Excerpt by David Lemieux:
Every job has its manuals, whether it’s medical books for doctors or car part listings for mechanics. For my job, it’s DeadBase. A stunning piece of work: not just a listing of every Grateful Dead show ever played, but the setlists to most every show! And little notations of “first time played” (and “first time played since…”!!), all of the minutia of our hobby that Dead Heads are so proud to be able to dictate. All in one handy reference book. I can say with certainty that DeadBase was used in the studio by Jeffrey Norman and myself during the production of each and every Dick’s Pick, DVD and vault release. Truly, an invaluable tool, in fact, I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t refer to DeadBase. Several times, usually.
We’ve been fortunate to watch DeadBase evolve to the stage where it has not only all of the basics (most every Grateful Dead setlist, every time played listings, etc) but more specific and detailed things as well (GarciaBase, WeirBase, show reviews and stories, etc). And now, we’re lucky to have yet another publication of the first, and still most important, resource for our passion.
Grateful Dead Vault Archivist
Excerpt by Nicholas Meriwether:
In the early days of the Haight-Ashbury, the Dead used to say that “every place we play is church.” If Dead shows were religious services, then DeadBase was our bible. And if every show courted devotion, then the songs were incantations, and set lists were spells—recipes and formulas that showed how the Dead’s restless experimentations could combine and recombine musical elements to invoke mystery, conjure magic, and create alchemy.
DeadBase recorded it all. While the project’s lasting achievement is a detailed performing history of the band, DeadBase is much more than just that record: part dictionary, part encyclopedia, and part statistical analysis, DeadBase is the Deadhead’s Swiss Army knife of reference works, providing a dazzling array of tools for approaching and appreciating the Dead’s achievement.
DeadBase is the ultimate dictionary of the Dead, for its set lists present the foundational vocabulary of the Grateful Dead experience: the songs in context, how they emerged and evolved in performance, their place and their meaning in the history of the band, and in the lives of those who listened, then and now.
Grateful Dead Archivist
UC Santa Cruz