Friday, June 24, 2016

The Middle



Of course we all went for the Jam  Top 31 (I'll Get to this someday), but what really punched up a show for me was The Middle, the part where they would play a really great Rooster, or Althea or Bird Song and then close out the first set with an amazing little ditty like China>Rider or The Music Never Stopped. Then after a "short break", the band would launch into Scarlet>Fire or Shakedown or Help on the Way>Slipknot!>Franklin's Tower.
This is what I have decided to call The Middle, the end of side two of tape one of the show, and the beginning of side one of tape two.  (Click below for best viewing)
Here's a great example from May 8, 1977 where The Middle would be
Dancin' in The Streets/Scarlet Begonia/Fire on The Mountain:

Even Estimated was often a part of The Middle in early 77. This is the kind of thing, I pull together if I have a 50 minute commute from Pasadena to West LA and I need to relax. You know what I mean.




There are some very cool one-offs like this:

October 10, 1976 Oakland Dancin>Wharf Rat>Dancin, Samson

February 26, 1977 San Bernardino, Playin>The Wheel>Playin, Samson, Jed. Music

April 22, 1977 Philly, Playin, Scarlet>Fire

May 4, 1977 New York, Dancin, Estimated, Scarlet>Fire (incredible)

Some of my personal favorite Middles from my own shows are:

August 2, 1976 Colt Park  Lazy Lighting>Supplication caps the 14 song first set followed by the only Might As Well>once-only Might jam>Samson & Delilah

April 23, 1977 Springfield   Blackbird Tuning, third version of Scarlet Begonias> Fire On The Mountain followed by Set 2 Openers of  Estimated Prophet , Bertha; and The Music Never Stopped

May 7, 1977 Boston  Blazing Versions of The Music Never Stopped followed by Terrapin>Samsons

November 4, 1977 Colgate   Dupree's Diamond Blues, Let It Grow, Phil's Jones Gang Intro followed by a remarkable Samson And Delilah  > Cold Rain And Snow

November 5, 1977 Rochester Late set Jack Straw followed by Deal [6:26], and once-only Slow March Phil Solo> Eyes Of The World> Samson And Delilah

May 11, 1978 Springfield  Lazy Lightnin'> Supplication and  Scarlet Begonias> Fire

September 2, 1978 Giant's Stadium After my first Miracle and A great Peggy-O, we get  Lazy Lightnin'> Supplication  and Good Lovin' followed by Dick's favorite  Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain

January 15, 1979  Springfield Passenger; Deal followed by  I Need A Miracle> Shakedown Street

September 6, 1980  Lewiston Little Red Rooster; China Cat Sunflower> I Know You Rider > The Promised Land [4:07] followed in set two ny  Shakedown Street  Lost Sailor> Saint Of Circumstance and Althea.

December 31, 1980 Oakland Althea>Sailor>Saint>Deal, Sugar Magnolisa>Scarlet>Fire

September 11, 1981 Berkeley  Sailor>Saint>Deal, Stranger>Franklin's

September 12, 1981 Berkeley "The Perfect Middle" of China>Rider  following by Scarlet >Fire was only played 5 times  (my show was the middle of the five) : 

10-22-80 Radio City C>R, S>F and then Sailor>Saint ("The More Perfect Middle" show)

7-8-81 Kiel St Louis C>R, S>F and then Sailor>Saint>Franklin's ("The Most Perfect Middle")

09-12-81 Berkeley China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider, Scarlet Begonias>Fire>CC  Rider

12-09-81 Boulder Colorado China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider, Scarlet Begonias>Fire

9-4-83 Park West China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider, Scarlet Begonias>Fire

Some of my others favs that I saw

12-30-81 Oakland Lazy>Supplication>Might As Well, acoustic Me & Bobby McGee, Lady Di, Barbara Allen, Feel Like A Stranger

10-31-83 San Rafael Sailor>Saint>Deal, Help>Slipknot!>Franklin's

12-31-83 San Francisco Hell>Don't Ease, Sugar Magnolia>Touch of Grey

7-15-84 Hell, Do It in The Road>China>Rider

I love The Middle and I hope you do too.  The Middle often contains the best stage banter and Take A Step Backs. The chart below tracks the evolution of these tunes from 1971 to 1985.  I was very lucky to live through the golden era from 1976-1981 as the band annually would add new tune by new tune to The Middle like The Music Never Stopped,  Scarlet>Fire, Let It Grow, Help>Slip>Franklin's, Lazy Lightning>Supplication, Shakedown, Feel Like A Stranger, Lost Sailor>Saint of Circumstances.

Double click the chart below to see the whole thing
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