Site Sponsor

Not Sure Where To Begin?

The intro posts are always a good start, followed logically by
my thoughts on Music & Being, which guide my writing.
You could also try my current favorite show on the blog,
plus there's good reading under the trading community label.
Or, take a walk on a
Listening Trail.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

1976 October 3 - Cobo Arena

Grateful Dead October 3, 1976 GRATEFUL DEAD
Sunday, October 3, 1976
Cobo Arena - Detroit, MI
Audience Recording

One of the first tapes from 1976 that I collected outside of a number of June shows, this date was yet another that I hadn’t seen on any other lists anywhere. It might have been something I picked up just to fill out a trade for that reason alone (for a while I didn’t go head over heels for 1976). What I got was a giant dose of the best that 1976 has to offer. This show, and tape, remain at the absolute top of my picks for 1976 Grateful Dead. It takes the ribbon as a show and as an AUD tape.

Other 1976 AUD aficionados might beg to differ, and I’d agree that there are sonically better recordings from ’76 which I will feature here in due time. But this show (set two in particular) does that something special that only certain AUD tapes do – it captures the arena as an instrument. The sound of the hall on this tape is participatory, not distracting. The tape captures all instrumentation clearly. There’s wonderful separation. And Cobo Arena bounces everything from drums to vocals in a perfect outer layer – it all gels into the classic Dead AUD tape experience. I know this tape had a lot to do with my becoming a flag waving, card carrying, AUD loving Deadhead.

Grateful Dead 1976So, back when I got this show, it was only the second set that I found on some guys list. Set one emerged years later when the set two SBD made the light of day. The copy of set one that is part of this version I’m linking in this post isn’t quite up to par with the copy of the second set. While you owe it to yourself to hear the Scarlet Begonias from set one, I’m far more focused on your hearing the second set tape. Oh, and the SBD… Most all SBDs from the Fall of 1976 seem rather flat and dry. This show is a completely different experience in SBD. Not at all what I recommend here.

Allow me to share some thoughts on the big set two jam:

Once we emerge from the vocal section of Playin’, the energy is unmistakable. The crowd is once again hushed by the blanket of concentration happening on stage. There’s a long passage of Jerry playing with the wha-wha pedal, and then without. Each member of the band is picking and choosing their note placement with precision. It’s similar to the energetic spiraling of a ’73-’74 Playin’ but somewhat more mellow. This is a fluid Playin’ jam, not an edgy, dark jam. The expanse of Cobo Arena brings to mind underground caverns lit by invisible light sources of ever-changing colors; the music spreading across the ceiling like a phosphorescent algae flowing as fast as water. Deep into the jam Jerry starts to poke his head up over the spacey, viscous ooze with some lead lines that just make you marvel that things could get even cooler than they already are. The band is in such a good place, this could certainly go on all night. Based on everything that comes after, we are blessed that it doesn’t. Without a flourish, we enter Drums. It is short and sweet.

Jerry Garcia - Fall 1976The Wheel is pretty standard fare for 1976, but the jam afterwards is nothing short of stunning, the first of many more fantastic improvisational passages from this set. The jam is picturesque, as many Wheel jams are, but here the band begins to play loosely with the upbeat jam normally associated with Comes A Time in the late 70's. You want to pinch yourself because it’s so joyful. Another moment in Dead tapes that approaches the satori moment. You’ll tell the story of this jam to your friends back home.

Bobby hints at Dancin', but after many bars of marvelous interplay between everyone, Phil and Jerry seem locked together on their way to Come A Time itself. However, we get Good Lovin' instead. It starts with the refrain we remember from the start of Good Lovin' back in 1970. The tune is incredibly hot. Jerry and Donna's background vocals are spot on. The lead break is sensational - all sorts of things are being toyed with here. But it's the jam out of the song that reaches the same levels of play that have been displayed time and time again over the last ten days of the tour. Each member of the band is listening to, and playing off of, the other. We even hear the familiar shuffle-like jam that came out of Eyes of the World less than a week earlier on 9/28. Near the end, with Jerry and Phil locked together again, they are getting completely in synch for Comes A Time. Then a glimmer of Slipknot appears that makes me think I had heard it before during an earlier jam (in Playin'?). But all things focus on a single point, and Jerry lets loose another stellar version of Comes A Time. Sweet and full of subdued emotion.

Jerry Garcia October 3, 1976The all too short jam out of Come A Time is priceless. It's like a dawn breeze comes by and lifts you up into the air; the sun just peaking up over the horizon. Jerry orbits around a central theme while the entire band seems to search for the right direction to go. But it is as if they cannot help but be in the zone at the same time. I remember when I first got this tape I had never heard one of these late 70's post Come A Time jams before. I was awestruck. The fact that, after quite a few years of trading, I could discover something so unique and so utterly breathtaking from this band that I was already on such familiar terms with thrilled me to no end. And it occurs twice in this show; once out of The Wheel, and again after Comes A Time.

Out of this jam, Bobby finally gets the Dancin' he was hinting at earlier. Nothing stands out more than Phil seeming to sprout an extra left arm or two as he manages to be all over the neck of the bass at every moment. A very smooth transition into Not Fade Away follows. The groove is good, but can't quite match the levels from the rest of the set. Bobby pulls off a China Cat tease on the way back to Dancin', but the rest of the band has little or no interest at all. The crowd, on the other hand, sure hears it, and wants it. China>Rider had not been played since 1974, and wouldn’t again until the end of 1977. There is a brief Drums break before they bring Dancin' back for good and you can hear a big dude call out in a husky voice "I Know You Rider!!!!" Well, no chance tonight.

So, you want to know something that pains this AUD loving, old tape transferring deadhead’s heart? Check out the archive.org reviews attached to this version of the show I seeded (linked below) and note the message from the actual taper in 2005. Humboldt Dead, you came so close, and now I can’t find a way to contact you so we can digitally archive your tape as an upgrade. Oh the pain.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

1967 March 18 - Winterland

Grateful Dead 1967GRATEFUL DEAD
Saturday, March 18, 1967
Winterland Arena, San Francisco. CA
Soundboard Recording

The Dead shared the bill with Chuck Berry, and opening act Johnny Talbot & De Thangs. Berry's set is played in between the two Dead sets (Jerry explains as much just before "Cream Puff War"), and we are treated to a Grateful Dead performance for the ages.

The first set gives us a tight and talented band. You can almost hear Bobby's eyes bugging out in the "Me & My Uncle" opener. Jerry's licks are fluid and sharp. "Next Time You See Me" is classic early Pigpen. And this early "He Was A Friend Of Mine" shows Jerry with vocal emotion, pulling us in, and commanding our attention. "Morning Dew' is more of the same. The band is making very few mistakes. The long set closing "Dancin' In The Streets" allows the band to flex its psychedelic muscle some. It feels good, and delivers nicely. They get nicely "out" and return for the coda with style.

