Day 365: Brokedown Palace, 3/26/90

Just as Brokedown Palace is a bittersweet song, this is a bittersweet post. I’ve been thinking about this post for a few months now. (Well, truth be told, I always knew the last day would be Brokedown Palace, just not which one.) The big question in my mind was whether to continue daily updates to the site or to call it a day on the Dead For A Year project.

This has been a valuable experience for me on many levels. It’s forced me to listen to some of my favorite music at a deeper level than ever before and find new appreciation for it. It’s changed my mind about some previous Grateful Dead convictions I’ve held (like softening a bit on some of the Dylan covers). It’s enabled me to engage with the Grateful Dead community in a way I have never done before. For someone who never saw the Dead with Jerry it’s been wonderful to read reactions and responses from those that did. You can study something until you’re blue in the face, but even so those with first-hand knowledge and experience will always have a leg up; I’ve really cherished all of the shared experiences along the way.

This site has had practical value as well. It’s enabled me to maintain my writing chops, familiarized me with some new technologies, and prompted a deeper foray into the digital content realm (I’ve learned a lot about what not to do, too!). Part of this project was just to test my resolve and to see if I could stay committed to it for an entire year. There were times when I had to push myself to get posts ready, but for the most part I really enjoyed doing this blog. And while I’ve provided a lot of buying options for the music here I never expected to make any money doing this. Covering expenses would have been nice, but I didn’t even manage that. Oh well. I’m sure more paid advertising would have helped, but I’m actually pretty proud that almost everything I’ve done for growing this site has been done organically. I owe a significant debt of gratitude to Mike Healy at Delaware Digital who did an awesome job getting this site moved from its blogspot origins, putting together this wonderful space, and helping me with technical issues and questions as they arose.

So what’s the future of the site? I do not plan to make daily updates any longer. Perhaps an occasional post or two will occur, but a lot depends on my available time. The Facebook and Twitter pages will remain, and the Twitter feed will continue to re-post archived posts. I hope that I’ve been able to create some useful reference guides for people with my Listening Guide, and one stop locations for the Dick’s Picks, Download, Road Trips, and Garcia Live series. I will continue to update the latter as is appropriate and time permitting. I’ll probably go through all of the posts at some point and clean up some of the coding, etc., but beyond that I plan to leave them as is. I’m very proud of this site and I hope that people will continue to use it as a reference tool in the future. As far as I know folks should still be able to contact me through my email address on the website, or I will be available on Facebook and Twitter if anyone wants to reach out to me there.

Over the span of this project there have been 365 selections accounting for 379 individual tracks (as the CD spins) and 53 hours, 15 minutes, and 6 seconds of music.

As for Brokedown Palace, it’s a song that was played 214 times between 1970 and 1995 – so not that often. This is the last performance of the song on the fabled Spring 1990 tour (available digitally here and here). I’ve waxed nostalgic about Dozin’ At The Knick earlier this month and in these pages previously, so I’ll spare you re-hashing that. But given that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this was the version chosen for the big send off.

This calendar day marks a personal anniversary of loss as well, so Brokedown Palace is particularly apt on a personal level for today too.

Thanks to everyone for reading in the past year and making this project fun.

Fare Thee Well.

Jerry gently strums this one in and Weir hits a couple of harmonics for atmospheric effect. For the most part though it’s just Jerry for the first verse on guitar with Brent adding backing vocals. A simple, lovely arrangement. The band falls into place with the start of the next verse, a slow shuffle complemented with Brent on a swirling B3. The instrumental break after the second verse is for Brent and he opts for a few well placed spurts of B3. The song rolls along like a lazy river. The “fare thee well” verse providing a bit more energy, some slight white caps hitting rocks in the stream bed if you will. Jerry launches into a concise solo that simply soars for a few measures before tagging the refrain the end the song. The crowd roars their approval, and for good reason.

Complete Setlist 3/26/90

Other Brokedown Palace DFAY Selections

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9 comments to “Day 365: Brokedown Palace, 3/26/90”
  1. Congratulations on reaching the finish line and, more importantly, on a job well done. This is the perfect way to end it, especially since (if I remember correctly) you’ve mentioned this release as being important when you were first discovering this great music.

    I really enjoyed this project and got a lot out of it. Heard some stuff I hadn’t heard before, particularly some bonus material from remastered albums but also from some releases I don’t own. Some of your posts on Europe ’72 material inspired me to dig into what I had form that tour and I ended up acquiring a few more shows from that tour over the past year. And some of the discussion here led me to seek more information and helped me discover some great articles on the Archive.
    So thanks, Lunchbox, it’s been a fun year and I’ll miss your daily posts.

  2. Thank you for your efforts and a job well done! I’ve really appreciated having quality samples from various releases I don’t own (yet). Best of luck in the future!

  3. What an amazing project this has been! I have loved these selections and your thoughts on them so much. Thank you for an incredible music resource that I will continue to use in years to come. 🙂

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