Saturday, January 30, 2016

April 30, 1977: My Only Dead Show in New York City

So it was another Spring Saturday during my Senior year at Andover, so I hitchhiked down to New York City to see the Grateful Dead.  At the time, it was just Dave as usual trying to see a show, but looking back it was quite the adventure.

I left in the morning, writing down in the log that I was "going home to Maine for the weekend:, but instead I headed down Main Street to the 495 on-ramp and onto the big Apple with about $25 in my pocket. I recall numerous short rides, somehow a detour to Long Island and a few train rides but I ended up on East 14th Street at the Palladium a.k.a. Academy of Music, the closest Grateful Dead at the Fillmore East experience I would ever had, And I did not have a ticket.
Peter Simon's Backstage Photo from Grateful Dead 365

The Palladium as Academy of Music 1871
 I remember looking up above the building at an open window a few hours before the show and there was Phil Lesh lookimg out with people yelling Phil give me a ticket,

Six months earlier, in October of the prior year, I had learned the art of buying a scalped ticket paying $18 for a $6 face value ticket for game one of the World Series at Fenway Park.  This day, I was able to secure one seat way up in the balcony for $19 seriously eating into my bankroll.  Very few ticket scalpers in those days in Manhattan in the bands rare shows in the city (only Beacons in 1976 and the night before) since prior to Europe 1972.  My ticket does not survive, so I will present this facsimile:

So on to the show. Just incredible, my 5th show overall and my 2nd St Stephen. I would only here one more in my next 75 shows.  I had seen show four in Springfield the prior Saturday and would go on to hear Boston and Hartford over two of the next four Saturdays. I am pretty sure I met Jerry Moore or Les from Relix or both. And I luckily was "adopted" by some local Deadhead who made sure my mind was feed and that I got to Port Authority after the show.

This was the famous "backwards" set one. Guess which is correct:

The Music Never Stopped                                           The Promise Land
Bertha                                                                           Mississippi Half Step
It's All Over Now                                                         Looks Like Rain
Deal                                                                              Peggy-O
Mama Tried>                                                               Me & My Uncle>
Me & My Uncle                                                           Mama Tried
Peggy-O                                                                        Deal
Looks Like Rain                                                           It's All Over Now
Mississippi Half Step                                                    Bertha
The Promise Land                                                         The Music Never Stopped

You should buy Grateful Dead download series #1 (number one, no less) and listen.
No photos exist of this show but I believe this is a Jim Anderson from four night later at that mind-bending May 4 show.

The second set was stellar and Stella.  My second Scarlet>Fire was followed by Good Lovin, a twist from the week before and then after Friend of the Devil and Estimated, we got the jam St Stephen>Not Fade Away>my first Stella Blue>St Stephen>Saturday Night. It;s not a coincidence the first line of this post has so many S's.  Then we got the encore treat of my first Terrapin.  I would hear this song all over the map in the coming months and years paired with all kinds of songs, but you always remember your first one. That's why it's playing now.

I never saw the Grateful Dead in New York City again. But it was a sweet experience and remembrance that I will cherish forever.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Acoustic 1982: Some Mighty Fine Jerry and John

In the midst of a crazy hectic Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band schedule in 1982, our friend Jerry was able to mix in 16 acoustic nights, the first by himself, and then 15 with John Kahn.

The song you are hearing from the Oregon State Prison from Jerry Garcia and John Kahn might be one of the finest Jerry moments of the entire 1980s. More to come, but this is a secret preview.

From December 1980 though May 1981, Jerry and the Dead had played acoustic four times following the special shows at The Warfield, in NOLA and Radio City.   JGMF says this is 6-5-82 not 5-5-82 which has to be true since he's JGMF

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Five One-Tour Wonders

Werewolves of London was almost a one-tour wonder in 1978, but the boys decided to break it out a few more times in the 1980s and 1990s.  My latest blog post about Dartmouth made me think of such animals here and thus I present the Grateful Dead's One-Tour Wonders, the songs that were only performed five or more times in one calendar year with the band.  Obviously, the earlier the year, the more fuzzy the answer.

