes discombobulated STELLA BLUE, guitar like a flickering candle. nice moment in song i don’t really care for: AROUND & AROUND gets quiet, garcia’s guitar hyperfuzzed & bubbling over.

5/19/77 atlanta: in set 1, surf’s mostly up during 16 minute SUGAREE. 14 minute DANCING IN THE STREET is peak mu-tron rainbow lasers by garcia. sing-songy garcia solos in RAMBLE ON ROSE & ESTIMATED PROPHET set bright keynote for jams to come. could live inside either. sweet flow & surprise twists in 56 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > CHINA DOLL > PLAYING IN THE BAND. 11 minute PLAYING goes full star-splatter. electrifying turn into UNCLE JOHN’S end jam, returning to song proper via vocal tag. only time? DRUMZ is a bummzer when UNCLE JOHN’S seems ready to rage & 7m THE WHEEL feels short, though stellar placement/momentum/playing. 1st CHINA DOLL since 10/74, 1st with mickey. too many damn cymbals. lovely besides. lurching shift back to PLAYING but jam gets deep. few long segue sequences from spring ’77 are this satisfying. 3 garcia songs, 2 big jams, 1 bust-out, 1 total oddity.

5/21/77 lakeland: nicely building JACK STRAW, :30 longer & way fiercer than most of tour, garcia clearly lit when they hit last vocals. full stop before SCARLET BEGONIAS jam leads to slightly different rhythmic feel, carrying to woozy FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN garcia swirl. 72 minute suiteness: ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > COMES A TIME > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > ST. STEPHEN. slightly awkward dissolve from ESTIMATED into 1st HE’S GONE of the year, which hits jamming speed & is immediately detoured by DRUMZ. fun ride but OTHER ONE feels like spaceship on autopilot. semi-solo jerry bridge to ’77’s last gripping COMES A TIME.

5/22/77 hollywood, FL: 1st official live release from 1977 (may or otherwise), from 1995, great show with a fun abnormality. 16 minute SUGAREE, maybe perfect, drummers guiding song up/down. garcia guitar fans & a few moments of excellent cascading free flight. hot moves in 9 minute LAZY LIGHTNING/SUPPLICATION, 14 minute DANCING IN THE STREET, & 2nd set opening HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER. main action is in 53 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > WHARF RAT > TERRAPIN STATION > MORNING DEW. ESTIMATED/EYES transition is still mostly bullshit, but EYES is bright & opens to short jam that dissolves into 2 minutes of near-solo jerry. immediately after WHARF RAT, garcia accidentally(?) hits mid-TERRAPIN STATION changes, skipping “lady with a fan” section & jumps in. funny that twice in 3 shows garcia jams into a song’s ending & then never again, as far as i know. but, hey 4 straight jerry songs. perfect fade segue into 1st MORNING DEW since cornell, not as intense, but with perhaps deeper valleys.

5/25/77 richmond: “dave’s picks, v. 1″! archetypal may ’77 yummys on all fronts, at a shriners’ temple. also a 5.1 fan mix. like 5/22, PEGGY-O is less delicate than earlier takes, but still crisp, its punchiness now happily escaping the island-folk groove. last may ’77 SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, totally even-keel build, never quite peaking but patiently untying knots. 64 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > OTHER ONE > THE WHEEL starting to resemble ’80s 2nd set form. short ‘n’ smooth deceleration from ESTIMATED into HE’S GONE, but still shocked that the former hasn’t yet lit out for the territories. thrilling moments in OTHER ONE, almost breaking thru to space-jazz weirdisms, but momentum & rhythmic disagreements turn to WHARF RAT. quick easy turn from 2nd OTHER ONE verse into THE WHEEL, pristine while they’re playing it though weir’s outro jam ripcord is bogus. even after 2 listens, i don’t totally understand how AROUND & AROUND got to be over 8 minutes & not sure if i care to.

5/26/77 baltimore: unusually for the dead, band waits to start until more people to arrive (according to weir). good seats available. explosive fireworks-in-the-daytime garcia solos in BROWN EYED WOMEN & BERTHA. either band is adjusting to BERTHA’s new groove or i am. double-time jam in SUGAREE turns into detailed world of its own, spiky lead punctuation by weir, with equally conversational comedown. despite an opportunity for a local baltimore shout-out, weir shows surprising restraint & skips DANCING IN THE STREET. digging the breadth of the lesser ’77 songs: folky JACK-A-ROE (here, really up), power rawk PASSENGER, & even donna’s swaying SUNRISE. psychedelic half of jam-suite (TERRAPIN STATION > ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD) is same length (32 minutes) as oldies portion. drag. ESTIMATED feeling properly chill. short but spaced jam winds down logically before starting into laser-sharp EYES.

5/28/77 baltimore: to paraphrase composer lou harrison: everything must come to an end, even may ’77. non-stop 34m BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’/SUGAREE 3fer to open. fake splice segues, but real momentum & energy. besides new songs, SUGAREE is tour breakout, nearly doubling in length since fall. 19m with seamless bliss in & out of double-time. 1st CANDYMAN since 10/76. garcia mildly shaky on intro. while nice under wordless oohs, chintzy new polymoog part is distracting. righteous surprises in 67 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET/PLAYING IN THE BAND > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT > PLAYING. for a few seconds near very end of ESTIMATED, garcia seems to be pushing towards TERRAPIN, but weir cuts him off with song end. 11 minute PLAYING stays compelling. polymoog on verses pleasantly evokes baroque TC-era organ. scattered jam with rad ambient synth washes. vibey crossfade into TERRAPIN. typically powerful, spawns 1st improv: 30s of tantalizing PLAYING jam before surrendering to DRUMZ. 15m NOT FADE AWAY boss throughout. intro jam like reverse MIND LEFT BODY. post-verse space-dance locks tight with new weir changes. in flip of usual, WHARF RAT > PLAYING REPRISE punctuate NOT FADE AWAY. much cooler set-capper than more oldies.

6/4/77 the forum: the dead’s debut at LA’s fabulous forum, audience recording only. charming crowd chatter. woman: “i wonder if we’ll ever see CHINA CAT again?” (eventually.) mildly gnarly tape makes music edgier, even on wee TENNESSEE JED jam. garcia plays cool circles around intro/melody on great CANDYMAN. 90 minutes of 2nd set song suites. jams aren’t always successful or long enough or fluid, but held together by sense of fun & movement. 30 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > GOOD LOVIN’. if drummers were on board, ESTIMATED/EYES segue would be perfect. big wide EYES, 1 minute of teasing jam. ugh, weir’s 1st GOOD LOVIN’ ad-libs: “even in russia! (got to have lovin’) even in china!” er, bob? 56 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > CHINA DOLL > NOT FADE AWAY > PLAYING has dead air & disagreement, but a lot goin’ for it. incoherent PLAYING space-out drops into FRANKLIN’S which, instead of endless boogie, springs into nifty & more coherent space-out. dig CHINA DOLL’s polymoog harpsichord. chaos as NOT FADE AWAY comes in way too fast, but hits fun corners at speed.
6/7

6/7/77 winterland: 1st of 3 tour closers at home, each casually excellent summations of era. keith’s last run playing acoustic piano. tuning jam on 1880 italian hit FUNICULI FUNICULA is almost a full performance, 2 articulated minutes of cartoon soundtrack dead. 2nd set opens with last SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN of spring ’77, taking valley route to a many-colored fireworks show. 35m ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SAMSON & DELILAH sags in middle, though crisp NOBODY’S FAULTy blooze in HE’S GONE is nice. 25 minute TERRAPIN STATION > MORNING DEW goes from good to fuckin’ luminous. DEW’s 1st solo & last big burn feel more daring than 5/8, even. also the last MORNING DEW of 1977, appearing one time each in ’78 & ’79, but basically in hibernation until 1980. smell ya later, DEW. garcia extra-lit at show’s end, even AROUND & AROUND. ace sunshine solo & widening jam on UNCLE JOHN’S BAND encore.

6/8/77 winterland: 2nd of 3 tour closers in former SF ice palace. pulling to another era’s close. vivid tape & performances. last SUGAREE with keith on piano & a 16-minute classic. double-time waves come & go, crashing into long imaginative solo & 3rd verse. realizing that keith godchaux’s move to electric keyboards will be almost as big a tonal change as return of mickey hart’s 2nd drums. riveting PASSENGER. real talk: i’ll take donna’s SUNRISE every day over anything any of the keyboardists wrote/sang, excluding pig. BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’ opens set 2, fixed pairing over next years. former is big & comfy, latter is big & overexcited, courtesy hart/weir. beaming moments across 2nd set jam suite. 19m EYES OF THE WORLD & 14m OTHER ONE float with elegance but open magically near ends. garcia, weir, & donna achieve sweet blend on masterful BROKEDOWN PALACE, keith’s soulful piano adding a lot, too.

6/9/77 winterland: A+ soundboard & a motherlode for weir variations on the “just exactly perfect” in-joke/cosmic philosophy. almost every song is a goodbye to keith’s grand piano, gone after this show. on THEY LOVE EACH OTHER, garcia’s solo carves open space. garcia is extra-present, playing with melody/phrasing on joyful DEAL & intimate LOSER (& beyond), inventiveness carrying into solos. all is great, really. even feelin’ weir & donna’s LOOKS LIKE RAIN duet, with deft piano. SUNRISE builds to AOR psych-prog grandeur. maaaaybe the all-time HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER with powerful & deep 9 minute SLIPKNOT jam & 17 minute free-flying FRANKLIN’S. even end of 48 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > DRUMZ > ST. STEPHEN > TERRAPIN STATION > SUGAR MAGNOLIA is graceful. mondo jerry jamz on ESTIMATED, still wishing they’d go all-in, but effortless melt into ST. STEPHEN, with successive waves of cheers. double-encore is last ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT with genuine boogie-woogie piano & then it’s adios to spring ’77. and 11 days later, mickey’s car accident & the last summer without any dead shows for 18 years, minus the englishtown labor day mega-jam.

9/3/77 englishtown: the dead, marshall tucker, & new riders at [high-pitched voice] raaaaceway park! in lieu of a summer tour, the dead play to 125,000 people in new jersey, birthing a new generation of deadheads. (patrolled shipping containers lined the concert side to prevent the usual festival gatecrashing. apparently it worked.) never really got into this show when i had it on tape tbh. too big & shouty & not enough jamming. can hear (some of) the appeal now. 1st gig with keith godchaux solely on electric keys & since mickey hart’s june car accident. drums starting to loom over rest of sound. PEGGY-O filled with textbook lesh basslines, subdividing/pushing/reframing melody & rhythm. drums ride the breaks hard. some cooking garcia in MUSIC NEVER STOPPED 1st set closer & BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’ 2nd set opener, but harsh edge abounds. choice banter: weir on mickey’s alien communications & “just exactly perfect” variations, including sweet phil soliloquy. phil in transylvanian accent: “we will all be beautiful together when it is perfect! is it not so? is it not written in the sky?” 23 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET/EYES OF THE WORLD floats in place, but never flies. apparently, an unexplained setbreak after SAMSON & DELILAH. most interesting improv cascades out of last few minutes of HE’S GONE into unusually open intro to 20 minute NOT FADE AWAY. 1st TRUCKIN’ since 9/75 & lesh’s vocal return, with falsetto weir shrieks. messy/hilarious/worrying attempts at post-peak reentry. for encore, bellowing phil & what was supposed to be full TERRAPIN STATION suite, with weir on doubleneck guitar, but mickey bails. imperfect show that marks the beginning of a new era for dead & heads, essentially lasting ’til “in the dark.”

9/28/77 seattle: fall tour opener. godchaux’s electric keys make everything sound just off. could be mix, but drums feel overbearing. fun climbing jam on TENNESSEE JED opener, electric dixieland with joyous sing-song vistas & flourishes, nearly missing reentry. PEGGY-O illuminated again by phil’s odd subdivisions. FRIEND OF THE DEVIL has queasy keys & unceasing unchill 2nd snare. 1st DIRE WOLF since 10/74. intro riff up an octave & a bit slower. jauntiness replaced by 2-drummer plod, almost escaping during solo. EYES OF THE WORLD jams for a short breath, with garcia & keith locking in, even after the drummers have course set for thuddery. zonky drumless jerry space between NOT FADE AWAY & WHARF RAT, some seeming tempo battles on the latter, resolving to swooping solo. for once, a decent segue into AROUND & AROUND, but still so much of what i find tame about post-hiatus dead.

9/29/77 seattle: another mix where drums seem to lead instead of garcia, especially 1st 5 minutes of SUGAREE & end of FRANKLIN’S TOWER. suiteless 17 minute standalone FRANKLIN’S TOWER lurches with new extra-accented gait. nice valleys. wordless soul cooing before last chorus. really wonderful vocal performance by garcia on SHIP OF FOOLS, partially muted by bored-sounding/unswinging metronome-like 2nd snare. not much for jammin’. temple bells surface briefly & gorgeously in DRUMZ. TRUCKIN’ soundin’ more together with 2 big bright peaks. STELLA BLUE loses focus during 2nd half, but guitar solo transforms into a surprise up-shift into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD. on UNCLE JOHN’S BAND encore, garcia finally cracks door into deep jam space for agonizingly brief, beautiful moment.

10/1/77 portland: what a difference a mix makes. drum energy still feels over the top, but beautifully framed in a stereo board tape. uptempo 1st set. DIRE WOLF punchier than comeback version. TENNESSEE JED solo bubbles over again. glimmering MUSIC NEVER STOPPED peak. cooperative steering on jam suite, especially during smooth & amorphous downshift on 23m EYES OF THE WORLD > DANCING IN THE STREET. 1st BLACK PETER since 10/74 is a stunner. purdy piano, bass punctuation, jerry/donna sounding great. all on same page, even drummers. earlier MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES is likewise at excellent tempo. not quite delicate, but never dirge-like. great singing. okay, fine, once this AROUND & AROUND kicks in, there’s some ace non-sloppy boogie-oogie-oogie & jerry shreds.

10/2/77 portland: 1st CASEY JONES since 10/74 opens (& 1st with mickey since 2/71). garcia spaces verse(s) & decent vamps ensue. mightily jacked-up JACK STRAW, yeesh. another uptempo 1st set with no slow tunes minus donna’s SUNRISE, still oddly interesting to me. 1st DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES since 7/69, oddly served by metronomic drums. garcia articulating lyrics, very present. neat donna part. 12 minute LET IT GROW is overblown in best way. flashes of prog-era jerry as he alternates knotty soloing/comping. dashing piano chords.
4 shows & finally 1st SCARLET BEGONIAS/FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. 24 minute with beautiful arpeggio pools by keith on FIRE, almost finding exit. oh & phew, it’s 1st jam show of tour. 21 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > THE WHEEL followed by 27 minute TRUCKIN’ > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. short heavy PLAYING, billy’s snare dancing old style, phil conversing with jerry. peaceable crossfade into DRUMZ via temple bells. powerful, together TRUCKIN’ remembers jam, though steers instantly to condensed 2-verse 7m OTHER ONE, ever-churning.

10/6/77 tempe: only 67 minutes circulate, from king biscuit flower hour. other recordings seem to be composites from fall shows? only pictures i could find from 12-show early fall ’77 tour, confirming garcia switched back to playing wolf & lost his shampoo. charged NOT FADE AWAY turns corner near MIND LEFT BODY before beautiful garcia disassembly into another detail-filled BLACK PETER. slinky exit move from BLACK PETER, too, garcia’s solo seeming to suspend gravity for a second as band shifts back into NOT FADE AWAY. not enough to redeem it, but AROUND & AROUND has a skewed phil-driven breakdown before final yowlfest.

10/7/77 albuquerque: just the 2nd set circulates. an hour’s worth of segues with nice moments but only a little jamming. 1st TERRAPIN STATION of tour, weirdly. longest yet, only cuz garcia forgets verses. guitar confidence returns when he remembers words. 11 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND gets dense & heady just before DRUMZ, dissolving too briefly to bells/whistles/sirens/cymbals. still, nice! tape splice into 2nd IKO IKO. just-baked-enough high altitude boogie. garcia knows more words now & leans in, which is cool. no jam on THE WHEEL sadly, but WHARF RAT peaks gloriously, drops into short wide open zone, & peaks gloriously again.

10/9/77 denver: LAZY LIGHTNING/SUPPLICATION down to tight 7m. underrated l’il jam in general. keith’s electric tone getting harsh. long, satisfying 14 minute SUGAREE, garcia spiraling up & up & up & elegantly down. as good as spring, but less pleasing due to mix & keys. another totally burning MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, garcia’s guitar solo over-saturating the soundboard tape during big string-fanning peak. garcia drops 2nd verse of SCARLET BEGONIAS. formerly a novelty, probably this is the tour where i stop noting when it happens. grungy electric keys kinda work for the SCARLET jam, sleepy 2-chord bed that lands in FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN at pleasant easy pace. smooth deceleration from ESTIMATED PROPHET into HE’S GONE, with short but stunning/spare/inventive pre-verse solo by garcia. pro accelerating count-off segue into TRUCKIN’, back at full bluster & coming to a clear end, jerry improvising a coda before DRUMZ. for the 1st time (& for reasons i’ve never understood or investigated) weir squeaks a falsetto post-set “thank you!”

10/11/77 norman: fat jammin’ tuesday on 1st visit to oklahoma in 4 years. 2 big’ns to bookend 1st set & 89 minute 7-song (+ DRUMZ) set 2. 25 minute HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER, last ’til ’82, opens. late SLIPKNOT! messiness, but whole is still elegant. le sigh. LET IT GROW getting bigger, lightspeed jam with room for everybody. always wish it would fly open, but here lands softly at setbreak. 17 minute DANCING IN THE STREET is among longest ever, boogie-in-place rainbow shimmy & warp/woof weaving by garcia/phil/weir/keith. 25 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD doesn’t go far, but great longform garcia threads, gliding transition, & interlocking jams. intricate quiet jerry before NOT FADE AWAY, speeding up into bright double-time, veering into elegant coda, & dropping into WHARF RAT. WHARF RAT itself is a bit muddled, but thrilling ascending jam mid-song before descent to AROUND & AROUND.

