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Dark Star Project
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dogstarz
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kochman wrote:
DS, breaks from the GD aHa. Hare no longer authorized.
Ha ha. I will do my best to finish this project and not take anymore long breaks.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1970-11-08

All I could find was aud sources. However, this one doesn't seem too bad.

The band seems to stumble onto Dark Star sort of sloppily. Once the full band is into the song, everything smooths out. There is some interesting work during the intro jam. Phil sounds amazing. Garcia and Weir compliment each other nicely. I would say this is one of the prettier intro jams I have heard in a while. This is also a laid back intro jam. Garcia finds a new voice on the guitar for this one as well. I wonder why he didn't slide notes like he did here too often. Then Jer picks up the tempo along with Phil. This doesn't last though as the band once again finds itself drenching itself in sublime, laid back grooves. Around 5:45 Garcia grows tired of the intro jam and brings the song back to the main riff.

Before Jerry sings you can hear a xylophone (is that TC?). It is really pretty. Than Jerry begins the first verse. His vocals are average for this era. Then the trippiness happens. Phil's bass vibrates my rooms (I am listening to this rather loud through my home stereo). This leads into a feedback section. Also a bird sound can be heard making the audience laugh. This is followed by a bunch of "shhh" to calm everyone down again. The band is now in full force acid laced psychedelia. Feedback pouring out of my speakers followed by another earth shaking Phil bomb. The percussion section plays around. Normally this adds some sort of normalcy, this Dark Star is far from normal. 12:30 feedback is still blaring. Percussion begins to speed up a little shining through and adding to the chaos that is going on. Then you can hear guitar scrapes almost as a signal to come back to earth. This doesn't help though as the band continues to dive deeper into the abyss.

More xylophone action. It is actually really fitting. Still nothing here resembles Dark Star. This does kind of prove my theory that Dark Star was not needed once the band moved into the drums>space format. You can hear Bobby hit a few notes from the Main Ten during the massive ending Phil Bomb. Then the rest of the band follows Bob's lead and begins the primative Playing In The Band.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1973-08-01 Roosevelt Stadium

This is Maestro Garcia's birthday back in 73. With that said I would say he was having a great birthday as this show is evidence. This Dark Star starts with no problems. The band is having one of those crazy mind meld moments. Phil is on his "A" game. The intro jam meanders off into orbit. It sounds like Jerry and Bob have found their groove very early into the song. The energy builds with Billy K's help. Lesh steps it up once again. This time he compliments the guitars and is not over powering as Phil can sometimes be in Dark Star. Jerry's note choices are excellent as he builds a melody out of thin air, Bob follows. This version has a weird jazz break down in it. Not that the band went into jazz timings, but Garcia's guitar gives it that texture. This is a high energy version with a dreamy landscape. I am not even sure if that makes any sense. The guitars slow down and give time for Billy to take the reign. Keith is can be heard during this moment. For the most of this intro jam the guitars and drums over power Keith.

12:35 the band finally flows back into the main theme that was slightly introduced at the beginning of this journey. Jerry's voice sounds excellent. A little more mature than the 70 versions I have listened to lately in the car. Phil's bass once again calmly compliments the main theme as the band is about to once again go into deep orbit. The percussion sounds amazing during the building of feedback part. Weirdness begins to emerge out of the speakers with a loud whale like sound from Garcia. Phil's notes fill the empty spaces as Billy plays the wind chimes. This part is rather odd and calming. This doesn't last for long as Phil bombs fill the air. Along with random feedback and Keith's subtle playing. The feedback cocktail mixed with tempos from beyond thanks to Billy are making this part pretty enjoyable. Keith's playing does begin to come through once again. As you can hear the main theme thought of but nothing comes of it. Actually I begin to think Uncle John's Band is about to emerge for a second bringing back memories of Dick's Picks 16. Yet this doesn't happen either. Instead we get oodles of noodles. I am sure I have mentioned I enjoy this already, but I really do. The crescendos that occur during this part are absolutely fascinating. Then Garcia goes into crazy mode. I believe the tiger just stepped out of the cave. As Jerry hammers his strings with his pick. Then the band moves gently into El Paso.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1970-01-02 Fillmore East

"...We'll give you some easy listening music."
-Bob Weir

Then this Dark Star begins. The organ adds a lot to the main theme intro. The guitarists begin to find each other as the song evolves. Phil joins in as Garcia begins to lead. Weir continues to play interesting riffs matching Phil. The organ is brilliant as it builds and keeps the band in focus. The band begins to move away from the main theme and starts to go into the weird. Weir plays a nice rhythm part that Garcia can riff over. The Phil begins the main theme again. This time Garcia is willing to take it as he joins Phil in the main theme.

Garcia's voice is average of 69 style Dark Star's. Considering this is the 1st show of 1970. After the first verse is sang the band slowly moves into outer realms. This is helped by the wind chimes from the percusion that leads to feedback. The feedback begins very slowly and very underwhelming. As there is a wind like sound that comes to my ears. Phil hits random notes as you start to hear waves of feedback coming from the guitars. Still very quiet and calm. Then random notes are hammered on the guitar and the feedback becomes more in your face. The organ joins in the weirdness. This is the most futuristic sounding feedback I have heard in a Dark Star. The deep space is wide open and we are journeying through. You can hear guitar picks being scraped against guitar strings giving an airplane like effect for a slight moment. Then Garcia begins to play a dreamy sequence using high notes. Then Weir joins in. Giving this an echo like feel.

The percussion sort of takes over for a second with a touch of organ. Garcia begins to join in playing a very slow, pretty riff. This riff speeds up a little. Then the band sort of stops for a second, right before everyone begins to jump back into the song. Phil's bass sounds amazing and a little distorted. As Garcia takes the band into new happier realms. I think this is the Feeling Groovy jam. As the whole band melts together perfectly. Weir plays amazing rhythm as Garcia and Lesh begin to push the boundaries for a slight moment. The one mind that takes over around the 22 minute mark is brillant. The song evolves rather smoothly. This jam has no signs of the Dark Star theme though, which isn't a bad thing. Garcia definitely is the MVP of this Dark Star. His playing is perfect and very fluid like. The jam flows into the main theme. The main theme comes back in time for the segue into St. Stephen.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Listened to 1/2/70 today. Outstanding and perfectly executed by all in the band. Your review of this beauty right on the mark. Thanks Cool I forgot to mention but I hear a Tighten Up Jam. Not sure I hear Feelin Groovy.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1972-09-27 Stanely Theater

That all too familiar bass line from Phil opens up a seemingly calm and spacey Dark Star. The rest of the band joins in and the collective mind is at full force once again. Garcia bends an amazing note that leads to a colorful fast guitar riff. Instantly, I recognize the fast jazzy atmosphere that is surrounding this version. As the band picks up the intensity, Phil begins to lay down some major bass work. Billy helps guide the band, but its really Garcia and Lesh that own this part. Keith adds some brilliant piano filling in the landscape. Weir sort of sticks to his comfort zone, playing top notch rhythm.

This leaves Garcia and Lesh free to explore each others musical minds. Once they are free the music tends to go out...way out there. This is a great thing though. The main riff is reintroduced with a jazzy flavor. This doesn't last long as the intensity builds. Once again Jerry finds the perfect notes. The musical language, on that stage, is way more competent than anything that could ever come out of a person's mouth.

The band seems to slow it down, leaving Billy K and Keith a moment to shine. Billy hits the rim shots as if he were playing in Coltrane's band in the mid 60s. In all honesty this part if reminds me a lot of Coltrane's Stellar Regions album. Keith's playing is sublime but perfect. (A lot like Alice Coltrane) Finally the guitars join in the fun. Phil leads the band for a moment until Jerry takes over. Garcia's guitar begins to be speed up matching Billy's drums. Bob follows but is hard to hear. Now I think Garcia is pushing Billy to play faster as the whole band is in full force once again. Almost 13 minutes into Dark Star and still no signs of letting up. With Garcia's fierceness and Lesh's determination, the band follows every note as if their life depends on it. Weir plays some amazing riffs behind Jerry's amazing lead guitar. Garcia finds himself repeating a riff as if he didn't know what to play or to build the intensity. Once he gets out of that loop his guitar is once again on fire. I could only imagine his fingers hammering the notes on his fret and watching Bob try to catch up. Then once again the band begins to slow down.

At 17:09 the sound would almost feel empty if it weren't for Phil's bass taking the lead and Keith's gentle piano. Weir plays chords over Lesh's already loud bass. Then it begins to get weird (as if it wasn't weird before..). Jerry bends a note which quickly becomes feedback, Bob follow suit. The band almost comes to a complete stop except for feedback and pretty notes being played by Jerry.

19:53 Jerry begins to introduce yet another theme while feedback emerges from the amps. Phil joins in. The result is an almost sad, beautiful orchestrated song like you might find on a soundtrack. Billy K is no where to be found. 22:03 there is a sound I have never heard before. It is short lasting but almost sounds like Jerry saying something, but I am pretty sure its his guitar. Weir once again joins in, playing some brilliant note choices. He does this just in time for Jerry to hit a distortion peddle and play a lead that sounds like it should be in China Doll.

