Some thoughts on the setlist and recording of 1/27/68, on the show’s 50th anniversary.
By John Dunn
PROPOSED SETLIST FOR 1/27/68
Eagles Auditorium, Seattle
(banter in italics & quotation marks)
“Dancing is good for you” >
Dark Star >
China Cat Sunflower >
“The cops say you can’t dance” >
Viola Lee Blues
“How many times?” >
Beat It On Down The Line
Hurts Me Too
That’s It For The Other One >
New Potato Caboose >
Born Cross-Eyed >
Spanish Jam >
“See you the next time we’re in Seattle”
1) A 32-minute fragment from the Other One suite to the Spanish Jam (dated “1/23”):
2) A 12-fragment of the end of the Spanish Jam, dated 1/27:
(A fan edit of the full Spanish Jam is available here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1vFFyYklfNEYadcLsLoz0QpOAi-iIJFmM )
3) A number of 1968 reels were rediscovered and released on Road Trips Vol.2 No.2 in 2009, including several tracks dated “1/23.” David Lemieux said these reels were not the original show masters, but compilations of individual songs or sequences from various shows – not complete shows, and not necessarily in order.
BEGINNING OF THE SHOW : This is probably the only element of this show about which everyone is in agreement…
1) We know that the first set opened with Lovelight … and that it was stopped immediately after that song for an announcement about dancing
-- This is one of the rare situations where a newspaper report (in this case “The Quick and The Dead” by Scott White, from the Seattle Helix of 2/1/68) gives detailed-enough information to allow us to reconstruct some elements of the setlist from an early show: “The Dead started their set with Love Light, a hard pounding song, in an attempt to move the audience. A few moved. In walked the license inspectors. Boyd [Grafmyre, the promoter] asked the Quick to tell the audience to stop, and when they refused, he explained the situation himself. We stopped.”
2) There is reason to believe that Viola Lee may NOT have been the first song played after the show restarted
-- In the past, I had always figured that Viola Lee might be song #2 from the first set, coming immediately after the incident described above (based on the comments “the cops say you can’t dance” and “well THAT was short-lived”, both of which sound as though they were made fairly soon after the dancing stopped). However, the rest of the banter doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that they’d be saying if the cops were still around (“the cops ain’t god”, “they didn’t say you can’t take off your clothes and wriggle around”, etc).
-- I bring this up because the newspaper report suggests that the cops actually didn’t leave right away, but instead stuck around for a couple of songs: “We stopped [dancing]. For about two songs. The inspectors left, the Dead came back on, and dancers danced.” Also – just before the “cops say you can’t dance” comment, somebody (possibly Bob or Bill?) says something like “(inaudible) still here?”, as if he’s wondering whether the inspectors had finally departed.
-- In short … maybe this banter didn’t come immediately after Lovelight after all, but a few songs later after the cops had left (though almost certainly still in the first set). One possible scenario: The show was stopped briefly after Lovelight, so that Boyd Grafmyre could tell everyone to quit dancing. Then the Dead played “about two songs” where nobody danced, the show may have paused again so that they could tune (or for more announcements) … and once the Dead realized that the inspectors were gone & the coast was clear, they talked to the crowd & kicked into Viola Lee Blues. This would still be soon enough after Lovelight that the two aforementioned comments (“the cops say you can’t dance” & “that was short-lived”) don’t seem out-of-place.
END OF THE SHOW : We’ve reached a point where I think that most people have come to agreement about this as well. However, for the sake of completeness I’ll set down the basic argument for the last 45 minutes of the second set…
1) TIFTOO is certainly in Set 2
-- I have occasionally seen proposed setlists that put TIFTOO in the first set (opening the show). However, in every single two-set show from January-thru-March 1968 for which we have confirmed setlists for both sets, TIFTOO is in Set 2 (rather than Set 1). Tough to imagine why it would be any different at this show.
2) Therefore, Spanish Jam is the end of the show …
-- If you agree that TIFTOO is in Set 2 … and you buy the premise that 1/23 = 1/27 (and therefore assume that everything from both dates originates from the same performance) … then TIFTOO > Clementine > NPC > BCE > Spanish Jam is clearly the end of the show (based on the “see you the next time we’re in Seattle” comment that comes at the end of the 1/27 fragment).
-- I am aware of and understand the very legitimate concerns that some have regarding the differing audio signature between the incomplete Spanish Jam at the end of this sequence (dated 1/23) & that on the fragment dated 1/27. Won’t rehash this here, except to add my thoughts…
a) Unlike most vault tapes (which are straight two-track recordings), these shows were recorded on four-track tape. This means that we aren’t listening to them in their original “raw” form – that is: at some point, somebody had to combine tracks together to produce the current two-track file. I’ve often suspected that maybe the differing instrument “placement” in the two mixes might have occurred if the original four-track recordings were reduced to two-track data files differently – e.g. tracks 1&2 left/3&4 right on the file dated 1/23, versus 1&3 left/2&4 right on the 1/27 file (or 1&4 left/2&3 right, or any of these three combinations with left & right switched). Given the fact that the two tape boxes apparently have different dates, it wouldn’t be surprising if the initial tape transfer or subsequent mixing-down to two tracks was done by different people (or even the same person at different times), which would certainly explain this.
b) It’s harder to account for the different sound levels (e.g. much more prominent bass in the 1/27 fragment). However, the tape dated 1/23 clearly is a bit more deteriorated than the one dated 1/27 (still in good shape, but somewhat more tape hiss), and if the deterioration was primarily on a single track – for example, an outside track that contained the bass input – that might explain the variation in sound levels.
