tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Save Your Face 2018-10-17T12:32:19Z John Hilgart, Proprietor tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1333044 2018-10-16T21:38:18Z 2018-10-17T12:32:19Z 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.

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1331037 2018-10-11T02:30:59Z 2018-10-16T17:03:31Z 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)

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1330805 2018-10-10T13:28:37Z 2018-10-11T12:24:49Z 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)


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1330023 2018-10-07T21:21:43Z 2018-10-10T21:14:22Z 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.


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1327610 2018-10-01T02:59:33Z 2018-10-01T13:41:19Z 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

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1319856 2018-09-09T02:33:22Z 2018-09-17T05:54:38Z 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)
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
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


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1315784 2018-08-28T00:01:28Z 2018-10-17T12:15:01Z 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.

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
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)

Notes:

  • 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.

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
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.” 


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
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
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1309857 2018-08-07T05:29:47Z 2018-08-16T01:55:45Z Liberty: Final Compositions - Live March 1994 (v3)

Cover: Detail of a Peter Max painting

Note on this version (V3). I adjusted the mix twice in the 24 hours after I first posted it. If you've got a version that doesn't have the performances of "Lazy River Road" and "So Many Roads" noted by date in the song list, below, you've got V1 or V2. V3 also includes some more volume fine-tuning.

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.
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1309056 2018-08-04T03:52:07Z 2018-08-15T16:13:55Z 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.
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1305871 2018-07-24T05:44:42Z 2018-09-17T05:54:38Z 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.

Evidence:


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1305808 2018-07-23T20:54:44Z 2018-10-10T13:30:27Z Shortlist: December 13, 1992 – Oakland, CA

Cover: Kiki Smith, "Bird with Stars," 1954, MoMA collection.

Vince Welnick-era Grateful Dead continues to delight me. I’ve been looking for a definitive “Way to Go Home,” and I think I may have found it in this show – as part of a nearly perfect second set, captured by a superb soundboard mix/recording. 

The set list has no filler, the playing is tight and nuanced, and everyone is singing well. All I have deleted is “Drums > Space” and one verse/chorus of “Here Comes Sunshine” that Garcia thoroughly mangled/mumbled. Otherwise, it’s every minute of the second set, plus encore, in the order played. 

This is the second performance of the resurrected “Here Comes Sunshine,” which had been missing since February 1974, nearly 20 years. The discipline of rehearsals is still in effect, putting the vocals in a satisfactory place, and its whole trajectory is quite structured and exciting.

This was the third show in a five-show run at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, after which they took a break until late January 1993. There are only two official releases of live 1992 Dead, one of which is the entire fourth show and part of the fifth show from this Oakland run. That was “Dick’s Picks” #27, released in 2003. The other release is 3/20/92, included in “30 Trips Around the Sun,” released in 2015.

64-minute mp3 mix here

  • Here Comes Sunshine (minus one verse/chorus) >
  • Way to Go Home
  • Victim or the Crime >
  • Terrapin Station > Jam
  • The Other One >
  • Morning Dew
  • E: The Weight
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1305464 2018-07-22T18:44:46Z 2018-10-10T13:30:51Z Shortlist: September 21, 1993 – Madison Square Garden, NYC

Cover by Saul Steinberg.

A lot of The Grateful Dead mixes that get posted here start with some specific curiosity: shows with horn players, the final “Dark Stars,” Keith “Shakedowns,” “Sevens, Main Tens, and Elevens,” a month someone said was hot, etc. 

I’ve been poking around the Welnick years lately, and this mix came out of my interest in the sequence of “Here Comes Sunshine” followed by “Way to Go Home.” I really like “Way to Go Home,” and there’s a natural affinity between the two, given the way The Dead played “Sunshine” in this period. They played the pairing four times (’92, ’93, 2x’95). They never jammed a connection, but the 1992 one has a nice little hinge, and this one has an instrumental noodle in between that serves as both a coda to “Sunshine” and a walk-up to “Long Way.” This is a very good "Long Way," though the mix blunts it somewhat.

Beyond that material, it was the jamming and not the songs/singing that cooked that night. “Terrapin” reverted almost immediately back to a “Playin’” jam after the final vocal section, so this seemed like a good time to try an instrumental “Terrapin.” It’s a tough edit to get from the instrumental break to the final jam, but what the hell. The jamming on both sides of "Terrapin" is superb.

Anyhow, here’s another check-in with 1993 Dead that reassures you that more listening will be rewarded. 