March 17th, 18th, 19th 1967 posterThe second set has a distinctly different feel from the first. Perhaps the long break while Chuck Berry played, allowed the Dead time to socialize a bit, or perhaps simply by design, the second set is over-charged with psychedelic energy. The "Golden Road," while we are missing the start, is absolutely stunning. It's a crazy pop-song freak out that tells us that things aren't quite as classifiable as they were in set one. This isn't a country western song, it isn't a blues number, and it isn't a ballad. It's just gooooood psychedelic rock.

Next, while being underscored by other band members making animal noises, Jerry thanks the crowd five times in a row and welcomes the audience to the "post-Chuck Berry set." They then explode into "Cream Puff War." The band is comfortably home in this rockin' and blazin' number. Jerry firing off round after round of intense guitar licks.

But it's "The Same Thing" that really sees things open up. Starting off as another solid Pigpen blues number, Jerry's solo begins dismantling the borders of this song. He finds subtle pockets of inspirational phrasing that cause one to slip pleasurably off the edge of the song into a fluid dance of colors and shadows. Where ever he leads, we only want to keep going.

"Cold Rain And Snow" has that wonderful essence of Americana-Psychedelic-Folk-Rock that the band would richly develop as the years went on. Here, it explodes with Jerry's razor sharp licks.

Jerry Garcia Sept 15, 1967Then we get "Viola Lee Blues." You don't need to hear too many of these to understand that it was the band's Other One, Dark Star, Alligator, and Caution before any of those song made the stage. Upon listening to this one, it strikes me that anyone within ear's distance that night could easily have become completely drawn in and followed this band for the next 30 years. There are things going on in this Viola Lee that should not be happening in 1967. There are portions of the jam that sound exactly like 1971 Dead. The frenzy of jug band bluegrass energy is intoxicating. Just before the seven minute mark, Jerry begins fingering at the outer petals of the psychedelic flower. He's channeling in from deep space, like a passing comet.

Jerry Garcia 1967 Monterey PopThe song just folds and folds around and around, with bluegrass melting into Indian phrases, melting into outer space, emerging back into bluegrass again. Before it's over they've torn their way into the classic tiger-like shredding, stopping just short of the point that would soon lead into oceans of Feedback only a few months later. The song wraps up and moves to "Death Don't Have No Mercy" where Jerry croons the dark tale as a fitting send off. The song is cut, but by this point this 1967 tape has worked its mojo on you, and you're left in a different place than you were beforehand.

The Dead were good for that, it seems.

No AUD of this show for you to download. I can only offer you a link to the SBD stream on archive.org. You'll likely find yourself wanting to hunt down a copy of this show.

03/18/67 etree source info
03/18/67 SBD Stream

Primal Dead - The Early Years

Grateful Dead 1967 Free Concert

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have to cover some serious business here now.

There's an old Deadhead adage that goes something like this: The Grateful Dead went downhill from the beginning. They were never as good as yesterday. Where the hell is Pigpen, anyway?

While no one is going to argue that there were huge peaks (and valleys) throughout the decades that span this band's career and that certain years were better than the year, or years prior, if you stack the decades against each other, it's hard not to give the nod to the 60's as the band's most formidable decade. The band's output from 1965 to 1969 might have the highest mind-blowing moment per note played ratio than any other decade. No, the 60's didn't weave the magic of 1972 through 1974. But none-the-less, 60's Grateful Dead typically ran circles around all other years in many many ways.

Grateful Dead 1966You hear the stories from the old old Heads. There were people who stopped going to see the band play in 1967 because they had gone so far downhill (I'm not making this stuff up!). As unimaginable as this sounds, we're at a disadvantage now to call these deserters crazy. While I don't have exact numbers in front of me, there were some 150 show dates in 1966, and another some 130 in 1967, almost all played in the Bay area. We have but a few pockets full of these documented on audio tape. It's even hard to summarily dismiss 1966 and '67 as paling to 1968 and '69 when the amount of physical evidence is so lopsided. We (most of us) weren't there.

Let me just say this: There was a band called the Grateful Dead in 1966 and 1967. They were not exactly the Grateful Dead of 1968-69, nor the Dead of 1972, '82, or '92. From all that I've heard of that band, I would have been terrified to take them on in a battle of the bands if I had to walk in with something like 1980's Dead.

Jerry Garcia 1967 Human Be-InThat earliest period explodes with transcendence that can catch you off guard. '66-'67 Dead has a swagger to it. It knows it's good. It knew it was leading a musical revolution. And it wouldn't just steal the face right off your head - it would brazenly remove your face in broad daylight, do what it wanted with it, and politely hand it back to you wishing you a wonderful life after changing you forever.

The music we have from this era marks a band in rapid transition. The music from early 1966 tends to feel more safe and tidy than the music from the summer just after. The band gets more cocky (always in a good way; Jerry's charm and charisma saw to that), and more relaxed; the music going in more directions. In the tapes from December '66 you can tell the band has evolved even more so.

1966 Grateful Dead audienceBy 1967, it becomes easier to sense that they may never have been better. Everything on tape is riviting. Hearing the band catapult in power from March to September makes one pine painfully for all the stuff that's missing on tape. As the year draws to a close, and Anthem Of The Sun sessions begin coming together, we clearly have a live band who has mastered the dials, buttons, switches, and wires of its complex machine. It's as if they've been using the machine since the start, but now, after less than two years, they are virtuosos.

Early Dead can take some effort to get into. It really isn't the Dead of post '68. But it's well worth the effort, and you owe it to yourself to weigh in on your own personal argument about when the Dead were at their peak. Seek out the shows. Listen to the bonus material on the early album discs from The Golden Road Box Set. You won't be disappointed.

Particular listening recommendations forthcoming.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

1982 February 19 & 20 - Golden Hall, San Diego, CA

Grateful Dead 1982GRATEFUL DEAD
Friday & Saturday, February 19-20, 1982
Golden Hall - Convention and Performing Arts Center
San Diego, CA
Audience Recording

Proving once again that certain tapes from the early 80's have the ability to transport you right back into the energy and vibe of the era, Rango Keshavan's recordings of these two nights do just that. Attaching the mics to his hat (a pith helmet, as I recall), we are nestled directly within Rango's personal sound stage. This image only adds to the aura of the AUD tape experience.

He might not recall the trade, but in 1997 I found Rango's show list online, and these two dates were ones I had not seen anywhere else at all. And the set lists looked great. We traded on cassette (no I don't remember what I sent him) for these two nights along with his recordings from Ventura later in the same year. These February shows were among my first tapes from 1982 so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. All I knew is that after pouring though lots and lots of lists, the dates seemed to be coming out of a black hole in 1982. I knew these tapes would serve me well in future trades. The fact that the show performances themselves were equally rewarding was just icing on the cake.