3) … and the cut in Spanish Jam is likely a reel flip
-- It looks as though TIFTOO might have been the first song on a reel in this show – it begins an uninterrupted stretch of music ~32-33 minutes long, which happens to be roughly the duration of a 7-inch reel (depending, of course, on the speed at which it was recorded). If that’s the case, then the reel would have ended about five minutes into Spanish Jam, which is exactly where the song cuts off. This would necessitate a reel flip, which in-turn would explain how the two “halves” of Spanish Jam got separated. And … yes … I know that there’s also supposedly a reel flip in New Potato Caboose (or at least there is a notation to this effect on the Miller 1/23 Archive file, although I’m not sure I hear it), but I wonder if that might just have been a tape machine that was accidentally stopped for a few seconds, since the timing is otherwise perfect for one reel.
-- The missing segment of Spanish Jam (lost in the presumed reel flip) could be huge, but could also be as little as 60 seconds (I agree wholeheartedly with the comment made by “Mr Completely” in November 2017 here). The Spanish Jam from the night before, 1/26 (aka “1/22”) has a segment at about 4-to-5 minutes in that’s similar to what we’re hearing on the 1/23 tape when it cuts off (i.e. a building jam with regimental drumbeat). Over a period of a minute or two this goes through several cycles, transitions to an eight-bar-long quiet segment with lead guitar alone, and then transitions again to a segment with the prominent “ascending” bass riff that’s almost identical to what’s being played at the start of the 1/27 tape. This 1-to-2-minute-long segment would actually make a workable patch between the 1/23 & 1/27 Spanish Jam fragments, and suggests that the missing portion may be no longer than this.
CONSIDERATIONS THAT MIGHT SHED LIGHT ON THE REST OF THE SHOW : Now comes the hard part. Trying to figure out a running order for this setlist looks like a fool’s game when you figure that we don’t even know how much of the show we’re missing. However, I think there’s a pretty strong argument that we might not be missing any of it, and will discuss why below. If you use that as a starting point, and toss in an added assumption that would enable us to figure out which songs could-and-could-not have been adjacent to one another, then all of a sudden it turns out that there aren’t that many possibilities.
My “reasoning” is below. Let me say up-front that I recognize that what I’m theorizing here is improbable-as-hell … but go with me for a moment and see what you think. A word-of-warning – at some points here I cross the line from mild speculation into wild speculation, so I beg your indulgence!
1) It isn’t entirely clear how long the Seattle shows ran
-- The advertising poster pre-printed in San Francisco says 9pm-2am, but both the Seattle newspaper and another poster printed by the promoter in Seattle state that the shows would start at 8pm and end at 12 midnight (and those, being done locally just before the show, are probably more likely to be correct).
-- This is important, because newspaper reviews of this tour – including one of the Seattle show from the night before – suggest that the show involved more than one set from the Dead (“the Dead’s first set” is mentioned; it’s unclear if Quicksilver had one or two sets, but most likely they played two as well) … meaning that the evening involved 3 or 4 sets of music, with associated set breaks in between.
-- The Dead tapes that we already have from 1/27 total up to about 1:48 running time … and because these are compilation tapes, there may have been a lot of “dead air” between songs (e.g. extended tuning, technical fixes, etc, when there was no music and no direct interaction with the crowd) that isn’t on tape. Accounting for that, the songs that we have probably took up a solid two hours (or more) of actual stage time.
-- Once you add to that a set or two from Quicksilver, the down time between each set, the down time associated with the show being stopped by the cops, and the fact that this was an era when shows never seemed to start on time, it gets a little hard to believe that the Dead’s two sets could possibly include much more music than what we’ve already got on tape (and this is especially true if this was in fact only a four-hour show, because actual stage-time-with-music was likely far less than four hours). In short, we might actually have all the Dead’s music from this date…
2) It may be possible to infer how many reels of tape were used to record this show
Here’s some “wild speculation” …
-- If we ASSUME that 1/23 = 1/27 (meaning that everything from both dates is the same show & that Spanish Jam is therefore the end of the show), and…
-- If we ALSO ASSUME that the 32-minute run of songs that begins with TIFTOO (i.e. TIFTOO > Clementine > NPC > BCE > Spanish Jam#) constitutes a single reel, and…
-- If we FURTHER ASSUME that they were using only reels of the same length (~32-33 minutes) to record the entire show (this may be a big “if”, given comments in Phil Lesh’s autobiography suggesting that Dan Healy recorded the tour on a variety of tapes and at a variety of speeds, although one would assume that at any one show they would use the same type of reels all the way through)…
-- THEN – if all of that is true – there would have to be either 2 FULL REELS or 3 FULL REELS of tape that PRECEDED TIFTOO.
