Monday, January 23, 2017

Alive and Kicking into San Bernardino Feb. 26, 1977

I truly like this student review of the first show of 1977, which I discovered for the first time today.  Of course, the author is not a deadhead, as he doesn't mention the monsterious new "Terrapin" song at the top of the show, or even the Deal and great Sugaree. It just says the Dead are awesome, even though they are older than 1970 and should be considered passe, outdated.  Fabulous college paper 1977 review of show numbero uno.

Alof of people think this Betty is the best show of 1977. Yes, it is that good. Listen, my friends.

Terrapin Station
New Minglewood Blues
They Love Each Other
Estimated Prophet
Mama Tried
Playin' in the Band
The Wheel
Playin' in the Band

Samson and Delilah
Tennessee Jed
Music Never Stopped
Help on the Way
Franklin's Tower
Promised Land
Eyes of the World
Dancin' in the Streets
Around and Around

U.S. Blues

Here's some other fun stuff, reviews from real fans. :)

A great review from Augy from San Diego in that 400,000 downloaded version of the show from the archive.

Reviewer: Augy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 25, 2008
Subject: Only show with no drums and Jerry into a Moog I ever saw!
Also, this is the only time I ever saw Phil do a distinct bass solo; during "Eyes of the World", of course. Those of you who saw them in '73-'74 may have, but after this, he pretty much stopped that. This is my third show, and believe it or not I actually think this was the weakest of my amazing first four, i.e. that's how great the other three were in my opinion! The best of these I think was the fourth one, namely at The Forum 1977/6/4 i.e. just prior to the more well known Winterland shows in June. The other two being the second of each of following the pairs: with "The Who" at Oakland Stadium 1976/10/10 and at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium 1976/10/15!
The Swing was a strangely built building for a concert! (By the way it no longer exists because apparently a plane crashed into it after E.L.P., being the last band to play there shortly after Grateful Dead played there in Dec. '80; (which was also a great show, and the only one I ever passed out at, but that's another story)! (What the hell does E.L.P. have to do with it, nothing other than the coincidence which I explain below). The following if you'll bare with me, is some historical context of this show and as you know, it started a new era for the band, in addition to simply the new compositions that is, also new devices facilitating the new compositions etc.
Starting with what is simply weird about the Swing but of lesser significance, since it's only noticeably on the audience tape; I got from a fellow who recorded from "a" balcony. Why I saw "a" balcony is because, there were only balconies on either side, yet not in the back like most rectangular buildings, such as, for example, Winterland or the Oakland Aud. (Kiaser). Those had their long axis running to and from the stage.
The Swing on the other hand, was at a 90 degree angle to more common configuration, i.e. it's width was much longer than it's length from the stage towards the audience. Hence, the audience tape I had before the "Betty Board" came out, sounded very lopsided! Despite this, it had an uncut "Franklin's Tower" unlike the first board I got! However, unfortunately the fellow from whom I got my first board copy, was unwilling to let me do the dub it myself, yet he didn't pay enough attention to the contents of recordings were prior to copying it. So consequentially, I lost the intact audience "Franklin's Tower" having been recorded over with the board which was cut in "Franklin's Tower". So, I was relieved that it's been patched here!
What's more significant but not readily apparent, is the mention of "technical difficulties" by Bob Weir early in the first set; (not that equipment delays were very unusual but this one was unique). That is, here Steve Parish was rigging Garcia into a Moog synthesizer which Keith played ever so briefly!
One gets the distinct impression that Keith apparently disliked electric keyboards. This is understandable given how primitive synthesizers were at this early time! Moreover Billy K. was interviewed in B.A.M. magazine around the time of Brent's first show, stating there was room for improvement in the technology which came since obviously they used them extensively later on. How much did this have to do or not with Keith's eventual exit from the band? I did hear something when Brent came in the band, that they were looking for "more sustain", as can be produced with electric keyboards.
Other evidence for this is a show a Texas later this same year, but I wasn't in attendance so I can't say for sure yet Keith seems to have left the stage after very briefly playing an "electric" during the beginning of "Playin' in the Band"? (Perhaps it's not appropriate to characterize Keith in this way since at least the following year he played for example, at the outdoor show at my alma mater when I was a freshman, at U.C. Santa Barbara, an electric "Fender Rhodes" piano), as well as an organ on a few tunes during his first rehearsals in '71.
So, back to Garcia, who just started using the "Unity Gain" effects loop into his volume knob on his guitar five months prior to this, at the show the day before my first show (i.e. the 1st one with "The Who" at Oakland Stadium" 1976/10/9). Here at the Swing was the first use of the new "Mutron" envelope filter, (synthesizer-like device), which still at this early time apparently had to be piped through a Moog synthesizer, configured as such for this debut of "Estimated Prophet" yet it was odd to see Jerry plugged into Keith!
Now, I'm not saying Dead Heads in general feel as my personal friends at the time did who weren't too enthused by bands such as E.L.P. which among others used synthesizers extensively, however I was more open minded. I remember pointing out to my friend as Steve Parish was plugging Jerry into the Moog since we were up in the front of this $7.50 general admission concert.
The state of the art at the time was that synthesizers could only play a single note at a time i.e. monophonic, and only Keith Emerson at the time had a keyboard capable of polphony until later. Another coincidence, is that the only other famous professional guitarist that I ever saw play live using a "Travis Bean" guitar besides Jerry Garcia was Greg Lake, (Jerry's had a sticker on it saying "The enemy is listening"); not that that has anything to do with it but it is still true!
Some of you may remember around '89ish when briefly, (which I only saw once at The Forum in Inglewood, Ca.), Parish bring out a gray Stratocaster with a big box, (Roland Synthesizer?), attached to the bridge for Jerry to noodle on during the "Improvisation" section; (I refuse to call it "Space", since there is no air in outer space, hence no sound). I knew folks who felt this is one of the best early renditions of "Slipknot!" I myself am kind of bias, since it was the only one I saw before they brought it back out at Tempe, Ariz. in '83!

San Diego