Grateful Deads from Blues for Allah till the End

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;ivlunsdystf
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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:46 am

I just remembered this: Back in 1994 or so, I got into a conversation with some bus drivers who specialized in hauling musicians on tour. I think they were driving for BB King at the time I talked to them. These were interesting fellows. They told me that their best gigs were for dull types like Michael Bolton, because of the predictable schedules and easy dealings with the people. They went on to tell me that they had both driven bus for several recent Grateful Dead tours and that those were the absolute worst jobs for them, consistently. They said there was constant acrimony between band members on every tour, which made for a very tense atmosphere. They told me that the only way to survive a Grateful Dead tour was to "stay out of it" when people started arguing. This was in the waning years of my Grateful Dead phase and I hadn't seen them for years, but it was an interesting peek into the underbelly of this band that was supposedly so cooperative and democratic.

Of course, by this time they were routinely serving up overcooked sonic fudge, Jerry was deliberately turning himself down to inaudible levels in the mix, and they were grossing hundreds of millions a year. Things were better in the 60s and 70s for the fans.

For those of us who paid attention when Jerry was still "alive", being into the Dead was kind of like following baseball. Every so often one could review "scores" (setlists) from recent shows, and once in a blue moon one could attend a show, eat some hot dogs, drink some beer, and watch the band off in the distance. At a baseball game there are always people who are obviously regulars; the same was true at Dead shows and this made for some fascinating peoplewatching.

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foley
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Post by foley » Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:48 pm

It sounds like they're still fighting:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/01/arts/ ... 1dead.html

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Post by doctari » Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:51 pm

The Grateful Dead was an American adventure for many who took the ride. They became inseperable from the Lysergic mythology of the Merry pranksters as chronichled in Tom Wolfe's book "Electric Kool Aid Acid Test". Put out the Psychedelic masterpiece " Anthem of the Sun" pioneered multi-trac recording of Live rock and roll concerts, reinvented rock and roll sound reinforcement. Wrote some really good songs of Americana,Working Man's Dead, American Beauty, Europe '72. .Were purveyors of a cool blend of American folk music forms, (including rock). Played many gigs over a 30 year period. Throughout the 70's they gave people hope for something beyond the corporate programming thrown at us.On a good night they burned brightly on a bad night they stumbled and displayed their humanity. They were the grand wazoo of Jam bands. Garcia alone was an engaging storyteller. when the band was swinging to me they were as good as it can get. They were not slick, They did not play the perfectly choreographed 56 minute set, with perfect 3 part harmony and succinct rythym sections and soloists, for that you could see Three dog Night (A really great live band with a tight assed 4 peice band). But they left lasting impressions on millions of people. The Europe '72 period stands the test of time quite well because the energy levels were high the playing was sharp and the tones of good old fashioned Fender,and gibson guitars semihollow electric bass,real piano, through real amps and speakers, along with good sounding real no nonsense almost marching snare drums,made a powerful sound. Those guys were real ensemble players. Can you imagine 5 or 6 people playing and singing together? Listening to each other? Interacting with each other? At one point Lesh Describes each of them as being like fingers on a hand.
Many bands seeem to be, enough about you lets hear my hot licks again. This combo playing seems to be a lost art. Anyway at least acknowledge their contributions. How long would it have taken Guys carting truckloads of A-7s around the country to figure out the use of audio spectrum anylizers and time allignment without the Dead and their partners in sound reinforcement?

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nipsy
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Post by nipsy » Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:31 am

I find it ironic that once Jerry got clean he dropped dead (no pun intended, really)......

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NewAndImprov
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Post by NewAndImprov » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:51 pm

nipsy wrote:I find it ironic that once Jerry got clean he dropped dead (no pun intended, really)......
Yeah, well you don't just step away from that many years of that kind of abuse and not have some serious health issues. Plus, he was diabetic, and from what I gather, it was mostly untreated.

Prompted by this discussion, I picked up a copy of "Anthem of the Sun", also, in the Lesh bio, he says it's the one studio recording he's happiest with. Interesting record, and worth hearing without prejudice, I can't think of any other 1967 recording as flat out wierd as Anthem. It got me thinking, if the artists on the Harry Smith collections are the Old Wierd America, and Animal Collective et al are the New, does this make the Dead the Middle-Aged Wierd America?

