Jesse Jarnow

live jamz

#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]

hampton grease band, 1967-1973

Hampton Grease Band
GreaseBase: a chronology, 1967-1973

a work in progress

(please comment with all corrections/memories/additions or email!)

Hampton Grease Band: Harold Kelling, Jerry Fields, Mike Holbrook, Glenn Phillips, Bruce Hampton

Notes: Dates & setlist information from Great Speckled Bird archive, Glenn Phillips’s fantastic memoir Echoes: The Hampton Grease Band, My Life, My Music and How I Stopped Having Panic Attacks, and elsewhere. Tons of further info & stories about the Atlanta ’60s-’70s music scene available via The Strip Project. Except for circulating tapes (7/5/70, 5/7/72), all setlists are approximate.

Also including dates for spin-off bands the Stump Brothers (Glenn Phillips, Mike Holbrook, Jerry Fields), Avenue of Happiness (fronted by Mik Copas with Bruce Hampton on guitar), and the Starving Braineaters (Harold Kelling’s post-Hampton Grease Band project).

I published my extensive history, Lost Live Grease: Recovering the Hampton Grease Band (including interviews with Glenn Phillips, Jerry Fields, Mike Holbrook, and others), on Aquarium Drunkard in December 2020.

1967

fall ’67 William Franklin Dykes High School, Atlanta, GA
Fixin’ To Die, I’m So Glad

fall ’67 Poison Apple Room, Stables Bar and Lounge, Atlanta, GA
jams with harmonica player Bill Dicey
patron pulls gun and demands James Brown cover, band plays Popcorn, parts 1 & 2

 

1968

summer 1968 (left to right: Harold Kelling, Glenn Phillips, Bruce Hampton, Charlie Phillips)

early ’68 Catacombs, Atlanta, GA

spring ’68 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
weekly free shows

7/13/68 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Piedmont Park Be-In with Celestial Voluptuous Banana, Strange Brew, Danny & Jim, Toni Ganim, Guerilla Theatre

9/28/68 Catacombs, Atlanta, GA

10/xx/68 University of the South, Suwanee, GA
opening for Procul Harum

11/8/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA
with underground movies

11/9/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA
with underground movies

11/15/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA
with underground films
Rock Around the Clock

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 11/18/68: “The band was working under at least one handicap (a new drummer)… Everything considered, Grease was very together Friday night — I particularly remember several tripartite guitar improvisations that transcended the dimensions of stage, band, instruments, performers and audience. A high point was Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock,’ played almost straight and proving just how really hip the Grease Band is.”

11/28/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA

11/29/68 Peachtree Art Theatre, Atlanta, GA

11/30/68 Peachtree Art Theater, Atlanta, GA

 

1969

Piedmont Park, 8/31/69

1/4/69 Revolution Club, Marietta, GA
with Radar

1/25/69 Revolution Club, Marietta, GA
with the Glorified Square

2/14/69 The Spot, Atlanta, GA
Discovery Inc. presents. With Radar.

3/7/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with Leonda, billed as the Incredible Hampton Grease Band

3/8/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with Leonda, billed as the Incredible Hampton Grease Band
Rock Around the Clock (or previous night)

3/21/69 Bloody Eagle, Atlanta, GA
with the Fifth Order

Great Speckled Bird, 3/31/69

3/29/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Great Speckled Bird 1st Birthday celebration with Crust, Smoke, Nail, Little Phil and the Night Shadow, Toni Ganim, Anne Romaine

4/10/69 Underground Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Banana, Perpetual Motion, Electric Collage Light Show

4/11/69 The Spot, Atlanta, GA

4/14/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/15/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/16/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/17/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/18/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/19/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/25/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

4/26/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

5/11/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with Allman Brothers Band

5/24/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/25/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/26/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/27/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/28/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/29/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/30/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

5/31/69 Studio Theater, Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
A Research Institute and Production Coordination Guild For the Arts, Inc. (The Guild), poetry by Rosemary Daniell, computer by Gene Nottingham and George Cairnes

6/14/69 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

7/7/69 Unitarian Universalist Church, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, billed as “Lecture & Music: Can Discord Be Beautiful?” with Mr. Hoffman

7/7/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with the Grateful Dead, Chicago Transit Authority, Spirit, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, It’s A Beautiful Day

7/18/69 High Mausoleum, Atlanta, GA
Element, accompanied by Richard Robinson (electronics), with Frank Hughes lights

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 7/28/69: “A free-flowing synthesis of light, sound, and action, Element featured the addition of Richard Robinson’s electronic music to the Hampton Grease Band, and backed by one of Frank Hughes’ fine lightshows… The Grease Band, aging like wine in a barrel, played relaxed and mellow and yet upon occasion got up and took right off. Especially tasty was some of Harold Kelling’s lead guitar work. It is said that they were even better on Saturday night.”

7/19/69 High Mausoleum, Atlanta, GA
Element, accompanied by Richard Robinson (electronics), with Frank Hughes lights

8/5/69 Georgian Terrace Hotel, Atlanta, GA
with the Allman Brothers Band


Hampton Grease Band with Electric Collage Light Show, 8/18/69 (more here)

8/19/69 Georgian Terrace Hotel, Atlanta, GA
with Know Body Else, Fear Itself Booger Band, Electric Collage Light Show

 

8/31/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
billed as the Original Hampton Grease Band; with Robin
Turn On Your Lovelight

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 9/8/69: “The band is set up then and they begin a long instrumental riff, relaxed and feeling out the day, getting themselves together and the audience together with them. Harold Kelling’s long easy guitar notes climb up and soar out over insistent rhythms working through bass, drums, and second guitar. The music is alive and the audience is betting behind it now as the band finishes out the number and Bruce Hampton takes the mike, tightens the tempo and starts to take care of business, laying down hard-driving lyrics that soon have the crowd swaying, clapping, and then some are up dancing. And on. The music and the gathering went steadily up from there. Shouting and stomping vocals. Beautiful stretched-out instruments, silver singing guitar solos beating against the raindrops. ‘Gonna Let My Love Light Shine.’ Blues. Soul. Rock. The drummer leans into it. Incredible counterpoint guitar work between Glenn Phillips and Harold Kelling, perfectly matched, pushing each other on out, exploding in sound, exploding the people who are following the music now like a jazz audience, applauding riff after riff.”

9/7/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA

9/14/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
police riot; band plays without Bruce Hampton

9/21/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Mini-Pop Festival with Booger Band, Brickwall, Radar, Sweet Younguns
Wolverton Mountain, San Antonio Rose, Rock of Ages

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 9/22/69: “The Hampton Grease Band blew everybody’s minds with its sounds, and then brought out a 16-year old black saxophonist, showing a healthy disrespect for the labels we often put on our music and contributing an afternoon of Bill Haley and Pharoah Sanders, The Ventures and John Coltrane.”

9/27/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with the Hand Band, Boogie Chillun, Lee Moses, Allman Brothers Band, Joe South

9/28/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Jam (feat. members of Allman Brothers, The Second Coming, Mother Earth), unknown group, The Younguns, Lee Moses, Allman Brothers Band
Wolverton Mountain

10/18/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Piedmont Music Festival with Allman Brothers Band, Mother Earth, Boz Scaggs, the Second Coming, the Booger Band, Radar, Jackie Wilson

11/21/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with David Boice

11/22/69 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
with David Boice

11/23/69 Georgian Terrace Hotel, Atlanta, GA
Turkey Trip with the Younguns, Allman Brothers Band (originally scheduled at Duke Tire Co.)
Hendon, Charlie, Halifax, Has Anybody Seen My Gal, Reelin’ and Rockin’, Wolverton Mountain
E: Rock Around the Clock

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 12/1/69: “Just let me say in that their performance at last week’s Turkey Trip, the Hampton Grease Band outdid themselves, performing a mostly all-new set of extended musical explorations that included a longer ‘Mr. Bones,’ and ode to ‘Charlie,’ an incredible hymn to the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia (its lyrics sounded like they were taken from the pages of the World Book Encyclopedia!), a great moment by Hampton on (of all things) ‘Has Anybody Seen My Gal?’ in which he combined vocals with dance and comedy and reached the level that he was worked for these many years, unbelievable instrumentalizations by Glenn and Harold, Charlie and Ted, and a closing ‘Wolverton Mountain’ that drove the crowd into hysterics and brought Hampton & friends back for a fantastic ‘Rock Around the Clock’ — All Hail the Sounds of Suck Rock!”

12/11/69 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/xx/69 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA

12/18/69 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Miller Francis Jr. in Great Speckled Bird, 12/22/69: “It would be nice for The Bird if the Hampton Grease Band would start doing some less than incredible stuff — our writers are exhausted from thinking of superlatives. But judging from their Standing Room Only five-hour set at the Twelfth Gate on Thursday night (we even postponed our own Coop meeting so we could go and listen), the Grease Band evidently intends to get better and better and even better. What can we say except that this was the largest crowd ever drawn to that establishment (same for the Cellar Door the week before), and for a 50¢ charge, Bruce Hampton & Co. did one of the best things we’ve ever heard. Rumor is that this will be a weekly rendezvous of the Twelfth Gate and the Grease Band ($1 charge), so our advice is–whenever you see the name of this band, go, listen, be thankful for one of the best musical collaborations in the country.”

12/22/69 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Community Center benefit

1970

Sports Arena, 1/25/70

 

1/4/70 Electric Eye, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Booger Band

1/xx/70 Atlanta, GA
Mike Holbrook joins.

1/xx/70 Charlotte, NC

1/xx/70 New York City, NY
studio demos
Hendon, Evans, Hey Old Lady/Bert’s Song

1/25/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with Fleetwood Mac, Radar, River People
Jam, Rock Around the Clock

Clifford Endres, in Great Speckled Bird, 2/2/70: “The light-fingered Grease grope, however, is another order of magnitude – or something. The immortal Hampton, leader of the grope, materialized in the limelight to lead off the set performed the ultimate putdown of any and all guitar solos that ever were or will be, including Hendrix, Page and Townsend! And it totally confused whatever musical expectations the audience might have had. Captain ornu Greaseheart then took a saxophone and the band into an egg-sucking number which betrayed influences of Coltrane, Zappa, Pharoah Sanders, and AM radio feedback. Grunts, yelp, words, harmonies, discords, rhythms and counterpoints welded the audience together in miasma of jelly. Glen [sic] Phillips and Harold Kelling, amply supported by the wild drumming of Jerry Field [sic] and the elaborate bass figures of Mike Holbrook stretched into an amazing play of lyrical guitar lines that seemed to have no horizon.
‘They play music that sounds like music feels (!),’ said the beautiful blonde, stoned. Well, it got me off said the beautiful blonde, stoned. Well, it got me off, too. Great to hear how much tighter they have got since last hearing them, some months ago. Apparently the set was cut short become of time hassles, but Hampton closed with a ‘Rock Around the Clock’ that brought the audience to its feet–some of them even getting religion, or so it looked–and the farthest out band around these parts left the stage.”

1/30/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/31/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/xx/70 Massachusetts, near Vermont
with Calico

2/19/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/20/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/27/70 The Zodiac, Atlanta, GA

3/19/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/20/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/21/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/22/70 Southeastern Fairgrounds, Atlanta, GA
Aquarius ’70 with Electric Collage Light Show

3/29/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with What Brothers, River People, Ruffin

Charlie Cushing in Great Speckled Bird, 3/30/70: “Finally, the Hampton Grease Band, fresh from its sold out performances at Aquarius ’70! The band has added a sixth member, Bill, who reads newspapers (to himself).”

4/5/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with John Mayall, Chakra

4/17/70 The Warehouse, New Orleans, LA
with Country Joe and the Fish

Glenn Phillips: “We started the concert by mimicking the F-I-S-H cheer, shouting at the audience, ‘Give me an S. Give me an O. Give me an F. Give me an A. What’s that spell? SOFA!'”

4/18/70 The Zodiac, Atlanta, GA
with Interprize

4/24/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

4/26/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
Benefit for Midtown Alliance and Community Center, with Radar, Stump Brothers, Axis, Perpetual Motion, Brick Wall, Georgia Power Kompany, What Brothers, Ruffin

4/29/70 Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH
with Mountain
Wolverton Mountain

4/30/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Allman Brothers Band

Allman Brothers cancel after road manager Twiggs Lyndon is detained for stabbing a Buffalo club owner over nonpayment.

5/1/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Tony Williams’ Lifetime feat. Jack Bruce

5/2/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Tony Williams’ Lifetime feat. Jack Bruce

5/3/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, CA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers. Community Benefit. Bruce Hampton joins for several songs.

5/8/70 Glenn Memorial Auditorium, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
with B.B. King and Pegasus Light Show

5/10/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with the Grateful Dead (plus most of the Allman Brothers)
Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey?, Evans

5/16/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/17/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

5/23/70 Dobbs Hall, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Mik Copas sings with band.

5/30/70 Alumni Memorial Building, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Benefit for the Atlanta Mobe. With the Electric Collage Light Show.
Mik Copas sings with band.

6/6/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
6/7/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show. Stump Brothers at Spring Peace Festival with Axis, Ether, Celestial Voluptuous Banana, Country Pye, Eric Quincy Tate, Light Brigade, Eros, Robyn, Perpetual Motion, Ruffin, What Brothers, Stuff, White Lie, Stonehenge, Last Era, Bremrod, Booger Jam, Total Electric, Corn Cobb Jam, Pegasus Lantern Light Show

6/20/70 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA

Hampton Grease Band, Piedmont Park, 1970

6/21/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show. Stump Brothers with Axis, Celestial Voluptuous Banana, Eric Quincy Tate, Nancy Harmon & The Victory Voices, Robyn, Twelve Eyes, What Brothers, White Lie, Pegasus Lantern Light Show

6/28/70 Chastain Park, Atlanta, GA
Main Event with Radar, the Glass Menagerie, Howard Hanger Trio, Robert Edwin, Linda Harrell, Frank Boggs, Singing Mothers

6/28/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
billed as Hampton Grease Jam, with Chakra, Milan, Flint.

