“I just don’t understand why you don’t want to be in the Grateful Dead?”
“We’ve got a band, Bob.”
“Hot Tuna. You’ve jammed with us.”
“Okay. How about you, little fella? Wanna be in the Dead?”
“It’s me, Bobby. Mickey.”
“Hart. Mickey Hart.”
“Not ringing a bell. Are you Ned Lagin? If so, you can’t be in the Dead.”
“Video shoot’s tomorrow, guys! I’m packing the truck: we got the post-apocalyptic trenchcoats and awful hats…who’s got the jarringly out-of-place Holocaust footage? Yeah, of course it’ll work–the kids today are really into grainy, black and white clips of soul-deadening war atrocities.
“Well, obviously, with Bobby’s face superimposed. What do you think we bought the Video Toaster for?”
The notable thing is that Bobby is photo-bombing the dog, not the other way around. It’s not even his dog: some random family was at the mall having portraits made of their pet and Bobby burst in and kept lunging into the shot, no matter how many times the photographer said he was going to tell Garcia.
Bobby’s gleeful shouts echoed through the Sears, “I’m a dog, too! Woof!” Security was about to put a forcible stop to the whole thing when an urgent call came in over the walkie-talkie about a man with a mustache rampaging through Menswear punching mannequins where their dicks would be, if they weren’t mannequins.
It was a strange afternoon; no more shopping trips were scheduled for quite a while.
And if you fall in my direction, don’t expect no help at all.
Right? Was that what you were thinking? “Help him, Phil. Stop singing the song that no one really likes and pick Bobby up.” Was that your first thought?
Because Phil’s first thought was, “Again?”
So cut him some slack. Also, give Phil credit for not immediately Mola Ram-ing Bobby’s liver out of his abdomen while he was down.
Mockery shall re-commence when it turns out he’s okay.
Sound quality is the thing–it’s a deal breaker for me. I need my shows to sound like a closeted preacher’s marriage: clean and separated.
“You gotta kinda struggle to hear everything, man, but it’s totally worth it.”
No, it is not. It sounds like a Belgian farting in a laundromat. There must be separation: Garcia and Phil at 12 o’clock, Keith and Bobby at 10 and 2. Billy spreads out along the bottom or Billy on the left and Mickey on the right. No exceptions.
My quest for aural satiety continues, festers, defines. It broods in the winter and sweats like a holy man in the summers. Some enthusiasts of an audiophile bent will settle for nothing less than FLAC files, while others–confused, spotty lads and broken old men the lot of them–content themselves with mp3 files.
I, on the other hand, make Charlie Miller come to my house and sing to me.
All nonsense, of course. No stereo here in Fillmore South with which to crank tunes, bitchin’ or otherwise. Just one of those little dock things and the computer, whom I hate and fear and will one day beg to come back. You know: Dad.
Computers combine the worst qualities of dogs and cats: they’re as stupid and literal and single-minded as dogs, and as annoyingly independent as cats. (To think of the computer this way falls into what I call the “canine fallacy,” which is that adorable habit humans have of thinking of all animals as weird-shaped dogs, much to their chagrin as a bull moose stompjacks their heads over and over with his dinner-plate sized foot. Fewer people would get mauled and eaten each year if they remembered that, out of the entire animal kingdom, only dogs have a category called “buddy.”)
Which brings us, again, to 4/21/78 at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. This tour is something of a Rust Belt/Appalachian Trail theme and, yes, there were two shows I’ve neglected, but my versions sounds as if the recording device had been keestered in and then never un-keestered, to be found post-mortem and released in a macabre recreation of Betty Canter-Jackson’s storage locker incident.
So, I went to the Rupp show, which I’ve written about before: it with this weird, wired energy that isn’t just the coke singing. Listen to the Playin’>drums. All of them stay up there for drums and listen to it climax 12 minutes in with a Donna-led call-and-response chant that makes this one of the only drums I’ve ever listened to on its own.
And then, right after that, Mickey starts playing the Knight Rider theme.
4/16/78, West Virginia. Holy shit, they must have been broke, although it seems like WV would be pretty in the spring. Check out Garcia’s solo in Peggy-O, the way he leads the chord changes. Just listen to Peggy-O: this version is astonishing.
In fact, Garcia has been on fire the entire show and for most of the tour, but sweet Sally in the alley, would someone take that slide from Bobby. For the children, if nothing else.
And then listen real careful to Ship of Fools, where Garcia implores us to “Looky here,” before he tells us how late it was when he got around to believing.
P.S. in the New Orleans tradition, when the body is brought to the church, the Second Line follows, playing traditional funeral dirges. IKO IKO IS NOT ONE OF THEM, GENTLEMEN. Hop to it, guys: you’re killing me.