Garcia said “We were great for seconds on end.” I was lucky to see Jerry play for about 1,000,000 seconds exactly. Thanks for your 1,000,000 views here . Dave Davis wrote this blog for 500 posts and 5 years from 2015 to 2019. Contact me at twitter @gratefulseconds

Monday, February 27, 2017

Cape Cod October 27: Best Show of 1979

There is no doubt, there is nothing like seeing the top-rated Grateful Dead concert  of the year, in this case it's the October 27 show at Vince McMahon's Cape Cod Coliseum in 1979.  And of course David released it as the 1979 entry in the 30 Trips series.

I had never seen a local review of the show. However recently I discovered that The Heights, a Boston College student newspaper did a fine thorough job of describing the show and the scene (although they missed The Caution Jam breakout).  Truth be told, I missed it too at the show at the time and only learned that I heard it years later similar to how I missed the Blackbird tuning in Springfield in 1977.

[Note: In Nov 2017, I was told by buddy Craig MacLean that he, my brother Ralph and I stayed at a freind's Aunt's house on the Cape after this show. I never could remember where I had stayed that night so mystery solved!]

You can enjoy here.  Also there is a tremendous review at

You can tell from the deadbase 11 chart, that Cape Cod is the clear favorite from 1979.  It makes me happy when I find I was lucky enough to see the best show of the year.  Lucky I saw Boston in 1977, Lewiston in 1980, and New Year's 1981, all strong candidates too. :)

I saw 19 Grateful Dead shows in 1979, my all time high so maybe that helped.  Other high rankers I saw were 1-15-79 in Springfield and
8-4/5-79 in Oakland.


Update: 2019 Piece in Cape Cod Times October 25, 1979

 Ethan Genter on Twitter: @EthanGenterCCT.

Legendary band played 2 nights at Coliseum.

SOUTH YARMOUTH — Forty years ago Sunday, the Grateful Dead rocked the Cape Cod Coliseum, once the mecca of live music on the Cape.

The two-night run at the Whites Path venue was the only time the Dead played on the Cape, but recordings of the shows live on, and the first night’s performance is regarded as one of the band’s best of the era.

“I get chills when I think about that show still,” said John Stewart, who went to the first performance just days before his 14th birthday.

Listen to the full shows on the Cape here: 10/27/79 and 10/28/79

Stewart spent summers down the road from the arena and now runs a taxi business in southern Vermont. At the time, he wasn’t much of a Dead fan. He knew the hits, such as “Truckin’” and “Casey Jones,” but wasn’t ready for what the band had in store that night. Afterward, he gradually became a Deadhead and went on to see more than 250 Dead shows through the years.

“It was definitely a catalyst that got me interested in going again and again,” he said.

The band put on two shows that weekend, Oct. 27 and 28, and the first night is held up as one of the best Dead concerts of 1979.

If you go
What: Owsley’s Owls tribute to 40th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s only performances on Cape Cod

When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Chatham Squire, 487 Main St., Chatham.

Details: “We’ll be using the set lists of both concerts to create a fresh mix of tunes that will be sure to feature popular favorites and deep cuts interspersed with double-dipped doses of psychedelic jamming,” bassist Nick Williams said.

“They are on fire,” the group’s archivist David Lemieux told Rolling Stone magazine in 2015. “There was always something about the Dead in New England — they were pretty darn spectacular. But some of the jams in this one are incredible.”

At the time, the shows did not seem to make much of a stir locally. The Yarmouth Register, the town’s weekly newspaper, ran a small blurb before the concerts.

“The ‘Grateful Dead’ country-rock group, famous for such songs as ‘Truckin’ and ‘Cocaine,’ will be appearing for two concerts on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28, at the Cape Cod Coliseum, White’s Path, Yarmouth,” the paper wrote. “Tickets will be available through Ticketron outlets, one of which is at the Coliseum, and will cost $8.50 for general admission. Advance sales have been heavy and the Coliseum management recommends that those interested should buy tickets or make reservations as early as possible.”

