Thoughts On The Dead

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

Wrapped Around The Manzanita

It is time, ladies and perms, for another installment in Almost Great Shows, but I’m gonna be honest: this one’s special. Like, an aide from the state helps you with lunch special.

5/5/78 from Dartmouth College is our choice tonight. “I’ve never heard of that show, TotD,” you say. Well, there’s a reason: it’s just all over the place. The three singers seem to have invented a new key each (perhaps j minor) for Lazy Lightning, Garcia is so casual with the lyrics in Candyman that it sounds like he’s being sarcastic, and Ship of Fools is an absolute Hall of Fame Trainwreck.

About halfway through the song, someone gets a half-bar off, either Garcia or the rest of them, which sounds easily fixable if you’re not the Grateful Dead, but unfortunately they were, at the time, the Grateful Dead and instead of pausing a little bit or whatever, Garcia and the band play tug of war with the melody and the chords for the rest of the tune. Best part is, the mikes pick up all the sniping and bitching at one another afterwards.

But a valley always leads to a peak, and they burn through a great Estimated>Eyes into a common, yet beloved (by me and only me. it seems) feature of the Spring ’78 season: Full Band Drums!

There’s fuck-ton of caveat emptor on this one. Maybe even a smidge of Abandon all Hope.  As usual and as with all shows that I deem to be not up to my snuff (and you all know that my snuff is high as fuck), I instantly stopped listening once I was done, had rewound the really good bits, written around four e-mails discussing it, and rustled up 300 words to tell you what was wrong with it.

So, you know: there.


p.s. Even if you don’t have time for the whole show, even if you don’t like 1978, even if you’re leg’s caught in a bear trap: listen to Garcia sing Stella Blue. And then listen to him play. Listen to him dust off those rusty strings.

1 Comment

  1. that is a beautiful “stella blue.”

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