The real five (edit: me bad, oops it's six) true-to-life one-tour wonders that occured during one actual tour that meet this test are:

I Second That Emotion, April, 1971

Run Rudolph Run, December, 1971

Two Souls in Communion (The Stranger), Academy of Music NYC and Europe 1972

Let Me Sing Your Blues Away, September 1973. The Preovidence one with horns is playing now

Mission in the Rain, June 1976

Heaven Help the Fool, September/October 1980, acoustic instrumental

Here's the expanded list of 21 songs that were played 5+ times during one calendar year and never again:

1966: You Don't Have To Ask 1966, about 5 versions, cool little original ditty.

1968: Born Cross-Eyed, believe it or not only performed about 13 times between January 17 and April 3, 1968 (and then one million times by The Dead, Furthur, even Fare Thee Well. My virgin ears have yet to hear this played, even in the later-day post-Jerry bands

1969: Slewfoot, 9 performance in 1969, fun Bobby song

1970: You know Katie Mae is a good girl, Pigpen, 11 times

1970: You know It's A Man's World, Pigpen, 11 times

1970: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, 8 times

1970: Wake Up, Little Susie, 14 acoustic versions

1970: Til The Morning Comes, 5 times

1971: I Second That Emotion 6 times in April only. true one-tour wonder (as above)

1971: Run Rudolph Run , 6 times in December only, another true one-tour wonder (as above)

1972: Two Souls in Communion. 12 times, only played at the Academy shows and Europe

1972: Rockin Pheumenia, Boogie Woogie Flu, 5 times

1973: Wave That Flag, 15 times

1973: You Ain't Woman Enough, 15 times

1973: Let Me Sing Your Blues Away, 6 times, in September, all with horns!, true one-tour wonder

1974:  Phil & Ned (Seastones), 23 times

1976: Mission In The Rain, 5 times, June, true one-tour wonder

1980:Heaven Help The Fool (instrumental) played 17 times in September/October 1980 in acoustic sets. I only saw it played and song with the Bob Weir Band in Providence on March 10, 1978 since it was not played on December 31, 1980, my only acoustic set.  I am partial to the 10-31-80 Radio City version here with the equipment failure temporarily sidelining Phil from playing.

1990: Valley Road, 6 times, between October and December

1995: Unbroken Chain, 10 times

1995:It's All Too Much, 6 times in 1995, George Harrison-authored Beatles cover from Yellow Submarine

There are a number of four-timer including Stealin (probably incorrect), I Hear A Voice Calling, Reuben & Cherise, Devil with the Blue Dress and La Bamba.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Don't Murder Me: Only Show in New Hampshire

In the backwash of Hanover, the Grateful Dead came to town. 

It was May 5, 1978 and it would be the only time that the boys ever played New Hampshire in the 30 year history of the band. 3,499 other deadheads and Dartmouth students were there.

Sirius decided to play the show this morning as i drove to work immediately after I finished my blog post on the Beatles songs, s I had to write my New Hampshire piece because the Dire Wolf sounded so great in my car (best version ever played in New Hampshire). I think Jerry loved to play Direwolf especially when the Dead were in the woods like here and on November 5, 1977 in upstate New York. I loved when it was played second in the set (or open like in the 12-31-80 acoustic set Blog piece here)

This was my first show after starting college (Englishtown was the day BEFORE college) and I attended along with Jimmy Roux, Mike Barr ( i think), Katie Moody and I did run into Andover deadhead Lundy Bancroft the set break (not hard with only 3,500)

It was followed by Cassidy, Candyman, and later a heavy set-end Passenger, Brown Eyed Women and Lazy Lightning/Supplication, all greatest ones ever in New Hampshire. Ok, joking aside, this is a well played and great sounding show. It was my 12th Dead concert after 3 in 1976 and 8 in 1977, and although it might only rank 11th out of my first dozen shows in terms of my enjoyment, that speaks to the greatness of 1976 and 1978 and should not lessen the fact that this show rocked!  Thanks to Charlie Miller and his band of mischief elves that get these boards so he can do his magic on them.Archive Flac

The archive comments include "one of my most memorable shows", "listen to Phil go up one side of NFA and come back down the other", "Werewolves for Cinco De Mayo?" and "best Estimated I've ever heard".  This is indeed a boss show.  