10/12/77 austin: only outdoor show of tour. “y’all make sure to huddle together to keep warm,” suggests phil before setbreak. gorgeous vocal performance by garcia on slowly unfolding FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, starting to shake the hippie reggae for stoned marching. underrated: bobby/donna/jerry vocal parts on ESTIMATED PROPHET. the martian blues are nice, but lately never go far into orbit. wish the lovely 1m of temple bells/cymbals to start DRUMZ lasted longer before the thump-th’-th’-thumping. so ready for DRUMZ/SPACE. 10 minute OTHER ONE has top-speed locked-in jams, but only seems to have one setting, disintegrating almost instantly after 2nd verse. on the other hand, BLACK PETER is 15 minutes, un-dirge-like, & overflowing with soulful vocals & 5 minutes of bright & redemptive jerry blues. coolest part of TRUCKIN’ is only on the audience tape: slide into hypnotic groove that becomes 1st NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE since 7/74. despite its redundancy IKO IKO is a welcome variation on NOT FADE AWAY, plus good segue into SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

10/14/77 houston: hilariously big bass mix on opening JACK STRAW, louder than vocals, for full dose of ludicrous countermelodies. 12 minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP is at full rush as soon as soloing starts, aided by sweet (adjusted) bass mix, & only swells from there. 18 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND slides into free dead jazz & swings in space for whole jam, jerry weaving through dialogue(s). satisfying! long by recent standards, 7 minute THE WHEEL is cool/comfortable post-DRUMZ with short purposeful jam that garcia steers straight to WHARF RAT. once again, 14 minute WHARF RAT turns corner into something close to improv space, drummers at march while garcia goes a-questin’ & returns. for encore, last BROKEDOWN PALACE ’til 4/80 (more plodding & drummier than spring) drops into 6 minute PLAYING REPRISE.

10/15/77 dallas: drummers feeling the right kind of laid back for once on uptempo BERTHA as much as downtempo RAMBLE ON ROSE. garcia mayhem in LET IT GROW, a glowing refuge for prog thrills from whole gang, really. expanded middle & short explosive outro jam. not something i usually say: gorgeous vocal by donna jean on SUNRISE verses. more cosmic/ethereal than many of weir’s tunes. fite me. 38 minute TERRAPIN STATION > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE feels great (esp. jerry solo on STEPHEN), but never fully liberates. if there’s not gonna be a real jam anyway, TRUCKIN’ is a cherry encore choice. huge cheer for “dallas” line, derr.

10/16/77 baton rouge: 1st LA show since 1/70 new orleans bust, closing tour’s 1st leg. great stereo soundboard, enjoyable all around. for all the times weir’s gotten crowds to wish his bandmates happy birthdays on days when it wasn’t, no one mentions it’s his 30th. SCARLET BEGONIAS locks into mellow piano groove, garcia skating peaceably around on top. stately last FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN solo. 32 minute bobby birthday suite discovers a few unexpected wide-open spaces during ESTIMATED PROPHET > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > GOOD LOVIN’. finally, ESTIMATED opens up, landing in 2 minutes of wonderful quiet space. garcia squigglies mix with temple bells & thoughtful drumzing. after bobby suite, garcia follows TERRAPIN STATION directly with ballad, dramatically arcing BLACK PETER.

10/28/77 kansas city: opening night of 8-show run from the midwest to the north country. highlights more in song moments than jams. surely fun to be had if somebody boosted the gain & transcribed the interminable tuning break between THEY LOVE EACH OTHER & CASSIDY. era when garcia stops focusing on new material, SCARLET/FIRE & TERRAPIN only played every few shows, most ’75’-’76 songs now dropped. stellar CANDYMAN. A+ dynamics, soulful singin’, warm harmonies, pleasant electric dixieland solo, bluesy piano asides, bass dabbles. shifting 56 minute down/up/down/up jam suite: HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD. HE’S GONE stretches to 20 minutes without much happening, nice crossfade into DRUMZ, & long NOT FADE AWAY with diggable 4m jerry space-out. powerful STELLA BLUE with big jerry vocal, nice phil/bob color, astonishing solo, upshift into peppy/swinging GDTRFB.

10/29/77 dekalb: highlights & surprises abound. opens with 1st MIGHT AS WELL since may, totally lit jerry. best ever, maybe? stunning 13 minute LET IT GROW, preview of ’80s thunder, detailed middle that takes time climbing back to frenzy, end jam now a 2 minute landing. set 2 opening BERTHA opens to a cool & unexpected piano-made valley on “ran into a rainstorm” verse, lingering a little after. 64 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > ST. STEPHEN > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER gets deep, resolves persuasively. EYES cracks into 7m of increasingly lovely garcia shapes, weir feedback, occasional counterpoint, & beautiful flow into ST. STEPHEN. mostly together STEPHEN is jubilant slo-mo setpiece. phil joins drumzers for NOT FADE AWAY intro. hilarious bass interjections ensue. long & patient BLACK PETER stays at exquisite quiet for 9m ’til garcia lets loose for last blues, both mournful & ecstatic. also, keith & donna burn down their hotel room after the show just ‘cuz, plus other details.

10/30/77 bloomington: featuring one of the most drippingly psychedelic jam sequences of the year. with few exceptions, most shows this fall are now clocking at 2.5 hours of music. less occasionally close to 3, the standard in may. weir tells joke about poaching deer that either involves unexplained physical punchline or the sudden sound of weir tackled by roadie? keith’s chintzy faux-harpischord tone achieves improbable & kinda beautiful meld with garcia’s guitar on PEGGY-O. wonderful 55m set 2 jam: PLAYING IN THE BAND > OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > WHARF RAT > PLAYING IN THE BAND. way deep for ’77. perfect warm mix highlights weir’s weird not-quite-leads/not-quite-rhythms, on PLAYING especially. maybe my fave jam(s) of the ’77? powerful & together WHEEL, weir guiding jam. big WHARF RAT chords make me miss real piano. and that guitar solo!

11/1/77 detroit: drummers & whole band playing really well & easily together, no one/everyone leading, even if it’s really drummers. powerful JACK STRAW, starting at properly chill/confident tempo. great builds by the drumzers, piano adding nicely to drama. post-DIRE WOLF, birds (or bird calls?) near stage. garcia adds an enjoyable moment of exotica slide guitar before burning PASSENGER. rare TERRAPIN STATION opener sets up non-stop 63 minute set 2. huge ending, especially vocals, & nice long landing. still want a jam there. 43  minute ESTIMATED PROPET > OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > WHARF RAT > TRUCKIN’, garcia’s transition from ESTIMATED especially time/space-suspending. after a burp, TRUCKIN’ climax works too well & band shifts into 2 minutes of cool mini-jams before remembering they no longer jam TRUCKIN’. semi-inaudible off-mic chatter throughout, feat. off-color mickey. before encore, jerry nixes a phil suggestion. can anyone tell what? ripsnortin’ US BLUES with edgy vocals, perhaps due to the looming post-show border crossing, band’s 1st since ’74.

11/2/77 toronto: 1st T-O visit since 7/70 festival express. lyrical garcia guitar delights in RAMBLE ON ROSE. great vocal, too. garcia closes 1st set with another forceful & charged MIGHT AS WELL, about trans-canada 1970 train trip with janis, The Band, & co.. keith nears 5/8 SCARLET BEGONIAS piano break & leads throughout. jerry lays back on FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN ascent, only uncoils briefly. energized 27 minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > ST. STEPHEN > TRUCKIN’. ESTIMATED grips with crackling & bent garcia solos, band wilding away. fantastic TRUCKIN’ keeps peakin’ & peakin’, clever boogie-woogie by keith. AROUND & AROUND follows & never sounded dinkier. if there’s not gonna be a mystic jam or grand statement after big TERRAPIN STATION, it might was well be the encore.

11/4/77 colgate university: homecoming at cotterel basketball court. weir wishes them well several times. big and/or long jams within. loving the bright ‘n’ jaunty ’77 DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES vibe. only challenge seems to be garcia remembering the lyrics. great 13 minute LET IT GROW hits bright plateau in 1st jam, opens majestically in 2nd. 1st COLD RAIN & SNOW since 9/76, only billy hits cue. hosed phil: “we’re the jones gang… on eeelectric guitar we have jerry jones.” jerry: “donna jean jones, freshly deported from canada.”  75 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > EYES OF THE WORLD > ESTIMATED PROPHET > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > IKO IKO > STELLA BLUE > PLAYING IN THE BAND. garcia soars near end of 13 minute PLAYING, flying into harshly rushed EYES, yielding neat guitar turns & nifty rhythmic clanging in outro. well-executed count-off segue into ESTIMATED, feeling looser this deep into suite. 11m of subtle chillness & spacious singsong solos. OTHER ONE down to perfunctory 4.5m. mostly exquisite STELLA BLUE expands with graceful drama on way back to PLAYING.

11/5/77 rochester: near riot getting in, heads pushed through glass doors in bad-vibed mob scene. also, what’s up oberlin squad? rowdy crowd. performances just about back at spring consistency. big 12m MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP one of many garcia highlights. great jerry vocals abound: there, DIRE WOLF, MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES, BLACK PETER. lovely bluesy piano asides on together CANDYMAN. bass, tuning cloudburst, & rare EYES OF THE WORLD set opener. slow & right on. 2 bass solos, fluid drumz segue into SAMSON & DELILAH. jam is 49m ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > PHIL/DRUMZ > OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER. all but DRUMZ over 10m, each its own kind of static. heady detailed interplay though little movement on ESTIMATED. kinda subdued OTHER ONE but all keep listening hard.

11/6/77 binghamton: maybe the all-time great MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP to open. hyper-enunciated solos/vocals. much of set 1 right up there. sparkles all over, even MEXICALI BLUES/ME & MY UNCLE. big MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. bright dynamics/slide guitar color on SAMSON & DELILAH. not sure how i feel about this SCARLET BEGONIAS/FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, though. feels l’il empty. nice bliss late in transition jam. garcia lyric-mangling on FIRE is buzzkill, but jam heats up after 1st vocals. will he ever sing 2 complete verses? tune in next tour! 44 minute ST. STEPHEN > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT > ST. STEPHEN > TRUCKIN’. nice late STEPHEN detailing, but doesn’t take off ’til band coheres from 1st the big WHARF RAT peak through short ST. STEPHEN bridge into powerful blooze cruise TRUCKIN’.

12/27/77 winterland: the grateful dead begin 1st bay area new year’s run. new year’s energy palpable. or maybe it’s just edge city. hyped & tight, lots of garcia shreds. drummers (mickey?) keep pushing BERTHA chorus into doubletime, adding a manic queasiness. tempo continued into GOOD LOVIN’. all in all, they almost sound like a different band from the rest of ’77, mega-charged & subtly different dynamic. after slowing down 1971-’74 & especially post-10/77 comeback, DIRE WOLF now back to ’70 speed & sounds (maybe) even better. before SCARLET BEGONIAS, weir makes springy guitar noise. garcia: “that’s horrible, man! no!” weir keeps doing it. solid & true 17m SCARLET > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, garcia only briefly stumbling on FIRE lyrics! cascading keys & soaring guitar colors. when they finally wind-down to post-TRUCKIN’ space, music feels restless, the energy only working when in forward motion. but HE’S GONE & WHARF RAT both move with nice, medium-slow tempos. even more, drums stay respectful & chill. also, heaviness: last run before garcia loses his voice for a few shows & (some say) never quite got it back fully.

12/29/77 winterland: tempos normal after jacked-up opener. weir: “our new name is gonna be the just exactly perfect brothers band.” last SUGAREE of the year is 14 minutes. cool & effortless if not quite glorious, with a quiet/purdy between-verse group valley. tuning before 2nd set has jerry/keith/weir noodling with 5-note alien call from close encounters. keith can’t quite get it. 54m PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER > CHINA DOLL > PLAYING JAM > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > PLAYING. 16 minute PLAYING floats along, finding colorful shapes around 11m, spinning them briefly & dripping into space before garcia starts the 1st CHINA > RIDER since 10/74, instant eternal bounce. donna’s vocal replaces phil’s. garcia audibly psyched to be singing/playing it. elegant descent from RIDER to CHINA DOLL, last ’til 5/79. synth dominates early, but garcia’s vocal is jawdropping. good guitar, too. RIDER > CHINA DOLL segue is like a 1-time(?) successful on-the-fly version of the semi-fixed RIDER > HIGH TIME transition from ’70. rare double encore leads with final TERRAPIN STATION of ’77 & last with jerry’s “young” voice.

12/30/77 winterland: great show with 1 of year’s best jams. wonderful jerry vocals on MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP, SHIP OF FOOLS, & everywhere. ROW JIMMY & DIRE WOLF both have especially grand/expressive jerrying. LET IT GROW (weir still calls it “weather report”?) flickers hot. another CLOSE ENCOUNTERS alien call tuning before the 2nd set. “soon now!” phil announces, confidently. the 36m ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > ST. STEPHEN would feel a mite lacking as a jam suite if not for that EYES. like, whoa. big crests after 1st verse of 15 minute EYES, taut solo & easy sailing into magical post-song group improv over shifting minimalist swing. video confirms what i suspected: EYES gets rad when mickey moves to percussion & band reverts to quintet. cool to see them jamming in close. a logical (if not fully elegant) upturn into ST. STEPHEN transitions the evening into the party zones.

12/31/77 winterland: a fun way to end the year, but not one of the all-time enduring grateful dead concerts, musically speaking. some decent song versions (JACK STRAW) & another articulated FUNICULI FUNICULA tuning, but not much for the highlights reel. midnight comes half-hour late cuz bill graham had to be at santana but then he rides over crowd on a motorcycle & CHAOS! SUGAR MAGNOLIA! NAKED PEOPLE! 1978! SCARLET BEGONIAS starts casually. some blazing moments, but lurches into FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. mickey cowbells for disconcertingly long time after FIRE ends. 19m TRUCKIN’ is a mess & garcia disappears for full 5 minutes, though jam goes to a few curious piano/bass-led corners when he does. keith adds semi-ambient keyboards during DRUMZ, an idea i like a lot… or maybe he’s just falling asleep. someone check on him, please? at the end of the night & the last recording of 1977, bob: “merry christmas.” accurate summation of the year, anyway.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

#deadfreaksunite 1976

#deadfreaksunite 1976
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

5/28/76 orpheum theatre: 1st of 3 circulating rehearsals from sessions that seem to have started in mid-april. crisp 2-drummer mix. could be stockholm syndrome, but i might like parts of LAZY LIGHTNING, 1st rehearsed in ’75. really feeling the jam into SUPPLICATION. 1st ATTICS OF MY LIFE since ’72, not played onstage ’til ’89. almost convincing, minus mickey & keith’s reggae. phil critiques donna. recorded in ’72, played once in ’74, weir seems to write new & final CASSIDY intro on the spot & everyone else knows just what to do. 1st COSMIC CHARLIE since ’70. despite alleged ’76 lethargy, think it’s actually at same tempo as earlier versions.

5/29/76 orpheum theatre: 2nd circulating 45 minute rehearsal fragment, split evenly between EYES OF THE WORLD & PLAYING IN THE BAND. ’76 has reputation for slowness, but EYES is faster & busier, lazy gait turned to a gallop. nice quiet places, plus mickey cowbell. PLAYING definitely slower & tentative as they relearn. 1 full take, 2 subdued donna wails, good spacin’, meh reentry.

5/30/76 orpheum theatre: last pre-tour rehearsal. WHARF RAT kept earthbound by too many cymbals/drums. round-toned overdrive solo. 1st recorded run-through of THE WHEEL, released on garcia’s solo debut in ’72 & losing the spaced pedal steel & but getting dreamier. CANDYMAN is few clicks faster than ’74, donna’s harmony replacing phil, but the intimacy & urgency seem gone.

6/3/76 portland, OR: the grateful dead return to road after 19-month break. debuts, bustouts, rearrangements, & new M-E-L-L-O-W vibe. big part is the mix, but so much feels mushy & imprecise & sedate. mickey’s drums busy up everything & redraws center of band. 3 party-starting debuts (MIGHT AS WELL, SAMSON & DELILAH, LAZY LIGHTNING/SUPPLICATION), though psych/prog ambition seems nearly gone. 1st CASSIDY since 3/72, 2nd ever, doesn’t have a jam yet. dead debut of THE WHEEL, which kind of *is* a jam but doesn’t get to do so. rearranged THEY LOVE EACH OTHER goes reggae-y & works. DANCING IN THE STREET (1st since 1970) goes disco, jams, & is very silly. gravity-free moments in DANCING, burbling 10m SCARLET BEGONIAS (a fine place for mickey, for now) & elsewhere, but little flow. 33 minute late show HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER opens into big exploration, loses way, hints at ’73/’74 EYES ending. weir’s between-verse disco-soul grunts on HELP ON THE WAY are totally unacceptable.

6/4/76 portland, OR: 1st slowed-down FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, which is beautiful, but just not as fun & folky as earlier. debut of garcia/hunter’s magnificent MISSION IN THE RAIN, played only briefly by the dead. not there yet. hoping to find a keeper. weir repeats 6 of his 9 songs from 1st night, garcia only MIGHT AS WELL & HELP/SLIPKNOT/FRANKLIN’S, getting into legit space again. 1st COSMIC CHARLIE since ’70. no slower, just less bounce. already mellow before, ’76 STELLA BLUE now too sleepy.

6/9/76 boston music hall: 1st east coast dead show since 8/74, 1st of 4 in boston & start of month-long tour sold by mail order only. counting bust-outs, just under 1/2 of 3-hour show is new to the band’s repertoire since last time through town. sloppy starts/ends. beginning of SCARLET BEGONIAS jam is mickey’s cowbell versus donna’s wail. cowbell wins but we all lose. settle down beavis! (he doesn’t.) great 11 minute CRAZY FINGERS, richly developed & dipping into denser & darker territory before collapsing suddenly. bummer, man. much clearer soundboard mix than portland shows. great singin’ on SHIP OF FOOLS. can just hear garcia’s voice starting to fray. 1st ST. STEPHEN since 10/71. crowd freaks. the tempo is only a l’il slower but is tamer & muted. bridge now a waltz. new jam, too. EYES OF THE WORLD bucks ’76 trend of slowness & gets speedy/messy. cool nooks & jam before vocals, but losing some earlier elegance. 1st HIGH TIME since 7/70. well suited to slower dead & even donna’s voice, though definitely one too many drummers.

6/10/76 boston music hall: odd & enjoyable mix with keith godchaux’s piano near front. sweet jams with garcia on expanding SUGAREE. [sold myself on the idea that LAZY LIGHTNING/SUPPLICATION is actually tasty, well-rehearsed disco-prog. just hope the jam opens up. stellar 2nd version of MISSION IN THE RAIN, underrated brooding hippie soul by garcia. besides a few drummerly nits to pick, a keeper. why couldn’t they ever count off HELP ON THE WAY & start together? SLIPKNOT! opens up wide & resolves gracefully & dramatically. LET IT GROW establishing its place as reliable portal to detailed high-speed dead jazz, with new DRUMZ break & blustery weir drama. good deep space in PLAYING IN THE BAND once mickey chills out, reconstructing to great full-band jam with all contributing. PLAYING almost becomes 1st great segue of ’76, falls apart, & then is just that, slinking into DANCING IN THE STREET.

