tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Save Your Face 2019-05-22T01:52:23Z John Hilgart @4CPcomics tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1409294 2019-05-15T20:43:36Z 2019-05-22T01:52:23Z Jamming with Brent: April ’79 Rehearsal Remix

Here’s another one of those unique and miraculous – but also shaggy – Grateful Dead events, boiled down to something more like an album fit for everyday listening. 

Rehearsing ahead of Brent Mydland’s first live performance with the band, the Dead jammed and jammed and jammed in their Club Front studio. The results are an exciting sequel to the “Blues for Allah” rehearsal tapes. I’ve always said that I’d have been cool with the Dead staying on the jazz-fusion path out of 1975; this music could be from that path. 

My mix presents 60-minutes of the best bits, sliced and diced into a nearly continuous 60-minute jam, plus a 17-minute Space/Drums/Feedback freak-out, made up of several other bits. All told, it includes about half the minutes of the circulating tape, which is dated April 16, 1979. 

78-minute mp3 mix here (Cover: John Hilgart, cassette insert art, c. 1989)

  • Herbie Prelude >
  • Herbie 1 >
  • Herbie 2 >
  • Another Fire on a Different Mountain >
  • Scarlet Begonias Jam >
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Harbor Traffic >
  • We Could be Genesis
  • Not Fade Away Jam
  • Dancing Between Thunder
  • Summer of ‘73
  • We’re Here All Week, Folks >
  • Closing Time
  • Booji Boy’s Bad Trip (space, drums, and feedback)

You can listen to the full 2h45m tape here: https://archive.org/details/gd79-04-16.studio.clugston.3121.sbeok.shnf 

Compared to my own excitement about this material, the 15 years of comments on the archive.org post, above, are surprisingly ambivalent. Methinks they haven’t seen the trees for the forest. I hope that my tightening and track differentiation will make it easier for some to enjoy these unique Dead performances. Imagine if this had been a second set in front of a live audience, in 1979 or any year. People would have lost their minds.

Editing notes:

  • Two of the links indicated by “>” are real: “Herbie 1 > Herbie 2,” and “Scarlet > Fire.” I’ve created simple connective tissue anywhere else I could. There were few real stopping points in the music, but the drummers and odd noises provided some good opportunities for fake connections. The fade-ins on “Harbor Traffic” and “Summer of ‘73” come from the source tape. 
  • The only vocals are on “Fire on the Mountain.”
  • “Herbie Prelude” is a combination of two small Brent noodles, the second of which gave birth to (what I have called) the Herbie theme. 
  • I removed many minutes from the “Herbie 2” jam, joining approximately the first five, Mydland-centric, minutes to the final minute-and-a-half, which brought it to a Garcia-led close. 
  • “We Could Be Genesis” begins with some tightened up elements that preceded the full-fledged execution of the theme/idea, so it would be even more Genesis-like.
  • “Not Fade Away Jam” removes two sections of reference-recording-level singing. There was a tempo change across the first vocal section, so you’ll feel that shift, but both the fast intro and slower jam are worthy.
  • “Summer of ‘73” is an abbreviated version of the full jam, faded out when it disintegrated beyond a certain point.  
  • “Booji Boy’s Bad Trip” combines three separate episodes of noisy fun and trims out some extraneous stuff within one or two of those episodes. 
  • Every effort was made to hide the fact that these were stop-start rehearsals and to fake an album out of them. 

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1407667 2019-05-10T23:29:37Z 2019-05-14T14:49:01Z Samba in the Rain b/w Way to Go Home (1994 Summer Tour advance single)

Vince Welnick’s “Samba in the Rain” is probably The Grateful Dead’s most ridiculed original composition. It was improbable Dead material, and it didn’t play to the singer/author’s strengths. In contrast, Welnick’s “Way to Go Home” is a perfect Dead song, and he’s the perfect singer of it. 

The short “Samba” jam is always fun, but the song itself isn’t really very discernible, or followable, most of the time. It’s murky or untight or the vocals are mumbling somewhere in the distance. 

This version is the opposite of that; the song’s right there, every word clear, harmonies well-balanced, and Welnick making the jazz-like turns in the vocal melody without mishap. He wrote a song he wasn’t built to sing, but he does just fine here. 

So, if you’d like a reference version of this song, or haven’t seriously listened to it maybe ever, this is the dance partner you’re looking for. 

13-minute mp3 mix here

  • Samba in the Rain (7/1/94)
  • Way to Go Home (7/31/94)

P.S. This is the improbable promo single for a series of 1994 Summer Tour mixes I will be posting as the 25th anniversary dates arrive.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1398701 2019-04-16T21:03:00Z 2019-05-05T10:11:03Z 1994 Spring Tour Boxed Set: Guide to the “Save Your Face” Mixes

I have now posted mixes pulled from all the currently circulating soundboard recordings of The Grateful Dead’s 1994 Spring Tour – February 25 to April 8. If you include the year’s first three shows in Oakland, the band played 23 shows that Spring, 5.75 of which do not appear to circulate as soundboards. 

From those that do, I have pulled 111 tracks, totaling 14.5 hours. Aside from two tracks that appear on two mixes, there is no duplication across the mixes. For the record, the only official release from this tour is the "Liberty" I have included, and the only official 1994 concert release is a single show from October, on the "30 Trips" boxed set. It's a shame that this period of Grateful Dead is so ignored. I'm glad that my efforts have made people who used to think like me sit up and say WTF - WOW!

I have made and posted these mixes over a year’s time, so it may not be clear how they map onto the tour or relate to each other. You can find all the original posts, with detailed notes and links to mp3 downloads, under the tag “GD 1994 Spring Tour.” 

This post is simply an overarching guide to the combined mixes. It provides a complete track list, so you can more easily see how the mixes cover the tour and what songs are represented. I’ve appended my Deadbase annotations, so you can literally see when and where the songs I’ve chosen happened during the tour and shows.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1398436 2019-04-16T03:45:08Z 2019-04-17T20:23:03Z Shortlist: March 16-21, 1994 – Chicago and Richfield, OH

Almost every song here stands out as a vocal performance. The crowd cheers Garcia’s singing and the band’s harmonies all over the place, and the mix lets the singers stand out. The “Stella Blue” is extraordinary. Playing throughout is excellent. Each composition gets its due. 

You’ll find the great improvisational performances from these same shows here and here. This mix is the rest of the highlight reel for Chicago and Richfield, OH. I always enjoy being able to pull songs like “Stella Blue” and “Wharf Rat” into this kind of song-centric context, free of late second set connective tissue. 

Aside from emphasizing that these are great performances featuring a lot of excellent Garcia singing, I’ll add that this “Around and Around” is delightful. It never explodes, and instead meanders into what sounds something like a drunken New Orleans funeral march. 

All three of the Chicago shows circulate as soundboards, but just one of the two Richfield shows. Hence my decision to combine them.  

