Grate-est Hits

by thoughtsonthedead

Disc 1 1. Box Of Rain (7/3/2015) 2. Shakedown Street (7/4/2015) 3. China Cat Sunflower (7/5/2015) 4. I Know You Rider ( 7/5/2015) 5. Bertha (7/3/2015) 6. West L.A. Fadeaway (7/4/2015) 7. Cumberland Blues (7/4/2015) 8. Althea (7/5/2015) 9. The Music Never Stopped (7/3/2015)

Disc 2 1. Truckin’ (7/5/2015) 2. Scarlet Begonias (7/3/2015) 3. Fire On The Mountain (7/3/2015) 4. Drums (7/5/2015) 5. Not Fade Away (7/5/2015) 6. Touch Of Grey (7/5/2015) 7. Attics Of My Life (7/5/2015)

This is the recently announced track listing for the Best of Chicago release, which is available at, of course, and for the reasonable price of $19.99, which was a decent price for a double-live CD back in the 90’s, and money’s worth way more now so that’s an awesome deal.

If you’re debating this purchase, let me help you with something I never do: TotD shall stoop to reviewing something. How, you ask, can something that hasn’t been released be reviewed? Dude, I retort, stop with the dumbass questions.

I was there, Enthusiasts. No one is better qualified than I (or me, whichever is grammatically correct) to shed light on the complexities of these performances, to plumb the depths of their deepness. (An aside: depths must get awful tired of being plumbed. It’s all that ever happens to depths.)

Here is my review, with appearances by both Chris and Martin:

I missed Box of Rain; quite honestly, it’s fucked up for the Dead to include this song, knowing I would not be able to review it. What the fuck, Dead?

Shakedown Street was all Martin would talk about for, like, 24 hours and when they busted it out, he was SO HAPPY. I do not recall the actual performance of the song, but I assume it was competent.

China>Rider was the opener on the fifth, which just blew motherfuckers’ minds, yo. Probably played well, or kinda good: I do not remember.

They played Bertha very loud; people were very happy. Beyond that, I am not the man to ask.

West LA Fadeaway was a dark horse, but both Chris and Martin were happy about it: they both enjoy, and I quote, “Sleazy Jerry.” I do remember something about this one: Bruce Hornsby simply can’t pull off these lyrics.

This Cumberland is one of the Six Cumberlands needed to unlock the Open Gates and release the Abandoned Gods. The Chicago version is fuzzy, but if it was similar to the Santa Clara, then it was terrible.

Music Never Stopped was very hot and very loud and very long; there is evidence that Althea was performed, so I will take their word for it.

We may or may not have missed quite a bit of Truckin’ as we were on the concourse of Soldier Field and hadn’t finished Looking At Things. Did they do that jammy ramp-up into the song like in Santa Clara? They shouldn’t have. The rest of the song was good, though. (Probably?)

Scarlet>Fire! I remember something about Scarlet>Fire! Bruce stepped on the opening riff and Trey was so sad. You know the riff: the mu-tron line that signals the official entrance into Fire on the Mountain. The band might have been fucking around on those B-A chords for a while, but the song doesn’t really start until Garcia decides it does and plays that riff. Bruce forgot, and he just started singing; Trey was so sad.

Drums was good, but I didn’t think Phil should have sung.

I was happy during NFA. That doesn’t help you decide how to spend your entertainment dollar, but I wanted you to know.

Touch of Grey was outstanding: Trey played the solo from the single version note-for-note and everyone was waiting for that part they like, and then they played it just like everyone hoped they would. There was a blimp overhead and above that was the traffic from O’Hare and above that was God.

Attics is also on this release.