Don't forget the second set Bertha>Good Lovin, Estimated>Eyes>my first of 69 Drums>Spaces?NFA>Stella and of course the encore which you hear now.  I only got to hear Werewolves twice, this night and a week later at the 5-11-78 Springfield "Mescaline" show, which were the 4th and 6th versions of nine that Spring between April 19 and May 17.  The Dead would only play it three more times on Halloweens 1985, 1990, and 1991.  The 1985 version opened the show, the rest were all encores.   

I recall the building at Dartmouth (Thompson Arena) was small, new (build in 1975)  and sounded good.

The FLACs and the MPs are here. Enjoy listen. Rinse. Repeat.

Nashua Telegraph June 9, 1995

My Top-5 Beatles Moments

Those of you would boarded the bus in the 1980s amd 1990s may not know this, but Beatles sightings were more rare in the earlier days of the Dead.

Here are my top five Beatles memories with the band

#5 Blackbird Tease (after It's All Over Now♥️  April 23, 1977

Yes Bobby eventually would play this in encores on 6-23 and 7-17 1988, but there is a close tease in the magical first set of the April 23, 1977 show after It's All Over, Now about 7:15 into the linked track and immediately before my first Scarlet/Fire

#4  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, December 16, 1994 Encore

This was the last song I ever heard Jerry sing and also the last song I ever heard with the Grateful Dead.  I'm sorry, 1994 was not a great time for Jerry's voice, but still a nice memory

#3 Revolution  October 31, 1983 Marin Encore

Th band played this 11 times total in 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1990. I saw the 4th version on Halloween 1983 as the encore at the show where the band played the final St Stephen.  Jerry is a little vocal weary and even "out-of-tune", but this was the first time I actually saw the Grateful Dead perform a Beatles song and this was my 65th show!  There is some funny audience interaction about half-way through the song.  It's Gonna Be Shobie-Do Alright, Bobby

#2  Why Don't We Do It In The Road?, Open Set Two, Greek July 15, 1984
Brent fans unite.  Very fun set opening. Out of the blue, Phil and Brent start this. After Revolution at New Year's, this was not an obvious choice. The recording does not do the show justice. This was pure Berkeley mayhem.  Listen here

#1  Sama Layuca>Space>Dear Prudence  (August 10, 1979, last San Francisco Reconstruction Show Temple Beautiful)

Hard not to place this first. Jerry could really sing Dear Prudence, but nothing compares to the first versions he did with Merl and Reconstruction in 1979. I saw at least two, but the last one I saw with Harriet at the big SF show on August 10 as a 27 minute medley with Sama Layuca into a weird space jam into Prudence. Look around, round, round, Jerry. This was one of all-time favorite grateful seconds with Jerry. For the full 27 minutes, use the listen here link above. For Prudence, just these 600 or so Grateful Seconds from the top-shelf Reconstruction.

Here are many I did not witness, and probably even more awesome and historic

After Midnight>Eleanor Rigby<After Midnight.   I wish so much I saw JGB do this
Day Tripper
I've just seen a face (69 setlist)  not known if occured
Imagine   Instrumental with Merl
Let Me Roll You  Donna is great on these
Mother Nature's Son   Nicky vamp between songs in 1975
Paperback Writer  3-26 soundcheck
That Would be Something Boston 1991 is short but nice
watching the wheels 1995 soundcheck

There were a million Beatles covers post-1995 as well, especially with Warren and then Furthur of course. Also see:  Thanks to c-freedom on archive forum here is a two hour youtube:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Nicky, We Hardly Knew Ye (Jerry Plays Pink Floyd-Like)

