Merramac Community College - Kirkwood, MO
Set 1: Don't Ease Me In, Friend Of The Devil, Deep
Elem Blues, Silver Threads And Golden Needles, Candyman
Set 2: Electric: Casey Jones, China Cat Sunflower
> I Know You Rider, Mama Tried > High Time, Good Lovin', Good
Morning Little Schoolgirl, Me & My Uncle, Dire Wolf, Cold Rain
& Snow, Attics Of My Life, Cumberland Blues, New Speedway Boogie
> Nobody's Jam > New Speedway Boogie > St. Stephen > Not
Fade Away > Lovelight, E: Cold Jordan
Sometimes an offhand comment is all you need -- in
this case, a friend mentioned that this was one of his favorites.
Since I remembered it being a little on the uneventful side, I
skipped to disc two to see if that didn't change my perspective.
It did: we jump right into a band that's warmed up
and ready to go. 'Schoolgirl' may not be the most intense ever, but
this has plenty of life in it, no flagging in sight, and Pig's
really got us hanging on his every word by the end. Great!
Next up is 'Me & My Uncle'. Now, before we all
let out a collective groan, let's hear what's there to hear -- it
doesn't sound like what we expect; the mood & feel is quite
different, making for a nice, distinct performance.
OK, what else? 'Cold Rain'; good, good, one of my
favorites, though nothing particularly remarkable about this one.
How about the debut of 'Attics'? It goes about how you'd expect:
rather shaky in both harmonies and chord sequence. More historical
than sublime. Well, humble beginnings, y' know .... you like the
Sonics or the Nets this year?
Enough chitchat -- it's time to boogie. There may
be dull versions of 'Cumberland Blues', but this surely isn't one of
them. This was one of their more consistently reliable rave-ups,
letting all their jug-band heart show to best effect, and this
version rides with the best (4-08-72?).
This is soon followed by the all-too-rare
'Speedway Boogie', and it's all uphill from there: through a
Nobody's jam, a hot hot Stephen, a rockin' Not Fade Away, and
culminating in what is now my very favorite 'Lovelight' -- not to
short, not too long, with Pigpen riding it all the way down like
Slim Pickens on that bomb in the Dr Strangelove movie. I'd be
ashamed to say I didn't love it. :-
Ramble On Joe ©
the Grateful Dead's concert performance on 5/14/70, at Merramac Community College
in Kirkwood, MO.