Carroll's 55th Street -
Mid-week jam seemed to have a festive atmosphere to it
Wow, what a crazy year 2011 was and what a way to end it on this Wednesday night, December 28, 2011, the last jam of the year. Jamming in 2011 was a steady weekly endeavor resulting in exactly 52 jams for the year. This is pretty good stuff considering everything that is involved with everyone. It's not easy jamming over 200 hundred hours for the year as it takes its toll. The last quarter of 2011 seemed a bit difficult to sustain physically, but we kept pushing and conditioning ourselves to the point that we should be in fine shape to plow through 2012 in a seemingly effortless style. This year marked the year we began taking on actual Dead shows which has positive side effect of getting us to play many songs in a evening. Twenty songs a night was unheard of in old Deadstein but the introduction of historic set lists and Beatles songs has made playing over 20 songs more commonplace in recent months. This is a good thing. More music for your money and your effort.
With many of us off for the remainder of the year, this mid-week jam seemed to have a festive atmosphere to it. While it seemed as if Alan wasn't going to play for the night, needing to rest his weary bones, he got up the energy and excitement to bring a lime-green celebratory brightness to the jam with a bottle of Patron, limes and ice to share with all. A very nice touch to get us going for the final jam of the year.
Scott, of course was in the middle a a series of concerts including the Fab Faux from the previous evening at the City Winery. His video shooting is on a roll now so he brought his setup to the jam a shot a few songs. Helping on the video duties was Scott's friend from Calgary, CAN Jules, I think I got that right, and he hung and enjoyed us for almost the entire evening. My bother Jay and niece Rachel were seeing the Fab Faux tonight and with the show ending at 9:30, they headed over to Deadstein to check us out for a few songs songs. They had their friends David and Zak, who goes to Miami Univ. with Scott's kids, in tow. They hung out during most of the Gino segments but I did manage to wrestle a Wharf Rat out of it to play for Rachel who used to listen to the version on Deadicated as a child.
Speaking of Gino, Kevin's friend Gene with his friend Ken came and Gene sang a few songs out of the non-Dead packet that were a venture and fun to play. To set the stage, before anyone got there, as the second song of the night, we decided to try 4 Beatles songs out which I had charted previously in the week for everyone. For the most part, this little 4-song Bealte packet was fun and jammier than most Beatle jams, so it was a cool part of the night. This got us prepared for Gene when we would repeat several of these songs. We also played some Pink Floyd with him, which was more in his element.
During the Stranger and at the end of it I was letting go a bit, with my distortion pedal on the "all the way to the right" setting and we blew the ending in a cacophonous cloud of noise. At that point Rich commented on the leads being played 15% too loud at parts over the past several months and we should focus to tame that. I guess it was the year of going to 11, and 2012 will be the year to shelve, but I do understand Rich's comments about those levels and I will make a concerted effort to address them as we go forward. I think 2012 will find me a much more maturing place with respect to leads than 2011. This year I started using new effects, playing and learning and getting comfortable with more leads and jams, and I also switched over to the Les Paul. Hopefully, I should be more focused on the song this year instead playing to survive which is coming with time and it is getting better all the time. Anyway, I agree with Rich's volume issues and I do see a more in controlled year a head of us.
Speaking of going from year to year, we transitioned an Eleven into a Hard to Handle, where the word "dozen" is used several times, to commemorate the passing of 2011 to 2012. I thought that was one of the better moments of the celebration.
Some how we went out strong, a 28-song set list and Scott feeling up-and-at-em, all night long. Maybe it was the nap; maybe it was the company; maybe it was the season; maybe it was the music but it was probably a freaky meld of it all that helped us leave the year on a strong note. Music Never Stopped After Midnight told us all to get set for another strong year of Deadstein in 2012.