Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Fare you well, my friend

I lost my beloved friend & half of 80sgratefuldead, Sean Pollack, to cancer last week. He jumped onto the magic bus to cross the great divide. If there is a Shakedown Street in the cosmic jet stream, I know Jerry, Brent, Keith and Pigpen will be there to welcome him on tour.

For over 2 years he fought for his life so he could be with his wife and his two teenage boys. To keep going, he listened to the Grateful Dead. As many of us, he found solace and inspiration in the band’s music. Over the last year, we would spend many hours listening and watching the Dead and the Jerry Band.

Sean was a dear friend for over 25 years. He was kind, generous, so smart, wickly funny and such wonderful human being. Hailing from Arizona, he was a lifelong Phoenix Suns fan, who never gave up hope for a championship.

I met Sean in grad school at the University of Michigan in 1994. From the beginning, we bonded over our love of music, especially the Grateful Dead. We both saw our last Dead shows together in 1995 at Auburn Hills. Our last time seeing Jerry sing was the encore of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. On our way home to Ann Arbor, Sean’s beloved 1976 VW bus died. In some way, it seemed appropriate.

After a couple years apart, our life tours brought us back together in Portland, Oregon. It has been great to have him in my life and being able to see shows in Oregon, like the last time we saw Dead and Co. at Autzen in 2018, Phil & Friends in 2019 and our last show together, the Rolling Stones in 2019 (Seattle). Over the years, Sean and I saw many of the variations of the post-Grateful Dead bands but we also shared our love for so many other bands from the alt-country bands (Wilco, Son Volt, Ryan Adams) to Los Lobos, Allman Brothers, Gillian Welch, Elvis Costello, Steely Dan, the Band and Bob Dylan. We also loved watching subversive comedies and comedians, particularly Kids in the Hall, Python, David Cross, MST3K, Spinal Tap, and the State to name a few. We loved reminiscing and laughing for hours about old 70s shows from Match Game to WKRP to Rockford Files.

Both Sean and I loved the Grateful Dead and despite our twitter handle, we really do enjoy all of the years. That said we both saw the Dead for the first time in the 80s, so those years are dear to our hearts.  Sean saw his first show at Compton Terrace Amphitheater, Tempe, AZ (3/25/83). Note: if you haven’t heard this show, definitely check it out. From that moment he was hooked. He saw many shows on the west coast before making his way out to Michigan. We both loved 80s dead, particularly Brent Mydland. After a couple years of wishing David Lemieux would release more 80s tapes from the archive, we created the blog and twitter account as a joke. We loved tweeting about 80s shows and Brent and interacting with a community of people who also love the Grateful Dead.

I will miss Sean so much. In honor of him, play your favorite 80s show and think about all your wonderful deadhead friends.

Fare you well / I love you more than words can tell / Listen to the river sing sweet songs / To rock my soul

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Wow is it 2022! Let's check in on the stats

When we last checked the numbers in 2018, Dave had just released Dave’s Picks 34 and now we are at Dave’s Picks 42.  Time flies when you are listening to great Dead shows from the 80s!

Let’s dive into the numbers. We went back and cleaned the old data, fixed a couple issues and we now are at 276 officially released shows. Looking at the aggregate data in the below table, 63% of the total releases are from 1970s, 8% 1960s, 15% 1980s and 14% 1990s but you will see that the 70s make up only 29% of all shows played over the band’s thirty-one year career. In other words, less than one third of the total shows still make up more than two thirds of the total releases.

Grateful Dead Shows Released versus Shows Played/Documented, 1965-1995 

The below figure shows the distribution of the releases by year and by series type. The graph shows there is still significant deficit in shows from 1981 to 1988. 

The following graph shows the distribution of releases by year compared to the total shows in a given year. The 1970s are shown to be greatly over-represented in the releases. The graphs also shows the lack of 80s, pre-69s years and mid-90s era shows. Vault shows make of the greatest number of releases, because these are the large releases such as Europe 72 or Spring 77 box sets. Dave’s Picks makes up around 17% of current releases.

Because we love Brent, actually we love them all, we updated the shows by keyboard players.  As you can see in the below, Brent played in 31% of all Dead shows and only 27% of his shows are released.  On the other hand, Keith played in 16% of Dead shows but 52% of his shows have been released.  Tom C. gets more respect than Bruce and Vince? 

Thanks to Live Archive and to Charlie Miller, we can celebrate the 80s Grateful Dead shows every day. Join us! 

Suggestion for listening: Check out the June 1987 shows! We are packing up the bus now and headed first to Ventura, CA before roadtripping to the East coast.