Day 3: Cold Rain & Snow, 5/11/78

Grateful Dead Dick's Picks 25 album cover artwork

This isn’t a comment on the weather. Seriously!

Cold Rain & Snow is a tune that can drag if the band isn’t careful. This is not one of those versions. Being that today is a Monday it helps to have something a bit more upbeat to make the day go by quicker. I spend the morning working on a PR piece for a local youth lacrosse club (LXTC) and opted for Dick’s Pick, Vol. 25 this morning. Having slaked my Dead thirst the past few days with some late 80s/Spring 90s I wanted something a bit more raw. What better way to get there than by putting on something with early Weir slide. I’m not afraid to admit that I generally abhor Bobby’s slide playing. He’s even said himself that he basically learned how to play slide on stage. I guess that’s one of the benefits of having a forgiving audience.  But this version of CR&S, which does not typically get the slide treatment, gets some from Bobby and it’s not terrible. So this one stuck out to me. Donna sounds good here, too, which is always a treat. By the end of the song things are moving at a really brisk clip and you can tell the band is feeling it. As far as set one openers go, this is a solid one, and so it appropriate to open up the week with too!

It’s funny that this project has me listening a bit closer when I put on an album, and in listening to the first couple discs of DP 25 the songs that I anticipated as being possible standouts didn’t strike me, at least not today. ’78 tends to be a bit more hit-or-miss, a little more raw than 1977 so it’s always an interesting year to me. On an unassuming day sometimes it’s nice to put on something with no real expectations and just see what happens, even if it’s something you’ve listened to multiple times previously.

Many of the Dick’s Picks series had gone out of print, but recently Real Gone Music started to re-issue them, starting with vol. 36 and working backwards. They’re a bit pricey, probably $20-30 more than they originally retailed for, but still a lot cheaper than they used to be had on ebay, where they were frequently $100 or more. Plus with more copies in circulation the chances of finding a used copy at a decent price only increases! DP25 is available here, but it’s worth checking Amazon and the usual resale sites, too.

Complete Setlist 5/11/78

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  1. Lunchbox, Saw your comment on the dead site checking out some reviews for DP 9. Mine was shipped and hoped for today arrival, not the case, but should e here tomorrow. Read your first 3 posts and wish you luck with the goal of a year of reviews. I’m sure as a writer you are well aware of how hard this will be. Getting show folks on board is always a challenge and hope this happens for you.
    I’m a huge fan myself which has truly taken off the last 3 years. Have acquired most of the available dead I love in that time and own most of everything that is in my dead favorite era, 72-79. Not a fan at all of the Brent Years and cannot tolerate anytime he sings lead. He did have some skill on the B3 but a lot of his other playing just did not interest me at any level. Love Keith and always enjoy Donna great nights. She had many events were she was not in tune, but when she was and the band was hot this is my Dead Nirvana. 73 usually has me all smiles and actually prefer this year to a lot of 72, simply because Keith was elevated into a much larger role with the solos. This jazzy year always puts a smile on my face. 74-77 also battle with 72 for highlight years.
    Hope to check back now and then to see how you are holdin up and what you are reviewing. Good luck !!!!

  2. The show opener is a pleasing tune pretty much ruined by Weir’s crummy slide guitar playing. With a bit of speculative license, you can tell this is distracting Garcia, if not the whole band. Jerry finally seems to wrest control of the song approaching 3:00. Still, the song remains very iffy, mostly due to out-of-bounds vocals and other musical miscues.

  3. Joe – Thanks for sharing. I’ve always liked Brent, although I will admit some of his tunes do not sit well with me. Of course the same can be said for Bobby too!

    Steven – I don’t think Weir’s slide is THAT bad in this version. Of course, it’s not great – he’s no Ry Cooder, or Duane Allman, or Rory Gallagher, but compared to some of his other slide work this one is at least palatable. Notice I didn’t endorse the Werewolves encore at the end of the show!

  4. True, Werewolves is worse. Much worse. Still, I am surprised Jerry did not immediately instruct Steve Parrish to find all of Bob’s slides and give them to the Hell’s Angles for “safekeeping”.

    • I won’t argue with that. It surprises me that the other guys would tolerate this type of thing, but I guess the hydra that was the Grateful Dead wasn’t the easiest beast to tame!

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