You get a taste of just about everything over these two nights. A very nice sampling of what was great about 1982.

02/19/82 etree source info
02/19/82 AUD download

02/20/82 etree source info
02/20/82 AUD download

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

1973 September 7 - Nassau Coliseum

Jerry Garcia 1973 GRATEFUL DEAD
Friday, September 7, 1973
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum - Uniondale, NY
Audience & Soundboard Recordings

This show marked the beginning of the Fall '73 tour (okay, I know it was still technically Summer). After being off the road for a month, the Dead come back on one of the highest notes of the year. Refreshed, inspired, and ready to do business.

I come back to this show (both in AUD and Soundboard) often for the logical highlights. Fantastic quality renditions pervade the show. This night, and the night after, were always tapes that hid slightly from view on lists. Hard to find, typically in lack-luster quality AUD (especially 9/8), we were blessed by the leaking of the SBDs right around 2000, not to mention Jerry Moore getting his master AUD into circulation.

Jerry Garcia - Sept 07, 1973Also worth noting is that this night marked the debut of Jerry's Wolf guitar in a live show with the Dead. Judging from Jerry's inspired playing, he was putting it through its paces, and it was performing like a true champ. The extra hieghts he reaches seem to indicate he was really getting off on the new axe.

Bird Song. There were only a dozen of these in 1973, none after September 15th. Then the song got shelved for years. Sad. For those that we did get in 1973, they always go to wonderful places and find a special spot in my heart. This night's version is no exception. Waterfalls of notes that swirl the time signature. Jerry's solo seems to mark the downbeat and start of each measure as if he has tossed all the measures up in the air and let all the 1's, 2's, 3's, and 4's float back into the music of their own accord. This, meshed with Billy's sensational drumming that seems to be slipping its own count across a glass-like frozen lake, makes for an unmistakable 1973 musical sensation - like running too fast down a hill and being caught forever in a limbo somewhere pasts having your footing yet not quite tumbling head over heels. It keeps you perpetually falling forward, like forever tipping just over the edge of a slow motion waterfall. The first tape I heard that brought this image to my mind was 11/14/73 San Diego. In its multi-Other One layers that make up the massive jam cake of set two, this feeling is extremely pronounced. This is a hallmark of 1973.

New Potato Bird Song Caboose

I find myself compelled here to raise a thread of thought. If you look back and trace the grooves of this band from its dawn on up through the years, you can find that there are particular "grooves" that always found their way into the picture. Dig out your copy of Anthem Of The Sun and listen again to the Cryptical. The jamming has a certain triumphant march feeling to it - like the band is leading us into a parade of delights. This triumphant march is duplicated some years later in Truckin'. Listen and you'll see. I'm not talking about the obvious connection between Truckin' and Other One here. It's Crytical, and rooted in Billy's playing. You'll see. Similarly, give New Potato Caboose a good listen and follow it up with any Bird Song jam you like. You will find yourself in the same jam. It's awesome. It's these deeply cut veins that followed the band always. Bird Song was absolutely the latter-year outlet for this special primal Dead groove.

Here on 09/07/73, Jerry also does something that he otherwise seemed to always consciously avoid in solos - he finds a phrase, and repeats it over and over, letting his brushstroke cover the same arch again and again over the canvas. This show is full of him doing this. Very out of character, but oh so welcome. (see the 5:50 point in Playin' for example).

The Playin' In The Band jam finds Billy having just slightly mellowed from his fevered pitch earlier in the summer. He's still in the driver's seat, but the drive seems a bit less high pitched. Jerry, however, is a man possessed. It is as if the entire Playin' exploration of the year up to this point is now summarized in this jam. It is archetypical 1973. The slow motion waterfall of Bird Song is replaced with a ride through rapids-like wormholes. From time to time Jerry clears the trees like a bird and sings his song to the sun, all of us riding his wing.

Let It Grow saw its debuts on this night - the band fresh out of the studio recording Wake Of The Flood. The jam turns very Playin'-like, yet Jerry is more lyrically minded in his phrasing.

Somehow, the band finds the ability to ratchet up the energy and power for the set two closing jam that starts with Truckin'. The Other One Jam (there is no sung verse) whips its tail around the hall. And the Eyes jam follows the band into nooks and crannies of jams that were never part of Eyes before or after. Set yourself to the 13:30 mark and you'll find the band bouncing on a solid refrain that comes and goes, a forgotten theme never developed. The entire song ends with Jerry bursting the sky apart with a staccato riff of Herculean strength and gusto (loving the Wolf), the band spiraling out on another lovely group-theme that comes and goes like a breeze, unique to this night's version only.

Whether you download the AUD (another stellar Jerry Moore tape - thank you!!) or enjoy the SBD stream, this show may well find itself in your regular rotation, again and again.



Audience Devotional TreeRound 21 - August, 2003

Monday, February 18, 2008

1983 October 17 - Lake Placid

Jerry Garcia 1983GRATEFUL DEAD
Monday, October 17, 1983
Olympic Center - Lake Placid, NY
Audience Recording

It was just a couple entries ago that I made a passing reference to the potential power of first sets in the 80's. One of the coolest things about the early 80's was just this fact - sometimes things could happen in set one that made you feel like the entire show was one long second set. I figured a nice first stop into 1983 for this blog, and a prime example of this early 80's tendency, would be the night of 10/17/83. Legend has it that this one a rough venue to tape in due to security (we were still a year away from a dedicated Taper's Section) and we are quite lucky to have such great documentation. Deemed "Lake Acid," this venue conjures fond memories for East Coast heads who were there.

The Sugaree opener is certainly a smoker. It sort of creeps up on you. There’s a point in the jam where you are struck by the fact that Jerry is flying around your head at lightning speed. It puts a smile on you face and even makes you shake your head to think this is just the first song of the show. Nice. The band is dialed in.

The Bird Song makes you certain that time and space are evil pranksters on this evening because this song couldn’t possibly be part of the warm up set. A long version, clocking in at twelve and a half minutes, endlessly folding in and out on itself. It spirals and sparkles, burning with both intensity and delicacy. You could leave me here and throw away the keys. Then there’s the Hell In A Bucket>Deal set closer. This Bucket is young. It's bones are still soft as it is still finding form. It gives off the impression of a butterfly trying out its wings for the first time. Can I do this? Can I do that? What if I fly upside down? It’s loose and open, a very nice version. The Dead burns it up and brings the set to a fitting high point close.

These highlights alone make this a worthy stroll into 1983.

10/17/83 etree source info
10/17/83 AUD download

Sunday, February 17, 2008

1972 July 18 - Roosevelt Stadium

Jerry Garcia 1972
GRATEFUL DEAD
Tuesday, July 18, 1972
Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ
Audience Recording

There's one pin the tail on the donkey game where everyone's a winner. That's the game where the donkey is 1972. You simply can't miss. If someone blindfolded you and asked you to randomly select a 1972 show from a hat, you'd pull out a winner every time.

