Day 148: So Many Roads, 10/1/94

30 Days Of Dead 2013

In addition to Days Between on of the strongest songs in the late era batch of new material was So Many Roads.

The “so many roads” lines in the song are a great example of Jerry’s emotive vocals. Even as his playing and singing deteriorated the fact that he pushed himself to hit the notes on the chorus communicated a very genuine sentiment to me. For me this song is in the same category as Attics Of My Life, Ripple, and Black Muddy River as songs that are so well written I don’t mind if the band played them in a fairly straightforward manner live. Granted So Many Roads had a bit more instrumental flexibility than some of these others, but at its core is a very strong song that doesn’t need extra embellishment. Of course, when said embellishment was provided and well executed I’m surely not one to complain!

The availability of late era material suffers a similar fate as the very early period material, in my opinion, in that I don’t want to dig through all of the rough to find the diamonds (although for this period the rough is more in the playing itself and not the actual recording). Again a salute to 30 Days of Dead for doing the legwork for me.

Bobby sounds a bit lost as this one starts. Clearly, Jerry, Phil, and Vince are steering the truck here, but Bobby’s using some highly distorted, trebly effect that really does NOT fit here. Jerry’s first solo is very tasteful and mellow (although still interrupted by Weir’s godawful tone). As the next verse starts Vince’s high harmonies come through very nicely. They certainly sound better than Weir’s attempt to double up the vocals on the verse. Jerry flubs some lyrics going into the next instrumental break between verses. The “so many roads to heal my soul” section is killer. Vince is just on point both vocally and in terms of the keys. Jerry belts out a few lines and the crowd erupts each time. They build off of this momentum and Jerry takes a brief solo, but he stumbles a bit and returns to what was working so well, the vocal coda, quickly and the song ends shortly thereafter.

Complete Setlist 10/1/94

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  1. This was my favorite of the Dead’s late era “new” songs. A lot of fans seemed to prefer Days Between or even Liberty but So Many Roads seemed much stronger to me. I can’t really explain why…just personal preference, I guess.

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