Sunday, April 1, 2012

Grateful Dead Live at Olympic Arena on 1983-10-17

Olympic Arena 10-17-1983

This is the first time I have heard this show, and it is a smooth one. The vocals are on point. Jerry's voice really comes through nicely. He is on key and his playing is quite good. Not quite an experimental show, but rather a poised performance of what Dead Heads over the years have come to expect day-in and day-out.  

"Friend of the Devil" is slow yet peaceful. Nothing too fancy about this song, just a nice narrative Robert Hunter Song which tells the tale of a broken hearted convict who is not quite sure what he is really settling for. I do enjoy the lyrics..."I might just get some sleep tonight". I like this line because he just doesn't know what he is in for. And this line reminds me of the Big Lebowski when Brent says to Jeff Bridges "Well, Dude we just don't know if the rug pissers did this". I am seeing a lot of parables between the Grateful Dead and the Coen Brothers, and it is always fun to connect the things you love no matter how polar they are. 

"Deal" is quite good! I love this song. It is one of the first Dead songs that I learned the solo for and it is sweet. The chordal and melodic transitions and the phrasing is awesome. I love the bluesy feel of the guitar rhythm. Bob Weir is irreplaceable. I would say that Phil is 'walking' the bass, but in reality he is dancing it! His bass is jumping and riffing chromatically. I think he is one of the most underrated bass players. In the studio he is not so far above lame sauce, but live he is a beast!. Another wonderful aspect of this song is the organ. I really like the sustain that is provided by the organ. Those long muddy chordal riffs hold on to the previous chords while they are lurching for the next one. I find that if the song was the monkey bars, then the organ are the arms reaching for the next rung. It's a wonderful end to the first set. 

"Touch of Grey" is too poppy for me but it's a high energy song in this show. What comes next is special. I love the drums in "Samson and Delilah" and Jerry is throwing in some harmonic-oriented riffs as it starts off. The drums are not recorded perfectly, but they are present. Also, the lyrics in this song are taken from the bible with some rather generous adaptations. A lot of the Samson story is quite true. I like the bible songs that the Dead play including "Greatest Story Ever Told". Another thing about this song is that it is basically a five minute drum solo.

"To Lay me Down" is the kind of song that makes you mindful of life in general. It is sweet. It's pure; it's powerful; and it's heart-warming. To think that this song was written in one take blows my mind. Jerry's voice is so emphatic and emotional and he almost reminds me of Rick Danko in this tune. I LOVE DANKO! I think he had one of the best voices in Rock and Roll, not for skill but for passion and fire! He puts his heart into it every night. Listening to his rendition of "It Makes No Difference" in the "Last Waltz" makes me want to kneel down and clench my fists at the sky. 

It Makes No Difference (A must listen)
I am not allowed to embed this video.

"Terrapin Station" is so tasteful. This is another lyrical masterpiece. I was having a conversation this past weekend about my love for music, and I have to say that I really do enjoy the lyrics. I do not mentioned them very often because they are always the same (unless Jerry goffs them up). But the playing is always so different and I really do love lyrics. I think that I have almost all of the Grateful Dead songs memorized to the point that I can at least sing along with them. Jerry has some nice tasteful solos in this song. Nothing too crazy, just nice and smooth and fluid-like. My favorite part of this song is when jerry plays that classical build up to the verse that goes "Since the end is never told, they pay the teller in gold." And I love the verse:

Inspiration, move me brightly. Light the song with sense and color;
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin.

Counting stars by candlelight, all are dim but one is bright;
The spiral light of Venus, rising first and shining best,
On, from the northwest corner, of a brand new crescent moon,
While crickets and cicadas sing a rare and different tune,
Terrapin Station.

I think that we must all try to sing our own rare and different tune. In our own way and in our own time as long as we do not harm others in the process. (We must always do what we can to help others and if we can not we must at least not harm them. I hope you really do enjoy this show, it is a fine one!

To close, I would like to share a Dalai Lama quote with you that resonates with me. 
"Our planet is our house, and we must keep it in order and take care of it if we are genuinely concerned about the happiness of ourselves, our children, our friends and other sentient beings who share this great house with us"
Enjoy, and remember "Strangers meeting strangers just to shake their hands, everybody is playing in the heart of gold band, heart of gold band"


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