Jam – 2010-08-30 – Carroll’s

With Scott leaving for a California trip on Tuesday morning this last jam of August 2010 was relegated to happen on a Monday night.  Scott then realized his flight was at 7:00 a.m. and Deadstein the night before the flight was not in the cards for Scott.  All weekend leading up to the jam it seemed as it was not in the cards for us because Deadstein was to be without a drummer.  Not a good prospect considering we were all set to play the show from 30 years ago from August 30, 1980 at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Listen to it here.  This was a great show and I had been spending all weekend figuring out how to play and chart Easy To Love You so Deadstein could give it an attempt at the jam.  It was in the 1st set of the 8-30-80 show and Deadstein had never played it before.

At the last minute on late Saturday night Bayside Russell answered our pleas for help and offered to play on Monday.  Yeah, that was something to get psyched about, Deadstein pulling out a last minute jam out of the jaws of defeat.  Deadstein was not to be denied.  Actually, it look like we will be denied next week with secular and Jewish holidays occupying almost all of it, but that is another story.

When we got there we had a lot of business to attend to because 8-30-80 is a significant show and a tall order to complete during our typical 4-hour jam.  I don’t think we have ever completed 2 sets in their entirety when we have set out to do it.  I was ready to accomplish the mission as I copied the MP3s from the show to my iPhone and had it plugged into the PA so I could use the songs as reference to set the tempos and grooves of the songs before we played them.  On many occasion, I took this concept to the extreme and cranked the MP3 and let the band join in with the groove for a verse and then fade it out and start the song without ending what was going on.  While this resulted in many a frantic feeling song, it did get us all onto the same page, playing the songs correctly and, for the most part, we finished the songs as we started them.

One thing we realized as we were going through the setlist and listening to the songs prior to playing them is that we play most of  the songs really slow and the Dead play them really fast, especially on a Saturday night on the East Coast in 1980.  I want to go to there!  For this reason, we were blessed to have Russell playing with us this week because he is a much busier and energetic drummer than Scott and was able to play and push along with these driving tempos we were playing at.  In the end, I think this helped to make the music really good and more authentic than we usually are.  The recordings will tell the story I guess.

Scott Bayer showed up as our only guest of the night and that did give us an opportunity to play a song to Carol over the cell phone live from Hell’s Kitchen.  We hadn’t played to her for a few weeks so that was a good thing.

The Stranger set the tone for the evening as we faded into it with the MP3 and I avoided the awkward intro to the song and just jumped into the first .  This worked well and got us off to a good hot start.  I recall Russell saying the Peggy-O was epic and most of us enjoyed the 1st set.  We were trying to play the songs in the spirit as the Dead would have done them in 1980.  Our first and only attempt at the Easy To Love You succeeded in that it had a beginning and ending and the middle that filled in the space between the two.  Somehow, we managed to get through it and even had a few good moments in it.  This set us up for the great ending of the set Althea –> Straw.  After playing a satisfying Althea we were feeling good about ourselves as we were channeling how the Grateful Dead must have felt about themselves also after such a great Althea and were psyched to play a Jack Straw to close the first set.  A Stranger opener and Straw closer makes a structurally strong set from a alliteration perspective and provides for a lot of possibilities.  We closed with the first set Straw trying to play at a blazing and sometimes uncomfortable blistering pace.  I think all this heightened tempo playing was a good exercise for us to see how some songs come together when played at those 1980’s Grateful Dead tempos.  I think the Straw while playing through the versus was one such song.

We finished the first set just after 10:00.  It was quite a gratifying accomplishment.  The second set was big and I didn’t think we had any hope of finishing it but we started up with the Scarlet –> Fire which we didn’t give short change to at all making the possibility of finishing even more remote.  Then we had to play the 2 first set songs, C.C. Rider, Ramble on Rose sandwiched between the two epics before drums.  It was going to be tough.  Good thing the tempos were fast and we were playing quickly in the second set.  The C.C. Rider got really loud at one point I remember as I was fanning some distorted chords at the end of my lead.

The Estimated pre-listen revealed a super fast Estimated that got us scurrying down that pipeline at record pace.  I listened to the Eyes from the Spectrum on the car ride in an knew it was also a really fast version, so I started it up really fast like the show and Rich was pleading for forgiveness and to play it slower.  I would have nothing of it and continued to blast our way through it.  We did a token drums space, actually just drums and rushed to finish the set list.  This was a lot of music and we were burning a lot a calories playing it.  I guess Russell should have been eating his bananas in preparation of the hard assault because after drums he got a cramp in his calf and was having trouble dealing with it while not losing the beat.  I found it very humorous.  We closed with the Not Fade in 1980’s style, Black Peter and Sugar Magnolia and it was 12:06 and the final bell.  No time to play the One More Saturday Night encore.  That’s okay, there was no one there to request and encore and it wasn’t Saturday night, so it would not have been appropriate.

Wow that’s a lot of writing, a lot of playing and a lot to be happy about.  Good to play and take off the next day from work so I could jot down the memories from the night before because they fade fast.  That’s why it is good that I try to write all this down and more importantly, that is why it is good that someone taped that tremendous show in 1980, without the taper, we would have never known about that great Althea Stranger to close the first set.

To hear the music made from this evening go to:

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. A. Wikler
    Aug 31, 2010 @ 19:45:15

    With the MP3s not yet posted I listneded to most of the original show via Larry’s hyperlink. It really was epic. Though it’s doubtful that we mastered even a single cut, I think we paid fair homage to it, if only in spirit, eagerness, intensity (and tempo).

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