3) If the above is correct, then we can infer how much recorded material we might expect to find from this show
-- “2 or 3 full reels” would likely mean either 64-66 minutes (for 2 reels) or 96-99 minutes (3 reels) of tape time, unless a reel was flipped early. This is in addition to the roughly 32 minutes of tape that contains TIFTOO>>>Spanish Jam plus the 12 minutes of tape containing the second half of Spanish Jam.
-- How that translates to “actual on-stage time” is, of course, something else entirely … as it depends both on how much time was lost in the reel flips as well as on whether-or-not the tape was paused between songs (see below). In light of the above comments on the total-duration-of-the-show, if the tape ran constantly I wouldn’t be surprised to find three reels of material before that final medley … but if the tape was paused between songs, then it’s certainly possible that all of this might have fit onto two reels.
4) It is possible that – unlike practice at later shows – the tape machine was routinely stopped between songs on this tour
“Standard practice” with regard to tape-pauses-between-songs on soundboards in the Archive seems to vary somewhat from show-to-show …
-- On many tapes in the Archive, they seem to have just let the soundboard tape machine run on between songs. This means that we get the whole thing: all the songs, all the banter, and most-or-all of the “dead air” in between (as described above). On others, it seems as though the tape was stopped briefly during extended tuning breaks – however, there’s usually still a fair amount of dead air left over.
-- On the Great Northwest Tour of 1968, however, we have almost no examples of “dead air” at all. All that we have from ANY of the Northwest shows – both on the official releases & on the archive tapes – are isolated single songs (occasionally with a little adjacent banter or very brief tuning) and uninterrupted medleys of multiple connected songs. I can’t think of any segment in any show from any source that consists of individual-songs-in-sequence (i.e. single song > tuning/dead air > single song > dead air > etc). See appendix.
-- This makes me think that on this tour they might have routinely stopped the tape machine almost immediately at the end of individual songs or medleys, and not restarted until it looked as though the band was ready to start playing again (or until they started bantering). Doing this would make sense if they were trying to maximize the amount of actual music on each reel – and there are several reasons that this could have been the case here:
a) They were trying to record the shows for use on Anthem, and didn’t want too many mid-song reel flips…
b) They were on-the-road & might have wanted to minimize the number of reels that they had to carry with them, and…
c) Frankly, they may simply have needed to conserve tape (their financial situation at the time has been described as “hand-to-mouth”).
THE REASON THAT ALL OF THIS MATTERS … is because if they WERE stopping the tape machine between songs in this fashion, and this WAS in fact only a four-hour show, and they WERE recording it on ~32 minute reels, then we would probably expect to find somewhere in the neighborhood of 64 minutes (two reels) of recorded material that preceded TIFTOO, and this would consist almost entirely of music & banter, with very little dead air.
-- I point this out, of course, because that is in fact almost exactly what we actually have. The “Seattle 1/23” tapes found in 2009 (all music & banter, no dead air) have a total running time of a little under 63 minutes …
-- If we use that leap-of-faith as a starting point, then it begs a follow-up question: “Is it possible to fit the remaining songs from the Seattle 1/23 tapes onto two 32-minute reels, in a logical order, without requiring a mid-song-reel-flip in any of them?” Believe it or not, it is…
THE START OF SET 1 :
1) The implications of reel length …
-- As noted above, Lovelight is clearly the show opener. Many people think that the extended bantering (“the cops say you can’t dance”) followed by Viola Lee was likely the second track; however, as I argued above, I think there’s a strong argument that this likely occurred later in the first set. I would now bolster that argument (for purposes of this theoretical discussion) by pointing out that since Lovelight is just short of 13 minutes long, that would leave only 19-20 minutes of time on the remainder of a 7-inch reel … and the Viola Lee banter-plus-song clocks in at 22:46.
-- So if Viola Lee doesn’t follow Lovelight, what does? According to the newspaper article, the show was stopped briefly after Lovelight so that Boyd Grafmyre could tell everyone to quit dancing, and the Dead played “about two songs” where nobody danced. We only have five songs left unaccounted for: Beat It On Down The Line, Hurts Me Too, and a medley of Dark Star > China Cat > The Eleven. Beat It On Down The Line & Hurts Me Too are “two songs”, but they’re both short – together they add up to only about 8 minutes, which leaves us with 10-minutes-and-change on that first reel. Dark Star > China Cat > The Eleven is three songs rather than two … but if you’d never heard China>Eleven before (which almost nobody had at this point, since they were brand new), you could easily mistake that for one long tune with several parts if you didn’t pick up on the time change. Perhaps more important for this argument, that medley is just under 19 minutes long. If the tape was in fact paused while the cops came in, then the 13-minute Lovelight plus this 19 minute medley adds up to … roughly 32 minutes of tape time, or one reel (with the reel running out as The Eleven peters out, which is why we hear no applause).
2) There is precedent for opening Set 1 in this fashion
-- The logical question, of course, is “how realistic is that?” Did the Dead ever open (rather than close) shows with Lovelight, and did they ever play Dark Star in the first set? A review of existing setlists from late 1967 & early 1968 reveals that they actually did each on multiple occasions. In fact, Set 1 of the 1/17/68 show at the Carousel (only three shows before this one) opens with Lovelight … and is immediately followed by Dark Star > China Cat > Eleven.