42-minute mp3 mix here

  • Small Improvisation (1:44)
  • Here Comes Sunshine (mostly inst. edit) (4:09)
  • Way to Go Home (6:44)
  • Playin’ > Terrapin > Playin’ (inst. edit) (14:38)
  • The Same Thing (7:17)
  • Drum Space Improvisation (7:47)

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1305419 2018-07-22T16:29:54Z 2018-07-22T23:56:47Z Self-Impersonation: Bob Dylan 1970 Reconfigured (Vol. 4)

Let’s pretend that the music Bob Dylan recorded circa 1970 had resulted in a series of different albums than the ones we got. In the real world, those recordings are smeared all over the place: Self-Portrait, New Morning, Dylan, Greatest Hits Vol. 2, vault releases, and bootlegs. The point of this curation is not to include everything, but to finally give persuasive form to a period that remains blurry (based on commercial releases) and that is often derided as a low point. I consider it a high point, even at its weirdest points. This is my case, via four imaginary albums.

Volume 4: Nashville Hangover

This is the very belated final volume of my four-mix set. Unlike the other three, it doesn’t feature a new-for-1970 Dylan, so I decided not to post it, unless someone actually asked me to. Then several people did, and I apologize for taking so long to do it. For everyone else, for god’s sake, start with the other three!

There is at least as much vocal ambition and range in Dylan’s 1969-1971 singing as in any earlier year-and-a-half period. After perfecting the 1965-1966 Dylan, 1967 starts a period of dismantling that guy, including his epoch-making vocal approach. The naked playfulness of The Basement Tapes, the sustained voice from the grave of “John Wesley Harding,” the sweet crooner of “Nashville Skyline” – they’re all self-portraits that contrast with that Highway 61 pill-box hat guy and the punk rock singer of the 1966 tour’s electric set.

The first two compilations I posted (“The Morning After” and “To Woody”) capture the place I think that experimentation and disavowal circled back to – the natural sounding, but widely-ranging Dylan voice(s) of 1970-1971. It’s an iconic Dylan voice, corresponding to that curly-haired, denim-clad, spotlight-haloed guy on the cover of “Greatest Hits Volume 2.”

My third volume (“The Boxer”) and this one here (“Nashville Hangover”) capture the recordings that are, vocally-speaking, “less Dylan.” In the case of the present disc, it’s (nearly) every proper studio recording in that sweet Nashville voice that wasn’t on the puny, 27-minute “Nashville Skyline.”

Alone of the four sets, this one reaches back to 1969 “Nashville Skyline” sessions for material, but it seemed worthwhile to bundle that in with the “Self Portrait” material in the same voice. 

42-minute mp3 mix here

  • Lay Lady Lay (alt take, bootleg)
  • Let It Be Me (SP)
  • Take a Message to Mary (SP)
  • A Fool Such as I (D, remastered, EQed)
  • Country Pie (alt take, ASP)
  • Living the Blues (SP)
  • Blue Moon (SP)
  • Spanish is the Loving Tongue (D, remastered, edited, re-EQed)
  • I Threw It All Away (alt take, ASP)
  • Take Me as I Am (Or Let Me Go) (SP)
  • Wigwam (ASP)
  • One More Night (alt take, bootleg)
  • Ring of Fire (bootleg)
  • Folsom Prison Blues (bootleg)

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1302395 2018-07-12T04:51:56Z 2018-07-29T16:40:17Z Shortlist: September 22, 24, and 26, 1991 - Boston, MA

Cover: Treated scan of thrift store photo

My sudden fascination with the post-Mydland years continues with a mix pulled from the period when Bruce Hornsby and Vince Welnick both played keyboards for The Grateful Dead. That period lasted a relatively long time, from September 1990 to March 1992, making it as distinctive an episode in band membership/chemistry as any other. 

I’ve combined pieces of three unreleased shows from a six-show September run in Boston, MA, one year into the two-keyboard lineup. I used matching matrix recordings as my sources (audience/soundboard hybrids), which offer a fat, immersive live experience. I haven’t made any internal edits in the material presented here, but I created cross-fades to make it sound approximately like two continuous sets. 

The mix of compositions that ended up on top, when I put pressure on these shows, has a definite personality – mostly Garcia-sung blues-boogies and sepia-toned character dramas. The "Workingman's Dead"/"American Beauty" Revisited vibe of this music is unintentional, but refreshing – a reminder that there were always several Grateful Deads lurking in the hodgepodge of material they played on any given night. When you isolate one of them, you experience a show, a year, and/or a lineup differently than when you listen to whole shows. 

