Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: 1979 (page 1 of 3)

Phils Like The First Time

You know I don’t do the Today in GD History bit too much; in fact, I resent May 8th and that miserable week in August for drawing so much attention to themselves. Some dates need celebrating, I suppose, but not all of them. Certainly not the 38th anniversary of a show in San Jose.

Unless, of course, it’s Brent’s first show. To honor him, I present you with this photo that he’s not in. This would set a tone for the rest of Brent’s tenure in the band.


If you only had this picture, you would think Phil had a head like a Pachycephalosaurus.

Paging Chez Ray, Paging Chez Ray

Where you going?

“Getting that meatloaf sandwich.”

You’re obsessed.

“I’m hungry.”

How did Brent do?


Brent. Your new keyboard player. This is his first show.

“It is? I thought Donna called in sick.”


“How about that? I’m sure he did great. When have we ever hired the wrong keyboardist?”

40% of the time.

“Close enough for rock and roll, right?”


“Now stop bothering me. Sandwich time.”


An Open Letter To A Dude In 1979

Dear Dude On The Dusborne Matrix Of 11/30/79 During Drums.

Stop yelling “sit down.” You are more annoying to me than the people standing up are to you. Stop that right now in 1979.

Thoughts on the Dead

p.s. Great show, and besides for the bros being all bro about things, it is a treat for two reasons. First of all: the Dead perform their music well. (Sometimes they did not, so this fact should be mentioned. The Dead always meant to play well–I’m not accusing them of malfeasance–but once in a while, they did not achieve strong bone. It happens. Stanley Theater in ’79? Strong bone.) Second: the first set’s the first set, no real weirdness, but then the second set is the most front-loaded one I’ve ever seen.

Look at this bullshit:

Set 2:
Scarlet Begonias
Fire On The Mountain
Terrapin Station
Playin’ In The Band
Lost Sailor
Saint Of Circumstance
Wharf Rat
Good Lovin’

That is a top-heavy list; if it wasn’t buttressed within the pull quote, it would topple.

Whatever: go listen to the Grateful Dead; turn it up loud, too.

A True Artist Does Not Need To Sign His Work

Jesus. Precarious?


What the fuck? I mean: what the fucking fuck, man?

“The monitor?”


“It’s fine.”

It’s not.

“Sure, it is. Long as, you know, no one touches it or makes a loud noise ’round it.”


Mick, Thick, Hick



Stop it.


Knock it off.

Fat Phil had a phat ass.

This is unpleasant.

Well, for all but five years out of life, Phil has been rail-skinny and had no butt whatsoever.

True, but still.

If Phil’s body were a set list, then you would write it “legs>back.”


No butt.

We all got it.

But here he’s got a Heineken heinie.

And bearded Mickey.

Bearded Mickey is terrifying. Scariest of all Mickey’s iterations.


A Propitious Date For Sugarees

I can’t give you a show recommendation, per se: I haven’t listened to the whole show. New bunch of torrents came in, from ’79, and 5/5/79 from the Providence Baltimore Civic Center in Rhode Island Maryland has the best EVAR Sugaree.

It is declared; I have made my decision. Go listen to the Sugaree, and feel free to agree with me in the Comment Section.

Six By Nine


Number four, the first one in the second row, that one makes me sad: Phil and Billy used to be friends, or at least buddies, or at least friendly enough to drunkenly paw at one another during photo shoots.

Plus, if you read the images as a story, then the story is about Mickey enjoying cocaine.

Chicago, That Chooglin’ Town

Couch Tour is off for the night as the trucks drive from Charlotte to Bonnaroo, which is a certain number of miles. (Halfway through that sentence, I realized that if you gave me a blank map, I could neither put a pin in Charlotte, nor whatever sun-baked field the Bombadil festival is held in.) An Enthusiast shouldn’t be without groovy tunes, though, so give 12/4/79 from the Uptown Theatre in Chicago a spin.

(I usually like to link to Relisten rather than the Archive just because the interface is incomparably better, but the Archive is the only place to hear the Dusborne Matrix. That’s the version I listened to recently; it is another stellar blend of a SBD and AUD from Mr. Dusborne, who is quickly gainingĀ  a Charlie Miller-like reputation for consistence and excellence in Fillmore South.)

First set’s good, but the second is monstrous and weird: a slowed-down China>Rider opener and a half-hour, mid-set Estimated>Franklin’s that turns into a Stayin’ Alive-quoting jam.

Or–and this is up to you–KISS’ Dynasty is a better record than it gets credit for.

What’s wrong with you?

I was giving the nice people options.

Options are equivalent. You offered people the choice between a steak and having a chain swing at them

I don’t get into people’s fetishes, man.

Have I told you I hate you?

Frequently, and with conviction.


Grateful Ass

mickey 79 bw getty

There are always new mysteries, and there’s usually a tomorrow; no matter how well you know a man, he can still surprise you and make you glad for the shock.

That’s some good Dead belt-wearin’, Mickey.

Showing Brent The Way

band brent first show

This is from Brent’s first show, 4/22/79, at UC San Jose State. (Go Banana Slugs.) It was so nice of the other Grateful Deads to dress up for the occasion.

Assorted thoughts:

  • Two clean-shaven, two full beards, two mustaches: that means something, I’m sure of it.
  • Phil’s monitor was chilly.
  • Speaking of mustaches and Phil: while we do have a firm grasp on Garcia’s mustache timeline, we haven’t quite pinned down the start and end dates for the rarest period in all of Grateful Dead history – the brief moment when Phil was the fattest guy in the band.
  • The only other photo I know of in which Garcia and Phil exchange places on the chubometer is this one:
  • jerry bobby phil fat backstage
  • This must be from ’79, too: Phil got larger than this, peaking in the mid-80’s when he cut back on the Heineken, but from ’80-’82, Garcia put on at least a hundred pounds and was never challenged for his title again.
  • Bobby looks like he is starring in the direct-to-video feature American Gigolo 2: On The Gigolowdown.
  • How involved is Mickey?
  • Actually, there’s two questions nestled within that larger query:
  • How involved does Mickey think he is?
  • How involved is he really?
  • All of us–all us adults–know that the Wall was a ludicrous invention, and it broke the band’s back, but God it looked grand.
  • It was a feast for the senses.
  • The Dead in 1979 was not a feast for the senses.
  • Bunch of mangy dudes and Peter Potato Salad over there.
  • Although in defense of Bobby, he was the only thing to look at, so he felt like he had to put in extra effort.
  • “Drum store? What’s the biggest drum you got?”
  • “Bigger than that.”
  • “Bigger than that.”
  • “Bigger than that.”
  • And so on.
  • Look: it’s Brent.
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