Grateful Dead: In the Twilight Zone (1985)

It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. This is the dimension we call the Grateful Dead.

Imagine if you will, 30 minutes of 1985 Grateful Dead music related to “The Twilight Zone” theme and mood.

With the help of middle-man Merl Saunders, the Dead were hired to create theme and incidental music for the 1985 reboot of “The Twilight Zone.” A soundtrack album was released containing a combination of ominous Dead “space” and cheesier, ‘80s pop moves.

This mp3 mix includes all the “space” passages, plus an edit of studio outtakes, plus three live passages. No cheesy stuff.

“Merl says that the night he sat in during the ‘space’ jam at one of the recent Berkeley shows, ‘we did a bit of the Zone without the theme. It was kind of loose. We’d been in the studio working things about a week, and then all of a sudden I was just up there onstage!’” (Golden Road #6)

According to Garcia, the band recorded enough bits to construct a much larger Twilight Zone space.

“… but what we got [to do] was a collection of little musical inserts called stings and bumpers – you know, little hunks of non-specific music of various lengths that have different moods. One might be a mood like, ‘Don’t open the door,’ or ‘Don’t go up into the attic.’ Or, ‘I’m going to work work, honey. Are you sure you’ll be OK home alone?’ They go all the way from a sort of noncommittal [he makes light, almost playful guitar sounds] to a real ominous ‘Braaaaaagh!” They gave us a huge menu of those – 40 that are like 5 seconds, 20 that are 6.5 seconds, a bunch that they can fade in and out. Then it’s the music editor who actually fits them into the show.” (Golden Road #6)

My assumption is that the 17 minutes from the official soundtrack included on this mix are made up of a slew of these tiny pieces of mood music, edited together. 

31-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Twilight Zone (live 6/21/85)
  • Twilight Zone (live 9/15/85)
  • Twilight Zone (studio outtake edit)
  • Space (live 3/9/85 w/Merl Saunders)
  • TZ Soundtrack: Main Title Theme
  • TZ Soundtrack: Kentucky Rye Pt. 3
  • TZ Soundtrack: Shadowman (edit)
  • TZ Soundtrack: Nightcrawlers
  • TZ Soundtrack: Eye of Newton (edit)
  • TZ Soundtrack: End Credits

The session/demo edit comes from this set of fragments. I found that several of them contain the exact same, main passage (w/some different treatments), so my edit comprises the non-repeating passages. 

If you enjoy the Dead making soundtrack music, you might like:

Grateful Dead: Pouring Light Into Jazzes (1973-1974)

This two-hour mix features a particular zone of 1973-1974 jazz Dead. It’s comprised of some of the most diffuse and drifty “Dark Star” passages of the period, plus adjacent jams that took the same mood into additional territory. 

Common denominators are complex, gentle beauty and Bill Kreutzmann’s amazing drumming.

Soaring-melodic-rock “Dark Star” moments occur very rarely. The first verse of “Dark Star” appears periodically to present the straight melody that solves the Rubic’s Cube happening everywhere else. 

Each track is a continuous, as-played, Dead passage (with one exception that I forget). I’ve chosen start and end points based on the coherent zone I was seeking. I’ve created segues where opportunities presented themselves and faded elsewhere. 

I figured two hours of this trip was enough. It’s the same length as this compendium of Europe ’72 “Dark Star” passages and adjacent jams. The two mixes offer an easy and interesting way to compare and enjoy the two extremes of the mature one-drummer period. 

2-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Dark Star > (12/6/73)
  • Jam After Dark Star (12/6/73)
  • Dark Star (11/30/73)
  • Dark Star (2/24/74)
  • Dark Star (6/23/74)
  • Dark Star (11/11/73)
  • Jam After Dark Star (11/11/73)
  • Dark Star > (10/18/74)
  • Jam After Dark Star (10/18/73)

Errata: The two 12/6/73 tracks are mislabeled as 12/5/73 in the mp3 files.

Cover art: Detail manipulation of Leo Morey, 1934. Used as the cover of the August 1934 issue of the pulp magazine “Amazing Stories.” High resolution image of the original painting courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Grateful Dead: The China > Rider Jam (mostly 1974)

This mix presents thirteen 1972-1974 performances of the transition jam between “China Cat Sunflower” and “I Know You Rider.” 

Most selections are from 1974, the bounciest, grooviest year of the band’s history, and consequently the peak year for this jam. As one would expect of 1974, the passage got longer and more hair-raising. 