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Don’t Ease Me In (3/16/94)
  • Beat It on Down the Line (3/16/94)
  • Bertha (3/21/94)
  • Ramble on Rose (3/19/94)
  • Stella Blue (3/21/94)
  • Queen Jane Approximately (3/21/94)
  • Looks Like Rain (3/16/94)
  • High Time (3/16/94)
  • Peggy-O (3/21/94)
  • Wharf Rat (3/18/94)
  • Around and Around (3/18/94)
  • Deal (3/18/94)
  • Standing on the Moon (3/16/94)
  • The Wheel > (3/17/94)
  • All Along the Watchtower (3/17/94)

This post concludes my survey of the ’94 Spring Tour. Every circulating soundboard has been curated and posted here, with representation of every stop on the tour.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1397582 2019-04-13T19:34:42Z 2019-04-14T21:20:54Z Dark Star Flashes (March 1994): LP 2!

Here are 50 more minutes of A+ Grateful Dead jamming from the Spring ’94 tour – all unreleased, like everything from this tour. Garcia’s leads never let up. He’s full of ideas and always knows where he wants to go next.

The reason I’m presenting this as a companion to my earlier “Dark Star Flashes” mix is that this contains all the other great jamming from the shows that contributed four of six songs on that mix. “Dark Star Flashes” was a popular post – a gateway to late Dead for me and some people who follow this blog. So, I didn’t see a reason to repeat that material in a show-specific context. It seemed like a better choice to double down and extend the original mix. 

With one exception, all of this comes from the three shows at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, March 16-18. That run would make an excellent official release as a compressed “Road Trip.” 

50-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Feel Like a Stranger > (3/18/94)
  • Scarlet Begonias Jam > Fire on the Mountain (3/16/94)
  • Eternity Jam (3/17/94)
  • Playin’ in the Band > UJB Jam Conclusion (edit, 3/17/94)
  • Eternity Jam (3/21/94)

Song Notes:

  • “Eternity” isn’t a great song (lounge blues), but the jam the band built out of it was great (lounge jazz). If the band had survived longer, I’d want to hear where this kind of mood/playing went, further down the road. My favorite alternate universe Dead is the one that tacked jazzward out of “Blues for Allah,” so “Eternity” is a happy real-world event for me. 
  • This “Playin’” is very fun, with lots of episodes. The jam-flow begins with traditional, feisty playing around the theme, leads into a great dissolving stretch that doesn’t lose the thread, and then leads into further, focused adventures in the post-UJB jam that I’ve edited on. 
  • This is an exceptionally punchy, tight, direct, dense “Fire.” There is a fleeting vocal error by Garcia, but otherwise his singing is up-front and confident, and his leads drive the song straight through. (He just flies on the "Stranger" jam, too.)

Editing Notes:

  • The internal edits are the removal of the “Eternity” song-parts and an extension of the “Playin’” jam with the end of the same show’s “Uncle John’s Band” jam – which was a return to “Playin’” territory. I’ve made some simple transitions to keep the whole thing moving along. If they’d played “Scarlet > Stranger > Scarlet,” my “Stranger/Scarlet Jam” jump-cut might be believable. 

Where this fits into my Spring ’94 mix series:

  • The four shows represented here are the last four circulating soundboards from the Spring ’94 tour that I have not presented as single-show “shortlists” or single-venue “road trips” compilations. As such, I had to choose between those approaches (repeating a lot of tracks from the earlier “Dark Star Flashes” mix) or the approach I’ve taken here. It leaves some fine non-jam performances on the cutting room floor that I’ll get around to buttoning up eventually.
  • In any case, I hope the density of goodness on this mix offsets any cumulative annoyance I have created with my many different approaches to presenting Spring ’94 highlights. 

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1392758 2019-04-02T04:33:39Z 2019-04-13T13:06:54Z Shortlist: Greensboro, NC – April 1, 1991

This was one of the best three Grateful Dead shows I saw live, 28 years ago tonight. This one hour edit has the arc you’d want if whatever you’d smoked or ingested was beginning to come on strong just as the music started. 

The great thing about this show is that it had big melodic/exploratory versions of both “Bird Song” and “Dark Star.” At the time of the show, a “Dark Star” was due, and I wanted nothing more. After the “Bird Song,” I doubted the second set would include “Dark Star,” but I got my wish. 

The “Dark Star” was split into two pieces, with a lot of wild, noisy stuff in between. It’s cool noisy stuff (normal and MIDI), but not on the level or in the character of the melodic heights of this show. So, I’ve finally made the edit that I’ve wanted for 28 years – the Greensboro ’91 “Dark Star” without interruption.

62-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Prelude: Ambient (5:21)
  • Bird Song (16:14)
  • Dark Star > Playin’ Coda > (17:24)
  • Black Peter (9:30)
  • Peggy-O (6:32)
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (6:49)
Note: I was inspired to make this edit by a new Charlie Miller SBD master that appeared last year. It's in the archive here: https://archive.org/details/gd1991-04-01.141915.sbd.cm.miller.flac1644
John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1392300 2019-04-01T03:34:24Z 2019-04-10T16:37:17Z Shortlist: Nassau Coliseum ‘94 (March 23, 27, 28)

Slowly but surely, I'm constructing a best-of boxed set of The Grateful Dead's entire 1994 Spring Tour. (Or at least as much of it as circulates in soundboard recordings.) I've now tagged all of my posts from this tour so they can be viewed together as that boxed set. Just a couple of "discs" to go. 

The Dead played five shows at Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, NY) in March. Only 2.3 of them circulate as soundboards: All of 3/23, 3/27 without the heart of the second set, and only the second set from 3/28.  

This mix pulls excellent performances of 17 songs from those soundboards. There are lots of delights in here, including many of the "small" or seemingly mundane songs. Vince lights things up all over the place. The “Might as Well” is the only occurrence later than mid-1991. The "China Cat" jam will surprise you. "Truckin'," the song, has a fantastic chugging groove, and the jam falls beautifully into "The Other One" from another night. The closest thing to a major blemish is Garcia being uncertain on some “Jack Straw” vocals, but it’s a fiery version nonetheless. 

mp3 mix zipped up here

Part 1 (61 minutes):

  • It’s All Over Now
  • Jack Straw
  • Jack-a-Roe
  • Queen Jane Approximately
  • Johnny B. Goode
  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • He’s Gone >
  • Goin’ Down the Road, Feelin’ Bad
  • Might as Well

Part 2 (70 minutes):

  • Truckin’
  • The Other One >
  • Morning Dew
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Samson & Delilah
  • Standing on the Moon
  • Victim or the Crime
  • Rain

Note: Some post-“Built to Last” songs and Drums/Space segments from these shows appear on other “Save Your Face” mixes and aren’t repeated here. The gap in the 3/27 second set is funny. There was a lengthy technical issue break, so they turned off the recorder. They apparently didn't remember to turn it back on until the band had played "Iko," "Uncle John's Band," and "Playin'."

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1389673 2019-03-25T01:43:49Z 2019-04-05T15:25:45Z Shortlist: Atlanta ’94 (March 30 – April 1)

Just in time for you to enjoy them on or before the 25th anniversary of their performance, here are three hours of highlights from the penultimate run of The Grateful Dead’s Spring 1994 tour. Unlike the folks at the tour’s final shows in Florida, Atlanta attendees were very lucky. They saw excellent versions of many of the band’s biggest jam songs, including the last “Dark Star,” ever. This is the best single-city, 1994 Dead run I’ve found so far. A great cap to a tour that was rich with high points. 