7/5/70 Middle Georgia Raceway, Byron, GA
Atlanta International Pop Festival. With Allman Brothers Band, Radar, Savage Grace, Gypsy, Goose Creek Symphony, Ballin’ Jack, B.B. King, Procul Harum, John B. Sebastian, Mountain. Hampton Grease Band played twice.
Halifax, unknown, Maria, Hendon, Wolverton Mountain, Treat Her Right > Bony Maronie
E: I’ll Go Crazy, Rock Around the Clock

7/10/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/11/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/18/70 Love Valley Music Festival, Love Valley, NC
with Johnny Jenkins, Tony Joe White, Donnydale, Catfish, Freedom ’70, Peace Core
Ascendant

Jerry Fields: “The scariest gig I remember doing was Love Valley — it was like a redneck Woodstock. Guys were walking around with six-packs of beer on their hips and shooting fireworks at ground level, like parallel to the ground. We went on after a group that performed naked, and they turned on their fog machine for their last song, ‘A Little Help From My Friends.’ Then we came out and opened with ‘Ascendant’ [by John Coltrane bassist Jimmy Garrison, on Elvin Jones’s The Ultimate]. At the end of the song, it was total silence — there was no crowd response at all. There were 75,000 people there, and they didn’t react. It was a really weird feeling — it was like we were in a void.”

7/24/70 Trinity Presbyterian Church Coffee House, Atlanta, GA

7/28/70 Maxwell’s Coffee House, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

8/1/70 AMB Auditorium, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
with Radar, Avenue of Happiness

8/7/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Radar

8/8/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Radar

8/13/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/14/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/15/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/20/70 Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, GA
with Fleetwood Mac

Jerry Fields: “It was sold out, and any other band would be going, ‘Oh, this is our big break.’ Instead, we go out and we jam for half an hour. No key, nothing — I just count to four, and we go.”

Great Speckled Bird, 8/31/70: “The real show that night was the Hampton Grease Band and their traveling asylum—two or three dozen people in various activities: reading, sewing on a flag, meditating, watching TV, and two go-go girls dancing in black tights, and the band played on! Unbelievable was the guitarist from Avenue of Happiness (which is a whole other trip in itself) coming out and playing a chainsaw during one frantic song. The playing included an attack on a log! The Grease has never been so insane, except maybe the night they flooded the Catacombs by ripping out the plumbing by swinging from the pipes! Another in the continuing saga of ‘Thick Grease.'”

Marthasville Vacuum, 10/1/70 (reprinted in Music To Eat): “On stage with the Grease Band were friends who danced, watched TV, listened to the music and marched around stage as if at home in their living room. One girl even read a book and another sewed on an American flag during the Grease Band’s performance.As to their `music’–and I use the term loosely–the band performed much the same way. Very little of what they did had any context within itself. The casual actions on stage relayed directly to the audience and caused wandering, talking and virtual unrest.”

 

summer 1970

8/27/70 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

8/28/70 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

8/29/70 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

9/12/70 Pittman Park, Atlanta, GA
Festifall, with Radar, Black Traffic

9/12/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/13/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/18/70 AMB Auditorium, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
with Stump Brothers, Avenue of Happiness

9/19/70 Cellar Door, Atlanta, GA

9/24/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/25/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/26/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Avenue of Happiness feat. Bruce Hampton on guitar

9/27/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
with Allman Brothers Band, Eric Quincy Tate, Avenue of Happiness, Stump Brothers, Chakra

9/29/70 West Georgia Fairgrounds, Carrollton, GA

10/11/70 Memorial Coliseum, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
with Three Dog Night
Apache, Evans, Bony Maronie

10/15/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

10/16/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

10/30/70 Apostolic Studios, New York City, NY
10/31/70 Apostolic Studios, New York City, NY
11/1/70 Apostolic Studios, New York City, NY
Music To Eat sessions
Halifax, Hendon, Evans

11/14/70 Trinity Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

11/20/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Avenue of Happiness, Screaming Gypsy Bandits, Balderdash

11/21/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Avenue of Happiness, Screaming Gypsy Bandits, Balderdash

11/22/70 Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH
with Winter

11/26/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/27/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/28/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/6/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

12/11/70 Memorial Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Anti-War Benefit. With Fifth Order, Aurora Light Show

12/13/70 Mudcrutch Farm, Gainesville, FL
Mudcrutch Farm Festival with Mudcrutch, Weston Prim, and others. [possibly 1/23/71]

12/19/70 Trinity Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

12/23/70 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

12/24/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/25/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/28/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

12/31/70 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

1971

Municipal Auditorium, 1/16/71

1/3/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

1/4/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/5/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/6/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/7/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/8/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/9/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/10/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA

1/11/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Little Feat

1/12/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Little Feat

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 1/25/71: “On the bill with Little Feat were the Stump Brothers, one of the Hampton Grease Band’s spin-off groups and always a smile to hear. The Stump Bros. are good musicians and generally play good music which runs from solid rock to primitive jazz with lots of echoes from the Fifties especially in the horn riffs. But this night (Tuesday) John Ivey had joined them on bass. I don’t know whether the addition is permanent or not but I hope it is, because Ivey’s playing took the whole group into another dimension of music. More than technical mastery of his instrument he possesses a musical conception of the bass that is way out front, in both roots and vision, of almost everybody around since Albert Stinson.”

1/13/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Little Feat

1/15/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Fox Watson

 

1/16/71 Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, GA
with Allman Brothers Band
unknown new songs, Evans, Rock Around the Clock, Bony Maroney

Clifford Endres in Great Speckled Bird, 1/25/71: “They turned in a fine set, introducing some new material in the tradition of their tight and complicated best, moving from rock into free jazz breaks a la Roland Kirk with flutes, sticks, and weird little noisemakers and putting down some electronic music on top, too. Strange how the shadow of Zappa peers out from the music of both Hampton and Little Feat in different ways, but it does. The Greasers went on into a great parody of Detroit rock, did their old standby ‘Jim Evans,’ and wound up with ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and ‘Bony Maroney’ just so we wouldn’t forget where they come from — rock classicsville. Their record will be out soon on Columbia, and as an indication of just how good they are–which we who hear them so often tend to forget when the shock of surprise wears off–listen to WREK and the mix they have of ‘Jim Evans’ from the forthcoming album. It relates to the schlock around it like pearls to swine.”

2/4/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/5/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/5/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

2/6/71 Bottom of the Barrel, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/21/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/25/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/26/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/27/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

4/2/71 Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, Avenue of Happiness

4/3/71 Memorial Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Anti-War Benefit. HGB featuring Wesson Oil, with Stump Brothers, Henley Walron’s John, Core Dump, Aurora Light Show

4/25/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

4/29/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

4/30/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/1/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/2/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

6/5/71 Fillmore East, New York, NY
with Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Head Over Heels. First show with Syd Stegall (keyboards).

6/6/71 Fillmore East, New York, NY
with Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Head Over Heels

6/13/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness

6/xx/71 Atlanta, GA

Glenn Phillips: “When the band returned to Atlanta, we played at a club owned by a local politician… The next day, when we went back to the club to get our equipment, we discovered that the owner had shut the place down because of financial problems and had locked our equipment inside.” Band is on local news.

 

7/1/71 Central Theatre, Passaic, NJ
with Alice Cooper

7/9/71 Eastown Theatre, Detroit, MI
with Bloodrock, Suite Charity

7/10/71 Eastown Theater, Detroit, MI
with Bloodrock, Suite Charity

 

Atlanta Municipal Auditorium, 7/17/71

7/17/71 Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, GA
First show without Harold Kelling, with Allman Brothers Band, afternoon show only.
new song, Pump Face, Evans

7/22/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/23/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/24/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/25/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Record World, 9/25/71

8/25/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/26/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/27/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/28/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/29/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/30/71 Gaslight Au Go Go, New York City, NY
with Fat Alice from Dallas

8/30/71 WKCR, Columbia University, New York City, NY
interview

9/3/71 Winston-Salem Convention Center, Winston-Salem, NC

9/4/71 Hickory Club, Hickory, NC

9/5/71 Hickory Club, Hickory, NC

9/16/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/17/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

9/18/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

10/8/71 J&J Center, Athens, GA
with Terry Melton and the Laughing Disaster, Milkweed, Acme Blues Band, Smokewood

10/15/71 Point After Club, Hickory, NC

10/16/71 Point After Club, Hickory, NC

10/17/71 Point After Club, Hickory, NC

11/1/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Lawton Singh, Iskon

11/26/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/27/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/30/71 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Avenue of Happiness; last show with HGB-related lineup

1972

Head Rest, 8/12/72

1/7/72 Marietta Teen Center, Marietta, GA

1/13/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/14/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/15/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/16/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/4/72 The Rat, Gainesville, FL

2/5/72 The Rat, Gainesville, FL

2/20/72 Double Calf, Louisville, FL
with Buster Brown

2/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/26/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/27/72 Bell Auditorium, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL
with Radar, Clear
Bony Maroney

3/xx/72 college, SC [maybe]
with Bette Midler and Barry Manilow

3/9/72 Student Center, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
with Sewer System, Brer Rabbit, Hydra

3/13/72 People’s Place, Atlanta, GA

3/16/72 Music Connection, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Atlanta Rhythm Section

3/17/72 Music Connection, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Atlanta Rhythm Section

3/18/72 Music Connection, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Atlanta Rhythm Section

3/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

3/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

Harold Kelling & the Starving Braineaters

4/23/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/1/72 One Eyed Jack’s, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/2/72 One Eyed Jack’s, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/3/72 One Eyed Jack’s, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

5/6/72 Pickens High School, Jasper, GA

5/7/72 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with Mahavishnu Orchestra
unknown instrumental > Peter Gunn Theme > 7000 Tears, Alphonso and Louise, King of the Road, Pump Face, Creator > unknown instrumental, Knowing You, Tom Corn
E: Rock Around the Clock
broadcast several weeks later on WREK

5/11/72 North Springs, GA

5/12/72 Andalusia High School, Andalusia, AL

5/26/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

5/27/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

6/10/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

7/14/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

7/15/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Hubbler
“Hubbler” included on Glenn Phillips’s Lost At Sea (1975)

7/28/72 People’s Place, Atlanta, GA

8/12/72 Head Rest, Atlanta, GA
with the Chambers Brothers
I Go Crazy, Sunshine Of Your Love parody

8/18/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/19/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

8/20/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
broadcast live on WREK

8/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

8/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

8/26/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

9/2/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: jam with Glenn Phillips, Mike Holbrook, Jerry Fields, Bill Porter, Starving Braineaters, John Ivey (bass), Al Smith (saxophone), Lance Mohammed (saxophone), Bill Breeze (vibraphone), Tim Embry (electric violin)
broadcast live on WREK

9/7/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/8/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

9/28/72 Sports Arena, Atlanta, GA
with Cheech & Chong

10/5/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

10/6/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

10/7/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

courtesy Bill Hardin

10/14/72 B & B Ranch, Duluth, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters, with Fletcher and the Piedmonts

10/20/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

10/21/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

10/29/72 Lake Spivey, GA
Concert For Bangladesh, with Wet Willie, Eric Quincy Tate, Stonehenge, Road Apple, Kudzu

11/2/72 Mississippi John’s Coffee House, Williams Center, Georgia State University, Statesboro, GA

11/3/72 Recital Hall, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
broadcast live on WRAS

11/22/72 Municipal Auditorium, Panama City, FL
Thanksgiving festival. With Mourning Glory, The Machine

11/24/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

11/25/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

12/12/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/13/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/14/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/15/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/16/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/17/72 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
with Jeff Espina

12/21/72 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

1973

1/4/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/5/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

1/6/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA

2/2/73 Last Resort, Athens, GA

2/3/73 Last Resort, Athens, GA

2/9/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/10/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

2/23/73 Great Southeast Music Hall
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

2/24/73 Great Southeast Music Hall
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

3/2/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA

3/3/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA

3/10/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

3/11/73 12th Gate, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters

3/24/73 Jekyll Island, GA
Non-HGB show: Starving Braineaters, with Hydra

3/31/73 Recital Hall, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
final Hampton Grease Band show, featuring a marching band and appearance by Harold Kelling.
I Got A Mind To Give Up Living

4/6/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Kudzu

4/7/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Kudzu

4/8/73 Great Southeast Music Hall, Atlanta, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers, with Kudzu

5/4/73 Country Store Restaurant, Athens, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

7/31/73 Coffee House, West Georgia University, Carrollton, GA
Non-HGB show: Stump Brothers

 

Me too, Pat. Me, too.
Great Speckled Bird, 1/21/74

 

APPENDIX: Hampton Grease Band songlist

Originals:

Agony
Alphonso and Louise
Charlie
Creator
Eggs
Evans (a. Egyptian Beaver, b. Evans)
Halifax
Hey Old Lady/Bert’s Song
I’m Bad
Knowing You [speculative title]
Lawton
Hendon (a. Spray Paint, b. Major Bones, c. Sewell Park, d. improvisation)
Hubbler
Maria
Pump Face
Six
7000 Tears [speculative title]
Tom Corn [speculative title]
Upper and Lower Dresden

Covers:

African Village (McCoy Tyner)
Afro Blue (Mongo Santameria) [Stump Bros.]
Apache (The Shadows)
Ascendant (Jimmy Garrison)
Bony Maronie (Larry Williams)
Fixin’ To Die (traditional)
Gillette Razors jingle
Has Anybody Seen My Gal (California Ramblers)
I Got A Mind To Give Up Living (traditional)
I’ll Go Crazy (James Brown)
I’m Bad Like Jesse James (John Lee Hooker)
I’m So Glad (Skip James)
King of the Road (Roger Miller)
Maiden Voyage (Herbie Hancock) [Stump Bros.]
Magnificent Seven Theme (Elmer Bernstein)
Rawhide (Link Wray)
Reelin’ and Rockin’ (Chuck Berry)
Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley)
Rock of Ages (traditional)
San Antonio Rose (Merle Haggard)
Slaughter On Tenth Avenue (The Ventures)
Straight Alki Blues (Leroy Carr)
Sunshine Of Your Love parody (Cream)
That’ll Be The Day (Buddy Holly)
Treat Her Right (Roy Head & the Traits)
Turn On Your Lovelight (Bobby “Blue” Bland)
Walk Don’t Run (The Ventures)
Wings of a Dove (Bob Ferguson)
Wipe Out (The Surfaris)
Wolverton Mountain (Claude King/Merle Kilgore)
Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey? (Hughie Cannon)

new fillmore east/n.f.e. theatre/village east/villageast/the saint, 1972-1988 (fillmore east, post-bill graham)

(Photo by John Rosenthal)

Also very much a work in progress!