The two keyboardists lend texture, color, and exciting rushes to these old songs, and "Stella Blue" seems particularly excellent to me. I think that both those keyboardists were paying attention to the lyrics, and playing accordingly, and since Garcia is singing well (except for "New Speedway"), many of these performances really sell the songs. 

By accident, there are some statistically significant performances in this mix:

  • They hadn’t played “We Bid You Goodnight” in 107 shows, and this turned out to be the last one they ever played.
  • This is the first “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” in 450 shows (9/3/85), and they only played it two more times before the end of the band. 
  • Aside from an isolated performance on 6/10/73, The Dead played “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” only six times, all during the Hornsby period. This is the next-to-last one. (The song was a staple of solo Garcia shows from '72-'86 in acoustic & electric sets, though it disappeared after his coma and only popped back up in solo sets in '95.)
  • This is a fairly rare instance of The Dead playing full-blown “Dark Stars” twice in three consecutive shows, in the 1990s period, let alone at the same venue in three days. I haven't deleted anything from these two "Dark Stars," so, in an era when there was often a first-verse-only "Dark Star," this mix offers a palindrome: first verse > second verse> first verse.
  • Though not covered in this mix, the 9/20/91 show of this Boston run includes the only time after 1976 that they played something other than “Franklin’s Tower” after “Slipknot” – playing “Fire on the Mountain” instead.

2h21m mp3 mix of September 22, 24, and 26, 1991 here (song title tags include performance dates)

Set 1:

  • Cold Rain and Snow
  • Let the Good Times Roll
  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Althea
  • It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
  • New Speedway Boogie
  • He’s Gone (final section) >
  • Nobody’s Fault but Mine >
  • Spoonful
  • High Time
  • Candyman
  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
  • The Weight

Set 2:

  • Dark Star
  • Stella Blue
  • Dark Star
  • Ship of Fools >
  • Dark Star
  • Standing on the Moon
  • And We Bid You Goodnight
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1296788 2018-06-24T21:05:35Z 2018-07-25T02:54:06Z Dark Star Flashes: March 1994

Cover: “Full Stop,” John Latham, 1961

The last two “Dark Stars” The Grateful Dead played occurred within two weeks of each other, six months after the previous performance, and 1.3 years before the end of the band. On the calendar of career “Dark Stars," they draw attention to themselves. 

I honestly had no idea how great The Dead could be in this period, when the spirit of jammy exploration moved them. I like how laid back they are in these performances, which are simultaneously drifting and full of momentum. Thumbs up to this Grateful Dead. 

52-minute mp3 mix here, which flows approximately like a continuous set.

  • Dark Star (3/16/94, verse removed)
  • Victim or the Crime Jam (3/21/94)
  • The Other One (3/18/94)
  • Playin’ Jam > (3/30/94)
  • Dark Star (3/30/94)
  • Jamming Down the Road (3/21/94)

I’ve posted another 1993-1994 mix, which includes the “Dark Star” before these two, with David Murray on sax. 

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1295639 2018-06-20T01:01:22Z 2018-07-25T02:54:43Z Dead is Jazz: Live 1993-1994

Cover: Detail from “Dream No. 2” (1989) – Candy Jernigan

This mix combines pieces of unreleased 1993-1994 Grateful Dead concerts that featured saxophonists Ornette Coleman, Branford Marsalis, and David Murray, plus all appearances by word jazz great Ken Nordine. I've created connections where they were missing to simulate a continuous set.

If it weren’t for the obligations entailed by the concept of the “30 Trips Around the Sun” boxed set, The Dead’s final four calendar years of playing live (1992-1995) would hardly exist in the official release catalog. 

This is a disservice to the music and to the band’s fans - and seemingly the result of The Dead’s commitment to whole-show releases and disinclination to chop shit up and compile great live albums out of their favorite bits. 

I don’t know if what I’ve made here constitutes a great live album, but it is certainly a far out live album with a lot of greatness in it. Since nothing else is competing for the spot, you might even consider this mix as a provisional career bookend to “Live Dead,” 1969’s official live document of the first year of truly far out Dead. Here they are, freaking out with jazz musicians a quarter of a century later. There were only two more "Dark Stars" after this one.

