Saturday, December 31, 2005

Have a Grateful New Year!

As we bring 2005 to a close, I look back on the year that was: Watching with my wife my two boys get bigger, smarter and more wonderful every day. A job I continue to like with a company I'm proud to work for. A nice vacation in the Outer Banks. Baseball back in DC. The Wizards making the playoffs, and the Redskins finishing the year strong. Starting this blog! I've been at it for about 6 months now, hard to believe. And what a year to start this up too, with the 10 year anniversary of Jerry's passing to the Live Music Archive fiasco. I also have to feel good that a nice little Grateful Dead blogging community has popped up this year. Yes, community can exist in Cyber Space.

Reflecting further back, nobody did New Year's Eve quite like the Grateful Dead. Whether it was Bill Graham's surprise grand countdowns, the vast array of guest musicians sitting in during the shows, or the live FM broadcasts, a Dead New Year's show was always something unique and special.

So ring in the New Year with a great NYE show. Here's a few of my favorites:
12/31/69 - Boston Tea Party - Boston, MA. A rare NYE show outside of the Bay area.
12/31/71 - Winterland - SF, CA - Fun FM broadcast. A brief play-by-play of the New Year's Countdown kicks off a spectacular show.
12/31/87 - Oakland-Almeda County Coliseum - Oakland, CA. Classic PPV show that I still have on videotape (maybe I need to replace that with the DVD someday...) Very underrated show IMO including a fun encore with the Neville Brothers.
12/31/90 - Oakland-Almeda County Coliseum - Oakland, CA. Sweet show with Branford sitting in.

New Year's resolutions? I don't really believe in them because I never keep them. But if I were to try to make and keep any of them, it would be to start eating better and exercising more of course, and to keep this blog going strong. So happy new year all, see you again in '06!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Jobygoob's Retro Reviews

A new entry into the Deadblog Space, welcome to Jobygoob's Retro Reviews. Joby will be reviewing shows for us, and has two up so far, the 10/9/89 Warlocks show in Hampton, a personal favorite of mine, and a 8/29/87 JGB show. Check it out!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Biography: Jerry Garcia

Just finished watching Biography: Jerry Garcia, and I must admit I was a bit disappointed. You would think the best way to reflect who Jerry was would of been by showcasing his music. There were a couple clips from Grateful Dawg and Live at Shoreline, but very little else. The background music could of been Jerry, Dead, Old and In The Way, whatever, but instead was this generic 'hippy' droll. What were they thinking??? In addition, alot of the still photos that they showed didn't synch up with the time period that was being covered. For example, they named albums from the early 70s and concurrently showed the album covers. When the mentioned Skull and Roses, they showed the cover of their very first studio album. Ugh.

The interviews were interesting, but who was interviewed was a bit unexpected. If you didn't pick a regular bandmember, who would of you picked to interview? Hunter, right? No, Barlow actually. Barlow as good, don't get me wrong, but he wasn't as tight with Garcia as many others were. In fact, the only one who was tight with Garcia over the years was Parrish. Donna was a good interview, as was Trey Anastasio (as a fan). The interviews with Trixie and Tiff were kind of depressing.

I did enjoy however the TV interviews with Jerry, where his true charisma came across full-force. The interviews with Blair Jackson were strong too, reinforcing what he had wrote in his outstanding biography of Garcia (post on this to come in the near future).

The Dead organization was not listed in the credits, but the Garcia estate was. There couldn't of been to much input from either into the the production of this show, but who knows how much input they were allowed. Bottom line is that who ever was responsible for this didn't know very much about Jerry or The Grateful Dead, and the sloppy results showed. Not the tribute that I would of hoped for, but come to think of, a pristine biography of Jerry wouldn't of been quite right either.

Monday, December 12, 2005

AUD Appreciation

Now that I'm almost a week immersed into my AUD binge, I've discovered an appreciation for these recordings that I've never had before. There was a comment on the last post which recommended the 5/5/81 show at Rutgers Univ, and how the crowd goes crazy because they can see the lighting through the skylights in the hall while listening to Looks Like Rain. I also think of the 9/10/90 show in Philly when they busted out Shakedown to start the show. I was there, and it just brought back the amazing memories of how electric that old arena was that night. The best AUDs really make you feel like you are right there in the middle of it all. The clean, sterile, crowdless SBDs just don't have that same feel to them. Kind of like a Sitcom without the studio audience/laugh track. Its still funny, but for some reason, not as funny, like you need the community of others to laugh "with" to truly enjoy the experience.

I miss being able to download those great sounding SBDs, the Matrix versions especially, because those offered the best of both worlds. AUDs is what we've got, so enjoy, like I am right now with the 10/27/80 Radio City show. Keep those contributions to the Best AUDs Catalogue coming as we continue to build up a nice resource for anyone who wants easy access to 'the best'.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Dead Freaks Unite!

Wanna know where Deadheads around the world are? Check out the Deadhead Global Map. Like an idiot, the first time I entered myself in, I entered the wrong zip code. Duh. The second zip code for me (20878) is the right one, so if anyone ends up here who knows how I can remove the first of my two entries for the map, please let me know.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Bobby's Turn

Thanks to Irenie for providing a link to a recent interview with Bobby concerning his views on the whole downloading controversy.