Then the band stops completely for a second. Once they come back the main theme is introduced instantly. Then Jerry begins to sing the first verse. His voice wraps itself around every note that is played by everyone on that stage. His voice isn't as strong during the verse as it was in 68-70. I think I almost prefer this reading of the verse. Phil once again brings it up a notch. This of course only tells Jerry to do the same. This jam at the 26-27 minute mark is pure magic. Garcia and Weir seem to collide with each other. Making it almost hard to tell who is doing what. Weir's rhythm is on point to say the least. He has grown through out the song and getting a little outside of his comfort zone. You can tell this makes Garcia happy as he plays his guitar faster if not the same as the peak in the middle of the song. Keith helps build this jam a little more. Giving it that jazz feel to it once again, along with Phil. Then as the band keeps playing, Phil slowly introduces .....CUMBERLAND BLUES!!!!!! This has to be one of the smoothest transitions I have ever heard from this band.


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fillmoreeast



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool Listened to it today as well. Doesn't get much better than this one. This whole show is outstanding.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fillmoreeast wrote:
Cool Listened to it today as well. Doesn't get much better than this one. This whole show is outstanding.

Agreed, one of my favorite Dark Stars ever.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1971-12-05 Felt Forum
DS>MAMU>DS>Sittin On Top Of The World

The main riff begins with an applause of approval. The band seems to be once again in perfect shape. The band weaves in and out of guitar riffs, bass lines and piano. The intro jam is short and to the point as they have bigger fish to fry. 4 minutes into the song the band finds themselves creating music on the spot as they have done and will do a million times. Bob's guitar work is excellent. The band explores their fusion side as the song expands and breaks into near chaos. After the chaotic explosion the band smoothly moves into Me and My Uncle.

This is a faster paced reading of MAMU. The country feel that is normally associated with the song really isn't present here. Jerry's solo is execellent after the first verse. Bob's vocals are outstanding on this as well. I am really digging this rocked out version of MAMU. Then the band goes right back into Dark Star realms.

This time Dark Star still has the fusion feel but a little spacier. It begins fierce coming out of MAMU but quickly becomes dreamy and lacking in the previous energy. Yet this seems rather well thought out and executed. Jerry and Keith both play nicely off of each other as Phil adds ambience. Weir follows Garcia as well playing "filler" notes. Keith and Garcia both bring the song to a dreamy soundscape. Then Garcia begins to pick his strings a little harder. Bringing elements of the tiger out of that cave. While Jerry hammers his strings Weir and company begin to indulge by playing an amazing melody behind it. This quickly becomes feedback for a quick second. Billy quickly brings the tempo back up and Garcia follows with a full force Tiger that lasts for a second. Then the band as a whole take the wheel into uncharted territories. This seems to be led by Keith. Lesh and Garcia follow Keith perfectly while Weir plays a nice rhythm riff. Then the band once again calms down and the drums can be heard perfectly. You are able to hear Phil try to bring the main theme back as Garcia and Weir pick their guitars.

The main theme doesn't last long. Before you know it the band has once again found a theme. This one is loosely based on the main theme though. This time Garcia plays around with it. Now the whole band is in full Dark Star mode. This is an amazing example of jazz fusion Grateful Dead style. If you are looking for vocals...there are none. Yet the MAMU and Sitting On Top Of The World are enough.

Sitting On Top Of The World begins to show itself. The song has all the energy that was shown in the preMAMU DS and MAMU proper. Jerry's vocals are like an old jug band leading a rock and roll beast. The band itself keeps true to the jug band rhythm but definitely rocking harder than the early versions of this song.

Now for something a little different. Snowandrain also reviewed this Dark Star at the same time as me. Gotta love that chatbox.
snow_and_rain wrote:
They get right into a slow rockin jam right off the bat. Jerry is headed for outer space, but the rest of the band keeps him solidly on the ground for a bit, then they kick it up a notch into a jam that just hints at the MAMU to come, then drop into a spirited and furious breakdown, arriving at yet another jam on the other side Ė but wait! no first vocals yetÖ. First will be a double-time transition into MAMU that presses all the right buttons! Jerry fans his way back into Dark Star as if MAMU were nothing but a blip on the space/time continuum. Dark Star soon descends once again into absolute chaos, with keith doing a remarkable job staying on point. The chaos resolves in a mini-tiger attack that segues nicely into a sort of jazzy MAMU jam before slowing down abruptly for a Phil-led transition back to the main theme. But instead of going to the first verse of the song, Jerry blindsides everyone with the Top of the World riff, and he doesnít back down. Phil joins the charge and the game changes just like that. Excellent country licks finish of this remarkable suite.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1970-06-24 Capitol Theater

Dark Star>Attics Of My Life>Dark Star>Sugar Magnolia>Dark Star
After Mickey gets his gong out, the band launches into a pretty fast Dark Star. Garcia's guitar flows nicely over Weir's rhythm and Lesh's bass. The song loses it main theme pretty fast as the band moves into a nice intro jam.

5 minutes into Dark Star Jerry begins to play a really fun riff right before he introduces the main theme again. Once the bands plays the main theme a couple times the first verse is sang. Garcia's vocals are excellent.

After the first verse is sang the band quickly dives into feedback. The drummers play with cymbals and Mickey's gong. The feedback evolves into Attics Of My Life.

Garcia plays a beautiful lead during the intro to Attics. The vocals on Attics are perfectly sang. The song is played at a slow pace which gives the transition out of feedback a certain ease. Then the song begins to build up slowly.

The music finds more energy when they return to Dark Star. This Dark Star is more energetic than the previous one this show. The band find its way into a Tighten Up Jam. This is finely executed. Garcia plays an amazing lead part. He chooses a lot of high notes which sounds excellent contrasting to the rest of the band. Then Garcia begins to play the main theme in the middle of Tighten Up. Then the band moves into Feeling Groovy jam. This doesn't last too long because the band transtitions into Sugar Magnolia.

Bob and Jerry both sing harmony on Sugar Magnolia. The band tries to find each other during Sugar Magnolia so it sounds a little off. They only sing one verse than it back into Dark Star. This 3rd Dark Star is pretty high energy as well. The band feeding off of the momentum from the previous song.

This Dark Star doesn't waste anytime settling into the main riff. Then Jerry quickly begins the second verse. Phil helps out a little with the "nightfall of diamonds" part. Then the band transitions into St. Stephen pretty smoothly as they have many times before.

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dylan&theded



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i give this review an A
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1991-09-10 Madison Square Garden

Estimated>Dark Star>Drums>Space>Dark Star

This show features the brilliant Branford Marsalis. This Estimated Prophet features some amazing bass work from Phil. Branford plays with this band as if he were an original member. Bruce plays some amazing piano on this as well. Branford is able to get some amazing riffs played under Bobby's wailing and over Vinny's synth sax sound. Jerry plays very comfortably with Branford as well. Bruce begins to introduce Dark Star in the middle of the closing Estimated jam. Then the band goes into a pretty fast jam. Branford adding texture as the band builds.

The collective mind finds itself in a dreamy soundscape. This has a nice fusion feel to it thanks to Branford. Then the band plays the first notes of Dark Star. The intro jam continues the dream like soundscape that was introduced in Estimated prophet. Vinny plays some nice background keys under Bruce's piano. Garcia and Weir really get lost under the keys and Branford. This doesn't last for long though. Then the drummers help speed the tempo up a little. Jerry sings the first verse. His aged voice is very different from the 70 versions I have been listening to. His voice sounds like it is full of wisdom as he asks "Shall we go, You and I, While we can?"

The band then goes into a smooth sound which is not very common for Dark Stars. This doesn't last too long as the song begins to break down in normal fashion. Garcia's lead guitar is excellent. As he plays his lead the band slows down almost to a stop. The drummers continue to play a little and Phil adds some bass under Jerry's lead. Then Bob comes back making a little bit of feedback. This acts like a que for Branford to join in once again. Weir builds a nice melody. Garcia and Bruce seem perfect for each other.

Then the band gets ready for the second verse. Instead of Jerry singing it Garcia and Branford team up and "sing" it instrumentaly. After this you can hear the drummers getting restless.

The drums is pretty interesting. About 3 minutes in the Rhythm Devils find themselves competing against techno bands like the Orb. It is pretty fun. This still flows with the Dark Star that was played before it..in a way at least. Branford joins the drummers on stage. His playing reminds me of dub or early techno samples. Then Phil joins in the fun. This drums becomes more and more full sounding. The end of Drums Mickey begins beating on his beam. This sounds liek loud waves of feedback. This of course leads to Space.

Space is filled with feedback and other oddities. Vinny sounds like he is having fun with his synth. Jerry begins joins in. Causing more oddness along with Phil.
Space doesn't last too long as it moves into Dark Star.

Once Dark Star begins again Jerry doesn't hesitate to sing the second verse. After his singing the band once again finds itself in the middle of oddness. The band goes into all sorts of directions away from each other. This is about the most free form I have heard them get for a while. Bob plays some weird funk rhythm that doesn't fit really. It does add to the oddness though. He plays it a couple times than stops than starts it again. Then Bruce will play some weird stuff and stop. Branford plays really loud out of no where. This was actually welcome as Bruce finds his ground and starts to play down his keys. Vinny begins to add a trippiness that wasn't there before. Phil once again comes through showing some signs of life in outerspace. This Dakr Star then begins to take shape in another direction. This doesn't last for long as Bruce sounds at home next to Branford. Jerry, Bruce and Branford begin to play off each other making the song very jazz based. Phil adds beautiful back up, Bob does as well. My only complaint is Vince during this part. Sometimes his keyboard choice is a little cheesy sounding. It's not unbearable, but enough for me to comment. Then Weir begins to take the band into I Need A Miracle. Garcia and Branford aren't ready for that though. As they continue to play off each other. Then Bob finally makes the decision to go into Miracle.

