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Bill “vegtabill” Burton
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Just another cat at a keyboard...
Just another cat at a keyboard...

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Ever notice water droplets on rose bush leaves?

I hadn't... at least, not really. This morning I was struck by the beauty of these delicate pearls clinging to the ridges and valleys of every single leaf. Please forgive the lousy quality of the photos; I was using my Kindle Fire which leaves a lot to be desired where the camera is concerned. Still, I was compelled to share... hope you enjoy!
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9/16/16
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The Race is On!

Well, OK, maybe not so much a "race" per se, but a couple of Aussies running around on a summer day is close enough, no? Ha ha! We just got Itsy, the 10 week-old toy Aussie in the video, to hang out with Cali, our 7 year-old mini Aussie. It's been a real struggle to find Cali a companion she actually gets along with, but it seems we've finally struck gold with Itsy! Anyway, I wanted to share the happy occasion with you all (we DeadHeads have legendary relationships with our dogs, do we not?), but I figured I should at least put it to some music. So here's "The Race is On" from the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, BC on May 17, 1974, the show I discussed a few weeks back. Hope you enjoy it! :D

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The Grateful Dead
Pacific Coliseum, Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver, B.C.
May 17, 1974

Hey now, everyone! I just did a little write-up for another group I'm a member of, and I thought I'd bring it over here to share with you all. I hope you enjoy it... I'm certain you'll enjoy the show, so check it out! Here's a link to the Charlie Miller source on the Archive that I used for my review: archive.org/details/gd1974-05-17.sbd.miller.89972.sbeok.flac16

I had two ideas for this review, and both shows were from the same place. Canada has been on my mind a lot lately (for a number of reasons), and I wanted to cover one of the two shows the boys played there in my favorite two-year period, 1973 - 1974. There must have been something about the site of the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver that caught their attention. They played two smaller venues there in 1966 (the Garden Auditorium) and 1967 (the Agrodome). The Pacific Coliseum was built there in 1968 and though it would take a few more years, the boys returned to play a pair of gigs at the Canucks new home, one each in 1973 and 1974.

I have to admit... I have long been a fan of both shows, and I was having a tough time deciding which to pick. On the one hand, the ‘73 affair is a genuine monster. But on the other hand, the ‘74 performance has some truly delectable moments, and the fact that it tends to fly under the radar made it appealing to me. After some vacillation I finally decided: 1974 it would be! Here's the setlist:

Set 1
The Promised Land
Deal
The Race Is On
Ramble On Rose
Jack Straw
Dire Wolf
Beat It On Down The Line
Loose Lucy
Big River
It Must Have Been The Roses
Mexicali Blues
Row Jimmy
Playing In The Band

Set 2
U.S. Blues
Me And My Uncle
Ship Of Fools
Money Money
China Cat Sunflower ->
I Know You Rider
Greatest Story Ever Told
Sugaree
Truckin' ->
Nobody's Fault But Mine ->
Eyes Of The World ->
China Doll
Sugar Magnolia

Now for the apology/disclaimer part. I listened to the Charlie Miller source and I recommend it; however, this source does have some issues. Sure, it has some typical Wall of Sound wonkiness at the start of the show... we’re all used to that. But unfortunately, this show suffers from some distortion and static in parts. It is most notable in the first set. In fact, I hardly noticed it at all from the end of the first set on. But it is there and I know a lot of you who play it loud will cringe at times. Personally, I’ll endure much worse than this, but I wanted to mention it nonetheless.

Moving on to the show itself, we have an interesting spread laid out for our listening enjoyment. The first set kicks off with The Promised Land, and boy-oh-boy, are there some soundboard issues in this one! It’s actually pretty hysterical hearing the fellas go in and out; at one point it gets down to just Billy’s kit before everyone else slowly trickles in. Good stuff! Once they get the wrinkles worked out they drop into a nice, laid-back Deal. I really dig these 1974 versions and this one is no slouch, with Weir’s clean accents filling in the spaces. At the end of Deal you’ll notice a Screaming Freak who makes a number of appearances throughout the show!

Next up we get a string of familiar faces from this era, starting off with The Race Is On. This George Jones tune is upbeat and fun, but I’d just as soon have it or Beat It On Down The Line, not both. Since we get BIODTL later in the set, I can take this one or leave it. Next up is a very nice Ramble On Rose, and as you’ll hear it’s clearly one the Screaming Freak was waiting for! Phil is extremely present throughout this one, making himself heard early and often. Just before Jack Straw you can hear him say, “Place your bets”, once more delighting the Screaming Freak. While this Jack Straw is short and sweet, Phil’s interplay with Billy lays down a gorgeous backdrop to Jerry’s soaring solos.

Continuing through the first set, we get one of the half-dozen or so 1974 appearances of Dire Wolf, a favorite of mine going back to my earliest exposure to the Grateful Dead. This is yet another tune I love hearing ‘74 versions of, but sadly this one is plagued with some of the worst distortion yet. It is well-played though and it has that cool refrain at the end that goes back into the chorus, so it is, in the opinion of this humble listener, more than listenable! Next up is the aforementioned BIODTL. It’s actually pretty good, with some inspired playing from Keith, but we do have worsening distortion to deal with. Loose Lucy comes runnin’ in an upbeat and somewhat stumbling version of the bouncy tune. Jerry is as loose as the name suggests, but it’s a real good time regardless. I will say this is one song I’ve always liked the electric piano sound Keith has going on; it just... fits!

Moving on, we get a nice Big River next. Jerry drops in a little extra twang at the start of this one and is lightning-fast throughout. We get another sweet solo from Keith and some serious, full-band grooving ensues before the final chorus kicks in. A fairly straightforward Must Have Been the Roses is next with no solos, but a vocally strong Garcia nonetheless. Weir again fills in the spaces nicely, but we’re sadly still dealing with some distortion here. Mexicali Blues follows; it’s fairly standard, but it’s also never really been one of my favorites so I tend not to notice it as much. The Screaming Freak definitely notices it though! Row Jimmy is next, and this is indeed a sweet one. Phil is again very present and, at last, the distortion is notably better (though some static does slip through here and there). Keith’s tones have a calliope-like feel to them, and Jerry’s slide work is haunting, longing, and eerily warm.

Closing up the first set we have yet another raging 1974 Playing in the Band. Clocking in at about 23 minutes, this one is no disappointment. From a near textbook opening, the song quickly descends into the otherworldly dreaminess that is a ‘73/’74 Playin’. Jerry lays down many themes from this era over top of the unstoppable force generated from the masterful interplay between Phil and Billy. Keith drops in running highlights as Bobby becomes the rug that ties the whole room together. At about the midpoint we get a reset; Jerry works into a Tiger-like jam and Phil gets a little Seastonesy. The deep psychedelia eventually winds back and we’re magically dropped back into the telltale notes of Playin’s reprise. In a year of amazing PITB’s, this is one not to be overlooked!

The second set kicks off with a rousing U.S. Blues. Phil’s bass is full of purpose, and Jerry’s solo sounds like he’s more than ready to get the ball rolling. Next up we get Me and My Uncle, a “shoot ‘em up, adult western ballad” according to Mr. Weir. It’s standard fare for the most part, but I still love this song... it reminds me of a certain uncle I have!

Next we have a pair from Mars Hotel, starting with the beautiful Ship of Fools. This one stays within the lines, but it’s still gorgeous with nice vocal harmonies and a lamenting solo from Jerry. Following we have one of the three live performances of Money Money. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup o’ tea, but I always wondered why this one didn’t get more attention through the years. This version is really well-played, with Bob and Donna bouncing off each other’s vocals as if they played it every night.

On the heels of Money Money, we come to the next true highlight of this show, China Cat Sunflower -> I Know You Rider. If you look into this show much, one of the things you’ll undoubtedly see is a general consensus that this China Rider is one for the ages... and I’m not about to argue! It’s not as long as some but we are treated to a truly beautiful segue between the two songs, with some blistering runs from Jerry perfectly complimented by Weir and punctuated with Phil’s bombs. Like the PITB in the first set, this is a gem in a year of gems, but one not to be missed.

The Greatest Story Ever Told thunders in next, and for what it’s worth this song is one of those that I always seem to forget about until I hear it again, and then I can’t believe I don’t listen to it more. This version is driven home hard and loud, with Phil’s bass pumping and Jerry’s wa-wa wailing. Yeah, yeah, there’s more wailing from Donna as well, but man, the jam is hot! Next up we get Sugaree, and once more you can hear the approval of the Screaming Freak. This version is silky smooth, with Phil leading the charge most of the way.

Moving into the final section of the show, we get the best jamming yet! It all kicks off with a hysterical Truckin’ that almost loses its way. Bob completely spaces the first verse which throws everyone off for the first couple of minutes. The crowd is noticeably amused, but not for long as the band finally gets it together. Truckin’ builds to its roaring finish, and then the boys slip into a serious jazzy blues jam. The jam seems to get jazzier as it goes, belying its final destination: Nobody’s Fault But Mine. This one is not quite as long as some, but you gotta hear it all the same! Some of Jerry’s best playing is tucked into this little ditty, supported by some more full-band ear candy. Nobody’s Fault eventually dissolves into a psychedelic moment that seems destined for The Other One, but they expertly turn it on a dime into Eyes of the World.

This Eyes of the World, like the Playin’ and China -> Rider before it, is yet another standout in a year of standouts... and how it shines! The intro reminds me of the one that would be played in Louisville a month later, a show that is very special to me as some of you may recall, ha ha! The first section of the song is as good as any in ‘74 with inspired playing from all, but what really stands out is what follows once the final chorus has been sung. First off, we get some delicious Eyes-outro Phil Lesh. This is arguably typical, but then Jerry joins in for some of the best Garcia/Lesh interplay I’ve heard in an Eyes, from 1974 or any other year. The jam continues, tearing through the sections we’re all so familiar with, but with extra mustard and hot sauce. The composed, Slipknot-precursor section is lockstep tight, rhythmically building and releasing tension in waves. And then, just like that, we fall gracefully into the arms of China Doll. China Doll is my all-time favorite landing pad for Eyes, and this one is a good one if somewhat typical for the year (which is more complimentary than it may sound).

Lastly, we have Sugar Magnolia. Some setlists have it listed as the encore, but it’s not. Sadly, this is another show without an encore. I don’t know why they didn’t do one at this show, but the Sugar Mag gives it a “big number” to send everyone home happy. Bobby and Donna trade some yelps that would make the Screaming Freak proud, and it all comes to a close with a quick, “Thank y’all, good night”.

This one may be a bit of a sleeper, especially in the context of 1974, but it’s still one I think of often and it definitely has its share of standout moments. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do! :D

#GratefulDead   #JerryGarcia   #BobWeir   #PhilLesh   #KeithGodchaux   #DonnaGodchaux   #BillKreutzmann  
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"The Sanders revolution can and should continue on to the Democratic National Convention and beyond. But the Sanders campaign, in any formal sense of trying to win or wrest the nomination, should end.

The sting like a bee phase of this primary is over. It is now time for Sanders and his supporters to float magnanimously like butterflies -- to champion Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump."

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"Trump's presence on the national stage is a kind of national service, for it exposes how much bigotry people will tolerate."

That quote sums up my thoughts on the matter very nicely, as much as it pains me to say so. But it's a good piece for more reasons than that quote, so go check it out if you have a few minutes!

#Election2016   #DonaldTrump   #bigotry   #xenophobia   #racism   #fascism  

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Masterpiece Reviews: Live/Dead

Have you folks seen this? I just discovered Masterpiece Reviews today while researching the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, and in the process stumbled upon this little review. He's actually very complimentary of the band's first live album, and for the most part he seems to know what he's talking about. Heck, he even [accurately] refers to Dark Star as "seminal". Topped off with some contextually appropriate humor, this is 8 minutes and 11 seconds that you don't want to miss!

#GratefulDead   #LiveDead   #MasterpieceReviews  

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"Feel the Bern?" More like "Bern a path to Trump's presidency"

I used to like Bernie Sanders. I really did. I endorsed many of his initiatives in Congress. I signed most of his petitions. I even gave money to one of his fund-raising campaigns. But that was all before this election cycle. Now I am truly wondering where Bernie Sanders' true loyalties lie. It certainly doesn't seem to be with the Democratic Party.

