Author Topic: The Dead Head Thread  (Read 5670 times)

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Offline PlaysLikeMyung

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The Dead Head Thread
« on: March 31, 2010, 01:45:41 PM »
Listening to American Beauty again and I have to say I just love chilling out to The Dead. The only other Dead Heads I know of here are LudwigVan and Jen, and one of them is absent at the moment.

Who else loves the Dead? Post your favorite Dead experiences (I'm too young to have any :(), albums, etc.

Offline LudwigVan

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2010, 02:20:33 PM »
The granddaddy of all jam bands, and still the best IMO.  I was into the live experience in a very big way, having seen them about 30 times.   I got into them with 3 albums, all of them live: Skull & Roses, Europe 72 and Live Dead.  I played these albums to death.  

The amazing thing about The Dead was, for a band that was so well-known (basically a household name), they never really became part of the mainstream music scene.   Their music and fans were always considered to be "on the fringe".  But nowawadays, everywhere I turn I hear a bit of that Dead influence, from the Flower Kings all the way to Primus.  

The tough thing to swallow about live Dead shows was the "hit or miss/on or off" quality of the whole experience.  They lived off the idea of "tight but loose".
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Offline sirbradford117

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2010, 03:08:15 PM »
I've tried several times to listen to Dead shows and I always lose interest 4 songs in.  When they're on, the jamming can be quite exciting (case in point: Dark Star/St. Stephen/The Eleven/Lovelight, etc from 1969).  But most of the time I don't care for the songs and the jams don't engage me.  It's too loose and carefree.

I really want to love them (since I love Phish and know that the Dead are really the granddaddies) but usually I find them boring...

Deadheads: give me ONE SHOW that you feel captures strong improv with good song choices.  Not looking for live compilations (eg Europe 72, Live/Dead) but a SHOW.  I will set aside 3 hours and listen without interruption, then get back to you.
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Offline PlaysLikeMyung

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2010, 04:21:48 PM »
I can't pick one off the top of my head.

My dad says the same thing though. He's been to about 20 or so Dead shows and said that they're very inconsistent. I'm sure most of them were too baked at these shows to form a coherent melody, so that may be why :P

But man I wish I could have experienced one. I was 6 when Jerry Garcia died

Online lonestar

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2010, 04:26:31 PM »
Deadhead checking in.  Saw them over 20 times, and still listen to their music constantly.  Personal favorite album is Europe.  Besst memories are my first show as Bill Graham  security, where I was stationed under Jerry at the front boards, and only had to look up to see him jamming above me.  The other is Mardi Gras show at Oakland in '90 or '91, where they played Ripple and covered Hey Jude.

Offline LudwigVan

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2010, 07:32:19 AM »
I've tried several times to listen to Dead shows and I always lose interest 4 songs in.  When they're on, the jamming can be quite exciting (case in point: Dark Star/St. Stephen/The Eleven/Lovelight, etc from 1969).  But most of the time I don't care for the songs and the jams don't engage me.  It's too loose and carefree.

I really want to love them (since I love Phish and know that the Dead are really the granddaddies) but usually I find them boring...

Deadheads: give me ONE SHOW that you feel captures strong improv with good song choices.  Not looking for live compilations (eg Europe 72, Live/Dead) but a SHOW.  I will set aside 3 hours and listen without interruption, then get back to you.

Unless you're actually at a live show, I don't think this is a good approach to listening to The Grateful Dead.  I consider myself a Deadhead, and yet I almost never set aside 3 hours of devoted, uninterrupted listening.   

The thing is, their music wanders.... and it wanders A LOT.  Which means that your attention will wander too.  That's just the nature of jam-music... going off on endless tangents, bandmembers exploring different modes, trying this or that to see what comes and whether it works or not.   There's a lot of trial and error going on as they play, which means you have to either sit through it all or just plain ignore the "error" parts and go clean the grill or something. 

If you don't care for particular songs, then that's another story.  Their songs are steeped in blues/country/folk tradition, which may turn some people off.  But overall, I find The Dead to be much more melodic than Phish.  Not that I'm well-versed in Phish's music, but could it be a case of Phish's jams being a little more concise and focused than the Dead's brand of jamming?

