lately it occurs to me

wo out of three deadheads make me stabby, but since I first heard
American Beauty when I was in my teens, I’ve considered myself a casual
fan of the Grateful Dead. Put into nerd terms: I’d go to a Star Trek convention, but I wouldn’t go in a spacesuit. Well, maybe in a spacesuit, but certainly not with a latex forehead. And I’m not following Avery Brooks around the country in a van; that’s where I draw the line, man.

While I never wanted to go to a live show, (goddamn hippies with their
patchouli and their hemp pants) I absolutely love listening to recordings of
their shows, and I’ve spent a lot of time with some of Dick’s Picks, because the Dead are probably the best example of a band that makes good records, but takes their music to an entirely different level when it’s played live. For an example of that, pick up just about any live Dead recording where they play Darkstar, and make it last for six hours without ever getting lame, or pick up this 1971 show linked below and listen to The Other One -> Me and My Uncle -> The Other One. Wow.

I haven’t listened to the Dead in a long time, but earlier this month Pauly advised everyone to pick up the August 6, 1971 show from the Palladium in Los Angeles from
Because everyone else was doing it, and I wanted to be popular, I
grabbed it, unzipped it, and didn’t listen to it until this morning.

Wow. What a great show this is, and how surprising that it was recorded
at the Palladium, which is probably the worst venue in the entire city.
The energy, the quality of the recording, and the cool, bluesy strains
of their songs is just perfect writing music for today: it’s 79
degrees, my patio is covered with finches squabbling over the bird
feeders, my dogs are sleeping at my feet, and a gentle breeze is
carrying the smell of recently-transplanted lavender into the window.

A few minutes ago, I followed a link to the 2+2 forums, and found that
cool Firefox/Grateful Dead mashup image as an avatar, and took it as a sign that I
should post something about this cool music I’m enjoying today, and spread firefox.

Hey, everyone else is doing it – I just want to be popular.

17 thoughts on “lately it occurs to me”

  1. I’ve been to two Dead shows. Stone cold sober, no less.
    It’s like Vegas. Everyone should experience it at least once. Although it’s too late for that now…
    I listened to Terrapin Station for the first time in years just a few weeks ago. Man, what a great album.
    But one quibble. The Dead are not the best example of the recorded/live phenom. I’m pretty sure that’s NRBQ.

  2. Funny story! I was in surgery (Yes, I was the patient) and the Doctor and the Anesthesiologist (sp?) were discussing their great seats for the “Dead Shows”. NOT a reassuring thing to hear as you are going under.
    Of course, this is the doctor who induced my labor because he was going to be skiing in Banff the week I was due. He was cool!

  3. “While I never wanted to go to a live show, , … because the Dead are probably the best example of a band that makes good records, but takes their music to an entirely different level when it’s played live.”
    The first and last parts of this seem massively incompatible comments to me. You are absolutely right that the Dead are much better as a live band and that means ‘live’, not just that their live recordings were for the most part better than their stuido albums.
    When they were really on, their concerts were just an amazing experience.

  4. American Beauty is the only GD album I like. I had never heard anything by them that I liked until watching Freaks and Geeks where she put on the album and listened to it over and over. i fell in love with it bought the CD played it for myself 2 or 3 times and made the mistake of playing it in my mother’s car and she took it from me! it’s been 5 years now and I’m pretty sure she’s not giving it back. I guess that’s what I get for buying my mom’s generation’s music?

  5. My 7 year old future geek comes to me the other day requesting a cool necklace so he can be popular. I asked what a cool necklace was. He told me it was an “olympic medal on a big gold chain”. That’s the best way he had of describing a bigass blingy medallion. The kid hasn’t even got one chest hair and he wants a medallion.
    So, Wil, if you want to be popular get yourself a medallion and wear it while you listen to the Dead. Avery Brooks would approve.

  6. I got to see *The Dead* once in Minnisota in the 70’s when I was playing in my band around the Mid-West…
    I gotta say one thing for them you made you feel like you were sitting in their living room when you went to one of their shows…
    Leaving the concert made you feel like you and yours were part of the extended family that they had everywhere they performed…
    And that was a very nice feeling…

  7. Garcia died next door to one of my friends (I’ve fallen out of touch with him at this point).
    Of course, next door is kinda relative, yeah, it was the plot of land next to his, but the actual building was not visible from his house.
    Also, some of the people he (Garcia, not my friend) used to play with come in to the Borders where I work.
    Marin kicks ass… It’s like LA, but without the smog, tons of people, infrastructure, or Republicans… In otherwords, it’s nothing like LA…

  8. My last GD show was in 94′ at the Oakland Coliseum.
    I saw them about 300 times or so. Saw my first show in Providence, RI when I was 16…
    One of my all time favorite live shows is from Cornell University 77′(
    The Dancin’/Scarlet/Fire is amazing and the Morning Dew will blow your mind!
    I remember awhile back you posting something about the Dead and I called you ‘Cosmic Charlie’. 😉 It’s so awesome that their music lives on.
    “Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”

  9. You’d think I’d be offended, as a hippy-dippy chick. But I’m not. See, I’m a hippy-dippy chick with a warped sense of humour. :-p
    On a side note….
    I enjoy patchouli. I enjoy the Grateful dead, on occasion. I enjoy LOTS of stuff. But I do NOT, will not (under any circumstance… EVER!) wear hemp pants. hahaha
    Have a happy lavender-scented day, Wil! :p

  10. I still believe their song
    ‘Touch of Grey’ is one of the main songs on the soundtrack of my life.
    My life isn’t perfect, but it’s not as bad as it could be, I am lucky in some ways, but not in others,
    My perspective is a bit grey at the moment.
    I will get by. I will survive.
    Just been watching you on Child Star Confidential.
    You are an incredible person. No matter what you do in life. Remember that always.

  11. My junior and senior years of high school, the Dead played on graduation weekend. At the time, my typical concert experience required Doc Martens and a certain fearlessness about getting knocked around, but my friends and I all went to the Dead shows and wandered the little show village that traveled with them. Hippies? Of course. But kind, and helpful, and a real community unlike any I’ve seen at any other kind of event.
    As a result, Grateful Dead music is summer and freedom to me. I bring out American Beauty every June, singing along as I take road trips. It’s the best album to listen to while driving the Oregon coast, bar none. There are other great Dead albums, and as you said, their live stuff is phenomenal, but I return to American Beauty like it’s some kind of musical home.

  12. You should check out moe. (lowercase, trailing period), Great music, good people too. Same “jam band” genre with a lot of crossover in the fan base. Good selection of their shows at Check out any of their moe.down shows, or the recent snoe.down. Good stuff.

  13. My sister is a deadhead. Still. I totally am not. But I can respect the music. Sometimes.
    Totally OT… just saw you on Child Stars Confidential on E! Great show, nice to see so many doing well – glad to see you on it but too bad they didn’t mention the blog or the books. They really, really should have.

  14. Oh, man. Now you have me wondering about the massive purging I did before moving out of my house (Feng annihilation) and I can’t remember if I still have the original tapes from the Dead shows which actually belong to an exboyfriend from college that I managed to still have ~ you know, the tapes that you can make if you’re actually at the show and you bring your own stuff and they let you plug into their sound system?
    There were 3 or so of them that his brother had gotten from following the Dead around the U.S. and Europe in the 80s. I can’t remember if they were purged as part of a general “ex boyfriend purge” or if I held onto them. Damn! One more thing to look for in the boxes when they come out of storage….

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