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Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:14 am
by will vine
I can scarcely stifle a yawn when my brother enthuses about an upcoming gig he's off to featuring The Who and Paul Weller. I mock those that trek to cavernous arenas and stately homes to watch Status Quo and Fairport Convention. I drop my jaw in the presence of people prepared to pay three figure sums to further enrich The Stones and Paul MacCartney. I know they are all mad and I am not..............

.............AND THEN I GO AND SPOIL IT ALL by buying a ticket to a four hour satellite link to a Grateful Dead Concert..............Live at Soldier Field, July 6

...... It is alleged to be their last one ever. I have every confidence that whoever is playing the part of Jerry Garcia will do a splendid job, indeed it is slightly alarming to think that if this is to be the milestone (or should that be millstone) event it is supposed to be they may have actually spent some time in rehearsal. They may be playing sober and in tune. And then I'm also likely to be witnessing this in a lessened state of enhanced consciousness than of yore, possibly with nothing more than a warm beer in a plastic beaker. What can I be thinking of?

Believe me fellow travellers, I was talked into this by a Deadhead friend of mine, a decade my senior, who will perhaps need help with the cinema steps. I'm doing it for him. I'm doing it for all of us. It is a far greater thing that I do now...........

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:10 pm
by Adam Blake
You're a brave man, Will. The Grateful Dead continue to perplex and confound me. By all known logic, as a lifelong sucker for 60s psychedelia, I ought to really like them. But it just goes in one ear and straight out the other. I recently watched a documentary on Bob Weir that merely added to my confusion. But the section on Jerry Garcia was very sad. Here was a genuine musician, who just wanted to play his guitar as well as possible, being elevated to the status of deity and seer, and who responded by retreating into heroin and junk food - with the inevitable result. Poor guy.

My dear friend who saw the Grateful Dead when they were the Warlocks and who says you couldn't move in San Francisco without tripping over the goddamn Grateful Dead says that maybe the Deadheads are "looking for the 60s" - which put the phenomenon beautifully in perspective, for me at least. But she's good at doing that...

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:19 pm
by Chris P
listening to Live at Fillmore West '69 right now. The band at (one of) their peak(s). Setting things up well for some outside exploring in the damp (Uk now)

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:25 pm
by Adam Blake
Chris P wrote:listening to Live at Fillmore West '69 right now. )


You see? That's the sort of thing I ought to be saying...

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 5:54 pm
by AndyM
I can do better than "I just don't get it". I have never actually heard a note of their music.

Well, during teenage parties when I was off my face there might have been something in the background, but never knowingly heard.

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:19 pm
by Rob Hall
While far from being a Deadhead, I've always had a soft spot for the Dead. They provided the soundtrack to a few chemically enhanced evenings in my formative years. And I still think 'New Speedway Boogie' is great. That opening splat of guitar is a real french biscuit for me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nOpJMQ3-VE

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 12:40 am
by Adam Blake
Rob: lovely intro, yes, but then I started wanting it to be Canned Heat.

Andy: Have you never seen "Zabriskie Point"? No. Probably best you don't answer that.

Here, this is only two and a half minutes long. As far as I can tell, it is pretty much definitive. (I like this snippet very much actually. It is quite uniquely Californian music. When you hear it in context, it makes perfect sense.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht9QilZMvuk

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:34 am
by john poole
I saw Zabriskie Point in the cinema last year and enjoyed it somewhat more than I remembered from having seen it on TV a few decades back. But I still think that the single version of 'Dark Star' is the definitive one.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUcMyVi9xJk

I liked most of the Grateful Dead's work up until American Beauty (1970), after that not so keen, I think maybe Jerry became more interested in his side projects than the group. I can't say that I listen to them often these days, but if I wanted to I'd go for "Workingman's Dead" (1970) or an early 1966 live recording.

'Cream Puff War'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO5jPFqdc0M

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 12:15 pm
by AndyM
Adam Blake wrote:Andy: Have you never seen "Zabriskie Point"? No. Probably best you don't answer that.



Of course not! Have you never seen 'Old Mother Riley Meets The Vampire' ?

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 12:50 pm
by Adam Blake
I must say it sounds a lot more fun than "Zabriskie Point", but I did say it was probably best if you didn't answer that particular question...

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 12:55 pm
by Adam Blake
john poole wrote:I still think that the single version of 'Dark Star' is the definitive one.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUcMyVi9xJk



Yes, that is very evocative. I'd love to have that on a 45. Hen's teeth department, no doubt.

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:13 pm
by Garth Cartwright
I saw the Dead in 91. I was staying in DC with a US friend who was a Deadhead so I bought a ticket and went along to see what the fuss was about. First off, no one should ever have to endure stadium gigs. And US stadium gigs are the worst possible - this one had security nazis walking up and down the stairs with big torches to make sure no one was smoking or dancing... the poor little deadhead youths had to dance in the loos! The band were slick with a big light show, drum solo, guitar solos, and wildly dull. Bad country rock maxed out on a stadium scale. I like a few trax on American Beauty (Ripple is lovely) and have occasionally tried to grasp the appeal of their 60s concert albums but they seem so lame when handing Turn On Yr Love Light and such. That they continue to command such devotion amazes me. But so does much about popular culture. The author shuffles off to join R Crumb and others listening to old blues 78s and shaking their heads at rock fans....

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:31 pm
by john poole
AndyM wrote:
Adam Blake wrote:Have you never seen 'Old Mother Riley Meets The Vampire' ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLJocSnNJ_U

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:56 pm
by Adam Blake
John, you excel yourself. I can but offer humble gratitude.

Garth: the whole phenomenon fascinates me, as a lifelong lover of Americana, to the extent that I can be very boring about it to anyone who will listen. The American dream of freedom of travel - the endless road, both physically ("that 61 Highway, the longest road I know") and psychically (LSD), the journey not the arrival being paramount; cut loose from roots, social commitment - the cult of the driven individual cut off from community - all of that old myth. The fact that vast numbers of young Americans will put up with any amount of crap from nazi security guards at stadium concerts to get so much as a sniff of what they perceive might possibly once have had something to do with all of this, that they would lay down serious money, throw their careers out the window (these Deadheads couldn't have possibly had jobs), to get as close as possible to what, to my ears, is very tepid and safe music. It is a paradox, to say the least. I mean, if it had been Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band that inspired such devotion I could understand it. They came from the same culture and came up at around the same time. But that's DANGEROUS and CHALLENGING music. Odd, very odd...

And the Grateful Dead were HUGE at the end of the 80s. I mean, I had no idea. We're talking as big as Zeppelin, or the Stones, or U fucking 2. They must have represented some kind of idea of an alternative to the Reagan years. "Chasing after the 60s"...

Anyway, I said I could be boring about it.

Re: Dead in a Field

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 2:30 pm
by Rob Hall
Adam Blake wrote:And the Grateful Dead were HUGE at the end of the 80s. I mean, I had no idea. We're talking as big as Zeppelin, or the Stones, or U fucking 2. They must have represented some kind of idea of an alternative to the Reagan years. "Chasing after the 60s"...

I reckon this is pretty much it. By the time they got to be so huge, it was no longer about the music, but some idea of the counter-culture that they came to represent for many people. That the whole thing grew to ape the commercialism it purported to oppose was an irony that was seemingly lost on many involved.

Musically, I believe that their laurels were won in the 60s, and they weren't all that bad up until 1970.