How the Grateful Dead Changed Live Music Forever
How the Grateful Dead Changed Live Music Forever

42 thoughts on “How the Grateful Dead Changed Live Music Forever”

  1. Kanisto says:

    audio missing from 3:13. also recording has nothing to do with PA system

  2. Ѯ says:

    yeeaaaah making pure acid is real nefarious and evil ain it?

  3. John Stokes says:

    They're a band beyond description.

  4. carpo719 says:

    Deadhead here….hit the later years. 1992 and on. Still glad I had the chance to dance

  5. Tyler Moore says:

    LSD nefarious? You've gotta be kidding me. It being illegal is the only thing nefarious about it.

  6. RD FFM says:

    They played with 127dB? No wonder that the guys became deaf

  7. Anandhu A.B says:

    The wall of sound was powerd by McIntosh amplifiers

  8. Colin Peterik says:

    You're playing board output audio and saying "listen to how good the speakers sound".

  9. esreverni ytilaer says:

    Owsley was the inspiration for "Kid Charlemagne" by Steely Dan

  10. Edward Lapple says:

    I was pleased to view a presentation concerning the Dead’s, “Wall of Sound,” PA system. Unfortunately, this video is just a fluff piece, filled with glaring errors and a lack of research. Others have already taken you to task over your typo on, “Decibels,” and your lack of cataloging the equipment used to achieve the sound. Also soundboard recording are worthless when examining how the PA system actually sounded. There is more, but the most glaring error, to me, was your explanation of the heart of the system; the noise cancelling microphone. It was the one piece of equipment that allowed the PA to also be the monitors and it was certainly not developed by Alembic. The T-45 noise cancelling microphone, invented by Electro-Voice in 1942, was a major contributor to the Allies victory in World War II. Developed by EV Chief Engineer, Lou Burroughs, it addressed the problem of communications on the battlefield. With all of the noise of a battle, intercom and radio communications were intelligible about 15% of the time, after the purchase of over 2,000,00 T-45’s, by the US Armed Forces, that figure was raised to 80%. In 1944 there were even full page advertisements in Time, Life, Look, etc., extolling the virtues of the T-45. It made EV a major player in the audio business and it was such a brilliant and simple idea. It required no new technology; you simply taped two identical microphones together and joined their output wires in the connector. Then the trick; you reversed the polarity, (+ & -) of one mic. The result was that ambient sound cancelled; the talker spoke into only one mic and came through clear as a bell. That’s where the noise cancelling microphone came from and, without that, there would never have been a, “Wall of Sound,” PA system.

  11. Turtle M says:

    Great video! I'm the sound guy/road manager from Melvin Seal's JGB from years ago and I think you nailed most of what the wall of sound was. A couple of friends of mine actually own pieces of the wall! They auctioned it all off after they stopped using it. My only critique of your video is that the recordings you used for the wall of sound weren't audience recordings so don't really represent what the band or audience were hearing. Bear actually split the snake and ran every channel to a back room where there was a "recording studio" of sorts where they could get an independent mix of the show. They couldn't use what the band used because the band was constantly making adjustments and they didn't want the adjustments on tape. They created a separate recording mix live for the recordings and that is what you heard on the clip you played.

    That being said, my friend Marty(former Bass player for Melvin) was actually at a few of the wall of sound shows. Unfortunately I am a little too young being born in 72'. He told me that it wasn't loud and you could hear a pin drop on stage no matter where you were in the venue. He also said that the Dead was the ONLY band to ever make the Cow Palace in South SF sound good! It is a huge concrete box which is notoriously terrible to mix in. The dead actually made it sound like a warm home stereo!

    I have a million factoids about the wall of sound. I don't want to bore anyone here in a message. Let me know if you are interested to hear more. Thanks for making this video! It is definitely an amazing period of an amazing band and they were huge innovators of sound!

  12. James Jones says:

    Owsley made the best acid (white lightning) and made the best soundsystem in 66-67.

  13. Todd Corey says:

    The Steely Dan song "Kid Charlemagne" is about Owsley Stanley and his ultimate arrest.

