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Grateful Dead’s live performances explored in new ‘Live Dead’ book

Crystal Graham

grateful dead book and author New Dominion Bookshop will host a book talk and signing with author John Brackett on Saturday, March 2, at 4 p.m.

Brackett will be speaking about his recent book, Live Dead: The Grateful Dead, Live Recordings, and the Ideology of Liveness, which was released from Duke University Press in late 2023.

The Grateful Dead were one of the most successful live acts of the rock era. Performing more than 2,300 shows between 1965 and 1995, the Dead’s reputation as a live band was sustained by thousands of live concert recordings from every era of the group’s long and colorful career.

In Live Dead, Brackett examines how live recordings, from the group’s official releases to fan produced tapes, bootlegs to “Betty Boards,” and Dick’s Picks to From the Vault, have shaped the general history and popular mythology of the Grateful Dead for more than 50 years.

Drawing on a diverse array of materials and documents contained in the Grateful Dead archive, Live Dead details how live recordings became meaningful among the band and their fans not only as sonic souvenirs of past musical performances but also as expressions of assorted ideals, including notions of “liveness,” authenticity and the power of recorded sound.

A conversation with Nick Rubin will follow. Rubin cohosts WTJU’s “Radio Freedonia” and is a core DJ for “the Bunny,” the radio component of Phish’s legendary camping festivals.

This in-person event is cosponsored by WTJU and will be free to attend and open to the public.

The New Dominion Bookshop is located at 404 E Main St. in Charlottesville.

For more information, visit ndbookshop.com.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.