Jesse Jarnow

karen dalton live, 1961-1982

Karen Dalton performing history, 1961-1982, an incomplete chronology

Karen Dalton didn’t enjoy performing live. When she did, it was often at venues that didn’t necessarily advertise their acts. “Karen Dalton never played my Folklore Center and neither did Freddie Neil or Tim Hardin,” Izzy Young wrote in 1999. “Neither did they play the Newport Folk Festival, and if Karen Dalton played Gerde’s Folk City it was on an off night and remains unnoted.” She did actually play Gerde’s, known from a September 1963 Herald-Tribune cover (see below), but the point stands.

Though decidedly scanty, this represents an attempt at reconstructing a performing chronology for Karen Dalton, in the hopes of stirring up further memories/information/recordings. Please get in touch via email or comment below.

1961

2/xx/61 Cafe Wha?, New York City, NY
Fred Darrah’s photo of Karen with Bob Dylan and Fred Neil.

1962

10/xx/62 The Attic, Boulder, CO
released as Cotton Eyed Joe: The Loop Tapes
It’s Alright, Every Time I Think of Freedom, Cotton Eyed Joe, Pastures of Plenty, One May Morning, Red Are the Flowers, Blues on the Ceiling, Run Tell That Major, Down and Out, Fannin’ Street, In the Evening, Old Hannah, Pallet On Your Floor, Prettiest Train, Mole in the Ground, Darlin’ Corey, It Hurts Me Too, Katie Cruel, Blackjack, No More Taters, Good Morning Blues

1963

5/11/63 Bates Hall, Huntington YMCA, Boston, MA
with Richard Tucker. Folk Song Society of Greater Boston Hootenanny
with Dave Van Ronk, Eric von Schmidt, Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, Don West, Johnny Morier, Robert L. Jones, Don McSorely, Jan Pulver, The Tamborim

9/xx/63 Gerde’s Folk City, New York City, NY
with Richard Tucker. Photo featured on cover of New York Herald-Tribune.

1964

2/2/64 Kohl High School Gym, Broomfield, CO
with Richard Tucker
with the New Mobile Strugglers

30 January 1964 Broomfield Star-Builder (via @QueenCityJamz)

1966

6/3-19/66 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
sometimes part of rotating pickup band for Fred Neil, also occasionally featuring Al Kooper (organ or guitar), Harvey Brooks (bass), Felix Pappalardi (bass or guitar), John Sebastian (harp), Dino Valenti (guitar)

1969

3/22/69 unknown venue, New York City, NY
featured on It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You the Best DVD
God Bless the Child

4/5/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/6/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/7/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/8/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/9/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/10/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/11/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/12/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/13/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson

4/14/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/15/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/16/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/17/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/18/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/19/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

4/20/69 Cafe Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Bob Gibson, Vince Martin

6/14/69 unknown venue, New York City, NY
featured on It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You the Best DVD
It Hurts Me Too

Los Angeles Free Press, 4 October 1969

9 or 10/xx/69 Ash Grove, Los Angeles, CA

10/10/69 Ledbetter’s, Los Angeles, CA
with Dan Licks and His Hot Licks

10/11/69 Ledbetter’s, Los Angeles, CA
with Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks

1971

4/15/71 K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, DK
opening for Santana

4/16/71 Konserthus, Stockholm, DE
opening for Santana

4/18/71 Ahoy, Rotterdam, NL
opening for Santana

4/19/71 Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt, DE
opening for Santana

4/20/71 Zirkus Krone, Munich, DE
opening for Santana

4/21/71 Beat Club, West Bremen, DE
Take Me, One Night Of Love

4/23/71 Ernst-Merck-Halle, Hamburg, DE
opening for Santana

4/25/71 Olympia Theater, Paris, FR
opening for Santana

4/27/71 Sports Palace, Milan, IT
opening for Santana

4/28/71 Rome, IT
opening for Santana

4/29/71 Rome, IT
opening for Santana

5/1/71 Golden Rose Pop Festival, Casino de Montreux, Montreux, CH
Something On Your Mind, Blues On the Ceiling, Are You Leaving For the Country, One Night Of Love

5/8/71 Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK
opening for Santana

5/9/71 Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK
opening for Santana

9/4/71 Joyous Lake, Woodstock, NY
with Peter Walker

10/27/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project; originally advertised for October 27th through November 1st at Gaslight Au Go Go, there is also an ad indicating that Al Kooper and opening act Freeway were booked from October 28th through November 1st, so it’s quite possible Karen only performed one date.

10/28/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project (see above)

10/29/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project (see above)

10/30/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project (see above)

10/31/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project (see above)

11/1/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with the Blues Project (see above)

Billboard, 13 November 1971

1976

10/30/76 Radio Unnameable, WBAI, NYC

1982

xx/xx/82 Joyous Lake, Woodstock, NY
The last time/place Peter Walker recalls seeing Karen Dalton perform live.

8/8/82 Bob Fass Show, WFMU, East Orange, NJ

#deadfreaksunite 1981

#deadfreaksunite 1981
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]

2/26/81 chicago: last of 6 multi-show stands at the uptown theatre since ’78. i wrongly thought the lovely christina schrieber/jonathan hunt poster was a recent tribute. 11-minute BIRD SONG in the 1st set, garcia’s voice is a bit a-flutter, jam starting with nearly staccato notes & gradually getting busier, more nuanced, really capturing the feeling of taking flight, either deliberately or cuz garcia’s warming up. 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with weir doing some fantastic non-slide jamming with the gnarly tone usually reserved for his slide “playing.” works much better. such an instinctive combo with garcia. 55-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. HE’S GONE floats down to nothingness before garcia gets assertive & all find momentum, spiraling around OTHER ONE triplets, fading again, & reforming gracefully into well-developed conversational garcia/mydland jam. virtually no SPACE, garcia & weir instantly in TRUCKIN’ prelude mode, a gradual wander followed by the marching band intro, to whose charms i am not immune. TRUCKIN’ finds a distinct coda groove that builds nice tension before BLACK PETER descent.

2/27/81 chicago: 1st set lands at under an hour, with a short CASSIDY ride. garcia’s voice is noticeably reedier than it was over the holidays, disconcerting at times, but intimate IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES with sweetly cushioning harmonies. 2nd set opens in jam mode & stays there, one the most archetypal post-’78 setlists possible, but somehow only played this once, starting with scattered but flaring 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. gentle space-reggae painting before garcia butterflies into a pedal-to-the-metal EYES. DRUMZ starts with 3 minutes of what seem like slow-motion rock groove, though maybe doing something weird/intentional, too, because audience can’t clap along with it? (i’ve never heard tapes, but hart/kreutzmann/lesh played a rhythm devils gig together earlier in the month.) late in DRUMZ, a horn mimics the sound of some insane unhappy animal, followed by off-mic conversation.
weir: that doesn’t sound like a fuckin’ elephant.
kreutzmann: not at all!
kreutzmann (into mic): hello? (crowd cheers.) hi!
9-minute NOT FADE AWAY floats out of a cycling blues noodle into more mysterious territory before turning into WHARF RAT. and as squeaky as garcia is, weir is equally well into his big rock-squeak era, with ultra-mega SUNSHINE DAYDREAM falsetto.

2/28/81 chicago: 1st set gets wired with pretty delicious LET IT GROW / DEAL combo, each going elastic during high-energy coda jams that suggest they’re just about to shed their structures & go elsewhere before snapping into back to form. a very mellow garcia in 2nd set, centered by 54-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. extra-dreamy TERRAPIN interlude. a hint at PLAYING IN THE BAND, but instead, after garcia’s departure, a full-on weir/mydland/cowbell epilogue. delay, synth swirl, & garcia/mydland conversation color path to OTHER ONE. garcia keeps jamming after 2nd verse, coalescing briefly into lovely/sloppy prelude to even dreamier STELLA BLUE. garcia’s voice almost disappears, virtually no snares. crowd chaos.

3/2/81 cleveland: modern-tempo’d slo-mo 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener, sounding even slower without much garcia on the soundboard, but A+ on dr. bob’s tape. slinks into a cucumber-cool pocket by end, garcia & weir trading lines like a disco EASY WIND with low-key peak. JACK-A-ROE retains some nice charge after the acoustic sets in ’80. 11-minute LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION is longer than fall versions, stretching easily into the-1-is-where-you-think-it-is conversational open space. 56-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL > DRUMZ > SPACE > PLAYING IN THE BAND > THE WHEEL. quick-moving PLAYING jamming after CHINA DOLL, garcia/percussion/chaos SPACE & gentle WHEEL epilogue, more mindful than mournful compared to the usual.

3/3/81 cleveland: last ever show in cleveland proper. BIRD SONG will always be headline news, maybe the most graceful forum for the drummers’ busily dancing snares (& band as a whole) in the early ‘80s, here an 11-minute version that flutter-gallops into new space before mydland reels it back. extra-long set-opening 16-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER has ups & downs. garcia spaces on some vocals in both tunes but keeps twisting & turning & brightening corners during extended transition, energy carrying as they tumble into SAMSON & DELILAH. 51-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > BLACK PETER. graceful drum fade on HE’S GONE leads to great jam. hart moves to hand percussion & locks into noodles with garcia as kreutzmann builds back up on kit, finding the cool place for a few minutes. weir & garcia trickle their way into LOST SAILOR out of DRUMZ with the hand percussion still tapping. a bummer substitute for SPACE & yet a really lovely way to start LOST SAILOR.

3/5/81 pittsburgh: some nice present garcia in the 1st set in, including gentle FRIEND OF THE DEVIL with lovely fractal solos & quiet, confident TO LAY ME DOWN. i am the opposite of thrilled about weir taking a blues slot in nearly every show. at start of 2nd set, as band as seemingly about to start playing SCARLET BEGONIAS, garcia’s guitar isn’t working, so weir leads band into a pretty boss 13-minute JAM > PASSENGER, him & mydland staying inventive, garcia soaring in midway through the song. deep corners in 60-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > JOHNNY B. GOODE. ace PLAYING only complete on audience tape. hart moves to hand percussion & garcia floats on a kreutzmann pocket that widens gradually into air. midway into NOT FADE AWAY, garcia locks into a strong melody (or a quote?) & weir’s harmony brings jam to mutated allmans-y peak. unusual spiral into WHARF RAT that almost constitutes its own mini-jam. even the segue to AROUND & AROUND is real for once.

3/6/81 pittsburgh: JACK STRAW, tempo clicking upwards, opens mostly mellow 1st set. only 1 weir c&w tune. instead of B3, brent goes synth for his LITTLE RED ROOSTER solo & is kinda fun. percolating high-energy almost-jams in closing LET IT GROW & (especially) DEAL. 66-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. rough segue into FRANKLIN’S with chaotic coda jam, flickering through different scenes/shapes as it lands. a trend i support: another OTHER ONE (with furnished intro) where band keeps jamming after 2nd verse & moving away from structure. a bit unfocused, but inventive playing & coda/dissolve into STELLA BLUE that sounds like yo la tengo for a few notes en route.

3/7/81 college park: bob marley & the wailers were scheduled to play at @UofMaryland the previous september, but canceled because of marley’s ilness. their rescheduled date was supposed to be this gig with the dead, which obviously never happened. can hear garcia’s guitar reverberating off the field house ceiling, nice effect, especially adds nice touches to electric folk of JACK-A-ROE. weir teases at WEATHER REPORT SUITE between tunes. le sigh. garcia pushes/pulls 17-minute BIRD SONG (longest ever, perhaps?) from gentle weaving into more fraught air. set-closing 10-minute DEAL is also extra-long, its solo going a bend beyond into full jam territory, a wisp of soaring near-DARK STAR melody. besides a sleepy IKO IKO opener & the LOST SAILOR lead-in, 59-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER is consistently inventive & high fun. 19-minute SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE is rare version that (after stutter) builds on the ending. jam switches gears & garcia leads blissy segment adjacent to UNCLE JOHN’S BAND (& THE ELEVEN?), mydland on dyna-rhodes, sounding briefly phishy, before continuing detailed churn. the opposite of losing steam, this is one of the more adventurous jams (& shows) in recent memory. only other comparable SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE i know of is 11/2/79. other attempts to jam it collapsed when drummers lost interest (see 9/3/80). even TRUCKIN’ finds open territory, slowly turning up the warpage on the blues-rock outro until it’s just garcia playing a gentle mutant prelude to BLACK PETER, the song itself sung with extreme presence, reaching for new, different vocal phrasings.

3/9/81 madison square garden: big nyc energy pretty tangible on opening FEEL LIKE A STRANGER, a thumping garden party. impressively varied setlists this tour. 1st DEEP ELEM BLUES & BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE of the year both raise nice sparks. another night, another wondrous BIRD SONG. vocals are a little ragged, but jam almost instantly brushes into DARK STAR adjacent territory & wanders right to the brink of empty space, drums & keyboards pulling back into the last chorus, with clanging outro chords. mydland takes grungy synth-clav solo in NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES & uses same tone to double intro on tremendous 16-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. garcia digs in on transition, increasingly melodramatic weir vocals, RIDER once again spills into SAMSON & DELILAH. 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. a rare melodious exit for ESTIMATED, disassembling into UNCLE JOHN’S which abstracts organically, at least until garcia abruptly shifts into the coda & nobody follows. multi-phase OTHER ONE entrance detonation, accidental, but kind of cool in its own way. weir is now mostly singing around the melody, rarely singing it directly. weir’s GOOD LOVIN’ rap is expanding, too. more parts of the ‘80s clicking into place.

3/10/81 madison square garden: enormous spring reverb noise near start of MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP (amps crashing down?) & band almost derails. crowd cheers, of course. “that loud noise at the beginning of the 1st song, that wasn’t a mistake, that was art,” weir says later. off-mic, after DON’T EASE ME IN, someone onstage (hart or garcia, i think) suggests to weir that they play “LAZY LOVIN’,” which is kind of perfect. a correction is issued & they play LAZY LIGHTNIN’ > SUPPLICATION. lots of little semi-transitions* in both sets give it a more natural flow than usual. (* – one song starting right after the next like most normal bands would do, minus the extra lip-flopping & toodling about.) generous 26-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. garcia finds staccato pulse during transition before blurring into wah-wah colors. long, lazily lovin’ FIRE, angling downward from the final peak & melting gracefully into 42-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > CHINA DOLL. SAINT jams out, splattering into chaotic energy. jerry bailing quickly. weir teases (i think) an early germ of VICTIM OR THE CRIME ideas. after big CHINA DOLL solo, virtually standalone TRUCKIN’. fun placement. weir delivers 1st SATISFACTION of ’81, worth it for the drum breaks & lulz. “when i’m drivin’ my TV,” weir sings. perhaps even more devolved than devo’s version.

3/12/81 boston garden: impressed at the stability of this fan camera work. perhaps prepping for upcoming gig with the who, weir attempts guitar windmill during JACK STRAW. 10-minute BIRD SONG feels way too short, flowing briefly into glittering half-time jam. very into the renewed commitment to jamming at the end of the 1st set, tonight LET IT GROW (with cool harmonized garcia peak in the jam) & FRANKLIN’S TOWER. also just noticed the total disappearance of mydland’s 2 originals, which i guess i wasn’t missing. set 2 flows nonstop, mostly a 73-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. substantial PLAYING widens to jam space & shape-shifts, about ready to sink into DRUMZ when garcia starts HE’S GONE. after the HE’S GONE vocal outro, a short but purposeful epilogue swirl. even before the drummers return, SPACE aims for NOT FADE AWAY, in which garcia locks into the same bright melodic theme as the pittsburgh version, weir doubling it into allmans-ness.

3/13/81 utica: hearty 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener, cool theme/variation in final solo. garcia continues to dig in the songbook this tour, 1st HIGH TIME since radio city in the fall, sounded beautifully wounded. 61-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT. garcia runs down the usual lovely space-reggae sax-on-guitar variations during ESTIMATED & accelerates, switching to cruise at a chill moment. funnily, in the 1st EYES OF THE WORLD since @brianfelix & i presented about its changing speeds at @SWPACA (& he taught me how to figure out tempo), it slows back down to lazy early ‘70s feel, around ~110 bpm, after ~140 bpm (among fastest ever) in previous version on 2/27. a pleasure just to float with EYES at this speed. SPACE is thoughtful extended prelude to LOST SAILOR, garcia ruminating while hart thrums drone on a tar, landing in song gracefully (with some stray synth lasers).

3/14/81 new haven: 1st is brightest, garcia locking into merrily moody threads on FEEL LIKE A STRANGER opener, shining B3 peaks with mydland on 12-minute SUGAREE, & surfing the sunshine just the before big transition lick on CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. a very present garcia navigates the SHIP OF FOOLS vocals beautifully, too. all well-played, but the jamming is back to slim 1980 proportions, almost none in 45-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. garcia riffs gently on bach’s JESU, JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING as brief elegant transition to 10-minute STELLA BLUE with glittering solos. return of the once-common I NEED A MIRACLE/BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’, 1st MIRACLE & BERTHA of ’81, the latter crazed ’n’ sloppy.

3/20/81 rainbow theatre: 1st visit to europe in 7 years. a clandestine bit of the dead’s soundcheck, including a few takes of the not-yet-debuted MAN SMART, WOMAN SMARTER. withholding comment. taper checks in at end, “there you have it, the soundcheck… for all you people on los an-gel-es, cal-ee-forn-yuh, heyyyy.” the dead hit post-punk london with their 1981 selves, almost entirely transformed since their ’74 visit, in sound, if not in repertoire. DEAL taps into manic energy, garcia shredding & splattering hard. after a few years of a consistent tempo, 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is a bit speedy. jam flares, especially, at the start & end of FIRE, with mutant blues signaling the transition & big final guitar runs. not much free turf in 53-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > JOHNNY B. GOODE. garcia exits HE’S GONE immediately after vocal outro for 2-minute weir slide jam. weir watch: “some of the clowns you meet on the street…” & “all a friend can say is it’s a fuckin’ shame” added to TRUCKIN’ for 1st time. shocking!! garcia leans into the “motherfucker” in WHARF RAT. nice acceleration into AROUND & AROUND.

3/21/81 rainbow theatre: 1st set levels up during garcia’s multi-peak ALTHEA solo (with dyna-rhodes stardust) & hits biggish with closing combo of LET IT GROW with a not-quite-segue into CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, bouncing 10 or so bpm faster than usual. 56-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. fast but not uncomfortable EYES. unusually, after rainbow peaks, garcia pulls back to chords & exits cleanly before the drum break. fun spiral into NOT FADE AWAY with purposeful garcia solos at every break (mydland harmonies with the first) & another pass through the bright blues theme from the past few versions. heartaching final BLACK PETER peak.

3/23/81 rainbow theatre: garcia’s in a decidedly downtempo mood all evening, but feeling it. impressively brisk tuning breaks. short 1st set closes with 11-minute SUGAREE, getting down to jeweled quiet, followed by brief but levitational LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION. rare 2nd set BIRD SONG opens. 14 minutes, confident & focused from launch of the jam, band floating through plateaus/scenes as garcia hooks into a series of sad sweet melodic peaks. TO LAY ME DOWN makes its london debut 11 years after robert hunter wrote the lyrics there. 58-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. no dead air in expansive PLAYING, thinning & re-thickening, garcia’s guitar & mydland’s dyna-rhodes flying circles around each other. lovely ascent right out of DRUMZ, hart & kreutzmann making gonging percussive chaos as garcia plays around the OTHER ONE pulse, though sort of an abrupt bombing into the tune itself.

3/24/81 rainbow theatre: 19-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER earns its segue designation, with a great transition from the coda that spirals up into FRANKLIN’S, with soaring jams on both sides of the divide. impressively oiled night, a charging BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (13 intro hits) pauses for a beat & smashes right into GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, an unusual & pretty happening double-weir pairing. after being pretty rare for the past year & slowing down (most of the time), 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET 2nd set opener resets it closer to original tempo, returns it to regular rotation, floats into joyous disco space & blows open into cubist blues. 70-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. after long-ass HE’S GONE vocal coda, jam builds & percolates as garcia & drummers disappear under weir & mydland, reentering with hand DRUMZ. possibly the flying karamazov brothers do a juggling routine during ze DRUMZ (as during the rockpalast broadcast a few days later), or maybe they opened the show, but they seem to have appeared at the rainbow this week. THE WHEEL starting to build some real power & thunder rolls, garcia just about cracking into expansive jam-space before the marching band intro to TRUCKIN’ snaps everybody more-or-less in line. weir watch: definitely getting better (& more deliberate) acceleration from jerry ballads into AROUND & AROUND & the late-set choogle sequence, another well-earned segue notation.

3/28/81 essen: a live international television broadcast via rockpalast, sharing a bill with the who. 13-minute SUGAREE, fun to watch the peak with actual good camera work. okay, i lol’d when someone in the crowd shouts for ME & MY UNCLE in a german accent (after SUGAREE). he gets it immediately, too! fat midset SHAKEDOWN STREET, played 2 shows in a row, & feeling comfy, garcia having a mid-set bro sesh with the drummers. another big DEAL where garcia’s solo seems to push the band into energetic almost-jam anarchy. 86-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’, with a full brothers karamazov juggling routine during DRUMZ & an equally flying pete townshend joining post-DRUMZ. the flying karamazov brothers do a juggling routine around hart (kreutzmann refuses), flashing a little disco move at the end. weir watch: maybe it’s been happening for a bit, but now the ‘80s phase where weir mimes along with vocals (or a feature-not-bug for non-english speakers?). here: *you’re* going to give your love; *round & round*, moon went *down*, & *rose* out of my seat. got some range! kinda misfiring pete townshend guest appearance, adding a lovely layer of clang (& stage movement) to NOT FADE AWAY, but weir tries to talk him through WHARF RAT, which doesn’t quite work. lights cigarette during bridge & bails during GOOD LOVIN’.

4/25/81 berkeley community theater: the not-quite-grateful dead (minus lesh & mydland, with john kahn on upright bass) play acoustic for @Seva_Foundation in berkeley, the last owsley soundboard, & template for bay area benefits to come. “we started out kinda like this, went on to become the rocky & bullwinkle of rock & roll,” says weir. they stand instead of sit, but still lovely & laidback, mostly just the ’80 acoustic repertoire with kahn’s more grounded low end. penultimate weir/garcia DARK HOLLOW (with garcia’s sweet harmony part), played at one other acoustic benefit in ’87. the last acoustic EL PASO, a rarity in the fall sets with fun garcia falsetto. a nicer setting for it than dead shows, probably. super-hushed OH BABE IT AIN’T NO LIE & 1st joyous OH BOY since april ’71 at manhattan center. unsurprisingly, owsley causes some issues when mixing sound, from robert greenfeld’s “bear” bio, his last gig before moving to australia to avoid the apocalypse.

4/30/81 greensboro: tape opens with band in the middle of tune-up jam that sounds disconcertingly like a deep part of a 2nd set & ends after 30 seconds. weir watch #1: new phase of aggro vocal embellishment, inserting a “that’s right!” & various grunts into JACK STRAW. snappy CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER closes 1st set. fun percussive palm-muted/wah-wah leads by weir under CHINA CAT turn into cool & gnarled counterpoint leads during transition with surprising peak. 2nd set opening SHAKEDOWN STREET bounces conversationally. 51-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. weir watch #2: ESTIMATED vocal outro expands even more, begs for echo/reverb/efx. not much by way of jamming. weir watch #3: sings TRUCKIN’s sweet jane verse 2x, 2nd time with new update: “ever since she had her little sex change/all i can say is it ain’t the same.” bob, those aren’t their preferred pronouns & you’re using a dead name. (weir does use “he” the 1st time, tho.) well, not sure what i was thinking when i tried to see if @thoughtsonGD had commented on the updated “sex change” lyric in TRUCKIN’, but i did find some entertaining posts/threads. weir watch #4: semi-ahistorical intro to CASEY JONES, “there was a train wreck not too far from here & he died but his memory lives.” oddly might be referring to the wreck of the ol’ 97? the casey jones crash was 700+ miles & 4 states to the west.

5/1/81 hampton: methodical ALTHEA solo, weir’s slide guitar turned down almost far enough. scorching LET IT GROW / DEAL combo to close 1st set, LET IT GROW especially overflowing with detailed garcia landscaping & dyna-rhodes colors. 1st part of 2nd set moves between songs with minimal pauses, just like a real band, but still not segues. both FEEL LIKE A STRANGER & FRANKLIN’S TOWER are platforms for boogie moods & hot garcia shreds, the latter subdividing & peaking anew. 51-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > WHARF RAT. long vocal outro to HE’S GONE, virtually clean ending (like rest of the set) until drummers drop into semi-automatic OTHER ONE, which does its thing in under 6 minutes, never totally detonating. SPACE is almost all noodletown with a quick graceful roll into THE WHEEL, the ending shifting into dramatic & ear-embiggening openness for a moment before landing in WHARF RAT. a big outro that almost avoids kersplatting into SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

5/2/81 philadelphia: opening of the 1st set is where it’s at, with galloping JACK STRAW (big lesh bomb at the peak), easily cruising SUGAREE, & compact but luxuriously soaring 9-minute BIRD SONG. garcia whiffs some lyrics in 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, but nice chewy transition that flickers into into darker vibes before lesh’s bass enters & all climb back to sunshine. except for the move into the closing choogle suite, 2nd set feels a bit disconnected despite sorta/kinda segues, 65-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. garcia scrambles TERRAPIN in the middle, starting the starlight break a verse early before pulling back into song & getting confused about what he’s supposed to singing. like the rest of the set, a few pretty jam flashes but not quite gelling.

5/4/81 philadelphia: BERTHA makes a rare mid-set appearance, considerably more chill & less chaotic than the last few, like there’s been a subtle change in the arrangement. less drumming? to my ears, sounds more like the later ‘80s/‘90s feel. after a winter tour with big jamming, the dead seem to have forgotten how to improvise again. 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > BLACK PETER. PLAYING churns, sheltering in weirdness, but never opens up. straight outta DRUMZ, garcia starts bluesing & singing 1st NOBODY’S FAULT since 1/79, last ’til 9/85, done by the dead in the early days, now emerging from jams as semi-fragment. spare but l’il messy, hart apparently front-stage with a frame drum.

5/5/81 glens falls: after playing MUSIC NEVER STOPPED in the 1st set, 2 of the 2nd set’s big jams seem to channel its peak, including 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with colorful gear-shifting by weir as it climbs to tension & back down. big energy 2nd set, anchored by 68-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > TRUCKIN’ > ALABAMA GETAWAY that shakes up some of the band’s usual patterns in a pretty fun way & finally start jamming. unusually grooved EYES, still at mega-zippy, but feelin’ chill & finding its way to another cascading & time-suspending MUSIC NEVER STOPPED-like peak. electro SPACE bubbles before especially unusual late show sequence with no garcia ballad & surprise segues. props to mickey for pivoting gracefully from the UNCLE JOHN’S outro vocal into the TRUCKIN’ marching band intro. band wends into SPANISH JAM-adjacent territory before accelerating back to boogie speed for a completely smooth transition into ALABAMA GETAWAY.

5/6/81 nassau coliseum: originally scheduled for 5/7 (as on above ticket stub), but moved to 5/6 to make room for potential hockey playoffs after the new york state supreme court ruled in favor of the islanders. some interminable slow weir tunes in the 1st set before the eternally delightful BIG RAILROAD BLUES & the ever-popular LET IT GROW / DEAL closer with lots of colorful garcia twists. sorry for saying the dead lost their jamming mojo! dedicated by weir to bobby sands, irish dissident who died the day before following a prison hunger strike, 67-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > WHARF RAT > GOOD LOVIN’. dense & dazzling 15-minute improv out of HE’S GONE packed with little turns & themes both named & unnamed, including CAUTION-like peaks (but not quite the groove) & exciting sped-up SPANISH JAM (sorta), almost splattering/dissipating a few times but shifting gears instead. band comes out of DRUMZ flying at proper weird, garcia & drummers out in open territory until THE OTHER ONE coalesces, more punctuation than jam, as is the rest of set. as they land, garcia almost cleanly hits well-placed GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD. at the end of GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, garcia short-circuits the BID YOU GOODNIGHT instrumental rag, steering the surprised band towards WHARF RAT. rest of the set doesn’t glow quite as much, but point taken.

5/7/81 nbc studios: with ken kesey on tomorrow coast-to-coast with tom snyder, one of their most satisfying TV appearances, 20 minutes of acoustic music & 20 minutes of interviews.4-song acoustic set to promote “reckoning” on bill the drummer’s 35th birthday. slightly higher energy with garcia & weir standing. all songs sounds great & punchy with little crackling garcia breaks, CASSIDY coming closest to jam. 3 interview segments (kesey/garcia, weir/garcia, weir/garcia/hart/kreutzmann), each with their own charms & lulz & stories & moments. thoroughly enjoy snyder’s weird/earnest energy, & the kesey/garcia goof ’n’ heaviness tag-team. not gonna play-by-play, because it’s all fun & revealing but, after kesey takes a swig…
snyder: what, are you recharging there?
kesey: it’s german wine, the acid is from switzerland.
…and not sure he’s kidding. he asks if the government-funded LSD experiments were responsible for the ‘60s & garcia rightly points out that there was widespread underground interest in psychedelics before that.

5/8/81 nassau coliseum: another night, another inventively detailed LET IT GROW. one of very few songs repeated over the 3 nights, all by weir, except DON’T EASE ME IN. 16-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opens 2nd set. not much jam content but the medium is the boogie. 62-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. a long & leisurely PLAYING wind-down (some of it missing from the soundboard), but the most locked & inspired improv happens after the drum break. fresh from his appearance with the band the day before, ken kesey joins the drumzers for space harmonica, yelps, & duck calls. percussion never disappears during SPACE, coalescing into great hand-drum jam before slightly abrupt shift into NOT FADE AWAY. as they move into NOT FADE AWAY, weir pushes odd chords, almost (but not quite) like EYES OF THE WORLD. after garcia & weir’s slow harmonized jam, an unusual coda where garcia repeats the STELLA BLUE descent under weir’s vocals, sounding like MIND LEFT BODY as they land. apparently, on this tour, hart played frame drum at center stage during DRUMZ &, on this night, lesh sang some rare-for-the-era backup vocal during U.S. BLUES encore.

5/9/81a nassau coliseum: nice 26-minute opening trio, the band mastering 1st set-style flow during 26-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > FEEL LIKE A STRANGER, the latter transition an especially sly move by weir under garcia’s final arpeggios. 10-minute BIRD SONG opens into melancholy & busy guitar/dyna-rhodes conversation. jam almost lands but garcia goes for another weirder spin. after that, the set droops, both LITTLE RED ROOSTER & a weir cowboy medley followed immediately by LOOKS LIKE RAIN. weir watch: some vocal additions to a few tunes, working blue/edgy in LOOKS LIKE RAIN, “wish these fuckin’ blues would go away.” in LOST SAILOR he notes “free is a feeling,” an excellent marketing slogan. 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. fun & high-content EYES, unusually grooved again. garcia & mydland find cool intro pattern, reprising in jam. outro develops distinct shapes, staying busy right ’til DRUMZ kick in. thoroughly noisy SPACE with synth bubbles, wild guitars, fluttering toms. after TRUCKIN’ marching band intro, a quick circus descent before another TRUCKIN’ with a real jam, expanding outward, down to garcia-led space, & back up. unexpected. weir’s faux-daltrey stutters on AROUND & AROUND are a lot funnier after kesey’s brainfry joke on tom snyder a few nights earlier.

5/9/81b the savoy: after playing nassau coliseum, the grateful dead (apparently) back john belushi on some covers at the savoy, ron delsener’s new club on 44th street, including WALKING THE DOG & TWIST & SHOUT. via joel selvin’s 5/31 column. no tapes.

5/11/81 new haven: nice garcia tunes in the 1st set, with only ROW JIMMY of tour, but generally meh. weir watch: 8 covers vs. 3 originals, or 2 depending how you count 10-minute set-closin’ LAZY LIGHTNIN’ > SUPPLICATION. really leaning into the bar band feels tonight. 21-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is big rainbow-rippling fun, but weir tags on CC RIDER, which is even snoozier in 2nd set, featuring mydland scatting, which is a new piece of the ‘80s i definitely hadn’t previously considered. 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL. big peak in PLAYING as garcia switches over to rhythm, making thrilling dense wall with weir & mydland, finally flipping back to glorious lead punctuation. generous melt from THE WHEEL back into PLAYING before always-aching CHINA DOLL. weir watch, cont.: still upping the absurdist stakes on the maximalist SATISFACTION encores, this one trying to lead a singalong with a bemused garcia.

5/12/81 new haven: 1st set finds a mellow-but-not-sleepy pace, largely by giving garcia some room to garcia on mid-set CASSIDY. set-closing CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER feels extra spritely, the dyna-rhodes at its warmest & most percussive. 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET set opener finds easy neon lope & then weir again plops a sleepy-not-mellow tune right near set’s start, in this case LOOKS LIKE RAIN. slightly more charged than usual because of the placement, but still. i love SHIP OF FOOLS, but it doesn’t help. 61-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. weir dedicates HE’S GONE to bob marley, adding (before encore) “marley was a powerful poet & a gentle revolutionary & he’ll last a long, long time.” extended HE’S GONE vocal outro. jam meanders until drummers take charge for chaotic bl00z-rockin, almost a TRUCKIN’ prelude. guitarists shred out of DRUMZ at full metal bluster but thin to nothingness, getting nicely zapped en route to THE OTHER ONE.

5/13/81 providence: i guess this mydland blues-scatting is really gonna be a thing, huh? after droopy start to show, totally winning set-closing combo of a bright watercolor-flickering BIRD SONG, fast-but-not-jittery runs on LET IT GROW & boogie cascades of DEAL. whatever jamming spark returned on long island is gone again. TERRAPIN STATION whispers into LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE before 36-minute DRUMZ > SPACE > IKO IKO > I NEED A MIRACLE > STELLA BLUE. MIRACLE & IKO are rare, i guess? probably way fun.

5/15/81 piscataway: lovely garcia flows in 19-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener, always a sweet double-garcia treat. they’ll keep playing the combo on/off through ’87, but this ends the 2+ years in which it was a dependable occurrence. during LOOKS LIKE RAIN, a lightning storm is visible through the gym’s skylight, with big cheers on the audience tape & lots of audience memories (good version, too). the storm gets intense again during FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN in the 2nd set. the dead played different shows every night, but they did sometimes accidentally repeat setlists. opening with SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, this 2nd set is exactly the same as 9/26/80, though i would’ve thought it happened more often. 54-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. long weir vocal outro to ESTIMATED, edging towards freestyle, & tonight quoting GET UP STAND UP as a tribute to the recently passed bob marley. unusual developments in EYES: garcia again starts with the rewritten riff/groove played during last 2 versions, now clearly deliberate. it causes some confusion, but mydland picks it up again & gives the song new feel, which mostly disappears as jam starts.

5/16/81 ithaca: last of 3 visits to @cornell’s barton hall, site of the legendary may ’77 psyop. 1st set has a lumpy flow, getting brighter with BROWN EYED WOMEN, PASSENGER, & a quiet, extraordinary HIGH TIME with aching & present garcia vocals. LET IT GROW provides the late set fireworks with jagged guitar peaks. 16-minute 2nd set opening SHAKEDOWN STREET shimmies in slow motion around clav-like dyna-rhodes. unless i’m missing a version, 1st with vocal reprise ending since the end of the godchaux era in early ’79. comes to clean stop before garcia slashes into a hyperspeed BERTHA. does anybody have a good term for when there’s a bogus but believable-looking segue noted in the deadbase/standard setlist but no musical transition of any kind? because it could apply to virtually every show of this tour. following SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, band comes to a full stop & garcia launches (& band hops on quickly to) a thread that turns into 52-minute SPANISH JAM > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. after adjacent jamming earlier in may, the SPANISH JAM is (to my ears) the 1st unambiguous version since ’76 with the full marching rhythm & bolero progression. less crazy than nassau, but patient improv that moves towards/away from a theme & abstracts into cubism. SPACE floats on guitar/handdrum cloud that dissipates before a TRUCKIN’ wends into a NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE jam. weir finds a descending pattern that would sound cool if he wasn’t playing slide & not quite hitting all the notes. predictable saturday night ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT is in my preferred spot coming out of the graceful BID YOU GOODNIGHT instrumental at the end of GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD. i associate it with “hundred year hall” from ’72. a regular move through the mid-‘80s.

5/17/81 syracuse: 1st set perks up especially with closing CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, bouncing on dyna-rhodes & giving it a “modern” feel. as a piece of music written in the ‘60s, such a strange artifact in an arena in 1981. another fairly skimpy night for jams. hour-long ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT. weir goes screamo during ESTIMATED outro, jam flares briefly before conversational descent. HE’S GONE fakes towards TRUCKIN’ before a shorthand 5-minute OTHER ONE. weir starts singing while garcia is still mid-phrase. super-abrupt segue out of deep SPACE into SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, can’t even hear anybody count off. weir gets his SATISFACTION singalong going, empties the scream tank, & works on his ad-libbing. “you’re gonna burn & you’re gonna twist & you’re gonna turn.” i miss the big dumb drum breaks.

5/22/81 warfield theater: 5/6 of the grateful dead play acoustic at the warfield in san francisco, a nuclear disarmament benefit. after 18 acoustic dead-ish sets in the bay area over the previous 7 months, the last for 13 years. spiel from wavy gravy trying to recruit heads into the movement, “there are all kinds of weird affinity groups… there could be a grateful dead affinity group!… the heat wouldn’t know what hit them!” solid intro: “captain JerryBobKreutzHart!” minus phil lesh, the acoustic dead with john kahn on upright bass, hitting many of the usual sweet spots. 1st acoustic FRIEND OF THE DEVIL since 1970, now slowed down just like electric. funny that it didn’t come out earlier. too obvious? “this is our heavy metal song,” says weir, introducing MONKEY & THE ENGINEER. especially sleepy (in a nice way) OH BABE IT AIN’T NO LIE. garcia’s singing so quietly that it’s impossible not to also tune into the ambient audience chatter when listening. with a few months of electric versions, BIRD SONG soars, but decisively ends. more boggling segues listed on the setlist, but a & fun transition from a fairly static 8-minute hand-DRUMZ into buddy holly’s OH BOY. wavy signs off at the end of the night.

7/2/81 houston: where season 2 of “freaks & geeks” would have begun & lindsay would’ve freaked.  both JACK-A-ROE & DIRE WOLF approach ludicrous speed, far faster than their last versions on the spring tour. JACK-A ROE’s been speeding up slowly for years, like EYES OF THE WORLD, from around 108 bpm when it was debuted, now up around 130. weir watch: in the 1st set, droppin’ f-bombs in the outro to SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE for the 1st time. w0000! in the 2nd, the debut of norman span’s MAN SMART (WOMAN SMARTER). the ’80s have now begun for real. less cheesy to my ears pre-synth, anyway. MAN SMART (WOMAN SMARTER) was a hit for harry belafonte but has cool origins in the 1930s trinidadian calypso tent scene. its original artist went by 2 pretty awesome names, king radio & one-eyed norman span. 63-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER. no trace of the fun rewritten EYES groove from the spring tour, but a slight change of energy as the song starts, as if they’re forgetting to do something. almost all the songs find peaks just before their segues, bright spots where garcia hits the accelerator & song turns subtle corner, big energy moments in ESTIMATED & EYES & a TRUCKIN’ epilogue that splits the difference between abstract & allmans-y.

7/4/81 austin: JACK STRAW opens with its “leavin’ texas, 4th day of july” lyric, but weir tries to pep it up to “T for texas, 4th day of july” & ends up confusing himself into singing his line from NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES instead. nice l’il PEGGY-O & sunbaked LOSER. BIRD SONG makes a rare 2nd set appearance, a guided 11-minute ramble, somewhat static on the surface but all rippling conversation(s), everybody dancing around for the whole jam, except when mydland tries to end it early like a narc. 49-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. as PLAYING jam expands, weir moves to some shrill slide with garcia playing subtly behind him before garcia exits early for a weir/mydland-led jam that makes some left turns. dig garcia’s licks under the last verse of NOT FADE AWAY & authoritative outro. weir watch: after fumbling the JACK STRAW, he does better with ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, turning it for much of the song into ONE MORE FOURTH OF JULY & getting plenty of cheers.

7/5/81 oklahoma city: slow-rolling SHAKEDOWN STREET opener turns corner & suddenly they’re playing something thrillingly close to the descending weir/lesh jam from the spring ’71 versions of HARD TO HANDLE. liquid garcia solos, but lots of dropped lyrics through set. only inside jams tonight, including 1st set LET IT GROW & rare 2nd set MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, which doesn’t go anywhere particularly new but manages to finds its way there in a slightly more relaxed manner than usual. improv dearth. 45-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. HE’S GONE stretches by way of vocals, wisp of half-hearted flame-fanning before DRUMZ. OTHER ONE kicks up SPACE dust but opens no portal. subtle delay on STELLA BLUE solo.

7/7/81 kansas city, mo: unchill BERTHA lands in DANCING IN THE STREET, 1st since 12/79 & last ’til ’84 revival, the final disco/funk version. pretty ugly ’til the jam, which goes to cool places, garcia picking with icy tone as band swirls into wildness around him. notes weir after DANCING, “we thought we’d take the opportunity once again to prove that our memories are better than we have any right to expect them to be but still not that good.” sloppiness abounds in kansas city, but nice moments. assertive dyna-rhodes drives BIRD SONG jam, sparkling garcia/mydland conversation. LOOKS LIKE RAIN finds a little swing, like they could just go off & jam, but stay inside the lines, the mood carrying over to joyous DEAL set closer. 1st MAN SMART (WOMAN SMARTER) opener, which sounds better to my ears in the dyna-rhodes era, though just as indistinguishable from IKO IKO as it would be in the hawaiian shirt years. 58-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > BLACK PETER. amid the yelps, ESTIMATED swirls evenly into enjoyable but super-fast EYES, together enough that the pulse almost feels disco-like. not much happening in SPACE (weir might be blowing his whistle ambiently into the mic?). GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD is especially cookin’, though slightly lurching double-weir set landing. #

7/8/81 st. louis: one of the more piercing LITTLE RED ROOSTER “slide” solos by weir. series of increasingly loud cherry bombs during DON’T EASE ME IN. solid 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with atmospheric co-leads by weir contributing to fireworks. weir watch: during the increasingly extemporized SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE vocal outro, i think he just rhymed something with “chevrolet.” not bad, i guess? 42-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. after a long FRANKLIN’S wind-down, the drummers exit before another few minutes of mostly restless jamming, finding a little more movement when rejoined by hand DRUMZ. a little bit of cool thunder juggling in the NOT FADE AWAY prelude & some tasty light-footing in the epilogue that makes a graceful landing into WHARF RAT. SUGAR MAGNOLIA set closer feels a little rushed/overblown, its swing pretty much gone.

7/10/81 st. paul: semi-ragged performance, but inspired playing. kinda rare SUGAREE digs into several peaks, as does LET IT GROW, which comes close to spinning out. mydland hits a big, loud, new faux-accordion tone during MEXICALI BLUES. @otdispace, what’s that sound? thoroughly fun 61-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA DOLL > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND, each piece achieving a cool jam place, starting with bright ESTIMATED climbs. oh hey, garcia’s alternate groove for EYES OF THE WORLD from the spring is back (see 5/9, 5/15), though mydland’s no longer doubling the part. slowed down from 7/7 version but still bouncing & fast, emerging into fully engaged new space for a few minutes pre-DRUMZ. a fury of hand-DRUMZ during SPACE noodles into a rare self-contained (& condensed) late-show suite, the frame drum leaking into UNCLE JOHN’S intro. the jamming is purposeful & the segues are mostly on-point. strong CHINA DOLL vocal, could use more solo! after bringing PLAYING (& the whole hour-long jam sequence) to a graceful landing & perfect show closing, weir tacks on the AROUND & AROUND/GOOD LOVIN’ medley. shrug emoji.

7/11/81 east troy: nice 1st set places in PEGGY-O & BIRD SONG, 11 minutes & alight with flickering colors & fluttering garcia. dunno who’s throwing the harmonic curveballs in the CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER jam, maybe phil, but a nice burst at the transition. 75-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > I NEED A MIRACLE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT twists & turns but unwinds only a little. HE’S GONE takes the slow path down via the vocal outro, but TRUCKIN’ rolls into a confident the-1-is-where-you-think-it-is jam that gets into charming conversation over rhythmic blur. i think lesh is playing during the slow-motion SPACE conversation, a bit of rarity, thoughtful & somewhat minimalist until it coalesces into a throughly overblown & screamed-out OTHER ONE. STELLA BLUE solo spirals up & lands beautifully, both a clean ending & musical bridge to MIRACLE. garcia’s move into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD isn’t quite as smooth, but he does try to make a little bridge, which sounds like doing math on the fly.

7/13/81 denver: lots of speedy tempos. JACK-A-ROE is especially breakneck. must be the altitude. LOOKS LIKE RAIN is a bit clicked up, also, becoming even more obvious when garcia stomps the fuzz pedal & the drummers hop on for big finale. DEAL, too. 18-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is likewise hopped up, garcia maybe seeming to get a little lost in the transition, returning to SCARLET theme/ending before conversational guitar/drums peak. 48-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. even the usually chill ESTIMATED is faster than usual, though an uncommonly graceful landing into TERRAPIN. garcia scrambles many TERRAPIN lyrics (including the appropriate “inspiration, sue me brightly”) but unfolds the fade into a little jam that re-coagulates into a brief, satisfying coda. no SPACE, but band charges into NOT FADE AWAY at full force from an unusual angle. weir watch: vocal extemporizing now in NOT FADE AWAY, too, using vocal outro to bring it to a quiet ending adds hendrix-style “i’m gonna gitcha” a few times in SUNSHINE DAYDREAM, screams approaching bobcat goldthwaitian levels. goes off in SATISFACTION too!

7/14/81 denver: bit of a rough night but lovely mini-storms in 11-minute BIRD SONG, finding into some jam tension & suggesting other skies, the drums almost disappearing near the end of the jam & seeming to escape. big bass bombs during SHAKEDOWN STREET, with long vocal denouement, garcia doubling his singing on guitar before opening into jam that reaches quiet conversational place. 52-minute TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > I NEED A MIRACLE > GOOD LOVIN’. briefly triumphant TRUCKIN’ emerges into solo garcia-ness & lands in a variation of the new EYES groove. not much new, but taking its time. last moments of OTHER ONE spiral into another almost-solo garcia zone with the return of ambiguous DARK STAR-like bursts in the brief moment before WHARF RAT. great build into MIRACLE (mostly MIA on tape), but all kindsa sloppiness from there out.

8/12/81 salt lake city: the metronomic, disconnected double-drumming slides over into garcia territory now, too, with hyper JACK-A-ROE that feels so rhythmically close to the preceding MEXICALI BLUES that weir even inserts MEXICALI phrases throughout. 1st MIGHT AS WELL since 2/79 opens 2nd set, played next 4 of 5 shows. along with MORNING DEW, played later in the set, apparently rehearsed at front street the week before, according to @InstituteJerry. 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN takes a second to catch as they start. jam engages in deep quest mode with garcia chasing some very mellow lines & variations during the transition. 57-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > TRUCKIN’ > MORNING DEW. the hopped-up ’81 EYES re-groove returns, sounding confident on garcia’s part. mydland sticks around & jams with drummers. after thick SPACE noise, SPANISH JAM gets its own ’81 re-arrangement following its spring return, with weir fancying up the chords a little, sounding a bit like an interlude from LET IT GROW. cool development, landing in marching band/circus intro to TRUCKIN’. MORNING DEW makes its 1st appearance of the year, powerful as always, garcia’s solo floating in a quiet & ruminative place until just before ascending to its big peak. most bands would exit the stage at this point.

8/14/81 seattle: rare but welcome electric & bouncing ON THE ROAD AGAIN, 1st since autumn. 14-beat BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE intro. a super-fast BROWN EYED WOMEN, even speedier than its ’71 debut, setting the tone for one of the speediest sets yet. nearly every song in the 2nd set establishes its tempo by toon town rules, especially the bouncing-off-the-walls BERTHA > THE PROMISED LAND combo opener. right in the middle, comically, one of the slowest SHIP OF FOOLS ever. 64-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > PLAYING IN THE BAND > WHARF RAT > I NEED A MIRACLE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > JOHNNY B. GOODE. PLAYING jam feels a bit perfunctory, garcia firing up CHINA CAT as it loses momentum. after RIDER, weir signals with MAIN TEN riff & the band reverts to deep PLAYING space, mydland subtly picking up lead from garcia. out of reprise, impressive acceleration into MIRACLE. encore is 1st IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE since 2/74, with at least one soundcheck over the previous new year’s run. sounding quite together & quite sweet, it becomes a high rotation encore for virtually the rest of the dead’s career.

8/15/81 portland, OR: somewhat scant-feeling 1st set capped by a raging 10-minute LET IT GROW. shorter than most played in the year to date, but also seeming to get further out, tapping into deep cosmic reserve as it peaks. 41-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. TERRAPIN trickles smoothly into a properly mystical 6-minute coda jam that picks up speed & density as garcia darts, staying coherent through elegant dissolution.

8/16/81 eugene: short 1st set with garcia in fine voice (for ’81), the garcia/hunter tunes feeling especially emphatic. brief feeling 18-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with fun half-speed FIRE soloing by garcia. 61-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’ featuring a prankster invasion by kens kesey & babbs & the thunder machine. garcia’s not playing his signature guitar lick during the beginning of ESTIMATED & the song feels kinda empty. weir leans in hard to the “na na na”s in the vocal outro, just waiting for some dubby efx. EYES is as fast as it ever gets, 140+ bpm. self-correcting here, but i think it’s actually weir who’s been leading the new groove/riff, sometimes with harmonies from garcia and/or mydland, in full effect here. once again, garcia splits early & mydland leads for a coda jam. ken babbs MCs the DRUMZ chaoz, building up a nice cloud of noise with scatting/freaking/babbling/horn-blowing plus bangage from the thunder machine, an instrument/sculpture by the late ron boise.

8/27/81 long beach: 11-minute BIRD SONG sounds noncommittal at jam’s start but casually floats until it falls upwards towards big peak that seems ready to fling the band into space. enjoy the woman in the audience singing along with the final chorus. 1st CUMBERLAND BLUES since 10/74, good double-drummer energy, now sounding similar to BIG RIVER’s default C&W groove. a very welcome return to the band’s repertoire, staying there through ’95. appreciate garcia bringing back old tunes while in a long songwriting dry spell. 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. some fun dual garcia/weir leads during FIRE. 49-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. according to a newspaper review, flora purim & mike hinton & possibly other members of the rhythm devils join for the DRUMZ segment. only a distant audience tape, but it does sound like there’s some vocalization & extra percussion happening. NOT FADE AWAY gets down into gorgeous quiet space adjacent to far-out jam doorways, which is the moment weir chooses to start his long vocal outro, building up to screaminess.

8/28/81 long beach: BROWN-EYED WOMEN returns to normal tempo, thankfully. not much new to report but solid garciaing in set-closing LET IT GROW & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER combo. plus-sized & extra-floating 16-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET with some fun 2-guitar leads. 62-minute THE WHEEL > GOOD TIME BLUES > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. extremely rare WHEEL in a pre-DRUMZ jam slot, patiently developing & burrowing deeper. debut of brent mydland’s GOOD TIME BLUES (aka NEVER TRUST A WOMAN), overblown half-written blues-rock misogyny i probably haven’t heard in 20 years & which hasn’t grown on me in the intervening time. drops into a cool, chaotic (& unrelated) garcia/drummers jam coda, though. debut of brent mydland’s GOOD TIME BLUES (aka NEVER TRUST A WOMAN), a blues-rocker i found misogynistic & bland when i last heard it ~20 years ago & which hasn’t grown on me. drops into a cool, chaotic (& unrelated) garcia/drummers jam coda, though. impressive post-SPACE with SPANISH JAM emerging gradually, played with confidence & drama & slight OTHER ONE-shaped burp before TRUCKIN’. even TRUCKIN’ gets question-marky before assured WHARF RAT.

8/30/81 tempe: now rare-ish MISSISSIPPI HALF STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener. CUMBERLAND BLUES missing a little bit without giant lesh bass sound, but everybody else just falling into place like it’s 1971. purposeful SHIP OF FOOLS justifying its big 2nd set placement. 62-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. some openness as ESTIMATED dissolves, HE’S GONE heads right for vague OTHER ONE prelude. full-force SPACE with all in, congealing inside for much of THE OTHER ONE, the big far-outness now relegated to the zone following the 2nd verse. weir watch: “everybody slam dance!” he says during set-closing GOOD LOVIN’, pretty early word usage, i think.

8/31/81 las vegas: “ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, the circus is in town,” weir announces before opener. can’t say if garcia pulls out the gambling songs cuz it’s vegas, but good CANDYMAN & LOSER & extra-sharp set-closing DEAL, preceded by crackling LET IT GROW. 25-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN feels leisurely, with nice nearly drumless valley of garcia soloing over mydland B3 padding just before an equally leisurely transition. 50-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > GOOD TIME BLUES > MORNING DEW > PLAYING IN THE BAND, garcia & mydland getting into intricate conversation during PLAYING. ominous SPACE clonks & soars before dipping into blooz-land, an odd late-jam flavor, before a MORNING DEW whose closing solo provides a fine combination fireworks display & synchronized mind-melt.

9/11/81 greek theatre: in front of resplendent @courtenaytiedye, the grateful dead find their new outdoor home at @GreekBerkeley, their 1st shows there since the ‘60s. night 1 starts at 7pm, night 2 at 5, night 3 at 3. the beginning of the dead’s dalliance with joan baez, then canoodling with mickey hart. before the 1st set, she leads a taped happy birthday singalong for mickey’s 38th & keeps singing after the song has ended in the most joan baez way possible. excellent 15-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER floats through the colors, mydland’s dyna-rhodes sounding especially kaleidoscopic. an almost imperceptible rearrangement to MAN SMART, WOMAN SMARTER’s introduction so it doesn’t sound just exactly like IKO IKO. 62-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > MORNING DEW. mostly just blooz jams in the 1st half, highlighted by a proper DEW, full & dramatic with tender vocals, powerful quiet, soaring solos & full band dynamics. great audience tape! a brouhaha in berkeley?! the hills above the @GreekBerkeley are closed off during the 9/81 shows, citing deadheads & fire threats, the consequences of the new year’s campouts in oakland. maybe the 1st instance of asking heads not to show up without tickets?

9/12/81 greek theatre: hearty 1st set includes gently funky SHAKEDOWN STREET opener & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER closer, but super-thrills come with soulful, faith-affirming BIRD SONG jam & screaming CASSIDY. 25-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN in which to get lost amid previously untapped squigglies & mini-fields of guitar grids. fun 68-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. EYES drops at nice medium tempo, slower than recent hyper takes, & even develops an actual jam with garcia & drummers spinning outwards. drums fold back & drop out gradually with nearly full space-out. percussion-only entrance to DRUMZ, a move they haven’t done in a minute. weir even has his late-set transitions pretty tight, especially the segue into ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, an actual original song to end a set, how about that? lesh is MIA before rare double encore so weir has crowd call for him in unison.

9/13/81 greek theatre: a lot of vocal iffiness from garcia in both sets, but aching & masterful TO LAY ME DOWN solo. lots of sunday boogie between PASSENGER & LET IT GROW & MIGHT AS WELL. 49-minute TERRAPIN STATION > GOOD TIME BLUES > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > I NEED A MIRACLE. one of the more scrambled versions of TERRAPIN, with either garcia or lesh or both apparently headed backstage before mydland starts his new tune. supposedly, a biker onstage revving his engine during DRUMZ, but i don’t hear any. definitely a drifting sunday sunset beam segment with hart that drifts through SPACE.

9/25/81 bethlehem: garcia in a mellow mood in 1st set, with gentle PEGGY-O & 10-minute BIRD SONG. the drums going almost free except occasional shuffle pulse, weir slicing at weird shapes, sewn into gorgeousness by garcia noodles, a perfectly ‘80s jam space. show gets cookin’ with punchy CUMBERLAND BLUES, typically roaring PASSENGER, & cresting MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. from there, clicking into party mode. 21-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is slim, with needlepoint peak. almost no jam sequence, 31-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL, with SAINT only connecting by the flimsiest 75-second tendril of solo garciaing. set closes with SUGAR MAGNOLIA > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > SUNSHINE DAYDREAM that leaves me wondering if garcia just forgot that SUNSHINE DAYDREAM was supposed to happen the 1st time.

9/26/81 buffalo: a very period 1st set, opening with SHAKEDOWN STREET (enormous local cheers for “don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart”) & featuring big LET IT GROW, plus exuberant electrified versions of 2 “reckoning” tunes, JACK-A-ROE & ON THE ROAD AGAIN. 2nd set moves a little awkwardly as band tries to shake it up, opening with 34-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > BERTHA > ESTIMATED PROPHET > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD. only PLAYING jams, but mostly purposeful segues until everybody drops thread after GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD. 30-minute DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > MORNING DEW > PLAYING IN THE BAND has a full space/noize intro, but maybe not quite proper SPACE, but that’s nit pickin’. properly soul-wrenching MORNING DEW that melts right back into MAIN TEN riff. weir watch: weir dedicates the JOHNNY B. GOODE encore to chuck berry for his birthday, though weir is several weeks early. when in libra season i guess?

9/27/81 landover: pretty thin-feeling 1st set. gorgeous watery-toned CANDYMAN solo & wounded vocals, sometimes in the beautiful way, sometimes not. all charges firing by SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, though. quite fun 58-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > WHARF RAT > I NEED A MIRACLE > GOOD LOVIN’ feels almost old school in structure (until the last 2 tunes), though execution is all ’81. TRUCKIN’ veers into OTHER ONE turf & the WHARF RAT transition is a breath away from DARK STAR, with a fragment of the melody maybe even passing through. adoring the dyna-rhodes SPANISH JAM detailing in this era. garcia feelin’ the IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE encore. not that there was much competition for meaningful encore songs besides BROKEDOWN PALACE, but love when the encore slot is used for something non-frivolous.

9/30/81 edinburgh: the hairy americans do their thing, finally getting fired up a bit during LET IT GROW & a longer-than-usual FEEL LIKE A STRANGER 2nd set opener that slips into mydland/garcia jam territory. 54-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE, though a harsh tape cut as ESTIMATED starts to jam, with most of EYES missing, cutting back in during a nice chill tempo’d jam that seems it’s widened a bit. no other tape source. nice long road out of SPACE filled with moog comets & blurp whooshes & garcia noodles. mydland suggests chord changes but they land in the usual OTHER ONE groove, staying weird without straying too far, ambling into STELLA BLUE with big finale solo.

10/2/81 london: 1st set feels very warm-uppy & little tech glitchy. “anybody got a flashlight?” weir asks at one point. scattered energy during CUMBERLAND BLUES. don’t know if it’s an electrical hum or a synth, maybe the former, but deep moaning at the start of CASSIDY. band succeeds at shaking up some 2nd set formulae with 74-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > SHAKEDOWN STREET > BERTHA > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER, mostly works. (jerry almost cut his hair. and did.) PLAYING churns as normal, spacing out just long enough to hit the SHAKEDOWN STREET doom chord. a long & detailed version, with some loop-ready mydland keyboard grooves & taking a moody turn before vocal reprise, splicing to BERTHA from the last beat. BERTHA’s ending, in turn, hops with only a wee stagger into a PLAYING-ish noodle, a refreshing change, picking up where they left off. does it get labeled PLAYING IN THE BAND, JAM, PLAYING IN THE BAND JAM or nothing? is it just more BERTHA? do you (yes, you!) care? the SPANISH JAM doesn’t quite turn inward, dropping into a somewhat lurchin’ TRUCKIN’, which drizzles with uncharacteristic indecisiveness into BLACK PETER.

10/3/81 london: pretty empty when band takes stage, apparently, then things get more serious. 11-minute BIRD SONG with gorgeous, blurry jam. garcia finds nice turns in/out of CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER transition, playing (i think?) just behind the beat. FEEL LIKE A STRANGER doesn’t go long, but does feel like it opens up into question marks for a few minutes before swinging to proper end. 65-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > MORNING DEW, a fave sequence of london heads. mydland takes charge during the TERRAPIN starlight jam. noisy synth SPACE makes for slightly circuitous route into NOT FADE AWAY. big MORNING DEW finale bends to the faster & shreddier side, but still grand.

10/4/81 london: weir mentions watching “the producers” on television the previous night, takes audience vote about whether “springtime for hitler” was in good taste. brief noisy & cool prelude jam to JACK STRAW. tape is slowed down, i think, putting LET IT GROW nearer to the old EYES OF THE WORLD tempo, woozy during the verses, relaxed during the jams. peaceful moment of near drumlessness during sing-song transition from SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. bit disjointed ending to LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE. sounds like garcia departs immediately & drumzers yell at weir to create some momentum while they switch to hand percussion for 43-minute JAM > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT.  jam sequence arrives without traveling, a methodical marching band SPANISH JAM acting as prelude to nearly inevitable drop into THE OTHER ONE.

10/6/81 london: show-opening SHAKEDOWN STREET slips into brief but very cool double-time jam with fleeting set of mini changes. in a rare flash of musical politeness, during CUMBERLAND BLUES, lesh even states the original distinctive bassline. 57-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL takes its time beginning with joyful & slow ESTIMATED disassembly, the band moving towards EYES OF THE WORLD, but garcia keeps disassembling into HE’S GONE. big deep SPACE is often labeled BLUES FOR ALLAH JAM, edging on those themes, seemingly in memory of egyptian president anwar sadat, assassinated that day in cairo. fun synth bendys during THE WHEEL prelude, recalling (unintentionally?) pedal steel of the studio version.  SUGAR MAGNOLIA > STELLA BLUE > GOOD LOVIN’ closes, garcia pulling last SUGAR MAG thread until it’s STELLA BLUE’s intro. solo builds to full blaze, setting up *perfect* segue back into SUNSHINE DAYDREAM, but weir goes GOOD LOVIN’? garcia seems to react comically/noisily. instead, SUNSHINE DAYDREAM carries over to the encore for the 1st of only 2 times (thanks @InstituteJerry!), leading into BROKEDOWN PALACE, always a just exactly perfect goodnight, here back in the city where the lyrics were written.

10/8/81 copenhagen: not the fiercest of 1st sets, but garcia’s ALTHEA solo is huge & surfs with the band across a pair of sweet, extended peaks in set-closing MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. the show’s headline news is deeply jammed half-hour SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. can’t tell who’s driving SCARLET into mysterious territory, but lots of great mydland B3, alternating between conversation & drone chords, a little sleepier as they move into FIRE. 72-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > JOHNNY B. GOODE, 1st half of which is more exciting. garcia & weir push slim (& unfinished) PLAYING into the far-out before gentle dissolve.

10/10/81 bremen: opening SHAKEDOWN STREET sets tone for enjoyable night with lots of jam spaces, not always memorable, but fun enough. 13-minute BIRD SONG is jeweled as always, garcia reprising theme & bringing all down to a whisper before soaring across the nearest horizon. but most of the jamming isn’t nearly that delicate, including extra-raging 14-minute LET IT GROW with propulsive garcia & set-closing DEAL. rare 2nd set SUGAREE is 12 minutes, charged & dense with shred plateaus, but not-so-much with the quiet dynamics. 45-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT is almost all zippy. EYES skips along at just under 140bpm, one of the faster versions, with very little swing & virtually no outro jam. rephrasing of the groove is gone again, too. rare SPACE bass, mostly weir & lesh in tonight’s segment, building up a little bit of steam & setting up a good OTHER ONE drop, so naturally weir veers into the stop/start marching band intro to TRUCKIN’ instead. #deadfreaksunite [5/5]

10/11/81 amsterdam: on an off day between shows, @jerrygarcia & @bobweir play a surprise half-hour acoustic set at @melkweg in amsterdam. rock scully’s book “living with the dead” is one of the best written but least trustworthy dead memoirs. but rock was the tour manager & ringleader of the europe ’81 jaunt & is (perhaps) a reliable narrator about the one-off acoustic set in amsterdam. sounds like a heady day with some righteous poets. delicious & hazy fun at the @melkweg, playing through the acoustic ’80 repertoire recently released on “reckoning.” tape’s a bit fuzzed, but CASSIDY & BIRD SONG lose some dynamics without band but still a delight.

10/12/81 munich: 1st set is mostly hits from the europe ’72 songbook, played on their ’72 & ’74 trips through munich, now in their slightly more frayed europe ’81 form, feeling most alive during the CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with fluttering garcia figures. 83-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > GOOD TIME BLUES > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’ is pretty full service ’81 dead, though. ESTIMATED takes its time, which is nice, but doesn’t unwind. GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD is extra-brisk, not ludicrously so, & garcia leans in for high energy shreds. no BID YOU GOODNIGHT ending, instead a cool coda jam. drumzers start up, but mydland interrupts with GOOD TIME BLUES. indecisive SPACE virtually defaults into NOT FADE AWAY. drawn out STELLA BLUE with committed garcia vocals & a lot of very quiet soloing until final spiral up to weir-land, which weir hiccups on the jump.

10/13/81 russelsheim: 10-minute BIRD SONG dances the line between free jams & flowing full-band action. mydland & the drummers get into some lovely dramatic tumbles & skitters under bright guitar solo skies. 67-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > THE WHEEL > SUGAR MAGNOLIA > BLACK PETER > SUNSHINE DAYDREAM has a few surprises. maybe the presence of a late set SPANISH JAM in ’81 indicates early set exploration? SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE shows signs of loosening midway through, ends semi-cleanly & hops smoothly into deep jam turf for a solid 7 minutes. a bit of bright garcia questing &, after he lands & exits, a mydland/drummers excursion. a fairly static SPACE of garcia void-tones, but the whole post-DRUMZ flow up into another delicious SPANISH JAM makes more sense on the audience tape, even though it has its own balance issues. weir watch: falsetto “danke” at the end of the set. i adore his big dumb encore versions of SATISFACTION but they’re so much less fun to me without the bigger dumber drum breaks.

10/15/81 amsterdam: at a hash bar in amsterdam, 1st of 2 “OOPS” shows on borrowed gear at @melkweg after gigs in france are cancelled. one of the few instances in which rock scully might be the most reliable narrator, from his fantastic but factually challenged book “living with the dead.” rock calls the 2 shows in amsterdam the dead’s “last adventure.” cool to hear the dead stripped of their their usual gear. not too different until 2nd set. i think mydland is on a regular rhodes, a nice change. 1st FAR FROM ME since previous summer & last ’til following summer. not too much happening, though. 55-minute HE’S GONE > SPOONFUL > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > AROUND & AROUND > JOHNNY B. GOODE. weir debuts willie dixon’s SPOONFUL, a jam interrupter on/off through early ‘90s. SPACE is a perfectly noisy slide bass solo with a beer bottle neck, presumably heineken. OTHER ONE is fairly perfunctory. not an all-timer show except in vibes, but nice BABY BLUE encore to cap an incredible night for the heads who made it. #

10/16/81 amsterdam: crowd sings happy birthday to @bobweir before the band’s last ever acoustic set, depending if you count performances backing joan baez in 12/81 & garcia/weir/lesh/welnick as phil & friends in 1994. end of a lovely era, either way. might be the mix, but the dynamics seem a little off in the acoustic set, with unusually civil exchange in which drummers agree to tone it down. DIRE WOLF, not in rotation, feels rusty. last acoustic RACE IS ON, staple in both ’70/’80 acoustic sets. 9-minute BIRD SONG benefits from recent electric playing, more expansive-feeling than earlier acoustic versions, with unrushed jam & a few dense peaks. last acoustic version with garcia/weir/lesh until ’94. last dead versions of OH BABE IT AIN’T NO LIE, RIPPLE (save unrehearsed electric encore in ’88), & MONKEY IN THE ENGINEER (besides similarly unrehearsed electric version with dylan in ’89). electric set goes awry in delightful ways, opening with 29-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > HULLY GULLY > THE WHEEL > SAMSON & DELILAH. natural drop into only taped HULLY GULLY (maybe done by warlocks), almost dropping thread before powerful WHEEL with great roll into SAMSON. 19-minute GLORIA > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD. 1st GLORIA since ‘65ish crackles. 1st LOVELIGHT since pigpen’s death, lesh accidentally starting it, sung by weir. goofy fun, for now. speedy, unswinging GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD ignores quiet coda. both a real pause & conceptual segue back into 22-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > BLACK PETER > SUGAR MAGNOLIA finale, one of the few places where the dead sound like a bar band who happen to be covering the dead. rock scully bids you goodnight.

10/17/81 paris: show-opening 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET slides into deep bop seems to bode well for the show, though not much else happening during the 1st set. (also, hey buddy. portrait shot that day by christian rose.) not sure band is rejuvenated post-amsterdam, but set-opening 24-minute TRUCKIN’ > BIRD SONG > GOOD TIME BLUES keeps shaking things up. garcia’s TRUCKIN’ outro unspools naturally into rare 2nd set BIRD SONG. briefly glittering jam dissolves & reforms into mydland’s newest. 63-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > MORNING DEW > AROUND & AROUND > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT is a bit rote but has some real peaks. ESTIMATED spirals extra-brightly, sailing back down to the rephrased ’81 EYES intro, landing at reasonable tempo, closer to ’73 mellowness, but no jam. SPACE develops into a briskly-changing not-exactly-SPANISH JAM. PARISIAN JAM? DEW is big & legit.

10/19/81 barcelona: 2 long jams in the 1st set, 14-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER that’s somewhat static, & long-rolling 14-minute LET IT GROW that keeps on churning with dug-in garcia. TENNESSEE JED gets its only play in the city where hunter wrote the lyrics. 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is a bit economy-sized, mostly on the FIRE end but doesn’t skimp on charged-up SCARLET jam with marching drums, busy B3, & climbing vine-like garcia lines. 48-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. SAINT lands & garcia keeps noodling until joined by hand DRUMZ. appropriately for their only spanish gig, band coalesces from brief SPACE into only slightly less brief SPANISH JAM, preluding a somewhat casual OTHER ONE & sleepy STELLA BLUE. vibes weren’t so hot in barcelona. after this european tour closer phil lesh writes a stern letter to garcia & makes his bandmates sign it.

11/29/81 pittsburgh: winning opening combo of SHAKEDOWN STREET > GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. band is creaky but SHAKEDOWN bops leisurely with needlepoint garcia. decent next-beat transition into GREATEST STORY with its own micro-jam & wah-wah love bullets. 59-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER > SATISFACTION. after long HE’S GONE vocal wind-down, jam goes aloft, but as it does so either weir’s guitar zaps out or he’s getting back into feedback? hard to say. guess we’re in that era now? engaging 22-minute HE’S GONE, garcia purposefully chasing the horizon, drummers locked & floating along. eventually there’s a suggestive sketch of the MIND LEFT BODY theme, & a bright garcia melody that feels a breath from the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam before DRUMZ finally start. SPACE mostly just a patient/obvious build into rusty TRUCKIN’, clicking ever-briefly into an outro pocket for a minute, suggesting other faraway places, before garcia pulls rug. weir watch: SATISFACTION back to the good kind of dumb, weir leading a SATSIFACTION singalong, which gets through on the soundboard. “i can’t hear nothin’… you all sound like your satisfied or something.”

11/30/81 dayton: show is rough around the edges & sometimes in the middle, too. during tech break, weir sings a verse of MACK THE KNIFE. one of the drummers goes along with him, kind of a cool vibe. “we’ll work that up for next time,” weir says. they won’t. 1st set has both of the era’s big 1st set jams. 9-minute BIRD SONG gets to soaring & opens to cool garcia/weir/mydland conversation near end. 13-minute LET IT GROW surfs the big flows. weir watch: “we’re dealing with technical difficulties & so are you.” tech burps throughout the 1st set, including a really impressively 3-dimensional WHOOSH at start of LET IT GROW. 64-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. ’81 EYES arrangement but mellower at 117bpm, closer to early ‘70s. floats with a nice feel & spotty vocals. nifty garcia descending pattern just before DRUMZ. SPACE moves from misterioso hand percussion & garcia duets into a paint-by-numbers OTHER ONE. WHARF RAT hits a wonderful flow for an extended moment before ramping up into SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

12/2/81 champaign: mydland tries synth in a few new places, padding on PEGGY-O before switching back to dyna-rhodes. after weir plays synth-like volume swells during intro to CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, mydland moves over, back to rhodes at transition. 12-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER is speedy & feels a little lacking in dynamics. 59-minute TERRAPIN STATION > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’ was probably better than the average winter wednesday evening but doesn’t have much jamming. a not-much SPACE with seagull squawk slide guitars, though some good stereo-panned noise that could be synth/percussion/bird/monkey. last NOT FADE AWAY jam devolves & wakes into brief bright conversational flight.

12/3/81 madison: 1st electric DEEP ELEM BLUES since the spring, always bouncing fun. rare 1st set I NEED A MIRACLE (1st since 1/79) seems to give garcia an extra charge, running full speed towards BERTHA, a more real segue than usual, even if band slightly trails behind. 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN feels more meditative than explosive, a patient climb & glide. 67-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > SPANISH JAM > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > JOHNNY B. GOODE. long HE’S GONE singalong, but only a bit of weir-led sludge-blues before DRUMZ. impressive burst of SPACE flatulence just before SPANISH JAM. TRUCKIN’ builds to noise peak that almost crashes, garcia flailing to thread to BLACK PETER. lit coda drops out to AROUND & AROUND. and for the encore, a confident IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE, featured on “postcards of the hanging,” a 2002 compilation of the dead covering bob dylan. big vocals, expressive solos.

12/5/81 indianapolis: lotta big energy in 1st set. the drummers prankishly hijack CC RIDER, shifting into double-time & causing supreme confusion, but it immediately becomes the 1st cool thing to happen to the song since weir debuted it. deep 1st set closing combo of 10-minute BIRD SONG, generous & patient with garcia/mydland weave & shifting dynamics that give real sense of movement, & 12-minute LET IT GROW that absolutely rips with multiple sub-jams & dense keys. 12-minute 2nd set opening SHAKEDOWN STREET rolls into bubbling conversational place, but jam inspiration doesn’t quite carry through the rest of the set. rare 2nd set BIG RAILROAD BLUES is good energy & only slightly longer-than-usual break. 53-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND > STELLA BLUE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA is fairly econo by dead standards. speedy PLAYING orbits a rich gravitational center but never slingshots into the outer places. some entertaining off-mic SPACE drumzing/chattering. long & patient build into THE WHEEL with teensy dab of synth flute (or maybe just dryly mixed B3) & nice dissolve that upshifts into a gradual PLAYING reprise.

12/6/81 rosemont: solid 11-minute SUGAREE with robust garcia shreds, but set only really finds its bounce with JACK-A-ROE & a friskily tempoed CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER closer. sleepier in middle, some especially lulzy synth farts in LOOKS LIKE RAIN. weir watch: “it’s sunday night & sunday night is family night down here at the horizon, so we’re gonna do a couple of family numbers now…” before famously family-friendly polka combo of EL PASO > MEXICALI BLUES. “everyone loves a polka.” 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT > GOOD LOVIN’. EYES is played at ludicrous speed, around 140bpm, but one of the better & more legitimately smooth segues from ESTIMATED. doesn’t feel too splattered until outro jam. venue is next to o’hare airport & less-than-soundproofed, the sound of planes whooshing over, lesh making air traffic controller moves on stage. early in 2nd set weir notes, “everybody wave to the airplane as it goes over.” all of which could (also) factor into SPACE. eve of the 40th anniversary of pearl harbor &, during SPACE, hart twice intones “december 7th, 1941.” takes a moment to kick in, but jam turns visceral & synth-noisy. WHARF RAT delivers silver platter segue into AROUND & AROUND, so weir hits GOOD LOVIN’.

12/7/81 des moines: unusually, someone counts off into BERTHA & everybody (sort of) starts together. big energy, but a little jumbled (“dressed myself in green/ducked into a tree”). double-time already gone from CC RIDER. “st. paul, minnesota” gets a cheer on BIG RIVER. a few songs appear for the 1st time this tour, including really strong DIRE WOLF with super-present garcia, & rare-ish MUSIC NEVER STOPPED with good rainbow spirals. coherent & exuberant 2nd set filled with fun transitions & surprising jams: 72-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. garcia finds a glorious inside-out/sing-songy HALF-STEP peak before a crisp landing jump to FRANKLIN’S. some splargled tempo shifts, but garcia weaves a very short actual transition into LOST SAILOR, with sustained tastiness over intro. drummers drop out from SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE ending, but everybody else keeps going, spiraling into conversational jam with lots of lead weir, building into new patterns & locking into themes. some report hints of SUPPLICATION, but i think it’s just the detailing. deep jams all over. great DRUMZ/SPACE flow with stereo-panned percussion & group chatter. exuberant TRUCKIN’ & a brief NOBODY’S FAULT jam (with some off-mic crosstalk) & brief spaced garcialogue lands them in a purposeful/crisp/dynamic BLACK PETER. they kinda stumble into SUGAR MAGNOLIA, but the thought is there & even that’s got a teeny bit extra somethin’. really great set at the end of not-specifically-too-good tour.

12/9/81 boulder: BIRD SONG drifts with lilting flows. CASSIDY edges further into high-speed jam territory, only by 30 seconds or so, but conversation seems thicker. weir almost misses his exit at the end. weir watch, part 1: new LOOKS LIKE RAIN move, “well it looks like rain, r-a-i-n,” deployed a few times. also swearing more. some nice & subtle weir delay tones, too, under garcia’s outro soloing. weir watch, part 2: adding vocal asides in I KNOW YOU RIDER. “”…could not take my rest” (weir: “did my best!”) “…take my rest” (weir: “you know the rest!”). announces set break in between lines of final vocal reprise. 19-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, the SCARLET synth experiment set aside (for now) with mydland back to B3 & aggressively stirring up a chaotic cloud with garcia at the transition. weir hits a good almost-next-beat count-off into 61-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. garcia bails as soon as HE’S GONE jam starts. weir, mydland & drummers find pulse before winding down. long, sleepy SPACE void with brief stomps & bursts but only the sparest of happenings, eventually finding THE OTHER ONE. fuzzy garcialogue outro, almost audibly sorting out which ballad to play. some majestic guitar in STELLA BLUE. weir watch, part 3: promises “we’ll be back ‘cause we like it here,” but it will be their last show in boulder. daltreyesque stutters in GOOD LOVIN’, another attempt at crowd participation in SATISFACTION.

12/12/81 san mateo: the dance for disarmarment. after joan baez plays a solo set of her own, the dead join her & play the outline of their scrapped album recorded that month, which might be better misplaced. interestingly, like the dead, baez didn’t release a new album between ’79 & ’87. opens with baez’s ME & BOBBY McGEE, sung with weir, not the worst, but then come the topical tunes & one of the more awkward all-time dead sets. but it’s all fascinating, with occasional tasty garcia. the everly bros.’ BYE BYE LOVE is fun, too. somebody (*not me*) could do an entire podcast about this performance of CHILDREN OF THE ‘80s (which baez intros as the album-in-progress’s title song) & how it’s like her lost prototype of WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE & what references people cheer for & at what volume. my goodness, another conference paper could be done on LUCIFER’S EYES, which baez introduces as being about closeted in high school. “i have to explain it, but mickey doesn’t like this part…” still unreleased. she tries to shush the chatty crowd at one point to zero audible effect. by the time she gets to her beatles/lennon tribute, WHERE HAVE ALL THE HEROES GONE, heads seems checked out. barely a peep for “drop some acid, meet the queen.” the less blunt MARRIOTT USA is sorta alright, as is hearing garcia solo/noodle on BARBARA ALLEN (hard to believe it’s the only time he did). mydland’s on grand piano for the only time. garcia splits before set-closing THE BOXER, though (contrary to reports) mydland stays. the dead’s electric set is all of 48 minutes with weird flow & a small spectrum of boogies, matthew kelly honkin’ harp on the 1st 2 & last 2 songs. garcia shreds pretty supreme on the DIRE WOLF & COLD RAIN & SNOW combo, though. garcia & mydland bail for the encore & baez does a seriously iffy IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE, dropping verses. weir feeds her lines. when he tries to join outro chorus, she switches to improv. “sign the fucking petitions, baby blue.”

12/26/81 oakland auditorium arena: garcia revives BIG BOSS MAN, sung by pigpen ’66-’72, rightfully getting huge cheers, really fun. “want a little drink of water, you won’t let jerry stop,” he adapts from jimmy reed’s version, will drop the self-reference after ’85. BIRD SONG glides into beautiful starlight with the particular double-drummer dead quality of seeming like it’s going into double-time and half-time simultaneously, somehow both graceful & messy, then thinning with subtle drama into into less cluttered airspace. 12-minute LET IT GROW stretches with ruminative garcia & jazzy dyna-rhodes staking little places within/against the drummers’ relentless sizzle. scrambled vocals on 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with mellow 1-note transition peak. 69-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > BLACK PETER > AROUND & AROUND > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT gets into memorable weirding zones. synth lead intro to HE’S GONE. long vocal outro & chunkily tumbling coda, ending with weir/drummers jam. DRUMZ dissipate, garcia noodles, drilling starts. “more nitrous,” a voice barks off-mic. weir announces, “and now the boys in the band would like to introduce a little story, ‘we call it a day at the dentist.’” drilling stops, deep scatter of synth bells, scrapes, washes. band emerges into a cool & energized jam in 11 that’s not THE ELEVEN, but the feel is almost there, just need to hit the chord changes. hangs around & stays cool for a nice moment but doesn’t develop too much before landing in the marching band intro to TRUCKIN’. decent BLACK PETER slides back into jam-land, garcia & mydland & drummers flipping back into conversation, sounding purposeful, but them weir pulls the rug out & faceplants the band into AROUND & AROUND.

12/27/81 oakland auditorium arena: dynamic garcia jams in SUGAREE over metronomic drumming. aw, last ever PASSENGER, by lesh & peter monk, sung by weir with donna, then brent. powerful here. nice soundboard mix, dyna-rhodes extra-sweet on FRIEND OF THE DEVIL & ALTHEA. weir watch: PSA at the end of the now-traditional sunday SAMSON & DELILAH, “watch out all you philistines.” 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE WHEEL > PLAYING IN THE BAND. weir watch, cont.: extemporaneous vocals over beginning of PLAYING jam. c’mon, man. deep conversations inside jazzy 2-drummer float that never totally veers. extended rhodes/garcia dialogue. long SPACE, garcia intersecting with glassy percussion & roto-toms over synth rumbles, thinning & thickening. hand-drum freak-out bubbles into THE WHEEL, drummers moving back to kits. nicely dramatic with sweet garcia licks & gentle drip back into PLAYING.

12/28/81 oakland auditorium arena: 1st set has some archetypal early ‘80s dead. band’s dynamic is a bit frayed on charging BERTHA opener, but garcia’s is absolutely lit. PEGGY-O a little bogged/metronomic, but garcia fully elegant. weir gets nice reverb on his guitar as 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER starts, the band fully together for impactful transition. 58-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND > GOOD LOVIN’. midtempo EYES, garcia’s guitar ducking a little behind mydland’s dyna-rhodes during jam, then bowing out entirely. chimes & bells from kreutzmann while hart drones on the beam as DRUMZ flows gorgeously into SPACE, staying zoned with flute & hand drum pocket. as so often in ‘81ish, THE OTHER ONE itself seems more like punctuation after the real jams in the long prelude. STELLA BLUE really hits tonight, though, garcia & band clicking together for dynamic & even purposeful performance.

12/30/81 oakland auditorium arena: a few rare-ish weir tunes in the 1st half, the electric ON THE ROAD AGAIN & closing LAZY LIGHTNIN’ > SUPPLICATION but set feels a little lurchy. healy dollops a little reverb on garcia’s voice for ALTHEA. between sets, joan baez plays a few songs by herself, joined by mickey for an arabic new year’s song, then the electric dead (besides mydland) for 3 more. all sounds better than the san mateo benefit. only one (distant) heckler audible on the audience tape. once again, hearing garcia gently noodle across BARBARA ALLEN is the highlight. she also hands a solo to weir, very equitable that joan baez. a nice acoustic/electric mix, which the dead didn’t really explore ’til ‘90s. brent skips baez’s mini set & goes to nearby bar, misses FEEL LIKE A STRANGER 2nd set opener. little thin, but the “minimal” garcia/weir conversations also have a comfortably spare feeling with unusually weirded peak. 47-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. weir starts into NOT FADE AWAY immediately out of DRUMZ but a drumzer wants a break & band reverts into SPACE before a sleepy NOT FADE AWAY.

12/31/81 oakland coliseum arena: bill graham’s 3-ring new year’s circus with the new riders, the flying karamazov bros., joan baez, ken kesey, & pals. unless i’m mistaken, new year’s ’81-’82 is the last time the new riders of the purple sage opened for the dead, the band that birthed them 11 years earlier, & possibly even their last show before nelson & cage split. joan baez plays solo & is then joined by the dead, minus mydland & kreutzmann, weir on acoustic. she enters singing a mash-up of LAND OF 1000 DANCES & PAUL & SILAS. fares better than the night before. with 2 shows under their belt, baez’s originals tightening up a little. even if it wasn’t the dead’s thing, they start to find convincingly dead-like spaces for LUCIFER’S EYES & CHILDREN OF THE ’80s. garcia adds nice bluegrass/gospel harmonies to only BANKS OF THE OHIO. 15-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener cooks in a mellow way. matt kelly joins on harmonica for blues honks on CC RIDER, NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, & garcia’s revived BIG BOSS MAN. baez sings on IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES, BEAT IT DOWN THE LINE, & DON’T EASE ME IN. during the set break, a prankster wedding backstage: jerry & mountain girl finally get hitched, officiated by the psychedelic buddhist monk named peter monk. not the most romantic circumstances, but life. before midnight, ken kesey dangles from ceiling in a harness & leads crowd in a gong bong, exercise in collective hyperventilation to get hiiiiigh. “an old fashioned ritual we haven’t done since the acid tests & i want you to be very careful,” keez says, while swinging. at midnight, bill graham rides a giant joint over the crowd, landing on stage, band hitting a boogiedown IKO IKO at midnight, the balloon drop lagging just behind, joan baez materializing in the chaos for kazoo-like vocalizing. and then one of the more righteously jammed new year’s sets: 86-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > MORNING DEW. PLAYING builds in intensity, thins, then keeps building, staying engaged without traveling too far. as jam dissolves, mydland very clearly plays the intro to DARK STAR as the drummers think it’s time to start drumzing, but garcia steers ship into TERRAPIN instead. TERRAPIN’s a bit rocky in places, jerry singing ultra-quietly, with no real middle jam, but weir flips band easily into jam mode, almost overtly the PLAYING reprise from his first notes, but could go anywhere, but politely loops up the PLAYING. another wide SPACE with xylophone/chimes & monster beam thwacks. “what kind of dentist office is this?” kreutzmann asks off-mic before things turn weirder. i think that’s synth percussion? drummers hang with garcia for a bit, before long garcia/weir OTHER ONE prelude. john cipollina joins for the THE OTHER ONE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, trading friendly solos with garcia, nothing too blown out, all bopping with good energy. kind of a perfect new year’s choogle, with an A+ 100% absence of guest harmonica players. and then a 40-minute set 3 that opens with healthyish 15-minute standalone DARK STAR, 1st since 1/79 & mydland’s debut. they float & lean back into a BIRD SONG-like glide between verses, climbing to a lovely peak before long landing. also, maddeningly, the last ’til ’84. baez returns to duet with garcia on IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE. baez is a little distracting, but garcia’s performance is so focused it almost doesn’t matter. the baez era is over as fast as it started. graham invites people to stay for breakfast.

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

#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.

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

#deadfreaksunite 1971

#deadfreaksunite 1971
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]

1/21/71 davis: with the new riders & good brothers, beginning their 1971 opening a road weekend. jerry garcia’s 1st dead show with peanut, his 1st fully custom guitar, built by rick turner at alembic. harsh vibes in the venue. apparently appropriated r. crumb art in the lobby that reads, “mr. natural says smoking dope can be harmful to your freedom.” easy but fun blues-boogie segue from SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING > TRUCKIN’, with pigpen hanging around on harmonica, as on the early acoustic versions. later on the soundboard segment, lesh goofs around with LOUIE LOUIE between songs. 31-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE. nearly drumless OTHER ONE middle space charges on bass pulse into spooked garcia/weir jam. chiming build from CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT into last original high-steppin’ COSMIC CHARLIE, reconfigured in ’76.

1/22/71 eugene: in an oversold gym in eugene, a benefit for @LaneTitans & local clinic, with notary sojac & the new riders of the purple sage. ken babbs immediately faceplants his band intro. “over here on the left we have, of course, ron mckuen,” amusingly conflating pig’s family name with kitschy pop-poet rod mckuen. babbs seems to get audibly dragged away. 1st proper dead version of weir’s JOHNNY B. GOODE, previously sung by garcia at family dog jam in ’69 & recently by weir with hot tuna on new year’s. i’m sure it was fun to dance to, but meh. the bar band dead coming into focus. not terribly exciting on tape, mostly warm-up type covers plus BROKEDOWN PALACE & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. reviews offer no clues, but it was a friday night in prankster-ville, so there could be deep missing jams. or maybe they just boogied.

1/24/71 seattle: with ian & sylvia & the new riders of the purple sage. nice to have pigpen’s B3 in the mix during big openin’ TRUCKIN’. crowd hassles band during long tuning break: “get this fucking crap together.” weir: “in a minute!” garcia: “get it together yourself.” one long set, despite labels. SUGAR MAGNOLIA solo getting bigger & bigger. “keep it down,” weir notes to his bandmates off-mic before SUNSHINE DAYDREAM, which they try to somewhat awkwardly. a development i missed on 12/28, though: garcia & lesh no longer sing the doot-doot-doot vocal parts. “we’re running short on time & so we’re going to wrap it up with this number,” weir says before 54-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > LOVELIGHT > DRUMZ > GOOD LOVIN’, the last 2-drummer pigpen blow-out. garcia adds rare & typically awesome harmony to the “shine on me” part. NOT FADE AWAY slides into bliss bubble before segue. messiness in a few transitions but great overloaded lesh/garcia jams in GOOD LOVIN’ & then pig gets political. “just my opinion,” he repeats.
“what would be
the state of our nation
if political magicians
back biting politicians
all this turmoil & strife
all be gone if them guys had a wife
to call their own
just my opinion.”
pig on nixon: “that ol’ rat up in the white house/he knows he’s gonna die someday.” and political philosophy: “don’t go pushing/but don’t get pushed.” lesh leads not-quite-segue into semi-frayed UNCLE JOHN’S BAND closer.

2/1ish/71 point reyes rehearsal hall (possibly?): 3 takes of weir/hart/hunter’s PLAYING IN THE BAND. lesh & garcia are adamant about going back to the intro after the break, but weir’s pretty sure he doesn’t wanna do that. when the song hits the stage, weir thankfully gets his way. unless i’m mishearing, lesh appears to call for dan healy, who would take over as live engineer later in year. not sure it sheds any light on where they’re rehearsing, but @corry342 has a detailed history of grateful dead rehearsal spaces. BIRD SONG, practiced & maybe performed in december with crosby/lesh/kreutzmann, is drumless here, running through the structure & vocals, trying to find a 2 guitar groove & communicate the rhythmic feel to weir. they eventually get it. harmonies sound pretty great. only 1 semi-full take of GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, much fun, built on the rhythm of the water pump at mickey’s ranch, though it’s the guitar that totally powers the song. the 1 take of WHARF RAT is missing dynamics, but song is pretty much all there.

2/18/71 port chester: 5 big debuts, ned lagin on keys for the whole night, mickey hart’s last appearance ’til ’74, the 1st ESP experiment, the 1st real betty board. on audience tape only, fresh from their 1st LP, the new riders are tight, especially nelson & dawson. debut of marmaduke’s new LOCHNIVAR. difference between ex-drummer hart & new drummer dryden audible on tighter HONKY TONK WOMEN. the dead arrive at @captioltheatre with betty cantor, bob matthews, & a 16-track seemingly intending to make a new live album over the 6 nights with their new songs & covers. absolutely does not go as planned & the 7-piece dead on night 1 is a future left hanging. show opens with 1st BERTHA, bright & bouncing, but with more hopped-up 2-drummer dynamics. lagin’s mostly on clavichord for the show, maybe B3 on LOSER’s debut, more conversational than pigpen. both songs rehearsed with crosby & co. in recent months. GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD is 1st of 2 new weir/hart/hunter songs, built around rhythm of water pump at mickey hart’s barn. missing the bridges, but big bass! weir’s rock scream doesn’t quite launch. song doesn’t really end, so shifts into JOHNNY B. GOODE, standard in ’71. to close 1st set, a moondusted 26-minute DARK STAR > WHARF RAT > DARK STAR > ME & MY UNCLE. 1st DARK STAR since november, only played in these months with ned, here on chiming clavichord. kreutzmann is quiet & nearly free on kit, hart’s last on only hand percussion. DARK STAR dissolves amid clavichord clouds into 1st WHARF RAT, major new garcia/hunter song, all in place. instead of a big solo, they slip back to DARK STAR by way of bright theme & resolution, 1-time occurrence later aptly named BEAUTIFUL JAM on the “so many roads” box. when i had this on cassette, i wondered what the bell-like tones were, but only became apparent later that lagin was there the whole night & had been planning to play more if not for band shakeup that week. nice dissolve to ME & MY UNCLE, its 1st time as a DARK STAR chaser. 2nd set features debut of weir/hart/hunter’s PLAYING IN THE BAND (possibly helped by @thedavidcrosby), after 2 years of jams on hart’s early instrumental riff, THE MAIN TEN. despite jammy roots, it’ll be a year before the song gets a real jam & becomes weir’s signature.  also in the 2nd set: dr. stanley krippner begins his 8-night pilot study in dream telepathy, projecting slides behind the band with instructions for the audience to telepathically send the images to sleeping recipients in brooklyn. naturally, some lovely comedy occurs around the ESP experiment slides.
lesh: “that ain’t no rembrandt, that’s a dali! idn’t it?”
weir: “yeah, that’s a dali.”
cute off-mic discussion about the name of the dali painting in question. lagin’s clavichord doesn’t sometimes sounds a bit too chiming/thin for me on the songier songs like CANDYMAN & ME & BOBBY McGEE, like an acoustic prototype of the dyna-rhodes. 27-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND is dense with conversation. bass bombs en route to NOT FADE AWAY, twin keys by mckernan & lagin, some fun peaks. almost a prototype for the post-’76 band. and after the show, mickey hart disappears from the grateful dead stage until late 1974, though is kept on salary. stories differ. kreutzmann’s more recent memoir has the most straightforward version, calling it a firing.

2/19/71 port chester: no mention of absent mickey hart, but sound is well decluttered, beginning thrilling 4 years as a 1-drummer band. for now, more or less a quartet, with pigpen not adding much B3. 2nd LOSER is most developed of new tunes. a lot of the last 2 albums had been recorded basically in 1-drummer mode, but it’s still a big change as kreutzmann rediscovers the “the” in “bill the drummer.” BERTHA’s pretty leapin’. rare electric DARK HOLLOW feels fully filled, a lost piece of the quintet repertoire. lots of pig, with a 14-minute SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING (with rap/spiel) & rare 1-drummer EASY WIND. less drama, more swing, oodles of weir soloing, band hitting a floating slow-motion pocket as he passes solo to garcia. no mention of the dream telepathy experiment either but it continues on slide screens behind band during 2nd set. alternate 1st line to GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, “moses come ridin’ up in the bar car.” hunter was at these shows. maybe still tweaking lyrics? in 2nd set, garcia debuts BIRD SONG, his & hunter’s tribute to janis joplin, rehearsed briefly with crosby. 1st of the song’s incarnations with striding tom-tom heavy arrangement. barely a guitar break, lesh a bit tentative. B3 briefly under intro but disappears. 1st DEAL, garcia & hunter’s cosmic boogie standard, still working on groove, but close to how it sounds through ’95 minus big ending. perfect for new lineup. 4-piece dead flexes in 25-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT & 19-minute GOOD LOVIN’. THE OTHER ONE enters the modern age, sailing into jam at full speed from the drum break, hitting spaces that could come from any point in the ‘70s. still a lot to sort with clanging WHARF RAT dynamics, but already nestled permanently in the post-jam slot with fat outro. hart’s absence (& kreutzmann’s grace) opens lots of room for weir & lesh in the jams. lesh continues to find driving aggressive pockets in GOOD LOVIN’. pigpen references STEALIN’. weir’s, uh, workshopping his falsetto.

2/20/71 port chester: says weir, “we certainly hope that none of you are quite as hungover as certain select members of our band are.” (pigpen groans.) later he vaguely addresses hart’s continued absence, “mickey’s still under the weather.” besides the “outro” vocal before the solo, BERTHA is the only new song sounding ready for proposed live album. no BIRD SONG jamming yet & still working on structure (1st verse repeated 4x here?) but the 1st guitar break has tiniest flare of the solo that will emerge. 25-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. not always a fan of the OTHER ONE drum break, but this one is a nice example of kreutzmann as a solo drummer, not flashy, but inventive. set-closing SUGAR MAGNOLIA chaser follows for 1st time. before 2nd set, some off-mic comments by the band about the images being projected on the screen for the crowd to send via dream telepathy. kreutzmann: “i wouldn’t wanna receive that.” think lesh responds with a mom joke. 1st of 4 surviving electric versions of RIPPLE from early ’71 finds a sweet lope & gets big hoots. missing a little of the acoustic glow, but works on its own terms. garcia reaches for a few new notes. 41-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT highlighted by bright pocket after BID YOU GOODNIGHT jam. punchline of LOVELIGHT rap amounts to “little pimpin’,” 1st draft of princeton version in april.

2/21/71 port chester: fun new riders set, with tight post-album vocals. after, taper accidentally leaves deck running & it’s like a meme: “listening to the colwell-winfeld blues band but you’re sitting in the back of the capitol theater while waiting for the dead to start.” yeah, i guess i did just shazam the house music at a concert from 1971. jeffrey norman’s new mix is stunning, what the proposed live album from the capitol might’ve sounded like had they not scrapped the tapes. these shows have never really grabbed me, but the bass mix here is bonkers. on both the beefy 2020 mix & the rougher betty mix, kreutzmann’s drums sound big, getting more assertive (especially LOSER). can’t tell if pigpen is lost or trying to come up with something new to sing during EASY WIND. think it’s the latter. it’s not an even split just yet, but with weir’s new originals & covers (& steep reduction of psychedelic jam suites & acoustic sets), the capitol shows are really where the dead start alternating noticeably songs led by garcia, weir, & pigpen. another electric RIPPLE, disappearing again ’til april. big clapalong, but group vocals are mixed sympathetically & totally fits into the ’71 repertoire. BIRD SONG starts rough, still the barest of 36-second solos. can see why they wanted to develop it more. 4th GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD has 3rd & final draft of 1st lyric, “moses come riding up on a quasar” (previously: on a guitar, in a bar car). it’s hunter’s lyric but he’s not pleased with weir’s choice. weir’s voice sounds a bit tattered. more people ask where mickey is. perhaps in reference to the ongoing ESP experiments, weir says. “it’s, uh, strange. why don’t you all concentrate & make him well or something.” 10-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is a highlight with particularly committed garcia vocal, bright guitar breaks, & over-the-top bass leads. poppin’ BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. 1st & always-rare standalone WHARF RAT. semi-but-not-totally-unfounded theory based on this & other dead tapes from ’71: before a certain kind of person shouted for FREEBIRD during concert lulls, they shouted for LOUIE LOUIE. nice just to hear kreutzmann on GOOD LOVIN’.

2/23/71 port chester: “hail caesar, motherfucker,” lesh comments off-mic, which seems like it’d be in reference to the slides from the ESP experiment, but those don’t start ’til 2nd set. pigpen’s B3 gives nice spaghetti-western coloring to LOSER. group in crowd shouts for MORNING DEW a few times & garcia eventually plays it, 1st version of the year. lesh hijacks intro, but he & garcia link up for powerful peaks & valleys. group says “thank you!” after & garcia responds with cheerful off-mic “you’re welcome!” BIRD SONG is still a little bit of a structural mess, with garcia cycling through verses. but now the break doubles into more than a minute of gentle guitar figures, primally flapping if not yet soaring. during the lull after BIRD SONG, band doofs around, jokes about the GOLDEN ROAD. someone (a loose wook?) taps one of the onstage mics. “hello in there, awahwahwah….” 1st TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, a combination played (with SPACE added) thru ’94. 12-minute OTHER ONE is night’s jam highlight, kreutzmann’s free cymbal dances finding a home in the between-verse ether. lesh leads GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD & fun to hear surf-ish bassline at the fore. abbreviated GOOD LOVIN’ & 14-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT AWAY AWAY is compact detail-filled choogle, if not quite a big finale.

2/24/71 port chester: final show at the @capitoltheatre, a favorite east coast venue, the last of 6 shows, 16 since the previous march. last night of stanley krippner’s dream telepathy experiment. bomb threat clears the venue. promoter howard stein tells rolling stone it was harassment to force him out of town. weir suggests, “whoever phoned in that bomb report, thanks a whole hell of a lot, i know you’re out there & i know you got in free.” weird mix, but BIRD SONG makes subtle graduation from solo to jam, 90 seconds, with nice peak before settling back to riff, then disappearing til april. super-fab (1-time only?) lesh/kreutzmann intro to snappy BERTHA before garcia & weir come in. 1st bars make a dope loop. show’s jam highlight is 17-minute 1st set closing GOOD LOVIN’ with no pigpen rap, instead melting into space-blues after the drum break. then, led by lesh, building up through cool jam pockets & landing back in chorus without really making room for pig to do his thing. fun off-mic chatter before 2nd set when a dead freak is talking to the band from the stage.
garcia: are you one of the MORNING DEW crowd from over there?
kreutzmann: how many nights have you been here? you’ve been here 4 nights?
someone shouts (i think) “let phil lesh do a solo!” garcia asks off-mic “what’d that guy say?” lesh oinks & weir drops a zappa reference, “caravan with a drum solo, right?” (lesh: “tear down the wall…”) 2nd ever DEAL, which is fine though doesn’t quite catch fire, maybe already determined not to be one they needed for the proposed live album or they’d’ve played it more? i wonder when they decided that a capitol live album was unfeasible. “have we played TRUCKIN’ tonight yet?” kreutzmann (i think) asks off-mic before 44-minute TRUCKIN’ > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, one final choogle for the dead at the @capitoltheatre.

3/3/71 carousel ballroom: a benefit for local independent radio stations at the fillmore west on a night when bill graham’s not there, listed once last time as the carousel ballroom. poster has wrong year! on HARD TO HANDLE, lesh & weir begin to trace out 4-chord sequence late in the jam that works as counterpoint to garcia’s big solos & becomes a bigger & bigger moment throughout spring. weir’s guitar is pretty out of tune, but PLAYING IN THE BAND is finding its dynamics with garcia’s faux-steel squigglies & lesh’s diving bass. the B3 is so overdriven during BERTHA that it almost sounds like somebody else, but pretty sure it’s still pig. 36-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT with nice organ texture as OTHER ONE jam dissolves but never goes fully drumless, kreutzmann getting quiet & conversational. organ drones appear near end as they build back into song & equally patient WHARF RAT. with a long jam sequence followed by SUGAR MAGNOLIA, more & more bits of “modern” dead appear at seemingly each show. during messy GOOD LOVIN’ encore, there’s someone playing flute (martin fierro?) or maybe harmonica (will scarlett?), but not on mic.

3/5/71 oakland auditorium arena: black panthers’ revolutionary day of solidarity (& huey newton birthday celebtation) at the oakland auditorium arena. the dead met newton on a flight the previous fall. no tapes, but much press. apparently, the dead (& ken kesey & paul krassner) didn’t arrive until after newton spoke, though. a tense time in black panther history, many details in the above link. some eyewitness memories to the dead’s set.

3/13/71 east lansing: the last dead show with no circulating tape & absolutely zero info. 3(!) posters, but (unlike tulsa ’79) no setlist or coverage. dick latvala once said there was a tape in the vault.

3/14/71 madison: at the @UWMadison field house, apparently set up mid-court. unsympathetic vocal mix, can almost feel singers straining over ineffective monitors. except garcia, who just sings more quietly, or maybe he’s listening louder. BERTHA has found its groove, pigpen included. garcia seems to be dropping words/lines, though. 10-minute HARD TO HANDLE is the 1st jam of the night. “bobby’s gonna play his guitar for ya…” pig announces, which he does, but things get cooking (maybe after a tape splice?) when garcia takes over & lesh/weir latch into their new jam pattern. burnin’ GOOD LOVIN’ jams. pig’s raps don’t quite coalesce. he briefly sermonizes on “hate,” making a surprise turn towards eco-consciousness (“ain’t gonna do nothin’ to save our land”) but before he can tell us about the cure, garcia takes over for totally triumphant solo. jamless 40-minute 2nd set. rare standalone WHARF RAT, kinda awkward end. “rock & roll!” someone shouts. “rock & roll, what’s that?” lesh asks before GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, only sort of answering. garcia finds sparkle in UNCLE JOHN’S BAND closer.

3/17/71 st. louis: top-shelf ME & BOBBY McGEE with A+ weir intro, “we’re going to do a song we picked right off the top 40 charts & renamed THRENODY FOR THE VICTIMS OF HAIGHT STREET.” fluffy garcia solo/noodles & backing vocals.

3/18/71 st. louis: garcia still working on getting the BERTHA lyrics in place. 1st electric version of lightnin’ hopkins’s AIN’T IT CRAZY (aka THE RUB), sung by pigpen, played acoustic in ’70 & in ’64 with the jug band. a perfect bounce for the reconstituted warlocks. 35-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, garcia telegraphing THE OTHER ONE from 1st guitar break. the 1st big WHARF RAT, more a jam than a big solo, with the whole band firing together & landing with total grace & no extra chords or clatter. 26-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > CAUTION. melodic bliss before GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD & easy shift into only recorded CAUTION of ’71. a bit downtempo with only 1 drummer, unfolding into moodiness, mini grooves, & noise under pig’s raps. man do i hate guest harmonica players, but pig’s harp on CAUTION totally works, not quite jamming but not exactly trying to solo either. discourse on mojo magick, how you need to slip it under your old lady’s pillow, & wait 24 hours. some label this the last “feedback” segment. personally, i think it’s a bit silly to label those but, if you do, there are other jam segments that might qualify for the name starting a few weeks later. either way, this CAUTION channels primal dead & is good fun.

3/20/71 iowa city: like all the complete shows from this run, sets begin with TRUCKIN’ & CASEY JONES. DEAL seems to be the runt of the new songs, returning for 1st time since the capitol theatre shows a month earlier. super mellow tonight. musical mojo seems in somewhat short order, perhaps related (or not) to an unforgiving vocal situation. CUMBERLAND BLUES gets it on. 40 minutes worth of sometimes bumpy pigpen across set-closing versions of GOOD LOVIN’ & TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. show would go down in local history as the night the People rose up to collectively fold the folding chairs & move them to the back of the venue so they could dance. after SUGAR MAGNOLIA, perhaps-tripping dude crashes mic to try to muster vibes for dude having a bad trip. apparently a request-y crowd, with a caustic “playwhiterabbitgoddammit” from a bandmember just off-mic. “we’re not a jukebox,” garcia says later, giving way to more LOUIE LOUIE jokes/teases. weir tries to appease (i think successfully) with AROUND & AROUND.

3/21/71 milwaukee: despite the source chain, totally enjoyable listen. according to reports, a full-on sunday rock fest replete with frisbee, kids area, & yippies starting bad faith arguments with the promoters. the ox, a local band, plays before the new riders. compact 8-minute HARD TO HANDLE catches a groove. 17-beat intro for BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. 8 minutes worth of NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD soars through pretty space before segue & might end abruptly. like marty weinberg’s LPs, it focuses on material not on albums. if i was a head collecting bootleg LPs in the ‘70s before the taping scene coalesced, i’d be psyched & probably listen to this a ton. funny it’s all that seems to be left.

3/24/71 winterland: another local gig, another benefit. the locally-based sufi mystic choir play first, with the dead (minus pigpen) joining for the last few tunes (no tape, sadly) followed by whirling dervishes. alembic seems to be testing new mics, weir approves. band sounds tight on new songs, especially lesh, bouncing all over. opening GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD is a burner, with subsequent JOHNNY B. GOODE used later that year on “skull & roses,” the only non-NYC recording on the album. after a month, BERTHA has its groove. “we’ve got pigpen here but we forgot to bring an organ,” garcia announces. smokin’ HARD TO HANDLE with short effective pig rap & fire lesh/weir jam. 24-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE rolls hard but not far. surely good midweek dancing.

4/4/71 manhattan center: on easter sunday, the grateful dead begin an overcrowded 3-night “dance marathon” (& 1-month east coast tour) at @ManhattanCenter. ads say it was in the grand ballroom, but pictures are definitely the hammerstein. lit by future dead lighting director candace brightman (late of @capitoltheatre). can pretty much hear the dancing start the moment they kick into opening BERTHA. jacked nyc energy throughout. definitely not the fillmore. the 1st “big” nyc dead show, kinda. thundering mid-set MORNING DEW. final EASY WIND. pig gets lost in the vocals a few times. too bad this went away. the 1-drummer band sounds dope playing the groove. can hear crowd singing along on CASEY JONES, i think. more band in-jokes. another night, another off-mic “playwhiterabbitdammit” (kreutzmann this time). also a new weir thing when testing mics, is this a reference to something? “do you think i have a deep voice? kinda husky?” these shows are remembered most for their overcrowding, but the playing’s pretty hot. mostly just rockin’, but in terms of extended rockin’ there’s a good-not-wild 23-minute GOOD LOVIN’ & 22-minute GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. pretty odd to have GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD start from a cold stop, more effective maybe as a jam module. there’s a weird tape splice, so the extremely smooth segue into ST. STEPHEN works best on audience tape. nice feedback dissolve into UNCLE JOHN’S closer.

4/5/71 manhattan center: frequent requests for people in the back to move further back. audible screams from overcrowding. marmaduke joins to yodel during ME & BOBBY McGEE. nice combo of garcia’s scorching leads & pig’s harmonica on AIN’T IT CRAZY, fab early ‘60s vibe. charged energy nyc throughout. BIG RAILROAD BLUES is the 1st (surviving) version since new year’s & it will go right onto “skull & roses,” out in the fall. clearly a keeper take. garcia destroys the solo, lesh at full flight. 33-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. tape sources change with whoosh during OTHER ONE vocals, very “anthem of the sun.” during space-out, garcia leans into diamond arpeggios similar to the DARK STAR sputnik jam. weir/lesh/kreutzmann crash up & through. during tech difficulties after DEAL, garcia & weir fool around off-mic with merle haggard’s SING ME BACK HOME. “gotta learn it,” garcia remarks but they play it anyway & it’s a pretty stunning debut. by the end, they have an arrangement they’ll play for the next 2 years. 35-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, 1st 2 parts on “skull & roses” but all overflow with bright garcia inventions, pig taking partial back seat. emphatic “do you feel alright? ALLLRIGHT!” end. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

4/6/71 manhattan center: opening BERTHA is so slowed down that it feels like the tape speed is off, but it’s not. on the other hand, the now-rare DIRE WOLF feels a little hopped up, though doesn’t quite click as a dance marathon tune. big warlocks-y fun: rare dead version of OH BOY (b-side to buddy holly’s original 1957 NOT FADE AWAY), started seemingly spontaneously, weir & then jerry do count-offs & they nail it. feel like they must’ve played it before? only post-’66 version of leiber & stoller’s I’M A HOG FOR YOU BABY, sung winningly by pigpen & jerry, immediately followed by the version of PLAYING IN THE BAND used on “skull & roses.” nice! the definitive pre-jam version, i guess? weir makes reference to one of the quasi-legal live dead LPs from 1966 then in stores, “straight from the grooves of ‘vintage dead’ here it is…” introducing 1st MIDNIGHT HOUR of ’71. tight moves. kreutzmann keeps going at end & rest of band smoothly cover for him. big jammage is 23-minute GOOD LOVIN’ with wild garciaing & jam that slooowwwws down while pigpen does call & response culminating in a big “take off your clothes!!!” before snapping back to ending. 21-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TRUCKIN’. nice false ending on TRUCKIN’ with one last boogie go-around. there’s a long way to go, but the dance marathon shows seem like a 1st peak for the new model warlocks.

4/7/71 boston music hall: only 1 dead set tonight. going by a newspaper account, the tape is missing the opening TRUCKIN’ & maybe an hour or so more. when tape cuts in, weir is changing a string & lesh proposes a toast “to cosmic orgasm.” ned lagin plays wurlitzer electric piano throughout, sounding much better than february’s clavichord experiment, but both that & pigpen’s B3 are absent from the tape mix, which is a bummer. can hear ghosts during LOSER outro, BOBBY McGEE intro, & elsewhere. cool combo. band heats up with beautifully cresting 10-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. 27-minute ST. STEPHEN > DRUMZ > JAM // NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > JOHNNY B. GOODE. audible ned twinkles during ST. STEPHEN’s “ladyfingers” bridge. forceful drum break, i think with bob (or betty!) adding occasional efx. night’s heppest improv is 2 minutes of detailed dialogue with active electric piano, savagely cut by tape flip, maybe missing a lot en route into NOT FADE AWAY, or maybe only a little.

4/8/71 boston music hall: for once, an abnormally loud weir guitar mix. though still hard to hear, ned lagin’s aggressive electric piano is way more audible than the previous evening, trading lines with garcia during the opening TRUCKIN’. odd feature of this tape is occasional roadie commentary between songs (precarious??), maybe from open stage mic and/or headphone line, talking about pretty mundane stuff. especially audible after BERTHA & before CASEY JONES. manifestation of the psychedelic chaos, perhaps. suggested onstage by lesh, garcia debuts his version of smokey robinson & al cleveland’s I SECOND THAT EMOTION, fun guitar part worked out with weir. played with the dead throughout april ’71 only. partly the mix, but psychedelic fog seems to abound. 38-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. the 1st DARK STAR since mickey hart’s departure, the last of 4 during the 6-month period during which they only played the song when ned lagin guested. a new DARK STAR is born. subtle but dramatic structural rearrangement with pigpen playing hart’s old guiro part & kreutzmann starting quietly on full drum kit, sending the band right into the deep end. it both flattens the arc & makes it more unpredictable. the mix is weird but 15-minute DARK STAR is epic, with dense melodious jams. weir & lesh are louder than garcia & lagin’s wurtlitzer occasionally twinkles during super-quiet moments. weir takes some leads in NOT FADE AWAY & gets into sweet weave with garcia, lesh, & lagin. hard to say exactly what’s happening & there aren’t any reviews of the show, but based on lesh’s stage announcement & tape cut, it seems like there’s another setbreak after the DARK STAR sequence. were any of you there? 40-minute 3rd set opens with SING ME BACK HOME & closes with an 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’. pig’s rap doesn’t achieve coherence but more blown-out weaving leads by weir & garcia & lesh, lagin even more buried here.

4/10/71 lancaster: a strange mix with instruments changing levels & some blown-out guitars makes the tape a little sickly & hard to appreciate, the band sometimes sounding more off than they probably were. weir watch: “this number’s for all you 12 fans. anybody who gets off on the number 12, well, get off on this one.” kreutzmann’s on top of it & begins a 12-beat intro to BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. both of the night’s big jams are pigpen tunes. 26-minute GOOD LOVIN’ is good boogie but doesn’t grab me. 13-minute MIDNIGHT HOUR, with gentle garcia/lesh/weir jams floating.

4/12/71 pittsburgh: fresh from their 2 big breakthrough albums, both released in the previous 9 months, the dead play a grand total of 3 songs from “workingman’s dead” & “american beauty,” a pretty normal ratio by now. another blown-out mix, the vocals & garcia’s guitar especially overfuzzed. super-loud bass, though, which pushes new tunes like BERTHA & PLAYING IN THE BAND into joyous overdrive. also a nice mix for hearing pigpen’s percussion parts. 31-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT is the big showcase jam, the between-verse OTHER ONE improv is casual but dynamic, kreutzmann taking a more conversational role. WHARF RAT is powerful but still not quite dramatic yet. arguably the simplest of the new tunes, DEAL is having the hardest time finding choogle. economy model 23-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. fast-speeding LOVELIGHT pocket with big bass. nice jer backing vocals.

4/13/71 scranton: garcia is deep inside the LOSER solo, maybe the first of the new songs to gel. BERTHA is a potent example of lesh finding more space to move around in the 1-drummer lineup. 30-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > GOOD LOVIN’. with the drum break out of the way, the GOOD LOVIN’ jam dives right in, getting moody & bass heavy with a nice DARKNESS DARKNESS theme. pig offers political rants (“kick out them politic bullshit”), not much policy. #

4/14/71 lewisburg: tour manager sam cutler introduces the band’s “penultimate pennsylvania performance.” feels a bit ramshackle at times, a combo of the mix & songs the band is still working out. a slow clunky DEAL, the unjammed PLAYING IN THE BAND. some very early ’70s stage banter as tour manager sam cutler takes to the mic to request darker gels in the stage lighting. 9-minute BIRD SONG is 1st since the port chester debut(s) in february, a 1-night-only arrangement (i think) with weir now cycling through the familiar riff (ala CHINA CAT) & garcia garciaing, but feels listless (& out of tune) until outro jam, when all suddenly works. increasingly rare OTHER ONE suite, 34-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. post-verse OTHER ONE jam blooms into a brief DARK STAR-like arpeggio nebula & a few new tricks in alt-consensus gravity.

4/15/71 meadville: another night, another college gym in pennsylvania. short on jams, long on boogie, 4 new songs vs. 3 songs from 2 big albums from the previous year. DEAL still feels a little slow-motion, but maybe the 1st where they find some fire. garcia still looking for his faux-steel licks on PLAYING IN THE BAND.
muppet news flash –
lesh: we were supposed to tell you that the DA is here tonight & if anybody out there is doing anything illegal, you know what to do.
weir: he’s easy to see, he’s a guy dressed in a gorilla suit.
garcia: he’s one of you guys, it’s not one of us.
the night’s improv highlight is 21-minute GOOD LOVIN’, band surfing a fine propulsion out of the drum break, with pigpen’s raps feeling very much on the same wavelength; “make you feel so fine / you just can’t count time.”

4/17/71 princeton: big TRUCKIN’ energy right from the start, band & crowd sounding equally lit, carrying right into BIG RAILROAD BLUES & beyond, extra-sharpened for the ivy leaguers. hot HARD TO HANDLE, articulating the bass jam. BIRD SONG arrangement changes again. weir keeps cycling the riff, but lays back during vocals. once again, garcia’s leads are tentative at 1st, catching some air during the final solo. seems authentic, but not a bad metaphor. but it’s really the pigpen show, including legendary set-opening 27-minute GOOD LOVIN’. ripping, glowing major key jam with pig in maximum flow, a tale of little pimpin’ about a booty as big as the brooklyn bridge (which pigpen sells), band in tight formation behind him. by contrast, show-closing 25-minute GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT has bright jams & some of the era’s more wholesome rock concert matchmaking, pig seemingly connects 2 couples, has them hug it out; defers to his own gf back west.

4/18/71 cortland: another over-crushed night in a college gym, with minimal jamming & maximum boogie. always-joyous CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER has the nu-warlocks locked tight, give or take a vocal collision & giggles during the landing. another night, another battle with local lighting techs about keeping the spotlights down. when vibes get settled, pigpen adds at his most menacing, “mr. electrician man, if you mess with the lights, we’re gonna hog-tie you & throw your ass out of this place.” 1st tour where band really commits to setbreaks, seemingly taking the room’s temperature, then pausing to get their heads together. “we don’t have much time here, unfortunately,” jerry apologizes. so why take a break? heads know. some chaos during LOSER, with a kinda threatened-sounding lesh just off-mic, addressing “kid,” which could either mean a stage-crasher or the band’s roadie kidd, about to disembowel a stage-crashing kid. the dead’s version of SECOND THAT EMOTION, joyous as always, is prototype for the whole jerry garcia band. during GOOD LOVIN’, pigpen repeats set-up from the previous night’s brooklyn bridge rap (as band hits similar beats), but bails without a punchline.

4/21/71 providence: audience shouting match early in the show, sitters vs. standers. weir: “stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down — same old story, man. you guys work it out!” argument still going when band starts LOSER (& probably still going now). increasingly rare 1st set suite, 34-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. OTHER ONE starts at full zap, with bright zags & which-song-is-this moments before/after 1st verse. 2nd jam splits open & melts, band seems to give up before weir/lesh reel them back. a few times during THE OTHER ONE (& BIRD SONG & elsewhere), can hear pigpen playing B3 at full tilt. probably plenty loud onstage, but virtually inaudible on the tape. lesh/weir/garcia refining their power chiming dynamics on WHARF RAT. 8-minute BIRD SONG has 2 short lilting jams, 1st led by lesh’s bass as garcia winds about, the outro begun with wordless cry by garcia as they flutter up. 15-minute economy version of GOOD LOVIN’, no drum break, more little pimpin’.

4/22/71 bangor: 1st show in maine, now serious dead country. new riders’ set is only on a bumpy & sometimes warbly audience tape, which occasionally makes garcia’s pedal steel sound like a hammond running through a rotating leslie set-up. kind of lovely as glitches go. the tape mixes, new songs, & 5-sort-of-4-piece band are getting tighter as the tour winds onwards. PLAYING IN THE BAND especially punchy. the primal GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD gets a 1-night BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE pairing, kinda fun, though sort of a gearshift. maybe the 1st stunner version of SING ME BACK HOME. quiet, thoughtful garcia vocals & slightly ragged harmonies that are still blended so effectively that i can’t tell if lesh is adding a high part. i think he is? quality stage announcements. weir tries to describe & return a set of lost car keys; the person who takes them realizes they’re not theirs & passes them back. garcia as ride board: “also, there’s a guy somewhere in this building that needs a ride to boston.” thanks, jer. a real motherfucker of a GOOD LOVIN’ jam, lesh steering the band out with a variation on the descending FEELIN’ GROOVY bassline, turning minor & dark before pigpen starts his spiel & band digs in deeper with shapeshifting groove.

4/24/71 durham: 1st show in north carolina & 1st outdoor gig since previous summer’s festival express. new riders & the dead followed by butterfield blues band, mountain & the beach boys. thrilling HARD TO HANDLE jam after pigpen leaves, veering further & further from the tune like a primal VIOLA LEE BLUES, lesh & weir locking gradually into their boss chord pattern. after ME & BOBBY McGEE, a giggling weir takes on a heckler. “ah, fuck you, man… we’re gonna play something 3 more times reaaaal slow & out of tune.” think he’s intentionally hitting clankers during the intro to the subsequent BERTHA. garcia’s playing a random guild S100 at this show, never seen again, at least in shows that were photographed. in this shot, marmaduke from the new riders is playing percussion behind kreutzmann, seemingly with his own microphone. maybe this happened more often than is apparent from the tapes? “enjoy the last few minutes of sunshine before it sets behind yonder wall,” garcia suggests before set break. the 1st instance of them playing 2 sets when there are still other acts scheduled to play after them? really committed to the bit! during GOOD LOVIN’ drum break, woman uses mic to page her brother. apparently it’s the same woman who crashes SING BE BACK HOME to ask “can’t you all see how beautiful this is??” jerry doesn’t miss a word. she showed up in @InstituteJerry’s comments. at least according to one story, garcia stuck around to see the beach boys. they’d just signed with bill graham’s management agency, probably a big reason why they turned up onstage with the dead a few days later.

4/25/71 fillmore east: the dead (& the new riders) open their final shows at the fillmore east. bill graham will announce the closure at the end of the 5 nights. buncha tunes on the crucial “ladies & gentlemen…” set, too. the boogified dead. HARD TO HANDLE digs in (yet again) with the great weir/lesh middle jam. after a few attempts at the electric FRIEND OF THE DEVIL in the fall, the only version of ’71. bit jerky but fun to listen to kreutzmann. a few sweet off-mic moments of kreutzmann fucking with pigpen. garcia cheerfully announces the set break news-for-the-hard-of-hearing style: “we’re going to take a short break (short! break!) & we’ll be back later!” jerry also notes, “mickey isn’t with us, but grandma is.” mickey’s maternal grandparents, ethel & sam kessel, were regulars at fillmore east shows & apparently local rock heads. testy garcia: “dawk staw, dawk staw, where were all you ‘dawk staw’ people 2 years ago when we were playing it all the time?” (unintelligible reply.) “too bad, man! too bad!” off-mic: “9! 9! 9!” (or “nein! nein! nein!”?) before a 9-beat intro to BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. testy lesh, less charming: “alright wiseguys, write your requests on your girlfriends’ bosoms & send them up here & we’ll check ‘em out carefully before honoring them. we have quality control back here.” somebody off-mic: “yeah, pigpen.” the big jam is 23-minute GOOD LOVIN’ with pigpen again trying to kickstart the little pimpin’ theme, but band soars around him, up into bright architectures then down into chiming nearly drumless space, almost to no return, until kreutzmann reels them back. vague disconnected memory of a SPANISH JAM, from which kreutzmann tries to segue, but that doesn’t quite happen before 15-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, coming close to MOUNTAIN JAM during segue.

4/26/71 fillmore east: startlingly pro set by the new riders, still the new norm. dead set cuts in on BIG BOSS MAN, the version used on “skull & roses.” MAMA TRIED is from this night too. another extra-fierce HARD TO HANDLE. in 1st set, 20-minute DARK STAR > WHARF RAT, 1st without ned lagin since 10/70 & 1st real quartet version. with hart gone, jam goes freeform, tone poeming & sidetracking as kreutzmann lingers between percussion & kit, only hitting 1 verse before dissolving into WHARF RAT. canonical “skull & roses” version of WHARF RAT, minus the organ & piano overdubs & with some extra tape warpage here. even so, after 2 months, garcia clearly has a handle on the tune. also the keeper MAMA TRIED. duane allman (in town for a gig the next night in island park) arrives for 2nd set, his last time with the dead. could be louder, but a joy to hear him skipping across SUGAR MAGNOLIA & playing slide on HURTS ME TOO & BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. wish he’d stayed out longer. like, really, where else did duane have to be on a monday night in nyc? even without him, infinitely propulsive 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’, aching SING ME BACK HOME, & NOT FADE AWAY/GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD.

4/27/71 fillmore east: the album version of BERTHA, casually grooving & fun, weir’s rhythm guitar clicking fully with garcia’s. except for weir (or phil?) coughing (?) right before the last chorus, it all sounds great, even pigpen’s B3, replaced later by merl saunders. also the “skull & roses” take of ME & BOBBY McGEE, such a perfect fit for the austere 1-drummer dead. vocals & tuning are iffy (forever thus), but the 1st great BIRD SONG where band tightens the structure & the jam coheres into weaving conversation & makes surprises. and then out come the beach boys. there are no pictures, sadly, but oh there is most definitely tape. they’d just signed with bill graham’s millard agency, probably how the collaboration ended up happening. i say this as a pretty enormous beach boys fan: if i’d been at this show & consumed anything stronger than weed, i would’ve been in helpless laughter for the beach boys’ whole 42 minutes onstage. even as i can hear every moment, it’s somehow total cartoon & doesn’t seem real. the beach boys do a few tunes with the dead, a few by themselves, a few more with the dead. between songs, the energy level is off-the-charts awkward. i think it’s carl wilson, m*** l***, al jardine, & bruce johnston, plus touring drummer mike kowalski. the music is better than i remembered. pigpen leads SEARCHIN’ one last time with beach boys vocals (might be nice on the multi-track?). l*** does a screaming moog part on RIOT IN CELL BLOCK #9. kinda wish they’d sung the recently recorded STUDENT DEMONSTRATION TIME lyrics. amusingly, the beach boys seem take just as long between tunes as the dead do, except they awkwardly keep introducing the upcoming songs long before anybody’s ready to play them. some jeering, but no real boos. of the BBs’ “solo” tunes, GOOD VIBRATIONS gets appreciative cheer & I GET AROUND hits pretty hard, too, but a major missed opportunity when nobody introduces I GET AROUND as being a song about “a real cool head.” the best dead/beach boys jam, a standalone classic performance that makes it all worth it, is merle haggard’s OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE, just breathtakingly well-picked in terms of sensibility & vibe. garcia bakersfields his heart out, adding big raised eyebrows over m*** l***. true story: bob dylan is there & supposedly set to join for encore when his name is prematurely flashed on light show screen & he bails. reported in rolling stone.

4/28/71 fillmore east: during the new riders’ set, a really convincing (& semi-complete) 1-minute version of FUN FUN FUN, in reference to the beach boys’ appearance the previous night, marmaduke cutting it off as pedal steel solo starts. wish they’d kept going with this! many of the night’s highlights are on the wonderful “ladies & gentlemen…” set, including a graceful BIRD SONG that catches & floats on gentle currents, kreutzmann rolling on the toms, staying off the snare, garcia connecting with the vocal. no ’71 jam shortage tonight. 29-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, drum break & OTHER ONE extracted for “skull & roses.” picturesque pre-verse scene & expansive 1-drummer jamming, big flow packed with little inventions. tom constanten visits for the only time after his early 1970 departure, 34-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. legend is pigpen was dosed, but probably it’s just that TC was living NYC & had night off from “tarot.” during post-verse DARK STAR space, kretuzmann keeps free swingin’ on hi-hat/cymbal & eventually a darting jam coalesces around it with thundering bass peak, TC sounding a little more natural than when actually in the dead, contributing color & light conversation. also the last proper DARK STAR/ST. STEPHEN, at least on tape. weir & garcia tentative on last verse but lean into “been here so long, got to calling it home” to big cheers, now knowing (though crowd doesn’t) these are the band’s last fillmore east shows.

50 years ago tonight,
much is on “ladies & gentlemen…”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KffwyECiNkA&list=PLzptvlG1JiNDE39pXjpMx0qjlUTAWXfLH
ace new riders: https://archive.org/details/nrps1971-04-29.shnf
dead: https://archive.org/details/gd1971-04-29.sbd.miller.105926.flac16 [1/8]

[2/8]

4/29/71 fillmore east: the grateful dead’s last show at the fillmore east. earlier in the day, bill graham announced the closing of the fillmores. the end of a month-long tour & 5 nights at the fillmore. bill graham says that, if they get a permit, the dead will be playing central park on june 14th. not to be sadly. after a month on the road & 4 previous nights at the fillmore east, tight & bouncing for classic final show. ME & MY UNCLE makes the cut for “skull & roses.” after finding BIRD SONG’s sweetness on night 3, they lean in & play it the next 2 shows, tonight with lovely darting bass, if not quite as dramatic. after tonight, DARK HOLLOW disappears until ’78 & RIPPLE until ’80. during RIPPLE, eileen law & other members of the dead’s office sing on the wordless outro, offstage but on mic, audible a bit on “ladies & gentlemen…” fantastic HARD TO HANDLE (with weir’s descending middle jam). MORNING DEW has stunning quiet garcia/weir/lesh weave building into final peak, played exclusively at at album-recording shows in early ’71. 30-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > JAM > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > COLD RAIN & SNOW. last ever ALLIGATOR goes out righteously. post-DRUMZ jam(s) hover at the magical edge of choogle & openness/outness, a mood allowing for big ST. STEPHEN tease & natural segues. after a proper bill graham rap/harangue before the encore, final pigpen MIDNIGHT HOUR (with solid pigisms & twinkling garcia reprise) & equally proper BID YOU GOODNIGHT with the ominous lines about eating all the children. g’bye to the village theater.

5/29/71 winterland: a notoriously dosed saturday. previous night postponed ’til sunday cuz garcia was sick. he sits out the new riders. 1st version of THE PROMISED LAND, only one of weir’s chuck berry covers that i care for at all, mostly just ‘cause it’s such a perfect & unassailable song, but also kinda won by weir’s exuberance. 39-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. maybe the 1st TRUCKIN’ where the monster outro peaks are starting to become apparent, fully sketched out over next few years & codified into the jam by ’73. since the last version in april, used on “skull & roses,” OTHER ONE has already found another dimension. purposeful disassembly before 1st verse & surprising groove suspensions throughout. weir garbles lyrics & sounds like “spider in my mind,” which is kinda more badass. crowd chants for ST. STEPHEN.
off-mic, garcia: who’s gonna tell ‘em “no”?
lesh: let’s all yell, 1, 2, 3…
garcia/lesh/weir: NO!!!
the acid-spiked drinks get national coverage via wire services & bill graham almost loses his permit to put on shows in san francisco & definitely loses his shit.

5/30/71 winterland: could be accidental, but i think the 1st set is the 1st time garcia, weir, & pig take even turns picking songs. it will rarely cycle this cleanly, but many sets find a similar balance over the summer. hard to say what’s happening due to terrible tape quality, but it sounds like the GOOD LOVIN’ jam falls into blackhole, like tape is slowing down without changing pitch. drums disappear & music oozes into beautiful weirdness. after a (brief?) cut, they recombobulate. a “playwhiterabbitgoddammit” kinda night. says weir, “we’ll start playing up here as soon as you stop barking order at us.” big night for choogle with 25-minute TRUCKIN’ > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, TRUCKIN’ jam getting more assertive every show. salty LOVELIGHT pigologue about snacking with extended matchmaking by pig & weir, not terribly interesting on tape. another quiet milestone, as noted by a local head: “’twas the last time I was in Winterland when you could walk down in front with no troublin’ o’ th’ waters.”

6/4/71 new monk: possibly the jerry garcia & merl saunders club gig in berkeley where the 4 other dead members apparently showed up spontaneously & played a set. the dead definitely played the new monk at least once, reported by reliable witness charles reich in “signpost to new space.” according to another witness, the dead played THE NIGHT THEY DROVE OL’ DIXIE DOWN, then a regular part of garcia’s side repertoire. it’s possible the dead played at new monk in march ’72, as well. still another witness to one of these says the show attended was recorded by jorge santana, late brother of @SantanaCarlos (who was also there), apparently a taper. whether or not the dead played, it was garcia’s 1st weekend at the new monk, which became keystone berkeley the following year, where garcia played 200+ times over the next 13 years.

6/21/71 herouville: after gig at le festival d’auvers sur oise outside paris is rained out, they play for local villagers & film crew at the so-called “honky chateau.” playing for a group of farmers, firemen (in uniform, apparently), & other locals, as well as a heated swimming pool, with local teens pushing each other in during the show. lots of fun over 2 sets & cute broken french banter. though pigpen does another HARD TO HANDLE with devastating jam, he’s apparently a bit out of sorts & doesn’t do either of his big closers. he’s also playing some kind of electric piano, which is a different sound, almost no sustain. new-fashioned 25-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. short by recent standards, a new delight each time kreutzmann dissolves the OTHER ONE groove, everyone there & melting in/out a few times before & after verse. pig gets a little jazzy. the show is also the debut of courtenay pollack’s tie-dye speaker system. after the dead, bill ham’s light sound dimension performs, a light show that also has a band featuring drummer jerry granelli. while the dead were hanging in herouville, there was much jamming occurring in the recording chateau’s, including an early version of SUGAREE & a jam with members of magma.

7/2/71 fillmore west: last gig at the fillmore west, closed a few days later, once the carousel ballrom, the band-run DIY venue. broadcast on local radio. garcia (on pedal steel), kreutzmann, lesh, grisman, & maybe marmaduke accompany rowan brothers (minus peter), crossing into ultra-cheerful christian-folk. very not my thing, but also not harmonizing well tonight. the new riders truck righteously. weir announces bill graham, “and now here he is, folks, the protagonist…” lots of fun footage of the dead & graham in the “last days at the fillmore west” documentary, including soundcheck jams. fun watching, though soundtrack is kinda meh. the last san francisco dead show by the original 5-man lineup. final version of AIN’T IT CRAZY, lightnin’ hopkins tune sung by pigpen on/off back to jug band era. archetypal GOOD LOVIN’, nearly. no drum break, solid garcia/lesh jams, fun pigpen spiels. 24-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE. nice post-verse freak-out, a fun garcia/kreutzmann storm, re-coagulating dramatically. after the ending tag, a 1-minute epilogue that lands the song gracefully. people in crowd (or maybe one person) seem to be insistently shouting for CASEY JONES & JOHNNY B. GOODE, which both get played. “here’s the one it’s all about,” garcia says before the latter. this one rips.

7/31/71 yale bowl: tape begins with a simultaneously level-headed & discombobulated intro by late taper marty weinberg, who i became friends with when writing “heads” & it’s bittersweet to hear him here. i was looking forward to more hangs. after TRUCKIN’ opener, debuts of SUGAREE, & MR. CHARLIE, both tight template boogies & varying tempos/moods, 1st songs written for the 1-drummer dead. just recorded for garcia’s solo debut, SUGAREE will become his bar band groove standard. “that was okay,” marty shrugs after MR. CHARLIE, music by pigpen, words by hunter, still missing “i can the drums…” verse. it kicks off hot pigpen summer, also including a great HARD TO HANDLE later in the show, with a slightly subtle version of the cool weir/lesh jam. also the debut of phil lesh’s new hot-rodded guild starfire bass, known as big brown or the godfather, tricked out by alembic, giving lesh the warm ’n’ punchy bass sound that helped define the era’s sound. one of only a few gigs with garcia playing a les paul jr, too. this show also marks the 1st appearance that i can find of the dead’s steal your face logo on any piece of clothing, only a few days before the dead performed for owsley in prison & i wonder if there’s a connection? “what happened to mickey hart??” marty shouts in his light nyc accent. later, on the soundboard, somebody else (i think) shouts from the front. “he’s on safari in africa,” weir replies off-mic. 23-minute DARK STAR is 1st since april & 2nd of only 2 by the “quartet” ’71 lineup. 10 minutes before 1st vocals, which garcia tries to move to 3-4 times but band keeps diverting. kreutzmann on shaker & free cymbals, finally moving to full drums for pre-verse bliss-out. after DARK STAR verse it’s back down to silence & the jam resets through a big bass cloud & a series of deliciously bright themes/jams. he doesn’t get a credit on the packaging, but marty weinberg’s tape is used to patch over a reel-flip & sounds pretty good. after clean DARK STAR landing lesh calls for WHARF RAT but garcia overrides, counting off into BIRD SONG, the 1st version with the opening chord crash from the studio take, recorded a few weeks earlier. looks cooler as a segue but profoundly isn’t. apparently, the grateful dead’s yale bowl show in july ’71, 50 years ago tonight, was the site of the 1st ever glowstick war. (cc: phishheads) in NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme is followed prophetically by the youngbloods’ DARKNESS DARKNESS before resolving. during encore, tear gas clouds rise over stadium’s rim. there’s a riot goin’ on.

8/4/71 san pedro: the grateful dead perform in the library at the terminal island correctional facility in san pedro, where LSD engineer & sound chemist owsley stanley is incarcerated. though bear doesn’t get to run sound, prison officials let him help set up the equipment & the roadies apparently smuggle in some supplies to share. would love to hear some prisoners’ accounts. garcia: “a lotta time we play concerts, we got people breaking in…” about half of the songs are new to the dead since bear’s last show almost exactly a year earlier, including set-opening TRUCKIN’, referencing the bust that revoked his bail. a situation where weir & pigpen’s familiar covers were probably appreciated regardless of how they stand next to the originals, including HARD TO HANDLE, MAMA TRIED, NOT FADE AWAY, & TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT among others. not much open jamming, but deep pockets in HARD TO HANDLE, NOT FADE AWAY (especially), & LOVELIGHT, all with a whole lotta lesh & his new bass. garcia & co. make a few cool turns in LOVELIGHT, but pig’s a little disconnected.

8/5/71 hollywood palladium: with the new riders of the purple sage & the rowan brothers. during new riders’ set, 1st of 2 performances of JULIE, only played at these hollywood shows & abandoned. love the playful chorus, maybe regrettable lyrics otherwise. a (presumably) very very high woman introduces the dead with some awkward energy & many giggles. “you need something & i think that maybe possibly it’s gonna come right now. i’d like to introduce…” (almost no enthusiasm) ”…the grateful dead.” after a few weeks of weir introducing pigpen as “the dog-suckingest man in show business,” pig’s revenge before EL PASO: “and now ladies & gentlemen, the prettiest & most compassionate drawing[?] man in showbiz, mr. candy weir.” meaty 29-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, getting wonderfully dense right out of the gate, thick bass, chunky rhythm guitar, dips, detours. lesh leads post-verse charge into alien dialogues. titanic & confident WHARF RAT. TRUCKIN’ thunders towards satisfying peak but they still haven’t figured out the big chord/detonation, though they’ve worked out some of the descent & weir’s figured out the outro screams. really good 9-minute BIRD SONG, propulsive feel with fast-fluttering 1st solo & more jam-like conversational coda. 15-minute GOOD LOVIN’ where pigpen doesn’t quite gel but band (& especially lesh) build solid head of steam.

8/6/71 hollywood palladium: taper tip from weir, “you down there with the microphone, if you want to get a decent recording, you got to move back about 40 feet.” a few moments later someone says “right here” as new taper arrives in kaslow & todd’s sweet spot. band pulls out a few rare songs. 1st BROKEDOWN PALACE since february, a little ragged but gets there. primal dead staples ST. STEPHEN & MORNING DEW appear, lately only getting played at big city gigs. celebrated HARD TO HANDLE, a potent specimen of the ’71 version with a weir solo giving way to garcia & the year’s usual thundering weir/lesh descending jam, garcia finding nice twists in peak & getting huge cheers. 28-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE, weir signaling & bringing jam up out of space zones into chaos & great segue into ME & MY UNCLE. the exit segue kinda kersplats, though, dropping off a cliff & back into drumless space. ME & MY UNCLE was played inside THE OTHER ONE a few times in ’70, but after this version it becomes a common jam move for the rest of ’71 & into ’72. during reprise segue, weir toodles on WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE before graceful build back. lots of bass in MORNING DEW & 26-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, both rapturous. LOVELIGHT tilts towards dense & varied jam, though solid crowdwork & big pigpen shrieks, including one that overblows the ending & drives one more big reprise. the dead’s 8/6/71 palladium show was teeming with tapers & bootleggers. lots of underground LPs for sale outside & tapes of the show become a legendary bootleg.

8/7/71 san diego: a tape given to keith godchaux when he joined the band a month later so he could learn the repertoire (& probably never listened to), rediscovered decades later, now “dick’s picks 35.” the dead get an introduction? the same woman/women who introduced the dead at the palladium? some good shots capturing the new @courtenaytiedye amp set-up. fairly standard issue ’71 dead. no extended improv, just digging in as a quintet, finding bounce on the new MR. CHARLIE & SUGAREE. weir watch: gives more of an off-mic “hey-uh!” than a “w00!!” at the end of PROMISED LAND, but getting closer. another mind-flaying HARD TO HANDLE with band hitting weave & lesh thrashing chords as he leans into jam’s ’71 sub-changes & hitting a melodious peak with garcia. cool garcia fills under the last chorus. short night ends with 21-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > JOHNNY B. GOODE, with a spacious (but relatively content free) mini-foray after the BID YOU GOODNIGHT instrumental coda, i think because weir is replacing a broken string.

8/14/71 berkeley community theater: final new riders version of buck owens’ HELLO TROUBLE, probably silly-sounding to actual c&w heads, but one of my fave new riders covers. extra-present lesh in the mix, presumably thanks to his new bass, really playing up front co-leads in SUGAREE & BROKEDOWN PALACE. the latter has an especially sweet vocal blend, now back in the rotation. ned lagin makes his west coast debut at the beginning of 2nd set during jam segment of 24-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE. after verse, jam disassembles & builds up through bright themes with joyous garcia/lesh leads, a quite similar mode to the so-called beautiful jam from february. ned’s not really audible, but he sticks around for ME & BOBBY McGEE & some other tunes. wish there was an audience tape. before encore, bill graham brings out @thedavidcrosby, presents cake, & crowd sings happy birthday. happy birthday, croz!

8/15/71 berkeley community theater: the last bay area gig by the original 5-man lineup of the grateful dead, at the berkeley community theater, with another 2nd set appearance by ned lagin.  after someone in the crowd screams for it, band plays opening roll of WHITE RABBIT before devolving into more playwhiterabbitgoddamnit jokes, but this time weir offers the origin story of dude shouting for it drunkenly in new orleans. ned lagin once again takes over on B3 for big 2nd set jam, similar to the previous night, 41-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. ned’s contributions are occasionally audible on headphones during quiet passages. driven by lesh’s new mega-bass, THE OTHER ONE breaks into pretty abstraction & swinging new pocket before 1st verse, then folds with grace into grooveless weirdness before a dancing recombobulation into ME & MY UNCLE, moving back into space with more ease than 1st night. 16-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT is last by original warlocks lineup. the piggin’ is solid, but stellar locked-in jams by the rest of the band, stinging guitar & cool turns. relentless bass under pig & weir’s extended final scream-off.

8/21/71 mickey’s ranch: a super-megajam at @mickeyhart’s ranch in novato with nearly all of the dead, @thedavidcrosby, ned lagin, john cipollina, @jormakaukonen, @jackcasady, & many more. known as “a day in the country,” the new riders & shanti were seemingly shot for KQED but unaired. some recall FM broadcast, but no evidence. a bit of the new riders turned up, with @thedavidcrosby cameo. a deeply eagle-eyed viewer noticed a bit of the shanti performance from 8/21/71, preserved on early VHS, in an impressively prescient 1973 news report about early “video rock ’n’ roll.”  missing from the soundboard: a 2-chord mega-jam on FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN prototype, twisting, going nova, & setting tone for 2 hours of charged, good energy jams that generally stay interesting. hart’s 1st known session since starting his furlough in february. ned lagin’s memories of the day in the country, via NedBase. ned is also the source for the clean soundboard recording from his personal stash. thanks, ned! soundboard opens with a 33-minute THE OTHER ONE JAM > THE WALL SONG. OTHER ONE is only a brief prelude, but missing from the audience tape. from the start (& throughout), lagin is playing assertive & conversational co-leads on piano. THE WALL SONG is much more interesting on the soundboard, mellow & rolling. i think david freiberg joins on B3 as it gets going. drums drop out after vocals, maybe tagging in a new drummer? after THE WALL SONG, garcia excuses himself, “i gotta go play,” & heads off for his 3rd & (maybe 4th) sets of the day, playing with the new riders of the purple sage in cotati. thematic jams continue with cipollina & kaukonen & lagin & co. much like a night at the matrix, it’s hard to tell who’s playing & things eventually land in somewhat generic blues. amused to see that ned & phil’s tape also uses the “blooz” spelling. is that a horn player? electric jug? the last hartbeats show, kinda.

8/23/71 chicago: hard to overstate how much more 3-dimensional SUGAREE becomes with lesh’s new punched-up bass tone & how important the garcia/lesh/weir weave is to this song. last BIRD SONG until 7/72, pigpen’s haunting B3 already at full ghost. some good lesh banter: “well, if we got it all as loud we’d liked, we’d all be deaf.” … “what do you want us to tell you? that you can dance? OKAY, YOU CAN GET UP & DANCE. TELL ‘EM PHIL SAID IT WAS OKAY.”
weir: it’s a long show, you might just relax for a while.
garcia: there’s something’s to be said for sittin’ down, too…
garcia: sometimes you can stand up & sometimes you can sit down.
lesh: if your butt hurts, you can stand up for a while.
garcia: if your feet hurt, you can sit down for a while.
lesh: and if your head hurts, forget it.
weir: get a new one.
44-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > WHARF RAT, the 1st complete THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONCE since january. with lesh’s new bass, THE OTHER ONE is getting faster & rounder all the time, here a delightedly freaked kreutzmann-driven swing through the 4th dimension with a great peak that just about glides into ME & MY UNCLE. still working on their exit strategy.

8/24/71 chicago: a recording that only surfaced in 2005, as part of keith godchaux’s stash, given to him in order to learn the new songs, released as “dick’s picks 35.” “we’re gonna play this year’s music this year, gang,” says jerry, in response to requests, though lesh’s new bass is especially great on CUMBERLAND BLUES & UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, like the “american beauty” bass sound translated live. 1st of only 2 version of pigpen’s EMPTY PAGES, spare & soulful & allmans-y. bluesy, but not too generically so. not an ideal vocal performance, but great to have, & especially foreboding given the health crisis we now see looming in a few weeks. debut of BROWN-EYED WOMEN, played faster & with a more straight-ahead groove (& strident bass) than it’d acquire, & a few different words. a subtly different country-soul mode for garcia/hunter, leaning more on the soul. tape is incomplete, but no real jamming besides a 21-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, part of the original ST. STEPHEN’S last stand.

8/26/71 gaelic park: outside gaelic park, many bootleg LPs! sam cutler confiscates a bunch from yippie-affiliated heads & spurs an article in the east village other. marty weinberg sells his white labels without hassle. i wrote about it, mostly trimmed from “heads.” final show by the original 5-man grateful dead/warlocks quintet before pigpen is derailed by health issues. rescheduled from 7/30. at the final show before pigpen’s sick leave, the 1st set finally reaches an exact balance of songs led by garcia, weir, & pig. really impassioned SUGAREE vocal by garcia, especially poppin’ on marty’s audience tape. final pigpen version of HARD TO HANDLE, revived with etta james in ’82, & one more turn through the crushingly cool lesh/weir jam that always feels like a perfect left turn, resurfaced once in ’81 & maybe other times. 2nd & last version of pig’s spare, soulful EMPTY PAGES. relatively brief GOOD LOVIN’, mostly jams, only a little pigpen rappin’. some witnesses say pig was mostly offstage for 2nd set, minus NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME. another says there was an untaped LOVELIGHT encore, but feels unlikely based on memories & multiple surviving tapes. lesh asks people on nearby roof to wave if they can hear him. i think they do. boppin’ 10-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is prime example of lesh’s bright & absurdist lead bass. garcia pops string & weir takes RIDER’s “northbound train” verse. in addition to pigpen’s last show, the last jams by the “quartet” dead of garcia/kreutzmann/lesh/weir. 25-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE has especially potent weir guitar playing, slashing & building as the OTHER ONE jam freaks & circles. according to ace frehley’s memoir, teenage ace sneaks in, meets jerry, gets drunk, passes out.

9/2/71 gold street club: maybe, a rare pigpen solo show. advertised for 9/9, some heads showed up & were told that the ad was late & the show had happened on 9/2. possibly merl saunders was involved? gold street was open from at least the early ‘60s through the late ‘70s & didn’t often advertise specific one-night acts, yet the erroneous pigpen listing appeared in seemingly all the local papers. wish i knew the full story.

9/28/71 santa venetia armory: from his taped 1st rehearsal, keith godchaux blends right in. lesh bounces amuck across BERTHA. early rehearsal of TENNESSEE JED, a good deal faster than its debut a few weeks later. a lot of fun. pre-debut version of weir’s ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, hunter’s name removed from the credits, sounding much like it still sounds when bob weir plays it on saturday night near you, a few alternate words. studio rehearsals of BROKEDOWN PALACE (fragile in a good way), CUMBERLAND BLUES (groove slips a few times), & CANDYMAN (fragile in a meh way) feel like regular ol’ brush-ups on songs recorded on previous year’s albums. 9/29

9/29/71 santa venetia armory: another uptempo roll through the new TENNESSEE JED. earliest MEXICALI BLUES, the 1st dead lyrics by @jpbarlow, lesh swaggering pretty hard. pretty much unchanged from the rock-polka it still is, minus any post-’95 tempo drops. BIRD SONG starts drumless, already more forceful & confident than its stage versions with a beautiful jam/solo that collapses pretty much exactly at the moment where the ’72 arrangement takes flight with drum fill. flown until next summer. keith plays B3 on a number of tunes, which he’d barely do onstage, including MEXICALI BLUES, EL PASO, ME & MY UNCLE, TENNESSEE JED, TRUCKIN’, & notably a run through the jam outro to UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, generally sounding alright, if a little tentative.

9/30/71 santa venetia armory: BROWN EYED WOMEN has cool piano intro, soon excised, & adjusts to its familiar tempo & swing. after 7 months of performances, PLAYING IN THE BAND finally develops 60-second jam on the MAIN TEN theme. no key change yet, but a breakthrough. 1st taped version of JACK STRAW, keith playing organ. some alternate lyrics at the bridge. TENNESSEE JED keeps its early & quite enjoyable brisk bounce. only DEEP ELEM BLUES with keith godchaux, who does a solid boogie, even a bit basement tapes-y. great pocket. wish they’d kept it. electric in ’66, acoustic then electric in ’70, acoustic ’78-’80, occasionally electric again, but mostly a solo garcia acoustic staple. the big pocket continues through BIG RAILROAD BLUES & PROMISED LAND, the sound of the new era coming to life. the piano & godchaux’s conversational style are such organic & perfect additions to the “skullfuck” era sound & renders the new album slightly obsolescent already. godchaux plays organ on ATTICS OF MY LIFE, unplayed since 12/70 & only an onstage blip during the godchaux era in late ’72. a little rough around the edges but still perfect.

10/1/71 santa venetia armory: TENNESSEE JED is the only song on all 4 rehearsal recordings, a little slower, but still about 10 clicks faster than where it’d settle for “europe ’72.” after BROWN EYED WOMEN, the band asks robert hunter how the balance in the room is, shouting to get his attention (& implying they’re in a big space). “he was thinking about adverbs,” garcia says, sending lesh into giggles. a pair of intriguing & very short standalone jam fragments, the 1st sounding like part of a much larger piece. keith still playing organ on JACK STRAW, band slowing it down a bit. weir works on his falsetto on ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. more godchaux B3 on LOSER. rare electric RIPPLE, appearing a few times in spring ’71, the whole song then disappearing until the 1980 acoustic sets & appearing electric only once more, in ’88. BIRD SONG gets cut just as jam is spinning out & disappears until next summer.

10/19/71 minneapolis: fall tour opener, debuting a half-dozen songs & new pianist keith godchaux piano & B3, pigpen home sick, the start of a new era. broadcast on KQRS. garcia begins his last tour leg with the new riders before ceding the pedal steel chair to buddy cage. style watch, the earliest i’ve seen garcia rockin’ sneakers. (anyone seen a new riders tape?) aided by the oversaturated radio recording, band is overloaded in best way, full of swingin’ pockets for godchaux’s casual but aggressive piano, a deep new dimension. a little rusty & missing occasional lyrics throughout night. godchaux switches over to organ for the debut of TENNESSEE JED, played at the early fast tempo. i like it a lot at this speed. hangs on B3 for BLACK PETER, too, fallen out of rotation this year to date. 19-beat BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE intro. back to piano for the grand debut of weir & hunter’s western epic JACK STRAW, the lyrics finished up since the rehearsal takes. mostly a duet with lesh, garcia won’t take over response vocals ’til the spring. rest of the 1st set has debuts of swaggering polka MEXICALI BLUES, weir’s 1st with @jpbarlow, garcia & hunter’s aching COMES A TIME (a little faster & with alternate verse), & weir’s ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT (titled “u.s. blues” ’til hunter took his name off it). arrangement-wise, BROWN EYED WOMEN slows down to a chiller tempo. PLAYING IN THE BAND debuts its jam, only a minute long here (as it will be all fall), with godchaux on B3 & garcia soaring. at setbreak, KQRS plays soundcheck interviews with garcia & lesh, as well as a bit of sci-fi/folk/radio serial weirdness by robert hunter, seemingly titled A MESSAGE FOR ROGER. 9-minute TRUCKIN’ is keith’s only chance to really stretch on piano tonight, sparkling. debut of RAMBLE ON ROSE. wondering if TENNESSEE JED got slowed down because of the similarity of their bounce at this tempo? 34-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT feels just slightly miscalibrated with godchaux on B3, though reaches proper bananattitude between the verses, chirping conversational organ, lighter & more natural than TC ever sounded. godchaux’s piano fits so incredible naturally into 15-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. just before the 1st transition, garcia finds cool new variation that feels like a turn on MEXICALI BLUES.

10/21/71 chicago: during the new riders, marmaduke pops a string so david nelson leads the band through what is likely the irish reel PADDY ON THE TURNPIKE, played by garcia & nelson in the bluegrass era. or is it? got an opinion? these shows feel like a breath of fresh air, in part because of keith godchaux’s piano, in part just because the band & new songs feel exuberant, perfect for the band’s 1-drummer/lead bass sound. godchaux switches from organ to piano for TENNESSEE JED, the song dropping down another click tempo-wise, but still bouncing. still playing organ on PLAYING IN THE BAND & its 1-minute jam. my god, COMES A TIME. one of rawest garcia/hunter tunes. some testy vibes throughout the night, apparently totally harsh security, sometimes not even let people dance in their seats. garcia: “if you want professionalism, we’ll have to charge another buck…”
weir: pigpen couldn’t make it, he’s home sick, etc.
audience member: ALLIGATOR!!!
lesh: didn’t you hear? pigpen isn’t with us, we can’t do ALLIGATOR.
weir: snap out of it!
lesh: be here!
garcia: you don’t suppose we travel all this way for you to forget stuff like that!
keith godchaux meets DARK STAR with a righteous 27-minute DARK STAR > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD > DARK STAR > ME & BOBBY McGEE. he’s a force in the conversation before the 1st verse, bloomin’ into 1st FEELIN’ GROOVY jam since previous fall, setting up near-perfect segue. 1st SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD since fall ’70, one of its longest gaps since the band started playing it in ’66. sometimes a rarity, but played with basically the same joyous arrangement as their debut LP, now beginning its final stand, through the spring.  deadologists note: after someone in crowd shouts for LOUIE LOUIE, stray bit of weir banter confirms that it can be moved into the definite column of the warlocks’ early repertoire.

10/22/71 chicago: the B3 is almost gone tonight, only appearing on PLAYING IN THE BAND, which zaps out fully in the space of roughly 60 seconds. amazing that they kept it concise. moves to piano for BLACK PETER, giving the song even deeper grace. subtle but major line in dead history: with these shows, garcia & weir begin alternating evenly between lead vocals, weir finally having enough songs. (CUMBERLAND BLUES counts as a phil song somehow.) i see why it made sense in ’71-’72, but wish it didn’t become default. fantastic 34-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DEAL, godchaux on piano for 1st time. new conversational dimensions & delicacies in the chaos. delightful accelerating segue from CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT into DEAL, sorta like the old move into COSMIC CHARLIE.

10/23/71 detroit: WABX DJ mentions that ram rod was busted before the show. drag! a fun but surprisingly jam-free saturday night, playing much of the new live album, much of a new album’s worth of songs written since then, & a few deeper cuts. “this here’s a song about more than one card game,” says phil before LOSER. godchaux goes back to B3. garcia scrambles some lyrics in RAMBLE ON ROSE, coming up with the funny variation “march you up & down the local party line,” which could be political or telephonic. another night, more hecklers:
garcia: shout encouragement! it ain’t hard.
lesh: we’ve got electricity on our side, man. it’s an unequal battle all the way.
garcia: right, we can rap louder.
1st ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT played on an actual saturday. TRUCKIN’ boogies & pulls over. only deep noodle happens during 19-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY finale, cool garcia/lesh conversation during last segue.

10/24/71 detroit: godchaux switches from B3 to piano for PLAYING IN THE BAND & immediately the song gets a new dimension, adding conversationally during the MAIN TEN breaks & then having at it, weaving atmospherically during the still very fixed 1-minute jam. monumental 26-minute DARK STAR > ME & BOBBY McGEE. kreutzmann starts on shaker, landing on kit after lesh breaks apart the pulse & jam briefly borders on free jazz, godchaux’s piano colors acting as a subtle glue, before floating homeward for 1st verse. after the verse, godchaux & lesh create gorgeous tension chasing new rhythmic center over kreutzmann’s ride cymbal, climbing into brightness while garcia stardusts over high-speed FEELIN’ GROOVY jam & band sustains a fast-moving jam, eventually dissolving for 2nd verse. cool late set CUMBERLAND BLUES, lately feeling like it’s found a subtly new feel with the piano & lesh’s big-sounding new bass, garcia latching into an almost GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD pocket in his solo. ST. STEPHEN feeling weirdly drab without 2 drummers.

10/26/71 rochester: godchaux back to B3 for PLAYING IN THE BAND. faring alright conversationally but not as natural. let keith jam! another rowdy crowd with multiple band pleas to step back, the beginnings of the dead’s rabid central NY fanbase. lesh slightly surly when somebody shouts for “something new” after COMES A TIME: “i don’t know where you’ve been, buddy, but that *was* something new.” band does half of “skull & roses” but even more newer tunes. 37-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > JOHNNY B. GOODE. big cheers for buffalo in TRUCKIN’. neat OTHER ONE dis- & re-assemblies with dual lead guitars, dropping to later-than-usual space-out. post-verse ending tag drops right into chuck berry.

10/27/71 syracuse: live on WAER. phil introduces the band “for the benefits of all you folks out in radio-land, we are the grateful dead,” which is cute. weir also introduces ME & MY UNCLE by name, some rare DJing. TENNESSEE JED starting to slow down a little bit, now just sounds brisk. godchaux thankfully returns to piano for PLAYING IN THE BAND, a striking part of the rhythm section during jam, just creeping over the 60-second mark. another wonderful COMES A TIME feels fully & naturally occupied. great vocals, almost a showcase for garcia. besides the tour opener, seems to have displaced WHARF RAT. TRUCKIN’ doesn’t go out, but finally starting to catch some momentum in the jam. only big action is 24-minute NOT FADE AWAY > DRUMZ > JAM > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, garcia getting brighter out of the drum break, with a fat CHINA CAT tease before landing & beautifully dynamic GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD slowdown outro.

10/29/71 cleveland: live on WNCR. recording of the new riders is slightly slowed down, making the pedal steel a little extra woozy & psychedelic & giving the whole thing a slight vaporwave edge. into it. opening TRUCKIN’ starts to flex & keeps jamming a bit after the last verse, ending almost reluctantly. keith forced back to B3 for PLAYING IN THE BAND, a little more bounce in his attack but still not as cool as piano. maybe because they’re on the radio, band continues occasionally introducing songs, a habit that didn’t last. garcia intros BIG RAILROAD BLUES by name. weir, before MEXICALI BLUES: “if you’ve ever been in mexico dodging bullets, then you know what i mean…” 42-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DEAL feels like a breakthrough of sorts in terms of deep jams & beautiful flow. THE OTHER ONE has jammed plenty before, but the godchaux era is a new world. OTHER ONE veers quickly, 16 minutes before 1st verse, gradually burying & jettisoning (& occasionally returning to) the triplet rhythm as conversations flow, finding new pockets & grooves, always anchored by bubbly & charming bass dialogues/trialogues & confident piano. segues are spot-on, too. garcia signals for ME & MY UNCLE with band coming in dynamically behind him, then all stomp right back into THE OTHER ONE. everybody floats up into DEAL, the 2nd & final version of the cool & very ’71 CRYPTICAL/DEAL transition. “we’re gonna play all that note-for-note backwards,” weir says after the big jam. “and it goes something like this,” says garcia as SUGAR MAGNOLIA starts. ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT closes a show for the 1st time.

10/30/71 cincinnati: live on WEBN. the last recording of jerry garcia with the new riders of the purple sage before turning over the pedal steel chair to buddy cage. especially great DIRTY BUSINESS, the band’s big jam, burning into dead-like peaks here. not a lot of jamming, but 17 of the dead’s 21 songs are new to the repertoire since their last trip to cincinnati, almost exactly a year-and-a-half earlier. but garcia’s new songs, BERTHA & SUGAREE & COMES A TIME, especially, sound powerful & confident. responding to persistent request, classic garcia ACABing, pretty biting at first: “c’mon man, you’re gonna be a *cop*? is that it? ‘playyy TRUCKIN’. playyy TRUCKIN’.’ we’ll play whatever we like… what about all those people that might not like TRUCKIN’?!” a few songs later, band does play TRUCKIN’, but the sweet jams are in delirious 22-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, largely driven by inventive weir chord changes & garcia weaving.

10/31/71 columbus: one of the 1st shows where the band’s later set structure comes into play, 1st set focused on songs, 2nd set jumping right into jam mode. PSA from lesh: “why don’t you, like, not jump up & down on the seats. jump up & down on the floor!” garcia, punchy: “next time don’t come to those concerts where you can’t jump up & down on the seats. there’s a lesson to be learned in this & maybe someday you’ll all learn it. or maybe not. they haven’t learned it in new york, god knows.” crackling CUMBERLAND BLUES with everybody dancing effortlessly around virtually nonstop garcia shreds. great solos, especially big break in the middle, but much of the joy is the all-‘round lightness. peak 1-drummer dead. wondrous 30-minute DARK STAR > SUGAR MAGNOLIA starts with subtle but big shift, kreutzmann swinging in on full kit instead of just shaker. in post-verse space, lesh thunders away. garcia & then kreutzmann follow & all are off into 10+ minutes of themes & conversations. weir hits blissed 2-chord jam from ’69-’70 (often labeled TIGHTEN UP/SOULFUL STRUT, but not quite either), 1st in nearly a year. band chases it gloriously into brightness one last time. after brief valley & noise cloud, weir steers into SUGAR MAGNOLIA, a great resolution. 28-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, last ST. STEPHEN ’til ’76. dramatic & lyrical NOT FADE AWAY spirals & sunbursts en route to GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, ecstatic peak after BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme.

11/6/71 harding theater: bay area debut for new songs & new piano player. show-opening BERTHA gets an extra round of soloing. keith’s 1st SING ME BACK HOME, returning for 1st time since summer & disappearing again ’til europe (& donna). something amiss with the piano pickup, giving extra vibrations & sometimes making it sound like an mbira, as on BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. in the 2nd set, that issue is semi-resolved, but then sounds like a tack piano. kinda cool, though. by 35-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COMES A TIME, lesh’s bass is lopsidedly at the top of the mix, which is fine. pushed by lesh, OTHER ONE disassembles so deeply into shapes & a new slashing pulse before 1st verse that weir starts singing the 2nd.

11/7/71 harding theater: a self-promoted & mostly unadvertised show at the harding theater with heavy water lights. broadcast on KSFX, a beloved & well-circulated tape. during a break to fix the vocal monitors, band jams through freddie king’s instrumental HIDE AWAY, probably played in the early days but not on any tapes, turning up again in 1989, & almost certainly at soundchecks in between. lyric watch: last version of COMES A TIME with “words come out…” verse. 1st version of ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT with “i may be young & crazy…” replaced by “don’t worry ‘bout tomorrow, lord, we’ll know it when it comes…” loose night with many gear breaks, just off-mic interactions, & audience members telling jokes.
weir: for you radio listeners, this is what’s known as dead air.
garcia: *get it*?
pretty sure marmaduke reads the radio spot for matthew’s tv & stereo city before 2nd set. 38-minute DARK STAR > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE. again, kreutzmann starts on shaker, moving to kit as lesh pushes 1st jam. bright dances in DARK STAR post-verse & OTHER ONE pre-verse, only stopping ‘cuz of broken string, DARK STAR unfinished. another impassioned 19-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY set closer, this one with bright details, cool slo-mo rhythmic crossfade by garcia during segue, & drawn-out garcia/lesh space after the BID YOU GOODNIGHT coda.

11/11/71 atlanta: after opening BERTHA, as crew moves amps, a small shitstorm breaks out, security roughing up heads crowding up front. lesh intervenes: “hey, that’s *not really necessary*” & then taunts security?! “big maaaaaaan, big man.” does not help. at this point, security/police come on stage. lesh, ever-helpful & charmingly ACAB: “there ain’t gonna be no music as long as there’re cops on this stage.” naturally, an audible “PIGS OFF THE STAGE” chant ensues in crowd. the band’s power is cut by the fire marshal & tour manager sam cutler succeeds at cooling things out, but bad vibes & it’s a short show with pretty much no jamming. maybe one long set, even? garcia’s memory from a 1971 interview. testy garcia responds to hecklers presumably shouting “ROCK & ROLL!”: “go see grand funk. grand funk is the ones you want for rock & roll.” tasty ME & BOBBY McGEE, though. lite choogles in TRUCKIN’ & 18-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. old school dead taper marty weinberg drove to this gig from nyc. his tapes don’t survive. he wasn’t feeling the new directions, specifically ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, but he & his friends truck another 14 hours to the next show in san antonio anyway.

11/12/71 san antonio: band is late & local radio announces the show is cancelled, then uncancelled. taper marty weinberg & friends drive from atlanta, beat the band, & waltz into the venue. when someone asks if you’re with the band, you say “yes.” 8-minute show-opening TRUCKIN’ cooks, already better than anything from the debacle the previous night in atlanta. an empty-ish venue & lesh invites people in the balcony to come down to the floor. weir vs. hecklers: “we’ll get to the rock & roll but first we’re gonna play a polka number.” and it’s true, only one of several cancellable parts of MEXICALI BLUES. wonder if anybody’s ever actually played it on (non-MIDI) accordion? did hornsby? 35-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > BIG RAILROAD BLUES, the last complete version of the suite with the full CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT intro/outro ’til ’85, though the front part will keep appearing for a few more tours. dense OTHER ONE breaks into nothingness, kreutzmann finding new beat under garcia weirdisms, picked up by band, weir & godchaux slashing purposeful shapes en route to 1st verse. post-verse jams are more restless & free, occasionally focusing into peaks.

11/14/71 fort worth: a homecoming boogie at @TCU. garcia leaning into his vocals deliciously on this tour, really great LOSER verse reprise tonight, little asides in TENNESSEE JED, & even takes an extra singin’ slot to debut his cover of hank williams’s YOU WIN AGAIN, played for the next 10 months. wonder if there was any particular hank williams connection that inspired them to start playing YOU WIN AGAIN in texas. austin, where the dead played the next night, was the city of hank sr.’s final performance in 1952, could be that? 49-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. TRUCKIN’ choogle keeps widening. 1st OTHER ONE jam is driven by lead bass, propulsive pockets, dual squigglies, garcia/kreutzmann jam, & solid full-band segue into ME & MY UNCLE. scattered action comes in 2nd segment, when weir finally gets to singing a verse, then breaking down to DARK STAR-like arpeggios, a breath away from the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam, but instead falls into abstraction. 1st WHARF RAT since opening night of tour, keith moving from B3 to piano & creating bigger/deeper rhythmic gravitas & space for everybody else, the song’s powerful new self, followed briskly by SUGAR MAGNOLIA, a favored set-closing move through ’94.

11/15/71 austin: 25-minute DARK STAR > EL PASO > DARK STAR, last 1st set DARK STAR ’til ’91 & 1st pairing with EL PASO. kreutzmann rides drums from start, another lead bass extravaganza. post-verse piano ice-falls widen into structures that unfold easily into EL PASO. DARK STAR never properly returns, so maybe this is DARK STAR > EL PASO > JAM or just the deepest EL PASO ever. more ontological stupidity. either way, godchaux & kreutzmann lock into strident pattern & band charges into thrilling episode, trickling cleanly to CASEY JONES. at the end of the 1st set, as weir announces the intermission, garcia plays a famous cartoon/vaudeville tag, neither the merry melodies nor looney tunes theme. anybody know the name? like, wow: 24-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY cracks open during 1st segue into spectacular propulsive jam that passes through CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER but mostly just skitters & dances like a cartoon locomotive.

11/17/71 albuquerque: live on KRST. apparently snowing outside & band lets the fans waiting outside come in & watch the soundcheck. 37-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. lesh & kreutzmann absolutely dive-bomb into THE OTHER ONE at breakneck speed, with many inventive scene changes both before & after ME & MY UNCLE. breakneck intro jam pulls up into quiet space-blues & a quick FEELIN’ GROOVY theme before the 1st verse & ME & MY UNCLE. afterwards, lesh hits a groove that almost veers into SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD but keeps wilding, winding down to nothingness & back. yet another incandescent 19-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, garcia gliding outwards with slide-like tones & full-force stomp into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, which keeps up the charge.

11/20/71 pauley pavilion: live on KMET. band pummels LA (& radio) audience with new songs & only a few older favorites, including another snarling CUMBERLAND BLUES, keith adding some fresh piano colors, blurring from solo to jam. weir watch: “we’re gonna start this set off with a song that went straight to the top of the charts in turlock, california & that’s a fact,” he says pre-TRUCKIN’, sending lesh into giggles (garcia: “mr. showbiz”), 1st appearance of banter that will make it to “europe ’72.” i am sad to report that i am currently unable to find a clipping of the local turlock pop charts to support this factoid, all leads welcome. sounds plausible enough. 40-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > RAMBLE ON ROSE. garcia leads a gallop away from the post-verse OTHER ONE spacing, jam skittering through uptempo ideas before a thin-out filled with big bass tones, then another sly groove & disintegration before 2nd verse. 17-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY takes the mellow country-blues route with a quick pass through CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER in the segue, a nice little GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD coda shake-out before returning.

12/1/71 boston music hall: pigpen’s back, B3 inaudible, maybe not set up? 1st MR. CHARLIE with “i can hear the drums…” verse & final version of lightnin’ hopkins’s AIN’T IT CRAZY, played in jug band era. rowdy boston crowd, but COMES A TIME cuts through on audience tape. an observant harvard crimson reviewer notes strange sounds at intermission. ned lagin confirms that this was an early seastones tape making its public debut, recorded that summer at mickey’s barn, but was backstage & had no knowledge of it being played. monster jamming across rich 30-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE. 1st OTHER ONE disintegrates into jam that coalesces around abstruse “blues for allah”-anticipating bass, peaks, settles to 1st verse, & melts again. after ME & MY UNCLE, band zips into OTHER ONE & lesh breaks it apart again with more aggressive & borderline thematic soloing, falling into space, weir flirting with WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE sketch, clicking back together & soaring up on gorgeous a garcia pattern. 13-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY is more concise than the november versions but lesh still flips into 3D mode as soon as the singing is done.

12/2/71 boston music hall: live on WBCN. sam cutler attempts to broker peace between venue security & the wooks trying to get into the orchestra pit, then gives a full band intro, introducing keith godchaux, welcoming pigpen back, almost forgetting lesh. i wouldn’t be sure if pig was playing if not for cutler’s intro & tuning breaks, surely much louder in the room. B3 there from opening BERTHA, a barely audible start to 2-keyboard micro-era. ghost of B3 on BLACK PETER & bouncing/filling more confidently in TENNESSEE JED. 1st SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING since the capitol theatre shows in february sounds awesome with godchaux’s piano, giving the song another rhythmic voice, & feeling a bit more like the jazzy 1-drummer versions of the ballroom era, especially once garcia gets soloing. 25-minute NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT starts promisingly, B3 sparkling with piano during segue, but pig & LOVELIGHT do not have their mojo working this evening. pause before GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY finale, pig joining in.

12/4/71 felt forum: good ol’ bill graham intro, “the food that feeds us all, the grateful dead.” at least on tape, the real beginning of the 2-keyboard dead, pigpen’s B3 adding nice padding for the 4 soloists. garcia jumps gun on “new york” line on opening TRUCKIN’. pigpen debuts the seasonal RUN RUDOLPH RUN, by chuck berry & marvin brodie, who apparently had to share royalties with RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER author johnny marks because “rudolph” is copyrighted? either way, a greasy holiday classic for pig. still loving SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING with keith’s conversational piano behind the verses. cool guitar/harmonica jam by garcia & pigpen. on the other hand, pig also does some falsetto singing & yowling during finale of ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, doesn’t quite have it down. 38-minute ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > MEXICALI BLUES > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT is so unusual that i had to check & make sure files were in right order. 1st OTHER ONE goes drumless then dances between meltdowns & weirdo lesh/kreutzmann pockets, pigpen hanging, too. after OTHER ONE verse, weir hijacks a mutant groove into MEXICALI BLUES’s polka, its only time coming out of a jam. more space, more OTHER ONE, glittering WHARF RAT, & a great but tech-aborted segue to DEAL. garcia reminds heads to tune into radio tomorrow.

12/5/71 felt forum: live on WNEW. for the radio, a hammed-out band intro by bill graham. “on drums, a vote for male chauvinism, mr. bill kreutzmann. the youngest old-timer i’ve ever met, pigpen on organ… very youthful, ebullient, but a very dirty softball player, mr. robert weir…” another marathon show for the radio. most nights have been roughly 2 hours of music, sometimes pushing up to 3 on broadcast nights, & almost 3.5 at the self-promoted KSFX broadcast in november & tonight in nyc. only known dead version of I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER by cowboy joe babcock, though garcia only sings the chorus & replaces verse with the beginning of ancient folk tune EAST VIRGINIA. weird blip & would’ve fit well if garcia learned more words. wish i knew the story. weir watch: before MR. CHARLIE, “here’s yet another new song that I guess most of you haven’t heard. that’s a cue for you… pirate record recorders out there to get your tape machines spinning ’cause here it comes.” TRUCKIN’ doesn’t quite jam but it does stretch & peak ecstatically, early stirrings of the group crest that will be built in by ’73. 27-minute DARK STAR > ME & MY UNCLE > DARK STAR > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, though garcia never quite gets around to singing DARK STAR. kreutzmann starts DARK STAR on full kit, floating in orbit until garcia accelerates & everybody follows. both halves are episodic & somewhat restless, coalescing into exciting, forceful improv & breaking apart again, floating back to song before garcia pushes segue hard. intro to 18-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY underscores how bad ‘70s audiences were at clapping along. garcia & weir pass through CHINA CAT cloud en route to GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD.

12/6/71 felt forum: bill graham, “beneath all the madness, a bundle of joy, the grateful dead.” piano/organ is just so great, B3 on more songs with each show, especially nice on moody BLACK PETER & ebullient BIG RAILROAD BLUES, but pig still staying away from his big tunes. PSA from garcia: “if you’re standing in front of a spotlight <chuckle> all the spotlight guys are gettin’ crazy cuz they can’t see anything, if you’re standing in front of a spotlight, move away from it… that’s if you care. you don’t have to.” weir watch: after being corrected backstage before the show by taper marty weinberg, weir finally sings the last line of EL PASO properly, “cradled by 2 loving arms that i’d die for.” the song became a throwaway eventually, but kreutzmann drumming like he means it here. 43-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE JAM > ME & BOBBY McGEE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. kreutzmann comes into OTHER ONE drum break at refreshing new angle, but jams have trouble opening zone. 1st is slow move to quiet, 2nd finally finds weird flight. WHARF RAT does find a nice glitter, though. weir watch, cont.: “this one’s about dancin’ in the streets for all you but…” [big cheers] “but it ain’t that…” ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT. lol. sounding beefy with B3.

12/7/71 felt forum: fairly jam-free tuesday that’s largely just a great “europe ’72” preview. during these fall ’71 tours, kreutzmann has started drumming like a young god, as robert hunter once put it, making pretty much every song flare with life. i kinda credit keith. lesh pulls out the ol’ “dog-suckingest man in show biz, pigpen” intro before NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME. pig still not jumping into showstoppers, SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING best fitting his vibe, slow & moody. builds rap around apropos “everybody in town knows i’ve been gone so long.” another joyous TRUCKIN’ outro, pulling off before the open highway. 18-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY starting to condense again, though sweet garciaing during the 1st segue.

12/9/71 st. louis: charming soundcheck babble, more grand funk smack talk by lesh. “this is the only place we like to play around here & if we can’t come back here, we won’t come back to this town & you’ll have to go to kiel auditorium & listen to grand funk railroad.” when they’re done diddling, an excellent intro by weir, “and here they are, straight from madison square gardens in famous new york, the grateful dead…”, & they’re off into TRUCKIN’. though not a lot of jamming, nearly half the music would be new to local listeners & all feels fresh, including TENNESSEE JED, still slowly slowing to album tempo, with nice lesh harmonies. sweet slide by garcia & moody piano by godchaux on IT HURTS ME TOO. a rare window with very little chuck berry in the dead’s setlists, THE PROMISED LAND, AROUND & AROUND, JOHNNY B. GOODE all having disappeared until ’72. but pigpen does honor the hometown legend with his new holiday cover of the berry-popularized RUN RUDOLPH RUN. off-mic before deep BLACK PETER someone asks garcia about a rumored upcoming show with special guests? band goofs. someone says joni mitchell will be there. kreutzmann adds the beatles & the stones. “otis redding is coming back from heaven,” says lesh. economic 15-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, a little trace of CHINA CAT during the final transition, fingerprinting it to the era. #deadfreaksunite

12/10/71 st. louis: live on KADI. another rich night. keith godchaux is like a new member of the rhythm section, not quite a 2nd drummer, but sometimes not far off. definitely some musical bromance going on with kreutzmann. 22-minute 2nd set-opening GOOD LOVIN’. outstanding jam before 1st real pigpen rap since returning, with considerations of the “4-day creep,” advantages of being “built for comfort, not for speed,” “box back nitties” (usually in LOVELIGHT), & cadillacs v. t-model fords. a 2-ballad 2nd set with both BROKEDOWN PALACE & COMES A TIME, perhaps related to garcia’s rare praise for the monitors. can’t believe they’ve so far resisted the urge to keep going with the jam break in PLAYING IN THE BAND. godchaux really pushing them here, though. big 2nd set. along with GOOD LOVIN’ & deep COMES A TIME, a righteously suited 50-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD > THE OTHER ONE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, “for fans of the key of ‘e’,” says weir. after 1st pre-verse OTHER ONE space-out, kreutzmann leads band into quiet swing, keith’s piano at the front, garcia taking over & ceding a few times. space-out in 2nd OTHER ONE lands in alluring free jazzish jam before the song’s triplets take over again all too soon. OTHER ONE tag links to another delicious NOT FADE AWAY sequence, this one stepping on gas just before GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD with sweet allmans-y licks & a bit of CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER. nice contemplative garcia/lesh moment before reprise of NOT FADE AWAY.

12/12/71 st. louis: most of the dead, besides garcia & pigpen, crash richie gerber’s bar mitzvah at the airport hilton.

12/14/71 ann arbor: stunning betty cantor mix, beautiful stereo spread, though pig’s B3 turned down a bit too far after opening TRUCKIN’. i think sometimes they turned him up for that tune? another crystalline night of mostly new music. extra-vivid BIG RAILROAD BLUES solo. 33-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. after post-verse OTHER ONE space-out, kreutzmann & godchaux pull a cool triumphant pocket from under an aggressive lesh bassline. powerful WHARF RAT has mystic jam coda with uncommonly graceful landing. sweet & joyful SUGAR MAGNOLIA harmonies. another wow-level 18-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, lesh flipping into jam mode ASAP, steering everybody into mellow, stretching, & quizzical conversation. report of jerry jamming earlier in the day with (checks notes) conga phil.

12/15/71 ann arbor: sam cutler gives stony road manager intros. garcia: “and on introductions, we have mr. sam cutler.” could be mix, but godchaux throwing in new & even abstract ideas/possibilities during rare-for-tour 11-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. crowd calls for more piano in the mix & keith gets even louder, occasionally to the point of distraction, but there are always so many ideas/variations in his playing that it’s rarely bothersome (except when distorted) & gives new perspectives on a few tunes. after sounding less-than-peak for much of the tour, pigpen now back at almost full strength, 3 songs in 1st set & showstopper in the 2nd, including the last version of RUN RUDOLPH RUN. a little surprised weir has never revived it. pretty classic 26-minute DARK STAR > DEAL, kreutzmann now just swinging in confidently, the song starting more inside than its 1st few years. 1st jam dissolves, reforms, dissolves into drumless dialogue, goes nova, & bubbles into glorious bright peak before 1st verse. after DARK STAR’s lone verse, the jam develops a somewhat similar path of nothingness becoming somethingness & an even more glorious major peak that foretells some of the europe ’72 segues, but mostly dies out before garcia picks up the thread with DEAL. pigpen is lit on packed 19-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT: pig’s last KING BEE (with quotes from muddy waters’ MANNISH BOY & STILL A FOOL), more on the “4-day creep,” tight reprise, & final “whip it on me!” (probably both pig & lou got it from jessie hill.)

12/31/71 winterland: the grateful dead ring in 1972 at winterland in san francisco, broadcast on KSAN, with the new riders of the purple sage & yogi phlegm (formerly sons of champlin). tape cuts in at midnight with DJ announcements, opening with 1st DANCING IN THE STREET since 11/70, last ’til disco revival in ’76, final “original” version. “it’s new year’s eve & i do believe…” weir sings, but he & band seem to half-remember song. KSAN DJ breaks in mid-DANCING with an important update: “just to complete the picture, there was a black 1972 & a white 1972 & they both just took off their diapers & are running around the stage nude, looks very fun.” weir PSA: “i hope to tell you is a fuckin’ mess up here. and if you’ve got bare feet, don’t get near it… i was just informed we were on the radio,” garcia: “and you too, mr. hoover!” weir spins conspiracy theory. “you people have all been duped & it’s really 1956.” bill graham interrupts 1st set with stage announcement: “if there’s a shelly storvis here, your father is driving back to new york, would like to say goodbye to you in the lobby… as for the rest of us, we will just carry on.” 1st CHINATOWN SHUFFLE, pigpen original & a just exactly perfect dead choogle, with a curlicue riff that’s an early draft of the U.S. BLUES lick. with no introduction, donna jean godchaux makes her dead debut, singing wordlessly during the ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT outro. before 2nd set, weir introduces bill graham, “the only person i’ve ever known who asks, in a room of 5 or 6,000 people, ‘where is everybody?’” graham swears on the air (KSAN DJ, shocked: “mr. graham!”) & praises the dead’s fall tour broadcasts before introducing the band. 32-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE. TRUCKIN’ now just a breath from cracking into open jam. 1st OTHER ONE is mostly prelude, both verses & big jam coming in 2nd segment, snapping from void into swingin’ quintet space jazz. garcia leads a segue to BLACK PETER, but they stop to tune, & wander into a swelling prelude jam that leads back to BLACK PETER. probably would be possible to edit a smooth segue. comings/goings: dead debut of johnny cash’s BIG RIVER. garcia takes 2nd verse. it will become a weir staple starting next fall. 1st taped THE SAME THING since ’67 is last with pig, missing modal jam, revived by weir in ‘90s. and, because 1971, one more 16-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, with a big bass-enabled balloon drop of color just before the 1st segue.

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

#deadfreaksunite 1970

#deadfreaksunite 1970
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]

1/2/70 fillmore east: the grateful dead truck into the ‘70s at the fillmore east, an early & late show with lighthouse & cold blood, released as “dave’s picks 30.” band takes stage to ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA over PA & hit nyc dead freaks with brand new MASON’S CHILDREN & BLACK PETER. request for ST. STEPHEN. jerry: “you can get that song on *2* records, man. 2 different records.” (weir: “two different versions!”) early show follows 1st set structure they’d adopt later, short songs & closing with jam, here THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE. during tight OTHER ONE, someone is playing ambient glockenspiel & maybe it’s actually be pigpen, since everyone else seems occupied. garcia pops string, so somebody plays ALLIGATOR on kazoo. weir does solo electric version of MONKEY & THE ENGINEER, soon joined by garcia & drummer. maybe he made a new year’s resolution to lay off bad jokes? more requests. “white rabbit!” jerry shouts, off-mic. full & satisfying 75-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. gorgeous weir-shaped DARK STAR build & suspended bliss via the FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP themes & connective jams including, for the 1st time, an early hint of SUGAR MAGNOLIA. long engaged TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with garcia more present than usual on the backing vocals, & band responding tightly to pig’s various “now waitaminute” commands. multiple accounts say late show ended after sunrise.

1/3/70 fillmore east: mickey’s gongs are an underrated part of ’69-’70 dead, here making their usual glorious universe-shredding backwards-masking-like sounds throughout the MORNING DEW early show opener. “go ahead start it,” jerry says before COLD RAIN & SNOW & an off-mic voice grunts a ramones-like parody of a rock count-off. is it uncle bill, reprising his role as dosed cowbellist? early show ends with 24-minute ALLIGATOR with featuring interlude, CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER tease, blissed-out jerry jams, & feedback landing. very rare night where they play the same song twice — UNCLE JOHN’S BAND as early show encore & mid-set in the late. last straight pairing of ALLIGATOR/CAUTION.
oblique intro to MASON’S CHILDREN:
phil: this here song we wrote for a movie that was going to be shot in a parking lot, no it was a drive-in restaurant, no a drive-in movie in downtown albuquerque with parked cars for an audience.
jer: we decided not to do it, finally.
i can only assume this is some kind of deeply nested reference to altamont. big happy garcia guitar flows during DANCING IN THE STREET set closer. during the encore, ST. STEPHEN jarringly/dramatically shifts to MIDNIGHT HOUR, getting played sometime just after dawn according to reports.

1/10/70 san diego: with aum & (according to reports) sons of champlin replacing savoy brown. good fun, nothin’ heavy. 90-minute set with charming banter about clearing the fuckin’ aisles, a totally fierce compact 5-minute HARD TO HANDLE, & mostly fierce not-compact TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT that pulls back when crowd gets too raucous.

1/16/70 portland, OR: all ages hippie ballroom on a friday night in portlandia. 2 sets of high times, winter sunshine, & ultra-compact jams. local band river opened. during 1st set-closing GOOD LOVIN’, lesh keeps jamming over DRUMZ break & garcia jumps right back in, unfolding into a cool pocket & slashing start/stop jam with the drummers. before 2nd set, someone (jon mcintire?) plugs semi-recent “live/dead” release (“it’s like them playing here”) & announces that “we’re gonna be back here on sunday night & nobody knows that because nobody said anything about it ’til just this moment.” audience member shouts for ALLIGATOR & a half-beat later band kicks into fun 25-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE ELEVEN JAM > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. garcia downshifts just as ELEVEN vocals would start, DEATH DON’T vocals sounding cooled-out & laid-back. way tight EASY WIND. 23-minute show-closing THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE features unusual DRUMZ break that begins with gong & goes mellow/ambient before a long build to THE OTHER ONE drop. gnarly garcia high-dives & digressions.

1/17/70 corvallis: a full-service set distributed nicely between the new cosmic americana, some (but not too much) pigpen R&B, & plenty of psychedelia. another hot GOOD LOVIN’ with short drum break & a start/stop-style jam before reprise. 51-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, cut at end. ace DARK STAR with big pre-verse theme, ambient glockenspiel as deep space resolves into the sputnik jam, elegant improv with only a hint of FEELIN’ GROOVY, cool bass diversion before end. deep jam early in LOVELIGHT. “mother mcgee’s clam chowder!” pig declares for no reason i can discern. (not “mccree’s,” i double-checked.) jam starts to go deeper, almost CUMBERLAND BLUES-like, just before it cuts around 13 minutes. for once i’m bummed.

1/18/70 portland, OR: last minute sunday gig at springer’s, the hippie ballroom, apparently fairly empty. weir: “you’re probably wondering why we asked so few of you here tonight.” (off-mic, maybe kreutzmann? “it’s a hippie death cult.”) questing mini-jam in 5-minute MASON’S CHILDREN gets lost in transition back to chorus. just-slightly-longer-than-usual & especially electrified versions of DANCING IN THE STREET & GOOD LOVIN’, both hyper-detailed & melodic. short but exceptional & ecstatic CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. crackling moments throughout 18-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer. sweet throwback cue from pig: “okay, mother mccree’s, now waitaminute…”

1/23/70 honolulu: jerry gets lei’d! the grateful dead’s hawaiian debut, with 2 local bands & batshit folksinging oleomargarine heir michael j. brody. owsley tape released as “dave’s picks 19.” 2-hour set, amping up as 2nd reel begins & garcia responds to an unheard heckler. “this is 1970 jack, not ’56! get with it!” pig sings the chorus of SEARCHIN’ over the DIRE WOLF intro. band gradually shifts into deep jam mode. 84-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. TC’s last DARK STAR is gorgeous, ambient glockenspiel appearing deeper in jam & sounding even brighter. not quite magic, though, garcia almost audibly stepping on gas before last peak. eeeeeeeeeeeek this 38-minute LOVELIGHT is tedious. an unidentified person (“george”?) joins pig on vocals & doesn’t do much. long slide solo that sounds like garcia maybe passed his guitar to somebody else? tag me if you figure it out!

1/24/70 honolulu: with pilfredge sump, september morn, & the sun & the moon, with light show by noah’s arc. only the beginning & end of show survive, via “dave’s picks 19.” nice owsley tape with charged CUMBERLAND BLUES opener, but missing bulk of show, including jam segment (guessing ALLIGATOR/CAUTION), presumably bonkers ‘cuz they earned an encore (a quick DANCING IN THE STREET), not a given in those days.

1/30/70 new orleans: with fleetwood mac & the flock, plus an ungroovy surprise at the hotel afterwards. TC’s last show as a member of the dead is unremarkable, though.  before the gig, band & organist tom constanten agree to part ways. he plays 1 last night, a barely audible ghost on the tape. unless there’s a reel missing, only real jammin’ is 27-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, cut as it segues to COSMIC CHARLIE. and after the show 50 years ago today, the grateful dead are busted down on bourbon street, at @royalsonestanoh, when cops unlock the door to bob weir & jon mcintire’s room as the party is going. @alisonfensterstock did a great dive recently, scoring the complete bust report. jerry garcia is out with locals & misses the bust. when he gets back to his room, he sees plainclothes cops going through his bag & tries to stroll nonchalantly down the hall (which is sort of an amazingly hilarious image) & gets nabbed in the lobby. TC & pigpen are out looking at antique swords & their room is clean anyway, so TC is spared the indignity of getting arrested on the same day that he leaves the band. mickey hart apparently has some form of ID that identifies him as “summer wind, spiritual advisor.” his air force peacoat has his name sewn in the collar, however, so he sheds it & is booked as summer wind. back at the station, according to dennis mcnally’s “long strange trip,” somehow, bob weir manages to handcuff a cop to a chair. late warner bros. president joe smith pays off new orleans district attorney jim “back-and-to-the-left” garrison with a $50,000 donation to garrison’s reelection campaign & the promise that the dead won’t return to new orleans anytime soon. (they don’t ’til 1980.) the biggest bummer is that owsley stanley is arrested, too, violating parole in his LSD manufacturing case. that summer, he will finally go to jail & his road tapes cease. d’oh. i hope somebody rents room 2186 at the royal sonesta in new orleans tonight & hot boxes the fuck out of it.

1/31/70 new orleans: fresh from a night in jail, playing with fleetwood mac & the flock. a fantastic & charged show, staying charged during another long unplanned acoustic set. 1st show since 11/68 without TC on organ. mostly hard to remember what his were, but the band does sound one layer thinner without his not-always-audible B3. “i’m gonna sing an all-too-appropriate song” weir says, introducing the post-bust MAMA TRIED.
weir: this [is] a blatant attempt on the part of the establishment…
garcia: tell it like it ’tis, weir!
weir: …to keep rock groups from coming here & save this fair city for the straight people, well, i think that…
garcia: the revolution’s over. everybody go home.
i didn’t realize until yesterday that the band’s gigs were the opening shows of the warehouse, new orleans’s new hippie venue. weir’s conspiracy makes a little sense. after that, band seems to up the ante. garcia delivers bonkers mid-set playing-for-his-life MORNING DEW. urgency carries into MASON’S CHILDREN with quick, tight jam & even a smooth landing. so much urgency that the bass amp blows out during HARD TO HANDLE. undaunted by amp failure, a 48-minute “acoustic” set. garcia accompanies weir on electric, a great sound, & takes a sad, sweet verse of LONG BLACK LIMOUSINE. last version of george jones’s OLD, OLD HOUSE for either the dead or new riders. think pig is quietly playing organ? garcia is MC during acoustic mini-revue & inadvertently describes the grateful dead’s tuning process: “we’re gonna take a break within the break, then we’re gonna take a break in the break.” after 3 acoustic sets in a month, they finally call out pig. “i ain’t never done this before,” he says before intimate solo debut of lightnin’ hopkins’s KATIE MAE. bass amp isn’t fixed, but lesh returns to sing on 1st acoustic version of CUMBERLAND BLUES.

2/1/70 new orleans: a sunday afternoon post-bust benefit for themselves, including a super-jam with peter green & fleetwood mac. goofy tape-opening chatter. sounds like they found a stash. MC: “and now here’s the group that made this afternoon all possible…” (phil: “the new orleans police department!”) before topical BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. blown-out mix has garcia & weir’s guitars at warts-&-all levels. 1st CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER where weir hints at joyous FEELIN’ GROOVY changes during transition jam, only briefly here. delightful over-the-top mini-jams in GOOD LOVIN’ & CUMBERLAND BLUES.
weir (slightly sarcastically): the police are outside towing away illegal parked cars.
mickey: hey, that’s one of our station wagons, it’s parked in the driveway…
weir: anybody got a ride home?
39-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with fleetwood mac’s peter green, unidentified macs, & others, including mystery organist. of all the blues-rawkin’ guitarists to join for LOVELIGHT so far, green seems to have the most to contribute. much fun.

2/2/70 st. louis: a one-nighter with chicago band aorta, band’s debut at their fast-favorite fox theatre. arriving late, but lots of fun. released as “dave’s picks 6.” with TC gone, pigpen is slowly making his way back to organ, faintly audible in a few unexpected places, during a break in MASON’S CHILDREN & deep in the DARK STAR jam. clearly not playing all the time, though, like whenever this picture was taken.
quiet & almost unbearably sweet off-mic moment before HARD TO HANDLE.
garcia: i want you to sing it *good*, pig.
pig: you do, do ya? [in mock southern voice] i’ll try, jer.
(he sings it good, everybody else is a little loose.)
33-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > MASON’S CHILDREN. pig makes high B3 drones in the post-verse DARK STAR dusk & seems to stick around, poking out occasionally during subtle FEELIN’ GROOVY themes. thoughtful spaces en route home. delicious bass. segue into MASON’S comes by way of a lumpy & awkward drum break & quick almost-smooth guitar action. 2nd consecutive DARK STAR/ST. STEPHEN without THE ELEVEN & the end is a-callin’. another short & hot MASON’S CHILDREN, with compact 90-second jam that goes far quickly. UNCLE JOHN’S BAND returns, absent this tour. goofy action-packed 19-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > NOT FADE AWAY > LOVELIGHT. crowd-work, off-mic in-jokes about “loose women,” & charming pig-isms, addressing “the mens & the womens.” crowd loves it.

2/4/70 family dog on the great highway: an invite-only multi-band public TV special produced by jefferson airplane, with santana big jam. earliest great footage of the dead in their natural habitat. 2 short mini-sets for the cameras, only 1st circulates as video, anchored by crisp CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, the 2nd by a 20-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > ST. STEPHEN > IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR. the 1st of many versions of ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > ST. STEPHEN. 9 minutes of a power jam with garcia, jack casady, jorma kaukonen, carlos santana (& most of band), shirtless paul kantner (despite the fact that’s the february), & maybe others. wish there were more shots of the crowd & light show. dig the dude dancing with incense in the front row. great analog artifacts throughout audio of the power jam segment. santana (i think) is shredding fiercely & a note-bend transitions perfectly into a moment of tape warp. later a quick tape cut into hilariously hippie conga solo.2/5

2/5/70 fillmore west: opening of a 4-night run at the fillmore west with taj mahal & bigfoot. garcia plays pedal steel with the dead for 1st time since summer, accompanying weir on george jones’s SEASONS OF MY HEART & THE RACE IS ON, & possibly others missing from tape. 8-minute MASON’S CHILDREN expands again, with 2 deep mini-jams. missing start, 34 minutes of THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > NOT FADE AWAY > CUMBERLAND BLUES looks nuts on paper, but feels way loose & seems to run out of gas a few times. 1st taped segue into CUMBERLAND is excellent new move. pig’s B3 very occasionally audible.

2/6/70 fillmore west: pigpen playing B3 on songs he played before TC joined the band, including ME & MY UNCLE as well as DANCING IN THE STREET, which has a harsh cut in the middle but splices into a bonkers fierce jam with band locked together & garcia at full peak. pigpen totally adds to THE OTHER ONE jam, too, hanging in all the way with little conversational figures. 24-minute set-closing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT achieves easygoing choogle, with good back & forth between pigpen & band, who sometimes talk back.

2/7/70 fillmore west: another pedal steel mini-set opens the show with GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME, SAWMILL, & SEASONS OF MY HEART, really enjoying lesh’s high harmony on GREEN GREEN GRASS, the last surviving version by the dead.
weir: i like to hear them monitors just rip-roarin’ loud, it makes me feel like a rooster crowin’.
pigpen: you look like a banny hen.
weir (as garcia starts BIG BOSS MAN): you look like a hummingbird.
nice glimmer of an outro jam during UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. blip of onstage tension after BLACK PETER. did someone turn weir’s volume down? GOOD LOVIN’ starting to heat up as tape cuts off, presumably missing the show’s jammier parts.

2/8/70 fillmore west: bill graham presents garcia with a framed picture of michael j. brody, the human meme who’d opened for the dead in hawaii a few weeks earlier. “direct from a command performance in new orleans, the grateful dead…” lots of repeats over the 4 nights, but digging deeper into the rarely played, including SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD & pigpen’s 15-minute SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING opener. weir: “we’re waiting for the bear to turn on his lovelight.” (squeal of feedback) “he just did.” on part of the audience tape, between songs, either members of the crowd are doing very good bird calls back & forth, some hippies actually brought various birds to the show, or some combination thereof. i would fully believe any one of those explanations. quiet taper talk: “it’s that time… DARK STAR, i guess.” first, pigpen does a semi-rare HURTS ME TOO, but then a pretty deliciously sprawling 75-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > ST. STEPHEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 26-minute DARK STAR takes time unfolding with melodious pre-verse conversations, vivid ambient noise, lush bass, & luxurious FEELIN’ GROOVY jam. unusually, ST. STEPHEN segues into NOT FADE AWAY after the “ladyfinger” bridge, with fuzzed choogle & equally cool reentry. way fun 35-minute LOVELIGHT. pigpen plays matchmaker & declares “women got power, too!” (is this pig lib?!), sez he’s taken. “i got caught a long time ago” (aw). deep jams with mickey on glockenspiel. band edges on UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, pig improvising melody.

2/11/70 fillmore east: opening legendary 3-show run with love & the allman bros.. fragment of the early show catches half of THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE & new soon-to-be-recorded DIRE WOLF & CASEY JONES. late show intro by keeva krystal, old catskills waiter buddy of bill graham. 61-minute DARK STAR JAM > SPANISH JAM > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. peter green and/or danny kirwan join about 4 minutes into DARK STAR, then duane allman. butch trucks on drums? never hit verse. band gives guitarists space, but they’re buried behind garcia/lesh/weir in mix. weir steers band into 1st proper SPANISH JAM since early ’68 & it’s a perfect, liquidy choice for communal garcia/allman/green/kirwan noodling, though weir & lesh dominate mix. brother gregg takes over organ for tasty jazzish licks. garcia reasserts himself to great effect. berry oakley takes over from lesh & jam shifts into the biggest, messiest LOVELIGHT of ‘em all, pigpen & garcia occasionally making order. complete chaos but never boring or even bad. solid unintelligible grunts from gregg when he takes a verse & only remembers 1st line. pig once again extols the virtues of his special ladyfriend: “i never get lonesome, cuz i got myself an old lady that won’t quit. she’s about 9-foot tall, 6-foot wide, & she wiggles like pigs fighting in a sack. that keep me pretty happy.” the audience tape of the 2/11/70 super jam is totally worth it. the balance for duane allman & peter green (who clearly weren’t running through the soundboard) is way better. a bit surprised nobody’s made a soundboard/audience mix of this yet. fun encore. lesh: “if you throw dope up here, throw it where we can see where it goes.” someone in crowd shouts “gawcia” in nyc accent & weir & others mimic. 1st acoustic UNCLE JOHN’S BAND sung by garcia/lesh/weir, with light percussion. beautiful.

2/13/70 fillmore east: hour-long early show only surfaced in ‘90s, with big HARD TO HANDLE & ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY. responding to a request (i think), garcia shrugs, “this is the first, or chickenshit, show. that means, well, y’know…” before CASEY JONES set closer. great goofiness to intro the late show: a candlelit procession rolls a big crate/coffin down the aisle (jerry does porky pig) & someone pops out in costume to introduce the band (same gag as next night with zacherle). effect isn’t terribly dramatic on tape. late set is one of the most epic ever: nearly 3 hours, ending after dawn, much of it on “bear’s choice” (in ’73) & “dick’s picks 4” (in ’98). half-hour of acoustic tunes, a debut, & legendary 90-minute DARK STAR > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 2nd straight show with heavy SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING before it disappears from tapes ’til fall, this one on “bear’s choice,” along with acoustic tunes BLACK PETER, KATIE MAE (2nd ever), & debut (maybe) of everly bros.’ WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE, sung winningly by garcia & weir. nyc crowd claps along for 1st 3+ minutes of DARK STAR, muted by deep soundboard & arcing garcia lines. exquisite half-hour all-timer, transformed from “live/dead.” patient, rippling conversations, chiming swells, self-renewing bliss, & slow FEELIN’ GROOVY jam. tedious DRUMZ segment in OTHER ONE almost diverts to NOT FADE AWAY. lots more clapping along. LOVELIGHT is extra-powerful, where clapping along finally makes sense. band veers into ace psychedelic R&B weird-out (& back) while pig keeps raving.

2/14/70 fillmore east: after warm-up COLD RAIN & SNOW, hilarious crosstalk as owsley sets up monitors. weir: “put a spotlight on the P.A. man… he’s responsible for our loss of high-frequency hearing.” “nothing’s weirder than coming to new york,” sez garcia before 63-minute classic combo, DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, last time as a sequence. sublime DARK STAR, strange flutters, light drums even at peaks, bright bass counterpoint. m0ar goofiness before late show, doofy back & forth as WNEW late night DJ (& TV personality) zacherle arrives (maybe the crate didn’t work tonight, actually?), slyly identifies himself as fellow DJ jonathan schwartz, devotee of the great american songbook. (crowd gets it.) and then zacherle provides one of my favorite all-time band introductions: “this is glorious sunday morning… the grateful goddamn dead!” & they kick into CASEY JONES, sounding shockingly pro. the late show is 2-and-a-half hours: few shorter selections, a solid pigpen jam, a 30-minute acoustic set, & a 62-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > ME & MY UNCLE > NOT FADE AWAY > MASON’S CHILDREN > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT mega-jam, with high-energy brilliant segues. lots of classic banter. weir explains titling of THE OTHER ONE on “anthem of the sun” & sings a few lines of “the faster we go the rounder we get / in the 4th dimension.” jerry, apologizing for long tuning break: “too much! good people, great freaks.” laughing. “our fans.” garcia, after a few shrieks from the crowd during tuning: “i think the drugs have finally gotten to you people.” sweet, easygoing half-hour of garcia/weir acoustic, with good banter about capos & debut of DARK HOLLOW. (garcia: “you know all the words to that?”) it makes it to “bear’s choice.” another WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE / BLACK PETER combo. not really a segue, but feels deliberate. DANCING IN THE STREET sets its controls for the heart of shining, floating bliss. my own canonical CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER > HIGH TIME, partly by virtue of “dick’s picks 4,” but garcia really gets inside the HIGH TIME vocal & nails it. heads’ve been shouting for ALLIGATOR all weekend (& band keeps teasing them) & it finally starts one of the great versions of that suite. another drab DRUMZ, but all the segues & jams are big & boss, & blasting in/out of MASON’S CHILDREN is just the best.

2/23/70 austin: in austin for the 1st time, the last (& only documented) night of a 4-show texas run. incomplete tape, missing beginning/end, opening for country joe & the fish, the 1st recording of the (2nd) post-owsley era. 6-song acoustic set, including rare solo weir version of ME & MY UNCLE, a BLACK PETER joined by pigpen on nice sparse hammond part, & last taped version of george jones’s SEASONS OF MY HEART (more organ there, too). garcia: “how’s about the microphones? hey PA guys, get on the ball, man! good grief, we’re gonna call the union if you don’t hurry up. what union? the rock & roll union, that’s what! the galactic rock & roll union.” 17-minute NOT FADE AWAY > MASON’S CHILDREN. early weir attempt at a screamo NOT FADE AWAY ending kinda wimpy. a hint of GOOD LOVIN’ but a swift segue into a not-totally-committed-sounding MASON’S.

2/27/70 family dog on the great highway: opening a 3-night stand at the family dog in san francisco, with commander cody & his lost planet airmen plus the heavy water light show. as tight & epic as the dead were at the fillmore east, they were loosest back home at the family dog. can really hear band/audience connection during tuning breaks, with much audible musician chatter & stoned exchanges with crowd. weir watch: as tape opens, “the moon’s out of scorpio, so everybody can relax” [big cheers] “i don’t want to [inaudible] anybody’s prejudices, but the moon in scorpio makes me forgetful.” with pigpen once again on bouncing B3, 15-minute DANCING IN THE STREET gets expansive. aggro-melodic lead bass & passing colors by weir lock in behind garcia. GOOD LOVIN’ hits slightly-less-graceful version of this mode, too, with a boss drum drop-out. several times, off-mic, band members mention requests for certain songs & honor one for CASEY JONES, introduced by phil as “casey dope.” also clear that owsley is off sound duty, replaced by longtime engineer (& recently ex-new riders bassist) bob matthews. never gonna hear CUMBERLAND BLUES the same way again after @moonshaugn’s presentation in albuquerque last week. here, lots of excellent lead bass to bridge the transition between garcia’s weirdness & the bluegrass outro. 35-minute NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT (with a bit of muddy waters’s TWO TRAINS RUNNING) closes tape, highlighted by fantastic improvised wordless harmony by weir & lesh. not highlighted by brutal outro shrieking.

2/28/70 family dog on the great highway: a fun but kinda sleepy 2-hour set bookended by TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, opening with a modest 16-minute LOVELIGHT > ME & MY UNCLE. a pretty fun garcia-led segue out of a drum break. “we’re gonna take everybody back about 60 billion notches, man, & play some acoustic guitars here for a little spell,” garcia announces. spirited MONKEY & THE ENGINEER. last taped dead version of the traditional LITTLE SADIE, returning to garcia’s solo sets, ’82-’88. neither garcia nor weir can keep their guitars in tune, which they discuss off-mic & garcia announces, “okay it’s back to the electric world, everybody can get back up again.” good ol’ CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER > HIGH TIME glides upwards & back down. show ends with 38 minutes worth of 2 sequences, not-quite-joined: ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE, followed by MASON’S CHILDREN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. late OTHER ONE jam runs deep, but doesn’t stray far. the last taped MASON’S CHILDREN is a new slowed-down arrangement with bass intro, same as the studio outtake on “so many roads.” here, the bass intro is cool but the energy & harmonies & phrasing all seem to fall apart at this speed. too bad on all fronts. fare thee well! with a hint of CAUTION acting as a bridge, pig drops right back into his LOVELIGHT rap. like the first part, it feels a little muted, but finds its own sly groove, pig singing about feeling “some kinda way.”

3/1/70 family dog on the great highway: audience tape begins with short soundcheck-y blues noodle that’s (very) loosely related to NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. another loose 2-hour set, including rare & always welcome warlocks-era staples BIG BOY PETE & IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE. pretty sure this was the 1st multi-night run since early ’68 that didn’t feature some iteration of the DARK STAR suite. it did, however, include an appearance by garcia’s “playboy after dark”/“workingman’s dead” drug rug. great 25-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE. enticing drumless explorations during OTHER ONE proper & CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro that disassembles slightly before crystal peaks. pig’s B3 sounds more natural on these songs/jams than TC did. half-breath segue to BLACK PETER. led by lesh/kreutzmann, 12-minute GOOD LOVIN’ bops out of drum break in slightly different groove than usual, yielding eye-poppingly intricate jam. electric drumless UNCLE JOHN’S BAND is slowed down & joyous groove sort of disappears. glad it didn’t stick!

3/7/70 santa monica civic auditorium: pigpen’s soulful B3 on BLACK PETER is right on, though drummers can’t stay away. rainbow garcia leads cut through murk on CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER > HIGH TIME. ST. STEPHEN (or more) perhaps missing before 46-minute NOT FADE AWAY > DRUMZ > GOOD LOVIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 1st real oldies/boogie-oriented segue sequence. maybe this was the night the band discovered the grand unified choogle? transition from medley-sized GOOD LOVIN’ into THE OTHER ONE is a thrilling moment of rhythmic dissonance before everyone locks together & weirds for 6 minutes mid-boogie. cool clapping patterns by crowd near the taper during LOVELIGHT, devolving quickly.

3/8/70 phoenix: on a rotating stage. future dead keyboardist vince welnick in the audience. show starts off decently enough, getting up to speed with CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER > HIGH TIME, but the rotating stage is clearly getting to the band early.

pigpen: you folks seem to be going around…
weir: this is a miserable situation & i hope to declaim it on account of you can’t really get to know YOU out there. because you look down, you look up, you look back, you look up again…

as they set up for an acoustic set, garcia & weir deflate song requests with fantastic (& impossible to summarize) absurdist, high status banter, finishing each other’s sentences with riff about how breathing should be made illegal. “you do one,” weir says. as garcia starts to play LITTLE SADIE, weir says, “i figured as much” & garcia abruptly shifts to BEEN ALL AROUND THIS WORLD. another unusual acoustic ME & MY UNCLE with distant garcia leads. pigpen in the process of closing acoustic set with supremely quiet KATIE MAE when a rando grabs mic & adds harmony. not bad for 30 seconds, but then pig says “go on” & from that point the show is fucked. the rando, followed by multiple randos, completely take over. the only remarkable part is that, over 10 minutes, it segues seamlessly from solo acoustic pigpen to full band/audience mayhem involving (i think) a few vocalists, harmonica players, percussionists, etc. it’s kind of amazing, really, but painful listening. according to @internetarchive comments, one of the rando singers is paul michael cantrell, also known as rathead. by the time garcia & the band to assert themselves, for a 23-minute NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, it’s a lost cause. some guy starts doing his own version of NOT FADE AWAY in between garcia & weir’s verses. per unpublished pictures, a rando is drumming with billy. a “short” 14-minute LOVELIGHT, started at hyperspeed, audibly drives the frenzy, but i’m sure they’re ready to clear out. lesh gettin’ testy as he tries to clear a path to microphone. one of the all-time wook meltdowns in dead history.

3/17/70 buffalo: one of the most infamous unrecorded shows in dead history, jamming with legendary composer/conductor lukas foss, the buffalo philharmonic orchestra, & a laser light show. the dead play one set by themselves, apparently rising with of the hydraulic orchestra pit while playing DARK STAR, joined by BPO percussionist lynn harbold & eventually others, before segueing into ST. STEPHEN & eventually TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. the main event features the BPO divided into 2 parts, lukas foss conducting the dead & one half, jan williams conducting the other half & local opening act the road. audience members apparently joined in, too. a great reconstruction of the whole night by LIA & commenters.

3/20/70 port chester: the capitol theatre debut. a 2-hour late show, beginning with (i think) 1st taped appearance by new road manager sam cutler, formerly with the rolling stones, having arrived in the dead’s employ after altamont, escaping the hells angels in mickey hart’s barn. band clearly digging the low key vibe, getting some the east coast dead freakdom without the pressure of being in manhattan. “this isn’t new york city, shit,” garcia says in response to a request. “it’s cool. we’re not going anywhere.” 6-song acoustic set, with 1st FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, by robert hunter & john dawson plus bridge by garcia. already a satanic joy, with some alternate lyrics. unplugged debuts of DEEP ELEM BLUES & DON’T EASE ME IN, both played electric in ’65-’66. 16-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > DRUMZ > GOOD LOVIN’ is a new level of choogle-medley that will propel the dead through the ‘70s (& beyond). some big peaks during NOT FADE AWAY. 1st taped VIOLA LEE BLUES since 4/69 is exuberant modal fun & a very welcome return. vocals are a little rough, but jam gets properly freaky/noisy, a natural with pigpen back on organ. weir takes more active role, too, trading licks with garcia.

3/21/70 port chester: early show opens with 1st recorded version of rufus thomas’s WALKIN’ THE DOG since ’66, playful vocals alternating between weir, pigpen, & garcia. after some chaos in the crowd, last taped DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY ’til ’89, many worlds hence. both DIRE WOLF (in early show) & UNCLE JOHN’S BAND (in late) are the earliest taped versions featuring their tasty intro guitar licks, presumably added during the “workingman’s dead” sessions during the previous weeks. last known version of HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE by mark spoelstra (its real name is JUST A HAND TO HOLD) & a beautiful send-off at that, with long articulate garcia solo that finds space close to what he’d do with ballads later in the decade. early show ends with 19-minute wtf of VIOLA LEE BLUES > THE SEVEN > CUMBERLAND BLUES. molten VIOLA LEE gets quiet & lyrical before immolations, resolving to 2nd & final taped version of THE SEVEN, a perfectly weird bridge to the cartoon bakersfield of CUMBERLAND. nearly 2-hour late show with a 30-minute acoustic set between slices of good ol’ dead boogie. in the 1st segment, a solid & fuzzy 15-minute DANCING IN THE STREET glides quickly into weightlessness & stays aloft ’til end. rowdy chompin’ east coast crowd. “take it easy out there, you unruly freaks,” garcia half-admonishes. dancers are shouted down, overpowering start of FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. “shut the fuck up,” weir says. light, semi-inaudible drums/percussion for acoustic tunes. “aoxomoxoa” faves set-up mega-choogle finale, COSMIC CHARLIE before 20-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY, virtually segueing back into ST. STEPHEN (& CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER). 20-minute MIDNIGHT HOUR > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT uses LOVELIGHT more like a coda.

3/23/70 dania: at a pirate-themed amusement park in florida, outside fort lauderdale, usually misdated as the day after. new society band opened. 11-minute GOOD LOVIN’ with zappin’ jam corners. pulse almost falls apart as they attempt reentry, so they go further out & come back. 1st electric DON’T EASE ME IN since ’66 owes more to the recent acoustic versions, with happily bopping intro solo. 50-minute DARK STAR > THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > ME & MY UNCLE is sensational. DARK STAR has 2 bummer tape cuts (including 1st verse) but filled with big melodic themes, including after the big peak that usually cues 2nd verse. compact LOVELIGHT has extra-driven drumming, hart’s marching band snare front & center, seeming to power the final segue. “our time’s up, see ya later” sez jerry to what sounds like a frothing crowd. onstage, someone lights firecrackers. in florida, robert hunter also presented the dead with the lyrics to “truckin’” & the band set them to music sitting around the hotel pool.

4/3/70 cincinnati: with ken kesey & the merry pranksters, wavy gravy & the hog farm, devil’s kitchen, & bubblegum pop band the lemon pipers. 2-hour set feat. 7-song acoustic interval with 1st version of CANDYMAN. tastefully quiet drums, heavy strums, unchill buzzing monitors. a bit uptempo, with cutely vocalized solo by garcia between verses. sweet entwined acoustics on FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. electric highlights include groovy DANCING IN THE STREET (with high-speed licks from the DARK STAR jam, i think?) & sparkling CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro jam, landing in COSMIC CHARLIE. neither pranksters nor hog farm are evident, though this balloon is definitely a sign of the hog farm. apparently, kesey & babbs showed prankster movies a few days before & the hog farm were en route back from the disastrous winters end fest in florida & did lights. garcia talked for years about how the hog farm used the energy from the show (& local underground radio) to organize local heads the next day to clean up a vacant lot & turn it into a cincinnati’s people’s park. likely owing to the hog farm or pranksters, this was a very early show to circulate. a member of stephen gaskin’s farm commune told me they had this tape before settling in tennessee the next year, but gaskin “nationalized” the reel & recorded over it.

4/9/70 fillmore west: opening of a 4-night run at the fillmore west with miles davis, barely 2 weeks after the release of “bitches brew.” with miles perhaps in the house, the dead open with ME & MY UNCLE, which does swing & shred in weird deady ways. great moment in dead history:
garcia: ready? 1-2-
voice (phil?): what are we doing?
…band manages to land in CASEY JONES together.
debut of pigpen-sung cover of james brown & betty jean newsome’s IT’S A MAN’S MAN’S MAN’S WORLD. weird mix, but band sounds crisp. weir takes leads under verse, band does restrained dance around big groove. there’s sort of a bass solo. backing vocals are doofy & cute. half-hour acoustic set. nice subliminal B3 throughout. 2nd CANDYMAN starting to catch a glow, with a stunner lead vocal, now featuring a solo followed by a wordless group chorus, both sounding a little tentative. somebody shouts an unintelligible request & weir responds (mostly off-mic) “hey miles, play sketches!” fierce post-DRUMZ jam in GOOD LOVIN’ starts as abstruse bass-heavy start/stopping (& semi-soloing) & turns into slashing conversational peaks with garcia & weir. THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE likewise glistens out from the murky audience tape. very random C&W song, maybe with a fiddle or jaw harp, & definitely with a still-unidentified rando singing back-to-the-earth type lyrics about “slowing everything down out in the country.” parts sound vaguely like an early draft of the soon-to-be-written SUGAR MAGNOLIA. during 31-minute NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer, sounds like pig pulls a person onto the stage, possibly even his gf vee? “mama told me there’d be days like this,” someone says into the mic as it ends.

4/10/70 fillmore west: perhaps the shocker is that, since last night’s gig, garcia has shaved his beard. i have a friend who thinks it was in reaction to seeing miles & co. via michael parrish’s report, the setlist seems normal for the period, with another version of MAN’S WORLD, an acoustic interlude, a presumably ecstatic DANCING IN THE STREET, & legendary ALLIGATOR > CAUTION. this show was definitely taped by owsley & went MIA at some point. perhaps it’s out there still.

4/11/70 fillmore west: cuts in at end of hot NOT FADE AWAY & upshifts to exceptional 29-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, catching a wave around 9 minutes & big fun the rest of the way. behind pigpen, band locks into far-out shapes, cartoon themes, even hints of FOXEY LADY. pig’s extra loose in matchmaker mode. “this man down here in the glasses, i want you to turn around & talk to that girl… come on, i know you been looking at her, i been watching you!”, calls the audience chicken, even plays some B3 during jam. not sure this’ll convert any LOVELIGHT haters out there, but this version really grabbed me. i find it boring sometimes, but not this one. can only imagine what’s on the show’s lost reels. le sigh.

4/12/70 fillmore west: good ol’ bill graham intro, “if the dead end kids were alive today, they’d be called the grateful dead.” a super-tight sunday. a curio on the audience tape: during 17-minute GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL opener, a woman very close to the taper’s mic sings/talks/trips along starting ~7:30, like a voice from another station. wish her words were slightly more audible. last recorded CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER > HIGH TIME, the full & proper version of the sequence. real heads know! (though here HIGH TIME is missing except 1st chords.) CHINA/RIDER transition even gets mildly abstract. no acoustic mini-set, but stellar electric versions of 5 of the staple acoustic tunes, including 1st plugged-in DEEP ELEM BLUES since ’66, finding its funk atop busy-but-easy swing. drummers starting drive the drama of UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. 1st electric CANDYMAN. dense & ecstatic garcia/lesh lightning distributed across primal GOOD LOVIN’, bananas DANCING IN THE STREET with bass-led FEELIN’ GROOVY jam (on the phil-curated “fallout from the phil zone”), snaking conversational MAN’S WORLD, & VIOLA LEE BLUES blowout.

4/15/70 winterland: with jefferson airplane & quicksilver messenger service. a classic 3 bands for $3 on a random wednesday. featuring an amazing jam with mystery guests, also released on the “30 trips” box. nearly 2 solid hours of mid-week sunshine boogie. love how garcia & weir fill different rhythmic spaces on MAN’S WORLD, like the warlocks perfected. garcia hasn’t quite latched into CANDYMAN solo, but the wordless group chorus is gaining confidence. seriously LOL 4 minutes of tech issues, narrated by weir, peaking with attempt to play MAMA TRIED that fizzes into soundless void after 3 seconds, followed by jerry’s distant voice: “well, so much for that.” to crowd: “everything went weird all at once.” it sure did. half-hour THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DIRE WOLF. after 1st DRUMZ segment, a 6-minute high-speed freak-out with unidentified organist, percussionist(s), guitarist (maybe gary duncan?). i think jack casady takes over for lesh. one of the great super jams. but, really, lots of potential super-jammers in the house. could even be nicky hopkins on organ, though unlikely. after the super jammin’, another quick DRUMZ segment & the dead blast back into THE OTHER ONE. instead of spiraling to peaks, CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT winds down smoothly to DIRE WOLF, which sounds great, too. another bonkers sunburst DANCING IN THE STREET, this time with an ecstatic TIGHTEN UP jam that ramps to an even blissier peak & breakdown that magically finds its way back to the chorus. holy cow. lithe 22-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > NOT FADE AWAY > LOVELIGHT that keeps turning quick corners, band digging hard into the jam. after a year of mostly tedious 40-minute versions, it’s kind of fire again.

4/17/70 family dog on the great highway: the 1st full acoustic set. advertised as mickey hart & his heartbeats + bobby ace & his cards from the bottom of the deck, with the new riders & charlie musselwhite. no tape, but a bay area deadhead named judy dawson kept setlists for all 3 family dog shows. when a recording surfaced of 4/18, it matched her list perfectly, pretty much confirming the others as accurate. this show had possibly the 1st acoustic (or acoustic/electric) versions of CUMBERLAND BLUES, MAMA TRIED, NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE, SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES, & the everly bros.’ CATHY’S CLOWN, a weir staple with the new riders. while we’re keeping track, also 50 years ago today: dave torbert debuts on bass with the new riders of the purple sage, along probably with the last batch of marmaduke tunes for their 1st album.

4/18/70 family dog on the great highway: MIA tape until its 2013 release on LP. playing under assumed names, the dead seem to be workshopping acoustic tunes for their upcoming tour. recording opens with 1st taped acoustic version of I KNOW YOU RIDER, a staple for rest of the year. weir & garcia giggle helplessly as lesh gets increasingly annoyed at owsley & the monitor situation. tons of classic, genuinely LOL crypto-stoner crosstalk, though they both get pissed, too. jerry: “[the guitars] are as though invisible, unheard, unstruck!” “this is an electric guitar,” garcia announces, “something new,” before hybrid acoustic/electric CUMBERLAND BLUES & NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. both sound great with muted drums, SPEEDWAY close to the recently recorded “workingman’s dead” version, with sweet garcia bloozing. while someone fetches pigpen from the office, where he’s apparently hanging, a 2-song bobby ace mini-set: ME & MY UNCLE & MAMA TRIED, both with vocals by marmaduke from the new riders. MAMA TRIED is boss, someone (david nelson?) mimicking the guitar from haggard’s original. band members talked about how pig’s natural habitat the kitchen table late at night with a guitar & this is as close as he ever got onstage, beginning with his usual KATIE MAE before a bunch of debuts, some never heard again. perhaps a view of his kitchen repertoire/arrangements? AIN’T IT CRAZY (aka THE RUB) is a suggestive lightnin’ hopkins standard from the old jugband days, good fun. BRING ME MY SHOTGUN is also by hopkins, unflashy & low key. ROBERTA appears to be a pigification of several sources. show closes with pig’s versions of a pair of john lee hooker tunes, BLACK SNAKE & TUPELO BLUES. both among the quietest songs done on a dead stage. could see how it wouldn’t work most places. it’s not quite mindblowing, but it’s also really special.

4/19/70 family dog on the great highway: once again, no tape, only a setlist. their last of 8 san francisco shows in 11 days, the last time that’d happen for years. thanks to deadhead judy dawson for the setlist. I KNOW YOU RIDER opener on bicycle day is almost certainly accidental. another extended pigpen mini-set has debut of lightnin’ hopkins’s SHE’S MINE & an untraceable tune labeled BIG BREASA.

4/25/70 denver: with john hammond & jr. & spontinuity light show. fantastic show, murky audience tape often inaccurately labeled as 4/24. missing the 1st electric portion, catching seemingly all of the acoustic set & much (but not all of) beyond. tape opens with I KNOW YOU RIDER, languidly stretching to 9 minutes & not stopping as the sitters/standers scream it out. truly bizarre to hear UNCLE JOHN’S BAND without massive cheers for the first chords. crying baby is already on-brand, though. kicking off the 2nd electric set, an absolutely fantastic EASY WIND, rolling conversational swamp-boogie. 47-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DRUMZ > JAM (& newspaper review said it went into GOOD LOVIN’). the last taped version of THE ELEVEN, a major primal dead freakout. lots of MIA tapes from this era & it certainly showed up again, but a sad goodbye. DARK STAR (itself semi-rare in ’70) is titanic, space gongs emerging into exuberant FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP themes, both turning themselves brightly inside-out & peaking peaking peaking. the post-DRUMZ fragment & MAN’S WORLD crackle, too.

5/1/70 alfred: the debut of “an evening with the grateful dead” at the @AlfredU student activity center in new york. acoustic dead, the new riders of the purple sage, & an electric dead set (or 2). beginning of a new era. the intro for the first “evening with…” tape is note perfect. “dig it, like, where it’s at, this bill is 5 hours long! the riders–”–tape pause/splice sound–and cuts into DEEP ELEM BLUES. a fantastic sounding recording with great energy. after 6 months of workshopping, 1st proper acoustic set is polished, sorta! almost-there-yet-winning harmonies, tasteful & almost fully muted drums, big jerry lead vocals, charming banter, not too much tuning, & those dashing new riders. but where’s pigpen? marmaduke & david nelson from the new riders join the mix & the performances are stellar, marmaduke finally hitting the tandem vocals with weir on ME & MY UNCLE & MAMA TRIED, nelson & garcia likewise finally nailing the haggard-style acoustic/electric guitar on the latter. nelson’s acoustic is fun & vivid in left channel, adding figures between weir & garcia on CUMBERLAND BLUES, RACE IS ON, NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE, etc., a natural extra layer, as is his mandolin on the 1st taped COLD JORDAN, spiritual sung by garcia/weir/marmaduke/nelson. after the glowing acoustic set, hour-long electric tape is just regular variety hot, with a 22-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE & bracketed by lots of boogie on either side.

5/2/70 binghamton: a classic grateful dead show in a low-ceilinged student center at @HarpurCollege. acoustic set includes garcia’s summary of the band’s new 5-hour format, “everybody just relax, man, we have you all night long.” crowd is on board all the way. the acoustic set is filled with quotable banter. when he’s playing, pigpen’s presence is an underrated & sometimes ambient part of the acoustic sets, including bouncing harmonica on DON’T EASE ME IN & quiet organ drones on I KNOW YOU RIDER. seems like he could’ve done more. on the original broadcast & “dick’s picks” CANDYMAN is spliced to sound like an intentional segue to a righteous CUMBERLAND BLUES, garcia shredding on electric, david nelson adding fills on 2nd acoustic, drums coming in midway. on full tape, there’s 3 minutes of tuning. more deadhead quotables before COLD JORDAN. “it’s gospel time everybody” “take off your hats; or men take off your hats, ladies leave them on.” apparently not a traditional song at all, but written by fred rich in 1954 & performed by the stanley bros. new riders set is 1st circulating tape with new bassist dave torbert. earliest versions of m. haggard’s WORKIN’ MAN BLUES, c. berry’s BROWN EYED HANDSOME MAN, & j. fogerty’s LODI. countrified CCR & chuck are sloppy fun. weir joins for 4 tunes, the tightest the band sounds. 1st electric set opens with 40-minute ST. STEPHEN > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE, anchored by a 14-minute OTHER ONE that pops with soaring leads & rhythmic trust falls, flowing into a graceful “slow” version of COSMIC CHARLIE, but it’s all just a prelude. everybody slashes together out of the drum break on 15-minute all-timer GOOD LOVIN’, weir twisting lightning shapes & edging into something adjacent to the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam & shooting sunrays in all directions. the backing vocals are still dorky af, but MAN’S WORLD is so tight, like all of the dynamics from LOVELIGHT jams turned into an arrangement. never gonna A/B it with a JB version, but pigpen owns it in his own greasy way. and (extreme janice the muppet voice), oh, like, wow, this DANCING IN THE STREET! infinite ecstatic garcia guitar soars through the TIGHTEN UP theme & into the starfield beyond, sounding deliciously like DARK STAR for a few breaths before a last fuzz burst & final chorus. lesh: “you folks should all follow the fine example of the fellow over here who got it on over here with his girlfriend & we’re going to take a short break & i want you to all feel each other for about 10 minutes…” set 3 is only 35 minutes but yowza MORNING DEW & 21-minute VIOLA LEE BLUES > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. VIOLA LEE swirls into the big translucent crystal tornado & lands in one of the more musical versions of BID YOU GOODNIGHT. i said goddamn.

5/3/70 middletown: the dead arrive in the thick of student demonstration time, stage announcements about getting gassed at the bobby seale protest in new haven. apparently thinking it was a nighttime gig, only garcia & weir arrive early enough to the play acoustic set. unidentified guest (possibly will scarlett) adds suitably aching harmonica to all 4 acoustic tunes, DEEP ELEM BLUES, FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES, & BLACK PETER (where pig also plays ambient B3). the free food table has enough food for 1 person. electric set has a distant GOOD LOVIN’, a few tunes they couldn’t fit into the acoustic set, a fireworks display (with oohing & aahing & taper narration), & a 36-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > THE MAIN TEN > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > LOVELIGHT. probably some good music in there. however, if you are charmed by stoned babbling undergrads circa spring 1970 (including the oft-befuddled taper, working for a prof & not familiar with the dead) & the political nuances of the black panther movement on college campuses, this tape has it all.

5/6/70 cambridge: playing for free at @MIT during the nationwide student strike. circulating copies recorded by @WMBR (then WTBS) with fantastic raw garcia guitar sound. the nationwide protest against nixon’s invasion of cambodia was already planned when the kent state shooting happened & is barely mentioned in the student paper, but must’ve been in the air. weir stencils fists onto the kickdrums in solidarity. glorious 17-minute DANCING IN THE STREET opens, easing into DARK STAR zones & perhaps early hints of the so-called BEAUTIFUL JAM before the TIGHTEN UP theme. big bass! ned lagin has said that garcia echoed phrases from their earlier dorm room jam session. lost kid announcements from garcia, lesh complaining about the cold. he plugs the band’s gig the next night at dumont gym, but the bright jams to do that, too. 14-minute GOOD LOVIN’ bass-a-thon with lesh solo leading into jams with garcia & guitar/drums break. can almost hear the cold seep the band’s fingers during the 18-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY, which is impassioned but fuzzy, winding through quizzical conversation.

5/7/70 cambridge: serious props to the taper for bringing enough tape & batteries to capture the show. he & his buddy even politely limit their chomping to in-between songs. it’d surely be a more fondly remembered show with a better tape, though. even the dead’s endless tuning breaks were better in 1970. solid comedy & crosstalk. audience member shouts for “rock music” & garcia snaps back, “stop that, man! if you had a microphone *you* could say something weird, too. rock music, that’s an interesting label…” with no warning, weir & another band member (kreutzmann?) scream a very monty pythonesque delivery of one of weir’s terrible jokes. “I SAY THAT DOG HAS NO NOSE!” “NO NOSE, HOW DOES HE SMELL?” “BLOOMIN’ AWFUL!!” <crickets> david nelson joins (inaudibly) for CUMBERLAND BLUES & NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. weir joins the new riders for the last 5 songs of their set, now closing with their big closing singalong on HONKY TONK WOMEN with weir (& the taper?) yawping along on the chorus. as crowd members audibly point out several times, pigpen’s MIA for the acoustic set (weir: “if anyone sees pigpen, that no-account shiftless turd, send him up”) but he’s back to open the electric set with a short, potent GOOD LOVIN’. “this is the little paranoid-in-the-streets mantra,” says garcia to introduce DIRE WOLF, timely then & timely now, the 1st post-kent state version. incredible EASY WIND with garcia tapping into bliss-flows, weir joining on the leads. short 3rd set, with unidentified rando howling the FROZEN LOGGER followed by 41-minute NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT feat. 8 minutes of tapped-in garcia wilding on ST. STEPHEN, CHINA CAT, & (for 1st time on tape) the youngbloods’ DARKNESS DARKNESS.

5/8/70 delhi: one of the worst audience tapes with the best jams, sound apparently mixed by legendary jazz DJ phil schaap. most of the show is MIA, but at least this blown-out recording gets right to the shit, 28-minute DARK STAR > DANCING IN THE STREET. deep space with diamond garcia melodies cutting upwards, through TIGHTEN UP & FEELIN’ GROOVY & out into the ever-bluer sky. 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’ has garcia setting totally crazed course out of the drum break, though lesh takes over by the end, with audience eruptions breaking through the murk throughout. UNCLE JOHN’S BAND is a well-deserved encore.

5/14/70 kirkwood: weir watch – “how’s about turning the lights off, all of them, including the spots & the light show & we’ll just go by the light of this one candle right here & everybody will have a good old time.” pause. “not going for it, huh?” lights off to big cheers. after a moment with the lights off & lots of amused crowd noises, garcia asks for a little more light & weir makes the wonderfully-phrased & self-conscious admission that “i ain’t exactly the 50,000-watt clear-channel voice of rationality speaking to you.” wasn’t totally paying attention, but kreutzmann & hart do seem to be alternating drum duty acoustic sets (so far, i think, MH on 5/1, BK on 5/2 & 5/7). tonight it’s kreutzmann. feedback & monitor issues shorten the acoustic set & continue into the new riders. midway through, the promoter asks, “jerry, we’re gonna let everybody in free, alright?” “anything you like” & they open the back doors. just like woodstock, man! 2-plus hour electric set has fierce (but way short) GOOD LOVIN’, garcia playing slide on GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL & NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE, & is mostly just boppin’ dance music. mostly. the debut of ATTICS OF MY LIFE (very likely, anyway) is a little ragged on the harmony side, but one of garcia & hunter’s most perfect mind-manifesting hymns. seems like it’d be an acoustic song, but will usually appear in the electric set. 40-minute NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT mega-choogle is maybe a step down from having DARK STAR & THE ELEVEN in that sequence. SPEEDWAY’s doom hits hard as ever, though, garcia jamming on NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE.

5/15/70 fillmore east: solid intro.
bill graham: from 710 ashbury street, mr. jerry garcia.
garcia: they’ll never take me alive!
graham: on the drums, the son of lennie hart, mickey hart!
garcia & weir: (hopeless giggles.)
for the early acoustic set, “road trips” is especially a huge improvement over the circulating tapes, where the music is panned left. pigpen’s version of AIN’T IT CRAZY finally migrates to a proper show & crowd digs it (& garcia comes up with a cool vocal part, of course). beardless garcia might be the most chaotic garcia. in this episode, he is not taking ANY shit from the nyc hecklers.
garcia: stuff it, man. eat it. we don’t have to dignify your miserable heckling, *do we*?
weir: that’s tellin’ em, jer.
garcia: fuckin’ a, man.
to be fair to hecklers, there’s a LOT of dead air.
woman: where’s your beard, jerry?
garcia: shut UP, i don’t ask you about *your* beard.
nelson plays on CUMBERLAND BLUES, CANDYMAN, & COLD JORDAN. can almost hear hart trying to restrain himself on CUMBERLAND. after a 2nd fragile version of ATTICS OF MY LIFE, the early electric highlight is 40-minute ST. STEPHEN > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE with a fierce bass-bombed middle that floats down into a crystal cavern after the verse. the dead don’t play any previously released tunes until well into the electric set, after almost 2 hours of music. also, this is a bonkers amelie rothschild photo. so much going on. and look how many people are crammed behind the amps! by the late show, all is dialed in & all 3 sets are fantastic. the acoustic dead do a few rare numbers, opening with the 1st of 2 known versions of the BALLAD OF CASEY JONES, mississippi john hurt-style, sung by garcia. a meta-treat.
garcia: we got a request to do this, we did this in the 1st show & we’re going to do it again now.
weir: thus breaking a longstanding tradition, we love to break tradition.
FRIEND OF THE DEVIL gets some excited applause from heads who know. really, a night of 1000 lulz.
audience member: HEY GARCEEAH–
garcia (bored): what?
weir (interrupting): HEY GARCEEEEAH PLAY WHITE RABBIT!!
dude tries to tell a “why did the chicken…” joke & pigpen shuts him down.
after a bunch of other crosstalk, another dude is still trying to talk to jerry, who’s not having it. “i’m sorry, man, i lost interest, went right past me… yeah, yeah, have it tattooed on your arm & come over later.” thankfully, the music is golden, including sweet UNCLE JOHN’S BAND & CANDYMAN. garcia tries to bring out the new riders for gospel, but pig interrupts. “don’t i get to play one before you bums sing that fuckin’ religious song?” enthusiastic weir intro (“the dog-suckingest man in show business, pigpen!!”) & rare pig double-shot, before new riders david nelson (on mandolin) & marmaduke (on bass vocals) join for the 1st version of bill monroe & bessie lee maudlin’s bluegrass spiritual VOICE FROM ON HIGH. someone asks when the dead are going to play for free in the park again. garcia: “as soon as everything is *perfectly* cool in new york city. and if you’re smart, you’ll get out too!” (@corry342 thinks the new riders actually played for free in the park the week before.) if you’re a new riders n00b, the late show from 5/15 is a swell jumping-in point. it has my favorite marmaduke tune ALL I EVER WANTED, 3 with weir, & raucous set-closing version of the stones’ CONNECTION, though they don’t repeat their “hit” HENRY from the early show. plus cartoons at intermission! pithy bill graham intro for 2-hour late electric set, probably ending at dawn: “set 2, group 3, take 1, the grateful dead…” & it’s impeccable full-service electric dead with bright CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, apocalyptic MORNING DEW, & chonky GOOD LOVIN’. 58-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR turns gaseous. flexatone whistles, guitar sparkles & circular accelerating recombobulation before languid FEELIN’ GROOVY jam & 2nd verse. 27-minute LOVELIGHT burns hot. crowd is still way the fuck into it & wanting more. pig gets off an accidentally sun ra-like come on: “i wanna tell you somethin’ about nothing.” COLD JORDAN with gospel harmonies & bluegrass mandolin is a swell encore. it’s a repeat from the early show, too, but who’s counting. the gig started on friday night, but 7 hours later sure feels like sunday.

5/16/70 philadelphia: opening for jimi hendrix at @TempleUniv. MC5 cancelled. a few hours after finishing their 7-hour fillmore east marathon, the dead play an afternoon set at the @TempleUniv football stadium. muted sounding but fun, especially CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER & HARD TO HANDLE. vérité moments on the audience tape (clearly made from up close) including thickly-accented requests ALLIGATOR & boos when someone from the festival asks people to clear away from the fence. road manager sam cutler kills buzz during NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE, telling taper to shut down, 1st of a few occurrences. “i’m the manager of the band, i want the tape, i’ll pay you for it but you’re not keeping it,” cutler says. thankfully taper refuses, but eventually stops.

5/24/70 newcastle-under-lyme: overseas for the 1st time, an afternoon set at the hollywood festival (attendance ~45,000) in newcastle-under-lyme. after black sabbath, before traffic, with many between. BBC footage of the band’s short, strange trip to london is in @longstrangedoc, including record company reception & tasty footage of the band rehearsing at @RoundhouseLDN. the set is not quite a mindbender, but excellent fun that heats up as it goes. a glimpse into how the dead programmed themselves for an entirely new audience, opening with the big hit CASEY JONES, even though it wasn’t released yet. in all the elegant BBC film from this gig featured in @longstrangedoc, i don’t recall any sustained wide-angled shot of the stage, which festival organizers seem to have adorned with giant inflatable schlong & breasts? must be that british wit. solid intro to the dead, really, with healthy CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, 23-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > ATTICS OF MY LIFE (even with lesh shouting chords to pigpen during latter) & kinetic GOOD LOVIN’ with kinetic rhythmic conversations. 67-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR begins uptempo & mellows. flexatone & super-hot gongs sound like blown-out synth & crystallize into slo-mo TIGHTEN UP jam & the bright beyond. weir pushes for DANCING IN THE STREET. glockenspiel twinkles through ST. STEPHEN peaks. always adorable when, in the midst of a LOVELIGHT rap about playing pocket pool, pig shouts out his gf. “i got myself a sweet little thing back on california coast.”

6/4/70 fillmore west: opening a delicious 4-night weekend at the fillmore west. acoustic set, new riders, southern comfort, & electric dead. hart drums on tonight’s acoustic set. WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE sounds boss in the semi-electric portion with tasty garcia fills. 1st taped SWING LOW SWEET CHARIOT in now-rotating late set bluegrass/gospel slot, nelson on mandolin & marmaduke on vocals. the pedal steel sounds sweet on audience tape during quiet new riders tunes like ALL I EVER WANTED. weir joins for especially raucous 3 tunes (included on recent @tuneinowsley box), including HONKY TONK WOMEN, where i think he’s just singing/wooing/instigating. someone who is not bill graham gives their attempt at a bill graham introduction before the late set. “direct from being voted the horniest band in the world, the grateful dead.” garcia: “we’re havin’ some power difficulties up here, so everybody think real hard at the power company down the road.” near end of HARD TO HANDLE, a weird noise that sounds like a UFO landing” is either more power difficulties or someone’s hallucination caught on tape. tech break tape comedy: tape cuts into rare hart-instigated telling of the “my dog has no nose…” joke, pauses/cuts to weir leading the crowd in “999,997 bottles of beer on the wall…” & cuts away again. when tape returns, band is midway through final dead version of IT’S A SIN (part of warlocks’ repertoire, later in garcia’s solo sets) with sensitive pigpen harmonica part. could be the audience tape blending away sour notes, but ATTICS OF MY LIFE creeping towards magic. late part of the set is almost all boogie, kicking off with a snappin’ MAN’S WORLD & capped by 22-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > MIDNIGHT HOUR. garcia’s in a teasing mood, playing ST. STEPHEN in NOT FADE AWAY & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER in MIDNIGHT HOUR. BABY BLUE closer, always crazy rare & which mostly seemed to come out late night in heady “home” venues (avalon ballroom, family dog, capitol theatre, fillmore west) & here gets more dramatic & confident as it goes.

6/5/70 fillmore west: abbreviated (or incomplete) acoustic set, kreutzmann on drums, but the whole night is plagued with tech issues & feedback, with lots of band ire directed at owsley, at the mixing board for local gigs all the way through his jail date in july. uneventful late set, though maybe missing a reel in the middle. centerpiece is 30-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > ATTICS OF MY LIFE, with sweet landing. no big pig number. instead, a HARD TO HANDLE / MAN’S WORLD twofer & UNCLE JOHN’S BAND closer. ST. STEPHEN > CASEY JONES (with the segue coming in the former spot of ST. STEPHEN’s “william tell” ending) is a casually perfect encore.

6/6/70 fillmore west: another incomplete acoustic tape, hart drumming this evening, notable mainly (perhaps) for weir & band getting a few verses into THE FROZEN LOGGER. summer’s here & the time is extra-right for DANCING IN THE STREET, 13 minutes with another joyous spin around weir’s TIGHTEN UP theme, one of the longer versions, stretching almost the whole jam, with garcia folding the peak back to halftime before final verse. charming 13-minute GOOD LOVIN’ with the band jumping right into NEW ORLEANS out of the drum break, led by weir, having a little trouble finding its groove, before back into GOOD LOVIN’ jam. in an alternate timeline, NEW ORLEANS would’ve stuck around. 67-minute DIRE WOLF > ALLIGATOR > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. next-beat shift into ALLIGATOR out of DIRE WOLF seems almost accidental but garcia hops right on. jam out of the ALLIGATOR drum break is a glorious 15-minute thrashing of late primal dead, possibly the final san francisco version of the tune, with hints of CAUTION & turns through DARKNESS DARKNESS, coming to a noise landing before final sequence.

6/7/70 fillmore west: ready steady bill kreutzmann drumming on the acoustic set. last acoustic/electric version of ME & MY UNCLE, occasionally popping up during weir’s appearances with the new riders.
garcia: we’re going to do a few semi-electric numbers. we’ve got a million new labels!
weir: acoustic semi-electric, electric semi-acoustic, full electric, quasi-electric, demi-electric, nouveau electric.
5 songs with dawson/nelson. slithering NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. electric set gets right to the weird with 37-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > THE MAIN TEN > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. during drum break after 1st CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT, curious & rare little moment where band seems to give forum an anti-war protestor. weir gives consent before someone onstage (but off-mic?) announces they’re from the youth international party & we should be getting off our fuckin’ asses & helping our brothers in vietnam, & when they finish the band bombs almost-perfectly into THE OTHER ONE. garcia turns the final OTHER ONE shreds inside-out. during CRYPTICAL’s reprise, a woman sing/speaks poetry & band goes molten, landing in a percussive/harmonic jam, brief DRUMZ, & fairly developed MAIN TEN, the proto-PLAYING IN THE BAND instrumental, seguing into 1st SUGAR MAGNOLIA, the definition of a 1st draft, only the 1st verse & chorus repeated 3 times with a slow-motion lurching/shuffling rhythm. weir’s 1st collaboration with robert hunter & a breakthrough of sorts, though far from finished. late part of the set goes full goof, with brief burp of LOUIE LOUIE. “we’re gonna stand around until a good idea comes,” garcia says to many requests. big love to the dude shouting for YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK. “we don’t like any of that shit,” kreutzmann (i think) yells back. weir: “there’s a guy over there & he’s *always* over there & he always shouts out ‘GOLDEN ROAD’ & i wanna know who he is, man, because you take the cake.” a rando adds a few lines over the start of COSMIC CHARLIE & sounds nifty. 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’ stumbles slightly out of the drum break but locks in for casually swingin’ thrills. a 4-night run with no DARK STAR & only one LOVELIGHT. changes always afoot. they’re all transition years.

6/12/70 honolulu: 26-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE in fierce stereo with chanting in drum break, tech screwiness, post-DRUMZ drop where they maybe forget for a few beats that it’s not ALLIGATOR, garcia/drummers jam feeding deeper, & vast soaring outro.

6/13/70 honolulu: no organ on the tape, but alluringly, after EASY WIND, pigpen asks the sound engineer for a microphone “so i [can] plug it into the piano so everybody can hear the mistakes i make.” perhaps it’s there because of nicky hopkins, then in quicksilver. engineer plays with balances during ensuing UNCLE JOHN’S BAND (with crashing drum finale), but there’s no piano audible until much later in the weirdly mixed recording, on NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE, where pigpen adds some really boss solos & color. supposedly gary duncan and/or dino valenti are on GOOD LOVIN’ & TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, but both sound like normal kinetic blues-psych dead jams to me. GOOD LOVIN’ has a few atonal weir squonks. crackling & super live drum mix during soundboard portions.

6/21/70 pauley ballroom: a solstice benefit for pit river indians organized by wavy gravy, possibly also including @stewartbrand, sandy bull, new riders, & light show. not a lot of the vibe survives on tape, but eyewitness accounts make this sound like a low-key sunday night acid test with refreshments at the door & participation. bands apparently played on the ballroom floor, separated from crowd by a flower rope. in an interview the next day, garcia called the 6/21/70 show “a pretty good example of how it was 3 or 4 years ago. and any weekend at the fillmore is how it is now.” tape opens with another weir rendition of THE FROZEN LOGGER, this one seeming to count smoothly into CASEY JONES. or possibly it’s a pause/splice. the taper seems to do that in a few other places. recording quality is especially meh, but crackling CUMBERLAND BLUES, deep EASY WIND, & lovely (& quiet for the circumstances) CANDYMAN. 25-minute NOT FADE AWAY > ST. STEPHEN > DRUMZ > GOOD LOVIN’ boogie. ST. STEPHEN in the middle is a new move, breaking up the boogie. the fun hippie freakout vibe comes through most fully during the GOOD LOVIN’ drum break, which includes lots of clapping, stomping, & maybe some pit river indians? hard to say wtf is happening. tape cuts off, presumably with weirdness to spare.

6/24/70 port chester: promoter howard stein introduces all the sets. debut acoustic versions of ATTICS OF MY LIFE (angelic despite NY rowdies) & weir-sung LET ME IN (gene crysler via porter wagoner, played in ’69 pedal steel mini-sets), 1st of 2 surviving takes for both. of 4 songs repeated between the early & late shows, only UNCLE JOHN’S BAND (acoustic early & electric late) is from the brand new album, along with the newer ATTICS OF MY LIFE (acoustic, then electric) & the acoustic CANDYMAN & FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. perhaps the tape with the most frequent & unexpected cannon & fireworks detonations, like the totally normal & appropriate explosion a few seconds into MAMA TRIED. weir drops roughly a half-syllable. exceedingly chatty crowd during acoustic sets. in the late acoustic set, the 1st recorded acoustic BIG RAILROAD BLUES, missing from tapes since 1966. it’s missing the jug band propulsion but has a ghost of the original arrangement via pigpen’s harmonica (sorta/kinda) doubling the vocals. quality audio theater via the balcony-rail microphones during new riders’ late set when someone accidentally drops their hat into the crowd below & taper/usher ken lee orchestrates its return. side note: well-made audience tapes are great artifacts of regional accents. late electric set opens with stellar 20-minute NOT FADE AWAY > EASY WIND, garcia immediately hooking into ribbons of color. weir tries to reign it back to the song, but garcia ignores him & eventually they pour smoothly into EASY WIND. garcia: “mickey has to get his gongs all together, we’re gonna do DARK STAR.” cheers. “there’ll be a minute or 2 of respectful silence while mickey fiddles aimlessly around the stage.” goddamn exquisite 45-minute DARK STAR > ATTICS OF MY LIFE > DARK STAR > SUGAR MAGNOLIA > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. patient post-gonging reformulation into ATTICS gets cheers even. amazing framing, dripping in & out of psychedelia. the post-ATTICS segment turns into a slow-motion TIGHTEN UP theme, with a wee bit of the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam acting as the transition to the prototype one-verse/chorus-only SUGAR MAGNOLIA & reentering the DARK STAR universe like flipping a switch. final DARK STAR is a gorgeous post-script. someone near the lee’s mics freaks when they get to ST. STEPHEN. screaming peaks & a righteous ’68-like tag into CHINA CAT. acoustic SWING LOW SWEET CHARIOT encore, show ends after 5 am on thursday morning.

7/1/70 winnipeg: festival express (tapes detangled here). compact & honkingly good EASY WIND, a pretty solid intro to the dead for the small crowd, with a pretty delicious video of the whole performance. CANDYMAN’s a little wobbly, part tape, part band.

7/2-3/70 somewhere in canada: an hour’s worth of messy but fun lo-fi jams from the music car(s) on the festival express tour as it hurdles across canada. with a few exceptions, hard to say who’s playing, but tons of pedal steel. garcia (i think) on pedal steel for 1st 40 minutes or so, jamming on jimmie rodgers’ BLUE YODEL NO. 1, the stones’ HONKY TONK WOMEN, & otherwise. could be buddy cage (then with ian & sylvia) but, to my ears, sounds just sloppy enough to be garcia. david nelson of the new riders told me that, on the train, garcia & buddy cage set up their pedal steels side-by-side so cage could give pointers. parts of the 1st jam here seem to maybe have 2 pedal steels at points, but the mix is weird enough that it’s hard to tell. tape ends with 18 minutes built around the SUGAR MAGNOLIA riff, though someone’s singing PICK A BALE OF COTTON at some point & later 2 not-that-audible singers jump in with what seems like a unison vocal. no garcia here, from what i can tell.

7/4/70 calgary: how i wish there was so much more footage like this show! joyous summertime DON’T EASE ME IN. amazing to see the band’s original acoustic formation in action with cowboy kreutzmann as the sole drummer & pigpen up front on harmonica. undervalued part of the band’s early double drum set-up: no (or sometimes low) drum risers. during NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE & HARD TO HANDLE, love seeing lesh/weir/garcia play between or even behind the kits, usually when pig fronts the band. nice SPEEDWAY harmonica by pig. close-up LOVELIGHT footage is big fun, seeing pig work the crowd. gonzo garcia peaks & more good shots of the drummers, including mickey’s sub-mini-kit & mid-jam cigarette. film of ian & sylvia’s big set-closing jam includes garcia, weir, & kreutzmann, with garcia playing the rosewood telecaster used by george harrison on “let it be,” then belonging to delaney bramlett. apparently, janis joplin played in seattle on 7/5 (& hawaii on 7/6), so seemingly flew to seattle for the day & came back to close the show. or maybe the closing jam happened on 7/4? time worked differently in 1970.

7/8/70 edwardsville: at @SIUE’s mississippi river festival, playing acoustic & electric, accompanied by the electric rainbow light show. no tapes, but several reports. crowd estimated at 8,500, maybe the dead’s biggest standalone headline gig to date? acoustic set includes SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES, electric has GOOD LOVIN’ & others. garcia plays a les paul instead of his usual SG. [2/3]

7/9/70 fillmore east: midnight at the fillmore east, the 1st of 4 shows. acoustic & new riders sets MIA. soaring EASY WIND (with harmonica) before 36-minute ALLIGATOR > THE OTHER ONE > ATTICS OF MY LIFE > THE OTHER ONE > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > COSMIC CHARLIE. purposeful 45-second inside-out garcia deceleration into ATTICS, an abrupt flip back afterwards. 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER > GOOD LOVIN’. again, band uses usual drum break for segue, flipping back quickly afterwards. during drum break, one of marty’s seatmates quotes zappa: “i wanna hear CARAVAN with a drum solo.” both sequences are great, but feel more like one-off suite drafts than actual jamming. enormous fun, though. marty weinberg narrates before encore. “here we are at the scenic fillmore auditorium in the heart of the scenic east village…” hi marty!

7/10/70 fillmore east: no tapes (yet!!), but a few reports & reliable-seeming fan memories. acoustic set almost certainly features a few barely played tunes. reports suggest late set opened with MORNING DEW, anchored by DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, plus the pig light show.

7/11/70 fillmore east: also, at the start of his tape of the late set, marty weinberg clearly announces, “it’s saturday night, july 11th, 1970.” somehow it still got misdated. 1st HOW LONG BLUES, sung by garcia, traced by @alexallan to the 1929 frank stokes version, not the more common leroy carr tune. hart is the acoustic drummer du jour. “mickey mickey tom-tom,” jerry calls him during a tech break. last of the taped pigpen solo sets, final KATIE MAE, SHE’S MINE, & BRING ME MY SHOTGUN. 1st surviving versions of charlie monroe’s ROSA LEE McFALL & traditional TELL IT TO ME (a cocaine song, but not COCAINE BLUES), both sung by garcia, david nelson on mandolin. setbreak entertainment by the pig light show apparently includes the classic sunshine makers cartoon, nixon’s checkers speech, & (as the dead take the stage) “night of the living dead.” 60-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE > THE OTHER ONE > DANCING IN THE STREET > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, an insanely hot sequence that’s a bit hard to hear through the audience-heavy tape. another night, another delightful split OTHER ONE. the big peaks come in DANCING, which brightens into a glorious TIGHTEN UP jam. harsh splice before LOVELIGHT, but the jam keeps burning hotter, garcia tearing through the ST. STEPHEN melody. another harsh cuts during the song’s finale.

7/12/70 fillmore east: oddity-filled acoustic set with kreutzmann on drums. rare tunes almost all across. last BEEN ALL AROUND THIS WORLD ’til ’80. DARK HOLLOW returns after its 2 february plays, settling into the acoustic rotation for rest of the year. 1st taped version of marty robbins’s EL PASO, sluggish compared to what it’ll become as an electric standard. garcia duets with weir & plays electric on the only surviving version of everly bros.’ SO SAD (TO WATCH A GOOD LOVE GO BAD). gorgeous under tape hiss & chompers. taper kenny schachat pauses tape between every song, as was the style of the time, to save batteries. extended gospel mini-set with marmaduke & nelson, including SWING LOW SWEET CHARIOT & VOICE FROM ON HIGH, a gradual hand-off into the new riders’ standard issue set. smokin’ electric set which kinda sounds worse the better it gets, the tape saturating more & the crowd screaming/clapping louder. 14-minute NOT FADE AWAY is just splendid, filled with colorful melodic rivers. pigpen doesn’t sing during the electric set, organ only, so weir takes vocals on GOOD LOVIN’ for the 1st time, becoming the 1st dead tune to have 3 different lead singers at different points. more technicolor jams under the fuzz. set closes with 19-minute VIOLA LEE BLUES, the last monster version on tape, & the nyc crowd flips appropriately. beautiful up & down gearshifts throughout the jam, peaking & coming down gradually.

7/14/70 euphoria ballroom: 1 block from the front street rehearsal space they’d rent a few years later. rubber duck co. featuring tom constanten opens. acoustic & electric sets. owsley is off to prison soon, but the band remains merciless on their sound engineer. @thedavidcrosby on semi-audible 12-string acoustic for CUMBERLAND BLUES & NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE, with a wee outro jam. whole tape is hard to listen to because of the glitches (from a DAT transfer, maybe?), but the only surviving soundboard of the sweet garcia version of HOW LONG BLUES. think kreutzmann is the acoustic drummer for the evening. someone up front asks people in the back to move back & early version of “take a step back” turns into a point/counterpoint:
lesh: that’s kind of reasonable, i’d think, everybody’s up here crammed against the stage…
garcia: DON’T LISTEN TO HIM IT’S NOT THAT REASONABLE.
“here’s what weir gets his wish… at the expense of EVERYBODY,” garcia announces before the 1st taped electric version of EL PASO, still lurching & slow as they attempt to match marty robbins’s tempo, but garcia’s squigglies are starting to coalesce. good brief OTHER ONE meltdown but both EASY WIND & (more significantly) GOOD LOVIN’ have some majorly harsh cuts.

7/16/70 euphoria ballroom: bear’s pre-prison farewell after a bust the day before with housemates bob matthews & betty cantor. his last early dead tape, with janis joplin. a few eyewitness accounts suggest that janis joplin & pigpen sat in with the new riders of the purple sage & duetted on possibly both merle haggard’s THE BOTTLE LET ME DOWN & SWINGING DOORS. plausible! only set 2 circulates, but wow. off-mic amusements as janis enters (including a good “playwhiterabbitgoddammit”) before charming, mega-soused 18-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with her & pigpen volleying like exes. she calls him ron. messy but adorable. garcia wah action. post-janis, a stunning ATTICS OF MY LIFE & drippingly fantastic 22-minute NOT FADE AWAY > ST. STEPHEN > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. weir drives cool, unusual NFA groove & flows into backdoor turn into ST. STEPHEN, UNCLE JOHN’S in place of the “william tell” ending.

7/30/70 lion’s share: opening 3 acoustic nights at the lion’s share in san anselmo, headlined by new riders of the purple sage. there’s no conclusive evidence about where this tape is really from. the logic is as tangled as the music is lovely. sometimes, the new riders tape is labeled as 7/29 at the matrix. my vote is 7/30 at the lion’s share. amazing work by @JGFateMusic to recover the lion’s share dates. intimate soundboard, often labeled as being at the matrix.pigpen’s absent, kreutzmann’s on drums. early part of set perhaps missing. tape opens with earliest TO LAY ME DOWN, finding a beautiful stillness already. wonderful vocal performance. gorgeous guitar counterpoint by weir.
cheerfully testy garcia gets into it with a crowd member.
garcia: go away, man, get your own band.
audience member: my own band, what’s that mean?
garcia: it means fuck off, man. fuck off.
dead portion of the tape closes with trio of bluegrass/gospel tunes joined by marmaduke (on vocals) & nelson (on mandolin). after tech issues, they sing around a single mic. “this is an old principle, it’s called singing in a group,” says jerry.

7/31/70 lion’s share: there is a tape labeled “8/5/70 san diego” but i think it could be this night. hissy but low-key classic acoustic set with many rare tunes & david nelson on mandolin. there’s no evidence & no eyewitness accounts that put the dead in san diego in mid-summer 1970, which is when this tape virtually has to be from. but they definitely played 3 nights at the lion’s share before the “american beauty” sessions. 2 new riders of the purple sage recordings exist from this week, too, one of which is edited similarly to this, with the gaps between the songs removed. both the new riders’ sets contain MAMA TRIED, making it a different night than this tape, which also has MAMA TRIED. in this era, bill kreutzmann & mickey hart often alternated nights drumming during acoustic sets. the tape dated 7/30 has kreutzmann, which would make 7/31 a hart night, which this tape is. this hour-long tape is sometimes labeled as 2 sets, don’t think it is. this recording was in circulation as early as summer 1971 labeled “8/5/70 san diego” but i wonder if it was leaked by a sound engineer with blurred info so as to not get caught. or someone misread “san diego” as “san anselmo.” anyway, the music… pigpen’s absent again. david nelson on mandolin for most of set, including EL PASO, only surviving dead version of DRINK UP & GO HOME (done in the folk era & revived solo in the ‘80s), & last VOICE FROM ON HIGH. last acoustic version of MAMA TRIED. 2nd & final surviving version of BALLAD OF CASEY JONES (“a whole other casey jones”). 2nd TO LAY ME DOWN, last with garcia on acoustic guitar ’til ’80. drums a bit skittery, but still aching.

8/17/70 fillmore west: opening 3 nights at the fillmore west with the new riders of the purple sage, debuting big batch of “american beauty” songs. no tapes. fragment dated “8/17” is actually 6/24/70, but detailed reports & reconstructed setlist via rolling stone. uncirculating acoustic set likely features debuts of TRUCKIN’, RIPPLE BROKEDOWN PALACE, & OPERATOR, with pigpen playing piano on several. @thedavidcrosby is spotted backstage with acoustic guitar. no reviews mention him, though he jams the next night. also, phil debuts his new mustache & the electric set features DANCING IN THE STREET (presumably with a typical monster ’70 jam) & an extended TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer.

8/18/70 fillmore west: in acoustic set, earliest circulating versions of TRUCKIN’, RIPPLE, BROKEDOWN PALACE, & OPERATOR, 1st two (plus NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE) with pigpen on soulful piano. i know pianos are difficult, but wish this had become the norm. he sounds great. TRUCKIN’ has a few alternate lyrics (“garlands of neon…”) but it’s ready to go & the piano sparkles. i’d notate it RIPPLE > BROKEDOWN PALACE, played one right after another, just like on the album & other early versions. both perfectly formed & hymn-like. 1st taped OPERATOR, 1st major pigpen original, his first non-blues, beginning mini writing burst over next 3 years. can’t believe there are only 4 surviving versions of this. sounds so natural for both acoustic & electric bands. not sure if he’s playing guitar, too? not-bill graham intros the electric set: “direct from the whittaker training camp…” before glorious & chaotic 14-minute DANCING IN THE STREET that splatters towards FEELIN’ GROOVY jam, though perhaps the audience tape is making it sound more chaotic than it is. 20-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA, garcia leaning subtly into the wah-wah during jam. SUGAR MAGNOLIA has more verses (& more defined groove) than the june versions but still no ending.

8/19/70 fillmore west: whole acoustic set is sheer joy. bill the drummer is drumming & pig plays fun & soulful upright piano again, this time on on HOW LONG BLUES, DARK HOLLOW, CANDYMAN, RIPPLE, TRUCKIN’, & NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. last surviving TELL IT TO ME. long gospel portion with the new riders, but the set centerpiece is unquestionably another stunning RIPPLE > BROKEDOWN PALACE with big outro vocals. baby crying during RIPPLE is on brand. electric set is almost straight choogle & boogie, including ST. STEPHEN > SUGAR MAGNOLIA, the latter’s ending still unwritten. in all of its earliest versions, the band fits it into suite spot (inside DARK STAR, after THE OTHER ONE, paired with THE MAIN TEN, etc.).  volcanic GOOD LOVIN’ peak. @thedavidcrosby joins for 39-minute NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT finale, though i can only pick out a 2nd guitar in NOT FADE AWAY. a few unusual grooves that could perhaps be croz-triggered.

8/23ish/70 KQED studios: in quad from @KQED in san francisco with freaky visuals by jerry abrams’ headlights & in-studio crowd, one of their great TV appearances, probably filmed a week earlier.  tight EASY WIND opener. even through the video editing hallucinations, it’s boss to see pigpen front & play harmonica & occasionally pick out weir’s hands playing his mini-leads. do love the light show freak outs, though. to use @thoughtsonthedead’s phrase, garcia is at full muppet. CANDYMAN is the 1st with garcia’s guitar intro & slightly slowed down arrangement, presumably adjusted during in-progress album sessions, the version they’d stick with for the next 25 years. crowd looks pretty chill. bouncing CASEY JONES, maybe with high-pitched quad effects (or piano?) starting during break before guitar solo. 1st electric BROKEDOWN PALACE, taken slightly fast, has pretty fantastic 3-part harmonies. UNCLE JOHN’S BAND closer is brisk & confident, cool to see hart playing secondary percussion (no kick or snare), wonder if he did that live, too? wish there was so much more like this.

9/17/70 fillmore east: opening 4 nights at the fillmore east with the new riders of the purple sage & joe’s lights. charming REVOLUTION 9 tune-up. hart drums on acoustic set, though mostly inaudible. 2nd & final run with upright piano in acoustic set-up, also rather inaudible tonight, played by pigpen on opening TRUCKIN’, DARK HOLLOW, & BROKEDOWN PALACE. mandolin (by nelson?) on DARK HOLLOW. for the last time RIPPLE & BROKEDOWN are paired (though with tuning break between them) & once again both are effortlessly perfect minus the barely listenable tape quality. debut of newly written BOX OF RAIN, only known version played in its original studio lineup with lesh on acoustic guitar, garcia on piano, david nelson on electric guitar, dave torbert on bass, weir on vocals. sounds amazing. some lists mention fiddle, but it’s just nelson. audience tape is icky but new riders sound great, notably snappier on SIX DAYS ON THE ROAD opener. tightest-yet SUGAR MAGNOLIA opens the dead’s electric set, still no words in the SUNSHINE DAYDREAM outro(s), just joyous dit-dit-dits (or doot-doot-doots?) by weir & lesh. 47-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > GOOD LOVIN’. after 1st DARK STAR verse, long emptiness with uncharacteristic piercing electronic squeals (by garcia?) before slow upwards spiral & high-speed TIGHTEN UP jam. 2 drum breaks interrupt GOOD LOVIN’ jammin’ but all kinds of nifty start/stop pockets & hot miniature grooves. UNCLE JOHN’S BAND just beginning when the tape cuts off. these shows were also apparently the debut of the big light-up grateful dead sign.

9/18/70 fillmore east: accounts vary, but just before the show (or maybe during a setbreak) dustin hoffman, shel silverstein, & dr. hook shoot part of this scene for “who is harry kellerman,” using light show & dead audience as backdrop. too bad cameras didn’t stick around. acoustic set is a wash, abandoned after 2 songs because of monitor issues. can’t really hear piano on opening TRUCKIN’ & obvious they’re struggling. either garcia is playing unusual BLACK PETER leads to accommodate sound issues or there’s mandolin. too bad, the tape mix is good, kreutzmann is on drums, & maybe they would’ve done BOX OF RAIN again. lots of entertaining off-mic talk, kreutzmann chatting with the randos crowded in (i think) behind the amps, as often happened at the fillmore east shows. new riders open with HONKY TONK WOMEN & i’m impressed marmaduke doesn’t change his altered lyric about san francisco back to new york city. weir joins for MAMA TRIED (the sweet haggard arrangement), RACE IS ON, & SAWMILL, the latter 2 being his last with the new riders. SUGAR MAGNOLIA sounding more confident by the night (as does garcia’s new wah-wah). love hearing the original vocal arrangement with lesh’s backing. it’s on the gnarly part of the tape, but it’s 1st version where weir sings SUNSHINE DAYDREAM outro lyrics. 24-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > BROKEDOWN PALACE, that combination’s only time on tape. last recorded MAN’S WORLD is moody & sinuous. farewell. 1st taped TILL THE MORNING COMES. lyrics always sat weirdly with me, but appreciating the light double-drummer groove. on the crispy part of the tape very thankfully, the only surviving electric version of OPERATOR & it sounds fantastic, basically just like the almost-finished album, with kreutzmann on drums & hart on scraper. sad this didn’t stick around. 13-minute DANCING IN THE STREET cuts straight to the bliss & builds from there. 29-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOOD LOVIN’ is a sign of set-closing choogles to come. happy NFA flows. weir latches onto cool & nearly mechanical 4-chord groove in GOOD LOVIN’. after a few minutes of house music (the youngbloods’ GET TOGETHER), the now-rare BID YOU GOODNIGHT, 1st since the spring, a sweet getaway encore.

9/19/70 fillmore east: newly-circulated acoustic set is just atrocious quality, but still! last circulating versions of COLD JORDAN (minus with the new riders in ’73) & SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES (first played circa ’66). garcia plays piano on stunning TO LAY ME DOWN. the new riders set is too icky for me to even get through. “it’s GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL, i haven’t heard this for years!” says marty weinberg as the song starts. last known dead version with pigpen, added to the repertoire in ’66. (thanks, marty!) thankfully, the tape switches over to an absolutely pristine soundboard for the incredible final stretch, cutting in during a primal SUNSHINE DAYDREAM in time to catch stunning 63-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, each part perfect. extra-melodious DARK STAR keeps flowing (with extra scratcher during intro). besides post-verse proto-electronic squigglies (making more sense on this soundboard), jam unfolds with gorgeous themes including dramatic cowbell intro to FEELIN’ GROOVY jam. entirety of ST. STEPHEN hits hard: glockenspiel bridge, the timing of the cannon explosion & drummers’ entrance afterwards, perfectly crunched guitar, etc. all-timer 9-minute NOT FADE AWAY with wild garcia rainbows & DARKNESS DARKNESS & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER themes. a fave LOVELIGHT with garcia zones, crowd work, & primo exchanges. weir: “pigpen, did you say ‘fuck’?” pigpen: “FUCK!!!!!!” with A+ callback by pig on the final beat of the song. i think about @choccosalo’s review all the time.

9/20/70 fillmore east: one of the all-time most wonderful acoustic sets, the only soundboard with core “american beauty” songs. in terms of performance & tape quality, perhaps the peak ’70 acoustic set & most developed. last with piano, fully confident kreutzmann on drums, developed “american beauty” songs, & davids grisman & nelson on mandolins. the double mandolins replicate grisman’s stereo part(s) on the just-recorded studio RIPPLE, and, like, wow. piano by garcia on knockout TO LAY ME DOWN (the last ’til ’73) with equally knockout electric (?) lead figures by weir (?!) & pig on organ. grisman is almost immediately apparent on DEEP ELEM BLUES, with an almost funky backbeat & pig piano. BIG RAILROAD BLUES is 2nd taped version after an amorphous debut just before the festival express train tour. here, more like MYSTERY TRAIN than the dead’s later versions. pig plays piano on final acoustic TRUCKIN’ (which finds its mojo) & set-closing BROKEDOWN PALACE (my god). last taped acoustic/electric CUMBERLAND BLUES & NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. last SPEEDWAY ’til ’91, snaking playing (& sweet vocal outro) by soon-to-be-familiar almost-quartet dead. even the little bit of the new riders’ set is tasty, 1st circulating version of buck owens’s TOGETHER AGAIN with garcia getting his tom brumley on. electric dead isn’t quite as next-level. enjoying the early SUGAR MAGNOLIA configuration with jerry & phil’s backing vocals. in the electric set, last version of BIG BOY PETE with pigpen, shelved until ’78 acoustic breakout, a warlocks favorite. fairly sour ATTICS OF MY LIFE harmonies, only noteworthy because it’s been mostly pretty solid since its spring debut. set’s jam is 44-minute NOT FADE AWAY > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. big happiness over the bo diddley groove, garcia pushing the band into CAUTION & (i believe) the last old-style feedback segment into BID YOU GOODNIGHT, ala “live/dead.”

9/25/70 pasadena: no tapes, but great scene reports. a lost DARK STAR & possibly a version of bo diddley’s MONA.

9/26/70 salt lake city: no tapes, but solid reportage. acoustic & electric sets, new “american beauty” songs, DANCING IN THE STREET, MORNING DEW, & more, plus much hassle from cops.

10/4/70 winterland: with jefferson airplane, quicksilver messenger service, & more at winterland. big night, not quite reflected in music. broadcast live in quad via @KQED radio & TV. only stereo audio remains. while the dead play, word circulates that janis joplin has died in LA. also the night that young couple keith & donna jean godchaux fall in love with the dead & decide they NEED to play with garcia. onstage, a solid set. tape fades in with brief excerpt of 1st electric TRUCKIN’ before rippingly confident version of TILL THE MORNING COMES, with phil up front in the vocals usual. BROKEDOWN PALACE sounds a little rough in winterland’s cavernous maw. pigpen is without B3. typically wonderful CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. i think weir might be experimenting with some pedal/effect near beginning? lots of bouncing lead bass during RIDER. mid-set, @rosiemcgee12 returns from the medicine ball caravan (& gets shout-out on @KQED broadcast). 1st SUGAR MAGNOLIA that clicks in any way, with happy garcia leads bridging into the rapidly evolving SUNSHINE DAYDREAM coda, garcia & lesh’s background doot-doot-doot vocals starting to sound unforced & even relaxed, pure sunshine pop. what a difference a mix makes. UNCLE JOHN’S BAND sounds rough on the broadcast, but glorious on the golden road box set, maybe from the multi-track. vocals glow.

10/5/70 winterland: often misdated as 12/17 (when tapes were mixed down from multitrack). were the dead considering this material for a live album, or maybe they just wanted to hear how the multi-tracks sounded? crisp, short HARD TO HANDLE pokes into bright sunshine.pigpen has his B3 back. with CANDYMAN’s pedal steel overdub from “american beauty” only a week or two (or possibly days) old, totally dreamy guitar solo. subdued & somehow mournful 12-minute DANCING IN THE STREET the night after janis joplin’s death. as LIA points out, jam has a kind of a proto-BIRD SONG vibe, written for janis a few months later.

10/10/70 queens college: a show organized by taper ken lee. the dead begin a 2-month east coast tour, hitting every corner of NYC & beyond, beginning with a show put together in part by @capitoltheatre usher/taper ken lee for his girlfriend judy’s birthday (also his taping/ushering partner & now wife). “marmaduke stayed home, there’s no new riders tonight,” weir announces. “this is the economy package.” no touring sound crew either, only local engineers & tapers for fall 1970. they do bring pigpen’s B3. band doesn’t quite get it into gear, but tape upgrade helps a lot. openin’ TRUCKIN’ is still finding its electric footing, still a pretty hard boogie-shuffle, not yet choogling, garcia sorting out his bakersfield/blues licks, with winding outro that kinda just stops. at least on tape, 1st electric DEEP ELEM BLUES since april. there’ll be a few more acoustic sets, but these shows (& these 2 openers especially) are the raw beginnings of the next dead & the post-acoustic bakersfield groove. SUGAR MAGNOLIA adapting most enthusiastically. 26-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > NOT FADE AWAY. cool sprung-clockwork jam near OTHER ONE’s end. during NOT FADE AWAY, garcia introduces GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD as instrumental theme, ala BID YOU GOODNIGHT, just before its proper debut next show. garcia taps into a few nice UNCLE JOHN’S BAND flows, though dynamics get weird. hard to tell if one of the drummers is disintegrating or if it’s an offstage percussionist/thumper caught on audience tape.

10/11/70 wayne: 1st ever show in new jersey, at @wpunj_edu. a grungy but worthwhile audience tape. lesh is late, something about taking a cab from the city & getting lost, so early & late shows are each condensed sets to make it to curfew. nice subtle wah-wah color by garcia behind pigpen on HURTS ME TOO & not-subtle wah-wah color on CANDYMAN solo. DANCING IN THE STREET gets intricate, finding mini-zones & cool pockets as garcia & lesh zig-zag. MORNING DEW dips into beautiful quiet space not served well by tape. also not served when tape cuts off before the peak. at least someone taped! during the break, a teenage dead freak hangs with the band & helps write the setlist for the late show. late show starts with CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, also cut off. missing the beginning but not cut off, very thankfully, is 36-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. DARK STAR in full flower as tape fades in, with big drum swells before vocals where usually there’s only hand percussion. beautiful wah-wah moods in post-verse weirdness, evoking alien calls & prepared pianos. hyperspeed sputnik arpeggios, cloud-flight, gentle landing. in the middle of NOT FADE AWAY, 1st taped version of GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD, picked up by garcia from delaney bramlett during the festival express tour. pretty raw, but an instant staple. arrangement will solidify. played every year through 1995.

10/16/70 philadelphia: no tapes of the @DrexelUniv homecoming at @Penn’s irvine auditorium. a philadelphia daily news report with good scene color & decent setlist coverage filling out the fragments in deadbase. a lost (for now?) 1970 DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT.

10/17/70 cleveland: 1st show in cleveland. of the not-yet-released “american beauty” tunes, newly electrified TRUCKIN’ is still shufflin’ but more comfortably, signature licks & grooves TK, sadly cut harshly on tape. unusually, garcia takes a verse-long solo to start CANDYMAN, maybe a mic issue. also during CANDYMAN, pretty sure that someone near the mic says “i just snorted a half-gram of…” & enthusiastically describes. not coke. can’t make it out. the voices near the mic do get chattier. not too distracting, even charming, & audible on headphones. funny to hear THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA, with SUGAR MAGNOLIA as the post-peak comedown, sounding a bit subdued at first without the usual wah-wah drenching. 3-part vocal sunshine still in fully effect. jam in 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’ gallops out of dream break, channeling primal dead before an actual bass solo, everybody else dropping out. 51-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 19 minutes worth of wonderful DARK STAR. splice in languid intro, eerie glockenspiel in post-verse drift, turning into bright swinging bliss with locked in lesh/weir/kreutzmann. this almost certainly has to be the last time they played DARK STAR at 3 consecutive shows. evolving GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD features 1st use of BID YOU GOODNIGHT as its instrumental coda. employed by garcia to cue transitions since ’68, it now becomes a building block in the late set choogle medley, though also makes NOT FADE AWAY a little less wild.

10/18/70 minneapolis: no tapes of early or late shows, but enough to reconstruct setlists. between shows (probably) tom perthauime photos of the band jamming with swedish stewardesses (hubbed out of minneapolis) jamming with lesh on kreutzmann & hart’s sets.

10/23/70 washington, dc: @georgetown homecoming in the overstuffed mcdonough gym. taper cary wolfson, current @KGNU DJ, bribed an usher with mescaline to make the recording. the new riders of the purple sage return to the tour. the new riders are back & they’ve been practicing! their vocal blend with dave torbert sounds boss. SUGAR MAGNOLIA’s slow transformation into megalith continues, tonight seeming to click up microscopically in tempo & energy. compact primal sequence lays out the future of the dead, 25-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. TRUCKIN’ isn’t exactly jammed, but its 1st taped segue seems to give song/groove a new focus.

10/24/70 st. louis: the new riders close their opening set with HONKY TONK WOMEN, which is kind of a hot mess, marmaduke doing a more pronounced jagger & adding the “paris” verse from the stones’ outtake, which i don’t think he usually does. mix is chaotic but 13-minute DANCING IN THE STREETS opener pulls out the stops, including ricocheting TIGHTEN UP jam. 1st electric FRIEND OF THE DEVIL has some tape cuts, but garcia & weir are adjusting to new dynamics. ATTICS OF MY LIFE exceedingly rough vocally. 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’ gets extra-propulsive after drum break, launching from bass jam into extra-melodic high-speed not-quite-ST. STEPHEN major key bliss that seems like it’s following/finding its own new set of chord changes for a few delicious moments. 33-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT has severe cuts & feels medley-like with the tamed NOT FADE AWAY. slide guitar & more bass propulsion through LOVELIGHT.

10/30/70 stony brook: early & late shows. the late show started well after midnight. early set is compact hour. TRUCKIN’ finds its wheels, almost 10 minutes, starting to hint at the big unison jam peak. another gonzo early SUGAR MAGNOLIA with over-the-top doot doot-doots & extended falsetto shriek ending. 21-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > DRUMZ > CUMBERLAND BLUES > GOOD LOVIN’, in which CUMBERLAND replaces the post-DRUMZ jam & doesn’t jam at all, coming to a hard stop before fading up into the usual GOOD LOVIN’ . a 1-time occurrence but looking for the song to do something new. the new riders’ late set is an exceptionally good recording with great blend of present vocal, big acoustic guitar, enough pedal steel, & (most unusually) hart’s drumz sounding pretty tight, even crisp on WHATCHA GONNA DO. embarrassed that in the spate of absolutely terrible audience tapes, i missed the summer emergence of the new riders’ 1st jam tune: DIRTY BUSINESS, featuring a wide-open space in which garcia lays wild fuzz (& wah-wah?) on pedal steel & weaves with nelson’s 6-string. says weir, “have no fear, by the time we finish playing, folks, it’ll be november.” hot mickey mix, capturing insane thump on BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (with rare 2-beat intro) & primal BIG RAILROAD BLUES. electric FRIEND OF THE DEVIL has a very different tone than acoustic. the tempo is similar, but it feels mellower. maybe it’s the recording, but i think the strings sound less bright. TRUCKIN’ is a rare early/late show repeat, not quite igniting as much as earlier. 12-minute DANCING IN THE STREET floats into TIGHTEN UP jam. 40-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, crisp but confined until opening into wah-wah propulsion in LOVELIGHT.

10/31/70 stony brook: a halloween bust-out for the new riders in their early set with the 1st proper LONG BLACK VEIL since previous fall & the last version with garcia. comings/goings in early dead set. 1st electric DARK HOLLOW sounds fine, if tentative. with a new mellower ’70 vibe lending to easy segue, 14-minute VIOLA LEE BLUES > CUMBERLAND BLUES. an already-rare east coast fave, it’s the last recorded VIOLA LEE, with many MIA tapes. chaotic night. apparently a bomb threat in between the early & late shows. i think this is maybe even the last time the dead played early & late shows. i swear this is also the show where pigpen tells the local soundguy “i’m going to rip your head off & shit down your throat,” but can’t seem to find that bit on this recording. anybody? late dead set doesn’t quite make halloween magic, either. classic combo 29-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE, with weir yelling at the local sound crew & a fairly burpy COSMIC CHARLIE. (spot the typo on the ticket.) lots of pigpen representation. BIG BOSS MAN returns to the rotation, shifting ever closer to even representation between garcia, weir & pig. jam highlight is 14-minute GOOD LOVIN’. ultra-compact 20-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, the sequence still feeling new, garcia painting some fuzzed corners in the transition back to NOT FADE AWAY.

11/5/70 port chester: with american beauty in stores, the grateful dead open 4 nights at the @capitoltheatre with the new riders of the purple sage, last acoustic/electric shows until 1980. as always at @capitoltheatre in 1970, the stuff dreams are made of, 89-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. the 1st taped TRUCKIN’ edging into real swagger, full band leaning into the build to the final chorus. garcia fire throughout & especially as they leap into the jam, which flips into THE OTHER ONE a few seconds before the drum break, a move that will get very familiar. inaudible on audience tape, but keyboardist ned lagin maybe makes his debut, joining for intense OTHER ONE, detouring into drumless freeness before tape splices into warped pulse & 1st verse. clean DARK STAR segue using end tag usually leading to CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT. after 1st verse of DARK STAR, long flow of gongs, feedback, sustained notes & maybe ambient organ by ned? or maybe he didn’t show up ’til the 8th? whether ned’s onstage, feedback forms into conversation &, flashing past the main theme, up into a soaring FEELIN’ GROOVY jam. last taped sequence with DARK STAR/ST. STEPHEN & LOVELIGHT, the “live/dead” suite fading away. somewhere between NOT FADE AWAY & GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, pigpen adds harmonica. also, an alternate verse, transcribed by @alexallan. LOVELIGHT features a amped-up weeknight crowd, slide guitar jams, crowd-work, & awkward match-making that seems to maybe actually work?

11/6/70 port chester: tape opens with 25-minutes of audience-recorded soundcheck, including an acoustic ATTICS OF MY LIFE & (i think) a reference to future dead lighting designer candace brightman, then on-staff at @capitoltheatre. exceptionally psychedelic tape warble during the acoustic set, bordering on pitch-bending during garcia’s EL PASO solo. can’t totally tell who’s drumming, but i think it’s hart tonight. last taped acoustic versions of THE RUB & BLACK PETER. love this, during the acoustic set:
group of people in crowd: louder!
garcia: listen more carefully. [5/11]
only circulating new riders ME & BOBBY McGEE, marmaduke doesn’t quite remember all the words, cool to hear pedal steel, though. a few weeks before it hops into the dead repertoire. a C&W hit, janis joplin’s was recorded just before her death a month earlier, out spring ’71. forceful sunshine in CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, catching of the charge from the NOT FADE AWAY jam. TRUCKIN’ almost up to full speed, ripping into a big solo/jam before coming back for the last verse & a fade out. 1st electric set closes with 24-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > DRUMZ > THE MAIN TEN > DRUMZ > GOOD LOVIN’. band keeps seeking new directions for GOOD LOVIN’, here placing hart’s MAIN TEN instrumental between drum breaks, confined but dreamy. 2nd electric set is a 57-minute @capitoltheatre choogle fantasia with blazing garcia throughout: ALLIGATOR > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY > CAUTION > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. like the “live/dead” DARK STAR sequence on 11/5, tonight is the last taped ALLIGATOR/CAUTION, ala “anthem,” perhaps the pivot between primal & bakersfield deads. ALLIGATOR rages ala ’68, melodic garcia over drums, dancing around MOUNTAIN JAM & soaring into NOT FADE AWAY. NOT FADE AWAY outro detonates gloriously into CAUTION, with fierce jamming & noise squalls, enhanced somewhat by the tape grunginess. LOVELIGHT is almost a coda, pig telling a story about a bear. “you outta see my old lady, she can whip a dozen of ‘em.”

11/7/70 port chester: final acoustic versions of BIG RAILROAD BLUES (groove now starting to resemble later electric versions) & BROKEDOWN PALACE (stately & perfect, big harmonies), last garcia-sung HOW LONG BLUES (turning up later with guests). drums are basically inaudible on the acoustic set, but pretty sure it’s kreutzmann based on the easy grooves in BIG RAILROAD & DEEP ELEM BLUES. the newly released OPERATOR gets unusually big cheer, though maybe there’s something else happening off-camera as it starts? scintillating development: i think the 7-beat intro to BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE might be the 1st recorded instance of the day-of-the-month effect — as outlined, of course, in robert k. toutkousbian’s influential 1999 paper.  39-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > CASEY JONES. another stompin’ TRUCKIN’ but tonight’s 17 minute drum break is a bit much. OTHER ONE doesn’t telescope but gets fierce, best heard on marty’s tape, with a splice segue to CASEY JONES via CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT tag. 2nd electric set features rare ATTICS OF MY LIFE opener, wonderful & invocatory way to start. set doesn’t have big jam centerpiece, closing with a relatively short 11-minute GOOD LOVIN’ with machine gun garcia & a bit of a latin feel from weir at times.

11/8/70 port chester: half of the acoustic songs will turn up in the band’s ’80 acoustic sets (DIRE WOLF, DARK HOLLOW, ROSALIE McFALL, EL PASO, RIPPLE), but many won’t. final version of pigpen’s OPERATOR on any tape. never got why this didn’t last as an electric song. last of the molasses-slow acoustic versions of I KNOW YOU RIDER (before the 1st verse here it almost sounds like garcia is sliding into SO WHAT) & the joyous bluegrass-speed acoustic FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. somebody calls “stagger lee” & weir & garcia play a fragment of mississippi john hurt’s STACK O’LEE BLUES. “that one hasn’t past the hotel room stage, we don’t know all the words,” says weir, before final WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE save a single garcia/weir revival in ’83. electric set filled with requests & WTFs. riveting MORNING DEW opener with quietly stadium-sized solo. near start, a woman says, “they got your message.” taper marty weinberg had sent a cryptic note to garcia (via ramrod?) & got his request. thanks, marty! both MORNING DEW & EL PASO are featured on marty’s homemade LP of live dead, of which at least phil lesh was a fan. i wrote the full story of marty’s LP here, mostly excised from “heads.” torrent of marty’s LP. weir pops string (maybe?) & half-dozen unexpected songs follow. garcia picks pattern, crowd claps along, & he half-whispers MYSTERY TRAIN. kreutzmann joins & suddenly it sounds like the garcia band circa ’76, with part of willie dixon’s MY BABE, finding its own groove. weir charges confidently into AROUND & AROUND, the song’s dead debut, instantly in the rotation through ’95 (& beyond). this one’s garage-y & fuzzed, ala the stones. wish it’d stayed closer to this! sloppy fun pairing of NEW ORLEANS (led by weir) & SEARCHIN’ (by pig), as they did on one other family dog tape from ’69, making me wonder if they did it like this in the old days. NEW ORLEANS disappears, besides random outing in ’84. wonderful BABY BLUE (all over ’til ’72), garcia remembering verses, hitting big solos & band finding a good tempo & riding dynamics nicely. snap-cracklin’ TRUCKIN’ with weir spitting the verses, big build & fade, but even that’s only a prelude to the heart of the set. 35-minute DARK STAR > THE MAIN TEN > DANCING IN THE STREET with ned lagin on ghost organ. DARK STAR spins into melodious dialogues before 1st verse & then right into deep end. rich & shifting layers of glockenspiel, piercing squeals, audience restlessness, gongs, rumbles. maybe the most developed version of hart’s MAIN TEN theme & last before it becomes PLAYING IN THE BAND in ’71. weir & garcia find harmonized parts, jam blooms & drips into an all-timer DANCING. ear-popping TIGHTEN UP jam, garcia spitting joyful breathless melodies. 15-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY & 16-minute GOOD LOVIN’, both finding wonderful happy pockets & self-renewing grooves that don’t get boring, MOUNTAIN JAM colors, requent surprising peaks.

11/9/70 action house: the grateful dead begin a week in deeply off-broadway nyc venues, tonight at action house in island park. circulating tapes with this date are a mish-mash of terrible audience tapes with one oddity that could plausibly be from this date (but likely isn’t). most songs from “action house” bootleg have been identified, but still a loose/unaccounted version of WALKIN’ THE DOG, played in ’66 & 1 other ’70 tape, sung by weir & pigpen.

11/11/70 46th street rock palace: in borough park, brooklyn! atrocious sound, allegedly made with microphones hidden in a wheelchair parked at the rear of the orchestra pit. after sam cutler intro, smokin’ 3-hour set with lots of fierce playing buried behind mild tape distortion & crowd noise. after a few amorphous versions, 1st BIG RAILROAD BLUES to gel with the circular guitar intro lick. sounds boss. 26-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA pairing feels more successful than its previous outings, a resolution rather than comedown. OTHER ONE prisms quietly between verses before a joyful segue from the cannon shot in the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro. HARD TO HANDLE has extra little juice, painting new corners. in 17-minute GOOD LOVIN’, garcia finally plays up the rhythmic similarities to LA BAMBA & sings a verse (a trick he’ll repeat a few times in ’87), igniting into even more searing GOOD LOVIN’ jam. unusual standalone GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD begins with garcia & weir only, playing mellow electric folk arrangement, with band entering midway through along with special guests @JormaKaukonen, jack casady, & papa john creach as people near taper audibly freak out. last hour of the set amounts to a @hottunaband takeover, including UNCLE SAM BLUES, ODE TO BILLIE DEAN, COME BACK BABY, & a 23-minute NOT FADE AWAY that moves through little bits of HEY BO DIDDLEY & WHO DO YOU LOVE. an absolute fantasy for a segment of nyc heads. blues-rock occasionally pierced by guitar heroics & wondrous diamond-like psychedelic melodies by garcia or kaukonen. besides the virtuoso players, sometimes sounds like deliberately lo-fi DIY blues revivalists from the ‘00s. i like it with the tape fuzz.

11/13/70 (maybe) 46th street rock palace: after 2 mostly empty weeknight shows, 1st of 2 packed weekend gigs. bit of the short-lived TILL THE MORNING COMES. 13-minute GOOD LOVIN’ followed by more GOOD LOVIN’ from another mystery tape. confusing! is there harmonica at the end the longer GOOD LOVIN’ or is it just shrieks on the tape? if it’s harmonica, it seems to continue under pigpen, which makes it a guest, maybe will scarlett, which maybe makes this the friday show with guests? who knows? the 46th street rock palace gigs also provide some of the only eyewitness accounts of the band frying bacon onstage during a drum break, in a skillet perched on jerry’s amp. more research on that soon. is it audible on this tape? definitely not. possibly the ultra-rare WALKIN’ THE DOG & not-rare NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES from this hodge-podge also come from this same night at the rock palace?

11/15/70 albany: scheduled to play in albany, but split after a bomb threat.

11/16/70 fillmore east: last-minute add-on with hot tuna replacing jefferson airplane. excellently peppy FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, dancing bass. a tape cut here is where i think maybe the audience tape of GOOD LOVIN’ with papa john creach fits, overtones piercing through. curious about the keyboard on the left, not audible anywhere on tape. (as pointed out by a commenter, there’s also a weird bit of elton john performing honky tonk women which appears to be some tape filler in-joke because it was recorded the next day & released on elton’s 17-11-70 album.) steve winwood joins for HARD TO HANDLE, playing pigpen’s organ & sounding odd in the mix but grooving. winwood, traffic’s chris wood, & ramblin’ jack elliot all sing in NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD > NOT FADE AWAY, will scarlet poking through on harmonica. trying to appreciate what i think are ramblin’ jack’s contributions/yawps on GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, given the song’s woody guthrie connections, but he almost sounds a bit forced out by the dead’s arrangement & the dead’s vocals. i think he’s bop-shoo-bopping on NOT FADE AWAY? 17-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE. OTHER ONE abstracts into dialogues, bending & turning by the dead’s the-one-is-where-you-think-it-is musical logic while scarlet tries to find a place in the mix for harmonica & doesn’t totally succeed. the dead’s set ends with an amazingly cool move where scarlet starts toodling on harmonica & band magically coalesces around him into UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. allegedly another hot tuna jam set follows?

11/20/70 rochester: 1st trip to rochester, blowing it out in the @UofR gym, with the jefferson airplane’s @JormaKaukonen dropping by for an hour of great jams. i remembered this tape as being unpleasant, but not at all. CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER feels extra-propulsive as they lean into the transition, weir coming up with cool 2-chord groove as they climb over peak. the brief golden age for the original SUGAR MAGNOLIA with effusive wah-wah guitar & delighted group vocals. maybe i’ve spent a bit too much time with the song lately but, with these early versions, i’ve been appreciating & really loving it for maybe the 1st time. last taped GOOD LOVIN’ before the arrival of pigpen’s rap & it’s a full service 22-minute epic with long drum break (featuring probably-not-bacon sounds) followed by dynamic & slightly jazzed conversation. surely the 1st TRUCKIN’ with a cheer for “up to buffalo.” 31-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY is a very fall ’70 suite & almost like a blueprint for the future, feeling fresh here, especially using the CRYPTICAL tag to land in ST. STEPHEN. after nearly 2-hour 1st set, bonus hour with @JormaKaukonen, almost all jams except weir’s hopped-up ALL OVER NOW (rare on tape in this era, last ’til disappearing until ’76) & AROUND & AROUND (in 4 loose sets this month, here with a kersplat false start). 90-second tuning jam is stunning little example of garcia & kaukonen together. one starts casually fingerpicking & it turns into articulate elizabeth cotton-y flow for a brief moment. tapes say jack casady is on bass, but student newspaper strongly disagrees. then: 30 minutes of fantastic playing with jorma, maybe some of the most underrated jams of 1970 because they’re buried on a shabby-seeming audience tape. can’t recommend this whole sequence enough if you can get into 1970 audience tapes. at the heart is 20-minute JAM > DARLING COREY. tape says it’s marmaduke singing, but i think it’s garcia, the only dead version of a traditional song he did in the folk era. given the erratic fall ’70 tapes/setlists, i wouldn’t be surprised if it’d turned up other times. jams unfold like DARK STAR episodes at the matrix with the hartbeats. great jerry/jorma blend. just before harsh tape cut, sounds like they were maybe veering into DARK STAR. when it cuts back, feels more like HIGH FLYING BIRD, which is maybe even cooler.

11/21/70a boston: no circulating tapes from boston university’s seargant gym, though a few fakes. with ned lagin on keys for the whole night. first up, a chimp act. apparently didn’t go over too well. many great photos of the night.

11/21/70b boston: around 3am, jerry garcia, bob weir, & duane allman play an acoustic session on boston’s WBCN after their respective gigs. due to hippie wtf, there are only 2 guitars, & garcia & duane never play together on this tape. garcia sings a sweet version of johnny cash’s BIG RIVER, later a weir standard. garcia & weir do a short noodle on what seems to be BEAUMONT RAG. one last take of the drippingly slow I KNOW YOU RIDER. DJ requests TRUCKIN’ & CANDYMAN but garcia declines, saying his voice feels scratchy, though dispenses tons of high quality shit-talk throughout. duane (who turned 24 the day before) didn’t bring a guitar. finally, garcia gives duane his acoustic & duane shreds a bit of davy graham’s ANJI (crediting it to bert jansch). wow. duane accompanies weir on gene crysler’s LET ME IN before the tape cuts off. maybe jerry & duane jammed after that?

11/22/70 edison: a sold-out gym at @MiddlesexCounCo. likely the dead show that bruce springsteen writes about in his memoir. no tape, but @corry342 & commenters put it together.  one seemingly confident memory of NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE, otherwise absent from fall setlists. likely a flyer (& maybe review) of this show buried in unscanned back issues of NJ underground newspaper, all you can eat.

11/23/70 anderson theater: a party for the nyc hells angels at the anderson theater on 2nd avenue, around the corner from the angels’ clubhouse on east 3rd. circulating tapes are actually 11/16, but mind-melting review from east village other. if you thought it was absurd for the hells angels to do security at altamont, this was a show entirely booked, promoted, & operated by the angels. amazing account here of a street fight outside the show & buying a ticket from a blood-covered angel. naturally, the hells angels party opens with a set by a mime. possibly it’s joe mccord of the rubber duck co. accompanied by garcia on pedal steel. mccord was working with tom constanten at @BAM on “tarot,” where garcia will play the next day. also: hells angels guarding tapers! seems like a recording existed at some point. alas, the commenter has not resurfaced.

11/24/70 brooklyn academy of music: jerry garcia rehearses in brooklyn at @BAM with the cosmic sounding “tarot,” music by tom constanten.

11/29/70 columbus: show opens with mickey hart’s last show as drummer for the new riders of the purple sage, not circulating on tape. dead’s set opens with 1st (taped) electric DON’T EASE ME IN since ’67, sounding perfectly natural but disappearing until ’72. casually devastating mid-set MORNING DEW, too bad about tape quality. 32-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & MY UNCLE. OTHER ONE cracks open fully, turning inside out before/between/after verses, beginning 4 heady years for already 3-year-old song. 1st taped dead version of kris kristofferson’s ME & BOBBY McGEE, sung by weir, played at some earlier uncirculating shows. what a perfect song, finding a bittersweet place in the dead repertoire for the next while. wonder if they knew yet that janis recorded it. epic 21-minute GOOD LOVIN’ is the 1st with pigpen rap, more story-like than his LOVELIGHT spiels. tape quality is a little too fuzzy to parse, but some great atmospheric jamming (i think even slipping into TIGHTEN UP theme) as pig works it.

12/12/70 santa rosa: visuals by orb lights! not an amazing show, but the dead’s own soundboard tapes start up again here. the new riders of the purple sage debut with former jefferson airplane drummer spencer dryden. their portion of the night is only on a murky audience tape, but they really do instantly swing harder. not anybody’s best night vocally, all seem to be wavering in the same way, likely an especially shitty monitor situation. in related news, though, the dead have their sound crew back & won’t be without them again. TRUCKIN’ gets an agreed-upon ending for the 1st time. after the jam, band swings back to final verse & lands. weir watch: amusing tech break radio theater as weir encourages everybody in the crowd to whistle. “no screamin’, just whistling.” does sound kinda cool. tape flip in the middle, but pretty sure the set centerpiece is 28ish-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. again, OTHER ONE melts into quiet conversation, & weir skips 1st verse. after GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, as the NOT FADE AWAY groove starts up, brief passes through DARKNESS DARKNESS & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER themes before fading to a clap-along. weir tries & fails to count band back into NOT FADE AWAY. he explains off-mic, garcia laughs, & they do it. for pigologists, the beginning of the golden era for GOOD LOVIN’, where pigpen’s raps are less formulaic & more inventive than LOVELIGHT, & same for band’s accompaniment, though i will miss the pure vocal-free jams. “you don’t need no speed, you just need a little lovin’.” i take back what i said about the drummers overrunning UNCLE JOHN’S BAND in the late ‘70s, they are at full tumble-thump here.

12/16/70-ish the matrix: david & the dorks featuring crosby, garcia, lesh, & kreutzmann. though these recordings circulate as 12/15 (or sometimes 12/17), crosby’s banter on the soundcheck tape (“i overblew their mics last night”) means the tape has to come from the 16th or 17th. one of the great coulda-been bands of any era, with @thedavidcrosby & 3 members of the dead. hissy tape & rough mix, but wow. amazing new tunes by both croz & jerry, folk standards, deep jams with croz playing dynamic rhythm to garcia. some instrumental jamming on EIGHT MILES HIGH is probably the coherent music on the soundcheck tape, but oodles of historical interest & delightful headphone time travel. after COWBOY MOVIE, croz asks excitedly “wanna learn something new?” and so they learn THE WALL SONG (note: same version repeated 2x in file), after which garcia teaches the band primitive versions of BERTHA & BIRD SONG, 2 months before before their dead debuts, both with slightly different feels. the show itself is so great. sometimes maligned due to the meh sound quality, it’s remarkable music. all 4 @thedavidcrosby originals take a moment to click but all absolutely hit magic jam-space with assertive rhythmic movement by croz & weaving by garcia/lesh/kreutzmann. many of the tapes say that mickey hart is drumming, but to my ears it’s almost unquestionably kreutzmann. along with the pix from a few days later, it grooves/swings/flows too easily. hart had just been replaced in the new riders weeks earlier for unreliable tempos. especially thick feedback/sustain on slightly jacked COWBOY MOVIE. TRIAD floats from jazzy singer-songwriter mode to darting/slashing jams. THE WALL SONG has nice easy lilt, garcia harmonizing a few times as the song unfolds & it’s sweet. BERTHA’s stage debut is a little iffy, with more straightforward backbeat & dropped lyrics, but fun to hear crosby sing harmony. crosby’s rhythm gives DEEP ELEM BLUES a moodier feel than the dead’s versions. strong alternate universe vibes with crosby in place of weir. kinda too bad garcia’s not playing pedal steel on LAUGHING. missing the sublime studio delicacy, but slides into easy, groovy sweetness & blooms into a fuzzy peak. can only imagine the jams on the MIA sets.

12/23/70 winterland: billed as “acoustic dead,” the electric grateful dead at winterland, a benefit for montessori schools & owsley, with the new riders & hot tuna (on @jormakaukonen’s 30th). the “acoustic dead” billing is probably the result of fascinating offstage machinations, chronicled/pondered by @corry342. owsley was in jail as of july. his partner rhoney remembers there still being more appeals (& lawyers to pay). she gave birth to their son 2 days before this show. happy 50th, starfinder! none of the $$ went to them, but the dead kept up bear’s salary while he was in jail. a thin wednesday night crowd. briefly lived electric DEEP ELEM BLUES, weir’s bounce contrasting with darker feel of david & the dorks’ rhythm guitarist david crosby. good monitor theater. i will never get sick of garcia’s ME & BOBBY McGEE harmony. only jam is 19-minute GOOD LOVIN’, no pigpen rap, just hot garcia solos, before closing with friendly faves CASEY JONES & UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. “thanks for helping us bail out the bear,” garcia says figuratively. bear won’t be released ’til july ’72.

12/25/70 laguna seca christmas happening: locally-based global LSD smugglers in the brotherhood of eternal love drop free orange sunshine on the crowd from a plane. the grateful dead, en route to el monte, are supposed to play but, as the los angeles times reported, can’t make it through the barricades i asked sam cutler about this when researching “heads” & he had a vague memory of this being an accurate story.

12/26/70 el monte: ragged vocals but spirited playing, notable for overloaded BIG RAILROAD BLUES (with alternate verses) & NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES (with a verse of DARK HOLLOW), driving EASY WIND, & last recorded TILL THE MORNING COMES, a little frayed as it fades to oblivion. heaviness in 1st set with BLACK PETER & opening the 2nd with MORNING DEW (rough singing, soaring guitar), but mostly a big night for small crowd to boogie at the legion stadium (with in-wall fireplaces). band crashes charmingly thru 26-beat BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE intro. new era in which not even a choogle suite is guaranteed. again, jamming is limited to 20-minute GOOD LOVIN’. bright healthy noodles with an almost proto-SCARLET BEGONIAS bounce to the jam before pig’s rap. nice variations in outro chorus.

12/27/70a KPPC: fun & informative interview with ted alvy. at the 30-minute mark in the interview with garcia & weir & co., there’s a brief interaction with the DJ in the next time slot, @theharryshearer, hosting the cool freeform-sounding show, destination music. nobody makes reference to it, but shearer was the ex-roommate of once/future dead manager danny rifkin & helped draft the band’s statement after the san francisco police raided their house in ’67. the last of the early acoustic tapes. final SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES, sung by weir on/off since ’66. COLD JORDAN, A VOICE FROM ON HIGH, & SWING LOW SWEET CHARIOT all return briefly when garcia/weir sit in with the new riders in ’73.

12/27/70b el monte: another chilly night in a not-full venue. band encourages crowd to dance & circulate. garcia: “there’s room to move around. we’re not going to do anything unpredictable, you can listen almost anywhere.” new pigpen era ramping up, weir introducing him as “mountain man mckernan.” HARD TO HANDLE, 1st taped MIDNIGHT HOUR since june, GOOD LOVIN’ (incomplete on tape), & show closing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT all have pig raps, plus the eternally aching HURTS ME TOO. the last SUNSHINE DAYDREAM with doot-doot-doot backing vocals. last ATTICS OF MY LIFE ’til 9/72, a sad disappearance. rough around the edges, but still beautiful. i dig these raw faster versions of AROUND & AROUND more than the slow-motion boogie it became. 33-minute ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. drums get hushed for nice transition into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD. “aw no you don’t,” pigpen says as they shift into LOVELIGHT. they do.

12/28/70 el monte: opening new riders set has 1st taped version of merle haggard’s SWINGING DOORS. when dead come on, they comment on the smell of fire, in reference to giant in-wall fireplaces/space-heaters in venue. the little window of 2-drummer versions of TRUCKIN’ between the restarting of soundboard tapes in december & the departure of mickey hart in february is almost an alternate universe, with mellow shuffle-blues outro jam. 26-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA finds mellowness & zips into cymbal-tapping peaks before 2nd verse. revealing audio oddity before SUGAR MAGNOLIA: the sound of garcia’s wah-wah getting plugged in backwards, maybe not part of his regular rig yet? lesh & garcia drop the doot-doot-doot backing vocals in SUNSHINE DAYDREAM for good. new sound starting to consolidate amid the post-“american beauty” C&W/boogie with BIG RAILROAD BLUES (cool B3, buried in mix), DEEP ELEM BLUES (the last ’til ’78 & last electric version ’til ’80), the ever-cool ME & BOBBY McGEE. late set MORNING DEW is last 2-drummer version ’til ’76, with lovely & crushing finale solo. 25-minute GOOD LOVIN’ with pig’s rap continuing to get more narrative, this time about hitchhiking.

12/31/70 winterland: broadcast in quad on KQED, only audio remains.the last hometown dead show with the full double-drummer/pigpen lineup. show opens at midnight (i assume) with a barrage of popping balloons during TRUCKIN’. 1st taped cheer for “what a long strange trip it’s been.” weir watch: “for the sake of you TV viewers out there who are maybe new to this kind of thing, this is what a spaceship looks like in construction, complete with its malfunctions, & we’re experiencing the 1st here, being that phil’s bass has just passed the astral zone.” only full electric MONKEY & THE ENGINEER except for a random version with bob dylan in ’89. 29-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER. after bombing bass jam, OTHER ONE drips into slow-motion (half-time?) play around the pulse, never totally letting go. lesh & garcia narc out a taper & accuse them bootlegging. lame, guys!
garcia: can we can some spotlights on the microphones out there?
lesh: let’s find out who those people are, follow the cords from the microphones, folks.
garcia: there’s one sticking up, dead center.
lesh: the periscope… ah, it’s going down.
garcia: underground records, incorporated.
lesh: find this one for $10 at your local…
weir: as long you keep the price down, you oughta put it in a paper bag…
GOOD LOVIN’ has some ugly slices & a weird tape balance, cutting in on unusually driving & dramatic single-note bass, which pig starts his rap over, resolving to pig’s message. you might be a rockefeller, but you still need (checks notes) good lovin’. 40-minute jam after the dead’s set featuring hot tuna with weir doing the standards (JOHNNY B. GOODE, AROUND & AROUND, NOT FADE AWAY, jorma’s version of I KNOW YOU RIDER) is not especially compelling.

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

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2021, night #8 setlist

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
5 December 2021
*(Hanukkah, night 8)*

opening act: Eleventh Dream Day
comedian: Joe Pera
mix CD: Patty Schemel
benefiting: Letters To Santa & One Simple Wish

From Me To You (The Beatles, sung as “From Me to Jews”)
Today Is The Day (slow version) (with Janet Beveridge Bean/drums, Mark Greenberg/keyboards, James Elkington/guitar, Doug McCombs/bass)
Stockholm Sydrome (with Rick Rizzo/guitar, JBB, MG, DM)
The Crying of Lot G (with JE, DM, JBB, MG)
Avalon or Someone Similar (with RR, JBB, MG, DM)
Season of the Shark (with JE, JBB)
Two Trains (with JE, JBB, DM)
When It’s Dark (with JE, JBB, DM, MG)
Goin’ Back (Carole King & Gerry Goffin) (with JE, RR, JBB, MG)
Group Grope (The Fugs) (with JE, RR, JBB, MG, DM)
Some Kinda Fatigue (with RR, JBB)
Autumn Sweater
Deeper Into Movies (with JBB)
Sister Ray (Velvet Underground) (with MG, RR, JBB, DM)
Our Way To Fall

*(encore)*
The Whole of the Law (The Only Ones)
Dum Dum (Bush Tetras) (with Cynthia Sley and Pat Place)
Run Run Run (Velvet Underground) (with CS & PP)
Too Many Creeps (Bush Tetras) (with CS & PP)
Here Comes My Baby (Cat Stevens) (with Marilyn Kaplan/vocals & Mark Luecke/whistling)
My Little Corner of the World (Bob Hilliard, Lee Pockriss) (with MK)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2021, night #7 setlist

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
4 December 2021
*(Hanukkah, night 7)*

opening act: Natural Information Society
comedian: Hari Kondabalu
mix CD: Georgia
benefiting: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Green Arrow (with Natural Information Society)
I Can’t Stand It (Velvet Underground)
Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House
Mr. Tough
Did I Tell You
Is That Enough
Swing For Life (with Natural Information Society)
The Last Days of Disco (with Natural Information Society)
The Room Got Heavy (with Natural Information Society)
False Alarm
Too Animalistic (Angry Samoans) (with Dutch Worthington)
Drug Test
Upside Down
We’re An American Band
Blue Ling Swinger

*(encore)*
I Threw It All Away (Bob Dylan)
I Don’t Care (The Ramones) (with Jon Langford & Sally Timms)
Dan Dare – Out of Space (It’s A Really Nice Place) (The Mekons) (with JL & ST)
Keep on Hoppin’ (The Mekons) (with JL & ST)
Dan Dare – Out of Space (It’s A Really Nice Place) (The Mekons) [take 2] (with JL & ST)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2021, night #6 setlist

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
3 December 2021
*(Hanukkah, night 6)*

opening act: Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die
comedian: Dina Hashem
mix CD: Ira
benefiting: Abortion Access Front

whole set from “Tired Hippo” onwards with Chad Taylor on drums

Cherry Chapstick
Nothing To Hide
She May, She Might >
Ack Ack Ack Ack (The Urinals) >
She May, She Might
Pablo and Andrea
Have You Seen My Baby (Randy Newman)
Tired Hippo
I’m On My Way
I’ll Be Around
As the Hour Grows Late (with Jaimie Branch/trumpet, Jason Ajemian/bass, Lester St. Louis/cello)
Let’s Be Still (with JB/JA/LSL)
The Summer (with JB/JA/LSL)
Moby Octopad (with JB/JA/LSL)
Right Side of My Mind (Angry Samoans)
From A Motel 6
Mushroom Cloud of Hiss

*(encore)* with the Dream Syndicate
Definitely Clean (Dream Syndicate)
Too Little, Too Late (Dream Syndicate) (without Ira & James)
Hero Takes A Fall (The Bangles)
Some Kinda Itch (Dream Syndicate)
Tell Me When It’s Over (Dream Syndicate)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2021, night #5 setlist

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
2 December 2021
*(Hanukkah, night 5)*

opening act: Low
comedian: Fred Armisen
mix CD: James
benefiting: Environmental Advocates NY

whole show minus 1st 3 songs with Fred Armisen on drums

Surfin’ With the Shah (The Urinals)
Five-Cornered Drone (Crispy Duck)
Forever
Detouring America With Horns
Center of Gravity
Black Flowers
Fog Over Frisco
Don’t Have To Be So Sad
Nowhere Near
Baby Strange (T-Rex)
I Should Have Known Better
Big Day Coming (fast version)
Sugarcube
Ohm
The Story of Yo La Tango

*(encore)*
Sorrow (The McCoys)
Orange Song (Antietam) (with Tara Key on guitar/vocals)
(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais (The Clash) (FA on guitar/vocals, Joe Puleo on harmonica)
I Am, I Said (Neil Diamond) (with Alan Sparhawk & Mimi Parker of Low on guitar/vocals)
Keep It Warm (Flo & Eddie) (with AS & MP)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

yo la tengo, hanukkah 2021, night #4 setlist

Yo La Tengo at Bowery Ballroom
1 December 2021
*(Hanukkah, night 4)*

opening act: Cup (Nels Cline & Yuka C. Honda)
comedian: Jo Firestone
mix CD: Blockhead
benefiting: NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund

whole show with Nels Cline on guitar & Yuka C. Honda on electronics

Out of the Pool
Little Eyes
One PM Again (without YH)
Can’t Forget (without YH)
Lewis (without YH)
Tears Are In Your Eyes
The Race Is On Again (without YH)
Above the Sound
I Found A Reason (Velvet Underground) (with John Cameron Mitchell on vocals)
Waves of Fear (Lou Reed) (with JCM)
Clumsy Grandmother Serves Delicious Desert By Mistake (Jad Fair)
Out the Window
Styles of the Times
Tom Courtenay
Little Honda (The Hondells)

*(encore)*
Wasn’t Born To Follow (Carole King/Gerry Goffin)
Cool Metro (David Johanson/Syl Sylvain)
Hanky Panky Nohow (John Cale) (without YH & NC)

[ If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]