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Author: Subject: When the dead went down hill

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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 02:34 PM
I was talking with my friends last night and they were insisting that 2 of the dead's best albums were "In the Dark" and Terrapin Station". I tried to explain to them, live/dead and eurpoe 72 is when they were at the top of there game. they looked at me confused when i said "shakedown street" is the dead trying to go mainstream. I also said it was them trying to play disco. then they got even more mad. I like the dead's really early stuff. I think that is true improvisational power. like 68-72 era. I think the dead started to go down after 72 with the loss of pigpen. There jams became much more formulaic, i think. they must have done Scarlet Bagonis > Fire on the Moutian every other show! I dont see how they can even call Terrapin Station a jam compared to a crypitic > other one >drums > cryptic > Jam. thats a jam, not 85 tracks of an orcastra dubed over each other(IMO). Ok iam done ranting. Let me know what you guys think about when, if ever, they started to go down hill.

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 02:41 PM
I think their uphill - downhill was from night to night not from early days to later.....even in the 90's there were some pretty fantastic shows.....especially when Jerry was clean and they had guests like Hornsby to push them a bit....I gotta say my favorite shows were the first MSG run with Bruce....91??

[Edited on 10/28/2005 by MuleMe]

 

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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 02:45 PM
hehe - you tryin to start a war fella? i'd say every era has its charms. i just got my first 71 show, and i have like a ton of post 73 shows. I usually go for 74,79,81,87 shows, dunno why but i usually enjoy them - so i'll let you know how the 71 goes

 

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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 03:02 PM
It seems as if your friends were talking about studio albums. In that regard, the last great studio album they put out was American Beauty. Although later records had some nice stuff (Mars Hotel, Blues for Allah) American Beauty was the peak of their studio work (with some great stuff on earlier records like Anthem of the Sun). By coincidence, I'm hearing Mule on Philzone radio right now covering Deal.
 

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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 03:09 PM
I would say this happened it two stages.

I agree that the Dead were at their very best with Pigpen, he added a blues dimension on songs like "Hard to Handle" that nobody else in the band could bring. Plus, the early years also had the most experimental jamming and the best acoustic/bluegrass songs. Everyone has their favorite, but to me 1970 was the year when that band was peaking in all departments.

When Brent Mydland died in 1990, for many second generation Deadheads like myself, that was really the beginning of the end. They were still capable of the occasional good night, but the fire had gone out of the band, and for the first time I found myself thinking of them as a "nostalgia act" playing their "greatest hits" for their devoted fans. The show I saw in 1988 with Brent didn't hit me that way, it just seemed like a great live band, and one of my favorite songs from that show was "Throwing Stones" off In The Dark.

 
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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 03:10 PM
quote:
It seems as if your friends were talking about studio albums. In that regard, the last great studio album they put out was American Beauty. Although later records had some nice stuff (Mars Hotel, Blues for Allah) American Beauty was the peak of their studio work (with some great stuff on earlier records like Anthem of the Sun). By coincidence, I'm hearing Mule on Philzone radio right now covering Deal.

that's what you would think, but they were talking about all of there albums. But this is come from the kid who has 3 dead tie-dyes and didn't know who Phil lesh and friends were. Yeah you are definitely right about AB being the last great studio album. But i consider Workingman's to be their best studio work. But AB is a close 2nd.

 

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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 03:37 PM
quote:
I think their uphill - downhill was from night to night not from early days to later.....even in the 90's there were some pretty fantastic shows.....especially when Jerry was clean and they had guests like Hornsby to push them a bit....I gotta say my favorite shows were the first MSG run with Bruce....91??

[Edited on 10/28/2005 by MuleMe]


bingo. Even in the eras that everyone loves (68-72) 73-75) there are some horrible shows to go along with the good ones. While a great show in say 1993 wouldn't be at the high level of say something from 78 or even 82...its still a great show. Las Vegas run in 1994 had some brilliant moments that I'd rather listen to than some earlier shows.

The downhill path of the Grateful Dead started in 1995, and hopefully hit rock bottom this past year when they all really seem to have decided to hate eachother. Trying to live up to the name is **** ing with everyone's head...The Other Ones were a fun distraction from P&F and Ratdog...but ultimately unneccessary.

 

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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 04:48 PM
quote:
....I gotta say my favorite shows were the first MSG run with Bruce....91??



