The soundcheck treated those who arrived early to the first-ever Guyute, which was an unfinished, raw version of the song that eventually made it to the stage fifteen months later. Pungee contained a Camel Walk quote and the Dude of Life Medley contained Trials and Tribulations, Crimes of the Mind, Lucy in the Subway, Family Picture, Ordinary Day, Dahlia, Francella, and T.V. Show quotes and closed with a Free Bird tease. The Train Medley in the soundcheck included quotes from Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash), Mystery Train (Junior Parker), One After 909 (The Beatles), and Love in Vain (Robert Johnson). Antelope included Heartbreaker and Brother jams. Fireworks from nearby Three Rivers Stadium coincided with Antelope and Mound. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. Prior to Purple Rain, Fish found out that one of the crew members tried to play a prank on him by turning his vacuum cleaner inside out. Fish introduced Peter Schall and Brad Sands with Page teasing HYHU.
being familiar with about 12% of the material as it was my cherry-poppin' show aaaaand being from Buffalo, when i heard the Buffalo Bill (which i'd never heard before) sound check, i foolishly thought it had something to do with the Buffalo Bills...honest rookie mistake i s'pose...on the other hand, i was very familiar with the Meters so Pungee was a welcome pre-show treat...also, unlike many, i was actually familiar with some of the D of L material and thought he may make an appearance....that, however, was not 2 b....as for the show proper, it can really, for me, be summed up in one word; Antelope...this version was a mind blower no matter what but, with the accompanying fireworks, it was my first experience of serious sensory overload...little did i know what this one version of this one song would lead to over the next 20 years!!!!!!
THE SOUNDCHECK: Before we even get to the show, I just want to say that you must download the soundcheck for this show as it is both available and also of high quality. As in most sound checks, the band is loose and playful, and there's lots to hear. Buffalo Bill, the extreme rarity, starts things off. There's the first recorded version of Guyute, albeit an extremely rough one, which is really interesting. The Meter's song Pungee gets a very heavy treatment here (they had checked this earlier in the tour on 7/15) and the jam slinks on for quite a long time. It gets so funky that about 8 minutes in, the band almost moves into Camel Walk, but instead there's some hey-jamming. Somewhere around 12 minutes in, the band is playing something akin to Phantom of the Opera and they start singing all the Dude of Life songs from the Crimes of the Mind album (including some ones that didn't make the cut - Under the Sound Umbrella being one, which would eventually make it on the 2nd Dude album). There's all sorts of song references here: Swiss Miss Girl, Crimes of the Mind, Lucy in the Subway, Ordinary Day, Family Picture, Self, Revolution's Over, the countdown in Dahlia, TV Show, and Under the Sound Umbrella. Now the band isn't really playing these songs, just yelling lyrics from them over top of the ascending/descending chords. Finally, after a good 16 minutes, the band ends with a Freebird tease. As if that wasn't enough, a train goes by and hoots its horn, prompting the band to play a Possum-like jam with some train references (Folsom Prison Blues, One after 909, and Love in Vain) while Fish yells for more of himself in the monitor. The band plays a solid Funky Bitch and Fish and Mike jam for a good 5 minutes before things wrap up. Soundchecks aren't too common, and this is a great one - well worth listening to once.
THE GOOD: Starting with an extremely hot Buried Alive,Rift duo, the band was ready to play for this one. I love the 1st set Maze here. Trey absolutely destroys Maze in this time period and this is a great example. He's active, full of ideas, and the rest of the band is exceptional. Likewise, the Divided Sky here is a highlight. Not often the highlight of a set, this version is fast-paced (per the time period) and wonderful. I love the series of hammering chords Trey plays right when it seems like things are going to wrap up - instead of doing that, the whole band plays a series of Who-like chords and Trey plays his arpeggios. Truly a 5-star version. Even Lawn Boy, the bring-down that it often is, features some scat from Page.
The Antelope shines in this show's second set. There's Heartbreaker teases throughout. Not only that, but the band enters what one might 'think' would be BBJ. Instead, the band was playing along to fireworks that were going off over the river in nearby Pittsburgh (you can hear them afterwards in Mound). Feeling extra playful, the band moves into a whole section of Brother before bringing things back to close up Antelope. I'm a sucker for FEFY, and this version is triumphant here. The other major highlight, though, is a fairly solid YEM which has an extremely funky D+B section. Nothing out of the ordinary from this YEM, though.
THE BAD: Is there any? It's hard to find fault in this show. Pretty much everything in this show is above-average, even short numbers like Guelah, Uncle Pen, and ATR. While I would've liked to hear a longer YEM, the Purple Rain isn't particularly strong here. In a show when the major songs are absolutely spectacular (Maze, Divided Sky, Antelope, FEFY), and the shorter songs are played pretty much without flaw, there's not much to note here.
THE NERDY: Lots and lots and lots of trivia for this show. Although it didn't officially count, Buffalo Bill hadn't been played since the fall. The Guyute here is interesting. It features the main verse, but Page is also tinkering around with a Classical song which eventually folds its way in to the song. Trey yells for everyone to sing along. Aside from the craziness that is the sound-check, there's a Blues Brothers tease from Mike at the end of Divided Sky, Touch Me teases in Antelope, and Trey flubs the lyrics to Fee (which he admits, sheepishly). Also, sometime after Divided Sky some guy gives the band an avocado, and the band rewards him much later with "The Avocado Song" (aka Freebird).
An extremely solid show, buffered by a one-of-a-kind sound check.
I got my hopes up for a crazy ass show after the Dude medley in the soundcheck, but for the most part this is just another solid, well-played show. The exception and far and away standout is the Antelope, with a smokin' jam, crazy pre-Rye Rye Rocco jam (that sounded to me like they were trying a Big Ball Jam in the middle of an Antelope), and a Heartbreaker tease as well as what would have been a seamless -> into Brother if they had kept playing it. Great Antelope, but not too much else going on, IMHO. 3 stars.
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