THE END OF SET 1 / START OF SET 2 :
1) The implications of reel length …
-- If my theory about tape-pauses-between-songs is correct, then the three remaining songs plus associated banter (Hurts Me Too, “the cops say you can’t dance” > Viola Lee Blues, and “how many times?” > Beat It On Down The Line) should all fit on one reel … and they do, adding up to just under 31 minutes. Each is isolated (i.e. not part of a medley), so there’s no foolproof way to know in what order they might have been performed, or where the set break occurred. However, certain clues in the songs themselves and in other period setlists can help us make a pretty good guess…
2) Viola Lee more likely occurred at the end of set 1 than at the start of Set 2 …
-- One could make a strong argument that the second set should open with Viola Lee Blues, as this song was often a set opener (Phil Lesh described it as one of their “favorite launching pads”). If that’s the case, then the first set would likely have closed with Hurts Me Too and Beat It On Down The Line, as the first four songs alone would have made for an awfully short set. However (as noted above), the banter preceding Viola Lee Blues – with its references to the cops and the dancing being “short lived” – sounds as though it must have occurred not long after the license inspectors raided the show, which would imply that it took place during the first set rather than the second. Agree that it’s a little uncommon, though not unheard of, for them to play Viola Lee this far into the set … however, after at least one (and possibly two) interruptions, they might have chosen Viola to be sort of a “re-boot” of Set 1. Parenthetically, this might also explain why they played it so long (~20 minutes).
3) The fact that That’s It For The Other One (TIFTOO) is the first song on a reel does not necessarily mean that it opened the second set …
-- Most proposed setlists that I’ve seen for 1/27 assume that TIFTOO was the opener for either the first set or the second set, which is not unreasonable considering that it often was a set-opener in this era, and opened the Anthem album as well. However, TIFTOO also frequently was NOT a set opener, e.g. 10/22, 11/11, 1/17, 3/3, 3/16, 3/29, 3/30 (not sure if 2/24 is truly middle-of-set or just middle-of-CD) … so it doesn’t absolutely have to be at the front end of the set.
-- I sometimes wonder if the frequency with which TIFTOO seems to show up at the start of reels on this tour (and in the rest of the immediate pre-Anthem era) maybe does NOT necessarily mean that it opened the set, but is instead an artifact of… a) recording methods, and/or… b) later use of the tape in the studio…
a) By “recording methods”, I mean that because it was known that any live recording of TIFTOO might be used for Anthem, it’s possible that if TIFTOO was likely to be coming up in a show and the preceding reel was nearing its end, the soundman might have decided to flip the reel early in order to try to catch an uninterrupted TIFTOO from the beginning.
b) By “later use of the tape”, I mean that the fragmented nature of most of what we have from the Great Northwest Tour suggests that the master tapes themselves may well have been chopped apart (probably to provide easier access to certain tracks). Since we know that a whole bunch of different recordings of TIFTOO were used to create the final Anthem master, it is perhaps not surprising that we have a whole bunch of partial reels (i.e. less-than-30-minute fragments) that start with TIFTOO.
4) … and BIODTL > Hurts Me Too > TIFTOO is a logical alternative choice for a second-set opener
-- The extended banter before BIODTL would certainly be typical of a set-opener. Could just be tuning, but it’s an awfully long conversation for a mid-set tune-up (although I will admit that the Dead have been known to do that). Could have taken place in Set 1 after the show was stopped by the license inspectors, but – as with the banter before Viola Lee – it doesn’t sound like the sort of thing they’d be saying if the cops were still on-site (e.g. “you’re too stoned to stand up”). This suggests that it occurred after the cops left … and the absence of commentary on the dancing situation suggests that it occurred after the Viola Lee banter, which would likely put it in the second set.
-- Interestingly, that same 1/17 show at the Carousel that I mentioned above (as a model for the start of Set 1) could also serve as a model for the start of Set 2: It opened with BIODTL, which was followed by a slower-tempo atmospheric song (Morning Dew), which in turn was followed by TIFTOO. What I’m proposing here is really just the same beginning, with a different “slower-tempo atmospheric song” (i.e. Hurts Me Too) substituted for Morning Dew. In truth, that appears to be a pretty typical progression for this era – on every single one of the five known occasions in January-thru-March 1968 where TIFTOO appeared in the middle of a set, it was directly preceded by either Morning Dew (three times, on 1/17, 3/29, & 3/30) or Hurts Me Too (twice, on 3/3 & 3/16)..
-- If BIODTL was in fact the second set opener, and the tape was in fact being paused between songs as I’ve suggested, then a slightly-late restart of the tape might explain the missing first bars of Hurts Me Too. I think that this position in the setlist could also account for the missing finish of Hurts Me Too. If Hurts Me Too was the second song in the second set, it would have been played as the second reel of tape was coming to an end … and because it was the second set, it would have been obvious to the soundman that TIFTOO would be coming up soon. Per the theory I stated above about reels-starting-with-TIFTOO, it’s conceivable that the soundman might have stopped the tape shortly before the end of Hurts Me Too, in order to allow time to flip the reel and catch the first notes of Cryptical Envelopment. This would leave us with an abrupt cut at the end of Hurts Me Too (which we have) and with about a minute or two unaccounted-for at the end of the second reel of tape (which we also have if this is correct).