Now I love Pigpen, TC, Keith and Brent, Merl, James Booker and Melvin Seals.
But the best keyboard player to ever play with Jerry Garcia is Nicky. This is not my opinion, this is just a fact. And I was lucky to see Nicky Hopkins play with Jerry at my very first show in October, 1975 (which I wrote about here). And never again with Jerry.
The song I like best with Nicky is "Edward, the Mad Shirt Grinder", which is actually a cover of a Quicksilver song, while Hopkins was a member of that group.  Edward was played 16 times between September 19,1975 and December 20, 1975. I'll put a group of these here

When Jerry played the John C first solo around the 100 second mark from a November 1975 Keystone show, it certainly sounds like Pink Floyd to me (while it doesn't on the Quicksilver version). I know this is short, but this is the Grateful Seconds blog after all.  The Boston Version on October 24 at the late show is also the bomb Hmm,  this is years and years before Warren played Shine On You Crazy Diamond with The Dead and Further played Time.

Poor Nicky had health problems and obviously had some alcohol issues as evident from some of the December 1975 Winterland slurs and long less than conherent conversations he had with the audience, but I forgive yee superstar Nicky Hopkins.

In his 50 years on the planet Earth, Nicky jammed with Jimi Hendrix, played the piano overdub on "Hey Jude", played with Bowie, NRPS and :

"supplied the prominent piano parts on "We Love You" and "She's a Rainbow" (both 1967), "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968), "Monkey Man" (1969), "Sway" (1971), "Loving Cup" (1972), "Angie" (1973), "Time Waits for No One" (1974) and "Waiting on a Friend" (1981)" for the Rolling Stones

Hopkins was added to the Rolling Stones live line-up for the 1971 Good-Bye Britain Tour, as well as the notorious 1972 North American Tour and the early 1973 Winter Tour of Australia and New Zealand. 

Here are 20 acts Nicky played with before and after Jerry (not including The Dinosaurs, which opened the 12-31-81 show I went to)

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie and The Grateful Dead Each Play Around & Around in July 1973

RIP David Bowie.  Bowie played Around & Around at the Ziggy retirement show on July 3, 1973 in London. Two days earlier, the Dead played Around & Around on July 1, 1973 at Universal in LA.

David rocked Chuck Berry and also did a Dancing In The Streets duet with Mick Jagger Video here, Dead version was more Disco in 1976

As far as I know, this is closest Jerry ever got to David Bowie

Greatest Bowie Gif

Paul Condolora took me to see Bobcat and David Spade at the Universal circa 1988 and we got to go backstage and there he was, David. Shorter than I expected. I did listen to Ziggy Stardust kind of non-stop in 1974, right before I boarded the bus.  Here is David with Ringo, Cat and a few others cats and I think my sister Debbe (her doppelganger, although Debbe has much better hair) .

That's Jeff Beck too with Spiders from Mars, the last song ever played at the last show in the Ziggy character Video here       Juliet's great take is

Friday, January 8, 2016

China-less Riders and Rider-less China Cats

In the beginning, before Jerry, Bob Hunter and God created C>R, there  was only I Know You Rider. Played seven times in 1966, it then took a short several-year nap.  Next, in 1968, came China Cat Sunflower, played 9 times in 1968 and 12 times in early 1969, it was usually paired with The Eleven, also usually following a Dark Side. These are awesome in their own right. Then came the eureka moment, probably at or around the Cafe A Go Go on September 30, 1969 and the most often played medley in Grateful Dead was born. China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider.

Where Most of US First Heard This
The next 500+ times the Dead played China Cat Sunflower, except for the few times noted here, I Know You Rider followed.  And we all love it.  But readers of this blog know I like the unusual and the rarities so let's have a look at these

For 112 versions from 1969 through 1971, China Cat>I Know You Rider was inseparable. Oh there were about 8 acoustic versions  of I Know You Rider in 1970 but China Cat always flowed into Rider.