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Kochman
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely a good, jazzy Dark Star with Branford in the house. That must have been quite a night to be in attendance...
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are doing a great job, dogstarz. Keep it up.

I want to add something on the prior 11/8/70 review. The Dark Star itself may be a lowlight in this absolutely great show. However, the last few minutes of the Main 10 jam and the transition into Dancin is one of my all-time favorite moments of Dead playing. This jam starts off slowly with little variation on the theme for about 4 minutes. However, then Phil takes them in a different direction and things begin to heat up. Right at the end of the Main 10 jam, Bobby starts a new chord sequence and Jerry plays some chords over that just get to me and Bobby starts some counter chords that just mesh so well with what Jerry is playing and then Jerry starts a beautiful but too short melodic sequence that is nothing like I have ever heard before. Phil then leads them into Dancin with an incredibly smooth segue. This pre-Dancin jam is only about 3 minutes long but I just love it, The interplay between Jerry, Phil, and Bobby is terrific and this jam is very unique.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

darkstarz, for the love of god man... review 3/23/72. among the very best.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good call on 3/23/72. Not sure it is in my top 5, but it is close, largely for a 4 minute segment toward the end that is just terrific and unusual.

I have said it before though that people who have not heard 11/13/72 are missing something that is even better in my view than 3/23/72, and is on a par with 4/8/72 and 9/21/72 and 9/27/72. As long as we are lobbying for our favorites, I recommend doing this one soon, Dogstarz
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IMKind



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only have 1972 done so far, but here is how Dark Star shakes out for that year:


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is amazing IMKind. More Dark Stars are coming up soon. I have been rather busy lately with hopes of getting a promotion and holiday stuff as well.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

12/6/73
Hellooo Cleveland!

dogstarz, I really hope I'm not stepping on any toes here. If I am, then I apologize. But I didn't think this warranted it's own new topic, given that there are a couple of places where this has already been brought up.

snowandrain, this is for you.

everyone else, I'm fully aware of the irony of writing a book-length post about a jam that some have dismissed as aimless, boring, naptime material. Nevertheless, I'm new to this forum and I see that this jam has taken some criticism. It moves me like few others, so I'm just gonna go for it. Maybe I'll add some pictures or something to make it a little easier to swallow at some point. In the meantime, take whatcha need and leave the rest.

To start, context is important when talking about this Dark Star. It ain't 11/11/73, and I don't really agree with the deadlists comment that the two are "fraternal twins." Let's locate where 12/6 stands. The final tour of the year found the boys back on the east coast sans Donna (much to the delight of many folks here). 11/30 is the stuff of legends, and rightfully so, and it's a beautiful display of the late 73 dreamy melodic style of improv: "sleepy" if you're looking for something akin to 71-72 at its rockin'est best, but I say adjust your levels. 2001 isn't exactly the zippiest film ever made, but then again, exploring the outer reaches may not be the time to put the pedal to the metal -- it's all kind of relative in outer space, isn't it? Fall 73 wasn't about burning off both your ears.

Something happened in Boston on 12/2, though. My theory is that a certain recruiter from the Venutian Red Cross landed at that mysterious 11/28/73 Garcia/Hart/Phil(?) show at the Palace of Fine Arts, made some connections, got some phone numbers, rocketed back to the mothership to pick up his toothbrush, and picked up the Dead tour a few shows later. Upon his return, he caused a major disruption to the psychoelectromagentic forcefield being emitted around the proto-Wall of Sound (somewhat similar to Phil discovery of the movie camera's feedback potential in the Winterland movie). You doubt this? The famous 12/2 Playin delves deep as all Playins of this vintage did, then delves deeper and deeper and deeper still. This wasn't unheard of, of course: Phil did some major dismantling of his bass and our synapses in the mightily wicked 10/25 Dark Star and certainly on other occasions as well, but on 12/2 they are nearing the source of a deep space vein that ran with them for the better part of the week. It's there again in the next show's Eyes>space (12/4), albeit in less extreme form, and later reappears in the 12/8 Other One, where it's already starting to mellow significantly. I need to listen more closely to 12/10 and 12/12, which I've never given much attention, but these shows don't seem to have jams of similar scope or intensity. The last two shows of the year, however, manage to recapture some of that energy, with a great apocalyptic space in the 12/18 Dark Star and one final laser beam blast of prime deep space mindscrambling in the wonderful meltdown that follows the Other One on 12/19.

So: the 12/6 Dark Star.

I'm using shnid=4452 from archive.org, if you want to follow along. The first version of this I got on cd about 8 years ago had the Dark Star cut into 3 tracks, which I actually kind of liked: the tuning, the "prelude", and the Dark Star itself. 4452 is just one 43 1/2 minute slab of music, which works just as well.


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The track starts with Jerry noodling and Phil and Bob tuning up. Jerry's clearly in Dark Star mode from the word go, waiting for the rest of the band to get it together. At around 1:12, Keith stops helping Phil tune and starts drifting towards Jerry's zone.is in DS mode, but Phil and Bob are still tuning off Keith; Jer noodles away. At 1:12, Keith sounds like he's drifting that way tooÖ It's important to note that from this point on, Keith is as active a participant in this music as Jerry or Phil is. Fact is, I can't think of another stretch of improv as long as this where Keith is so involved and playing his ass off -- there are plenty of wonderful moments in 71-73 where Keith steps up and counters any notions we have of him as the sleepy pianist, but here he does so for the most sustained amount of time. And the fact that he does so almost completely on his Rhodes is heaven for me -- I love love love the sound of this keyboard, and whenever I'm out digging in record store basements for old jazz lp's (another pasttime of mine), I'll usually grab anything from 1970-1976 if I see a Rhodes listed on the back cover. Digression. Back to the business at hand. The boys are getting ready to go.

At 1:45 there's a second's pause and something in the air changes. Listen, you can feel it. Keith continues, but it's clear now that they're done tuning up. Our VRC recruiter peaks his head over the stacks and gives them the thumbs up. Billy falls in with some cymbal splashes. Jerry's ready to go. At 2:10 Keith moves from his Steinway to his Rhodes, where he stays for the remainder of this Dark Star. Just then, Phil lets off some thunder to announce that he's ready to go -- they're revving up. Or maybe it's more like monks scuttling back and forth preparing for a ceremony.

Finally, at 3:22 Billy tosses out a nice, flowing beat and Keith and Jerry dive in. It's Dark Star, but there are none of the obvious signposts announcing that. Every Dark Star begins with some announcement, some statement of purpose ("free turf!" as Jerry calls before launching the one on 3/2/69). Not here. It's amazing to me that they performed this way in front of a large crowd (more on the crowd later). No one thing says "Dark Star!" but no one would mistake it for anything else -- loose, fluid, gentle, Billy dancing away back there, while the four guys upfront talk, nudge, and whisper to each other. I suppose one drawback to this one is that Bob takes his place in the backseat and doesn't say much, and this doesn't change much for the next 40 minutes. Equipment issues? A Bobby-unfriendly mix? Maybe taking a break to man the Venutian Red Cross table while our friendly recruiter climbs up into the PA to work a little magic?

Anyway, as I believe Tom Constanten once said,

Quote:
Dark Star is going on all the time. Itís going on right now. You donít begin it so much as enter it. You donít end it so much as leave it.


So here we go. They groove and float for a few minutes, like five skaters doing slow loops on a pond. By about 6 min in, Phil's starting to get a little more punchy, and the jam begins to focus itself into more of a direction, thickening up, pushing into a sliiiightly more aggressive and "purposeful" Dark Star theme jam. At 10 min or so, this particular approach seems to climax: Jerry moves forward, but the boys pull up short and drop the bottom out from under him for a second, and they turn towards a new direction. I love listening to these momenets when they reach the conclusion of a particular jam, regroup and and decide where to go next, and no one's in any hurry to figure it out. At 11 min, Jerry's got the wah turned on, but it seems like Billy wants to keep it grounded for now; Keith suggests the Dark Star "verse" theme at 11:40? Not yet, pal. Phil's having none of it, and seconds later he starts unleashing some huge feedback waves. Wooosh! He's not fully taking it there yet, but it sounds like he's letting everyone know: no usual Dark Star tonight; tonight we push for the outer regions.

The rest of the boys seem happy to oblige. Or powerless to resist.

And they're off! Or are they? At 13 min, they set off but then fall back into the regular Dark Star terrain and hesitate. Is this where we want to be? Should we go someplace else? Enough indecision: at 15 min, Billy whips up a whirlwind and Jerry and Keith take off, both really pushing and playing hard. They build to another little climax, sparring playfully and getting kinda pissy with each other. At around 16:35 Jerry eases back and plays one of his standard "regrouping" licks, the same repeated arpeggio picked slowly while he finesses his wah pedal. NOW the Dark Star theme? Phil's having none of it. The beast is crawling out of its cage now. Enough playtime.

Phil proceeds to usher in one of my very favorite deep space Dead jams. This is my "primal Dead" -- for some it's 68, for other it's 77, but for me this kind of stuff is the pot which holds the bubbling primal ooze. The mothership has landed, all pretense or facades of human bullshit have been melted away, and the third eye begins to crack itself open. Phil gets prehistoric -- he starts revving up wave after wave of feedback drone, not decimating everything in sight (unlike, say, 10/25/73, where Phil's evil wizard twin appears to pulverize our synapses), but pulsing and writhing like a living thing, like a giant whale rolling in the surf; Jer and Bob keep some semblance of sanity by clinging to those slow, arpeggiated figures they keep playing, while Keith goes for broke and rides the wave that Phil is churning up.

