Monday, March 19, 2007

short Dead hike

Had a nice but short afternoon hike.
Only about 1 hour and 28 minutes.

Music before I left:

Grateful Dead ~ 2-12-86
Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center
Oakland, California

1st Set
Hell In a Bucket-> Sugaree, Tons of Steel,
Tennessee Jed, Cassidy-> Don't Ease Me In

Music on the trail:

2nd Set
Scarlet Begonias-> Fire on the Mountain,
Estimated Prophet-> Space-> Drums->
Drums with members of the Neville Brothers-> Jam,
Willy and the Hand Jive, The Wheel,
In The Midnight Hour-> Johnny B. Goode
Encore: U.S. Blues

Review I wrote:

Ash Wednesday. What could the boys possibly have in the gas tank the night after a Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras blowout? Would it even be possible to put on a show that'll stand the test of time?

Out of the starting gate they came. The opening Bucket was tight and rockin' followed by a sweetly played, crowd mellowing Sugaree. Jerry clearly stood out on guitar and really sailed effortlessly along. The two songs are a fairly standard opening combo but how can ya complain when they get the show rollin' in fine fashion?

Unfortunately what rolls must eventually stop, or at least slow down and that's what happened next. Tons Of Steel wasn't exactly new at the time but to most in the hall it was new 'cause it hadn't yet appeared on a studio album and how many in attendance were in attendance for the previous only a handful of times it had been played in the past year plus? Probably not many but the song got some kind applause followed by Bobby steppin' up to the mic and sayin' to us, "Even the best trains occasionally leave the tracks." Perhaps that was in reference to the song still bein' a little . . . not quite so polished, maybe a little bit of a trainwreck in its earliest performances?

Hopefully Tennessee Jed will get this show back on track? Not completely. Jerry messed up a little bit but the song flowed along alright. It didn't do much for me, though, not tonight. Maybe just a lull in the first set? Seems Billy mighta been a little off kilter, too, at least according to Bobby who announced, "Billy's losing points on the Most Valuable Player contest tonight." Did he know the band wasn't all there? Come on, Billy, pull it tighter and maybe Jerry'll step up a bit more, too? Purely speculation, of course.

There was no wondering where Phil was, he helped lead the charge on Cassidy. Now we're talkin'! That was just a lull 'cause we are definitely rollin' again! YES!! Huge smile . . . they're playin' this one out so well. Everyone's 100% on the same page. The HJK is goin' nuts!! What a sweet freakin' jam!!!!! YESSSS!!!!!! Only the fifth song of the show but this night could end right now and all would be right in the world. Cassidy achieved nothing less than Pure Bliss . . . but wait, what the?! WHAT THE?! WHY?!? What happened? They brought this sucker down way too fast, like it fell off a freakin' cliff, like it was shot down by insurgents, like someone looked at their watch and said, "oh crap, we've gotta end this set in 4 minutes or the whole universe will collapse in on itself." Bobby was clearly caught off guard when Wham! it was time for -- "flight of the seabirds, scattered like lost words," quiet ending, all done, Don't Ease Me In -> "We'll be back in a little bit." 39 minutes?!?!? Check the time again. Yup. A 39 minute 1st Set. [confused sigh.]

Hmmm. That was interesting. I was left feeling like the prince of confusion and if more than half the crowd didn't feel the same way then maybe this whole life I'm living is just a dream. 39 minutes?! Well . . . alright, at least that sweet, sweet (most of) Cassidy was completely worth it. I woulda driven a thousand miles for that alone. Let's just hope the 2nd Set smokes...

Scarlet -> Fire kicked things off sort of strangely. Lyrically the two-some fell short of splendid but that was made up for musically, particularly in Fire. I tell ya, when Jerry blows the words, thank goodness he can be all there with his fingers on guitar strings! While the even flow of the two songs was noticeably disturbed, I still couldn't keep from dancin' all the way through. Nice!! Despite the lyrical flaws, the boys held it all together quite superbly!

Bobby soon took the reigns and a solid Estimated followed. Definitely a highlight of the 2nd Set. Through much of the song he and Jerry worked perfectly in tandem while other times Rockstar Bobby had to go for the crowd pleasing, spotlight stealing screamage. Not too much, though, nothing crazily over the top tonight. Then contrary to Deadlists and Deadbase, Estimated never really transitioned into Drums. It petered out and Brent tried a few bars of Never Trust A Women but that never came close to taking off. Instead Jerry just wandered and led the rest into a few minutes of a Spacey Jam, absolutely completely non-Estimated by that point. This part of the setlist should truly read: Estimated-> Space-> Drums!

After Drums, what comes next interestingly isn't Space. After Mickey & Billy play, the transition is into More Drums a.k.a. Drums Part II with members of the Neville Brothers. It really picks up a ton of steam here. Compared to just Mickey & Billy, this is louder, faster, it's got a bunch of rhythm and made me wanna dance around like a mad banshee with my head cut off!

In a few minutes some other instruments kick in. A familiar theme is touched on in there but my mind hasn't been able to pick out exactly what that was. In any case, what we've really got here is: Estimated-> Space-> Drums-> Drums Part II (with the Nevilles)-> Jam. A second after that Jam dwindles to an end, everyone launches at once into . . . into what? It almost sounds like Hey Pockey Way . . . but, no, it's one of the Neville Brothers taking the lead vocals on Willie And The Hand Jive! And who's that on bass? Not Phil, that's some completely different funky bass, another of the Nevilles. Wow, this is fun and sweet! They must've run through it at least once during a soundcheck to be able to be puttin' it all together so well.

A very short but well done Wheel was next. Similar to Estimated earlier, it petered out at the end. A nice segue into Midnight Hour completely did not happen. Were they even sure what they were gonna play next? Still a nice version albeit short and not at all jammed out. Jerry accompanied beautifully while Bobby and Brent carried the song, Bobby even asking for a little audience participation.

What came next, for some reason, had me floored. Jerry completely and so perfectly ripped into Johnny B. Goode. It was like after coasting on cruise control he just came truly alive for the first time all night. I'm not usually a huge fan of JBG but this was really cool. The Bob & Jerry Show was in full swing and here it was Jerry who was the one offering up some screamage, almost letting people know he was present and accounted for!

Post-Drums had no jams to speak of but it all seemed to work! The U.S. Blues encore, even with, again, some messed up lyrics, helped to close out the night on a great high.

This is a show that was truly uneven but I gotta tell ya, there were only five GD shows in the first 2½ months of 1986 and I woulda driven hundreds of miles back and forth just to see this one alone. No, it wasn't epic. No, it wasn't perfect. It was even sloppy. I've listened to this a couple times in a row now and each time I was left feelin' pretty content at the end. Even when musical perfection was not achieved, when ya add together all the good parts it proves that sometimes a show can still be quite satisfying!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,
I just read the comment you left on my brother's website "5,000,000 Steps for a Cure" and wanted to thank you for your words of encouragement. I'm so happy to know that there are so many people - even all the way out in Alaska!- pulling for him. His wife (who is doing his journal entries) is also grateful. If you want, next time you visit his journal, let her know you are praying for her too. Being apart for six months is hard on both of them.

Blessing to you on your trail of life.

Uncle Buck's sister.

one says one number and the other another
but they were set at the same time. Hmmm...

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated