The Grateful Dead - Live/Dead  » Music  »
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  • I’m not sure about other people, but I know the first thing that I noticed when I looked at the actual track listing for this album was how there was around seventy-five minutes worth of music with only seven songs, that’s an average of about ten minutes each song
  • Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with long songs but listening to seven songs in a row where the average length is 10 minutes
  • The Positives - Well the first positive that I can think of for this album would definitely be how well it showcases The Dead’s musicianship and ability to take the original section which may not have much to it and expand on it, for really as long as they care to do
  • As I said above, Garcia’s guitar is basically the instrument in the spotlight, or at least in my opinion, but the band really does flow together very well
  • Personally, I really don’t listen to live albums from any band very much, The Dead are one exception, but this album really impressed me and I’m just very surprised that The Dead would really jam like this basically every night at their concerts


    • by Grimmy101
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      Overview - Live/Dead is the first live album put out by The Grateful Dead and it certainly allows fans and listeners to get a glimpse into what a live Dead show is like. I’m not sure about other people, but I know the first thing that I noticed when I looked at the actual track listing for this album was how there was around seventy-five minutes worth of music with only seven songs, that’s an average of about ten minutes each song. This was a bit discouraging, especially the fact that the opening song for this album was twenty-three minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with long songs but listening to seven songs in a row where the average length is 10 minutes? That’s a bit overwhelming. But then on second thought, I considered what a twenty-three minute version of Viola Lee Blues sounded like: you had your vocals here and there but to be honest most of the song was just made up of musical improvisation: and that’s the best way I can describe this record. For example, take the opening track, Dark Star. You basically have the vocals at the beginning and towards the end, but what’s in the middle? That’s where the jam comes in. If you’re a musician, and especially if you enjoy improvisation, then you’re most

      likely just going to absolutely love this record. However, to be honest I’m not really sure how someone who isn’t a musician would look at this record. I mean on one hand, some of the parts on this album are going to impress you, musician or not, but do the tracks also feel like they drag on? Well basically all I can say is that if you really enjoy extended jam sections where Garcia’s guitar is put in center spotlight, then by all means check out this record.

      The Positives - Well the first positive that I can think of for this album would definitely be how well it showcases The Dead’s musicianship and ability to take the original section which may not have much to it and expand on it, for really as long as they care to do. As I said above, Garcia’s guitar is basically the instrument in the spotlight, or at least in my opinion, but the band really does flow together very well. Garcia and Weir are excellent together on lead and rhythm guitars respectively and Phil Lesh and all the percussionists on this album fit together very nicely to create a great rhythm section. The second big positive that I can think of is the setlist is a pretty good choice. By the time this album was put out,


      • The Dead had only released three studio records. Their debut was pretty straightforward, their follow up was extremely experimental, and their third met somewhere in the middle. This album actually doesn’t feature many songs that were even on any of those records, so really it’s a bunch of new material. There are some tracks, like St. Stephen or Death Don’t Have No Mercy, although this version has vocals, that were on previous albums but the rest of the material on this record is pretty fresh. But I mean overall, the biggest positive that I can attribute to this album is just how well all the musicians in The Dead work together to create their sound, it’s all of this chaos going on but it somehow works together, it’s brilliant.

        The Negatives - To be honest, I don’t really have much to complain about with this album. I suppose that the biggest negative, or not so much negative but the thing to turn people away from this album, would be the track lengths. If I see an album where the second shortest song is six and a half minutes and the longest is twenty-three, I’d think that it’ll either be very good or very boring. Luckily, Live/Dead is by no means boring at all, or at least in my opinion, because of the frequent spontaneity of the

        tracks through the improvisational jams. I’m sure some people could get bored listening to some of the songs on here, especially if you don’t really care too much about guitar work, but then again I’m not sure if there’s many people like that who actually listen to The Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia is certainly a difficult player to ignore and not be impressed by. I don’t really have any complaints about the album, I just think that might be the thing to turn people away from this.

        Conclusion - All I can say is this record will probably be a hit or miss. You may feel the songs drag on way too long and not understand why The Dead would expand on them so much and make them so much longer than the studio versions or you may just be in awe once you hear how well the band flows together and just continues to expand and expand and to build and build on these tracks. Personally, I really don’t listen to live albums from any band very much, The Dead are one exception, but this album really impressed me and I’m just very surprised that The Dead would really jam like this basically every night at their concerts. Definitely worth a listen, I personally think that if you don’t enjoy this record then you’re definitely missing something great.




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