All the performances followed the same pattern:

  • Transition-introduction (25 seconds)
  • Weir solo (1.5 to 2 minutes)
  • Garcia solo > Feelin’ Groovy jam (variable, the length of the whole jam minus ~2.5 minutes)
  • Approach to I Know You Rider's first verse (10-30 seconds)

The Feelin’ Groovy theme was added to the China > Rider jam in March 1973.

Within the standard frame, variations abound in the individual playing and the collective mesh. Drop the needle into the same sections of many versions in a row, and you’ll be surprised. 

Pried loose from the two songs, the China > Rider jam stands up on its own as part of the bubbling “thematic jam” arc that runs through Alligator, Dark Star, Good Lovin’, Tighten Up, and “stuff that happened after Truckin’ in 1974.” (You'll find more mixes focused on such themes here.)

Different sound board mixes also contribute to the experience of variety. This variable is especially cool for the Weir solo section, where his guitar part syncopates more strongly with with different musicians on different recordings.

I was stuck between two options for this mix: Choose five or six versions, or include too many for any sane person to listen to at one time. I went with too many.

For review purposes, I isolated 28 of the period’s jams (mostly 1973-1974), and then I winnowed them down to 13 for this compilation. 

There was no rhyme or reason to the 28 I started with, except that I tried not to miss long versions. Of course, my picks are entirely unrelated to how well or badly the band played and sang the two songs on either side of the jam. 

Some versions got cut for bad sound or out of tune instruments. Some performances were simply okay. Others were really good, but lacked any great distinction when compared to many other versions. In this last respect, 1973 got trampled by 1974; I started with a dozen versions from each year. 

Anyhow, here are 13 really fine China > Rider jams. 

82-minute mp3 compilation here

  • 72/10/08 (4:44)
  • 73/07/28 (5:27)
  • 73/09/11 (5:56)
  • 74/02/22 (5:34)
  • 74/02/24 (7:00)
  • 74/03/23 (5:24)
  • 74/05/19 (5:23)
  • 74/06/08 (5:17)
  • 74/06/16 (7:36)
  • 74/06/30 (7:54)
  • 74/07/31 (6:26)
  • 74/08/05 (8:18)
  • 74/09/10 (6:46)

Cover art by Mary Poliquin. You can purchase a print here.

Grateful Dorks: Jamming at the Matrix (12/15/70)

This mix simulates a 28-minute live, instrumental jam session by David Crosby, Garcia, Lesh, and probably Kreutzmann - otherwise known as David & The Dorks or Jerry & The Jerks.

This improvisational quartet had its own identity, often quite different in mood and pulse from the Grateful Dead. All the players sound delighted, responding to each other with big ears.

There’s only one live tape, and it’s very much worth your time. (See source note, below.) The point of my edit/mix is to create an extended jam by this band.  I am very grateful to Jesse Jarnow for pointing me at the tape and inquiring if this kind of edit could work.

My edits remove the vocal sections from six songs, while retaining nearly every other second of the music (of those songs). Some excellent non-verbal Crosby vocalizing remains, as well as the final chorus of “Motherless Children.” 

The Dorks played live only four times, all in December 1970: Three official shows at the Matrix (12/15-17) and one unannounced set in San Rafael a few days later. The only known live recording is this one from the 15th.

The Dorks are so nearly an apocryphal band that there is no photograph of the whole quartet on stage together. I made a live band image for the cover art by compositing elements of three photos. The Crosby/Lesh locked-in implications of the fake photo are fully acquitted by the music.

Convention makes Mickey Hart the drummer on this 12/15/70 recording. A photograph makes Bill Kreutzmann the drummer at a subsequent show. Jarnow has scholarly reasons for suspecting that Kreutzmann was the band’s only drummer; my ears agree. (Apologies to Mickey, if I’m wrong!)

Put this in your playlist alongside Mickey & The Hartbeats ’68 and Grateful Airplane ’70, as well as some of this late-summer ’69 bonus-player, curve-ball fun

Dorks 28-minute instrumental/jam edit, mp3 mix, zipped up here

  • Wall Song (3:39)
  • Laughing (7:09)
  • Triad (5:23)
  • Deep Elem Blues (3:13)
  • Motherless Children (4.44)
  • Cowboy Movie (3:57)

Source note:

For this edit, I’ve mostly used the file available for download here, which also includes a rehearsal session tape. (I did not include anything from the rehearsal tape, which is altogether less committed than the live event.) There are variations of the live tape on archive.org. I had one of those, which I used in a couple of places.


Grateful Dead: Do Not Step on Alligator (February 7-15, 1969)

This mix includes three unreleased versions of the sequence “Alligator Jam > Caution > Feedback” from the month between the Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore West shows that provided most of the material for “Live Dead.” Only one show from this month has been released – "Fillmore East 2/11/69."

