Thoughts On The Dead

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

Smooth Like A Rhapsody

Check out Masterpiece from MSG, 9/18/87. Not Bobby killing it, which he always did on the Dylan tune. (Not so much in the blues number. Bobby’s blues number didn’t give you the blues, it made you genuinely sad.) Not even Phil winding and wending his way through the tale of a Grand Snarl through the  Old Country.

No, check out Garcia on the backup vocals. He’s yelpin’ and-a hollerin’, only to shut right up ‘n play this here GI-tar and play it right, boy. Garcia’s singing the high harmony line, almost up where Brent normally is. It’s just at the top of his range: notes you have to make an effort for, and he does, verse after verse. He’s in time with Bobby (kind of) and he’s in tune with Bobby (for a vast majority of the song) and it’s not just exactly perfect, because it’s better than perfect…

It’s human.

P.S. Here’s my favorite thing about When I Paint My Masterpiece: Dylan gave it away.  Other writers have made their reputations–their careers!–on far less, and he gave it to Robbie fucking Robertson. Robbie Robertson’s such a prick that three of his former band members preferred to die rather than spend anymore time on the same planet as him. Only Garth Hudson remains, and he is clearly some sort of immortal wood elemental.

1 Comment

  1. Nice catch. I have an aud of this show and the crowd roar during the “Soy Capitan, Soy Capitan” line in the 2nd set La Bamba (Good Lovin’ sandwich!) never fails to raise the hair on my neck.

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