Well, he certainly took a different spin on this situation, stating that the decision was made in part over concerns over distribution rights of the artists whose songs they have covered over the years. I'm no legal expert, so I have no idea as to the merit or accuracy of those concerns. I am disappointed however about the attitude. As I listened, I felt talked down to, like he was annoyed with us and we should either accept it or go away, good riddance.

His views most certainly align more closely with recent statements made by McNally and Owsley than they do with his former band mates, Phil and Mickey in particular, and others closely linked with the band like Hunter, Barlow and Gans.

What Bobby and the others don't get was that downloading from The Archive wasn't simply about getting free music. Yes, that was nice and was certainly more convenient than traditional tape trading. It was about much more. The Archive had become a vibrant community which enabled fans, new and old to share their thoughts and experiences. It was about exploration and re-living wonderful memories. Overall, it represented the epitome of the spirit of the band for so many years, that once they had played their music, it was ours. For many regular users, it was an online community that brought together people in a way that traditional tape trading never could.

These are my opinions of course. Probably the most disappointing thing about this past week is the fact that this issue has fractured the band and the community worse than ever before. Bobby's hardline stance on this subject certainly has not done anything to improve his image with many fans. It's a damn shame too, I've always loved Bobby's music, and probably always will. I'm just disappointed, that's all, disappointed that he saw The Archive as a threat rather than the great 'experience' that it provided many of us.

There are some deep wounds now, hopefully they will be healed in time. Peace.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Hail GDNB and UJB!

I can't praise enough the incredible extensive coverage of this past week's Grateful Dead/LMA events at the Grateful Dead News Blog and Uncle John's Blog. Kudos is well deserved to the time and effort put into their work. The post from my alma mater's newspaper about tonight's Phil and Friends show at The Patriot Center made me feel a bit guilty about not being there. Had a conflict though, hope to catch Phil next time around.

Rather than repost links to the recent articles they posted, I thought I might comment on a couple quotes from McNally and Mickey from those posts:
McNally: "It makes the band happy and it makes 99 percent of all deadheads happy. There is the one percent who will never be happy until the band shows up in their living rooms."
Dennis still doesn't get it, does he. First of all, it's probably more than just one percent that still are not completely happy, and all they want is to be able to download SBDs again. I know that it's probably an unjustified sense of entitlement behind that feeling, but I just find that statement by Dennis to be condescending, not to mention still out-of-touch with the reality of the situation.
McNally: "We didn't create a giant one-stop place for swapping the music online. That happened behind our back and was presented as a fait accompli."
Happened behind our back? The Archive has been around for how long now? Phil said himself that he used it when he was writing his book! Who does Dennis really mean when he says "we"?
Mickey: "I fully support the position taken by Phil in his message and always have. Being a field recordist myself, I stand united with the taper community and always will notwithstanding anything in the media to the contrary."
OK, so Phil and Mickey have officially denied involvement in any decisions related to this matter. I get the sense from Justin that Bill wasn't involved either. I've heard that it was one against three on this issue. Guess that implicated Bobby then, huh. Haven't heard anything from him yet either. Hmmm. And quite ironic that I am now listening to Music Never Stopped while writing this. Hmmm.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A World-Wide News Flash

One of the truly facinating things that came from this fiasco is the wide press coverage it's received. For the past few days newspapers and websites across the country ran stories (mostly via wire sources such as AP, Reuters, UPI, etc. But even more facinating is the how much this story was picked up via the wire overseas, including South Africa, France/IHT, and North Korea. North Korea? OK, that site looks like some lame attempt to look modern and hip to the West, but how many North Koreans do you actually think have ever even heard of The Dead?

It's been a crazy week folks. This whole thing has given The Dead more publicity than they have had in years. Good news is that the music is back, albeit more limited than some of us would like. The bad news is that The Archive is getting so much traffic today that I haven't been able to get in until just now! Oh well, nothin left to do but SMILE, SMILE, SMILE!

A Grateful Morning

Well it appears as if a compromise has been reached. According to an AP Story this morning, The Grateful Dead organization has backtracked due to the tremendous backlash of the Deadhead community, and have agreed to allow AUD downloads and SBD streaming on the Live Music Archive.

Although it doesn't get us back to where we were prior to this mess, it is probably a reasonable compromise. AUD downloads should never of been halted in the first place, and although losing SBD downloads is disappointing, the ability to stream is better than nothing.

But there is still a very grey area here that needs to be addressed. What about SBD recordings with AUD patches (like the '77 Cornell show for example)? What about SBD/AUD matrix versions? What about SBDs that were remastered and submitted (like the work that Ben did)?

Also, if SBDs are not available to download on The Archive anymore, will some, most or all of them be made available for purchase in the future? If so, what's the time table? If not all SBDs will be available for purchase, why could those not be made available for downloading once again on The Archive?

This is a very complex issue indeed. Answers to the questions above still need to be addressed. But at the very least, we know that we were heard, and the band cared enough to make a sensible decision that benefits both their fans, and protects their music at the same time.

More to come I'm sure...