I'd dedicate this mix to my dad, who immersed me in jazz and Ken Nordine from birth, but this would all probably be too post-bop/fusion/crazy for him. So, I'll dedicate it instead to 1967-1969 Frank Zappa (composer/editor) and Ian Underwood (Zappa's always game reed man in the early days). They might decry the lack of discipline, but I think that they would appreciate the overall effect. Murray's playing has some very Underwood-ish moments. It should be noted that Vince Welnick acquits himself beautifully all over the place.

93-minute mp3 mix here (all guests and source dates included in song title tags)

LP1:

  • Flibberty Jib (Nordine)
  • Drums (Murray)
  • Space > (Coleman)
  • The Other One > (Coleman)
  • Stella Blue (Coleman)
  • Unknown (Nordine)
  • Space (Coleman)

LP2:

  • Eternity (instr. edit – Marsalis)
  • Samba in the Rain (instr. edit – Marsalis)
  • Space (Marsalis)
  • Estimated Prophet > (instr. edit - Murray)
  • Space > (Murray)
  • Dark Star (instr. edit - Murray)
  • Space (Murray)
  • The Island (Nordine)
I've got a mix of The Dead's 1973 live horn section episode here.
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1294207 2018-06-15T03:41:59Z 2018-07-25T02:55:02Z Shortlist: December 28, 30, and 31, 1989 – Oakland, CA

The Grateful Dead played four New Year’s week shows at the Oakland Coliseum in 1989. These shows followed a two-week break and preceded a two-month break. The only material that’s been released from the four shows is a “Space” segment from the 28th, on “Infrared Roses,” a very worthy album.

I previously posted an hour-long mix from the first night of the run with a lot of songs edited into instrumental versions to create an unusual jam sandwich of mostly-Garcia themes. 

This complementary post turns material from the next three nights into a single, jam-song sequence of mostly Weir material, mostly as complete songs. I’ve created segues between all the pieces to provide continuities comparable to when “>” in the set list simply means that there was no delay between one piece and another, just a quick transition or a pregnant pause. 

80-minute mp3 mix here

(I've re-zipped and re-uploaded this file, because someone reported unzipping trouble. I think I just put some forbidden characters in the file name.)

  • Feel Like a Stranger (12/28)
  • The Music Never Stopped Jam (12/30)
  • Estimated Prophet (12/30)
  • Victim or the Crime Jam > (12/31)
  • Dark Star > (12/31)
  • Space (12/31)
  • Drums (12/31)
  • The Other One (12/30)
  • The Other One Space Jam (12/30)
  • Let It Grow (12/28)

“>” indicates unaltered Dead transition

I have a hard time faulting this moment in live Dead history. If you don't listen to it much, I think you should change that. In retrospect, a lot of the music they played during the final Brent Mydland year was better experienced live than on tape, even though the tapes are typically immaculate. By that time, many songs had become crowd-pleasing rave-ups and sing-alongs, rather than musical adventures. There was a jaunty mood nearly everywhere, which was both effective overall and something of a flattener of differences among songs. Fun if you were there – tight, infectiously danceable – but not necessarily an important thing to listen to in 2018. 

However, I’d agree with many others that you have to go back to 1970-something to find as consistently good a jam band as the 1989-1990 unit. These 1989 New Year’s shows might not be worthy of release in full, but you can certainly make a fake album from them that slays. 

When I was going to shows in this period, the anxiety was always about how much of the deep stuff you were going to get – which songs, and how many of them, would fill the slots where the real adventures typically happened. Every show you could manage to get to was so freighted with hope, especially if “they were due for” a big song you’d never seen, or never seen done really well. It’s nice to be far away from those years, able to simply dig through the shows - all now aurally attendable - and enjoy what they played, without the personal drama of shows, if you were a music-centric Head. It's hard to believe that it's been nearly 30 years. At the time, it seemed like the future of The Dead was wide open again - a band that was again as fascinating live as they were on old tapes - and I remember how completely devastating it was to learn that Mydland had died, knowing that the wave had probably crashed, again. 

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1293881 2018-06-14T04:28:59Z 2018-07-25T02:55:22Z Shortlist: December 27, 1989 - Oakland, CA

Cover art by Neon Park: Detail of "Green Goddess," 1984

I’ll always be grateful that my initial obsession with The Dead happened just as the band’s mid-to-late 1980s nadir gave way to a final, fantastic period of live playing. It makes perfect sense that The Dead have released a slew of shows from Spring 1989 through Spring 1990 – a career sweet spot between the end of the rebuilding period after Garcia’s coma and the death of Brent Mydland. 

