Download Series 3
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Grateful Dead Download Series 3 review

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Notes

Download Series Volume 3 Download Series Volume 3 - Grateful Dead
The Palestra - Rochester, NY 
10/26/71
 
 
 
 
 
Order: GDM or 
Downloads: link below
 
030105GratefulDead iTunes downloads

Grateful Dead Download Series 3 review

Download Series 3 review
10-26-71 Palestra 

Review : by Ramble On Joe
Long represented only by a frustratingly short and piano-less DICKS PICK #2, this era finally gets its due in the Download series, delightfully showcasing the band's enthusiasm for both their new material and their new keyboardist. Sure, there's a bit of hiss, but the band is well-balanced, the vocals are more than usually accurate, and the performance energy is good. Add in a few stage comments, and you have a show well worth hearing; consider the scarcity factor, and it seems almost essential.

"Bertha" starts the show and immediately gives us some of the best and worst points: on the plus side, there's Keith's obvious enthusiasm; on the minus, Jerry's guitar is so flatly out of tune that it distracts his singing (we can hear him turning back to the mike at the beginning of each line). I'm guessing that it's because he had just switched to the Fender Stratocaster, which is well-known for being hard to keep in tune. Incidentally, I picked up my Strat to play along and had the exact same difficulty -- it's the Strat's floating bridge. No surprise then that, despite being so closely modeled on the Strat for scale & setup, the Irwin guitars used a fixed bridge instead.

But back to the show: "Playing in the Band" jumps out the gate with all the intensity of a 1972 version, leaving no surprise that it should shortly become a major jam vehicle. Very auspicious indeed, and worth respinning even in this short version. Meanwhile, there are stage comments on how hot the venue is, and Pigpen's absence -- this latter not so melancholy as the summer '72 announcements, since we know he will indeed be back :-) -- and the former yet another reason for a Strat to go out of tune.

Through the show, we will also hear comments on the front-row crush, which we can gather was (as always) to little avail.

"Sugaree" and "Me and My Uncle" are fine; "Sugaree" especially so to these ears (I admit being partial to this song). Equipment trouble almost has Bobby telling us a story, but instead they soldier on into what must be the fastest-ever "Tennessee Jed" -- even those tired of this song should find their toes tapping.

"Cumberland" proves to be another surprise, showing us that 4/8/72's rendition was no fluke. This one might be just as good -- maybe even better: well-jammed out, and not one second wasted. "Cold Rain" is on the slower side; whether intended or accidental, Jerry exploits this for some passionate singing -- even if it means not playing the guitar for a moment here or there; a nice rendition. The disc closes out with a "Loser" I was inclined to skip. That would have been a sad loss on my part, for the guitars alone: Bobby's fills are unendingly inventive, and Jerry's pinched-harmonics guitar solo really hits the heartstrings. Plus, of course, it's still a "sweet Susie" rendition, and Jerry definitely gives this song the belt that it needs to go over. All in all, no reason to be missed!

"El Paso" is a large city, situated astride the Rio Grande at the juncture of Texas, New Mexico, and the Mexican state of Sonora. Marty Robbins once wrote a song about it.

One of the pleasures of Fall '71 is hearing nascent performances of "Comes A Time", typically tossed like an afterthought late into the first set. Here Phil is more audible than previously, which almost distracted me from the fact that there is an extra verse not heard later:

"The words come out / Like an angry stream You hear yourself say things you could never mean When the heat cools down / And you've found your mind You've got a lot of words you've got to stand behind"

For my money, this ranks with the early version of "Brown-Eyed Women" on DICKS PICK 35, and increases the historical value. Evidently there was an audience request to play something new, because Phil follows it by saying "I don't know where you've been, buddy, but that WAS something new." This prompts further commentary from Jerry and Bob, and "One More Saturday Night" close the set. No big deal, right? You've heard a million of 'em, and so have I. Meanwhile, I have some food about ready in the oven ... still, I can't seem to tear myself away from the headphones. There's a alternate lyric or two, and Jerry's solo is hot if perfunctory. Then it hits me: the X factor must be in. Even though nothing remarkable happens for the remainder of the song (indeed, the band mostly misses the rhythmic transition in the penultimate chorus), my ears sense some difference, some change in intensity, sharpness, purposeful lease; the tracks are greased. And of course, it's time for a set break.

They return, and a sprightly "Ramble On Rose" picks us up where we left off. Phil hits the downbeat, and Keith bounces on the off beats until Bobby takes over. Sometimes Keith is hard to hear simply because he's doing something very similar to Bob; they lock together into a single sound. Then one or the other breaks off, contributing to this song's fall-apart-then-fall-together mood. Keith seems especially unpredictable -- as if he doesn't even remember what he did the previous verse or bridge or chorus, and every moment is a new discovery (which it may well have been).

For those who keep track of such things, this marks the last Jerry-led song in this show; Bobby will sing the rest.

A moment of tuning suggests that the band doesn't think they'll get the chance again for a long time, but it's "Sugar Magnolia" next. Keith bounces along with the beat, and of course the rest of the band already know what to do. Properly speaking, I suppose "Sugar Magnolia" isn't a jam song; the format is set, the boundaries known. Still, one can't deny that the second half contains the quintessential qualities of the jam: unknown duration, a desire for intensity of expression, and a strongly visceral feeling to it. There really isn't anything to say or analyze; ideally, the best thing to do is just dance. If there is such a thing as a bad version of this song, this isn't it ;-)

"Truckin" rightly follows, taking us into this show's jam portion. The crowd cheers the mention of Buffalo in the lyrics, no doubt despairing of ever hearing a song that praises Rochester ;-) Five minutes of song, and we're launched: Phil & Bobby throb, Jerry soars, Keith pounds over Bill's decisive shuffle. Bobby soon drops down to minimal insertions, leaving us clear hearing of the New Guy. Evidently satisfied, Bobby jumps back in to bring us back, but the band enjoys dangling their participles a while longer. Soon, they've revved back up to jam status, alternating attacks of intensity and smooth sailing with increasingly fragmented commentary from Keith. Jerry hints "The Other One" to evident approval, and the mood slowly turns murkier. By turns edgier or softer, they finally make the turn, and it's quite a dialog as they decode how to get there. I imagine them all in a car together, attempting to navigate the streets of an unfamiliar city -- "Let's go this way!" -- "Wait, that looks interesting over there!" -- "Whoa, check out the lights over here!" -- six freaks on their own bus, searching for delight.

