The Grateful Dead May 1977 Poll

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

In anticipation of this

Poll Results

OptionVotes
5/8 Cornell 4
another May 77 show 3
5/7 Boston 2
5/9 Buffalo 2
5/5 New Haven (please explain) 0


Wimmels, Monday, 24 April 2017 13:36 (two months ago) Permalink

I'm listening to Scarlet on the Cornell show (for the first time) and Keith's piano is quite good.

calstars, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 00:48 (two months ago) Permalink

Buffalo imo

People like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, and (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 00:50 (two months ago) Permalink

I think Cornell is still my fave, but Buffalo is pretty close too -- going to have to revisit all of these, I guess.
I also am a big fan of May 19, which was released as Dick's Picks -- tons of great stuff there.

tylerw, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:17 (two months ago) Permalink

I wasn't able to get into it earlier, but I'm gonna give Cornell another shot.

And looking at the setlists, did they really not play "Truckin'" at the Buffalo show? Because that's kind of a hilarious dick move.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:28 (two months ago) Permalink

try the audience tape of cornell, it is probably my preferred version.
i think they only played "tennessee jed" once in tennessee so maybe they were wary of that kinda thing.

tylerw, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:38 (two months ago) Permalink

Didn't stop them from playing "One More Saturday Night" on many a Saturday night!

Wimmels, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:51 (two months ago) Permalink

I don't know all of these, so I'm not voting, but Cornell does not contain either "Sugaree" or "Help on the Way," and those are two of my favorite pieces of Dead music, so I'm putting on Dick's Picks 3 now. (5/22 Pembroke Pines, FL.)

I don't really like any of these albums (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:53 (two months ago) Permalink

yeah the 77 sugarees are so nice

tylerw, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:54 (two months ago) Permalink

Dan -- Buffalo opens with an outstanding Help > Slip > Franklin, you'd love it if you're a Help guy (I am too)

Wimmels, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 14:57 (two months ago) Permalink

lol wimmels you took the words right out of my mouth re: saturday night. gotta go with boston here, despite the rampant tech difficulties. it's pretty much a dream second set for 77. I'd take Eyes Of The World > Drums > The Wheel > Wharf Rat > Around and Around over the Cornell St. Stephen medley any day. plus with boston you also get Terrapin, Cassidy, and a slow Friend of the Devil.

J. Sam, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 15:07 (two months ago) Permalink

And looking at the setlists, did they really not play "Truckin'" at the Buffalo show? Because that's kind of a hilarious dick move.

― Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, April 25, 2017 10:28 AM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

to be fair there are a lot of cities mentioned in Truckin

flappy bird, Thursday, 27 April 2017 00:23 (one month ago) Permalink

5/22/77 for me

global tetrahedron, Thursday, 27 April 2017 01:12 (one month ago) Permalink

i'm really spotty on my '77 dead, couldn't vote.

but. the copy on the link you posted is fucking golden:

WHAT DEAD HEADS HAVE BEEN SAYING ABOUT...

NEW HAVEN 5/5/77
"Here is a prime example of the saying ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’ … It’s called synergy and the Dead wrote the book on it.”

BOSTON 5/7/77
“The music they laid down brought me places I had not been before.”

CORNELL 5/8/77
“...the single best rock performance anywhere, anytime, by anyone.”

“There was just some kind of magical connection this night between the band members and the band and the audience - some texture, or some type of cosmic or celestial force is in the room.”

"This show is, was, and always will be Mecca.”

BUFFALO 5/9/77
"...an awesome display of the Dead’s captivating power"

budo jeru, Tuesday, 2 May 2017 02:51 (one month ago) Permalink

i also love how they call the sound clips "listening parties" lol

budo jeru, Tuesday, 2 May 2017 02:53 (one month ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 4 May 2017 00:01 (one month ago) Permalink

77 box shipped today!

People like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, and (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 4 May 2017 00:49 (one month ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 5 May 2017 00:01 (one month ago) Permalink

voted cornell, but really just because that was the one i had listened to most recently. the "official" version might not be revelatory, but it does sound damn good, some new layers/textures revealed in there for me.

tylerw, Friday, 5 May 2017 15:46 (one month ago) Permalink

i've been into matrix recordings lately, the crowd sounds add a lot for me. also extra cool to listen to during wall of sound era

global tetrahedron, Friday, 5 May 2017 15:49 (one month ago) Permalink

Well, I'll be damned. I bought the OFFICIAL Cornell dealie in the hopes that it'd turn my head around on it. And it does, and I'm digging it...and I'm realizing that the "Cornell '77" recording I heard before wasn't even this show. No idea what show it was, but "They Love Each Other" was a completely different tempo, and the set included "Truckin'."

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Sunday, 7 May 2017 20:09 (one month ago) Permalink

Were they still doing Truckin in 77? (probably)

Inspired by this thread, have been digging through my (legit) Dead 77 holdings. Starting w/ the Winterland 77 bonus disc from 12/5/1977 Chicago with a v sweet Mississippi Half-Step, Garcia sounding exquisite on two longish solos.

Bernie Lugg (Ward Fowler), Sunday, 7 May 2017 20:13 (one month ago) Permalink

don't think i'd ever say that Cornell is THE BEST SHOW EVER but I will say after recent listens that the "Row Jimmy" on it is all time best. Garcia's solo is just pure beauty there.

tylerw, Monday, 8 May 2017 14:46 (one month ago) Permalink

got the box this weekend. haven't had the chance to listen but WOW what a presentation.

People like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, and (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 8 May 2017 15:48 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah, getting the box wasn't in the budget, but i was very jealous seeing it show up on my social feeds this weekend. looks beautiful.

tylerw, Monday, 8 May 2017 15:53 (one month ago) Permalink

The recording I had (but deleted, because I needed the hard drive space) I swore had "Truckin'," "Franklin's Tower," and "They Love Each Other." But apparently, they didn't play all three at any show in '77.

Hm, OK, I think the "Cornell" show I had was actually 12/19/78 in Jackson, MS. Not awful (from the clips I just listened to in order to confirm what I remembered), but certainly not in the vicinity of Cornell's reputation.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 8 May 2017 15:56 (one month ago) Permalink

otm on that 'row jimmy', it's gorgeous

global tetrahedron, Monday, 8 May 2017 15:59 (one month ago) Permalink

on the cornell audience tape you can hear a dude desperately calling out for truckin -- "AMERICA'S FAVORITE SONG!! TRUCKIN'!!!" but they do not heed his request.

tylerw, Monday, 8 May 2017 15:59 (one month ago) Permalink

lmao

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Monday, 8 May 2017 16:09 (one month ago) Permalink

hahaha

I like that the audience member thought, "You know, just yelling 'Truckin'!' doesn't get the point across. I need something to buttress my argument..."

"Bob, did you hear that?"
"What, Jer?"
"Someone called out for 'Truckin'.'"
"Yeah, dude, that happens every four seconds. I hear it in my sleep."
"But hold on, apparently...and stay with me on this...it's America's favorite song!"
"...the country, or the band?"
"What difference does it make? How can we turn down such a well-reasoned case?"
"Good point, Jer. Let's do it."

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 8 May 2017 16:55 (one month ago) Permalink

so this is sourced from the betty boards? it sounds pretty different compared to the SBD (i thought) I had. it's up on spotify! if the fidelity is that much different for all the shows i sorta wished i'd sprung for it

global tetrahedron, Monday, 8 May 2017 18:15 (one month ago) Permalink

It is a Betty, yes. There's something different for sure. These sound matrix-y. Someone who knows more about this than I do might be able to expand on this from a technical standpoint, but I hear the crowd in a way I didn't on previous SBDs. Really, these are some of the best *sounding* Dead shows I've ever heard.

