Sunday, August 27, 2017

8-27-06 Dylan in Manchester Revisited:

Eleven years ago, today, I boarded an Amtrak from New York to Boston on route to catching Dylan in Manchester, New Hemisphere. Along the way, I enjoyed an advance copy of Modern Times, which was released two days later. After taking a bus to Manchester, I checked into a hotel located on the grounds of Stadium. This was Dylan’s third consecutive year of summer tours in Minor League ballparks. Junior Brown and Jimmy Vaughn were the opening acts, but due to a persistent drizzle, I skipped the opening acts and enjoyed cocktails with friends in the hotel lobby. The rain intensified before Dylan took the stage. If this were a baseball game, the tarp never would have come off the field.

It was an absurd thrill standing in the rain and singing along with Bob during the second song. “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.” If you didn’t dig Dylan, you were on your way home or headed for the exit. The rest of us were in for an enchanted evening. Dylan slid into a playful “Just Like a Woman.” The precipitation intensified as he yelled, “Nobody feels any pain tonight as I stand inside the rain.” On August, 27, 2006, the Lord said, “Let it rain on that tiny ballpark in New Hampshire.” And so it rained—a relentless downpour, similar to the ending of Grapes of Wrath.

Dylan could have packed it in and played a hurried show for the sparse crowd, but on this night his performances were deliberate as he rewarded the loyalty of his soggy admirers. It was surreal to watch planes from the nearby airport appear and disappear from the clouds fifty feet above the stage as Dylan howled a mesmerizing version of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” It was Dylan’s best performance of the shows I saw that tour, and the torrential rain made the evening unforgettable.

Bob gave us one more thrill as he came out for a final salute. He started off with his usual routine, taking bows with his ten-gallon hat in hand and his Cowboy Band stoically lined-up behind him. Suddenly, Dylan reached into his hat and grabbed a fistful of a mystery dust and soft-tossed it at the crowd, as if he was performing a baptism. I was snapping a picture on my camera as Dylan sprinkled the crowd with the powdery substance. Johnny Appleseed strikes again!
Enlarge to see Johnny Appleseed 

                            A Tale of Twisted Fate

Manchester, New Hampshire Stadium
August 27 2006

Cat's In The Well
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
Just Like A Woman
Watching The River Flow
Tears Of Rage
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
Highway 61 Revisited
Tangled Up In Blue
Summer Days

Like A Rolling Stone
All Along The Watchtower

Saturday, August 19, 2017

If You Get Confused Listen to the Music Play

 The final chapter of Dylan & the Grateful Dead: A Tale of Twisted Fate,  contains lists of recommended listening. Here's the best from the abundance of retrospective live Dead releases that began in 1991. I omitted any collections that are more than four CDs; those releases fall into a box set or anthology category.

Retrospective Grateful Dead Releases

1. Cornell 5/8/77: Transcendent versions of “Dancin’ in the Street,” Scarlet > Fire, and St. Stephen > Not Fade Away > Drums > St. Stephen > Morning Dew, make this the most popular Grateful Dead concert—beyond perfection.

2. Sunshine Daydream, August 27, 1972, Old Renaissance Faire Grounds, Veneta, Oregon: The Dead blazed three sets of music on this sunny, 100-degree day. “Playin’ in the Band” is twenty minutes of intense seismic psychedelic activity. There’s a superb mix of jamming and song execution on “Dark Star,” “Birdsong,” and “Greatest Story Ever Told,” as well as a poignant version of “Sing Me Back Home.”

3. Dick’s Picks Volume 2, October 31, 1971, Ohio Theatre, Columbus, Ohio: The best single-CD release in the Grateful Dead archive kicks off with a tight, 23-minute “Dark Star.” Not Fade Away > Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad > Not Fade Away is the ultimate rendition, and the band’s definitive rock and roll statement.

4. Dick’s Picks Volume 31, August 4–5, 1974, Philadelphia Civic Center, Philadelphia;
August 6, 1974, Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey: This fabulous three-night compilation features a sensational “Eyes of the World.” Erasing boundaries between musical genres and removing time constraints, the Dead fully explore China Cat > Rider, “Weather Report Suite,” and sandwich “Scarlet Begonias” inside of “Playin’ in the Band.” From a gorgeous “Pretty Peggy O” to a bawdy “Big River,” the band’s diversity is unrelenting.