3-hour, mp3 file, zipped up here

Set 1 (54 minutes):

  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Dire Wolf
  • Black Throated Wind
  • Deal
  • New Speedway Boogie >
  • Promised Land
  • Standing on the Moon 

Set 2 (101 minutes):

  • Tuning Noodle
  • Bird Song
  • Estimated Prophet Jam
  • Crazy Fingers
  • Scarlet Begonias > 
  • Fire on the Mountain

Set 3 (101 minutes):

  • Playin’ in the Band > 
  • Dark Star
  • Eyes of the World
  • The Other One >
  • Wharf Rat
  • Brokedown Palace


  • This mix excludes the band’s post “Built to Last” songs (the best of which, from this tour, I anthologized here), and “Drums>Space” highlights, which already appear here, or will appear on a future March ’94, “Music for Spaceports, Part 2” mix.
  • The only edit I’ve made is to reduce “Estimated Prophet” to mostly the jam, which is great, while the song itself struggled after a stumble. 
  • The “Bird Song” goes to amazing places. This is one of the songs where "Dark Star" was hiding out in the later years.
  • The “Crazy Fingers” is as good as I’ve heard from later days, maybe thanks to recently-introduced teleprompters. 15% more Garcia vocal confidence, and this would have been perfect.
  • Likewise, though Garcia is a moment behind confidence at several points in the vocals, this “New Speedway” is the most gripping performance I’ve gotten to know from the end years. 
  • Likewise, again, this may be the first “Scarlet” from this period that I’ve anthologized, because the song itself is exciting here.
  • The “Fire” steadily ignites. 
  • “Playin’ > Dark Star” already appeared on my very first 1994 mix, repeated here, in a proper “Roadtrips” context. The “Playin’” is exemplary latter-day, and I have no issues with this sweet little coda to the “Dark Star” saga. Dig the drunken, twangy, science-fiction licks!
  • I’m no expert on “Standing on the Moon” performances, but this one seems pristine – and it works great as a jam to end a hypothetical first set.
  • Regarding standing somewhere, I was standing in the kitchen, chopping onions, trying to decide if this “Black Throated Wind” made the cut, and my partner walked in, listened through to the end, and asked, “When is this? I like it!” So, it made the cut. 

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1386240 2019-03-15T23:20:22Z 2019-05-21T18:34:09Z Grateful Deadish: Fate Music ’68 (Hartbeats Highlights)

The several late 1968 shows that lacked Bob Weir and Pigpen, and that sometimes added or substituted a guest musician, have always been both a thrill and a disappointment to me. I have compared them to the “Wizard of Oz” poppy field; I periodically run into it joyously, and then it puts me to sleep.

In the course of his chronological 1968 listening journey (in 2018), Jesse Jarnow (@bourgwick) listened to all these shows closely and compiled great notes. Based on those notes, I’ve edited together this 2.5-hour mix. It sure as hell doesn’t put me to sleep; it’s the poppy field I’ve been looking for. Indeed, it often feels more like a lean forward in time by the band, rather than like a bunch of noodly, time-frozen, jam sessions. 

As far as I know, all tracks include Garcia/Lesh/Kreutzman/Hart, with David Getz (drums) and Elvin Bishop (guitar) joining in on some tracks. I’ve made a variety of edits, mostly to establish satisfying start- and end-points, and to remove fatty interludes from extended jams. (David Getz jam part 3 is missing, because I decided it was a debased rock version of part 1.) I also cranked up Garcia's vocals on "It's a Sin," so that they would match the instrumental interludes. Both this and the sung "Death Don't Have No Mercy" are curios that deserve a place on the shelf.

From an editing perspective, I especially draw your attention to the Elvin Bishop track, which is extraordinarily like a chill 1969 Velvet Underground track. The full jam includes thematically almost-unrelated explosions into mediocre rocking out, which return each time to the thematic base, to see what’s changed. I’ve edited it down to that thematic base, and I really like it. The Velvets and the Dead were presumably cultural/musical opposites in the late ‘60s, but they, along with Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, were closer than they thought at the time. If you want to check out my candidate for VU’s closest “Sister Ray” to a 1968-1969 “Dark Star,” listen to the 12/12/68 “Sister Ray” on this mix – performed at exactly the same time as the not-quite-Dead material on this “Hartbeats” mix.

There are also multiple brushes with a fetal “Fire on the Mountain” impulse/chord structure, closer to the 1973 Watkins Glenn jam and the 1975 “Noodle on the Mountain” rehearsal session than to true “Fire,” but also an indication of how long certain ideas incubated in Deadland. In truth, all sorts of Dead themes crop up here and there in this material, regardless of how they are labeled as tracks. 

Whether the band was contemplating kicking Bob and Pig out or just woodshedding, these sessions seem to have been an important proving ground for open improvisation, and, as we all know, the “Live Dead” shows were just around the corner, in early 1969.

2.3-hour 320kbps mp3 mix, derived from FLAC, and zipped up here

  • Fate Music (Garcia intro, 10/30/68)
  • Dark Star jam (10/8/68)
  • Jam w/David Getz 1 (12/16/68 – jazz star)
  • Jam w/David Getz 2 (12/16/68 – space)
  • Jam w/David Getz 4 > (12/16/68 – fire on the sunflower)
  • Jam w/David Getz 5 (12/16/68 – coda)
  • Clementine jam (10/30/68)
  • Jam w/Elvin Bishop edit (10/30/68 – just like sister lou says)
  • The Other One jam edit (10/10/68)
  • Dark Star jam > (10/10/68)
  • The Eleven jam > (10/10/68)
  • The Seven (10/10/68)
  • Death Letter Blues (w/vocals, 10/30/68)
  • It’s a Sin (w/vocals, 10/10/68)
  • The Other One jam (10/30/68)
  • Jam (10/10/68 – another view of fire mountain)

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1383982 2019-03-10T20:58:05Z 2019-04-17T18:25:00Z Grateful Dead: Florida, April 1994

How good could The Grateful Dead be on a bad night, or across a string of mediocre shows? This mix answers that question for the Florida shows that closed the band’s 1994 Spring tour (April 4, 6, 7, and 8).

The tour from late February through March was strong, with great traditional and MIDI performances. However, by the time they hit Florida in early April, Garcia’s voice was shot, and the band just sounded tired. Easy songs were lazy, and tricky songs struggled. 

Nonetheless, as is true of other periods of live Dead, sloppy songsmanship doesn’t correlate to the quality of the collective playing once the song structures are left behind. In these Florida excerpts, you can hear the musical health and adventurous spirit of the 1994 band, in the midst of shows that I don’t recommend you listen to in full. 

There are no fancy segues on this mix, though I’ve tried to make a decent listening arc out of the pieces. It’s basically a big jam, with some song-stops – most notably a very nice “The Wheel.”