6/11/76 boston music hall: big cheer after “tell everyone you meet that the candyman’s in town” in CANDYMAN. jerry’s a cartoon now. 1st show with cheers for meta-lyrics identified with the musicians. happens on “band beyond description” in MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, too. band finds excellent quiet spot in SCARLET BEGONIAS, give or take beavis-y cowbell. lovely coos & ooos by donna late in the jam. some quick-cut segues, including seemingly planned late-set EYES OF THE WORLD/STELLA BLUE inside SUGAR MAGNOLIA/SUNSHINE DAYDREAM. EYES darts coolly & confidently, ending drama deleted, & dissolves to STELLA BLUE, tom-tom clunk creeping like kudzu.

6/12/76 boston music hall: another great MISSION IN THE RAIN vocal by garcia. quizzical & just-exactly-imperfect solos, but a stunner. LAZY LIGHTNING & SUPPLICATION is one of the dead’s more underrated post-’76 platforms for fast-n-squiggly garcia jams. despite general unpredictability of ’76, open-ended improv is far reduced & virtually absent from this show except in small blurps. garcia adds extra “true to me” in WHARF RAT, start of soul belter era, & a twinkling 5 minute jam. due to FM mix, hi-hats sound like casios. 1st COMES A TIME since 10/72, with big solo & delivery. one more split-up SUGAR MAGNOLIA (with U.S. BLUES) as encore.

6/14/76 beacon theatre: 1st grateful dead show in NYC proper since 3/72. fan club only tix. mini-riots ensue. can’t tell what’s the bass-less ’76 mix & what’s the music, but PLAYING IN THE BAND has lost some warmth & its old weird & easy flow. band still trying to figure out what to do with THE WHEEL, lonely-seeming as a standalone 2nd set opener. what a great song, though. an A+ weir intro after long tech break: “we’re going to try to answer the musical question, ‘what happens if the music ever starts?'” another nice 10 minute CRAZY FINGERS, losing some delicacy but brushing into SPANISH JAM turf. happy to discover that it’s a ’76 thing, too! effective full-stop “segue” before well-placed post-jam COSMIC CHARLIE, getting successive cheer ripples as crowd recognizes it. 13m SLIPKNOT! dissolves in good & bad ways. real discombobulation but also a thread-dissolving float into garcia space & new zones. garcia seems to lose steam midway through drooping FRANKLIN’S TOWER. there’s always the next show.

6/15/76 beacon theatre: TENNESSEE JED isn’t that much slower than earlier versions & this one has a charming slow-motion bop. band’s heavier ’76 groove isn’t just hart. kreutzmann also switched from matched grip to overhand to better telegraph snare hits. return of old easy ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY pairing. former has beautiful spacious jam, latter folds shakily into STELLA BLUE. after being so perfect in ’72-’74, plodding 6/76 versions of STELLA BLUE are especially hard to listen to, fragile tension seems MIA. just a wee bit blustery, but SAMSON & DELILAH is consistently popping, a tight platform for all to noodle around barest song-groove. following DANCING IN THE STREET, THE WHEEL makes it into 2nd set post-jam slot, though they don’t quite figure out to jam into it yet. 5 minute SCARLET BEGONIAS goes in middle of SUGAR MAGNOLIA. cute idea that could work, ragged in execution. plus, no jam.

6/17/76 passaic: and off to 3 nights in scenic passaic at the other capitol theater. much video circulating. drum mics picking up charming mickey crosstalk. “the whole band’s too fuckin’ loud,” as garcia counts off THEY LOVE EACH OTHER. weir reins in developing space jammin’ in SLIPKNOT!, though not that gracefully, audibly counting off but most miss initial cue. funked up DANCING IN THE STREET always seems about to launch free, never does. smooth & maybe-too-easy segue into SAMSON & DELILAH. nice SHIP OF FOOLS (quiet donna!), though 2nd drums continue to subtly pull quieter songs’ dynamics away from garcia.

6/18/76 passaic: dig the double drumming on cowboy songs like MAMA TRIED & BIG RIVER, locked grooves & no space for tom-tom thunder. another 13 minute 1st set CRAZY FINGERS (with relatively soft post-jam landing, even) but that’s it for open-ended improv in this show. 1st few listens suggest this could be my keeper take of MISSION IN THE RAIN, good vocal & big performance. will revisit. uneventful EYES OF THE WORLD deletes end jam (sigh), opts for DRUMZ & 1st segue into THE WHEEL (yay), unjammed (boo).

6/19/76 passaic: sweet rolling garcia/godchaux mini-jam in TENNESSEE JED. pure “electric dixieland,” as david crosby put it. 18 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND doesn’t do much. nifty outro in LET IT GROW; cool keith figures, & smooth slide into DANCING IN THE STREET. this charming mickey, cont.: “hey, weir! how about some rock & roll?! hey, phil, why don’t we do ST. STEPHEN! yeah, let’s do that!” they don’t. endless 20 minute boogie, starting with AROUND & AROUND. weir tells drummers to slow down. they aren’t pleased.

6/21/76 philadelphia: excellent SCARLET BEGONIAS with nice non-ridiculous double-drummer peak & freakishly smooth landing. keeper version of CANDYMAN, garcia soulfully yo-yo’ing around the melody, mostly controlled & awesome, sometimes less so. well-placed IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES, rare garcia ballad as second set closer. one of my favorite underused dead moves. off-mic, band using shorthand before encore. phil: “JBG?” weir: “teargas?” (?) garcia: “sugar mag?” (they do JBG.)

6/22/76 philadelphia: big nifty jam in CRAZY FINGERS, spiraling up & semi-naturally back down into a fairly devastating COMES A TIME. 22 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND gets solidly & convincingly weird for 10+ minutes, thrilling dead-brand space jazz going in & out of focus. lesh/drummers trio leads almost-smoothly into 1st great use of THE WHEEL, slow build intro & swift effective jam into PLAYING reprise. another non-languid hyperspeed 12m EYES OF THE WORLD, heavy mickey, eventually settling in (sort of) for nice jerry-isms. no EYES outro, instead sliding into DANCING IN THE STREET, with its 1st gorgeous & semi-out between-verse jam.

6/23/76 philadelphia: thought it was dead, but weir’s 1st YELLOW DOG JOKE since ’72. like much else, doesn’t quite pack its old punch. crowd now cheering for every reference to “the band” in THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, an audible shift from a general audience to a niche. a few isolated cosmic portals in ST. STEPHEN & DANCING IN THE STREET, but an earthbound evening at the tower. very early audience clapalong in NOT FADE AWAY, though heads don’t sustain it & it disintegrates quickly.

6/24/76 philadelphia: mushy audience tape. cowbell loud & clear, especially on SCARLET BEGONIAS that cuts new space just before peak. fantastic build & short soaring jam from WHARF RAT, a fine reminder of how DARK STAR is sometimes only a breath away, even post-’74. and a pretty lifeless SUGAR MAGNOLIA, a reminder of how energetic the song legitimately was on most nights.

6/26/76 chicago: what a difference a nice soundboard makes. old-style phil/jerry conversations instantly clear in 9m SUGAREE. sweet ’74ish SCARLET BEGONIAS filled with intricate curlicues & sunlight, edging on free space, mickey’s drums pleasantly contained. PEGGY-O returns, perfectly suited for the ’76 slow burn. near total crash in MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. not sure i’ve heard one that bad? faith-rejuvenating 36m PLAYING IN THE BAND > ST. STEPHEN > THE WHEEL > PLAYING with well-developed meltdown & rolling WHEEL outro. short but cool CRAZY FINGERS improv, though steam disappears during a dynamic-free STELLA BLUE.

6/27/76 chicago: 17 shows in, band, mixes & new songs (MIGHT AS WELL, slow FRIEND OF THE DEVIL) getting tighter & more relistenable. 1st exciting & spaced-out DRUMZ segment of ’76 in 17 minute LET IT GROW. big explosion back into song, almost instantly melting back to jam. satisfying oceanic swirl & smooth return in 9m SLIPKNOT. garcia takes FRANKLIN’S TOWER into quiet with long lay-outs.

6/28/76 chicago: donna now adding yeahs/woos to songs where there weren’t previously yeahs/woos, on TENNESSEE JED & EYES OF THE WORLD. SCARLET BEGONIAS finds moment of pure zone-warp in the middle, resolving into beautiful glide. ’74 delicacy paved over by hi-hat. good news: band finally finds a nice beginning-to-end DRUMZ-linked segue-flow for 2nd set. bad news: whole set is barely an hour. zippy 16m EYES OF THE WORLD wanders on pre-verse detours, outro has 1st ’76 bass/drumz weird-out, short off-mic discussion, & then debut of blissed 2-chord HAPPINESS IS DRUMMING jam, instrumental prototype for FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, from mickey’s then-new “diga” LP. garcia gets knotty in 10 minute encore NOT FADE AWAY. on audience tape, disconnected outro clapalongs, but none coalesce.

6/29/76 chicago: end of 19-show tour before return to san francisco. verdict: magic is sporadic, but far more mojo than i expected. last grateful dead MISSION IN THE RAIN, a soulful keeper. garcia kept playing it solo. best original to get dumped so quickly? why? tiny windows of jam-space opening up in CASSIDY & MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. garcia would clearly keep going, but weir brings songs back. all kinds of great slow motion pockets in ROW JIMMY & garcia even remembers most of the words. donna sounds just exquisite. satisfying full spectrum 36m PLAYING IN THE BAND > THE WHEEL > PLAYING. THE WHEEL gets deserved jam. nice drawn-out PLAYING reprise. garcia finds A+ martian loop-riff midway through NOT FADE AWAY. band builds & dramatically ties it back to song. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

7/12/76 orpheum theatre: the grateful dead’s 1st bay area show in 8.5 months, longest break since band formed. opening night of 6. long soundcheck (with video). much work on STELLA BLUE. minus audience, weir revives “form a big long line” in DANCING IN THE STREET. after a month, band is plenty crisp in places with only details changed, like donna’s BROWN EYED WOMEN vocals. i miss phil’s singin’. weir’s 1st NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES since 4/71, a song i definitely never missed, though can see how it’d be fun to play with 2 drummers. more excellent deep dives & dead jazz intimacy in SUPPLICATION. always shocking how quickly they can just drop into that zone. 10 minute 2nd set opening SUGAREE wanders, finds cool garcia nooks. weir tests out new corny blues growl in SAMSON & DELILAH & elsewhere. listened to 14m FRANKLIN’S TOWER 2x on headphones. 1st time seemed boring & sleepy; 2nd time, filled with details & mini-jams. YMMV. DRUMZ gets nicely weird & free as a prelude to THE WHEEL but the show never quite achieves space. no keepers?

7/13/76 orpheum theatre: the band must’ve read fans bitching on twitter about the lack of jamming on 7/12 cuz things escalate quickly. night 2 opens with 1st MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP since 10/74, thankfully pretty intact, though lazy river jam rolls a l’il too lazily. PEGGY-O is gorgeous & garcia does some serious singing, but mickey’s infinite marching snare subdivides it from ballad into a groove. 30 minute 1st set CRAZY FINGERS > LET IT GROW; former with unhurried cascades, latter with space DRUMZ & 2nd jam that goes even further. another odd ’76 mix, but lots of killer keith godchaux piano colors. 2nd set not as cool, though NOT FADE AWAY gets spaced again. rehearsal paid off: STELLA BLUE regains many of its dynamics & is only mildly awkward wedged btwn SUGAR MAGNOLIA & SUNSHINE DAYDREAM. encore DANCING IN THE STREET nearly hits 16 minutes, longest yet, & (while still goofy) goes out & pretty much sails away.

7/14/76 orpheum theatre: not a lot of drums in mix, but that’s cool, especially on SHIP OF FOOLS, which has nice quiet vocals up top. more good 1st set jamming in 35 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > THE WHEEL > PLAYING. not much swing but flows nicely to space & back. another speedy, cluttered, unsatisfactory 12 minute EYES OF THE WORLD, dissolving into a beautiful 60 seconds of solo garcia before WHARF RAT. 1st OTHER ONE of ’76, 8 minutes & 1st verse only. escapes triplets just before choppy bass bridge into MUSIC NEVER STOPPED.

7/16/76 orpheum theatre: gorgeous soundboard, courtesy of a recent “dave’s picks,” though still never enough of kreutzmann’s snare. monster 49 minute 2nd set sequence of PLAYING IN THE BAND > COSMIC CHARLIE / SPANISH JAM > DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > PLAYING. adventures aplenty. except that dave of the “picks” has graciously excised SAMSON & DELILAH from the middle, brilliant move from a vibe perspective. thx! restless PLAYING until lesh hits not-quite-STRONGER THAN DIRT bassline & band remembers their space jazz moves. A+ CHARLIE placement. SPANISH JAM builds slowly from unusual mid-set start-from-zero space-out, as great (or better) than any earlier take.

7/17/76 orpheum theatre: killer newish “dave’s picks.” great piano mix. MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP back to form, focused & biting. bonkers 59 minute set 2 jam: COMES A TIME > OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > OTHER ONE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, with much weirdness to spare. 16 minute COMES A TIME must be longest ever, drifting almost imperceptibly from solo to inventive improv, like falling into a dream. gnarly OTHER ONE with many corners & 10 minute old-style space-out. odd not to hear phil singing, which garcia keeps forgetting to do. big story of set is properly chill 15 minute A+ EYES OF THE WORLD that veers into odd-timed & purposeful “blues for allah”-like mini-jams. the EYES jam evolves gracefully into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, though detours nicely into a rare 2nd OTHER ONE verse before veering back. pretty sure donna isn’t onstage for set 2, leaving bobby free to do bobby, which (by the end) he does quite handily.

7/18/76 orpheum theatre: finale of 6 shows at the orpheum & last of the post-comeback small theater shows. garcia opens with another purposeful MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP. 1st LOSER since 10/74, l’il more subdued. donna takes over phil’s vocals. nice momentum-building cut from SUPPLICATION into LET IT GROW. cool post-DRUMZ jam finds new changes, dissolves, & reforms elegantly. short but deep DARK STARry jams bracket WHARF RAT, which has beautiful quiet donna vocals & some proto-TERRAPIN pomp. rest of show has crazy setlist moves & new suite combos, but not quite coherent improv magic of previous 2 nights. way fun, though. i mean, THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > ST. STEPHEN > THE WHEEL > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

8/2/76 hartford: 1st big post-hiatus east coast gig. bit flat. only an audience tape; many ugly clap-alongs. 10 minute MIGHT AS WELL 2nd set opener turns into nifty jam (!), uptempo space-boogie that suggests lots of places but just sort of ends. 55 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > WHARF RAT > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD > PLAYING IN THE BAND has a few killer moments, but lacks revelation. PLAYING takes ~12 minutes to coalesce & find its weird. WHARF RAT opens to bass solo & conversational grooving, eventually turning generic. donna-hating revisionists be damned, crowd sure seems to love her PLAYING screams & AROUND & AROUND wailing.

8/4/76 jersey city: end of summer tour & last of 6 ’72-’76 shows at roosevelt stadium. 1st set filled with slow songs & long equipment breaks. tape isn’t great. only overblown NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES seems to gel. also the beginning of the era of out-of-breath garcia, notable on chorus of LOSER, & much of why post-’75 dead remains hard for me. 30 minute HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER feels clunkier than usual, but lots of great quiet slow-motion turns in SLIPKNOT! brisk & semi-functional next-beat segues between FRANKLIN’S/DANCING IN THE STREET/THE WHEEL/SAMSON & DELILAH, mini-jams in the middle. generous 2-hour second set, but the mojo seems evaporated by time of 36 minute NOT FADE AWAY > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > SHIP OF FOOLS. change in garcia’s voice & approach on display on SHIP OF FOOLS, quiet sweetness traded for quiet soul melodrama.

9/23/76 durham: fall tour opener. i chose grotty mono PA tape over terrible audience recording. tough to dig. 1st RAMBLE ON ROSE since 10/74 & 1st with mickey hart. one of the few ’71-’74 songs not to lose something with a 2nd drummer. EL PASO makes post-hiatus return, too, with nice garciaing, but band now solidly into the sloppy rock endings phase of their career. lyric crashes for garcia in CRAZY FINGERS, which unspools into nifty winding jam (sorely needing a better mix) & oddly smooth landing. confident & brilliant full-band intricacies in SLIPKNOT! lively/awake keith godchaux piano throughout, especially on FRANKLIN’S TOWER. after finally slowing back down in july, EYES OF THE WORLD returns to harsh high-speed chug, restrained until quickly-collapsed jam. 13 minute OTHER ONE with muffled space-out drops into 1st post-hiatus MORNING DEW, rusty but glorious. great keith.

9/24/76 william & mary: vivid audience tape. big energy & lots of piano. not what i expected from ’76 dead! ugly cowbell clonk early, but tight & adventurous PLAYING IN THE BAND makes fun surprise turn into SUPPLICATION & back, one time only. laser sharp HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT! dissolves into DRUMZ & builds perfectly back into song until comically overshooting reentry. majority of the 2nd set is made up of songs debuted over the previous 2 years, increasingly a rarity, & feels more alive for it. even STELLA BLUE is brisk &, more importantly, dramatic/dynamic, great decorative color by keith throughout.

9/25/76 landover: 1st BERTHA since 10/74, less swing but huge & locked in, the sound of ’77 finding itself. nice jaunty PEGGY-O. garcia’s voice sounds better than spring/summer. adding occasional vocal asides in every show of tour so far. 1st known ALL OVER NOW (on stones’ 2nd US LP), likely sung by weir in ’65/’66, now a platform for his awful blues growl. hard pass. not much by way of out jamming, but SUGAREE, SCARLET BEGONIAS, & DANCING IN THE STREET all briefly achieve total sunshine flow. last COSMIC CHARLIE ever. awkward energy, but garcia/weir/donna jean approach a sweet sleepy vocal blend. toodle-oo, COSMIC CHARLIE. NOT FADE AWAY almost spaces but falls into DRUMZ, a bass solo, & back into ST. STEPHEN by way of oversized bass tag.

9/27/76 rochester: nice soundboard mix. sloppy double drumming feels punchy & charming instead of sludgy. ever-so-slightly brisker tempo on 1st fall THEY LOVE EACH OTHER cancels faux-reggae & restores a little bit of the ’73 bounce. now that weir is playing ALL OVER NOW, he has to play it every night. feels regressive & bland. dead don’t bring much new to it. right-on bass solo preludes full drop into 60m HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > DRUMZ > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S. SLIPKNOT! keeps going to wild places, a brilliant set centerpiece. such a bummer they stopped opening it up like this after this tour. THE OTHER ONE recovers some dizzying pre-’71 2-drummer swirl. lots of full-steam-ahead bass. almost breaks free, always snaps back. 18m FRANKLIN’S TOWER is fun but maybe runs out of ideas. succeeds wildly as dance music for twirling hippies, though.