  14. Jackson Langford says:

    great video. but the way you say "sound" bugs me a little

  15. Funky Like A Monkey says:

    It's hugely ironic that the Dead's Wall of Sound is so often lauded as a great technical innovation, when it resulted in by far the worst sound quality of their whole career. All their live recordings in 1974 have so much distortion on the mics that Jerry's singing is almost unlistenable in places. The Dead basically created this problem for themselves with the Wall of Sound – their mics recorded beautifully in '71, '72, '73, went to shit in '74 (with the Wall), then went back to sounding great again from '75 onwards (without the Wall). The sad part is that Jerry slaved away for years mixing the tracks for The Grateful Dead Movie…but because they were recorded in '74, there was nothing he could do to fix the distorted mics. You can really hear how much work Jerry put into the mix, the instruments sound so pristine, but the vocals are just terrible. Such a waste – the band were on great form as well.

  16. Danny Dircio says:

    Grateful Shills are trash

  17. The Meat Locker says:

    7:25 is that Terrence McKenna?

  18. The Meat Locker says:


  19. Randall Holmes says:

    It was in late 1973 -I think it was in Guitar Player magazine – I read an interview – was it with Bear, or Dan Healy? – describing the then-brand new Wall of Sound.
    My band was always trying to get more gain in the monitors, but hopefully without the microphones feeding back, so I was extremely impressed when he mentioned that each singer had two mikes – next to each other, but wired out of phase. The singer would sing into one mike, while any ambient noise – or feedback from nearby speakers – would enter both mikes, and be be phase-cancelled,
    I had a brief Twitter exchange with David Gans this past year, and mentioned the phase-canceling mikes, and he didn't believe me.
    I scoured google and Guitar Player looking for that 1973 interview, but couldn't find it.
    Ah, but I recently stumbled on this on YouTube, , and tweeted it at Gans, but haven't heard back:

    @Hard2Handle2269: @davidgans Here it is. about 2:30 in, Parish, @DonnaJeanG & @BKreutzmann, @BobWeir, describing #Bear's #WallOfSound w/2 out-of-phase omni mics for each singer. The Grateful Dead's – 'Wall Of Sound'  via @You

    Thanks for this post, @UCXkNod_JcH7PleOjwK_8rYQ!

  20. Common Logic says:

    They dont make good music like his anymore…😞

  21. imaymakesomevids says:

    The China cat sunflower recording isn't a recording of the wall of sound though, it's a straight recording of the microphone outputs.

  22. Rudolph Drasler says:

    LSD is not nefarious. I graduate with a B.S. in Psychology in May and have taken LSD, and other psychedelics like psilocin and 2ci, on numerous occasions. If anything, these compounds have made me a more open minded person.

  23. The Fungal Attack Is Imminent says:

    I love the grateful ‘dad’

  24. Art Holland says:

    wall of sound aka tower of power!

  25. John Surmik says:

    Such a shame they developed such a great sound system for such shitty music.

  26. Tyler Kasuboski says:

    The single greatest rock band of all-time. Pick a genre and you can find a Dead tune that fits it.

  27. Planet Nine says:

    I saw the wall of sound at Kezar Stadium March 23, 1975.

  28. Joe Moe says:

    As a young lad in the late 70’s and 80’s, I never really got the Dead. When they came to town, their fans kind of disgusted me – a zombie horde of white dreadlocked hippie burn-outs following them everywhere. But the ones I knew personally were all good people and lived (mostly) normal lives.
    The music was all loose and jangly. Was it psychedelic, or folk music? I hardly listened since it all seemed kind of long, slow and boring. It bounced around all over the place. I was puzzled about why some people were so obsessed. Later in my teens, I got some of Deadhead friends and they had vast collections of concert tapes (technically not bootlegs since the Dead allowed it). These were polite Deadheads and usually offered to change the music when non-fans like me came over while they were blasting one of those tapes. But one fateful day, I walked in and declined their offer to turn off the Dead tape. I was mostly ignoring the music when something strange happened. I was 100% sober, but at some point, I slowly started hearing the music with completely new ears. It was incredible – a glorious sound. It was like all my life, I had been standing outside Grateful Dead music, hearing it at a distance and hearing it in 2-dimensions. All of a sudden, I was standing inside the music and it surrounded me and I heard it in 5 dimensions (I swear I was not high). For the first time, I was hearing all the instruments at the same time and noticing how it all fit together. The music no longer sounded sloppy and wobbly – it was deeply layered and free – they were winging it… improvising. Garcia was playing these amazing guitar lines, the keyboard answering in call-and-response fashion. And the rhythm guitar and bass and drums were not playing a standard back-beat; they were jamming too, feeding off one another and weaving in and around. What I heard was not a typical solo – it was group improvisation; the band was conversing musically. But it wasn’t avant-garde or aimless. They were making a point, or trying too. They were striving to reach musical inspiration, and it was like listening to your favorite band composing
    a new song in real-time in public. It was a little like jazz, but closer to a
    hoedown or a Dixieland revival, transformed into an arena rock concert. It was a crazy revelation – one of the greatest things I had ever heard. I started
    borrowing my friends’ tapes and quickly fell down a rabbit hole and been a die-hard fan ever since. But I still understand why some people who don’t like the Dead. Not everyone wants music which is long-form and escapist. It’s not short and crisp and not for perfectionists. You don’t play it in the background – you have to actively listen. So, it’s not music for socializing (unless all others are also Deadheads). But I know that a certain percentage of people are like I used to be. You are potential Deadheads who just does not “get-it” yet. But it’s all hard to explain since they’re a band beyond description.

  29. Peter Tavary says:

    Bro u need speech lessons, shits hard to listen to

  30. superfuzzymomma says:

    On how many evenings was this rig actually The Wall of Taste?, HaHa. Gotta go look for a good biography on Mr. Stanley. Great video, Friend!

  31. Kent Andersson says:

    Decibals >_<

  32. Gabriel Navarro says:

    Stupid Trump, this is the kind of wall we need

  33. Christian Lacey says:


  34. Bob Walsh says:

    Please . forgive me, but I have no idea how this band has achieved its reputation for greatness. The music you played sounds like a any ordinary garage band. It is little wonder to me that the joke, "Q: What do Deadheads say when they rum out of weed? A: This band really sucks." I don't do mind altering anything anymore – and even when I did – I thought they sucked.
    What I mean is – its not that I don't like or get the style – but they sound chaotic and scattered – like a bunch of drunk guys trying to play when they can barely stand up.
    Help me understand what I'm missing here.

  35. arkie74 says:

    no,….live sound today is shit.

  36. tivolidream says:

    What really is the wall of sound?? I thought Phil Spector invented it

  37. Chris Eidam says:

    Um, no.

    It was The Jimi Hendrix Experience that first used high-fidelity PA systems that the tour trucked everywhere they toured. Before the Experience did this, touring bands used house PAs.

    As far as a "total live experience", I have seen close to 150 different live acts, many considered to be among the best live acts ever, like The Who, The Kinks, King Crimson, U2, SRV, The Stones, Jeff Beck, BB, Santana, The Neville Bothers, Radiohead, Living Colour and so forth. Too many greats to list.

    I attended the legendary Amnesty International Festival at The Meadowlands, Woodstock '94, Newport Folk Fest 1967, and a half-dozen other festivals.

    And I attended the supposedly lengendary Dead concert in Providence in 1982. It was a not a total live experience. It was a total snoozefest. Sorry, but 30-minute drum solos and 10-minute meandering guitar solos do not cut it for me.

    But most of all, give credit where credit is due. The JHE, 1967-1968: First live band to bring quality concert sound to concerts. Not The Dead.

  38. Black Toof says:

    Grateful dead is really terrible music, you should stop listening to it. It's harmful

  39. F-350 Guy says:

    Awesome, dude!!! ✌

  40. Steven Docherty says:

    PNW recording is an SBD though…

  41. Julian Kirby says:

    The way you pronounce dead causes me physical discomfort.

  42. outerrealm says:

    Glaring omission, you neglected to mention the type of speakrs, JBL and EV woofers and tweeters, McIntosh and other amps, and you neglected to mention the power used, all readily researchable. Come on, that's just laziness.

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