15 Concerts in 15 Minutes (well, not exactly)

Recently, I was tagged on Facebook in a note that asked me to come up with 15 albums in 15 minutes – albums that were basically influential enough on me to make me change the way I looked at (or listened to) the world.  I think this is a great exercise, because if you are like me, you find that 15 albums is such a small allotment that it forces you to throw out a number of good albums in order to create a pretty concentrated list.  Rather than using this space for that list, you can see it here on our website.

 My cousin liked the Dead-leaning list and suggested that someone put a list together of Dead tunes along with a date for a favorite performance of that song.  I love the idea, so I will be working in collaboration here with him – he’s supplied the list of tunes, and I will now supply the dates.  I hope you enjoy (and I hope you know that I didn’t put this together in 15 minutes): 

  • Morning Dew – 08/06/71 – This is the way this song should sound.  This is not quite primal Dead – they’re starting to come into their own – but they really know how to build this one up.  Bravo.  LISTEN
  • Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain – 09/15/85 – This one was easy for me because this performance always blows me away.  The entire second set is a must have, but especially the Scarlet>Fire opener.  This one is silky smooth.  LISTEN
  • Peggy-O – 10/30/77 – This one was pretty easy too.  I’ve long loved this version first because it has some sentimental value based on where it was performed, my alma mater, but beyond that, it is the right arrangement of verses and instrumental breaks that gives this one a certain gravity that really conveys the message and meaning of this song.  Also a very good show.  LISTEN
  • They Love Each Other – 09/10/93 – This one was easy as well.  Two college roommates of mine were at this one and I have just always loved this version – Jerry really gets funky on this one.  If you are a Jackstraw fan, as I am, you cannot go without this show.  LISTEN
  • Althea – 07/19/90 – This is one of my favorite shows-perhaps because I’m a bit partial to the home turf, but both sets are just so solid.  Althea can be a snoozer for me, but this one is really well-played, and upbeat.  Please listen to this whole show though, and let me know what you think.  LISTEN
  • Row Jimmy – 06/10/90 – I really had to think about this one.  I’m not a huge fan of this song because it tends to drag for me, but this particular one’s got a bit of a bounce to it that moves it along quite nicely, and the interplay between Jerry and Brent at the end is very nice too.  LISTEN
  • Wharf Rat – 07/27/73 – I couldn’t resist this one.  The Wharf Rat is kind of the dessert to the famous Watkins Glen Soundcheck Jam.  If that doesn’t mean anything to you, lots of luck.  This Jam>>>Wharf Rat combination is otherworldly; that’s all I can say about it.  LISTEN
  • Help on the Way>Slipnot>Franklin’s Tower – 10/31/91 – This wasn’t my first choice which would have been the 08/13/75 version released as One from the Vault, but that would have been too easy.  This one has a certain intensity to it; in fact the whole show does, and I would definitely recommend sticking around and listening to the entire show.  LISTEN
  • Terrapin Station – 06/15/85 – I’ve always liked this one.  I thought about selecting another date, but the interplay between Jerry and Brent during the solo is ethereal, and despite his strung-out sound during that period, he manages to hit this one out of the park.  The outro from this one is very nice too.  LISTEN
  • Bertha – 07/08/78 – This one for me is so good because the band utilizes all of the different rhythmic qualities of the verse AND chorus, and they don’t just play it straight…Does that make sense?  Listen especially about half-way through Jerry’s solo.  This is a stellar version from a really stellar couple of shows that summer from Red Rocks.  LISTEN
  • Loser – 05/08/77 – Tough one.  Loser isn’t a song I’m typically looking for in a set, although it is one that is fun to play on the guitar, so I know why Jerry played it.  I have to admit that this one I didn’t choose so much for the performance of the song, but for the show itself.  If you follow the music, then you know this date pretty well, and this version just happens to be very tight and powerful.  LISTEN
  • Candyman – 10/14/80 – This too is a tough one.  Candyman is not the first song that comes to mind, but I do know that I like those early Brent versions of the song because of his ability to carry the harmony.  This is a nice quiet version of the song with a very laid-back pace to it.  LISTEN
  • Stella Blue – 10/14/83 – This is the last easy one on the list.  You’re either a Stella Blue fan or you aren’t, and I happen to be one, and I can say that I don’t know of a single other performance of this one that combines the loneliness and eeriness of the front end of this song with such a warm and redemptive ending.  Unfortunately, the AUD does not capture it like the SBD.  Update:  Well, it looks like you get the AUD you wanted; the concert has been released as a Dick’s Picks edition.  LISTEN
  • Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad – 02/20/71 – First of all, I love this one because it is the meat in a Not Fade Away sandwich, but the thing that makes this one smoke is how they work it out after the And We Bid You Goodnight instrumental part.  Truly a one-of-a-kind version as far as I’m concerned.  The Lovelight screams too.  LISTEN
  • Throwing Stones – 10/09/89 – This one’s a bit tough for me because I think of it more as a setup tune than anything else-a kind of appetizer to the main course.  Having said that though, I’ve always liked this one mainly because it carries the mood of this show into the final number.  It also happens to be one of my absolute favorite shows ever.  Talk about intensity.  That Dark Star is a monster.  LISTEN 

I loved doing this, but I’ve got songs that I’m curious to know what you think about.  If you are reading, please try and come up with some dates to put next to the following songs: 

  • Cumberland Blues
  • Dark Star
  • Let it Grow
  • Shakedown Street
  • Jack Straw
  • Black Peter
  • China>>>Rider
  • Cassidy
  • Sugaree
  • Viola Lee Blues
  • Uncle John’s Band

 Proving once again that we do more than just show you the best deals in the Phoenix real estate market; we show you how to get the most out of living in Arizona, and try to help you get the most out of what you are listening to.

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One Response

  1. […] Back to the concert…  What a show!  I’m a sucker for Jack Straw shows, and maybe I’m a total geek, but I’ve even got a Great Northern t-shirt.  The band is listening to each other, and playing well together.  The Jack Straw pleases, the Sugaree is fantastic, Cassidy hits those outer limits but brings it all back home, but that Cumberland Blues simply blisters–it is definitely one of the good ones that I asked about in a previous post about best versions/performances of Dead songs. […]

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