Sunday, September 16, 2012

Grateful Dead Live SUNY Stony Brook 1970

This is the first Grateful Dead Blog Post coming out of my sound system in Worcester, Massachusetts. I do not know what I was thinking, waiting a whole thirty days to plug in my surround system into my room, I have clearly lost my marbles. I also feel like Winston Churchill right now, I have my surround system and my lap top set up on top of my bureau (that's a lot of vowels), and I am standing up as I write this much like Churchill did.. I must admit that I do not have round tortoise shell glasses or a three piece suit with a tail or a cigar, but thats okay. Also, I am not used to writing these shows standing up. I am used to being able to only tap my feet. Standing up gives me a lot more flexability to move around while listening and I am really enjoying it.

There are so many aspects about this show that I really like. One of the first things is that there are a lot of songs coming from Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. They are two of my favorite albums, let alone Grateful Dead albums. These two records really made a huge impact on Americana and Rock and Roll, I personally think that studio Dead does not come close to even touching the power of live Dead, but these albums are epic. One of my favorite songs is Box of Rain composed by Phil Lesh, during his fathers fight with cancer. The song really speaks to me, Another great song from American Beauty is Broke Down Palace, I have promised to play this song at one of my friend's funeral. Let me get back to the show.

Since this concert took place in the P.P.P.D.E (Pre Pig-Pens Death Era), it is loaded with Pig Pens vocals which I have come to love and appreciate so much. 1970 is sort of the year, in my opinion, which separates the Early Dead from the next period of Dead which seems to have started between 1971 and 1972. I have always found earlier Dead to be more raw and less smooth, which is something that I really like. Don't get me a wrong, I am really into the late 70's stuff, in fact I really love 78 and 79, but lets be honest, all of it is great.

I really think that the drummers sound great in this show and Jerry's guitar is sounding awesome. Not to mention Bobby's voice, especially in Mama Tried. His voice is eloquent and smooth. I am a huge fan of his voice. He does not have the skill of Richard Manuel from The Band, but it is certainly pleasant to listen to. I even think that The Grateful Dead really sound like two very different bands depending on whether it is a Jerry or a Bobby tune. I also really like the China Cat > Know Your Rider in this show. The interplay among the different band members is great. The little jam in between China and Rider is awesome! I love what Bob does in this part of the song. He really drives the bands playing. Phil is really sounding good and he is also on fire in Not Fade Away. I mean he is smoking and some of his runs are insane, I am not sure what Bass he is on at this point in his career, but I think its a four or five string rather than the six string that he currently plays. The sound board happens to be mic'd perfectly so you can hear both drummers and the rhythm guitar is present. My only complain is that the organ is not as up front as I like, but kudos to the tapers on this one.

I also really like the Cold Rain and Snow in this show. I am not sure if I like it because of where it is placed in the set list, right in the middle, but I like the way it fits into both on its own and as part of the night as a whole. I also love the Casey Jones and Sugar Magnolia cuts. You can hear some Wha in the beginning, which is very tasteful.

But to me, the show really gets hot starting with Good Lovin. Not Fade Away and St. Stephen is off the hook. The end of this show really is off the wall. I have listened to Not Fade Away at least three times! It is definitely one to bookmark and go back to.

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