Wednesday, November 30, 2005

New Developments

Check out Uncle John's Blog and Grateful Dead News for some timely updates on the LMA issue. A couple interesting quotes by McNally:

According to Grateful Dead spokesman Dennis McNally, the removal on November 22 of all downloadable Dead recordings from archive.org was the result of "a great communication snafu."

Yeah, no kidding!
“The idea of a massive one-stop Web site that does not build community is not what we had in mind. Our conclusion has been that it doesn’t represent Grateful Dead values.” Most fans, he continued, “understand they were being granted an extraordinary privilege, and they responded by taking it very seriously” by respecting the band’s wishes not to sell their live recordings. “This is not the same situation,” he added.
Why didn't LMA represent GD values? Especially if they acknowledge the fact that fans "responded by taking it very seriously"? I hope that the official explanation that we expect from McNally any day now is more descriptive than this. Good news is that it looks like we'll get the AUD recordings back to download, that Phil wasn't involved in the decision, and according to Justin, it isn't Bill and Mickey's fault either.

Bad news is that there are those in The Dead organization who see the SBDs on LMA to be a threat, and we still don't know why.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Rolling Stone Article on LMA Controversy

Kudos to David Gans for being all over this issue and hosting a constructive forum on this topic on his blog. Today, he linked to a new Rolling Stone article about the LMA Controversy.

According to Rolling Stone:
An official statement from the Grateful Dead camp is expected in the next few days. In the meantime, longtime band publicist and spokesperson, Dennis McNally, told Rolling Stone that he thinks "David Gans' comments were dead -- you'll pardon the expression -- on."

And here I sit so patiently, waiting to find out what price...

A Response...

If you look back on my prior post, Black Wednesday, my first comment is a copy of an e-mail that I sent to several affiliated with the Grateful Dead organization.

This afternoon, I received a response from customerservice@gdstore.com:
Ben,

We truly do value your input on this situation. I will pass your comments on to the powers that be.

Thanks,
Name Removed
Customer Service

It's not much, but it's something. It's communication. Someone is listening. It's a start. Better than nothing. Thank you.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wo-oh What I Want To Know...

These past few days, I have, like many others, gone through a myriad of emotions. Since the decision to remove SBDs from The Archive and allow only streaming of AUD recordings, those emotions have ranged from anger to sadness to disappointment to shock to disbelief, and even for some, indifference. From the initial firestorm on the Live Music Archive Forum, to the 1200+ petition 'signatures' to date, to the almost 70 comments on the subject at David Gans' blog, to the several insightful comments on my blog, this issue has created such negative feelings overall, that all I can ask now is WHY?

That's all I want to know. The Archive has their cryptic explanation, but you have to feel that they are probably bound legally by what they can and can't say. I doubt it was their decision anyway. The real explanation needs to come from The Grateful Dead organization. They need to say something, anything! Did they do this so that they can sell every show on I-Tunes? If so, fine, so-be-it. If that's the case, then when will these shows be available, will they still charge $15-20 per show? If that's not the case, then what other explanation is there. We just want to hear something. There is a sense of entitlement amongst alot of Deadheads, deserved or not. If we deserve anything right now though, it is some sort of communication. And we want it now.

Justin, you read this blog, do have any light you can shed on this? Can you pass the word of our discontent along? Do the responsible parties even realize the shit-storm they have created over this decision?

I'm finishing up Garcia: An American Life, and there was something I read last night that really struck a cord in me. After Jerry died, Mountain Girl was quoted as saying:
"From the beginning to the end he (Jerry) always wanted the music to be available to the people. He didn't want the funky people shut out. He hated being shut out because of money, status or class"

The Archive was one of the best examples of the spirit of making the music "available to the people". Will people be shut out? Maybe. One thing's for sure, the music won't be as 'available' any more. If all the music will be for sale now, some people will be shut out "because of money, status or class". So then, is that spirit gone or irrelevant now? Is there something else driving this change in methodology? If someone would just tell us, we may just understand.

Wo-oh what I want to know... Don't you want to know too?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Belated Birthday Bruce!






