Carroll's 55th Street


Steve B. Joins Us for Some Old Time Dead

So on this cold Wednesday in February we were planning on having several guests including Pat on drums and Steve Bernstein playing lead guitar. This is in addition to Kevin, Alan, Rich, Lee and I rounding out the musicians for the night. The weather has been a pain in the ass for us this year so far, not so much for me actually, and therefore Pat bailed on us for the night but Steve made his appearance from around 9 to 11.

Planning on the extra guitar and the extra drummer I prepared a set list that I thought would accommodate all of us. In the end, it reflected a set list that was comprised of late 1960s Grateful Dead music. All incredibly classic, jammy stuff for us all to sink our teeth into. I distributed the anticipated set list before the jam to everyone and I took the opportunity to hone my chops on several of the songs.

I personally figure it out new riffs for Casey Jones, That's It for the Other One, prepped my Bob rhythm for the Dark Star and practiced a bit the beginning of the St. Stephen. Somehow, I pulled off most of these things I practiced and while practice doesn't make perfect, it certainly makes a lot better.

I had the two single song openers to just get us prepared for the evening and to let me test out my recording issues prior to diving into some of the longer segments that we have planned for the night. As Steve didn't arrive till the Dark Star it was just standard Deadstein up to the end of the One More Saturday Night. I must mention that Scott made his triumphant return to us this evening and before Steve's got there, I was able to capture a few of the things he sang backup on with my final of 8 recording channels. The Casey Jones was really good. It moved well and had some good power. I thought it was one of our better ones. Same with the Dark Hollow, it had a nice feel and pace to it and was smooth and just felt good. That gave us a nice launching pad into the rest of the evening.

For the first time in my life I figured out the beginning of That's It For the Other One and it felt really good to play correctly and I'm psyched to know that part. While I flubbed the arpeggio part, "the summer sun look down on him. . ." we were able to move on through the song and finish up this part leading into a very abbreviated drum solo that Kevin pilled the carpet out from under and we were unexpectedly propelled into the heart of the Other One. That took off like a rocket and had some really powerful moments. We ended nicely with the back into That's it for the Other One. It also just felt appropriate and correct. Had to of been our best one of those with the nice "he had to die part." The icing on this little piece of cake, or shall I say," the bone on this piece of meat?" was the One More Saturday night, That's right.

Steve arrived for the beginning of the second major part of the evening beginning with the Dark Star. While we were all warmed up and ready to go Steve jumped into it cold but from the first you notes you felt it was going to be pretty good. As I mentioned I was focused on doing some really nice Bob rhythm parts to the Dark Star letting Steve to take off with the melodic stuff and that felt pretty good. We had pretty good structure and movement to the Dark Star. After the first verse I started to bang away on the nut of my beginning to feedback guitar and unexpectedly to me I cut my middle finger while doing that. I did pick up a beer bottle to substitute for my finger to get the last few bangs on the guitar in, check it out it after the first verse, but the bleeding out of my finger on my right hand was unknown to me. I don't think it was until I turn the book to the Masons children that I discovered red smear marks on the book that puzzled me until I figured out that I was bleeding all over it. The cut wasn't painful rather it was just a surprise to me. But I was playing the Dark Star told made me bleed, there is something pretty cool about that.

By some type of miracle, when the end of the Dark Star led into the St. Stephen I was able to play all the leading notes up to the St. Stephen intro, close to the Live Dead version. Was kind of shocking me and I think everyone in the room was kind of surprised at what was happening, but when the time came to go right into the St. Stephen we stumbled and fell and had to start over. It's too bad, but in any case it was better to start over, I cured the trip in postproduction and the St. Stephen into the Eleven and Death Don't Have No Mercy was quite monumental. The Mason's Children was the proverbial bone on this luscious leg of lamb.

Following our 10 o'clock break, we had Steve for just a few more songs. We pulled off the rarely played Easy Wind in much better fashion than we typically do. For the most part, we were able to change the tempo for the for the song as required and with that in our vocabulary, we can probably take easy Wind two much better places. It is a fun song to play. Viola Lee Blues into Uncle John's Band was also pretty darn good. And why all the structure of the Viola Lee Blues has some work to be accomplished to make it a comfortable song, the jamming was good and the transition into and playing of Uncle John's was also above par.

My fatal flaw of recording, hitting record button, reared its ugly head during the Trucking and beginning of Going Down the Road. The recordings of both those songs are from Rich's 2-track MP3 recorder. During the middle of the Going Down the Road I transitioned from the 2-trackto the 8-track so you can listen for the difference is it fades from one to the other.

While that recording problem was a bummer in my mind at the time it was good that we just moved on I hit the record button when I did and that Rich records a backup; that was clutch and I'm glad he still doesn't so keep it up Rich. The Morning Dew this late in the evening has potential for real problems due to patience and concentration it takes to keep it at a place it needs to be. Kevin was fading fast at this point in the evening and it took some work to keep him on track throughout the end of the song. He did it though and the Morning Dew was a nice way to finish Steve's night of jamming with Deadstein.

To close the night I have to say the Midnight Hour was probably the low point of the jam. Then we moved to the new book of non-Grateful Dead songs to try the My Sweet Lord which started with some promise I almost hit the slide part, I think to the surprise of Kevin, but by the time the key change happened in the middle of the song it was too much of a loop for most of us to execute and we crashed and burned. I posted the beginning of the song nevertheless. I'm going to keep practicing some of these new songs to get them better under my belt so I could carry us through the rough parts so look to do this one again. Then somehow the Love Me Do to end the night was just great, felt good, had good pace and even the harmonica sounded good, so with that I say, "Freak out."