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Columns > Dan Alford - Audio Files

Published: 2003/02/24
by Dan Alford

Garaj Mahal

As always keep in touch with comments or contributions, be they full reviews or some Quick Picks.
Also, keep an eye open for Audio Files B&P offers on the Tape Trade Board. An offer for Dead shns was made last month and a new offer will be up soon.
Thoughts: Grateful Dead Productions folded over the past month. While it’s understandable that a large staff is unnecessary 8 years after the last Grateful Dead concert, the end of the company calls into question the status of the Vault, the Vault series and of course, Dick’s Picks. Grateful Dead Merchandising did recently announce that we can expect the latest View from the Vault this spring, which bodes well for the future. Perhaps the future of the Vault lies in the way of Phish. Now that the initial bugs have been worked out of the Live Phish Downloads, the outlet is spreading the winter tour and a select few archival shows. In the future, fans will be able to choose from any number of releases from any number of eras of Phishtory. If the Dead were to fully digitize the Vault and begin a similar system of release, the Dick’s Picks series which began the archival series trend that is so popular among so many bands, could become a faster moving series, and could do away! with the problem of missing tracks and compilation releases, a problem that has plagued roughly a third of the volumes to date. Only time will tell.
Quick Picks From the Disc Changer:
Phish, 12-17-97, Disc 2
Steve Kimock Band, 12-8-02, Disc 1- Yokohama, the end of a four night run in Japan
moe., 12-28-02, Disc 1- A barn burner of a show
Grateful Dead, 5-19-74, Disc 2
AGP, Wicked Live 2- Boston’s funk squad is better than ever
Discman: Soulive, 2-5-03, Disc 2- Fantastic first night of the Stretch residency
Garaj Mahal, from 11-24-02, Mondo Garaj > Bajo
This pair of tunes begins the last of a three night run in Colorado, a run that is marked by a very warm, rich sound from the band. The 11-22 show has a fantastic *** > Tomorrow Never Knows, and this show certainly contains a number of other strong performances- all three nights are worth checking out.
Mondo Garaj begins with big bass notes from Kai Eckhardt, driving drums and organ swells. As the band moves through the tight composition, someone on stage starts hooting and yelling. Eric and Fareed nail their lines, the organ and guitar stacked nicely. Fareed begins a lead, a short but specific idea that Eric mimics, and then overwhelms. Using the synthesizer, he builds a nice solo, whipping it into a small frenzy, pulling out a certain strand for a moment and thrusting it back into the mix. Fareed then supplants him, taking more time to construct his showpiece, running scales over and over. His playing is incredibly fast and Alan Hertz responses with increasingly crazed drumming.
After hitting the theme, the quartet sets out on a group effort, speedy rhythm guitar, keys that echo the licks and imaginative bass work all meshing to set up a loud, rowdy charge to the end of the piece. Fareed is simply brutal, devastating his lead like the guitar hero he is. The song winds down around his playing, which slowly morphs into a light noodle, and then into the intro to Bajo, Alan declaring the moment with a single crash. The piece comes together, Eric adding nice B-3 washes to first climaxes. Fareed toys with the theme during a short solo, and Eric picks up with the piano, developing one of his signature uplifting leads. His playing is remarkable for its indestructible brightness, its ability to somehow end every note on an upswing.
The rhythm pounce of Bajo slowly creeps in, building to a fourth climax before Fareed cuts another lead, this one crisp and clean, as if a direct response to Eric’s offering. The lead is threaded through the finale, a shiny, smiley way to close a jam, and to open a show.

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