80-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Shakedown Street jam (4/7/94) 7:04
  • Eyes of the World instrumental > (4/7/94) 17:14
  • Playin’ in the Band (4/7/94) 9:05
  • Jam out of Terrapin (4/4/94) 3:57
  • Slipknot! > (4/4/94) 7:05
  • Franklin’s Tower (4/4/94) 11:10
  • Jam out of Terrapin (4/7/94) 9:43
  • The Wheel (4/6/94) 6:41
  • Not Fade Away (4/4/94) 9:25

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1382027 2019-03-06T04:33:57Z 2019-04-01T03:39:37Z Grateful Dead: The Desert Sky Pavilion 25th Anniversary Album

    25 years ago, this week, the Grateful Dead’s first tour stop of 1994 was Desert Sky Pavilion, in Phoenix, Arizona, March 4-6. You could tell it was going to be a good year. 

    Here are two hours pulled from those three nights, displaying a tight, enthusiastic, swinging band. The jams are powerful, and there are several with passages that will stop you in your tracks, including the vocal interplay out of “He’s Gone.” Lots of jaunty fun and thoughtful grooving to be had in other places. It’s a shame Garcia fumbles vocals on “Brown Eyed Women,” as this is a crackling performance. Weir has a moment on "Let it Grow," too. 

    “Eternity,” “Way to Go Home,” and “Broken Arrow” from the 5th can be found on this mix of the best versions of the band’s new tunes, as performed during March, 1994.

    Cover art by George Herriman (“Krazy Kat”).

    110-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

    • Feel Like a Stranger
    • Loose Lucy
    • When I Paint My Masterpiece
    • Bertha
    • Brown Eyed Women
    • Let It Grow
    • Playin’ in the Band
    • Saint of Circumstance >
    • He’s Gone
    • Bird Song (instrumental edit)
    • Little Red Rooster
    • Estimated Prophet
    • Iko Iko

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1380895 2019-03-03T18:30:19Z 2019-03-28T22:30:05Z Grateful Dead: Twilight Highlights (1993-1995 SYF sampler)

    The 50th anniversary of the shows that contributed to 1969’s “Live Dead” challenged me to see how stupendous a jam-centric mix I could make out of performances from the very late years (that have appeared on my Save Your Face mixes). 

    So, this is a crème de la crème compilation from September 1993 to March 1995 – an often-amazing 18-month period.

    Nothing is included from my all-Space mixes. It’s more of an improvisational dance party, with surprises around every corner. All recordings are still unreleased as of now. If you’re not already a convert to late Dead, give this a try.

    2-hour, 10-track mp3 mix zipped up here

    Bird Song (October 3, 1994) 13:08

    I recently posted a mix that included an instrumental edit of the 1973 Watkins Glenn “Bird Song,” and it’s a transcendent, jazzy event that is hardly distinguishable from “Dark Star,” refracted through the emerging sensibilities that would produce “Eyes of the World.” In October 1994, it’s a very different song, descended from the acoustic 1980 revival, through the intensity of the late Brent period, and now, in late 1994 fully owned by the mature Welnick unit. This performance is complex and intense – beautiful, jazzy, and dancing on the edge of chaos at various points. From the mix, “October ’94.”

    Three Night Jam (March 17-19, 1995) 17:55

    This edit is comprised of five or six segments plucked from three consecutive nights of “Drums/Space,” and edited into a continuous, far-out suite. At the heart of it is a long, funky, collective jam that Garcia joins a few minutes late, as if he’s just realized that he’s missing out on something special. Other episodes include Adrian Belew-era King Crimson, Brian Eno/Harold Budd soundtracks, and other strange things. 1995. Not a year to categorically ignore. From the mix, "Shortlist: 1995-03-17/18/19 Philadelphia, PA.” 

    Shakedown Street (October 14, 1994) 16:33

    Over the entire history of recorded versions of this song, it’s hard to find very many on which all the parts come together, start to finish, into an unrelenting, funky steamroller, ready for a general-audience dance party mixtape. This one makes the cut. The only flaw is Garcia being creaky and uncertain on the vocals of a couple of verses, but the heft of the music and the excellence of the group backing vocals make this a pretty minor issue. From the mix, “October ’94.” 

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1377827 2019-02-24T17:08:05Z 2019-03-11T00:37:57Z Grateful Dead: Knot Jazz (1968-1994)

    This is an all-instrumental mix of generally jazzy Grateful Dead. The track list probably explains the premise pretty clearly: repetitious patterns in strange time signatures, structured jams, a family of Phil riffs, various knots that the band would tie and untie. As much as possible, I picked performances that present the motifs and riffs through unorthodox explorations. 

    To those, I added some other Dead jazz moods, looking for interesting continuities across the years and songs. The overall goal is a gigantic, surprising jam that foregrounds the jazz/fusion band the Dead sort of were. 

    Almost all this music appeared in some form on previous Save Your Face compilations. The exceptions are the 1994 “Terrapin” and “Let It Grow” jams. Nothing here has been officially released to my knowledge. 

    140-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

    Part 1 (69 minutes):

    • Paging Getz & Gilberto (1975 rehearsal)
    • Clementine instrumental (1/68)
    • Bird Song instrumental (7/27/73)
    • Philo Stomp > Jam (10/24/72)
    • Phil Jazz Jam (7/1/73)
    • Longer than Dirt (1975 rehearsal)
    • Slipknoodle (1975 rehearsal)
    • Early Eyes Jams (2/21>22/73)
    • Eyesknot (6/20/74)
    • The Seven (3/21/70)
    • The Nines (1975 rehearsal)

    Part 2 (69 minutes):

    • Help on the Way/Looseknot Jam (1975 rehearsal)
    • Jam (10/19/72)
    • Spanish Jam (3/24/73)
    • The Main Ten (6/19/68)
    • Terrapin Jam (10/19/94)
    • Let it Grow Jam (3/6/94)
    • Let it Grow Horns instrumental (9/26/73)
    • The Music Almost Stopped (1975 rehearsal)
    • Noodle on the Mountain (1975 rehearsal)
    • Another Riff (1994 rehearsal)

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1350142 2018-12-04T04:59:43Z 2019-01-18T11:04:25Z Fare thee well

    Painting: Odilon Redon

    The “Save Your Face” blog/mixtape series is going on hiatus. The relevant time and energy are needed elsewhere for the time being, in a 100% good way. The blog is not dead, but it will be moving in slow motion, compared to its previous, extended periods of regular posting.

    I began this blog/mixtape series by apologizing incessantly for editing shows, editing songs, and compiling Dead listening experiences in weird ways. However, no one objected, and I’m grateful for that. It encouraged me to venture into more esoteric approaches to Dead mixes and unexpectedly led me beyond my 1972-1974 focus to discover, love, and promote much later Grateful Deads, most specifically Vince Welnick Dead. Late MIDI drums/space is now among my favorite Dead, and I’d never have learned that without the motivation to craft listening experiences for this blog’s audiences.

    For now, I Ieave you with a lot of audio postcards from the unreleased 1972-1974 Grateful Dead, an approachable 1975 sessions comp, a big advertisement for '90s Dead, and a few other fun outliers from other periods, 1968 to 1978. 

    There are also quite a few non-Dead mixes on the “Save Your Face” site. I will be removing most of those that contain significant amounts of commercially available material, so grab anything that looks interesting to you now. If the mix is wholly or primarily made up of unreleased material, it will stay.

