Day 84: Queen Jane Approximately, 4/2/89

Grateful Dead Download Series 9 album cover artwork

I’ve stated several times that the Dead’s frequent covers of Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan tunes are not my favorite things. Let’s just say I tend to use the “skip” button liberally with these. However, there are a few Dylan tunes that grate on me much less than others. Queen Jane Approximately is one of those.

For some reason Queen Jane stands up well for me. My first recollection of the Dead tackling the song is from the Dylan & the Dead release, which I know a lot of people weren’t happy with, but I used to listen to that disc a lot when I was getting into the music.

I did a bit of quick searching on the Setlist Program and was surprised to see that Queen Jane was actually played most of the other Dylan covers, sometimes by a factor of two almost. This just goes to show how strong of an influence perception can be.

Thoughts on covers, Queen Jane, or anything else? Leave them in the comments.

This one starts off a bit sparse, mainly just Phil and Bobby, with a little percussion. Jerry doubles up the “queen jane” line nicely on vox, and the rest of the band steps into the fold. This moves along as a brisk pace.

With so many words it takes awhile to get to a legitimate instrumental break, but when it occurs Brent takes the first pass. All is well here as he cedes the floor to Jerry. Mr. Garcia takes a quick spin, but time is tight as the next page of lyrics need to be sung. Jerry doubles up the queen jane vocals again, and it sounds like Phil adds some vocals on the last couple of repeats, but his voice is very muffled. I’m surprised Brent didn’t add more to this vocally. All told, a solid, well played version, even if it didn’t have as extended of an instrumental passage as I would have liked.

Complete Setlist 4/2/89

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  1. Is there any other band whose hardcore fans have such wildly different opinions on their music? I’m guessing the answer is no.
    Interesting that you’re not big on the Dylan covers, Lunchbox, I suppose this means we won’t be enjoying 365 days of Dylan next year?
    I’m a huge fan of the Dylan covers and Bob is now my second favorite musical artist and the GD covers led me down that path. Masterpiece is probably my favorite but I love Queen Jane, Baby Blue, Heaven’s Door, etc., etc.,. Phil’s embellishments on Tom Thumb’s Blues were always fun and the later versions of Maggie’s Farm where the band members each sang a verse were just great. I can’t imagine hitting the skip button for any of those songs but I think it’s great that there are so many different opinions about the Dead and their music.
    One time at a party, a friend and I were arguing mildly about what show to listen to and a girl there was confused. I explained that we had totally different tastes in music and she said, “But don’t you both love the Grateful Dead?”

    I’m surprised to read that Queen Jane was the most often covered Dylan tune, my guess would have been Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.

    When we were in college, no matter how “dry” it was, my wife (then girlfriend) was somehow always able to find some. So I dubbed her Queen Jane, as in Mary Jane, even though it has nothing to do with this song. But in those days we heard this song several times a week. We always get a sentimental smile when this song comes on now.

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