Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Album Review: The Grateful Dead- The Best Of Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years Of The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead
The Best Of Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years Of The Grateful Dead
**and1/2 out of *****

This is an odd release for a band that seems to be milking everything out of their "last" shows. They are releasing the complete set of music from these three nights, which collectors will clamor for. The 7/5 show complete with DVD which they must have deemed the best of the bunch. While many fans have already downloaded full streams of all the sets and are free to shuffle around for their own best of. This highlight two disk collection seems to be for fans who want to dip their toes in and see what the fuss this summer was all about, but for anyone truly interested might RtBE suggest you go to the source.

All that said, the playing here in the cold light of headphones is good, not otherworldly as Trey Anasatsio and Jeff Chimenti joined the Dead Boys (Weir Kreutzmann, Hart, Lesh and Hornsby) to celebrate the groups history. While the show was mega from ticket prices to hyper-praise the sets themselves were varied and this highlight disk does it's best to give more then a sample of the high points.

Positioned as if it was a real show, with a classic "First" and "Second" set offering (complete with "Drums") the 2 disks remind of old cassette tapes. Phil Lesh's bass lines take center stage on the funky "Shakedown Street" and the slinky smoothness of "West L.A. Fadeaway" fits Trey's guitar style and Hornsby's vocals expertly. The band bangs around a clunky "Bertha" but the grooving/jamming "Music Never Stopped" picks things back up.

While it must have been a blast for Trey to lead the OGD's on the classic pairing of "Scarlett Begonias > Fire On The Mountain" it isn't a particularly intriguing version, outside of Anastasio's strong vocal work (his best on this collection) and the drumming of The Rhythm Devils Hart and Kreutzmann. The two homage's to Garcia which close this offering, "Touch of Gray" and "Attics of My Life" are beautiful and heartfelt as the last track closed the whole shebang in Chicago. 

There have been other huge musical moments for the remaining Dead players since Jerry's passing (the Trey & Page influenced Phil and Phriends still sends shivers, oooh "Viola Lee Blues") and for those that attended this is a nice record if you blew your wad on tickets and can't afford the full package. Fare Thee Well will be remembered fondly by all involved, but as a major musical moment in the Dead's career? Probably not.   
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1 comment:

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