9/28/76 syracuse: left turns, some real surprises, & even more ample keith godchaux piano. for 1st time, BERTHA seems driven by drummers instead of garcia’s rhythm guitar, which is now slightly more staccato. unsettling. likewise, languorous ’76 FRIEND OF THE DEVIL morphs into more of a spacious hippie reggae groove than a song, lots of weir & hart. breakneck LET IT GROW is fun overkill. big bass & hyper-intricate jam evaporate to mega-rare 1st set GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD. 2nd set bracketed by PLAYING IN THE BAND, punctuated by 2 excellent jams that start from near standstills, & excitement throughout. 28 minute PLAYING > THE WHEEL > SAMSON & DELILAH notable for patient improv & perfect segues, especially the gradual upshift into SAMSON. after clean SAMSON ending, band jumps back into 6m of PLAYING-like jam before stumbling half-gracefully into confident COMES A TIME. DRUMZ falls into a waaay too fast EYES OF THE WORLD, hiccuping/pausing before garcia leads way into miraculous & moody thematic jam. dick latvala named it ORANGE TANGO JAM for “dick’s picks 20.” only one, i think. like a mature post-“blues for allah” SPANISH JAM. speedy DANCING IN THE STREET ends before a standalone PLAYING REPRISE. weir even sings JOHNNY B. GOODE well. wtf?
9/30

9/30/76 columbus: flat soundboard & fuller/noisier audience tape transmogrified into nice sounding matrix mix. show-opening MUSIC NEVER STOPPED has more pronounced MIND LEFT BODY break than usual (3:52-5:00), highlighting how jam got repurposed. 15 minute CRAZY FINGERS with lovely corners that seem like they’re going to emerge into new changes, but don’t. last version ’til ’82. sad! 11 minute SCARLET BEGONIAS stays contained, as usual, though garcia gets into some big spaces & invents elegant denouement before reprise. fun to be had, but not much adventure in 40m ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > DRUMZ > WHARF RAT > NOT FADE AWAY > ST. STEPHEN. even played crisply, i’m just not into slowed-down ST. STEPHEN, though garcia pushes EYES-like prettiness en route to NOT FADE AWAY. last MORNING DEW encore. whispering final solo finds sublime jerry/keith dialogue. existential respite today/any day.

10/1/76 indianpolis: warm soundboard mix. not into the new clipped rhythmic feel on BERTHA opener, but groovy garcia vocal ad-libs. chattering cowbell prevents 11 minute SCARLET BEGONIAS from gliding into full chillness. some sweet off-mic vocalizations by donna jean. another epic SLIPKNOT! with aggressive big-eared weaving. eventually keith locks into quiet melancholic changes while garcia sketches. 1st split-open DANCING IN THE STREET goes into DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > SHIP OF FOOLS before a full stop & standalone DANCING reprise. THE WHEEL lands in more tangled garcia/lesh/godchaux conversations before dissolving perfectly into SHIP OF FOOLS.

10/2/76 cincinnati: only dead show at riverfront arena, site of ’79 Who stampede. drab audience tape leaves plenty to imagination. BROWN EYED WOMEN kept the same non-jammy form from ’71-’95, but garcia’s solo restating the melody getting more abstract post-hiatus. not much freshness, even in 13 minute LET IT GROW, though 2nd set opening MUSIC NEVER STOPPED has another cool MIND LEFT BODY break. 2nd set jam sequence is 39m DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > THE OTHER ONE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. weak bass drop into 10m THE OTHER ONE, but crowd audibly perks up at energy. donna now singing on chorus. not much happening in jam. sleepy STELLA BLUE now regularly over 10m, gorgeous piano & brief but surprising outro jam into OTHER ONE reprise. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

10/3/76 detroit: last night of 9-show eastern swing. bright soundboard with punchy bass via “30 trips” box. 1st set bounces right along, lots of ’71-’72 songs. very present lesh. drummers may’ve claimed BERTHA, but garcia still owns SUGAREE. rolling groove on SCARLET BEGONIAS swells inventively. impeccable MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, continuing to peak after MIND LEFT BODY break. 67 minute 7-song segue in 2nd set has multiple surprises but begins with 10m PLAYING IN THE BAND that dissolves to DRUMZ without doing much. left turns begin in THE WHEEL, which has 5m of high-speed excitement before 1st GOOD LOVIN’ since 10/74, only 2nd since pigpen era. weir’s GOOD LOVIN’ is my definition of a boring twirl-ready oldie, but here veers into PLAYING-like mode, driven by godchaux’s piano. graceful landing in beautifully sung COMES A TIME. 90 second spiraling guitar outro makes an easy bridge into DANCING IN THE STREET.  DANCING, too, drops into uncharacteristic dense jam with busy piano clouds, eventually a 14m NOT FADE AWAY that feels like a breather. weir segues into CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER intro, which gets cheers but no musical traction, just the ending to DANCING.

10/9/76 oakland coliseum stadium: 1st of 2 shows with the who, the dead opening on saturday, starting at 11am. SCARLET BEGONIAS is all afternoon sunshine, godchaux on rhodes, cowbell mixed pleasantly low, garcia finding new jam grottos. pleasant 1st set. magnificent 11 minute SUGAREE closer builds to ecstatic crest & slow descent into sweet quiet valley before final chorus. not always into ST. STEPHEN/NOT FADE AWAY/ST. STEPHEN, but band achieves a deep & creative choogle midway through & hits big reprise. crisp no count-off HELP ON THE WAY in THE ELEVEN’s former spot, garcia’s solo finding fresh & dramatic loopholes & pathways. SLIPKNOT packs in 5m of riveting improv action (& cool drop-down) before DRUMZ/SAMSON & DELILAH & long purposeful SLIPKNOT reprise. FRANKLIN’S TOWER hits escher-like flow, somehow always rising back into itself. 2 songs that follow seem unnecessary.

10/10/76 oakland coliseum stadium: 2nd day on the green with the who. stage set involves a phone booth? over 2 gigs, dead only repeat chuck berry’s PROMISED LAND. pete townshend supposedly shocked; who’s been playing same set for a year. 1st set capped by 15m DANCING IN THE STREET, which garcia pushes into exciting mini-jams, smoothly into WHARF RAT & back to DANCING. 52 minute sequence in 2nd set is almost paint-by-numbers, PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > PLAYING. groovy messy space-jazz textures on PLAYING, but feels reined-in by 2nd drums. 10 minute WHEEL bends into exhilarating exchanges. STELLA BLUE impressively quiet for a stadium, but getting stiffer. still unclear why mickey hart couldn’t just sit out occasionally? set’s most thrilling & coherent improv comes in 3 minutes of post-STELLA BLUE confusion before gelling into PLAYING ending.

10/14/76 shrine auditorium: 1st LA show since 7/74 & 1st at shrine since ’68. 1st set is murky audience tape. triumphant SCARLET BEGONIAS. weir & drummers peak but jam keeps going. garcia & lesh blow through & find gorgeous minute-wide vista. the MIND LEFT BODY jam has left the MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. when crisp soundboard kicks in, MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP still feels a l’il sluggish, ditto SHIP OF FOOLS, though donna nails outro part. big jam is 30 minute DANCING IN THE STREET into WHARF RAT & back, 2nd in 2 shows. more purposeful. garcia unties knots under bass chords. jam peels back to kreutzmann & garcia, who slow down together & land perfectly in WHARF RAT before huge reprise.

10/15/76 shrine auditorium: last touring show of ’76 comeback. pleasant 1st set, 2nd filled with nice surprises. vibey garcia tunes with fine singin’ & full-band punctuation, especially on dramatic LOSER & long, lazy SUGAREE that unfolds over 10 minutes. rare EYES OF THE WORLD 2nd set opener immediately jumps into 3 minute garcia/phil jam, underscoring how rare that mode has become. [great EYES all ’round, a click uptempo, spidery dialogues & short rich outro that weir upshifts smoothly into MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. 1st HE’S GONE since 10/74 (& mickey’s return) does a gospel sway into DRUMZ & then great 14m OTHER ONE filled with bliss tangents. soulful, dynamic COMES A TIME in ballad slot. ultra-lyrical & expressive garcia solo blooms unexpectedly into bright FRANKLIN’S TOWER. well-earned SUGAR MAGNOLIA (with tiny coda jam) ends with shrieks that i thought were donna ’til she started singing.

12/31/76 cow palace: 1st new year’s since ’72, a co-headline with santana, & 1st of 16 consecutive NYE gigs. soundcheck reported to be RIVER DEEP, MOUNTAIN HIGH (covered by keith & donna with garcia on 1975 LP), which woulda been something. questing 23 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND fights free, finds ample room to get lost & (i think) garcia’s 1st use of delay & mu-tron pedals. bill graham leads a very bill graham midnight countdown, impossible to count with. SUGAR MAGNOLIA to ring in ’77, palpable big energy. speedy EYES OF THE WORLD sails into beautiful interlocking jam by garcia/weir/lesh/keith before clearing into starlight of WHARF RAT. GOOD LOVIN’ sprouts 2 short bright jams like it’s still the pig era, 2nd turning into SAMSON & DELILAH (played at 37 of 41 ’76 shows). garcia & co. get down to incredible drumless quiet during SLIPKNOT. phil tries to start STRONGER THAN DIRT during DRUMZ, but no bites. for encore, 1st UNCLE JOHN’S BAND & BID YOU GOODNIGHT since 10/74. 1st UJB without phil vocals. donna sounds nice. hefty outro. garcia fully committed on great GOODNIGHT, almost possessed, while keith & drums comp along.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

#deadfreaksunite 1975

#deadfreaksunite 1975
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org, though ’75 is scattered: 4 shows & nearly 2 dozen rehearsals/fragments (many with Ned Lagin) at Bob Weir’s home studio as the band writes “Blues for Allah.” I did my best to date everything accurately, based on both LIA’s scrupulous archive post and Ned Lagin’s extensive NedBase. Other recordings are still not public, some detailed in David Browne’s excellent book So Many Roads.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

2/19/75 ace’s: few minutes of the band tentatively running fuzzed version of CRAZY FINGERS chords, figuring out rhythm.

2/27/75 ace’s: 5 short jams-in-progress, double-keys lineup dense but graceful. CRAZY FINGERS, aka DISTORTO, assured if l’il plodding. PROTO 18 PROPER is a less-ballistic 1st draft of terrapin’s AT A SIDING, bright odd gallop across between THE ELEVEN & GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD. A TO E FLAT JAM is sly but meh funk-shuffle, finding a great zone with rich expressive changes during last minute.

2/28/75 ace’s: keeper take of DISTORTO, garcia soaring over rolling groove with split-signal fuzz from 5/14 & 6/20/74 CHINA DOLL. the bounce of PROTO 18 PROPER really is a lost dead jam, a big calypso-gallop i can easily imagine in arenas. a bit phish-like, even. 11 minutes of lesh’s STRONGER THAN DIRT, satisfying & elliptical. brief convincing noodle on GIRL FROM IPENEMA. 10 minutes of proto-SHAKEDOWN STREET funk. much dead air & idle chatter. garcia & kreutzmann rap about the meters’ “pink” album (“rejuvenation”) and jam on JUNGLE MAN. listening to 45 minutes of early MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, can hear jam’s relation to the chromatic ecstasy of MIND LEFT BODY.

3/5/75 ace’s: 2 pieces of DISTORTO evolving towards CRAZY FINGERS, soon-abandoned backbeat asserting itself a bit heavily.

3/17/75 ace’s: cancelled dead practice turned 3-hour 27th birthday jam for ned lagin with lesh, garcia, kreutzmann, & david crosby. could listen to croz (on electric 12-string) lead ned & JG for days on LOW DOWN PAYMENT & HOMEWARD THRU THE HAZE. stunner 25-minute standalone jam, crozby & lagin (on piano) stacking chords, throwing changes for garcia, improvising odd turns. then, multiple (weir-less?) passes through MIND LEFT BODY as it turns into MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, perhaps misdated. 10 STRONGER THAN DIRT fragments. lots of dead air, but also cool pockets & discarded rhythmic approaches for soon-abandoned piece. perhaps missing music still? john cipollina supposedly plays, too. plus lagin pieces like MAKE A CAT LAUGH & others?

3/??/75 ace’s: dazzling 13m NINES jam (to go with THE ELEVEN/MAIN TEN/THE SEVEN?). band settles into odd time, soars past it, returns. then, 35 minutes of ebbing/flowing improv that’d be among the best of any year but sounds semi-unfocused after NINES. tasty SLIPKNOT moves. one of the long jams drops into the BLUES FOR ALLAH main riff, sounding quite spinal tap-ish, which i suppose it is. several runs through HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!, fully-formed except for vocals, including one at scary light speed, eggheady & precise. 3rd take lands in FRANKLIN’S TOWER, lyrics done. hello, HELP/SLIP/FRANK. maybe 1st ever? “stunning,” says jerry at end. yes. lastly, s’more jamming, 15 seconds of LAZY LIGHTNING, & 3 more FRANKLIN’S TOWERS. can lou reed sue them over the groove now?

3/??/75 ace’s: despite the “first day”/1/75 labeling on this recently circulating recording (with incredible sound), i’m almost positive this is a 3/75 rehearsal for the SNACK benefit, with ned lagin & mickey hart. properly, this is BLUES FOR ALLAH/STRONGER THAN DIRT/BLUES FOR ALLAH & it gets admirably weird & dense & beautiful. warning: some cowbell.

3/21/75 ace’s: rehearsal for SNACK benefit with david crosby, merl saunders, ned lagin, & (maybe?) mickey hart. joyous 15 minutes of 2 STRONGER THAN DIRT > BLUES FOR ALLAH takes, 2nd maybe better than 1st, a full articulation of ’74 EYES jams. killer 15 minute BLUES FOR ALLAH > STRONGER THAN DIRT, too, the latter’s rhythms gathering gradually from the swirl, starting with lesh. stray fragment running through unfamiliar & lovely changes, maybe by crosby?

3/23/75 kezar stadium: 1st performance since 10/20/74, as jerry garcia & friends at SNACK benefit with jefferson starship, neil young, & bob dylan. the band features ned lagin (his last stage appearance with the dead) & merl saunders on keys, mickey hart (sort of back), minus david crosby, who rehearsed for the show but couldn’t make it due to his son’s birth. octet debuts probably unnamed instrumentals from ace’s sessions, labeled now BLUES FOR ALLAH > STRONGER THAN DIRT > BLUES FOR ALLAH. ALLAH riff lumbers but flies, especially after kicking into prog-time DIRT, dense in all ways, but incredibly graceful. DRUMZ is ever thus. return trip from DIRT is even fiercer, rich B3 by merl, darting rhodes by ned, buzzing bass, & elegant (not-yet-worded) ALLAH reprise. then, because weir, JOHNNY B. GOODE. in short: free-form jazz exploration in front of a festival crowd. in my top 10?

3/26/75 ace’s: musically unsatisfying but quality shit-shooting throughout. especially giggly digressions on pop melodies near start. unusual surf-grunge riff tangent slides into angular country-funk glide. some runs through 7/4 fragments that will be LAZY LIGHTNING. highlight is 15m of band listening to playback of hot SLIPKNOT. like chatty audience tape, except it’s jerry & co..

4/2/75 ace’s: a slog in places. generic jams & unresolved fragments, including MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, LAZY LIGHTNING, A TO E FLAT. back to 1 drummer after 3/23 show with mickey hart. especially notable on speedy/graceful HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT! instrumental. neat hearing the band stack the CRAZY FINGERS intro arrangement & piece together song. brief vocals only on 6th pass.

4/17/75 ace’s: the dead minus jerry, plus ned & croz; LOW DOWN PAYMENT & “allah” jams. jerry-less 1975 dead is odd, accidentally anticipating #GD50, etc., & not bad, but leadless song segments aren’t terribly compelling. short “jams” 3/16/17/31/32 are likely lagin’s RUNNING HOME, NO NAME, & A LOST SOUL, UNTITLED. unsure which is which.

4/29/75 ace’s: SWING WARMUP, 2 minutes of brief 2 keys/1 drummer dead in default mode. MUSIC NEVER STOPPED now done minus lyrics.

5/7/75 ace’s: 1 take of HOLLYWOOD CANTATA, MUSIC NEVER STOPPED with alternate LA-centric lyrics. “i don’t like them words,” weir says. 2 versions of STRONGER THAN DIRT (& more) with ned lagin & david crosby.

6/3/75 ace’s: instrumental CRAZY FINGERS has over-pronounced reggae bounce. band stretches odd STRONGER THAN DIRT groove pretty far. standalone 30-minute jam stays mellow & flowing (nice godchaux, man), shifting to darker & more tentative space near end.

6/5/75 ace’s: jerry seems bummed about molasses slow takes of FRANKLIN’S TOWER, “it just seems too busy, i’m not sure why.”

6/6/75 dominican college: ned lagin & phil lesh with jerry garcia, david crosby, & mickey hart. a stereophonic avant-dead holy grail. echoed drums & spun-out biomusic conversations have ned lagin processing garcia & croz. better than official seastones LP. 60 minute set is just delightfully disorienting at high volumes, especially the high-pitched cat communications on track #9.

6/7/75 ace’s: maybe the 1st HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER. great spaces in all 3 & especially in 2nd standalone HELP. ace dixieland-disco by keith on not-yet-cheesy LAZY LIGHTNING jam. last A TO E FLAT JAM, not flying yet & never will.

6/17/75 winterland: 2 sets at the bob fried memorial boogie, as jerry garcia & friends, 2nd of 4 ’75 dead gigs. spontaneously (ned lagin leaves & mickey hart arrives at last minute), it is 1st show by 6-man/donna lineup that will hold ’til ’79. CRAZY FINGERS debut opens, sweet & confident with watery godchaux rhodes & small jam. 1st gig in 8 months with, like, actual songs. weir offers almost only covers, confirming band as the same ol’ grateful dead. to be fair, it *is* a boogie, especially with return of hart. lovely PEGGY-O, but the big beat era hath come. hart’s not even especially offensive, but band’s quiet mode is audibly busied. 1st onstage HELP ON THE WAY (instrumental)/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER closes 1st set. loose but magnificent, still sorting out ending. BLUES FOR ALLAH/STRONGER THAN DIRT/BLUES FOR ALLAH hits classic dead jam space, a fine set piece, though last time played as such. then SUGAR MAGNOLIA, high-pitched shrieking (by deadheads/weir), & US BLUES. greensleeves on PA & back to the studio.

8/12/75 great american music hall: 2 songs circulate from long soundcheck day before “blues for allah” release party, neither from LP. only take of keith & brian godchaux’s SHOWBOAT, on “keith & donna”. on-brand dixieland bounce, fun & burbling if just a little lite. 1st THAT’LL BE THE DAY since ’69, slow & garcia band-like, perhaps inspired by mickey hart’s box of mic’d crickets.

