Grateful Dead: Road Trips Vol.3 No.1

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Grateful Dead
Road Trips Vol.3 No.1
Grateful Dead Productions

The Grateful Dead's archive series Road Trips begins its third year somewhat, but not wholly, as it began. Like the first edition, Vol.3 No.1 is another excerpt from the time of keyboardist Brent Mydland's membership of the band. Steve Silberman, in his wide-ranging essay in the liner booklet, reaffirms the high level of inspiration Mydland brought to the group, more validation of which appears in any one of the Hammond B3 organ surges that sprinkle these three discs.

But contrary to the original concept of Road Trips—compilations of recordings spotlighting notable phases of the Grateful Dead's career—this one represents an entire show, from the group's year-end run at Oakland's Arena. Archivists David Lemiuex and Blair Jackson, in conjunction with engineer non-pareil Jeffrey Norman, are past masters in sculpting releases with the flow of an actual performance. But fans' demands for a return to the completist approach of the now-defunct Dick's Picks series no doubt constitutes the reason for the shift in direction of this more recent archive series.

It's an auspicious new beginning on its own terms, though it may be telling that, in contrast to previous editions in which the bonus disc represents an arguable highlight, this one, comprised of excerpts from the 12/30 show, doesn't add to the cache of the package. It suffers simultaneously on the sound front—the audio not so clearly defined as that on the main discs—and in terms of the performance itself. While it's true that the quality of the Dead's live performances at this point did not depend fundamentally on guitarist/vocalist/composer Jerry Garcia, his full engagement on the closing "Wharf Rat" only makes his erratic presence on "Ramble On Rose" more obvious.

No such waxing and waning occurs during the course of the two discs recorded on December 28th, except for some purposeful pacing by the band. The sextet sounds, collectively and individually, secure in their instinctual sense of direction, as much when improvising as when sequencing the songs. The Dead were just beginning formally to stylize their approach to set lists, so the first disc contains emphasis on tunes, in a briskly dynamic mode: the quiet solemnity of "Row Jimmy" and "High Time" sounds all the more sublime when surrounding the punch of "It's All Over Now" and preceding the upbeat "Alabama Getwaway" and "Greatest Story Ever Told."

Yet the mid-tempo "The Music Never Stopped" is a precursor of markedly deeper explorations during the second half of the show. As on the preceding numbers, drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart are loose but in sync with each other and when they proceed to the "Rhythm Devils" portion in this extended string of segues, they erect a sonic portal of sorts through which the rest of the instrumentalists move through "Space," before launching themselves into a series of upbeat tunes. "I Need a Miracle" and "Casey Jones" are just a couple during which the group ratchets up the momentum of its playing.

The high impact close, in the form of "One More Saturday Night," only reminds of the extent to which a Grateful Dead concert was a state of mind unlike any other. The glossy graphics adorning Road Trips Vol.1 No.3 thus becomes a metaphor for the musicianship within: the list of titles looks superficially familiar, but the band transforms them here through its peculiar process of alchemy.

Tracks: CD1: Sugaree; Mama Tried; Mexicali Blues; Row Jimmy; It's All Over Now; High Time; The Music Never Stopped; Alabama Getaway; Greatest Story Ever Told. CD2: Terrapin Station; Playing in the Band; Rhythm Devils; Space; Uncle John's Band;I Need a Miracle; Bertha; Good Lovin'; Casey Jones; One More Saturday Night. Bonus Disc: New Minglewood Blues; Candyman; Ramble On Rose; Lazy Lightning; Supplication; Scarlet Begonias; Fire on the Mountain; Let It Grow; Truckin'; Wharf Rat.

Personnel: Jerry Garcia: lead guitar, vocals; Mickey Hart: drums; Bill Kreutzmann: drums; Phil Lesh: electric bass, vocals; Brent Mydland: keyboards, vocals; Bob Weir: rhythm guitar, vocals.

Year Released: 2010 | Style: Jam Band

Related Video


More Articles

Read Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight Extended Analysis Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight
by John Kelman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon Extended Analysis Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon
by Doug Collette
Published: February 18, 2017
Read Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix) Extended Analysis Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)
by John Kelman
Published: February 12, 2017
Read The Rolling Stones: Blue and Lonesome Extended Analysis The Rolling Stones: Blue and Lonesome
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 27, 2016
Read Nat Birchall: Creation Extended Analysis Nat Birchall: Creation
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Security Project: Live 1" Extended Analysis Security Project: Live 1
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "Yes: Tales from Topographic Oceans (Definitive Edition)" Extended Analysis Yes: Tales from Topographic Oceans (Definitive Edition)
by John Kelman
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "New Order: Complete Music" Extended Analysis New Order: Complete Music
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "Jim Ridl: Door in a Field V2, Songs of the Green River" Extended Analysis Jim Ridl: Door in a Field V2, Songs of the Green River
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "King Crimson: On (and Off) The Road" Extended Analysis King Crimson: On (and Off) The Road
by John Kelman
Published: November 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!