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Chartattack review of the Dead at Darien lake


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LIVE: The Dead Leave Fans Dumbfounded

Monday August 16, 2004 @ 05:00 PM

By: ChartAttack.com Staff

Darien Lake Amphitheater

Darien Lake, NY

August 6, 2004

By Sean Palmerston

While most of this summer’s major tours have suffered from poor attendance, one of the few bands that have been able to attract crowds is the group formerly known as The Grateful Dead. While last summer saw them touring with openers such as Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, guaranteeing sellouts in most cities, The Dead are doing it almost entirely themselves and still managing to have nearly full venues every night.

After reuniting as The Dead last summer, the surviving members have changed their touring line up for 2004 by adding Gov’t Mule guitarist/vocalist Warren Haynes to the band after vocalist Joan Osborne and keyboardist Rob Barraco departed. With Haynes handling the vocals of deceased keyboardist Brent Mydland and some vocals from the late Jerry Garcia, The Dead now features a three guitar frontline that have been having an interesting debut summer together.

The Dead took the stage with a quiet jam before settling into crowd favourite "Jack Straw." With Haynes handling Garcia’s vocals, the ensuing duet between him and guitarist Bob Weir was sublime, as was the jamming that progressed during the song. It was a picture perfect opening, but one that would quickly deteriorate, a common occurrence during this sporadically brilliant, but often frustrating show.

The transition ending "Jack Straw" hinted a move into the band’s signature improv tune, "Dark Star," but things broke down so much that bassist Phil Lesh had to count off the introduction to get the players back on track. An all-instrumental version of the song was disappointingly short and dull and the band slowly abandoned it in favour of something else.

Newcomer Haynes pushed the band in the right direction for most of the night. While Joan Osborne would have been happy to dance, add colourful backing vocals and take the odd lead vocal, Haynes has integrated himself quickly, becoming a key member of the ensemble. His ragged, yet soulful voice is a perfect fit; his guitar playing, both slide and lead soloing, compliments Weir’s aggressive rhythm support and Jimmy Herring’s fluid leads.

The set ended high with drummer Mickey Hart rapping the lyrics to "Fire On The Mountain," making for a great ending, even if you couldn’t tell what the hell Hart was saying.

The second set started quietly with an acoustic take on The Beatles’ "Blackbird," featuring tasty piano by keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. An electrifying "Truckin’" had the entire audience on their feet — the 16,000 plus crowd went bonkers when the line "Trucking up to Buffalo" was sung. The band built up crescendo after crescendo, highlighted by sub-level bass bombs courtesy of Phil Lesh — thumps that the you could feel reverberating in the amphitheater’s concrete flooring. But again, the band’s decision to try and tack a hurried version of The Byrds’ "Eight Miles High" on the end fell flat. They did manage to shake off a much better attempt at "Dark Star," though any inroads made were quickly shot down with the second new ballad of the night, "All That We Are."

Warren Haynes’ explosive soloing during "All Along The Watchtower" left the song closer in spirit to Jimi Hendrix’s version than the Dylan original. Soon after, though, the group played "Franklin’s Tower" wrapping up their second set only to come back with a nearly all-acoustic version of the American Beauty track, "Ripple."

It was an up and down show that had definite highlights, but the low moments were far too low, leaving many fans walking away and scratching their heads. Like they’ve always said, there is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert.

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looks like the reviewer would agree with the "worst dark star ever" statement, scotty, heheh...

hmm.. no mention of "sugaree"... that definitely deserves a 'WTF?!' in my opinion, that was my fave of the night! to each their own, eh.

and, heheh.. "the 16,000 plus crowd went bonkers when the line "Trucking up to Buffalo" was sung".. bonkers? that may be extreme, but kudos for using that word, it sure is funny. there was that guy warren in front of us, he was definitely going bonkers.

i loved the show, but it was my first and it really takes a lot for me to be disappointed. interesting review!

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yeah, its a fair review... maybe far too low is a little extreme... low is one thing... but far too low? how're ya gonna get far too low at a dead show? even during the worst dark star ever. haha. laugh it off, chalk it up to conversation, no one always agrees on everything.

yeah, its too bad they didnt mention the Sugaree... certainly the highlight, even if you listen to the discs of the show, the Sugaree is fuckin smokin'! Haynes is shooting louds in all our mouths, with that tasty masturbatory guitar soloing... too bad we missed ya there, gentlemonkey.

i'd agree with the bonkers during truckin' comment... the place did go nuts, as was expected... but even when they started playing it, the place went crazy... i still think the energy when they started Help On The Way was intense, and it was a necessary song for the band to play at that time...

but yeah, overall, fair reveiw. good stuff.

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I wrote the review, that's me, and I actually did say the Sugaree was the highlight of the night but it must have been edited out. Here was what that section originally said

"Warren Haynes’ explosive soloing during ‘All Along The Watchtower’ left the song closer in spirit to Jimi Hendrix’s version than the Dylan original. After a very entertaining drum break, the band’s run through ‘Sugaree’ proved to be the highlight of the second set. A swift transistion back into the instrumental ‘Slipknot!’ before ending the set on a high with a euphoric version of ‘Franklin’s Tower’ made the post-drums portion of the show the most cohesive part of the night.

Surprisingly, that was the end of the set. It felt a few songs short, but the band quickly exited the stage before returning for a bitterweet goodbye encore. A nearly acoustic version of the American Beauty track ‘Ripple’ saw Phil Lesh sing without his bass strapped on his back, a true rarity.

It was an up and down show that had definite highlights, but the low moments were also far too visible and left many fans walking away scratching their heads. Like they’ve always said, there is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert. "

Does that make more sense to y'all now?

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