After a few minutes of this sheer perfection, Jerry eventually pokes his head above water and starts working purposefully towards the Dark Star verse theme. Phil subsides gently, and at 21:07 it all comes together and Jerry finally plays the Dark Star theme, much to the crowd's appreciation. Elated, they groove on this for a bit; vocals at 25:10.

Worth noting two things at this point:
1. The only Dark Stars I can think of that come close to the amount of pre-verse music that this one has are 9/27/72 and 9/10/74, but I think this one edges them out. For comparison's sake, 12/6/73 has almost 10 minutes more than 11/11/73.
2. At no point in any of this is Keith MIA in any way -- no vanishing for equipment problems, sneaking a cigarette, catching a nap, having a sandwich, whatever. He's plugged in and up front the entire time.

Okay:

After the verse, the bottom drops out as usual. Bob strums away quietly, Keith continues to play on, then Phil steps upfront as is his usual practice around about this time. At about 28:30ish he lets off a big feedback chord, which fades away to just Jerry alone scraping a single string. Again, note the crowd response to this. They're feeling it.

Now the real bullfight begins. Phil lets off some squeals, the crowd hollers a few words of encouragement, Billy makes himself known with some little percussion taps as Phil starts to disembowel his bass. The heavy [CENSORED] starts now. Words won't do this any justice. Everyone (even Keith) sit this one out as Jerry and Phil get all King Kong vs. Godzilla and do some damage. Phil lays down some monster chords while Jerry swoops above like some kind of howling bird of prey, then Phil falls back to let Jerry come from and center to lay some waste, all the while laying down a droning bed of buzzing feedback. You like this stuff or you grit your teeth and wait it out, but music like this forces you to confront it and reckon with it. At this point, I literally cannot hit the skip button -- I'm in too deep to bail out now.

That little VRC recruiter is either rolling on the floor with glee or wondering just what the hell kind of jungle cat he let out of the bag.

Finally, at around 35 min, on the back of final huge Phil feedback bomb, Keith comes creeping back, followed quickly by Bob and Billy. Phil is still in convulsions, but Jerry picks up on the new company and pushes off in a jazzier direction with Keith, the two of them reeling off these fast runs that mirror-image each other. Billy kicks in a propulsive beat and Jer and Keith race off, neck and neck with each other, tilting unsteadily back towards atonality one second, then back in the direction of jazzy melody the next. A nice run back towards the Dark Star verse theme? Hard to say where they're going, but by 40 min, Jer eases off and lets Keith run with it. The energy subsides, but Keith keeps it going, and around 41:30 he plays a little 2 chord vamp that Jerry picks up on and plays with for a second. Though the air is starting to leave the balloon, their playing is still remarkably sharp and focused -- prime 73 Dead jazz jamming, ala many other great ones from the year (3/24, 7/27, 10/29, etc). In the waning moments, it really sounds like they're considering a return to the Dark Star theme -- Keith and Phil practically cue it right up (!), but Jerry's on his own path and turns straight into Eyes of the World. Never a bad call, but jeez, how perfect would it have been if Jerry eased back and let them put the cherry on top of this Dark Star? Ah well. "You donít end it so much as leave it."

Eyes of the World. I could say more, but I've said way more than enough as it is.

The rest of this show is quite lovely as well. I hear the HCSunshine is a good one.

Thanks for sticking with me.


Last edited by nickJ on Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:10 pm; edited 2 times in total
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nickJ



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh, and one more thing:

Is this the best Dark Star? Nope. Is it in my top 5? Absolutely.
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Kochman
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you list your top 5 for us?
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nickJ



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kochman, you're quick on the draw.

My top 5? It keeps changing. It looks something like:

2/27/69 (but I'm not a big 69 guy, so I haven't spent as much time with others from the year)
2/13/70
a Europe 72 -- 4/8 and 5/25 keep vying for this spot.
11/13/72 (or 9/21/72 depending on the month)
12/6/73

11/11/73 obviously is next in line. 4/14/72 vies for the Europe 72 spot. 9/21/72 and 3/28/73 have been very, very, very strong contenders at times. 9/27/72 is wonderful, but for some reason it doesn't hit the same heights as the rest of these for me. 9/10/74 is definitely my pick for that year. I've been an early 70's man since I started and only recently (the last 2-3 years) really dug into the last 15 years of the band, but 10/26/89 is as deep as the rest, though of course, a totally different beast.

I'm running out the door right now (I wrote 95% of that beast of a post last night), but I'll elaborate more later, and probably wind up changing the whole list Very Happy
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Kochman
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nickJ wrote:
My top 5? It keeps changing. It looks something like:

Yes, the joy of deaddom.
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light into ashes



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yay, nickJ! I've been waiting for your review of 12-6-73....

Anyway, many folks who don't like this Dark Star "snoozefest" are not big fans of the long-spacy-type Dark Stars anyway, so don't take their criticisms too seriously....

I'm a fan of the December '73 feedback-fests myself....since the Dead repeated it in show after show, clearly it was something they really wanted to explore. And I'm intrigued by the notion that it was inspired by the 11-28-73 show:
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I'd agree that this is the "Keith" Dark Star.....and so unique in the way they just calmly ooze into it. (It's interesting how you note Weir doesn't play much of a part, but in these long long jams he often just kind of sits back and lets the others do the driving....)
This is easily one of my top five Stars as well (although my 'top five' is more like a rotating list of 25).

I mentioned it in the Mind Left Body post, but one thing you might have heard is that the riff Jerry is quietly playing while Phil blasts us with waves of feedback, is also played at the conclusion of the 2/24/74 Dark Star, to great effect. (He also seems to start it up after the 12/18/73 space, but drops it.) There may be other spots I haven't noticed yet....
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light into ashes



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As this seems a fitting place to post this, I thought I'd throw out a short list of a dozen of the top 1969 Dark Stars (skipping many highlights, but not focusing so much on the famous winter/spring shows) -

2-22-69 Dream Bowl - a fine, dreamy example of the Live/Dead-era Star
4-22-69 Ark
4-27-69 (Dick's Pick) - April has some really magical Stars, the jamming gets more expansive
5-31-69 Eugene - this one gets really wild & hairy
6-27-69 Santa Rosa - one of the best of the year
7-7-69 Atlanta - hot, hot!
8-23-69 St Helens - Tom Constanten is loud & clear in this great version
8-30-69 Family Dog - awesome, one of my favorites
10-25-69 Winterland - not one of my favorites actually, but I list it because most people find this an exceptional Star
11-2-69 Family Dog - ethereal, transcendent, one of the best ever
12-4-69 Fillmore West - this Dark Star gets no attention because of the poor SQ of this show - but this Star is to the rest of the year what the 12-6-73 Star is to '73.
1-2-70 Fillmore East - yeah, wrong year, but it's fantastic, and it sets the pattern for 1970 Stars.
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snow_and_rain
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nickJ wrote:
12/6/73
Hellooo Cleveland!

dogstarz, I really hope I'm not stepping on any toes here. If I am, then I apologize. But I didn't think this warranted it's own new topic, given that there are a couple of places where this has already been brought up.

snowandrain, this is for you.


Thanks dude!

Just see the gentleman over there with the big red blinking eye. Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that list of 69 Dark Stars! I didn't know about a couple of those. I'm happy to see that there are still some big ones that I've missed!

Quote:
I mentioned it in the Mind Left Body post, but one thing you might have heard is that the riff Jerry is quietly playing while Phil blasts us with waves of feedback, is also played at the conclusion of the 2/24/74 Dark Star, to great effect. (He also seems to start it up after the 12/18/73 space, but drops it.) There may be other spots I haven't noticed yet....


yeah, I think I know what you mean -- I remember hearing that riff earlier in 73 as well: I'm going to say in 3/24 in the spacey jam before they transition to the short Dark Star, and somewhere in the 3/31 Other One jam.
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Kochman
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

light into ashes wrote:

Anyway, many folks who don't like this Dark Star "snoozefest" are not big fans of the long-spacy-type Dark Stars anyway, so don't take their criticisms too seriously....

I think that is an unfair blanket statement. 5/11/72 and 12/6/673 have a lot of detractors, and those folks love a lot of other dark stars from the era, which are generally long-spacey-types... just not boring.
Fillmoreeast and I have certainly gone on record as not liking those two snoozefests, but we (especially fillmoreeast) like others from within the era which almost by default were long and spacey.
Here is a list of the ones I like the most (some are not terribly spacey of course):
4/8/72
9/10/72
9/16/72
9/27/72
11/11/73
6/23/74
10/16/89
7/12/90 (long and spacey if you haven't heard it)
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dogstarz
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NickJ you are not stepping on any toes with that excellent review of 12/6/73. Since I am off tomorrow I might actually have time I can dedicate to listenin to 12/6/73 and posting my review. Feel free to do other Dark Star reviews as well...anyone. More than likely I will still do a review for the same Dark Star (it is my goal to say I have listened to everyone of them).
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fillmoreeast



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kochman wrote:
light into ashes wrote:

Anyway, many folks who don't like this Dark Star "snoozefest" are not big fans of the long-spacy-type Dark Stars anyway, so don't take their criticisms too seriously....