Originally opened as the Commodore Theatre in 1925-1926, used for Yiddish vaudeville and movies, the auditorium at 105 Second Avenue in Manhattan was most famous as the Fillmore East, which Bill Graham operated from 1968 to 1971. But the room had multiple other lives as a music venue, including the Village Theatre, from 1965-1968.

After Bill Graham closed down the Fillmore East in summer 1971, it sat vacant for barely a year. In July 1972, Frank Morgenstern purchased the building (Billboard, 7/22/72, p. 16), announced plans to open as the Village East, but sold the building by fall, before putting on a single show (Rolling Stone, 10/26/72). From November 1972 until early 1973, shows were booked as Village East/Villageast.

In 1974, the building was purchased by the Brooklyn Yeshiva. Later that year Barry Stuart (aka Barry Stein) reopened the venue as the New Fillmore East, but changed it to N.F.E. Theatre after Graham’s disapproval, and shows lasted into early 1975. Several famous bands used it as a practice space, as well. In the ’80s, it became one of Manhattan’s last pre-AIDS mega-discos, The Saint, with the venue entrance possibly moving to 223 E. 6th Street, and hosted

Please post corrections, comments, memories, etc., or email me at link on the right, including with information about for DJs, light artists, and other performers at The Saint.

Village East/Villageast

November 17, 1972
Virgin, rock opera by Father John O’Reilly (opening)

Following three-city promotional tour (Record World, 11/25/72, p. 27).

December 15, 1972
Bloodrock, Elephant’s Memory, Trapeze

Went until dawn, per Billboard. Trapeze has their van and gear stolen (Cash Box, 12/30/72, p. 30).

December 16, 1972
Bloodrock, Foghat, The Fabulous Rhinestones

December 22, 1972
New Groups of the ’70s to Rock the Ages

December 23, 1972
New York Dolls, Teenage Lust, Eric Emerson with the Magic Tramps

December 27, 1972
Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Estus

December 28, 1972
Steve Miller Band, Seatrain, Speedway Johnny (early show only), Rick Roberts (late show only)

Reviewed in Billboard, 1/20/73, p. 18.

December 30-31, 1972
Roy Buchanan, Crazy Horse, Full Moon, Speedway Johnny (early show, 12/30 only), Rick Roberts (late show, 12/30 only)

Reviewed in New York Times, 1/1/73; in Cash Box, 1/13/73 (p. 24).

January 12-13, 1973
Miles Davis, Paul Winter Consort

In Miles’s band: Reggie Lucas, Cedric Lawson, Bala Krishna, Mike Henderson, Badal Roy, Mtume, Al Foster, Dave Liebman. Miles returns to the stage after a car crash in which he broke both legs.

February 2-3, 1973
Joy of Cooking, Goose Creek Symphony, Full Tilt Boogie Band

Photo of marquee by John Rosenthal.

December 26-30, 1973
KISS

KISS rents the Fillmore East to rehearse for their full debut with make-up on December 31st at The Academy. Photos.

January 8, 1974
KISS

KISS plays a promotional event to launch their first album for Casablanca.

New Fillmore East/N.F.E. Theatre

December 7, 1974
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bob Seger, David Barretto

re-opening, written up in New York Times
promoted by Barry Stuart

December 31, 1974
Ike and Tina Turner Revue, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Hidden Strength

Reviewed in Billboard (1/25/75, p. 26)

January 14, 1975
Weekly Tuesday talent night begins. Say it lasted for 3 iterations?

January 18, 1975
Roy Buchanan, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Hydra

Reviewed in Billboard.

January 21, 1975
Talent night

January 29, 1975
Talent night

February 3-9, 1975
Blue Oyster Cult rehearses with full lighting rig.
The Dictators also rehearse there during this period.

February 14, 1975
Papa John Creach, Barnaby Eye (cancelled)

Gossip about cancelled shows in New York Times.

February 20, 1975
Elvin Bishop (cancelled)

February 21, 1975
Deodato (cancelled)

February 22, 1975
Argent (cancelled)

The Saint

1980 DJs: Alan Dodd (opening night, 9/20/80), Robbie Leslie

1981 DJs: Robbie Leslie

March 1, 1984
Grace Jones

March 19, 1986
Spin 1st anniversary party: Red Hot Chili Peppers

May 29, 1986
‘60s Ball: Bob Weir, Jorma Kaukonen, Country Joe McDonald, Steve Kimock, Peter Yarrow; Chambers Brothers; Buffy Sainte-Marie (recording)

October 9, 1986
They Might Be Giants

October 31, 1986
Shriekback

August 7, 1987
Dead or Alive

January 15, 1988
Relix 15th anniversary party: The Dinosaurs, Country Joe McDonald, Wavy Gravy (M.C.) (recording)

Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna sat in. Reviewed in New York Times.

January 29, 1988
The Chambers Brothers
Psychedelic Daze Revue

February 19, 1988
Iron Butterfly, Richie Havens, The Vipers
Psychedelic Daze Revue

village theatre, 1965-1968 (fillmore east, pre-bill graham)

(Photo via Frank Mastropolo & John “Beedo” Dzubak of Kingdom Come)

Very much a work in progress!

Originally opened as the Commodore Theatre in 1925-1926, used for Yiddish vaudeville and movies, the auditorium at 105 Second Avenue in Manhattan was most famous as the Fillmore East, which Bill Graham operated from 1968 to 1971. But the room had multiple other lives as a music venue.

The bookings by a variety of promoters during the year before Bill Graham’s arrival are perhaps even more eclectic than what followed when Graham took over, perhaps the city’s greatest “lost” rock/jazz/poetry/political/folk venue. (And, after the Fillmore East, it had another checkered life as the New Fillmore East, aka the N.F.E. Theatre, aka the Village East, subject of a separate, much briefer chronology.)

Thanks immeasurably to the work Corry Arnold (of the mighty Lost Live Dead, Hootrollin, and Rock Prosopography) and Marc Skobac, and the It’s All the Streets You Crossed Not That Long Ago blog (who posted tons of great Village Theatre ads and ephemera for the initial research and inspiration, as well as the Independent Voices database.

Please post corrections, comments, memories, etc., or email me at link on the right.

March 28, 1964
Lenny Bruce

November 19, 1965
Donovan

Donovan’s New York debut, promoted by Harold Leventhal, longtime manager of Pete Seeger, The Weavers, and many others. Leventhal had also put on Bob Dylan’s first formal New York concert at Carnegie Chapter Hall in 1961.

November 24, 1965
Chuck Berry, The Blues Project, The Undercurrents

Chuck Berry was backed by Al Kooper and the Blues Project. Hosted by Jack Walker.

November 30, 1965
Lenny Bruce, Mongo Santamaria & Co.

July 29, 1966
The Avant-Garde, presented by Joe Pinelli & Lovebeast Enterprises, MC: Alan Grant
Ornette Coleman Trio, Giuseppi Logan Quartet, Frank Smith Sextet

August 12, 1966
The Avant-Garde, presented by Joe Pinelli & Lovebeast Enterprises, MC: Alan Grant
John Coltrane Quintet, Marion Brown Quintet, Jeanne-Lee/Ran Blake Duo

August 26, 1966
The Avant-Garde, presented by Joe Pinelli & Lovebeast Enterprises, MC: Alan Grant
Archie Shepp Quartet, Albert Ayler Quintet, Frank Smith Sextet

Sepember 19, 1966
Mark Lane on JFK assassination.

September 20, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

Billed as “a series of three psychedelic celebrations.”

September 27, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 3, 1966
LeRoi Jones

October 4, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 11, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 18, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

October 25, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 1, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 8, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 15, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 22, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

November 29, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

December 6, 1966
Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner
Psychedelic art by Jackie Cassen and Rudi Stern

Allen Ginsberg appeared at the December 6th performance.

December 22, 1966
Jazz concert, featuring Stokely Carmichael

December 26, 1966
John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman Trio

John Coltrane with Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali, Sonny Johnson, Omar Ali, and Algie Bata. Many photos. Gig details.

January 29, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam: Broadway Dissents, featuring Alan Alda, Ruby Dee, John Henry Faulk, Jules Feiffer, Diana Sands, George Tabori

February 2, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam: Judson Chamber Ensemble, Bread and Puppet Theater

February 4, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in Vietnam: Children’s program at 2 pm: Chalk Talk with Maurice Sendak, Eva Merriam (poetry), Yakim Mime Troupe, films, folksingers; The Last Word (at 8 pm): Jack Glick, Daniel Magrin, Cyrelle Ferman, Phil Corner

February 5, 1967
Angry Arts Against the War in the Vietnam (4pm): Art Farmer, Jimmy Heath, Jackie McLean, Burton Green and Vincent Gaeta, Clifford Thornton, Pharaoh Sanders, Jeremy Steig, Joel Freedman

Just Music?” report from the Village Voice by Michael Zwerin
Everybody’s Stepchild,” Michael Zwerein, continued

February 14, 1967
Sweethearts’ Day Poetry Reading featuring Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, Ishmael Reed, Peter Orlovsky, Allan Katzman, David Henderson, Lorenzo Thomas, Paul Blackburn, Joel Oppenheimer, Len Chandler, Ronald Stone, Denise Nichols, Hart LeRoi Bibbs, Tom Dent

February 17, 1967
Jonas Mekas and Film-Makers’ Distribution Center present Lenny Bruce (1965)

February 22, 1967
WBAI Benefit: Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Chad Mitchell Trio, Patrick Sky, Judy Collins

February 25-26, 1967
Albert Ayler Octet

Performances from February 26th were released on In Greenwich Village (Impulse, 1967) and The Village Concerts (ABC Impulse, 1978)

March 3, 1967
Lucas Hoving Dance Company

March 10, 1967
Pomare Dancers

March 12, 1967
Kay Boyle Tribute to the Rev. A.J. Muste: Daniel Berrigan, Dorothy Day, Dave Dellinger, W.H. Ferry, Fred Halstead, Alfred Hessler, Nat Hentoff, Arnold Johnson, Sidney Lens, Bradford Lyttle, David Miller, Bayrd Rustin, I.F. Stone, Marge Swann

March 13, 1967
Eleo Pomare
Subscription dance series for 10 Mondays presented by Eugene Dildine and the Village Theatre

March 17, 1967
Philadelphia Woodwind Quartet, Ornette Coleman Trio

March 20, 1967
Midi Garth (dance)

March 25, 1967
Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba, with Flip Wilson
presented by V. Steven Truett

March 27, 1967
Yukiro (dance)

April 3, 1967
Norman Walker (dance)

April 10, 1967
Paul Sanasardo (dance)

April 14, 1967
Angry Arts (afternoon and evening shows): Free Spirits, Judy Wieder, Robin Roberts, Barbara Dane, Blues Project, Dave Van Ronk, Penny Whistlers, Chad Mitchell Trio, Gene and Franceca, The Magicians, Children of Paradise, Izzy Young (M.C.)

April 17, 1967
Mariane Perra

April 22, 1967
Klay Folk Festival: Beers Family, followed by old-fashioned hootenanny
Presented by Berale Klay and Goya Guitars

April 27, 1967
Merle Marsicano (dance)

April 28, 1967
Chuck Berry
Presented by Psi Upsilon Fraternity

May 1, 1967
Lucas Hoving (dance)

May 2-4, 1967
Abolafia Presidential Love-In (aka Abolafia Cosmic Love-In, aka Cosmic Love Convention): possibly featuring Group Image, Eric Andersen, Alec Leonhardt, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Richie Havens, Paul Krassner, Free Spirits, Children Of Paradise, Elaine White, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Described as a “72-Hour Freakathon for Hippies and Saints,” Louis Abolafia was a nudist/love candidate for President and early hippie advocate for the town of Woodstock. Memories from Abolafia’s brother. Associated Press photo.

May 8, 1967
Meredith Monk (dance and music)

May 12, 1967
Malvina Reynolds and the Pennywhistle Singers
Bernie Klay & Goya Guitars presents

May 13, 1967
An Evening With God by Renewal Magazine in Celebration of the Penetcost starring: The Rev. Malcolm Boyd, Dick Gregory, Paul Krassner, Dr. Timothy Leary, Len Chandler, Dr. Harvey Cox

May 15, 1967
Bhaskar (dance)

May 18, 1967
3-Penny Poetry Reading For Life Against the War in Vietnam: Andrei Voznesensky with Sam Abrams, David Antin, John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Gordon Bishop, Karl Bissinger, Robert David Cohen, Phillip Corner, Gregory Corso, Robert Creeley, Joe Early, Clayton Eshleman, The Fugs, Donald Gardner, Malcolm Goldstein, Jackson Maclow, Lewis Meyers, Joel Oppenheimer, Jerome Rothenberg, Joel Sloman, Gil Sorrentino

May 19, 1967
Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theater, The Pennywhistlers
Bernie Klay and Goya Guitars Presents

May 20, 1967
Tribute to Chaim Towber

May 27, 1967
Horace Silver Quintet, Morgana King, Ahmad Jamal Trio

June 3, 1967
Herbie Mann, billed as Impressions of the Middle East.

There was some kind of bazaar set up in the lobby. Herbie Mann’s 1967 album, The Wailing Dervishes, was recorded at this performance, featuring Rufus Harley, Reggie Workman, Bruno Carr, Moulay “Ali” Hafid, Chick Ganimian, Roy Ayers, Steve Knight, Esber Köprücü, Hachig T. Kazarian, Steve Knight, Oliver Collins, and James Glenn.

June 5, 1967
Ruth Currier Dance Troupe

June 11, 1967
WOR-FM 1st Anniversary Party (early & late shows): Blues Project, The Doors, Janis Ian, Chambers Brothers, Richie Havens, Jeremy and the Satyrs, plus Jim Lounsbury, Johnny Michaels, Scott Muni, Murray the “K”, Rosko

June 12, 1967
Charles Weidman Theater Dance Company

June ??, 1967
Trips To Wear (fashion show): Third Eye Band, Quintet Revolutionary

June 25, 1967
Songs For Synanon: Count Basie Band, Arthur Pryscock, Stan Getz Quintet

June 26, 1967
Tamara Woshakiwska, Charlotte Honda and Margot Parsons (dance)

June 28, 1967
Bread For Heads Festival: Mothers of Invention, The Fugs, Left Banke, Allen Ginsberg, Tim Buckley

July 8, 1967
Blues Project, The Who, Richie Havens, Chrysalis, Third World Raspberry (playing after)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

Purportedly the final Blues Project show.

