Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Dead 9-15-1973 now with Horns!

After a hot weekend how about some cool rock and roll to start things off?  Going to hop right too it and blaze out the second set of the Grateful Dead's 9-15-1973 Show from Providence Civic Center,
 click that link or listen right c'here:

This is a soundboard recording and the crystal clear sound is completely intact, but there is a distance to the playing as if the audience wasn't even there...I honestly would give up a bit of the pristine sound for some cheers in the mix, that said though all the levels here are smooth.  Two of the MVP's on this night are the twinkling almost barroom piano rolling of Keith Godchaux and the crisp drumming of Bill Kreutzmann.
 Bill is especially impressive as he was in all of 1973 while his Rhythm Devil partner was on the sidelines having left the band, working the engine fell to Bill and his fluid style is impressive on this night in Providence. Hearing Keith play with this much freedom is not something always experienced with his time in the the band, it is refreshing.  

The opening trio of tunes are well played, and an emotional Jerry adds gravity to "Row Jimmy" but the reason that I picked this show starts with the loose "Truckin'" that wanders out and about half way through finds a few guests poppin' up, breaking out the horns, and blowing all over the joint.  Martin Fierro joins on Sax and Joe Ellis contributes Trumpet from here to the end of the show, and as any time the horns show up, the boys give it their all.  "Truckin'" is really all over the map, the horns are allowed to experiment and ramble, while on "Eye's of The World" there seems to have been charts and progressions worked out before hand.  Both methods work just fine as either side gets to try new things out and add flair to some of the groups most loved songs. 

It seems whenever the brass comes to the stage things get fierce, I will certainly cover a Branford show in the future, but this night was a different.  It isn't perfect, there are some gaps, but you can tell the band is trying to play "in the moment" which is vital; they moved from a straight rock and roll group to more jazz laced outfit, especially around the 9 minute mark of "Eyes" when Jerry just starts riffing with Fierro, tasty stuff.
 This second set is basically Wake of the Flood live, even the rare "Let Me Sing Your Blues Away" gets an airing allowing Keith to sing one...while this isn't the best performance, it is a funky little ditty and Jerry does a bang up job with the harmonies along with Donna.

Fierro picks up the flute for the "WRS Prelude" and it melds brilliantly with Garcia's dripping leads.  The tightness with which all the musicians push into "Let It Grow" is a bit shocking giving the looseness that precedes and shows up again in the jam section, but it is a tight ship when this beast starts revving up. Once the vocals by Bobby and Donna are completed the horns are taken for a stroll starting around the 6:20 mark with Jerry dancing around the edges at a frantic pace before the tune really winds out into free jazz.

While the chaos eases out we get a beautiful rendition of my favorite Jerry ballad, "Stella Blue", and this rendition is weepingly glorious, a version worth coming back to again and again.  The spicy trumpet pumping "Sugar Magnolia" finds Donna in a screeching mood and the party themed "One More Saturday Night" close things up on the is September Night in Providence, putting a stamp on a unique tour for the Dead.  I have heard in various places that people didn't really like this horn combo playing with the fellas, but I have very little to critique from this night's show, I thought that Fierro and Ellis added tone, mood and color as well as serving to inspire the group to branch out or get tight when it was called for.  A real winner of a show in the groups history.    

Unrelated Side Note:
Big ups to Spain, the World Cup is such a great sporting event I managed to catch the finals on the Lower West side at Brass Monkey's Block Party
 under the sun with Pete and some other 500 or so people.
 The joint was packed and we happened to be in the heart of the Spanish fans who were in a much louder mood then their Dutch rivals.  I just wanted a good game, it wasn't the best, but it was engaging and the crowd made it fun, I wish Xavier or Doug was there to translate what the Spanish ladies next to us were saying, but overall a great time. 
 Can't wait for Chelsea to start up in a couple of weeks, and next World Cup, I think it might be time to head to Brazil. 

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