For someone who hasn't heard any of their music before, where do you possibly start with a band like The Grateful Dead? It's like an endless goldmine, digging through their archives. I read somewhere that there are more than 2000 live shows available online! The first album I got was a live one, To Terrapin: Hartford '77 (released last year); rarely do I buy stuff without reading about them first. This was an exception. I just saw it on the shelf, and I just bought it without much thinking. It was as if I was meant to buy it. Anyway, it was a hell of a treat, listening to The Dead for the first time in my life. Country, folk, rock & roll, blues, jazz, reggae, bluegrass, psychedelia -- it's all here. That first disc with a great cover of Good Lovin' into Sugaree into Jack Straw into Row Jimmy is just fucking out of this world. Also Tennessee Jed and Terrapin Station has become some of my all time favorite songs. Sure the songs seem to go on forever, but most of the time I can listen all the way through, something I occasionally can't do when it comes to Dave Matthews Band's live songs.
My most recent purchase was another newly released live show from '89 (in Philly), titled Crimson, White & Indigo. Great to hear some new unfamiliar songs. Box Of Rain, followed by Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain is sick. Standing On The Moon and Wharf Rat too. I recently watched some of their live DVDs, and they look totally different from what I imagined them to be. It's interesting that they have two drummers. And man, Jerry Garcia can really play a mean guitar -- one of the most influential figures in music history. I like to think of the band as more of an institution. I'm really fascinated by the culture they've formed and the fans who worship the band. Sometimes, I wish I grew up in San Francisco during the 60's.