I will say that I fully understand that getting a slot on a talk show to perform one song is nothing like playing a concert. Most bands have no problem with this format as their live renditions of songs are not that far removed from their studio renditions and often fit nice and snug into this little arrangement reserved for the Late Night guest band.
This past Thursday night, The Dead chose to do one of the Grateful Dead’s more popular tunes from the early 70’s, Sugar Magnolia. Great song, always a live favorite and often an energetic 2nd set-closer. Sadly, this night allowed the band to play only the vocal parts of the song, thus eliminating the best part: the enormous, high-energy, dance-your-feet-off jam that leads into the second part of the song, Sunshine Daydream.
Again, I understand this is about getting people to come to the new shows and trying to show them that if they go, they will see some of those great oldies folks have come to love. But the band is sorely misrepresented by this little-dittie interpretation of Sugar Magnolia. I only wish the band had been as creative in choosing a song for the Letterman Show as they have been about choosing set lists on their tour. But I’m coming from a Dead-Head point of view and not a practical marketing one. No surprise there. Maybe what they played was smart. But it certainly wasn’t inspiring. And like it or not, what they played felt rather lackluster and a bit messy. Didn’t think the mix was very good either.
My god, I seem to have only negative things to say! I do hate that, I must admit. ‘Cause at the end of the day, I love these guys. Perhaps that’s why I hold them to a higher standard than I do most others. I’m glad they’re out there. I’m glad they seem to be having a great time. I’m glad audiences are responding.
And I miss the Grateful Dead. And I’ll just have to live with that.
Here’s the vid of the boys on Letterman. Would love to know your thoughts, reactions, regardless of whether or not you consider yourself a fan.