    Thanks to all of you who have gotten enjoyment out of any of these mixes, and especially to those of you who have left comments. Your enthusiasm encouraged me to convert more of my personal playlists into refined, shareable mixtapes and to be brave about asserting my enthusiasms, experiments, and endorsements. In terms of things you do in life that accidentally prepare you to do other, different things, this was/is a good one.

    Cheers. If you need a miracle, there’s probably one hiding around here somewhere. 

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1333975 2018-10-19T20:33:50Z 2018-12-02T19:38:25Z Tomorrow Never Knows 1992-1993

    The Grateful Dead played The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” a dozen times, but it was always brief, with only a minute or so of open playing. With the big beat and the drones, you’d think they would have stretched it out. 

    For this post, I’ve chosen my two favorite versions - the debut and the third from last one. The 5/92 debut definitely has the heft of a recently-rehearsed song, while the 5/93 version has the most elaborate, continuous Garcia lead of any of them.

    Additionally, I’ve edited pieces of eight other performances into an approximation of the bigger jam that could have been. It combines three intros, eight instrumental breaks, one verse, and two conclusions. The rock steady tempo of the drummers from show to show makes this mix possible. 

    19-minute mp3 mix here

    • Tomorrow Never Knows (5/21/93) (5:25)
    • Tomorrow Never Knows (1992-1993 mix of 8 versions) (9:16)
    • Tomorrow Never Knows (5/19/92 – debut) (3:58)

    Cover art by Emek.

    Edited version includes this sequence of bits, all just the instrumental breaks between the two verses, except as noted:  

    • 6/20/92 intro 
    • 12/17/92 intro 
    • 12/17/92 
    • 6/6/92 
    • 7/1/92 
    • 3/21/93 
    • 3/21/93 intro 
    • 6/20/92 
    • 6/14/92 
    • 9/20/93 
    • 5/31/92 w/verse & conclusion 
    • 9/20/93 conclusion
    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1333610 2018-10-18T20:01:21Z 2018-12-30T11:47:56Z Shortlist: March 23, 1995 - Charlotte, NC (w/Hornsby on grand piano)

    Bruce Hornsby joined The Grateful Dead on grand piano for this whole concert. It appears to be the first time he’d played anything but accordion with the band in almost exactly three years (March 24, 1992). He would go on to play piano with them two more times, in late June 1995.

    Hornsby prompts some exceptional collective playing in this show, with a second set that began with so much extended material that Drums > Space happened close to the end of the set. 

    The second set opener, “Scarlet Begonias,” was a mess, starting with major microphone problems for Garcia and never tightening up. However, once the jam arrives, huge momentum is built, which rolls through the next three songs. The group’s excitement over “Fire on the Mountain” leads to one of the most exciting “Corrinas” I’ve heard. Everyone paints outside the lines in wild syncopation. The enthusiasm derails the song itself a little bit, but the song is almost beside the point, and the groove spills seamlessly into “Matilda” to continue for almost another ten minutes. (The Dead played “Matilda” only six times, all but once out of “Corrina.” Four of those performances happened within two weeks, this being the second one of those.) The spirit of improvisation also produced two great, sustained pieces of music during “Space,” one fierce and one gentle.

    In addition to the exciting jammy material, Hornsby was on hand to contribute to the best performance of “Unbroken Chain” (there were only 10) and very good versions of “Days Between” and “So Many Roads.”

    90-minute mp3 mix here

    • Cold Rain and Snow (6:49)
    • Scarlet Jam > Fire on the Mountain > (18:48)
    • Corrina > (14:04)
    • Matilda > Hornsby/Drums Jam (9:39)
    • Hornsby/Weir Jam > Jam (4:23)
    • Space Jam > (5:52)
    • Days Between (10:59)
    • Unbroken Chain (6:22)
    • Loser (7:07)
    • So Many Roads (7:24)
    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1333044 2018-10-16T21:38:18Z 2018-12-30T11:47:50Z Shortlist: Philadelphia ’95 (March 17-19)

    Don’t fear the reaper or the calendar year 1995. Here’s the first of several mixes from The Grateful Dead’s first tour of the year (late February to early April). 

    This Philadelphia stand featured a full-fledged, out-of-nowhere jam as well as multiple high-intensity improvisational passages during the “Spaces,” all of which I’ve edited into one big 18-minute jam. Nom Nom. There are also the strong debut of “It’s All Too Much,” a hot performance of the just-resurrected “Alabama Getaway,” a famous "Visions of Johanna," and enough other Beatles tunes to make a medley out of them all. The “Ramble on Rose” has some fantastic Garcia solos. 

    (“Unbroken Chain” also made its live debut in Philadelphia, but I’m holding out for the far better second version a week later – featuring Hornsby on grand piano. The only released song here is “Visions of Johanna,” which appeared on “Fallout from the Phil Zone.”)

    mp3 mix here

    Set One (78 minutes):

    • Alabama Getaway
    • Hell in a Bucket
    • Walkin’ Blues
    • Ramble on Rose
    • Easy Answers
    • Jack-a-Roe
    • I Know You Rider
    • Lazy River Road
    • Visions of Johanna
    • One More Saturday Night
    • Promised Land

    Set Two (77 minutes):

    • Jam
    • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
    • It’s All Too Much
    • Rain
    • Standing on the Moon
    • All Along the Watchtower
    • Brokedown Palace
    • Encore: Iko Iko

    Cover art by Robert Rauschenberg.

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1331037 2018-10-11T02:30:59Z 2018-12-30T11:47:43Z Shortlist: Rehearsal Highlights - February 25, 1994

    The day of The Grateful Dead’s first show of 1994, a rehearsal was caught on tape. It features funny banter, as well as members of the band exploring several cover tunes, with an emphasis on The Beatles. 

    The Grateful Dead never covered “Strawberry Fields Forever” live, but Phil and Vince did explore it. The full band also rehearsed a version of The Beatles’ “Rain” that has charms above and beyond their live concert versions. This rehearsal version is comparable to The Velvet Underground’s “Temptation Inside Your Heart,” wherein ad hoc commentary from the singers becomes an integral part of the recorded performance. 

    This material is not the best of 1994 Dead (look elsewhere on this blog for that), but it’s a fun snapshot.

    12-minute mp3 mix here

    • PA: Nobody Told Me About This Rehearsal
    • 1970s Throwback Phil Jam (Phil, Vince, Bobby, Jerry)
    • PA: Phil Wants to Do Strawberry Fields >
    • Lucy in the Sky Approximately (Phil & Vince)
    • Rain (The Grateful Dead)

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1330805 2018-10-10T13:28:37Z 2018-12-30T12:04:41Z Pacific Northwest 1973 Bonus Track

    The recent “Pacific Northwest” boxed set contains six Grateful Dead concerts from 1973 and 1974, four of which I’d previously “shortlisted” from fan soundboards and posted on this site.

    There was only one song from those four shows that I decided to edit into an instrumental version – the catastrophically sung but beautifully played “Here Comes Sunshine” from 6/22/73 in Vancouver. At no point is Garcia certain about the lyrics, starting with the song’s first line.