New Haven is better than its reputation would have you believe btw

Wimmels, Monday, 8 May 2017 18:21 (one month ago) Permalink

i'm guessing they just had a better technician handling the mixing/mastering than whoever originally circulated the tapes

global tetrahedron, Monday, 8 May 2017 18:34 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah it does sound good -- i was wondering if they incorporated some elements of the audience recording in there, since yeah, you can hear more going on there. Keith's keys sound better/more prominent in places too.

tylerw, Monday, 8 May 2017 18:44 (one month ago) Permalink

the screaming guy in jack straw sounds about the same though

global tetrahedron, Monday, 8 May 2017 18:47 (one month ago) Permalink

i had never listened to this show before and i don't know if it approaches pembroke pines, which was my dead gateway, but damn, "scarlet > fire" is kicking my ass

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Monday, 8 May 2017 19:38 (one month ago) Permalink

"this show" meaning cornell

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Monday, 8 May 2017 19:38 (one month ago) Permalink

it's a good one for sure (love jerry's first solo) but it misses some of the weird kind of funky rhythmic interplay between bob and jerry in the intro

love how they included the 'take a step back...' bit specifically as part of the track on here ha

global tetrahedron, Monday, 8 May 2017 19:47 (one month ago) Permalink

very heavy on the phil, and i can tell a lot of people are way into that

global tetrahedron, Monday, 8 May 2017 19:48 (one month ago) Permalink

5/5 New Haven (please explain)

Listening to it this afternoon. St. Stephen on this is great, goes from gentle Jerry/Donna vocals that are really *on* into a fiery jam. In fact, whole second set is fire.

I don't really like any of these albums (Dan Peterson), Monday, 8 May 2017 20:27 (one month ago) Permalink

I actually agree. Made that mildly snarky comment in the poll before re-listening to this new version. Second set is indeed excellent (but still doesn't touch the other 3 shows of that week). First set is about average, but I need another average first set of Dead music like a need a hole in my water bong

Wimmels, Monday, 8 May 2017 21:57 (one month ago) Permalink

holy fuck the Sugaree at New Haven is OUTSTANDING.

People like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, and (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 9 May 2017 17:56 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah, that one is so good.
is 77 when they reintroduced Good Lovin to the live set? With Weir leading the way that song is super skippable.

tylerw, Tuesday, 9 May 2017 18:00 (one month ago) Permalink

if you like that one you might like saint paul 5/11 or 10/16 louisana state, both get kind of fierce

global tetrahedron, Tuesday, 9 May 2017 19:03 (one month ago) Permalink

xp

global tetrahedron, Tuesday, 9 May 2017 19:03 (one month ago) Permalink

The one and only time I saw Dark Star orchestra they did the St. Paul '77 setlist. That was a good show.

I don't really like any of these albums (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 9 May 2017 19:06 (one month ago) Permalink

I listened to New Haven in the car today and then when I got into the office (laptop & headphones instead of CD player) I listened to Baton Rouge 9/1/69, whose sound quality is complete garbage but whose set/performance is just a completely diff. world. not sure if the keys are Pig or Tom Constanten (likely the latter) but they're just so good and lively. the distance from '69 to '77 is just so so great

People like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, and (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 9 May 2017 19:15 (one month ago) Permalink

Blasphemy, I know, but these days I prefer even 90s Dead to 60s Dead. Pig bums me out and TC is a snore

Wimmels, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 00:27 (one month ago) Permalink

not trying to harsh on my dead lovin online buds

and I am a mild fan, and have spent dozens of hours trying to get"there" - live dead, Europe 72, old renaissance fairgrounds, the studio albums etc

listening to Cornell and right now Scarlett Begonias is really great, but how do you guys deal with stuff like Dancing in the Street (not the middle jam which is ok) but just desecrating the absolute genius and economy of that original into this tepid hippie shuffle then esp at the end when they "break it down" and it's "dan....cin dancing in the streets EVERYBODY"

it's just so mortifying I feel embarrassed fur everyone listening to it and like we clown dudes like Bonnamassa but this is ok?

