For a number of years I've been keeping a Grateful Dead notebook. Eventually, I began writing impressions and capsule reviews of shows I have in my collection. I've adopted the style Dead archivist Dick Latvala used for the sake of organization, but also as a small tribute to the man. This blog will be an online version of that notebook. Feel free to leave comments or to email me. I want this space to be an open forum for all Deadheads.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1971-08-06 - Hollywood Palladium

Venue: Hollywood Palladium - Los Angeles, CA
Tape History: AUD by Rob Bertrando (download here)
Release History: Dick's Picks 35, SBD of The Other One to end (June 2005)

Set 1
*Bertha, Playin' In The Band, *Loser, Mr. Charlie, Cumberland Blues, Brokedown Palace, Me & Bobby McGee, *Hard To Handle, Casey Jones

Set 2
*St. Stephen, *Truckin' -> *Drums -> *The Other One -> *Me & My Uncle -> *The Other One, Deal, Sugar Magnolia, *Morning Dew, Lovelight

12-01-2010: The last two shows I reviewed can be considered gems. This tape - my first AUD - is most certainly not. It is one of the top shows of the year, and to document it we have one of the greatest AUD tapes in Dead lore. Rob Bertrando is one of the best known Dead tapers, and his tapes are always must-hear affairs. This particular audience recording is known as the best AUD. The sound is rich and full, the audience noise does not overpower the band. Actually, the level of interaction between the band and the crowd, they way they feed off each other's energy, is immediately palpable. I think that quality is what makes great AUDs superior to great SBDs. And this AUD is beyond great; it is a necessary component to any Deadhead's collection.

The "Bertha" opener is easily one of the best openers I have ever heard. It's not uncommon for this song to rip from the get-go, and this version does not disappoint. The crowd erupts with the first notes, and you can hear their joy when Jerry takes the solo. And what a solo it is! His tone is so sharp, it's amazing that he can play with such a strong melodic sense. (3.40 - 4.10.) A textbook Jerry solo, using the melody to create phrases that dip, rise, and dive again, and usually hit peaks that cause the crowd to freak out. Really special. The "Playin'" that follows finds the band in the midst of figuring out what the song will become. They play it straight through with no jamming. Matter of fact, most the jamming in this show takes place during Jerry's solos. (There are a few exceptions to this ["St. Stephen," "The Other One"], but this is generally the case here. As proof, there are only two songs above 10 minutes, "Morning Dew" and "Lovelight.") The rest of the set is played as expected, albeit with supreme focus, energy, and the conviction not to waste a single note. Forceful, compact statements are the hallmark of this show. That and barely controlled intensity. "Hard To Handle" supplies that part. Other than 4-29-71, it is the best the Dead ever played. Phil's big bottom end goes up to a higher register to meet Jerry's solo. There's so much passion and movement in this version. Their transition back to the verse section is perfect.

I can't say enough about the second set. "St. Stephen" bristles as "Truckin'" hypes the crowd into a frenzy as Jerry teases the rhythm to "The Other One." A short drum interlude serves as a mild breather only to be shocked with a ripping "The Other One." The jam into "Uncle" is hard, serious Dead. I wish they could have kept that going longer. Very cool thing happens here. In the jam out of "Uncle," there is a "WRS" tease years before it would become a song. The "Dew" is beautiful and Pigpen brings it all home in "Lovelight." One of the best shows from '70-'71. Some would say one of the Dead's greatest.


Hard To Handle

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