Billy takes seven minutes of solo spot, sometimes sounding like two drummers thanks to his skill and the excellent stereo separation. Phil lets this go on for seven minutes before finally giving us The Roll, and "The Other One" is in motion. Keith shows his primal awareness by emphasizing the rhythmic aspect of the song first and foremost (as does Jerry, really). Phil shows his awareness of being Phil, and goes everywhere. Arguably they are more "Grateful Dead" here than anywhere else in the show; DEADBASE lists only six instances of the band going 10 shows or more without playing this, and only in June 1976 did they neglect it for more than a dozen. Within six minutes, the band has gone completely outside the scope of most bands, and we are lost in the music as to where they might be going. They seem to be gong back, then they go somewhere entirely weird; by the eighth minute, they've lost time entirely. Primordial consciousness oozes and bubbles, froths and foams; rhythm returns, then departs again. Suggestions are proposed, examined, discarded; still, the mood remains. Where they once might have used feedback, here they trill; Keith sprinkles in some piano, Phil tentatively interwines Jerry's notes (there are always plenty of those). Bobby tests us with new voicings and sounds; Billy hears it all and supports it all.

Ultimately, Jerry seems to get that moment of "pure silence" he likes so much, if only for a second. Then Phil gently lays in the power chords, and it's back to "The Other One" that we know so well. On conclusion, they break out a sock-hoppin' "Johnny B Goode" as if it were the only natural follow-up to what they'd been doing -- and, of course, they're exactly right.

Phil says "We'll see you tomorrow in Syracuse" as he leaves the stage, and this show leaves me wanting to go there and hear it. Alas, three decades too late ...

Barry Small ©
Grade  B
-

 
Grateful Dead Download Series 3 review
Track List

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Disc One
1. Bertha 7:39
2. Playing In The Band 6:41
3. Sugaree 8:09
4. Me and My Uncle 4:00
5. Tennessee Jed 6:56
6. Jack Straw 5:30
7. Big Railroad Blues 4:05
8. Me And Bobby McGee 6:16
9. Cumberland Blues 6:13
10. Cold Rain And Snow 5:59
11. Mexicali Blues 3:30
12. Loser 6:45

Disc Two 
1. El Paso 4:43
2. Comes A Time 8:09
3. One More Saturday Night 4:52
4. Ramble On Rose 6:55
5. Sugar Magnolia 6:35
6. Truckin' > 10:34
7. Drums > 6:54
8. The Other One > 16:07
9. Johnny B. Goode 4:20

Grateful Dead Download Series 3 review
Musicians:       

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Grateful Dead
Jerry Garcia: Lead Guitar, Vocals
Keith Godchaux: Keyboards
Bill Kreutzmann: Drums 
Phil Lesh: Electric Bass, Vocals
Bob Weir: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

Grateful Dead Download Series 3 review
Notes:

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Released - July 5, 2005
Grateful Dead Download Series
Recording by Rex Jackson
Mastered by Jeffrey Norman

From the Grateful Dead website
"Although recorded only two short months after the recently unearthed music contained on Dick’s Picks 35 (aka "The Houseboat Tapes), Download Series Vol. 3 presents a remarkably different, but equally-inspired, version of the Grateful Dead. 

This complete show gem recorded in Western New York state in the Fall of 1971 is just the fifth show with Keith Godchaux as the keyboard player, a personnel move motivated by Pigpen's failing health. What Pigpen brought to the Grateful Dead in personality and sheer musical bravado, Keith made up for in talent and creativity at his instrument. Even though he'd been in the band for just one week, you wouldn't know it by his contributions at this Rochester concert. Aside from the incredible musicianship he incorporated into the band's sound, his presence seemed to reinvigorate the band.

The highlights here are plentiful, but of particular note are the nascent versions of "Sugaree," "Tennessee Jed," "Jack Straw," "Mexicali Blues," "Comes A Time," "One More Saturday Night" and "Ramble On Rose," all as impressive as any versions from the much-loved Europe '72 tour, but with a much more raw energy and filled with giddy newness. Add to these brand new songs staples such as "Cold Rain and Snow," "Loser," "Bertha" and "Big Railroad Blues," the show is capped off by a typically powerful "Truckin'>Drums>The Other One" jam, providing everything you could ask for from this sequence."

Grateful Dead Download Series 3 review
Dave's Picks Vol. 3 ] [ Download Series 3 ] Dick's Picks 2 ] Road Trips Vol 3 No. 2 ] Dave's Picks Vol. 14 ] Dick's Picks 30 ] Europe '72..Complete.. ] Europe '72 ] Europe '72: Vol. 2 ] Steppin' Out WithThe...GD ] Rockin' the Rhein ] Hundred Year Hall ] Download Series 10 ] Sunshine Daydream ] Dick's Picks 23 ] Dick's Picks 36 ] Dick's Picks 11 ] Hofheinz 11/18/1972 ] Dave's Picks Vol. 11 ]
Grateful Dead Download Series 3 review