again on the whole I'm enjoying this and not trying to fight

I got da Midas touch as you fucking were LG x (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 10 May 2017 13:34 (one month ago) Permalink

i think you could make a case for an entire doc on Betty/boots/taping culture/Dick, etc

a (waterface), Thursday, 8 June 2017 13:27 (two weeks ago) Permalink

i've always wanted to read a book tracing the history of audience tapes, going from the early jazz days (benedetti etc) through the Dead through whatever else ...

tylerw, Thursday, 8 June 2017 14:01 (two weeks ago) Permalink

That's a great idea. Did Benedetti distribute/copy his recordings for anyone? I'm kind of curious now who the first artist was that had audience recordings passed around/traded.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 8 June 2017 17:06 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Really enjoyed that documentary. Could have done with a bit more e.g. something covering the whole extended family who depended on the Dead.

The modern day Weir looks really vacant, bewildered and spaced out - as if he's shell-shocked by the whole GD experience.

Luna Schlosser, Friday, 9 June 2017 13:27 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Really like the dark star version they put on the soundtrack. NY Valentine's Day 1070

calstars, Saturday, 10 June 2017 22:52 (two weeks ago) Permalink

xp Yes, weir kind of bewildered. Prescriptions?

calstars, Saturday, 10 June 2017 22:53 (two weeks ago) Permalink

i've always wanted to read a book tracing the history of audience tapes, going from the early jazz days (benedetti etc) through the Dead through whatever else ...

― tylerw

clinton heylin starts with mapleson in his book - would you not start there?

Cyborg Kickboxer (rushomancy), Sunday, 11 June 2017 00:21 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I finished the doc this wknd, on the whole interesting & well done (agreed esp up 74). Barlow is a real interesting character for sure and I didn't know much about him, but then when I looked up & saw he was a Dick Cheney crony it all kind of made sense in a weird neolibertarian sort of way.

When he was being interviewed with that weird blutooth earpiece...well I wasn't surprised to find out he was a weird internet tech weirdo.

The thing the doc really did cement for me is that the Dead & their music is very much not for me. I thought the 80s Dead Heads section was especially telling, that was really my first exposure to them, certainly not the music becuz I don't know if any of the Dead Heads were particularly interested in the music, but certainly the culture & circus surrounding them. All of the people I knew in junior high & high school, were Dead tie-dyes, skull shirts & the Dancing Bear gear was de rigueur among the jocks & assholes & popular kid crowd. The Dead were explicitly not for weirdos, they were only for the cool kids.

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 12 June 2017 16:19 (one week ago) Permalink

clinton heylin starts with mapleson in his book - would you not start there?
yeah i guess i would!

i'm about halfway through the doc, enjoying it so far. Almost feel like it's giving a little short shrift to the actual music, like not actually getting anyone to talk about *why* the music is transcendent (for some, anyway). what i'm saying is, the doc should be EVEN LONGER.

tylerw, Monday, 12 June 2017 16:42 (one week ago) Permalink

All of the people I knew in junior high & high school, were Dead tie-dyes, skull shirts & the Dancing Bear gear was de rigueur among the jocks & assholes & popular kid crowd.
interesting! not my experience at all, though -- i was mocked for my Dead t-shirt in 8th grade (1993ish), told i should be more into pearl jam.

tylerw, Monday, 12 June 2017 16:45 (one week ago) Permalink

interesting! not my experience at all, though -- i was mocked for my Dead t-shirt in 8th grade (1993ish), told i should be more into pearl jam.

Ha, my experience was literally the exact opposite. PJ & Nirvana & all grunge/punk bands essentially were derided by the Dead Heads for "not being able to play their instruments", as a blanket statement. They said the same thing about Neil Young & Crazy Horse as well. The Dead were "players" and everyone else on Earth was a hack.

