Saturday & Sunday, June 22-23, 1974
Jai-Alai Fronton - Miami, FL
Miami, June 23rd, 1974.
There are few things that most deadhead tapers can agree on (note, I couldn't even bring myself to say "all deadhead tapers"). But, 06/23/74 being one of the best Dead tapes of them all is one of them.
My first Dead tapes were left in my car by my good friend, and sheppard into Dead taping, Fritz, after driving to Milwaukee for my first show (April 1989). As it seems destiny for everyone's first tape to be Cornell, 05/08/77, this was one of them. The other was set one from 06/23/74. It was a too fast, heavily hissy, FM broadcast of the AUD recording. Almost forgettable due to all of that, I recall taking some strange enjoyment out of the 4 - 6 minute passages of nothing happening on stage while the band addressed technical difficulties brought on by the Bermuda Triangle. It seemed a set full of mostly mellow feeling Dead-Country Rock, Then, at the end of the tape was this Weather Report Suite ending in a heart stopping Let It Grow. It was like a poison arrow that struck all the way to the pit of my heart. The Dead had snared another one.
Years later I happened upon a 3rd gen copy of set two in my first trade with a 70's taper, Bill Degen. I'll never forget slipping it into the car stereo on a grey Chicago morning and having that Jam literally part the clouds and turn a November day to April before my eyes. The second set opening, my friends, is the Dead at their most pure. And in much the same way you might wish to find more albums exactly like Kind Of Blue, but never quite manage it, this set two opening jam is much the same. I think it is best described as a moment of Grateful Dead satori - fleetingly glimpsed, and etched upon the soul forever.
Oh yeah, and the rare 1974 Dark Star is no slouch either.
06/22 and 06/23 go hand in hand. These two nights were recorded by Jerry Moore. Jerry came back into the scene online a few years back, and a small band of us proceeded to digitize his enormous vault or field recordings (extended far beyond just the Dead). It was my extreme pleasure to be entrusted by Jerry to handle certain final digital mastering of his work. Getting these two masters out into circulation was yet another holy grail moment.
Moore's tapes capture the 1974 Wall Of Sound, in all its glory. You'll never hear the Wall on a soundboard recording. This historic sound system is wonderfully captured in many audinece recordings over the year. We will revisit it time and time again, trust me. This aud recording of 06/23/74 could have gone on the Voyager Golden Record as the ultimate example of a this rock show sound system from the 70's.
One of the many great things of all Jerry Moore recordings is that he didn't believe in the pause button. For the Dead fan this means that you get to settle into the pace of the show, and absorb everything. For both of these Miami shows, there is an added level of enjoyment to be found in the quiet conversations going on in Jerry's circle between shows, and the ice cream vendor hawking his goods both nights. All of this, coupled with fantastic sound quality, makes these recordings must haves.
Pick up 06/23/74 for sure, then do yourself the favor and dig into 6/22. The Playin' is nearly 29 minutes long and easily ranks in the top 5 of the year.
Audience Devotional Tree Round 13 - December, 2002