8/13/75 great american music hall: single most polished grateful dead show ever(?) & maybe my fave. nearly everything is a highlight. band drops in one-by-one behind bill graham as he introduces the musicians, landing perfectly in the 1st HELP ON THE WAY with vocals. jam opens quickly into brief beautiful flight before dazzling SLIPKNOT!, double drummers in full effect, every voice finding a place. vocals fantastic throughout, though the official mix helps. FRANKLIN’S TOWER (& beyond) filled with concise expressive garcia solos. debut of weir/barlow’s MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, cool falsetto harmonies by garcia & donna, who gets her 1st solo vocal in a GD original. so sad, so slow, so sweet IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES with an especially perfect garcia vocal (ditto the SUGAREE in the 2nd set). bass solos to bookend soaring EYES OF THE WORLD, 1st minus the 7/8 ending but (for now) with lesh’s STRONGER THAN DIRT prog fantasia. the only thing i really skip on this show: weir’s molasses slow AROUND & AROUND. not wild ’bout the DRUMZ jamz, but they’re short. the only CRAZY FINGERS i’ve ever needed, the hippie-reggae transmogrifying into a magical california zen float. it just always works. extraordinarily compact 5:33 OTHER ONE, no vocals, but full-flight improv spiraling from high-speed burn to a moody denouement. the debut of weir’s lovely instrumental SAGE & SPIRIT, released on “blues for allah,” but only played once more, in 1980. only full BLUES FOR ALLAH, mickey hart’s crickets chirping. “under eternity blue” coda is an ethereal end to era. [i wrote a long essay about this show.]

9/28/75 lindley meadow: 4th of 4 ’75 performances & final free show in golden gate (or any) park besides 1991 bill graham memorial. 6 weeks since last gig, but sounds like longer. very different vibe, or maybe it’s just garcia’s new guitar. 1st show of late ’70s. band isn’t playing every day anymore & everything is looser but also softer/mellower. omnipresent bed of rhodes by keith godchaux. or last show of the ’60s? doctor needed because woman is having baby backstage. or maybe by soundboard. band can’t quite figure out. phil gettin’ surly about the correct pronunciation of TRUCKIN’, last ’til 9/77. bigger cheer for “cocaine” than “long strange trip.” TRUCKIN’ has only real improv of 2-hour/2-set show. big bass dashes, loud cymbal chatter via hart, & nice dense jam in 11 (i think). aaaaaaaand DRUMZ. sadder: last real version of lesh’s STRONGER THAN DIRT, the dead’s headiest/dorkiest/proggiest instrumental. mickey hart leads the way into NOT FADE AWAY, the boogie portion of the set, & the rest of the ’70s.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

alternate routes, episode 03

Alternate Routes
with Jesse Jarnow

1. Gunn/Truscinski Duo – “Sugar”
from Live at WFMU on Surface Noise with Joe McGasko, April 16, 2018 (Free Music Archive)

2. John Andrews & the Yawns – “Double-Sided Coin”
from Freedom of the Press benefit compilation (Kith & Kin)

(mic break)

3. Jeremy Barnes – “Rain Flows Down Like a River”
from Summer ’16 (L-M Duplication)

4. Drunken Foreigner Band – “Akha 1”
from White Guy Disease (Electric Cowbell)

(mic break)

5. Garcia Peoples – “One Step Behind > Hangin’ On”
NYCTaper recording made at Wonders of Nature, Brooklyn, NY, June 10, 2018

all tracks posted with permission of artists/labels

alternate routes, episode 02

Alternate Routes
with Jesse Jarnow

1. Oneida (with Lee Ranaldo & James McNew) – “Cedars”
from Live at Secret Project Robot (Safety Meeting)

2. Secret Drum Band – “DaDaDa”
from Dynamics (XRAY)

(mic break)

3. Mary Lattimore – “Let’s Talk About Your Dead Friends”
from Live at WFMU on Surface Noise With Joe McGasko, October 7, 2016 (Free Music Archive)

4. Ned Lagin – “Sun Cats”
from Cat Dreams (self-released)

(mic break)

5. Elkhorn – “Lion”
from Lionfish (Eiderdown Sounds)

all tracks posted with permission of artists/labels

alternate routes, episode 01

Alternate Routes
with Jesse Jarnow

1. Thor and Friends – “Carpet Creeps”
from The Subversive Nature of Kindness (L-M Duplication)

2. The Ex – “Soon All Cities”
from 27 Passports (The Ex)

(mic break)

3. One Eleven Heavy – “Species Blues”
from Everything’s Better (Kith & Kin)
exclusive, to be released in September

4. Man Forever – “You Were Never Here”
live release recorded at Cafe Oto, London, UK, May 22, 2017

5. Sunwatchers – “Nose Beers”
NYCTaper recording made at Union Pool, Brooklyn, NY, June 24, 2017

(mic break)

6. Alexander – “iv”
recorded reel-to-reel (& released) by Southern Jukebox, Minneapolis, MN, August 15, 2017

all tracks posted with permission of artists/labels

#deadfreaksunite 1967

#deadfreaksunite 1967
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org, though ’67 is a bit messy. For the clearest guide through 1967, consult LIA’s post, which includes a half-dozen or so 30-60 second or so audio fragments heard in the background of contemporary film footage, which I did not annotate unless it was historically interesting.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

1/14/67 polo field: the human be-in! 30m of the dead in front of ~20,000 people in golden gate park. free acid, love, turkey, etc.. swooshy soundboard, opening midway through VIOLA LEE BLUES. mix is a total mess, but double-speed jam craziness plays big. GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL dominated by charles lloyd, adding skittering flute & some vocals. mixed bag, but 1st interesting guest. (the MORNING DEW commonly affixed to be-in tapes is likely from 1968.)

3/18/67 winterland: 90m from 2 sets, before & after chuck berry. week of dead’s debut LP release & 1st tape since LA album sessions. so few tapes from ’67, hard to know if they’re representative. opens with last speedy early version of ME & MY UNCLE, gone until 4/69. the real earliest MORNING DEW, similar to album take from january. inside guitar solo & emphatic young garcia shouting outro. “NO!” set 2 opens with 2m THE GOLDEN ROAD, written at label’s behest. 1st of 2 known live versions. more jerry shouting. joyous & garagey. last THE SAME THING save 12/31/71 (& weir’s ’90s revival). 12m with great jam that patiently moves beyond blues.

4/8/67 KPIX: one of several dead appearances on local TV, the only one with an actual live performance. ralph gleason interviews the band & mainly a giggly garcia. final surviving CREAM PUFF WAR, rare song with words/music by garcia & 1st original with modal jam. 2 minutes of non-modal fun here. WALKIN’ BLUES mash-up alternates between the dead’s arrangement & quicksilver’s & is the only known pigpen version. slinky snare.

4/9/67 the panhandle: tiny barely audible fragments in the background of film footage contain a few seconds of garcia singing a blues song i can’t identify & an even short blip of the band (maybe) playing GLORIA.

6/18/67 monterey pop: on after the who smashed gear & before hendrix burned his, dead bummed with their set. 14m VIOLA LEE BLUES opener swings easily into double-time & frenzy beyond with kreutzmann snare flourishes & melting garcia guitar. phil lesh vs. MC peter tork, condensed – tork: “the beatles aren’t here! don’t gatecrash!” lesh: “the beatles would want you to!” bad & still unidentified guest harmonica honking all over other 3 songs. funny how this & woodstock both feature mysterious randos. 1st recorded ALLIGATOR > CAUTION & earliest ALLIGATOR, too. 1st lyrics by robert hunter but pig’s mic ain’t on. already a gnarly jam. 1st taped CAUTION since 5/66 & much more developed. short pig rap & then busy high-speed action with great dialogues near the end. bill graham handles outro MC duties. perhaps the dead scared off (the at least semi-dosed) peter tork.

7/23/67 straight theater: long-delayed opening of only venue in the haight & sole surviving tape of beat legend & merry prankste neal cassady with the dead. long circulating as a puzzling fragment on semi-bootleg flexidisc by ex-lesh roommate (& courtney l0ve’s father) hank harrison. it makes much more sense when heard unedited. on the full 16m version, garcia introduces cassady & he speed-raps as band starts into TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, though pig’s mic isn’t working. the sound is murky, as if the recording is only from cassady’s microphone & the band is just in the background bleeding into it. not cassady’s best, but charming asides/flows/punchlines (“i knew i should have worn more paisley”), dead ends, occasional vocalizing. jam disintegrates with gear issues, but emerges into proto-DARK STAR space as cassady babbles. hard to tell exactly what’s going on. eventually, band gets it going & land in earliest taped LOVELIGHT, presumably with more neal, but fades after 1m.

8/4/67 toronto: bill graham presents the san francisco sound. opens with fragment of last OVERSEAS STOMP, electrified jugband doofery. 1st known NEW POTATO CABOOSE. music: lesh, lyrics: bobby petersen, vocal: weir. most ambitious & psychedelic original yet. deep jerry. 20m VIOLA LEE BLUES hits dazzling froth before last verse. feedback & MERRY-GO-ROUND BROKE DOWN cartoon sign-off.

8/5/67 toronto: last of 6 days/nights with jefferson airplane & luke & the apostles, presented by bill graham. only 19m, but great. 1st fully taped TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, just over 7m. pigpen still tentative in beginning/end raps, but wild jerry shred in between. 1st complete ALLIGATOR is fire, garcia solo subtly shifting to full band deep zone & silly vocal freak-out end.

9/3/67 rio nido: labor day dead, gigging/woodshedding at a resort by the russian river. essential. the classic early quintet dead tape. primal thrills, full tilt boogie, blissed improv, & 1st taped 20+ minute jams. 32m MIDNIGHT HOUR opener, at big weave from 1st jam. patience, left turns, volume swells, cool pockets, jerry sparkles, more pig raps. DANCING IN THE STREET jam melts instantly into long, slow garcia ideas, pulling on bright colored threads, proto-DARK STAR flows. 23m VIOLA LEE BLUES centerpiece is glorious, my favorite early dead jam, deep & conversational. pigpen right there, too, throughout. 15m surprise-filled ALLIGATOR is swinging/swaggering, weir high in mix & playing great, even some lead figures. feedback/organ coda. also, robert hunter’s 1st dead show (or maybe since 5/65) & 1st time hearing band sing his lyrics, on ALLIGATOR.

9/4/67 rio nido: 6m from end of CAUTION. quizzical fuzzed-out jerry at edges of early space jazz. organ coda & feedback dissolve. phil: “well, we’ve been turned off again. it’s now 1-o-clock, folks. now the only thing to do is go home & screw.”

9/15/67 hollywood bowl: 1st circulating audience tape & pretty cruddy. bill graham presents, with the airplane. big brother cancels. decent 15m VIOLA LEE BLUES opener is a hungry band showing off chops. molten moments, but audio quality makes it hard to dig, dig? garcia seems to tease donavan’s 1-month-old THERE IS A MOUNTAIN ~8:10 in ALLIGATOR, predating the allman brothers by a few years. 1st recorded ALLIGATOR > CAUTION is hearty 29 minutes. with noise dissolve. already-bad tape gets worse during jam, like the taper is walking around? goofy drums/vocals vaudeville tag after a feedback session feels very cartoony or, er, phish-y.

9/29/67 straight theater: formerly known as “5/5/67 fillmore” but more likely from the night before mickey hart 1st played with band. shows billed as dance class to get around restrictions. phil: “i just saw a narc down in the audience… if you see one step on him.” 1st taped HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE since previous july, properly mark spoelstra’s JUST A HAND TO HOLD, harmonies & jangle channel warlocks. spidery jerry. choice stoned call/response. weir: “say DOPE!” (crowd: “DOPE!”) weir: “say PRIMATE!” (garcia: “say whaaat?”) weir: “say WHAT!” last recorded GOLDEN ROAD (of 2), unchanged at a boisterous 132 seconds. can see how this didn’t fit into their plans, but pure joy. GOLDEN ROAD also serves as cool drop into deep 10m NEW POTATO CABOOSE, picking up swing & weird-jazz swagger around odd turns. can hear the space for 2 drummers in ALLIGATOR especially, already a pretty snarling jam. cool organ moves by pigpen. (tape re-dated from weir’s NEW POTATO dedication, likely to KMPX DJ chandler laughlin, released from jail in 9/67.)

10/22/67 winterland: crispy warts-&-all soundboard. last document of the dead as a quintet before mickey hart joins as 2nd drummer. legend has hart joining immediately after 1st jamming on 9/30, photos/audio suggest otherwise. definitely only 1 drummer here. except NEW POTATO CABOOSE, glittering psychedelia, all 7 songs will be in repertoire when they return to quintet lineup in 4 years. MORNING DEW opener remains high octane, purposeful but speedy garcia solo. HURTS ME TOO is warlocks quintet at intimate best. major: 1st recorded THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE suite. specifically, 15m CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT/THE OTHER ONE/CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT. blazing 3m of jerry jams before OTHER ONE vocals, both verses 1st drafts. “when i woke up this morning, my head was not intact…” but the real fire comes on CRYPTICAL reprise, 8m of garcia building methodically in curling psychedelic monologue.

10/31/67 winterland: formerly “1/27/67,” new dating speculative, math below. but: 1st tape with 2 drummers. ugly audience recording. brief organ jam in 22m VIOLA LEE BLUES before garcia takes over, though lots of cool B3 as jam spirals. good stuff hidden in murk. 37m ALLIGATOR/CAUTION is huge & chaotic. jerry-fired jams & 2-drummer propulsion, cowbell/2nd snare providing constant movement. ALLIGATOR’s structure hints at date: 2 drummers (putting it post-9/29) but no early drum break (pre-11/10). not many candidates. detonation of (presumably) onstage cannon around 9:30 in CAUTION suggests the arrival of mickey hart into the grateful dead. alt. theory #1: based on 2 misdated songs (both AUD versions of hart-less 10/22), maybe just 2nd set of that, with mickey joining in. and yet the 2 recordings feature different versions of COLD RAIN & SNOW (“1/27” has a count-off), suggesting different shows. alt. theory #2: after joining the dead, mickey didn’t immediately play on every single show & this is 10/14 in santa clara. furthurmore, @corry342 doesn’t think the 10/31/67 show actually happened, which narrows it to 10/14. alt. theory #3: actually mickey’s 1st show. he claimed there was a “2-hour” ALLIGATOR/CAUTION, but drugs.

11/xx/67 unknown venue/studio: a multi-track recording, either of a studio jam or a live show, the earliest good-sounding tape with 2 drummers. LIA speculates that it’s live based on ambience & the echo of the vocals & i’m mostly inclined to agree, though i could also hear this as a live-in-studio rehearsal to hear what they sound like with mickey. early THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE (with no weir vocals). dating comes (via LIA) via the placement of 1st drum break in 20-minute ALLIGATOR/CAUTION. nicely conversational, including the barest earliest hints of garcia playing with the BID YOU GOOD NIGHT melody as the band hits the choogle eternal, followed by a well-executed dissolve into feedback.

11/10/67 shrine expo hall: the dead in LA, between buffalo springfield & blue cheer. 1st big tape of new era with mickey hart as 2nd drummer & fullest realization of their psychedelia yet. 16m VIOLA LEE BLUES opener soars into all-soloing frenzy, neat organ leads. band swings even harder as they pull back into tune. enjoying mickey on songs proper. 2nd snare is manic on BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, but somehow carves new spaciousness on pigpen blues. great instrumental separation underscores MORNING DEW’s conversational arrangement, jerry/bob/phil weaving around each other. charming chatter after weir busts a string. later, before ALLIGATOR, pigpen coos (sort of) at baby sunshine kesey, gurgling nearby. drummers don’t hit the churning triplets yet on 11m OTHER ONE suite, but nifty snare dialogues on CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro. 1st appearance of “cowboy neal” verse in THE OTHER ONE, 5 months before cassady’s death, when weir usually places its writing. 36m ALLIGATOR/CAUTION subdivides from blues shred to flickering jeweled jerry/phil duo jams (& back). nice dissolve.

11/11/67 shrine expo hall: 1st 2-drummer TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opens. no weird rhythmic pockets yet, but new propulsion is evident. forgot to mention yesterday: mickey’s adding nice sparing glockenspiel to NEW POTATO CABOOSE, making it officially sound like 1967. the overly ambitious structures/harmonies are all too obvious, but NEW POTATO’s jazz moves make for the most mature jamming yet. ‘cuz it’s ’67 there’s are labeling mysteries. i think this is the real 11/11 ALLIGATOR/CAUTION. new ALLIGATOR twist (on 11/10, too): post-verse breakdown to cowbell/guiro/drumz/garcia. jambandy af but fierce.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2017, night #8 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
19 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 8)*

comedian: Jon Glaser (as Beer Joe)
opening act: Sun Ra Arkestra
mix CD: Derrick Carter

members of the Sun Ra Arkestra enter during “I Feel Like Going Home” outro and stay through rest of set: Michael Ray, Knoel Scott, Vincent Chancey, Danny Ray Thompson, Dave Davis

Big Day Coming (quiet)
Five-Cornered Drone (Crispy Duck)
Today Is The Day (fast)
Upside Down
Is That Enough
The Weakest Part
I’ll Be Around
I Feel Like Going Home
Dreaming (Sun Ra)
Sudden Organ
Emulsified (electric) (Rex Garvin & the Might Cravers)
Clumsy Grandmother Serves Delicious Desert By Mistake >
And the Glitter Is Gone >
Nuclear War (Sun Ra)

*(encore)*
Rock and Roll Santa (Jan Terri)
More Stars Than There Are In Heaven
My Little Corner of the World (Bob Hilliard & Lee Pockriss) (with Marilyn Kaplan on vocals)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

(Hey ho ho ho, you might also dig my book: Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock.)

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2017, night #7 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
18 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 7)*

comedians: Josh Gondelman, Chris Gethard
opening act: 75 Dollar Bill
mix CD: Georgia

whole show with Fred Armisen on drums.

Here To Fall
Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House
Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)
Satellite
Let’s Compromise (Information) (with Rick Brown on drums/vocals & Che Chen on guitar of 75 Dollar Bill)
The Ballad of Red Buckets (with RB & CC)
Barnaby, Hardly Working (with RB & CC)
Nowhere Near
Wonderful Again (Hypnolovewheel) (with Stephen Hunking of the XL Kings on guitar/vocals)
Autumn Sweater
The Story of Jazz >
Nothing To Hide
Heroin (Velvet Underground) (Roky Erickson arrangement) (with Tara Key of Antietam on guitar)

*(encore)*
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (Van Halen) (Minutemen arrangement)
Walk Away Renee (The Left Banke)
Ghost Rider (Suicide) (with Michael Shannon on vocals)
Griselda (Antonia/Peter Stampfel)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

(Hey ho ho ho, you might also dig my book: Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock.)

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2017, night #6 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
17 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 6)*

comedian: Eugene Mirman
opening act: Tweedy
mix CD: James

whole show with Jeff Tweedy on guitar/vocals/bass and Spencer Tweedy on drums.