 

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Offline sirbradford117

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2010, 10:05:55 AM »
I've tried several times to listen to Dead shows and I always lose interest 4 songs in.  When they're on, the jamming can be quite exciting (case in point: Dark Star/St. Stephen/The Eleven/Lovelight, etc from 1969).  But most of the time I don't care for the songs and the jams don't engage me.  It's too loose and carefree.

I really want to love them (since I love Phish and know that the Dead are really the granddaddies) but usually I find them boring...

Deadheads: give me ONE SHOW that you feel captures strong improv with good song choices.  Not looking for live compilations (eg Europe 72, Live/Dead) but a SHOW.  I will set aside 3 hours and listen without interruption, then get back to you.

Unless you're actually at a live show, I don't think this is a good approach to listening to The Grateful Dead.  I consider myself a Deadhead, and yet I almost never set aside 3 hours of devoted, uninterrupted listening.   

The thing is, their music wanders.... and it wanders A LOT.  Which means that your attention will wander too.  That's just the nature of jam-music... going off on endless tangents, bandmembers exploring different modes, trying this or that to see what comes and whether it works or not.   There's a lot of trial and error going on as they play, which means you have to either sit through it all or just plain ignore the "error" parts and go clean the grill or something. 

If you don't care for particular songs, then that's another story.  Their songs are steeped in blues/country/folk tradition, which may turn some people off.  But overall, I find The Dead to be much more melodic than Phish.  Not that I'm well-versed in Phish's music, but could it be a case of Phish's jams being a little more concise and focused than the Dead's brand of jamming?

Those are good points Ludwig.  I think I like Phish because their low points tend to be few and far-between.  Especially on the classic tours, all the jamming is top-notch and the sets have a great flow to them.  I wouldn't call Phish's jamming "concise," but perhaps "focused" is a good word.  No messing around with bad ideas... find the one that works, communicate with each other, and share in the groove. 

You're right... I think it is the blues/country/folk tradition that turns me off.  Much rather have classic rock/prog/bluegrass/funk/jazz that is Phish.

But I'm still trying.  There has to be something in the Dead that I latch onto... legends deserve credit where credit is due.
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Offline Fluffy Lothario

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2010, 01:44:18 PM »
So after years of loving both DMB and Allman Brothers, I decided to stop being a pussy and try the Grateful Dead. Listening to Live/Dead for the first time now.

(Actually, I tried them for the first time some years ago, but it was Workingman's Dead and I didn't much like it at all. Hence me doing what everyone tells you to do with jam bands and trying a live album as an intro to the band).

Offline Genowyn

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2010, 02:05:00 PM »
In b4 someone comes in here and just posts "YOU AAAAAAAAAAAARE A SUN GODDEEEEEEEESSS"

...my name is Araragi.

Offline skydivingninja

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2010, 02:06:17 PM »
God dammit Genowyn why'd you have to beat me to it.

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2010, 02:08:24 PM »
CUZ YOU AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARE
SO VICIOUS
HURT ME
I CAN TAKE IIIIIIIIT

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Offline sirbradford117

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2010, 02:16:35 PM »
Since I last posted in this thread earlier in 2010, my outlook toward the Dead has COMPLETELY changed.  I tremendously enjoy them now.  It just took me a while to understand the genius behind them.

While I still prefer Phish (and their mastery of groove-based jamming) I have come to a respect for the Dead and their mastery not only if improvisation itself, but of dynamics.
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Offline Fluffy Lothario

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2010, 03:52:26 AM »
So I listened to that album about one and a half times last night. It's definitely music that you can only start to really grasp after a lot of listens, but I really liked it. One thing that struck me was that the improv sounds like something very organic within the performance. As in, it doesn't seem like they're playing a normal song, then at a certain decided point, they go "okay, let's jam", and do that for ten minutes, and then go "ok, let's return to the song". The improv blends in with the "composed" stuff so well, it's hard to tell where one starts and where the other stops, and I imagine it's because it's not so cut-and-dried.

Offline Jakartabassplayer

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2010, 05:15:40 AM »
I need to get into this band.
Recommendations?
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Offline LudwigVan

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2010, 08:27:17 AM »
I need to get into this band.
Recommendations?

I only listen to their live stuff, because that's really where it's at.  The basic jump-off points would probably be Live Dead or Europe '72.  After that, there are literally a ton of live cd's out there, including about 36 Dick's Picks, plus the newer Road Trips series.    