5. Steppin’ Out with the Grateful Dead: England ’72: A unique four-CD collection of performances from seven of the band’s eight shows in England is a stellar representation of this tour. The extraordinary fourth CD features a rare Pigpen composition, “The Stranger (Two Souls in Communion),” and the brilliant Dark Star > Sugar Magnolia > Caution segment from the Empire Pool in Wembley on April 8.

6. Dick’s Picks Volume 33, October 9–10, 1976, Oakland Coliseum Stadium, Oakland, California: The first night in the coliseum was the show of the year, highlighted by exquisite song selection and sequencing. Set two is a rhapsody of fused music highlighted by the St. Stephen > Help on the Way transition—classic anthem shakes hand with new masterpiece. The performances from the second show are on par with the energy of the first one.

7. Dick’s Picks Volume 36, September 21, 1972, The Spectrum, Philadelphia: The band’s debut in the Philly Spectrum was epic. The mojo was rollin’ as the Dead unveiled an abundant set list that included Dark Star > Morning Dew, and an electric “Friend of the Devil.”

8. Dave’s Picks Volume 12, November 4, 1977, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York: Before set two, Lesh introduces the band as the Jones Gang, and then the Jones’s go off on a rampage. The Eyes of the World > Estimated Prophet > The Other One combo is wildly inventive. A sprawling, jazzy, “Let it Grow” ends the first set. This is an impressive display of the band’s raging command in 1977.

9. Dave’s Picks Volume 5, November 17, 1973, Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles: Deadhead Bill Walton was king of the collegiate basketball world at UCLA when the Grateful Dead played this loaded show. “Here Comes Sunshine” and China Cat > Rider rocked the first set. The undisputed highlight of this show is the Playin’ in the Band > Uncle John’s Band > Morning Dew > Uncle John’s Band > Playin’ in the Band—a loop inside of a loop.

10. Dick’s Picks Volume 4, February 13–14, 1970, Fillmore East, New York City: The Dead introduce their flock to new tunes from Workingman’s Dead; “Casey Jones,” “High Time,” and “Dire Wolf.” And they unleash their primal psychedelic power on the Fillmore East with scorching versions of “Dark Star,” “That’s It for the Other One,” and “Turn On Your Love Light.” “Mason’s Children” is a charming rarity.

11. Red Rocks 7/8/78:This was the second night of the Dead’s debut stop at the sanctified amphitheatre. It’s a strong outing all the way through, but the final two segments rule. Set two concludes with Wharf Rat > Franklin’s Tower > Sugar Magnolia—ridiculous “Sugar Mag.” The triple encore of Terrapin Station > One More Saturday Night, and “Werewolves of London” had Denver Deadheads howling.

12. Dick’s Picks Volume 15, September 3, 1977, Raceway Park, Englishtown, New Jersey: Another legendary ’77 performance featuring a distinctive “Mississippi Half Step” masterpiece. In front of a gathering of 150,000, the Dead deftly manuever between hammering stadium rock and elegantly playing with sophistication as if they were at a supper club . . . high-octane versions of “Eyes of the World” and “Not Fade Away.”

13. Live at Cow Palace, December 31, 1976, Cow Palace, Daly City, California: 1977 began with this second set, and it was a great omen for one of the most important years in Dead history. “Sugar Magnolia” gives way to “Eyes of the World,” and the set ends with “Morning Dew.”

14. Road Trips Volume 2 Number 3, June 16, 1974, Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines, Iowa; June 18, 1974, Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky: This road trip packages sublime selections from consecutive shows. The China Cat > Rider from Iowa contains an expansive, action-packed jam, and the “Morning Dew” encore from Louisville is legendary.

15. Road Trips Volume 4 Number 4, April 6, 1982, The Spectrum, Philadelphia: An outstanding 1982 performance with precise yet plentiful jamming. This is the only show in Dead history where they played “Shakedown Street,” “Terrapin Station,” “Morning Dew,” and “Sugar Magnolia.” 

Dylan & the Grateful Dead available on Amazon 


  In honor of the anniversary of Music Mountain, here’s chapter two from my latest work, The Grateful Pilgrimage: Time Travel with the Dea...