Hey Now! I'm not sure if anyone's picked up on this but Friday has become my day for The Dead '09. It happened unintentionally but it's happened, it has, and that's the pattern I've had for a few weeks or a month or whatever now. That doesn't mean it'll continue permanently like that, especially with two Meadowlands shows and two Chicagoland shows, I might not wanna wait a whole week before posting the next one. Anything can happen.
But for now, since it's Friday......
The Dead Spring '09 -- Volume VIII
Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza
Me & My Uncle, Built To Last, Tennessee Jed, Dire Wolf
Weather Report Suite: Part 1-» Iko Iko-» Drums-» Space-»
Caution (Do Not Stop On The Tracks)-» So Many Roads-»
In The Midnight Hour
Candyman is really nice, methinks. It could almost be a planned moment of the show, one that's truly just for Jer. One really odd selection here is Built To Last. I know it's been done in the past with both The Dead and Phil & Friends but.... eh. More great playing from Jeff in Tennessee Jed and some oh so sweet slide from Warren. Finally the set-closer is Dire Wolf? Great song, of course, and it's nice to hear it electric but.... eh.
Not the most smokin' first set of the tour but nice with some definitely great moments.
Beautiful is the WRS: Part 1... but, uh, didn't they play Let It Grow (WRS: Part 2) in one of the previous shows? Wouldn't it a-made perfect sense to play WRS:Part 1 and then a night or two later do Let It Grow, ya know, in succession? Derrrrrrrr. Whatever, it's still gorgeous! Iko Iko wasn't the most wonderful follow-up because once again it felt tired, it was sadly adrift and taking on water... until Jeff got kickin' on keys, he bailed this sucker out and away we go! Whoa!! It's weird the way it ends, though. This band seems to have decided to do things this way or they truly can't sustain a jam into Drums for their lives anymore. I know these guys can jam, they're pros to the zillionth degree in that field so maybe they've just become a little lazy at their advanced geriatric ages.
Without having anything remotely traditional-sounding, Drums so easily melts right into Space on this night. I love Bob's contribution to Space the most as he picks away in Bobby rhythm guitar style while Warren plays off on the side. Eventually Phil steps up and plays as much of a roll as Bob and Warren. Phil's been kinda layin' low on this night, it seems like. Not a lot of output from him compared to other nights when he's completely blown the roof off the place. He's leading the charge out of Space, though, right into the next song? Nope, into a really sweet (!!) jam that is the ultra-extended intro to Caution. This has GOT to be the highlight of the night. At about 9:25, right after Warren delivers the line, "All you need is a little touch... of a mojo hand," you'll hear Warren's guitar blare to life but listen fast for a second guitar as Bob goes ape shit. Oh my God, it's the best part of the song (for me.) This is fucking great!! The jam just goes on forever, winding down, winding down, winding down until the quiet beginning and first lyrics of.... So Many Roads. I want this to leave me speechless. When it comes to songs you can't screw around with and fail on, this has got to be one of the most important in that category. My feeling of eh slowly but surely waned as Warren threw himself into this with everything he's got. Jerry Garcia he is not, Jerry Garcia I do not want him to be... I want a tribute to leave me speechless and bring me to tears. This doesn't do that... but it sure does come close. Well done! Midnight Hour to close out the set features a decent amount of dominance from Phil on bass. That's nice to hear considering he's, for the most part, been so absent this show. They really barrel through this, putting in a solid 13 minutes; it ain't no lickety split wrap-up here. It's almost like they're really finally finding their jam. They send this one kinda far out there, getting into a nice jam that's up and down and it goes 'round and 'round, really leaving Midnight Hour proper for awhile before settling back in for the grand finale. I don't remember ever hearing a version of this tune quite like this. Isn't it usually right to the point, fun and rockin'? After the jam, this one seemed to lose its bearings and it wasn't able to pick up the full amount of steam it should have. They gave it a good effort and I'm sure everyone in the house was happy.
To make up for the general lack of Phil during the show, Box of Rain without a doubt pleases everyone.
My comments were written
without reading a single word about this show from anyone else.
The Grateful Dead's tape archivist is on tour
and I wonder what he has to say...
|This venue is the smallest arena on the tour, at less than 10,000 seats, and they opened the show with a tune that is mostly associated with another small venue tour, Europe ’72, breaking into the Pigpen classic Mr. Charlie as the show opener. Warren on vocals. A big thanks to DR and JM on the road for the frequent reports from out there. Next are a couple of Garcia-Hunter tunes that have this show spanning 20 years in its first three tunes, with Stagger Lee from 1978 and Liberty from 1993. Once again, it’s amazing the depth of tunes from which the band is drawing on this tour. Evidently, they’ve been doing their homework. They follow this with another Garcia-Hunter song, this one from 1970, Candyman. I’m really enjoying watching the years they are hopping around in selecting their songs. We called Sunday a 1968-ish show, and last night in Buffalo was a 1973-ish show, but tonight is all over the place, which is equally cool. They follow this with Me and My Uncle, the most-played Grateful Dead song. With the exception of 1976, this tune was part of every era of Grateful Dead music. Next is another mighty fine Garcia-Hunter song, Built To Last, jumping through time again to 1989. Well, ok, the debut was in October, 1988, but the song is mostly associated with the album of the same title that came out on 10/31/89; of the 18 times this song was played, 16 were in 1989, with one each in 1988 and 1990. As a journalist friend commented earlier tonight, they really are playing everything. Back to 1971-1972 with Tennessee Jed, yet another Garcia-Hunter tune. In continuing this trend in Wilkes Barre, along comes Dire Wolf. This is quite a run of songs, and considering we’re on show #8 and they have just done a batch of first cabin songs that have not been played on this tour before tonight. Cool!|
They just keep pulling rabbits out of their hat, opening the second set with The Golden Road, the band’s first song on their first album, and what a great song it is! This is the song that hooked me around May, 1984. Thanks Jason! Next is Revolution, always a great song when the Grateful Dead played it. Next was a huge surprise, Weather Report Suite Part 1, a surprise because they’d just played Let It Grow on Sunday in Worcester. But then came another surprise, no Let It Grow! I didn’t see that coming, as the Grateful Dead had never played WRS Part 1 without Let It Grow. And after this, they went into the all-time-best Grateful Dead party song, Iko Iko. Hey now! This segued into Rhythm Devils, always fun on this tour, with Mickey and Bill playing some inspired duets. Then comes Space, which then flows into the tour’s second Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks). Hey, if this is the type of song they want to repeat, be my guest. They follow this with another late-era Grateful Dead song, So Many Roads, often a highlight of GD shows in the last three years of their concerts, 1993-1995. Then comes Midnight Hour, a song I always think of fondly as it was the first live Grateful Dead song I saw them perform. There’s been a heck of variety tonight, with a solid mixture of 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s Grateful Dead. And to cap it all with a Box of Rain encore just seems so perfect. By all accounts, a great night of music.
by David Lemieux
The Music Never Stopped, 2009 -- Volume 61