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 12 June 2017 16:54 (one week ago) Permalink

The reason the Dead Heads part seemed extraneous to me is that it was relevant to the band from a pop cultural perspective and not a musical one. Maybe in a similar way that's why the LSD connection part earlier also seems kind of boring and doesn't add anything to the listening experience.

calstars, Monday, 12 June 2017 16:54 (one week ago) Permalink

i agree that some indepth musical discussion would have been welcome

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 12 June 2017 16:58 (one week ago) Permalink

I think the Ess Dog from Malkmu's "Jenny & the Ess Dog" kinda reps my image of the 80s/90s Deadhead...popular jock/hippie hybrid, good looking longer than usual hair but not hippie long, may have played lacrosse or tennis or some non-football/basketball/baseball/hockey sport very well, rich parents, drives a Volvo station wagon w/stickers

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 12 June 2017 16:59 (one week ago) Permalink

ironic re Pearl Jam/Dead since Pearl Jam have basically turned into a grunge form of the Dead in the last 10-15 years lol

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 12 June 2017 17:00 (one week ago) Permalink

(besinger i realize we are basically talking about Rich from the U right now haha, he was even good friends w/steve miller's kid in HS just to perfect it)

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 12 June 2017 17:02 (one week ago) Permalink

All of the people I knew in junior high & high school, were Dead tie-dyes, skull shirts & the Dancing Bear gear was de rigueur among the jocks & assholes & popular kid crowd. The Dead were explicitly not for weirdos, they were only for the cool kids.

This was my experience, too ('87-90). The only Deadheads I knew were asshole jocks/popular kids/aspiring frat boys.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 12 June 2017 17:03 (one week ago) Permalink

from what i remember, though they were already a big going concern, Garcia dying really boosted the Phish phenomenon, I def know dudes that sort of "transferred over" to being Phishheads (i mean they already liked them but the big thing about jam bands is that they sort of provide a specific type of fan experience -- this was touched on in the movie -- that a certain set of people need in their lives - the summer tours etc etc)

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 12 June 2017 17:06 (one week ago) Permalink

deadheads in 90s suburban cleveland were definitely cool kids but not jocks ime. lots of jock-adjacent cool kids sure, but sports were too big a deal where i lived for jocks to fuck it all up by smoking weed

marcos, Monday, 12 June 2017 17:06 (one week ago) Permalink

(besinger i realize we are basically talking about Rich from the U right now haha, he was even good friends w/steve miller's kid in HS just to perfect it)

― Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, June 12, 2017 12:02 PM (three minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Exactly!

This was my experience, too ('87-90). The only Deadheads I knew were asshole jocks/popular kids/aspiring frat boys.

― Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, June 12, 2017 12:03 PM (two minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

James Spader's character from Pretty in Pink but with a tie-dyed Steal Your Face shirt

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 12 June 2017 17:07 (one week ago) Permalink

Best dark star that year?

calstars, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 00:01 (one week ago) Permalink

I dig that one

calstars, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 00:01 (one week ago) Permalink

Have I repped for The Mosque 5/25? I've listened to that one a few times on Archive. Laid back and lovely, esp "He's Gone."

smug dinner-jazz atrocity (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 17:05 (one week ago) Permalink

to hell with May 77, listen to Phil & Ned 74: http://saveyourface.posthaven.com/phil-and-ned-1974

tylerw, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 17:25 (one week ago) Permalink

What is Phil &Ned?

calstars, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 17:31 (one week ago) Permalink

Seastones!

smug dinner-jazz atrocity (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 17:33 (one week ago) Permalink

that link is a comp of phil lesh and ned lagin doing insane electronic jams through the wall of sound in 1974, bewildering even the headiest of heads.

tylerw, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 17:47 (one week ago) Permalink

Can't even imagine what it must've been like to experience that through the Wall Of Sound. Phil was probably like, "Bankrupt, shmankrupt -- listen to this!"

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 18:08 (one week ago) Permalink

hahaha

calstars, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 18:19 (one week ago) Permalink

also funny to catch snippets of (mostly negative) audience reaction during Seastones segments.

tylerw, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 18:24 (one week ago) Permalink

What is Phil &Ned?

