Is there a God? Where did Atlantis get to? Why don’t french fries travel? These are timeless and possibly unanswerable questions, as is “What is the Best EVAR Sugaree?” (The question about the fries is a far more worthy subject of thought: if you could invent a gadget to make french fries that have gone cold edible again, then you would make a ton of money; even if there were an answer to the Sugaree dilemma, and you came up with it, no one would give a shit.)
There is no Best EVAR Sugaree, or any other Dead song, or any other anything: we all know this. (And if you don’t, play along.) You can put together a list of a dozen of the suckers, and say that those are the outstanding performances, but any finer gradation is a waste of time for everyone except the freelancer being paid to put together the listicle; as I am not being paid, I will not rank the Top Ten Harblegarble Sugabarbles.
It’s beneath us.
But, Enthusiasts, can we define the necessary essential traits of a Best EVAR Sugaree? Do a shadow drawing of the Sugaree on the cave wall? I believe we can.
A Certain Vintage No Sugaree from before 1977 can be considered. A Sugaree from 1972 is a teeny-tiny Sugaree, and wobbles about in its crib in an adorable fashion; ’73 is no better, and you know my love for that year. The song needed a couple of years to figure itself out, like a gay teen or a straight teen or any teen at all. (Teens are all fucked up.) What happens when you let sugar age? It turns into booze. A pre-1977 Sugaree is like drinking wine that hasn’t turned into wine just quite yet.
A Certain Length Get that eleven-minute bullshit out of here, Grateful Dead. You think this is a game, Grateful Dead? You get back on that stage, you turn on those amplifiers, and you play Sugaree for ten or twelve more minutes. Sugaree wants to be at least fifteen-minutes long, and not allowing it to self-actualize is racist. Do not be racist against Sugaree, Grateful Dead.
Seriously: Gotta Be Long Like a porn dong or a line of coke (both of which could be found in John Holmes’ trousers), longer is better. Is the longest Sugaree by definition the Best EVAR? No, but kinda.
And The Jams, Sir? What of The Jams? They should be mighty. Like ranging battlefields, slick with blood and victory and D chords. (It must at this point be noted that there are only two chords in Sugaree, except for the little bit before the chorus. Sugaree and Fire on the Mountain are almost mostly the same song.) The jams–of which there are two major ones–must bristle with velocity and lope with keen ferocity; make no mistake, Enthusiasts: Sugaree is Deep Choogle.
How Much Should Garcia Solo? As much as is possible by the laws of man and God.
When Should Garcia Stop Soloing? If a fire breaks out in the venue. Or when it’s time for him to sing. Otherwise, never.
What About That Thing He Does? BEEDLEDEEDLEBEEDLEDEEDLE?
Yeah, That Thing He absolutely must do that in order for the Sugaree to be in contention for Best EVAR, yes.
Other Assorted Requirements For Best EVAR
- Phil has to play that descending lick under “Maybe I’ll meet you on the run,” that he does sometimes.
- Must smell like pine.
- All lyrics remembered. (I mean: within reason. Let’s not be Lyric Nazis.)
- Song cannot break down at the eight-minute mark due to a fistfight between drummers.
- 3.6 weighted GPA, 1300 SAT score, and extra-curriculars.
- Can’t be one of the renditions in which someone (I wont mention Garcia’s name) goes in and out of consciousness several times.
- Credit score of 680, or a co-signer.