A portion of the Grateful Dead’s only Top Ten charting album In the Dark was actually recorded with the lights out, but this segment never made onto the album. The album was recorded in an unusual fashion, because the band was constantly touring and they had a lot of the new material that they had been playing live for several years, so they decided to record the basic tracks live on stage in an empty auditorium. Playing without an audience just to themselves was an experiment for them.
Drummer Mickey Heart said that they set their equipment up onstage, but there was no audience and as they were looking at each other, he came up with the idea to turn the lights off. He told the equipment guy, “On my signal, turn the lights off”. Mickey didn’t tell anybody else, about his joke. When the signal was given, the lights went off and the guitarists Garcia, Weir and Lesh started tuning up, but they couldn’t see their fretboards and Mickey and Bill Kreutzmann the other drummer were not able to see their cymbals or their drums, so this became complete chaos! It got dangerous, as nobody knew what they were doing, but everyone seemed to be laughing. When the electricity was turned back on, they all stopped and looked at each other and laughed their brains out. Mickey said, “Yeah, it’s great to be playing music in the dark” and the practical joke that Mickey played on his colleagues is how the album got its name.
Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #161 – Welcome back to light!