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER :
1) Further parallels with the 1/17 Carousel show
-- The parallels with the 1/17 show aren’t limited to the starts of each set. If you just switch the endings of the two sets from that show – i.e. move NPC>BCE>Spanish Jam from the end of Set 1 to the end of Set 2, and move the long R&B tune (Schoolgirl) from the end of Set 2 to the end of Set 1 (and substitute it with a different long R&B tune, i.e. Viola Lee) … all of a sudden 1/17 looks a LOT like what I’m proposing for 1/27.
2) The progression and balance of the two sets with this running order seems logical
-- What I really like about this proposed running order is the progression. Each set starts with defined stand-alone tunes, moves into sequences-of-songs with more extended exploration, and finally ends up with really long jams (Viola Lee Blues in Set 1, Spanish Jam in Set 2). It’s the first setlist that I’ve put together for this show that actually sounds right when I listen to it.
-- The only thing that seems odd about this sequence is the placement of Viola Lee this far into the set (as I mentioned, it was much more often a set opener). However, after at least one (and possibly two) interruptions, they might have chosen Viola to be sort of a “re-boot” of Set 1. Might also explain why they played it so long (~20 minutes).
-- Both sets are also fairly equal in length (a little under an hour each). The Dead weren’t particularly known for equal-length sets, of course, but in this case it may have been a necessity due to time constraints. As noted above, the showtimes listed in the Seattle paper and on the locally-printed poster suggest that the entire multi-set/two-band show was only four hours long … and that might mean that this was a more-structured affair than a “typical” Dead show, i.e. that much more attention had to be paid to how long each band was on stage for each set.
3) If these songs were actually played in this order, with tape pauses between songs, and recorded on 32-minute reels, then everything that we have (reel-flips, lack-of-reel-flips, pauses, and timing) is explainable and fits together logically…
REEL 1 – (running time = 31:48)
--- (set 1) ---
Banter: “Dancing Is Good For You” >
Turn On Your Lovelight
* [tape pause for “quit dancing” announcement from Boyd Grafmyre] *
Dark Star >
China Cat Sunflower >
>>> Reel flip as “The Eleven” peters out, with the tape running out at about the same time, which is why we hear no conclusion/applause…
REEL 2 – (running time = 30:44)
Banter: “The Cops Say You Can’t Dance” >
Viola Lee Blues
* [tape pause for set break] *
--- (set 2) ---
Banter: “How Many Times?” >
Beat It On Down The Line
* [tape pause between songs, late restart] *
Hurts Me Too
>>> Stop recording “Hurts Me Too” just before it ends, in order to fast-forward through the last minute or two of unused tape & flip the reel early (to try to catch the beginning of TIFTOO, since it might be used on the album). Almost make it, but clip the first note or two of TIFTOO…
REEL 3 – (running time = 32:22 )
That’s It For The Other One >
New Potato Caboose >
Born Cross-Eyed >
Spanish Jam #
>>> No tape pauses, because “the music never stopped”. Reel flip in Spanish Jam after the reel runs out mid-song, losing an undetermined amount in the middle of the track…
REEL 4 – (running time = 12:25)
# Spanish Jam >
Banter: “See you the next time we’re in Seattle”
This scenario is, as I said, improbable-as-hell … but not out-of-the-question. There’s a tiny possibility that it actually happened this way, and that we in fact have the whole 1/27 show.
ON THE OTHER HAND …
On the other hand, if the taping WASN’T done with pauses between songs (i.e. if there was a lot of dead air that was cut out when these songs were compiled … which is, frankly, not-unlikely), then god-only-knows what order the songs found in 2009 were played in…
1) Nonetheless -- some things might still be inferred
-- In that case – presuming that you still buy the idea that TIFTOO>>>Spanish Jam# is one reel, that the remainder of Spanish Jam concludes the show, and that the entire show was recorded on one-size-of-reel – then if the tape was NOT paused between songs, TIFTOO must have been preceded by THREE 32-to-33-minute reels.
-- We only have a little over 60 minutes’ worth of recorded matter that precedes TIFTOO (i.e. the 2009 Road Trips tapes) – and if three reels adds up to over 90 minutes, this would suggest that there’s probably about half-an-hour of un-accounted-for tape time in the first part of the show, interspersed between the tracks that we do have.
-- “Un-accounted-for tape time” can be a lot of things, of course. It would probably include some tuning/dead air, possibly an early reel-flip before TIFTOO, and could have included Boyd Grafmyre and/or the cops telling people they couldn’t dance. However, it also would almost certainly include at least one or two more songs, such as Alligator and/or Caution. (David Lemieux reported that a ten-minute Alligator was left off the Road Trips release due to sound issues – but didn’t say which show it came from.)
2) However, even that scenario has its problems
-- I’ll admit that it certainly seems more plausible that the Road Trips songs were culled from a longer master recording, rather than just “happening” to fit perfectly onto a pair of reels when first recorded live (especially since these songs were apparently found on compilation reels – no good reason to cut them up if they already fit on a single reel).
