Monday, November 22, 2004

Carpet Bombing Northern New Jersey

No, this is not a political statement, although having lived there for a few years, I confess some attraction in the thought. Rather, this is a statement of facts on the ground on April 6, 1987. The Grateful Dead had just come back east for the first time since Garcia's diabetic coma in the summer of 1986. At the beginning of Spring Tour, it was clear Jerry was pacing himself, taking time to get back into the flow after having to essentially re-learn to play the guitar. They played Hampton, then Hartford, dropped down into Philly, back up to Worcester, and, with one last southern turn, landed in the Meadowlands' Brenden Byrne Arena on April 6. The band was long past pacing itself here, having found a firm stride. The show started out with what turned out to be the final rendition of Dancin' in the Streets (sorry Steckler -- that's exactly what you get for pulling against it that Tour), which flowed into a rollicking Franklin's Tower.

As the first set began its wind up, Bobby picked out a Jack Straw and the rest is, as they say, history. This may well have been the fiestiest Jack Straw I ever heard, but, fiestiness aside, Phil decided the time had come to let his bass shake the very foundations of the arena, letting loose with what are (very!) affectionately known as "bombs" -- a bass that throbs you to your core, chewing you up and spitting you out like cheap tobacco. But don't take my word for, give a listen to a lesson in carpet bombing that neither I, nor anyone else at Brenden Byrne that cool, misty, April night will ever forget. Incoming!: gd87-04-06d1t08 (open the stream and select d1t08). Oh. Turn it up loud.