Thursday, June 21, 2012

Show of the Week: Beacon Theater '76





Long review, but worth the read!!




Well, I have fallen off of the band wagon, but rest assured I have been listening to the dead with fury. I started backing up some of my things so that I can move eventually and I had the chance to listen to three shows, two of which really caught my eyes and ears. This is one of them, the other I will talk about next week. Plus this weekend is Comfest, the largest free music festival in the USA which is taking place about a mile from my digs, in Columbus, Ohio. The line up is looking pretty sweet. I will have to do a review on my blog. Comfest brings the funniest people out of the cracks, sometimes at festivals I wonder where all these people go to when they are not at festivals! But rest assured, I will be listening with all of you in mind.




Grateful Dead at Beacon Theater 6/14/76

I am finding that this show is speaking to me in ways that I can not explain, it just seems to embody most of the things that I look for when I listen to the dead. Specifically, it has a lot of creativity, while still holding true to the definitions that the dead have created over the years. For instance, nn Cassidy, there are wonderful exchanged between Jerry and Keith, they are exchanging licks gracefully and the notes seems to linger, each proceeding note adding definition and understanding to the preceding one. It seems that even the pauses are speaking silently. As always the drumming is varying between structure and formlessness, which is something that I cherish about Micky and Bill! 


Brown Eyed Woman starts and Phil is just bouncing, I mean this man makes me dance, its almost like Phil is playing piano parts and the piano is playing the bass parts. Bobby is playing his made up chords. The way he combines fifths and triads together. He is the only rhythm player that can can ascend and descend in his riffs at the same time. How about those vocals. A great rendition of the song. The bridge is always my favorite part "and the old man never was the same again"! The drumming in the start of the chorus always impresses me the way they sneak in those ride taps quick snare and high hat patterns. At about 3:55 listen to Bobby's guitar, he is just on fire, some of the coolest strumming I have heard, he has a way to make everything come together. For me he is the backbone of the dead in songs such as this one.


Might as well speaks to me in a way that you can play rock and roll or you can PLAY rock and roll. How about that piano gliss in the beginning of the tune! Nothing to fancy about this song, basic timing, basic chords. The piano is doing some really nice stuff in this song. Man I love it when Phil hits those long slides like a champ, he is a beast in the simpler songs, he is a fancy simple player, he just knows when to melt your face off and he knows when to make your heart sing. 


Lazy Lightning, has really grown on me over the past few months, and so has Bobby's voice! Once again Bobby is just playing his heart out, his rhythm exchanges make me realize that I have a lot to learn. Jerry' has a kickin solo at the two minute mark, all I know is that I just fell in love and had my heart broken in about a 20 second span. Its the kind of solo that makes you want to just close your eyes, and float on a raft down stream, and just follow the current to happiness. Then at the three minute mark he just hits this wicked fast lick that just makes me wonder if this is real life, then he slows it down by spacing the licks out but still keeping them really fast and abrupt. It has a really cool effect like mellow and intense at the same time! Supplication, has great intensity, there is something about the cadence of Bobby's voice, I wish he could sing my eulogy (him and Ry Cooder).


High Time is emotional and heavy, the way it should be! Jerry is doing a wonderful job with making an impact with his vocals, It is beginning to remind me a bit of Rick Danko, who is my favorite vocalists hands down. When the chorus comes on, it has a full rich sound, and it has impact! This is a long song worth the listen. Phil and Keith are steady and solid. And Micky is still finding time to experiment and phil is also throwing in some tricky slide riffs.


Man that lick in the beginning of the Music Never Stopped gets me every time. I have tried to learn it, but I just can not do it, and I am better off just staring with a gaped jaw every time I hear it! The speed of it and the harmonics and its resolve, one of the finest guitar licks I have ever heard! It has the completeness of a Bloomfield Riff once that encompasses all chords and all tones encompassed by the phrasing of the music. 


The Crazy Fingers, a song that I love for its beauty is played just wonderfully. The band is just really in the zone, and is just keeping me on my toes. They are high energy in the high energy songs and just plain mindful and deep in the slower songs. This song has some very technical drumming, complete with fading snare rolls and high hat drop outs. Bass, elegant, vocals emotional, rhythm guitar shimmering through the other instruments minimally. The kick drum is pulling through the mix providing nice bottom with the bass. Great rendition!!


Drums is awesome and just just cool! There is some really technical playing with changing velocities and strike paths to change the sounds. Plus it is not to long, before the music comes in! It covers a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time. Throwing in some piccalo snare, then Phil comes in, then Bobby and everyone is just about ready to go Dancin in The Streets. Phil is just an animal  in this song, fast and punch, I love his chromatic work in this song, funky, and rusty and dirty. To think that this was a standard from the early 60's by a young African American woman to be covered by the Dead 10-15 years later at such high velocity is just amazing. This is a Donna song, no use denying it, but who cares, this is HOT! I almost wish the concert ended here but what was to come was just as sweet! 


Cosmic Charlie is nice too!


Help on the Way Jerry is flowing smoothly and I just want to be sliding down a valley with this playing in my ears. With my arms in the air, spinning down a hillside filled with tall grass, crickets and a sunset. What more can I say! Jerry is playing wonderfully and is only getting better as the show goes on.


Slipknot, Love the drumming in this song, and the little piano triads and the bass meandering around aimlessly, and the piano almost edging the bass and lead guitar forward into a mire of destruction. Teasing and forcing them forward to their total destruction and in the end they arrive in the swamp of despair and what lies there, the ever radiant mountains and valleys which lead to the joyful FRANKLINS TOWER! But, oh, not yet this slipknot is long and you have got to listen to it all! It is one of the highlights of this show for sure! I really dig what Jerry is doing with his playing, and bobby coming through with the happy chords to fight with Jerry's morose playing. At about the 8:30 mark, some really wonderful creative juices are flowing and it is just awesome to be part of the learning they are doing with themselves, and with music! The song is slowly becoming lighter, as the band marches closer and closer to the Tower! But, There still a last stand to be fought by the 11th minute mark, but you can tell that the boys will be victorious, spirits are high, guitar strings bloody the skeleton and rose code of arms on the sweaty and muddy shields.


Franklin's Tower, They have reached the top of the steppe and they are rejoicing in the sunshine of major chords, chromatic water slides and warm swirling pools of bass licks and drum rhythms. You can tell they are smiling! Things are slow, and relaxed! Jerry comes in strong, with varying volumes on his licks, and its effect is rich and awesome! Is this is volume pedal or is his just the bossman after all? How about Phils chromatic run, hey buddy, keep it simple, keep it awesome!


What can I say, the boys come through again, with another marvelous performance! I hope this one lingers with you as long as it has lingered with me.


I say good bye with a smile on my face
-DW









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