Thoughts On The Dead

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

Talkin’ John Kennedy Blues

I’m working on something about the Dylan and the Dead tour, but here’s the show that started me down this dark and out-of-tune path: 7/10/87 at JFK in Philadelphia.

TotD is in favor of the show; Psychic Bodyguard and enjoyer of drizzle and Volvos Mr. Completely has reasonably disagreed.

My arguments include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A nifty truncated show–a highlights version that manages, because it’s the Dead, to be longer than the actual thing–with a great “first set” full of little-played 80’s faves: Iko, Brother Esau, and When Push Comes to Shove: all played snappily and with the crisp energy that permeates this entire show.
  • A short-but-sweet Drums (with copious Beam-banging by Mickey) is topped by a retro Garcia-solo Space, ’78-style.
  • The Dylan set is just that: a Dylan set, just with a slightly-less deferential backing band than he’d ever worked with before (except The Band, of course.) Dylan had a lot in common with the Dead (for example, they both played a lot of Dylan tunes) but one massive discrepancy was the intent: while Dylan and, say, Phil were both capable of playing a song in a new key he’d just invented, Dylan was doing it on purpose to bother people.
  • And there’s some great shit in the Dylan set! It roars out of the gate with a zippy Tangled Up in Blue and steams through Stuck Inside of Mobile>Chimes of Freedom, into an aborted stab at Queen Jane, then on to a truly killer Gotta Serve Somebody.
  • Admittedly, Joey is longer than the actual gang war that inspired the song.
  • Watchtower: all killer, no filler. MY POINT RHYMES.

His arguments include, and are limited to, the following:

  • It sucks.

One might say we’re both right…from a certain point of view.

Oh my god, you’re the worst.

1 Comment

  1. hook up with the dead was v important in Dylan renaissance as a performer and artist. you may enjoy BD posts on the immortal jukebox …regards …thom

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