Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dead in the Heartland

Some music for my Wednesday night -- another fairly random Dead choice of any show of theirs under the sun...

Grateful Dead 4-15-69

The Music Box
Omaha, Nebraska

1st Set
Hard To Handle,
Beat It On Down The Line,
Morning Dew, It Hurts Me Too,
China Cat Sunflower Doin' The Rag
It's A Sin, Turn On Your Lovelight

2nd Set
Sittin' On Top Of The World,
Cryptical Envelopment Drums
The Other One Cryptical Envelopment
Dark Star St. Stephen The Eleven
In a way it's amazing that this recording even exists. But is that a good thing? Some would say, yeah, without a doubt and in fact, it's a great thing. Looking at the list of 1969 shows, there are so many many dates with only a partial soundboard of a few songs or no recording known to exist at all. If this also didn't exist then no one would even blink an eye.

But there is this recording and while not the best by any means, it does preserve this moment in time for us to enjoy(?) The handheld mics did a very nice job at capturing the music but at the same time there are also voices present over perhaps half the show.

From the opening Hard To Handle, I thought this was going to be torture to listen to due to the audio quality. It seemed to start out fairly low on the grade scale. If that wasn't my imagination and the sound was indeed not terribly nice to listen to, then it did get better.

Dew was gorgeous and the fact that this wasn't a soundboard never crossed my mind. China Cat Sunflower was also a highlight but the pinnacle of the set had to be the 27+ minute Lovelight. Unfortunately, here the soundboard would have been sweet. The crowd clapping along nearly the entire time was a distraction and the mics failed to clearly pick up all of Pigpen's rap. Just too bad. The boys had been on the road for less than a week from Frisco to Tucson to Salt Lake to Boulder and on to America's Heartland... and even after all those miles and even in sleepy Omaha, Nebraska, they still played as great as you could ask for!

When the guys came back for the 2nd Set, while the 1st Set was great, it was now time to blow some minds. It wasn't too long before a few city blocks probably thought there was an earthquake goin' on when Phil thundered the way out of Cryptical->Drums and into The Other One. Is the adjective "Wow" understated or overused or a little on the unintelligent side? It doesn't matter what any writing professional might think because at times like these "Wow" is all that is needed to be said.

More amazing music was on the way with Dark Star which launched and left Nebraska for awhile. A few people chatted near the mic recording this but the music and everyone really interested in listening to it, completely left Nebraska for awhile, floating far, far away. Simply undeniably and unbelievably incredible. After twenty minutes they roll through Stephen and the tape cuts off early into The Eleven. Ugh, sad, nooooo.... oh well.

What a night. Who knew Omaha in 1969 had enough people interested in seeing the Dead play. And one of them even had it in mind to try to capture as good of a recording as he could. Is it a good thing this exists rather than a nicer soundboard? If this didn't get recorded then no one would be missing it. Since it turned up a few years ago and was digitalized for us to indulge in, why the heck not?! I'm glad I pressed Play on this one 'cause it surprised me.

This show can be
listened to and downloaded

Recorded by Leon Komar

using an Aiwa hand-held microphone ->
Master Reel (Aiwa 5" reel-to-reel) ->
Alesis Masterlink 9600 -> Hard Drive -> CD

Thanks, Leon!


Nazz Nomad said...

nice post. i can only imagine the ass beatings a deadhead must have encountered in Nebraska in the late 60's!

a.k.a. Zooomabooma said...

Haaa! My first thought was no, all the straight-laced farmer kids were asleep at the time of the night to wake up at the buttcrack of dawn to milk the cows... but what about the Greaser types? Did they exist in 1969 or was The Outsiders set before 69, yeah, it was, in mid-60's... any-frickin'-way... maybe they didn't beat up the Deadheads 'cause they found out they could get good drugs from them. But what about the athlete football player types? Nah, they were studying or partying with their preppy girlfriends... then again, who knows, a few people, i guess, but not me. I'll have to dust off the DeLorean and go back and check it out...

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

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated