"The greatest rock n roll band there ever was." – Bill Graham
The Grateful Dead are the original shareware band letting fans record and copy their music as they please, while also playing more free shows than they could keep track of. They were a word-of-mouth creation that was never in mainstream media, rarely on TV, and never had hits on the radio or glossy magazine ads or stories yet by the early 80s they were packing football stadiums, and would continue to do so every summer until their bandleader finally dropped Dead of exhaustion, 30 years after the full-range experience began.
Out of the vibrant chemical stew that was San Francisco at the time, a myriad of major creative forces were weaving in and out of the Dead's extended family. Ken Kesey and Neal Cassady were pioneering figures in the American novel and its extension into new forms and media. George "Star Wars" Lucas and Francis "Apocalypse Now" Coppola were there on the film side. In fact, it was Coppola hiring the Dead to do the soundtrack for "Apocalypse" that paid for The Rhythm Devils' initial massive Beast that was played on tour the rest of their career.
And some of the family were there mucking around with their "personal computers" in what would later become known as Silicon Valley. Deadheads and family members Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, John Barlow & otherswere some of the first speedsters on the superhighway. The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link (the WELL) had hipsters connected by '85, and birthed now-household-name sites like Craigslist. Just like acid came out of this extremely melting pot and the pioneering locals were doing it long before most of the world ever heard of it, so it was with the internet two decades later. And here we are taking rock n roll on the net one step Furthur.
As recently at Sept. 2009 Steve Jobs was using Grateful Dead albums to showcase his new i-apps, which follows a long tradition of the Dead's music being on the front wave of technology.
The Dead were:
Not to mention the band that sold-out Madison Square Garden more than anyone but sports teams, as of 1995 when the grate trip ended.
Not to mention being the biggest rock n roll band in the world! Well, at least the "biggest" band ever inducted into The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame: there are more members in The Hall as part of the Grateful Dead than any other group.
What Dylan said of Garcia is equally true of The Dead. "There are a lot of spaces and advances between the Carter Family, Buddy Holly, and, say, Ornette Coleman, a lot of universes, but [they] filled them all without being a member of any school."
That so many jazz giants played with them — Ornette Coleman, Jon Hendricks, Etta James, Billy Cobham, Branford Marsalis, David Murray, Nigerian master drummer Babatunde Olantunji, Miles Davis's Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira being an ongoing and honorary Rhythm Devil is a sign of their emersion in the idiom and respect for Garcia's 6-stringed saxophone and electric bluegrass band.
There's very little early live footage of what became one of the most popular live acts in the history of music. The only way to really experience them was to actually go to a show which wasn't that hard since they were playing everywhere all the time. There are performance snippets in several documentaries of the era, but the bands not in Woodstock orMonterey Pop, and they decided against stepping on the Gimme Shelter stage at the last minute.
There are many reasons why the Dead never did TV. For one thing, they didnt do show-biz real well. They were pickers, they were grinners, and they weren't prime-time actors. They looked like a gang of unbathed bikers whod only make it on TV when they got arrested. As Garcia said, "Press people would take one look at Pigpen and run." Record company president Joe Smith said, The Dead used to frighten everybody at Warners. The name frightened people, the way they were.When theyd come to see me, everybody would hide, and lock the doors of their offices.
And how can you not love a band that does that to its record company?
Also, almost all TV shows in the 60s and 70s required bands to lip-synch, and since the Dead never played a song the same way twice that was sort of out. As Garcia put it, "Television was just the wrong form for the Grateful Dead. I mean, it's about enough time for us to tune up. Also, television is kind of reductive. The band playing on television seems reduced. It just doesn't come through."
Then there was the problem of their management a rather generous term who were already pretty suspicious of The Man. Add in a healthy daily dose of Northern Californias skepticism of the mainland and you werent gonna see many TV contracts gettin' signed. That their only '60s appearance was in Hugh Hefner's fake penthouse, and thatthey wouldn't get around to actually doing any national TV until Saturday Night Live 13 years after they started, is perfectly indicative of the slowest rising rock n roll band in the world," as Jerry once dubbed them.
Also, the Dead didn't have any hit songs.
Or anybody who was particularly good looking.
Or any sense of fashion or style whatsoever.
Or have any remote concept of the 3-minute song.
So, . . . they became the biggest live act in history.
And here it is on film.
This is a magical and lucky time to be alive as two of the Gratest instruments of change have been dovetailing each other for the last year.The Dead, who have not toured since the last Presidential election year, 2004, reunited not once but twice for benefits for Barack Obama once at the historic Warfield in San Francisco, and the other in the swing state of Pennsylvania.
On election night, Bob Weir was in Washington and joined in the impromptu street party that started outside the White House. The other bandleader, Phil Lesh, was watching the Dancin In The Streets in New York City.And the next night, Lesh and his band played the first show in the new world, and he opened it with a dedication, something the Dead have rarely if ever donein their 30 years of live shows. Lesh: Two days ago, we lived through and participated in a turning point in history, as important as anything that weve seen in our lives. And I bet everybody in this room was a part of that in some way. So, I want to dedicate this show tonight to that uniquely American spirit, which was just thrown up, at the perfect moment, with this man, and this movement, and these people. So, here's to you! Followed by chants of, U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A., at an undergroundGrateful Dead concert in the core of Manhattan!
Just as Bob Weir had played at Clinton & Gores Inaugural festivities, the reformed Dead played at one of the official Obama balls on inauguration night in D.C., laying down a perfectly in synch set of Dancing In The Streets--> Uncle John's Band —> Sugar Magnolia —> Eyes of the World, The Wheel —> Touch of Grey —> Box of Rain.
The RockPeaks Rankings for Movies, TV appearances, and Live Video
The most essential portrait of the artist is listed first, followed by the second best crystallization, and so on.
We give weight to:
Number of live performances if a movie, show or video has ten songs and another has two, the one with 5-times the material is generally a more complete portrait of the artist; and is usually something the artist had more control over.
Setting -- live footage in front of a regular concert audience is usually a more accurate portrayal than a TV studio setting.
Importance or Rarity if either, thats major.
The performance itself is then mixed into the above ingredients and served in sequence.
The Magic at The Movies:
10 songs, filmed in Oct. 16-20, 1974, at Winterland, in SF; released in 1977; re-released on DVD 2004
The Definitive and First Portrait of the First Band of America
This is the project Garcia worked on longer than any other in his life. The years-long overly-expensive endeavor was undertaken because Garcia was a lifelong movie buff and always wanted to make a movie, and because the band was either breaking-up or wrapping-up the first long phase of their career. The fantastic playful impressionistic editing and crazy-grate sound mix is Jerrys vision of The Grateful Dead in motion pictures.
This is Garcia creating a cinematic version of a Grateful Dead concert. He knew what he wanted, had the vision in his head, and selected the songs, the versions, the sequences, the pacing, the tone. It captures the whole gestalt, in all its psychedelic splendor and facets, including the band's close relationship with its colorful community that's kept on truckin' even beyond Garcias lifetime. If youre a film buff, the editing is to die for. Legendary music critic Ralph Gleason summed it up with, This is the closest thing youll get to a Grateful Dead concert. And thank-Jerry they made this, because once they came back from their hiatus they began their rapidly growing accent in popularity and were playing less and less these intimate venues.
The songs are up-tempo, and the massive multi-faceted scene is captured in a playful, dancing flowering glade, long before the mountainous stadiums came into view. And the real beauty is this:
If youre climber of RockPeaks, you appreciate a clear view of musicians performing their magic. The great downfall of this mighty climb is that so many of the best performances were never captured on film. And the ones that were, so often have a director showing anything but the interplay and soloing of the main players. The Dead, who were known to incorporate more genres of music into rock n roll than any other band, were also blessed with a band member of cinematic vision (who also later became a painter). So, a musician in fact, the bandleader and main composeredited and mixed the movie.
Which goes sumpthin like this . . .
Seven Famous Minutes of Psychedelic Animation set to famous-comic-book-lover Garcias Late For Supper, and Eep Hour U.S. Blues.
A rockin One More Saturday Night Bill Graham introducing the crew!
A grate GDTRFB with footage of the road crew and the wall of sound Phil Lesh explaining his bass.
Truckin' with the early road warrior Deadheads outside of Winterland, and the joy of them walking in.
Jack Kerouac quote on the wall!
Pass here and go on
Youre On The Road to Heaven.
A fantastically sick * Eyes of The World *
A joyously smokin * Sugar Magnolia * including the famous rest captured in a continuous shot a happy punchy percussive Sunshine Daydream.
Playin In The Band originally an hour-long version (according to the commentary) and whittled down to a 20-minute cinematic version incorporating interviews, Including a smiling and candid Garcia, and the whole Dead scene explored within the jam.
Stella Blue a real nice soliloquy.
Casey Jones the "Steal Your Face" version appropriately upbeat Garcia having a high time.
Space Morning Dew typical snails pace building to nice peak. With additional synthesizer keyboardist Ned Lagin.
Mickey Hart joins in for a great Johnny B. Goode his first time back with the band in 3 1/2 years.
With Mickey and Lagin the band is up to an octet.
DVD 7 Bonus Songs:
Dark Star nice, clear, lively, jazzy, percussive space & jam
The Other One funky n punchy, ending cut off (like most songs are)
Weather Report Suite (Let It Grow) may be the best played of the bunch only a year old at this point, played with precision and enthusiasm.
Uncle Johns Band The Dead meet CSN. their definitive anthem all too rare in filmed performance.
China Rider Weirs joke about Dead standard Time average version
Scarlet Begonias nice but not over-the-top.
Sugaree basic although by a young n skinny Jerry.
A Look Back (DVD Bonus Documentary)
(filmed in 1974 and 2003, released in 2004)
Very candid interviews from immediately after the Winterland shows with Garcia, Weir, Barlow and Kreuztmann; and contemporary interviews with Kreutzmann & Donna together, Weir, and Parrish.
And it ends with this amazing Bill Graham quote about them being an environmental band. And something like, Im not really a big rock n roll fan, but Im fan of the Grateful Dead.
Portrait of Garcia as A Young Man
The most complete film portrait of early Garcia is Festival Expressthe documentary of the 1970 train trip across Canadathe "Woodstock for musicians." It was the summer they were recording American Beauty and Workingman's Dead, at the end of all the 60's growth and before the 70s started. It's just about Garcia's richest hour.
It opens with the Dead doing an energetic acoustic Don't Ease Me In, with a smiling bouncing Garcia on lead vocals, and Pig on harp.
The only other complete song in the film is a crisp New Speedway Boogiefresh after it was written, with Garcia in the zone and Pigpen blowing harp.
And don't miss the all-star CC Riderwith a beaming Garcia, Ian & Sylvia, Amos Garrett, Delaney, Buddy Cage, Kreutzmann and others.
There's also Garcia making a long announcement to the audience from the longest rap I ever heard him give that wasn't a song. There's a snippet of them of them playing Friend of the Devil in the park, Garcia doing Cold Jordan with Sylvia Tyson, an Acid Test Hall of Fame No More Cane on the Bazoswith a blazing Danko, Janis, Jerry & Bob, and loads of footage of Garcia playing in all different formations in the on-train jams, with Weir, Danko, Buddy Guy and others.
The DVD "Extras":
The single performance masterpiece of the movie is on the "extras" on the DVDthe to-die-for Hard To Handlemaybe Garcia's best solo ever captured on film.
There's also has an Easy Windfrom Winnipeg, again, in the summer of love that these songs bloomed.
9 songs; filmed 1990-91; released 2000
Portrait of The Artist as An Old Man
This is a loving, heart-warming home-movie of Garcia revisiting his roots in music and friendship picking up wooden instruments and playing bluegrass again with his musical birth-brother, David Grisman.
Were lucky David's family had the cameras rolling at all, so let's give them a pass on some of the self-aggrandizing editing. This film ended up being the last intimate shots of Jerrys home life. The laughing and smiling you see in Garcia are his own perfect eulogy to his stadium rock star fallacy legacy.
The Grateful Dead were an electric bluegrass band, as David Crosby correctly coined them. And this is how it all started, when the boys would sit around and pick-a-while.
The film is a beautiful story of old friends reconnectingfriends both in human and art form. The gods and his instincts were pulling Jerry home . . . to the music that first turned him on.
All of the actual performance songs are complete except that interview segments are woven through all of them. (Although in many of the clips online, it's just the performances, sans interviews.) But the interview stuff is pretty revealing and inspiring. Theres loads of candid Garcia me getting chunks of time is really a bitch. And there's wonderful Vassar Clements observationsJerry had that little lope. Thats the only way I know how to say it. You would think, He aint gonna make it back there in time, but he always hit it on the right spot to give it dynamics.plus Bela Fleck, Peter Rowan and everybody else who played with them.
Songs Performed in the Movie: (all either Warfield Theater in SF 12/7/91; or the Sweetwater club in Marin 12/18/90)
Grateful Dawg (Grisman-Garcia)(an alternate version of which can be seen here)
The Sweet Sunny Southboth on banjo Jerry lead vocal
Dawgs Waltz instrumentalJerry acoustic, David mandolin Sweetwater
* Sittin Here In Limbo Garcia lead vocal and acoustic guitar; full 4-piece band
* Off To Sea Once More old sea shanty Garcia lead vocal and guitar
Jenny Jenkins in the studio Garcia lead vocals and acoustic guitarfrom Not For Kids Only sessions
* a 16 minute Arabia beautiful instrumental, coulda been on side two of Blues For Allah, one of the obvious highlight gems of the movie, David mandolin, Garcia guitar, middle eastern, Cubanlong opus at the Warfield
* The Thrill Is Gone the really grate B&W video they made Garcia walks along the street and kicks the bum Grisman sleeping under newspapers by a garbage can they walk along alley like old bums, hiding in doorway very Kerouac in the railroad earth they huddle beside a poster of them in their better days all suited up and lookin dash> them playing in the nightclub in their prime.
Friend of The Devil Garcia lead vocal and acoustic guitar, David mandolin
There are some absolutely grate outtakes and rehearsals online:
Oh, The Wind and Rain the glorious, beautiful, hypnotic medieval song
Ripple the song Hunter wrote the lyruics for in London, and Garcia wrote the music along the railroad tracks on the Festival Express trip.
I'm TroubledGarcia & Grisman duet at the Warfield.
Eat My Dust Warfield rehearsal of the up-tempo instrumental with Garcia on banjo
Take Memore Warfield rehearsal, Jerry on lead vocal
And from the Sweetwater Christmas Party when the band "debuted" together:
So What? Yup. The Miles Davis tune. Done bluegrass. It's lousy video, but it's such a crazy Jerry choice, and a pretty great version, done in a tiny room with friends.
Russian Lullaby the grate and rare Jerry solo tune. Done bluegrass. Again, crappy video, but it's just such an oddball combination, done around the campfire in Marin.
7 songs; filmed Aug 27th, 1972
A Latter-day Acid Afternoon in Pranksterville
"Fun & Loving on the Campaign Trail '72"
An unreleased 90-minute movie of a classic Dead show, sometimes referred to as The Field Trip, or as some maintain, the Orange Sunshine Daydream for the juice in the orchard that afternoon.
This was yet another Grateful Dead benefit, this one for Kesey's family dairy, held outdoors near their free-range homestead at the Old Renaissance Faire Grounds in Veneta, Oregon.
Although it ended up 7 cameras, as one of the producer/directors Sam Field said, "The plan was to develop a signature visual style of representing the band: a camera for each of the 16 channels (at least!) emphasizing the visual kinetics of the music making itself as well as the enormous open communication within the band." Fortunately, the original footage has been lovingly and effectively re-mastered, and many juicy buds have found their way online.
An experimental film of an experimental band playing at an experimental all-day acid test on the Merry Pranksters home turfwhat could possibly go wrong there?
How bout the weather? No Woodstockian rain, but it was 103 devastating degrees so it wasnt just the acid that was melting everything. Plus, the bandstand faced the beating sun so the strings and skins just fried in the early going. But this performance, from the audio alone, is regularly cited in many Top 10 All-time Show lists.
Phil wrote in his book how he loved playing outdoor shows in the daytime better than anything. But you'll also hear him say it from the stage right here(1:30 in). And P.S.don't missthe magnificent monster of an 11-knobbed bass he's playing!
Anothur Cool Dead story:
There's this young filmmaker, Phil DeGuere, a graduate of the Bay-area Stanford Film Schoolwants to make a movie of the psychedelic everything happening at the time. So -- this is early '71 -- he goes by early to the Keystone one day where Jerry's playing with Merl. Meets him while he's waiting outside to get in for soundcheck, tells him he wants to make a movie of the band, and Jerry goes, "Why? We just stand there."
The guy persisted until Jerry finally went, "Well, I guess somebody's gonne do it sooner or later." And with that resounding endorsement and firm business contract, this film begins.
Then the guy happens to find his way up to Kesey's scene in Oregon that summer, and Boomthere's the psychedelic setting for his no-budget epic.
The film was only screened at a few small film festivals and indi theaters, and never released theatrically because the Dead sadly never approved it. In a happier post-script, this same filmmaker, Phil De Guere, went on to some success in Hollyweird, and when The Twilight Zone was remade in the mid-80s he brought the Dead in to perform the theme-song and score several episodes.
And in an even happier p.s.: Key-Z and the filmmakers got together and digitized and cleaned up the whole thing, and man does it sing.
This very psychedelic film is pretty close to the Epic Bus Trip movie. Its the style, the people, the music, the setting, the mixing, the editing. Its a Bus Movie On The Farm instead of On The Road. The Road came to Kesey. Its the Plastic Ono Band of Pranksterhood Tootling the Multitudes with the Dead as the house band, once again.
Home Sweet Dosey Home.
The Songs In The Movie:
The lineup is the unusual and wonderful Quintet of:
Garcia, Weir, Lesh, Kreutzmann & Keith on grand piano.
(No Mickey, Pigpen, or Donna)
Playin' in The Band the 2nd-set opener that day the opening of the movie hereits a stellar 18 minute trip on audio, and most of its in the moviea rockin version set to Woodstockian footage of the rustic stage being built in a field, and campers setting up in the woodsand all edited in crazy Key-Z PranksterVision.
Promised Land the opening song of the Afternoon concert, with Lieutenant Babbs emceeing, Bob dissing him, and Phil praising the great outdoors.
China Cat Sunflower back when this was a rippin' 1st-set song, played Crisply outdoors and extremely electricjust a dandy, sparkling version. Includes a bonus Phil-cam on the extras. Oh, and Warning: Viewer Discretion Advised: Major Nudity Ahead. I thought I was back at Woodstock 94 for a minute. But the editing's done so effectively you're numb by it after a while, just like being there.
The online version of the fantasticI Know You Rider seems to have vanished like the wild geese in the West. It's too damn bad, cuz it features lots of classic, historic Prankster footage of Kesey tootling the multitudes from the bus-top through New York City, and the Denver road hero Cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus to never-ever land.
Jack Straw in its first year, and still more the country Byrds harmony than the anthemic Neil Young rocker it became.
Dark Staran epic 32-minute version the best-ever captured on film interspersed with psychedelic organic and animal artwork and animation, mixed into shots of the show's wilderness scenes at sunset. And Then! Straight from New Yorks Village Vanguard! Heres a Bass-&-Drum Duetevolving into a gentle trio with the grand pianothen a quiet quartet with the electric jazz guitar before finally resolving back into a 5-piece jazz-rock band soaring through your dreams.
Part 1 The Spaceship Lifts Off
Part 2 The Visuals Kick-In
Part 3 The Jazz Quarteropens with bass-&-drum duet
Part 4 the trip ends up in El Paso
Greatest Story Ever Told the 2nd-set-closer from the afternoon avec a rippin' Jerry climactic lead, all set to great Key-Zian editing of the family scene and load-out, the wrap-up of The Test. And it finally hit me all the shots of the guy who looks like Kesey but isn't it's Chuck! His brother, who ran the dairy the benefit was for.
The full 8/27/72 Concert For Kesey at the Old Renaissance Faire GroundsVeneta, Oregon:
2 songs; filmed summer of 71; released 1972; released on DVD 2009
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Bill Graham was the greatest show producer rock n roll ever knew. He essentially invented the concert business, and did it better than anyone before or since.
Imagining our musics history without him is like trying to imagine it without The Beatles. They were both born to do what they did. And they both changed everything.
As many would argue, Americas most fertile ground for music was the San Francisco Bay Area, this movie is when the gardener was closing up shop and showcasing only the most glorious bouquets that sprung from that extraordinarily rich harvest that was still in full blossom when this was filmed in 1971.
Theres some Jerry warming up n stuff, but the Deadly gems of the movie are two of the rippinest versions of Casey Jones and Johnny B. Goode ever caught on film, including Jerrys classic intro to Johnny, Alright, folks. Heres the one its all about. And they just give er. One time for Bill.
Here's how the movie opens, with great performances by bands you might not be familiar withand welcome to Bill Graham's magic.
Here's the classic scene from the movie where a band member comes to Bill's office to try to get on the bill for the closing shows. As well BillBoz Scaggs conversations.
Here's the conclusion of the Bill vs. Boz Scagg scene.
Here's a Dead-heavy part of the movie GDTRFB --> Not Fade Awayset to images of the Fillmore and the posters over the years.
1 song; filmed 1969; released 1970; DVD with extras 2009
The Founding Father of nation-building music movies, and still the Gold Standard.
Re-released in 2009 with the expanded Directors Cut, but more importantly for Deadheads, a DVD Extras disc with the entire 37 minute Turn On Your Lovelight.
The original movie, of course, only featured the Dead walking from the helicopters, and Garcias infamous, Marijuana Exhibit A.
The band have maligned their own appearance since they walked off the stage, but there are several things of note here.
1. Theres actually multi-camera film of an entire 37 minute performance of a complete song the Dead played at the most famous concert in rock history.
2. They're not as gawd-awful as you've heard.
3. Lovelight was the last song of their set, and the electric shocks and walkie-talkies through the PA have mostly subsided.
4. This is the Dead's classic Magnificent Seven line-up with both Mickey and Tom Constanten.
If you commit yourself to this Full Half-hour Episode of Desperate Bandmates, there are some interesting pay-offs, mostly in the second half: they do hit a couple smokin' grooves; Garcia pulls off a couple nice solos in the midst of the chaos; there's a wacky, cookin GarciaKreutzmann duet; there's a cool, long PigpenWeir vocal duet towards the end; and it actually builds to a nicely chaotic, very Grateful Dead climaxthe last 7 minutes of which can be seen here.
And FYI: their entire Woodstock set was 5 songs:
St. Stephen, Mama Tried, Dark Star, High Time, Lovelight
1967 7 min. experimental film by Robert Nelson; released on DVD in the Grateful Dead Scrapbook, 2009
A Great Grateful Dead Story:
So theres this filmmaker, Robert Nelson, makin films of the San Francisco Mime Troupe at the same time & place Bill Grahams birthing his producing skills, and a band called The Warlocks are playing with lightshows and psyches.
Then the guy gets a grant from the Belgium Film Archive to make a movie, and as he told Blair Jackson, They were just stating to happen, so I called them up and said, Look, I have to make this film. Can I come over to the practice studio? They said sure and that was that. Things were much simpler then.
So, he makes this completely psychedelic visual interpretation of the band set to rippin studio outtakes of Sittin On Top of The World, Cold Rain & Snow, and Golden Road and get this it wins an award at a Belgian film festival the next year!
The filmmaker had it forever, then, as he puts it, I was in financial trouble so I decided to sell the rights. I called up Garcia and asked him if he wanted them. I didnt really know what it was worth or how much to ask, so I just came up $11,000. Garcia said, No problem, man. I didnt know if I asked too much or too little. When the check came a few weeks later, Jerry sent me $15,000.
This full story appears in the magnificent Grateful Dead Encyclopedia by Oliver Trager.
3 hypnotic minutes of the film are online, and more than one viewing is recommended. Some very early fast-fingered Jerry rippin right along Hwy 66.
The entire film is available in The Grateful Dead Scrapbook (2009) in the accompanying DVD.
by Linda & Paul McCartnery -- 1996 --
This is a 9 minute movie made by Paul using rolls of Linda's photographs of the Dead from 1967 and 68. Paul filmed the photographs making a "photofilm" in 1995, and was in touch with Jerry about it and was just about to show it to him when when he died. McCartney set Linda's 140 pictures to instrumental passages from The Other One, New Potato Caboose, and Alligator, but sadly the film has never surfaced, or anywhere else for that matter. First one to find it wins a free cup of kool-aid.
Directed by Richard Lester (of A Hard Day's Night and Help! fame), this is a Hollywood love story set in hip San Francisco, starring George C. Scott and Julie Christie. Theres one scene where the Dead are bystanders on the sidewalk, but more interestingly theres a version of them circa 67 doing a pretty psychedelic Viola Lee Blues for about a minute on screen, and then it continues for 2 more in the background.
-- performances first broadcast on TV (in some cases also later released on other media)
The Box Rained The Dead on TV
The Dead are really the only ...working alchemists.
Ken Kesey, at Closing of Winterland, 2 AM New Years morning, '79
25 songs; filmed New Years Eve 12/31/78 Jan 1st /79; 2-DVD set released 2003
This is an amazing home movie of our Cathedral's farewell. In the wake of Bill Grahams powers of persuasion, the entire historic show was broadcast live on San Franciscos PBS station, KQED, and NPR radio both pioneers in music broadcasting and thus this show became one of the most commonly circulated bootlegs. I still have my 3-album vinyl version.
This is the only 1970s show they have in the vault of this quality a 4-camera shoot with 24-channel audio. They had to wait for technology to evolve to the point they could synch them up properly and remaster the whole thing. Dick Latvala, of "Dick's Picks" fame, attended this show as a fan, and is actually interviewed by the roving reporter, as seen in the Behind The Scene's "extra." Until the day he died in 1999, he referred to this as "the greatest night of my life." In fact, the entire DVDand its restoration is deadicated to him.
Bill Graham liked to throw rock n roll parties, and was really good at it. Winterland was the set for hisLast Waltzmasterpiece two years earlier, as well as the last-ever performances of acts from Lenny Bruce to the Sex Pistols. Furthur, the Grateful Dead on New Years had become Bills favorite show of the yearhosting 8 of them in a row at Winterlandincluding serving breakfast at dawn to 5,000 Deadheads every year.
Their first shows at Winterland was sharing the bill with Chuck Berry. And even though the band would tour for nearly 20 more years, Winterland was still the venue they played more than any other by the end of their days. 59 times.
The gig came during a tumultuous time on the Deads roller-coaster of madness. They'd just played at the Great Pyramid in Egypt. A month ago they made their first-ever national television appearance onSaturday Night Live,where they of course became fast friends with the Animal House of the East, the original SNLcrew. Their new alter-egos, The Blues Brothers, promptly flew out as a surprise opener for this New Years party. And a month later, Keith and Donna would be out of the bandtheir first personnel change since Pigpen died.
And in the middle of the whirligig, friendsKen Kesey, John Cipollina, Matthew Kelly & busfulls of others came through to help them bring it home. Jerry is dancing on air with a cat-caught-the-birdsong smile for the entire show. And funky Phil is wonderfully high in the mix thanks to Mickey Hart mixing the rhythm section himself. And it'sthe first SF Dark Star in 1,535 days. I read it on a sign.
Dead shows were always a collage of different musical idiomsand it's all wonderfully on display here: rockin' Johnny B. Goode Dead, electric-country Dead, jazz-space Dead, soulful blues Dead, trance drumming Dead, a cappella church Dead . . . the diversity of music they played on any given night has got to be close to unparalleled in the rock field.
As Weir put it, Winterland was a cauldron a place you came to cook. There was a musical intensity to that room. It was to our music what the Apollo was to R&B.
Bill Graham, After Winterland was gone, nothing would ever replace it.
Dan Aykroyds improv-riffing countdown to midnight while Bill Graham as "Father Time" flies in on the giant joint and the balloons and confetti fall . . .
Sugar MagnoliaJerry looks surprisingly happy and animated
--> Scarlet Begonias Donna impressively only comes in when she should and adds a nice harmony and subtle scat chanting.
--> Fire On The Mountain reggae-riffin', soulful, classic; confetti-haired Garcia singin' soul; Phil gratefully high in the mix
Me & My Uncle fairly scorching
--> Big River fast tempo Johnny Cash; nice speedy country solo by Jerry, and some Jerry Lee Lewis by Keith
Friend of the Devil done almost as a duet with Donna Jean
Its All Over Now country-soul, the band's locked-in, Jerry and Keith again trade off bluesy bar leads
Stagger Lee fanfreakintasticquintessential Dead-interprets-traditional-song done with particular zip, passion and electrotude
From the Heart of Me from the then-current Shakedown album, rare Donna song & lead vocals
Sunshine Daydream wrapping up the start of the set in a sweet suite
Samson & Delilah spry and polyrhythmic; and of course, "tear this old building down" sounded particularly poignant and sad
Ramble On Rose soulful, passionate, gentle
I Need A Miracle with Kingfish and Midnites' Matthew Kelly on harp, who also played on the just-released studio version on Shakedown Streethe and Weir do a wailing duet that's the highlight of the song and turns it into a really special version
--> Lady With A Fan / Terrapin Station gawd-damn gorgeous, light, ethereal
--> Playin In The Band Phil prevailing, Jerry wailing, the whole band sailing
* --> Drums Total Highlight. The Dead give percussion its due. Ken Keseyin his Thunder Machine join in, workin' up a floating harmonica riff into the boys' tribal ride on their early Beast before Coppola funded it.Then Sly & The Family Stone's Greg Errico joins in on drums, and War founder Lee Oskar on harp, and the Rhythm Devils are up to 5, not counting all the Pranksters, and the groove is on. Phat funky Phil juggles into the circus. Zappa's face looking down!
* --> Not Fade Away a Wild segue into this puppythe drummer and harp stay on, and John Cipollina joins in the funk with a sweet-pickin' lead, and Matthew Kelly again hoppin' harmonica happy now an 11-piece bandplaying in Buddy Holly land . . .
--> Around and Around Billy actually turns his kit over to Errico! You don't see that every day. it's down to merely a 10-piece and both Matthew and Cipollina step right up and it's an arms-in-the-air exhausting climax
Dark Star hallucininatory, gemicious, Philharmonic
--> The Other One thunderingly psychedelic
--> Dark Staroutro -- brief instrumental only
--> Wharf Rat beautiful, gentle, soulful, and sung at home as it should be
--> St. Stephen smilingly phat and funky;Donna sounds beautiful;just before it was essentially dropped from their repertoire. Set to some early psychedelic video effects.
Good Lovinaudience interaction, long-building feel-good climax
Casey Jonesfull blazing foot-stompin' rocker Keith on the boogie piano
Johnny B. Goode Jumpin' Jerrys! crazy crashin' rock n roll climax with the lights the turned.
Bill Graham's patented and beautiful outro. "The greatest rock n roll band there ever was. The Grateful Dead."
And We Bid You Goodnight a cappella -- beautiful -- there's no film footage, only stills which only makes the final farewell more hauntingly etherial.
Bill comes out and gives a eulogy to the night, the hall, and the people. And ends with, "You can stay as long as you like," and proceeds to serve everyone breakfast.
This is one of the diamond gems that keep us searching every hidden chapter of the best DVDs. Sometimes we find a glistening jewel.
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD:
So, . . . its 2 A.M. Its PBS. Production standards that make Monty Python look serious. Some shower curtains and mismatching chairs. First sets over, theyre filling air until the second. Mickey and Bobby come by to help fill, and Weir tells the exact same freakin stories he does on the accompanying Remembering Winterland doc. 25 years later! Its funny to hear how theyve morphed.
But the Diamond Gem is: Ken Kesey wanders in cuz hes trying to catch Mickey to explain the Thunder Machine hes got rigged up for tonights show. As you know, nobody walks up to the Dead and goes, Im gonna tell how its gonna be. But heres Kesey doing just that with Mick. On camera. Priceless.
The stunned interviewers mumble out a few questions to Ken.
How do you do?
Kesey: I do alright.
Eventually Ken eases them in and riffs poetic on The Boys and Everything. The Dead have built a reputation of being able to stroke a thing just the way that the wind strokes the clouds until finally it attracts the lightning out of the ground.
And how the band has a tremendous backlog of integrity and could sit back and rest but they dont. The Dead are really the only working alchemists.
A lost 5-minute treasure.
Bill Graham Interview:
7 minute stage-front interview with Captain Bill and his final Winterland clipboard. Articulate, honest, historic, reflective, poetic, philosophic, campfire, funny.
Grate 30-minute documentary on the history of the hall with Mickey, Bob and Parish, and TONS of archival footage showing the venue in its various incarnations. There are nice segments on Cipollina, and Dave Nelson; and Bobby on how Steve Winwood just wiped us out with his playing, while Mickey does a nice riff on Cream. Plus, theres a series of interviews done by a local TV crew, where the guy talks to lots of people outside and in, including Bill Grahams sister Ester, whos serving the food on the free kitchen and is happy as can be. Its a home movie about our Cathedrals farewell.
The Blues Brothers:
2 great live songs. Thanks to Saturday Night Live original Tom Davis, The Grateful Dead made their television debut on SNL the month before this New Years show. As you can imagine, those were two circuss of a feather, so the Brothers flew out, with all their original all-star band, and did an opening set. The DVD has great high energy gonzo Belushi versions of Soul Man and B Movie Boxcar Blues. Theres also some Rubber Biscuits still bouncing off the wall out there.
The making of the DVD:
A good 8-minute overview by David Lemieux and Jeffrey Norman on how they refit this 70s prototype for the new superhighway. Learn fun insight! Indulge your inner geek! Impress your friends! with stories like Mickey Hart mixing the drums himself
New Riders of the Purple Sage:
The sacrifice for having The Blues Brothers was the New Riders set got bumped to earlier in the night and their set was not filmed. But they do include a collage of images to the great Glendale Train NRPSplayed that night. If you dont know the song, you should check this out. Plus, theres a rippin Buddy Cage pedal steal lead. Just like The Blues Brothers, theyre a contemporary incarnation of traditional music. It's ... The Country Brothers.
Copenhagen April 17, 1972
one hour TV show
Location: Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
"Europe 72: The Movie"
13 songs captured on film from one night of Europe 72.
This is great quality video and sound of a brief peak in the Deads symphony! And its a surprisingly well directed multi-camera shoot, with just a fine mix.
According to official Deadographer Dennis McNally, TV from the Tivoli was a 1-hour show. They filmed more than that, but parts of the show were not, including the entire 3rd set.
This is the Dead in a beautiful small theater, like they played so often in those days. The lift-off gigs in New York were at the Academy of Music, later known as the Palladium, a gorgeous and typically small theater where the fans can lean on the stage and its all a groove. And here it is captured on film.
Denmark was right at the beginning of the Europe 72 tour, the first country after their three landing gigs in England. This Carnegie-like Tivoli Gardens theater was filled with hash smoke, and you can hear both the refined clapping from the back and see the joyous dancing in the front.
The band is still in their prime diversity period with the Pigpen blues, the Bobby country, the Jerry jazz, and the traditional ballads and the risque barroom rave-ups. Theres Keith on an opera house grand piano, and Phil with his new 11-knobbed bass, dancing and singing like a kid at Christmas.
The Dead go shopping!
Youd never normally notice what the Dead wore on stage, but Jerry in a designer turtleneck t-shirt? Keith in a fancy dress shirt? Bill in crisp new suit-wear? Bob is his girlfriends pants?
The Tale of the Clown Masks:
The dream of a European tour had been floating just below the ceiling for years, and now the circus was in the three rings of New York preparing for Le Grande Lift-off. Parish and Sparky made a run from the Village to the party stores of Times Square and loaded up on bags-full of clown-wear, so everywhere the circus went, there were multiple levels of clowning possibilitiesout the bus windows, through the hotel lobbies, and occasionally Bozo right on the stage.
Me and Bobby McGeea standard reading to warm up the fingers.
Chinatown Shufflea new Pigpen original that he sung almost every show for 3 months (Mar-May 72) and then was never heard from again. VERY country for Pig. With the self-reliant refrain of, Dont expect no help at all.
China Catnice, jazzy Jerry sporting a huge smile, in the groove, boppin back and forth
I Know You Rider The singers really get into it, and with Phil still in strong voice the 3-part harmonies sound as good as ever.
Jack Straw typical, precision perfect, beautiful harmonies.
* Hes Gone 1st time played. And thank the media gods at least the nights debut made it into the TV broadcast and survived. Pigpen on organplaying on a song that would be sung for him less than a year later. Its an odd place to debut a songin the middle of their first hectic (or is that, heretic?) tour of Europe.
Next Time You See Me Pigpen standin center stage on lead vocalsflashbulbs going off when the scary cowboy-hat-wearing wild west American steps from the shadowsincluding a nice harmonica solo. Keith on tasty pianoand it looks like Garcias signaling him to go ahead and kick it up another notch.
One More Saturday Night reminds me of Garcias line about Bertha: It sounds like a hit song to me. 3 minutes of speed-boogie with hooks. Get prepared, its gonna be a party tonight. Including some almost-silly Garcia muscle-rock lead. Good; but the Beat-Club version the next week was even livelier.
It Hurts Me Too Pigpen on lead vocals and harp solo at center stage, with a slice of Jerry on the slide.
Ramble On RoseGarcia in strong voice singing what could be the theme song for these rambling American Beauty roses blooming in the strangest of places all over Europe. The song cites great cities of the world, and the monsters and pranksters you meet on the road, pacing the halls and climbing the walls, until you finally realize, The grass aint greener, the wine aint sweeter, either side of the hill.
El Pasothe Marty Robbins classic, done typically Dead. As it comes to an end, out come the clown masks.
* Big Railroad BluesJust a great song anyway, then add to it everybody in their clown masks! For that goof alone, this is the highlight of the show. And of course dont miss the monster roadies doing their best Quasimotos around the amps.
Truckinvery On-The-Road, and what a long strange trip its been already! And their European vacationI mean, tourhad just started. This is the 2nd set closer, and the whole floor is up and dancing to the bands big hit!
2 songs; taped Jan. 18th, 1969; aired July 10th, 1969; DVD release 2007
Liquid Owlsey vs. fake Scotch.
Real renegades vs. LA extras.
One of the great mismatches in television history. But then, anybody vs. The Grateful Dead at this point was steamrolled by an circus of dosing dancing leprechauns.
Both the shoot and the hoot were historic, and theres loads of grate stories on the St. Stephen page under Resources.
And one week after this they laid down Live Dead shows.
These are your prime suspects in the Grateful Dead mystery.
Theres a clear-faced Garcia trying to accommodate 50s-hip Hef, before he and Constanten climb the sweetest Mountains of the Moon.
And then theres the psychedelicly sick St. Stephen that well, you'll see.
4 songs; taped and broadcast May 7th, 1981
Other than the rare times that entire Dead concerts were broadcast on TV -- almost always PBS (KQED) out of SF -- this and the Playboy After Darkare The Deads Gratest, Weirdest, Most Memorable TV moments.
Sure theres the 4 acoustic songs in close-up Technicolor, but this is historic for the interviews. This is the only time Kesey and Garcia were ever interviewed together, side-by-side. Like Lincoln and Grant. the philosopher king and the field general, just after the Victory at Les Palais de Radio City.
These are two warriors in their prime. Kesey is 45, and Garcia all of 38, trim, all in black including spiffy sports coat. Except for his orange shoelaces. And then the four Anything-goes Marx brothers are assembled in front of the most pliable host on television, and they all riff with it.
There were 3 interview segments, and 3 music segments.
Kesey & Jerry together for the rarest, coolest TV interview this side of history. If youre not aware of Keseys influence on The Dead, and, really, Western culture, let this be a springboard. His spontaneous, truthful answer that ends with, You trade off, summarized the mindset of millions over the last so many years. In fact, those 3 words sum up the cost of any pursuit. And the line leads to a famous Dead-air moment, where the hapless host can only count through it. This is a Treasure of the Lost Arts, and a laugh-filled must-see for anyone interested in any aspect of this genre. And for the regulars: When have you ever seen Garcia nervous around anyone? Its beautiful, honest and touching to watch the role-reversal.
Jerry & Bob, then plus Mickey & Bill (2 TV segments in one link) Heres Jerry & Bob together. Note the sweet little elbow from Jer to his little brother, saying, in part, Can you believe it?! Its Beatlesque joking till the host gets jealous. And Jerry also drops his soon-to-be-famous, I put more into the years. And then the drummers come out and youve got these four disparate maniacs who openly admit they cant function around civilians. Theres the half-wit in the track suit, a freaky zombie in black, an amped-up Mexican, and some preppy smart-aleck, and theyre all speaking in some weird language about Misfit Power.
In The Performance Pieces, enjoy the drummers being in different configurations every song; how gentle and comfortable these performances are; how the camera work is from the home turf of a TV studio, and how its in home-sweet-home Rockefeller Center, where they lived at Radio City across the street for two weeks, where theyd just recently done SNL for the second time, and where Late Night with David Letterman was about to debut the next year.
The boys seem happy about and adept at playing acoustic again, their first time publicly since the Radio City shows six months earlier.
On The Road Again
Dire Wolf and Deep Ellum Blues
4 songs; filmed February 4th, 1970; broadcast 1970; released on DVD 2007
Three Hall-of-Fame bands, all in their original line-ups, and all just back from Woodstock, where they all played on the same day, but here they are back home with a much more manageable crowd.
This is as good as it gets for a rock peek inside the musical scene that was San Francisco in the late sixties. This is where blues met be-bop solos, and melodies took off from Bird & Tranes riffs into Les Pauls dreams.
Theres a lot to catch here from the Family Dog Ballroom out on the Great Pacific Coast Highway, but this could be Anywhere, Anytime San Francisco. These events, collaborations and jams occurred on an almost nightly basis from about 1963 until . . . well, today. But heres all the local heroes circa 1970 channeling their sources including an all-hands-on-deck jam at the conclusion of a show featuring The Grateful Dead, The Jefferson Airplane and Santana.
It was recorded as part of an ongoing music series on PBS (on KQED in SF) by Ralph Gleason, the highly respected San Francisco Chronicle writer who, as both a founding editor of Rolling Stone and a mainstay at DownBeat, championed the burgeoning The San Francisco Renaissance. The show's title refers to the other SF promoter, Chet Helms, whose commune-like Family Dog Productions was a popular alternative to New York businessman Bill Grahams concerts.
There was a 1-hour companion show to this called Go Ride the Music that was also produced by Gleeson and aired on PBS, featuring the Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service, released on DVD in 2008.
Its easy to see why the jazz critic was enthralled by this music.
This is the original Santana, including co-founder Gregg Rolie on organ, who 2 years later would leave with Neal Schon to form Journey. This is only 5 months after their debut at Woodstock, and they lay down two scorching instruments, Incident at Neshabur, and Soul Sacrifice which would sort of make their careers when it was included in the Woodstock film, released later this summer.
The Airplane, also in their original line-up, are all in fine voice, including nice shots of a young & pretty Grace I mean, is Miss Natural wearing lipstick?! Her and Balins harmonies are sounding as good as they got live, and dont miss the funky Cassidy / Spencer Dryden rhythm jam in Pooneil. Then Eskimo Blue Day, their early environmental song, is delivered with a clean bill of health.
When the Dead played this showincluding the Hard To Handle, China - Riderthey'd just been Busted down on Bourbon Street five days earlier; Tom Constantan had just left the group the same week; and Garcias first child, Annabelle, was born two days before this show. In the next month theyd discover Mickey Harts father was stealing from them, Mickey went into a tailspin and exile, and the band went into the studio to record what would be their first hit album, Workingmans Dead.
But all's rockin here in the third eye of the hurricane storming the California coastline.
3 songs; broadcast live July 4th, 1986, from Rich Stadium in Buffalo
Singing America, on the 4th day of July.
Come hear Uncle John's Band, playing to the tide.
The second ever Farm Aid, and The Dead were right on it. They actually knew what they were doing and were running on time you can hear Weirs intro, We want to welcome everyone on Farm Aid TV, and then the very cool farmers-centric song selection.
The Wheel Every time that wheel turn 'round, bound to cover just a little more ground.
I Need A Miracle a chant for the farmers every day.
Uncle Johns Band Their walls are built of cannonballs, their motto is Dont Tread on Me.
They even do a way-truncated Miracle under 4 minutes so they can get to Uncle Johns Band within their allotted broadcast time. Amazing. Who knew?
And this is actually tremendous television in that the camera calls are much better than your usual, and the sound mix is just fine.
3 songs; broadcast live on Sept. 19th, 1987, from Madison Square Garden in New York City
The 3rd Farm Aid, the 2nd for the Dead, was held in Nebraska in September, while the Deads were in the middle of their annual run at Madison Square Garden. But the forces still hooked up again. The boys didnt pull off the sweet 3-song suite theyd designed for their first appearance the year before, but this is MSG in NYC, so fugetaboutit.
Theres a repeat of the Miracle done at Farm Aid last year, and they end with the mournful Black Peter, which is maybe a lament for the dying farmer, but its not exactly uplifting or Uncle Johns Band.
But in the middle at least they managed to land the Maggies Farm within the broadcast time! And what a special one it is! Dylan brought up the idea of Farm Aid at Live Aid, and heres the boys Bringing It All Back Home. Just a choice version, with Bob and Jerry trading off verses, then them both trading off lines in the last. Very gemmy.
Saturday Night Live 1978
2 songs; broadcast live November 11th , 1978
The Grateful Deads first ever appearance on network Television.
They pull off a smiling Jerry flawless Casey Jones, back when you could still sing, High on cocaine on TV.
Then they pull a Miracle Good Lovin that's just as joyful.
Stories abound, and the performances were lively and came as close as could be hoped to conveying the joy of the band in 3 minutes.
Both the stories and clips are here:
I Need A Miracle
2 songs; broadcast live April 5, 1980
Alabama Getaway, and Saint of Circumstance
Their SNL debut in 78 is renown, but the Alabama in their second appearance is just boiling-over Cookin! The song and band are fresh, Garcias leads are RIPPIN an scorchin up the full-on dragster short-track TV slot.
Weirs in his Easter bunny ears, and Brents just replaced Keith since the last appearance. In both SNL appearances, it's some of the best camera calls you're gonna get for any Dead TV show. If every live band had the SNL directors calling the shots, the world would be a much better place.
Enjoy their precision eyes on the bands crisp sounds.
3 songs; filmed June 17, 1991; aired July 5th, 1991
This ABC special was filmed at Giants Stadium, and aired around the release of Deadicated, yet another Rainforest benefit the Dead spearheaded, this one involving other artists covering Dead songs. Note that this wasnt a 3-minute news story, but that ABC devoted an hour-long special on it (hmm, now that I think of it, maybe that great Canadian Deadhead Peter Jennings was behind it ...), with Lyle Lovett, Dwyght Yokum, the Indigo Girls and others playing Dead songs, and then these 3 live originals by the band at Giants.
It's The Magnificent Seven with Bruce Hornsbyand the Eyes of the World is out of this world.
Saint of Circumstance, Eyes of the World, I Need a Miracle
filmed and first aired in 1997; released on DVD 1998
A documentary made in Britain for an independent TV series called Classic Albums. Theres a 45 minute version that first aired on VH1 in the U.S., and a 75 minute version released on DVD by Rhino.
The doc features Garcia, Lesh, Weir, Mickey, Hunter and Grisman discussing how they made their early albums, including sitting at the board with the master tapes and isolating tracks on songs like: The Other One, Born Cross-Eyed, Attics of My Life, Ripple, Sugar Magnolia and Box of Rain.
There are no full-song live performances, but theres a lot of never-seen early home movies of the band and their off-stage cavorting, including a young and clean-cut Hunter and Garcia; and historic news footage, including the classic Whickers World BBC feature from 67 with all the scenes inside and around 710 Ashbury.
Mostly through band interviews, it explores their widely varied musical backgrounds; the acid tests and their effect on the Deads approach to music and life; Warners exec Joe Smith tells the story of paying off Jim Garrison in New Orleans after the famous bust; and they talk about the writing of different songs, including Truckin, Ripple, Sugar Mag and Box of Rain.
Here's a nice snippet of Jerry, Constanten and Joe Smith discussing the Anthem period.
And here's a grate segment of Weir discussing writing, recording and performing Sugar Magnolia.
2 songs; broadcast April 21st, 1972, from Bremen, Germany
One More Saturday Night, and Truckin'
Beat-Clubwas theMidnight Specialof Europe from 1965 till 1972non lip-synching music television that just about everybody was on it at one time or another. With a name evoking Kerouac & Cassadys caf, and the source of John Lennons group, it was Germanys coastal port, like a San Francisco or New York City. Everything coming in from everywhere. And thank gawd one station was lassoing all the bands.
TheOne More Saturday Nightfrom April 72 is just full of life, and has a bonus background light show to rival Joshuas. The Boys were in the midst of one of the best tours of their career, and Germany proved for them, as it had for The Beatles earlier, a very inspiring and music-friendly environment.
The Truckin' is still missing in action. Anyone with a link, let us know.
1 song; broadcast live Sept. 9th, 2009
At an all-star tribute to the man for whom the term news anchor was first coined, which included Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and many others, Mickey Hart also appearedsharing remembrances of his friend, and leading a World Beat drumming tribute as a bon voyage to this worldly and Beat man.
CBS News Special, aired August 22nd, 1967
This was a one-hour CBS News Special that ran in the waning weeks of the Summer of Love. They flew out their crack team of investigative suits to uncover the truths about these hippies that everyones been hearing about. Ya think a company that depends on soap ads to pay the salaries is going to say, Hey, this looks like a lot of fun! People are getting high and laid and dancing all over town!
This was an public service announcement for parents to make damn-sure their kids didnt become hippies. Except Oops! Aspiring long-hairs all over North America who had no other way of actually seeing footage of the Haight that summer Boom! here it is on one of the 3 channels they got!
Theres an historic interview with the boys at 710 Rifkin, a 19-year-old Bob Weir, Garcia, Phil, and Scully all around the table and once again its Garcia who takes the lead and lays down the best riff of the session.
Reasoners ridiculously-formal Dragnet-style no-contractions speaking delivery is so insanely disconnected from the subject hes allegedly reporting on. Its almost Reefer Madness in its absurdity.
Things of Note for Deadheads: Theres part of a crazy raucous Dancin In The Streets off a flatbed in Golden Gate Park during the Summer of Love. Thats a pretty choice piece of fruit right there.
Garcia practicing his scales giving filmed proof to the consistent reports of that time that all that Garcia guy ever did was play his guitar 24 hours a day.
Also theres priceless footage of the main floor at 710 before the shit hit the fan. The famous Grateful Dead Busted was about six weeks away. Hmmm . . . just after this camera crew filmed what could be called affluence of the bands lifestyle . . .
Not too many home visits for camera crews after this.
Just two segments from the original hour long (50 minute program) are online, but they're basically the highlights of the show (the opening and closing), and are the two that featured the Dead.
One thing you gotta give them credit for they did pick the right band to cover.
