Portal:Grateful Dead/Selected Article
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Portal:Grateful Dead/Selected Article

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Deadhead or Dead Head is a name given to fans of the American jam band, the Grateful Dead. In the 1970s, a number of fans began travelling to see the band in as many shows or festival venues as they could. With large numbers of people thus attending strings of shows, a community developed. Deadheads developed their own idioms and slang.

The term first appeared in print at the suggestion of "Hank Harrison": author of The Dead Trilogy on the sleeve of Grateful Dead (also known as Skull & Roses), the band's second live album, released in 1971.

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The Wall of Sound was an enormous public address system designed specifically for the Grateful Dead's live performances by audio engineer Owsley "Bear" Stanley. Used in 1974, the Wall of Sound fulfilled the band's desire for a distortion-free sound system that could also serve as its own monitoring system. The Wall of Sound was the largest concert sound system built at that time. As Stanley described it,

"The Wall of Sound is the name some people gave to a super powerful, extremely accurate PA system that I designed and supervised the building of in 1973 for the Grateful Dead. It was a massive wall of speaker arrays set behind the musicians, which they themselves controlled without a front of house mixer. It did not need any delay towers to reach a distance of half a mile from the stage without degradation."

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The Grateful Dead Movie, released in 1977 and directed by Jerry Garcia, is a film that captures performances from the Grateful Dead's October 1974 five-night stand at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. This end-of-tour run marked the beginning of an extended hiatus for the band, with no shows planned for 1975. The movie also faithfully portrays the burgeoning Deadhead scene. The film features the "Wall of Sound" concert sound system that the Dead used for all of 1974.

"There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert" was a saying popular among Deadheads, as the loyal fans of the band are known. During their performances, the Dead valued musical improvisation, jamming extensively, and they changed their set lists nightly. As a result, their music was best appreciated at live concerts. But beyond that, Dead shows generally had a positive, happy atmosphere, as the band and the audience interacted with each other to create a special environment of musical celebration. Capturing this phenomenon on film is the admittedly paradoxical goal of The Grateful Dead Movie.

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  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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