I think that is an unfair blanket statement. 5/11/72 and 12/6/673 have a lot of detractors, and those folks love a lot of other dark stars from the era, which are generally long-spacey-types... just not boring.
Fillmoreeast and I have certainly gone on record as not liking those two snoozefests, but we (especially fillmoreeast) like others from within the era which almost by default were long and spacey.
Here is a list of the ones I like the most (some are not terribly spacey of course):
4/8/72
9/10/72
9/16/72
9/27/72
11/11/73
6/23/74
10/16/89
7/12/90 (long and spacey if you haven't heard it)
Couldn't agree more. Dark Star is my favorite piece of music by the Dead. I have been fortunate to have seen the boys perform DS about a half a dozen times...9/27/72 into Cumberland is nothing short of brilliant Space/Jazz. Probably my all time favorite happened on 8/1/73 at Roosevely Stadium DS>El Paso>Eyes>Slipknot>Dew...puts you in a new dimension All of the versions I personally heard were long and spacey because they were performed in this era. Some of my other favorites come from Koch's list-some don't 11/11/73, 8/27/72,4/8/72 3/16/73,7/10/72,3/23/72 and my favorite latter day version is 7/12/90. I just find 12/6/73and 5/11/72 un-interesting and boring. Another one that gets touted as a must hear is 2/24/74 from Winterlandzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Goodnight
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Kochman
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good call on that Winterland fillmore... we seem to have very similar DS ears, because I also love the 8/1/73 (thanks Gopher for prodding me into listening to it).
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IMKind



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Anyway, as I believe Tom Constanten once said,

Quote:
Dark Star is going on all the time. Itís going on right now. You donít begin it so much as enter it. You donít end it so much as leave it.


I love that. It's so Zen. And so true.

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fillmoreeast



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kochman wrote:
Good call on that Winterland fillmore... we seem to have very similar DS ears, because I also love the 8/1/73 (thanks Gopher for prodding me into listening to it).
Can't believe I forgot to mention some of the earlier versions from 68,69. I love these faster high energy versions that just fuckin' rip!! 10/13/68, 1/23/68(I think) I dig DS>China Cat they almost sound punk Shocked Cool and of course the one that set the bar for all others to follow from Live Dead. Now all of you out there go listen to a Dark Star today Dammit!!
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chingsinkly



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fillmoreeast wrote:
Now all of you out there go listen to a Dark Star today Dammit!!


Tonight, when I take some puffs and do the wrapping Smile most likely 4/8/72...
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IMKind



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chingsinkly wrote:
fillmoreeast wrote:
Now all of you out there go listen to a Dark Star today Dammit!!


Tonight, when I take some puffs and do the wrapping Smile most likely 4/8/72...


LP?

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chingsinkly



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMKind wrote:
chingsinkly wrote:
fillmoreeast wrote:
Now all of you out there go listen to a Dark Star today Dammit!!


Tonight, when I take some puffs and do the wrapping Smile most likely 4/8/72...


LP?


what time would ya wanna do this?
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snow_and_rain
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chingsinkly wrote:
IMKind wrote:
chingsinkly wrote:
fillmoreeast wrote:
Now all of you out there go listen to a Dark Star today Dammit!!


Tonight, when I take some puffs and do the wrapping Smile most likely 4/8/72...


LP?


what time would ya wanna do this?


Wish I could join you, but highly unlikely.
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light into ashes



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, kochman, why did you think I was referring to you?? : )

There are many people - in fact, perhaps even a few in this pub - who aren't fans of long & spacy '73-style Stars in general, and would certainly steer clear of 12-6-73.

But in your case, perhaps I shall amend my statement to, "people who don't like long endless bouts of spacy feedback have criticized this Dark Star....."

Anyway, glad some '72/73 Stars are still popular around here! Some of those late '72 ones are certainly super-spacy.

I happen to like the 2-24-74 Star quite a lot - never made me snooze! - along with the 9-10 and 10-18 and even 5-14-74 Stars.
I feel like it was past its prime by '74 though......personally I feel the most attachment to those driving '69/70-type Stars.

Anyway, now that we're on the subject - do you folks feel that 7-12-90 has a mightier Star than 10-26-89? I thought 10-26 was the most impressively noisy of the late-era Stars - 7-12-90 the only one I've heard that came close. (10-16-89 I thought was a piece of garbage....)
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Kochman
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

light into ashes wrote:
Ah, kochman, why did you think I was referring to you?? : )

Mainly because you posted it right after me Laughing

Believe me, its no biggie... I am not a huge fan of the DS in general.

Quote:
Anyway, now that we're on the subject - do you folks feel that 7-12-90 has a mightier Star than 10-26-89?

By far and long. I like the Miami darkstar, but the RFK is in my top 3 if not my number 1 of all time.
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IMKind



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever time works for you and anyone else who's in. My night's wide open.

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light into ashes



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, nickJ - your 12/6/73 essay has been posted on the Archive Dead Forum, to much acclaim....
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nickJ



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well shucks, light, that was mighty neighborly of you Smile
I appreciate the compliment!
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rgerbel



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kochman wrote:


I think that is an unfair blanket statement. 5/11/72 and 12/6/673 have a lot of detractors, and those folks love a lot of other dark stars from the era, which are generally long-spacey-types... just not boring.
Fillmoreeast and I have certainly gone on record as not liking those two snoozefests, but we (especially fillmoreeast) like others from within the era which almost by default were long and spacey.
Here is a list of the ones I like the most (some are not terribly spacey of course):
4/8/72
9/10/72
9/16/72
9/27/72
11/11/73
6/23/74
10/16/89
7/12/90 (long and spacey if you haven't heard it)


I am not a huge fan of either 5/11/72 or of 12/6/72. However, I cannot think of a single dark star, at least in the 70s, that I would ever degrade by labeling it a snoozer. I just find Dark Star to consistently go in so many different directions and all require rather close and careful listening. The ones that stand out for me though all just have some passages that stick in my mind, and this is not the case with either 5/11/72 or with 12/6/72.

I reserve the term "snoozer" or something similar only for rather standard songs that tend to be played rather similarly. A show that has a number of such songs, even when each song individually may not be a snoozer, will be a snoozer in the aggregate.
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fillmoreeast



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We were referring to 12/6/73 not 12/6/72. I don't think they played on 12/6/72. I find it to be boring; so what. It's just an opinion.2/24/74 goes nowhere and is uninteresting to my ears...maybe not yours. Fine. Some that take me out and that I enjoy alot are
10/13//68
2/14/68
Live Dead (maybe they set the bar to high after this one)
4/8/72
9/10/72
8/27/72
9/27/72
8/1/73 (my personal favorite
7/12/90...there are others that I can't think of right now but so what. I think snoozer is an appropriate term for a piece of music that makes me bored leading to the nod.BTW I listened to 12/6/73 last week in it's entirety. I was alone in my house with my speakers cranked up. It just ain't happenin'.
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rgerbel



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fillmoreeast wrote:
We were referring to 12/6/73 not 12/6/72. I don't think they played on 12/6/72. I find it to be boring; so what. It's just an opinion.2/24/74 goes nowhere and is uninteresting to my ears...maybe not yours. Fine. Some that take me out and that I enjoy alot are
10/13//68
2/14/68
Live Dead (maybe they set the bar to high after this one)
4/8/72
9/10/72
8/27/72
9/27/72
8/1/73 (my personal favorite
7/12/90...there are others that I can't think of right now but so what. I think snoozer is an appropriate term for a piece of music that makes me bored leading to the nod.BTW I listened to 12/6/73 last week in it's entirety. I was alone in my house with my speakers cranked up. It just ain't happenin'.


Thanks for catching my typo. I try to make it clear that my posts almost always refer to MY views only. I truly did not mean to suggest that others are wrong if they find listening to some Dark Stars boring. To each his or her own, particularly when it comes to listening to music.
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fillmoreeast



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could not have said it better myself. How boring would it be if we all agreed on everything.
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jessewood34



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alright i just listened to the 12-06-73 star and i was really looking forward to it and i could have never been more disapointed. Jerry seems like he cant even find a groove at all and He is so key to the success of a dark star IMO . It just disapates into very empty feedback for the longest time. before the vocals they seem to have found a groove but then it loses ground again and go into feedback. its like they find a groove then lose it and just revert back to feedback most of time. im a big fan of DS dont get me wrong but this version just disapointed me.
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nickJ



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some more. I was going to do all five fall 1970 Dark Stars, but my internet is working at home for the first time in a week and I need to go to bed. I'd like to at least add 9/17/70 to this, so that's up next. So here's three of 'em -- sorry for the repeat of 11/8/70, but I figure it goes with the rest.


10/11/70 Wayne, NJ

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A pretty rough aud recording is all we've got. It sounds relatively up close without nuch crowd noise, just muddy as hell. I didn't have much trouble getting comfortable after a little bit and enjoying this, though. You may feel very differently. Anyway:

The tape cuts in 2-3 minutes (I'm guessing) into DS, with the taper adjusting his mics in the opening seconds. Drums are audible in addition to Mickey's guiro, and become particularly forward by 1:45, with the band already nearing high flight. It's a noticeably more energetic jam than either of the pre-verse jams at the Capitol, or 9/19 at the Fillmore East -- 9/17 probably comes the closest in intensity, but my memory is that this one is rowdier than that. Bob and Phil are pushing harder than usual, and is Jerry is wailing more than calmly noodling. I'm totally sucked in by this, which is pretty impressive given the hairy quality of the recording. They're cookin'. Jerry hints at the DS theme at 2:18, then swims back out for more exploratory soloing, hitting the theme for real at 3:28; first verse at 4:07. An audible but quiet conversation near the mics (the tapers?) starts during the vocals and continues intermittently until the end, but there's no other crowd noise or intrusion. It doesn't bother me.