-- If that’s the case, however, then it would imply that the Dead may have had between two-and-a-quarter and two-and-a-half hours of actual stage time at this show. This is certainly possible if the show ran from 9pm-to-2am – however, if it only ran from 8pm-to-midnight, then this may not have been realistic, because when set breaks, late starts, and interruptions-by-the-cops are considered, the “actual stage time” for both bands probably wasn’t anywhere close to four hours.
-- If the show in fact only ran from 8:00-to-12:00, it’s difficult to imagine how the Dead could possibly have filled up a whole half-hour more tape than what we’ve already got, unless Quicksilver was limited to one fairly short set. Despite the implausibility of the “two reel” theory, I still think there’s a small possibility that this might be the whole show … and in any case, the running order above is the way that I now listen to it (mostly because I like the flow!).
I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on all of this. Thanks!
APPENDIX : GREAT NORTHWEST TOUR (January-February 1968)
No italics = Officially released tracks
Italics = Unreleased vault tapes (available as commonly-traded bootlegs)
Light italics = Unreleased vault tapes (not in public circulation), or songs played by secondhand report only
(3 circulating fragments / total time – 1:06:02)
33:10 – Clementine (5:57) > New Potato (8:23) > BCE (3:41) > Spanish (10:10) > Caution Jam (1:51) > Dark Star (3:08-cut)
20:38 – Viola Lee
12:14 – Schoolgirl
( ) – TIFTOO -- Unknown if tape still exists – Track discussed by Phil Lesh (interview: “Anthem to Beauty” film)
(4 circulating fragments / total time – 1:12:36)
16:05 – Alligator
16:50 – TIFTOO (7:39) > New Potato (7:53) > BCE (1:18-cut)
33:40 – BCE (0:39-cont’d) > Feedback (4:50) > Spanish (8:22) > Dark Star (5:43) > China (4:13) > Eleven (6:39) > Caution (3:14-cut)
6:01 – Caution (0:59-cont’d) > Feedback (5:02)
(7 circulating fragments / total time – 1:47:19)
12:55 – Lovelight
18:53 – Dark Star (7:45) > China (5:08) > Eleven (6:00)
22:46 – Viola Lee
3:38 – BIODTL
4:20 – Hurts Me Too
32:22 – TIFTOO (7:57) > Clementine (8:32) > New Potato (7:57-possible cut?) > BCE (3:08) > Spanish (4:48-cut)
12:25 – Spanish (12:25-cont’d)
1/29 (PORTLAND – Portland State College)
(0 circulating fragments / total time – 0:00)
0:00 – [ ]
(1 circulating fragment / total time – 12:40)
12:40 – New Potato
( ) – TIFTOO
( ) – Gloria -- Unknown if tape exists – Songs played according to DeadBase XI (source of information not cited)
2/2 (PORTLAND – Crystal Ballroom)
(3 circulating fragments / total time – 39:31)
14:01 – Viola Lee > Feedback
18:50 – TIFTOO (8:53) > Clementine (7:44) > Schoolgirl (2:13-cut)
6:40 – Dark Star
2/3 (PORTLAND – Crystal Ballroom)
(5 circulating fragments / total time – 59:42)
16:32 – TIFTOO (7:32) > New Potato (9:00)
4:05 – Hurts Me Too
4:21 – BCE > Jam (cut)
15:29 – Schoolgirl
19:15 – Dark Star (5:22) > China (3:20) > Eleven (10:33)
(0 circulating fragments / total time – 0:00)
0:00 – [ ]
(0 circulating fragments / total time – 0:00)
(~10) – Alligator -- Tape exists – Discovered with 2009 tapes, not released due to “sound issues” (David Lemieux)
23 circulating fragments / total time = 5 hours, 57 minutes, 50 seconds (not including non-circulating tracks)
11 – Uninterrupted medleys (of multiple connected songs, without pauses of more than 1-2 seconds between songs)
12 – Isolated single songs (with or without brief tuning/banter, but unconnected to other tracks)
0 – Individual-songs-in-sequence (continuous segments with extended dead air/tuning between tracks)
NOTES BY LIGHT INTO ASHES:
Most of the Northwest tour comes to us in fragments and excerpts – never a full uncut show – and considering how much of the Dead’s sets were continuous suites and long jams, with few standalone songs surviving on the circulating tapes, it’s to be expected that few pauses and tunings between songs would make it onto our tapes.
I was skeptical at first that Healy stopped the tape between songs – this seemed impractical to me, and would result in a lot of song beginnings being clipped. But this may have been his first time taping shows on tour, and unlike Bear, his purpose was to make recordings for use in the studio. Checking the tapes closely, a pattern emerged: there were indeed a number of tape stops and clipped starts in most of the winter ’68 shows.
1/17 – tape stopped in tuning after Lovelight, start of Dark Star clipped; tape stopped again before New Potato.
1/26 – tape stopped after Alligator, start of Cryptical clipped.
2/2 – tape stopped after Viola Lee, start of Cryptical clipped.
2/3 – tape stopped after New Potato, start of Hurts Me Too clipped; another stop after Schoolgirl, start of Dark Star clipped. There’s an apparent stop before Schoolgirl as well; and the reel-opening Cryptical is clipped.
