Category Archives: Grateful Dead

Dead Bassist Phil Lesh

Dead Bassist Phil Lesh

Born March 15, 1940
Grateful Dead
Woodstock alum
…and much much more
Happy birthday to you!
The music never stopped
The Grateful Dead-Summer Solstice-Shoreline Amphitheatre 06/21/1989
Dead Bassist Phil Lesh
photo from: http://www.philzone.com/leshlinks/phil-lesh-bio.html

We could simply say that Phil Lesh was the one and only bassist for the Grateful Dead and leave it at that. Is there more that you need to know?

He was born in Berkeley, California and his first instrument was the violin, In high school he switched to the trumpet.  He eventually met Jerry Garcia and they became friends. Five years later, Jerry asked Phil to join the Warlocks and play bass.

 Since no one had instructed him on  how to play the bass, he developed his own style based on his musical preferences such as classical music and jazz.

His contributions to the band were limited vocally and he composed few songs, but his musicianship was always an integral part of any Dead show.

Because of technical issues, the Dead’s contribution to the lore of  the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was more symbolic than actual. They felt their performance was sub-par and so that has become the description. Having said that, the show was not terrible in any sense. The Dead simply didn’t have the chance to fly that night.

Phil Lesh discussed his early influences and more in the following video.

   In 1994, he was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Grateful Dead.

 In 1995, after Jerrry Garcia died, the Grateful Dead stopped as a band, but each of the members continued to play music. Sometimes together, sometimes as solo artists.

Dead Bassist Phil Lesh

Phil Lesh non-stop

Phil Lesh played with The Other Ones and The Dead, Dead and Company, as well as his own band collection, Phil Lesh and Friends. In 1999, he co-headlined a tour with Bob Dylan.  Check the link below to see all of his credits since 1995.

In the spring of 1997, Phil and friends launched the Unbroken Chain Foundation, “a nonprofit organization which seeks to perpetuate the long-standing tradition of community service that has been the hallmark of the remarkable three-decade relationship between the Grateful Dead and its audience.”

Dead Bassist Phil Lesh
photo from the Terrapin Crossroads site

In 2012, Lesh founded a music venue called Terrapin Crossroads, in San Rafael, California. The venue officially opened on March 17, of that year.

Dead Bassist Phil Lesh

Still playing

To say Phil is a lifer is an understatement. He continues to tour

 

Dead Bassist Phil Lesh
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Grateful Dead Play MSG

Grateful Dead Play MSGGrateful Dead Play MSG

The Grateful Dead played 2,318 shows.

On January 7, 1979 they played the first of the 52 shows they’d perform at New York City’s fabled Madison Square Garden. (The Dead also played 5 shows at Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum)

They played more often at only two other venues: Winterland, (60 times) and the Oakland-Alameda County Arena (66 x)

Grateful Dead Play MSG
ticket stub from the first Dead show at Madison Square Garden

The first Garden show was rescheduled from November 30, 1978 and thanks to the ever vigilant Deadheads, we know the set list:

One Jack Straw [6:08] ; They Love Each Other [7:48] ; Cassidy [5:00] ; Jack-A-Roe [5:16] ; Looks Like Rain [7:57] ; Tennessee Jed [8:27] ; El Paso [4:19]; Stagger Lee [6:42] ; Passenger [5:07]
Two I Need A Miracle [7:03] > Shakedown Street [10:00] ; From The Heart Of Me [3:42] ; Estimated Prophet [10:38] > Eyes Of The World [9:42] > Drums [4:55] > Space [4:11] > Not Fade Away [13:09] > Black Peter [11:34] > Around And Around [6:03]
Encore Good Lovin’ [7:37]
Grateful Dead Play MSG

Recorded

And like pretty much every Dead show, fans were there to tape it. Bob Wagner’s (transferred by the legendary Charlie Miller) is a great audience recording which the amazing Internet Archive has for you to listen to: AUD of show

AUDs sometimes have their clicks and gaps, but they can can be more fun to listen to than a soundboard recording because, if well done, you are right there with band’s sound.

Grateful Dead Play MSG

Madison Square Garden

The Dead also played the Garden the next night, a common occurrence.  And only Good Lovin’ was repeated. Another common feature of the ever-changing Dead setlists.

Grateful Dead Play MSG
ticket stub for January 8, 1979 Madison Square Garden

Set list? Of course.

One Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo [9:37] > Franklin’s Tower [9:56] ; New Minglewood Blues [5:04] ; Candyman [7:07] ; Me And My Uncle [2:56] > Big River [5:28] ; Friend Of The Devil [10:02] ; It’s All Over Now [8:19] ; Brown Eyed Women [5:09] ; Lazy Lightnin’ [3:34] > Supplication [7:43]
Two Scarlet Begonias [11:43] > Fire On The Mountain [10:16] ; Samson And Delilah [7:09] ; Terrapin Station [12:18] > Playing In The Band [13:25] > Drums > The Other One [8:23] > Wharf Rat [10:52] > Good Lovin’ [6:27]
Encore U.S. Blues [5:31]

Bob Wagner was there again. Charlie Miller has transferred it, again. click >>> January 8 Dead AUD

Grateful Dead Play MSG

Here’s a link to the entire list of MSG Dead shows. How many did you attend?

Grateful Dead Play MSG
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Grateful Dead 30 Days Dead

Grateful Dead 30 Days Dead

They’re BACK!

 

Link to 30 Days

From the Grateful Dead site:

As far as miracles go, November is bountiful. That’s right, we’re making miracles every day of the month and hoping to fire up your trusty synapses too.

We’re giving away 30 days of unreleased Grateful Dead tracks from the vault, selected by Dead archivist David Lemieux. And we’re going to put your knowledge to the test with a chance to win prizes, not to mention bragging rights in the community.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

You know your Ables from your Bakers from your C’s, but can your finely tuned ears differentiate the cosmic “comeback” tour from a spacey 70 show? Each day we’ll post a free download from one of the Dead’s coveted shows. Will it be from that magical night at Madison Square Garden in ‘93 or from way back when they were just starting to warm it up at Winterland? Is that Pigpen’s harmonica we hear? Brent on keys? Step right up and try your hand all November long.

Guess the venue and date correctly and you’ll be automatically entered to win the prize of the day – a 2020 Grateful Dead Wall Calendar. Each day a winner will be selected at random, so take your time and make your best guess! Answer correctly, and you will also be automatically entered to win the Grand Prize – a copy of our SOLD OUT Blu-ray GIANTS STADIUM 1987/1989/1991 boxed set.

Grateful Dead 30 Days Dead

NOW!

“Loose Lucy”  kicked off 2019’s first free download.

If you want, you can enter the contest and guess or simply wait for the answer tomorrow.

Keep in mind that these are high quality live recordings and if you are only familiar with the song’s studio recording, live is where it’s at.   Of course, there will be the seques like a China/Rider or a Candyman/Cassidy or even a Help/Slipknot/Franklin’s Tower.

And even if you are familiar with a live version, remember how songs evolved, left a tour’s setlist for a few years, and came back renewed.

You can’ go wrong. 2018’s 30 downloads yielded a nearly 7 hours  worth of previously unreleased Dead recordings. That’s right!

And so far (2010 – 2018), the site has given away over 52 HOURS of music!!!

Open up. The sun is shining on your back door.

Climb aboard!
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