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Live / Dead
Grateful Dead
Live / Dead
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Expanded & remastered (HDCD) version of the band's 1969 tour de force spotlighting the band in all their onstage glory, features the single version of 'Dark Star' as a hidden bonus track. Digipak. Warner/Rhino. 2003.


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CD Details

All Artists: Grateful Dead
Title: Live / Dead
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Original Release Date: 1/1/1969
Re-Release Date: 2/25/2003
Album Type: Live, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Jam Bands, Rock Jam Bands, Psychedelic Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 081227439521, 081227439569


Album Description
Expanded & remastered (HDCD) version of the band's 1969 tour de force spotlighting the band in all their onstage glory, features the single version of 'Dark Star' as a hidden bonus track. Digipak. Warner/Rhino. 2003.

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Timothy M. (SELTAEBS) from OXFORD, CT
Reviewed on 6/29/2007...

CD Reviews

Essential Dead and A Great First Buy!!!
Louie Bourland | Garden Grove CA | 05/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If there had to be only one Grateful Dead CD to run out and get, "Live/Dead" would have to be it. This album tops the list of many Deadheads as the bands best album overall. There's plenty of reason for it as well. This is the Dead in their prime and at their very best performance-wise and music-wise.
"Live/Dead" opens with the famed 23-minute version of "Dark Star". This is the ultimate Dead-jam track. The band plays off each other like seasoned pros. Jerry Garcia performs one of his greatest guitar leads here and his voice is in ship-shape throughout. This version of "Dark Star" still holds up even today.
After "Dark Star" runs its 23-minutes, it is followed directly by "Saint Stephen". The studio version of this track appears on "Aoxomoxoa" but the live version included here is much more agressive and stronger. This leads into another Dead jamfest entitled "The Eleven". The interplay between all the band members is clearly in evidence here. Bassist Phil Lesh pumps out a chordal bass structure in 11/8 while drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart lock everything into place. Jerry once again flys high on his lead guitar.
"The Eleven" leads directly into "Turn On Your Lovelight". Now, it's Pigpen's turn to steal the show. Over the course of 15-minutes, Pigpen leads the band and the audience in a swaggering sing-along. He really knew how to get the crowd going as it can clearly be heard here. Kreutzmann and Hart grab the spotlight as well performing their famed drum duet.
Next up is "Death Don't Have No Mercy", a somber piece in which you can almost feel the pain in Jerry's voice. Great musicianship here as well. Then there's the self-explanitory "Feedback", 8-minutes of it to be exact. This is another prime example of what the Dead shows were like at this time. Sometimes they'd jam and the improvisation would disappear into a howling gale-force of feedback for several minutes. The track included here is just one of those examples. Later on, these parts of the Dead shows would become known as "Space".
To close the album, the Dead bid us goodnight with a sweet acapella rendition of..what else but "And We Bid You Goodnight".
I don't consider myself a Deadhead but I do call myself a fan. I did not begin listening to their music extensively until the untimely death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. "Live/Dead" was the first Grateful Dead album I ever owned and I'm quite pleased that it was. This one still gets the most plays in my CD player.
If you're new to the Dead's music and have never owned anything by the band before, "Live/Dead" is an ideal place to start. You won't be disappointed."
The Dead have universal appeal - and this album proves it
Jeffrey Blehar | Potomac, MD | 10/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Let's make something clear here: I'm not a dope-smokin' hippie. In fact, I'm a button-down Sideshow Bob right-wing type. (Perish the thought!)

Why am I telling you this? Certainly not to antagonize you. Only to make clear that when I say that the surpassing glory of the Grateful Dead was their capacity to be the world's most roof-shaking JAM BAND, it ain't because I'm a '60s acid casualty - it's because this group has universal appeal.

That's right: universal appeal, at least for anyone who appreciates intellectually and emotionally compelling instrumental, vocal, and improvisational rock music. The Dead were actually far more versatile than their detractors ever give them credit for (they played CONVINCING country, blues, and folk music - no mean feat - as well as the hardest of hardcore psychedelia, rock, and jazz-rock), but still it has to be said that they were the only group in the world that could spend 30 minutes improvising around the pedal-point signature of "Dark Star" or the hammer-lock riff of "The Other One" while completely holding a sober man's attention. The drugs, the hippie culture associated with the group, and the clutch of febrile imitators that have sprung up in the Dead's wake (yet are unworthy of holding Keith Godchaux's jockstrap) have all unfortunately obscured the brilliance of their music.

Which is a shame, because Live/Dead, the FIRST (but it warn't the last!) live album the band ever released back in 1969, lets that jammin' freak flag FLY HIGH. The shortest song on this album is a blink-and-you-missed-it 6 minutes 32 seconds, but the length of the songs shouldn't be taken to indicate laziness or indulgence. For an album which only has 5 actual songs plus an 8-minute squall of exploratory feedback, there's actually an immense amount of substance. "Dark Star" itself is endlessly rewarding, and needs little praise from me given what's already been written by others here. Suffice to say that it is the centerpiece of the album.

"St. Stephen" follows directly out of "Dark Star," and punches with far more force and grit than the weak studio cut from Aoxomoxoa. Raising the stakes, the Dead then traipse across a delightful bridge ("William Tell has stretched his bow") before jumping off the other side into the kaleidoscopic whirlpool of "The Eleven," where both band and audience become so deliriously dizzy with joy that even Jerry's audible mistakes just enhance the feeling of barely-controlled ecstasy. (In his definitive Beatles study "Revolution In The Head," noted music critic Ian MacDonald wrote that he considered this performance of "The Eleven" to embody the boundlessly optimistic "Spirit of '67" like nothing else he had ever heard).

The aerial highs of "The Eleven" finally give way to blues-shouter Ron "Pigpen" McKernan's jaunt through "Turn On Your Lovelight." (Another incidental note: the original 2-LP forced you to get up and flip between "Dark Star" and "St. Stephen," "The Eleven" and "Lovelight," a necessity induced by vinyl limitations, but one which really hurt the flow of the album nonetheless. The CD, however, segues all of these songs together as one long block of music, the way they were meant to be heard.) Pig raps and rolls while Weir and Lesh play call-and-reponse with the backing vocals and Garcia darts in and out with bouncy bop-rock guitar lines. At 15 minutes, a song like this SHOULD drag (I've heard many live versions where it does), but it's a testament to how tight the group was that night (1/26/69 for this and "The Eleven") that it doesn't sag at all.

"Turn On Your Lovelight" finally tumbles to an orgasmic close (Lesh: "And LEAVE it on!"), and we're left with an uncharacteristically dark, bleak end to our journey with the Garcia-sung "Death Don't Have No Mercy" (this is probably the best version I've heard, though the one featured on Two From The Vault is close) and a squall of disarming, yet compelling feedback...but what's that we hear right before the conclusion of the album? "Lay down, my dear brothers/Lay down and take your rest/Oh won't you lay your heads upon your saviour's breast?/I love you, but Jesus loves you the best/And we bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight." Ah yes. A sweet little send-off to make clear it's all been in good fun.

Live/Dead gives the lie to every claim ever made about The Grateful Dead being underachievers who coasted on musty left-wing nostalgia or a mediocrity made possible by drug-lowered standards. These songs, despite their length, aren't the slightest bit indulgent, and prove - for those whose prejudice hasn't sealed their ears - that the Dead were, on any given night, the best show in town."