It was the first show for Bill O’Neill, of Centerville, a music writer and former editor at the Cape Cod Times. He was an undergraduate student at Harvard at the time, and although he was not a rabid fan, he went to the Sunday show with his roommates.

“It was mainly a curiosity thing,” he said.

He, like Stewart, only knew the hits and remembered being disappointed the band didn’t play songs such as “Sugar Magnolia” and “U.S. Blues.”

Bill Patten, a photographer in Marshfield, was in a similar boat. He was 17 at the time and went to the Saturday show. Like O’Neill, he had seen other big-name bands at the Coliseum.

“I was in high school, so going to rock concerts was the thing to do,” he said.

But seeing the Dead was not like seeing Van Halen or Black Sabbath. There were no outrageous outfits, opening bands or crowd talk to get the fans hyped up.

Instead the Dead came out, started tuning their instruments and went on to play for hours.

“It was unlike anything I had ever seen before,” Patten said.

At the end of the show, Patten realized he had not recognized a single song but loved the music. He went on to see Jerry Garcia play with his later band in 1983.

“I don’t know if I hadn’t seen that concert if I’d continue listening or finding out about the Grateful Dead through their albums,” Patten said.

The version of “Dancin’ in the Streets” from the first show is considered one of the essential live recordings of the song, and the fact that the band played “Franklin’s Tower” two nights in a row is a rarity.

To commemorate the anniversary, Owsley’s Owls will be playing a tribute show Saturday night at the Chatham Squire.

“We’re all a little too young to have seen the 1979 concerts, but there is certainly a lot of legend surrounding the Grateful Dead’s only pair of shows on Cape Cod,” the band’s bassist, Nick Williams, wrote in an email. “I hear the scene was absolutely wild.”

Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson used to work police details at the Coliseum in 1979. He said he remembered a wild party scene at the parking lot there, although he doesn’t believe he worked the Dead shows.

The venue could hold about 7,000 people, and police would regularly take 20 people or more into custody every concert.

But the Dead show seemed more mellow, attendees said.

Although 40 years have passed, the show still is remembered and highly requested. The Oct. 27 performance was included in the 2015 “30 Trips around the Sun” 80-disc box set, which featured one show per year from the Dead’s 30-year career.

“Through the years I’ve been asked for posters for the show,” said Dylan Stanton, owner of Instant Karma Records in Orleans. Bootleg recordings of the show also have circulated through the store over the years, he said.

Bob Seay, who used to work at the Provincetown-based radio station WOMR, went to one of the performances, although he could not remember which one. He touched on an aspect of the show that every attendee the Times talked to brought up: the sound quality.

“I do remember it was some of the best sound I’d ever heard,” he said. “The quality was crystal clear.”

It was Seay’s first Dead show.

“It was completely different than every other concert I’d ever attended,” he said. “I was so impressed. I can see why there are Deadheads.”

Follow Ethan Genter on Twitter: @EthanGenterCCT.

Apparently the Dead were supposed to play in Cape Cod around Labor Day 1974, presented by promoter Frank J Russo. This is weird timing; it must have been closer to the East Coast shows ending at Roosevelt on August 6 as the next shows were in Europe starting with London on Septemeber 9.

Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Boston, Mass.
Author:Ernie Santosuosso Globe Staff
Date:May 18, 1984
Start Page:1
Document Text
The sale this week of the Cape Cod Coliseum for conversion into a warehouse has cast a pall on the resort peninsula's summertime rock followers. The 11-year-old 7200-seat facility had housed a league hockey club and an occasional pro wrestling program but it was the rock stars who were the main event.
Since the early '70s, many major groups have performed in the South Yarmouth arena, despite its glaring acoustic deficiencies. J. Geils Band, Dave Mason, Van Halen, Crosby Stills & Nash, Boz Scaggs, Doobie Brothers, Grateful Dead, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and his orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra have played there.
Two years ago, Linda McMahon who co-owned the Coliseum with spouse Vince McMahon optimistically voiced her intentions to book musical acts year-round at the Coliseum. The McMahons had been living on the Cape while Vince commuted to his pro wrestling tv taping sessions. The couple now resides in Greenwich, Conn., which gives Vince McMahon greater accessibility to the television scene.
What impact will the closing have? "I'm not sure it will be that great an impact because it's been just a seasonal facility," says Jane Gerraghty, agent with Premier Talent in New York. "But promoters are going to have to be more creative, and I'm sure more groups will be going to the Worcester Centrum, the Boston Common or whatever. I know a lot of kids are going to miss it, because they loved it. I'm not sure how many acts loved it, but it was a great steppingstone for them and it was always fun to be on the Cape in the summer."
The McMahons sold the property to Christmas Tree Shops, a retail store chain on the Cape.
For the past three years, hundreds of Greater Bostonians have been coming to the aid of the African Food and Peace Foundation. In order to raise money for the group which is funding the Uganda Food and Peace Project, a concert will be held Wednesday evening at 7:30 in the Boston Shakespeare Company Theater, 53 St. Botolph st. Performers will be tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi, an alumnus of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and Con Brio; Robert Fritz, and the Mark Johnson Group. General admission, which is tax-deductible, is $15. For ticket information call 741-0780 or 237-6450. Tickets are available at the door.

Friday, February 24, 2017

May 9, 2009 The Dead Play Two Second Sets in LA

The 2009 tour of The Dead was a tremendous tour with Warren Haynes joining the gang.  Many shows appeared on Sirius, and I ordered the nightly FLAC downloads from and nugs.  One thing early that caught my ear was this early first set standalone Goin Down the Road Feeling Bad in Worcester in April.  And I was excited to get my pal Evan and head to the Forum for one show late in the tour.   We paid bank and sat second row center, so the two Set Twos made perfect sense.  We even got to go to a little room in the Forum and get carrots and dip. And lucky for me they skipped set one and played two Set Twos. Listen here

Set 1
02.Viola Lee Blues > 
03.Bertha > 
04.Viola Lee Blues > 
05.Caution > 
06.Viola Lee Blues 
07.Black Peter
08.Cosmic Charlie 

Set 2

02.Jam > 
03.Shakedown Street > 
04.New Speedway Boogie > 
05.Scarlet Begonias > 
06.Fire on the Mountain
01.Drums > 
02.Space > 
03.Dark Star > 
04.Wharf Rat > 
05.Dark Star > 


07.One More Saturday Night

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Aloha 1970

Aloha Bobby and Jerry.  Spread a little aloha. Dead come into Honolulu for two shows in January, 1970. Years later Jerry will have a lot of fun scuba diving nearby in Maui.  Listen here 

This 1969 show in Hawaii did not occur

Jan 23, 1970
[2:05:19] ; Tuning [0:23] ; China Cat Sunflower [2:55] > Jam [3:00] > I Know You Rider [4:30] > Black Peter [8:18] ; Yellow Dog Story [2:42] ; [0:27] ; Hard To Handle [5:27] ; [0:16] ; Mama Tried [2:38] > Dire Wolf [4:01] ; [0:31] ; Good Lovin' [1:51] > Drums [1:07] > Good Lovin' [6:41] ; [0:07] % [0:02] ; Cryptical Envelopment [2:00] > Drums [3:11] > The Other One [10:53] > Cryptical Envelopment [5:13] > Dark Star [18:46] > Saint Stephen [4:48] > Turn On Your Lovelight [35:52#]

Jan 24 [56:10] ; Tuning [1:30] ; Cumberland Blues [5:00] ; [0:07] % [0:03] ; Cold Rain And Snow [5:15] ; [0:08] % [0:02] ; Me And My Uncle [3:10] ; [1:05] ; I'm A King Bee [6:09] ; [0:08] % [0:43] ; Mason's Children [6:31] ; [0:13] ; Black Peter [9:25] ; [1:02] ; Good Lovin' [6:27#] % Dancing In The Street [9:12]

Friday, February 17, 2017

Possible Next Grateful Dead Betty Board Releases

Now that early May 1977 is starting to appear, what do you want next? Here's a list of what you might want.  For comparison, here's the top rated Deadbase 11 1977 shows as voted by the fans:

