Unofficial 31 Days of Dead – 2012 Edition: Day Five

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Welcome back to the third installment of “The Unofficial 31 Days of Dead.” The past two years were so much fun that I decided to do it again. The idea for these compilations came about after ran its “30 Days of Dead” in November 2010. While the Deadhead community at large was no doubt thrilled to receive previously unreleased tracks from the band’s vast archives, many of us were hoping for just a bit…more.  Hey, we are Deadheads – we are always hoping for more! Therefore, I thought it might be fun to keep the music flowing by selecting my own daily picks. The month of December seemed more than appropriate since New Year’s Eve celebrations were such a big part of the Grateful Dead. Let’s think of these daily picks as an advent calendar leading up to New Year’s Eve. Unlike the “Official 30 Days of Dead,” there is no contest here. Instead, the prize is the music and the winner is the listener.

[Artwork by Brian Levine]

December 5

Terrapin Station > Almost Playin’ Jam
4/29/80 Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA

Jerry Garcia’s lyric amnesia was all too common in the ’90s, but it also happened on rare occasions in other eras too such as during this version of Terrapin Station at the Fox Theater in 1980. Coming out of the composed guitar solo, Jerry just can’t seem to remember the verse, “The sailor coming out again…”  His band mates do their best to help by repeating the instrumental part several times but Jerry comes up with a big goose egg. Eventually he gets it and the band finishes strongly, if not triumphantly.

Flubs aside, I find myself drawn to this version of Terrapin. Maybe it’s Jerry’s fragile vocal phrasings that seemingly drip with emotion. Maybe it is Brent and Bobby’s beautiful vocal harmonies which were consistently on point during 1979-80 and which were likely the payoff from spending time in the studio working Brent into the band and recording Go To Heaven.  Or, maybe it is the excellent MOTB Barry Glassberg audience source recording. But, I think the main reason I love this version of Terrapin is the 7-minute JAM that is tacked on to the end. I suppose this was the band’s way of “rewarding” to the audience for the botched lyrics.

The jam starts out sounding like it may lead right into Playin In The Band. But, it appears that Bobby is not quite ready to commit. I mean, lyric amnesia is contagious, right, man? So, off Jerry goes into a deliciously spacey Playin’ jam. There is more hinting at Playin In The Band proper but Bobby will have none of it. It’s almost as if he is saying, “You can keep your lyric amnesia, Garcia. I’ve had more than my share!” I love the tension! Back into Playin Jam which eventually melts into Drums.

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