Another Unpopular Opinion

Ex-riverman

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Boy, a fair amount of harsh GD criticism and judgment, as usual.
Different strokes I guess...

Not kidding,
I'm literally going on 4 years listening and loving ( not exclusively, but very regularly) to the same fantastic live Dick's Picks 1978/Iowa Concert in my car.

3 discs of fantastic music ( not spectacle, not 'experience' but music.)
And Jerry is on fire, with a strong edgy guitar tone. Almost like an Allman Brothers/Les Paul tone, coming out of ( I think) Wolf. And the band are locked in.

Sometimes I feel like a lot of haters have just literally, not heard the same Dead sampling, I have?
I just don't think they would be so critical.

Or maybe I just love them- and I never even saw them! ( with Jerry)

Cool photo- Jerry w/Tele Thinline! Never saw this one, 'till this Summer
(I've had mine a year and love it-fun!)
I’ll just add the Veneta 8/27/72 Sunshine Daydream release is another great recording that rewards multiple listens. Honestly, a perfect summary recording for GD, imo.
 

Ex-riverman

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2 drummers is really hard to get right, and both of theirs were mediocre at best. I've heard live GD stuff where it sounds like someone kicking a drumkit down a set of stairs.
Add my shout to the naysayers please.
My fave era of Dead is when they only had one drummer, Bill Kreutzman. I don’t think he was mediocre. 1972-74 basically.
 

Chiogtr4x

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I’ll just add the Veneta 8/27/72 Sunshine Daydream release is another great recording that rewards multiple listens. Honestly, a perfect summary recording for GD, imo.
Ha I'm literally listening right now in my car for a version of Dark Star Stanley that goes for 25 minutes before Jerry sings his first verse Stanley Theater Pittsburgh I've been listening to this Dick's pics for over 10 years 15 years and I listen to this dark star this number three pretty much every other day in the car okay back to driving
 

bcorig

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Emboldened by Mjark's thread about Neil Young, I'll climb out on a shaky limb of my own:
I have tried hard over many years to like the Grateful Dead, and finally admitted to myself a few years ago that I just don't. Saw them live 4 times (early 70's - early 80s) and bought several albums. Only "American Beauty" merits any more listening to me. There is no denying that the Dead were - and remain - an amazing and enduring cultural phenomenon, but apart from a few brilliant moments over 40+ years, they're a mediocre band. Sloppy playing, worse singing and tedious jams. Maybe I just didn't take enough drugs. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration, Mjark!
I especially enjoyed American Beauty. Workingman’s Dead and Wake of The Flood were OK. All in all I agree with your points regarding their cultural influence.
I saw them at Watkins Glen in ‘73 and remember the jams constituting a Dreadful Grate.
 

basher

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I find their music to be more fun to play than to listen to. "New Speedway Boogie," from "Workingman's Dead," is the kind of groovy one-chord jammy jam jam thing you can sink into and play for hours and hours, long after the crowd has given up and left and the bartender has mopped up, tuned off the lights, locked you in, and gone home. It's frighteningly seductive.
 

chris m.

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I find their music to be more fun to play than to listen to. "New Speedway Boogie," from "Workingman's Dead," is the kind of groovy one-chord jammy jam jam thing you can sink into and play for hours and hours, long after the crowd has given up and left and the bartender has mopped up, tuned off the lights, locked you in, and gone home. It's frighteningly seductive.
Yes, it can be fun to jam along. But there's a lot of modal music out there that's fun to jam to...I remember when I lived in Seattle in the late 80s there was a radio station that would play Irish music every Sunday morning. It was super fun to plug in and jam to those Irish jams.

But that is often the problem with jam music, whether it be modal jazz, blues, fusion, or "jam-band". It's often way more fun for the musicians playing it than for the folks listening to it. I was playing in an all-instrumental funk band that was pretty jammy before we got a vocalist. I was always watching the audience closely to look for clues that they were getting their fill of a song and then I would try to move it along. Our KB player in particular was a gifted soloist, but he would want to go on and on and on, and I would sometimes make him pretty mad by eventually cutting him off and moving the song on to the bridge or whatever. Meanwhile, he would feel like he was just getting rolling on a heater.
 