As sirbradford points out, Phish is more of a 'groove-based' jam band, and while the Dead do plenty of those too (check Shakedown Street and Feel Like A Stranger), they also do a lot of the trippier 'space' jams.  Those are MUCH looser in structure and, as a result, much harder to get into and maintain your focus on the music.  A lot of people end up tuning out during their spacey jams.  


So I listened to that album about one and a half times last night. It's definitely music that you can only start to really grasp after a lot of listens, but I really liked it. One thing that struck me was that the improv sounds like something very organic within the performance. As in, it doesn't seem like they're playing a normal song, then at a certain decided point, they go "okay, let's jam", and do that for ten minutes, and then go "ok, let's return to the song". The improv blends in with the "composed" stuff so well, it's hard to tell where one starts and where the other stops, and I imagine it's because it's not so cut-and-dried.


Fluffy, the most organic Dead jams IMO are the ones where they segue from one song into another, for example:

China Cat Sunflower > I Know Your Rider
Scarlet Begonias > Fire On the Mountain
St Steven > The Eleven

Jakarta, as you're a bass player, I think you'd love Phil Lesh.   :tup
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 09:15:31 AM by LudwigVan »
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Offline chknptpie

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2010, 10:07:27 AM »
I wouldn't really consider myself a dead head, although I do like several of their songs. I saw a DSO show and enjoyed it.

Offline sirbradford117

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2010, 10:49:37 AM »
I need to get into this band.
Recommendations?

Go with the three classic live records, Live/Dead, Grateful Dead (sometimes referred to as "Skull and Roses," and Europe '72.  Once you wrap your head around all the tracks on those disks, start randomly browsing through the Grateful Dead section on www.archive.org.  There are thousands of complete shows there to stream.  Enjoy!
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Offline Jakartabassplayer

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2010, 12:10:34 PM »
Thanks guys!
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Offline LudwigVan

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2010, 03:24:14 PM »
I need to get into this band.
Recommendations?

Go with the three classic live records, Live/Dead, Grateful Dead (sometimes referred to as "Skull and Roses," and Europe '72.  Once you wrap your head around all the tracks on those disks, start randomly browsing through the Grateful Dead section on www.archive.org.  There are thousands of complete shows there to stream.  Enjoy!

Ahh yes, forgot about "Skull and Roses".   They originally wanted to call that Skullfuck but the record company nixed that idea.   :lol

Anyway, that album's got a kickin' version of The Other One (very trippy jam), and Wharf Rat (very gospel-like) is also excellent. 
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Offline PlaysLikeMyung

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2010, 09:02:33 PM »
I love Terrapin Station

I wish there were a good, full live version of the song

Offline SPNKr

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2011, 02:52:38 PM »
I've known the existence of this band for so many years. I finally became inspired to check them out thanks to our oh8wrx, thank you ley! So far I've heard Anthem Of The Sun and Aoxomoxoa. Also one of the reasons I chose to check them is because of their known style in jamming/jam band.

Great band.

Offline Fluffy Lothario

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2011, 03:26:40 PM »
Loving Live/Dead at the moment. The first four tracks are where it's at really, but the whole album is good.

This album really leaves me wanting to hear a whole show of theirs, so I think I'll go for one of the Dick's Picks next.

Offline sirbradford117

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2011, 03:24:12 PM »
This album really leaves me wanting to hear a whole show of theirs, so I think I'll go for one of the Dick's Picks next.

You can also browse a large collection of live recordings at https://www.archive.org/details/GratefulDead.  In official partnership with and endorsed by the band, you can download audience recordings and stream soundboards.  Don't be put off by the idea of "audience tape"... those folks know how to record in high quality!
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Offline Fluffy Lothario

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2011, 02:29:06 PM »
Just got my next album by these guys. Rather than pissing around with studio albums or guessing my way through their discography, I went to rateyourmusic.com, took their discography, and ordered it from highest to lowest rating. Take the albums that have really high ratings AND have been rated by a good number of people, and those are probably your key shows, so I'll aim for those ones.

I chose Dick's Pick's Volume 4 - Fillmore East - 2/13-14/70

https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/grateful_dead/dicks_picks_volume_four___fillmore_east___2_13_14_70/

Offline PlaysLikeMyung

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2011, 02:55:28 PM »
That's a good one

Offline sirbradford117

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2011, 06:03:12 PM »
That's a good one

Ho boy... yes it is.  Good place to start.
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Offline Birch Boy

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2011, 07:10:00 PM »
Got introduced to the Grateful Dead about a month ago after long last. Of course I love them. Further just announced a summer tour. My friends and I are probably gonna see them at the Gathering Of The Vibes festival, but may see them in Bethel, NY too.

Offline Fluffy Lothario

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2011, 02:34:03 PM »
I love this band.

Next two albums I'll be checking out:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick%27s_Picks_Volume_36
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fillmore_West_1969

I also picked up what is apparently widely considered their best show ever. No official release, but available as a bootleg (i.e. for free) here:

https://www.archive.org/details/gd1977-05-08.shure57.stevenson.29303.flac16

I don't think I'll listen to this straight away though, might get an official release from the '77 tour before I give it a try.

Offline Birch Boy

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2011, 06:36:26 PM »
Downloading now, thanks. Also purchasing a Friday Gathering Of The Vibes ticket in the next few days to see Further with a bunch of friends.

Offline Fluffy Lothario

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2011, 09:44:44 PM »
Bump.

Next two albums I'll be checking out:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick%27s_Picks_Volume_36
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fillmore_West_1969

Sure enough, those were my next two GD albums.

Got Fillmore West 1969 in late April, great album, though to be honest, that was my third live album of theirs, and all three were from the 1969 and 1970 period, so it was a little underwhelming simply due to the number of repeats. Whereas a lot of people praise it like the Grail, it was just a very good album after the first two.

Due to a drying up of funds for a while there, it's taken this long for me to get around to DP36. On track five now and daaaaaaaaaamn, this is good stuff. I told myself I was only gonna listen to the first set tonight, as the whole show is almost four hours, nearly five hours with the three extra tracks, but who knows?

Offline MasterShakezula

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2012, 09:57:59 AM »
Listening to the Fillmore East '71 set for the first time.  Only a couple songs in, but really digging it, so far. 

Also, to anyone here who actually likes GD:  Hartford '77 is a damn fine couple of hours. 

Offline Fluffy Lothario

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2012, 10:48:45 PM »
I only recently checked out my first May '77 shows (Dicks Picks 29 - 5/19 and 5/21). I have 5/8 and 5/25 on standby. I plan to get Hartford, but I'll be grabbing Dicks Picks 3 first (5/22 at the Sportatorium). I also want to someday tackle the entire stretch of 5/5, 5/7, 5/8 and 5/9.

I still haven't touched '71, it seems like it was an off year for them, or a transitional year, at least, nothing particularly spectacular. The April Fillmore East shows do come across as the highlight of that year everywhere I've read though, certainly in terms of released material.

Offline MasterShakezula

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2012, 10:54:01 PM »
About half of Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses) came from the April Fillmore East shows, the rest coming from other shows from spring 71. 

If you've that album and really like what you hear on it, you'd be doing well by getting the Fillmore East set, assuming you don't have it already.

Offline Fluffy Lothario

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2012, 11:27:56 PM »
Nah, I haven't heard it. Fillmore East April '71 will be my first '71 album, probably, but it could be a while before I get around to it. I just got Dicks Picks 8 today (5/2/70) and ordered The Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack.

Offline Fluffy Lothario

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Re: The Dead Head Thread
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2012, 06:54:14 PM »
Just arrived:

Road Trips Volume 2 Number 3: 6/16/74 and 6/18/74
My favourite thing I've heard by this band so far (outside of maybe Live/Dead) is Dick's Picks 12, which was another two June 1974 shows, so I'm a tad excited about this one.

Europe '72: Grote Zaal, De Doelen, Rotterdam, Holland (5/11/1972)
For those who don't know, every show from the Europe '72 tour has been released, and you can buy all of them from their website. From all the discussion I've followed, there are three shows which seem to be slightly more frequently considered the best: Wembley 4/8, London 5/26 and this one. This has the longest Dark Star ever played (aside from one very loose version in late '69 by Mickey and the Heartbeats, an incarnation of the band that was thrown around after two members were briefly  fired).

I also checked out 11/11/73 at Winterland recently. Set 1 was a bit bland, but Set 2 is the business.

And The Grateful Dead Soundtrack still hasn't been sent some six weeks or so after I ordered it. :lol