Friday, February 22, 2008
Grateful for Archive
One of the distinct joys in life for me has become Archive.org. Like a bright sunny morning, getting to the office each new day and clicking on Archive is a daily pleasure that I truly look forward to.
If you have not experienced it, treat yourself to the pinnacle of Grateful Dead listening pleasure in the 21st century. http://www.archive.org/details/GratefulDead Thousands of Dead shows available to stream for your listening pleasure. All shows are available to stream, all audience recordings are available for free download, while soundboards are not available to download anymore (only streaming). There is so much depth and breadth here that it is truly endless joy.
Lately, I have been going with the “this date in GD history” link everyday and selecting from shows performed on that particular date. We are in the middle of the epic 1971 run at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY - today being the only ‘day off’ of the six show run going from 2/18/71 through 2/24/71. Therefore I selected one of my personal all time favorites – 2/22/69 Dream Bowl from Vallejo, CA. I love the randomness of “this day” and the option of selecting an ’82 show (have become a huge fan of ’82, by the way), a ’73 show, or whatever year they performed on that date and that suits my mood and taste at the time.
The other option and method I have enjoyed is the “Browse By Year” link - simply select a year and browse through that year’s shows chronologically. Click on 1982 and have the entire 1982 catalog (that is on Archive, not necessarily everything), click on 1974, or 1989 and have at it. Select a show that meets your fancy at that particular time, sit back and enjoy. This is a great way to hit an entire run – a 3 night stand so you get that great variety of tunes that the Grateful Dead specialized in, or check out an entire fall tour over a week or two. Yes, the snozberries even taste like snozberries!
There are also reviews for the shows highlighting listener opinions about the performances, sound quality, and personal experiences of attending those shows. Like anything, some reviews are great and others not so great. The nitpickers out there kill me – complaining the sound quality isn’t perfect, or this Terrapin isn’t as good as this other date’s, etc. This is the Grateful Dead, warts and all – and that is how I like them. Many of these reviewers don’t understand how much time and effort used to be involved in trading cassettes, and the sound quality issues – now it is all digital and there at the click of a mouse. Therefore, I am so grateful that this music is there for all of us, regardless if the quality isn’t 100% perfect. It’s all good!
The one “negative”, I guess, is that it has rendered many a tape, and now even CD, collection relatively worthless and out-moded, but that can’t truly bother someone. The gift is the music and it is there and available for everyone’s ears.
In addition to the Grateful Dead, there are streams and downloads available from literally thousands of other bands on Archive.org. http://www.archive.org/browse.php?collection=etree&field=%2Fmetadata%2Fcreator
There is incredible variety of live music that you can pull up – again all free of charge.
I have not even scratched the surface of this incredible resource called Archive.org. Above I described the Live Music portion of Archive. It also is also and endless resource for classical music, books, news & public affairs (presidential speeches and debates), radio programs, computers and technology, and audio books and poetry. Unbelievably, this is only in the “Audio” section of the site. Go deeper for Moving Images (video, films, cartoons etc), Texts (books, libraries, etc), Education, and Software. One of these days, I will delve into some of this other content… I must admit I feel a bit like Morty Seinfeld – I am using the Wizard Organizer that has hundreds of functions as a tip calculator. Yes, I am using this immense resource to listen to the glorious Grateful Dead while at work everyday – this is truly the dynamite that gets me up!