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Greg from Chestertown

Best Box of Rain

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   So, I went to the headyversion list for Box of Rain and went right down the list, listening to all of the versions that were voted as best. It was an interesting listen. A night of Grateful Dead music but it was all the same song. Literally, the first version to the last version, acoustic and electric, with Pigen, with Keith and Donna, with Brent, with, what’s his name?, Vince. 

  I heard the evolution of the song, really, the evolution of the band and everything about them captured in the one song. Each version had something special about it. The acoustic version stood out for me. (I love acoustic Grateful Dead) the bust out ‘86 in Hampton was powerful because of the crowd noise. Anyway, the listen was great. It captured the band through the years for me. 

  It got me thinking this morning, so I looked up my first Box of Rain, 3/30/87, which I thought was spot on. That was a nice listen as well. That version could have made the list too. It’s still my favorite version. It was the middle night of the Spectrum run. I caught all three shows. It had been raining all day, cold, blowing, just plain raw out. After settling in to the first set, Bobby walks up to Jerry and Phil, one by one, and whispers in their ear. They proceeded to lay out the sweetest Box of Rain I ever had the good fortune to catch.  I waited seven years to hear that song. 

  Dark Star Orchestra laid out a nice version in Dewey beach, I think it was last summer. A lot of percussion in that version, really nicely done, as only they could do. 

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A great song.

 

I think your post supports something you do not see very frequently on the HeadyVersion lists:  the top ten or so includes versions from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.

 

Although it is merely a compilation of opinions, some of which are influenced by the more vocal posters on that site as well as commercial releases, right or wrong, HeadyVersion gets you in the ballpark and assists in sourcing strong versions of a song to listen to.  

 

There’s an inherent bias for shows attended.  Everyone wants to be associated with the *best* version.  

 

 

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My favorite of the ones I saw was 12/13/90 - closed the 2nd set.  

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I like the first version I saw the best for obvious reasons but I also feel that it was done  with great care, precious,  and for the deadheads who spent the day in the rain. 

  I always felt after it had been brought back out that Phil sung it almost sarcastically after a while. Maybe that’s just because Phil can not sing. For what ever reason, I ‘ll always have fond memories of my first Box ofRain. 

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2 hours ago, Tea said:

My favorite of the ones I saw was 12/13/90 - closed the 2nd set.  

Wildest Box of Rain placement I saw was 12-9-94.  The second set was going so long that during space it seemed certain my 2 hour DAT tape would cut at some point.  The set closing space->Box of Rain took care of that problem however!

 

The lamest thing about Headversion is that there's a preponderance of "best versions" from '94 and '95.  And I'm talking about songs that had been in the rotation for decades, not just stuff like Visions of Johanna.  I'm sorry, but that just ain't possible.

 

As for the best Box of Rain, and I know this might sound like sacrilege, but could it be the one on American Beauty?

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Not at all. I think the best Box is the original studio version. That’s the benchmark for me. Which live version comes the closest to replicating that version off of American Beauty. (Ever notice that album cover can also read American Reality?) kinda funny, Jerry plays piano on the studio version. 

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3 hours ago, John A said:

Wildest Box of Rain placement I saw was 12-9-94.  The second set was going so long that during space it seemed certain my 2 hour DAT tape would cut at some point.  The set closing space->Box of Rain took care of that problem however!

 

The lamest thing about Headversion is that there's a preponderance of "best versions" from '94 and '95.  And I'm talking about songs that had been in the rotation for decades, not just stuff like Visions of Johanna.  I'm sorry, but that just ain't possible.

 

As for the best Box of Rain, and I know this might sound like sacrilege, but could it be the one on American Beauty?

 

Yes, by far the best Box (musically and sonically) was on American Beauty

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Great call, John.

 

I also agree that the best Box is on American Beauty.  

 

 

It was hiding there in plain sight!

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Box is one of those songs that I don’t really look at like a best version exists since it’s not really jam style and more like a brokedown palace in that the song doesn’t change a whole lot from version to version like truckin or terrapin etc 

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22 hours ago, John A said:

Wildest Box of Rain placement I saw was 12-9-94.  The second set was going so long that during space it seemed certain my 2 hour DAT tape would cut at some point.  The set closing space->Box of Rain took care of that problem however!

 

The lamest thing about Headversion is that there's a preponderance of "best versions" from '94 and '95.  And I'm talking about songs that had been in the rotation for decades, not just stuff like Visions of Johanna.  I'm sorry, but that just ain't possible.

 

As for the best Box of Rain, and I know this might sound like sacrilege, but could it be the one on American Beauty?

 

I think the same could be said about Unbroken Chain, yes?  Is there a live version that tops the recorded one?

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1 hour ago, acududeman said:

 

I think the same could be said about Unbroken Chain, yes?  Is there a live version that tops the recorded one?

 

DSO does some sick unbroken chains. It’s one of those where dso’s is far superior if for nothing else than the dead didn’t do it until Jerry was on his last legs. 

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Unbroken chain at black mountain 2 years ago was unbelievable. Totally amazing 

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5 hours ago, Rude said:

 

DSO does some sick unbroken chains. It’s one of those where dso’s is far superior if for nothing else than the dead didn’t do it until Jerry was on his last legs. 

 

I absolutely agree with you...….I was referring strictly to GD live renditions...….with Jerry

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Um..... Skip’s Box is sexiest I’ve ever been in. Just sayin...... I still heckle him bout it even though he’s been playin in the band forever now. What a killer space, any mornin, any evening, any day. Kiss kiss

 

and grrrrr unbroken chain is much too orchestrated for my unicorn ass, but DSO kills it and I revel in it.... yeah, I ran to dance to it a blk mtn 2 yrs ago that vic81 mentioned.... they get to me like that. Mmmmm

 

also.... I cried to box for at least 3 years when my step dad (in my life since I was 4) died. And I held a certain forums member in tears together over his own dads passing during that.... I love u guys so goddamn much. More than words can ever fuckin’ tell. 

 

See yall at my ten yr anniversary w u crazy kids in a few weeks. We have a Wilmington date w my blood bro but hope Atlanta (MY actual place in space anniversary) and Asheville (where Jesse and I met 2 yrs ago) manifest. Still dealin w stupid kid custody crap, so we still limited, but when they are free, we are, too. And that’s just the way it is. Can’t wait!

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Another memorable version for me was when this band, at the time calling themselves ‘the Dead’ returned to the spectrum in Philly for a couple more shows before the building was demolished. First night’s encore was Box of Rain. It was so fitting for me. I grew up in Northern Delaware. Most of my shows were at the Spectrum. I caught 26 of the 53 shows the Grateful Dead played there. I always tried to catch the first night for the enthusiast start, crowd. I also tried to get the last night because we were going to get a Brokedown encore.  Nice to have it end with Box of Rain. My last Grateful Dead show in RFK twenty days before Jerry died, ended with Box of Rain. 

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My favorite Box, 6-22-73...Vancouver...not even close..pretty sure that's the date..love at first listen...show was alright too ;)

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My best favorite, most impactful, Box of Rains have come from Hunter, center stage opening the show on his knees. First one was on 10/30/1986 when he opened for Bobby and Kingfish the night before the JGB Halloween 86 show. That 10/30/86 show was a short 7 song set: Box, Aim at The Heart, Ship, Ruebin, Terrapin, Promontory, Ripple. We got caught trying to take in equipment, the place was practically empty so they spent extra time searching people. Kimock was with Bobby and Kingfish then, ripping. Hunter's eyes were piercing when he looked at us during Ship, shot us a look like "you better watch out" Heard it loud and clear that night, he got through, all the way through

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