With only one other extant show - from 1992 – on Archive from this date, we are going with March 11, 1993 as our Dead of the Day. And, to be honest, this is a fabulous 90s show, maybe even the best of 1993. The Dead start it off right with a solid, enjoyable Help> Slip> Franklin’s. In the first set, the Althea, So Many Roads, and Masterpiece also stand out. The second set opens with what initially sounds like a Woman Are Smarter, but becomes a rocking Iko. Space really gets things going as Ken Nordine joins the band doing some of his “word jazz.” Nordine’s presence seems to kick the boys into an even higher gear as they come out of Space with a heavy Other One and then head into what may be the best Days Between ever. Even the Liberty encore, which was often a bit of a letdown, really smokes with Jerry bellowing the vocals.
Ken Nordine is an American voice recording artist who was best known for his Word Jazz albums, which first appeared in the late 1950s. With his poetry over jazz, he was a fellow traveler with the Beats. However, Nordine was always a little more commercial and, literally, wrote poetry and performed for commercials as well as doing Hollywood voice-overs. His 1966 album, Colors, originally created as advertising spots for the Fuller Paint Company is quite fun and interesting and is also emblematic of his work (check out this short piece on it with links to the tracks).
The Days Between was only the second ever played, though the band would go on to do just over forty in the next three years. It was one of the last collaborations between Hunter and Garcia and may very well be the most mature of all Hunter’s poetry up until that point. As Steve Silberman says in his short essay on the song, “’Days Between’ was the final battlefield where the Dead dared to face the elementary questions of existence, and refused to flinch. It has the same fated, tragic majesty that bears witness to the life force in all truly great art.” It is a beautiful tune – that has no chorus, but just builds from verse to verse – and this version is magnificently played.
Other March 11th Shows and Recordings:
- 1967 - Whiskey-A-Go-Go - Los Angeles, CA - unknown setlist, no recording on Archive
- 1968 - Sacramento Memorial Auditorium - Sacramento, CA
- 1969 - Pacific High Recording - San Mateo, CA - sessions from Aoxomoxoa
- 1971 - University Centre Ballroom - De Kalb, IL - unknown setlist, no recording on Archive
- 1992 - Nassau Coliseum - Uniondale, NY