Eight Days A Week (The Beatles)
Little Eyes
The Point Of It
Season of the Shark
Mr. Tough
Did I Tell You
If I Ever Was A Child (Wilco) (JT on vocals)
When It’s Dark
My Heart’s Not In It (Russ Titelman/Gerry Goffin)
My Back Pages (Bob Dylan) (JT on vocals)
I Should Have Known Better
Drug Test (minus JT & ST)
Mushroom Cloud of Hiss (minus JT & ST)

*(encore)*
I’m A Believer (Neil Diamond) (minus JT & ST)
Jeepster (T-Rex) (with Todd Barry on drums)
Just What I Needed (The Cars)
Take Care (Alex Chilton)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

(Hey ho ho ho, you might also dig my book: Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock.)

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2017, night #5 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
16 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 5)*

comedian: Aparna Nancherla
opening act: Superchunk
mix CD: Antietam

whole set with Amy Garapic on vibraphone/drums and Mac McCaughan on keyboard/guitar/drums/vocals.

Our Way to Fall
My Heart’s Reflection
Stockholm Syndrome
Tears Are In Your Eyes
Damage
The Summer
Oh No Not My Baby (Carole King/Gerry Goffin) (MM on vocals)
False Alarm >
Styles of the Times
Deeper Into Movies
Double Dare
Blue Line Swinger (minus MM)

*(encore)*
Paul Is Dead
I Can’t Make It On Time (The Ramones) (with Jon Wurster as Marky Ramone)
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (The Ramones) (with JW/MR)
Detouring America With Horns (acoustic)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

(Possibly, you might also dig my book: Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock.)

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2017, night #4 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
15 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 4)*

comedian: John Hodgman
opening act: Half Japanese
mix CD: John McEntire

Cherry Chapstick
Beanbag Chair
Shades of Blue (debut)
Black Flowers
Don’t Have To Be So Sad
Attack on Love (with Jad Fair on guitar)
Circus Strongman Runs For PTA President (with JF on vocals)
Principal Punishes Students With Bad Impressions and Tired Jokes (with JF on vocals)
Velvet Monkey Theme Song (Velvet Monkeys) (with Don Fleming on guitar/vocals and Jay Spiegel on floor tom/snare)
Run Run Run (Velvet Underground) (with DF & JS)
Decora
Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind

*(encore)*
with Marshall Crenshaw on guitar/vocals
You’re My Favorite Waste of Time (Marshall Crenshaw)
Take Me For What I’m Worth (P.F. Sloan)
A Must To Avoid (P.F. Sloan/Steve Barri)
Don’t Dream It’s Over (Neil Finn)
Whenever You’re On My Mind (Marshall Crenshaw)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

(Like, wow, you might also dig my book: Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock.)

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2017, night #3 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
14 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 3)*

comedians: Jon Benjamin & Jon Glaser as the Brothers Italiano
opening act: The Sadies
mix CD: Ira

Sugarcube
Seven Day Weekend (Doc Pomus) (sung as “Eight Day Weekend”)
Awhileaway
Song For Mahlia
Ashes (debut)
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams) (with SQÜRL: Jim Jarmusch on guitar/vocals & Carter Logan on electronics)
Two Trains (with JJ & CL)
Shaker (with JJ & CL)
Out the Window > (with JJ & CL)
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry > (Hank Williams) (drone version) (with JJ & CL)
Ohm (with JJ & CL)
Little Honda (The Hondells) (with JJ & CL)

*(encore)*
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Bob Dylan) (with Travis & Dallas Good of the Sadies on guitars/vocals)
A House is Not A Motel (Love) (with TG & DG)
Tom Courtenay (Georgia version)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

(Hey, you might also dig my book: Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock.)

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2017, night #2 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
13 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 2)*

comedian: Neil Hamburger
opening act: Los Straitjackets
mix CD: Dave the Spazz

whole set (after 1st 3 songs) with Mary Lattimore on concert harp.

The Evil That Men Do (Craig’s Version)
Run Run Run (Velvet Underground) (surf instrumental version) (with Los Straitjackets)
For You Too (debut)
Green Arrow
Today Is The Day
Gentle Hour (Snapper)
Pablo and Andrea
The Sea Horse
Stupid Things
Big Day Coming (fast)
We’re An American Band
The Story of Yo La Tango

*(encore)*
with John Doe of X on vocals/guitar/bass
The New World (X)
My Darling, Blue Skies (John Doe)
Pressing On (Bob Dylan)
Let’s Get Rid of New York (The Randoms)
Adult Books (X)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

(Hey, you might also dig my book: Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock.)

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2017, night #1 setlist

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
12 December 2017
*(Hanukkah, night 1)*

Todd Barry, Bob Odenkirk, and Miriam & Nobody’s Babies opened
mix disc by Mike Watt
benefit for New York Stem Cell Foundation & the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

whole set with Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Zeena Parkins (harp), entering during “Before We Run” outro jam.

Back in the New York Groove (KISS) (sung “Back With the New York Jews”)
Before We Run >
Everyday
From A Motel 6
Walking Away From You
Last Days of Disco
Saturday
The Kid With the Replaceable Head (Richard Hell)
Moby Octopad
Artificial Heart
Tom Courtenay
I Heard You Looking

*(encore)*
So Easy Baby (The Zantees) (with Miriam Linna on percussion/vocals & Bruce Bennett on guitar/vocals)
Cruel To Be Kind (Nick Lowe) (with Nick Lowe on guitar/vocals)
Baby, It’s You (Burt Bacharach/Luther Dixon/Mack David) (with NL)
Here Comes the Night (Bert Berns) (with NL)
Shake That Rat (Nick Lowe) (NL on bass)
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding? (Nick Lowe) (with NL)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

(Hey, you might also dig my book: Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo & the Rise of Indie Rock.)

#deadfreaksunite 1966

#deadfreaksunite 1966
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org, though ’66 is kinda messy. Consult LIA’s post before doing any heavy listening.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

1/8/66 fillmore auditorium: the fillmore acid test! the earliest known grateful dead live recording & utter psychedelic comedy gold. fade in on chaos. phil sings along with tuning. pigpen to babbs: “HEY MAN STOP YOUR BABBLING & FIX THESE MICROPHONES. WE NEED POWER.” earliest versions of all songs except for dense CAUTION. not terribly far out, but garcia’s early blues-noodle turns spiky & menacing. dig garcia’s grease on leiber/stoller’s HOG FOR YOU BABY, b-side to current #9 primitives hit. babbs interrupts. but not sure i ever quite bought garcia doing DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, which feels a bit rinky-dink with pigpen’s farfisa. 27 minutes in, the cops arrive & shut down the acid test, resulting in LOL-packed 4:27 of LSD-abetted confusion. an all-time favorite. babbs (?) moves sound-source between mics & narrates in real-time, cops make announcements, sirens wail, weir raps, somebody moans & OMs. phil conducts band in national anthem, dude screams “fuck you,” garcia stays chill while his face melts, tape cuts.

1/??/66 “acid test #3”: a chaotic soundcheck of some sort. occasional yelling, merry pranksters, & bass jams that almost coalesce. most charming part is bright-eyed bushy-tailed band chatter. phil: “i’m tired of playing in warehouses” & jerry playing the optimist. weir, spacily: “i’d like to play in the grand canyon.” phil (?): “well, as long as it’s with you guys, i don’t care…”

1/??/66 berkeley: VIOLA LEE BLUES rehearsal, probably the 1st owsley tape. garcia is clearly the leader, phil is clearly the asshole. pigpen can’t figure out vocal or harmonica part. cool at first, eventually he leaves drunk, hounded by phil. nobody goes after him. owsley, i think, sings verses on track 19. then, cool 15m VIOLA LEE jam on early arrangement, 1st big improv on tape.

1/??/66 berkeley: fuller VIOLA LEE BLUES rehearsal tape at owsley’s pad, with 2 early slower takes of phil’s awkward CARDBOARD COWBOY. drumless/keyless CARDBOARD COWBOY practice is more interesting/graceful than the 3 surviving live recordings. awkward even by phil standards, drumless vocal practice gives me new pop appreciation for the song.

1/28/66 the matrix (maybe): 14m of early dead from a badly dated owsley reel. earliest known versions of all songs. good banter. only the ending of YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK/OTIS ON A SHAKEDOWN CRUISE: last of 3 always-shifting verses, short solo, & 1st weir shouts. band returns for a late set after the loading zone plays. shaky VIOLA LEE BLUES has alternate swing-blues jam, not yet modal/crazy. management clearly wants the dead off the stage. “let ’em throw us out,” phil says as band plow into speedy I KNOW YOU RIDER. so the plug gets pulled 40 seconds into MIDNIGHT HOUR. band sounds completely used to it & mostly amused. garcia: “shut us off again.” lesh: “g’night ladies & gentleman & you too, you pricks.” last SF gig before dead, owsley, & pranksters move to LA.

2/5 or 6/66 los angeles: likely a fragment of band’s 1st show after moving to LA, but (based on crowd) not the northridge acid test. 1st known TASTEBUD, generic blues & generic blues lyrics by pigpen & 1st live MINDBENDER, doofy but crisp nuggets-style garage-psych. 1st known BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, a jug band holdover. spiraling guitar intro, spiky solo, early backing vocals, & heavier backbeat. if anyone has the 2 missing tunes or another theory on the date, hmu. more on ’66 mysteries.

2/13/66 (maybe) youth opportunities center: 15 or so minutes of watts acid test. begins with bob weir tripping & testing out microphones. on a distant mic, girl starts flipping the fuck out, screaming “WHO CARES?” etc., & pigpen sings/talks her down, occasional drum hits. a capella pigpen/drum duet. bob weir: “some day ron will take acid.” pig tells weir to get something going, but weir’s face seems to be melting too hard. nonetheless, billy/pigpen only version of NEW ORLEANS, with weir joining on vocals, someone else honking harmonica, the only “dead” version until 1970. phil joins but also seems to be melting. 7 minutes worth of the sole dead take of TWIST & SHOUT, sung by pig, not the beatles arrangement, with (presumably) tripping guest harmonica player. if garcia’s face is melting, it’s not impeding his shredding. then the song falls apart. no applause, just residual acid test noise. phil: “our drummer flashed, we’ll be back later.” can hear the tape being played back elsewhere in the room.

2/66 pink house: earliest tape of garcia doing HI-HEELED SNEAKERS, played occasionally with the dead & turning up in garcia/saunders setlists ’72-’74. more work on VIOLA LEE BLUES. weir gets yelled at for starting it too fast, actually the tempo they’d end up playing it at. plus, it speeds up. getting closer to the multi-jam structure, with some nifty dancing garcia guitar parts. “popssssicle break” someone announces. end tape.

2 or 3/xx/66 pink house (maybe): wow! mystery ’66 tape: phil & jerry demo a gorgeous folky & previously unknown dead original with cool harmonies. “wandering man“?

2 or 3/xx/66 pink house rehearsal (maybe): a few high fidelity slices via the “rare cuts & oddities” CD (& a few others on the hell’s honkies’ comp “san franciscan nights”). only early dead version of rufus thomas’s WALKING THE DOG, sung by weir, showing up again in 1970, good bee-sting garcia leads. likewise, only early dead version of chuck berry’s PROMISED LAND with garcia on vocals, becoming a staples with weir singing in ’71. adore this alternative universe. pig’s 1st real original, YOU SEE A BROKEN HEART, fun response vocals by jerry. 1st taped version of BIG BOSS MAN, weir’s rhythm guitar sounding present & cool & vaguely like a normal human guitarist. BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE still has the jerry guitar intro, but the earliest backing vocals have morphed into the more familiar arrangement. earliest taped dylan cover, IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE, & garcia’s version of ONE KIND FAVOR.

2 or 3/xx/66 pink house: moar “rare cuts & oddities.” an early version of NOT FADE AWAY, a lot closer to the stones version during the verses (with teenage weir clearly doing his best jagger) & a rolling CAUTION-like groove elsewhere, kinda awkward & falling apart, with alternate lyrics about how “i’m gonna be your candyman” that were maybe written by weir (?), not turning up again on a dead tape until 1969.

2 or 3/66 unknown venue: from “rare cuts & oddities,” the only early dead version of BIG RAILROAD BLUES, pig doubling garcia’s lead vocal on harmonica, done with a jug band bounce that would disappear when revived in ’70. doesn’t totally work, but i’m still charmed by pig singing fats domino’s SICK & TIRED. the only taped version of the very early stones’ original EMPTY HEART, sung by pig & doubled by jerry in places, another example of the forgotten early jerry/pig tandem, cool jagged garcia rhythms under 1st harmonica solo, playing co-lead under 2nd.

2 or 3/66 pink house: a 5 minute early example of the earliest SPACE jam, mostly just garcia & weir. doesn’t sound too different from the 2-guitar SPACE jams of the ‘70s/‘80s/‘90s. then a tape jump into the beginning of some blues song they’re rehearsing with vocal parts, but which i can’t identify.

2/23/66 pink house: 12 minutes of a blues jam that winds into something that might be LA BAMBA but is also sort of GOOD LOVIN’ (a segue they would do ~20 years later), the pulling back into a half-speed jam on IT’S A SIN. the sound of a band learning to play together.

3/2/66 pink house (presumably): from “rare cuts & oddities,” the tremolo-heavy electrified folk tune BETTY & DUPREE, a candidate with DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY for the 1st jerry ballad & the traditional origin point for DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES in ’69. on an alternate timeline, garcia revived this in the late ‘70s & figured out how to make it graceful. earliest STEALIN’, presumably played by the jug band, too.

3/9/66 pink house rehearsal: another unknown song, sung by pigpen. maybe a cover, but enough odd changes to make it a dead original? a few takes working on WHO DO YOU LOVE. pigpen to billy: “remember when we used to do it at magoo’s? the way we did it at magoo’s?” 13m jam starts as thin blues noodle but grows into some cool & almost substantial weirdness before tape runs out.

3/10/66 pink house rehearsal: another owsley tape (vocals panned hard) from band’s pad in LA, downstairs from LSD tabbing operation. SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD practice, electrified jug band tune, recorded in ’67 & unchanged til ’72, besides stabbing organ part. tantalizing just-off-mic chatter about songwriting/lyric transcription? maybe could be deciphered with a level boost.

3/12/66 danish center: 1st dead tape that’s more than a fragment. 2 sets, 67m of excellent owsley soundboard. not technically an acid test, but based on the band’s memories that they took acid *every* saturday night in spring ’66, well… both set openers are only surviving takes of not-terribly-compelling instrumental warm-ups: STORMY MONDAY & freddie king’s HEADS UP. 1st known live version of pigpen’s 1st real original, YOU SEE A BROKEN HEART. generic, but clever call/response with garcia on verse. earliest IT’S A SIN & 1st live versions of ONE KIND FAVOR (jerry blues, meh) & NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME (instant pig staple, already coolly swingin’). 1st full MIDNIGHT HOUR & 1st taped pigpen raps. it achieves grease, if not much else. tasty jerry licks & not-tasty blues screams. amusingly trippy setbreak banter, implying they’re alternating slots with another act. wonder who? weir plugs ice cream man outside. tape closes with 1st VIOLA LEE BLUES featuring multi-jam structure. at 11m, 1st big dead improv. raw but right on.

3/25/66 trouper’s hall: all-night harmonica store. poster by acid chemist owsley stanley, photos by @rosiemcgee12. A+ sound. earliest live STEALIN’, electrified jug band boogie recorded for 1st single. and then a still-unidentified 9m R&B instrumental jam. before they play it, weir says the mystery jam’s title fast, garbled, & off-mic. anyone wanna slow that down and/or have a guess? 1st HEY LITTLE ONE by dorsey burnette, garcia crooning rockabilly-pop. gorgeous twang-psych solo. outro belting hints at ’80s ballads. 1st complete YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK, meticulously overwritten & ambitious psychedelic garage pop with changing keys & vocal parts, wild guitaring. 30m set, a break, then the earliest COLD RAIN & SNOW, on 1st album & staple for next 30 years. a herky jerky thrill.

4/66 “studio demo”: via “rare cuts & oddities,” the earliest versions of STANDING ON THE CORNER & CREAM PUFF WAR (with alternate chorus, slightly slower tempo, & a few more arrangement tricks). neither shows up on live recordings until the band’s return to san francisco in may. manic GOOD LOVIN’ has pig on lead & super-charged almost beach boys-like gang vocals.

4/22/66 longshoreman’s hall: 23m from hyped trips festival knockoff, 1st gig since return from LA. nice sound. 1st BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE with multi-beat intro (6, in this case). still some lyric differences & semi-written guitar break. earliest GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL (with mucho bass counterpoint) goes into willie cobb’s YOU DON’T LOVE ME, jerry sung, & back. the two songs are basically interchangeable, but it’s the earliest recorded grateful dead segue.

4/24/66 longshoreman’s hall: solid 35m (maaaaybe) from 3rd night of fake trips fest, recently surfaced radio ad sadly taken down. 7m VIOLA LEE BLUES still a work-in-progress, but already more jam than solo, clean-toned jerry weirdisms & double-time swing. also in-progress: owsley’s mix. semi-audible garcia/lesh jams in MIDNIGHT HOUR’s quizzical breaks & pretty spaces behind pig’s rap. BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE has guitar figure intro but written solo, so maybe date is wrong? forensics here. almost 8m of blues jam with jorma kaukonen & jack casady; unremarkable adventures in unpleasant double bass fuzz.

5/??/66 unknown venue: formerly “ivar theater 2/25/66.” song arrangements seem to date it from may or june. earliest recorded dead version of SHE’S ON THE ROAD AGAIN, garcia-sung jug band holdover with prominent lead harmonica by pigpen. 1st I KNOW YOU RIDER with “muddy water” & “sun will shine” verses. everybody sings everything, phil loudest. no northbound train yet. unison riffs & drum breaks of COLD RAIN & SNOW way more together than earlier version, but garcia’s voice still fluttering all over. effective not-quite-segue from greasy KING BEE into CAUTION, latter with nifty dual guitar/harmonica & mini-jam.

5/19/66 avalon ballroom: the dead’s avalon debut & 1st real tape from the ballroom era, early & late sets. big drums. many firsts. earliest STANDING ON THE CORNER, dead original. lyrics seem like garcia doing dylan. last version of b-grade garage-psych MINDBENDER. 1st great VIOLA LEE BLUES, kretuzmann & lesh shifting casually into a jam under garcia solo, unfolding smoothly into the modal fringe. earliest CREAM PUFF WAR, rare song with words/music by garcia, & earliest original to survive until 1st album. solo stays just inside. earliest SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, too, surprisingly in exact same arrangement & tempo they’d stick with until dropping it in ’72. aaaand 1st taped version of weir’s electrified jugband tune NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, too, most of the 1st album repertoire now in place. rare pigpen joint: 2nd & final surviving so-so take of fats domino’s SICK & TIRED. also, 1st taped version if elmore jame’s IT HURTS ME TOO, a pigpen standard unchanged through his last tour, sad & sweet. earliest SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES, weir’s 1st country tune (cool phil harmony) & earliest live version of garcia’s BABY BLUE, only live ’66 version of insanely way-too-fast GOOD LOVIN’  (plus the “new ending,” per stage banter), gone ’til ’69.

