Today In Grateful Dead History: December 1, 1994 – McNichols Arena, Denver, CO

terrapinThis 1994 show from Denver surprised me with a couple of very good tunes.  My favorite song of the night was Bird Song.  When the song begins, the first thing you notice is Phil’s bass lines, which are actually tucked into the groove.  This changes as the band digs into the song, but it is an unusual and fun way to begin.  As things progress, the song gets stranger and stranger (in a good way), eventually disappearing into a very heavy dose of drums and piano that would not have sounded out of place in a 1960’s jazz club.  This is some serious playing with more sinister tones that you might expect on this tune.  I’ve played it several times today and have been impressed more with each listen.

On the opposite side of the heaviness spectrum is the lighthearted Eyes of the World in the second set, with Jerry running away with things and Vince contributing some very nice keys.  The Hell in a Bucket opener and a frolicking Sugaree are other good songs on this upbeat night.

Finally, there’s a lighthearted moment in the encore when the band launches into Brokedown Palace and Jerry pooches the very first line of the song and laughs.  The band doesn’t miss a beat and they eventually start over with better results, but it’s good to hear everyone having fun.  It must have been that Rocky Mountain air.

There is only one recording of this show on the Archive and it is an adequate audience tape – I’m glad it’s there:  https://archive.org/details/gd94-12-01.aud.ladner.10932.sbeok.shnf

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