Allow me to explain, Enthusiasts. A trans-continental conundrum has been raised! Dead Scholars in America, Canada, Germany–and possibly even the bass player from that one surprisingly-good Japanese tribute band–have turned their prodigious attentions to this newest and most important of questions: Did Seastones get booed, specifically on 9/14/74 in Munich, Germany (well, at the time it was West Germany)? And, even more specifically, if they were indeed booed, was it the Germans or the Americans?
Now: unlike the list bullshit I was making fun of before, this is actually important.
Phil later said in an interview that it was the German kids booing, but as with so much else about the Dead, the band members seem to be the least reliable witnesses. It’s not his fault, though: lighting at shows is designed so that the audience sees the band, and not the other way around. Also, Phil is a good American, and part of being a good American is blaming other countries for things.
That the Germans were digging Seastones, and the Americans annoyed by it, sounds like the more defensible position if you have any context. The Americans in question were Army-Americans; there were a lot of them in West Germany at the time because the Commies were literally miles away. This is not to say a serviceman couldn’t enjoy the Dead–I know for a fact that several loyal Enthusiasts are veterans–but if you have to be back on the base at midnight, you’re not going to be in the proper headspace for Seastones at ten.
There is also the point that I believe precludes all further argument: why would Germans boo unpleasant-sounding music? Germans invented unpleasant-sounding music. Why would Germans boo bleepity-bloop music? Germans perfected bleepity-bloop music. If there were any crowd that was going to give Seastones, which is essentially weaponized art, a chance, it’s going to be a German crowd.
Finally, we have an eyewitness account:
For those of you who don’t speak German, I’ll translate.
“Good evening, fellow German. I hope zat Wotan calls to you from ze Black Forest of der dreamenwurlden.
“Viz regards to Grateful Dead show dated 14.9.74: the behavior of der Yankenshootens vas abominable. Zey hooted like animals in a zoo at any song they did not classify as ‘Boogie.’ Also, zey laughed at ze way Germans say ze word ‘Boogie.’ Ve failed to see ze humor in ze situation.
“Ze Americans also became upset at Ned’s nudity, while ve Germans are of course more mature about such matters. The human body is natural! You Americans and your hang-ups!
“Also, ze Americans did not conform to proper seating. I had personally gone to ze theater at dawn and put my beach towel on my chair, but ze American did not seem to realize what zat meant.
“Seastones by Phil und Ned vas a revelation. I know for a fact that Kraftwerk attended ze show, and said to each other afterward, ‘What if ve do that, but good?’
“Following ze show, mein friends und I vent to a bierhaus and ate enormous pretzels.”