As they move out from the verse, there's some prominent tambourine and Phil pushes his way around before they fade into the gong space, which takes centerstage @5:50. Within less than a minute, though, it's the guitars that are leading the attack, alternating feedback stabs with the gong. I totally dig this: there's a real forward drive to this, unlike either the hazy ambience of 11/5 or the disjointed spaciness of 11/8 or 9/17. Starting around 9 minutes, someone's playing this kind of Japanese koto sounding sound; I can't tell for sure if it's Jerry, but I assume it is. It's a pretty cool effect, though, like something you'd hear in a bad kung fu movie. At 10:30, Phil comes thundering in, and it gets even more intense; this is really really cool, like no other "space" I can think of, way more energetic than either of the Cap spaces, though there's not really a "climax" and it never really gets too hairy with the noise or feedback. At 12:30 Jerry pulls out and starts DS noodling again, and within a minute he's pulled the rest with him, and they're immediately cooking again with an energy that again feels much higher than most other 1970 Dark Stars (though it's Phil and Jerry who are dominating the "mix" here, so it's hard to be sure). They bustle along, and at 15:30-45 Phil tries to lead it into Feelin' Groovy, but Jerry assertively restates the DS theme, and by 16:30 it's like they're floating on the moon: are they doing the second verse? what's going on here? It's cool how the bottom just dropped out of this pretty heavy jam. After a minute they push off in another direction, with Jerry initially sounding unsure where to take it; by 18 min he's back at the DS theme, but thankfully takes a minute to dig around before the second verse yet, which comes at 18:55. The usual ending, and off into St. Stephen (love the stoned and satisfied "ha ha!"s from the tapers as Stephen starts).

Well, if those fall 1970 vault tapes somehow ever turn up, my guess is that 10/11 would be rewarded with a major status upgrade. This was a total smoker, though the poor sound means that most heads won't ever be hearing it. Ah well. Given the proto-1971 vibe and rareness of DS this tour, I wonder what was in the air that night to bring out a version like this. Of the five available Dark Stars played that fall, I think this is the rawest and most energetic.


11/5/70

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After 10/11, the sound on this is a real treat. We're still in the lost world of fall 1970, though, so don't expect pristine quality. Unlike the other shows this weekend, Ken Lee's balcony tape is the only source for this show. I recommend 17182 (maybe for sentimental reasons, since this is the copy I've always had) to the remaster 30115, which has less hiss, but sounds muddier. The timings are identical, so choose yer poison.

I like 11/5 as a show, though it doesn't really compare to 11/6 or 11/8 since it's shorter and missing the acoustic set. But compared to 11/8, I think this Dark Star is the better choice. This is kind of remarkable, given that 11/8 is so famous for the uniqueness of its post-space jamming, while 11/5 follows the standard 1970 Dark Star format (DS>verse>space>theme jam>DS>verse>Stephen) and is a little on the short side for the year (21 min). But every second counts in this one.

The Other One ends as usual, but Jerry quickly adds another dramatic, minor chord with an ominous feel, signaling something different is coming up. And so it is. This Dark Star jam is pure simplicity. Jerry is at his most pared down here: clear, simple lines, with elegant simple variations. He starts off simply playing a little variation on the DS riff, and slowly opens up. Beautiful. Billy joins Mickey after less than a minute (right as Jerry starts really soloing, actually), giving just the right extra pep to this first jam, a little less dreamy than, say, 9/19. Sometimes you can tell when Jerry's aching to get to the spooky stuff, but here he's super focused and super calm, not rushing and not pushing for anything far out. Vocals come early at 4:37. I dig the appreciative "woo!" from one lone audience member, reminding us how quiet the crowd is!

The core of this version is the deep space exploration following the verse: they don't just drop the bottom out, like many others do, as much as they ease into near silence and slowly fade back into a haze [6:20ish]. Gongs slowly rippling outwards, feedback rumbles, electric wrinkles creasing the crowd's collective mind. This may be "boring" if you're not tuned into this particular deep space wavelength; me, I'm transfixed by this, as it sounds like everyone else in the theater was. Quietly breathtaking -- when Jerry's guitar finally returns to clear view @11:46, you can almost hear the collective exhalation from the audience. No hoots or cries, just a great big "aaaaaahhh." A couple minutes of more melodic "space," back to the DS theme jam (@13:53), a little Feelin Groovy jam @16:30-18:00, and a perfect dovetail back into the DS theme (seriously: Jerry hits this one note that sustains into feedback and Phil hits the DS riff just as it breaks up -- perfect). If it doesn't look impressive on paper, that's because it isn't, but the whole thing is note perfect in every way. This doesn't come close to the towering heights of a 2/13/70 and it doesn't seem to be trying to. It's like they're cleaning the air and sanctifying the room for the weekend's ritual to come.


11/8/70

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(there are 7 different versions at archive! I don't vouch that this one is best, but it's the one I've got)

So, to generalize, if 11/5 and 9/19 are the mellow cosmic drifters and 10/11 and 9/17 are the rowdy feedback rockers, then 11/8 is kind of the odd man out.

The Truckin reprise fades to a close and Jer and Phil quietly start DS right on cue. They sound like they're feeling each other out a little more in this one at first, throwing out little ideas at each other -- at 2 min, Bob throws in some new, minor chords, giving a really lovely, melancholic feel to this. The guiro in the background sounds less like it's driving anything, and is just kind of keeping quiet time (some cymbals start being audible around 4:45, and that glockenspiel is tapped a couple times in there); there's a more "exploratory" feel to this right off, of not quite knowing where they want to go with this one, unlike the zen calm of 11/5. At 5:45 Jer starts back towards the theme, with the glockenspiel complementing him in the background. Verse @6:37. The fall into space finds them sounding a little more antsy; more rippling haze of gongs that's interrupted with some bird calls (!?) at 9:09, prompting chuckling from the crowd and someone (Bobby?) quietly smirking, "hey, this is serious" (I guess; it's hard to make this out), laughter/catcalling/shushing from the crowd, then back to the gong space, but this time interrupted by occasional individual commotion, which kinda kills the buzz for me, personally. As a result, the space is more jumpy and creepy than 11/5's, building to a more intense feedback peak; that glockenspiel is still in the mix @14:30ish as they start to regroup then pull apart again.

I'm 95% sure that it's a glockenspiel, by the way (that mini xylophone used in marching bands), not a xylophone or vibraphone (both of which would also have been considerably more troublesome to haul around on tour). It's the same thing that's played during the "lady finger" bridge in St. Stephen. Or, as this daring fellow helpfully demonstrates, as also heard in "Born to Run":

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At 15:30, Jerry(?) starts this pulsing sound on his guitar that gets louder for almost 30 seconds (kinda cool), signaling a move to something new. Then, at 16:12, he quietly begins the Main Ten theme, which everyone picks up on slowly -- Jerry plays it pretty straight, with Phil and Bob weaving little variations around him, and all three begin opening up the sound, then pull back all together to the basic theme @19:30. Totally hypnotic and beautiful, simple and dark. They noodle with the theme for a bit, but by 21:00 Jerry is off in another direction. Bob introduces a new theme (Tighten Up, I guess, but it sounds a little different to me) at 22:00ish, which builds nicely, Jerry hinting back to DS occasionally but enjoying this new thing; the drummers are getting excited, Phil finally hints at the Dancin' bassline, the drummers do their fill, and bam: Dancin'.

Well. While 11/8 may get the crown from most for its unique second half, it still feels a little, um, "tentative" maybe to me -- even though there's certainly a particular hypnotic beauty to it, it never feels like they never really get into high gear until the very end. While 11/5 is a totally textbook 1970 Dark Star (in form), it's the more enjoyable jam for me. I assume I'll be in the minority on that one.

And check this out: 11/5 kicked off a run of NYC area shows that could be considered the super subway series of Dead shows: Thurs-Sun 11/5-8 at the Capitol, Mon-Tues 11/9-10 at Island Park, then Weds-Sat 11/11-14 in Brooklyn, then the Monday 11/16 show at the Fillmore East! Thatís 11 shows at 4 venues within maybe 3 hours (with traffic!) of each other. And that's not all the love that New York got that tour: they also played Queens College on 10/10, Wayne NJ on 10/11-12 (less than an hour from NYC), and Stony Brook on 10/30-31. And they were scheduled to the play the Capitol again in December, too! Boohoo for the local heads, though, because it was postponed until February.

And, not to end on a sad note, but they apparently also played Dark Star again on 11/13 in Brooklyn, but no tape is known to exist.
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light into ashes



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff, Nick!
Looking forward to your Sept '70 Star writeups!

I've written about some of these Dark Stars as well in my 1970 posts, more briefly since it's hard for me to describe music.

11/5:
The Other One is a typically strong 1970 version, without too many fireworks, but Garcia makes some siren noises. As it ends, instead of segueing into Cryptical, after a pause they head straight into Dark Star. The Star starts straightforwardly, getting to the verse in just a few minutes - but from there they launch into deep space - from silence slowly building layers of sound until they've created a psychedelic dreamscape to journey through. Around the 10-minute point they enter some spooky feedback - bits of melody start to emerge - and ever so slowly, they feel their way back to the Dark Star melody. The jamming returns, and a Feelin' Groovy casts its spell for a while - then there's a great transition back to the main theme.
After the Star, what else but St Stephen? The audience was very quiet all through Dark Star, and are happy to greet St Stephen.

