The year of the Dead goes on.
In about 1984 my favorite Deadhead friend Dave invaded my sleep one afternoon with a copy of Live/Dead. He had found it in Probe records and was convinced this was likely to change our lives. It was legendary in his mind at least and we should prepare for a musical journey like no other.
It was however Friday afternoon and we had to go to a class, we thought long and hard and decided the impending journey was more important at that time than our understanding of comparative religions.
It was not difficult at that time to come up with reasons to not go to class and we hastily ran to the off-off-licence for essential provisions of bourbon and Budweiser, Dave was convinced that PigPen would approve of our choice. We also probably bought too many cheese pies to fuel the fun. None of this apart from the choice of beverages and substances would replicate 1969 San Francisco but we were in Liverpool and had little access to the more exotic furnishings of the summer of love. Dave had once bought a Paisley shirt but he was 6ft 5 and this shirt was made for a much smaller person. This may well have been another ill advised post pub purchase.
On went the album and my bemusement began with the track Dark Star. Meandering and pointless was the beginning of the argument that has gone on for years and the thoughts that still stick with me to this day and simultaneously my love for the tracks St. Stephen and The Eleven. Who can figure the strange decisions of the musical adventurer.
So this week I delved into the three C.D. copy of Fillmore West 1969. Highlights form the same four night run that brought us Live/Dead. St. Stephen and The Eleven continue to be fun as is That’s It For The Other One and of course Alligator into Drums and out with the Jam. The Dead really stretch out on the album and are not too bothered by the idea of songs. It’s a lot of fun and brought back some great memories. At times almost sounding like an early Floyd show especially with Tom Constanten’s organ. I Know that’s a stretch but in ’69 Floyd were a jam band too, maybe a little less musically talented but they would make some great noise. This period before they solidified their folk/country/psych sound was some of the most interesting live for the Dead I think. The C.D. is also Deluxe so it has to be great.
In a strange way I feel like I have betrayed the Dick’s Picks quest but dam it was in the Goodwill for $3 and I could’t resist. Th price was more to do with the three discs than anything else I am sure. I stole the picture because y copy has no cover, sad but true.
Live/Dead did not change my life. We did rock out to it and peer meaningfully at the album cover though and argue about how bad Dark Star was. Dave had an epiphany I nodded off. The weird thing is last time I saw Dave he said he had not bought any music or gone to a gig in 10 or so years which just goes to show how time can change a person. He did still have five shoe boxes of Dead bootleg cassettes he had got through the mail form trans-atlantic DeadHeads, he had no way of playing them but would not let them go, the last bit of nostalgia he said.