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What happened to the acoustic sets after 1970?

 
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snow_and_rain
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:50 pm    Post subject: What happened to the acoustic sets after 1970? Reply with quote

How come they stopped playing regular acoustic sets after they did it for most of 1970? Think of all the GREAT songs that were either dropped, rare, or just never the same: Dark Hollow, Deep Elem, To Lay Me Down, Rosalie McFall, Ripple.. There are obviously many others... Maybe someone who's read more Dead books has some insight?

FOTD and Uncle John's are two that were still played, but were never really the same. FOTD, I think, was much better played fast and acoustic. UJB is debatable.

I've been thinking about this after the shipwrecked thread made me think about why i like workingman's dead so much. And after listening to the 9/20/70 Fillmore show tonight. Man, what an acoustic set!

Uncle John's Band, Deep Elem Blues, Friend Of The Devil, Big Railroad Blues, Dark Hollow, Ripple, To Lay Me Down, Truckin', Rosalie McFall, Cumberland Blues, New Speedway Boogie, Brokedown Palace

a.j. craig did an entire thread on those Fillmore shows. What a run!

Apparently that's Jerry on piano on TLMD. Is this the best TLMD ever?

But except for a a few weeks in 1980, they never really played acoustic sets with any regularity, right?

So what's the issue? Is it simply that it was impossible for that sound to fill the huge venues that they'd started to play with soft, acoustic songs? That's my guess, but I really don't know.
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light into ashes



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:19 am    Post subject: 1970 acoustic sets Reply with quote

I don't know the answer to this one - perhaps they felt it was getting old & time for a change. I'm not sure if bigger venues have to do with it - I think '72 is when they started getting into really big places - in '71 they were still playing the Capitol Theater & Fillmores & college theaters, but no more acoustic sets.

It's interesting that the acoustic sets seem to have started accidentally - on 12/19/69, 12/26/69, and 1/31/70, it's because someone hasn't shown up yet or equipment's not working. But they weren't totally unprecedented - in summer '69 the Dead would often start their shows with dusty country favorites, Garcia on pedal-steel, which must have freaked out the audience - so there's a direct line from that to the acoustic sets. These early sets are generally folk/country songs - 2/13/70 seems to be the first show where they had an acoustic segment in the middle of the show, and started doing their own songs acoustically. From then through April they did the acoustic set as a kind of pause in-between the electric halves; 4/24/70 seems to be the first show where they start with a full acoustic set, then go electric. (It's probably not coincidental that from April 17-19 they had a run of all-acoustic shows at the Family Dog that look very tantalizing, but don't survive.)

I tend to prefer the acoustic sets later in the year, which have more American Beauty songs and a deeper feel. 11/8/70 is the last acoustic set of the year I know about. Through the year, sometimes they did two electric sets as in '69, sometimes an acoustic set/electric set divided by NRPS, sometimes one long electric set (maybe it depended on the venue). 1971, though it still has some one-set shows early in the year, is when they really settled on the first-set/second-set format that would become invariable - it's the last year you'd get Dark Stars in the first set!
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Kochman
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps they noticed that people preferred them playing electric?

If you take every show, and have a time you want to play for... and that time got a bit shorter due to whatever reasons... acoustic is the natural cut.
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snow_and_rain
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:51 am    Post subject: Re: 1970 acoustic sets Reply with quote

light into ashes wrote:
it's the last year you'd get Dark Stars in the first set!


Until August 91, of course! Good points. I agree that the acoustic sets got stronger by the end of 70. Also, I love the acoustic stuff from 1980.

Perhaps it was a question of what the fans wanted. Perhaps it was just too hard to keep up the acoustic chops. Somehow, I don't think time limits had much to do with it. Shows only got longer and longer, at least through 74. Maybe all the new electric effects pedals and new technology was just too much to resist.
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Kochman
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:54 am    Post subject: Re: 1970 acoustic sets Reply with quote

snow_and_rain wrote:
light into ashes wrote:
it's the last year you'd get Dark Stars in the first set!


Until August 91, of course! Good points. I agree that the acoustic sets got stronger by the end of 70. Also, I love the acoustic stuff from 1980.