    Musically speaking, this is one of my favorite early ‘70s “Here Comes Sunshines,” so I decided to reproduce my edit, using a lossless version of the track pulled from the new CD. If you dig it, you can tag it to go wherever you like in your digital Dead library.

    320mbps mp3 here

    Here Comes Sunshine (instr. edit – 6/22/73) (8:17)

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1330023 2018-10-07T21:21:43Z 2019-04-01T03:40:07Z Shortlist: February 27, 1994 - Oakland, CA

    Here’s more great music from The Grateful Dead’s first tour of 1994, which ran from February 25 through April 8. I’ve previously posted three mixes of material from March.

    This show seems to be most famous for a one-minute “Cosmic Charlie” tease that turned into “Wharf Rat” instead. The audience was devastated at the time, but 25 years later, it’s fun to hear as the only post-1976 “Cosmic Charlie” moment there was. I’ve edited it to flow straight into the "Wharf Rat" jam, which is an intense one, on a par with a good "Dark Star" or "Bird Song" climax. In this case, the edit creates a flow with no moment of disappointment: Other One > Cosmic Charlie Jam > Wharf Rat Jam. 

    Anyway, aside from that cruel tease… what this show should be famous for is on this mix.  The "UJB > Supplication > UJB" jam is A+ Live Dead in any year, and "The Other One" and "Wharf Rat" have comparable peaks of collective intensity and on-a-dime action. Garcia is feeling spry all over the place, the instigator of "Supplication" and "Cosmic Charlie." His melodic playing on "UJB" and "Row Jimmy" is luminous. He and Lesh also help carve out an interesting "Corrina." Plus, there are animals howling all over the Drums.

    Unfortunately, there are badly blown lyrics and creaky musical turns in the midst of the show’s best material, so I’ve made some internal edits, which are detailed below the track list. All edits are invisible or nearly so, and the whole deal sounds like a big jam built around a sung  UJB and OO. 

    They’ll never deem this show worthy of release in full, but this material is well worth your time – great stretches of beauty, intensity, and weirdness. At its best, I like 1994 Dead as well as any Dead.

    54-minute mp3 mix here

    • Row Jimmy Instrumental (4:16)
    • Uncle John’s Band > Supplication Jam > Uncle John’s Band > (14:28) 
    • Corrina Jam > Jam > (11:21)
    • Howling Drums (9:58)
    • The Other One > (9:48)
    • Cosmic Chwharf Rat Jam (4:28) 

    Editing notes:

    • All indicated transitions (>) are real.
    • All verses/choruses removed from “Row Jimmy” and “Corrina.” 
    • First verse/chorus removed from “Uncle John’s Band.”
    • "The Other One" begins with the end of "Space," which is part of an interesting, slow-build version of the song that does eventually explode.
    • There's a wobble at the very start of "Wharf Rat" that is in the source tape. My edit doesn't interrupt the original flow from CC to WR.

    A giant “Corrina” jam turns out to be a wonderful thing, and while it’s tragic that they didn’t nail this “UJB” straight through, the omission of the first verse results in a glorious six-minute jam on the song’s melody. They were playing long, thoughtful “Row Jimmys” in this period, which enables a flawed one like this performance to become a lengthy, beautiful instrumental. In the meandering after "Corrina" winds down, Lesh suggests a turn toward the "Feelin' Groovy"/"China > Rider" transition, which the band seems to consider for a hot second. 

    If you would rather listen to this material without edits, you can stream the source I’ve used here. The show-opening “Hell in a Bucket” is a good one, but it didn’t seem to fit on this mix.

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1327610 2018-10-01T02:59:33Z 2019-04-05T14:48:08Z Music for Scareports: October 1994

    This mix combines excerpts from the “Drums>Space” segments of October 1994 Grateful Dead concerts. It’s a sequel to “Music for Spaceports: March 1994.” 

    I also previously posted a lengthy mix of October 1994 Dead playing conventional songs, if you want to compare excellent stuff from opposite ends of the spectrum that month.

    Source dates are October 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 1994. The 19th was the last show of the month/tour. Specific dates are included in the song title tags. Track lengths range from 1:30 to 8:30.

    90-minute mp3 mix here

    • One Halloween Night >
    • Let’s Go Through the Woods
    • Dervish
    • Trick or Treat
    • October
    • That House Wasn’t Here Yesterday
    • Let’s Get Out of Here
    • Dance of the Skeletons >
    • Baba Yaga
    • The Kid in the James Bond Mask
    • Jazz from Hell
    • Four Cool Cats
    • Dance of the Illuminated Pumpkins
    • You are Getting Sleepy
    • Mona in Her Mask
    • Return of the Illuminated Pumpkins
    • Wendell, this is No Shortcut
    • Off the Venkman Scale >
    • Floyd’s Brilliant Plan
    • A Visit to the Lost and Found
    • Close Encounters
    • At the Mountains of Madness
    • Midnight
    • It Was Only a Dream

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1319856 2018-09-09T02:33:22Z 2018-12-30T12:44:24Z Two Improvisations: October 1994

    Cover art: Margaret Brundage

    These two pure improvisations by the drumless quartet of late 1994 deserve to be highlighted for their beauty. The first one is exquisite, everyone pulling together to craft an extended, gentle melody with dramatic ebbs and flows. The second one is beautiful, too, on a more blustery day. 

    One of my favorite drumless insta-songs by the earlier band is this one from October 1972.

    In time for Halloween, I’m going to post a two-hour stack of Drums/Space passages from October 1994, a month I previously investigated for performances of pre-1979 songs. These two pieces are highlights from that month's open improvisation. 

    9-minute mp3 download here

    • Mona in Her Mask (10/2/94)
    • October (10/9/94)
    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1318113 2018-09-04T00:51:46Z 2018-09-21T03:05:19Z Shortlist: Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford U. – April 27-28, 1985

    My mid-80s Grateful Dead conversion trip has begun. This post presents an LP-length postcard from my early travels.

    I’ve been rooting around in this period since “Dave’s Picks #27: 9/2/83” was announced, having hardly listened to these years since I collected cassettes in the late ‘80s. Since my post-Mydland prejudices have already been blown to smithereens this year, I figured I’d be proven stupid on the ‘80s, too. 

    The music featured in this post is among the stuff that has effectively shut down all my old, ignorant, blanket assumptions about mid-80s Dead. The sound is big and natural, and both second sets are performed impeccably, with real connections within the unorthodox song sequences. Some songs are more perfunctory than you’d like, but nearly every song is a tight, error-free version that finds a swell groove. To me, it’s a bit like full sets that feel like the “Dead Set” album, with some big jams added in. (Garcia’s voice was weak in this period, but that hardly affects these second sets, and he’s certainly checked-in on all fronts.)

    This is the only “Scarlet > Eyes” ever played, and a couple of transitions are also notable: “Crazy Fingers > Playin’” is seamless, without a full-stop, and “China Doll > Playin’” is an extended piece of improvisation that genuinely gets from one song to the other. 