7/3/66 fillmore auditorium: independence ball, with love. vocals brutal throughout. swingin’ boogie, though. band dedicates set to “the sundancers of ignacio, colorado, out there doin’ it.” garcia plugs mnasidika, local head boutique. earliest versions of half-dozen tunes, including HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE (properly mark spoelstra’s JUST A HAND TO HOLD) & NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE, both pretty straight. 1st known DANCING IN THE STREET, staple for next 5 years, already an enthused (if contained) jam platform, garcia testing the edges. VIOLA LEE BLUES sounding immensely assured. not as wild & out as 5/16, but all lean in hard & stay together in the jam, even pigpen. earliest live version of BIG BOSS MAN, slinky & hep, pig fave thru ’72. 1st of 2 known versions of KEEP ROLLING BY, pig-led stones-y original with neat gang vocals. only DON’T MESS UP A GOOD THING, his/her soul re-set for pig, & j. “guitar” watson’s GANGSTER OF LOVE, unconvincingly sung by jerry. 1st CARDBOARD COWBOY (aka NO LEFT TURN UNSTONED), overwritten phil lesh mod-psych, stiffly sung. waiting to be covered gracefully. YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK gets drum intro. instrumental break now guitar/key duo. with CREAM PUFF WAR, most accomplished original so far. pig’s MIDNIGHT HOUR rap still half-baked, but rare & sweet shout to longtime girlfriend, vee. 1st bill graham band intro.

7/16/66 fillmore auditorium: alternating sets with the airplane. being a 1966 saturday, probably tripping, too. vocals getting better. off-mic intra-squad reminders to watch tempos before BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, YOU DON”T HAVE TO ASK, & others. only known take of leadbelly’s IN THE PINES, sung by garcia, & not wholly successful. more like a drinking song than a murder ballad. 1st of 2 versions of allen toussaint’s PAIN IN MY HEART, learned via otis redding, sung by pigpen. the ’72 dead would’ve crushed this. kreutzmann’s drums starting to really move with garcia’s guitar, seeking destination on CREAM PUFF WAR, finding it on VIOLA LEE BLUES. late set begins with a cute bill graham intro & for 1st time, short-lived full band pre-intro to VIOLA LEE. gang vocals sound big. only surviving ’66 live version of DON’T EASE ME IN, electric jug bounce & b-side for 1st single, released locally that summer. forensics dept.: off-mic voice asking “otis?” before tight YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK helps confirm alt. title, OTIS ON A SHAKEDOWN CRUISE. weir not getting DANCING IN THE STREET lyrics yet, adds own verse. jam doesn’t go far, but sure goes. tape cuts off.

7/17/66 fillmore auditorium: nice big sound. another good miniature jam on CREAM PUFF WAR that doesn’t break through, exactly, but the band (& billy, really) starting to swing/flow during solos. nice reverb-y atmosphere during slinky 9-minute KING BEE. last KEEP ROLLING BY. unlike the version earlier in the month, this one is nearly 8 minutes, feels like it should have stax horns, & has a misterioso maybe-kinda-modal jam in 1st half before pig-style rave-up. definitely some alternate universe dead, a pigpen tune with a psych jam. adios!

7/29/66 vancouver trips festival: despite the event’s name, the grateful dead’s 1st real trip out of town for purposes other than acid tests. band’s garage-prog phase coming to an end. last known versions of 2 early originals, including opener STANDING ON THE CORNER. farewell to the awkward grooviness of CARDBOARD COWBOY. a bouncy BABY BLUE, same day as dylan’s motorcycle crash in woodstock. short locked-in garcia/kreutzmann improv in CREAM PUFF WAR. plus, the a-side to the band’s brand new single STEALIN’, released only in san francisco. probably no merch table in vancouver. set-closing VIOLA LEE BLUES is 2nd of 2 versions with descending circusy pre-intro. big noise for the canadian n00bs. (my full essay on the dead’s adventures at the vancouver trips festival is available now in rhino records’ 50th anniversary reissue of the band’s first album.)

7/30/66 vancouver trips festival: last show with (& stereo-panned tape made by) owsley’s proto-wall of sound. as event MC comes on, phil: “we’ll use a simple syllable to test our microphones tonight. the syllable is narc. narc. narc. narc.” 9m DANCING IN THE STREET opener pushes fleetingly into a modal peak & back via garcia, giving jam graceful sense of movement. last known version of dorsey burnette’s #48 1960 hit HEY LITTLE ONE. tasty inside guitar solo, but not much of a loss. on the other hand, goodbye to the too-clever-for-this-world structure of YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK. and off go owsley stanley & tim scully with the dead’s equipment truck to establish a new LSD lab.

late ’66 rehearsal: on “rare cuts & oddities” collection. love weir’s early version of SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES, brought back in ’69.

11/19/66 fillmore auditorium: solid soundboard is 1st full tape since summer, most polished & confident yet. lothar & the hand people! debate over if this is 11/19/66 or 3/17/67, but weir’s “autumn” in DANCING IN THE STREET suggests former. cute one-by-one bill graham intro ala “one from the vault”: “on the bass, mr. philip lesh… on the far left, on lead guitar & vocals, the charles atlas of the psychedelic set.” only surviving ’66 live version of HI-HEELED SNEAKERS. honky blues vocals by garcia. tasty licks, though. enticing guitar/organ swirl on CREAM PUFF WAR. 2nd of 2 versions of allen toussaint’s PAIN IN MY HEART, learned via otis redding, sung by pigpen. the ’72 dead would’ve crushed this. earliest SAME THING by willie dixon, sung by pig. moody 11m jam. early jazzy comping by weir under organ solo & double-time build. weir finally gets lyrics to DANCING IN THE STREET & band gets jam. soaring garcia, spiraling further out as tape cuts off around 6m. set ends with 34m of pig. 1st known SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING (with fine guitar/harp toodle) downshifts into KING BEE. nice flow on dynamic 19m MIDNIGHT HOUR. pig works crowd & briefly raps about “TCB”. elvis to the courtesy phone.

11/29/66 the matrix: 1st of 2 nights & 3.5 hours of music. many otherwise undocumented corners of mysterious ’66 repertoire. 80m of sets 2/3, beginning with earliest ME & MY UNCLE, only song played every year 1966-1995 (except ’68?). speedy. drum roll intro. musicologist graeme boone pegs weir’s modal playing on 12m SAME THING as 1st sign of mccoy tyner influence. 1st known version of the olympics’ BIG BOY PETE is big group-sung fun. matrix co-owner marty balin seemingly shouting requests. at marty’s request, only extant live take of phil-sung EARLY MORNING RAIN. more involved harmonies/arrangement than ’65 studio demo. set 3 opens with 1st of 2 BEEN DOWN SO LONGs, jerry-sung original, like a lost jug band tune. 1st try at writing americana? more rare pig: 1st of 2 SOMETHING ON YOUR MINDs (not dino valente’s). only I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU ’til weir’s ’95 revival. garcia & weir get juggy & doofy with 1st taped OVERSEAS STOMP, done by mother mccree’s in ’64 but only 3 known late ’66 dead versions (& a fragment from ’67). band signs off with short full-band arrangement of vaudeville themes. not the looney tunes’ MERRY-GO-ROUND BROKE DOWN/”that’s all folks” outro (as its often labeled), but cartoonish just the same.

12/1/66 the matrix: another remarkable slice of 1966. 3 sets, 2 hours, & many oddities from a hole-in-the-wall club in san francisco. band’s repertoire continues to turn over rapidly. on the 3 shows from late ’66, 9 songs (plus 2 with a guest) appear nowhere else. garcia promises “cold beer on tap, lurid night club atmosphere, & beatniks! more beatniks than you can count on two hands.” only live BETTY & DUPREE, demoed in march. folk tune converted to rock ballad, vibrato crooning by garcia matched by guitar tremolo. last known versions of ONE KIND FAVOR, SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND, & charming BEEN DOWN SO LONG, semi-lost neo-jugband original. sole extant live ALICE D. MILLIONAIRE, garage pop named for 10/66 “LSD millionaire” headline about owsley, though lyrics don’t have much to do with it. sung by pig. clever vocals/arrangement. weir starts new-to-them ME & MY UNCLE, which falls apart quickly. they try again with garcia leading & succeed. hyper farfisa/guitar. only taped DEEP ELEM BLUES from the era. nifty chorus harmony & arrangement abandoned with acoustic/electric revival in 1970. 2nd set punctuated by rando singing/harmonicaing YONDER’S WALL & MY OWN FAULT. pass. last ON THE ROAD AGAIN ’til 1980 acoustic sets. superb feral jams in each set! 1st set closes with longest ever CREAM PUFF WAR (at 9m), 3rd with untethered 11m DANCING IN THE STREET. in the 2nd set, ecstatic 15m VIOLA LEE BLUES expands to white hot peak, garcia blazing louder than drums. wish the bass was audible. at tape’s end, another ME & MY UNCLE. either filler from same period or band drilling song. i like to think latter.

12/23/66 avalon ballroom: released in 1970 & ’71 as quasi-bootlegs “vintage dead” & “historic dead”. unclear what’s from which night. sounds great, though. again, weir’s seasonal lyric change in DANCING IN THE STREET rounds down the date, december not september. last recorded BABY BLUE ’til ’69 & last uptempo version. no solos, just guitar breaks. only surviving dylan cover from early years. nice bright moments, including action-packed 7m DANCING & final farfisa-driven STEALIN’, revived acoustic by garcia/grisman in ’92. last known version of strident electrified jug standard of I KNOW YOU RIDER, MIA until getting paired with CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER in ’69. solidly 2/3 of the 2 LPs is pigpen, including side-long MIDNIGHT HOUR that won’t win over haters but has chill conversational garcia. can see why band wasn’t into these LPs, but can only imagine how stoked deadheads must’ve been when they came out.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

#deadfreaksunite 1965


#deadfreaksunite 1965
show-by-show notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. All shows streamable via archive.org.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

11/3/65 golden state recorders: 18m 5-song demo by the emergency crew, formerly the warlocks, soon the grateful dead. the only known ’65 tape & earliest recorded electric music, 6 months after band’s founding. amazing recording, hinting at the dead’s undocumented early months, an alternate universe with phil as lead singer.

CAN’T COME DOWN: dylan-y rave-up about gettin’ real high, lyrics/vocals by garcia, tight harmonica breaks. no surviving live versions.

MINDBENDER: stilted but ambitious pop, vocals & dense lyrics mostly by lesh. mystic farfisa. sweet spaghetti western licks by garcia.

ONLY TIME IS NOW: the dead’s lost sunshine-pop gem. cool beatles-y tremolo. lyrics by jerry pal dave parker, future dead bookkeeper.

CAUTION: cribbed from Them’s MYSTIC EYES. blues-clang condensed into ultra-busy & well-packed 3m. already they’re all soloing at once.

I KNOW YOU RIDER: brighter/faster than iconic later arrangement. slop-rock guitar chug. lead singin’ by phil. but who’s on tambourine?

EARLY MORNING RAIN: gordon lightfoot tune, sung by lesh. groovy fun with a good urgent bounce. phil’s vocals are goofy, but i can dig.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

new art by ned lagin.

The California musician and artist Ned Lagin returns with his first public work since his 1975 Seastones LP, collecting art, photographs, and writing from the past decade of his long and decidedly non-public career. With a long series of poetic Notes acting as deeply psychedelic grounding texts for the visual works, Lagin’s art (and words) tease out the threads between his circuit drawings in the sand and natural landscapes, his nude self-portraits and light-time geographies. Together, they make for a kind of personal ecology of creation, a worldview whose component parts reflect on one another and cast a light backwards on the sounds and concepts behind Seastones.

I’m pulled most strongly to Lagin’s sand drawings, a personal miniaturized form of land art, ecologically sustainable if artistically ephemeral (and a bit similar to some of my father’s recent work). It’s not hard to feel the connection between beaches and time, from the metaphoric standard of an hourglass, to the long and short-term change of tides, erosion, and other natural forces. And it’s through Lagin’s overt threads between his beach-works and his 1970s recordings (right down to the LP’s title) that his opaque-seeming music begins to make more sense as (in Lagin’s phrase) “moment-forms” realized and washed away by time, memory, and a half-dozen varieties of organic and synthetic obsolescence. At least, that’s part of what I got out of reading through Lagin’s 30 pages of carefully considered Notes, which are probably worth going through in conjunction with the work.

For those curious about Ned Lagin’s music, the website presents some answers, too, but also questions. Alluringly, there are hints of future releases, both of a new album and of an expanded and remixed Seastones. But Lagin’s art and writing will have to do for now, materials that (when absorbed) might provide some kind of conceptual remastering on his music for anyone who cares to look/listen/read, new moment-forms waiting to be found in the listening. Ned Lagin’s SpiritCats.com is an unexpected hello from a long silent voice.

#deadfreaksunite 1974


#deadfreaksunite 1974
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. All shows streamable via archive.org.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

2/22/74 winterland: a long soundcheck spent working on 3 new songs, the retired ATTICS OF MY LIFE, & a proto-ESTIMATED PROPHET jam. show opens with the proper debut of U.S. BLUES, ex-WAVE THAT FLAG. nice & punchy, though band doesn’t seem quite done practicing it. the 1st IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES, the only GD tune credited solely to hunter, is an instant winner, though fast & a bit clunky. garcia plays fully articulated SLIPKNOT! inside PLAYING IN THE BAND, uncharacteristically forcing it discordantly into the jam. 1st SHIP OF FOOLS, a major new jerry tune, is likewise uptempo compared to future versions, but dramatic & funny & wonderful. not a lot of compelling jamming, the band’s overexcitement best encompassed by non-sequitur bass bombs in CHINA DOLL.

2/23/74 winterland: final HERE COMES SUNSHINE until the (shudder) ’90s revival. farewell big blissy jam, we hardly knew ye. ’74 model mellowness seems way less lethargic & more pleasing than the ’73 version, probably mostly due to the warm piano/rhodes mix. even-keeled LET IT GROW with sweet weird-swing by kretuzmann. subtle jerry/keith SLIPKNOT! counterpoint in OTHER ONE.

2/24/74 winterland: another U.S. BLUES opener, clearly the new anthem, more confident than its debut, now beaming & exuberant & goofy. great show all around, with vivid foregrounded piano/rhodes in CUMBERLAND BLUES, PLAYING IN THE BAND, WEATHER REPORT SUITE & more. 1st DARK STAR of ’74 starts & stops a few times before coalescing into a short, jaw-dropping coda & a long, drippy MORNING DEW.  1st IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE since 9/72 & last ’til ’81. slightly uptempo, but graceful, unrushed, & nice. g’bye.

3/23/74 cow palace: hello, wall of sound! the 1st proper show for owsley’s legendary, crystalline PA. greetings, as well, to SCARLET BEGONIAS & CASSIDY, last major pre-hiatus debuts. SCARLET’s open-ended bounce is sloppy & irresistible. CASSIDY, released 2 years earlier on “ace,” has even more potential. a real shame they shelved it again ’til ’76. my fave weir song? final PLAYING IN THE BAND  > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > MORNING DEW > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND sequence, led by magical soft-edged garcia attack that could last forever. unexpected beatles-y counterpoint vocal on SHIP OF FOOLS’ final chorus, not articulated during 3 previous versions.

5/12/74 reno: the wall of sound hits the road. 3-set outdoor show amid crazy washoe zephyr winds that phil references. lulz whenever the dead use gazillion-watt WoS to play polka-boogies. appropriately surly lesh vocals on MEXICALI BLUES & everywhere. high-speed details & thrilling MIND LEFT BODY-like descent before the only lyric-mangled verse of quick-dissolving OTHER ONE, a fully developed MIND LEFT BODY jam & 2 more jerry ballads, though SHIP OF FOOLS is sly & perfect in early uptempo version.

5/14/74 missoula: 1st & only time the dead played montana. “sweet susie” returns to LOSER for 1st time since ’72. garcia sounds confused. bubbling SCARLET BEGONIAS jam, too short, kreutzmann pushing the band outside the structure. a pleasant landing into IT NUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. 27m DARK STAR features unparalleled space-swing, highwire JG/BK dazzle, stereo fuzz conversations, flexatone, & ample cosmic boredom. dense & unsettling CHINA DOLL with insane overloaded guitar solo amid a drippingly psychedelic soundboard mix. fratboy hits weir on head with plastic beer pitcher & weir responds appropriately with cheesiest ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT yet.

5/17/74 vancouver: debut of a new faster arrangement of LOOSE LUCY. still a throwaway, but now with refreshing bonus pep. weir’s MONEY MONEY, on the other hand, is unsafe at any speed. the worst dead tune not written by a keyboardist? IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES & SHIP OF FOOLS both slow down even more & get even better. played almost every night & rightly so. top notch PLAYING IN THE BAND & TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL jams but, except for hard-driving EYES outro, nothing exceptional.

5/19/74 portland: big cheer for 3rd ever SCARLET BEGONIAS. does the crowd possibly know it or is it just instinctual 1st reaction? band makes a point of cutting off the SCARLET jam (why?!) & ending together crisply, an oddity by itself. thankfully, it won’t stick. 4 big garcia ballads, including beautiful 1st PEGGY-O of ’74 & a powerful CRYPTICAL-like WHARF RAT that keeps expanding as it spirals. fast, fun TRUCKIN’ unwinds into an unusual funk-slop MIND LEFT BODY, the closest kreutzmann ever got to breakbeats.

5/21/74 seattle: a monster show highlighted by a 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, 3rd longest standalone jam in the band’s history. good omens: donna jean’s SCARLET BEGONIAS wail is kind of nice & low-key, karen dalton style. last of 3 MONEY MONEYs. fuck that song. no, really. it’s so hateful & un-deady. 1st set ends on unusual elegiac note with an unfussy CHINA DOLL. works really well. A+ PLAYING soars with bizarre internal logic, earns its brief space-outs & is bookended by some of the more brutal donna screams ever. the 23m EYES OF THE WORLD > WHARF RAT that follows might be seen as unnecessary by some. i am not among them.

5/25/74 santa barbara: one of my 1st killer soundboards (thanks, compuserve tape tree!) & my personal definitive CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER segue. TRUCKIN’ bends swiftly from blooze boogie to fast zagging & drumless space where keith plays subtly sun ra-y monophonic synth & into the only ’74 LET IT GROW unattached to rest of WEATHER REPORT SUITE & capped by 3rd big WHARF RAT in 3 shows. also the show where a taper snuck in his deck by burying it in the stadium the night before.