July 21-22, 1967
The Byrds, Vanilla Fudge, The Seeds (late only on 7/21, early & late on 7/22)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion (7/21 added later)

July 28, 1967
Janis Ian, The Grass Roots (early & late)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

August 5, 1967
Janis Ian, The Association, Jake Holmes (early & late shows)
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

August ??, 1967
Luis Valdez’s Teatro Campesino

August 16, 1967
The Community Breast, A Benefit For The Community (sponsored by To Each All Things): Tiny Tim, The Fugs, Judy Collins, Richie Havens, Peter Walker
Proceeds to Diggers, Provos, and the Communications Company. Pearls Before Swine cancelled.)

August 21, 1967
Barry Gordon

August 24, 1967
Benefit for the Harlem Six and the black people of Dorchester County, S.C.: James Baldwin, Richie Havens, Ossie Davis, Dick Davy, Frank Mitchell Quintet, Bob and Joe

Billed as James Baldwin’s “first major address in 2 years.” Per the East Village Other, 8/24/67, “Baldwin will relate the unrest in America’s Negro ghettos to American foreign policy in a benefit performance tonight… Baldwin is returning to this country from a two-year writing tour in Europe and Istanbul. Co-sponsoring his appearence are the Charter Group for a Pledge of Conscience and the Dorchester Committee of New York City.

August 25, 1967
The Yardbirds, The Youngbloods, Jake Holmes
Don Friedman Presents Explosion

The night Jimmy Page learned “Dazed and Confused” by hearing Jake Holmes perform it.

August 26, 1967
New Stars in ’67 starring Henry Bell with Julie Janeiro, the Jacksonians, the Young Long Islanders, Samuel Avital, Burton Greene, Sandy Allyne, Martha Reynolds, Yvonne Warden, Mother Hive, Sampson Horten Orcehstra

September ??, 1967
Peace rally with H. Rap Brown & others

That New Black Magic! Keep It Violent,” Leticia Kent in the Village Voice.

September 2, 1967
Mitch Ryder, Vanilla Fudge, The Illusions

September 5, 1967
James Cotton Blues Band, New York Blood Sweat and Tears (billed as Al Kooper/Steve Katz), The Kingdom Come

September 6, 1967
The Glories, The Vibrations, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs

September 8, 1967
Sri Swami Sivananda with Bob Fass, Dr. Joseph Gelberman

September 9, 1967
The Doors, The Vagrants, Tim Rose
Dynasty Presents

The Vagrants (from Queens) featured Leslie West, future co-founder of Mountain.

September 22, 1967
Dick Gregory, Charles Mingus, Andrew Hill

September 23, 1967
Cream, Canned Heat
(Moby Grape cancelled.)

They Play Blues, Not Superstar,” Richard Goldstein in Village Voice

September 30, 1967
Cream, Soul Survivors, Richie Havens

Cream only played early show.

October 7, 1967
Wilson Pickett, The Paupers, Eric Anderson

October 11, 1967
The Weekly Freakly

Announced as a weekly series in Billboard “featuring Lower East Side talent and top recording acts,” I’m going to assume it only happened a handful of times and vanished.

October 14, 1967
Sarah Vaughan and Arthur Prysock
V. Steven Truett presents…

October 15, 1967
October Breakout, MC: Bob Fass
3 pm: Richie Havens, Eric Anderson, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Paul Krassner, Archie Shepp Quartet, Jeremy and the Satyrs, Barbara Dane, Matt Jones
8 pm: Phil Ochs, Charles Mingus, Tim Rose, Moondog and Strings, Paul Krassner, Joe Frazier, Paul Knopf, Bill Fredricks, Elaine White
produced by Topic Magazine and United Jazz Workshops

October 18, 1967
The Weekly Freakly

October 20-21, 1967
Otis Redding and Carla Thomas (cancelled)

October 20-24, 1967
Festival of Changes, A Celebration of the New Destiny; The Sight & Sound of San Francisco Scene: New Salvation Army Banned, The C.I.A. (Center for Interplanetary Activity)
visual disorientation by Liquid Sandwich, Aurora Glory Alice

October 25, 1967
The Weekly Freakly

October 27-29, 1967
Donovan (cancelled)

October 28, 1967
Procol Harum

October 30, 1967
Half Note 10th Anniversary Show: Paul Anka, Carmen McRae, Cannonball Adderley Quintet, Bobby Hackett, Al Cohn (conductor), Alan Grant (M.C.)

October 31, 1967
Halloween Party

November 3, 1967
Yardbirds, Vanilla Fudge (early & late shows)

November 4-6, 1967
Jefferson Airplane (cancelled)

November ??, 1967
James Cotton Blues Band, Blood Sweat and Tears

November 7, 1967
Wilson Pickett, Martha and the Vandellas, James Cotton

November 10-11, 1967
The Doors (cancelled)

November 11, 1967
Moby Grape

November 12, 1967
The Buck Owens Show (4 pm & 8:30 pm): Buck Owens with the Buckaroos, Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins, Rose Maddox
Bob Wyld and Art Polhemus Present

November 17-18, 1967
Electric Flag, Charles Lloyd (cancelled)

November 18, 1967
Charles Lloyd Quartet (early & late)

November 19, 1967
Cosmos presents: Moondog and Mimi Sym, Group Image & Lights, Aluminum Dream, Tiny Tim, Federal Duck, Charles O’Hegarty, Kingdom Come, Lee Crabtree, Grey Company, Pageant Company, plus underground film, Izzy Young (M.C.)

November 23-24, 1967
(early & late) Moby Grape, Druids of Stonehenge, Charles O’Hegarty, Kingdom Come

November 25-26, 1967
The Who, The Vagrants, Rich Kids
Gary Kurfirst Presents

Perhaps when The Who first met Vagrants/Mountain guitarist Leslie West, who would go on to play on the Who’s Next sessions. Promoter Gary Kurfirst would go on to manage Talking Heads, Blondie, The Ramones, and many others.

December 2, 1967
Mass Meeting, planning for Stop The Draft Week, December 4th-8th, organized by Fifth Avenue Vietnam Peace Parade Committee

December 26-27, 1967
Grateful Dead, Peggy Emerson, Take Five

It snowed through a hole in the ceiling. Complete program for the shows. Program features a track list and coupon for the forthcoming live album Take Five were recording that night, allegedly to be released soon on Constellation Records (of 322 E. 44th Street), but I can find no further evidence of this album, Take Five, or a New York company called Constellation Records. Anybody?

February 2, 1968 [moved to Anderson Theater]
Country Joe & the Fish, Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band, Soft White Underbelly

Soft White Underbelly was the prototype version of Blue Oyster Cult, who later used the closed-down Fillmore East/Village Theatre as a rehearsal space in 1975.

February 23-24, 1968
Pearls Before Swine

#deadfreaksunite 1979

#deadfreaksunite 1979
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]

1/5/79 philadelphia: the 1st of 2 consecutive fridays at the spectrum, making up cancelled gigs from november. 14-minute SUGAREE opens the year, lazy & getting lazier until garcia kicks into gear for final solo, & unfortunately weir & his slide follow suit. blazing fast MAMA TRIED/MEXICALI BLUES with liquid garcia leads, carrying into BROWN EYED WOMEN. weir watch: GOOD LOVIN’ rap expanding for the new year with references to other pigpen standards (TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT & MIDNIGHT HOUR) & getting both dorkier & tighter. i’m pretty sure there’s some deadhead in the foreground of this audience tape occasionally punctuating songs with tambourine. audible during IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES & a few other quiet places. 60 minutes of ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE > BLACK PETER. long descent into hopped up & slightly metronomic EYES that loosens a bit beneath garcia’s guitar chatter. most of DRUMZ/SPACE MIA. garcia steers TRUCKIN’ confidently into the always-rare NOBODY’S FAULT, 1st since 10/77 (& last ’til ’81), a leftover from the very early days, with a microcosmic turnaround into BLACK PETER.

1/7/79 madison square garden: the grateful dead’s madison square garden debut, the 1st of 2 shows, rescheduled from november. shredding JACK STRAW. after electric & acoustic outings in november, JACK-A-ROE makes a welcome & uptempo return to rotation. garcia’s voice is scratchy, but he delivers it confidently along with colorful & panoramic guitar breaks. 2nd set opening I NEED A MIRACLE cracks into small but real jam, shuffling & swerving, pushed by garcia & keith, before quick fade entrance into 1st MSG version of SHAKEDOWN STREET, a song built for ‘70s NYC. big cheers for “don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart…” 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. a natural-seeming upshift segue into a hyperspeed EYES bearing little rhythmic relation to its original incarnation but possessing elegant garcia curls in outro. finally, mickey’s balafon spills into SPACE, a flowing flow with garcia garciaing before weir finds an unusually voiced path into NOT FADE AWAY, balafon continuing under song, which maintains its strange colors & keeps peaking. in a few places, tape preserves the clattering popping sound of fireworks with a nostalgic analog warmth, before one remembers that people are setting off fireworks inside. during last songs, tape also captures the sound of the PA trying to eat itself.

1/8/79 madison square garden: no, seriously, at almost any point during this tape, audience members are clapping along. 19-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener, with a big swell between, all filled with casually tidal garcia guitar. 21-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN to open set 2. donna vocalizes far into transition, which isn’t great, but garcia pulls out bold high-speed threads. deep & present FIRE vocals, but garcia’s scratched voice is flickering in/out like a radio station. briefly starlit, TERRAPIN STATION glides into 40-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT.  PLAYING stays in one place but is a total ripper. crowd excitedly claps in 4, nearly blurring out extra 2 beats as mickey’s marching snare driving jam. only a wisp of SPACE before a compact & quickly churning OTHER ONE. GOOD LOVIN’ is still goofy af, but might prefer it to AROUND & AROUND as a show closer, if only for the variety & energy. but why so many oldies, weir?

1/10/79 nassau coliseum: more than 3 hours of music, almost single-handedly accounted for by semi-rare ROW JIMMY. MUSIC NEVER STOPPED burns slightly hotter than usual, middle jam turning liquid, with palpable sense of garcia surfing the outro. 51-minute DARK STAR > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > ST. STEPHEN, or just DARK STAR > WHARF RAT > ST. STEPHEN? DARK STAR is longer & more luminous than the new year’s bust-out, a patient flow around a pulse that never breaks open until just before the DRUMZ. most conversational balafon SPACE yet, flying bits of dialogue for a few enthralling minutes before mickey backs out & phil rumbles louder. also a reminder that weir makes better squiggly noise without using a slide. not particularly incendiary, but the last ST. STEPHEN ’til 10/83 & the last time DARK STAR & ST. STEPHEN appear in the same set.

1/11/79 nassau coliseum: weir’s clive davis-referencing JACK STRAW lyric mutates further, “used to play for acid, now we play for clive.” vocals are raw & jam overblows ending, but a ripsnorting melodramatic shoot ‘em up. not a great version of the song, but smokin’. to open the 2nd set, keith & jerry (especially) continue to push I NEED A MIRACLE into jam territory until weir pulls band back. maybe a slight instance of keith parroting garcia’s lines, but mostly just outward-looking chatter.
rare full band absurdity after weir wishes mickey & donna happy birthdays.
garcia: by the oddest coincidence, it’s also bob’s birthday!
phil: & mine too!
donna: & it’s keithy’s birthday, too!
weir: the birthday brothers band!
donna: the birthday brothers & SISTERS band.
fun 70-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. new spaces in long HE’S GONE, quiet floating garciaisms during intro & action-packed outro with garcia/keith dialogue & hideous weir slide guitar (with some efx?). hand-DRUMZ & garcia build to a super tight TRUCKIN’ which spirals into a graceful but inevitable slow motion fall into THE OTHER ONE. vocals aside, STELLA BLUE is a thing of a beauty, especially the whispered metallic blooms of garcia’s last solo. set-closing GOOD LOVIN’ & CASEY JONES encore both thunderously tight. enormous song-long CASEY JONES singalong audible on the soundboard, especially in the cracks between garcia’s vocals.

1/12/79 philadelphia: garcia’s voice is at seemingly maximum scratch, making this a pretty tough listen. semi-miraculously, they manage not to repeat anything from the previous weekend’s spectrum gig. 55-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD is multiple shades of choogle with no space-outs or ballads. DANCING is all high-speed jerry, culminating with 7 minutes of technicolor solo shredding over the drums.

1/14/79 utica: making up a cancelled show from 12/2/78. 1st COLD RAIN & SNOW since july opens, now with weir on slide, one more evolution for one of the oldest songs in their repertoire & not its best look. the last version with keith & donna. multiple accounts of keith nodding out at his keyboard & later fighting with donna onstage. audience tape quality makes it hard to listen closely, but neither is evident. repeated fireworks throughout, sometimes close enough to the mics to distort the signal. music picks up with spritely DIRE WOLF. still chuffed to have JACK-A-ROE back in play, both ‘cuz it’s great & ‘cuz it’s more variety for garcia. 2nd set opening I NEED A MIRACLE has short but still developing keith/jerry jam, leading to looser than usual BERTHA groove. 64-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > IKO IKO > THE OTHER ONE > BLACK PETER. audience clapalong in 4 creates wooziness in ESTIMATED jam, which breaks into cascades by end. EYES is hyperspeed caricature, occasionally impeding on garcia’s vocal phrasing. 1st IKO IKO since egypt is 13 minutes of sluggishness, after which garcia hits accelerator & goes screaming off towards a version of THE OTHER ONE exactly half that length.

1/15/79 springfield, MA: perhaps JACK-A-ROE works well ‘cuz it’s too fast for weir to attempt slide guitar? last ROW JIMMY of the godchaux era. when both garcia & weir play slide, it borders on theramin-like wooze, but locks later. clicked-in peaks during CASSIDY. “our bass player phil was last seen consorting with a couple of aliens. we are, of course, hoping everything turned out alright. anyway, if you see our bass player, won’t you please send him home…” keith/jerry I NEED A MIRACLE jams remain an unexpected treat. under 7 minutes, but garcia leads a nearly perfect segue into SHAKEDOWN STREET, complete with a pause for the doom chord, then blows the 1st lyric. 2nd half dives into pocket. garcia’s vocals are tough, but glowing improv in TERRAPIN STATION. the starlight jam crosses 2 minutes, with everybody contributing confidently & delicately. the outro, too, has surprising & dramatic full band zags. excellent 41-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, breaking down into intimate garcia/weir/godchaux/lesh quartet jam, 1st DRUMZ segment with no kit thumping (atmospheric!), articulated balafon + band improv (weir’s slide borders on tolerable), & patient PLAYING reprise. CASEY JONES bypasses both the predictable jerry ballad & weir rocker slots & is a far better way to end a proper set than weir singing a ‘50s rocker (which he does in the encore anyway). weir watch: chuck berry gets birthday shouts before & after JOHNNY B. GOODE encore, despite it absolutely not being his birthday.

