Today, it will have been seven years since I started this WordPress blog. And I only have 219 posts to show for it. This will be the 220th post. That’s a bit more than 31 posts per year. Or about two posts per month. Or one post every fifteen days. I am not the most active of bloggers. This is sad. But what can one do when one is hamstrung by forces too obdurate to overcome? But I did not come here because it’s been seven years. I didn’t even know it had been seven years until I logged in and saw the notification. Well done, WordPress. You’re one of the best blogging platforms ever!
But let us move on to the blog post I composed in my head on my way back from work.
I’ve recently been on a Grateful Dead trip and it shows no signs of letting up. I’ve hardly listened to anything else. Even now, “Row Jimmy” from 5/8/77 is playing on Youtube. It might not be the best concert of theirs, but it’s definitely in my top five. I’ve spent the past two weeks or more listening to Dead concerts, JGB concerts, Garcia and Kahn, Garcia and Grisman, and other related stuff. I’ve been listening to them on youtube, archive.org and listentothedead.com (which is an awesome site which everyone should check out!)
I’ve figured there seems to be a general trend when becoming a Deadhead. You first hear a couple of songs, usually studio versions, maybe a live version or two. Maybe you hear “Box of Rain” or “Casey Jones.” Then you decide to check them out a bit more. You consciously start listening to more of their stuff. You check out stuff like “Terrapin Station.” You listen to Live/Dead. And there it stays for some time.
Maybe this phase stays for a day. Maybe a week. Maybe forever. I don’t know. But then, quite often, you will be prompted to check out a few of the Dead’s live shows. You hear everywhere that their studio albums just aren’t the same thing. Even if American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead are beautiful albums. And so you start off to find concerts. And here’s where things can go one of two ways. You could either not like their live shows and decide to stick with the albums. This is all right, I suppose. It’s one facet of the Dead and to each his own. But the other way… that way lies rapture.
This is the highway with rainbows at the end, where ocean breezes blow. This is the cornucopia that awaits you. This is when you get the sinking feeling that you should have started a long time ago. This is when you wonder if you’ll manage to listen to all the recorded material available if you listen to nothing else. This is when you start talking in terms of dates and transitions. This is when you debate if 5/8/77’s Scarlet Fire is really overrated or just overexposed. (There are better versions of Scarlet Fire, no doubt. But this one is damn smooth. And Phil’s bass!) You feverishly devour every thing you can find about the Dead and their music. And you post links everywhere and try to play their songs everywhere. You try to get your friends to appreciate this phenomenon. You basically become that annoying person who insists on playing a twenty-six minute track at parties — if they’re lucky.
I suppose after this stage comes a cooling down, where you manage to listen to other bands and music for extended periods of time. Where you’re able to contain your enthusiasm amongst other people. Where you limit yourself to internet fora and sites. I don’t know. I’m still at the previous stage.
I should point out that I’m talking completely out of my hat. I’m merely taking what happened to me and turning it into a post. Why am I doing it? Well, because I wanted to post a bunch of Grateful Dead links and this seemed a good way to do it. Maybe this way more people will get into the Dead. And I really want to talk about the Dead with people. Their songs are brilliantly meaningful while elliptic (A lot of the credit should go to Hunter and Barlow for this) and the music is, at their best, transcendental. I’m hoping all my friends will read this, click on the links and, by some mysterious alchemy, become as fevered as I am. There’s so much to listen to!
Also, if I happen to be at the same party as you, I’ll crave your indulgence for twenty-six minutes.