While recorded in the late 70s and early 80s, the theme to this Tom Snyder release is icons of the 1960s. Two words sum up why you should get this DVD: Grateful Dead. Out of the four segments, the May 7, 1981 segment is the money maker. The episode features Ken Kesey and the Dead. Initially, the interview features Kesey and Jerry Garcia. Next, Snyder interviews Jerry and Bob Weir. Eventually Bill Kreutzman and Mickey Hart join the session. In the middle of it all, the band plays a short set of ‘On the Road Again,’ ‘Dire Wolf,’ ‘Deep Elm Blues’ and an abbreviated ‘Cassidy.’ The DVD menu is actually set-up so that viewer can jump to the live songs. The video and audio is fantastic, as is the performance. The only drawback to the overall quality is that Brent Mydland is excluded from the video feed with the exception of two glimpses of the back of his head. “The Electric Kool-Aid Talk Show” is one of the few looks at the band during their acoustic phase of the 80s. The deadicated will recall that it was only seven months earlier that the band played their memorable string of acoustically infused Radio City shows. Tom Snyder’s questions are as interesting as the Grateful Dead’s responses. This is a valuable look at the Dead during an irresistible period that hasn’t been well documented on video. The other interviews vary in quality. Merry Prankster Ken Kesey (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest“) offers an enjoyable look into the Acid Tests. The August 6, 1979 interview with Tom Wolfe (“The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test“) is entertaining. While not related to the Grateful Dead or the Acid Tests, his interview is engaging. While the decade is often reduced to a caricature, Wolfe’s conversation stands as a rare look at the 1970s from within the 1970s. In contrast, the October 14, 1980 Tom Wolfe segment isn’t nearly as compelling. In it, he discusses his book “The Right Stuff” that would eventually be made into a film. While his social observations are less interesting than his first interview, it’s a good talk for aviation enthusiasts. The final interview is with Timothy Leary (“The Psychedelic Experience“). Considering the interviewee, it is surprisingly dull. While the Kesey and Wolfe interviews have their moments, it is legitimate to criticize the non-Dead material as filler. While Deadheads will cherish “The Electric Kool-Aid Talk Show,” they should purchase this with eyes wide open.
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This has been available on the bootleg circuit for years, nice to see a HQ official release. The interviews with Kesey and Garcia are very insightful. Steve Urbauer Stephen Urbauer
the segment with kesey, garcia and the dead is great. the music is good, nice performances. the segments with tom wolfe are boring and have nothing to do with the acid tests or any of that. the segment with leary is kind of sad with snyder attacking tim. get this for the grateful dead performances only. the rest is just filler.