Those who know, know that 1971 revealed a band that was on a steady incline. But by the time we get into 1972, there must have been something in the water (okay, with the Dead, you *know* there was often something in the water). The year essentially starts off with the legendary Academy of Music run, places the band on the Europe '72 tour, then brings the band back with such force, it's like they went to another galaxy rather than just across the pond. They return somehow more mature and masterful than before. The summer is full of stunning shows, the classic Creamery Benefit on August 27th just one blossom on a technicolor tree. Then comes September. Oh.. September '72. You want to get into an all night debate? Ask Deadheads to pick the best show from just the ten shows that happened between September 15th and September 28th, 1972. (I say it was the 24th). Then there's the ever mounting accent into the end of the year where the band was pulling magic out of every corner of the universe; the intensity of the jams growling with the gleaming teeth of a tiger. The year ends with a New Year's Eve show to top them all.

Roosevelt Stadium Scoreboard Detail - 1973Again, I'm challenged to pick a first stop/suggestion from a year I haven’t posted yet. But, in keeping with my audience recoding bent (as much as because I love them as for the ease of pointing your ear directly to them), we are going to land on a a show from about dead center in the year. The wildly energetic, deeply transcendent, Roosevelt Stadium show from July 18th.

The Soundboard recording of this show receives a constant sucker punch due to a bad cable on the piano microphone. Plus, the whole thing ends in Comes A Time. In 2001 I was lucky enough to trade for a DAT version of the AUD that patched the SBD. In looking back on my notes from seeding this show to the ADT (Audience Devotional Tree), I see that I had been sent a box of seven inch reels from a deadhead who worked with, or was the student of, an older guy who had them collecting dust in a corner. Nothing labeled well, there was one reel that had 05/07/70 on the left channel (we will get to that one in the future) and 07/18/72 on the right. This mono version was quite an improvement over the DAT version I had planned to seed out, and I knew I had a true gem in hand.

Jerry Garcia 1972This tape is a classic example of a full stadium of extremely high flying fans hooting and hollering in every direction, only to be rendered dead quiet by the band as they strum the strings of everyone's soul with breathtaking precision. During the depths of Playin', Dark Star, and the heartbreakingly sweet Comes A Time, you can hear a pin drop. You'll find yourself looking around with your ears wondering where all the people went. Comes A Time is nothing short of a church service where the light of the Lord is cascading out from the stage. Jerry's solos just burn into your heart.

Understand, this tape is not going to go down on your list of best sounding AUDs. It's not the tape you will use to convert your friends who look at you strange because of this interest you have in the Grateful Dead. A lot of the tape is so rockin' that the it can only be described as "fiercely recorded." There is more raw power flying out of this sound system than I can recall hearing on any other AUD, and at times it seems more than the simple recording devise can handle. But, this is one of the many *important* shows from 1972. I'm recommending it because if you haven't heard it before, it's going to make you love the band more when you're done. And, I know that if you *have* heard it, it was likely way back when you first got it. Chances are, you're ready to revisit the highlights now to rekindle what's within.


Audience Devotional Tree Round 3 - June, 2001

Friday, February 15, 2008

1980 August 16 - Mississippi River Festival

Jerry Garcia 1980 GRATEFUL DEAD
Saturday, August 16, 1980
Mississippi River Festival - Southern Ill. University, Edwardsville, IL
Audience Recording

Outdoor audience recordings from the early 80's are something very special. They give off a certain vibe that can't be found in the decade before, and seems to slip away as the 80's move along and the band's popularity grows. This is a time where first sets can sometimes exceed second sets, and the overall energy of the band is rocketing beyond its more mellow mood of the 70's.

Joani Walker's recording of this daytime, outdoor show at SIU in Edwardsville, IL is pure gold. Despite the rain, and at times it was A LOT of rain, Joani captured this show all the way through. Even when the rain was pouring down in the second set during Ship Of Fools, and you can hear it clatter over the plastic cups covering the mics, she sticks it out and manages to preserve this fantastic show and classic vibe of being at an outdoor show in 1980. This "vibe" is something unique to the time period, and speaks a language of the Grateful Dead that resonates unlike other periods. It's as truly Grateful Dead-like as the late 60's or mid 70's - an important part of any Dead tape collection.

The band is firing on all cylinders right out of the gate. Jerry is in fine form and seems to be giving everything an extra something special. This is made all the more enjoyable by the excellent sound quality of the tape. It's a wonderful document of band's evolution - Brent now a firm fixture, and many new tunes finding their solid footing. Older tunes are starting to really feel like "classics" now. Everything in set two sizzles with psychedelic energy in all the right places, from the white-hot China>Rider to the deep and stirring Estimated Prophet and Other One. Then, the Black Peter in particular is perfectly delivered. It moves through you like a warm breeze, and cradles you like a baby. There's nowhere else you want to be.

08/16/80 etree source info
08/16/80 AUD download

Thursday, February 14, 2008

1968 March 3 - Haight Street

Grateful Dead March 3 1968 - Haight Street Free Concert GRATEFUL DEAD
Sunday, March 3, 1968
Haight Street Free Concert
Audience Recording

Anyone following this blog might have seen this one coming. It wouldn't be long before I needed to turn focus to 1968, and since I've proven an affection for AUD tapes, coming to 03/03/68 first makes an almost impossible task of picking a good 1968 show (we'd be sitting in front of my tapes and CDs for an entire evening while I proved completely incapable of picking just one show), all the more easy.

The picture of the Dead playing this concert is one of those historic 1960's Revolution shots that ends up giving many thousands of words to the era. This very listenable digitization of this recording came into circulation in 2002, and it rings every bell when it comes to Dead shows.

Jerry Garcia 1968 A concert event of mythic proportion that nearly no one ever heard on tape.

A golden nugget from a period of time in the Dead's evolution (Jan-Feb '68) where most serious tapers have/had every note in circulation on tape. This was like God himself throwing a towel out to the crowd, or casually letting a poem written on the back of a napkin flutter down to us from heaven (Pick your favorite metaphor. I couldn't).

It's a field recording from an event in cultural history. This makes the musical archeologist in me swoon.

And the last bell rung is a hallmark in Dead taping - the tape runs out as the band is set to go off into the meat of the set which we may never hear (apparently we missed an Other One and Dancin' at the very least). Oh the PAIN!

Psychedelic Blender Rock

In Viola Lee Blues, somewhere two or three hundred light-years into the jam, there is a fabulous out there/in there moment where the band is spiraling and soaring and Jerry locks into a haunting one note slow repetition that feels like some beacon message from an outer planet satellite. A bit later, they somehow find a higher speed on the blender and proceed to whip you so mightily that the vessel in which you're spinning dissolves and you blend into the chaos of primal feedback. You can feel the focused attention of the crowd through this. It is powerful stuff.