Broadcast on BBC, 1967
A travel documentary news piece done by Alan Whicker for his long-running show on BBC from 1959 to 1988. The show did a segment on San Francisco and the hippies in the summer of 1967. They ended up hooking up with the Dead, gaining access to 710, getting lots of footage, and interviewing Jerry. Two collections of interviews have been released on DVD by UK-based Granada, but so far San Francisco 67 hasn't made the cut. Some of the footage is seen in the Anthem to Beauty doc. If youre not sure what Whickers World was, or the influence of Alan Whicker, check out this Monty Python skit and you'll get it.
live performances not shot for theatrical release or television broadcast
16 songs; filmed Oct 30th & 31st, 1980; released on VHS & laserdisc 1981; released on DVD with 5 additional songs 2005
Theyre not the best at what they do.
Theyre the only ones that do what they do.
That was all the ad said that announced these first acoustic & electric shows.
Gawd, this film is beautiful. The setting, the performances, the vibe, the bands middle peak era, the longest and only full-band acoustic sets The Grateful Dead ever played. I was there for 5 of the 8 shows, including both these final two that were filmed.
And the whole thing has just Fantastic camera work and editing. THIS is what youre lookin for.
Both the band and audience are just giddy-happy everything is beyond perfect its a fantasy trip in a palacea joyous 15th birthday party for everyone on the ongoing joyous journey in this Intimate setting for a week both players and audience really close together and in more ways than just physically.
New York was always the bands electric home-away-from-home, a place that all of them have cited as elevating their game.
And the DVD has all the comedy skits that were both live on stage and shown on the giant backdrop movie screen (and to the simulcast theaters), including Senator Al Franken doing some pretty wild and out-there riffs with his partner crime Tom Davis.
Radio City Music Hall is the Palace of Versaille of music venuesvelvet, columns, gold everything, polished brass rails along wide curving staircases, everyone who works there in fancy uniforms, a real white-gloves kinda place. And tripping flower children overran the palace for 8 nights, with a live soundtrack of 24 full sets of music, and they never knew what hit em. They kept making announcements for us to totally respect the place and maybe we could do more shows here in the future. And that worked. Everybody was super cool and treated it with total respect but yet made it our own. Setting up shop. Drum circles. Peace pipe circles. Swirling skits. The whole building smelling of the sweetest flowertops. I dont think they played a more beautiful hall in North America which elevated the band, the stature of the shows, and audiences energy, the way that we took it over, old grey-haired Radio City ushers like quiet ghostscouldnt hear a thing and couldnt speak loud enough to be heard.
It was a magic exact mid-point high-light of the Grateful Deads existence. Its too bad they didnt shoot the lobby scenes. Young healthy entrepreneurial granola hippie-types sitting cross-legged on the plush red carpet with a towel and an assortment of brownies for sale. And rising above for a hundred feet to the lobby ceiling are columns and red velvet curtains and mirrors, and just beside him stands a brown-colored Radio City Beefeater, and beside him a bar with tenders that are used to serving the opera set. They havent had a rock show in here since it was trashed in the early seventies. And, of all bands, the first one they have is The Grateful Dead. Again the Dead being the first ones through the door to new space These guys can handle anything. The Special-Ops of Rock.
And take Radio City we did.
Heres whats Dead Ahead:
Bird Songnice smiling long sweet Birdian Garcia solo
On The Road Again hot, hot version everybody's having fun, Garcia on second vocals; Mickey and Billy switched positions. And the song's introduced by Weir with, "This is a drummer's choice."
To Lay Me Down nice close-ups of Jerry's face and acoustic leads, but this is a pretty sad and slow song.
RipplejoyousGarcia actually announces the set break
Me & My Unclethe groovin' Bobby Cowboy music, with a nice crisp Jerry lead.
Mexicalli Bluesditto, without the nice lead
Ramble On Rose sweet. Just like New York City.
Little Red Rooster aka The Bobby Piss Break -- Garcia finger-picking slide solo, followed by Weir
The Final Set from Halloween:
Dont Ease Me In rock joyous second set opener
Lost Sailor nicely shot, gently played, suitably haunting
Saint of Circumstance Im gonna go for it, for sure.
Franklins Tower a funky jazz gem of show when you get confused, listen to the music play
Drums on the original Beast Space (both truncated)
* Fire on the Mountain *the highlight.
Not Fade Away Its a great NFW, but also near the end of opening verse, about 1:28 in, the songs first shot of the audience, lower left side, in the second row, boppin back n forth is your friendly Curator in full Howloween Steal Your Face make-up, swayin to the Jerry. The photo above is from a few hours later, still blazing at the Gramercy Park Hotel on that climactic night of the Amazing Run of 8 shows at Radio City Music Hall, and I didnt see one of them from further away than the 4th row.
[Stella Blue and, sadly, the GDTRFB from Halloween cut out]
Good Lovin fulla life n love a beaming Buddha Jerry
DVD 5 Bonus Songs (2005)
Heaven Help The Foolwonderfully instrumental and woodenly beautiful
The following is the whole pre-drums start of the final set on the 30th:
Shakedown Street a nice snappy skipping-along 13 min. version. It's not yet the live rousing anthem it would becomebut Phil's sure seems to like it.
Samson & Delilah typical versionalthough Garcia does a fiarly wicked close-out lead
Hes Gone 15 minutes with some pretty nice dynamics -- all the way down to the a cappella, soft like Radio City velvet, then meandering off into some lost Jerry Noodlesville for about an hour ...
Truckin enhanced by the really nice backdrops screen the audience was blessed with all 8 shows long
and here are some other non-released but great songs from the Radio City shows:
Jack-a-Row rehearsal a groove's goin' on in a beauty song that sure as shoulda been on "Dead Ahead"
Jack Straw the first electric set opener on Halloween night and it duly scorches
Cold Rain & Snow a glorious spritely version of the masterpiece they painted from their Warlocks demo thru their final daze
Deal the smokin' Halloween1st electric set closer
Uncle John's Band the full BEAUTIFUL Halloween encore without the artwork covering up the band on the DVD version
And here's the "press conference" Garcia & Weir did to announce the shows in New York.
50 minutes, 6 songs; filmed Dec. 1985, and April 1986; released Oct. 1987
Most of it is shot (all the non-audience) in an empty Marin Veterans Auditorium in their home-base town of San Rafael, California.
Like "The Grateful Dead Movie," the Dead's resident cinephile Garciawas a guiding vision in its making, and on this one islisted as a "Director."
Some parts are pretty pleasantly psychedelic. Thematic artwork is woven into the songs and then manipulated into some very acid-friend visuals.
Maybe the playing is clean, but the majority of the performance is staged and lacks thepowerfulsynergy with the audience that is so unique with this band. In fact, it's never more evident than it is in this sanitized attempt by the band -- They need us.
The movie opensquitepsychedelically into a nice crispUncle Johns Band
Playin In The Band
Playin in the Oakland Coliseum, New Years Eve 85
Lady With A Fan (Terrapin)
Space Drums with Mickey on the Beam, which start out grate with some sweet rhythms, but then drones on and flashes some jarring images that are more of a downer and off-putting than enhancing the experience.
puckinThrowing Stones again with negative imagery accompanying not what Im seeing when at a Dead show tripping to this music.
Not Fade Away a crispy rocky version, with a blazing solo by Garcia, but so weird without an audience. Its like the bands gone solo and left us behind.
then Boom Not Fade Awaywith the New Years audience in Oakland, and Weird acting like a cornball. It includes their classic percussive a cappella ending.
And thats the show, folks.
Roosevelt Stadium -- 8/4/76 ? lots on B&W on YouTube. was this broadcast?
3/28/81 -- Essen, Germany -- with The Who -- was on TV, is on YouTube, Snyder mentioned onTomorrow
"Summer Solstice '89" -- a pay-per-view live TV broadcast -- June 21st, 1989, Mountain View, CA
on RP already: Orpheum Theater, SF, 1976 -- REHEARSAL -- Music Never Stopped
"Backstage Pass" -- (35 min. -- dir. by Justin Kreutzmann -- released in 1992)
"Downhill From Here"-- July 17 & 19, 1989 Alpine Valley -- 2 1/2 hours -- 23 songs -- released on DVD 1999
"Infrared Sightings" -- 18 minutes; released 1992
"Ticket To New Years"-- from 12/31/87, Oakland, 2 1/2 hours; released 1996
"Truckin up to Buffalo"-- Rich Stadium, July 4th, 1989 (released 2005)
?Grateful to Garica? 1996 90 min. -- maybe just some guy's bootleg
"Rockin' the Cradle" Egypt 78 1 DVD
"View From The Vault"-- July 8, 1990, Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh
"View From The Vault II" Jun 14, 1991, RFK Stadium, Washington, DC (released 2001)
"Jerry Garcia Band: Live at Shoreline" -- 2 full sets from Sept. 1, 1990, the first show after Brent died --
The Grateful Dead in 1980. Left to right: Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh. Not pictured: Brent Mydland
|Origin||San Francisco Bay Area,|
|Labels||Warner Bros., Grateful Dead, Arista, Rhino|
|Past members||Jerry Garcia|
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan
Donna Jean Godchaux
Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock, and for live performances of long musical improvisation. "Their music," writes Lenny Kaye, "touches on ground that most other groups don't even know exists." These various influences were distilled into a diverse and psychedelic whole that made the Grateful Dead "the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world." They were ranked 57th in the issue The Greatest Artists of all Time by Rolling Stone magazine. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and their Barton Hall Concert at Cornell University (May 8, 1977) was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry. The Grateful Dead have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.
The founding members of the Grateful Dead were Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (guitar, vocals), Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (keyboards, harmonica, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals), and Bill Kreutzmann (drums). Members of the Grateful Dead had played together in various San Francisco bands, including Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions and The Warlocks. Lesh was the last member to join the Warlocks before they became the Grateful Dead; he replaced Dana Morgan Jr., who had played bass for a few gigs. With the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, the core of the band stayed together for its entire 30-year history. Other longtime members of the band include Mickey Hart (drums 1967-1971, 1974-1995), Keith Godchaux (keyboards 1971-1979), Donna Godchaux (vocals 1972-1979), Brent Mydland (keyboards 1979-1990), and Vince Welnick (keyboards 1990-1995).
The fans of the Grateful Dead, some of whom followed the band from concert to concert for years, are known as "Deadheads" and are known for their dedication to the band's music. The group's fans, and subsequently the band itself, were closely associated with the hippie movement and were seen as a form of institution in the culture of America for many years. Former members of the Grateful Dead, along with other musicians, toured as The Dead in 2003, 2004 and 2009 after touring as The Other Ones in 1998, 2000 and 2002. There are many contemporary incarnations of the Dead, with the most prominent touring acts being Furthur and Phil Lesh & Friends.
Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia were brought together by Gert Chiarito in 1964 to perform on The Midnight Special, her Saturday night radio program on KPFA, Berkeley.
The Grateful Dead began their career as the Warlocks, a group formed in early 1965 from the remnants of a Palo Alto, California jug band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. The band's first show was at Magoo's Pizza located at 639 Santa Cruz Avenue in suburban Menlo Park, California on May 5, 1965. They were known as the Warlocks although at the same time the Velvet Underground was also using that name on the east coast. The show was not recorded and not even the set list has been preserved. The band quickly changed its name after finding out that another band of the same name had signed a recording contract (not the Velvet Underground who by then had also changed their name). The first show under the new name Grateful Dead was in San Jose, California on December 4, 1965, at one of Ken Kesey's Acid Tests. Earlier demo tapes have survived, but the first of over 2,000 concerts known to have been recorded by the band's fans was a show at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on January 8, 1966. Later on that month, the Grateful Dead played at the Trips Festival, an early psychedelic rock show.
The name "Grateful Dead" was chosen from a dictionary. According to Phil Lesh, in his autobiography (pp. 62), "... [Jerry Garcia] picked up an old Britannica World Language Dictionary......In that silvery elf-voice he said to me, 'Hey, man, how about the Grateful Dead?'" The definition there was "the soul of a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, as an act of charity, arranged their burial." According to Alan Trist, director of the Grateful Dead's music publisher company Ice Nine, Garcia found the name in the Funk & Wagnalls Folklore Dictionary, when his finger landed on that phrase while playing a game of "dictionary". In the Garcia biography, Captain Trips, author Sandy Troy states that the band was smoking the psychedelic DMT at the time. The term "grateful dead" appears in folktales of a variety of cultures. In mid-1969, Phil Lesh told another version of the story to Carol Maw, a young Texan visiting with the band in Marin County who also ended up going on the road with them to the Fillmore East and Woodstock. In this version, Phil said, "Jerry found the name spontaneously when he picked up a dictionary and the pages fell open. The words 'grateful' and 'dead' appeared straight opposite each other across the crack between the pages in unrelated text."
Other supporting personnel who signed on early included Rock Scully, who heard of the band from Kesey and signed on as manager after meeting them at the Big Beat Acid Test; Stewart Brand, "with his side show of taped music and slides of Indian life, a multimedia presentation" at the Big Beat and then, expanded, at the Trips Festival; and Owsley Stanley, the "Acid King" whose LSD supplied the tests and who, in early 1966, became the band's financial backer, renting them a house on the fringes of Watts and buying them sound equipment. "We were living solely off of Owsley's good graces at that time.... [His] trip was he wanted to design equipment for us, and we were going to have to be in sort of a lab situation for him to do it," said Garcia.
One of the group's earliest major performances in 1967 was the Mantra-Rock Dance—a musical event held on January 29, 1967, at the Avalon Ballroom by the San Francisco Hare Krishna temple. The Grateful Dead performed at the event along with the Hare Krishna founder Bhaktivedanta Swami, poet Allen Ginsberg, bands Moby Grape and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, donating proceeds to the Krishna temple. The band's first LP, The Grateful Dead, was released on Warner Brothers in 1967.
Classically trained trumpeter Phil Lesh played bass guitar. Bob Weir, the youngest original member of the group, played rhythm guitar. Ron "Pigpen" McKernan played keyboards and harmonica until shortly before his death in 1973 at the age of 27. Garcia, Weir and McKernan shared the lead vocal duties more or less equally; Lesh only sang a few leads but his tenor was a key part of the band's three-part vocal harmonies. Bill Kreutzmann played drums, and in September 1967 was joined by a second drummer, New York native Mickey Hart, who also played a wide variety of other percussion instruments.
1970 included tour dates in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the band performed at The Warehouse for two nights. On January 31, 1970, the local police raided their hotel on Bourbon Street, and arrested and charged a total of 19 people with possession of various drugs. The second night's concert was performed as scheduled after bail was posted. Eventually the charges were dismissed, with the exception of those against sound engineer Owsley Stanley, who was already facing charges in California for manufacturing LSD. This event was later memorialized in the lyrics of the song "Truckin'", a single from American Beauty which reached number 64 on the charts.
Mickey Hart quit the Grateful Dead in February 1971, leaving Kreutzmann once again as the sole percussionist. Hart rejoined the Grateful Dead for good in October 1974. Tom "TC" Constanten was added as a second keyboardist from 1968 to 1970, while Pigpen also played various percussion instruments and sang.
After Constanten's departure, Pigpen reclaimed his position as sole organist. Less than two years later, in late 1971, Pigpen was joined by another keyboardist, Keith Godchaux, who played grand piano alongside Pigpen's Hammond B-3 organ. In early 1972, Keith's wife, Donna Jean Godchaux, joined the Grateful Dead as a backing vocalist.
Following the Grateful Dead's "Europe '72" tour, Pigpen's health had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer tour with the band. His final concert appearance was June 17, 1972 at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles; he died in March, 1973 of complications from alcohol abuse.
The death of Pigpen did not slow the band down, and they continued with their new members. They soon formed their own record group, Grateful Dead Records. Later that year, they released their next studio album, the jazz influenced Wake of the Flood. It became their biggest commercial success thus far. Meanwhile, capitalizing on Flood’s success, the band soon went back to the studio, and the next year released another album, Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel. Not long after that album’s release however, the Grateful Dead decided to take a hiatus from live touring so that its members could focus on their solo careers. This hiatus was short lived, though, as they resumed touring in 1976. That same year, they re-signed with Arista Records. Their new contract soon produced Terrapin Station in 1977. Although things appeared to be going well for the band, problems were arising with their two newest members, Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux. While touring during the late 1970s the band began to use freebase cocaine. Donna frequently had excessive vocal issues while performing live, and Keith was becoming dependent on hard drugs. Both of those issues were causing complications with the band’s touring, and they were asked to leave the band in February 1979.
Following the departure of the Godchauxs, Brent Mydland joined as keyboardist and vocalist and was considered "the perfect fit". The Godchauxs then formed the Heart of Gold Band before Keith Godchaux died in a car accident in 1980. Mydland was the keyboardist for the Grateful Dead for 11 years until his death by narcotics overdose in July 1990, becoming the third keyboardist to die.
During the 1980s the band transformed as the talents of Mydland helped power the group. Shortly after Mydland found his place in the early 1980s, Garcia's health began to decline. His drug habits caused him to lose his liveliness on stage. After kicking his drug habit in 1985, Garcia slipped into a diabetic coma for several days in July 1986. After he recovered, the band released In the Dark in 1987, which resulted as their best selling studio album release, and also produced their only top-10 chart single, Touch of Grey. Also that year, the group toured with Bob Dylan, as documented on the album Dylan & the Dead.
Inspired by Garcia's improved health and a successful album, the band's energy and chemistry peaked in the late 1980s and 1990. Performances were vigorous and as a result, every show exceeded its maximum audience capacity. The band's "high time" came to a sudden halt when Mydland died after the summer tour in 1990. The band now had to rebuild. Both Vince Welnick, former keyboardist for The Tubes, and Bruce Hornsby, who had a successful career with his own band The Range, joined the band on keyboards and vocals. Welnick stayed with the band until Garcia's death, but he was never a member of The Other Ones or the Dead. He did, however, play in early incarnations of Ratdog with Bob Weir. Welnick died on June 2, 2006, reportedly a suicide. Hornsby was a member until March 24, 1992, and has participated in various post-Grateful dead projects, notably The Other Ones.
Following Garcia's death in August 1995, the remaining members formally decided to disband. Since that time however, there have been a number of reunions by the surviving members involving various combinations of musicians.
In 1998, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Mickey Hart, along with several other musicians, formed a band called The Other Ones. The Other Ones performed a number of concerts that year, and released a live album, The Strange Remain, the following year. In 2000, The Other Ones toured again, this time with Bill Kreutzmann but without Lesh. After taking another year off, the band was active again in 2002. With Lesh's return for this go-round, The Other Ones then included all four former Grateful Dead members who had been in the band for most or all of its history.
In 2003, The Other Ones changed their name to The Dead. The Dead toured the country in 2003 and 2004. In 2008, members of The Dead played two concerts, called "Deadheads for Obama" and "Change Rocks". In 2009 The Dead performed on a spring tour, and were at the Rothbury Music Festival on July 4, 2009.
Following the 2009 summer reunion tour bandmates Lesh and Weir formed the band Furthur which debuted in September 2009. Joining Lesh and Weir in Furthur are Jeff Chimenti (keyboard), John Kadlecik (guitar), Joe Russo (drums), Sunshine Becker (vocalist), and Jeff Pehrson (vocalist).
In 2010, Hart and Kreutzmann re-formed the Rhythm Devils, and played a summer concert tour.
Since 1995, the former members of the Grateful Dead have also pursued solo musical careers. Bob Weir & RatDog have performed many concerts and released several albums, as have Phil Lesh and Friends. Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann have each led several different bands and have also released some albums. Recently Mickey Hart has been working with his Mickey Hart Band and Kreutzmann has been touring with BK3, and with 7 Walkers, a band he formed with Papa Mali. Donna Godchaux has returned to the music scene, with the Donna Jean Godchaux Band, and Tom Constanten also continues to write and perform music. All of these groups continue to play Grateful Dead music.
The Grateful Dead formed during the era when bands such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones were dominating the airwaves. "The Beatles were why we turned from a jug band into a rock 'n' roll band," said Bob Weir. "What we saw them doing was impossibly attractive." Former folk-scene star Bob Dylan had recently put out a couple of records featuring electric instrumentation. "I couldn't think of anything else more worth doing," Garcia said. Grateful Dead members have said that it was after attending a concert by the touring New York City band The Lovin' Spoonful that they decided to "go electric" and look for a dirtier sound. Gradually, many of the East-Coast American folk musicians, formerly luminaries of the coffee-house scene, were moving in the electric direction. It was natural for Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, each of whom had been immersed in the American folk music revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s, to be open-minded toward electric guitars. Their first LP (The Grateful Dead, Warner Brothers, 1967), was released in the same year that Pink Floyd released The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The Grateful Dead's early music (in the mid-1960s) was part of the process of establishing what "psychedelic music" was, but theirs was essentially a "street party" form of it. They developed their "psychedelic" playing as a result of meeting Ken Kesey in Palo Alto, California and subsequently becoming the house band for the Acid Tests he staged. The Dead were not inclined to fit their music to an established category such as pop rock, blues, folk rock, or country/western. Individual tunes within their repertoire could be identified under one of these stylistic labels, but overall their music drew on all of these genres and more, frequently melding several of them. It was doubtless with this in mind that Bill Graham said of the Grateful Dead, "They're not the best at what they do, they're the only ones that do what they do." Often (both in performance and on recording) the Dead left room for exploratory, spacey soundscapes.