Bernie Sanders has no legitimate path to the nomination. That was over nearly a month ago. It is impossible for him to gain enough delegates with what is left. But instead of seeing reality, Sanders marches on. His most recent claims are with the "system". It's rigged, he claims, to favor his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Does that sound familiar? It should. It's the same thing Trump has been saying through this entire election process. Trump has even been saying it about the Democratic Party lately, joining a strange chorus with Sanders and his supporters. Yes, that's right. Sanders and Trump are on the same page. Swell.

But it gets worse. Sanders is now saying that we need to change the way delegates are distributed. Oh yes, and that superdelegates are "undemocratic".

Perhaps you have seen this scenario play out before: Two children are playing a game. One of them gets way out in front and is certain to win. The other gets very upset about this and starts saying the rules are wrong and should be changed. The whole thing gets very heated until Mom comes in and straightens everything out with milk and cookies.

Here's the thing. Before the game started, the kid who became so upset wasn't complaining about the rules of that particular game. It didn't really matter that much until the game's rules affected that child personally. This is egocentrism at its finest, and we generally forgive children for it (but, hopefully, while giving them a cautionary tale explaining why it's wrong-headed to think that way).

Bernie Sanders is not a child. But by calling for changes to the way the Democratic Party nominates a presidential candidate when it is clear he can't win under the current rules, he is certainly acting like a child.

And sadly, "Mom" isn't coming to straighten everyone out with cookies and cautionary tales. No, instead we have a yuuuuge, orange threat looming, a threat every single Democrat should be uniting against even as I write these words.

But we're not uniting. Indeed, the latest rhetoric out of the Sanders camp is as defiant as ever. Now he is not only targeting Hillary, he's targeting the entire party. It is galvanizing his supporters, but only to him, not the party. If anything, he is lowering the faith his supporters have in the Democratic Party, and many of these supporters are young people just now getting involved in the political process.

Tell me this: who benefits from a continually fractured party? Who stands to gain form a contested Democratic National Convention? Who would like nothing more than to see a yuuuuge number of young voters disillusioned with the Democratic Party? I can tell you this, it's not Bernie Sanders.

A couple of months ago it seemed like the Republican Party was on the verge of collapse. The fighting was intense, and it seemed that the Democratic nominee would have a fairly easy road regardless of who won. That was then.

Now, we have Trump. For all the hype and expectation, the Republicans suddenly have their ducks in a row. Mitt & Co. have given up. Heck, even Paul Ryan has gotten on board with Trump, or so it seems. Democrats no longer have an easy path ahead (if we ever truly did). We must unite, and we must do it now.

Bernie Sanders can stay in the race as long as he wants. This is the United States, and for now he still has that right. As illustrated by some, he could have used his current position to bolster the party and help us defeat Trump in November. But instead he has used his current position to cry foul and point fingers at the very party he wants to be nominated by. He is taking us to the precipice and we will go over the edge if something doesn't change.

On top of it all, it has been clearly demonstrated that Sanders still does not have the numbers he needs to win, even if the rules were changed as he has suggested. His only chance now is to get the superdelegates that have sided with Clinton to switch to him. Yes, that's right; he needs the very people he has called "undemocratic" to abandon Hillary and side with him. That is not going to happen, making all of this railing against the "rigged system" even more pointless.

Bernie, if this is the best you can do for the party you want to nominate you, then it is past time for you to leave this race. This latest attempt to shake things up is a flirtation with a very real disaster. No one in the Democratic Party benefits, not even you.

I used to like Bernie Sanders. I hope I will be able to again.

#Election2016   #DemocraticParty   #Democrats   #BernieSanders   #HillaryClinton   #DonaldTrump  
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Hey, nice place you got here! Thanks for the invitation!

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Best speed we've had to date

Time to download some more Dead and Umphrey's! :D
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"Your aim has always been true: a more decent, just, compassionate, equitable America. From this day forward, attacking Hillary serves only to diminish that aim. But turning your considerable firepower on Trump can ensure that you win something far more enduring even than four years in the White House."
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