03/03/68 etree source info
03/03/68 AUD download

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

1976 July 17 - Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco, CA

Grateful Dead 1976GRATEFUL DEAD
Saturday, July 17, 1976
Orpheum Theatre - San Francisco, CA
Audience Recording

The natural gravitation to 1977 as the year of choice for many deadheads often leaves 1976 looking like the younger brother of the high school quarterback/homecoming king. For me, 1976 might be the best kept secret of the Dead taping world.

1976 had a few things working against it that may have lead to its bad rap. The opening run of the year in June, was paired with FM-Broadcasts of nearly every night, and thus, a lot of June 1976 has always circulated in pretty good quality. However, when you look at the year overall, the band really seemed to use June as a warm up (they'd been on hiatus since 10/20/74). June has lots of fabulous moments, but taken in context the best of the year lurked in the much more hard to come by tapes from the rest of the year. This is not to say that June is bad - oddly the shows that didn't widely circulate from June are a good deal better than those that did. But, when you were a young taper, the easiest shows to score from '76 were from June, and they would tend to sound sort of the same. That would often cause one to back off from looking for more from that year. Because of all this, many people think 1976 is very sleepy and underwhelming. It might not be 1972, but it is by no means something to overlook.

Jerry Garcia 1976So, where to start? Beyond 07/18/76(FM), the July Orpheum run was always hard to track down in the days before everything was simply "here." These were the kind of shows you might see on the list of a guy who wouldn't give you the time of day until you had gathered some serious off the beaten track shows to offer in return. I can't help but start with 07/17/76 because of the set two jam. It's the sort of stuff that when you hear it the first time, you can't believe you've gone without it, and afterwards, you can't wait to hear it again.

The first set is a bit of a warm up. There's not much to write home about there. But to quote another great taper, Rob Bertrando, in his archive.org comments, "I rate the second set jam 5 stars, as good as anything the Dead ever did." It is hard to disagree. From the Dark Star like hush that casually blows into Comes A Time, through jam after inspired jam, you'll find this second set wastes no time grabbing the golden ring.

Taped by another Grateful Dead Taper Hall of Fame member, Bob Menke, from the front of the balcony, I recommend using the set two opening Samson to set your listening levels to as loud as you can bear. When it ends, turn the volume up some more (trust me), and unplug the phone. This is what it's all about.

07/17/76 etree source info
07/17/76 AUD download

Monday, February 11, 2008

Swimming In A Sea Of The Dead

I have been contemplating a blog like this for some time. Ever since an old tape trading buddy's wife interviewed me two years ago for a graduate thesis in a class called "Collecting & Social Groups" - she picked her husband's Dead taper social group to study - I've been thinking about the demise of what so many of us participated in and cherished so deeply. Things are not how they used to be.

If you've only known tape collecting as a high-speed Internet, downloading experience, and have never rushed home from work to open up the mailbox NOT to find the trade package you swore would have to show up today, or found the mailbox crammed with more than one bubble envelope, you've missed much.

Don't feel bad. At the end of the day one would be hard pressed not to appreciate the "kid in a candy store" aspect of having all this music so easily accessed on line. I personally appreciate it too. But even just that aspect of checking the mailbox (something all old tapers can agree was a wonderful part of trading) is for the most part gone.

Doing a ten tape trade and letting the other guy put whatever he thought you might like on the last tape - gone.

Mulling over three lists, each with thousands of tapes listed, and carefully crafting three different multi-tape trades so that you get the very best from each list - gone.

Making and sending your tapes in a timely fashion; agreeing on exactly what levels your trading partner wanted his tapes recorded at; balancing 90 and 100 minute tapes so that each of you got an even trade; cleaning and demagnetizing your deck heads - gone.

Vic Theater, ChicagoI don't go out to shows that much - okay hardly ever. But, I was invited to see DSO on Feb 2nd and caught their 1500th show at the Vic Theater from the front row of the balcony, center. They played an incredible show. At one point in Drums, these young guys behind me and my friend were trying to tell each other what songs had just been played. One guy mistakenly thought Viola Lee Blues was Dupree's. I turned around to correct him and we had a pleasant conversation about the mythical-like Dead show we were seeing (Women Smarter>Shakedown>Easy Wind>Jam>Viola Lee>Drums - I mean, wow!).

It was there that I began to worry a bit about the challenges and risks presented by an ocean of Dead shows into which those who can't swim might wade up to their eyeballs. What if someone downloads a show from 1966, makes a CD with no label, hands it to a buddy and that buddy starts calling "Viola Lee" "Dupree's" and burns twenty copies for his friends at school saying, "You gotta hear this incredible Durpree's jam!" Okay, it's kind of farfetched, I know. But you get the picture.

There was something to learning about tapes from the deadheads kind enough to trade with you. These sorts of human things fade away as technology plays its pied piper tune into waiting ears.

I'm never going to have the time to trade tapes again. I'm never going to have time to copy tapes, or burn piles of CDs. But I will try to share my swimming skills with anyone interested.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

1974 May 12 - Reno, NV

Wall of Sound - Dillon Stadium, July 31, 1974

GRATEFUL DEAD
Sunday, May 12, 1974
University of Nevada - Reno, NV
Audience Recording

The Wall Of Sound outside in the sunshine. It was made for this.

I am a firm believer that the very best way to enjoy an audience recording is to listen to one recorded outside. There's no hall reverb to get in the way, and when it comes to the Dead's sound systems, you are always in for a treat.

A long while ago I wrote my thoughts down about the AUD portion of 05/12/74 that circulates. This was long before the SBD leaked out of the Vault. I've clean it up a little for posting here. Please indulge a full fledged "tape review." It's a little long. However, this is a recording worth grabbing indeed.

Now there are Truckin's and there are Truckin's. But there are only a few of occasions where I feel that a version goes over the top with energy. This is one of them. What is normally a good old raucous tune, is sometimes lit with a fire that burns white hot. Well here we go.

05/12/74 PosterThere are a few minutes before the band kicks in that are flooded with that certain audience-energy that let's you know that things are pretty "on." There's one fellow who's talking to (at) Bobby in that wonderful family-like sort of connection between audience and band. He says "Hey BOBBY! Bobby-eh! Let's hear some Fillmore power!" One guy yells out "Trrrrrrruckin'!" followed by another who adds, "Yeah, Truckin'!" Then our first guy shouts again, "Hey, Bobby!…" But as he's forming his next question, the band kicks into the song.

The band just erupts into a very up tempo Truckin'. They are so loud that you can't even hear that audience clapping on every beat that so typifies Truckin's of the time. It's knife-edge sharp. And it just flies! This is power. I find this, like so many others, to be a jam that is fully driven by Billy. He is at the peak of his powers, which may well have started the previous summer. His drumming energy is really the glue to this jam.

