Sunday, July 5, 2009

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The Dead '09 Steal Your Face very small

The Dead Spring '09 -- Volume 10

The Dead at Madison Square Garden, 4/25/09

The Dead -- April 24, 2009
Madison Square Garden
New York City

1st Set: Cosmic Charlie, China Cat Sunflower Shakedown Street,
Ship Of Fools, He's Gone, Cassidy, Sugaree

Set 2: Drums Cryptical Envelopment Other One, Born Cross-Eyed,
St. Stephen
The Eleven Foxey Lady Jam The Eleven
Uncle John's Band, Unbroken Chain, Gimme Shelter
One More Saturday Night

Encore: Brokedown Palace

Couple shows ago the guys came out and surprised everyone by opening with Mr. Charlie... here they are with Cosmic Charlie and man, oh man, they've got energy on this night. You can feel it and not just because it's Madison Square Garden in New York freakin' City... or maybe that is the reason. In any case, they are all in and the crowd is surely smilin' their collectives asses off during this opener. Very cool.

The Dead on 4/25/09 at Madison Square Garden, New York CityThere's something about this China Cat that doesn't sit perfectly with me but I'm not sure what because the band is tight and absolutely working perfectly together. Maybe it's Warren who sounds too much like Jerry here. That happens on occasion, especially in a song where he has less room to just be himself and play; sometimes he's almost got to sound like Garcia and maybe that's the case here. Another problem with this is it goes way off course. There's no smooth transition whatsoever into.... Shakedown Street? WHOA! Holy moly! No smooth transition but what a surprise for the crowd! On the recording you can actually almost know due to a few notes from Phil just prior to the proper grand entrance into the song. Wow. It's pretty cool and I like it, especially when they head way, way off into jamland. It didn't seem right the way it happened in China Cat but here it's awesome. Each member of the band has complete control over the piece of music they are adding to the overall output here. Outstanding! At one point things quiet down and Phil's bass takes centerstage for quite a long time. The jam dwindles nicely down and soon they're ready to set sail with Ship Of Fools. This an interesting version as it's more uptempo than a beautiful Jerry ballad. It's almost like a new take on the song. Warren handles the vocals respectfully and his guitar never steps on Jerry at all. They keep it rather brief and to the point and it's... kinda cool this way!

He's Gone, here on this Soundboard-Aud Matrix, gives the listener somewhat of an understanding of the "magic" that Phil, in previous shows during his "Donor rap," tells the crowd they bring each night. They (the Heads) are really into it and in turn the guys in the band are pumping even more of themselves into the true heart and soul of this song. A pleasing rendition.

The tune here in the first set that blew me away the first time I heard it (but not so much the second time) is Cassidy. They really really reach and put themselves way up on a summit so high. They're knockin' this out of the ballpark perhaps furthur than the Grateful Dead ever did. It's soooo good. Weir's rhythm guitar is like I've never heard in this tune before. Let Warren's lead be background noise and focus on the rest! Wow!!

Bob Weir of The Dead on 4/25/09 at Madison Square Garden, New York CityMore wow in Sugaree when the band works themselves into such a frenetic state. At nearly 20 minutes in length, there's sooo much room to roam here and play to their heart's delight. They never get lost, always staying right on course with some of the most beautiful and probably confident playing this entire tour has seen so far. Mmmm!!! Fantastic playing here. This is a Sugaree that I'd bet Jerry would be happy to be hearing!

Coming out of halftime Mickey, Billy & Jeff perform Rhythm Devil duties to begin the set. It could be noted that Jeff is now an officially(?) anointed member (see pics at the JamBase link below.) It's far from a traditional Drums, more like a Space but it's not but it is, in a way, because it's mostly electronic percussion dealie and gadgets. This continues as the rest of the band comes out and joins in... in a most particular way as Phil begins "singing" Cryptical. I wonder if this is what they were practicing backstage before the show (again, see pics at the JamBase link.) Wow, this almost really sounds more like What's Become of The Baby? than a Cryptical we all know so well. They meander along, eventually bringing everything up to speed before...... PHILLLL! Man, they set this up soooo nicely, they took their time and set it up, no half-assed stroll into O1 here. Often there's no regard for what the Phans want to hear from Phil and they bypass what could be a monumental moment. Not here, no way. This is primo Phil thunder. After that point, The Other One is sounding like they're deep into the second set and on such a roll... but we're just gettin' started!

Actually kicking it up not just a notch but three or four notches is Born Cross-Eyed. I'm sorry but the word "Wow" is about all I've got once again. They are blasting this through the roof. New York City been berry berry good to these guys through the years and here they are bein' berry berry good back. The playing from Phil and Bobby is meticulous while Warren fills in on "lead" (Phil & Bob and Mickey & Billy combined are the lead. No offense to those other two guys but they're just the filler sometimes!) One complaint, though, is how the song just fades away before the wildly energetic and appreciative crowd welcomes in the opening of St. Stephen. The legions are going nothing but nuts for this. I'm sure this crowd is louder than any of the previous nine on tour. Again, no offense to anyone but NYC's the winner!

The Dead at Madison Square Garden, New York City - 4/25/09
As they move out of St. Stephen, the intro to The Eleven is something to behold. The Foxey Lady Jam near the end is a treat, as well. Again another song dwindles down to little more than a trickle of music before the next one starts up. Why do they keep doing that? Amazing they are at jamming but it appears that they have completely lost the art of the transition. Ahh well, must push aside the negative and focus on the great, great music they are playing.

