My complaint against the Grateful Dead, case in point. On record Friend of the Devil is three minutes twenty-six seconds of bluegrass tinted outlaw blues. (In disclaimer; I can’t understate how I love American Beauty.) Then they get on stage and it’s ten minutes. No arguing, it’s an impeccable performance, beautiful even. Yet it feels as though they’re playing from under the sea or some dimension where time moves more slowly. Makes you feel what the punks were so mad about (you know, besides Margaret Thatcher); it’s the essence of soft-bellied seventies artistic self-indulgence. Taking a song that was utterly perfect at 3:26, wiping it clean of all urgency and playing it for ten minutes just to show how good you play – no wonder there was a backlash of dirty punks out to prove how badly they couldn’t play in just under three minutes. That’s my opinion; I know lots of people who worship the ground Jerry Garcia used to walk on and they eat this stuff up. They point out that it was the genius of the Dead that they never played exactly the same way twice and made every show a unique exploration of wherever their muses lead them. That’s a good point and there’s something to be said for allowing your material to evolve and mutate in the moment. If it weren’t so damn boring I’d agree.