Perhaps it was a question of what the fans wanted. Perhaps it was just too hard to keep up the acoustic chops. Somehow, I don't think time limits had much to do with it. Shows only got longer and longer, at least through 74. Maybe all the new electric effects pedals and new technology was just too much to resist.


Shows got longer... kind of...
NRPS was in effect in 1970 also...
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Duderino



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, it's just easier when your touring to just play electric. Schlepping around the extra equipment, equipment changes, getting the levels right for each type of music etc....is a pain in the ass.
And another thing, as they started playing larger venues it got impractical. Acoustic stuff works far better in intimate spaces.

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Kochman
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Duderino wrote:
equipment changes, getting the levels right for each type of music etc....is a pain in the ass.

Yeah, they couldn't even do the levels right in the majority of cases for one type of instrument!

Good points Dude...
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cowboysth24



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The topic of dropped acoustic sets and their revival is touched on briefly here in this little impromptu press conference before the 1980 radio city run.

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lucasmcain



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heard in an interview with Garcia ( or read it ) that the reason they didn't do it was because they could not get the sound right in the bigger arenas and sheds. Also he said that it was a little tougher for him to play as playing acoustic is very different from playing electric.

Interesting though that Bobby brought the acoustic guitar out in the late 80's and 90's for a few select tunes. Any proof that is needed as to why they never really tried to pull of the acoustic things can be found listening to Blackbird from the Greek run in 88. An disaster to put it mildly. You can hear even the audience laughing on the sdbd!
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cheesebeer



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't there a version of Blackbird where Brent mutters "Oh shit!" after they screw it up from the Greek run that Lucasmcain is talking about? Or maybe it is Alpine...
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snow_and_rain
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheesebeer wrote:
Isn't there a version of Blackbird where Brent mutters "Oh shit!" after they screw it up from the Greek run that Lucasmcain is talking about? Or maybe it is Alpine...


As I recall, Bobby's vocals on that tune were pretty awful.
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morticia



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
cowboysth24 wrote:
The topic of dropped acoustic sets and their revival is touched on briefly here in this little impromptu press conference before the 1980 radio city run


Actually, the autumn Warfield run of 1980 has some real acoustic set gems:

1980/10/04 (an absolutely lovely 'Ripple')
and
1980/10/06

Being just two examples that come to mind.
I love the acoustic sets. They remind me of those two classic 1970s albums.
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Duderino



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both those Blackbirds were hideous, yet hilarious.

Yeah Morticia, those 2 1980 acoustic sets you mentioned are sweet. There are a few more choice ones from those runs. I personally really enjoy listening to live acoustic Dead.

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cheesebeer



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heaven Help the Fool off of 13 October 1980 here is sick.

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Duderino



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheesebeer wrote:
Heaven Help the Fool off of 13 October 1980 here is sick.

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I wish they would have kept playing the Heaven Help jam. Would have been great towards the end of the first set or pre-drums.

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fillmoreeast



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love acoustic Dead. Fortunate enough to see a couple of The Radio City shows. The only thing worse than Blakbird is Pigpen completely DESTROYING Hey Jude. I love Pig, but this is fingernails across a chalk board!
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djr7



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:01 pm    Post subject: Re: What happened to the acoustic sets after 1970? Reply with quote

snow_and_rain wrote:


FOTD and Uncle John's are two that were still played, but were never really the same. FOTD, I think, was much better played fast and acoustic. UJB is debatable.



I agree that I prefer the old arrangement of Friend of the Devil acoustically rather than the handful of times they played the old arrangement electric, mostly in '72 with a couple in '74.

HOWEVER...over both of those I prefer the slowed down, stately arrangement of "Friend of the Devil" introduced in '76, supposedly inspired by a Kenny Loggins version of the song. The middle section of the slower "FOTD" is just simply beautiful and often features incredible guitar playing from Jerry...if you don't believe me check the versions from 5/7/77, 12/26/79, or 3/31/91.

But I do enjoy the acoustic sets from '70 and '80. They're one of the very few times we get to hear "Ripple," and that's always a plus. Because of the acoustic sets in '80, the Dead brought back "Bird Song" into the electric sets, mainly as a first-set jam closer, which is very welcome.

My favorite acoustic set is probably from 5/2/70. Yes, it's very well known, but it's amazing. "Friend of the Devil" "Dire Wolf" and "I Know You Rider" are simply beautiful.
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