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Grateful Dead's Best Era?

Old 05-28-03, 08:46 AM
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Grateful Dead's Best Era?

I recently started listening to the Dead and probably have about 30 shows or so courtesy of friend's CDs, nugs.net, etc. Thanks to someone's post here I also discovered a ton of shows available for download at www.gdlive.com (along with Phish and Widespread).

Everyone always talks about how great their 1977 tour was the best and from what I have listened to so far I'm pretty impressed. I was wondering what were the Dead's other "peak" periods, if any, and what shows (1977 or otherwise) anyone would suggest. Thanks!
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Old 05-28-03, 09:29 AM
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Well if you are starting with 77 you are off to a good start. It was without a doubt one of the best years for Dead shows. I'll suggest a few shows from 77 first then mention some other good years. 5-7 8 and 9 are all amazing. 5-8-77 being one of the most circulated dead shows around. My personal favorite from 77 is 2-26 not just because it was my 7th birthday but because it was the first Esitimated Prophet and the first Terrapin Station. Maybe if you could mention what a few of your favorite songs are I could make some suggestions for other good shows. 72-74 were also great years for Dead shows. There are also some really hot shows in 80 and 86. Also you can start looking into shows by where they played. Certian venues just really brought out the best in the band. My personal favorite being anything from the Coliseum in Hampton VA. Also if you want you can take a look at my cd list to get an idea of some good shows.

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Old 05-28-03, 09:40 AM
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The Dead and Panic both played really well in their home areas. Many of Panic's best shows are in Athens or Atlanta for the New Years stuff. 1977 is my fave "Dead" year, followed by any 85 shows, and after that 1973. My fave shows from 1977 are of course 5-8 at Cornell, 12-27-77 at Winterland, 11-6 at Broome Co Arena, 2-26-77 at Swing Arena. Basically any show in Oakland Rocks, any show in San Francisco rocks. My fave 85 show was in Richmond. The 85 shows were faster and more energetic than the Dead had been in a while. 1973 was another good year. I dont have an etree list, but feel free to contact me via email, and we can talk about trading some.
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Old 05-28-03, 09:50 AM
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Thanks for the tips travlr. My favorites include Me and My Uncle, Jack Straw, China Cat/I Know You Rider, Not Fadeaway, Beat it on Down the Line, Playing in the Band, Tennessee Jed, Franklin's Tower and The Wheel among others. At the same time, though, I've pretty much bludgeoned these ones to death and I would rather start listening to some other songs and get a better sense of their full repetoire.

I've already started to delve into the '72 stuff and got a solid 8-24-72 show at Berkeley from the the "Dead at the Bay" CDs. I'll definitely check out the shows you suggested as well. Thanks again for the advice and any other future recommendations!
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Old 05-28-03, 10:52 AM
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I'd say from about 72-78 the Dead were almost perfect in their playing, song composition, and overall energy.

I recommend you purchase Ladies And Gentlemen... (April 1971 Fillmore East) as it is an expanded version of the live album "Grateful Dead" with the skelton on the cover, and also Steppin' Out With The Dead England '72 again an expanded version of the already incredible Europe '72 album.

After that get some Dick's Pick's CDs, a lava lamp,some acid and a guide. And then, CHILL...
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Old 05-28-03, 12:46 PM
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Another good resource for shows is Furthernet if you have a fast connection and are familiar with SHN files

As mentioned, 77 seems to be considered the peak year. 72-74 and 85 have many fine shows

87-90 also has good shows - this is the period from when Jerry recovered from his coma and was back with a vengeance

A couple of shows I'll toss out there for consideration in addition to what's been mentioned are:
7-8-77 - Red Rocks
12-5-79 - Uptown Theater, Chicago
7-18, 19-90 - Deer Creek, Noblesville IN
6-8-92 - Richfield OH (after 91, the shows aren't as consistent, but there are gems featuring some of their newest material)

Drop me an email if you are interested in trades, B & P, or whatever
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Old 05-28-03, 04:52 PM
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Re: Grateful Dead's Best Era?

Originally posted by Fokker's Feint
Thanks to someone's post here I also discovered a ton of shows available for download at www.gdlive.com (along with Phish and Widespread).
...which was just updated on 5/27 for the first time since I can remember. Among other new shows to download, the latest Phish New Years Show (Hiatus buster), and Jan 3 at the aformentioned Hampton Coliseum.

There are literally hundreds of places to get any Dead shows you can imagine. For anything you can't find easily, just use Google to post a message to rec.music.gd and ask for a B+P. If you don't get multiple responses within hours, something is wrong.

Also, just a request...

Please don't trade or circulate anything you download off nugs.net (.mp3s - ugh). We don't want to pollute the trading pool!!!

Rock on!! I love to see the tape trading community thriving on DVDTalk!!
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Old 05-28-03, 05:50 PM
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They were definitely better in the 70's, their sixties stuff is great too. I miss Jerry Garcia.
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Old 05-29-03, 04:02 PM
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One of my favorite eras is the the "single-drummer" era (sorry, Mickey!) which actually covers a span of years that saw a great deal of stylistic change. I simply think they were a tighter, more nimble band with only Bill on the skins. I love the late 60s and late 70s stuff, too, but I'll concentrate on the "Hartless" period in this post (essentially 72-74):

1972 is some folks favorite year of all. Great stuff is available on Dick's Picks (9/17/72, 9/27/72) and the From the Vault series ("Hundred Year Hall"), and most Dead fans are already quite familiar with "Europe 72". The new remaster of "Eur-72" includes a vastly expanded songlist with some topnotch performances from (I believe) the Rotterdam 5/11 show. 8/27/72 Veneta is one of the alltime classic Dead performances, captured in a film by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters called "Sunshine Daydream". The tapes/CDs have been much easier to come by than a bootleg copy of the film, but last I heard it's being prepped for a DVD release... possibly in the Fall! (I'll believe it when I see it...)

1973 takes a turn toward psychedelic jazz, particularly in the Fall/Winter shows. 11/11/73 is probably my favorite, but there's not really a bad show in the bunch. This is deepspace stuff, hardcore meltdowns, and scary "insect" noises... plus the usual covers and first-set "standards", though these are given more perfunctory readings than their 72 or 74 counterparts. Get late 73 for the abstract improvisational jams, not the song-oriented performances (generally speaking, you know...)

And check out anything from the Summer/Spring '74 tour. 6/26-28/74 are out on a Dick's Picks Volume, and is as good a place to start as any. 6/18/74 is a personal favorite of mine. The GD Movie features some excellent performances from the end-of-the-tour stand at Winterland.... including the return of Mickey! This one really needs to be out on DVD, expanded and remixed...

And some comments on Hartful era Dead...

1970 is a great year, though circulating recordings are rarer than in any other year (except the "retirement" year of 1975). 1970 kinda mixes the extreme psychedelia and R&B rave-ups of the 60s era Dead with the more roots-oriented albums from that year (American Beauty and Workingman's Dead). 5/2/70 Harpur College likely epitomizes this era best, with a great acoustic set and a phenomenal electric one... plus it's available as a Dick's Pick! If you can track down the circulating portion of the second set from 9/19/70, it's also well worth having (and 90 minutes of some of my favorite Dead music ever).

And I positively adore 12/31/78. We may see this one on DVD, too.
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Old 05-31-03, 02:55 PM
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Oh Cool!!! Finally an "Otter-Dead" thread. Fokker - email me and we can set up a B&P. I'll email my list to you privately.

Last edited by Jack Straw; 05-31-03 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 05-31-03, 04:25 PM
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The early 70's or the "Wake of the Flood" Era.
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