Phil Lesh - 05/25/74Now it bears mentioning the this was the first Wall of Sound show since March, and the first show of the true Spring tour. And the first Wall of Sound Truckin' ever! You get the feeling that the band is pretty excited. A good time being had by everyone.

Churning and burning it goes, faster than most any other Truckin' you've heard. With a "Woo!" (Bobby?), they launch into the after-jam. When they reach the standard rev up section, it is just one of those moments that leaves you breathless. While the whole band is pounding out the same notes, Phil is completely in another world. He breaks tune, tempo and rhythm all at the same time and it is masterful. Meanwhile, Jerry is soaring, and when they all converge for the last four bars you're looking for your jaw somewhere on the floor.

What follows is a prolonged jam which winds its way to a Nobody's Jam that is pretty unstructured. There's a sensation of each member of the band being a page of one book, each playing a different page, all of them fluttering around in the wind. This could be considered something of an unfocused jam with little direction. But because of the raw power of the Truckin' flowing into it, you don't get that aimless feeling at all. It's more measured chaos. Everyone is flying in different directions, but with such extreme energy that they just can't go wrong. The Nobody's Jam comes and goes and they are still in this wild, heart pounding, Billy-groove. This is sort of reminiscent of the jam style of the rest of May, but I'm always so much more impressed with this show (and 5/17) compared with the rest of the month's endeavors. The jam flows along and I find myself pondering on what it must have been like to be sitting there, in the same area of the crowd with this taper feeling the Wall of Sound descend upon me.

The wild disconnected nature of the jam finally sees a notion of semblance. Jerry is hinting at Other One. We know everyone else hears him, yet the chaos continues. Then, amid the fluttering of pages, Phil is ready for the next song. What we get is his rumbling intro not once, but THREE or FOUR times. Like he's trying to start a motorcycle. Finally he crescendos the intro, and off they go.

Or do they? While it's clear that they are all turning to the same page in the book, the chaos just can't be quelled. Before the Other One can fully form it's gone and we're back in the primordial ooze again. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Phil explodes with his Other One intro, AGAIN. BA-BOOM!!!! Now we are there. All on the same page. Jerry's lead style is still going off the charts in every direction, but the band is entirely focused now. A good, solid Other One ensues.

In almost a perfect counterpoint to how zoned into the jam the band is, Bobby completely blows the first verse to the song. He's like a mumbling fool. Sort of like someone had to shake him out of the "flow" so he could sing. He recovers in time for the end of the verse. You have to forgive him. The jam is just that intense. More sheer 74 power follows. It's chaotic again, yet after a time, deep down inside you hear Bobby hint ever so slightly at Mind Left Body Jam (the first one of 1974!). It doesn't happen right away, of course - this being typical of the jam. They do eventually all coalesce into a nice MLB Jam, with Jerry really stretching things with his slide. It's not perfectly structured. The fundamental chord shift into the chorus(?) of the piece is reached by half the band, then the other half. The piece staggers and leapfrogs itself some. But, the effect is great - really twisted. This is more than likely a musicianship blunder, but it flung me just far enough out in space that I got that giggly feeling associated with tremendous out-of-body-like Dead moments. They may as well have been fully in control.

The MLB Jam drops almost directly into Row Jimmy, catching you completely off guard. It's just perfect. This Row Jimmy is an all time favorite of mine. The solo sections go beyond description, with Jerry on slide and Keith on piano. They are just falling over you like a gentle rain, drawing from the rest of the big jam. It's unlike any other. The energy that pours into this tune is like the China Cat out of Here Comes Sunshine on 02/17/73, or the I Know You Rider out of Spanish Jam on 03/31/73. It's made all the better by the power of the jam before it. There are phases laid out by Keith that are burned into my head forever during this song. The fact that they end up on Row Jimmy makes this jam just all the more perfect. It's a perfect end.

1977 April 23 - Springfield, MA

Grateful Dead - April 23, 1977
GRATEFUL DEAD
Saturday, April 23, 1977
Springfield Civic Center Arena, Springfield, MA
Audience Recording

You don't need a guy like me to tell you that 1977 is the best year of all time. Any nosing around a person does into Grateful Dead bootleg tapes will soon find them face to face with a deadhead telling them that 1977 is *IT*. Remember, 05/08/77 Cornell was probably the first show you ever heard (at least if you were nosing around back in the day). Why? It was one of the first really REALLY good sounding SBDs to get into circulation. And, it is a fantastic show as well.

I personally do not gravitate to 1977 when trying to call out the best year of them all. I will not bother getting into defending myself here where no one is trying to chest bump me on the fact. I might even scare you off mentioning I like 1976 even more.

However, there is no denying that Jerry and the boys were flying in '77. You just can't go wrong if you are looking for tight, energetic, wildly dexterous jams and inspired renditions of GD standards. Plus 1977 marked the debut of many a wonderful song, along with the pairing of Scarlet Begonias with the new Fire On The Mountain. I personally enjoy the shows from the first half of the year more than the second, but given the high caliber of the year overall, this is like saying I like chocolate with almonds more than chocolate with walnuts. It's all the same chocolate, man!

Here we have a stand out show from the Spring. Great copies of this show have stood the test of time very well. There are two masters up on archive.org now. I've opted with the Jerry Moore recording here. You will not be disappointed.

This show has just the third performance of Fire On The Mountain, and it is wonderful. The Dead are locked in to this new groove, and clearly feeding off of the energy of all the new material. Sticky syncopations and that psychedelic shuffle-slip-n-slide prevail. Jerry is dipping deeply into the creative well again and again. Just when you think he's turned a last corner, he hasn't, and you can only smile along for the ride.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

1979 January 15 - Springfield, MA

Jerry Garcia - January 15, 1979 GRATEFUL DEAD
Monday, January 15, 1979
Springfield Civic Center - Springfield, MA
Audience Recording

The Internet has been the greatest of blessings to the world of Grateful Dead tape trading. The hooking up of tape trading enthusiasts from every corner of the globe, the advent of home-level digitizing, the glory of high-speed connectivity, and the insanity of massive storage devices (I just got a 2TB external drive, myself) - all of these have allowed for an incredible archiving of these tapes that exist below the commercial line. It's something I think more of as a sonic documentation of American folklore; something that in 100 years could pass for a musical mythology. Topics for future posts, indeed.

A second wave of Internet blessings brought on in the late 1990's was the emergence of the old tapers themselves. Some were quite online-phobic, some were not. But the connection of these old tapers with the enthusiastic bunch of folks skilled in the art of digital/Internet music archiving was nirvanic.

One such taper to come online was Steve Rolfe. A complete pleasure to work with, and trusting beyond measure ("sure I'll send you boxes of my old masters and you can sit on them for months as you go through the digitizing process"), his tapes represent the second wave of tapers - those who began recording in the mid 70's and had the wherewithal to do it really really well.