I was about to say, I hadn't realized my involvement.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 18:28 (one week ago) Permalink

Ned Freaks Unite

tylerw, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 18:52 (one week ago) Permalink

Dark Star 10/18/74 - Ned joins Keith on a second Fender Rhodes, but you can only hear it on the Archive.org SBDs, NOT on the officially released Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack. As I understand it, ?Ned was not patched into the 16-track tape but was captured on the 2-track soundboard output. https://archive.org/details/gd74-10-18.sbd.bertha-ashley.22796.sbeok.shnf

J. Sam, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 19:36 (one week ago) Permalink

seastones rules

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 19:46 (one week ago) Permalink

ned lagin put out a new album last year -- CAT DREAMS:

"Cat Dreams is my new music album on compact disc (cd). It is a work of love, dreams, heart, magic. Music from my life shared with some beautiful little creatures, loved ones. Being a part of their lives as they were and are a part of mine. Biographical dreams and stories. Life music: sweet, emotional, deep, beautiful, happy and sad."

dude loves cats.

tylerw, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 19:47 (one week ago) Permalink

JSam nice tip!

calstars, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 21:36 (one week ago) Permalink

There's def at least one 74 show (maybe in France?) where the rest of the Dead join in the Seastones jam

Bernie Lugg (Ward Fowler), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 21:38 (one week ago) Permalink

i know garcia and kreutzmann sit in on the Alexandra Palace Seastones -- https://archive.org/details/gd1974-09-11.sbd.unknown.4647.shnf

tylerw, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 21:42 (one week ago) Permalink

Someone should poll Feedback vs. Seastones vs. Space.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 13 June 2017 23:22 (one week ago) Permalink

Sam Cutler (via fb):

LONG STRANGE TRIP – my thoughts on the film

Where the hell to BEGIN? Well, let’s begin with love. I loved the film. I loved that so many of the people in the film expressed love, LIVED in love, loved one another, and MOST OF ALL, loved Jerry. I became for a few years another person in that psychedelic army of people all over the planet who loved that gentle and so-loving man and his band. I was just so amazingly fortunate to have been his tour manager, co-manager (with Jon McIntyre and David Parker) and his agent, through my company Out of Town Tours from 1970 – 74.

Amir Bar Lev, the mountain-climber’s mountain-climber, sure picked one hell of a hill to climb when he decided to make this film! Solo unaided up the face of El Capitan in Yosemite has nothing on the perils associated with trying to ‘capture’ who what where how and when on the Grateful Dead. It’s an ‘impossible task’ on a rational level, but thankfully rationality was never a particularly necessary attribute around the band and the family – in fact, it seemed sometimes that the wackier things were, the better. It never seemed to represent too much of a problem, and (of course) people loved the madness, but only up to a point! When it got to be too much, the good ol’ Grateful Dead simply ‘retreated’ or ‘practiced invisibility’.

Jerry might not have been the whole ship, but he sure as heck was the vessel. AND the anchor! I was struck by what people decided to say in the film – what they articulated as ‘appropriate for posterity’. How (for example) some of the more ‘fey’ representatives of the family laughed uproariously at the notion that latter-day dead-heads could be told (or asked) to behave and not come to shows if they didn’t have tickets; whilst on the other hand, these same modern day ‘libertarians’ (so hip and so free) could happily suggest that there were too many nasty hairy Hells Angels back-stage for their taste. Jerry, bless him, kept it all in balance. For example, he point-blank refused to sign any letter to the fans when their behaviour became an issue, and he pointedly welcomed the Hells Angels to concerts as he welcomed anyone who loved the music.

The film left me an emotional mess. In the midst of it all I burst into tears and had to be comforted by my son Bodhi. It was, at times, unbelievably painful to see the mistakes we made, the errors of judgement, the poor planning, the rampant nihilism, that led like some tragic operatic shuffle towards Jerry’s demise. BUT, conversely, it was thrilling to see how all of those too-human errors that we made were happily embraced by the family and the band and laughed about, and thus in some crazy unexplainable way ‘survived’. Embracing ‘failures’ was surely one of the distinctive markers of the magnificence of the Grateful Dead. There was room for all.

