Where NY music fanaticism and NY Mets fanaticism need not be mutually exclusive. Next year is now, bitches!

Monday, February 14, 2005

"The Dead are alive....the Dead are alright, with me..."

The above quote was taken from "Stones" off the most recent Sonic Youth record. If there's any band of erstwhile indie-rockers who knows about the Grateful Dead, it's probably Sonic Youth; if only because Lee Ranaldo is supposedly a huge fan, and the Youth are one of the few bands that garner mad respect among the peeps, yet improvise their asses off onstage (e.g. they jam while managing to avoid the dreaded 'jamband' tag).

I make no bones about loving the Grateful Dead. I traded hundreds of tapes in high school and college, and in terms of being extraordinarily prolific songwriters (until the 80's anyway) with unbelievable chops, the Dead are in a league of their own. I could write paragraphs about this provided I wasn't wasting time at work as I type.

The point of this post is to commemorate the fact that 35 years ago, the Dead played two days worth of completely legendary shows at Bill Graham's East Coast baby, the long defunct Fillmore East. It was located on 2nd Avenue and 6th street next to Moishe's Kosher Bakery; a cheesy bar called "Ike" is there now, in addition to the Emigrant Savings Bank. But if you look up, you can still clearly see the brickwork that used to comprise the theatre. 2-13/70 and 2-14/70 have since passed into lore for Deadheads, being a pair of amazing shows featuring career-defining performances of what many 'Heads consider to be their most sought after tunes, "Dark Star," "That's It For the Other One," and their cover of Bobby 'Blue' Bland's "Turn on Your Lovelight." It's a transcendent experience, captured in a very nice Soundboard version on the mail order only "Dick's Pick's Volume 4"- the Dick's Picks series comprising crystal clear recordings of killer shows-named for recently deceased Dead archivist Dick Lavatla (It's sort of like porn in that I think they're up to Volume 31 now or something). You don't get the effect of the legendary "Joshua Light Show" that accompanied most shows within the Fillmore's three year (I think) existence, but whadya gonna do.

At any rate, the Valentines Day shows of 1970 deserve to be remembered, and serve as a fantastic jumping off point for anybody interested in anything remotely Dead related. You don't even need to be stoned to enjoy it.


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