Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Listening to some Dead show from 1979 on the Internet Archive made me feel suddenly like an interloper or a voyeur. I was never meant to be there, at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Missouri. That place and that time was for them, for the rowdies yelling “Saint Stephen” and “Sit down!” The tenuous, unpredictable nature of a Dead show suddenly seemed not just precious and unique but intimate, private. Yet here I was listening in from another universe. I never did get that feeling listening to tapes back in the day. They seemed hard won somehow—bartered for, borrowed, recorded from a friend of a friend by attaching a cassette deck to a cassette deck. You felt like you earned it and you belonged.