1/17/79 new haven: making up a cancelled show from november. both sets get straight to jams & 2nd is nearly all suite-ed. short SHAKEDOWN STREET opens show & 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN begins 2nd half with especially potent weir/keith conversation during transition. 72-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > JAM > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. more burbling weir/keith rhythms push subtly at ESTIMATED, bursting into another speedy caricature of EYES, garcia’s guitar sounding like infinitely skipping pebbles. post-DRUMZ starts unpromisingly with weir on slide, but stays fascinating & builds slowly. while mickey keeps drumzing, kreutzmann gets behind kit & jam gets delicious, early ‘70s quintet style, for a few minutes. an early ’79 highlight. weir watch: NOT FADE AWAY pleasantly fades instead of becoming a screamfest. forced segue from BLACK PETER into AROUND & AROUND falls/splats twice. on the other hand, admirably smooth move from AROUND & AROUND into set closing GOOD LOVIN’.

1/18/79 providence: excellent donna & weir blend on LOOKS LIKE RAIN, neither overpowering. RAMBLE ON ROSE, a song whose simple rhythm keeps it sweetly close to its original arrangement, is detailed & fun. garcia’s voice sounding as together as it has since summer. except for acoustic gigs, benefits, & miscellaneous one-offs, the last grateful dead show without a DRUMZ segment. old fashioned 44-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. OTHER ONE breaks open into mild churns & chaos.

1/20/79 buffalo: 1st (& increasingly rare) theater show of the year. donna has departed the tour. starting an hour late, apparently, a bit of a rough evening in erie county, at least until the jam suite. garcia often forgets that he’s the only backing singer, missing cues, energy, & small chunks of his vocal range. but then a 50-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > JAM > OTHER ONE > DARK STAR > NOT FADE AWAY with 2 “like whoa!” peaks. weir’s guitar sounds uncharacteristically warm, especially as ESTIMATED settles in. metallic billy/jerry wilding right before DRUMZ. 1st peak is 2.5 minute post-DRUMZ jam. mickey drops onto balafon, billy heads directly/confidently for the kit. brief quintet dead jam swells up, the balafon like a pinball. semi-graceful OTHER ONE wind-down, serving the same function as the long-forgotten written ending. 2nd peak is the 9-minute DARK STAR, the last ’til 12/81 & the final version with keith godchaux’s moody conversational keys. post-verse jam folds into rich density until weir utterly ripcords a moment of beautiful strangeness with NOT FADE AWAY. c’mon, man! but NOT FADE AWAY is also brief & unusual, barely 5 minutes, garcia latching onto a playful calypso-like melody during intro that informs the rhythmic feel of the solos/jams. great until the sickly slide guitar enters.

1/21/79 detroit: another rare theater show. part of it is the tiny, tinny audience tape, but band is at far from full sparkle. sleepy but rippling FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. without donna to abet, weir stays chill during the DEAL ending & it’s quite appreciated. no starlight jam in TERRAPIN STATION. 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE. hard to make out details, but PLAYING melts forcefully &, in the last few minutes, breaks into cool rhythmic pixelations. rare night where SPACE is longer than DRUMZ, though each is barely 6 minutes. balafon/garcia jams mostly buried in tape fuzz. after this show, the band gets 3 weeks off, before improbably picking up the tour a few hours down the road in indianapolis.

2/3/79 indianapolis: opening what will be the dead’s final tour leg with keith & donna jean godchaux. 1st CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER since 12/77, only 2nd since 10/74, back in rotation for good. not as vista-filled as early ‘70s, but in bright, triumphant shape even with a new weir slide part. satisfying rainbow peaks in MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. highlight is 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN. song portion of SCARLET isn’t much, but fierce guitar break leads to unrelenting & nearly butterfly speed transition jam. 54-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. a ruminative ESTIMATED flows, accelerates, & blooms with speedy drama into speedier EYES. SPACE is aimless autopilot, destination never in doubt. I NEED A MIRACLE jumps into a new late set spot, making it a very rare (& welcome) 2nd set/encore without any oldies.

2/4/79 madison: “st. paul, minnesota” gets semi-local cheer during BIG RIVER. especially leisurely turns on FRIEND OF THE DEVIL & TENNESSEE JED. blazing LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION, perfect for garcia’s almost-the-‘80s shredding. exceptionally beautiful vocal performance by donna jean on FROM THE HEART OF ME, band sounds great, too, on an unfortunately chatty audience tape. nice fade, clean ending. 84-second starlight jam midway through TERRAPIN STATION.
overheard on the audience tape:
deadhead #1: DO ST. STEPHEN!
deadhead #2, clearly some distance away: OKAY!
52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > IKO IKO > BLACK PETER. hard to hear everyone during bopping & static-seeming PLAYING jam, widening at end. chattering garcia cut through. occasional keyboard sparkles & spacious jazzy comping suggest action under surface. balafon SPACE is mostly idle crosstalk before last IKO IKO of keith & donna era, disappearing ’til 8/80. audience tape ambience enhances the swampiness. donna’s voice sounds great.

2/6/79 tulsa: the final grateful dead show for which no tape has (yet) surfaced. the next-most-recent missing gigs are from ’71. setlist only.

2/7/79 carbondale: show starts on up note, cutting in midway through the 1st DON’T EASE ME IN since 8/74, another warlocks song returned to the songlist for good, sounding almost identical to when they last played it. according to roadie steve parish’s memoir “home before daylight,” this was the night garcia gobbled a lot of valium before the show. bad scene. garcia actually sounds fine ’til STAGGER LEE, ~35 minutes in, before the obvious wobbles start. then, yuck. all that survives of 2nd set is 18 minutes of the last keith/donna DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ. garcia sounds slightly better, but maybe for the best that the rest is missing.

2/9/79 kansas city, ks: as band comes on for 2nd set, crowd starts clapping NOT FADE AWAY rhythm & band starts playing it. the 1st time that happened & definitely not the last. NFA’s only time as a set opener between ’70 & ’88. 53-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > COMES A TIME. long HE’S GONE jam starts awkwardly, but finds cool shapes as weir stays off slide & drummers make graceful switch to hand percussion. improv goes in/out of focus ’til it’s 5 minutes of just garcia & drummers. elegant chill/thump/chill DRUMZ before garcia picks up shredding. 1st COMES A TIME since 5/78, last with keith, disappearing again ’til 5/80. as in ’78, no donna. garcia doesn’t hit all the big notes, but it’s all beautifully damaged & spiraling.

2/10/79 kansas city, ks: weir watch: though it’s sorta mumbled, i believe @clivedavis has now been excised from the JACK STRAW lyrics. 2-hour 2nd set starts with the last SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with keith & donna. 24 minutes & way sedate, even on the crisp audience version. jerry’s voice not helping. the transition jam goes deep, but FIRE is equally mellow. starting to cut to the wire: maybe the best FROM THE HEART OF ME yet in terms of donna vocal, band performance, & crispy recording quality. 63-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. by now, EYES is more or less a different arrangement & everyone agrees on speedy tempo. a fairly tight specimen, with old-fashioned darting bass. DRUMZ starts/stays on hand percussion. full stop before long SPACE, starting drummerless, like “modern” segments. partially due to clean soundboard, it’s especially rumbling/dislocating. double encore is sweet, but they’ve really gotta both be weir songs?

2/11/79 st. louis: the end of 2 solid months of “shakedown street” touring in st. louis, keith & donna’s last road gig. 1st MIGHT AS WELL since 5/77, fit for garcia’s newer limited range, & still a good forum for keith’s boogie. 1st set is under an hour, despite weir’s two mini jams, LAZY LIGHTNING > SUPPLICATION & a wide, soaring MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. garcia is ready to chatter on 2nd set opening SAMSON & DELILAH. keith’s last CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is excellent. garcia finds nice floating melodies during the transition, somehow almost beatlesy. 47-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. the action is all in the PLAYING, which spiders & turns in place, breaking into freakiness for a few minutes at end. keith’s last STELLA BLUE, hanging in the song’s sad space, low in the mix as always. I NEED A MIRACLE gets a little happening, the last of the keith/jerry jams there, weir’s slide adding color, before an admirably slick turn into GOOD LOVIN’.

2/17/79 oakland coliseum arena: the show was a benefit for environmental cancer research, promoted by bill graham, with speechifying by jane fonda & tom hayden, as well as a pre-show screening of “fun with dick & jane” (starring fonda). beginning of the post-winterland era & bust-out city! 7 songs not in rotation when the band last played california over new year’s, more than half of those getting their 1st airing in a year or more. show opens with 1st GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD since 10/74 & it rips. garcia’s solo is a multi-stage flare. 1st HIGH TIME since 5/77 is reassuringly crisp & even jaunty, with confident harmonies, garcia navigating well. short potent LAZY LIGHTNING/SUPPLICATION. a fond farewell to donna jean’s FROM THE HEART OF ME, a song i’ve genuinely started to dig, specifically its delicate bounce & the way the melody lands on “safe & warm…,” & garcia’s squigglies of course. not the definitive version. 1st BIG RAILROAD BLUES since 10/74, folk stomping like 1970 again. busy & fun, with mickey’s locomotive snare drumming & phil’s bass leshing. fantastic TERRAPIN STATION with soaring starlight break & widening outro but garcia’s voice weakens by the end. 53-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > SHAKEDOWN STREET > PLAYING IN THE BAND. right-on free keyboard sparkles as PLAYING melts. stuttered entrance to the 1st WHEEL since 2/78 (& last ’til 8/80). now as ever, too short. half-graceful pause before SHAKEDOWN, which has some tempo issues at first. garcia rockets off when they hit the jam & all adjust around him, eventually melting, going bright, & reforming into PLAYING. weir & donna get one last SUNSHINE DAYDREAM together, but they really wail out & shriek & hoot & go screamo on the ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT encore. peace out godchauxs.

4/16/79 club front: nearly 3 hours of practice with new keyboardist brent mydland, running through core songs, but with a solid hour of jams that go way deeper than what the dead did onstage that spring. tape drops in mid-jam, band in a surprising, darting “blues for allah” mode, garcia & lesh bombing around & making high speed turns while brent finds space. drummers lose thread, but don’t give up & jam keeps moving before landing in NOT FADE AWAY. impressive deep space detonations. “war is hell,” notes weir. good callback by garcia a little bit later: “i lost my slide in the war.” weir suggests the jams are scaring his dog. brent works on synth drones underneath DRUMZ. nothing rom the tour was this noisy.
bit on-the-nose:
hart: we started that jam the other day… we went into THE OTHER ONE.
lesh: you did, i didn’t. (to brent:) it’s nice, sometimes we have half the band playing one tune & half the band playing another tune. it depends which drummer you’re listening to.
field recordings of weir & the drummers waging battle over the tempos of PASSENGER & I NEED A MIRACLE. weir trying to get the drummers to play faster & the drummers fucking with him. weir’s not havin’ it. pleasant 10 minutes of the band jamming on the SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN transition, with thrills as they veer off-course, before cursory but solid 20-minute version of the two songs, along with garcia sweetly going over the lyrics with brent. an oddity: GLORIA > LINDA LU, both led by weir. part of the warlocks’ early repertoire, GLORIA would turn up onstage in the fall. no hint that weir’s heard patti smith’s version. LINDA LU is by ray sharpe, from 1959, & the dead’s version is fun but generic bar blues. gorgeous 4-minute garcia/mydland/kreutzmann jam, brent taking moody rhodes leads, picked up by garcia. kretuzmann still sounding dope af as single drummer. working on a groove, brent adds busy keys, & turns into ranging 17-minute (mostly) trio jam.

4/22/79 san jose: the grateful dead’s 1st show with keyboardist brent mydland. bill graham-presented stadium bill with charlie daniels & greg kihn. on opening JACK STRAW, mydland switches between twinkly electric keys & hammond organ as rhythm section gets even more oversized. drum roll madness & cartoonishly emphasized beats & bass bombs. some rain during LOOKS LIKE RAIN. subtly new feel for SUGAREE with organ, but jam peaks are subverted by weir’s abrasive slide guitar, which maybe hasn’t gotten much off-stage practice. NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES also extra-big, also with ugly slide. brent’s organ fits the power dead style more than keith’s keys. brent’s voice really makes its entrance on PASSENGER, stepping into donna’s part, duetting with weir. they sound pretty solid together. perhaps emboldened by the new percussion array, drums reaching tipping point of being over the top more often than not. set break swag watch: mickey hart can be seen sporting a promotional shirt for the band’s cancelled shows at madison square garden the previous year. (i saw one of these in dan healy’s stash, too.) 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, brent leading into jam with cool pitch-bending prophet-5 synth solo (thought it was guitar at first) while garcia lays back. mickey dabbles on extra percussion during transition, including seed shells. 63-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. nifty jam pockets on ESTIMATED & HE’S GONE when weir colors & flutters. such a great jammer when he doesn’t play slide. he & mydland seem to occupy closer tonal/rhythmic space than weir & keith did. DRUMZ is the debut of the beast, new circular array with roto-toms, hand percussion, etc.. according to some sources, this show was also the 1st appearance of the beam, but i hear no evidence. hart & kreutzmann (& maybe others) seemingly play everything else, though. enticing ARP synth blurps as OTHER ONE coalesces. tom-toms accelerate to ludicrous speed as garcia solos. speedy & semi-spaced 2-minute meltdown, brent on organ, bridges to WHARF RAT. double encore of SHAKEDOWN STREET, electric keys sparkling just right.

