Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain
4/24/78 Horton Field House, Normal, IL
This version of Scarlet>Fire from the Horton Field House at Univ. of Illinois is often compared to the versions from 2/5/78 and 5/8/77. The band is ON from the start. A controlling presence right from the beginning, Phil slides his bass into Scarlet. The whole group is in complete sync interacting with each other at what seems to be a higher level. Garcia solos long and fluently before handing the introduction of the transition jam over to Donna. Stepping back in, with Phil hot on his heels, he fashions a lengthy dreamy jam that gradually and effortlessly transmutes into Fire.
[Artwork by Brian Levine]
The drummers get locked in and the groove gets thick as Garcia turns the Mutron waaaaay up to a rude and obscenely high level (in a good way). Not to be outdone, Bobby showcases his recently learned slide guitar skills. I’ve heard some people say that Bobby’s slide work here sounds like seagulls being strangled but this is actually some of my favorite guitar work from Bobby! Garcia is so into it that before the final ascent in Fire, he ad libs “Let it burn, let it burn, let it burn.” It may be the only time that he ever did that. Hearing such inspired music from this band sends chills up and down your spine.
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