We start here with his masterpiece of 01/15/79. This is a FOB (Front Of Board) recording, which means he was sitting in front of the soundboard, which typically provides a concert goer the best possible listening experience since they are sitting right in line with the mixer him/herself, hearing things "just exactly perfect."

There are lots and lots and lots of really good AUD recordings in 1979 (in January alone, most every night is captured in FOB glory), yet 01/15 has a certain kingly status. It really shines, both in fidelity and sonic bliss. It used to be one of the most ellusive tapes from early 1979. Now, we've got it at the tips of our fingers.

Jerry Garcia - January 1979You will hear lots of folks waxing about the set two opening Miracle>Shakedown. It is as fun and unexpected as it looks on paper. Also note the Jack Straw opener. Jack Straw became a standard opener in the mid-late 70's and it often allowed one to temperature test the band at the start of a night. This one hints that the band is fully locked in and ready to do business. A lovely Playin' in set two provides all sorts of interest. But allow me to dwell on the set two closing Casey Jones.

Casey Jones can be a love it or hate it song for deadheads. There are a lot of them out there, so opinions form quickly. Many tape traders will often skip listening to a set closer (see: Sugar Magnolia), but I caution you against that here. This Casey Jones blooms out of the end of the enormous Playin>Drums>Jam>Playin' and it is ferocious in energy. It is also picture perfect Grateful Dead. After the long and explorative jams, this Casey Jones brings you back to "good old Grateful Dead" with loving arms. And Jerry and the boys are spot on. The rev up in the last minutes goes on and on, up and up. It is so satisfying. While this tune can certainly at time be a cast off, this is not the case on 01/15. It brings you to the perfect place to cap off a wonderful show. Lots to enjoy from this tape. A great place to start enjoying 1979.

01/15/79 etree source info
01/15/79 AUD download

Friday, February 8, 2008

1974 June 22 & 23 - Jai-Alai Fronton

Grateful Dead June 16, 1974


GRATEFUL DEAD
Saturday & Sunday, June 22-23, 1974
Jai-Alai Fronton - Miami, FL
Audience Recording

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.

1974 Jerry in front of the Wall OF SoundMoore'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

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

1970 November 8 - Capitol Theater

Grateful Dead 1970 Ohhhhhh 1970. Over the years I have gone on record saying that 1973 is my favorite year so many times, that I'd be a fool to try to and dispute what easy Googling could prove in a heartbeat (are the pages of DNC still indexed?). But, while '73 is my favorite year, the Dead's best year might well be 1970.

The problem with 1970 is that even with the classic and fantastic soundboard recordings (see Dick's Picks Vol 4 and Vol 8 as an easy start), huge portions of the year were not archived from the soundbard (Bear was in jail), and the vast collection of audience recordings from this year are challenging to the ear - some REALLY challenging.

Pigpen 1970Luckily for us, there were some tapers throughout the year that got things down on tape so well, it boggles the mind and ear with pleasure. We start with one of the very best. I had the extreme pleasure of editing together the final version of this recording after the master made its way into the digital sphere.

One look at the Electric set list, and a shiver goes up your spine. I could go on and on talking about song after song, but perhaps you can trust me enough to check out a show for free and know that if a total stranger is featuring on his just created blog it might pay you back for the effort. :-)

Also note the complete New Riders Of The Purple Sage set being included here. If you don't know, Jerry Garcia played Pedal Steel for the Riders from their dawn (mid-1969) through October 1971. I'll save my NRPS preaching for another time. For now, enjoy the trip through every minute of a classic, classic show from 1970.

There are a ton of version of this recording floating around. This one represents the highest quality and most complete product.

11/08/70 etree source info
11/08/70 AUD download


Audience Devotional Tree Round 27 - March, 2005

1978 May 16 & 17 - Uptown Theater - Chicago, IL

Uptown Theater Floor Seats 1978 is often a year of complete mystery to newbies. Everyone says 1977 is THE YEAR (I won't weigh in on that now), and many disregard '78 as a declining year for Jerry Garcia. While it is true that drugs were taking a toll in 1978, and the band was not knocking it out of the park every night, there is plenty to love here.


Uptown Theater ca. 1980Near and dear to this Chicago born deadhead who grew up only blocks from the Uptown Theater, Dead shows from this venue provide a special connection.

It is an agreed upon truth that, "There was never a bad show played at the Uptown." The band always went over the top. And they played here over and over and over again in 78 and 79.

Perhaps because of the Midwest location, tapes from these shows had always been really hard to find. Chicago wasn't exactly one of the Dead taper Meccas easily found on the coasts. As my tape collection grew, setting my sights on the likes of May 17th, 1978 was nothing short of seeking a holy grail like Watkins Glen (more on that later). First I stumbled upon unknown gen cassettes where things were C+ quality along with having tape speed problems. Still, things were good enough to sit awe struck at the amazing Half Step>Franklin's Tower (first Half Step>Frank ever played), the Dancin', and the unbelievable Space out of Drums that floats into Terrapin (maybe the best space of the year, in my mind).

Uptown Theater view from balconyA few years later, famed taper Bob Wagner provided me with his 7" reels of both the 16th and 17th (though the taper is unknown) and I immediately set about the digitization of these phenomenal recordings, patching where I could certain cuts and flips. By 1978 it was more and more common for extremely good quality recordings to be coming out of the audience. These two are no exceptions. Nearly perfect recordings in every way, you need look no further to get that feeling of having scored perfect seats for two perfect shows. The scheduled show on the 18th was cancelled, on account of Billy coming down with the mumps.

We will come back to 1978 again, because there are lots of amazing highs over the year (want more now? seek February and all of May). But, these two nights provide a very critical addition to anyone's collection. You need to know about the Uptown Theater. After listening to these, you will not soon forget, either.

I get chills thinking about Jerry's tone and solos in Franklin's Tower on 5/17, along with his vocal delivery. It will instantly produce a smile on your face. He's got your right where you want to be.


Monday, February 4, 2008

1971 July 31 - Yale Bowl

GRATEFUL DEAD
Saturday, July 31, 1971
Yale Bowl, Yale University - New Haven, CT
Audience Recording

You'd have to call this an *important show* to have. Forever this was almost impossible to find in any listenable form. Everyone seemed to know that Marty Weinberg taped it, but for many years no one could seem to track down Marty, or a clean, complete copy of the tape. All that changed around 2001.

This recording captures the raw power of the Grateful Dead. This will not be the last time you hear me speak of hearing the electricity in the air, the pure wattage of the speakers shimmering out of your headphones. You are there, in the middle of everything. The soundboard never circulated beyond less than a small handful of ears, never truly in any kind of circulation. In fact, until only recently it was assumed by most all traders that there was no SBD at all. Now the soundboard is featured as the official release, Road Trips Vol. 1 #3.

