Band: The Grateful Dead
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: The Dead were a humongous force on American music in the rock and roll era and the centerpiece of the band was certainly its live shows. Known as the godfathers of jam bands, "Live/Dead" is a peak into that world.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I don't take drugs (save for cold medicine and the like), so this sort of wanking does nothing for me. I tried to give it a chance, but it's just not interesting. At all. Just long.
Best song: Blah.
Worst song: I just listened to the album twice in a row and could not pick out a song, melody or, really, anything. It was just meandering.
Is it awesome?: No thanks.
I tried. I really did. I tried to listen to this set on my iPod and I tried to listen to it through my stereo. I tried to pick out the songs or themes but couldn't. Ick.
Admittedly, my real entrance into jam bands is Phish, who I don't love, but can appreciate. Compared to the Phish live sets I have (two, but both four-disc sets), this is just unlistenable. The solos go nowhere and the lack of a cohesive force is really striking.
Nevertheless, people like it. I'll simply give you Robert Christgau's feelings on the the record as a counterpoint to my own:
An admitted fanatic raves to all the other admitted fanatics. Side two of this four-sided set contains the finest rock improvisation ever recorded, and the rest is gently transcendent as usual. Beautifully recorded, too. A+
So, there you go. Contrasting opinions.