August 16, 2022 Subject:
This was the year that getting a ticket to the NYE party became extreme. There were so many people looking for a miracle. We got there in the afternoon and the line to get in that night was already long. Somehow we got mail order tix for our whole crew w/no shutouts – everybody that wanted to go got one. I have no memory of openers Mason Williams>Neville Brothers>Looters, other than how long the proceedings lasted. You would spend more than 12 hours at the venue, coming out before dawn exhausted, hungry, frazzled (especially if you marathoned the whole run). Our crew had two mishaps: one mistook the voice of the universe and "had to talk to Jerry", got ejected, and came to his senses at a BART station across the bay. The other was carried to the Haight-Ashbury free clinic. A couple songs this night were the best versions I ever saw. Clearly we made the motel manager nervous and late the next day she was pounding on the door trying to eject us, apparently having called the room several times. I gathered funds and went down to the desk and said, "It's New Year's Day. Surely you know all your guests were celebrating all night. Here's for tonight – as promised two days ago. See? No worries." This was a tape set I listened to many times – even while accruing more shows – because I like several of the song versions. Many years later, I was surprised in a music store to see the show had been released (calling it "the historic 1987 concert"). Remember, this was the first release that featured a single show.
This show has the final Day-O and the only Do You Wanna Dance?. It's known for the length [22 songs], the Bertha opener, Bird Song and the Iko, though it's solid throughout. Of the 20 NYE shows we have, this is the most consistent. It was a pay-per-view TV broadcast and also had a separate FM feed. While some FM stations broadcast the show live, those that carried the King Biscuit Flower Hour broadcast that version 21Feb88 (vinyl mix, first set, mailed to FM stations). This was their second production by King Biscuit.
First Set. They are already warmed for Bertha (I have always dug this version; see what you think). In the movie you can see Bobby start this sweet Promised Land, but it inexplicably cuts to CR&S – probably a technical issue or audio cut. Too bad, Cold Rain & Snow is precise and kicks all brands of butt. Bobby then catapults Little Red Rooster into X factor. Push Comes to Shove has a few lyric snafus and a solo snafu, so Jer adds a measure. Masterpiece is now much slower than when it premiered in June, becoming a pure shuffle. Others have cited this Bird Song over the years, so I'll just say it's an era top. A super tight Music Never Stopped leads to the break to prepare for the countdown festivities.
Second Set. For the parade, Bill Graham rides in on the Golden Gate Bridge, doves are released and the balloons drop for the countdown. YouTube has Graham's entrance, the third set with the Nevilles, and the pay-per-view viewer's choice ad [all cut from the movie]. There are also several pre-taped skits and a Q & A with the band [some on the DVD, but one or two were for the PPV; check YT]. One has Mickey being good-natured after years of being told he looked like Nimoy. 1988 starts with a superb Hellina, trailed by a solid Uncle John's. Terrapin is the standard run through. Billy teases (or rather, plays) NFA late in Drums, followed by Jer teasing TOO early in Space (the OFF has a 10sec edit at the beginning). Wharf Rat is where things start to float again, with Jer captivating all. Throwing Stones>Not Fade Away is intricately played.
Third set. The Nevilles come out, and Dewiminna is everybody just feeling things out, so they can revel in a celebratory Iko Iko (a song on the Neville's then-recent, most popular album, Fiyo). This shows up on lists of fave Ikos, and is a must hear once. Brent really smokes here, and this has a certain mojo [even with no representable sources], though few real fireworks. Note that not all players are audible on the SBD, including Brian Stoltz's solo. You can hear him on AUDs, however Art Neville's verse is not audible on AUDs [nor his verse on Wanna Dance]. The obvious solution would be a MTX. The Dead/Nevilles had played Banana Boat (Day-O) in Pittsburgh in July, in a different key, but did not interpolate Do You Want to Dance? as they do here. This is a Bobby Freeman song from 1958 (a Bobby song!), that was on the American Graffiti soundtrack, though most probably know the Beach Boys version. Cyril's verse is heard on AUDs only. There's only one, so naturally it's a must hear once. Knockin' on Heaven's Door shouldn't work (with eventually 14 onstage), but it totally shines. Note about 1min in, Jer yells at Bobby to get to the mic! He's off camera so it's unclear if he was being asked to sing or just pay attention. This came at 2:30am, and Ramblin' Jack and David Nelson come out near the end. Brian Stoltz' great opening solo is again heard on AUDs only, though the film version is still poignant.
Bertha – already warmed, classic version
Cold Rain & Snow – precise
Bird Song – wonderful, mellifluous
Music Never Stopped – super tight
Hell in a Bucket – first song of '88 is a blaster
Wharf Rat – everybody in Jer's hand
Not Fade Away – intricately played
Knockin' on Heaven's Door – 2:30am w/Ramblin' Jack, David Nelson, Brian Stoltz, et al
SOURCES: There are vid sources, FM sources, SBD sources, 1st set vinyl (seems these run fast), and the OFF. The 140070_sbd_pcm has the whole show in best quality. I prefer the gidley_120782 for Iko [until a MTX appears from the MTX gods]. Ticket to New Year's has the best quality vid and multi-track audio [mixed down by John Cutler and Phil], and has all of the first set except Promised Land; all of the second set except a 10sec edit in Space; and none of the third set except the encore [though with some players mixed out]. The show is usually up on YouTube, along with skits, cooking & interviews.
November 13, 2020 Subject:
I Remember This Show!!!
I wasn't at the concert but it was a Pay per View on cable that year for New Years Eve. I was in Atlanta(suburbs) & watched it at a friend's house. Chris Graham was the guys name if I remember correctly! I wouldn't see my first Dead show until the 88 Omni show.
April 25, 2019 Subject:
The radio interviews are HILARIOUS
Wow, the backstage interviews are conducted by none other than Tom Davis and include Ken Kessey, Justin Kretuzman, Trixie Garcia and "Future Lady". They are HILARIOUS (as are the "Ask The Band" segments)....thanks for posting these fun, historic recordings!