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MISSING VIDEO. Missing Since: 2018 07-12 Reason: This video contains content from Music...
Grateful Dead - Eyes of the World (ABC In Concert 1991)

Checking for Matches…

Welcome to Jazz Space: The Dead with Bruce Hornsby elevate Giants Stadium

No other rock band could have written this song. This is uniquely Grateful Dead music. It’s jazz, it’s rock, it’s a spiritual. It’s polyrhythmic, symphonic, and improvisatory. Musically, lyrically, and by execution, this is what The Grateful Dead was all about. It's what the prior four rock peaks grew up and became.

Along with the fast-paced, uplifting melody played by this electric Dixieland band, enjoy particularly the complementary solos between electric guitar and grand piano. They begin at the conclusion of each chorus; and note the smiling exchange between the two players around the 11 min. mark.

Visual Warning #1: Parts of this clip is just atrocious shot-calling by the director. “Psst – when the ensemble is playing, shoot the band; when a soloist steps up, frame the soloist.” Why’s that so hard?

One of the challenges with this video is to follow the music and not what the camera's showing you.

Visual Warning #2: the Dead were never much to look at, and this is no exception. Only two of them look like they shouldn’t be institutionalized. “I’ll have a double Cherry Garcia, please.” And what’s with the wizard’s hair, Sparkie? There’s obviously some lost simpleton sitting at the piano. And there's an extremely gay Bob Weird in his Daisy Dukes! And some completely fruity keyboardist. And then this fat old tourist in a Hawaiian shirt on drums. They’re the most hopeless looking bunch of misfits you could ever assemble! And get this – they’re a rock band! No, seriously! Stadiums full of people pay to see these guys -- even follow them around! Yeah. These guys!

But other than that . . . as long as you can turn your eyes down and your ears up you’ll be fine. 

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Eyes of The World was written during another of the Dead’s fertile years, 1972, which saw them take their first -- and soon legendary -- tour of Europe, which produced their triple-live Europe ’72 album, and saw the end of their founding member Pigpen’s career, due mostly to alcohol. The song was debuted along with six other new ones on the same night, Feb 9th, 1973. And just as this new material was busy being born, Pigpen was busy dying -- found dead in his apt. on March 8th, the first of four keyboardists in a row who wouldn’t make it very far.

Dead shows were improvised from start to finish, but there was a basic structure that emerged over the decades. The first sets were more straight-ahead songs, and the second was where things could really stretch out. And songs had their place. The band had an active repertoire of more than a couple hundred songs at any given time, but rarely did a song jump sets. Eyes of the World was one of the most popular, cherished songs that you’d hope to hear one of the nights you were attending. It almost always came in the first half of the second set – what everyone and everything gears toward at shows, the big expanse when the curtain pulls back and you’ve got the whole second set road in front of you and anything can happen.

Imagine our surprise (I was there) when before the first set started we heard that sweet high strumming of Eyes! This was usually the peak it all built to, but Boom they were riding it right outta the gate! They never opened a show with it before or since. At the start of the clip (although more clearly on the audio tapes) you can hear the cheers go up in waves as more tiers of the coliseum realize what they’re starting to play. The Boys had to be feelin’ pretty fine that night to walk out and don this top-of-your-chops blazer without a warm-up!

It set the tone for a spectacular show, with Garcia and Hornsby chasing and complementing each other all night. They closed the first set with Might As Well about the Festival Express train trip tour across Canada (see: Hard To Handle), plus painted a kickin’ Dylan’s Masterpiece, dropped multiple long Dark Star teases in both sets, and left us with fellow Festival Express trainmates The Band’s multi-voiced The Weight as an encore. 

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This originally aired as an “ABC In Concert” special, which also included a riveting Friend of The Devil by Lyle Lovett and his band, taped in an empty Red Rocks amphitheater, as well as the Indigo Girls, Suzanne Vega and Dwight Yoakam performing Dead songs. This was around the time the “Deadicated” CD came out with various artists covering Dead originals, including Jane’s Addiction, Elvis Costello, Warren Zevon, Midnight Oil, Los Lobos, Dr. John and many others.

This show was broadcast -- and the Dead were in the media spotlight at the time -- for their fight for the environment -- and this is back nearly 20 years ago. In their just-prior run of nine sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, the final one being a Rainforest benefit which saw them joined on stage by Mick Taylor, Hall & Oates, Hornsby, Suzanne Vega, and Jack Casady from the Airplane.

This is the fourth and final version of The Magnificent Seven – the quartet of septets of Grateful Dead line-ups. See the St. Stephen for the first version, and the Casey Jones for the third.


for The Continuum — Part 2 —


The Grateful Dead (left to right): Phil Lesh (6-string bass); Bill Kreutzmann (drums); Bob Weir (rhythm guitar & vocals); Mickey Hart (drums); Jerry Garcia (lead guitar, lead vocals); Vince Welnick (keyboards & vocals); Bruce Hornsby (grand piano & vocals).

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