Friday, June 5, 2009

Magical Satisfaction in Woooooster

The Dead '09 Steal Your Face very small

The Music Never Stopped, 2009 -- Volume 56

The Dead on the DCU Center marquee -- 4/18 & 19/09 [copyright Jay Blakesberg]

The Dead -- April 19, 2009
the former Centrum (DCU Center)
Worcester, Massachusetts

1st Set: Here Comes Sunshine, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, Alligator,
Deal, Hell In A Bucket, Cream Puff War Good Lovin'

Set 2: Scarlet Begonias Fire On The Mountain Drums Space
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction Born-Cross Eyed, Slipknot! Let It Grow
Uncle John's Band The Wheel Turn On Your Lovelight

Encore: Samson & Delilah

I'm guessing that The Dead opted for two nights in this smallish-sized arena to make up for not playing a night in the larger idiotically corporate named and renamed arena in Boston. That's where they should have played but for whatever reason they did not so here there are inland a ways. Night 2.

Here Comes Sunshine, unfortunately, had me way unimpressed. There was no fervor and it was sooo laid back; some great music, though. Warren was non-stop similar to how Jerry could just go and go... but he wasn't Jer-like which is good. For whatever sad reason, it dwindles at the end, coming to a totally boring conclusion before immediately starting into Schoolgirl. But why is Warren on vocals here? I don't get this. It's different but Schoolgirl is so a Bob song. There's a fairly nice solo from Chimenti on keys who knows this song well from Ratdog. I was really getting to like Warren's lead guitar here and then comes a bit of a duel with Bob. The two go at it, kinda briefly, but they get into it. I love it! A touch of a Smokestack Lightning tease takes place before the band kicks into a higher gear for Alligator... back-to-back Pig. Too bad this vocally just sucks. It's musically sloppy for awhile with no one really being on the same page here except for maybe Bill and Mickey. Eventually they bring it together to sorta salvage the end of the song. The show so far hasn't been incredible by any means, slowly paced perhaps. Maybe they're just building up.

An oddly placed Deal is next. Why's it here in the set?? I'm scratching my head about that but the good thing is it's probably the most musically solid tune of the show to this point. They don't try to reach, they just play. At one point they almost get lost but quickly bring it back together for Phil to lead the way to the end of the tune. Nothin' out of the ordinary or different with Bucket except its placement. For the life of me, since so many of us know this to be a show-opener, I can't figure out why it's in this spot in the set. Makes no sense in my mind and it would work better as a show-opener or set-closer. Ah well.

The most musically solid song might be Deal but my highlight of the set is Cream Puff War. I've never heard a version other than from a 1960's recording and by this point in the set all the guys are sufficiently warmed up and really crankin' it out. Bob's vocals are perfection. A decent Good Lovin' wraps it up before Halftime.

Phil Lesh of The Dead - 4/19/09 DCU Center, Worcester, Massachusetts [copyright Jay Blakesberg]The beginning Scarlet Begonias to launch Set 2 is mediocre. Don't worry because in good time the band is in a really nice groove, firin' away and really pushin' the 8,000+ into a frenzy. Yeah, they're totally diggin' it and the SBD-Aud Matrix setup helps highlight those crowd-pleasing moments so nicely. For the transition jam into Fire, Phil is way out in front and in charge, completely leading the way with superior authority. Finally in this show he's really playing with a fever in his fingers. Warren's got lead vocals on Fire but the whole band makes this song flow so smoothly along. The jam might not last as long as we want but the end really catches on true fire.

Drums begins so abruptly with Jeff staying on stage to help out. Sadly, Mickey plays with a mashup sampling of Rush Limbaugh and Barack Obama. It's not clear what his creation is saying exactly, something along the lines of... well, I don't really know, it's hard to make out the specific message. Still it's a shame that he decided to bring politics into the show. The Dead did their bit to help elect the President but why must the political bullshit be carrying over into this tour? I seriously doubt that Jerry would approve. That mashup sampling was used in Greensboro on the first show and then went away for the next four. Here on Night #6 it's back and it's too bad it didn't stay away.

At some point, Jeff goes away (leave the stage) so it's just Mickey & Bill doin' their thing sans any keyboard assistance. The overall sound of Drums on this night is way different than a normal primal beating of the skins. Soon it's into a pretty unremarkable Space which turns remarkable with the introduction of the first notes of Satisfaction. Jerry's had plenty of solos on this with the good ol' GD but it not bein' a GD original, I don't mind so much what Warren does with it. I'm actually tryin' to focus on Weir's guitar which is essential in holding the song together. Hands down the smokinest part of the show so far! Freakin' sweet! And the Born-Cross Eyed that follows is rather nice, I must say. I was surprised by it but the out of nowhere surprise for the show is the left turn into Slipknot! Huh wha huh??? Man, the art of the jam is in full effect here. It almost seems like everything thus far has been the prelude to this pinnacle in time. The Let It Grow that follows ain't bad either. For this whole post-Drums block of music, the band is doing no wrong. If the show started out on the eh side, that's all been made up for!
Like so many versions, UJB starts off slow but it sure builds some decent steam. Yet again, the band gets into such a sweet groove. There's a really nice solo by Warren and this is a rare instance where I'm really appreciating him playing what Jerry should be playing.

From here on out it's a smooth sail to the finish line with Wheel and Lovelight. Oh geez, so fun, so good, great lead guitar, bass, keys, drums, everything here is working. I didn't have a high opinion of the first night at Woooster but here on Night 2 it's a whole 'nother ballgame. They absolutely rocked in this second set. Wow. This is so worth it!

