Monday, August 9, 2010

Grateful Dead in Saratoga Part II: 6-24-1984

Ahh back to Saratoga for this Monday morning Grateful Dead entry, and some historic playing in a historic town.  
'The American victory at Saratoga was a major turning point in the war for Independence, heartening the supporters of independence and convincing France to enter in the war as an ally of the fledgling United States'. From Here.
There are a ton of great sites to read about the Battle of Saratoga and the importance of the victory on American independence, you can read about it here and here for starters, but I won't take up more time on the social studies lesson, all though it does add to the history of the location.  We have some other stuff to talk about...
For part 2 of RTBE Grateful Dead in Saratoga month we go to back in time to a rainy night June 24th 1984, the second time the group played at SPAC.

As far as quality goes, this show gets as A- from me, while it is a SBD, it does contain a lot of hiss on the highs, but again very easy on the ears and the playing captured is excellent for 1984 (also the sound improves greatly along with he playing for the second set).   This is the first show I am reviewing from that year, and honestly it wasn't one of the best for the Dead.  Jerry was starting to wear down which can be heard in his voice and to a slighter extent in his playing, which overall wasn't as inventive or crisp as it was in the past.  That said there is some fine playing from this wet June night.

Starting with the first "Dancing In The Streets" since 1981 signaled that the boys weren't fucking around, and it cemented what everyone felt after the last time the group played SPAC, there was a special bond that the band had with the venue.  There is a tight "Dire Wolf" and some wonky slide guitar played by Bobby on "New Minglewood Blues" and some straining from Jerry to hit the high notes of "Ramble On Rose".  The musical highlights of the first set is the fluid expressive guitar playing from Jerry and electric Keys from Brent on the pairing of "Me and My Uncle">"Mexicali Blues".  After a groovy "Hell In A Bucket" complete with raspy Weir vocals, a set closing "Deal" the crowd gets prepped for a huge second set.        
The second set sounds better from the start and opens in an unusual way with Weir getting loose on "I Need a Miracle" and the band just sounds more alive then they had in the first set.  Around the 3:30 mark in "Miracle" the band really starts going in different directions and does so in a intriguing way, all soloing yet not losing the center.  That would be a theme of this set as they segue right into "Bertha" which scoots along brilliantly.  The energy stays high for an excellent version of "Playing In The Band" which  Bobby sings with confidence and has Phil dropping powerful bass lines. 
 This is a cool version of this tune that never losses energy and allows each of the members to musically express themselves.  It is experimental, intriguing and a fun listen which flows directly into "China Doll".  While Jerry's rasp certainly added gravity to his ballads in the later years, here it sounds wounded and doesn't work so well, all though the playing is glorious with Brent using some harpsichord effects and Jerry easing into the guitar parts.

The fellas then let the drummers fire it up again with "Samson and Delilah" getting those in attendance up dancing in the rain, Bobby seems to be extra loud for this tune, and it may have been a better move to amp Jerry as Bobby seems to be playing some off kilter guitar here.  The "Drums>Space" Segment here takes up a bit of time with some wild "Space" sound effects, before the rumblings of the epic "Other One" starts up.  This is a great wandering version that doesn't even get around to the lyrics until about 4 minutes in.  A second Jerry ballad follows with the emotional telling of "Wharf Rat".  This is a solid version of the tune that relies heavily on Brent's keys and does a good job with them before the set closing rave up of "Sugar Magnolia".

Continuing the trend they started the last year at SPAC, they treat the crowd to a double encore.  This time we get them covering The Rolling Stones with "Satisfaction"

The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction (show)
Uploaded by oggys. - See the latest featured music videos.
 and Bob Dylan with, "It's All Over Now Baby Blue".

Bob Dylan: It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Uploaded by mango6. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

You couldn't really aim much higher in the covers department and another June night finds the band making their fans happy with a fun night of tunes...until next year...

No comments:

Post a Comment