I decided to try my Frankenstein editing approach on an unreleased show from this period – taking The Dead’s improvisational temperature by removing a lot of vocals to turn songs into jams and easing transitions that The Dead hadn't already provided. I chose this show at random.

62-minute mp3 mix here

  • Bird Song 
  • Playin’ Jam >
  • Crazy Fingers Jam > 
  • Uncle John’s Jam (>) 
  • Drums (>) 
  • Space > 
  • The Wheel Jam (>) 
  • Morning Dew

Real Dead segue: >

Edited transition: (>)


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1293374 2018-06-12T18:10:36Z 2018-06-16T19:17:22Z Pre-Order 1973-1974 Boxed Set

Just in case anyone here isn't on The Dead's mailing list, pre-order has just begun for a boxed set of the band's six shows in the Pacific Northwest in 1973 and 1974, including my beloved 5/19/74. 

• 6/22/73 P.N.E. Coliseum, Vancouver, B.C. 

• 6/24/73 Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR

• 6/26/73 Seattle Center Arena, Seattle, WA 

• 5/17/74 P.N.E. Coliseum, Vancouver, B.C.

• 5/19/74 Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR 

• 5/21/74 Hec Edmundson Pavilion, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1291864 2018-06-08T03:28:09Z 2018-06-09T03:40:08Z Shortlist: Pyramid Scheme - November 20-24, 1978

I decided to listen to all the Keith & Donna era “Shakedown Streets" (they overlapped for about five months), and it led me to this two-hour mix, pulled from four consecutive concerts. It simulates an almost non-stop jam that would have been nice to hear in Egypt, next to the pyramids and the Sphinx, on a starry night in the Fall of 1978. (The actual Egypt shows were a month earlier.)

Each of these shows featured an unorthodox second set sequence with carefully-crafted connections. “Shakedown Street” was brand new at this point (these are the 5th, 6th, and 7th performances), a second set song that they jammed into and out of. That song and the Middle Eastern motifs running through these shows precipitated some very interesting passages, even managing to pry “Fire on the Mountain” free of “Scarlet Begonias” one of only two times between March 1977 and October 1980. Rounding out this moment in live Dead, I’ve included the exceptionally rare “If I Had the World to Give” (3rd and final performance) and Donna’s “From the Heart of Me,” both featured on the studio album, “Shakedown Street,” released the week before these shows. This mix is very much the opposite of that album.

Two-hour mp3 mix here

11/24/78 Passaic, NJ

  • From the Heart of Me
  • Estimated Prophet >
  • Shakedown Street (instrumental edit) >
  • Ollin Arageed >
  • Fire on the Mountain (instrumental edit)

11/23/78 Landover, MD

  • Dancin’ in the Street (instrumental edit)
  • Playin’ Jam >
  • Egyptian Space >
  • Shakedown Street > Approach to Playin’

11/20/78 Cleveland, OH

  • Playin’ Jam >
  • Shakedown Street (instrumental edit) >
  • If I Had the World to Give
  • Supplication (instrumental edit)

11/21/78 Rochester, NY

  • Drums > Space >
  • Not Fade Away (instrumental edit)
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1289005 2018-05-30T04:35:13Z 2018-10-12T15:29:13Z Theme from Summer of ’73 – “The Phil Jazz Jam” (2nd Edition)

Cover art by M. DeNoor 

Repost with improved musical program. Details at the bottom, if you care. 

On the 45th anniversary summer of these performances, a mix ideally suited to any Deadhead’s summer listening. 

The Grateful Dead played live only sporadically in the spring and summer of 1973 – just 15 shows over five months, at only 10 venues. The Dead haven’t officially released anything from this period, that I am aware of, except the spectacular “Watkins Glen Jam.”

“The Watkins Glen Jam” is relevant here, because this mix is also an improbably long stretch of Summer '73 improvisation without more than a passing reference to identifiable songs. 

That summer, an improvisational theme in 6/8 that had been kicking around since late 1972 suddenly became the Dead’s regularly recurring jam, only to die out again in the early fall. It’s almost an extra Grateful Dead song from the period, sort of a relaxed version of Phil’s 1973-1974 “Eyes of the World” riff, leaning forward toward 1975’s “Stronger Than Dirt.” 

For more scholarship on this and other Dead themes, go here.

The accepted name for this theme seems to be “The Phil Jazz Jam,” and I’ve woven together five full-blown summer ’73 performances of it with other outstanding, non-song-based improvisation from that summer. 