One little thing stands out as a perfect example of the Grateful Dead’s approach and how posterity has somehow ‘misinterpreted’ what happened. The record company hated the tapers because they believe it would damage the band’s record sales. The band was in a quandary. It was decided that the taping couldn’t be allowed. Myself and the crew had the unenviable task of implementing this ‘edict’. That lasted for two shows at the most, then we brought up the situation in the dressing room prior to a show. We had all taken a trip and were getting high. We explained to Jerry “we aint cops, we don’t wanna be cops” and the policy of stopping taping was then and there abandoned as it was unanimously agreed that asking ANYONE to ‘police’ the tapers was a bridge too far. That was it. No big deal. We tried it. (banning the tapers) It didn’t work, so we immediately abandoned it and moved on. This was later interpreted by some Wall Street people as a supreme example of the Grateful Dead’s business ‘acumen’ which directly led thru the distribution of the tapers recordings to the bands huge commercial success. As if we’d planned it all ! You have to laugh!

WHERE did I cry in the film? Where did I laugh? When Barbara said that Jerry told her “I’d just like to live on the ice-cream money”. I thought THAT was so poignant that I cried like a baby. Poor Jerry, the thing that he had spent his life creating and nurturing consumed him in the end, and it seemed as if no-one could save him, though they all surely tried. The ONE thing that they COULD have done, they DIDN’T DO !!!! Namely, they could have ‘abandoned ship’. Called the whole thing to a halt and simply STOPPED. Jerry could have scuba-dived for the rest of his days. BUT, no-one could bring themselves to do it, and Jerry, poor Jerry, disappeared down the dumb rabbit-hole of heroin. PigPen had died, Keith had died, Brent had gone before him – tragic and ghastly precursors of what was to come. Vince followed thereafter.

The film captured it all. It was heart-breaking, and yet in the end it was MORE than simply THAT. It was an epic trip those guys wrote on the pages of their lives, an adventure of Homeric proportion and Shakespearian intensity, that has had no equal. Phil said some beautiful soulful things, as did Micky and Billy and Bobby – these guys were the true psychedelic explorers of their time and showed us how to LIVE. Phil said: “the Grateful Dead was the best thing that ever happened to me” and that goes for me too, and everyone else that was ‘on the bus’. As soon as I’ve ‘recovered’ I want to see the film again .. and again. It has so MUCH depth and is so subtle.

Amir Bar Lev is to be congratulated on a magnificent achievement. The Grateful Dead never quite managed to capture the ‘sound of heavy air’ in the recording studio, but Amir got it on film. In the end, the movie rendered me speechless and just simply GRATEFUL to all the guys in the band and all the people in the family for the four years I was involved. They were the best years of my life.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 15 June 2017 17:59 (one week ago) Permalink

that's nice, he was my fav person in the film for sure

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 15 June 2017 18:48 (one week ago) Permalink

yeah cutler was great -- would probably just watch 3 hours of him rambling in the back of that van.

tylerw, Thursday, 15 June 2017 18:52 (one week ago) Permalink

yeah no shit, i'd love his take on the Stones

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 15 June 2017 18:55 (one week ago) Permalink

Every band should have a Cutler; I can't imagine the Dead continuing past 1972 without him. I really want to check out his book.

It's fucked up that he defends the Angels, though.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 15 June 2017 19:00 (one week ago) Permalink

beautiful review by Cutler there, v nice indeed

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 15 June 2017 19:01 (one week ago) Permalink

he did write a book a few years back -- haven't read it though: https://www.amazon.com/You-Cant-Always-What-Want/dp/155022932X

tylerw, Thursday, 15 June 2017 19:02 (one week ago) Permalink

ah i need to watch this

marcos, Thursday, 15 June 2017 19:14 (one week ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.