grateful dead history

Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin & Big Brother and The Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the Charlatans at 710 Ashbury St in San Francisco. 1967.

Dark Star
Grateful Dead
Dark Star

Today’s Daily Dose of Dead is perhaps the greatest 10 minute version of Dark Star ever from the Long Beach Arena in California on December 15, 1972. 

Yeah of course this doesn’t stack up to the 30+ minute versions that also were performed in ‘72 but this is a super solid star complete with great improvisational jam.

This was the second to last show of what was one of the best years in grateful dead performing history. The end of the tour year finished up as follows:

Winterland Arena - December 10, 1972
Winterland Arena - December 11, 1972
Winterland Arena - December 12, 1972
Long Beach Arena - December 15, 1972
Winterland Arena - December 31, 1972

The show featured a typical ‘72 setlist:

Promised Land
Black Throated Wind
Tennessee Jed
El Paso
Big River
China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
Box Of Rain
Mexicali Blues
Brown Eyed Woman
Beat It On Down The Line
Playing In The Band
Casey Jones

Greatest Story Ever Told
Me And My Uncle
He’s Gone
The Other One
Dark Star
Morning Dew
Sugar Magnolia

Johnny B. Goode

Enjoy this one!

“Reason tatters, the forces tear loose from the axis. Searchlight casting, for faults in the clouds of delusion.”

Today in Grateful Dead history: 1987 Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, CO
Set 1:Cold Rain> Rooster, Tons Of Steel, High Time, Masterpiece, Push, Let It Grow
Set 2:Crazy Fingers> Samson, Ship Of Fools, Playin> China Doll> Drums>Watchtower> GDTRFB> Around> Sugar Magnolia
Encore: Black Muddy River
*(“Funiculi Funicula” tuning before “Masterpiece” - last “High Time”: 05-03-86 [71])*

Susana Millman spent 25 years behind the huge lens of her camera photographing the legendary rock band The Grateful Dead. Today, she’s giving you an insider’s look at her time with them in her photographic memoir, Alive with the Dead: A Fly on the Wall with a Camera — a limited, first edition, hardcover book printed in full color. She assures that it will enrich your knowledge of the band, and give you a feel for their world beyond the stage, as you peruse photos of sound techs and lighting crews, immediate families, and the band members themselves.


Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead at Soldier Field, Chicago, July 4, 2015

For three hours, 15 minutes Saturday, the Dead kept a steady high and turned in one of those concerts - the kind that’s kept the faithful coming back for more for 50 years.

On Independence Day, the second of three Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago started with a bang in the form of a funky, Bob Weir-sung “Shakedown Street” and ended with many bangs courtesy of a fireworks display over Soldier Field.

In between, the Dead played a well-executed, high-energy, 18-song concert with a few major spikes and fewer minor dips - a consistent show so full of spark that even “Me and My Uncle,” the most-played song in Grateful Dead history, was crackling. The sound in the sold-out stadium was dialed in with Bruce Hornsby’s piano, Jeff Chimenti’s playing on the late Brent Mydland’s B3 and Weir’s guitar all high in the mix.

Set one was steeped in Americana for the nation’s 239th birthday. In addition to the obvious references in “Liberty,” the band told tales of Colorado gamblers, hard-working, low-wage-earning miners (“Cumberland Blues”) and outlaws on the lam (a Phil Lesh-led “Friend of the Devil,” complete with Robert Hunter’s long-lost last verse).

Weir was the man of the hour-and-25-minute set taking lead vocals on nearly all the tunes. Trey Anastasio, whose playing has been superb over the Chicago shows, sang “Standing on the Moon” and “Deal,” and although his voice is in Jerry Garcia’s range, it has little soul and the guitarist’s vocal performances come off as perfunctory. Conversely, when Hornsby shared vocal duties with Weir on “Tennessee Jed,” his animated singing style and dominant playing drove the crowd into a frenzy.

Hornsby, playing a Steinway grand piano, has done yeoman’s work, egging the band on and playing licks that harken back to the Keith Godchaux era and his own 1990-‘92 stint with the original band.

Set break again featured Neal Casal’s infectious, Grateful Dead-inspired instrumental soundtrack, augmented with Chicago’s 4th of July fireworks in the sky and on the big screen above the stage. Throughout the evening, the DIRECTV blimp circled the stadium and flashed Steal Your Face and dancing bear logos and messages like “thank you for a real good time” to the crowd below.

Lesh paid tribute to his fallen band mate when he intoned, “all I know is something like a bird within him sang” during the last verse of the breezy, way-mellow second-set opener “Bird Song.” It was a nice, subtle tribute to the man in black T-shirts. And just in case anyone missed it, the Dead drove the point home on a hard-charging, rendition “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion),” one of Grateful Dead’s earliest original compositions.

In an odd and cool twist, the Dead turned to Hornsby and Anastasio to take the lead vocals on this chestnut and Weir and Lesh chimed in for the party-invitation that is the chorus.

Weir’s Go to Heaven-era “Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance” couplet sounded much like the original band while the slinky, sinewy “West LA Fadeaway” that followed, with Hornsby on vocals, featured the GD spirit in a brand-new musical body.

“Drumz” and “Space” were long - 25 minutes - and fun to watch on the huge back-of-the-house Jumbotron. Bill Kreutzman and Mickey Hart turned in a bone-shaking, tribal-sounding drum duet from the jungle and the full band followed with a “Space” from the farthest depths - one featuring loud, electronic-generated bleeps and bloops popping out of the PA on a bed of feedback and punctuated by discordant notes from Hornsby’s acoustic piano.

The Dead’s terrific, trippy light show and video enhancements were wonderful visual companions to the aural cacophony.

Weir’s voice is ill-suited for delicate ballads like “Stella Blue,” and last night, despite wonderful instrumental accompaniment, it sounded, as always, awkward. He’s more at home on the obvious set closer and encore, “One More Saturday Night” and “U.S. Blues,” and these rockers filled their respective roles perfectly.

Five decades in to a very long - and very strange - musical trip, the Dead could very easily phone it in and the ‘Heads would gladly accept it. But last night, these elderly psychedelic warriors, in their penultimate performance together, put on a display of musical excellence and physical endurance that demonstrated, leaving no doubt, that the Dead is still full of life.

Grade card: Fare Thee Well at Soldier Field - 7/4/15 - A-

Setlist: 1: Shakedown Street/Liberty/Standing on the Moon/Me and My Uncle/Tennessee Jed/Cumberland Blues/Little Red Rooster/Friend of the Devil/Deal 2: Bird Song/The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)/Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance/West LA Fadeaway/Foolish Heart/Drumz/Space/Stella Blue/One More Saturday Night E: U.S. Blues