The resulting mix is a five-part, early-Seventies “The Other One” from a parallel universe, in which “The Phil Jazz Jam” holds down that position. It’s an imaginary, extra “Watkins Glen Jam,” blown out to more than twice the length, with scads of different areas of exploration. It’s an outdoor, afternoon-into-sunset show in a meadow that you never heard about. It’s the unjustifiably neglected Summer of 1973 Grateful Dead, sending you a postcard from a wonderful place – a place that is not 1972, Spring 1973, Fall 1973, or 1974. 

67-minute mp3 mix here (with all relevant information included in mp3 tags)

  • Phil Jazz Jam (6/24/73)
  • Jam (7/1/73)
  • Jam with Phil Jazz Jam moments (5/13/73)
  • Phil Jazz Jam (7/1/73)
  • Jam (6/9/73)
  • Phil Jazz Jam > (6/29/73)
  • Jam (6/29/73)
  • Jam (6/30/73)
  • Jam > (6/22/73)
  • Phil Jazz Jam (6/22/73)
  • Space (6/10/73)
  • Quiet Improvisation (7/1/73)
  • Quiet Improvisation (8/1/73)
  • Jam (6/10/73)
  • Jam (6/23/73)
  • Phil Jazz Jam (5/20/73)

If you want more all-out playing from summer 1973, go here.

What's different in this second version? I've added notable material that I previously excluded because I'd posted it in another context, or because I'd overlooked it.  I've adjusted the track markers to separate every "Phil Jazz Jam" from any additional improvisation that it is attached to. I also fixed a section of one performance where the channels were flipped for several minutes.

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1287242 2018-05-25T02:04:21Z 2018-06-16T23:53:07Z Save Your Face Base

Image from Deadbase

The calendar below shows all the dates on which The Grateful Dead played a concert between their Europe 1972 tour and their last show of 1974 (boxed with dot next to the date). This is one of the handmade tools I’ve been using since I decided to finally listen to this entire period, my favorite. I recently recopied it and thought it might interest people who visit this blog. (A heavily marked up Deadbase X and archive.org are my other invaluable tools.)

Green on the calendar indicates a concert recording that The Grateful Dead have beautifully mastered and officially released, in whole or in reduced/curated form. This is a great resource, if you want to understand official releases by concert date.

Yellow on the calendar indicates a soundboard recording that I have posted highlights of on this blog. (If it is not definitively green to your eye, then it is yellow.) Sometimes this means I’ve kept as much as two hours from a single show; sometimes it means I’ve pulled together material from consecutive shows into 80 minutes of concentrated intensity. While I’m not always a stickler for the highest bit rate in my sources, I try to use the clearest circulating fan-master. 

As I’ve said before, my mixes are not meant to fill a FLAC-maniac-archivist’s sixth terabyte hard drive of Dead; they’re meant to be a cassette collection that you can carry with you and easily listen to, without wincing or wanting to skip to the next track very often. Hopefully, lots of them are previews of future, sonically-immaculate official releases. 

One way or another, each post/mix here offers a window into soundboard concert recordings that have not been released and maybe never will be (for a variety of reasons). If you don’t expect to listen to the complete 72-74 recordings in this lifetime, but you also want more 72-74 Dead in your life, all the time, then this jukebox-blog is meant for you. I never thought I’d get anywhere close to the end of this quest – even though it covers barely more than two years – but at this point (roughly 50 shows and 2.5 days of curated results) I believe that it’s becoming a pretty good map of the unreleased territory for anyone who’s willing to let a stranger give them an expedited tour.    

Anyway, this calendar might be the best possible document of what’s on this blog, so far, and where it fits into the gigography and into the officially released oeuvre. I’ll update the calendar and this post as I proceed.

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1286513 2018-05-22T21:29:58Z 2018-06-04T12:35:14Z Mixtape: I Spy a Riff

Cover art by Antonio Prohías

If you recognize a few of these songs, you’ll immediately recognize the organizing principle of this mixtape – incessant eighth notes refracted through a Neil Hefti (Batman) and Henry Mancini (Peter Gunn), 1960s pop espionage aesthetic – sometimes bent into surprising permutations. “The Lemon Song?” Yeah, really. HT to Matthew Specktor on that one.