Their live shows, fed by their improvisational approach to music, made the Grateful Dead different from most other touring bands. While most rock and roll bands rehearse a standard show for their tours that is replayed night after night, city after city, the Grateful Dead never did. As Garcia stated in a 1966 interview, "We don't make up our sets beforehand. We'd rather work off the tops of our heads than off a piece of paper." They maintained this operating ethic throughout their existence. For each performance, the band drew material from an active list of a hundred or so songs.
The 1969 live album Live/Dead did capture more of their essence, but commercial success did not come until Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, both released in 1970. These records largely featured the band's laid-back acoustic musicianship and more traditional song structures.
As the band and its sound matured over thirty years of touring, playing, and recording, each member's stylistic contribution became more defined, consistent, and identifiable. Lesh, who was originally a classically-trained trumpet player with an extensive background in music theory, did not tend to play traditional blues-based bass forms, but opted for more melodic, symphonic and complex lines, often sounding like a second lead guitar. Weir, too, was not a traditional rhythm guitarist, but tended to play jazz-influenced, unique inversions at the upper end of the Dead's sound. The two drummers, Mickey Hart and Kreutzmann, developed a unique, complex interplay, balancing Kreutzmann's steady beat with Hart's interest in percussion styles outside the rock tradition. Hart incorporated an 11-count measure to his drumming, bringing a new dimension to the band's sound that became an important part of its emerging style. Garcia's lead lines were fluid, supple and spare, owing a great deal of their character to his training in fingerpicking and banjo.
The band's primary lyricists, Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow, commonly used themes involving love and loss, life and death, gambling and murder, beauty and horror, chaos and order, God and other religious themes, travelling and touring, etc. Less frequent ideas include the environment and issues from the world of politics.
Hal Kant was an entertainment industry attorney who specialized in representing musical groups. He spent 35 years as principal lawyer and general counsel for the Grateful Dead, a position in the group that was so strong that his business cards with the band identified his role as "Czar".
Kant brought the band millions of dollars in revenue through his management of the band's intellectual property and merchandising rights. At Kant's recommendation, the group was one of the few rock 'n roll pioneers to retain ownership of their music masters and publishing rights.
In 2006, the Grateful Dead signed a ten-year licensing agreement with Rhino Entertainment. Rhino is managing the Dead's business interests, including the release of musical recordings, merchandising, and marketing. In 2011 Rhino and Grateful Dead Productions began working with Curious Sense to develop an online and mobile social game built on the band's legacy. The band retains creative control and keeps ownership of the music catalog.
The Grateful Dead toured constantly throughout their career, playing more than 2,300 concerts. They promoted a sense of community among their fans, who became known as Deadheads, many of whom followed their tours for months or years on end. In their early career, the band also dedicated their time and talents to their community, the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco, making available free food, lodging, music and health care to all comers; they were the "first among equals in giving unselfishly of themselves to hippie culture, performing 'more free concerts than any band in the history of music'.
With the exception of 1975, when the band was on hiatus and played only four concerts together, the Grateful Dead performed many concerts every year, from their formation in April, 1965, until July 9, 1995. Initially all their shows were in California, principally in the San Francisco Bay Area and in or near Los Angeles. They also performed, in 1965 and 1966, with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, as the house band for the Acid Tests. They toured nationally starting in June 1967 (their first foray to New York), with a few detours to Canada, Europe and three nights at the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt in 1978. They appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Their first UK performance was at the Hollywood Music Festival in 1970. Their largest concert audience came in 1973 when they played, along with The Allman Brothers Band and The Band, before an estimated 600,000 people at the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen. The 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records recognized them with a listing under the heading, "most rock concerts performed" (182 concerts). They played to an estimated total of 25 million people, more than any other band, with audiences of up to 80,000 attending a single show. Many of these concerts were preserved in the band's tape vault, and several dozen have since been released on CD and as downloads. The Dead were known for the tremendous variation in their setlists from night to night—the list of songs documented to have been played by the band exceeds 500.
Their numerous studio albums were generally collections of new songs that they had first played in concert. The band was also famous for its extended musical jams, which featured both individual improvisations as well as distinctive "group-mind" improvisations during which each of the band members improvised individually while simultaneously blending together as a cohesive musical unit. Musically, this may be illustrated in that the band not only improvised within the form of songs, but also with the form. The Grateful Dead have often been described as having never played the same song the same way twice. The cohesive listening abilities of each band member made for a transcendence of what might be called "free form" and improvisation. Their concert sets often blended songs, one into the next (a segue).
The Wall of Sound was an enormous sound system designed specifically for the Grateful Dead. The band was never satisfied with the house system anywhere they played. After the Monterey Pop Festival, the band's crew 'borrowed' some of the other performers' sound equipment and used it to host some free shows in San Francisco. In their early days, soundman Owsley "Bear" Stanley designed a public address (PA) and monitor system for them. Bear was the Grateful Dead's soundman for many years; he was also one of the largest suppliers of LSD. Stanley's sound systems were delicate and finicky, and frequently brought shows to a halt with technical breakdowns. After Stanley went to jail for manufacturing LSD in 1970, the group briefly used house PAs, but found them to be even less reliable than those built by their former soundman. In 1971, the band purchased their first solid-state sound system from Alembic Inc Studios. Because of this, Alembic would play an integral role in the research, development, and production of the Wall of Sound. The band also welcomed Dan Healy into the fold on a permanent basis that year. Healy would mix the Grateful Dead's live sound until 1993.
Like several other bands during this time, the Grateful Dead allowed their fans to record their shows. For many years the tapers set up their microphones wherever they could. The eventual forest of microphones became a problem for the official sound crew. Eventually this was solved by having a dedicated taping section located behind the soundboard, which required a special "tapers" ticket. The band allowed sharing of tapes of their shows, as long as no profits were made on the sale of their show tapes. Sometimes the sound crew would allow the tapers to connect directly to the soundboard, which created exceptional concert recordings. Recently, there have been some disputes over which recordings archive.org could host on their site. Currently, all recordings are hosted, though soundboard recordings are not available for download, but rather in a streaming format. Of the approximately 2,350 shows the Grateful Dead played, almost 2,200 were taped, and most of these are available online. Concert set lists from a subset of 1,590 Grateful Dead shows were used to perform a comparative analysis between how songs were played in concert and how they are listened online by Last.fm members. In their book Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn From the Most Iconic Band in History, David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan identify the taper section as a crucial idea in increasing the Grateful Dead's fan base.
Over the years, a number of iconic images have come to be associated with the Grateful Dead. Many of these images originated as artwork for concert posters or album covers.
Fans and enthusiasts of the band are commonly referred to as Dead Heads. While the origin of the term may be unclear, Dead Heads were made canon by the notice placed inside the Skull and Roses album by manager Jon McIntire:"DEAD FREAKS UNITE
Who are you? Where are you?
How are you?
send us your name and address
and we'll keep you informed
Many of the Dead Heads would go on tour with the band. As a group, the Dead Heads were considered very mellow. "I'd rather work nine Grateful Dead concerts than one Oregon football game," Police Det. Rick Raynor said. "They don't get belligerent like they do at the games."
On April 24, 2008, members Bob Weir and Mickey Hart, along with Nion McEvoy, CEO of Chronicle Books, UC Santa Cruz chancellor George Blumenthal, and UC Santa Cruz librarian Virginia Steel, held a press conference announcing that UCSC's McHenry Library would be the permanent home of the Grateful Dead's complete archival history from 1965 up to the present. The archive includes correspondence, photographs, fliers, posters, and several other forms of memorabilia and records of the band. Also included are unreleased videos of interviews and TV appearances that will be installed for visitors to view, as well as stage backdrops and other props from the band's concerts.
Blumenthal stated at the event, "The Grateful Dead Archive represents one of the most significant popular cultural collections of the 20th century; UC Santa Cruz is honored to receive this invaluable gift. The Grateful Dead and UC Santa Cruz are both highly innovative institutions—born the same year—that continue to make a major, positive impact on the world." Guitarist Bob Weir stated, "We looked around, and UC Santa Cruz seems the best possible home. If you ever wrote the Grateful Dead a letter, you'll probably find it there!"
Professor of music Fredric Lieberman was the key contact between the band and the university, who let the university know about the search for a home for the archive, and who had collaborated with Mickey Hart on three books in the past, Planet Drum (1990), Drumming at the Edge of Magic (1991), and Spirit into Sound (2006).
The first large-scale exhibition of materials from the Grateful Dead Archive was mounted at the New-York Historical Society in 2010.
Lead guitarist Jerry Garcia was often seen both by the public and the media as the leader or primary spokesperson for the Grateful Dead, but was reluctant to be perceived that way, especially since he and the other group members saw themselves as equal participants and contributors to their collective musical and creative output. Garcia, a native of San Francisco, grew up in the Excelsior District. One of his main influences was bluegrass music, and Garcia also performed—on banjo, one of his other great instrumental loves, along with the pedal steel guitar—in bluegrass bands, notably Old and in the Way with mandolinist David Grisman.
The singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby never officially joined the band, because of his other commitments, but he did play keyboards at most Dead shows between September 1990 and March 1992, and sat in with the band over one hundred times in all between 1988 and 1995.
Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow were the band's primary lyricists. Twelve members of The Grateful Dead (the eleven official performing members plus Robert Hunter) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and Bruce Hornsby was their presenter.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the Grateful Dead No. 57 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
On February 10, 2007, the Grateful Dead received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was accepted on behalf of the band by Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann.
It was announced on May 23, 2011, that the Dead's Barton Hall Concert at Cornell University (May 8, 1977) would be preserved in the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.
Grateful Dead official site
Futhur band (2009) with Phil & Bobby
Phil Lesh official site
Phil's Phan site
Bob Weir and Ratdog's official site
Mickey Hart's official site
Bill Kreutzmann's official site
the ultimate searchable set list database
grate Grateful Dead research site
another grate GD research site -- Dead 101
Nice history with photos
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