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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

1975 September 28 - Lindley Meadows

Grateful Dead - 09/28/75 Lindley Meadows

Sunday, September 28, 1975
Lindley Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
Audience Recording

So, this recording and show carry with them a lot of great history. Not the least of which is a deep steeping in the mythical story telling of Grateful Dead tape legend and lore. For this is one of the audience tapes that historically was said to have been recorded by the band (Phil Lesh in particular) from the stage itself. “Really?! Wow, that’s gotta be cool?” “Yeah, it’s probably one of the best audience recordings of the Dead ever.” Well, half of that story is true. It is absolutely one of the very best of the best AUDs. But Phil didn’t tape it. Phil didn’t make any tapes.

“Don’t worry. We’re trying not to.” -Bob Weir, 09/28/75

Bob Weir 09/28/75 Lindley MeadowsThen there’s the well enough substantiated story that the band was higher than kites for this show. While it has always been very well understood that this band played under the influence of LSD many many many times, there are some shows that come to mind when Deadheads talk about shows where the band was “known” to have been chemically altered for sure: 08/27/72, 05/11/78, and 09/28/75 among them. So, this places an extra special sparkle to re-living the day’s concert when listening.

Also, there is the fact that a baby was born during the show, with the band and stage announcers doing their best to help. Phil and Bobby can barely contain their desire to be pranksters.

Phil Lesh 09/28/75 Lindley MeadowsNext, before this century, if you weren’t in the most enshrined trading circles, you couldn’t find a complete copy of this AUD to save your life (and the real deal master itself only just went into circulation in May 2008). When you might have run into this recording (I was lucky enough to score 45 minutes of the show on cassette about 12 years ago), there was no way you could accept that it was an AUD at all. Clearly Phil and the band had to have had a hand in making this tape, right? It just sounded WAY too good. And there was the fact that there were a painful amount of right channel dropouts throughout the tape which allowed you to appreciate the quality, but never really left you wanting to listen to the tape again because of the pain involved in those dropouts.

Then the SBD came on the scene, sounding super duper. Someone digitized the AUD (a multi-gen version) and spent the time patching the dropouts with the left channel – palatable now, the AUD was a dizzying drink from the fountain of audience magic. Well friends, that was nothing…

Jerry Garcia 09/28/75 Lindley MeadowsI’m not going to attempt to document the story of taper Bob Menke here on these pages. Let’s just say that BadBob (his own moniker) bleeds the history of Grateful Dead taping and collecting. He’s one of those fellows whose name lands in the inner circle when playing the dart game of Dead tapers. ‘Nuff said. Menke's story has been one of clouded half truths, misunderstandings, and mystery in the eyes of tape collectors. Over the last number of years, the real Bob Menke has made his way into the digital scene, so a lot of the mystery has faded. But, it sure did fuel the fires that made this particular tape one of such grand story telling. This is one to tell the grandkids about, to be sure.

Jerry Garcia 09/28/75 Lindley MeadowsSo Menke recently digitally transferred his master, and the MOTB crew finished it off with heroic editing (glad I didn’t face this task). And now we have this AUD for the ages, in its most beautiful glory.

The recording is so good, it makes the AUD vs. SBD debate seem silly. It’s a little unfair, like bringing an NBA all star off the bench at a junior high basketball game. So much so, that it's fair for a SBD supporter to cry foul - “Oh, well, 09/28/75! You can’t talk to me about that show. That’s not fair.” Regardless, when you want to know what it might have sounded like pressed up against the stage for this hallmark Dead show in the year after they retired (you may never see them again), this is it my friends. Cripplingly good.

Jerry Garcia 09/28/75 Lindley MeadowsRight out of the gate, the Help’s On The Way>Slipknot spins gold. The Slipknot casts sound colors into the air like a juggler balancing 30 balls in the air all at once with multiple sets of arms, a la some Hindu god. Everything weaves into everything else. The stand alone Franklin’s Tower is fantastic. Jerry lets off a solo after the second verse that threatens to crack the sky with sheer force. It’s a towering mass of energy. During the a cappella portion of the song the band has you nestled in the palm of their hand. And, something that always makes an AUD all the more enjoyable is when an audience member shouts out some perfectly timed response to the music. It could be as simple as a woo! or a yeah! Here there’s a guy locked in and feeling it. His shouts will put a smile on your face.