5/3/79 charlotte: opening a 9-show spring tour, brent mydland’s 1st road outing. phil joke: “what’s the difference between disco dancing & pea green paint? you can teach someone to disco dance.” audience tape captures array of “disco sucks” resopnses from crowd. the outro of ROW JIMMY switches to a double-time shuffle, like it’s ready to burst into FRANKLIN’S TOWER. doesn’t feel quite appropriate, but some of brent’s coolest keys of the night. gonna be a while before i’m used to having a hyper-masculine voice in the harmony mix. 59-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER > NOT FADE AWAY > PLAYING IN THE BAND. major change in PLAYING jam: starting with this version, the jam floats on the 10/4 intro groove instead of slashing into chaos, another step towards less far-out jams. weir watch: echoing delays & piercing lead figures, latter get big woos. garcia/band lock in cool spaces around both. brent lays back on B3, upping noise as jam dissolves. DRUMZ go from big to little. teasing ARP blurts as SPACE starts, but brent switches to keys/B3. dissolve back to PLAYING almost opens into starlight via garcia/mydland/weir conversation, plus perfectly obstinate lead bass counterpoint.

5/4/79 hampton: brent’s singing gets cheers on MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP opener, but too amped for my taste, overpowering garcia. the keys open up the jam’s feel, closer to real segue into FRANKLIN’S TOWER. subdued jam, but brent’s comping finds new rhythmic corners. though there are a few exceptions, this is the 1st tour where both weir & garcia aren’t repeating songs on consecutive nights. garcia had been mostly doing this already but there aren’t really that many new (or revived) weir songs in rotation, so maybe it’s intentional? subtly new feels for lots of songs, even MEXICALI BLUES, less manic & overtly polka-like with brent on B3. even sprouts a mini-jam. maybe it’s that ol’ analog warmth of the vinyl transfer, but weir’s slide is almost enjoyable on DON’T EASE ME IN & other spots. 68-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE > AROUND & AROUND. EYES no longer floats but is tethered by hi-hat, also giving everybody a pulse to bomb around, brent’s electric keys sounding warm & rhodes-like. the arrival of the beast drum array is perhaps unsurprisingly making DRUMZ a bit more bombastic. oh well. happiest surprise so far is the arrival of ARP SPACE, with 2 minutes of bleep grids. in virginia, “new york” gets a cheer in TRUCKIN’. phil has stopped singing on TRUCKIN’ with the arrival of brent. even with extraneous tom toms, STELLA BLUE is surprisingly restrained. solid acceleration/crossfade into AROUND & AROUND, a real segue.

5/5/79 baltimore: healthy 14-minute SUGAREE, weir’s slide a bit cushioned by brent’s new B3 part. an up note is that garcia’s voice is sounding better. a down note is that the amped mydland sometimes overpowers the softer garcia during group vocals. juiced up 11-minute DANCING IN THE STREETS set closer. i dig the percussive new electric keys. philly, baltimore, & DC shout-outs get predictably huge cheers but (as with TRUCKIN’ the night before) so does new york city. nyc dead freaks represent! 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN has subtly new flavor. extra-busy drums during transition jam, the usual cowbell plus chattering snares/cymbals. brent’s B3 adds percussive color & sustain to garcia & weir’s weave. weir at his best. 51-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. finally, the 1st real jammin’ of the mydland era. HE’S GONE slips into prettiness as drums disappear, fading back with hand percussion. SPACE builds patiently/inevitably to THE OTHER ONE, nice float en route. weir watch: 1st tour where weir’s really started to affect his voice with precocious cowboy vocal fry/scratchiness/growls, adding “y’all” to OTHER ONE & elsewhere. SUNSHINE DAYDREAM is now a solo weir scream fest. duck!

5/7/79 easton: lightweight 1st set, but 2nd set gets going with 11-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opener, engaging busy chatter from mydland’s electric keys, finding his own spot in the bounce. too short. extra-present bass this tour. maybe part volume, part player. 72-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. the swirling synth era arrives with the chorus of ESTIMATED. wild free jazz garciaisms just before threading into maybe the fastest/busiest EYES yet. thrilling, dense outro. DRUMZ is less interesting this tour so far due to the beast percussion array. more thunder, less textural weirdness. very much digging brent’s willingness to cycle through SPACE tones, though not feeling a lot of coherence to it yet. john cipollina makes himself known during NOT FADE AWAY, punching hole into cosmos with a silvery guitar burst. radical, rattling, & sometimes obnoxious basslines. cipollina shifts band into fantastic pocket, garcia tracing moody changes, just before fold into BLACK PETER. unusual & sometimes nice to have another lead guitarist in garcia’s ballad space, & cipollina outlines the chords in his own way, though weir is back on his slide guitar bullshit. with cipollina at full shred & playing little counterpoints, i’m into this version of AROUND & AROUND even before the double-time rave-up. brent’s big B3 swells get cheers.

5/8/79 state college: can hear practically hear the building bumping on opening PROMISED LAND. 26-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN with enormous energy, dynamics a bit inaudible in places owing to hyperactive clap-alongs. scenic jam plateau with brent on B3. 55-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > CHINA DOLL > PLAYING IN THE BAND. small but major change for brent’s 1st version of PLAYING (good ear @21stCenturyDead), jam floating on the song’s 10/4 intro groove, instead of dropping into the hard-slashing 7/4 time of versions through the godchaux era. though there will still be major versions, this is when/why/how it stopped going as far out. PLAYING jam is mostly garcialogue, opening up slightly during last segment, when mydland switches to electric keys. DRUMZ gets quiet, but lost in the crowd/clapping. ambient whooshes in SPACE, brent sketching shapes, before jam defaults to OTHER ONE. quick verses & nifty exit jam in progress when garcia speeds away. as band catches up (& hart, i suspect, quits with the repetitive hi-hat) improv opens into high-diving wonderment.OTHER ONE folds into 1st CHINA DOLL since 5/77. garcia’s voice has definitely been mending & this revival seems like he knows it. some delicacy is lost on the audience tape, but drumzers remain chill & song gets across, as does garcia’s beautiful, arcing solo. 10-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET is (as always) satisfying in the encore slot, one final boogie & just long enough to get a little zoned.

5/9/79 binghamton: 16-minute SUGAREE opener, fluttering upwards despite weir’s slide, brent’s B3 working wonders. lots of “take a step back” variations as slightly pissed lesh does crowd control. “you’ll be able to hear us. we’ll make it loud for ya, don’t worry.” weir announces phil is sporting a pigpen shirt. i wonder if it’s an original ‘60s model or newer edition? brent mydland’s 1st CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, mostly on electric keys, the transition subtly entering its own power jam phase, slightly more driving. 38-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ, followed by full stop & vague tuning before WHARF RAT. some disjointedness, but a few really great jam moments. HE’S GONE has minimalist, entwined garcia & weir leads during outro. lines in TRUCKIN’, ranked by loudness of cheer, 5/9/79: 1.) “new york,” 2.) “cocaine,” 3.) “buffalo,” 4.) “what a long, strange trip it’s been.” big peak early in jam also rightfully gets big woos. thrill-out exit jam is even better, overtaken by DRUMZ too soon. WHARF RAT has 2 really astonishing garcia-driven peaks, neither solos nor jams exactly, & a perfectly smooth segue into AROUND & AROUND that weir redirects into SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

5/11/79 billerica: i dig the space mydland is carving for himself in FRANKLIN’S TOWER with the electric keys, giving some internal movement to a jam that can often turn static/monochromatic despite its gallop. 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. EYES is typical hyperfast specimen. busy drums subdivide it from big soaring flow into lots of unceasing miniature dialogues. short brent/drummers epilogue is 1st of many, kinda vanilla here. ultra stark SPACE, filled with quiet tones & fuzzy ambience. long BLACK PETER works well. garcia’s in excellent voice, weir’s slide guitar is mostly subsumed by the audience tape & even sounds tasteful, sad & sweet garcia tone on the solo, drummers stay calm. I NEED A MIRACLE/BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’ combo jumps to set’s end for 1st time. garcia seems to dig into BERTHA solo slightly differently when not an opener. road manager (rock?) begs off encore ‘cuz brent is apparently sick, “so we can play tomorrow in style.”

5/12/79 amherst: a heady spring fling triple-bill at @UMassAmherst, with roy ayers’ ubiquity & the patti smith group, the biggest show of ’79.  a very mellow spring fling for the dead, though the far-off tape is probably accentuating that. slow songs abound. i’ve come around to the sleepy late ‘70s FRIEND OF THE DEVIL over the years, but it’s a bit of a buzzkill early in the 2nd set. the little starlight jam in TERRAPIN STATION has temporarily lost its sparkle, brent still figuring out the chords & kinda blowing through some changes. drummers seem eager to get drummering. 52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. during PLAYING, woman in the crowd screams (unintentionally?) almost right where a donna scream could go. exciting jam moments as mydland’s electric keys come to front, handing off with garcia. though a bad recording, early SPACE achieves a beautiful dissonant coherence. perhaps a whispering ghost of the MIND LEFT BODY jam as NOT FADE AWAY transitions to STELLA BLUE. serious missed opportunity not to have patti smith out for one of the oldies, at least. SHAKEDOWN STREET encore is so laidback it’s almost, like, ambient funk. not really embarrassed to admit that i only just noticed that ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT has been played exclusively on saturdays since 10/77.

5/13/79 portland, ME: tonight’s new song for brent is JACK-A-ROE, taking a lightly funky turn with bouncing electric keys & weir’s light rhythm. JACK STRAW is notably slower than other recent versions. assured 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN opens 2nd set. subtle percussive keys at start of beautiful transition jam with lush, fresh feels before the segue via B3 colors & quick-dotting garcia figures. 57-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. patient HE’S GONE stays compellingly lyrical through intro/middle/outro solos. action-packed 18-minute TRUCKIN’. brief NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE quotations. drummers split for 5 minutes of nearly solo garcia space & return for abstract weird-out. heavily cut DRUMZ sounds interesting, oh well. SPACE continues in lovely very jerry mode.

6/28/79 sacramento: a theater warm-up before a pair of big weekend shows in the northwest. tempos seem more languid, some arrangements more fluid. wasn’t even sure what NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES was at first. brent gets another initiation into the dead when weir has the crowd wish him happy birthday on a day other than his birthday. STAGGER LEE stretches, weir’s slide almost erased by the tape. brent’s new song for the evening is MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, his new sparkly keyboards also erased in the murk. 22-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, brent jumping into the transition jam with joystick-bending tweedles & moans, while garcia gleefully skates, reprising the squigglies at the end of FIRE. prophet-5 or something else, @otdispace? 49-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. harshly, the soundboard is missing the unique & smooth transition into a full-gallop late ‘70s EYES, which thins out & lands gracefully, too, brent doubling a garcia pattern. DRUMZ goes from big to little, beastly thuds dissolving to handdrums & a long obvious ascent into NOT FADE AWAY. creative acts of levitation by weir help shape the last peaks of the jam.

6/30/79 portland, OR: at the portland international raceway, with a reunion set by ex-byrds roger mcguinn, gene clark, & chris hillman, plus the david bromberg band. short 1st set hampered by technical problems. before the 2nd, weir dedicates proceedings “to the memory of lowell george, he was good while he lasted.” the little feat founder & “shakedown street” producer had died the day before. FRIEND OF THE DEVIL is sleepy as always, but clicks into some kind of slightly more uptempo magic for, like, 30 seconds near the end. “no nukes!” someone shouts between songs. 56-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. best part of sequence is garcia spiraling HE’S GONE upwards into a coda that recalls the then-departed CRAZY FINGERS. almost no SPACE before THE OTHER ONE rises. like the set as a whole, it’s kinda paint-by-numbers. but it also still peaks impressively.

7/1/79 seattle: the last dead appearance by wolf, jerry garcia’s custom guitar, for nearly a decade. 19-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener, a decent segue for once. weir’s rhythm guitar is abnormally high in the mix & it’s a cool perspective on his playing, at least ’til he whips out the slide later in the set. 53-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE > TRUCKIN’ > AROUND & AROUND. wild PLAYING stays interesting, even as DRUMZ encroach, garcia & kreutzmann digging in, brent jumping into conversation on B3. good specimen of early beast-era DRUMZ, big & powerful before move to hand percussion. finally, a somewhat developed SPACE. mickey leading with sandpaper scratches, before rhodes sparkles, garcia flows, ARP whooshes, & a sweet mutant descent into STELLA BLUE. miraculously smooth segues in & out of TRUCKIN’. still a shock to hear a B3, like howard wales on the album. the slowly coalescing jam into AROUND & AROUND is the textbook opposite of a ripcord transition. wow bob wow!

8/4/79 oakland auditorium arena: jerry garcia’s 1st full dead show playing his new custom irwin guitar, tiger, his main instrument for the next decade. band also debuts a new sound system with @MeyerSound, featuring (at least at these shows) the wall of sound vocal array. weir begins show by having the crowd wish a belated happy birthday to garcia, a rare instance of truthful birthday-wishing on weir’s part. subtle musical changes. NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES slows down a few clicks, sounding close to the yet-unwritten WEST LA FADEAWAY. many songs sound thinner with mydland’s sparkle-heavy rhodes. garcia & weir debut 1st songs of the year. garcia/hunter’s ALTHEA is sly & wise, feels like new lyrical turf. alternate lyric: “honest to the point of innocence.” minus the drums & singing, weir/barlow’s LOST SAILOR almost sounds like a DARK STAR jam. i enjoy it some days. 58-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE. SHAKEDOWN slashes from funk into a jam with a smooth no-count-off segue into PLAYING. garcia plays in shorthand for the song but makes up for it in the jam. brent’s 1st huge PLAYING. jam is taut & weird, moving through pockets at convincing speed. garcia disappears for a bit & it’s almost easy to miss, returning for more quick guitar dots & freak sesh with drummers. mydland’s chiming keys fits in way better here. smooth DRUMZ deceleration to hand percussion features the return of what i think is a balafon, a nice sparse half-melody that gives shape & motion to blustery roto-tomming. STELLA BLUE is a fucking mess, not finding its pulse until garcia’s outro solo.

8/5/79 oakland auditorium arena: 20-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener is way less sleepy on the audience tape. why is brent’s rhodes so chime-y, though? aren’t rhodes usually full & warm? probably a good tempo to pace for a night of twirling. weir & garcia’s new songs get paired again. the rhodes sounds great quietly conversing with garcia’s soloing, but not enough sustain for songs. ALTHEA already settled into late 1st set slot, almost written for it. 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN makes more sense on the audience tape, with bass & rhythm guitar, but still not a burner. big elevation when garcia goes surfing on smooth fuzz right after the transition. 66-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > HAMZA-EL DIN TUNE > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > WHARF RAT. garcia’s guitar butterflies crash upwards into a lightning EYES, more chaos splatter than grace. big bass non-solo at the end. nice non-bombastic middle zone in DRUMZ of chaotic bells & quick-moving percussion, prelude to an appearance by hamza el-din, who (over mickey & billy’s tars) sings a song that is neither OLLIN ARAGEED nor the others he sang with the dead in ’78. short deep SPACE. someone in crowd shouts for DARK STAR, which earns cheers. a pair of fuzz-tone power solos on WHARF RAT earn more. after a rare 2-song encore, band called back for rarer double encore.