2/14 – tape stopped after the first couple songs; the first three songs all have clipped starts.
Hurts Me Too and Cryptical both have clipped starts on 1/27, though we don’t know what preceded them.
There are still a few places between songs in the winter ’68 shows where the tape is left running, so perhaps we shouldn’t imagine Healy with his hand constantly on the stop button. Nonetheless, this was apparently his usual policy – to capture only the music, not the full shows. Since the tapes were meant to be cut up later in the studio for Anthem, this makes sense. If the idea was to fit more complete performances on the reels without mid-song cuts (at the cost of some trimmed song starts), it was somewhat successful, although several shows still have awful reel endings in the middle of a tune. Given the Dead’s tendency to play for over 40 minutes nonstop sometimes, this could hardly be avoided!
It’s doubtful that any of the Northwest tour shows survived the studio scissors intact – some were lost entirely, others exist only in stray reels. The taped shows from later in February & March ‘68 are in more complete shape, for whatever reason.
It is possible that the show recording started mid-reel. If the band did want to conserve 4-track tape, it might make sense to continue on from where the last show stopped rather than switching to a new reel. But did they, in fact, fill up the last reel of 1/26 that had only 6 minutes of Feedback on it? Was something else added to the last reel of 1/27 with only 12 minutes of Spanish Jam? We don’t know what their practice was at this time.
I’m a bit troubled by the supposed reel flip in New Potato Caboose, mentioned by both Charlie Miller and deadlists – I can’t hear it on the circulating tape sources. Edits and crossfades are typically used to cover up mid-song reel flips, which makes for easier listening but hides the kind of reel clues this post investigates. If there is a flip in New Potato, it would make hash of some of the reel-length theories here!
It’s common enough to find channels reversed on different copies of a show (easy to accidentally switch these during copying), so I think the flipped channels on the two fragments of the Spanish Jam are just that. I don’t think it’s necessary to propose two different mixes from the 4-track; I think the sound difference is adequately explained by one tape copy being more degraded or multi-generational than the other. (What puzzles me more is how the end of the Spanish Jam came into circulation separately, from a different source & copying chain.)
The Helix review of the Friday 1/26 show mentions that Quicksilver took the first set, so likely both nights ran Quick – Dead – Quick – Dead. The interaction with the audience seems to have been the same as on Saturday: “Throughout the evening, both the Dead and Quicksilver kept urging people to dance; but with very few exceptions everyone just sat on the floor and was subdued. Even the applause was rather mild, considering what was happening on the stage.” Another reviewer also mentions, “Friday night Jerry Garcia told the audience to vote no on politics and dance. A few did and weren't stopped.”
Coming from dance-crazy San Francisco, “home of free souls, [where] they don’t take laws seriously”, the Dead must have found Seattle (and other cities with prohibitive dance laws) quite a change, and the sight of the whole audience quietly sitting on the floor left them bemused. Their repeated requests for people to dance have a mocking tone! It seems no more than a few people got up despite the Dead’s pleas…
The newspaper report is rather brief and vague on the sequence of events, but this is how I read it:
The Dead start their set with Lovelight.
The inspectors walk in, at an unknown point (possibly later in the set, or afterwards).
The promoter asks Quicksilver to tell the audience to stop dancing – during Quicksilver’s set.
The audience stops dancing “for about two songs” (some unspecified short time, not necessarily “two songs” exactly, and in any case Quicksilver’s songs).
The audience stops dancing “for about two songs” (some unspecified short time, not necessarily “two songs” exactly, and in any case Quicksilver’s songs).
The inspectors leave, the Dead come back on (to start their second set), and dancing continues.
This sequence of events is a bit different than what’s suggested above, and I think alters the possible setlist order.
In spite of the tape edits, the 1/27 tracks on the Road Trips CD include some interesting banter before the songs, which helps to place their order.
LOVELIGHT (opening the show) -
Garcia: “Dancing is good though, dancing is good for you, everybody dance please.”
Pigpen: “Makes you nice and tired so you can’t get into any trouble later.”
BIODTL - the band debates how many beats to start BIODTL with, nine or seventeen?
Lesh: “I only count eight people standing up… Those are the only ones I can see… If all these people here would stand up I could see ‘em a lot easier. I know you people, you’re too stoned to stand up!”
Weir: “If you get up and dance…you get hyperventilation, you get high… Good ol’ oxygen will do it to you every time.” (Lots of cross-chatter with four bandmembers talking at once, can’t make it out but Garcia calls the audience “lazy.”)
HURTS ME TOO – fades in, no context.
VIOLA LEE BLUES –
Garcia: “Well, the cops say you can’t dance.”
Pigpen: “Cops ain’t god.”
Lesh: “But they didn’t say you couldn’t take off your clothes and wriggle around!”
Garcia: “Right, you can still take off your clothes and wriggle around! [muted audience response] That was short-lived, wasn’t it.”
DARK STAR – No banter, but it’s preceded by tuning, which suggests the previous song had been something long where they’d gone a bit out of tune.