Bob Weir & Phil Lesh 09/28/75 Lindley MeadowsBobby prophetically calls attention to the fact that he is going to completely blow the lyrics to Truckin’, and proceeds to do so in bewildered fashion. The jam takes a little bit to really get its legs. But once it does, it flies. The band catches that rocking, funking, winding groove reminiscent of 1974, and the jam rolls on and on. Each band member’s contribution comes through on the tape perfectly. Bobby’s punctuated string scraping shreds are beautiful.

From Drums they go into King Solomon’s Marbles. I must say that it sounds like the challenge of the band’s collective mental state becomes slightly more apparent in the intricate passages of this song. However, nothing fundamentally falls apart, and the slightly unfurling edges add to the psychedelic mystery. But things are probably not as tight as the band would prefer. Still, this version is as pleasing as any other from 1975. When they lock into the 7/8 time signature and let the solos take form, you feel the rug slip deliciously out from under your feet. The snaking rhythm coils in every direction, riding the wind and circling the clouds.

Jerry Garcia 09/28/75 Lindley MeadowsFrom here there is a loose transition into Not Fade Away, Jerry seems to hang on a string bending note like he’s clinging to the edge of the world hoping not to fall off. His solos that follow are full of a certain slow burning energy, lots of massive notes that push against each other like saturated balloons. It makes for some very nice listening. The Goin’ Down The Road smacks of good old Grateful Dead, everyone having a good old time.

This is a sensational field recording, documenting not just the music, but a whole lot more. It’s great to finally have this master tape available in its full splendor. Thank you, Menke.


  1. Wow, this is a great taper's history. I appreciate your insights on the scene as much as the music. I would say that the music expereince is 'enriched' by what you present.

    Many thanks

    Italian Head

  2. I was there and I've been looking for a good aud of this show ever since. Back in the early '80's, I came across a 90 minute copy that had the channel dropouts that you talk about. I was SO HAPPY when a good copy of this appeared last month or so on etree. "Grate" review.

    1. I was there too! I think I saw you.

  3. This was one of the first tapes I ever got, from a mysterious shaman-like critter named Clyde, who I met at the Varsity Theatre in Evanston, Illinois at a midnight showing of The GD Movie back in '80. Drop-outs and hiss galore aside, I forever marvelled at the energy the boys put out that day. Oh, and such hilarious hijinx as well, making it a favorite party tape as I went on to college. Thanks for the shimmy down memory lane.

    "There's a baby being born around here somewhere!"

  4. Roll Away.........

    This might be one of my favorite Franklins now. But it seems with every click on your page I find new favorites. Daily I am here finding new nuggets.

    Anyway, this Franklin's is funky. Has that laid back feel to it. Phil is just cruising along blowing bass bubbles and the crowd is ecstatic.

    Thank you again for your insight.

  5. Thanks so much for this blog. I am happily discovering music that I had not heard when I was a more avid fan, and so I'm becoming more of a fan than I ever was before. Thank God for the internet and this blog.

    This show is amazing. The only bad thing about the quality is that it is so good that it could ruin you for other shows. There is great crowd noise(the scream during one of Jerry's Franklin's Tower solos is so a propo that when it comes around, I just have to mutter 'I know, right!?'), and yet the cleanliness of the band's sound seems like it's be hard to duplicate in other aud shows.

    Jerry's fantastic solos in NFA and Going down the road deserve repeated listening. I had to listen to them several times. The first few listens, I thought Jerry was blissfully in left field. Now, I must be out there with him because it's perfect. He changes colors, volumes, textures so masterfully in the NFA jam. Very subtle, very tasty.

  6. Thanks for this blog. I have been learning and downloading a lot thanks to you. I am 41 and only really gotten into the Dead within the last couple years thanks to Sirius. My passion for music is rekindled.

  7. The Eyes!! I screamed a little...

  8. How 'bout Jerry noodling "Happy Birthday" after the call for the doctor goes out ...


  9. The mystique created by the review is killing me. I must have a listen. Will definetely report back when I come back from the trip. As always, thanks Icepetal.

  10. Nice recording for sure. I really like the tone of the Travis Bean, Jerry is playin' here. The sustain is so nice the notes tend to overlap, it seems. Just the right amount of distortion that releases upon Jerry's attack. Great to have the recording where these nuances can be heard.

    As far as the show, set, etc...just a good-times-were-had-by-all sort of show. A question though, is this the entire two sets? Is there more that is not available? Just seems like a very short show.

  11. Who is playing harmonica on beat it in down the line?

  12. I did some googling. Looks like it was Matthew Kelly on harmonica.


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