I have removed Pigpen’s main vocal sections from “Caution,” which foregrounds the band’s dramatic musical retellings of the familiar tale and makes this a nearly-all instrumental mix.

Though recorded at this time, the album “Live Dead” didn’t include “Alligator > Caution.” This makes sense, given that a live version of the sequence was employed for side two of the earlier album, “Anthem of the Sun.” 

However, while these were old songs by February 1969, they were also zones where unpredictable things continued to happen. They are analogous to the 1970 jams that swung around such themes as “Feelin’ Groovy” and “Tighten Up.” Early 1969 “Alligator” jams played around with “China Cat,” “We Bid You Goodnight,” and “St. Stephen.” (Earlier and later versions went to additional places.)

In addition to these open-and-thematic jams, “Caution” was a very mutable, familiar, heavy jam by 1969 (think “The Other One”), and “Feedback” had hit its glorious peak by 1969 (hence its inclusion on “Live Dead”).

So, maybe we should pay as much attention to early 1969 “Jam > Caution > Feedback” as we do to “Dark Star > St. Stephen > The Eleven.” “Live Dead” captured the latter trio at its organized, elaborate, perfected peak. At the same time, “Alligator Jam > Caution > Feedback” captured the protoplasmic Dead express train barreling through a different series of stations.

70-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Jam > Caution Edit > Feedback (Pittsburgh, 2/7/69) (18:59)
  • Jam > Caution Edit > Feedback (Fillmore East, 2/12/69) (17:14)
  • Jam > Caution Edit > Feedback > AWBYGN (Philadelphia, 2/15/69) (34:13)

Cover art: Saul Steinberg, 1968

Grateful Airplane: November 20, 1970 (Rochester, NY)

This mix isolates astounding material from a jam session featuring Garcia, Weir, Kaukonen, Casady, Kreutzman, and Hart. The music circulates as an audience recording along with the rest of the Dead’s show that night.

(Late-breaking scholarly adjustment! Casady is not present. All bass is Phill Lesh.)

Thanks to Jesse Jarnow for passing on his massive enthusiasm for this performance, which was unknown to me. I'm crazy about "Jam 3," which is very 1968-1969 Mothers of Invention at the start and gets very 1968-1969 Velvet Underground at later points.

33-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Cartoon Music (1:12)
  • Bluegrass Jam (1:26)
  • Jam 1 > (11:36)
  • Darling Corey > (5:04)
  • Jam 2 (2:56)
  • Jam 3 (11:08)

Editing notes:

  • I cleaned up starting and ending points where you don’t see “>.” Some tracks just cut/faded, in or out, on the source tape.
  • I combined two segments titled “Tuning” into “Cartoon Music.” The Dead spent a lot of rehearsal time in September, 1969 exploring cartoon themes and scheming to unleash them on live audiences. Save Your Face mix here. This show is the first place I’ve noticed them actually playing them on stage. Can you point me at others?


Grateful Dead Shortlist: November 6, 1970 - Port Chester, NY (electric jams edit)

This is an instrumental edit of most of the big electric jam sequence of a great show that only exists as an audience recording.

The uncut sequence is 56 minutes. This 39-minute version edits out a drum solo and all the vocals from “Good Lovin’,” “Alligator,” “Not Fade Away,” and “Caution.” The only vocals that remain are on “Goin’ Down the Road.”

All the band’s original segues between songs remain, except for a fake edit to get from the “NFA” reprise to “Caution.”

If you have enjoyed Save Your Face’s adventures into song-free improvisation from other eras, here’s a new one to try – Fall 1970 Dead out in the wide open spaces for 40 minutes straight.

And if you are put off by the audience sonics of this era, you may find that the removal of vocals makes them work better.

39-minute mp3 file zipped up here. Instrumental unless otherwise noted.

  • The Main Ten >
  • Good Lovin’
  • Alligator Jam >
  • Not Fade Away >
  • Goin’ Down the Road (w/vocals) >
  • Mountain Jam > Not Fade Away (>)
  • Caution

Cover photo: Joe Sia

Grateful Dead Shortlist: June 11, 1993 (Hebron, OH - Instrumental Edit)

The band just wanted to jam and jam at Buckeye Lake in 1993, and this mix offers an entirely instrumental edit of a large portion of the show, including a mighty, seven minute “Foolish Heart.”

The show's mix was terrible for vocals but big and shiny in all other respects, with prominent, wiry, funky Phil throughout.