86-minute, mostly-lossless-sourced, volume-equalized 320kbps mix here

  • Broken Days (outtake) – Bob Dylan
  • Brand New Cadillac – The Clash
  • The Lemon Song (edit) – Led Zeppelin
  • Car Song – Elastica
  • Hey Bulldog – The Beatles
  • TV Baby – Magazine
  • No Dark Things – Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Batman Theme – Neil Hefti
  • Candy Apple – Dipstick
  • Peter Gunn (Max Sedgley Remix) – Sarah Vaughn
  • Secret Agent Man – DEVO
  • Planet Claire – The B-52’s
  • Millionenspiel – Can
  • Map Ref 41° N 93° W (alternate version) – Wire
  • Incident on South Street – The Lounge Lizards
  • Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer – Morphine
  • (Drawing) Rings Around the World – Super Furry Animals
  • Rose Garden Funeral of Sores (live) – Bauhaus
  • On Top of the World – Cheap Trick
  • Fried Chicken and Gasoline – Southern Culture on the Skids
  • Happy-Go-Lucky Local (Night Train) – Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery
  • Peter Gunn – Henry Mancini
  • God Save the Queen (instrumental version) – The Sex Pistols


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1285618 2018-05-20T16:47:29Z 2018-05-23T14:23:45Z Microdoses: October 1972

When I posted highlights from The Dead’s three October 1972 shows in St. Louis, I noted that the month’s soundboard mixes are more often terrible than good, and that some shows only circulate as audience recordings and partial soundboards.

This post compiles everything from the non-St. Louis soundboards that I feel is worth keeping handy – a meager 73 minutes, including a couple of audience tape segments I added in. When you listen to what I’ve included, you may conclude that there MUST be lots more great and great-sounding material in those tapes; I’ll bet you five bucks that you can’t find any.

(Update: Jesse Jarnow won the $5. He puts the "Dark Star" here in his "very upper echelon," so I've added it to the mix. It is great, but I reluctantly omitted it because I find the loud drums almost insufferable and the nearly inaudible bass a hole in the music. Jarnow's vote tips the scales. Decide for yourself.)

The material I've selected emphasizes a couple of categories: The rarely played quiet songs and the full flowering of Phil’s “Philo Stomp,” an elaborate version of the bass/drum segments that often included the full band. This was the peak month for that elaboration.

This beautifully executed “Attics of My Life” is one of only two performances between 1970 and 1989, the other being 9/27/72. “Tomorrow is Forever” was played only 10 times (all but one from Sept-Nov ’72), and this one falls right in the middle of those. “Sing Me Back Home” is less rare (played about 40 times from ’71 to ’73), though there were only six more after this one. 

I originally posted the first track of this mix by itself, because it seems so extraordinary, and I include it here so it won't get lost, and because it is a beautiful set up for a beautiful "Attics." The last track, from the same show/audience tape, sounds absolutely horrible, but it also sounds like an all-out post-bop jazz frenzy that I'd love to hear more clearly. (Note that this mix does not attempt to document the month's audience recording gold; that's beyond my blog's scope.)

73-minute, FLAC-derived, 320kbps mix here

  • Quiet Improvisation (10-23-72 aud)
  • Attics of My Life (10-28-72)
  • Tomorrow is Forever (10-27-72)
  • Sing Me Back Home (10-26-72)
  • Truckin’ (intro and jam 10-24-72)
  • The Philo Stomp > Jam (10-24-72)
  • Quiet Improvisation (10-24-72)
  • Drums & Bass > Jam > Playin’ Reprise (10-26-72)
  • Dark Star (10-28-72)
  • The Philo Stomp (10-28-72)
  • Jazzy Jam (10-23-72 aud)


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1281163 2018-05-07T00:16:44Z 2018-05-20T21:23:36Z Shortlist: October 2, 1972 – Springfield, MA

Cover image: Scan of a faulty Polaroid photo

Springfield was the final stop on The Dead’s September 1972 tour of the Northeast. Afterwards, the band took two weeks off the road (playing a special hometown show in the middle of that break), and then set off for the Midwest.

The Dead have released seven shows from August and September of 1972, which is quite reasonable, IMO, and I’ve posted highlights from four others. 

With this one, as always, my picks reflect how well the particular soundboard mix works for particular songs. In this case, quiet Jerry and loud Bobby is the situation. Some songs work fine, some pop interestingly, and others feel too much like a rhythm section without enough of a unifying plot thread. If I've chosen wisely, you won't experience these issues unless you listen for them. When it works, this is quite a robust soundboard recording, on which all the players are clear.