A happy belated birthday to Bruce Hornsby, who turned 51 yesterday. Although Bruce was only a part-time member of the Grateful Dead, he brought great energy, spirit and talent to the band when they needed it after Brent's death. Happy birthday Bruce, and happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Black Wednesday

Today is a sad day for Deadheads everywhere. For some unknown reason, Grateful Dead SBD recordings are no longer available on The Archive. I've been reading the Forum on The Archive, and there is alot of anger and disbelief there right now, as you can imagine. Not knowing the motive for this action myself, I'm withholding my judgement and reaction until I learn more.

If in fact The Dead are pulling these SBD recordings for their own commercial gain (i.e. to boost DP and Download Series sales), then shame on them. That would be very much against the spirit of they have always been about. Considering the popularity of The Archive, I think The Dead need to explain themselves. If there is a legitimate reason for this action, then let's hear it. As of this moment, there is no explanation on The Dead's website I will be writing them myselves to see if I can get an answer. I encourage you to do the same.

If you haven't done so yet, sign the petition! Let your self be heard! http://www.petitiononline.com/gdm/petition.html.

"I wanna find out what's wrong with me and my baby" - Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)

Edited - 9:16PM 11/23/05

Friday, November 18, 2005

Dead-Pod

Today, I join I-Pod Nation.

I was recently given an I-Pod Nano as a gift, and being that I've wanted one for quite a while, I'm pretty pleased to finally have one. Of course, one of the best features of I-Pod/I-Tunes is not only the full Dick's Picks inventory, but the also the more recently Grateful Dead Download Series . I'll probably going to start of with Dick's Picks #4, which I believe is widely considered to be the best. Any other suggestions out there? I'd like to download the best of the best, but there's so much to choose from. Yummy :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hey Now!





Hey now! (hey now)
Hey now! (hey now)
Aiko aiko un day
Jockomo feeno ah na nay
Jockomo feena nay!



Just in kind of an "aiko-aiko" mood tonight :-)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ratdog - 11/8/05, Frederick, MD - Concert Review

For those of you who read my post a few weeks back about the invasion of Dead-related bands in the DC area (BTW, Grisman and NRPS are coming to town soon too!), you saw my concern about the possibility of being disappointed with seeing bands like Ratdog and Phil Lesh and Friends. I put these concerns aside, and got tickets for the Ratdog show in Frederick, MD, which was last night. And boy am I glad I went! What a great band and a great show. No, it wasn't the Dead, Bobby's voice isn't what it used to be, and I still don't like the beard, but it was good enough. Last night's show, held at the Weinberg Center for the Arts, sure brought back alot of memories, and the music itself was fantastic. The Weinberg Center is a small, intimate and old theater in downtown Frederick. From the moment I got there, I knew I did the right thing. It was good for my relatively-straight self to be among the Freaks and the Heads once again. Overall the crowd was a good mix of young and old, straight and freaky. Once I met up with my brother, we headed in for the show. We had good seats, about 30 rows back to the right of the stage. The sound was good, but not as clear as I would of liked, at least where we were sitting.

The show began with Here Comes Sunshine that included a nice long jam, which transitioned to a very bluesy Maggie's Farm, to She Says, and to It's All Over Now. At this point, I'm very happy as I've been loving the 'All Over Now's' from the 70s lately. I can tell now that this is a very tight band, their pace on alot of songs is a bit slower than what The Dead did, but they sounded great nonetheless. Memphis Blues came next, followed by Sitting In Limbo, a song (along with She Says) that I was not familiar with. The 1st set closed with an outstanding Althea. I was never a huge fan of this song, but Bobby and the boys raised the roof with this version. That could of actually been a all-time-favorite version for me last night.

