Thursday, July 21, 2005

12.31.78

I just slid my way into a used copy of The Closing Of Winterland by The Grateful Dead today. All 4 CDs, in pristine condition, with some fabulous liner notes and great pictures that do a small part to put you in the scene.

Five hours of live Dead. A mammoth marathon of a concert, saying goodbye to a place they had played 58 times before (comprising roughly 10% of the rock concerts played there). So much Dead that I still haven't heard it all yet.

I'd love to find a few deadheads to gather additional opinions from , since I love to absorb the voice of experience...but I'll firmly stand on the opinion that this is one of the best albums these guys could ever have possibly recorded.

Musically, the band is tighter than Clear Channel's wallet, and the lineup is superb, giving us the Godchaux pair and including something I'd never heard before, a song where Donna Jean sang lead. Really well, too. From what I've been able to ascertain about the Dead, this was the last gasp of the strong lineups, right after Shakedown Street.

The usual vocal missteps are far less frequent, and Garcia's pipes in particular sound unusually strong. "St. Stephen" sounds laid back, but sturdy. "Terrapin Station" is in full peacock mode despite being shorter rather than longer, and when they kick into "Dark Star", which they hadn't touched in San Francisco for nearly five years, the crowd reaction gave me a chill. And I dare say "Good Lovin'" sounds better than it did on Shakedown.

A fabulous find indeed.

3 Comments:

Blogger Christopher Trottier said...

I have yet to buy a Grateful Dead CD.

21:34  
Blogger Tommie Lee said...

http://meatyurologist.blogspot.com/2005_04_01_meatyurologist_archive.html

Dated 4.24.05: my opinions as a newcomer.

If you're into jazz, or the blues, you'll like the dead. If not, you'll probably hate them.

If you want a place to start...I recommend Skeletons From The Closet, their '74 Greatest Hits, or the 1970 album American Beauty.

22:23  
Blogger Christopher Trottier said...

Yeah, I actually like jazz and blues, so I should have no problem liking the Dead.

22:31  

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