Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Fourth Set (Drums, Post-Drums)

  • I have so far watched Mickey do whatever he is doing twice on video and three times live: this is the third Drums I’ve watched via the webcast’s choices of angles and sound and whatnot.
  • There are large patches of Drums where I do not understand how what Mickey is doing and the noises being made relate.
  • Now, Mickey’s doing a whole bunch of shit.
  • A simply vast amount of noise.
  • But from where I’m sitting, there seems to be a correlation rather than causation thing going on.
  • Sometimes, directors wonder how much strobing, “trippy, man” nonsense to put behind the Dead and the answer is “none at all ever not a bit stop it no.”
  • This is what’s going on:
  • IMG_1898
  • Billy is also whacking away happily on things, but Drums is Mickey’s thing.
  • In the stadium, it was a highlight of all three nights: massive gamma ray bursts of low frequencies bounding and throbbing around you and down your back, stopping only to rip out your spine and shove it up your ass.
  • Drums gets intense.
  • On TV, you lack the sound system and the ambience; plus, when they show close-ups of Mickey, you’re all “Are those batter’s gloves?”
  • And then you’re all, “Yes: those are Mizuno batter’s gloves.”
  • And now you’re picturing Mickey taking over a sporting goods store trying on every glove in the store and Billy stealing a kayak and riding down the escalator in it.
  • Billy accompanied Mickey to the Sports Authority.
  • I don’t know: he was bored.
  • Phil has come over to Mickey’s Drum World and they say things to each other and then Phil does not go to Billy’s side to say things to him.
  • There is bleeping and blooping going on and the stadium is very yellow:
  • lens flare
  • May or may not have been wandering around for this bit.
  • I’ll listen to beeps and shmurps from these old weirdos, but I don’t have to watch them do it.
  • Besides, walking around at Dead shows while the sound cannonballs around the concrete right above your head is fun.
  • I think.
  • I no longer recall fun, as the television’s fascism has sapped it from me.
  • TV is an inherently fascist medium
  • I said it.
  • Sure, someone else said it forty years ago, but it’s still a blow to The Man.
  • Bobby sings Stella Blue well because life has punched him in the dick once or twice.
  • Billy has also punched Bobby in the dick, but that doesn’t teach you lessons.
  • Except, you know: guard your shaft when Billy’s near.
  • Trafalgar played the solo from Stella Blue in front of his mirror as a kid.
  • Last week, too.
  • But the kid thing’s the important bit.
  • Redheaded, pill-poppin’ sumbitch kills that shit.
  • Jeff Chimenti is making lovely noises; he probably farts in harmony with himself.
  • Phil didn’t sing Stella Blue.
  • I mean, there are any number of realities virtually next-door in which Phil did sing Stella Blue.
  • We exist in this one for the time being.
  • PEAK.
  • Into One More Saturday Night because it is the law.
  • Samson on Sundays, Saturday night on Saturdays.
  • I’m sure Elton John has the same deal.
  • Tractor is boogying, sure, but there is no elven dancing; I assume there has been a meeting.
  • Bobby is now doing the lunge and it looks weird and herky-jerky on the Nazi asshole fuckhead television; at Soldier Field, people hugged one another when he did his little dance.
  • Television and the Grateful Dead do not go together: it’s like peanut butter and rape.
  • You almost made it through a concert review without mentioning Nazis and sexual assault: good work.
  • Just the Donor Rap and encore left , and I won’t mention the Killing Fields of Cambodia once.
  • I hate you so.
  • You know they shot people for wearing glasses?
  • Was trying not to think of it while the–
  • DONOR RAP. Shut up during the Donor Rap.
  • Making fun of the Donor Rap makes you an asshole.
  • I don’t think your liver is under your heart, though.
  • Below.
  • Not under.
  • Also: Phil got the “long, strange trip” line right.
  • And the part of the Donor Rap that wasn’t precisely rapping about being a donor has gotten longer.
  • Just sayin’.
  • There was very little suspense as to what was to be played for the encore.
  • Bobby starts out U.S. Blues and he knows the words and he has gestures that go along with the words.
  • Has he been doing this long?
  • Mickey is simultaneously whacking at two drums eight feet away from one another.
  • I haven’t mentioned this about Tramalfadore’s fingers, but they are long and skinny and a little creepy; they do stuff fingers don’t normally do; there is over and under and seemingly through going on.
  • Police those digits, Anesthesia.
  • U.S. Blues is a slight little thing at heart: quite a bit of its punch lies in its brevity, so when you circle around the end of the song looking for a way to stop playing, it takes some of the oomph out.
  • There are now fireworks.
  • Which were something to see live.
  • But it’s not live: it’s Memorex.
  • You wanna go to bed?
  • Can I have a sandwich first?
  • Yes.


  1. Did he pull out the train horn? He did on the 5th. Fuck was that.

  2. Say Trafalgar backwards……seriously just try it.

  3. ToTD, I’m going to need you to elucidate a little further on this whole TV thing. Were you finally able to watch it on TV? Did you succumb to your desires and purchase the damn thing? And you’re sad because the TV is sort of ruining the experience for you, because nothing is like being there in person?

  4. RationalExpressions

    July 17, 2015 at 10:35 am

    It’s what makes them so frustratingly real – all the what could have beens if they’d only done that. And they maintained this flaw, their embodiment of humanity, to the end.

    • The comments section here now accurately reflects the blog overall, a nice development: long stretches of absurdity punctuated by moments of heartfelt insight. Nicely said.

  5. You’re using up all the good multisyllabic “A” words. I guess it was inevitable.

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