Tag Archives: Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead Woodstock Woes

Grateful Dead Woodstock Woes

The oft’ told tale of the Dead’s Woodstock performance was that it was plagued with various difficulties and was generally lackluster.

That it wasn’t a typical ’69 performance.  Woodstock was only about 70 minutes of music with a more than 20 minute technical break after only two songs which had only totaled about five minutes.

Plus, there was, as Phil Lesh mic/walkie-talkie interference with their PA during some parts. 

Grateful Dead Woodstock Woes
Dead at Woodstock…Jerry and Bob
Grateful Dead Woodstock Woes

Dead at Woodstock

Grateful Dead Woodstock Woes
Dead at Woodstock

 

 Well, let’s take a look at the set list: 

  • 1. Saint Stephen (2:04)
  • 2. Mama Tried (2:42)
  • 3. a High Time tease (30 seconds)
  • the 20 minute technical issues break
  • 4. Dark Star (19:10)
  • 5. High Time (6:20),
  • 6. Turn On Your Lovelight (38:42)
Grateful Dead Woodstock Woes

Typical?

How atypical was the Dead at Woodstock? The concert immediately before at Family Dog at the Great Highway in San Francisco on  August 3  was about 90 minutes. Their first concert afterward was on August 20 at the Aqua Theater in Seattle.  How long was it? About 90 minutes.

If not for the technical issues, faced by most of the Woodstock performers, the Dead at Woodstock was not too different.

Perhaps it’d be best to give the Dead at Woodstock an actual listen and decide for yourself. As for me, I enjoy it. Of course the spice of it being at Woodstock is an enticing enhancement, but even without that, it’s still good. After all, there’s only one Barton Hall and that was eight years in the future.

Grateful Dead Woodstock Woes

Double-dare

I dare you to click and open ↓ .

It’s really a nice listen for any day and a slice of history. You’ll hear the actual radio feedback the Phil Lesh talks about during a quieter part of their set.

Grateful Dead Woodstock Woes

 

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Robert Hall Bob Weir

Robert Hall Bob Weir

Happy birthday to you…

October 16, 1947

Bob Weir

Jimmy come lately

I quickly admit that I was not much of a Dead fan until my brother-in-law George directed me to the Internet Archives site [Internet Archive Grateful Dead] with its hundreds, no, thousands of Dead recordings. I learned the letters SBD (soundboard), AUD (audience), Matrix (someone’s incredible mixing of both a SBD and and AUD), and BB (a Betty Board as in Betty Cantor-Jackson, onetime soundboard tech for the Dead).

I also learned that, and this was the tipping point for this penurious person, I could download any file I wanted for free. That generosity did not last. Today, only the audience recordings are still available for free download. Many of those are simply outstanding recordings. The soundboards are available to listen to, but not to download.

Robert Hall Bob Weir

Get to the point

I didn’t get the Dead because I was familiar only with the Dead’s studio work, which didn’t do much for me. Yes their two 1970 masterpieces, Workingman Dead and American Beauty, both made my 8-track collection, but by 1971 I was married, by 1973 a father, and working two or three jobs. Concerts were rarely part of the budget.

Robert Hall Bob Weir

Bob Weir

When the Dead began to play in 1965, Bob Weir was just 17. Even by the counterculture’s egalitarian standards, Weir was still a kid.

The kid had not been a good student. His behavior defined the then American education’s definition of the poorly performing student: a lazy misfit. Fortunately, while in the system he met John Perry Barlow. Fortunately, Weir knew enough to get kicked out of the system and back to his hometown of San Francisco.

And fortunately, he met Jerry Garcia, too. Hand in instrument, they morphed from Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions into the electric Warlocks, and quickly tripped from there into the Grateful Dead.

Faced with the daunting task of playing beside the genius guitar playing of Garcia, he became one of rock’s best rhythm guitarists. He became the co-lead-vocalist with Garcia, and with old school friend Barlow wrote many of the Dead’s best songs such as…

  • Black-Throated Wind
  • Cassidy
  • Looks Like Rain
  • Lost Sailor
  • Mexicali blues
  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Saint of Circumstance
Robert Hall Bob Weir

Keeps on truckin’

Following the demise of the original Dead after Garcia’s death in 1995, Weir continued to play music: sometimes with other Dead band mates, sometimes with others.

In 2016, Weir released Blue Mountain. 

