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11-07-2006Announcing... the 18th Anniversary Project

It's not often that you get to redefine "early".

For a long time, the earliest Blues Traveler show in circulation among the traders was a Barnard College gig from 4-13-89 - supposedly the show that convinced David Graham to have his father come see the band and eventually get them signed to a record deal (not entirely accurate, but a good story). A gig later popped up with the date of 4-1-89 and made the rounds of the cassette-trading world, but it didn't have quite the mystique of the Barnard date (or the setlist, or the guests, or the sound quality). Then there was a mystery gig which was once dated 10-14-89 but later revised to 10-14-88 once a better-generation tape appeared, but the recording is less than 38 minutes long and is heavily saturated. Not an ideal recording, but still the earliest.

Enter Michael Gould.

Michael was a Rutgers University student who saw his first Grateful Dead show in 1985. He gradually got into the scene, eventually picked up a deck and microphones, and taped his first Dead show in June of 1988. He had long ago decided that music was what made him happy, and he made regular trips into New York to see - and tape - a variety of bands. In September of that year, at the Dead's Madison Square Garden run, he picked up a flyer advertising an NYC band called The Hour, and was hooked immediately. He taped them several times over the next few months, and then at one gig, he saw some "shady looking characters" strolling in. He asked The Hour's bassist who they were. He replied, "Blues Traveler, they're really good." The date was November 5th, 1988. Eighteen years ago this past Sunday.

Michael taped six more Blues Traveler shows over the next four months, each of them earlier than either of the April 1989 shows that until now had been the earliest complete shows in circulation. With the exception of a copy or two he made for John, these shows have not circulated...until now. Michael shared with me a lengthy email exchange as well as a case full of his masters, asking only that I share them with the trading community.

And so, with enormous thanks to the foresight and generosity of Mr. Michael Gould, I present the "18th Anniversary Project". All this week, these shows will be making their debuts on the Live Music Archive. I will post links to the shows as they appear on the LMA, and they will be returned to an audience much larger than anyone could have imagined all those years ago. Michael has included his remembrances as well, and they are reproduced in the info files of the shows, so you can get a perspective into what was happening as this band played the clubs and bars of New York Ciy a mere year into their existence as Blues Traveler.

Enjoy, everyone.

Dave Mallick
November 7th, 2006

Shows from this project available for download:
November 5th, 1988 - Cathedral Cafe, New York, NY
November 7th, 1988 - Nightingale Bar, New York, NY
December 1st, 1988 - Speakeasy, New York, NY
December 15th, 1988 - Cafe Poppolini, New York, NY
January 27th, 1989 - Cafe Poppolini, New York, NY
March 26th, 1989 - Wetlands Preserve, New York, NY