Ciro

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There are many eras of the Dead. They were mostly great between 1967 for the heavy psychedelic stuff and, to my ears, were pretty much over with by 1973 for the stuff I liked. It was different after that, more hit and miss from then on with more misses than hits in the latest years. When I hear people say "I saw them 80 times from 1991 to 1995", to me by then, though there were moments, they were long done. When they were on, there was no one like them. And yes, they took chances and it didn't always work, but that was the nature of the improvisational style. Not that I liked everything they did.

One can't discount someone's experience, but when many highly regarded musicians loved them; Ornette Coleman, Greg Osbey, Brandon Marsalis, Bob Dylan, all the musicians of the San Fransisco scene, many country and bluegrass guys and many others, maybe you are missing something. Sorry, when some say Garcia wasn't melodic, they had no dynamics, they didn't "kick on a distortion pedal", you just don't have ears.

Never much liked the spinoff bands. though Phil puts together some good bands, Dead and Company is a complete bore. I can't name one "jam band" that I like. But in the few years I mentioned, on a good night, I have never seen a band as good.
 

rschiller

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Emboldened by Mjark's thread about Neil Young, I'll climb out on a shaky limb of my own:
I have tried hard over many years to like the Grateful Dead, and finally admitted to myself a few years ago that I just don't. Saw them live 4 times (early 70's - early 80s) and bought several albums. Only "American Beauty" merits any more listening to me. There is no denying that the Dead were - and remain - an amazing and enduring cultural phenomenon, but apart from a few brilliant moments over 40+ years, they're a mediocre band. Sloppy playing, worse singing and tedious jams. Maybe I just didn't take enough drugs. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration, Mjark!
Emboldened by Mjark's thread about Neil Young, I'll climb out on a shaky limb of my own:
I have tried hard over many years to like the Grateful Dead, and finally admitted to myself a few years ago that I just don't. Saw them live 4 times (early 70's - early 80s) and bought several albums. Only "American Beauty" merits any more listening to me. There is no denying that the Dead were - and remain - an amazing and enduring cultural phenomenon, but apart from a few brilliant moments over 40+ years, they're a mediocre band. Sloppy playing, worse singing and tedious jams. Maybe I just didn't take enough drugs. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration, Mjark!
A very poor decision by the Grateful Dead to have three or four hour shows. The drugs and alcohol wear off and the audience soon realizes what a mediocre band the Dead is
 

Ciro

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What did the Deadhead say when he forgot to bring his stash to the show?

"Damn, this band sucks!"
Old and ridiculous response. So it was just the drugs? Do you think that if drugs were added to the mix of other bands that the result would be the same?
 

beyer160

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Old and ridiculous response. So it was just the drugs? Do you think that if drugs were added to the mix of other bands that the result would be the same?
No, drugs didn’t make the Grateful Dead sound like they did, they made it possible for people to endure listening to them.

You can’t blame the Grateful Dead on drugs, plenty of bands used the same drugs and weren’t as soul-crushingly boring.
 

Ciro

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No, drugs didn’t make the Grateful Dead sound like they did, they made it possible for people to endure listening to them.

You can’t blame the Grateful Dead on drugs, plenty of bands used the same drugs and weren’t as soul-crushingly boring.
How many times did you see them and what years? Recordings didn't do them justice. I certainly might agree with some of it being uninteresting. I saw them a lot in the '70s. Early '70s being pretty hot, late '70s good, but not as favorable for me, only three times in the '80s and can't remember one highlight of those '80s shows.
 

drlucky

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I like the first album, American Beauty, and Workingman's Dead. But otherwise, nah. I have loads of respect for how they've always made music on their terms and stayed true to themselves, but they just never clicked with me outside of the albums I mentioned. Have more than a couple of pals that are totally into 'em (and tried to get me into them), but...nah.
 

CCK1

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I get The Dead, mostly as a cultural phenomenon. Listen to any of the Dead station on SiriusXM and you won't ever feel bad about your vocal harmonies again:).
I will tell you that the first, and one of the very few concerts I left before it ended was the Grateful Dead at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA in the mid 70's.
The concert started around 9:00, no support act, at various times in the evening there were as few as two, or as many as eight musicians on the stage at once. There was barely any cue that one song had ended and another had begun unless you recognized some lyrics.
It was close to 2:00 AM when we left, I have no idea how long they played, I just knew I was tired as he11, and had about 50 miles to drive before I got home.
 




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