8/12/79 red rocks: didn’t click ’til just now but, on the other 8/79 shows & tonight, but (besides ALTHEA) weir has all but ditched playing slide guitar! garcia’s LOOKS LIKE RAIN solos have been getting gradually fuzzier/bigger, but drummers really latch on here & break through. wonderful & brisk BROWN-EYED WOMEN with crisp lyrical solo. main items of deadhead lore: someone fell off a cliffside & died while trying to sneak in; on & off drizzles all night & distant lightning over denver account for various audible cheers on tapes; lots of red dragon LSD going around. also, of course, ken kesey & bill walton sightings. phil jackson, too. 69-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. busy dyno-rhodes solo by brent in ESTIMATED, like chattering vibraphone, later conversing with garcia. used on “so many roads.” stunning segue into speedy late ‘70s EYES. for 2nd show in a row, garcia sings EYES’ opening line as “sleepy summer home.” jam bursts open, led by butterfly garcialogues, band focuses, blurs, & melts into the far out as mydland dials in moog pans & bleeps, drummers go free & band stays noisy. i think this is the 1st show where sound engineer dan healy audibly tweaks DRUMZ with reverb. sounds rad & psychedelic as they shift to the big toms & more amazing during long bells segment (with ken kesey, according to one account), which leaks into SPACE. (cc @otdispace) snaking, unusual, & patient build to NOT FADE AWAY, continuing to develop ideas even as it normalizes. oh wait, false alarm about weir abandoning slide. it’s here soiling BLACK PETER.

8/13/79 denver: rained out at red rocks, the dead move to mcnichols arena in semi-nearby denver. 11-minute opening SHAKEDOWN STREET has some rockin’ bass fuzz. jam doesn’t go far, but then garcia locks into conclusive-sounding theme & it feels like it has. the garcia segments of the 1st set are pretty sweet. the dyno-rhodes twinkles on the slow FRIEND OF THE DEVIL are nice. CANDYMAN seems to have escaped late ‘70s cartoonificaiton. LOST SAILOR getting bigger, but weir’s starting to go screamo on the “driftin’ & dreamin’” ending, which is a bit harsh. I NEED A MIRACLE twists into a not-quite-jam & does a not-quite-segue into BERTHA. 59-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > WHARF RAT > TRUCKIN’. a slow, gradual transition into THE OTHER ONE, but not much happening on the jam front tonight, at least with the full band. having dan healy add processing to the DRUMZ opens up whole new vistas. even when there aren’t effects, great stereo feel to the recording. no SPACE, but gentle swirl of bells & dyna-rhodes act as prelude to WHARF RAT. TRUCKIN’ opens up into a short & quiet NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE blues noodle, which would make a graceful landing/coda, but they jam for a few more minutes anyway.

8/14/79 denver: debut of brent mydland’s 1st grateful dead song, EASY TO LOVE YOU, co-written with john perry barlow. crowd cheers when he starts singing. but, yikes, a hearty no thanks. been years since i heard this song & still not really into any aspect of it. 66-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. garcia keeps at the starlight jam in TERRAPIN but mydland’s not there yet. garcia’s outro variations get closer to breaking free, flowing into a great no-count segue. PLAYING jam slashes & dances & slashes again, busy miniature conversations. healy adds dubby DRUMZ echo just before transition to hand percussion. mickey (i assume) stays active in SPACE, bells meshing with brent’s dyna-rhodes. gorgeous STELLA BLUE outro.

8/31/79 glens falls: 3 more new songs for mydland. DIRE WOLF & CASSIDY in 1st set, GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD in 2nd. sparkling dyna-rhodes opens up CASSIDY jam a bit. only 2nd GREATEST STORY since ’74, losing some of the manic urgency & detailing of the old PUMP SONG groove. 1st SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, by weir & john perry barlow, following LOST SAILOR as it will for most the next 7 years. the band’s final intentionally constructed mini-suite. not totally finished, with alternate lyrics. 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET gets plunky as jam moves towards peak. garcia & mydland tease out an insistent groove the band doesn’t fully exploit, sometimes hard to tell what’s guitar & what’s keyboards. 58-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. tape switches to audience source during garcia’s butterfly acceleration into EYES, making it seem even more caricatured. lovely, fast arpeggio flowers as it fades.

9/1/79 rochester: at john scher & WMJQ’s upstate jam at holleder memorial stadium. also with the greg kihn band & the good rats. odd pairing all around. heads really, really did not like the good rats. band threw rubber rats at the crowd, who threw the rats back & then some. languid 1st set, with some big sunshine during back of 20-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opener. some tape speed issues there, too, or maybe it’s my brain. weir watch: LOST SAILOR deserves a better ending than these screams. SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE finding its legs, here with a relentless forward-driving beat by the drummers. weir gets the soon-discarded lyrics a bit better. weir, to local surveillance: “this set is respectfully dedicated to all the little mice & rats trapped in laboratories all over the world & also to the keepers of the peace up on that building over there with their cameras & binoculars. looking out for your best interests.” short 2nd set gets right to 61-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > I NEED A MIRACLE, but the jams peak early. chatty & uneven half-hour SCARLET > FIRE, weir’s slide very thankfully buried. after 2nd verse of FIRE, colorful & flaring garcia pyro show before he pops a string. short bass/keys jams, phil bellowing along on a chorus. mellower outro. confused plop into bland DRUMZ. what happened to all the echoes & spaced bells from august? hand percussion-laced SPACE coalesces into crashing density, disperses, then builds on weird pulse & soars into WHARF RAT with a big arcing solo & half-smooth charge into MIRACLE. after that, it’s rock medley time, apparently with the sun setting just as garcia hits the “…until the sun goes down” line in BERTHA.

9/2/79 augusta: mydland’s bell-like dyna-rhodes works well on ROW JIMMY, which has some nice quiet & almost spare guitar spaces. but one of those songs/versions where having a 2nd drummer borders on criminal. brent’s 1st RAMBLE ON ROSE. the song’s slow boogie-woogie piano (virtually built for godchaux) definitely doesn’t translate to the rhodes, sounding way dinky. besides various keyboardists’ sounds, though, one of the most unchanging songs in garcia’s book. w00! brent’s finally connecting with garcia during TERRAPIN STATION’s short starlight jam. lovely prelude to 52-minute LET IT GROW > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE > TRUCKIN’. 23-minute LET IT GROW is 1st since 5/78 & longest post-’74 version, i think. mydland starts on organ. the sustain (instead of keith’s conversational/percussive attack) gives jam a different & more generic feel. after eventual switch to rhodes, a delicious dissolve with ARP. aha, there are DRUMZ’s zoned-out bells, though they get swallowed up in under a minute. big bass & nice atonal zaps during haunted SPACE drift towards STELLA BLUE. NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE instrumental coda to TRUCKIN’ is oddly graceful landing.

9/4/79 madison square garden: fuego garcia throughout the 1st set, marred by weir’s slide on SUGAREE, obscured by ME & MY UNCLE, but building/soaring through 1st big LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE. great 1979 model electric dixieland on slow bouncing TENNESSEE JED. big cheer for the lyric “where’s the dog star?” in weir/barlow’s new LOST SAILOR, the crowd presumably hearing “dog star” as “dark star.” as a side note, besides SAILOR/SAINT & the SHAKEDOWN STREET encore, all songs have been in the band’s repertoire for at least 7 years. audible “china cat!!” requests from multiple heads before 2nd set, which opens with the 1st NYC version of CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER in 5 years can really feel the garden bounce, even on the soundboard but especially on the audience tape. 53-minute HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT feels like a complete statement. long HE’S GONE rolls patiently upwards into high-speed almost-OTHER ONE territory, starting a new era for the song as a 2nd set jam anchor. some shoes-in-dryer drumzing but gongs & chaos give the rhythm devils sequence a psychedelic edge as it crosses into hand percussion. purposeful, ruminative SPACE & properly arena-sized WHARF RAT, though almost crashes at the bridge.

9/5/79 madison square garden: short but pleasant 1st set, less than an hour. bouncy mid-tempo PEGGY-O. big cheers during LOSER & elsewhere, apparently the house lights being thrown on occasionally for crowd control. 2nd set is crisp & colorful, if a bit paint-by-numbers. 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER, followed by typical late ‘70s I NEED A MIRACLE/BERTHA/GOOD LOVIN’ rock medley. improv highlight is 13-minute SPACE, building quickly to atonal symphonic chaos, it thins out into a jam tenuously threaded by floating drums, threatening to cohere but unspooling into garcialogue & more purposeful turn towards BLACK PETER.

9/6/79 madison square garden: house lights apparently left on for much of the 1st set & parts of the 2nd. harsh! phil makes an excuse about wanting to see the audience, but it’s seemingly to deter people from crashing the floor. enjoying LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE as a peak-building set closer but lands abruptly here. 2nd CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER set opener in 3 garden shows, 14 minutes & a joy. big cheers as it lands in RIDER, but that might be the houselights again. 54-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. great PLAYING widens like waves in a storm, slowly getting more kinetic. chopping & busy improvisation, with all players adding busy detail & mostly staying clear of one another. the beginning of DRUMZ is action packed, with toms & gongs & the sound of revving motorcycle engine combining into glorious near-rhythmic chaos. doesn’t fully develop but tumbles out into a short SPACE without dissipating. during the descent into STELLA BLUE, garcia maybe almost/accidentally/kinda brushes into the MIND LEFT BODY progression for a few seconds & band follows. doesn’t quite soar, but a nice little clearing before a long, languorous STELLA BLUE.

10/24/79 springfield, MA: fairly biz-as-usual tour opener. SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE is one lyric draft closer to final form. no more alternate verses, though there’s still tweaking to be done. 24-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN has subtle new colors. mydland moves to crunchy synth & takes dyna-rhodes solo, but weir is the hero with palm-mute delay pedal rhythms (during the transition especially) & big crashing chords under garcia’s finale solo. 37-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > PLAYING IN THE BAND. PLAYING gets portentous with big bass melodies, but dribbles down into hand percussion. sweeping SPACE. phil has a sustain pedal! moar! further good news: the steel drumz are back. mickey (i assume) hits a hand percussion groove that sounds like an ARP pulse, ready for snaking guitar, but garcia’s already tuned into WHARF RAT.

10/25/79 new haven: great pacing in 2nd set, opening with 14-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET that dives into percussive crosstalk between garcia & mydland. rare 2nd set PASSENGER & FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, which manages slight punchiness in its slow arrangement via brisk rhodes solo. 52-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE touches many satisfying corners. butterfly segue into EYES, which opens into ornery bass leads & ARP washes & thoughtful garcia squigglies & weir harmonics & pitch-bending prophet-5 mixed low. DRUMZ stays spaced almost the entire time, with synth noise starting under the hand drums. gongs & cymbals & rhodes twinkles trace a gentle path to whispered STELLA BLUE, with drawn-out satisfying peak.

10/27/79 south yarmouth: an offseason saturday at the coliseum owned by linda & vince mcmahon. major 2nd set dance party, opening with half-hour DANCING IN THE STREET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER dense with garcia/mydland laser beams & rolling bass, flowing via an outro chorus from DANCING’s disco-bounce right into FRANKLIN’S choogle. 50-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. HE’S GONE itself is a l’il wobbly but accelerates into churning not-quite-CAUTION jam. major! OTHER ONE doesn’t fully capitalize, though twists & turns convincingly after the 2nd verse. rare soundboard from the era with suitable bass, thundering properly & cushioning even weir’s scrawny slide guitar as garcia tears through a burning NOT FADE AWAY. unfortunately, the slide continues into BLACK PETER.

10/28/79 south yarmouth: 30-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opens, garcia sounding a bit out of breath throughout. some good boogie, but listless playing, as garcia keeps going & going. smokin’ 15-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, inventive co-leads by weir during conversational transition, busy enough that the dyna-rhodes sparkles properly. weir starts singing garcia’s “headlight” verse during RIDER, which is somehow charming. 38-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > STELLA BLUE. group soars into jam, mydland’s B3 sustaining a dense atmosphere under garcia before switching over to more conversational rhodes rhythms & figures. stellar flow from PLAYING into concise & high-energy DRUMZ, hart going berserker on steel percussion while kreutzmann holds down kit. hard stop before SPACE, but makes musical sense, echoed percussion mixing with synth. great human-toned noises from lesh?

10/31/79 nassau coliseum: rare CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER opener, markedly more languid than at previous show. less ecstasy, but a wonderful opening bounce. garcia’s voice is a bit trembly. weir apparently pops & changes string mid-jam. a packed floor at the coliseum. lots of “take a step back” variations, including from a mellllllow garcia. a number of surreal weir jokes: “what’s the difference between a frog? … and the answer is: one leg is both the same.” healthy 17-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET 2nd set opener turns briefly outward via garcia/mydland conversation, pushing & pulling to an indeterminate space that seems as if it could turn anywhere, so they head back into SHAKEDOWN. leisurely 69-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT > TRUCKIN’. speedy late ‘70s EYES is in full bloom with tasty garcia & a densely chirping dyna-rhodes outro that amps up into a weird, beautiful power jam as the drumzers try to take over. SPACE drifts with cartoon melodies, bass chords, rhodes cascades, & weary garcia themes. weir goes into WHARF RAT, but garcia isn’t done drifting. when the song reaches the “bonny lee” line, audible on the soundboard tape, a woman very loudly screams “THAT’S MY NAME!!!” TRUCKIN’ is a big exuberant mess, with an arcing garcia solo that fans into temporarily infinite open space before crashing into the coda, peaking again, & alllllmost landing smoothly.

