The Endless Joy of Dead Setz

Excuse me for getting all geek, but I’ve got one of those iGod’s now (code for iPhone) and it tends to take one to the dark side of geekdom. While I’m not to concerned with controlling my PC from my phone, or hacking into video game emulators, or anything too productive, I have become pretty obsessed with downloading applications for the little sucker (look at me personifying the thing). All I really want it for is tracking weather and Reds games, and Brian Eno’s patented music-making app is a be-all-end-all pattern for design on this interface --- but the most intriguing app I’ve downloaded so far is a complete archive of live Grateful Dead shows know as Dead Setz.

I’ll be the first to admit that I fall into the category of Dead fan late to the game – or Post-Jerry. I think it was my teenage closed-mindedness and my apathy for the entire culture associated with the band. But I couldn’t say I’d listened to song one of theirs other than “Touch of Grey,” before I was 21. Once I weened myself on Anthem of the Sun and eventually the rest of their studio albums, I became hooked. A self-professed adventure hippie. And then it all starts to snowball. You begin listening to the NPR produced Grateful Dead hour, bugging life-long Dead fans about primo shows, and ….no I’ll never buy a piece of merch with those fucking bears on it. Someone will eventually make me a boot shirt with the skull though.

Which brings me back to Dead Setz. Pick a year, a venue, an era, a song – you’ll find about a thousand renditions of “Sugar Magnolia” here. There was a very thorough NYT piece on the Dead and their fans a few weeks back that details the differing levels of Dead fans and how the “best” shows become considered for trading and worship. Right now I’m really digging on 12/31/69 – when they would go all out on the freak-out. Honestly, for $.99 --- endless joy.

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