Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by JRM, Apr 11, 2014.
Dick's Picks 8
Harpur College, Binghamton
The first set!
Dick's Pick 8
Today’s listening is Springfield Civic Centre, Springfield, MA, 15/01/79.
Now this is more like it. After two fairly average and lacklustre shows, the energy and enthusiasm is back—well apart from Keith, who still drifts in and out and seems missing most of the time, but that’s ok as the rest of ‘em really carry him throughout.
A fantastic-sounding FOB recording captures the Dead in inspired form. The best of the year, so far? Maybe.
The 1st set gets off to a flyer with a back-to-back Jacks opener—still “playing for Clive,” a raggedly energetic Jack Straw, with some thrilling, lightning-quick soloing; is followed by a sprightly, scorchin’ Jack-A-Roe, that’s completely riveting; Cassidy is super-tight and features a sweet and gooey mid-jam before they press the pedal-to-the-metal, galloping off on a hard jamming finale; the final Row Jimmy of the Godcheaux era—it’s a sweet and exquisite beauty, with “tasteful” slide; Bobby announces, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s polka time” … and they bounce through a fun and uptempo Mama Tried > Mexicali Blues; Jerry growls and, erm staggers his way through a sluggish Stagger Lee; before romping home with Passenger; and a rollicking Deal set-closer.
A quite out-of-this-world 2nd set opens with a mind-blowing powerhouse Miracle > Shakedown that has a head-turning, astonishingly awesome transition that’s plain ridonkulous. I’ve never heard so many versions of I Need A Miracle in such a short time, and really dig how they’re evolving and jamming it out even further each time—this Miracle jam blasts off into space-boogie, baby! it absolutely pops … after a couple minutes or so of Bobby’s slide practice, Jer turns his Mu-Tron on and we hear the riff, before boom … (a spine-tingling, goosie-inducing moment) the bomb is dropped signalling Shakedown Street, but Jerry blows the first line of the lyric! Noooo! Despite that, this is space-funk, groovy disco-Dead at their finest—the best Keith-era Shakedown? Possibly, though it has stiff competition with the one from Nassau earlier in the week. An electrifying duo, it is pure ecstasy; a truly magnificent Terrapin is a majestic beauty of delicate and intricate, improvised perfection—it shines and glistens, allowing its inspiration to flow and move brightly with a breathtakingly beautiful, extended mid-jam—a quite stunning version, “I will not forgive you, if you do not take the chance” on this one; a huge PITB sandwich is one epic journey through the cosmos conjuring all manner of sights and sounds, before landing back down to earth in the desert plains—after a few minutes they reach lift-off, ratcheting the intensity before blissfully drifting out into a Space-exploration jam; a hypnotic, tribal-like Drums grounds the interstellar expedition; which is followed by a unique and highly-creative calypso/African-tinged jam—wait … is that a snippet of Serengeti?! (it’s still fresh after recent listening to the Shakedown Street album for The Weakest Link) [actually, I see it’s labelled as such!]—an astonishing journey of psychedelic improv, one big last hurrah for this iteration; slowly building up steam, until boiling over, they’re firing on all cylinders now as they rattle through the explosive PITB reprise (minus Donna’s scream); no late-slot ballad here, either—it’s all aboard as Jerry’s “driving that train” for a groovy, rockin’ Casey Jones that ramps up to a fever-pitch finale.
It’s absolutely not Chuck Berry’s birthday but that doesn’t stop Bobby hilariously announcing it before the Johnny B. Goode encore.
A fantastic show, if there were SBD I could easily see this one being “officially” released as a Pick. Great stuff.
“Our bass player, Phil, was last seen consorting with a couple of aliens. We are, of course, hoping everything turned out alright. But anyway, if you see our bass player, won’t you please send him home” . . .
I: Jack Straw, Jack-A-Roe, Cassidy, Row Jimmy, Mama Tried > Mexicali Blues, Stagger Lee, Passenger, Deal.
II: I Need A Miracle > Shakedown Street, From The Heart Of Me, Terrapin Station > Playing In The Band > Drums > Jam > Playing In The Band > Casey Jones.
E: Johnny B. Goode.
Again, let’s remind ourselves of what Dick thought:
“The 2nd set opening melody is also pretty uneventful.”
Still amazes me how Jerry transformed from a young man into a old looking man within a 2 year span and skipped the in-between.
!!! I was just looking at that picture and thinking “He didn’t look nearly that weathered in the photos from ‘77 did he?
i assume most on this board would know that reference is related to Bobby having to listen to Pig and Janis consorting when they were under the same roof on Haight St.
I’ve always loved the song but even I found that lyric cringe worthy. Once I knew the context it became less cringe worthy
'77 is when the transformation began, based on what pics I've seen, but it seems that by '79 (though he became grayer and older looking in the early 80s and beyond) he had become wise ol' Jerry.
Meanwhile , Bobby looked like a 35 year old man from the mid-70s to the early 00s.
15 Jan 1979- Springfield Civic Center: An Astonishing Journey of Psychedelic Improv.
So sayeth our intrepid reviewer. He's right, you know.
I’d noticed in one of the photos from a more recent show (probably that Deer Creek DaP, but I’m not sure) that Bobby still looked like kid brother tagging along.
Haha the transition form Miracle > Shakedown is one of the most unique things they did in the late seventies and probably the highlight of the show for me. Phil nails the intro as well.
It almost, almost, scales the lofty heights of pre-hiatus improv. Quite unexpected, it is/was a fantastic sequence.
It is hair-raising. A total thrill. To say it’s uneventful is plain madness.
Would love to just share one with you folk. A rather gnarly one as well.
Just wanted to throw my appreciation behind the Rolfe AUD and this thread for hipping me to it. The Mircale>Shakedown, Terrapin>Playing gets repeat listens - often while jogging!
The scary transformation is looking at photos from 1982>1983>1984>1985
I know. I've had a tape of that one since about '83 and I used to listen to that transition over and over. What's really cool is that before we really get to Shakedown, there's a seamless chord change from the G7 that is the tonal center of the Miracle out jam to the D minor that brings us to Shakedown but we ain't quite there yet. And to think that this show was only about four years in the rear view mirror when I got that tape.
Hahah, I was just thinking about this the other day. It seems like every time I let Roon do its thing after listening to the Dead, that jam comes up. Always welcome of course!
Is there an online resource where we can view all of these hand-written Latvala scans? Would love to browse through!
The whole collection is stored at the Grateful Dead Archives, UCSC. If you're ever in town, .....
Not all of them, but some here—
Dick Latvala notebook: January 7, 1978 - February 17, 1979
GDSets.com - Dick Latvala notebook pages
Also, @SlimLee some miscellaneous reading here, featuring Dick’s notes in general on his favourite shows, favourite Scar > Fire, favourite Dark Star etc etc.
And I’d bookmark this site if you haven’t already—
Save Your Face
Letters from Latvala
I had seen some of those years ago but never bookmarked the pages, so thanks. It's funny to see him call Jack-A-Roe "Jack-A-Rogue" in several spots. Makes me feel like less of an idiot for having a second set tape of 5/19/74 19/5/74 where I labelled Peggy-O as "Fennario" back in the day.
David Gans still prefers (and uses when he plays) the title Fennario
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