11/8:
A prime Truckin' with a heavy ending jam dwindles down to a fingerpicking whisper, and Dark Star sneaks up underneath the audience cheers. This is quite a journey, from the quiet, graceful intro jam, to a solemn verse, into minimal gong space - interrupted by some restless audience whoops - the band patiently drifts into alarming squalls of feedback - bass drones, xylophone & siren pull the music back into the void. Garcia pulls the Main Ten out of nowhere, and the others join him - the theme fits perfectly, floating like a ship on a dark rainy sea. It slowly unwinds into the music of the spheres, the band hovering in a beautiful realm of pure melody - not returning to Dark Star, they unconsciously find their way to Dancing in the Streets. Garcia starts with a chordal solo - then Weir starts Tighten Up and the air brightens - bright notes pop out of Garcia as the band spins in a jazzy rhythm - finally turning the corner back into Dancing.

9/17:
On this night, they proceed quickly to the verse, and then drop into a long five-minute space with gongs, feedback squeals and strange noises - finally they return to a pretty melody, creating a huge sense of relief as the audience cheers - from there they travel into the Tighten Up jam which they explore for several minutes, getting more cheers at the climax - and then wind up the jam with a lovely quiet, soothing melody. After Dark Star, of course comes St Stephen (much to the crowd's delight).

(I'll also write about the 10/11 Star sometime soon.)
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm feeling masochistic, so I'm continuing my bad 1970 aud tape jag.

9/17/70 Fillmore East

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There are two aud masters of this, both pretty raggedy, Jack Toner's and Marty Weinberg's. 27591 (Toner/sirmick) is a touch slower than 33826 (Weinberg/GEMS). I'm not great at spotting speed problems, but compared to the 9/19/70 sbd, it feels like 33826 runs fast. It's hard for me to be sure (deadlists' time for this Dark Star is 27:10; the Toner (27951) is 26:15 and the Weinberg (33826) is 25:03; and to make matters worse, the GEMS transfer claims that it's speed corrected! blarg!). The Weinberg sounds a little clearer and slightly less "swampy," but I'm going with the Toner aud anyway, which sounds to my ear like the right speed.

ANYWAY. Some audience requests before this kicks off; the crowd is present, but as a kind of lively ambient buzz at first, not at all distracting from the music. Pretty typical upbeat Dark Star jamming for the time, nothing unusual until at 1:50 Jerry suddenly hits a note that sustains and fades away slowly, and everything seems to flip in on itself, only to right itself a minute later. Whoa. Drums audible at 2:40. At 3 min, Jerry returns to the DS theme, defers for a bit, then sings the verse at 4:16. "Nightfall of diamonds" gently shatters into a flurry of windchimes and jabs from the guitarists, about to fade off into the velvet haze, but Jerry cuts it off quick with these sudden whoops of feedback, followed by a round of applause from the audience. A pause, then at 6:25 Jerry and the gong start going at it and we're in it deeeep after a minute (it's worth noting that from this point on, all crowd chatter ceases and the audience sounds completely focused and keyed in). Totally beautiful. After a bit, something that sounds like a toy siren joins in, but it's not enough to disrupt the meditative space vibe, and the gong comes roaring back around 9:35 amidst the growing feedback drone. Very nice indeed.

At 10:20 Jerry starts his "we're done with space" riff/arpeggio, but Bobby and the drummers aren't quite there yet, and after a minute of push-pull they're all on the same page and headed towards the theme jam (another appreciative wave of applause as they hit this new groove). Jerry dances around the Dark Star theme but never states it, playing with amazing clarity and elegance, long and slow and intense. Dig how hard he's shredding those single notes around 14:45. He's in no rush and is really milking all he can out of this, finally explicitly stating a Dark Star riff at 16:45. Bobby, naturally, takes this opportunity to kick the tempo up for a Tighten Up jam, which everyone is happy to jump right into. Nice! They just sit in it for a while, nothing really mindblowing, but a totally pleasant space to float around in, until around 22 min when they move out of it and contemplate what to do next (another appreciative round of applause); instead of immediately diving back to the DS theme, they hesitate, and then everyone drops out to let Jerry chord away completely by himself, a little stark but really pretty: percussion and Phil join for a unique little jam, low key and beautiful and really pretty cool. This moves me more than the Tighten Up jam, actually. But Toner's tape cuts at 24:04 and we skip to what appears to be the climax of this jam, which quickly goes back to the verse @25:05. And out they go to St. Stephen.

Well. Upon latest listen, I didn't find this one to be particularly rowdier or more energetic compared with others from the fall -- but the boys definitely get deep in a couple grooves after they get the first verse out the way and all sound very happy to take their time and explore rather than quickly move through the progression of jams. The Tighten Up jam and the little jam that follows are particularly nice surprises. The quality makes it hard for me to rank this up against other great 1970 versions, but this a prime example of the band taking the post-Tom Constanten 1970 "arrangement" of Dark Star to its limits and starting to look for some new spaces to explore. If the sound's not an obstacle to you, there's lots to be moved by in here.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 1970 auds continue. It hurts at times, sure, but it's a good kind of hurt.

4/24/70 Denver


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Sound ain't terrible on this one, not bad at all if the November Cap Theater tapes don't bother you. This show features the last full-blown Eleven they did, and sadly there's some tantalizing stuff that is missing from the master we have.

After the intro riff, Jerry enters with some ripples of feedback and doesn't get down to business until about 55 seconds in. He feels a little tentative at first, but after a minute he really opens up and the jam gets considerably more depth to it. Jerry's tearing it up here, dodging and darting around the main theme and digressing into several cool little jams. Billy enters on cymbals at the climax of a particularly powerful little passage at 3:27, and it just goes on beautifully from there. Vocals @ 6:34.

Space begins with some mournful guitar chiming, and various sounds slowly and carefully entering to fill in the void as the gong slooowly growls to life. Not a real heavy deep space vibe in here, though not particularly disjointed either. Jerry starts moving back out at 11:05 and at 12:15 everyone's snapped out of it and Jerry gets it rolling again. Phil immediately teases Feelin Groovy, but then takes off after Jerry, only for Bobby to pick it up for a full-fledged FG jam at 13:00, which doesn't go much of anywhere, and in under a minute they choose option B, Tighten Up. Much better: this one really rolls across hills and valleys, with some cool twists (dig what happens around 15:50, then again after 16 min when Jerry hits a peak and keeps flying forward). I wish I was sitting on the front porch in July watching the fireflies, hearing this. This is a really, really beautiful Tighten Up jam!

Around 17:40, this glory of a jam disperses and they hit a crossroad; without coming up for air, Jerry picks a new path and the others follow. It starts tilting back towards Feelin Groovy, and at 19:25 Bob clearly starts it again but pulls up short, and by 20 min they're back in the realm of the Dark Star theme, but they've got plenty more to say and dance circles around the theme, building in intensity as they do. Jer's really wailing and peaks around 22:00-22:20, falling right down into the DS theme riff and into the second verse @23:00. A fantastic early/mid 1970 Dark Star (not that there were many of them!), with Jerry particularly pushing himself audibly and reaping some huge rewards as a result.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

5/8/70

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Don't let the Miller gold standard fool you here. This one sounds real bad.* Supposedly this intrepid taper had his gear stuck right up onstage next to Phil's bass amp. Ever wonder what it would feel like to be a fly stuck to an amp at a Dead show? I've attempted a couple close listens to this before, but now that this far down my 1970 rabbit hole, the only choice is to pour a tall drink from my birthday bottle of Oban single malt, tape the headphones to my head, and turn it way up. Here goes.

Yowch. The tape cuts in as they're pounding out these chords that come blazing out like fireballs, and the effect is totally disorienting. It's like you're listening from inside the sun. Like the intro to the Beatles' "It's All Too Much" at 10 times the intensity. At 40 seconds in Jerry becomes apparent, playing the Dark Star riff, and the verse comes at 1:13. They probably hadn't done more than 4-5 min of playing prior to this, but it sounds iike it's already a pretty heavy groove with a more triumphant feel than the usual 1970 pre-verse Dark Star jam.

The gongs come roaring up as they the guitarists continue the DS riffing, and by 2:45 they've started the haze. It's like an ocean roar here, with various recognizable sounds appearing and vanishing like boulders in the mist. Again, totally disorienting. The gong roar climaxes and subsides into feedback to big applause at 3:55, and Phil and Jerry start getting furry. For all I know, a sbd might reveal that this is a fairly uneventful, run-of-the-mill Dark Star space. But here it's like being caught in the middle of a thunderstorm.

At 7:30 Jerry starts the swim back to known waters, but it takes a while for everyone to pull it together. By 8:45, Bob's started his usual two-chord vamp as Jerry lazily loops around over the top. The build-up is getting more persistent and intense, and Jerry contributes to the tension considerably by dragging himself across the groove; cool effect, actually. At 10:50 he quits it and joins the rest for what eventually becomes a Tighten Up jam that continues building in intensity (dig that little climax he hits around 13:30!) until it sounds like it's really smoking. The sound quality's clearly clogging up a lot of what's going on in here, but this sounds like it's really wonderful stuff. Then at 16:05, they triumphantly drop into Feelin Groovy! It's finished around 17:30ish, and Phil and Jerry seem to pause and hover, deciding where to go next. Around 18 min, Phil neatly sets up a return to the second verse, but right over the Dark Star bassline, Jerry seemlessly starts playing the Dancin intro riff, and off they go! Whoa. Any 1970 fan owes it to themselves to hear this.

* I can't even really talk about how "bad" the sound is -- the music is still recognizably the Dead, of course, but it's so distorted and fried that it crosses over into a new realm of abstraction beyond just a crappy aud tape. The closest comparison I can think of is some other extreme lo-fi feedback psych like Les Rallizes Denudes (Japanese psych band, anyone else know 'em?). I was totally sucked in at first, blown away by the space and feedback, and then as my ears adjusted to the sound, I found myself loving the music but wondering what I was missing: how hard was everyone really playing? What exactly are the drummers up to? (they're felt more than heard throughout most of this) Is this really as good as it seems to be? I guess the world may never know.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Don't let the Miller gold standard fool you here.

Hold the phone here... you can't polish a turd... and if anyone has ever come close to being able to turn lead into gold, its miller.
I highly doubt there is a significantly better source of this out there. Let's keep it real here.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I'm with you absolutely. I said that so that people wouldn't assume that Miller's name on this meant that it had excellent sound. But I don't think there's anyone else who could have done a better job with it! I think we're lucky to have this at all, and I'm glad it came to us via Miller and not someone else.
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light into ashes



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well nick, I'm surprised - not only are you plowing through 1970, but poor AUD tapes at that! Always figured you for a post-Keith fellow.

Agreed that these are some special Stars. 9-17 is one of the prettiest Stars, perhaps on a level with 9-19, which (partly due to the sound quality) is my gold standard for "dreamy Star". 4-24 is a glorious Star, very powerful - such a shame the taper couldn't catch the full show. (And even more a shame there's no tape of the 4-11 Fillmore West or 4-26 Wisconsin Stars!)
5-8-70 blew me away. Not only is it clearly, in spite of the sound, one of the most awesome May '70 shows (which is already saying a lot); it's also an experience trying to "imagine" the music through the barrage of noise. Wish the taper had chosen Jerry's amp to park the tape-recorder, though....
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My heart is really with 72-76, but hey, I'm open minded Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just listened to the 9/19/70 Dark Star three times in a row. This is definitely my current favorite. Great use of silence and very focused.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMKind wrote:
I just listened to the 9/19/70 Dark Star three times in a row. This is definitely my current favorite. Great use of silence and very focused.


A long time favorite of mine. I think Live/Dead, 11-11-73 and this are the ones I am most familiar with. I used to listen to 9/19/70 on a weekly basis, sometimes multiple listens through out the week. The Lovelight is nothing to scoff at either...."Pig did you just say fuck?"
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1974-07-25

I am listening to Dark Star>Slipknot Jam>Stella Blue.

Dark Star begins with the common intro. However, the whole band is in a more laid back mood for most of this. The jazz overtones are a nice addition to this, as Garcia and Keith both find the sweet spot. Phil also comes through very nicely on this as well. Billy has some amazing shots that help build this into one of the jazzier Stars I have heard. Then Garcia, Keith, and Weir all build momentum as Phil leads for a second in the new faster direction. In the 9 minute mark there is a brilliant theme that builds itself up, but doesn't last. The next theme is also excellent. Like the previous one this doesn't last too long either. Then the band begins to find its way through that wormhole that ultimately leads to space. This time however, they don't go nearly as deep as they have been before. Instead they decide to find a new theme and explore that a little more. This reminds me of Garcia and Wales than most versions I have heard. Garcia's playing is wonderful and Keith is the mvp. Yet I can't get into this one too much.

The Slipknot Jam is cool and Stella is pretty damn good, Dark Star is a solid B-.
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was literally just listening to this one over the weekend, and I noticed deadlist does not list that one as having slipknot!...It is, obviously....I dig that jam for sure..
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skobud wrote:
I was literally just listening to this one over the weekend, and I noticed deadlist does not list that one as having slipknot!...It is, obviously....I dig that jam for sure..


The Slipknot wasn't bad, the Dark Star seemed to meander though, and lack of vocals when it is more or less space can sometimes hurt or help it. This time it hurt it imo. The Stella Blue on the other hand is exactly what I needed.
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good topic here...I think you guys have nailed your assessment of this show.
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last night I listened to DS>MAMU>DS>Wharf Rat from 4/24/72. Been a while since I listened to this. Very intense. If you give it a listen-TURN IT UP Cool

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1972-04-24

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The songs starts with guitars in unison for the intro, as the intro jam begins to build. Keith is very prominent here. His piano fills are very welcome as Jerry and Phil construct the main theme. Bobby strums a chord that makes this sequence just a little dreamy. He does this behind the main show that is Jerry, Phil and Keith. About 2 minutes in you can tell this is about to be an intense journey. Almost 4 minutes and those feelings have been confirmed. Instantly you are carried away into another world. Phil's bass begins to vibrate as Garcia and Keith play off of each other. Bobby adds color, yet Keith is still the one to listen to beneath Phil bombs. At 5 minutes time seems to stand still as for a second, as Garcia and Bob begin to converse musically. The whole time Billy keeps the conversation lively, until the rest of the band decided to speak up. The whole band goes into a really beautiful jam around 6 minutes. This doesn't last long of course, before Phil's bass decides to take you on a twisted journey. Garcia plays with finesse through this part, with Keith and Bobby adding stuff that is bordering madness and beauty. This breakdown is excellent as the music digs itself out of the depths into a bright new energetic feel. The band is full psychic mind now. They play faster and faster until the 10 minute mark. Where once again a new thought must be played. This time the main theme rises out of the ashes. There is some guitar work from Jerry here. The whole band sort of meanders for a minute until the 11 minute mark when Jerry begins the main theme in full force. This time we are treated to Jerry singing the first verse. The drums have a sense of purpose here as Keith delicately adds color. Garcia's voice blends perfectly with his guitar when he sings the word "Through". After the verse is sang the band begins yet another exploratory journey. This is a feedback drone, with dreamy notes laced in. This of course is phased out quickly into pure white noise around 14:45. Phil attempts to hit the richter scale as the band fully finds itself in a now focused conscience. This jam is high energy and wonderfully played. Check out the Tiger that never was during the 17th minute. Garcia was really close to a full blown tiger jam but decided to shy away from it, in lieu of psychedelic spaciness. At 20 minutes we get the Tiger that Jerry came close with a few minutes before. Pure excellence!!!!! Then the band calms down and tries to focus. I would imagine it would be hard to do that after that expression of craziness. The calming period doesn't last for long as Garcia hits high notes and Weir bends his strings. Keith's playing here could be used in a horror film. Kind of eerie stuff here. The whole band seems sort of lost for a little, not too bad or unlistenable, but you can tell they have no idea what else to say in this passage of music. Then Phil begins a coherent bassline that Jerry and Bobby are happy to follow. This could easily go into The Other One here. For a moment, I think Phil is itching to play The Other One, but the rest of the band doesn't agree. As Jerry begins an almost bluegrass roll. Then you can hear those all too familiar chords of the most played song in the Grateful Dead songbook. Me and My Uncle is played with a certain passion that you don't get in a first set version. Maybe they were excited to just find anything familiar after that exploratory first Star. Weir's vocals are excellent here, Keith once again playing amazing.MAMU doesn't last long at all before Dark Star melts itself back into the hemisphere. This time around Dark Star is more dreamy, thanks to Keith and his grand piano. I feel like I am in Fatasia in a wizards outfit listening to this. Just really, technical improvisation that made the Grateful Dead great. I am really digging Phil's choice of notes here as Keith provides the ground work. Once again the whole band is in full on craziness mode. This time the craziness is subdued for a hypnotic rhythm during 8 minutes of DS 2. The theme progresses here. Check out the 9 minute marker for a fun Jerry solo that is downright uplifting. It is like a new day has begun and you can go outside, the creepiness from teh first Dark Star is washed away. 12 minute mark Jerry finds himself in another bluegrass like breakdown, this doesn't last long at all, but it was pretty sweet. The energy during this jam is excellent. In the last 30 seconds of Dark Star you hear Jerry begin to play the main theme, before him and the band change their collective mind and dive into Wharf Rat!!!
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fillmoreeast



Joined: 08 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice review. I listened to it again today. I'm considering this is the best ever? For now at least it's my favorite Cool It is absolutly stunning Exclamation and the recording (Rockin' The Rhein) is pristine.

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dogstarz
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fillmoreeast wrote:
Very nice review. I listened to it again today. I'm considering this is the best ever? For now at least it's my favorite Cool It is absolutly stunning Exclamation and the recording (Rockin' The Rhein) is pristine.


Thank you, it is in the top 10 best ever. There is still Thinking Man's Dark Star from 11-11-73, Live/Dead, 9-19-70 and 8-27-72 that this show has to compete with. Also an interesting factoid, this Dark Star is "technically" longer than that one from December 73. However, since this was split it doesn't technically count.
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fillmoreeast



Joined: 08 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tough competition for sure with the exception of 12/6/73 (I hope snow and rain isn't reading this) which I find boring and uninspired. Fortunately I have witnessed some Titanic versions of Dark Star. 9/27/72 and 81/73 come to mind right now. However this one at least for now leaves the two I've mentioned nothing more than a blip on the radar. Now I know this isn't true. It's probably it's the first time in a while I was able to play it LOUD and without being interrupted. I sat down and LISTENED and was completely taken to a new space. Wish I could listen under these circumstances more often.

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bzfgt



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a delayed reaction, I suppose, but having reviewed the evidence recently I agree with giving the nod to 7-12-90 over 10-26-89.
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bzfgt



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone still here?
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