Grateful Dead Batch One (The "Returned")
02.18.71 The Capitol Theater, Port Chester, New York
02.19.71 The Capitol Theater, Port Chester, New York  (released)
02.20.71 The Capitol Theater, Port Chester, New York
02.21.71 The Capitol Theater, Port Chester, New York
02.23.71 The Capitol Theater, Port Chester, New York
02.24.71 The Capitol Theater, Port Chester, New York
04.05.71 Manhattan Center, New York City (End Of 2nd Set Only)
04.06.71 Manhattan Center, New York City
04.07.71 Boston Music Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
04.08.71 Boston Music Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
12.14.71 The Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
05.04.72 The Olympia Theater, Paris, France (released)
08.21.72 Berkeley Community Theater, Berkeley, California
08.22.72 Berkeley Community Theater, Berkeley, California
08.25.72 Berkeley Community Theater, Berkeley, California
08.27.72 Old Renaissance Faire Ground, Veneta, Oregon (released)
03.16.73 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, Long Island, New York
03.21.73 Memorial Auditorium, Utica, New York
03.22.73 Memorial Auditorium, Utica, New York
03.24.73 Spectrum Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
05.26.73 Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, California
06.22.73 Pacific High Exhibition Coliseum, Vancouver, B.C.
ca. Aug-early Sep 'WAKE OF THE FLOOD Studio Out-takes, San Rafael, CA
circa 1975 'REFLECTIONS' Studio Out-takes
06.10.76 The Boston Music Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
06.11.76 The Boston Music Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
06.14.76 The Beacon Theater, New York City
06.15.76 The Beacon Theater, New York City
06.29.76 The Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, Illinois
ca. Early 1977 Side Two Of 'TERRAPIN STATION'
02.26.77 The Swing Auditorium, San Bernadino, California
05.05.77 New Haven Coliseum, New Haven, Connecticut (released)
05.07.77 Boston Gardens, Boston, Massachusetts (released)
05.08.77 Barton Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (released)
05.09.77 War Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York (released)
09.29.77 The Paramount Theater, Seattle, Washington
10.02.77 The Paramount Theater, Portland, Oregon
10.28.77 Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Missouri
10.29.77 Field House, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois
10.30.77 Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
11.01.77 Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan
11.05.77 War Memorial, Rochester, New York (End Of Show) (released)
11.06.77 Broome County Arena, Binghamton, New York
04.07.78 Hollywood Sportatorium, Hollywood, Florida
04.10.78 The Fox Theater, Atlanta, Georgia
04.11.78 The Fox Theater, Atlanta, Georgia
04.12.78 Cameroon Indoor Stadium, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
04.14.78 Coliseum, Virginia Polytechnic, Blacksburg, Virginia
04.15.78 William And Mary College, Williamsburg, Virginia
07.07.78 Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colorado
07.08.78 Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colorado
10.18.78 Winterland, San Francisco, California ("From Egypt With Love")
04.22.79 Spartan Stadium, San Jose, California

Batch Two Betty Boards (Many are released)

10/19/1971 Northrup First Keith Show
11/15/1971 Austin Road Trips 3:2
11/17/1971 NM
12/4/1971 Felt Please Release Soon
12/6/1971 Felt Please Release Soon
12/7/1971 Felt (released)
12/10/1971 St Louis Please Release Soon
3/21/1972 Academy Dave's Pick Bonus 2015
3/22/1972 Academy 5 songs Rockin Rhein Bonus
3/23/1972 Academy 1 song Rockin Rhein Bonus
3/25/1972 Academy Dicks Picks 30; 8 songs
3/26/1972 Academy Dave's Pick 14
3/27/1972 Academy 6 songs Dicks 30; 2015 Bonus
3/28/1972 Academy Dicks Picks 30
4/8/1972 Europe Europe 72 Complete
4/11/1972 Europe Europe 72 Complete
4/14/1972 Europe Europe 72 Complete
4/17/1972 Europe Europe 72 Complete
4/17/1972 Europe Europe 72 Complete
5/3/1972 Europe Europe 72 Complete
5/7/1972 Europe Europe 72 Complete
5/25/1972 Europe Europe 72 Complete
7/2/1972 Filmore West
3/15/1973 Nassau
3/30/1973 Rochester
3/31/1973 Buffalo
4/2/1973 Boston (released)
6/17/1976 Capitol
6/18/1976 Capitol Download Series 4
6/19/1976 Capitol Listen to Chat b4 Jam
6/21/1976 Philly
6/22/1976 Philly
6/26/1976 Chicago
6/28/1976 Chicago 1 song Download Series 4

Thursday, February 16, 2017

May 4 1977 Mind Melt at the Palladium

Fifty minutes when you have time please
If not, try a very scary Estimated, a sublime Dancin' and a great early Scarlet>Fire

This was the one. The total mind-melt that my roommate Span and I listened to day after day sophomore year at Bowdoin.  Now it's the one before the 4-Show Release  May 5-9.

This show ill blow your mind, before you get the new shows (which currently is broken),  listen to the second set of the last night at the Palladium.

Mississippi Half-Step
Big River
They Love Each Other
New Minglewood Blues
It Must Have Been the Roses
Looks Like Rain
Brown Eyed Women
Dancin' in the Streets

Estimated Prophet
Scarlet Begonias
Fire on the Mountain
Terrapin Station
Playin' in the Band
Comes a Time
Playin' in the Band

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Opening Night At The Palladium April 29, 1977

Opening night at the Palladium smoked.  I was lucky to see the next night.  The Scarlet>Goin Down the Road sequence would be the only Fire-less version (except one) for more than seven years.  
The Help>Slip>Franklin's Tower opener was very strong, A beautiful Sugaree.  This is a great listen.  We even have a John Rockwell NY Times and a Dead Relix Jerry Moore review (along with his audience)

This show needs a SBD update. We know you have it, spill it guys. :)  We have 6 SBD songs, three released with the 4-40-77 download, and three in the 30 Days releases.  You can find them here.

Help on the Way
Franklin's Tower
New Minglewood Blues
Tennessee Jed
They Love Each Other
Big River
Music Never Stopped

Samson and Delilah
El Paso
Brown Eyed Women
Estimated Prophet
Scarlet Begonias
Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad
The Wheel
Wharf Rat
Around and Around

Uncle John's Band
Grateful Dead: My Night With The Dead

Mick Farren, New Musical Express, 28 May 1977

IT'S LIKE GOING back home.
"Acid, black beauties!"
"You got any pot to sell?"
"No, man, all I got is acid and black beauties."
What else could it be but a Grateful Dead concert?

THE GRATEFUL DEAD must be at an all time low in terms of fashionability. Nobody seems to have told this to the sea of lank hair and faded denim milling and jostling on the sidewalk outside New York's Palladium theatre. Fads may come and fads may go, but the fact has to be faced that the Dead go on for ever. On this particular night they go on for just short of five and a half hours.

It's starting to look as though hard-core hippies are turning into another time-warp subgroup, rather like the old rockers. It may be ten years since 1967, but looking at this mob in the foyer you wouldn't know it. There's denim and floral prints, earthshoes, acne and old cowboy boots. Some of the throng, aimlessly making their way into the auditorium could easily have just folded their tents and hitchhiked down from Woodstock. I begin to get the feeling that these freaks, in between concerts, must go back to a timeless limbo, similar to the one the teds inhabit when they're not parading in their drapes for Jerry Lee Lewis or Chuck Berry.

The Dead also seem to have a slightly unconventional relationship to time. When you've been overdosing on the kind of band who think that three minutes, twenty seconds adds up to a really long song, it's hard immediately to adjust to the Dead's pacing. And oh boy, do they pace.

A five-minute tune-up break between songs is nothing to The Grateful Dead. It's kind of irksome at first, but I suppose it's understandable when you're settling in for a five-hour show. They're on stage amazingly promptly, just fifteen minutes after the eight o'clock stated on the tickets. It hardly gives us time to queue up for a beer and find our seats in the decaying 3,000-seat auditorium, before the band are out on stage and rocking.

THE ROCKING is fairly relaxed. The Dead have never been a combo that sweated gallons and popped blood vessels, but even by their own standards, they're easing their way into the set. It also appears that they haven't played together for a while. There are too many nudges, winks and secret hand-signals for a band who are super-rehearsed and right into their mid-tour stride.

There have also been some changes since I last saw them. Mickey Hart has returned and they're back with the old double-drum lineup. Also Donna Godchaux has now been properly integrated into the band. When they played at Wembley her vocals were, to say the least, abrasive. Now she seems to have totally synched in, and her voice has mellowed down to blend perfectly with those of Weir and Garcia. About the only really unhappy note is the sad absence of Pigpen.

As far as the audience is concerned the Dead can do no wrong. They're loudly and continuously vocal in their stoned appreciation. In that respect the guy sitting next to us is typical. Every time he feels the band have produced some particularly fine musical segment, he emits a loud, woo-woo kind of animal wailing. The strength and duration seems to depend on how pleased he is with the show. Beyond that, we don't hear him give out with another sound.

The guy next to us may be typical in his capacity for noisy response, but apart from that he has to be one of the strangest Grateful Dead fans I've ever come across. He's black, kind of frayed around the edges, and really looks like he ought to be howling at Toots or Bob Marley instead of Garcia and Weir. He does, however, have a pipe that he keeps topped up with black hash.

HOWEVER, I have a problem that's been troubling me since the show started. Do I really love The Grateful Dead, or is it just nostalgia for a lot of warm stoned afternoons that the ill winds of the Seventies have blown away for ever? As I sink back into my seat, with a pleasant mellow buzz washing over me, I begin to see it all a lot more clearly (you remember what Bob Marley said). There really is something timeless and very fine about the Dead, something that has to be divorced from the often brain-damaged antics of audiences who use the band and their music to cling to a now-lost lifestyle.

Garcia's guitar was created in heaven. As it weaves in and out of the lax but always-present rhythm section, it really does create patterns that are far beyond the capabilities of most pickers. It also cuts through the hair and redundant hippy posturing to very essential, if laid-back, truth.

The selection of songs span almost the entire course of the Dead's career, including the various solo spinoffs. There's 'New, New Minglewood Blues' off the very first album, there's a track from Blues For Allah, 'Sugar Magnolia', 'Deal' from one of Garcia's solo albums, 'Cassidy' from one of Bob Weir's.

When the audience get altogether too rowdy they turn the hand-clapping round until the crowd are assisting in the introduction to the Dead version of 'Not Fade Away'. Before the song can get under way, however, it mutates into an elongated drum solo (in which, incidentally, Bill Kreutzman, in the nicest possible way, dumps all over Mickey Hart).

ITS QUITE a poignant Grateful Dead for the first half of the show. Garcia sticks close to his amps, Phil Lesh is positioned right by the drum risers, Keith Godchaux is almost invisible, while Donna Godchaux comes demurely on when her vocal assistance is needed, occasionally shakes her amazing, waist-length hair, and splits back to the wings when she's no longer required. About the only focus of visual attention is Bob Weir and the two drummers.

After the interval, the mournful songs like 'Brown-Eyed Women' and 'Cumberland Blues' start to get punctuated by Bob Weir cowboy inserts like 'El Paso' and Johnny Cash's 'Big River'. The atmosphere becomes increasingly more lively. Garcia executes little stomping dances as he pours out cascades of silver notes. The whole second half leads up to the final rocking set-piece.

The introduction is so tentative that it takes a couple of verses to recognise it. Suddenly realisation dawns. It's Chuck Berry's 'Around And Around'. For the next twenty-five minutes it builds relentlessly with everyone in the band, particularly Bob Weir, who handles the brunt of the vocals, running at full stretch.

There's a long wait for the encore, but it's worth it. The Dead return with an immaculate version of 'Uncle John's Band'. The audience leaves with the Dead's own wistful anthem ringing in their ears. I, for one, feel more emotionally fulfilled than I have done after a rock and roll show for a very long time.

I CAN'T even be brought down by the way the cabs on Union Square have reverted to the old 1967 policy of not picking up hippies.

Some hours later in another part of town (the elegant, art noveau St. Regis hotel, to be precise) they are a mite tolerant of hippies – hippies with money, that is. Indeed, affluent hippes are now very well looked upon, ten years after the fact. Jimmy Carter courts their company, and there are even TV ads aimed at them. There are limits, though.

When Chalkie Davies attempts to remove his garish, metallic, Ferrari pit-crew jacket, the maitre d' sternly requests he should put it back on. You don't sit in the St. Regis cocktail lounge in your shirt sleeves. My God what next?

As you probably guessed, we are sitting in the St. Regis cocktail lounge. Chalkie, myself and Betsy the redoubtable press officer, are all waiting for Bob Weir. We are drinking gin to pass the time. After some minutes and a couple more gins, Betsy goes to make a phone call. Bob Weir is up in Jerry Garcia's room. We head for the lift.

Garcia's room could easily be a college common-room. The conversation is low-key and informed. It is very un-rock and roll. The subject is how independent television is rapidly eroding the power of the networks. This is really fascinating, but the presence of Betsy reminds me I am not here to be entertained. I'm here to do an interview. It's suggested that Bob, Chalkie and I go down the hall to his room and get the thing together.

There was a time when Bob Weir was the teen appeal of the Dead. This has faded a little as the years have slipped by. He's recently grown a beard, and his eyes seem to have what I can only describe as a fixed dare-I-say Valium glaze. There's nothing Valiumed, however, about his mind. It's sharp and perceptive. The polite preliminaries are kept to a minimum. I turn on the tape recorder and get down to business.

Was it, as it looked, that the Dead were a little under-rehearsed?

"It looked that way?"

There seemed to be a lot of nods and winks going down. Weir smiles.

"That's pretty much the nature of our music. We have an enormous repertoire of material that's kind of sketchily rehearsed. We'll pull out a song that we haven't done in a long time. When you're doing something like that, then visual cues are very necessary."

You'll pick a song right in the heat of the moment, in the middle of the set?

"Oh yes. If it's appropriate. Maybe we are a little under-rehearsed. We could do with more time, but I can't say we're doing badly. There's always a lot more you can do."

BOB WEIR is pleasantly serene. Everything will be taken care of in the fullness of time, seems to sum up his attitude. The conversation still concentrates on time, but slightly changes perspective. The Dead have been on the road for ten years now...


The Dead have been on the road for twelve years now. How have attitudes changed?

"I think things have streamlined over the years. We know much better what to expect of the road and what to expect of ourselves. We're much better now at keeping our heads and bodies in shape. You have to remember that we play a very long show, and it takes a lot of energy. We eat well on the road...' He grins. "... and avoid extremes of wretched excess, I've always maintained the notion that the music is what it's all about."

I guess pacing is very important?

"Oh yes. We try and arrange tours so there's enough time to get proper rest and..."

No no, I meant the actual pacing throughout a show.

"Oh, really. I think if we tried we could work ourselves up to the point where we could play hard, fast and loud all the time, but that could get pretty weird."

The subject of being on the road for, twelve years leads very naturally to the question of bands evolving away from their audiences. Does Weir feel that the Dead have drifted away from their roots?

"I don't think so."

Damn few of last night's concert audience went home to a luxury hotel the way the band did.

"Damn few of the audience try to keep the pace we do. Like I said, our major focus is on the music. That's the way we can keep in touch with and cater to the fans, by keeping the music alive and vital."

There's something a little incongruous about hearing one of the Dead talking about "the fans", but I let it go. Weir is warming to the subject of the artist getting divorced from the street.

"At home I really don't have much of a problem about being on the streets, although the pace that I work at pretty much keeps me isolated once again. If that doesn't work I'll have to reassess the situation. As it is now, I'm so immersed in work, I don't really have much of a social life."

THIS PICTURE that Weir paints of his secluded, almost Spartan dedication fits with the unnaturally neat, very un-rock and roll hotel suite.

I ask what he's working on.

"I write, I record, I perform. I may do a film score if I have the time."

Do you want to talk about the film score?

"Not really. It's pretty much under wraps for the moment."

What happened to Kingfish?

"Kingfish fell by the wayside for me. I simply didn't have enough time to make it worth while for the other people in the band. It's possible it could happen again, but it's not happening at the moment. Not many side projects can spin out from this new stream-lined model of The Grateful Dead."

Weir permits himself a smile at the idea of The Grateful Dead considered as this year's new gas-guzzler from Detroit. I enquire as to what has changed.

"It's fun again. It's become more alive." He spreads his hands, temporarily at a loss for words. "It's happening."

There was a point when it stopped being fun?

"Yeah. Really. That was when we knocked off in 1974. It'd become too cumbersome and it was time to relax, reassess and maybe reconstruct – or not. Eventually we sat down and had a meeting and decided to re-construct it in a more organic pattern, and it worked. I guess it's worked so far. I suppose we might reach the same kind of plateau again, and The Grateful Dead will stop being fun. When that time comes we'll have to look at the situation all over again, We've got quite a way to run yet, though."

There's no temptation to live on a legend and just coast? Weir looks horrified.

"Oh no, that would become boring after one night. It couldn't be satisfying."

I SUPPOSE it's the idea of artistic satisfaction that leads us back to the subject of relationship with the audience. I wonder how much the Dead feed off the response of the audience.

"I think it's hard to differentiate between the way we're inter-acting among ourselves and the way we're interacting with the audience. I think, to be truthful, we just become caught up in the music and work of that."

So why are you working comparatively small theatres on this tour?

"It's mainly because of the sound. The sound is always better in a smaller place."

So it's not to get a better atmosphere going?

"I can't actually see anything past the first few rows. I think it's a safe rule that it gets logarithmically less intimate outside of the first twenty rows."

The phone rings. Weir patiently explains to the person on the other end that his guest list is full and that he doesn't have any tickets. Everyone wants to see the show?

"I didn't even know them."

Bob Weir enquires if there were any scalpers outside the theatre. I tell him I didn't see any, but there were people yelling that they'd give fifty bucks for a ticket. He sighs his distaste. What else, I wonder, bugs him these days?

"I guess that's my only soapbox at the moment. Like I said, our main thrust has always been the music."

The music's everything?


This is beginning to sound a bit on the bland side. I really don't feel I can totally stand still for it. Surely music isn't always just an end in itself?

"I'm sorry?"

Surely music is a motivating force? At a very minimum it shapes the audience's state of mind when they come out of the concert.

"Yeah. I suppose that is true. I think all we can do is to give them the kind of music that makes them feel good."

Can't music all too often can be picked up and used as a battle flag? We talk a bit about the punk/hippie hostilities back in the UK. Weir shakes his head slowly. "I don't understand that kind of thing at all. It's twisted."

FOR CLOSERS, we switch to a less complicated vein. I ask Weir about his apparent love for trashy cowboy songs like 'Big Iron', 'El Paso' and 'Big River'. Weir grins.

"I have a number of them I can pull out when they're needed. They're fun to deliver."

You don't have a secret desire to be Johnny Cash or Jim Reeves?

Weir cracks up at the prospect.

"Oh no. No way. It's just that those songs give a kind of variety. Without variety you can't have no horse race."

© Mick Farren, 1977

Citation (Harvard format)
Grateful Dead/1977/Mick Farren/New Musical Express/Grateful Dead: My Night With The Dead/01/03/2017 23:33:45/

Jerry Moore in Dead Relix review

  1. "Sugaree" (Hunter, Garcia) - 14:18
  2. "Scarlet Begonias" > (Hunter, Garcia) - 9:45
  3. "Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad" (trad., arr. Grateful Dead) - 10:17
7 - 9 are bonus tracks from 4/29/77