This was a tough week to get everyone together but we managed to get a version of a Core-4 jam with Lee on drums and Alan on guitar. This has a whole bunch of implications on the evening including no guests and a much smaller and tighter experience. Not only is it one less drum kit in the air, but it also limits the number of live microphones to two, leaving the ambient air relatively free of reverberating feedback generated by all the open microphones.
Kevin's iPod was playing a 74 Eyes of the World while we were gathering for the night and being that we skipped out on the Eyes last week, I thought it would be a good idea to open with the Eyes to get us going into a good big jammy direction for the night. Figuring we would try to take it all the way out in the final jam like they did in 1973-1974. Maybe this decision showed why we typically start off slow and easy, because this opening 23-minute Eyes of the World sprint at the opening of the night left Kevin gasping for air before we reached Deadstein 12-midnight finish line. Nevertheless, it was a epic adventure. I know Kevin will blame his downfall on the Apricot Newtons, but I will blame it on this giant Eyes of the World to open and all the big music to follow. Starting off as we did in Core-4 format with such a large and enduring jam is quite a mental and physical task and it does take its toll.
I found myself struggling from the first moment on and was doing my best to tot move ahead, thinking sooner or later it would click for me and get comfortable. It never really did and I wasn't too comfortable with my hand/mind/guitar/tonal combination all evening long. This was too bad and as I always think, a lost opportunity since I was close and the rest of the band was playing well. I hardly played at all in the preceding days leading up to the jam and just wasn't really on my game, mentally or physically. Time to practice, it makes things much more comfortable and easy during the jam.
From the Eyes, Lee suggested going right into a Greatest Story Ever Told. In an of itself and at that time, also a challenge, but we embarked on it and at least and it provided an ultimate stopping point with its abrupt ending. I was having split personality syndrome (Jerry/Bob) and was losing my focus but at times it had it moment. So 30 minutes into the night's music, we got our first break to tune up, make and few adjustments and get a sip of water.
You would think the Althea and Little Red Rooster would get us into an easy gate which we could use to trot to the finish line and for the most part these songs accomplished that task. It didn't help my comfort level any but at least it was song then stop, song then stop. Maybe it was the Jack-A-Roe which we did next. Lee kicked it into high gear and we were able to sustain that frantic sprint through the entire song. It felt good and right at that speed and I was amazed we could sustain it. Well done on our part. From there I thought it was a good time to throw some meat on the fire and play the Sailor Saint. Always a favorite of Kevin's and it was due. Could have been better but it had it moments.
Thinking a nice relaxing, easy GarBand song could help us out so we did the Gomorrah, and it was nice and relaxing and put us in a better mindset. With this in mind I decided to try the Morning Dew to close the set. Not a favorite of Kevin's but he can't avoid it forever. With the small format we had fewer stray elements to lead us astray and we were able the maintain focus and integrity of the song leading to building the momentum throughout the verses, coming down after the first lead and then building up the final lead in a deliberate manner. T'was probably Deadstein's best effort in this respect of the song.
After a small break we did a couple of Beatles songs I had been working on. The I Me Mine we played twice and the recording in the setlist is the 2nd version. We took one more small break and tried to do a Deadstein classic, one which Kevin always likes, Help Slip Estimated. The transition was not to be as I messed up some of the foundations of the end of Slipknot! leading Lee astray resulting in a crash and burn at the end of the Slipknot. It was my fault as I was playing the before Slipknot double Am scales at the end of the Slipknot when they required single Am scales alternating with drumming fills. I mended the recording together and we did go into the Estimated Prophet which was also well executed by all. What the heck, we were playing big so I decided to do the Core-4 Terrapin, which we were also able to pull off and we ended this long combination of songs with the Terrapin. This combo was also draining and took its toll.
Once again I turned to Garband to get us back in stride and hopefully to the finish line and the Run For the Roses was the elixir the doctor ordered and we seemed good. The Queen Jane was also another nice little shot in the arm getting us successfully back in stride aiming for the finish line. To break things up a bit with a little variety to get our minds off of the extent of the playing we had already done we did the Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed followed by Dylan's Slow Train Coming. Seemed like no biggie but Kevin needed a breather with only a few more songs to go to the finish. We gave him that breather as I noodled on the piano and like a champion he got up off the mat to play a final number to get us over the finish line. I decided that song should be Feel Like a Stranger which is ingrained in Kevin's mind, one he could play in his sleep. I guess I was right because the Stranger woke Kevin up enough so we could conclude the Core-4 evening with a gentile Brokedown Palace. Woo!
Until we freak again.