Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rotating Dead

setlist & soundboard mp3 download
Grateful Dead -- March 8, 1970
Star Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona

Cold Rain & Snow, Bob's yellow dog story,
China-> Rider-> High Time, Dire Wolf, Hard To Handle,
Monkey & The Engineer, I've Been All Around This World,
Me & My Uncle, Black Peter, Katie Mae-> impromptu blues,
Not Fade Away
-> Turn On Your Lovelight

There's some discrepancy in what the proper name of this venue is. At some point in time it was called the Travelodge Theatre or Travelodge Theatre in the Round -- that's what Deadlists has it as -- but later in time it would become the Star Theatre -- what The Trader's Database has it as. When exactly did the name change take place? I looked but couldn't find any information. It seems at the time of this show it was called the Star Theatre. No matter what the name was, on March 8 in 1970 the Dead played this show in Phoenix, Arizona! Oh, and reportedly, this was Vince Welnick's first Dead show!

Anyway, sound quality here ain't the greatest: there's some minor hiss which shows itself most during the "acoustical" portion of the show -- Monkey & The Engineer into the blues jam.

There's a bunch of good music here, though. Quite noticeable is how much Phil's bass is right up front and center; kinda Phil-heavy to be sure. You just don't find that in so so many recordings. Hard To Handle is a highlight for me, so is the (mostly) acoustic Me & My Uncle. Jerry broke a string on the previous tune so he switched to electric but Bob's acoustic really dominates and helps make the tune so good. Oh man, Black Peter is sooooo nice, too, another highlight with Bob strumming away on acoustic and Jerry mellowly picking away on electric.

During a splendid Katie Mae an unidentified person comes on stage to sing a verse. It starts out cool enough... but... what it turns into is... well.... it's weird. An eyewitness says on Archive.org that it was just someone from the crowd. Definitely bizarre but the boys just keep on playing, pushing onward into the improvised impromptu blues tune all while this guy makes up the lyrics for it. Not just strange but an interesting moment, as well.

The NFA that follows is a joke. Why? The Unidentified Singing Person remains on stage with a mic, singing, screaming, yelping, and often right at the wrong times. Hey, buddy, you were at Woodstock the summer before, put some of that brown acid in your pants, and just happened to find on this night in Phoenix? Wow. Thankfully whoever was manning the soundboard turned his mic way down and he's not heard as loud as he's heard during the "impromptu blues." Not only does he sing, he busts out a harmonica, plays badly... and then someone else briefly is heard yelping also.

While all this is happening the boys play a fantastic NFA... it's just sad this... disturbance is heard on top of it. It's... after awhile almost excruciating to listen to. Thankfully at that point Lovelight starts and we can dig good old Pigpen taking the lead here to bring us home. There's some pretty cool harmonica here... but it ain't Pig 'cause while that sound's a-wailin', Pig's a-singin'. Huh. If it's a different person than the one from before, he got better. At first I thought that's not bad but part of me knew it wasn't Pigpen -- not his exact sound. So someone else was up there for that short time and again as the recording runs out.

Oh boy. On one hand it's a shame the recording ends prematurely and we don't get to hear Lovelight wrap up... but then again, who knows what else happened and that, like some of what occurred earlier, may have been painful to hear. So a mixed blessing, perhaps.

If anyone actually likes all of this, I'd be interested in hearing that.

And this is maybe the only time the Dead have played on a rotating, moving stage? Bob mentions it at one point, after Dire Wolf -- "Yeah, this is a miserable situation, I hope to declaim it, because... on account of the fact that you can't really get to know you out there 'cause, uh, you look up, you look back, you look up again and uh, and,"
"And where is everybody?" someone in the band adds.
"And I already know him," Bob concludes.

Weird, wild stuff and a unique night, to be sure.

Source: Soundboard> Master Reel> Cassette> DAT> CDR

Audio Quality:
3/8/70 Phoenix @ Archive.org:

the SBD
for Listening Only
Small STEAL YOUR FACE Download It Right Here -- GD -- 3/8/70 Phoenix Small STEAL YOUR FACE
3-08-70 aka 03-08-70 aka 3/08/70 aka 70-03-08


Adam said...

Thanks yet again for another interesting selection Zoooma. I wonder if there were any spinners at the show? And, if there were, was their spinning enhanced seeing the band spinning at the same time? What does seem clear about this show is that everything associated with it was just a little off (like my date for it in DeadBase 9). I can't say I have ever fantasized about getting up and singing at a GD show, but undoubtedly some folks have, and on this night, one "singer" actually got his chance; good for him, not so good for us. Oh well, if every show were perfect, what would we have to compare them to? This may not be an annual listen, but it will certainly paint a visual picture every time I put it on. Oh, and since I didn't comment on 11/30/79, thanks for that little gem too. I've had, known, and heard people talk up 12/1 for years, but 11/30 is nice in its own right. Keep up the fantastic job you're doing here; a lot of us really appreciate it! Adam

LSDAmerica said...

Most definitely. I second Adam's comment. Your blog and generosity is most appreciated and thanks for a rockin' 70 show!

Anonymous said...

thanks very much this is interesting...1970 is one of my fav. years and there don't seem to be as much from that year as there should be!...perhaps the dead were too nice to drag this fellow off...(the guest vocalist),,,strangely enough there is video footage of dylan at some show allowing an audience member to duet with him on two songs on you tube...ofcourse in that case it is a nice looking woman...hah!...thanks for all the stuff!...very swell of you to share!!!

henryband said...

Never heard this one before. Love the Pigpen era Dead.Thanks!

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

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated