11/13/78
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Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 11/13/78

 

Dick's Picks Volume 10 reviewDick's Picks Vol. 18 review

11/13/78

Dick's Picks Vol. 25 reviewClosing of Winterland review

 
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 11/13/78

The Grateful Dead
Boston Music Hall - Boston, MA
11/13/78

Set 1: Promised Land, They Love Each Other, Mama Tried > Mexicali Blues, Peggy-O, Cassidy, Tennessee Jed, Minglewood Blues, Stagger Lee, Jack Straw

Set 2: Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo > Franklin's Tower, Samson & Delilah, Friend Of The Devil, Playing In The Band > Drums > Black Peter > Playing In The Band > Around and Around, E: U.S. Blues

Review
There's always been a bit of a battle between AUD and SBD recordings; soundboards have much better bass levels and the precious intimacy that the band's most nuanced performances require, but audience recordings give us more of the Real Deal, as experienced out in the stalls -- sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, depending on the ability of the recordist and the interference from the people around him. Consequently, while soundboards reveal more of the music than we might hear in actual attendance, a well-done AUD delivers an excitement that soundboards rarely even approach. The best answer, of course, is a mix of the two (listen to DOZIN for an excellent sample), but often we must choose one or the other -- when we aren't just plain lucky to have any recording at all.

Boston's November 1978 shows are fine AUDs with great audience presence, if typically low on Phil's bass (and low end in general). This isn't quite the crime it might seem -- the audience never gets in the way of the band, and a little bass boost helps out considerably.

On the first night (11/13/78), the band tries to step out with a bang ("Promised Land"), but doesn't seem able to hit that 'something extra' until well into Jerry's solo on "Peggy-o". Jerry senses this and takes advantage, going an extra chorus for a fine rendition. Bobby rides this with "Cassidy", which jams nicely enough only to conclude somewhat short; without any vocals on the reprise, it seems Mr. Weir might have been caught by surprise.

Jerry's follow-up is "Tennessee Jed", which seems to suffer from Mickey's stomp-like rhythm; it shows little promise at the outset except for Jerry's thoughtful vocal nuances, but (once again) things heat up plenty on the solo. "Minglewood" goes well, a strong performance unmarred by slide excesses; the same can't be said for the outro on "Stagger Lee", which is nonetheless a good reading. the audience doesn't seem to catch on that the next song is "Jack Straw" until the vocals kick in, but definitely register their appreciation once they do. Once again, the double drums sometime seem a little strong during the quiet parts (especially the bass drums), but there's no denying the excitement during the rave-ups. Typical of late '78, Keith is largely content to just fill out the sound, but we hear him try a little harder while Jerry furiously knits up a solo. Thus ends the first set.

Set two starts with Jerry's vocals a little low, but that improves by the end of the verse, so no worries. As if to compensate, the band raises the roof a couple inches on the outro jam -- both before and after the 'Rio Grande-o' chorus. Mickey gives the final jam a bit of a march-like feel, which the band evidently picks up on -- after a slight pause, they launch into the (then-typical) partner song, "Franklin's Tower", putting that energy to good use. Bob finally gets in a song with "Samson and Delilah", and contributes some good slide. "Friend of the Devil" sounds much as it would six weeks later at the closing of Winterland; a very pretty rendition.

But which set is this anyway? Should they be ... you know? Hmmm? Y' know what I mean???? DO YA? I think you do -- and so do they: "Playing in the Band" fires up after only enough of a pause to let the audience get a breath. Jam ensues, but only about the minimum we could expect. Nice, but not noteworthy, as are the drums which follow. Space comes after a nasty reel change, and may have been much longer. As we have it, it quickly gives way to "Black Peter". Will this salvage a sagging set? Maybe; Jerry gets a good audience pop for an extra bit of lung before the bridge, which shows decent harmonies & even a little push from Keith. To my ears, the real measure of this song comes during (and after) the repetition of the words "run and see"; for my money, this performance does better than most I've heard. Interesting to hear on the end is Jerry trying to weave the PITB reprise into the fabric of BP's bluesy tapestry -- a little disorienting, but accepted by the band and gradually morphed along, so therefore must be judged a success. You'd really have to hear it to believe it.

PITB's reprise, naturally enough, ends the jam, and therefore the show; we're out of the woods, as it were, and "Around & Around" is really already an encore. Does the audience eat it up? Yes they do, and so should you -- even before the double-time kicks in. This really is one of their best set-closers, and Jerry seems unwilling to let up the guitar salvo until he's played every Chuck Berry lick he knows (i.e., all of them). Sure, it's cliché to bring the volume way down before kicking it up again, shaking loose old fillings like popcorn, but it works so well. This one's a keeper.

Say what you want about "U.S. Blues" as an overused encore -- it certainly was, and for the very good reason that it works better there than anywhere else in the show. Bobby whips out his slide licks (mostly Elmore James' famous riff), the band is punchy behind the rhythm, and Jerry gives the lyrics just the right balance of thoughtful intensity & 'there you have it' delivery -- a perfect song for sending 'em home dancing & happy. If the audience hadn't had their fill by this point, it just wasn't going to happen anyway. Ramble On Joe ©

11/14/78 review 
 

Review of the Grateful Dead's concert performance on 11/13/78, at the Boston Music Hall - Boston, MA.

Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 11/13/78

 

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