Thursday, January 8, 2009

Baba O'Riley - Grateful Dead Song Reviews

This is a great song by the Who which is probably more often referred to as Teenage Wasteland. The song as played by the Grateful Dead is definitely an interpretation of the synth-heavy Who song (which is so dense and complex it would seem to seem to impossible to recreate in a live setting). The song would feature Vince starting off with a keyboard loop (that was only vaguely reminiscent of the original Who song) and Jerry would play a repetitive lyrical pattern.

Vince sang this song and it always led into Tomorrow Never Knows (a Beatles' song from Revolver). This is a great 2 song medley that was played several times in 1992 and rarely thereafter. The drums were played in the spirit of the Who's version of Baba O'Riley, and the strong guitar chords at the appropriate moments added some excitement. The crowd would respond with loud cheers when Vince would sing "they're all wasted."

The bootleg I used to have of this song many years ago is my first reference point but I seem to remember there was a didgeridoo but it has been many years since I had that recording (and if I remember it was a "filler" on the end of a cassette - so I am not even sure what show it was from). The only other reference point is the incredible Dick's Picks Volume 27 from Oakland Coliseum 12-16 and 17-1992 show. That is an incredible example of excellent 90's era Dead. I really like it because it is the final incarnation of the band (no more Hornsby - although he was great) playing in one of my favorite venues: Oakland Coliseum.

I listened to this song over and over on that old lost cassette, because I appreciated the electronic sensibilities of the song medley, the modal qualities of Tomorrow Never Knows, the sound of that didgeridoo (I think) and the response of the crowd. Witnessing the Dead play Baba O' Riley into Tomorrow Never Knows was something only a small handful of Dead fans ever got to do and it must have been great to be there.

Baba O'Riley Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 8.4

Disclaimer: This is part of my review of every Grateful Dead song from A-Z. Music is a beautiful thing because it is so personal and subjective, so keep in mind that this is one man's opinion (and be sure to read my blog manifesto to understand a little more about where I'm coming from).

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