    Both first sets were spotty, but the best from them is some of the very exciting material from the shows: I found the exceptional “My Brother Esau” I was looking for - the search that led me to these shows. “Dancin’ in the Street” wasn’t all that common in this period, and this version, which opened the two Frost shows, is wonderful, finding a groove that isn’t that far away from 2/14/70. Garcia is maniacal on "Minglewood."  The only released material from these shows is “She Belongs to Me,” which featured on a Rhino Garcia/Dylan compilation. 

    The fact that these two shows were played in the open air at the small and lovely Frost Amphitheatre makes them sound even sweeter.

    First Set Highlights (47-minute mp3 mix download here)

    • Dancin’ in the Street
    • Little Red Rooster
    • My Brother Esau
    • Minglewood Blues
    • Tons of Steel
    • Bird Song
    • She Belongs to Me

    4/27/85 Second Set (best archive.org stream here)

    • Scarlet Begonias >
    • Eyes of the World >
    • Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad >
    • Man Smart, Woman Smarter >
    • Drums >
    • Space >
    • The Wheel >
    • Truckin’ >
    • The Other One >
    • Black Peter >
    • Around & Around >
    • One More Saturday Night

    4/28/85 Second Set (best archive.org stream here)

    • Hell in a Bucket >
    • Crazy Fingers >
    • Playin’ in the Band >
    • China Doll >
    • Playin’ Jam >
    • Drums >
    • Space >
    • Playin’ jam and reprise >
    • Wharf Rat >
    • Throwing Stones >
    • Not Fade Away

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1315784 2018-08-28T00:01:28Z 2018-10-17T14:44:22Z October '94

    According to these performances, The Grateful Dead were great at least as late as fall 1994. Try this in place of 1977 or 1989 Dead sometime. You won’t be disappointed. 

    October 1st is the only 1994 concert The Dead have officially released. Most of the rest of the month’s shows circulate on beefy soundboards, which I sifted for this mix, while also making a couple of important audience tape pickups. The tour’s shows, which began in September, ended on October 19; the band’s next tour began November 29.

    Much of the 1993-1994 material I’ve posted on this blog, so far, has been focused on the extremes of how far out the band could get (“Dark Star,” drums/space MIDI adventures, Ornette Coleman) and how well they could sell their newest/final compositions (“Liberty,” Childhood’s End,” etc.). 

    In contrast to those two perspectives, this mix is all about the October 1994 Grateful Dead punching you in the face with terrific performances of 29 of their pre-1979 classics.

    This mix is bike-trail-tested. I’ve created four sequences, but start anywhere you like. There’s very, very little slack.

    4h40m mp3 mix here (tagged as a single album with four discs)

    71 minutes:

    • Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (10/15)
    • Loose Lucy (10/3)
    • Black Throated Wind (10/15)
    • Stagger Lee (10/15)
    • Jack-a-Roe (10/19)
    • Attics of My Life (10/3)
    • Friend of the Devil (10/17)
    • New Minglewood Blues (10/17)
    • New Speedway Boogie (10/15)
    • Truckin’ (10/18)

    74 minutes:

    • Help on the Way > Slipknot! > (10/18)
    • Franklin’s Tower (10/18)
    • Playin’ in the Band > (10/13)
    • Uncle John’s Band > (10/13)
    • Playin’ Jam (10/13)
    • Fire on the Mountain (10/14)

    58 minutes:

    • Shakedown Street (10/3)
    • Eyes of the World (10/17)
    • The Wheel (10/3)
    • Morning Dew (10/17)

    77 minutes:

    • Cassidy (10/3)
    • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (10/13)
    • Stella Blue > (10/19)
    • Sugar Magnolia (10/19)
    • Bird Song (10/3)
    • Row Jimmy (10/2)
    • Wharf Rat (10/13)
    • Comes a Time (10/9 - final performance)
    • China Doll (10/11 - final performance)
    Additional notes:
    • I’m beginning to prefer the sound of mature Welnick Dead to peak Mydland Dead. 1993-1994’s leaner, opener sound is what I wish post 1977-1978 Dead had immediately become next: A tight, wiry unit with a big sound that worked to play and sing the whole catalog well and thoughtfully. 
    • Aside from a couple affectionate tombstone mixes drawn from the band’s very last shows in July 1995, October 1994 is as far as I’ve gotten. Lead vocals lapses are the main flaws you’ll find in some of my selections, but most are fleeting, with only a couple of more extensively blown lyrics. There are plenty of absolutely perfect performances in the mix as well. The jamming, short and long, is all pleasing, with “Fire” and “Eyes” going on for more than 20 minutes each, and “Bird Song” possibly a top 10 for me. The “Attics of My Life” will curl your toes, in a good way.

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1312233 2018-08-15T22:38:25Z 2018-10-12T14:33:34Z Goodnight Jerry: The Final Three Shows (July 6-9, 1995)

    If I were to tell you that The Grateful Dead played a considerable amount of impressive music during their final three concerts in 1995, you’d probably tell me to prove it. 

    2 LP mp3 mix here

    • Liberty (5:37)
    • Cassidy (6:58)
    • Eternity (9:14)
    • When I Paint My Masterpiece (5:00)
    • Visions of Johanna (9:11)
    • Terrapin Breeze (2:30)
    • Eyes of the World (18:36)
    • Stella Blue (7:39)
    • Terrapin Thunder > Jam (7:30)
    • So Many Roads (11:45)
    • Black Muddy River (5:18)


    • Source dates included in song title tags.
    • These are the final performances of all these songs, obviously.
    • This is a justifiably famous “Visions of Johanna.”
    • "Black Muddy River" was the encore on the last night. "So Many Roads" was the last Jerry song in the second set that night. 
    • There are no edits in this mix, except for “Terrapin Station.” There are some errors, but aren't there always?
    • All sources are soundboards, although that for the 6th is inferior to the other two. 
    • I’d planned to make it the last four shows, but nothing from 7/5 made the cut.

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1311338 2018-08-12T15:22:19Z 2018-08-15T23:08:02Z Imaginary Final Single: If the Shoe Fits/Childhood’s End (October 1994)

    “If the Shoe Fits” debuted on 6/9/94 and “Childhood’s End” on 7/20/94 – the last two original Grateful Dead songs to enter the live repertoire, both written and sung by Phil Lesh.

    If you want to get to know these songs, and possibly come to love them, these are definitely the droids you’re looking for. 

    I think I’ve checked out all circulating soundboards and audience recordings, and these two soundboard performances/recordings were the giant, obvious needles in the archive haystack. (It's conceivable that one or both of these made it into The Dead's periodic free single-song download series, but I have no complete list of those downloads. 10/1/94 is the only complete concert The Dead have released from that year.)

    This is part of my ongoing project to find outstanding versions of all The Dead’s final compositions, which started with this March 1994 anthology.

    mp3 single here

    • If the Shoe Fits (10/19/94)
    • Childhood’s End (10/3/94)
    • If the Shoe Fits (8/3/94 audience recording, Japanese edition bonus track)

    As I understand it, Lesh (and perhaps the others) felt that new songs would help fuel Garcia engagement in a period when Jerry was headed in the same direction as in the mid-1980s, when his drugged-out-bad-health put him in a coma that he narrowly survived – living on to drive the 1989-onward renaissance of the band. In the 1995 remake, Jerry died. The big musical difference between those two episodes is that everyone else in the band had their shit together in 1994, whereas the whole band was a mess in 1986. 