Grateful Dead Stage Set Up - 1971 Yale BowlThe audience tape is one of those classic recordings where the crowd is palpably in your face a lot of the time. However, when the Dark Star ultimately casts its hypnotic mojo into the stadium, a hush ensues, and you find yourself marvelling that the crowd has gone so silent in wrapped attention. For me, it is this "other" energy that is only appreciable by its contrast to the general frivolity going on around it for most of the show. The Dead could always say "listen up now" and everyone would do just that. It's that level of listening experience which deepens my love of audience recordings in general.

The recording is not without its challenges, and I wouldn't call this a perfect tape with which to turn someone on to AUDs. If you really are new to AUDs in general, you might find things a bit bothersome. But this show itself will cause you to attend to the beauty within, and while you may set it aside, do remember to return again after you have travelled further down the AUD road. It will give you gifts again and again.

1971 gets somewhat overlooked in general. Being blanketed by 1970 and 1972, it's no surprise. But there are lots of amazing shows from this year. While I wouldn't be able to bring just one '71 show with me to a dessert island, Yale Bowl would easily be one of three... or one of five...

Highlights never stop coming from start to finish. And Marty's intro and outro are priceless beyond compare.

07/31/71 etree source info
07/31/71 AUD download

Audience Devotional Tree Round 5 - October, 2001

1973 June 22 - P.N.E. Coliseum, Vancouver, BC

Grateful Dead - Feb 24, 1973
GRATEFUL DEAD
Friday, June 22, 1973
P.N.E. Coliseum - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Audience Recording

Confronting some of my own paralysis in knowing where to start, I've decided to plow into my favorite year, 1973. For most seasoned Deadhead tape collectors, the Fall-Winter of '73 reigns supreme. I, on the other hand, am far more partial to the Summer. For me, everything from late May to early September is pure gold. During this time, the band was locking into a jazzy/spacey groove unlike any other period. For whatever reason, this particular "zone" really does it for me.

One of the early Betty Boards put into circulation around 1997, the clean and beautiful SBD suffers from a reel ending death at a most painful moment. Patched poorly with a crusty copy of the AUD for years, this was a complete AUD that remained hidden from mainstream circulation. I finally had the extreme pleasure of hooking up with a guy who held onto a reel copy of Don Amick's complete recording. Sitting up near the front, Don spread his mics 15+ seats apart and captured the very essence of the 1973 sound system within a large venue in surprisingly nice stereo.

Your ears will quickly tune up and settle into this recording, as welcoming as they come from 1973 AUDs. The unmistakable warm tone of the entire band in this part of the year oozes through. This tape is the "sound of 1973," and deserves a place in everyone's collection.

The show has that relaxed, somewhat lazy pace of good 1973 shows, yet the energy soars in all the right places. Stand out versions of many tunes including Bird Song, Playin', Here Comes Sunshine, and the hall of fame colossal Truckin'>Nobody's Jam>Phil Jam>Jam>Other One>Space>Other One jam in set two.

06/22/73 etree source info
06/22/73 AUD download


Audience Devotional Tree Round 19 - April, 2003

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Audience Recording

1973 Wall of Sound Test

Okay, there's something I should have mentioned before. I am a die hard advocate for the audience recordings. Didn't start out that way. I doubt any tape collector does. But I truly feel that tapes recorded by folks in the crowd capture a certain something that is lost on a soundboard tape, and that something is worth seeking out. It takes some acclamation of the ear, but you *can* get beyond the crowd noise, mic shuffling, and other assorted diversions and find yourself experiencing the band at a level higher from an audience recording. Really.

At the turn of this century I ran a tape tree called the Audience Devotional Tree (ADT). It had about 140 people subscribed via an old Yahoo Group and I spent my time finding old AUD recordings and spreading them out into the digital circulation stream. The tree ran for 3 years and managed to help turn folks on to AUDs who might have dismissed them otherwise. There were about 20-odd rounds of the tree (20 plus shows), and I'm sure quite a few of these will be featured on this blog. All of these, and so many more, are easily downloaded from http://www.archive.org/, and details of all can be found at http://db.etree.org/ (you'll be wanting to bookmark that if you don't know of it already).

As I once posted over on Dead Net Central, my desire to share the wonder of audience recordings is not so much an invitation to do battle with people who dislike them. More, it is an opportunity to open a door for folks who are destined to come in.

Welcomes and Greetings

Grateful Dead ca. 1972

Hello fellow fans of the Grateful Dead. My purpose in creating this blog comes from years of devotion to Grateful Dead tape/CD trading, and doing everything I could to share the music of the Grateful Dead with interested ears.

Times have changed in the world of our trading community, and some of the most apparent trends seem to be a deterioration or absence of what we once called the "community" and the explosion of availability of nearly every Dead recording ever at everyone's finger tips. It seems that the latter gave rise (or decline) to the former.

Most folks are no longer getting to know other traders, building lists of trading partners, exchanging lists, and mailing discs (or cassette tapes!) to each other, waiting anxiously at the mailbox for that next package of shows to arrive. Such is the price of the progress of technology. The bubble envelope has been replaced with the Bit Torrent and online archives. At the same time, there are more and more people "finding" the Dead and seeking out music to enjoy. Everyone wants to hear the best Grateful Dead show from 1973, after all. But which one is it?

The music is easy enough to find (http://www.archive.org/, etc..). Knowing where to start is more and more of a mystery.

When I started trading, I dreamed of having all tapes at my fingertips (and set about collecting thousands of hours on tape to get there). Now that everything is so widely within the reach of a clever mouse, it seems likely that a paralysis can set in, preventing someone from knowing where to step first. Knowing that the Dead have plenty of shows that lack quite the luster of others (a hugely debated topic as to which shows are, and are not, worthy of either distinction), it is easy to potentially mis-step and come out disappointed. With such a huge collection to choose from, this is one adventure where it can get frustrating looking for a needle in a haystack.

Disappointment would be somewhat avoidable if every Dead tape collecting newbie had a grizzled old deadhead living across the street who invited them over to listen to old recordings and walk back home with arms full of music to copy. Online, that's not something easily found. And that is just what I aim to bring to you. If you came over to my home to borrow shows, I know a number of them that I'd recommend over others, and I would gain as much joy in sharing as you might in being turned onto some of the greatest music out there. Figuring out what you might like, and guiding you to more, would be a pleasure.

So, here on this blog, you can listen to a deadhead who has walls of tapes and CDs rant and rave over this great show, and that great solo; this amazing transition from Truckin' to Other One, and that amazing tone hanging in the air of an outdoor arena (mostly of the audience recording variety - more on that later). Hopefully you'll come away all the more devoted to the band you already love. I will provide signposts and spotlights for you to get the most out of every moment you take in listening to the Grateful Dead.

Welcome.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin