Thoughts On The Dead

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

Thoughts From The Vault 2

  • Second set and we’re opening with Sugaree and that may be a sign of the Apocalypse.
  • Also, this Sugaree is not twenty minutes long, which means that it has failed, in my eyes.
  • All Sugarees want to be at least fifteen minutes long, and when you don’t let the Sugaree breathe, it’s like you’re suffocating it in the crib.
  • Do not abortion the Sugaree.
  • My favorite part of Sugaree is when Garcia solos.
  • I also enjoy when Garcia solos again.
  • The third, fourth, and fifth Garcia solos are beloved by all, I would presume.
  • The words are good, too: it’s such a cheerful sounding song, but the words are full of dread.
  • Something bad has happened.
  • No one says that “maybe I’ll meet you on the run” when things have gone to plan.
  • Speaking of solos, and Garcia, Big River is next and Garcia solos over the entire song.
  • Garcia secretly defined music as “something I can solo over.”
  • Garcia didn’t mind ending sentences with prepositions; he was a man of the people, and therefore a descriptivist.
  • I think I’ll come back to this, but: the drummers never sounded like this, not before or after.
  • The first two-drummer era, at its best, was defined by two guys playing at each other with some guitarists in the middle.
  • They would essentially talk to themselves and that sound of the snares whacking back and forth at one another–
  • Bakka-dah (Bakka-dah) Bakka-dah (Bakka-dah)
  • –exemplified the Baby Dead.
  • That’s not what they’re doing here, though: Mickey is complementing Billy, like in the old days, but not challenging him in a game of “who can hit his snare drum loudest?”
  • During the 80’s, Mickey and Billy developed a different strategy: let’s play the exact same thing at exactly the same time, almost.
  • There are a number of songs from OFTV that are in the running for BEST EVAR, but not Crazy Fingers.
  • This is inarguably the best this song was ever performed by an enormous margin.
  • If the category were “snorting things up your nose,” this Crazy Fingers would be cocaine, and all the other versions would be everything else you might shove up your snout.
  • None of the Grateful Deads played the song particularly well, but Garcia seemed to have it out for the pretty little tune, forgetting all the words on several occasions.
  • The jam is majesterious, which is not a word, but you knew what it meant, which makes it a word.
  • Language is all kinds of fucked up if you give it even a passing thought.
  • Once again: Drums.
  • But, you know: they only have their actual human-sized drum kits.
  • At no point will Mickey strap train horns to his crotch, but he did bring crickets.
  • I can’t tell the whole Mickey and the crickets story, but the tl:dr is that Mickey declared crickets musical instruments, spent tens of thousands of dollars on them, then released them in a building he did not own.
  • He did this because it is one of the answers to the question, “What is the most Mickey thing I can be doing right now?”
  • The lack of piano is something you don’t recognize until you do, but then you know what it is.
  • Keeping Keith on the Fender Rhodes piano instead of his usual grand piano makes the band much lighter, and the Rhodes’ buzzy, warm timbre sounds similar enough to Bobby’s lightly distorted guitar that your brain blends them into one great, head-straddling SOUND and it’s not terrible.
  • The band had been recording Blues for Allah up at Bobby’s place, playing every day, and it sounded like it.
  • Sage and Spirit has no reason to be here, but it’s beautiful, so it should be here.
  • Bobby did steal that one chord change from At Seventeen by Janis Ian, though.
  • There’s also a bit of Lost Sailor in there, and I wonder if that one bar annoyed Mickey more than the rest of the song.
  • Then we head for the big finish with Going Down the Road, which is played by itself.
  • Phil is very boingy: he boings heavily and with verve.
  • If Garcia were alive, I would slap the shit out of him for dying.
  • Fucking guy.
  • Everyone shares Secret Hero of this one, but Garcia is definitely the Garcia.
  • Oh.
  • Huh.
  • Look at that.
  • I have been listening to this album on a very regular basis for 25 years and I just realized they played US Blues>Blues for Allah.
  • There’s a political joke in there somewhere, but there are also ribs in my refrigerator.


  1. Awww, you’re such a fanboy.

  2. At the actual concert, “King Solomon’s Marbles” ended the first set and “Around and Around” started the second. The CD producer (I assume it was Healy) moved the break announcement after “Around” so that each “set” would fit neatly on one disc.

    I agree that this may have been the Greatest Concert Ever, even though I always skip “Blues for Allah.” This was the one that pulled me away from studio albums forever.

  3. Thank you. Know that we get it. All of it. So for that. Thank you. No gay

    Sent from my iPhone. Please forgive brevity and typos.


  4. Thank you for these posts. I haven’t listened to this show in years! You should put all of this into a book as-is. It is great toilet reading. I mean that as a compliment, as it makes for good reading in other places as well. If you do make a book, you need to keep this free version going for all of us OG ToTD enthusiasts though… Just saying. I would still buy the book as a present for my toilet reading addict brother. Ok, time to wipe, my legs are tingling.

  5. Do they make a cell-phone sized wall-mounted toilet paper printer? You could have the roll fed through the the USB and wifi-connected TP printer. I don’t think I’d wipe my butt with the Word of God as Spencer suggests, but that’s about the only exclusion. Would need careful thought put in to ink type. Anyone invents this pls send monthly checks to Snowmans.

  6. Ooops, didn’t read the T.P before posting. My apologies.

  7. Great reminder that I needed to grab a new copy of OFTV, my other having been digitally borked for no good reason.

    Will be this mornings work soundtrack, for sure.

    Gonna let Aretha finish up though:

  8. Off topic:
    More tix scalper shenanigans going on with the MSG show tix?

    A guy at reddit made a good suggestion. Makes sense to me unless the promoters are getting a piece of the scalper action.
    “I don’t know why they don’t just put the purchasers name on the ticket and make you show ID to get in. ”

  9. Didn’t seem to fit your online personality, you are forgiven. Change 3 adult diapers, read 10 commandments 2x and replace every empty roll you see under eternity as your penance. And invent the TP printer and send me royalty checks

  10. Tales From The Archive
    Some Deadheads came back to their hotel after a concert and saw this sign in the lobby.

    “Grateful Dead concert goers: Please go downstairs to the ballroom and stay there until you are ready to go back to your rooms and be quiet.”

    Hahaha. Hotel night manager comes to grips with reality.

  11. I’m on family vacation and yesterday made a deal with the fam – I would cook dinner for 11 and clean everything as long as i could listen to OftV while doing so . They agreed, everyone enjoyed (fast forwarded through drums ofcource) I then turned to my brother and asked him if he’d like to know everything important about the show. He said no.

  12. Listening now..
    Dear God .. what happens at 19:08 to 19:25 is so strange it boggles the mind.

    Vocal harmonies, Like Crosby Stills Nash and.. fuck Young, add an extra Nash in there.
    They sing briefly like Crosby Stills Nash and Nash.

  13. “Graham Nash would complete Crosby, Stills and Nash, and would perhaps prevent the ensemble from ever being anything really rock and roll”

    James McDonough, “Shakey” some Neil Young book..

    Truest summary of Nash I have ever heard.

  14. As I’m sure you might remember from the liner notes , set two actually starts with around and around, it was moved to end of disc one for cd timings.

  15. An interesting interview with Dan Healy about the release of oftv is available in the cleverly titled recents ‘relix-the book’ collection . Or on the inter web here.

    I remember seeing (and buying it immediately) in the record store in the new cd longform packaging no plastic and you bought it flat like a big rectangle. It is definitely the greatest archival release of the dead ever, although I don’t imagine anyone is listening to blues for Allah on it very much. I owned seastones on cd and I don’t think I ever made it through it. I do remember hearing a cassette one night with the longer joke intro and the drums sounded completely different more echo and much more apparent it was a very small room. I actually also made a pilgrimage to the gamh , the Farrell theatre was still operating next door but I think they wanted 20. Bucks to get in. I would have paid that to see the inside of the gamh but figured it would probably be 10 bucks a beer so I passed, saw the city lights bookstore that trip too which was cool. I think they even had a Ferlinghetti book in the window.

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