1990 was the first year Hornsby played with them at MSG, I saw all six nights.

The last great "run" was the Boston Gardens run of 1991...again I saw all six nights.

I'm in agreement that Brent's death marked the beginning of the decline...I saw shows in 93-95 that were no where near as good as the Brent-era stuff.


I think Blues For Allah was a cool album..the first side was perfect, the second not as good, but still decent.

 

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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 05:57 PM
IMO, things went down hill fast after they became
too big/popular , the in the dark album propelled them into
the mega stadium venues more often than not.
This is really not what siuted the band , but necessary.
Jerry had his health issues come to the forefront and the
band was unsure what was going to happen, Jerry pulled thru
and things just didn't happen as often for the group ( band and crowd)
then Brent passed and the band felt a need to continue if not for
the music but for the family that they helped support ,
The Grateful Dead, by this time, a major corporation and many good friends
livelyhoods depended on the band continueing. Again, a burden that really
made some uncomfortable in the inner circle of things. So the down hill started right after they peaked on the charts...........

 

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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 07:03 PM
Nothing good lasts forever. And it's pretty inconsistent when it's up and going.

I love them.

 

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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 09:29 PM
The Dead are the Dead. Some nights hitting on all cylinders. Some nignts not.
But really, all of those years of taking a chance, ya gotta love that.

 
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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 11:05 PM
I agree with those that say it went down hill after Brent died. I also think 74 and 77 were about the best years. I wasnt aware people still listened to the records. Although Beauty and Workin' Man's were classics.

 

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  posted on 10/28/2005 at 11:27 PM
quote:
I agree with those that say it went down hill after Brent died. I also think 74 and 77 were about the best years. I wasnt aware people still listened to the records. Although Beauty and Workin' Man's were classics.


haha when i say albums i mean cds, because they were originally released as an album but they are in cd format.

 

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  posted on 10/29/2005 at 06:03 AM
quote:
hehe - you tryin to start a war fella? i'd say every era has its charms. i just got my first 71 show, and i have like a ton of post 73 shows. I usually go for 74,79,81,87 shows, dunno why but i usually enjoy them - so i'll let you know how the 71 goes



Just got your FIRST 71 show? Call yourself a Eurotrader, Mr Davies????

Wait 'til i tell the folks back home about this...

 
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  posted on 10/29/2005 at 06:30 PM
I'm a tennager so I never had a chance to see the Dead, but I do know that some of there best shows were in the 80s and I happen to love Terrapin Station so I def don't think they went downhill.
Actually I take that back, I saw The Other Ones in '02, and Derek Trucks showed up with Susan!!!

[Edited on 10/30/2005 by hukle88]

 

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  posted on 10/29/2005 at 08:54 PM
They went down hill?

 

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  posted on 10/29/2005 at 09:54 PM
My first show is the only time I saw the band with Donna and Keith. I believe I saw every lineup after 1978. Once Brent died there was a hollowness and personal realization that I was chasing after a phenomena that was on the brink of extinction.

I never saw Pig play but I do enjoy those early shows. I disagree with Pig's demise being the end of the Dead era. If Pigpen had survived the band might not have gone where it did. His blues were rooted in alcohol and the Grateful Dead were about hallucinogens, primarily LSD, for many years after Pig's passing. Often it seemed like the United States distribution of LSD was tied directly to Grateful Dead tours. That was a very important aspect of the experience for several generations.

I think there is also the question of Pig's musical ability. Didn't he get fired once? I don't mean to take the bloom off Pig's rose. I just believe we all got what we needed and that they all gave as much as they could for the brief time they were with us.

 

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  posted on 10/29/2005 at 09:58 PM
quote:
I agree with those that say it went down hill after Brent died. I also think 74 and 77 were about the best years. I wasnt aware people still listened to the records. Although Beauty and Workin' Man's were classics.



Are you serious?????

If I don't hear American Beauty once a month, I am not a happy camper.

 

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  posted on 10/29/2005 at 10:20 PM
quote:
quote:
I agree with those that say it went down hill after Brent died. I also think 74 and 77 were about the best years. I wasnt aware people still listened to the records. Although Beauty and Workin' Man's were classics.



Are you serious?????

If I don't hear American Beauty once a month, I am not a happy camper.


Same here..

 

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