the 2nd set opened acoustically with Twilight Time (another new one for me), which transitioned to Me and My Uncle, which transitioned to The Winners (yet another new one for me). They 'plugged-in' and turned it up next with a powerful I Need A Miracle, which moved into a spot-on Uncle John's Band (my perma-smile is very apparent at this point), and then into Terrapin. Up to this point, Bobby had sung a couple 'Jerry' songs, and it sounded good. The music for Terrapin was fine, but I wasn't crazy about Bobby's vocals on this one. Terrapin melted into a spacey Jam as Bobby left the stage to let the rest of the band shine. The Jam eventually became very funky and fast, highlighting their musical chops to the extreme. When Bobby came back on, the flowed into At A Siding and Terrapin Flyer. It took me a while to realize what they were playing as I had not listened to the Terrapin Station LP in a long time. It was a nice twist though, and very well done. A smooth, driving Corrina was next, which eventually made way for an always great 2nd set closer, Not Fade Away. I'm in heaven at this point, especially when they leave the stage and the entire theater is clapping and singing along, "You know our lovin' not fade away!" I had been transported back 15 years, and it was just fine with me. Bobby and the boys came back on to rock-the-joint with a Johnny B. Goode encore.

My expectations were exceeded and it looked like a good time was had by all. The music danced me all night long, the scene was friendly and open, the security was even cool, letting people move around at will. I even moved up pretty close the stage myself for the 2nd half of the 2nd set. I will go see Ratdog again. I may have to get this show on CD as well. Now I'll have to consider the upcoming Phil and DSO shows a little more based upon my experiences last night. It was good to be back.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Shows I've Downloaded: Update

Back in June, shortly after I started this blog, I did a post on the shows I had downloaded. I've been busy since, selectively downloading 12 since then. I've actually downloaded a few more, but after another listen, decided that they weren't keepers. A 'keeper' for me should be a well played show of course, but should also be of excellent quality. Many more to download, but here's what I've added to the collection:

Alpine Valley - 8/7/82 - One of my favorites from the early 80's. Great Bobby show and a great overall set list with highlights including a Music Never Stopped opener, BIODTL>On The Road Again combo, Let It Grow, and a early Man Smart, Women Smarter.
Boston Garden - 5/7/77 - See linked review.
Buffalo Memorial Auditorium - 5/9/77 - See linked review.
Capital Centre - 3/14/90 - My first Cap Center show and the first of a great 3 night stand. Highlights include a strong Cold Rain & Stranger to open, the first Loose Lucy in 16 years, another great Let It Grow, and beautiful versions of Crazy Fingers and Black Peter in the 2nd set.
Fillmore East - 9/20/70 - Downloaded the acoustic 1st set only. The sound quality is spectacular, but for some reason, falters in the 2nd set. The set list speaks for itself, made even sweeter with guest appearances by David Grisman and David Nelson.
Fox Theater - 11/30/80 - Oh, I love this show, not only for a great performance, but one of the few shows here that give you both a great SBD and great AUD recording. The entire 1st set and the start of the 2nd set is the SBD, but for whatever reason, it shifts to the AUD version at Samson & Delilah. I almost wish the whole recording here was the AUD version as it's one the best I've ever heard. Highlights include Cassidy, Sailor>Saint, Ship of Fools, Drums, and a UJB encore.
Meadowlands - 4/1/88 - Great ultramatrix (SBD & AUD) and a great Jerry show. Highlights include Mississippi Half-Step, To Lay Me Down, Deal, China Cat>Rider.
New Haven Veterans Mem. Coliseum - 5/5/77 - See linked review.
Oakland Auditorium Arena - 12/28/79 - Hot late '79 show, best of the end-of-that-year run, if not the whole year. Highlights include Sugaree, It's All Over Now, Music Never Stopped, and Terrapin.
Shoreline Amphitheater - 10/3/87 - A fun, unusual show, with highlights including Hey Pocky Way, My Brother Esau, Bird Song, and a Cumberland>Maggies Farm combo to open the 2nd set.
St. Paul Civic Center - 5/11/77 - See linked review.
Stanford Maples Pavillion - 2/9/73 - Historic 1st show of '73. Lots of funny banter, a Wavy Gravy Rant, and several first-time-played songs including Row Jimmy, Loose Lucy, Here Comes Sunshine, They Love Each Other, Eyes of the World, China Doll and Wave that Flag. Great recording, an absolute must have.

Check 'em out for yourself and enjoy!