6/8/74 oakland: a sun-stroked bill graham day on the green at oakland stadium w/ the beach boys, new riders, & commander cody opening. strong candidate for the all-time most of out-of-tune dead show, due to heat. for mucho excellent baseball banter, check @NotBobWeir. SCARLET BEGONIAS feels slightly off-kilter, with garcia unwinding a cool inverted version of the melody to signal the end of the jam. 40m PLAYING IN THE BAND > WHARF RAT > PLAYING IN THE BAND wanders early but goes molten. even keith steps up during A+ darting full-band improv.

6/16/74 des moines: 4 hours over 3 afternoon sets at the state fairgrounds. pictures show grand piano, but keith plays mostly rhodes. good fun throughout. SCARLET BEGONIAS is short but big. sounds like it could go anywhere. uncharacteristically clangy CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. bodacious EYES OF THE WORLD > BIG RIVER segue. refreshing to hear the band keep uptempo momentum instead of resolving into a ballad. weir & donna finally nail nifty beatles-y SHIP OF FOOLS outro harmony. 30m PLAYING IN THE BAND with chiming disassembly & abstruse zapping. keith uses fuzzed rhodes for garth hudson-style country-funk on ME & MY UNCLE. many-themed TRUCKIN’ capped by smooth MIND LEFT BODY as a confident bridge into sweeping WHARF RAT. weir loses his voice & doesn’t sing after the big jam. also refreshing.

6/18/74 louisville: a stone classic. rich sound, punchy bass, mucho piano, quiet dynamics. like my old tape, slightly sped up. PSA by weir: “you’re probably wondering why we called you all here tonight. the upshot of it is that one of you is a Venutian spy.” an all-time great EYES OF THE WORLD, crisp & roaring, godchaux taking the 1st solo & adding triumphant harmony to the 7/8 outro. 20m LET IT GROW sparkles into mutant swing & a 19m OTHER ONE, dissolution, odd pockets, & space-blooze prelude to STELLA BLUE. rare MORNING DEW encore. long & exquisite quiet valley before the final peak, filled with piano/guitar/bass droplets.

6/20/74 atlanta: debut of the weir/garcia guitar harmony intro to JACK STRAW. 1st TO LAY ME DOWN of the year. ineffable LSDC&W. more sweet godchaux piano throughout. especially breathtaking quiet filigrees on MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. you were right, @jimmyjacktoth. EYES OF THE WORLD opens into a runaway garcia solo; an early version of SLIPKNOT, everyone else half-successfully figuring it out as they go. CHINA DOLL features the return of the awesome overloaded split-signal feedback guitar solo from the missoula version.

6/22/74 miami: super-fine 29m PLAYING IN THE BAND with shimmering jazz dance, soft-fuzz guitar, & sudden invention in the clouds of unknowing. comfortably far-out CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER with a half-baroque rhodes part. odd tempo disagreements on BERTHA, WHARF RAT, more.

6/23/74 miami: only dead version of chuck berry’s LET IT ROCK. started by phil, sung by jerry, outside garcia/weir rotation. fun but wut? the 1st setbreak SEASTONES duet between phil lesh (on quad bass) & ned lagin (on e-mu modular synth) zapping thru the wall of sound. 13m of disorienting & increasingly piercing full-body biomusic burble & scream around the jai-alai fronton. deadheads applaud politely. lagin plays rhodes on JAM > SHIP OF FOOLS & is fully present on a wordless 22m DARK STAR > SPANISH JAM, conversing with garcia & lesh. or this is the busiest godchaux playing ever? garcia deploys split-signal feedback-fuzz during SPANISH JAM & destroys.

6/26/74 providence: A+ mix of soundboard with jerry moore audience tape. dude in the crowd really wants people in front to sit down. frenetic LET IT GROW jam cooks for 4m & evaporates. SEASTONES is mostly gentle bio-voltage. heads seems receptive, even enthused. another abnormally long CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER, starting with a noodle-y prelude & a quizzical diversion before garcia starts to sing. big thumpin’ TRUCKIN’, but quad bass solo, OTHER ONE riffage, SPANISH JAM, other themes feel restless & disconnected.

6/28/74 boston garden: an old fave with setlist shenanigans & a fun, consistent up-ness; big jam is more scattered than i remembered. split-up SUGAR MAGNOLIA/SUNSHINE DAYDREAM bookends a set for 1st time. SCARLET BEGONIAS moves to 2nd set & nearly breaks free. short soundboard SEASTONES excerpt erupts from vivid oceanic static to screaming flares. crisp TO LAY ME DOWN; best since its revival 42m WEATHER REPORT SUITE > MIND LEFT BODY builds, hovers near DARK STAR with brilliant themes, fuzzy dead air & long build to U.S. BLUES. surly phil intros SHIP OF FOOLS: “a quiet, tender, meaningful, sympathetic, heavy-duty ballad in the key of b-flat.”

6/30/74 springfield, MA: superb PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND delights with mondo keith, dime-turn transition, & thoughtful reprise. 2 more spots where almost all drop out but garcia, including a jerry/phil feedback-fuzz bridge into UNCLE JOHN’S BAND & 6m prelude to STELLA BLUE. most cogent SEASTONES yet courtesy of the 1st complete soundboard. seems like phil harshing the noise & ned bleeping more consonantly. nice l’il charge from U.S. BLUES > TRUCKIN’. killer EYES OF THE WORLD (again: keith!) with wild kreutzmann drumming during end break.

7/19/74 fresno: right-on 30m PLAYING IN THE BAND marked by straight jazz, dancing rhodes by birthday boy keith, flowing de- & reconstruction. annoyingly chatty audience-only tape of SEASTONES punctuated by friendliest taper ever. “are you taping this?” “absolutely!!” 1st HE’S GONE since february is long & shaky, with dixieland blues coda by garcia that is sweet & mournful but never takes off. LET IT GROW, peaks atop peaks, a brief space-canyon, glorious patient SPANISH JAM, full-flight EYES OF THE WORLD. enthralling.

7/21/74 hollywood bowl: generally sweet audience tape with another lazy summer MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES & another talk-marred SEASTONES. 21m PLAYING IN THE BAND with brisk note-chasing & a mini-MIND LEFT BODY/NOBODY’S FAULT/SPANISH JAM collision to set up WHARF RAT.

7/25/74 chicago: just noticing that ROW JIMMY has gradually sped up since slow-ass ’73 versions, back to refreshing SUGAREE-ish lilt. a pleasant vocal-less DARK STAR. nothing jarring, just satisfying linked jams, harmony guitars, drum/keys break, proto-SLIPKNOT, more. JOHNNY B. GOODE has weir shouting like it’s already the ’80s. donna gets brassy on a new part of SHIP OF FOOLS. :(.

7/27/74 roanoke: besides conversational 25m PLAYING IN THE BAND & garcia forcing U.S. BLUES into uneventful 5m boogie jam, oddly improv-less show. weir sings 5 songs in the 2nd set, all covers, 4 from the ’50s. no ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT even though it was a saturday. thanks?

7/29/74 landover: rare DC area show. the hep place to be for swinging beltway liberals at the height of watergate, per reports. straight-ahead & great. many enthused whoops throughout U.S. BLUES. especially assertive IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. missing SEASTONES. compact & articulate 49m HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > NOBODY’S FAULT > OTHER ONE > SPANISH JAM > WHARF RAT & bonus PEGGY-O.

7/31/74 hartford: 3 sets, all cracking & on point. 1st SCARLET BEGONIAS show opener, purdy rhodes cascades, concise but far-reaching. extraordinarily animated & delightful garcia vocals throughout. 1st time he punches the line “let my eyes no LONGER see” in ROSES. 1st onstage acknowledgment of SEASTONES? “we’ll be for another set in a few moments,” sez jerry. “…& additional weirdness,” adds phil. 2nd full SEASTONES soundboard is the harshest phil/ned custy blastage yet. “get off the stage,” someone yells audibly. #noiselife. curling, primo 40m TRUCKIN’ > MIND LEFT BODY > SPANISH JAM > WHARF RAT. even ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT kinda glows a little.

8/4/74 philadelphia: fairly ripsnorting JACK STRAW thanks to strident phil vocals, a completely tasty solo, & over-saturated mix. 20m LET IT GROW churns, goes supernova, & reforms for a fast, weird 2 minutes before garcia slashes into WHARF RAT.

8/5/74 philly: sparkling soundboard. another golden MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. not a natural segue, but a nice pairing. nearly gentle SEASTONES, woman desperately screaming “jerrrrrrry!” on audience tape. last 3m is a burbling annihilation & denouement. big bouncing SCARLET BEGONIAS, 1st to break 10m. half-hour TRUCKIN’ thrills & opens up without resorting to jam motifs.

8/6/74 jersey city: summer tour finale ends an era: the last east coast show (& final U.S. jaunt) ’til mickey hart’s return in ’76. 2 big 1st set jams. jeweled 19m EYES OF THE WORLD with atypically mellifluous bass solo. weir PSA: “don’t climb on the fence, idiot!” PLAYING IN THE BAND bubbles into syncopated space-funk & a totally-like-WOW segue into a semi-off-kilter SCARLET BEGONIAS & on back to PLAYING. rare HE’S GONE prefaces a 31m TRUCKIN’ swerve through SPANISH JAM & only the 5th OTHER ONE of ’74, bookended by SUGAR MAGNOLIA/SUNSHINE DAYDREAM. U.S. BLUES’s “summertime done come & gone” refrain caps the tour & the epoch. see you in a month for europe ’74.

9/9/74 london: the wall of sound takes europe! 1st of 3 nights at alexandra palace starts hours late, earning ill-will from UK heads. 1 set, scant improv. ugly coked-up vibes, per mcnally’s bio. nice SCARLET BEGONIAS, though, with audible cheer for “grosvenor square” line. 16m TRUCKIN’ packs big & bigger thrills with aggressive OTHER ONE bass orbits but instead parachutes into WHARF RAT.

9/10/74 london: excellent 1st set garcia, including dramatic LOSER & nuanced PEGGY-O. LET IT GROW finds edge of space & pulls back. weir opens show with tepid AROUND & AROUND & hijacks early 2nd set with interminable & ultra-lame 16m NOT FADE AWAY. thankfully, 31m DARK STAR flashes between heaviness, confusion, & killer keith. serious post-verse meltdown into bass-crazed MORNING DEW.

9/11/74 london: good: SCARLET BEGONIAS getting longer & more intricate. bad: donna now wailing/whoaing/la-la’ing deeper into the jam. set 2 consists of 69m SEASTONES > EYES OF THE WORLD > WHARF RAT. probably my all-time most-played sequence, still rewarding & weird. garcia & kreutzmann join for deep, lysergic SEASTONES, jagged figures transforming to silver valleys, floating blurps, buddha-guitar. ned’s strident melodic piano dominates EYES, unrushed themes unfolding before a 10m SEASTONES reconstruction into WHARF RAT. lagin remembers garcia erupting into “a prolonged loud belly laugh” after the jam’s conclusion, totally audible on tape. bonus 3rd set. garcia/weir/donna master the counterpoint on final SHIP OF FOOLS chorus, setting up dramatic finish.

9/14/74 munich: weirdly off. SCARLET BEGONIAS has cool counterpoint & high-speed garcia but awkward grooves & rare sloppy ending. SEASTONES achieves a mellow vibration & builds to quad-fuzz detonation finale. germans sound way riled. PINBALL WIZARD comes on PA. last of 6 lovely MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP / MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES pairings, always a nice oasis in a desert of bob weir cowboy songs. no big jam, though 16m TRUCKIN’ hits laser focus for last few minutes, resolving to uptempo MIND LEFT BODY descent into WHARF RAT. more quicksilver garcia during EYES OF THE WORLD encore, but not enough to save show. backstage, bad vibes. http://bit.ly/X3M0HQ

9/18/74 dijon: smallest dead show in years, only a few hundred people. 1st set is ragged but even UNCLE JOHN’S BAND opener stretches casually. tiny french crowd even gets 1st FRIEND OF THE DEVIL since 12/72. jerry ballads aplenty & jam delights all over. both SEASTONES & 2nd set drums/bass break have lesh playing something like free jazz. EYES OF THE WORLD dips into a magical mood, wistful & quiet, lots of gorgeous lead bass & hints of SLIPKNOT; CHINA DOLL grows cool busy drum part. HE’S GONE burns into my new fave TRUCKIN’: 23m of fuego garcia, free DRUMZ, stereo bass, & a “CAUTION JAM” that’s something even better: 10m of shifting, sustained invention & cracking snare turnarounds, melting to SHIP OF FOOLS. thrilling, cohesive set.

9/20/74 paris: a shaggy night in the city of light. midtempo & loose FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. overheard on drum mic pre-BEAT IT DOWN THE LINE: “are you crazy? i can’t count that high, you dumb shit.” 14(?)-beat intro nearly collapses. bizarre SCARLET BEGONIAS gets quiet with slide guitar, off-mic donna la-la’s, off-key monophonic synth (ned?), subtle cowbell details. TRUCKIN’ fans out into squiggly space with neat results, eventually a long garcia/kreutzmann duet, & noise bass bridge into EYES OF THE WORLD. does EYES have bad mix or is it falling apart? unrelated(?), billy k. throws moped through a window. http://bit.ly/1rbjqQV

9/21/74 paris: a sometimes brutal conclusion to 7-show europe ’74 tour & the last dead show outside of san francisco ’til 6/76. or it could be another weir-less mix that just feels off. solid EYES OF THE WORLD outro sounds ready for “blues for allah” sessions. full band on 11m SEASTONES, a fun & dense mess that loses steam. great shattering-glass blasts & a nice ned/keith piano duet, though. 18m PLAYING IN THE BAND stays low stakes with small lurvely garcia/lagin dialogues, dissolves into DRUMS, & screeches awkwardly into final chorus. kreutzmann starting to get into cowbell, including on ROW JIMMY break. maybe the ’80s weren’t only mickey’s fault?

10/16/74 winterland: 1st of 5 eventful “retirement” shows, longest all-time gig (4+ hours of music) & probably the furthest out. camera crew starts shooting “the GD movie.” last ME & BOBBY McGEE. always dug the way garcia bark-crooned the high part on the chorus. weir’s 27th birthday, but happy overbalance of jerry songs; back-to-back TENNESSEE JED & crackling CUMBERLAND BLUES both stretch subtly. 24m SEASTONES, ambient washes sound like (or possibly are?) nearby humans screaming; into dope 25m garcia/lesh/lagin/kreutzmann quartet. too much even for SF deadheads, who clap impatiently during last space-out &, disbelieving maybe, slow to cheer when WHARF RAT starts. and then: 36m WHARF RAT > EYES OF THE WORLD, each with an elliptical solo jerry break. on EYES, thick double keys by lagin & godchaux. and still 45m more: TRUCKIN’ mini-suite &, before encore, phil endearingly & atonally singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to weir.

10/17/74 winterland: the last shows before mickey hart’s return, containing final streamlined 1-drummer versions of many faves. last RAMBLE ON ROSE ’til 9/76. goodbye phil vocals, goodbye subtlety on the bridge. rare FRIEND OF THE DEVIL sounding comfy. last kreutzmann-only OTHER ONE, forever the best jam for his inside-out gang-of-one free drumming. it really tied the room together. 30m OTHER ONE gets both verses, quick SPANISH JAM & MIND LEFT BODY (last ’til 12/83). last BK-only STELLA BLUE. :(.
10/18

10/18/74 winterland: final 1-drummer SUGAREE & PEGGY-O, spare & uncomplicated tunes served well by spare & uncomplicated drum parts. last WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE/PART 1. among my fave weir songs, sad & autumnal no matter the season. love garcia’s faux steel. last of 4 jams out of SEASTONES with ned lagin on keys. kreutzmann comes out swingin’, leading modal jazz dances that fold back into the last DARK STAR ’til 12/78. end of an era. quiet & lilting 1st half & post-verse jam that stays mostly inside, almost funky. nice bounce. and into patient MORNING DEW that goes supernova, last ’til 9/76. 3rd set seems unnecessary, but why not? g’bye billy-only SHIP OF FOOLS. an audience mic isn’t synced or this is worst-clapping crowd in dead history, often just totally unrelated to music.

10/19/74 winterland: almost too many comings/goings to note. final fast, crisp version of FRIEND OF THE DEVIL before ’76 slowdown. last LOOSE LUCY & BLACK THROATED WIND ’til 1990. final 1-drummer SCARLET BEGONIAS. sigh. randomly, 1st MAMA TRIED since 8/71. sloppy! rare BIG RAILROAD BLUES, fun bakersfield break in intro. final TOMORROW IS FOREVER (1st since 12/72), underrated garcia/donna C&W. so many songs go on ice: CHINA DOLL (until 5/77), UNCLE JOHN’S (12/76), RACE IS ON (10/80), DIRE WOLF (9/77), BLACK PETER (10/77). before vocals, TRUCKIN’ (9/77) veers into 1st legit CAUTION JAM since pig’s death (fire!), DRUMZ, & solo jerry space.

10/20/74 winterland: “the last one” before the dead’s break from the road, end of the 1st epoch. sweet typo on the ticket, even. as usual, bill graham both cheered & booed but nails intro: “as it should be on a sunday night in san francisco, the grateful dead.” weir garbles every single syllable of the 1st verse of MAMA TRIED, psychedelic in its own way. besides that, whole 1st set sparkles. lesh getting raspy, but BROKEDOWN PALACE (last ’til 5/77) is a stunner, final “american beauty” tune sung with its original harmonies. SEASTONES (last at a GD gig) starts with ned solo, making tangible bleep grids, moist & tonal. then phil & white noise washes arrive. garcia joins for last 15m of SEASTONES, adding subliminal melodic swells & noodles to lesh & lagin’s unsettling, sparse vibrations. mickey hart returns for last 2 sets, quietness refined since ’71 instantly swallowed by big busy beat. band’s balance audibly shifts. new possibilities in propulsive hippie fusion & deep messiness emerge in 61m 4-song PLAYING IN THE BAND sequence with lagin on aggressive 2nd keys. 1st GOOD LOVIN’ since pigpen’s death, led by weir, only dead cover with 3 lead singers at different times (garcia in ’66/’69, pig in ’69-’72). and it’s way blown-out, the dawn of a new era of rhythmic clusterfuck, drifting between locked-in brilliance & aimless textural float. last EYES OF THE WORLD with 7/8 ending break. SLIPKNOT! riff links into STELLA BLUE, now swollen with overbearing tom-tom fills. cutting in mid-solo, a jawdropping MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP 2nd encore. perfect call with nearly every lyric apropos. it even reigns in hart. WE BID YOU GOODNIGHT to close it out, the last until new year’s ’76. dudes in crowd still shouting for ST. STEPHEN.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979]

dead tapes at baby’s allright, 22 june 2014