One-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Eyes of the World (instr. edit)
  • Playin’ Jam >
  • Uncle John’s Band > (instr. edit)
  • Corrina (inst. edit)
  • Improv: Drums 1 >
  • Improv: Drums 2
  • Improv: Space >
  • The Wheel (instr. edit)
  • Foolish Heart (instr. edit)

Grateful Dead: Solo, Duo, and Trio (11/12/72 - Kansas City)

This is a much-expanded revision of highlights from this show.

The bizarre soundboard mix of this late ’72 Dead tape reduces the band to a trio of Garcia, Weir, and Lesh. Drums and keyboards are almost totally absent. Vocals are very faint, nearly silent in one channel. 

The channel mix changes over the course of the show. At some times, all that’s in one channel is Garcia’s guitar. At others, it’s Garcia and Weir’s guitars, alone together. Crazy, frustrating, sound board mixes abound in late ’72 – which is tragic – but this 11/12/72 Kansas tape is a beautiful gift.

Garcia can create an entire, mesmerizing musical narrative all by himself. You know that the rest of the band is laying down the landscape for his story, but he nonetheless seems so calm and delicate, like he already knows where things are headed. Notes and runs that are incendiary in the context of the whole band's performance aren't played bombastically.

"It was around 1972 or '73 when I finally unlearned all the things that had hung me up to that point.”  (Garcia, 1978, Guitar Player Now, source @jerrygarcia)

Meanwhile, the intricate, twining Garcia/Weir duos are a spectacular window into their guitarist mind-meld. I find the “NFA > GDTRFB > NFA” to be particularly wonderful.

This expanded mix pulls everything from the show’s “isolation channel” that I found really compelling, resulting in mono mix downs. 

I have also included the stereo trio edits of the “Bird Song” and “Playin’” jams. It is quite astonishing to play either song as a Garcia guitar solo, followed immediately by the Garcia/Weir/Lesh mix – which seems whole and giant – and then to realize you’re still missing the keyboards and drums. 

I have shortened many of the tracks to edit out stretches where nothing interesting is happening, which is typically where you become very aware that you are listening to an incomplete mix. Often this meant cutting out all the places where vocals should be (and faintly are), but I let the guitars lead my edit choices, so phantom vocals appear here and there.

Several isolation tracks (one channel, full song) made it through unedited, even though you’ll supply the rest of the song in your head: solo Garcia-only “Box of Rain” and “Playin’,” and Garcia/Weir “Friend of the Devil.”

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

Disc One: Solo and Duo (71 minutes)

  • Bird Song Edit (Garcia)
  • Stella Blue Solo (Garcia)
  • Box of Rain (Garcia)
  • Friend of the Devil (Garcia, Weir)
  • He’s Gone Edit (Garcia, Weir)
  • Not Fade Away > Goin’ Down the Road > Not Fade Away Edit (Garcia, Weir)
  • Big River Edit (Garcia, Weir)
  • Truckin’ Edit (Garcia)
  • Playin’ in the Band (Garcia)

Disc Two: Trio (30 minutes)

  • Playin’ Jam Edit (Garcia, Weir, Lesh)
  • Bird Song Edit (Garcia, Weir, Lesh)
  • Train on Cocaine (Garcia)

Grateful Dead: Improvising in St. Louis - October 1972

The Dead’s three-night run in St. Louis (October 17-19, 1972) was an improvisational monster, containing great versions of all the big numbers, and much more jamming beyond them, including “The Philo Stomp.”

This mix presents 90 minutes of that improvisation. The three shows’ mixes are quite different, but that difference almost vanishes without vocals. To keep the jam flowing, I’ve edited “He’s Gone,” “Morning Dew,” and the “Playin’ Reprise” into instrumentals. However, the connections (>) between all songs are as-played. 

There’s no official release from October 1972, and the St. Louis shows are the best-mixed of the Midwest tour. So here’s a double-LP for your shelf of the molten core of that moment’s Dead. Everything here is tremendous, but I'm going to call out the "Bird Song" as extra-sublime. Great Keith solo.

92-minute FLAC-derived mp3 mix here

  • Bird Song
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • The Other One >
  • Jam >
  • The Other One > He’s Gone (intro & jam) > The Other One
  • Dark Star (space removed) >
  • Jam > Space > Bass Solo > The Philo Stomp > Feelin’ Groovy Jam >
  • Morning Dew (instr. edit) > Playin’ Reprise (inst. edit)

Caution: Save Your Face previously posted a three-hour highlights reel from these shows, with 90 more minutes of great “regular” songs plucked from the screwy soundboards. Don’t download that. An improved version will go up in the next week or so. This all-jam mix isn’t meant to replace that bigger mix; I just realized how intense pure St. Louis jamming would be and wanted to have that listening option buttoned-up, too.