Uncle John's Band seems to be toning it down a little; it definitely has a nearing-the-end-of-the-show feel. This is one for the crowd to take part in, a bit of a sing-a-long, a bit of a clap-a-long to celebrate hearing this music. Listen for some sweetness from Jeff on keys, perhaps his best playing of the night here and in the next song, Unbroken Chain. He's rockin' along on electic piano in the latter. Bruce who??? (I'd rather this tour have Hornsby but there are spots when Jeff plays perfectly like here.) He switches mid-jam to Hammond B-3 and helps rock this song even more! Just about every note is perfection. Warren's guitar here is wild and makes me think -- Jerry who? Haa, no way, it's just that it's not like Unbroken Chain was a GD favorite played live for so many years, so I'm more forgiving here. He's not playing Garcia note-for-note anyhow; his first solo is nearly purely all Haynes and then the one at the end is his own addition that would never be Jerry.

While Unbroken Chain was sweet, Gimme Shelter really mixes things up. My God!!! Holy moly, they are rockin' here!!!!! Who in the house was not diggin' this?!? Crank this sucker up! Warren's flyin' here and the band is keeping up like they're 25 again. I bet Mick Jagger would be happy to be hearing this.

Because this show was on a Saturday night, Saturday Night, in obligatory fashion, wraps up the set. Predictable, yes, but forget about that fact for a moment and dance because this is hot and a damn fine follow-up to Gimme Shelter!

Maybe this is the best show of the tour to this point. Didn't I say that about the last one and also Buffalo? Of course "best" is completely subjective but if I had to choose, this would be in the Top 3!

Thank You, Guys!!!

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...

Set 1

In and out of the Garden he goes… This place has always been such an important venue for the Grateful, where they played more than 50 concerts. I only saw two there, in 1987, but I do recall the energy in the building was unlike any other place I’d seen the Grateful Dead. As Jerry said, the place is juiced. And speaking of Jerry, the show tonight opened with five Garcia tunes in row, Cosmic Charlie, China Cat, Shakedown, Ship of Fools, He’s Gone. Pretty cool. The only non-repeat of the tour amongst this batch of songs is Ship of Fools. After these Jerry tunes comes a Weir-Barlow classic, Cassidy, always such a fine first set tune. Capping everything off with Sugaree seems like a nice launching point for the break, as this is one of those tunes the post-1995 bands have consistently nailed.

Set 2

Well, that’s quite a second set opening sequence, all music written in 1969 or earlier. That is the type of setlist we used to write down as a fantasy setlist. Very cool. Opening with Mickey and Bill doing Drums (aka Rhythm Devils, which can be used in lieu of Drums anytime Mickey and Bill are involved) is a great way to start the set. I recall seeing The Other Ones on 7/5/98 at Darien Lake, NY, a show at which Mickey and John Molo opened the show with Drums for about 5 minute before the band joined in for Samson and Delilah (it was Sunday, after all). At MSG on this night, though, they barreled into Cryptical>Other One>Born Cross-Eyed>St. Stephen (no surprise here, a reminder of 10/11/83)>The Eleven>Uncle John’s Band. And then comes the first foray of the set into the 1970s, Unbroken Chain. This is followed by not only another early 1970s song, but a perfectly appropriate song for the night: One More Saturday Night. And sending the masses out the door with Brokedown Palace is the perfect capper to what was evidently a fun night of music. On to Hartford!
by David Lemieux

As always, more from Jay Blakesberg at JamBase

Digital Soundboard (Matrix) for The Dead at Madison Square Garden, April 25, 2009

ARCHIVE HEADPHONESThe Dead 4/25/09 @ the Internet Archive:
Audience sources only for Listening or Downloading.
Download The Soundboard Here

Audio Quality:
Source: Digital Soundboard (Matrix)

Part 1Part 2Part 3

mp3 320 kbps SBD download + setlist (no lossless FLAC) - 4-25-09 aka 04-25-09 aka 4/25/09 aka 04/25/09 aka 09-04-25 MSG NYC
Marquee at Madison Square Garden for The Dead on 4/25/09


Kid Charlemagne said...

MSG to me is like coming home. walked in late to the show at the tail end of shakedown but wow!!! been waiting for your post and this recording really does shine. I do not know if the crowd was in a trance but they were quiet during unbroken chain, I guess being enveloped in the music but then they exploded as the band launched into gimme shelter. I was blown away at this point. I haven't had such a good time at a concert in a while.

Zapple100 said...

I've been listening to The Dead shows. With only two guitarist in the band instead of three, like they had the last time they toured, they sound a lot better. You can hear Weir and Haynes and how they interact a lot better.

keith h said...

Finally got this one downloaded (dang that Hughesnet download threshold limit!!!) and can't wait to hear the show. Thanks again for keeping us in great tunes!

alex borsody said...

this was such a good time, i always feel the dead whenever i walk past msg. one time i walked by there and some tour rat/bum looking guy said out of nowhwere "hey man you like jambands" (and i was in my work cloths) i didnt look like a hippie. it was cool. these shows were allright. a lot of space.

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

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated