Jesse Jarnow

#deadfreaksunite 1980

#deadfreaksunite 1980
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org. Expanded notes for many shows (with press, scene reports, and images) can be found on Twitter by searching for my username (bourgwick) and the show date. Please consult JerryBase for the latest data, Dead Sources for original articles (1965-1975), and LostLiveDead/Hootrollin for deep dives.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981]

1/13/80 oakland coliseum arena: the grateful dead wake up to find out it’s the ‘80s. the 1st gig of the new decade is a 90-minute benefit set at oakland coliseum, with joan baez, santana, jefferson starship, & the beach boys. the last KSAN grateful dead broadcast. the station had been doing live dead shows since ’68, when they were still freeform KMPX. maybe ‘cuz of the context, arrangements feel shorthanded. or maybe it’s the ‘80s, drums/grooves taking over. on FRANKLIN’S TOWER, they find nifty jam pocket. on LOOKS LIKE RAIN, drummers start at full thump, not even pretending it’s a ballad. 41-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. on PLAYING jam, weir & mydland immediately start making cool mysterious/triumphant shapes for garcia to solo over. santana & john cippolina join for superjammy NOT FADE AWAY, cippolina (i assume) with devastating fuzz, making SUGAR MAGNOLIA especially more interesting. rare alternate lyric on US BLUES: “shake the hand that shook the hand / of pt barnum & the shah of iran!” after the dead’s encore, joan baez leads a “jam”(?) on her song BRIDGING THE GAP, which is actually just the chorus of LAND OF 1000 DANCES plus gopsel-y verses? does the trick for an absurd singalong, actually. baez’s superjam AMAZING GRACE not so much.

3/30/80 passaic: 1st show since finishing “go to heaven,” out in a few weeks. debut of mydland’s FAR FROM ME, still very far from being for me. set-closing SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE has finalized lyrics, driving upwards as weir takes semi-disconcerting leads. 19-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, peaking biggest in SCARLET as garcia & band build to a huge crest & stop accidentally (but naturally) together for a half-beat before spinning their way into a low-simmering FIRE. 43-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > BLACK PETER. lush chord-twisting during EYES outro, mydland making dyna-rhodes shapes. big, excellent harmonies (with accompanying B3 swells) on BLACK PETER. and during the encore, john belushi cartwheels out to sing a chorus of U.S. BLUES. b. kreutzmann’s memoir says it was a surprise to the band but, if so, the roadies were in on it cuz belushi has his own microphone.

3/31/80 passaic: an usher loudly harshs mellows near the mic, but the taper is undaunted. debut of bob weir & @jpbarlow’s FEEL LIKE A STRANGER, weir leaning into the ‘80s, but the totally thick post-disco AOR shuffle groove is no joke, with lots of room for neon garciaing. okay, fine, when garcia hits the tube screamer (i think?) & shreds tastefully behind FAR FROM ME (which he wasn’t doing on previous version), it’s a bit more palatable to my ears. uncharacteristically, 5 straight songs from the new album, though it’s not out for a month. each part of 50-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > JAM > WHARF RAT hits some version of the spot, finding creative improv windows. garcia spaces lyrics in TERRAPIN, but mid-song starlight jam soars quietly & confidently. 14-minute PLAYING unfolds to satisfying minor-key resolution/coda. drumzers never leave after DRUMZ, skittering back & forth on big drums & hand percussion with garcia’s leads. good laser squigglies by mydland, too, before casually triumphant WHARF RAT.

4/1/80 passaic: show-opening april fool’s instrument switch for PROMISED LAND. ace chaos by lesh & kreutzmann on guitars, weir on keys, hart on bass, garcia & mydland on drums (1 of them is semi-competent?). hart forgets words so weir picks up. wish this’d happened more! as 1st set gets going, garcia taps into melodic lead reserves during big, bright peaks, especially FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, IT’S ALL OVER NOW, & DON’T EASE ME IN, carrying over into CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER in 2nd set. FEEL LIKE A STRANGER moves to 2nd set opening spot, sounding more spacious tonight as band lays back & starts to explore, like weir’s version of SHAKEDOWN STREET. some fun exchanges between lead guitar & synth lines, like disco-y allmans. 55-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE has rolling flow & slow build into 1-verse OTHER ONE. jam locks together without peaking too hard, dancing into a short mydland-led dyna-rhodes jazz freak that’d sound boss on real piano. once again, drummers keep thrumping through SPACE, adding chaotic energy as garcia butterflies around them. occasional synth splatter & mild drones, with murky landing into STELLA BLUE. garcia’s vocals are extra-quiet & lovely.

4/5/80 studio 8H: saturday night live, early on easter morning, promoting the soon-to-be-released “go to heaven.” their 2nd & final SNL appearance. hosted by richard benjamin & paula prentiss. can’t imagine the retro southern rock of ALABAMA GETAWAY sounding hip in the 1980 popscape, but it smokes here, now featuring monophonic synth solo. tight band, very present garcia, gnarly solo tone (& solo), & weir in bunny ears because easter. SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE is missing its live energy, kicking in almost exactly as they end. weir has tastefully removed the bunny ears to draw more attention to this cutting edge ‘80s shirt i can’t describe involving palm trees & a cityscape & a bus? mom, is this new wave? on both songs, i love the drummers’ look of utter surprise & delight when the guitarists actually try to end on single downbeats. also, kreutzmann’s got a sweet tie-dye that looks almost like a stealie, but don’t think actually is.

4/28/80 birmingham: probably just coincidence that the dead opened their tour in alabama with a brand new single referencing the state, right? already a usual show-opening combo, ALABAMA GETAWAY > PROMISED LAND is a parade of local shout-outs, many getting cheers. nifty little flamenco riff during the EL PASO intro. garcia sounds kinda tentative during ALTHEA, spacing on some lyrics, but rips hard into the final solo & whole band shifts gears with him. DEAL seems like it’s beginning its acceleration. 42-minute HE’S GONE > OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. tiny island of OTHER ONE freakdom before a mydland/drummers jam feat. synth cycles, rhodes noodles & cowbell. handdrummy SPACE seems like it’s going to resolve into mystic OLLIN ARAGEED-like melody but doesn’t. in a rare appearance as encore, the 1st GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD since 1/79, a dependable ol’ boogie back in rotation for good, mydland adding B3.

4/29/80 atlanta: a pretty auto-piloty night at the fox, slim pickings for jams. 33-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE is bracketed one on side by LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE & I NEED A MIRACLE > BERTHA > GOOD LOVIN’ on the other. low energy & lyrically garbled TERRAPIN with garcia sounding instrumentally tentative, too. from outro, shifts into a jam very much like PLAYING IN THE BAND, builds to speed & all is right in the universe for a few minutes.

5/1/80 greensboro: a fairly humdrum 1st set with a few messy moments, including garcia crashing into PROMISED LAND midway through with his ending vocals & spacing lines in nearly every verse of CANDYMAN. sound engineer dan healy is on the bereavement list, but his sub keeps weir’s slide guitar low enough during 14-minute SUGAREE that it’s one of the better recent takes, conversational & dynamic. garcia seems to start DEAL even faster than the last slightly sped-up version. after only a few performances, i think i’m fully won over by FEEL LIKE A STRANGER & its jams, especially the spare mono-synth/garcia leads & how its “neon avenue” intersects with SHAKEDOWN STREET. 1980 energy for sure. 41-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. just as ESTIMATED seems ready to crack open, weir abruptly brings it back to the bridge chords, which garcia flips with a graceful (& planned?) sleight-of-hand into UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. after UNCLE JOHN’S return over new year’s, it jumps heartily into the jam-suite, its home for the next 15 years. tempo slightly amped, garcia spins a long colorful thread from the outro before a mydland/weir conversation so dense that i didn’t notice garcia’s exit. poundy DRUMZ, fluttery SPACE, decent WHARF RAT, & weir’s now-standard AROUND & AROUND/JOHNNY B. GOODE medley. per the taping compendium, the last AROUND & AROUND for a decade with the double-time outro, which (for me) was the song’s redeeming feature. sweet. another new year’s run revival, BROKEDOWN PALACE slides naturally into encore slot, where it always a feels like a substantial choice, give or take accumulated mushiness.

5/2/80 hampton: crowd is peaking, setting off fireworks occasionally. kind of sloppy, but fun. garcia stomps on distortion during nearly every 1st set song (raw blooze noize NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, power-shred LOSER, edge-of-feedback FAR FROM ME), tone of the year so far. 20-minute pre-DRUMZ in 2nd set opens with not-quite-segue from ALABAMA GETAWAY into FEEL LIKE A STRANGER. just realized that the mono synth under the lyric “reds & blues” is meant to be police sirens. i don’t think this song ever gets the 20-minute jam it deserves. accelerated 41-minute FEEL LIKE A STRANGER > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. the jam into EYES is great right up to the actual segue, which might’ve worked had EYES still been at its slower pre-’78 tempo. the songs themselves are a bit of a mess throughout the night with lotsa memory holes, but the I NEED A MIRACLE > BERTHA > GOOD LOVIN’ party suite sure seems like it was a real party. several times, it seems like the dead’s shows at hampton coincided with an actual carnival in an adjacent lot, perhaps a semi-lost part of the venue’s long-held mystique among heads?

5/4/80 baltimore: big cheer for “pray for better weather” during expertly cresting MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP opener makes it seem like a rainy night, but “half a cup of rock & rye” gets an equal cheer, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. FRANKLIN’S TOWER isn’t quite as sparkling, but it sustains a nice show-opening peak with FEEL LIKE A STRANGER, which i’m really enjoying as a chameleon song that seems to turn up (& *turn up*) in lots of different setlist spots. weir watch: “in this upcoming election… it might seem like there’s nothing to vote for, [but] that’s not entirely the case… a vote for bill kreutzmann is a vote for nature in the streets.” low-key but sparkly 18-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN set opener. does garcia sing “there’s a reagan with matches loose on the town…” the day after reagan’s texas primary win & the tour’s closest show to DC? probably it’s just a slip, but maybe! 37-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. about two-thirds in, PLAYING sails into a very brief pocket that sounds like a SLIPKNOT!/“blues for allah”-era jam before garcia butterflies away, zipping up before settling down & heading out. long indeterminate crossfade between DRUMZ/SPACE with noise drones that sound almost like pure ’69-style feedback (by weir or lesh) before resolving into more tangible guitar noodles & synth bubbles. the dyna-rhodes sounds good in the density of SUGAR MAGNOLIA. i know the dead didn’t comment on politics, but between the proximity of primaries & DC, weir’s joke, the possible slippage in FIRE, SHIP OF FOOLS, & the U.S. BLUES encore, it all seems a bit topical. but i’ve also barely left home in 8 weeks.

5/6/80 state college: sweet relaxed tempos all night. most smokin’ 1st set song is BIG RIVER, garcia’s bakersfield shred gone ‘80s. weir pulls out year’s 1st GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (big cheers for opening thump) & LAZY LIGHTNIN’/SUPPLICATION. at the point in my ALTHEA fascination where i’m marveling at the way garcia phrases the words “gonna want a bed” as “gonnawannabeh-ehh-eed.” other spellings/transcriptions welcome. weir’s “take a step back” routine at the beginning of the 2nd set gets a marching drum beat & pretty nifty segue into a chill, boppin’ CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. 57-minute FEEL LIKE A STRANGER > HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. STRANGER’s funk starts to turn itself inside out before weir brings it back. part of the song’s all-too-brief life in the jam slot. it could’ve been a contender. double-hand-drumz SPACE features slightly-tentative mystic garcia noodles, weir feedback squawks, & organ drones that float into WHARF RAT. AROUND & AROUND permanently (or so i’m told) ditches double-time ending (aka the part i liked) for JOHNNY B. GOODE.

5/7/80 ithaca: band finds sweet 1st set bounce, especially on weir tunes (JACK STRAW, CASSIDY, & even EL PASO) while garcia calls for mellllowness, but even ROW JIMMY gets bouncing. 4 repeats from ’77, if you count weir’s “take a step back!” rap (& that’s gotten more musical). apparently, during the 1st version of TAKE A STEP BACK, garcia noodles on cornell’s official song, FAR ABOVE CAYUGA’S WATER. low-key bobbing 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET (with vocal breakdown) opens 2nd set before unusual hour-long BERTHA > PLAYING IN THE BAND > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > BLACK PETER > PLAYING IN THE BAND that’s novel but not quite a face-melter. not a jam, but weir makes the BERTHA/PLAYING transition feel like a continuous musical thought. weir sings it “playing in the barn,” in reference to barton hall’s vibe (& really leans in with brent during the reprise). near the end of 9-minute PLAYING, one of the drummers seems to fall off a cliff. might just be a mix thing, but the jam blooms briefly into sproinging weird-jazz before weir pushes the band semi-smoothly & sweetly into TERRAPIN. short busy SPACE (briefly) channels 4th world eno/hassell vibes with thumping tom & hand drums & bass drone swells, before garcia & mydland start noodling in more normal modes & it swells into the 1st standalone SAINT (besides “saturday night live”).

5/8/80 glens falls: during MEXICALI BLUES, instead of weir’s usual polka-choogle comping under garcia’s solo, he adds leads of his own & gives some nice movement to a pretty static song. 63-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE with lots of mess but lots of fun. weir uses the weird time signature of the UNCLE JOHN’S outro to count into the 7/8 of ESTIMATED & it kinda sounds slick. a perfect few minutes as ESTIMATED floats into bubbling jazz flows before garcia slashes into EYES, articulating all the chords & starting at an almost-relaxed tempo, though the song speeds up almost comically before briefly fizzing dyna-rhodes cocktail chatter outro jam. some great long feedback blasts in SPACE, i think from weir, & a signature spleen-fart bass entrance by lesh exactly as everybody else is gearin’ into TRUCKIN’.

5/10/80 hartford: another MEXICALI BLUES with weir going off-script during the guitar solo, sloppy but more exuberant. big ribbons of guitar melody in 2nd set opening CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, with garcia leaning into the “wish i was a headlight” verse. 82-minute FEEL LIKE A STRANGER > COMES A TIME > ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. contorted landing into 1st COMES A TIME since 5/78, 2nd since 5/77. not sure everybody’s expecting it. stark & intimate. a little awkwardness before upshift into UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. the spiraling outro is an excellent platform for garcia star splatter & general butterflying. the chaotic energy allows for a fairly convincing NOT FADE AWAY > SUGAR MAGNOLIA segue.

5/11/80 portland, ME: big openers & closers bookending a sleepy 1st set highlighted by the year’s 1st BIG RAILROAD BLUES. some of the jug band tunes have a fun garage-slop energy in this era with the B3. DON’T EASE ME IN, too. 46-minute FEEL LIKE A STRANGER > TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. garcia dances easily out of STRANGER but ripcords into TERRAPIN quickly. short, high-action PLAYING with skittering dyna-rhodes/garcia conversation & other mini-jams. textbook stereo roto-tom thunder in DRUMZ. after a year’s absence, GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD reclaims its rightful spot in the choogle finale, providing some garcia counterbalance to weir’s blah chuck berry covers, though he still plays those, too.

5/12/80 boston: red hot ALABAMA GETAWAY, taking a few extra choruses for solo rippage, & a perfectly neon CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER 1st set closer, but the action is after the intermission. exciting news is that mickey seems to have crotales or bells (or this is just 1st tape they’re audible?), audible in the quiet parts of HE’S GONE, the big space jams, & elsewhere. sharp SHIP OF FOOLS with laser garcia vocals & hushed harmonies. 58-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT. HE’S GONE ignites into CAUTION-adjacent jam but better, with new inventions & group shifts & engaged dialogues spiraling into space, 1st jam of tour to build on promise of late ’79. this jam is so good, of a different character & depth than the previous weeks, with a long weird-out that feels like group improv instead of just a dissolving into DRUMZ. now that weir’s institutionalized his chuck berry medley, i’ll just be happy whenever he closes with a plain ol’ SUGAR MAGNOLIA, even if they do totally bork an almost slam-bang entrance segue here.

5/14/80 nassau coliseum: big cheers as phil’s bass becomes audible into the mix during ALABAMA GETAWAY. again, MEXICALI BLUES is site of fun shoot-‘em-up mini-jam. 1st LET IT GROW of year finds its mydland-era group improv power, with shredding spiral crests. short but lovely disassembly from FEEL LIKE A STRANGER > SUGAREE, with vintage big bass & barely any slide. after LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, a full pause before 46-minute JAM > COMES A TIME > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. garcia starts noodling & kreutzmann (i think) & then everybody else jumps in, tossing pretty shapes around until garcia lands in COMES A TIME, more together & quietly dramatic than its revival in hartford, the OTHER ONE mainly postscript.

5/15/80 nassau coliseum: early set FRANKLIN’S TOWER spins into speedy coda filled with weir lead figures & B3 bounce. the ever-promiscuous FEEL LIKE A STRANGER near end of 1st set, garcia’s feedback solo outro stretching just to the point of jam. quick-moving 45-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > GOOD LOVIN’. PLAYING/UNCLE JOHN’S has been a combo on/off since ’73, but lately starting to feel a bit like an abbreviation. still, good segue. GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD is speedy & twisty. one advantage to having it back in the choogle suite is that the BID YOU GOODNIGHT instrumental ending (usually) serves as a clean bridge to whatever weir wants to do next & makes it sound a little more dignified.

5/16/80 nassau coliseum: 1st set includes @alfranken’s favorite ALTHEA & he’s right, the solo is just spectacular, a gorgeous dancing flow of fractal melody. 43-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > MORNING DEW. garcia’s found a good tempo for EYES & all is blue skies, though a little autopiloty. big fan of mickey’s new SPACE bells. tight exuberant TRUCKIN’. 1st MORNING DEW of the year (the 2nd since ’78, the 3rd since ’77) gets successive waves of cheers. a little scrambled during a few of the transitions, but still peaking big. mickey’s stereo-panned bells sound kinda nice!

5/29/80 des moines: the MEXICALI BLUES break is back to just being a solo again instead of a micro-jam. 14-minute LET IT GROW > DEAL 1st set closer soars into the good place before a nice momentum-carrying segue. 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > COMES A TIME hits all its moves gracefully. relaxed EYES churns up & out, turns gnarly, almost becomes THE OTHER ONE, gets cheers, & sproingingly disassembles. fairly breathtaking COMES A TIME with beautiful controlled garcia vocals & multiple exquisite solos that peak without ever sounding like arena rock. that’s for weir to do with his set-closing chuck berry medley.

5/30/80 milwaukee: standard issue but solid show with a crisp & poppin’ garcia tone on the soundboard that adds extra sunshine to everything, even the ME & MY UNCLE > BIG RIVER combo. 19-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN opens 2nd set in the finest springtime tradition, with a quizzical transition & friendly lapping flames during FIRE that maybe aren’t quite at full heat. 52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD > GOOD LOVIN’. PLAYING floats in place until garcia splits & cool weir/mydland jam emerges with weir finding nice vibe with feedbacking/delayed slide (!). drumzers keep hand-drumzing through gradually coalescing SPACE. someone (weir, i think) steps into donna’s old screaming outro to GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD. what’s weir singing on GOOD LOVIN’? “doctor, doctor, sandoz MD”? it can’t really be that, can it?

5/31/80 bloomington, MN: could be the tape, but not much stirring in the 1st half, though all’s chill enough, including a lovely curling PEGGY-O solo. by contrast to some, 1st set closing DEAL is positively hinged. after SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE ends, garcia & weir awkwardly keep noodling, garcia picks up a thread & band spins it into sporty & tightly woven prelude to begin 51-minute JAM > WHARF RAT > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > I NEED A MIRACLE > BERTHA > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. rare to have both WHARF RAT & THE OTHER ONE in the 1st half of the set (& WHARF RAT does feel weird kinda just bobbing there), but fairly fierce OTHER ONE with locked-in head down/antennae up jamming by garcia & weir. likewise, a rare no-covers late set choogle suite & even rarer double-encore (also without covers) after the houselights had been off for over 10 minutes. remembered fondly by local heads, nice contrast with the bad vibes of ’73.

6/5/80 tempe: 15th anniversary shows in arizona. warren zevon opens.  1st set is kinda snoozy until the closing FEEL LIKE A STRANGER, which gets briefly gnarly with neon guitar & distantly echoing synth lines. CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is brief, notable for garcia & weir swapping their RIDER verses, garcia taking “the sun gonna shine…” & weir taking “i wish i was a headlight…” 47-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. TERRAPIN gets a beautiful & snaking 3-minute epilogue jam, nice garcia/weir/mydland back-and-forth & occasional bells. a lovely development. SPACE zips dizzyingly from hand DRUMZ to thundering cosmic wilds before kersplatting (more or less in line) into TRUCKIN’ like a sleek DMT spacecraft go-botting into a monster 18-wheeler honkin’ down the cosmic highway. pretty big & together TRUCKIN’ deescalates in all of 15 seconds via a gorgeous circling garcia melody, landing in a sweetly lazy (but not too sleepy) BLACK PETER.

6/7/80 boulder: typically hyped john scher intro. 1st set picks up a little with PASSENGER & RAMBLE ON ROSE, getting cheers at “just like new york city” (in colorado!) & the big flash of sparkle at the top of the solo. weir: “during the night, alien infidels got into garcia’s amp stack & made all kinds of bad boogie” (crowd boos) “but our quick & efficient crack equipment crew & exorcism team is getting in there now.” thin show improv-wise, LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE stopping fully before 33-minute JAM > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. garcia shoots away & all join for 8 minutes of quick-moving eye-popping pinball, only a wee stumble in the middle.

6/8/80 boulder: 15th anniversary show, a sunday afternoon party with warren zevon opening, apparently repeating his entire set from the day before, including the jokes, with deadheads up front yelling out the punchlines in advance. john scher intro, “i guess this is the beginning of the second 15 years,” sadly accurate. 20-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND is sweet-vibed opener but doesn’t get too deep. oddly placed 1st set SAMSON & DELILAH. 48-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > BLACK PETER. fast & choppy EYES floats down to hush & garcia/mydland lock into brief, buzzing phrase-completing jam. SPACE is a noisy, lurching march out of no-time.

6/12/80 portland, OR: slammin’ ALABAMA GETAWAY opener, charming sunburst in BROWN-EYED WOMEN, & longer-than-usual ALTHEA (weir’s slide turned down). set 2 opens with 26-minute DRUMZ > SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, possibly overlapping with the 9:09 pm eruption. percussion prelude doesn’t quite connect, but gnarly peaks during transition & exceptional flame-gargling shreds by garcia throughout. 45-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. extra-long ESTIMATED, with patient reggae-jazz zagging by garcia, quieting down for a breath before building to kinetic conversations, neon bullet points, & a soft landing. short SPACE feeds into slow-rolling NOT FADE AWAY that drips with synth/bass/chaos as it normalizes, the final jam catching the pulse without quite stating it. unusual vocal ending gets quieter until it whispers into a slide-marred BLACK PETER.

6/13/80 seattle: 1st set has a 12-minute (& semi-rare these days) SUGAREE, with the band finding a nicely breathing weave. excellent thick-toned ALTHEA solo. after a 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with an especially crackling RIDER, weir appends CC RIDER via a not-quite-segue, apparently his new move for the summer apparenty because both have “rider” in their names? for me, a drowsy buzzkill. 42-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. no TERRAPIN epilogue jam, but lots of nice detailing & embellishment in the starlight break & the long symphonic wind-down. garcia’s in a linear mood in SPACE, jamming gently with the hand drums until getting interrupted by enormous noise blasts (weir, i think). i think someone’s breathing heavily through an overloaded vocal mic? near the very end of THE OTHER ONE, just before the transition to WHARF RAT, garcia (maybe unconsciously?) starts playing a pattern from ’60s CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT jams, a weird & welcome time warp.

6/14/80 spokane: the 1st set rarity (sorta) is BIG RAILROAD BLUES, still right in garcia’s register. couple lovely solos, especially the always delightful tidal shreds on BIG RIVER. 72-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > STELLA BLUE > GOIN’ DOWN DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD moves quick. especially the EYES, overflowing with high-speed garcia chatter. like, if you could slow down this EYES OF THE WORLD from the zany arrangement back to the chiller feel, there’d still be more than enough notes to go around. would totally listen to that remix. birth of a chomper: in the middle of deep SPACE with string synth, a kid (i think) shouts “this stinks!” perhaps feeling apologetic, same kid (maybe) yells “this is beautiful, jerry!” at a totally inopportune quiet spot during a mesmerizing STELLA BLUE.

6/19/80 anchorage: only trip to alaska, their 1st of 3 shows at a (very nice) high school auditorium in anchorage during the nearly-all-daylight solstice. crisp but average show with most of the new album. peaks in the 1st half come with a power-shred CASSIDY & pretty impressive set-closing MUSIC NEVER STOPPED fireworks display. 2nd set-opening CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER burns bright (especially the transition), but the CC RIDER, PEGGY-O, LOST SAILOR sequence that follows is more than a bit sedate. PEGGY-O has plenty of sweet garcia coloring, though. 34-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT is skimpy on the improv, briefly blooming for a few minutes as the DRUMZ bleed into SPACE & garcia & band toodle with the roto-toms & hand percussion before momentum dissipates.

6/20/80 anchorage: band seems better adjusted to the proverbial altitude, with a more developed & flowing 1st set anchored by sweet pairings & nice movement with 18-minute LET IT GROW > ALTHEA, group mega-shred resolving to hyper-laidbackness. tumbling 19-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > THE OTHER ONE comes to a full stop & pause before 28-minute DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. band comes out of playful DRUMZ (including some chanting) playing around the NOT FADE AWAY pulse & finding a few liquid variations as between the verses.

6/21/80 anchorage: 14-minute SUGAREE opener gets down to beautiful quiet with thoughtful flurries of garcia notes. i heaved an audible sigh of relief when weir re-entered the jam with a thoroughly elegant counterpoint instead of slide guitar. weir goes for local cheers, inserting “alaska” into the usual fill-in-the-blank spot in NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES in the 1st set & “chicago, new york, alaska” in TRUCKIN’. but even in anchorage, more people cheer audibly for “just like new york city” during RAMBLE ON ROSE. 1st set has some nice examples of garcia solos that are flashy without being shreddy, LOSER drenched in dramatic feedback, SUPPLICATION in sparkling torrents. weir once again announces “a vote for bill kreutzmann is a vote for nature in the streets”). 55-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE. the starlight break in TERRAPIN feels more beautifully defined & confident than ever. PLAYING escalates into admirably freaky meltdown before falling aggressively into DRUMZ. duck calls in DRUMZ for 1st time, i think. during playfully zoinked SPACE, 2 people free vocalize (in moving stereo!), possibly including kreutzmann duetting briefly with string-synth. really ups the weirdness in the best way. lesh seems to tease DARK STAR & gets cheers. nice double encore, ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT punctuated by a right lovely BROKEDOWN PALACE to let the alaska heads out into the midnight solstice sun.

6/29/80 pauley pavilion: big 1st set excitement with NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, sounding mega-‘80s with super-thumping kick-drum that’s probably part an artifact of the soundboard mix. hard to hear drums at all on audience tape. conversely, not audible on the soundboard, but i think there might be a mic’d up motorcycle revving occasionally throughout the 2nd set opening FEEL LIKE A STRANGER. 71-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. cursory half-segue into SCARLET, weirdly rare in the pre-DRUMZ slot, despite fitting naturally, perhaps hard to segue into. 2 thrilling peaks & gentle deescalation in FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, though all the circulating versions seem to have at least one totally harsh buzzkilling tape flip right at an intense moment. according to eyewitnesses, @billwalton joins for drums. sadder than a sad trombone: harmonica in DRUMZ/SPACE. [darth vader “noooooooooo!” here] war’s lee oskar nullifies both for this listener, slightly audible on BLACK PETER & SUGAR MAGNOLIA on soundboard, thankfully mostly faded. nice landing into BLACK PETER.

7/1/80 san diego: nondescript 1st set highlighted by blazing LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION. opening set 2, a healthy 15-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, big & colorful, with garcia twisting a little BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme into the transition. 52-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. shorthanded UNCLE JOHN’S jam uses its weird meter to flip gracefully into PLAYING. meltdown gets intricate & layered & springs free of gravity in last minutes. once again impressed by the fluttering diversity of DRUMZ/SPACE, with bells, duck calls, drummer calls, thumb piano, xylophone, pretty sure even a hammer dulcimer. “TRUCKIN’!” somebody calls out. “you don’t have to shout!” someone else responds. nonetheless, a smooth entry into TRUCKIN’ which goes into a real jam for a brief moment before they seem to remember that’s not something TRUCKIN’ does anymore. good landing, though! after the show, bob weir, mickey hart, & manager danny rifkin are arrested after a fracas with local heat.

8/16/80 edwardsville: opening late summer tour in the pouring rain at @SIUE’s mississippi river festival, where they played 10 years earlier. sleepy 1st set is almost entirely cobweb clearing with pairs of uptempo tunes to open & close, but double that amount of mellowness in between. probably a lovely hazy mellow summer evening, at least at first. even sleepier CC RIDER 2nd set opener before the jams & the skies open up with 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. the building intensity is audible in waves of cheers, seemingly peaking with the sideways rain during RIDER verses. 55-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER. busy dyna-rhodes fronts ESTIMATED jam before garcia takes over, speeding up & slowing down & dropping into HE’S GONE, which briefly turns inside-out & into THE OTHER ONE before DRUMZ. as a concert attendee points out in the @internetarchive comments, this was the 1st dead show since the death of ex-keyboardist keith godchaux a month earlier. some heads heard HE’S GONE as a tribute. resonant gong clanking aides brief but impressively nonlinear SPACE swirl before inside but committed OTHER ONE. 1st IKO IKO since 2/79 (& 1st of mydland era) shimmies pleasantly & is a bright change in the encore spot, though it won’t stay there.

8/17/80 kansas city, MO: garcia only gets 3 songs in the 1st set, all pretty mellow. none go too deep tonight (SUGAREE, PEGGY-O, FRIEND OF THE DEVIL), but more substantial feeling than the tour opener. 19-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN (with cool inside-out groove during transition) comes to clean close before before 36-minute DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. long DRUMZ folds to hand percussion & healy flips on warping effects. gentle feedback & synth drone SPACE preludes 1st WHEEL since 2/79, 2nd since 2/78, mydland’s debut, fixing itself in its usual new home. always too brief.

8/19/80 chicago: 1st set opens with a 29-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES. crisp guitar breaks in FRANKLIN’S & an actual segue, gliding right into MINGLEWOOD. lovely & brisk ROW JIMMY with occasional light echo on vocals. set 2 opens with LITTLE RED ROOSTER, 1st since pigpen’s versions in ’65/’66 (no tapes survive), now sung by weir. perhaps a tribute to local hero willie dixon. of all the things, weir’s blues covers are really really profoundly not mine. given the time signature change, weir pulls an impressive kersplat segue from CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER into excellent & surprising 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > PLAYING IN THE BAND > COMES A TIME > PLAYING IN THE BAND. after bright ESTIMATED & EYES flurries, jam dissolves into drumlessness before hand percussion bubbles alluringly out of murk. brief passage from DRUMZ to purposeful PLAYING & powerful COMES A TIME with wondrous solo. great post-DRUMZ sequence. rare late set appearance by ALABAMA GETAWAY in place of AROUND & AROUND’s departed double-time jam. usually played at the top of set or in the encore, beginning & ending feel a bit abrupt, but still a fun closer.

8/20/80 chicago: most of 1st set stays in comfy “europe ’72”/bakersfield dead zone. 1st BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE of the year & spritely BIG RAILROAD BLUES. weir only plays 1 cowboy song instead of medley, a nice change. sharp-turning LET IT GROW garcias briskly in place. 46-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > MORNING DEW. TERRAPIN’s between-verse starlight jam feels less delicate, ready to spin outwards. rare MORNING DEW finds tenderness but doesn’t quite soar. despite having “blues” in the title & the show taking place in chicago, US BLUES encore does not require weir’s slide guitar part. same if those things weren’t the case.

8/21/80 chicago: continuing to pull out songs, COLD RAIN & SNOW opener is 1st of the year, guitars getting dirtier, bakersfield receding in the distance. rare SHAKEDOWN STREET dives & dances. entirety of 2nd set is 58-minute DRUMZ > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND plus SUGAR MAGNOLIA. set-opening DRUMZ feels like a disconnected prologue, but half-hour sequence that follows is satisfying in old-school way. a front row scene report that (sort of) explains the DRUMZ opener. apparently the band came out onstage & garcia disappeared again… UNCLE JOHN’S rolls deep, though, garcia/lesh/weir/myland sailing into a mystic, quietly propulsive jam that shimmers down before a clean count-in to TRUCKIN’. in the lyric “chicago, new york, detroit,” weir forgets “chicago,” the city he is in. both TRUCKIN’ & OTHER ONE are abbreviated ’80 iterations, though hit their marks. always wish THE WHEEL was at least 2x longer, but both quick-build intro & fast-melt outro are full of grace.

8/23/80 east troy: alpine valley debut, their outdoor wisconsin mega-home for the next decade. 1st set lights up during garcia’s BIG RIVER solo. LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION packs sunshine cascades into short jam & MUSIC NEVER STOPPED has plentiful summer fireworks. 2nd set doesn’t quite ignite. 47-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. long OTHER ONE like abstractions out of HE’S GONE, landing in choppy conversation. SPACE is hand percussion & garcia mu-tron pedal butterflies.

8/24/80 grand rapids: for me, the show highlights are all in garcia’s 1st set power solos (BROWN EYED WOMEN) & not-quite-jams in CASSIDY & blistering LET IT GROW, hitting all the sharp corners at speed, cutting free from the changes for just a moment. 2nd set isn’t quite as juiced. CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER ends cleanly, skips the jam slot, & opts for 26-minute DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER with some nice wah-wah slide leads by weir during SPACE.

8/26/80 cleveland: easygoing 13-minute SUGAREE opener, with warm ’n’ beefy hammond organ tone giving it a warm bed. B3 solo passes over to big garcia peaks & down into intricate detailing. hyperactive LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION. 57-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > COMES A TIME > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > CASEY JONES. nice no-time flow from UNCLE JOHN’S into PLAYING, which gets moody ever-so-briefly before folding into DRUMZ. SPACE is short solo garcia prelude to another breathtaking COMES A TIME filled with emotional clarity & heartcrushing solos/vocals. outro could spiral infinitely, but weir gently forces LOST SAILOR. 1st CASEY JONES of the year, in its rightful capper slot.

8/27/80 clarkston: the cowboy songs are upshifting into power country, MAMA TRIED feeling pretty far from bakersfield. garcia also leaning into his arena blues-rock growls on TENNESSEE JED & I KNOW YOU RIDER. 46-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE, almost everything feeling abbreviated. jackhammer EYES thumps into brief triumphant coda that burbles synthily down into DRUMZ & almost-no-SPACE.

8/29/80 philadelphia: on-point CANDYMAN, hitting the details right down to the little harmonized vocal ending. the drummers continue to powerize the cowboy tunes. ME & MY UNCLE thumps a bit, but BIG RIVER is fun & graceful to me at any tempo, here with chunky dyna-rhodes. 51-minute LET IT GROW > HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. fluid turns in LET IT GROW but less a segue than a collapse into HE’S GONE. long outro bubbles upwards into THE OTHER ONE, with moments of synth-touched chaos. during SPACE, garcia weaves beatifically between skittering hand percussion, making tangible momentum, but ripcords into WHARF RAT. the song itself is fine, but both garcia’s solos are screaming jawdroppers.

8/30/80 philadelphia: 1st set has a bunch of songs outside their usual slots, including 1st FEEL LIKE A STRANGER show opener, all with on-point garcia. beautiful & lit leads throughout LOOKS LIKE RAIN, terse ALTHEA outro, JACK STRAW as hyped set closer. 19-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN opens 2nd set, kinda rare this summer, garcia latching into wondrous little sing-songy melody near the top of the transition, though jam settles into more rhythmic place. 55-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. graceful ESTIMATED splatters gets awkward as garcia gearshifts into harsh ’80 EYES. twinkling dyna-rhodes/guitar fade. micro-melodic cloudbursts in NOT FADE AWAY.

8/31/80 landover: weir dedicates MAMA TRIED to the road crew & garcia absolutely tears it up, as well as the MEXICALI BLUES that follows. ALTHEA gets another enormous cheer. maybe it should’ve been the single? fun GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD 2nd half opener, but almost no flow. set marked by retconned segues when the band has stopped playing but garcia or weir tries to make it sound like a transition by starting the next song as quickly as possible. 52-minute COMES A TIME > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. oddly placed COMES A TIME doesn’t quite gel, though solos are still casually heartbreaking. TRUCKIN’ rawrs with rare post-’74 jamming, but band comes to screeching buzz-killing halt at peak. i’m a DRUMZ/SPACE lover, but rarely been so bummed to hear it start. atmospheric hand percussion & rich everybody-talk-at-once SPACE chaos, but set never regains momentum, finally getting back to propulsive improv zone in OTHER ONE but then weir veers into 2nd verse. BROKEDOWN PALACE encore veers off-course. on tape, sounds like garcia just totally spaces, but turns out it was the ol’ naked-guy-rushes-the-stage-and-jerry-gets-unplugged-in-the-melee problem. (not audible: naked guy or melee.) not a keeper.

9/2/80 rochester: early show double suite action works pleasantly. CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER flips welcomingly back into the 1st set, with variation on SCARLET BEGONIAS transition theme just before RIDER. garcia accidentally(?) takes weir’s RIDER verse. ESTIMATED PROPHET dissolves nebulously before garcia starts into 59-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > IKO IKO > MORNING DEW. just as PLAYING turns corner, garcia disappears, & weir/mydland (& occasionally lesh) lead drift into DRUMZ. SPACE is 8 minutes of archetypal garcialogue, butterflying alien tones with occasional band coloration, not building much before drifting into sluggish IKO IKO, slightly better on audience tape. not the best DEW but final verse & solo still find raw ache.

9/3/80 springfield, MA: 17-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener. no intro solo & some lyric screwiness, but garcia lights FRANKLIN’S on fire. LET IT GROW stretches slightly, cubist leads in last moments before weir pulls it back. much mellowness in 56-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. SAINT splatters into rare jam, briefly enthralling before drummers sadly drop out. after jam disintegrates, they reappear to trio with brent before DRUMZ. BROKEDOWN PALACE encore, more than making up for the previous off-kilter version in landover (due to naked dude stage crash) this time with a powerful solo, nice harmonies, good feelings, ace show ending.

9/4/80 providence: impressively compact lightning in FEEL LIKE A STRANGER opener. lovely 1st set jauntiness. both fennario songs, which isn’t that uncommon, but not again for a few years. last DIRE WOLF before it reverts acoustic for rest of ’80. in 2nd set, weir counts off & band jumps into a SUPPLICATION JAM, the only time it happened outside LAZY LIGHTNING until 1986, apparently? here it’s a high-speed prelude to ESTIMATED PROPHET, both in 7/4 time, though the transition is still pretty splice-like. besides that, not many surprises, but the full sequence really clicks all the way through: 74-minute SUPPLICATION JAM > ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > GOOD LOVIN’. ESTIMATED itself is pretty short, but full band accelerates together into a butterfly-speed EYES. SPACE is a long mostly fun tread around the OTHER ONE pulse. wonderful garcia spiral into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD makes solid tie between jam-land & choogle-town.

9/6/80 lewiston: almost everything has an extra sparkle. perfect up & down full-band weave in 15-minute SUGAREE, even weir’s slide is tolerable (& quiet). deep mid-set FEEL LIKE A STRANGER turns sweet odd corner. mostly, the dead in a big field with very few hassles. none of the 2nd set jams are that long or weird, but garcia seems to flip into deep, patient conversational mode instantly on each. SHAKEDOWN STREET hovers in place, but everybody dances together. 52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > THE WHEEL > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND is concise & inventive. big dense peak before deliciously gradual full-band segue into UNCLE JOHN’S, minus stutter at final moment. the moment they hit the UNCLE JOHN’S coda jam, garcia again flips into a special zone, not butterflying away as often happens in ’80, but moving with the band. DRUMZ has nice valley of hand percussion & bells. fuzzy SPACE cycles, not quite gelling. NOT FADE AWAY is barely 6 minutes but flowing & engaged, especially outro. THE WHEEL is even shorter, but somehow patient as soon as it starts. weir’s voice is thrashed by set’s end. lovely BROKEDOWN PALACE tour closer. can hear why this is a classic.

9/14/80 front street: practice for upcoming acoustic sets. only 1 song circulates, dusting off TO LAY ME DOWN for 1st time since 10/74. weir (i think) coos appreciatively during solo.

9/25/80 warfield theater: opening 15 nights at 2,300-capacity @thewarfield in san francisco, playing acoustic & 2 electric sets. 1st proper acoustic set in 10 years. besides a one-off benefit as bob weir & friends in ’78, @thewarfield shows are the 1st acoustic dead sets since @capitoltheatre in november ’70. right on! acoustic set is bust-out city. 1st BIRD SONG since 9/73. short beautiful jam & slightest bit rushed, as is a lot of this set, 1st night jitters? it all sounds great, especially mydland’s baby grand piano & extra-present lesh. also the 2-drummer percussion arrangements. striking how much it doesn’t sound like the 1970 acoustic dead. the whole rhythmic feel of the band has changed. the drummers have a stripped down kit (kick, snare, cymbal) & hand percussion. from what i can tell in pictures, they seem to alternate within the sets, as opposed to alternating sets as they did in ’70. someone shouts for DARK HOLLOW moments before the band plays it. dude shouts “thank you” when they start. 1st ROSA LEE McFALL (via monroes), BEEN ALL AROUND THIS WORLD (via mississippi john hurt), & MONKEY & THE ENGINEER (via jesse fuller) since ’70. 1st MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES since 2/79, mydland’s 1st, stunning in new whispered arrangement. JACK-A-ROE, played on/off since ’77 (once acoustic in ’78), now finding virtually perfect form with naturally weaving acoustic bounce. slow sweet debut of elizabeth cotton’s OH BABE IT AIN’T NO LIE. lore suggests that garcia slated this for the planned live LP to get songwriting royalties for cotton (then 87 & still performing!), feeling guilty after borrowing her title for SUGAREE. no idea if it’s true! several long tuning breaks with off-mic chatter & goofiness. “geeze, where’d all these people come from?” garcia asks. 1st RIPPLE since slightly-off ’71 electric versions, back home, closing all these acoustic sets. “give us a hand,” jerry says during wordless vocal outro. and then 2 sets & 2-and-a-half hours of electric dead, following their usual structure with the jam sequence in the late set. weir’s cowboy tunes continue to shred, especially MEXICALI BLUES. flowing 39-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. PLAYING edges onto the rolling seas before drums disappear for 5+ minutes of ambient scrapes & chimes that drip into non-thundery DRUMZ. big screen WHARF RAT solo. okay, fine, yes, sure, a good segue from WHARF RAT into weir’s AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’ medley.

9/26/80 warfield theater: opens with jawdropping TO LAY ME DOWN, 1st since 10/74, garcia’s voice slightest bit wobbly. jug band fave SHE’S ON THE ROAD AGAIN returns for 1st time since electric versions in ’66, basically a new song. crisp ROSA LEE McFALL used on “reckoning.” 1st acoustic CASSIDY, only song so far from the active electric repertoire to go acoustic. shorter than electric versions, but the birth of the CASSIDY jam? along with another gently weaving BIRD SONG, the band is already jamming more than the ’70 acoustic sets. CHINA DOLL is 1st since 5/79, 2nd since 12/77, debut of mydland’s harpsichord, & almost as fragile as the ’74 takes, if not more. i think this is the only song mydland played harpsichord? were they planning on bring out MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, too? during RIPPLE, bob weir’s dog wanders onto the stage to many cheers. “that’s otis,” garcia points out during a song break, the version used on “reckoning.” on the original tape, weir’s embarrassment at otis’s arrival is slightly more audible. “you guys have 13 more nights to learn that song,” lesh announces at the end of RIPPLE. hoping to get a big singalong outro for the live album, maybe? can’t believe this is the same band as the electric 1980 dead. having a real piano helps a lot & mydland is brilliant. 47-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. EYES soars briefly. bell-colored SPACE tied together by UFO synth & collective chaos. garcia’s mid-NOT FADE AWAY solo starts with colorful explosion. garcia messes up BROKEDOWN PALACE. “let me take that again, that song is too nice to fuck up so close to the beginning.” lovely, but the quiet electric songs really make obvious how much range garcia has lost in his voice over the past few years.

9/27/80 warfield theater: 1st acoustic DIRE WOLF since 11/70 in its mostly fixed opening slot. acoustic debut of george jones’s THE RACE IS ON, 1st since 10/74. love that these sets don’t adhere to strict formulaic alternation between weir & garcia songs. insistent percussion on JACK-A-ROE is hart/kreutzmann’s double drumming in shrunken form, big difference between single-percussionist acoustic sets in ’70. unlike the ’70 acoustic sets, though, it’s hard to tell which drummer is behind the snare. semi-audible off-mic chatter throughout. someone shouts for WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE.
kreutzmann (?): that’s a good one.
weir: she’s not sleeping…
kreutzmann: she can’t be woken.
another exquisite BIRD SONG jam, needlepoint weave between acoustic guitars & piano, such a great sound for the dead. OH BABE IT AIN’T NO LIE is absolutely languid & dream like, a slow roll with garcia singing barely above a whisper. 47-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE is a bit sleepy, catching OTHER ONE wave before drummers pull the (persian) rug immediately after last chorus, dropping band into vacuum for a few minutes. garcia eventually finds nifty little noise melody. garcia latches into quiet misterioso SPACE somewhere between melody & mood, developing slightly over handdrums & tentative dyna-rhodes colors, never at full focus. STELLA BLUE’s a l’il wobbly. sweet garcia sunbusts in lurchy GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD.

9/29/80 warfield theater: SHE’S ON THE ROAD AGAIN, a new song of sorts, is a great vehicle for the dead’s new acoustic weave, a friendly bounce that feels genetically connected to the “europe ’72”/bakersfield era. weir cuts off CASSIDY jam during sweet peak. oops. amusing off-mic banter when the PA starts humming at 82 cycles (according to weir). garcia & kreutzmann trade valley girl-like “really”s.” “this all sucks 82.4,” says lesh, cracking up garcia. for some reason (& with more giggling) weir decides to do a song that only he & mydland have practiced, debuting an instrumental version of his AOR/prog/samba solo tune HEAVEN HELP THE FOOL. by midway, everyone else has picked up the odd turns & it’s fun if still puzzling. during TO LAY ME DOWN, tape switches to excellent audience source. late-coming audience member arrives & starts loudly explaining to his friend why he was late. to his credit, he immediately shuts up when someone points out the nearby microphone. is somebody whimpering? 52-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. as TERRAPIN lands, hart flows over to bells & chimes for spacious 3-minute epilogue. nice idea that doesn’t quite develop, mostly garcia melody, weir & mydland volume swells, ambient whispering synth. extremely patient SPACE, a rarity, starting in lush new age zone with layers of bells & ambient swells, getting gradually noisier, weir & mydland making impressive colors via feedback & synth. marching band TRUCKIN’ intro & wooly jam coda.

9/30/80 warfield theater: wisp of fluttering dissonance as acoustic BIRD SONG jam peaks. elizabeth cotton’s OH BABE, IT AIN’T NO LIE, an endlessly genius choice for the band, is used on the “reckoning” LP, but cut from the original CD. wtf? HEAVEN HELP THE FOOL doesn’t quite have the magic as when everybody is picking it up as they go. of weir’s original songs, still seems like an bizarre choice for acoustic adaptation compared to moodier tunes like WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE. hour-long HE’S GONE > ESTIMATED PROPHET > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER. my least favorite fall 1980 dead jam trend is when the drummers rhythmically de-cohere exactly at the moment the pre-DRUMZ jam should be taking off, tonight in ESTIMATED. 10-minute SPACE is extra long but circles around OTHER ONE pulse & mood, never quite stating either, & feels almost perfunctory by the time they get to the song itself.

10/2/80 warfield theater: debut of acoustic IKO IKO, the 1st of 3 versions. very 1980, charming & a bit goofy, yet another way these acoustic sets are different from the 1970 iterations, letting the drummers drive. serious sounding onstage off-mic heat between band members after weir messes up in TO LAY ME DOWN. 1st set-closing pairing of BIRD SONG & RIPPLE, a semi-norm during these acoustic sets. a pretty perfect thing. detailed & elegant garcia/mydland dialogues. BERTHA returns to its rightful place as set-opener. mydland’s 1st electric IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES, moving back & forth between acoustic & electric sets, haunted & unassuming in any guise. set 3 opens with refreshing 29-minute DRUMZ > COMES A TIME > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, hand percussion building to gongs & chimes, garcia noodling, & nicely unexpected but graceful song entrance. slightest bit shaky, but flows well into SAILOR. after that, set is oddly disjointed. full stops after TERRAPIN STATION & PLAYING IN THE BAND, which goes deep for 3 minutes & halts abruptly. 23-minute DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE snakes & shimmers without much energy until final blowout STELLA BLUE solo.

10/3/80 warfield theater: DIRE WOLF opener regains its acoustic swagger. the instrumental HEAVEN HELP THE FOOL, too, is locking into its own inscrutable place, AOR/prog/samba-style “wooden” music, as garcia called acoustic dead. something pretty amusing in the 1st line of DARK HOLLOW in the contrast between weir’s subtly patrician pronunciation of “rather” (“rohther”) & his old-tyme pronunciation of “holler.” they almost rhyme. garcia encourages people to sing along on set-closing RIPPLE. “jerry wrote this for his mother,” weir adds, straight-faced, which doesn’t quite match the timeline, but something to consider. it’s also a few days following the 10th anniversary of her death. 16-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN pushes all the feel-good buttons. maybe it’s the move into a small confines of @thewarfield, but garcia’s really leaning into his quiet voice/songs during electric sets. 42-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND > BLACK PETER. PLAYING spins right into dense, engaging high-energy free-weird-swing-thudding & (bucking recent trends) flows with equal energy into inspired DRUMZ with chaotic balafon sparkles. SPACE is short & majestically odd. slightly abrupt (but pleasant) upshift into THE WHEEL, melting back into PLAYING. BROKEDOWN PALACE encore becomes last track on “dead set,” released following year.

10/4/80 warfield theater: acoustic set opens with 1st DEEP ELEM BLUES since the lone 11/78 acoustic set, another ’70 standard to survive to ’80, already one of the funkier bits of 1st wave of acoustic dead. no BIRD SONG on the 10th anniversary of janis joplin’s death. LET IT GROW rips from the start & makes for high energy set-closing combo with DEAL, tight version featuring a flaring garcia solo, used on “dead set.” at least on the soundboard, the landing for FRANKLIN’S TOWER provides potential remixers with a bunch of isolated blurps that are perfect for loops (drum thumps, guitar slab, synth wash). semi-rare HIGH TIME & PASSENGER both make their 1st appearances. uneventful 45-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT with typically lovely air brushing by garcia in ESTIMATED. I NEED A MIRACLE seems to find a new gear just before the shift to JOHNNY B. GOODE. UNCLE JOHN’S BAND returns to the encore slot. eliminates the jam, which is a drag, but a welcome placement.

10/6/80 warfield theater: tonight, weir announces HEAVEN HELP THE FOOL as “a drummers’ choice,” getting his bits of banter ready for “reckoning.” BIRD SONG floats into elegant folk jazz. in electric set, DEAL’s outro continues to grow & peak. both of weir’s original song combos, LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION in the 1st electric set & LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE in the 2nd feel especially amped-up. maybe a little rushed performance-wise, but speedy & fun platforms for garcia ripping. 56-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER. small lovely turns in TERRAPIN besides one semi-crash. gentle SPACE moves with poise & purpose for a while, guitar over hand-drumz, before rubber-burning left turn into TRUCKIN’. extra-juiced TRUCKIN’ too, surfing a wave almost accidentally into THE OTHER ONE. once again, the drummers pull the rug when the last chorus finishes & they don’t segue so much as collapse into BLACK PETER.

10/7/80 warfield theater: big grooving acoustic IKO IKO, setting up the version of DARK HOLLOW used on “reckoning.” a solid take with well-formed little garcia solo. totally baroque arrangement compared to the stark 2 guitar duo from ’70 heard on “bear’s choice.” charming off-mic in-joke goofiness & jerry giggles after ROSA LEE McFALL. weir workshops more lyric banter for “reckoning”: “from a song of tragedy preordained we’re going to move swiftly to a song of tragedy narrowly averted.” (garcia: “right on!”) 1st acoustic EL PASO since 11/70, which feels a bit more logical than HEAVEN HELP THE FOOL, with bountiful garcia squigglies. somebody messes up on RIPPLE & weir/mydland end song with quietly ululating harmonies. crowd eats it up. maybe explainable by someone present? SHAKEDOWN STREET doesn’t go very far out or get that deep, but tight dynamics & perfectly evoked mood at the edge of san francisco’s tenderloin; mostly notable for truly exquisite stereo mix on the betty soundboard. 58-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > STELLA BLUE. hart gracefully segues from HE’S GONE vocal outro with quiet bells, though it doesn’t quite come through on the audience tape. hand DRUMZ maintain thread through SPACE, building & receding garcialogues before percussion ceases completely. nice drumless swells are solidly mysterious prelude to THE WHEEL, with a sweet switch back to the betty for that!

10/9/80 warfield theater: tremendous CASSIDY with big weave, strident piano, & bass conversation, flowering into what i believe is the longest version yet. still only 6-and-a-half minutes but a full minute longer than any other. bouncing GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD makes cut for “dead set” & SUGAR MAGNOLIA closer ignites into a fireworks show, but 46-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT in the middle never quite cracks open.

10/10/80 warfield theater: canonical version of traditional JACK-A-ROE, released on “reckoning,” a detail-filled acoustic feel they didn’t have a decade earlier. could certainly listen to a mega-mix of these fine-threaded BIRD SONG jams lined up. cucumber cool ALTHEA. weir is in a groove, too. both NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES & SAMSON & DELILAH are on “dead set” & the 2nd set closing JACK STRAW is a burner with great dynamics & flaring solo. 19-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN opens 2nd set, bright & ship-shape, kind of rare appearance for this run. slightly surprised the pairing wasn’t being targeted specifically for the live album. 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER flows without any undue mid-jam rug-yoinking by drumzers. even-keeled ESTIMATED dissolve. EYES floats & dives & finds its spark between guitar & dyna-rhodes.

10/11/80 warfield theater: from the acoustic set, both DIRE WOLF & DEEP ELEM BLUES make it to “reckoning.” after the 1st extended CASSIDY a few nights earlier, garcia goes for it again, twice barreling straight through weir’s ending cue, once a bit awkwardly. back-to-back in set 2, both LOSER & PASSENGER have burning garcia solos, used on “reckoning” in the same order. (below photo is basement recording at up at @thewarfield.) CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER seems to be starting its drift into ever-speedier tempos. 51-minute LET IT GROW > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. weir almost lets LET IT GROW spin free into jam-land, always pulling back as they start to head out, with too-short swelling ambient coda that fades into DRUMZ. SPACE rumbles & shimmers, a non-build to NOT FADE AWAY. quicksilver messenger service’s john cipollina joins for rest of the set, including GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD & ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, occasionally ripping gloriously through the mix.

10/13/80 warfield theater: surrealist banter before the start of the acoustic set, lesh wishing the non-married weir a happy wedding anniversary, weir announcing that the band has sewn a pair of leather wings to jerry’s back. it’s either an especially great sounding betty board, or garcia’s really got his acoustic touch back. dextrous & sensitive playing on confident BIRD SONG jam & TO LAY ME DOWN especially. canonical version of george jones’s THE RACE IS ON, released on “reckoning,” originally debuted in the ’70 acoustic sets. 2nd acoustic EL PASO of the run, filled with great & engaged garcia flurries, one of the few songs from these sets not to make the LP. hard to say what’s happening precisely, maybe a tech issue for weir, but band gets side-tracked during the intro to SAMSON & DELILAH & head off into a cool jam that seems ready to escape before weir drops into the verse. closing the 1st electric set, a crackling LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION, even a little exploratory in the transition, followed by on-fire DEAL, the expanding outro solo now burning ever-hotter. 63-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. drummers end abruptly after SAINT (urgh), but garcia keeps jamming for another minute. garcia SPACE over hand-drumz makes shapes until a dissolve segue into HE’S GONE, itself a little blurry. OTHER ONE is short but feels like it gets somewhere somehow. STELLA BLUE seems about to break. wrenching final solo that could’ve built for days. fun footage of the set’s end from erik nelson’s great documentary, with bill graham hanging out behind garcia’s amp during the set’s big finale.

10/14/80 warfield theater: last acoustic set of the run yields 3 of the classic centerpiece songs on “reckoning”: the fragile CHINA DOLL (weir: “big hand, please, for brent & that damned harpsichord”), soaring & diving CASSIDY, & impossibly elegant BIRD SONG. slightly surprisingly, listening here, both CASSIDY & BIRD SONG on “reckoning” are edited to fit LP sides. CASSIDY has a full minute cut from incandescent jam. BIRD SONG is missing garcia’s repeat of 1st verse before stunningly phrased solo. that edit makes more sense. CHINA DOLL is untouched, just a fantastic performance of the song, mydland’s harpsichord a brief-moment-in-time contribution to the dead’s weave, interacting brilliantly with garcia’s spidery acoustic lines. like a lot about these sets, i wish they’d kept exploring. now that’s a great way to close an electric set: 24-minute LET IT GROW > THE WHEEL > THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, no jamming between them, but natural linkages/flows between endings & beginnings. an all-timer MUSIC with deep flow, included on “so many roads.” 19-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is a little sleepy. 68-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > MORNING DEW > PLAYING IN THE BAND pulls out all the stops, but herky-jerky pacing. the only MORNING DEW of the run (& last ’til next summer) & yowza. starts off shaky, but garcia & band are inside dynamics in deep way, getting down to extreme quiet & returning to big final peak, before weir rushes into PLAYING reprise. before the encore, bill graham places a tray of champagne centerstage for the band. when they lift their glasses, houselights come up on entire venue of deadheads toasting them back. beyond classy, that uncle bobo.

10/18/80 new orleans: in new orleans for the 1st time since getting busted in 1970, 1st of 2 acoustic/electric nights at @SaengerNOLA. after playing 15 nights at the warfield, band is audibly adjusting the acoustic set to a new space, skipping the jam tunes, & sounding just slightly clunkier at first, at least until jewel-like TO LAY ME DOWN. as @21stCenturyDead calls out, garcia’s harmonized intro riff to SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE is starting to emerge. garcia’s SAINT solos are nice & unhinged tonight. the DEAL outro’s transformation into power solo feels complete, garcia stepping on fuzz immediately & ripping through choruses with equally fuzzed-out landing. FEEL LIKE A STRANGER’s jam seems ready to escape, at least mydland & garcia & drummers do, but weir hauls it back. 46-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. can almost hear the acoustic detailing coming out in garcia’s ESTIMATED intricate & very quiet soloing. fated SPACE is more like long intro to NOT FADE AWAY.

10/19/80 new orleans: rare garcia intro to JACK-A-ROE, “this is a song about a real tough woman.” in a row, the 3 biggest acoustic jam songs, CASSIDY, BIRD SONG, HEAVEN HELP THE FOOL. BIRD SONG almost floats over 10 minutes. truly excellent HEAVEN, seems to keep peaking. 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, clanging hard, garcia inside the FIRE lyrics & finding new phrasings/emphases. 51-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT, a few little surprises. after TERRAPIN lands, mydland shoots off into a thick & energetic synth jam for 3 minutes, maybe just him & drummers, though i think i hear weir, too. promising! with the marching band whistle intro, the inevitable TRUCKIN’ is a rolling wave of expectant mayhem peaking first with “houston, too close to new orleans” & exploding with “busted down on bourbon street,” before a short but decently peaking jam. WHARF RAT rides emphatic chord swells. SUGAR MAGNOLIA opens a pleasantly bopping space, though weir swaps out SUNSHINE DAYDREAM for GOOD LOVIN’, oh well.

10/22/80 radio city music hall: apparently a late start. promoter john scher tries to chill the crowd, but maniacal nyc energy prevails on these audience tapes, which kinda overwhelms the acoustic set. this definitely isn’t the warfield. 2nd electric set feels a bit compact & paint-by-numbers, though plenty fun. 16-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, followed by 45-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > GOOD LOVIN’. SAINT virtually screeches to halt, garcia bailing on brief pre-DRUMZ jam. lately, been really starting to appreciate how NOT FADE AWAY/GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD allows a fluid pivot from jam-land to choogle-town & aids full-set suite-building via crisp BID YOU GOODNIGHT ending. though i also just discovered (via my trusty deadbase IX) that this exact 10/22/80 NOT FADE AWAY/GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD is the last version for over a year, & increasingly infrequent after that, a regular combo since 1st paired 10 years earlier.

10/23/80 radio city music hall: much of the audience tape is taken up by dude(s?) yelling at people up front to sit down. the soundboard (via expanded “reckoning”) is better. aggressive CASSIDY catches some of the hopped-up nyc energy, & it even bleeds into RIPPLE. will never understand the compulsion of east coast ‘70s-‘80s deadheads to scream “jerrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyy” constantly at every quiet point of a show, as happens throughout both the acoustic & electric sets. or maybe it’s just one guy who’s on all the tapes? 23-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TERRAPIN STATION gets dense & dancing before transition, but fizzles to nothing before 32-minute DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT, all a bit frayed & abbreviated. SUGAR MAGNOLIA closer feels loose.

10/25/80 radio city music hall: amazing (but also understandable) how much the nyc energy impacts the acoustic set. the usually delicate BIRD SONG gets strident & once again HEAVEN HELP THE FOOL peaks wildly, like it’s ready to head up & out. final acoustic EL PASO. improbably, though, amid all the chaos, the band also finds its keeper take of the incredibly quiet TO LAY ME DOWN used on “reckoning,” originally an “american beauty”-era outtake before garcia recorded it for his solo debut. crisp & compact 7-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER gets used on “dead set,” though with 2 minutes of soloing shaved. garcia leans into “just like new york city” in RAMBLE ON ROSE & can almost hear him smiling, a line that gets cheers even in california & really gets cheers here. surly phil, before the 3rd set: “it might be a good idea if you got something straight. we haven’t taken requests for 15 years & i don’t think we’ll start now.” weir: “no more mr. nice guy, huh?” happy 15th to you too, phil! (also not strictly true.) 45-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER. soaring UNCLE JOHN’S outro flips almost gracefully into PLAYING. garcia bails after usual detailing, but no lost momentum. brent takes lead for dense mini-jam, dancing with the drummers. post-DRUMZ feels especially abbreviated. authentically jagged SPACE feedback before energetic 1-verse OTHER ONE that doesn’t crack 4 minutes.

10/26/80 radio city music hall: last acoustic IKO IKO opens show, riding nyc energy. weir suggests SHE’S ON THE ROAD AGAIN, but garcia vetoes; too close to IKO IKO groove-wise. when they do it, weir chides garcia for not doing the answer vocals. all kinds of off-mic crosstalk between songs. wish there were more soundboards of this run.
weir: it’s round 157 of billy kreutzmann versus alien intelligence.
garcia (off-mic): bill’s losin’ bad.
audience tapes really don’t serve the @RadioCity acoustic sets, but this soundboard does. it’s punchy all the way around. dense JACK-A-ROE solo seems to match crowd intensity. super-charged CASSIDY jam, piano arpeggios speeding into clusters. and yet, once again, amid the nyc crazy-crazy, an insanely quiet performance that makes the cut for “reckoning,” IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES, written solely by robert hunter. before CHINA DOLL, weir instructs mydland (i think) to “save the best notes for last.” rippin’ LET IT GROW. 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. HE’S GONE is a rare fall ’80 jam that finds destinations. it drifts, gathers around a garcia lead, drifts more, & coagulates again into a high speed tumble. STELLA BLUE is a bit rough vocally (weir too) & doesn’t quite peak, but i can only imagine how gorgeous this performance & the quiet soloing was in @RadioCity. BROKEDOWN PALACE encore is fragile.

10/27/80 radio city music hall: back to back, the acoustic set yields BEEN ALL AROUND THIS WORLD & MONKEY & THE ENGINEER for “reckoning” with weir’s classic banter between, “from a song about tragedy impending we move swiftly to a song about tragedy narrowly averted…” final proper dead version of ROSA LEE McFALL, debuted in summer ’70, & played by garcia in solo acoustic sets through ’94. BIRD SONG lands exactly at the 10 minute mark, longest yet. the jam is a delight, all fluttering acoustic lines, landing in extra-quiet, quizzical conversation with weir adding little figures. wish it kept going. requesting a @4CPcomics acoustic BIRD SONG jam supercut! beautifully painted FRIEND OF THE DEVIL pulled for “dead set” (with 3 minutes trimmed) becomes canonical version of slowed-down post-’76 arrangement. some of the earliest audible singalongs are on these radio city audience tapes, faintly humming under jerry here. 3rd set leads with fun 53-minute TRUCKIN’ > SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. 1st TRUCKIN’ set opener since ’74, an effective use of the marching band intro. weir on slide as jam bubbles & fades, garcia splicing into SCARLET. textural SCARLET jam features masterful & unflashy garcia turns that finds pleasing openness during transition into FIRE. outro solo burns bright for a moment before easing down as the drummers amp up. reliable eyewitness notes on his primary source setlist from the night that billy cobham joins on DRUMZ, but not mentioned in other setlists. if source hallucinated cobham, it was a prescient hallucination, given cobham’s (re?)appearance a few nights later. WHARF RAT comes to particularly graceful landing, with weir & the drummers charging into I NEED A MIRACLE > BERTHA > JOHNNY B. GOODE finale. everybody gets quiet during “rain into a rainstorm” verse, nice dynamic shift. is phil singing during outro?

10/29/80 radio city music hall: once again, the soundboard fragments carry incredible detail. the deeper into the month of acoustic sets, the more these acoustic BIRD SONG jams feel like straight up DARK STAR for 3-4 minutes a night. miles of cross-dead off-mic banter for anyone needing ideas for sitcoms. 1st they harsh on roadies. then everybody gangs up on weir after THE RACE IS ON, rather vicious, but cute.
weir: like all good americans, i think we should all listen to the rhythm section every now & again.
garcia (off-mic): but not too often.
weir: but for god’s sake, don’t vote for them.
kreutzmann (into drum mic): weir, aren’t you glad this mic isn’t any louder?
back to back, both CANDYMAN & LITTLE RED ROOSTER are used on “dead set.” especially emphatic garcia vocals on CANDYMAN. not sure ROOSTER is ever a tune that’ll be a favorite, but this version does achieve some kind of overloaded blooze-rock lift-off. 22-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TERRAPIN STATION doesn’t do much, fading before 39-minute DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > BLACK PETER, but an unusually graceful & excellent post-DRUMZ sequence. garcia threads fluorescing SPACE noodles between hand percussion & well-colored weir feedback squelches, question-marking their way into THE WHEEL, glowing & detailed, before incredibly smooth (even magical) upshift into SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, de-paired from LOST SAILOR. for this listener, glow doesn’t fully carry into slide-infected BLACK PETER, but @RadioCity factor must’ve added extra sheen of magic. shiny end solo. been spending a bit of time with SUGAR MAGNOLIA lately & happy whenever that tune comes up, always a hoot.

10/30/80 radio city music hall: off-mic chatter as band takes their time getting ready. “calm yourself! CALM YOURSELF!” lesh intones, maybe to bandmates? cameras rolling tonight as test for the next night’s simulcast. the exuberant used-on-“reckoning” version of SHE’S ON THE ROAD AGAIN with garcia’s goofy answer vocals. along with TO LAY ME DOWN, dropped into “dead ahead,” as well, which is otherwise entirely footage from halloween. house lights left on during the acoustic set, crowd chants loudly to turn them off, band teases them.
weir: we dig seeing you all!
garcia: turn off the lights, is it? so you wanna be endarkened, do ya?
weir keeps baiting the crowd about the phillies winning world series.
in 2nd set, MEXICALI BLUES finds extra overdrive during garcia’s solo, the LOSER solo soars into power-fuzz, & NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES goes even further. the ALTHEA that follows is outright sleepy. definitely a mood. only @RadioCity SHAKEDOWN STREET opens set 3, looking for its bop. 53-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, minus DRUMZ, a sequence played in ’73/’74. HE’S GONE unfolds to chaotic free/blues before marching band TRUCKIN’ intro delivers all from chaos. former miles davis/mahavisnu orchestra drummer billy cobham joins for DRUMZ, rich & burbling as they break down to hand percussion, though sadly the weirdness dissipates the moment garcia enters for recombobulatory OTHER ONE.

10/31/80 radio city music hall: after franken & davis introduce band, lesh’s bass promptly fails for 1st 3 acoustic songs – the final HEAVEN HELP THE FOOL, weir’s 1st (& only) SAGE & SPIRIT instrumental since ’75, & garcia’s only LITTLE SADIE since ’70, later revived solo. last acoustic IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. CASSIDY flies in its perfect acoustic incarnation, one chorus beyond when weir tries to wrap up. incredible BIRD SONG, too, kreutzmann at full swing, basically a quintet again. can’t believe it’s basically the end for this version. 52-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER > DRUMZ > SPACE > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE, both FRANKLIN’S & FIRE unmoored from their usual pairings. band doesn’t seem sure what to do with FRANKLIN’S, but FIRE soars out of SPACE. watching “dead ahead” last night, mickey hart is playing an early version of the beam! going back to the tape, it’s still not that audible. did it just show up midway through these shows? has it been here all month & just not recorded well? cascading STELLA BLUE solo is majestic & elegant. garcia rips right into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD, sounding like someone stomped on the fast-forward. UNCLE JOHN’S BAND encore, a proper way to close the don’t-call-them-15th-anniversary shows.

11/26/80 hollywood, FL: 1st set feels especially rejuvenated, re-electrifying 4 recent acoustic staples. 1st electric SHE’S ON THE ROAD AGAIN since ‘66ish is buoyant, almost late ’70 vibes, as band adapts on the fly, though electric version disappears again ’til spring. 1st electric RACE IS ON since ’74 also feels nicely jug bandish, though its last time electric ’til derby day ’86. the only one with dyna-rhodes? JACK-A-ROE & IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES both reestablish themselves as electric tunes, carrying the new quiet. closing 1st set, the expanding DEAL seems to blur from a solo into lyrical micro-jam. well-surfed 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is joyous prelude to expansive sequence, RIDER’s dynamics feeling especially conversational. extraordinary 65-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’ with deep jams & patient segues, a more developed contrast to the 5/77 sportatorium set with a quite different ESTIMATED/EYES/SPACE/WHARF RAT. ESTIMATED mellows to near nothingness & floats into a sweet slow(ish) 15-minute EYES that blossoms as whole band builds around garcia’s soloing, following the energy up & out. moog flute tones as garcia & weir go hypnotic. hand drums curl in over colorful synth rumbles. full spectrum DRUMZ goes quiet/loud/quiet before SPACE begins with (holy moly) an actual bass solo & a fairly sensitive non-over-the-top one at that, coalescing into a bright & articulated jam. entrance to WHARF RAT recalls the ’76 versions that creep around DARK STAR. encore is the 1st version of SATISFACTION since ’65, sung by weir, my kind of absurd. is that lesh playing the intro riff? the drum breaks sound especially ridiculous & awesome, plus feedback & rock screams. maybe i’ll get sick of it, but high sloppy fun.

11/28/80 lakeland: pretty sedate night in central florida, though garcia finds fat fuzz tone to counter weir’s slide in LITTLE RED ROOSTER & melancholy in LOOKS LIKE RAIN. garcia returns 2 more acoustic tunes to electric duty. DEEP ELEM BLUES finds an arena version of the lovin’ spoonfully/warlocks-ish bounce, though hibernates again ’til spring. in 2nd set, gentle TO LAY ME DOWN features quiet appreciative crowd, nice on audience tape. 11-minute LET IT GROW stretches while staying inside, bending into a little jam-field out of weir’s building chords that lead into the last verse with another joyous spin out of those same chords in the outro, looping back for a landing. 43-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. TERRAPIN’s starlight jam, the break between “the storyteller makes no choice” & “since the end is never told,” is especially luminescent. flow of odd noises near DRUMZ’z end, including duck calls & (i think) an early bowed drone segment of mickey on the beam. rumbles continue into SPACE, though maybe mydland or lesh is picking it up? almost-epic synth wash as NOT FADE AWAY starts.

11/29/80 gainesville: hot MEXICALI BLUES solo takes a few extra choruses, i think. drummers lock into nicely staggering march on ROW JIMMY outro. DON’T EASE ME IN shows some noisy flare as set closer. 18-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opens 2nd set. SHAKEDOWN finds extra deep zone before garcia slams harshly into something like the FRANKLIN’S chords. seriously ugly 20 seconds before band catches up & resolve into sweetness. 70-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. sleepy singalong HE’S GONE outro ramps quickly into TRUCKIN’ which, like its ancestors, all but drops into THE OTHER ONE before DRUMZ. star-hopping SPACE splatter blorps from slow-motion tom-toms & balafon twinkles to a jam that briefly finds a destination, garcia & mydland tracing shapes. but thread drops & band turns into big peaking but reined-in OTHER ONE.

11/30/80 atlanta: opening FEEL LIKE A STRANGER ping-pongs into neon sizzle, a hot show from the start. arcing power-shredded LOSER. new fireworks show at the end of DEAL stays great, with space for organ bombs & feedback, & nice landing in the outro chorus. 1st electric BIRD SONG since 9/73 is gorgeous game changer, putting sublime jamming back into the 1st set, a great outgrowth of the acoustic performances earlier in the fall. garcia flips into bright flows while band goes conversational & almost-free, extra-present bass. titanic 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN worthy of the fox’s den rules, filled with little details (organ builds, chimes on the break, guitar asides) but also big details (melodic solos, dramatic transitions, graceful pockets, time-warping peaks). 45-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > CHINA DOLL. explosive PLAYING jam churns confidently into wilderness, garcia shredding as the drummers head out, with a pretty graceful transition from free drumming to hand percussion & new shapes. melancholic dyna-rhodes shapes by mydland feed into another dramatic post-SPACE synth wash as band ramps into THE WHEEL. thrilling cycling jam with natural coda lands in 1st re-electrified CHINA DOLL. nice contrast between jewel-like keys & quietly screaming solo. standalone UNCLE JOHN’S BAND encore. since it came back over the previous new year’s, the drummers have overtaken the song, no longer the sweet hippie calypso of ’77 (nor the campfire folk-pop of ’70-’74), now a rolling, thundering anthem.

12/6/80 mill valley recreation center: a holiday party for the local muscular dystrophy association, at the behest of @JustKreutzmann. brent on rec center piano.  adorable all the way. “thank you to the clowns for the nice entertainment, you were very good,” says woman before introducing the band. she doesn’t know everyone’s names (“weir? wire?”), so jerry takes over, which is also cute. with brent on rec center piano, band casually plays the same tunes about sex & death (& the one about the train-driving monkey) that they did during october sets but to audience that likely (mostly) doesn’t know them, though at least one wheelchair has a stealie sticker. excellent off-mic moment when kid approaches garcia.
kid: i want rock & roll.
garcia: you do? this is sort of like rock & roll, this next tune.
next tune is CASSIDY, which is sort of like rock & roll, & locks into deft little jam with garcia building big peak. ice cream served before BIRD SONG, garcia fluttering into impressive flurries, too. and after RIPPLE (with weir & mydland on gargling back-up, ala 10/7), it’s time for santa! more ambient amusements as the band scatters after the set.

12/12/80 san bernardino: not much excitement in the 1st set, but charged, tempo-edging CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER opens the 2nd, busy throughout, garcia squiggling some vaguely MOUNTAIN JAM adjacent flows in the transition. 71-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. 4 days after john lennon’s death. probably the HE’S GONE is for him. certainly deadheads heard it that way. EYES rolls at hyper-chirp speed, with a cloud-cover transition to DRUMZ, garcia fluttering into arpeggios as drummers speed into tom-toms. SPACE starts with drummers at full thwack before dissolving into air & the marching band intro to TRUCKIN’.

12/13/80 long beach: it will never not be funny that when the dead did RAMBLE ON ROSE in LA that there was still an audible cheer for “just like new york city” even on the soundboards. boppin’ version. expanded DEAL with 2 more minutes of garcia flows makes perfect closer. 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN transition jam rolls patiently upwards with a sense of increasing momentum before gliding into FIRE, which has a joyful fuzzed middle solo & big full-band finale ignition. 47-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. PLAYING churns & bobs in place before fading to DRUMZ, joined instantly by flora purim & airto moreira for vocalizations & percussion bouquets, weirdly mixed on both soundboard & audience tapes. clattering SPACE pulls fun trick of solidifying into just-off groove & synth washes that doesn’t totally seem like NOT FADE AWAY until it turns corner. eyewitness of airto playing hart’s kit through BLACK PETER, though not sure i hear anything different.

12/14/80 long beach: i really prefer not to rank dead music, but it turns out there are covers i like less than LITTLE RED ROOSTER & AROUND & AROUND, which are those same covers but when matt kelly joins them on harmonica. magnificent BIRD SONG, dancing lead bass & tumbling drums slowly warp into something like double-time & emerge into a new rhythmic space before pulling back gracefully. righteously grunged PASSENGER is a solid, earthy chaser. 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > THE WHEEL > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. i think garcia wah-wahs the TWILIGHT ZONE cue just before THE WHEEL? in the primo slot, THE WHEEL briefly finds next gear with elegant, cycling jam before folding back for landing. flora purim & airto moreira join for DRUMZ again, chanting & vocalizing, getting cooler as drumzing intensifies & flora gets weird, staying through SPACE & weaving a little through garcia & drums during freaky OTHER ONE coagulation.

12/26/80 oakland auditorium arena: sometimes manic energy. off-putting on the soundboard, makes more sense on the audience tape, where the crowd is frothing. CASSIDY bubbles over the top. even LOST SAILOR has punch. chaotic & big bashing 19-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with nice pensive organ drone at the transition. on the audience tape, palpable crowd energy feels like another (& decidedly unsubtle) voice in the music. after short bolero tuning, 44-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. frenetic conversational bursts in PLAYING slide into moodiness with slightest wisp of a SPANISH JAM before mydland/weir epilogue (missing last part on the soundboard). at some point there were videos for most of the new year’s run online, since nuked. can’t tell from just the audio, but apparently there was a 3rd drummer hanging out during DRUMZ. SPACE starts at full tilt & loses some energy before regaining itself for a dashing, dodging NOT FADE AWAY, shifting through several phases of bounce, garcia’s rainbows making order from excited rhythmic bursts.

12/27/80 oakland auditorium arena: 1st set settles into amped but sometimes metronomic feel. to my ears, LOOKS LIKE RAIN is an example of the drummers’ thump robbing a quiet song of dynamics. IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES still floats, though, as does TENNESSEE JED. the jeweled music of the warfield/radio city shows feels replaced by steamroller energy, bursting out of PASSENGER, 1st set closing MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, & 2nd set opening CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, with escher-like momentum building/cycling. 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. EYES points up & lands into gradual weir/mydland/lesh transition as drummers move from kits to hand percussion. impressively sculptural feedback by weir. starting with the transition from DRUMZ, the 1st decently recorded SPACE dominated by mickey hart & the beam, thundering & fuzzing drones that sound like the whole sky is a gong, sewn together by gentle, misterioso garcia lines as mickey (& healy?) run through beam efx. THE WHEEL switches to brief jam-space before the marching band intro to TRUCKIN’ & what bay area deadheads remember as the TRUCKIN’ that collapsed part of the arena floor, permanently comemorated.

12/28/80 oakland auditorium arena: if i was going to these shows, i’d be chasing the re-electrified BIRD SONG & tonight’s the night. an 8-minute place for the whole band to chill & float & swing quietly with dyna-rhodes sparkles. 54-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. nearly freestanding 3-minute TERRAPIN epilogue, garcia starting into a soft, purposeful guitar figure & band developing it into half-mystic jam over hand drums. pretty-long-for-the-era 11-minute OTHER ONE winds through pulse variants & lots of bass (including a double lesh bomb before the 1st verse) but never exactly cracks open. also, brent got a haircut.

12/30/80 oakland auditorium arena: the absolute legends joani walker & paul scotton get in early & (with the consent of engineer dan healy, i believe) record part of the acoustic soundcheck for the next night’s opening set. most of IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE, unplayed since ’74 & not properly revived ’til summer ’81. sounds ready to me. only dead version of leiber & stoller’s YOUNG BLOOD, a weir fave since the early kingfish days. warlocks staple SEARCHIN’, gone from stage since ’71. 1st set only really kicks in with closing combo of LET IT GROW, still the perfect jam-in-place vehicle for hopped-up ‘80s energy, always bending & almost breaking (if not for weir), & DEAL, the new ending blow-out sounding like it’s always been there. 2nd set boogies & sways but doesn’t launch. 56-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > CHINA DOLL features a proper jam out of TRUCKIN’ that pushes past blues-rock structure & finds a little momentum, only partially disfigured by weir’s slide. SPACE begins as weir blows his whistle with/at the drummers. “you want me to stop? i got a ticket!” says billy, off-mic. garcia makes feedback, mickey gongs the beam, lesh kneels at bass & thwacks on effects-laden open strings. weir blows ambient whistle to cool effect. garcia sets the band into a sleepy NOT FADE AWAY & a CHINA DOLL that starts a little mushily but coalesces, the dyna-rhodes sounding very much like a music box, & ending with a triumphant building solo/jam.

12/31/80 oakland auditorium arena: only full acoustic dead set in an arena. energy is bit more charged than the fall performances with harder drumming. aggressive mini-jams in raging CASSIDY & spiky BIRD SONG. photos show what weir & mydland have been doing in RIPPLE. musically, it’s a sometimes sleepy build to new year’s, though surely the energy in the room was bananas. matt kelly plays harmonica on LITTLE RED ROOSTER. 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER surfs & slides the big energy. and, at midnight, bill graham arrives as father time, riding through the crowd on a giant skull, tossing out roses. i think there are 2 countdowns? after the 2nd, the customary midnight SUGAR MAGNOLIA, with SUNSHINE DAYDREAM saved for the end. one of those classic dead gigs with kids wandering around the stage & dancing. from several accounts, it seems like wavy gravy was running a backstage area for the kids of the extended dead family. i also learned from erik’s documentary that the dead still occasionally had people gargling fire onstage in 1980. 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, john cipollina arriving to punch a cool FIRE solo & play quieter counterpoint. 50-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. after ESTIMATED, garcia & the drummers bloom into a brief pretty jam. cipollina returns for WHARF RAT & stays, matt kelly is back for the choogle section. one of the all-time great harmonica guest appearances by anybody with the dead, in which is he is only visible on the video & not audible on the recording. wish this encore SATISFACTION was just the slightest bit sloppier, but still love this big stupid energy. as bob weir reminds, bill graham is serving breakfast on the way out.

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