    My general take on Welnick Dead, so far, is that they are not to be dismissed – a band that had stopped depending on Garcia’s leadership to determine the musical outcome, but who were always therefore also ready when Garcia was feeling spry. Weir has said something to that effect. And when Garcia was feeling spry, it was just as you would wish it to be.

    “Shoe Fits” is a rocker that The Dead wore very comfortably on a number of occasions, Lesh singing an uncharacteristically aggressive lyric effectively. “Childhood’s End” was harder for The Dead to navigate, a twisty second cousin to “Unbroken Chain.” 

    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1310712 2018-08-10T01:48:53Z 2018-08-13T11:59:04Z The Last Jam: July 9, 1995 – Soldier Field, Chicago IL

    This mix presents approximately half of the sounds made by The Grateful Dead during the “Drums > Space” segment of their final show.

    17-minute mp3 mix here

    • Hit It >
    • International Telegram
    • Fight Me
    • Do Not Go Quietly Into
    • OM >The Exciting Sequel >
    • Intrepid
    • Exhale
    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1309857 2018-08-07T05:29:47Z 2019-04-01T04:03:20Z Liberty: Final Compositions - Live March 1994 (v3)

    Cover: Detail of a Peter Max painting

    This is the third, completely different, fake album I’ve pulled out of the available soundboard recordings of The Grateful Dead’s March 1994 performances. I think this was a good month.

    The first mix combined the final two performances of “Dark Star” with some other remarkable jamming. The second one combined pieces of “Drums” and “Space” to create an Eno-esque ambient jam album. 

    Going in an another direction entirely, this curation plucks performances of new compositions that never had a chance to make it onto a studio album. They played all their late period songs at least once in March 1994, except for one that had been retired and three that had yet to debut:

    • "Wave to the Wind" (final performance 12/9/93)
    • "Samba in the Rain" (debut 6/8/94)
    • "If the Shoe Fits" (debut 6/9/94)
    • "Childhood's End" (debut 7/20/94)

    It’s weird to me that The Dead have never released something that rolls up most or all of the new compositions of the final years. (The closest they've come is putting six of these compositions on the final disc of "So Many Roads.") It would be a really good album, making a trio with “In the Dark” and “Built to Last.” Such a release seems like low-hanging commercial fruit and something that history requires. I’m sure I’m not the first person to present an amateur substitute. The only major flaw here is Garcia's vocal uncertainty on "So Many Roads." Otherwise, these seem like good benchmarks for all the other songs, until even better versions pop up. Thanks again, March 1994!

    76-minute mp3 mix here

    • Liberty (3/30/94)
    • Lazy River Road (3/30/94)
    • Eternity (3/5/94)
    • That Would Be Something (McCartney cover 3/28/94)
    • The Days Between (3/28/94)
    • Way to Go Home (3/5/94)
    • Easy Answers (3/27/94)
    • Corrina (3/31/94)
    • Broken Arrow (3/5/94)
    • So Many Roads (3/16/94)
    If you're interested in Phil Lesh's final two songs, which debuted in June and July, try this.

    Note: This "Liberty" also appears on the career anthology, "So Many Roads." Otherwise, I believe all of these performances are unreleased.
    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1309056 2018-08-04T03:52:07Z 2019-04-01T03:42:18Z Music for Spaceports: March 1994

    This mix curates pieces of “Drums” and “Space” from the same March 1994 shows I surveyed to create this “Dark Star Flashes” mix, which combined the final two performances of “Dark Star” with other jamming from the same month. (Included shows are March 16, 18, 21, 23, 30, 31 - 1994.)

    The 13 Drums/Space pieces I liked are presented here as discrete tracks (3 to 6 minutes each), with no editing other than choosing start and fade points and some volume adjustments. I was looking for pieces of music that could stand alone. It’s a snapshot “Infrared Roses” from later in the 1990s, which finds the band tilting toward a chill ambience. 

    Once again, I’m very impressed by this 1994 Grateful Dead. There’s a whole lot of getting there in “Drums > Space” segments – but when The Dead do find their way to somewhere, they know it, and these are some of the cool splaces they found in March 1994. I believe we have Bob Bralove to thank for many of the interesting sounds that the musicians are making here (and elsewhere in the '90s). I'm grateful that The Dead were given a sonic platform on which they could be a Brian Eno-esque jam band. You get only the merest hints of such a thing in earlier decades.

    55-minute mp3 mix here (titles of files include source dates)

    • Voices
    • Beat
    • On the Surface
    • The Workers Shall Prevail
    • Roller Rink Confidential
    • Hey, Carl Stalling
    • Spaceport
    • Processional
    • Rebeat
    • Hansa by the Wall 1
    • Hansa by the Wall 2
    • Hansa by the Wall 3
    • May You Live in Interesting Times

    Advisory: There is some wild left/right channel oscillation on several tracks, which is effective on speakers but unpleasant on head-phones.
    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1305871 2018-07-24T05:44:42Z 2019-03-07T22:31:38Z The Welnick Years (September 1990 – July 1995)

    As The Grateful Dead took only 30 trips around the sun, five years is a pretty long time. After Brent Mydland died, Bruce Hornsby and Vince Welnick both played keyboards for The Dead for a year and a half, then Hornsby returned to his solo career, and Welnick carried on alone until the end.

    This whole period seems to be treated like a step-child in fan and official appreciations of The Dead’s live music. I certainly had that attitude until very recently. I saw both of these keyboard configurations back in the day, but isolated shows only tell you so much, and since popular opinion reinforced my sense of decline, I never bothered to pursue recordings of this period’s shows. Phil Lesh commenting that the band should have quit a few years earlier than death forced a conclusion didn’t help.

    Sure, there were various forms of decline, but they didn’t degrade the band’s performances in some kind of day-by-day way. This was still The Grateful Dead, six extremely talented, grown-up musicians, making music within a long, mutating, intuitive collective sensibility, who played together under the pressure of hundreds of lengthy concerts, in front of millions of audience members. 

    Welnick Dead could be amazing – executing songs or jamming. It contrasts with Mydland Dead by being less busy and less thunderous. The climactic Mydland years could sound like everyone soloing at once – one big, loud, shiny machine of music. Welnick Dead seems to have more negative space, and to offer more glimpses of the "jazzy combo" Dead of earlier days. Things can bubble slowly. Momentum can be built on delicate rather than forceful terms. There's more room for just the right note or chord to have the desired effect. Both keyboardists seem more drawn to jazz harmonies than Mydland, and neither tries to be as continuous a dominant element in the music as Mydland – but the choices they make are still very much shapers of the songs. And maybe it's just the era's mixes, but on much of the material I've selected for this blog, the drummers seem to be working to be a single, unobtrusive percussionist, rather than the leaders of a herd of elephants. 

    I raise my glass to Vince Welnick and Bruce Hornsby. Thank you for giving us another Grateful Dead that could be as compelling as any of them. Respect.


    John Hilgart @4CPcomics