Jam – 2012-04-11 – Carroll’s

It was 30 years ago to the day, Easter Sunday, which I attended my first Grateful Dead show on April 11, 1982.  It was a show at the Nassau Coliseum and in many respects, I was already a Deadhead by the time I saw the band hit the stage.

It was spring break of my freshman year at Albany so I had already been indoctrinated into the Dead by the time this show hit.  I saw Jerry the first time at the Palace Theater earlier that fall in Albany on November 11, 1981 and then I was fortunate enough to get tickets to see Jerry play solo acoustic the night before at the Capitol Theater in Passaic.  By the time Easter Sunday rolled around to see my first Grateful Dead show, my life path was set for me, and this show would be more of a confirmation rather than an indoctrination.  To put it in perspective, I recall studying the setlists the band had played earlier in the spring tour, the great Spectrum shows (4-5 and 4-6), Syracuse and Rochester and predicting from these lists that the Dead would open up at the Coliseum with a Halfstep, Franklins opener; and I was right on with this prediction.  Cool enough was the fact that I had met Lee Ganbarg at the show and we sat together and took in the experience of my first show together. Afterwards, he drove me back to his house in Rockland where we slept and picked up a bus to Albany to catch Monday classes.  We were counting down the hours when we would pick up another bus that left from State Quad and delivered a bunch a SUNY Deadheads to the 4-14-82 Glenns Falls show in a couple of days.  I was discovering how wonderful spring time could be based out of Albany, NY. Yet I was not experienced enough to know to blow off Monday classes and see the Monday show at the Coliseum instead of heading back to Albany after only one show; but that’s another story.

Yoink forward 30 years and here I find myself in Carroll’s Studio playing the same setlist the Grateful Dead played to me for my first show.  It is a standard, fun show, nothing too crazy, and presents a great vehicle for Deadstein to hop onto for great inspiration for the night.

I had forwarded a copy of the music for everyone to listen to and play prior to the jam, and I took advantage by practicing some of the songs a bit.  It really helps get prepared for the evening by playing the songs a few times at home and getting a few riffs under my belt.  I was well prepared for the Halfstep, Franklins opener and this got us going for the night.

It isn’t a giant setlist, so completing didn’t seem as if it would be too much of a hassle, so we were relaxed about its execution.  The songs were solid and well played and got us through the first set before the standard 10pm break time.  What I do remember from 1982 was that I really didn’t know Let It Grow to be the kick-ass tune that it was at the time of my first show, but seeing it as a set closer when all the power and energy of what is a live Grateful Dead show was beginning to swarm in on me and cemented Let It Grow as one of my all time favorite songs.  I think I also understood the greatness of the halftime break at that moment. It was during that Let It Grow that I discovered the greatness of what Mickey and Bill brought to the Grateful Dead.  I was really able to get the gist of how this music was unique and a living being that lived off of the energy of the audience as much as it did from the hands of the musicians.  I miss those Grateful Dead shows and would love to be at the back corner of the Coliseum’s floor once again watching Jerry lead the band.

Halftime hit for Deadstein and our first set guests of Stevie and Lindsey left while our surprise guest, Terez joined us.  She and Rich found some quiet time to serenade us for a few songs during halftime. Terez then joined us for the entire second set; singing backup with the band and elevating us to a higher level.

I was glad I resisted the temptation to modify the planned setlist and commemoration of the 4-11-82 Coliseum show to accommodate Terez and the songs at which she excels.  The seconds set provided many songs with substantial harmony opportunities, and they were songs that were pretty standard and relatively familiar to Terez.  As a result, I think we sounded really good together and she accompanied the band.

The only real new song to her, as well as to us, was the Good Time Blues (Never Trust a Woman).  Deadstein had never played it before, but I charted out the non-standard blues pattern and I belted out this Brent tune.  I think we did a real solid job on this song for it being a first time of trying it.

Terez sang He’s Gone with us the first time we played together and she always sounds great on that, so that worked.  Truckin’ was a mess as I always make it, but at least I did get the whistle beginning of the song, just like Bobby did in 1982.

The show called for a true drums space and we got into that this week.  I enjoy the mini-break drums/space provides and each week as we do drums, I see Lee and Scott getting better and better at it, hopefully making it a worthwhile experience.  We had a little space going and then we railroaded through the ending of the show.  The vocal jams at the end of He’s Gone, Not Fade Away and Good Lovin’ all work well with our addition of Terez to the mix and made those segments of the songs worthwhile for us, where they are traditionally throw-aways.

Since it was a quick post drums show, we finished in plenty of time.  It gave us some time to play additional songs of our choice which we geared toward Terez.  It resulted in a Mini Beatles set that finished with energy and exuberance.

It was great to play my first show, especially to share it with Lee and to share to stories of the show with him once again.  It is amazing how we both remember all of it.  It was great to get that two drummer thing happening again, and it is really paying dividends as our beats are much more solid than they used to be.  Rich thought our Beat It On Down the Line was a Deadstein best, and I think it was due to the drumming.  Scott and Lee serve each other well with all their strengths and weaknesses to make them a great combo, because they are so different yet have the same goal in mind.

Next week we dive back into 1971 and we will attempt to play the great 4-17-71Princeton show.  This has a much different vibe than the 80’s shows we have recently played and is dominated by several great Pigpen songs.  That is something new, yet old but always worth looking forward to, so look forward to it.  Until we freak again, Freak Out.

If you want to hear what we did, go to the links below:


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