#160656  by Aztex
 Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:32 am
Hi,

SO with Dead and Co and Phil and the myriad of other post '95 reunions playing LOTS of stuff in ways we craved with Jerry; Was it Jerry that was holding back???

While we can point Jerry's long slope down it really started back in the late 70's. We'd get s couple new tunes and maybe one old gem mixed in each year/tour.

I recall Garcia griping about Bob's limited choices of cowboy songs suggesting a VAST catalog to chose from so he must of had some interest in expanding the repertoire.....

Heck at least the shuffle of the 1st 2nd sets like we see now and previously. El Paso or Me and My Uncle out of a scary space was always so cool as opposed to Wheel, Other One etc...

Combine this with the fact Victim, Corrina, Samba, Wave et al while were tricky tunes that took a lot of practice for meager returns....They were practicing! They were learning!


Heck take ANY of the recent Dead and Co sets lists and add Jerry and they would be all time epic shows. Legends!

I burned out on the scene late 80's but would still catch a couple shows a year till '93 and couldn't take it no more!

I guess the answer lies with the "horse".......

Az. Tex.
 #160657  by ac4468
 Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:47 am
I think that many of the modern incarnations of the Dead and various spinoffs are somewhat catering their sets to what the audience wants out of sentimentality. That’s not to say that its just a marketing ploy. The songs and variation have new life based on new players being in the mix. Throw Branford into the mix for a show back in the day and something old became new and transcendental.

I’m not sure I would say the Dead were in decline since the 70’s. Clearly they were a band that was constantly evolving. Even so, there were patterns in the randomness all way back to the beginning. We all have sentimental attachments to different eras and personal favorites but that’s us as listening participants and not as performers. To me it’s pretty clear that Jerry was all about not looking back. I don’t know that there was a musical sentimentality bone in his body. Once it’s played it done... What’s next..... In the early 70’s I don’t know that fans were complaining about another NFA>GDTRFB>NFA. As a player I’m sure after playing it 100 times it got a bit stale for the band.

The structure while predictable was part of the attraction for me AND at the same time, it’s what made the deviation from that structure so memorable. First set warm up, get the crowd dancing, loosen up the fingers with some cowboy tunes. Second set launch into the stratosphere and then bring us back to earth. There was a building of anticipation from the moment you’d see the first person climbing up to the lights! Damn I miss the feeling of seeing that! On the occasion that a set would really deviate from the typical combos like set 2 at Alpine in 1989, Sugar Magnolia>Scarlet Begonias>Man Smart/Woman Smarter>Eyes of the World it was just truly memorable.

There were ebbs and flows in how well the band came together but you can’t ignore how on and exploratory they were in 89-90. I think the decline really didn’t kick in until Brent's passing combined with crowd pressure. I think it was the straw that broke the camels back. Relative to the Dead, Dead and Co is still in 1969 so it’s all fresh and new.
gratefulredhead liked this
 #160661  by Searing75
 Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:26 am
The incarnations after Jerry’s passing are simply compensating for the loss of Jerry’s musicianship by offering varied set lists. But, I also believe heavy drug use by multiple members pre 95 led to stagnation in regards to song variety.
 #160674  by ebick
 Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:57 pm
Searing75 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:26 am
The incarnations after Jerry’s passing are simply compensating for the loss of Jerry’s musicianship by offering varied set lists. But, I also believe heavy drug use by multiple members pre 95 led to stagnation in regards to song variety.
I agree with a lot of this....also, there were songs that Jerry steered away from performing. St. Stephen for one. When referring to Cosmic Charlie, there was an interview I recall where he talked about how they had it teed up to come back, had all the harmonies worked out and everything, but they just couldn't get past the "two clumsy bridges" there were evident of a time before he "and Hunter learned how to write songs".
Tennessee Jedi liked this
 #160707  by bzbz
 Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:28 am
My understanding is that Garcia was up against - and trying to avoid - becoming a nostalgia act - and (go ahead flame away) - even with the occasional great musicianship and philosophy of playing - the current acts - all of them - have, as chief appeal - being a nostalgia act.