THE ELEVEN – At the end, it sounds like they want to segue into another tune but peter out instead. Since it fades out here, it’s impossible to know whether any segue happened or they just stopped, but there might be a missing song next. The fadeout here may well be an edit for the Road Trips release, rather than indicating a cut in the original tape.
My proposed setlist suggestions:
FIRST SET (40+ minutes)
Lovelight (13) [reel 1]
Hurts Me Too (could be in either set)
Dark Star>China Cat>The Eleven (19) [> ?] [reel 2]
SECOND SET (69+ minutes)
Viola Lee Blues (23) [reel 3]
That’s It>Clementine>New Potato>Born Cross-Eyed>Spanish Jam (46) [reel 4-5]
-- BIODTL was played in the first set, sometime after Lovelight, since the band is still griping about people not dancing; it seems the cops haven’t appeared yet.
-- Viola Lee Blues opened the second set. The quick instrument tests indicate the start of a new set – they’re picking up their guitars and drumsticks again, and turning up – and the banter refers to the cops who’d interrupted Quicksilver’s previous set.
-- The Dark Star suite is almost certainly from the first set, since otherwise the second set would be some 90 minutes long and there would be more reel cuts.
-- The Dark Star suite could fit on the same 33-minute reel after Lovelight, in theory. It’s tempting to link them, but the Dead at the time usually ended their sets with a big jam sequence (or Schoolgirl), and it doesn’t feel right to have BIODTL following the Dark Star sequence. (They played it after Lovelight on 3/31/68.)
-- The Eleven limps to a finish, and my feeling is that something followed it to end the set. Possibly a reel change after the Eleven interrupted whatever song ended the set, and Viola Lee rounded out that reel; the Other One suite evidently starts the next reel. (An alternative is that Viola Lee started a reel and another song followed it, which would make the second set extra-long.) Likewise, another song (or two) probably fit on the first reel following Lovelight.
-- What songs could be missing? The Dead’s setlists were pretty restricted at this time – the main candidates are Morning Dew, Schoolgirl, or Alligator.
I think there’s likely some music missing from the show, but not very much – maybe 20 minutes from the first set? If the full show ran from 8-12 as advertised, the Dead aren’t likely to have played much longer than two hours. The question is whether they could have played overtime, or if the Eagles Auditorium had a strict closing time. (Do any Seattle residents remember?) The show-ending Spanish Jam on 1/27 (the longest of the tour) doesn’t sound like they’re in any hurry to wrap up…
The tape from the night before, 1/26, features what seems to be a single long set of over 75 minutes, captured on two reels and an ending snippet. The Helix review mentions the probable cause: “The Dead's first set, though very good, was cut short when one of the two drummers put his foot (I think) through his bass drum.” So the Dead likely had some extra time to play in their second set that night.
INTERVIEW WITH DAN HEALY & JERRY GARCIA
Excerpt from a discussion on the making of Anthem of the Sun.
by Sandy Troy, Relix 1978 (from “One More Saturday Night,” p.137-140)
HEALY: We decided that we could collect a bunch of live tapes. We began recording with a small ¼-inch 4-track machine. That was big time in those days, because 4-track was big time, and ¼-inch tape meant that it was possible that we could afford to buy tape. The machine was an old Viking deck that the Bear made by taking two stereo machines and splicing them together into one machine. It was a real funky machine. You had to set it down and have a talk with it, warm it up, and if you got it just in the right mood, then it would record for you, and cease to stop and warble.
We collected about ten gigs’ worth of tapes… Somehow we had a real ½-inch 4-track for the [Lake Tahoe] gig, and that was like the big time…
Those days were before mixing boards or consoles. [In the studio] we had all these small 4-channel mixers, which would be stacked up to the ceiling, dozens of them all wired so they would filter down onto the tape tracks. We got all these tapes, and they were all recorded on different machines in different cities. The speeds were all different and weird and variable. There would be things wrong. The performance would be going along real good and, all of a sudden, someone would kick out a plug, or the power would go off and the performance would be ended prematurely.
We got back into the studio and it turned out that there wasn’t one performance that played all the way through and did anything. We decided that what we would do was just devise a way to be able to play them all by aligning and starting two different performances in the same place, and comparing the different meters and rhythms.
GARCIA: Four stereo pairs of completely different shows that all started in the same meter and had about the same tuning… The performances were all on different tape mediums, and there wasn’t the ability to have four 4-tracks all in one studio so that you could make it easy on yourself, just put on all the tapes and work through them. You had to convert. Columbus Recording had three 2-tracks, a mono, a 3-track and an 8-track, which was a brand-new thing that was the hot dog machine. We had to convert all the performances down to whatever tape machine there was in the studio. Some of the performances we took down to the 3-track, some we took down to the 2-track just so that we could have enough machines to simultaneously run it all. Then we transferred it all onto the 8-track machine… There would be times when [Healy] would be there with a thumb on the capstan motor of two machines, slowing down the speed.
HEALY: This was way before the days of variable speed.
GARCIA: It was part of the thing of having two different recordings of one performance and trying to get them to be in phase.
HEALY: Some of them were recorded at 7 ½, and some were recorded at 3 ¾.
GARCIA: It was really a fucking ordeal from a technical standpoint…