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Stella Blue

‘When the concert is finished were done with it’ and that’s one of the reasons the band didn’t mind the live-recordings by its audience. And that makes the Grateful Dead one of the best documentated band in history. For me the favoriete songs change with age.

For example ‘Stella Blue’. It took me years to learn to appreciate the song. Now it is with ‘China Doll’ one of my most liked Grateful Dead songs. Goose bumps every time again! This is what Jerry Garcia said about the song:

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A dime for a cup of coffee

Some songs of the Grateful Dead will take time and several listenings to appreciate. Other songs of them give you the goose-bumps at first listening… Wharf Rat is such a song. The band never released a studio version and the song featured here is from a beautiful cd bootleg called Floating Celestial. It’s the complete recording of the new year’s eve concert of 1991 in Oakland in crisp and crystal clear soundboard quality. The first (and only) new years concert without famous rock-promoter Bill Graham who died that year in a tragic helicopter accident.

August West

It’s these lines that make this song work so good for me:

… I know the life I’m livin’s no good I’ll get a new start live the life I should …

When Bob Mayes and myself followed the band on the german and english concerts in the ninetees, I still remember the gig in the International Congress Halle in Berlin. There were a lot of US DeadHeads present at that concert. Maybe even more americans than european fans. It was a great concert and when the first notes of Wharf Rat emerged I was thrilled! But american fans react very different at the dead’s music and I was really pissed off when they began shouting and yelling at the song’s most sensitive moment…! Now, twenty years further along the way, i realise it’s the same emotion. It’s just another way of showing it… Above is a picture of August West by Jerry Garcia. Below is the YouTube video I made of the song from the ‘Floating Celestial’ bootleg, lyrics included.

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Without a net

Grateful Dead 25th Anniversary Concert Europe Tour

There is a human drive to celebrate, and we provide ritual celebration in a society that doesn’t have much of it
Jerry Garcia

And so the Grateful Dead decided to do an Europe ‘Without a Net’ Concert Tour. My first chance of seeing the band live in concert. I teamed up with Bob Mayes from Oxford to see the gigs at the Gruga Halle of Rockpalast fame, and two more concerts at the International Congress Centrum in Berlin.

the end of ‘The Wall’
Bob & Schotje

Lots of americans on the parking lots selling hand-made stuff and looking for concert tickets. At the Rockpalast venue in Essen is felt like the floor was moving! And in Berlin I had to get used to the enthousiasm of the US dead-heads. Sometimes the songs of the Dead get very emotional and these are the moments european fans experience the music a little different. Wharf Rat’s “I know that the Life i’m living is no good. I get a new start. Live the Life I should” is such a moment.

From Germany to England. Three more concerts! All at the Wembley Arena in London. The second concert was a Halloween Special, and the band decided to do an extra concert at the first of november. I teamed up again with Bob Mayes and this time Dangerous Dave Phillips from Cornwall accompanied us. Dave provided me with with some unique Grateful Dead stuff like the press conference the band gave before the concerts. See the video > > >

Dangerous Davefrom Cornwall

The bass-bombs of Phil Lesh were like thunder in the heart! Inbetween concerts drummer Mickey Hart did a signing session for his new book. He had to search for his glasses when i asked him to sign the ‘Drumming at the edge of Magic” book. Later that night a great Halloween concert followed by an extra concert on the first of november. A big thanks for Bob for letting me stay at his place in Oxford and for Dave for sending me great Grateful Dead stuff!