Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: acoustic dead

Ramble On

In honor of Loyola-Chicago’s wins in the basketball tournament, TotD presents for your (re)listening pleasure: the weirdo acoustic set from the Loyola Rambler Room (which was what they called their Student Union at the time). Billy, Keith, and Mrs. Donna Jean didn’t show up, so it’s not technically a “Dead show,” but it’s Garcia and Bobby pickin’ and grinnin’ and harmonizin’, and that’s all right by me.

Highlights include This Time Forever from Bobby’s solo record, a giggly version of Big Boy Pete, and the funnest Oh Boy you’ll ever hear.


I mentioned this one last night: it’s the Reckoning bonus disc that came with the Beyond Description. While not quite as exactly perfect as the original release, there’s some real gold in here: two of Bobby’s instrumental, and another Ripple and Bird Song, plus Tom Dooley and Deep Elem from the weird-o 11/17/78 Rambler Room acoustic set.

The only problem with Acoustic Dead is that there isn’t more of it.

Not Enough Chiara, Too Much Scuro

acoustic dead 8:19:70

From 8/13/70 at the Fillmore West. Here’s an AUD that actually sounds damned good, at least for the acoustic segments.

The Rest Is Commentary

Electric Dead: Phil stands at all times.

Acoustic Dead: Phil generally stands, but may sit if he so chooses.

Please Seat Yourself

jerry bobby acoustic 70 big

Back then, you could just sit on the crates and no one got hurt. (Soon after this photo was taken, the crates collapsed and everyone got hurt.)

Jerry Garcia In A Sidecar

jerry bill graham motorcycle

Thanks to Friend of TotD, Steveb, for alerting me to the existence of this picture, which I had never seen before, but will now be getting tattooed on my face.

In case you don’t read the comments, he posted a portion of a cool article about the gig (12/6/80 at the Mill Valley Recreational Center) pictured above and in the last post. Check it out:

There’s a sweet story behind this gig, which was on 12/6/80. To quote from an article by Steve McNamara in Marin County’s Pacific Sun newspaper, which I have actually saved all these years:

“The Dead live in Mill Valley

“In New York and San Francisco people sleep on sidewalks for days in order to buy – at nearly any price – tickets to a Grateful Dead Concert. So it was remarkable to spend a mellow Saturday afternoon at the Mill Valley Recreation Center listening to The Dead play, free, to an audience of no more than 70. The occasion was the annual Christmas party of the Marin-Sonoma chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Rodney Graves, who has a form of muscular dystrophy, is a good friend and Alto School fifth grade classmate of Justin Kreutzmann, son of Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. The boys were talking about the party and how it would be nice to have some entertainment and one thing led to another. ‘We all live in the county,’ said Bill Kreutzmann, ‘and when I explained what was happening to the other guys it seemed like a nice thing to do.’

“Followers of The Grateful Dead – Deadheads – are the most loyal and fervent group in the world of music. They insist that The Dead are more than music, they are a way of life – an assertion that baffles fans of less complex musical groups. An element in this love affair is the low-key decency and intensely human presence of band members. Crazed pop stars they are not.”

In addition to the picture you used, the article includes several others, including one of Bill Graham taking Garcia for a ride in his motorcycle sidecar and one of Garcia, cigarette in mouth, signing an autograph outside on the deck.

As always, the recording of the show is available on It was definitely a relaxed event.

EDIT: Go listen to this show: it’s spectacularly fun. Listen for Bobby forget to tell the band what the song was, then count off Cassidy anyway, only to have one of the drummers shout “What are we playing?!”

Pet Peavey

band acoustic peavey amp

Anyone who played guitar in the ’80’s or ’90’s can tell instantly that this is a thrown-together gig. How?

Because if you have any choice in the matter whatsoever, you’re not using a Peavey amp.

Up Pulled A Cadillac

jerry bobby phil rambler room

Here’s a weirdo show for a weirdo day: the Rambler Room on 11/17/78.  I can barely figure this one out, and the internet is no help: some folks say this was a Bob Weir Band show, but the Dead are on tour (they play great shows at the Uptown Theater the nights before and after this.) Bobby wouldn’t have a solo tour co-booked with the Dead, so they probably just called themselves “The Bob Weir Band” because promoters get cranky when you play a surprise show in the same city where they’ve engaged you for the weekend.

Was this a favor? Was Bobby trying to get laid? He was Bobby, for fuck’s sake: surely this was too much effort, even for a college girl–he was a rock star, after all, and there were so many young women who wanted to sleep with rock stars that a special name had to be thought up for them.

Billy’s not there, but that doesn’t really matter: Acoustic Dead was always only Garcia and Bobby and Phil standing in the back with the treble on his bass turned all the way down.

It’s a fun show: Garcia sings Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, even imploring the small, but friendly, crowd to sing along. Great high harmonies from Bobby, who acquits himself with his slide when not permitted by the design of the guitar to place the thing all the way up the neck to make screechy noises.

It’s a homey show: you know they sent Parrish to steal the stools from the student union cafe ten minutes before the set.

PLUS a great Big Boy Pete, complete with goofy back-and-forth between Bobby and Garcia and you can hear the smiles on their faces.

This Couple They Got Married So Why Not You And Me?

That’s all there is to say about it: why not you and me? This world, it tends towards indifference and cold cruelty. When you find someone to love, hold on to them as tight as Phil held his Heineken and anyone that tells you different, Billypunch ’em in the nards.

So, good for you, Mr. President.


Oh, and check out this GREAT acoustic Jack-A-Roe from the ’80 Radio City run.

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