Then, in that rare early year Winterland gig on January 2, 1972, there is a marvelous version of Good Lovin that some how weaves in and out of China Cat Sunflower. A one-off and a wonder and so fun.
Catch it here at the Archive

1973 sees two cool anomalies
There is the St Paul February 17, 1973 late second set pairing of Here Comes Sunshine>China>Rider (I wish this one would have been done more often) and the very cool Other One>Spanish Jam>I Know You Rider from Buffalo on March 31, 1973 (which Sirius has been playing this week). Archive here

From 1973 to 1995, there are only these other exceptions. There are those summer 1974 boss versions with the Mind Left Body Jams and cool intros (see Dick's Picks 12)

You have to go 12 more years until the experiment song selection in 1985:

3-9-85  Berkeley China Cat>Cumberland Blues>Miracle>Eyes to open set two Listen here

11-10-85 Meadowlands Half Step>I Know You Rider>Playin>UJB>Supplication to open set two

7-29-88 Monterey, only split version, China Cat>Crazy Fingers>I Know You Rider (which you hear now, along with the only complete stand-alone Playing in the Band with Brent and after 1976)

8-5-89 Cal Expo Hey Pocky>Playin>I Know You Rider>Terrapin to open set two here

That's it for the exceptions.  Now here's some interest information of the placement of China>Rider within the Dead's shows:

From 1971 to 1983, China>Rider was played 178 times in the first set and 103 times in set two
From 1984 through 1995, it was played only 6 times in the first set and 163 times in set two.
From 1987 to 1995, 109 of the 126 versions opened the second set.

China>Rider was only played once as an encore, in 1988 at Frost on April 30, when they finished with China>Rider>Saturday Night

Only 8 shows are known to have opened with the pair (but my twitter predicted it at Fare Thee Well, haha)

Every Deadhead I know loves China>Rider.  And both songs are among the most often played in the history of the band, with each closing in at 550+ versions.

However, for a Dead fan who boarded the bus after the 1975 retirement, the dynamic duo was absent for awhile, 1976, 1977 and 1978 came and left with only that one legendary version in the middle of the second set jam at Winterland 12-77-1977 (Playing In The Band > China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider > China Doll

Finally, in the first Brent tour in May of 1979,at my six consecutive show, and my 29th show overall, at the beginning of the second set at the magical Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, there it was. And the crowd exploded. Here it here

We had heard  rumors and it was spectacular up there in Northern New York.  I heard one more in 1979, on the second night at Cape Cod on 10-28, and then one in the first set in Lewiston in 1980.  Ten more followed in the Bay Area between 1980 and 1987, with my 13th and final version at Frost on May 2, 1987.

May 9, 1979 Binghamton, Open Set 2
October 28, 1979 Cape Cod, Open Set 2
September 6, 1980 Lewiston, into The Promise Land, end set 1
December 27, 1980, set 2 open
December 31, 1980, early in set one xoxoxoxoxoxox  so awesome I loved this one
September 12, 1981, set 1 close at Greek
December 28, 1981, open set 2
February 16, 1982, open set 2
May 22, 1982, open set 2
May 13, 1983, open set 2
July 15, 1984, Why Don't We Do It In the Road>China>Rider to open set 2
June 15, 1985, open set 2
May 2, 1987, open set 2

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Grateful Dead Touring Revenues, 1965-1995

The five Fare Thee Well shows brought in more ticket revenue than any full year in Grateful Dead history based on my analysis of the approximate economic performance of the band.

Per my research of shows (from Deadbase), ticket sales and concert attendance, the Grateful Dead sold about 23 million tickets and generated about $386 million in ticket revenues over 2,314 performances during their entire career.
The crazy part is that with the I Will Survive surge of the band post Jerry's 1986 coma, more than $300 million of their ticket revenues came in the last ten years of the band from 1986 to 1995. During those ten years, the band averaged nearly 20,000 in ticket goers per show over 700 shows for almost 14 million in fans buying tickets at an average price of about $23

This was a far cry from the approximate 5 million who bought tickets in the ten years from 1976-1985 after the 1975 "gone fishing" vacation period.  Ticket price inflation sky rocketed after the mid 1970s.  Note the increase in ticket sales in 1969 due to the big summer shows like Woodstock.

I welcome any comments or corrections. I was lucky to have seen accurate information from the last ten years, and I estimated prior to that using techniques I felt appropriate.  The song that playing is Money, Money (only one of 3) from May 21, 1974 at the Dub, University of Washington.