The Pitchfork site had this to say about it: As Weir’s sixth studio full-length outside the Grateful Dead, Blue Mountain functionally serves as a reboot for the guitarist, whose solo sensibility long ago veered far from Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter’s cosmic Americana and into the AOR waters of 1978’s Heaven Help the Fool (made with Fleetwood Mac producer Keith Olsen), the pastel fusion of Bobby and the Midnites in the ’80s, and the dense jam-jazz of Ratdog in the ’90s. With an ambient C&W production that often subsumes lead guitar into the reverb swirl (and occasionally swallows Weir), Blue Mountain will likewise probably prove inseparable from the historical period in which it was recorded. But, unlike Weir’s previous albums, Blue Mountain also finally seems like the right album at the right time for Weir. Quietly adventurous, wise, and a welcome late-career turn, Blue Mountain builds an ethereal home for a rhythm guitarist who was tempered in the chaos-friendly environs of Dead.

Don’t just read about it, though. I’m listening to it as I write this and it is sounds are smooth and soothing.

And he’s still out there performing.

Robert Hall Bob Weir

 

 

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Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart

born September 11, 1943

Synopsis

The opening description of Mickey Hart from his site reads that he “is a pivotal innovator, chronicler, and influencer in percussion and rhythm. Best known as a drummer in the renowned expedition into the soul and spirit of rock and roll, The Grateful Dead, the multi-Grammy award winner is also an energetic painter, accomplished writer, restless explorer, and an acclaimed expert on the history and mythology of drums. A true original armed with an inventor’s audacious curiosity, Hart boldly seeks to break the rhythm code of the universe and investigate its deepest vibrations.”

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart

To the beats…

Michael Steven Hartman was born in Brooklyn. Leah, his mother, raised Mickey. Leonard, his father, had left Leah before Mickey was born. Mickey and mom moved to Long Island (NY) soon after his birth. Later he attended Lawrence High School there,  but dropped out as a senior. He went to Europe and later joined the Air Force.

Hart was in the Air Force’s drum and bugle corps.  After the Air Force, Hart became a session drummer in NYC. While there, he received a letter from his father inviting him to work at his music store in San Carlos, California. Mickey went and it was a good thing for him, a great thing for us.

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart

Rhythm Devils

Of the Grateful Dead members, Mickey first met Bill Kreutzmann who invited Hart to sit in with the band. On September 29, 1967 he did just that for the band’s second set.

Having two drummers was a rarity, but he and Kreutzmann became known as the Rhythm Devils because of their unique interplay.

Leonard Hart became the band’s money manager, but  in March, 1970, he and an estimated $70,000 to $150,000 of band money disappeared. A detective eventually located him and a jury found him guilty of embezzlement. Hart served a six month sentence; he and his son never saw each other again.

Lenny Hart died of natural causes on February 2, 1975. According to Dennis McNally “Mickey went to the funeral home, cleared the room, took out the snakewood sticks that had been his inheritance, played a traditional rudimental drum piece, “The Downfall of Paris,” on Lenny’s coffin, and split. 

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart

Hart leaves; returns

Because of his father’s actions, Hart left the band in February 1971 and in 1972 released Rolling Thunder. Not bitter about Lenny Hart’s crime, Jerry GarciaPhil Lesh, and Bob Weir all played on the album.

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart

Hart returned to the Dead in October 1974 at Winterland for the band’s final shows on its tour. The Dead cut back touring in 1975 doing only four shows: one each in March, June, September, and October. Mickey did contribute to their 1975 studio album, Blues for Allah. In 1976 Hart was in again and continued to be in the band.

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart

Mickey Hart

Outside on his own both during and after the Dead’s last show with its Jerry Garcia line-up, Hart remained and remains active.

You can check out his live appearance schedule here.

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart

Discography

  • 1976, Diga Rhythm band
  • 1979, music from the movie Apocolypse Now, much of which he contributed.
  • 1989, Music to Be Born By, an album based on the heartbeat of his son in the womb,
  • 1990 his first book, Drumming at the Edge of Magic
  • 1990, At the Edge album
  • 1991, both book and disc, Planet Drum,
  • 1998 Supralingua album
  • 2000, Spirit into Sound album
  • 2007 Global Drum Project, with Hart,  Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju, and Giovanni Hidalgo. It won the Grammy award for Best Contemporary World Music Album.
  • 2012 the same group on Hart’s Mysterium Tremendum,
  • 2013, Superorganism, with long-time Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.
  • 2017, RAMU

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart
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