On facebook the other day, a friend asked for some Grateful Dead live show recording suggestions the other day.
I can’t imagine a show that I wouldn’t listen to but I list some recent favorites down below.
There is always gold to be mined in every show, somewhere.
That said, for the past year I’ve been really enjoying matrix recordings of live shows, where an audio engineer takes a really good Soundboard recording and one or two really good audience recordings and layers them on top of one another.
I go through phases where I really just like audience recordings and sometimes when I like the clarity of really good SBD but matrix recordings are another world entirely, sort of the best of both worlds but greater than the sum the parts if you know what I mean.
Generally I categorize shows into a handful of eras
-early w/ Pigpen
– shows with just billy on drums-my favs,
good Wall of Sound recordings circa ’74,
good ’77 shows when jerry was at one of his peaks of creativity and dexterity
and then the later stuff-mid 80s onward into the 90s which probably has about 3 sub-categories e.g. with Bruce, etc. but all of these categories are generally meaningless.
Sometimes in the 80s jerry plays like he did in the early 70s. He was really a magical guitar player whose catalog of ideas were like lines of poetry that he would go back to mine again and again and again. But anyway. I have been listening to about 20 or so different matrix recordings this year. Some of them standout, but they’re all standouts to me and I would have loved to have been at any one of these shows. So here’s a little sample of some matrix recordings worth listening to:
Providence, 1974, wall of sound
Winterland, 1977, great matrix
and, of course, you’ve heard Barton Hall but here is a great matrix recording of that show that may give it a different shimmer for you.