The Dead '09 Steal Your Face very small

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...


After a largely cold and rainy day and evening on Saturday, Worcester on Sunday was a perfect Spring morning, sunny, cool, but beautiful. Arriving to the venue a few minutes before the crew, it was fun sitting in the empty stands for a while to write and hear nothing but the hum of the building’s systems. As I mentioned yesterday, this building really has a huge amount of character. It was built in 1982, with its first-ever concert being Frank Sinatra in September 1982, just like the Knickerbocker in Albany in March, 1990. Multi-night runs are interesting in that you walk out of the venue at night with trash and other debris all over the floors, and arrive the next day to a near-spotless facility. I’ll be hopping off the road after tonight’s show to get some work done on other projects, but I’m looking forward to meeting people at the Rhino booth in the concourse. In my absence, feel free to stop in to say hi to Sherri, who is running the booth. Outside of the venue today, on such a beautiful day, people started arriving early to hang out in the sun, walk around and check out this very cool historic city. The staff of the venue was busy discussing the playoff hockey game last night, Worcester at Hartford, which the Worcester Sharks lost 5-3. But, the local Boston Bruins won their game, which had the Massachusetts hockey fans smiling. Oh, off to soundcheck. More later…

Set 1

A rousing taste of 1973 to open the show, Here Comes Sunshine, featured some as-expected tight jams and great work by Warren. That was followed by a bluesy Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, with Warren and Bobby trading some intricate interplay. A superb surprise came next, Alligator, sung by Phil with terrific percussion work by Billy and Mickey. The vibe in the room is very smooth and mellow, which isn’t to say it’s not pumped with energy. Everyone is dancing, but it does feel like a Sunday show. To keep the high energy going, they ripped into a nice Deal, with some excellent solos by Warren and Jeff. Next up, Hell In A Bucket! Yes, indeed, we’re enjoying the ride. That then went into an even bigger surprise than Alligator, a hugely impressive Cream Puff War! And it was realllllly good! To end it all off they played another 1966 era song, Good Lovin’. All in all this was a very, very good set. The second set ought to be excellent.

Set 2

There’s just something very Worcester-like about Scarlet>Fire, and so it seemed very appropriate that they’d begin the second set with a smoking hot Scarlet>Fire. The instrumental break in Scarlet was nailed to perfection by Warren leading the way and everyone hammering away in unison. Again, Bobby sounds great, both in the mix and his performance. Likewise Phil sounds amazing. Derek Featherstone really has it dialed in at the soundboard. Warren nailed a few solos in Fire that had the entire house cheering ecstatically. Oh, lest I forget, a few nights ago they played Bertha, and I forgot to mention that on the jam they nailed that terrific bomb that Phil and Bobby coordinate on the “3.” For an example of that check out the Bertha on the Egypt 1978 DVD. Anyhow, back to Sunday in Worcester. Scarlet>Fire went into another insane Rhythm Devils. Followed by a spacey Space, the improv of the show went into a powerful Satisfaction that had the entire building singing along, the beginning of a sequence that was as good as anything on the tour. Then came more fireworks with Born Cross-Eyed>Slipknot!>Let It Grow. It was truly a spectacular sequence of music, both in song selection and execution. Kudos again to the lighting crew of Dan English, Groove and the rest of a hard-working and talented crew. It looks great, guys! Next up was the tour’s first repeat, Uncle John’s Band (well, Slipknot! was a repeat, but it was out of its normal context of Help and Franklin’s), amazing considering this is the sixth show of the tour. So far this little sequence after Satisfaction featured music from 1968, 1975, 1973 and 1970. Nice. This was a great sing-a-long version that had the place singing as one. Epic! Next up, from Jerry’s excellent first solo album, came a very smooth version of The Wheel with a long and winding introduction. It also featured a cool calypsoish ending with Bobby again singing some terrific stuff at the end. Between Hell In A Bucket, Satisfaction and this version of The Wheel, Bobby’s singing has been exceptional, like it’s 1989 again. Next up was Lovelight, a great way to end the set, and what loads of people around here are raving is the best show of the tour so far. Very good stuff from start to finish. Warren played some really nice leads. Then, for the encore, hanging out with recordingman David R., we speculated on the encore, completely forgetting it was Sunday, and of course they played a rocking Samson and Delilah. What a way to end the night, and a great two nights in Worcester. Thanks again, Worcester

by David Lemieux

The Dead - 4/19/09 the former Centrum (DCU Center) - Worcester, Massachusetts [copyright Jay Blakesberg]

see a few more pics from Jay Blakesberg,
including some from the parking lot, at

Soundboard for The Dead - 4/19/09 the former Centrum (DCU Center) - Worcester, Massachusetts

ARCHIVE HEADPHONESThe Dead 4/19/09 @ the Internet Archive:
Audience sources only for Listening or Downloading.
Download The Soundboard Here

Audio Quality:
Source: Digital Soundboard (Matrix)

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

mp3 320 kbps SBD download + setlist - 4-19-09 aka 04-19-09 aka 4/19/09 aka 04/19/09 aka 09-04-19 Worcester


Anonymous said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!
Guy from near Worcester

Hans-Joachim said...

Sadly enough - I live in Bavaria. So there was no chance to see the Dead. Therefore please: further on with the shows!

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

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated