Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Calling all Phil Fans: Grateful Dead Live at Park West 1983-09-04

The MVP from our show: Broham Phil Lesh!

I have had a hell of a time choosing a show to post this week. I know I am behind (I defended my thesis yesterday, and little else was on my mind) as it is wednesday, but I could not wait anymore. It is not that I have not listened to shows this week, because I have listened to more than eight, I just did not find one worth posting. So, I had no choice but to go back to some of the shows that I have bookmarked over the past four years. This is show coming from 83, the Brent Years. There is quite a bit of slide guitar in this show. One of the funniest things about slide and the grateful dead is that Bobby basically learned how to play slide guitar on the road, he just experimented during shows until he got it down. Granted his slide playing is not pristine, its no Duane Allman,  he does get  the job done. One of the great thing that the slide guitar brought to the Dead was sustain. When Pig Pen was in the band, he provided a lot of sustain with his organ playing and unique style, but since his passing in the early seventies, little sustain was provided to the band. Of course, Keith played some organ, but not quite in the grinding, and ruddy way that Piggy did. Nobody can replicate Pig Pen, the guy was a hot mess, but he had the voice of a black-man with the blues, few can replicate! I really like the songs where the organ is dirty, songs like Don't Ease Me In and of course Easy Wind, which is just pure Pig, the whole way through. 

Brent, also adds a lighter touch to songs such as Tennessee Jed, but I am not so sure I like it that much, its alright, but its almost to corny.  Phil's bass playing is solid, nothing fancy, just in time and sounding very clean. He has some great chromatic walking riffs in this tune. Its funny, as a bassist I do not like playing with a pick, nor do I care for the sound, but my two favorite bassists Phil Lesh and Rick Danko both play with a pick and both have a very aggressive thundering, hopping style.  Of course, Brett add a nice vocal touch to the song, but once again its a little corny. 

Bertha is a nice start off to any show in my opinion, I love this song. Its certainly a Bobby tune, I love me a Bobby tune. Also, My Brother Esau, which is a tune that is not played very often. I like the drums in this song, sort of spaced out, lots of cowbell coming out of the right speaker, with the snare and kick drum on the left, it has a really nice effect on the song. I have to say you can not finding better rhythms than you do with Bill and Mick, they are so tasteful. I always enjoy Robert Hunter's songs about the bible.

I always loved the song Hell in a Bucket, mainly for the lyrics, but Jerry is just alright in this song, to be honest Jerry is just alright up until this point in this show. Phil is really playing nicely during this show, nothing to crazy, but he is grooving!
I love this line from Hell in a Bucket:

"You must really consider the circus
It just might be your kind of zoo
I can think of a place more perfect
For a person as perfect as you"

To end the first set with China Cat to Know your Rider and then to start of the Second with Scarlet> Fire! In the words of the Koolaid Man "OOHH YYEEAAHH"!

Phil is owning china rider, Jerry is starting to heat up, but Phil is laying them down bar after bar, pump up your sub folks, tell your neighbors to stop complaining and to accept beauty when it comes! The transition from China Cat to Know Your Rider always puts me in the right mood. The way Jerry's pace picks up and the drumming picks up in pace a little bit, but still remains open for Jerry to weave around the bass and high-hat. Jerry is officially awake at about 4 minutes in to China and I am eagerly ready for the Know Your Rider to come on heavy!

Know Your Rider at 3:05 Phil lays down a lick to slobber over! I am happy to announce that the rest of the band has caught up to Phil, and we are just ending the first set, this is going to be a second set to remember! 

You really have to play these recordings loud to really pull everything out of them, play it loud play it proud!

Phil is bouncing in scarlet begonias, and jerry is finally flowing and kicking hard!

Well, I have to talk stopping I mean stop talking at some point, and this seems as good as any. I hope you enjoy and it Phil's your day with a jovial ray of sunshine!


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