Heard These Performances Yet?
By Jake Vigliotti
NOTE: This column first appeared August 27, 2006. It was resurrected via the Wayback Machine after an accidental deletion.
Before you start misreading this worse than some of you misread Idea Of You, this is not a bash Red Light column. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Do you even realize what Red Light said to you, the listener?
When the DMB Management asked fans for their input on best song performances, they asked for specific dates. The management knows that you know which performances are the good ones. That suggestion will greatly facilitate Red Light in a few ways; 1. It will give them an idea of which songs you really like (which they kinda already know), and 2. it will tell them which shows you really like, which can potentially lead to future releases.
So why do these specific performances below have no shot at making the ‘best of’ album? Mainly because most of them are old. The performances selected will most likely be later performances, because the recording manner improved over the early days. Obviously, the earlier the show, the more chance of some technical glitch occurring. However, if you track down these 10 performances (which happened to be my 10 choices in the voting), and you’ll be pleased.
#40 5.10.95 - To most, this is THE #40. A stuffed up Dave sang a very personal version to a small crowd as part of a radio promo in San Francisco. The version tells about the pains of a relationship, and has one of Dave’s greatest underrated lyrics ‘All this for a kiss from you, I’d do it.’ It’s no wonder that the song as never been sung that way again, and yet it’s the lyrics that most fans know when they think #40.
#36 7.27.93 - In the grand scheme of things, this #36 may have helped the band more than any other performance. This was one of the first ‘free for all’ jams done by the band. Prior to this, #36 was an upbeat song that had lyrics describing a bloody murder. The Chris Hani lyrics disappeared for this version, and Oteil Burbridge and Mike Durham sat in on this version. Counting the jam the preceded it, this song clocks in at about 24 minutes. There aren’t too many performances of any song longer than that prior to 7.27.93.
Halloween 11.9.94 - Some Halloween’s sound down right evil. This performance, with a great jam intro, is one of the best Halloween’s ever. It’s during that time when Halloween was very hard and raw in sound, almost unpolished.
Raven 6.20.00 - This is a modern performance that really has no shot of making it onto a release because the lyrics were so vastly different than the current version. Early Raven’s had almost a “Glass Onion” (Beatles) style, referencing other DMB songs “Too Much is not enough”… , “sip it like your Typical”. It’s the first live Raven, and you’ll never hear another version like it.
Say Goodbye 7.22.94 - this is a good performance because A. hardly anyone has heard it (the master tape was lost) and B. Dave slips up, and sings, “You’ve got your wife, I’ve got my wine.” Um…. What was that first part again? Really puts a twist on the song (pre-Brokeback Days too!) .
Tripping Billies 12.29.92 - Usually, you can say about the ‘popular’ songs, all the performances sound the same. This one, in particular, has a lot more energy than the normal Billies. It’s during the Peter Griesar era, and his keys accompany the song perfectly. It’s a high energy set closer for a very underrated show.
Warehouse 11.3.92 - There was a time when you mentioned “Warehouse”, the suggestion was ‘what is the second best Warehouse?’, because everyone knew this was the best. To say that it gets all weird in the middle is like saying that Mel Gibson should’ve passed the keys (that’d be an understatement). It’s almost indescribable what happens to the middle of the song.
Blue Water Baboon Farm 5.5.92 - During a radio interview/performance hosted by Rob Beamer (now associated with the band), someone called in and asked Dave to play “Blue Water Baboon Farm”. Dave didn’t really know what they meant (or so he said), and introduced “The Big Blue Baboon Farm”. The first live performance is haunting. It’s a rare Blue Water that doesn’t segue into Minarets or Typical Situation, but they lyrics are clear and cold – it’s a shame it’s no longer in the regular rotation.
Don’t Burn The Pig 8.31.96 - The current version, Pig, is a fan favorite, but this version – the last DBTP version full band, is great. Dave begins the song with a story intro (like he used in Little Thing during Dave and Tim shows), telling how he saw a TV show about burning pigs to test their tolerance to pain. It’s a performance that’ll leave you wondering why they ditched it for Pig.
Minarets 3.31.94 - A lot of the Minarets from this time period sound about the same, but this is the one that put the intro, rap, and song together perfectly. Carter did the “Slow and Low” rap intro, Dave sang the low intro “I hear, Rain…”. The performance is the top performance of the 94 Minarets.
The views and comments expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of antsmarching.org.