“The Next Best Thing to Being There”: Tapes, Taping, and an Alternative Aesthetic of Recorded Liveness
2023. "“The Next Best Thing to Being There”: Tapes, Taping, and an Alternative Aesthetic of Recorded Liveness", Live Dead: The Grateful Dead, Live Recordings, and the Ideology of Liveness, John Brackett
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In addition to the Grateful Dead’s commercially released live albums, by the early 1970s, fans also had access to a rapidly growing body of unofficial live concert recordings that were being produced and traded within a growing community of tapers and tape traders. Appearing alongside other nonofficial, unauthorized bootlegs, these amateur recordings—commonly known as “tapes”—offered fans an alternate version of recorded liveness, a version that was substantially different from what had come to be associated with the Dead’s official live albums. Recognizing the appeal among fans for live recordings, members of the Dead organization prepared to produce, market, and distribute recordings from the band’s personal vault of unreleased material beginning in the mid-1970s.