Friday, May 16, 2008

Grateful Dead Blog Site of the Day

We all know the studio recordings of the Grateful Dead paled in comparison to the live concert experience. As the saying goes: There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert.

I started going to shows well before the Internet was even in my vocabulary. As someone who didn't own a computer until late 2000, I had to be satisfied with studio albums, bootleg recordings, and tape trading between shows. I remember my old boyfriend and touring partner Rob, trying to record a show with either a handheld cassette player or a small boom box. A few years back we laughed about how foolish we were to even attempt to tape a show with such low rent equipment. I remember Kim, my other touring partner/partner-in-crime/BFF (best friend forever) and I buying a bootleg at a record store in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass. When we got it back to her house, the record itself had a Christian Music label on it and I thought she was going to cry because we had been ripped off by the store. I told her to play it and we were rewarded with the scratchy warbling of Jerry, Bob and I think even PigPen or Donna Jean on this record.

I always wondered if the tapers were enjoying themselves. They all seemed so stoic, standing rock solid still, microphone stands telescoped into the air. I often thought one taper was trying to out do another by seeing who could get their mike stand higher. And I'm sure there was a pecking order amongst themselves. Frankly, I found the tapers to be a little geeky strange as they spoke their own strange language and stood in their own little section away from the twirlers, hall dancers and average Joe weekend-warrior deadhead.

Yet we relied on the tapers to feed our Jones and as preservationists of these magical moments in our own personal histories. Long after the shows were over we needed those tapes to relive that extra-special Birdsong or Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance or Finiculi Finicula or the Drums/Space with licks from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And is was only on tape that we could relive the the playful teasing of Jerry not helping out Bob when Bob launched into Stir it Up and forgot the words during the 3/26/88 Hampton, VA show.

None of my circle taped and we weren't actively into tape trading. Most of what my collection became was copies of copies of copies. The sound getting poorer and poorer with each generation of the original tape. I even purchased some bootleg tapes at the Psychedelic Solution in NYC's Greenwich Village. Most of my personal collection which was never that vast to begin with didn't withstand the test of time and snapped after years of play and some were never returned after being loaned out or were stolen.

Dick's Pick's and From the Vault releases helped satisfy my hunger for shows. But their numbers paled in comparison to the total number of actual performances. Internet access opened up a whole new world and last year I won an IPOD in a poker tournament and was introduced to archive.org. My tech and music savvy "nephew" Zackary (Kim's son) walked me thru downloading to my computer and importing into I-Tunes, something his music teacher mom couldn't do!

Today I stumbled across ICEPETAL's great blog. In his own word's Icepetal is:

Part of the wave of tape collectors that participated in the early online tape trading communities of the mid-late 90's and into the age of high speed digital archiving. With extreme pleasure, was trusted by old Dead tapers who sent their masters to me and allowed me to transferred many a show from cassette, reel-to-reel, and DAT into mass consumable forms via tape trees and vines. Obsessive over creating the perfect cross-fade. Contributing reviewer to the Tapers Compendium.

A link to his welcome post will give you a little more background and what his site is all about:

http://deadlistening.blogspot.com/2008/02/welcomes-and-greetings.html

and the direct blog link:

http://deadlistening.blogspot.com/

Enjoy the ride!

No comments: