Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gratefully Yours

On in mid 80's I attended prep school in New England at Andover. It was there I was introduced to the Grateful Dead.

From 1987-1995 I saw the Dead about 75+ times and Jerry Garcia another 15 or 20 times with his side band. I loved and still love their collaborative, seat-of-the-pants style ... when it worked, it WORKED. Very rarely were they bad and often they were amazing. I miss Jerry a lot, but I listen to him almost every day.

The Dead played about 100 shows a year from 1965-1995 ... at least 3,000 live performances and that's probably an under-estimate. The Dead never made a lot of money selling records, and rarely got radio time .... but boy did they tour. Most of their shows were recorded - either by the band or by the legions of amateur "tapers" who were eventually granted official recognition and their own section of each concert hall after a while. Tapes circulated far and wide among fans ... Nakamichi tape decks were the standard issue for serious dead heads.

Back in the analog era, I used to tote around 250 cassettes with live recordings of the Dead.

Now I have 60 gigabytes of digitized recordings of over 500 shows stored on a multi-terabyte networked RAID array feeding a networked music server accessible to me anywhere in the world ... when my own collection gets old (hah!) I have access over the Internet to an archive of over 2,900 live Dead recordings on Internet.org. They have done an amazing job of cataloging the historical record. Until 2005, one could download any show willy nilly ... now (long story) you can only download shows that were recorded with microphones and not those recorded from a direct soundboard feed.

One of my neighbors (who shall remain anonymous!) is a big Dead fan as well. Over the holidays he had told me that the first show he had seen was 1978-04-14 ... so I went to the archive to give it a listen. It is too bad you can't download the soundboards anymore (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more).

Boy is it a good show ... click here to listen to the show streaming from the archive.

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