Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Dead: 1-8-1979 Madison Sq. Garden, NYC

Going for a local show in today's addition to the Monday Dead series, as we walk down the block and back 30+ years to January 8th 1979 @ Madison Square Garden.  Click that link or listen right c'here:

This is only the second show the Dead ever played in the big arena, the first being the night before, which by all accounts was not a highlight for the band.  Just like the group their big shows seem to disappoint, then they come back the next night and knock it out of the park.  I haven't put too many AUD tapes in the Monday series, but this one is pretty special, as you can hear the energy from the get go with the crowd exploding at "Mississippi Half-Step" and they are ecstatic most of the night.  Surprisingly my other 1979 post was from the same month and is an AUD tape as well, but the playing from both shows makes it worthy of listening.

With this recording the levels do seem to fluctuate and Bobby is almost non-existent on Guitar with his slide solo in "New Minglewood" being very very low in the mix.  Other pieces work nicely like the loud highs of Jerry's guitar and Keith's Keys.  There is a definite distance here and the recording isn't perfect by any stretch, but it is listenable.  There is also an amazing set of Photos from this night on Bob Minkin's Photo Stream on Flickr.  Check out the slide show of great pictures here.

You can feel from the opening that Jerry is going to be 'on' this night, the playing and singing contain an added passion, I am not sure why but his guitar tone weeps through 'Candy Man'.  The highlights of the 1st set are the opening duo of "1/2 Step" > "Franklins Tower" which is a fun pairing, a jammed out "Friend Of The Devil" and a really pumping "It's All Over Now".   The real action come sin the second set so I will focus on that....
When no one less then the great Charlie Miller states that this is one of his favorite 2nd sets the band has ever done you kinda sit up and take notice.  "Scarlett Begonias" eases out brilliantly, with a nice tag team from Keith's Keys and Donna Jeans Vocals.  The couple would leave the band shortly, but they always made Scarlett>Fire a good listen.  Jerry was also feeling his oats on this night jamming out in various directions, he has mentioned that the Garden is "juiced" and how much he loved to play there...this is an example of why and how.  The "Fire On The Mountain" is glorious ringing out with wah-wah and a jubilant vibe with a cinematic last guitar solo that I could have listened to all day.

A rocking "Samson and Delilah" keeps the energy high as the rhythm section gets their groove on with the bouncing beat.  Then the epic nature of this set becomes apparent as "Terrapin Station" spins out the yarns of shedding light among blissful, golden guitars.  A huge version of this fan favorite has "inspiration" popping up and inspiring the New York City crowd before the tune crashes into a great disco flavored version of "Playing In The Band".  All killer, no filler in this second set as Bobby whips up the crowd into a funky groove.

After the 'Drums' take hold we thunder out we get hit with rattling bass bombs from Phil that signal "The Other One" which is energetic and upbeat before a huge "Wharf Rat" finds Jerry showing off those passionate vocals one more time on this night.  "Good Lovin'" and "US Blues" let the crowd sing along and end a terrific night of music from the boys and girl in NYC, sending those in attendance home happy.

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