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Post by hammertime » Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:39 pm

Okay, I just heard the Grateful Dead show while I was driving home. The first three seconds sounded okay. But then, just as I said, the singers came in out of tune with the band and each other. Not even close. I haven't heard one mp3 on this forum that sounded that out of tune. Honestly, I try to like bands -- I know that sounds like a joke coming from the Hammer. But they have to pass a few criteria. First, are they in tune? Not that this is going to necessarily cause me to turn them off. Because alot of singers -- Dylan, Johnny Cash, etc -- might have some slight pitch problems (I call it a "wide tuning range.". That gets me to the second evaluation I go through -- do they have anything original to say? And here, too, the dead fail. All I hear is a fat slob who can't play guitar, cackling about a bunch of meandering mush-head slop. I guess the question isn't Garcia's "why would anyone criticize the Dead." For me, it's, "why would anyone listen to the Dead." There's just so much better music out there, that your missing out if you listen to these worthless pinheads for longer than the three seconds I spent today.

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;ivlunsdystf
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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:47 pm

Ooh! I love it when you talk about yourself in the third person!

What do you mean by "the grateful dead show"? I think there were several that took place over the years. Anyway, now that you have given the Grateful Dead a chance you can get back to more important things, like Clapton bashing. Please do not mistake my derision for disapproval. I am just trying to keep up my end of the big conversation.

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Post by hammertime » Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:16 pm

There's a show on every friday on the radio in Chico, dickhead. Sorry, I didn't clarify that.
Tatertot wrote:Ooh! I love it when you talk about yourself in the third person!

What do you mean by "the grateful dead show"? I think there were several that took place over the years. Anyway, now that you have given the Grateful Dead a chance you can get back to more important things, like Clapton bashing. Please do not mistake my derision for disapproval. I am just trying to keep up my end of the big conversation.

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;ivlunsdystf
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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:25 pm

Ah. I feel like now we are really communicating, like there is something special between us. Is that crazy of me? Omigod.

Is "Chico" short for Chicago?

hammertime
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Post by hammertime » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:12 pm

No, it's short for 'Yo mama'.

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Post by Knights Who Say Neve » Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:55 am

The Dead are not for everybody.

Hammertime, we don't bum rush your threads to tell you how stupid your cargo pants look. The Dead isn't for you, so move along. Nothing to see here.
"What you're saying is, unlike all the other writers, if it was really new, you'd know it was new when you heard it, and you'd love it. <b>That's a hell of an assumption</b>". -B. Marsalis

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Post by Brian Brock » Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:10 am

Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothing new to say.

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Post by herodotus » Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:05 am

This deserves a quote:
foley wrote: No one is saying you have to like them, there are tons of "great" bands that don't interest me. I guess the difference is that I don't choose to let everyone know how much I think their favorite band sucks.
I will never understand this kind of behavior.

It's like doing something that you know annoys someone (nails on a chalkboard, etc.) just to annoy them, and laughing when they get annoyed.

Kind of childish, really.

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Post by Knights Who Say Neve » Sat Dec 10, 2005 3:55 pm

Herodotus- Loved your History!
"What you're saying is, unlike all the other writers, if it was really new, you'd know it was new when you heard it, and you'd love it. <b>That's a hell of an assumption</b>". -B. Marsalis

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foley
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Post by foley » Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:54 pm

The Europe '72 period stands the test of time quite well because the energy levels were high the playing was sharp and ...

Ok, I can't resist *WARNING: STUPID DEAD FAN DISCUSSION AHEAD*

Have you heard much from 1970? Don't get me wrong - '72 was great, but after watching Festival Express last year I did a little research into 1970 and - holy shit - some of those shows are out of this world. They were incorporating a lot of the acoustic stuff - usually a short set before going electric - and playing some really obscure, cool stuff like Cold Jordan - which I love. The electric jams are unbelievable. It think it's their best year.

Anyways, check out some 1970 shows if you get the chance.

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