Points of interest:

  • As far as I can tell, “Greatest Story” peaked in late 1972. Springy on top, throbbing at the bottom, with demented, melting Garcia guitar and that "St. Stephen"-like riff in the climax. 
  • This is the first “Nobody’s Fault Jam” since 1970, establishing its relationship to “Truckin’” for the next couple of years.
  • This is an exceptional “Bird Song," musically, though a bit droopy vocally. Both the playing and the mix make the jammed sections sound almost 1989-1990 to me. I sequenced it between two second set selections to emphasize the dark starriness inherent in a big “Bird Song.” 
  • There are some ragged edges and one big error in this “Morning Dew,” but I Iove it. It’s a little loose, a little delirious, but drama and momentum are intact. When Jerry isn’t ready with the words for the final sung section, I guess it doesn’t matter anyway. 
  • This “Uncle John’s Band” had really feeble verses, but the playing is mighty, so you get an edit. The fade-in is in the source.
  • This isn’t the first time I’ve made an instrumental edit of one of the Chuck Berry tunes, and I should probably make a few more. In between the barky verses, they could really rock and roll. 

60-minute FLAC-sourced 320kbps mp3 mix here

  • Greatest Story Ever Told
  • Beat It on Down the Line
  • Truckin’ > Nobody’s Fault Jam
  • Bird Song
  • Jam > Feelin’ Groovy Jam > Noodling >
  • Morning Dew
  • Take a Step Back
  • Uncle John’s Band (mostly instrumental edit)
  • Johnny B. Goode (instrumental edit)


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1278526 2018-04-30T01:57:30Z 2018-05-26T18:04:42Z Shortlist: St. Louis ’72 (October 17-19)

This post reduces The Grateful Dead’s three-night stand at The Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri to the length of a single show. They played Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, October 17-19. 

These were the first three shows of a Midwest-to-Texas tour that ran all the way to the end of November. When they started in St. Louis in mid-October, they were coming off a two-week break, during which they played just one show, a benefit for their roadies at Winterland. They certainly seem to have been in fine form out of the gate. 

Fall 1972 is a great period, full of surprises, and these St. Louis highlights are a representative example. 

By the time of these shows, the band had been without Pigpen for four months and was already a different creature, well on its way to 1973 Dead. Melodic improvisational segments unrelated to specific songs are getting more frequent, and they can happen in a lot of different places. Keith is stepping out regularly, contributing themes, leading in more places. Phil and Billy are playing a bass and drums segment in lots of shows, and other band members are sometimes taking part. In October, Phil's solo ("The Philo Stomp") hits its peak. Keith and Billy even jam together in St. Louis, and the three guitarists played this incredible thing in October as well. 

Unfortunately (but don’t worry), the October soundboards – which we have for most, but not all shows – feature some terrible mixes, in which various instruments are too loud or too quiet, in various combinations, such that seemingly good performances are massively annoying and impossible to get inside or to casually ride.

The three St. Louis soundboards are among the best of the month, with lesser imbalances that don’t prevent certain songs from soaring, and that don’t get in the way of the improvisation at all. The 18th's mix is very Weir heavy, but that lends some songs an exciting, spiky kick. 

Anyway, for a month represented by no official releases and plagued by annoying soundboards, here’s a compilation that will please. 

Three-hour, FLAC-sourced, 320kbps mp3 mix here. Each show’s songs are tagged up as separate albums, by date, in the usual way.

Tuesday October 17 (67 minutes)

  • Cumberland Blues
  • Black Peter
  • China Cat Sunflower
  • Not Fade Away
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Uncle John’s Band
  • Casey Jones

Wednesday October 18 (68 minutes)

  • Don’t Ease Me In
  • Big Railroad Blues
  • Jack Straw
  • Bertha
  • Loser
  • Dark Star (minus space) >
  • Jam > Space > Philo Stomp > Feelin’ Groovy Jam >
  • Morning Dew > Playin’ Reprise (inst. edits)
  • Brokedown Palace
  • One More Saturday Night

Thursday October 19 (57 minutes)

  • Comes a Time
  • Bird Song
  • The Other One >
  • Jam >
  • The Other One > He’s Gone (inst. edit) > The Other One
  • Not Fade Away > Goin’ Down the Road

The only internal edits I have made are:

  • A few pointless minutes interrupting "Dark Star."
  • The sung part of "Morning Dew." (The miraculous transition into "Playin'" is real.)
  • The sung part of the "Playin' Reprise" on the 18th.
  • The sung part of "He's Gone."

 

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John Hilgart, Proprietor