11/1/79 nassau coliseum: sez weir, “i have it from a usually reliable source that russia just bombed staten island & if you live there, don’t bother to go home tonight.” not my era for LOOKS LIKE RAIN, but some gorgeous garcia curlicues. 35-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is longest ever & satisfying all the way. unhurried garcia/mydland/weir dialogues, bliss corners, minimalist delays, synth peaks, & general dreaminess. SCARLET tastier than FIRE. maybe a post-’77 template & def an all-timer. otherwise sleepy TERRAPIN STATION channels the LP version’s mystic energy during outro, prelude to 40-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. brilliant weir rhythm colors during first part of PLAYING. mydland gaining confidence, jumping from keyboard to keyboard with busy conversational leads as jam melts. SPACE coalesces into brief triumphant theme in the MIND LEFT BODY/BEAUTIFUL JAM universe.

11/2/79 nassau coliseum: another seemingly infinite MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > FRANKLIN’S TOWER opens, a 29 minute warm-up that doesn’t quite bloom until the end. a nearby drum mic catches lots of between-song mickey chatter of the “hey weir!!” sort. all-transitioned 2nd set. weir plots 1st half just off-mic, culminating in not-quite-audible conversation with mickey about what it means to just go “out” on his new song. I NEED A MIRACLE > BERTHA has a short questing garcia transition, rock prelude to the main event. 59-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. wild 19-minute SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE is a screamer, 1st jammed version & longest ever, staying high density & content rich while zoning & zipping inside the song’s atmosphere. excellent to have a new option for the deep jam slot with SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, the 1st new song to move there since ESTIMATED PROPHET in ’77, though this is the only tour where that will be its semi-regular role. along with the reborn HE’S GONE, promising new fun. hand-DRUMZ punctuated by breathtaking zonk-sweep noise from lesh (i think), melting into SPACE. bells & gongs make it feel extra beautiful & alien, as they always do. encore is mydland’s 1st CASEY JONES.

11/4/79 providence: 2nd set opens with 1st ALABAMA GETAWAY, snarling southern rocker with ominous, biblical lyrics. garcia/hunter’s last dead song for 3 years. maybe not major, but a great addition to the set & perfect crossfade into 1st GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD since may. 67-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. as HE’S GONE winds down. weir hits new changes &, impressively, the band charges headlong behind him for a good moment before dissipating into episodic bubblings. unfortunately, not much going on after that. SPACE is emptier than usual, volume swells & ambient organ, before barely a sliver of THE OTHER ONE, under 5 minutes. weir attempts his roger daltrey stutter during AROUND & AROUND.

11/5/79 philadelphia: another CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER opener, garcia really starting to lean into the “i wish i was a headlight” verse. ALTHEA begins 2nd set, lazily slipping over 10-minute mark for 1st time. 78-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > ESTIMATED PROPHET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE. nearly an hour of jams before DRUMZ hit. rare EYES at the top of the jam sequence throws the other predictable elements into glorious disarray. EYES breaks 20 minutes, new speedy backbeat thumpy & vaguely discoish, dripping into a pro no-count segue into the 7/8 time of ESTIMATED. garcia shifts & everybody follows. lovely to hear FRANKLIN’S in a prime 2nd set slot, soaring up & out into thick & thinning air. SAILOR/SAINT moves into the post-SPACE ballad slot for the 1st time. emotionally weird to hear a sensitive weir tune there, but it works & the crowd eats up the unreleased SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, which drops almost too naturally into SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

11/6/79 philadelphia: the new ALABAMA GETAWAY, tight & vicious, drops into the show-opener slot for the first time, here moving on the next beat into THE PROMISED LAND, its most frequent pairing in the next years. only JACK-A-ROE of tour leg is bright with dyna-rhodes. prime specimen of the explosive ’79 JACK STRAW with over-the-top tom-tom shoot-outs, dramatic thumps on the bridge, & a big cheer when weir sings his “used to play for silver, now we play for clive” variation. guess clive davis was big in philly? short 2nd set jumps right into the ethereal with TERRAPIN STATION opener, the middle jam more like gathering mist than glowing starlight, but getting back to lovely indeterminacy. prelude to 47-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. PLAYING rides upwards on slashing guitars with dive-bombing bumblebee rhodes twinkles. hart moves to hand percussion before miniature garcia/kreutzmann corner. desert-y SPACE & solid BLACK PETER.

11/8/79 landover: 23-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is modest compared to previous week’s epic & much more upbeat. skittish weir figures under the transition, syncing up on little rhythmic keyboard bursts with brent’s keys deeper into FIRE. 50-minute LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > MORNING DEW. SAILOR/SAINT’s 2nd time in the jam slot isn’t as coherent, drums fizzling into the noodle sea. like many fall ’79 tapes, can hear mickey shouting for/at monitor mixer harry popick. only MORNING DEW of ’79 (& 1st mydland version) is successfully epic, to my very pleasant surprise. 1st since 4/78 & 2nd since 6/77. iffy early on, but it clicks, overflowing with lead bass, garcia’s voice & guitar both hitting the big notes, enormous end.

11/9/79 buffalo: top of 2nd set is A+. glorious 25-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER. minus the beat, DANCING peaks are very bright & ‘69ish. ace segue via bouncing synth into focused FRANKLIN’S with ferocious rave-up end. garcia remembers all the words, too! 59-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. instruments fit together well during spacious ESTIMATED. subtle delays on weir’s guitar. amazing what a little reverb will do to make the dyna-rhodes sound good, too. enormous HE’S GONE clicks upwards into a bright & constantly moving jam, never fully settling around a theme that’s not quite GLORIA. echoing SPACE percussion & uncharacteristically melodic bass before locked-in WHARF RAT.

11/10/79 ann arbor: brent’s 1st COLD RAIN & SNOW (weather appropriate, apparently) & 1st HIGH TIME (2nd since 5/77, powerful garcia vocals with the harmonies reshuffled slightly). LOOKS LIKE RAIN intro has a whooshy synth that i think is supposed to be wind/rain? 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. PLAYING jam works itself into a mild froth. wispy SPACE with occasional keyboard delays & big bass thromps as band settles into NOT FADE AWAY.

11/23/79 san diego: is ALABAMA GETAWAY the most dylanesque garcia/hunter song? made such wonderful sense when dylan covered it during the never-ending tour. weir watch: as 1980 primary season gears up, an announcement that “our drummer back here, billy, would like to announce his candidacy for the highest office of our land… don’t forget to vote for him, so thanks!” 2nd set starts with 21-minute MUSIC NEVER STOPPED > SUGAREE. rare MUSIC opener, the middle jam jams into a moment of indeterminacy & a nice unexpected segue. long SUGAREE gets harsh with weir’s slide guitar, but finds a wonderful gentle pocket when he switches to rhythm. very ’79 sequence, the 4th of the year, with 56-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. short but slashing mydland/weir jam after garcia exits early pre-DRUMZ. brief, tantalizing ARP/percussion duo in SPACE before faux-clav & slide-touched NOT FADE AWAY. encore shout-out from weir to “that tall guy over there for bringing us down here,” presumably @billwalton, doing that arms in the air thing.

11/24/79 san diego: last CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER show opener for a few years, starting sleepy but finding a nice lowdown spot mid-jam. the ALABAMA GETAWAY > GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD pairing is my favorite new move. great miniature jam in GREATEST STORY, garcia turning out a beautiful & lyrical solo melody that could almost be its own song. 45-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT. soulful moaning lead tones in PLAYING, loping into an easily conversational garcia/kreutzmann-led free space, chased by chattering weir. short SPACE is a moody, cloud-gathering prelude to LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, unreleased & new to most of the crowd. wish there was more SPACE, but a nice late show set-piece.

11/25/79 UCLA: weir issues stern tempo warning to the drummers before TENNESSEE JED &, indeed, it does come out at something like the just exactly perfect tempo, yielding a nifty curlicue pocket. on 2nd set opening 13-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET, betty’s well-balanced mix highlights everybody equally. great group percolation, the ball bouncing especially between weir & mydland while garcia weaves. jam sort of fizzles confusedly into a deflated BERTHA. 55-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE. abbreviated HE’S GONE compared to other monster fall versions, but OTHER ONE rolls deep & jagged & dense & wooly by ’79 standards. thromping bass-heavy SPACE turns into short, fascinating weir/lesh duo. jam abbreviated when weir ripcords to TRUCKIN’, which lesh has given up singing on, perhaps temporarily but definitely for the best. MIND LEFT BODY-like descent bridges to STELLA BLUE.

11/29/79 cleveland: occasional sound problems. near the start of the 2nd set, the revamped HIGH TIME sounds powerful & heavy in a centerpiece spot, garcia getting inside the vocal, sweet high harmony by mydland, the drummers never overdrumming. 50-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > EYES OF THE WORLD > DRUMZ > BLACK PETER. great ESTIMATED, garcia alternating between butterfly shreds & slower phrases to subtle dramatic effect. EYES breaks apart into drones & moans & a short deep jam backed by hand drums.

11/30/79 pittsburgh: lots of not-quite-segues happening on this tour, as if the band finally read a review that joked about their tuning breaks. tonight, 15-minute 1st set-closing DANCING IN THE STREET doesn’t-exactly-tumble into DEAL. 25-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN is front-heavy, which is ace by me, going deep squiggle. super-sleepy TERRAPIN STATION has with bonus mini-jam before last verse & extra-languid starlight transition. could use more twinkling dyna-rhodes. 52-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT. slide-sullied PLAYING jam has big piping synth washes & bubbles, reprising in SPACE & turning into sirens. 1st DON’T EASE ME IN encore, a nice change there.

12/1/79 pittsburgh: mellow mood prevails, garcia singing extra-quietly throughout. 17-minute SUGAREE has a variety of spaces, flavorful garcia emerging from B3 solo. mix does mostly decent job masking weir’s slide, which sounds like a wobbly malfunctioning tape track. 67-minute HE’S GONE > C.C. RIDER > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER. HE’S GONE spirals upwards rises easily, weir dropping into the GLORIA changes & kicking energy up further. prophet-5 solo sounds thin, but garcia joins & spins jam out further with much great invention. a smooth descent lands in the grateful dead debut of blues standard C.C. RIDER, sung by weir. hardly a hot take, but i’m way not into weir’s blues tunes. thankfully, unlike most, this version slips back into nearly 5 minutes of twisting non-blues jamming.

12/3/79 chicago: standard but also excellent* & joyous 27-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN opens 2nd set. drums are less shoes-in-a-dryer & more bouncing superballs. after peak, garcia ends FIRE solo in lower registers. (* except weir’s slide. ew.) 71-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > WHARF RAT > TRUCKIN’. mydland & the dyna-rhodes finally jump into TERRAPIN’s starlight jam with garcia. but, wow, what a sleepy climax. brief PLAYING doesn’t get too far out, though thoroughly enjoyable & subtle conversation bounces between drummers, lesh, mydland, & everybody, really. SPACE charges out of DRUMZ at full speed, briefly thrilling, but folds inwards after 30 seconds or so.

12/4/79 chicago: 2nd set opening CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is way mellow, drummers laying further back in the pocket than usual. perhaps because of this, the rest of jam feels less lyrical, too, with some confusion as they arrive in RIDER. 67-minute ESTIMATED PROPHET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. i adore FRANKLIN’S in the jam slot, escaping its endless circular groove, drummers surfing, garcia pushing, & turning itself inside out without losing momentum. DRUMZ/SPACE transition is 3 minutes of stereo-panned rhythmic patterns that i briefly thought was ARP. beautiful echo effects & celestial dyna-rhodes. are those actual gongs? gorgeous cymbal mix. NOT FADE AWAY powers into monstrously weird thunder.

12/5/79 chicago: band leans hard on the new songs in the 1st set, playing 5 of the 7 originals that will end up on “go to heaven,” ALABAMA GETAWAY as opener & then 4 in a row to end. SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE feels a bit abrupt as a closer. enjoyable off-mic mickey hart in 1st set: “let’s go back into ALABAMA GETAWAY! let’s close it out with ALABAMA GETAWAY! ALABAMA all night!!”
weir, after GREATEST STORY: we probably won’t get that one right next time, either.
later on – weir: that’s right, practice makes perfect.
garcia: we’re gonna keep practicing ’til we get it perfect.
weir: that’s why they call us the just exactly perfect brothers band. [x/x]
18-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET opens set 2. long vocal exit & longer static bounce for dancers. garcia’s mu-tron tone sometimes hard to distinguish from mydland’s synth. the last chord tumbles into SAMSON & DELILAH, a recent pairing they’ll keep doing. 54-minute HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. HE’S GONE feels extra stark, with fewer garcia flourishes/curlicues, & really taking its time, 12 minutes before it even gets to the jam, which heads swiftly & smoothly for THE OTHER ONE. band rushes through both OTHER ONE verses & dissolve, as usual in ’79, but tonight the jams keeps developing, cohering via hand percussion & free drums until suddenly they’re at full speed, then breaking down to sub-bands, musicians coming in/out briefly. beautiful flow into lovely stereo-mixed DRUMZ via some kind of drone/string percussion. it’s all vibey hand percussion, only moving over to the big roto-toms when the band comes back out. BLACK PETER, one day after its 10th birthday, sounds present & dynamic. garcia’s voice & guitar double each other during the “run & see” outro, dropping the words & sort of even scatting a little before a mammoth guitar bridge into a rock medley.

12/7/79 indianapolis: 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER opens 2nd set, feeling fresh, with none of the indecision of the weird chicago version. also a reminder that everything makes more sense when the bass is mixed this well. 51-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT. wonder of wonders, EYES is at its slower mid-‘70s tempo/feel! i think it’s cuz garcia started from a cold stop, but feels luxurious & ends with floating, swelling conversation. as soon as SAINT ends, the drummers immediately (& somewhat awkwardly) drop the pulse & leave everybody else in an ambient pool that drips into echo-laden DRUMZ.

12/9/79 st. louis: 58-minute TERRAPIN STATION > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. beautiful starlight transition in TERRAPIN, longest yet i think, garcia & mydland fluttering into nearly weightless BIRD SONG-like territory. surprisingly natural dissolve from unresolved last chord of TERRAPIN into LOST SAILOR intro. mickey (i assume) stays off drum kit for most of the song & plays hand percussion with gently dubby echoes, which sounds really great. again, the drummers drop the rhythmic thread at the end of SAINT, but this time garcia accelerates. by turn, everybody else charges into high energy coda. it peters out, but they re-coalesce into a great kreutzmann-carried jam that descends gradually. DRUMZ builds, recedes, & carries into unusually well-developed & multi-sectioned SPACE, with stray percussion complementing ARP freak-outs. also unusually, everyone is still weirding when garcia slides into patient BLACK PETER.

12/10/79 kansas city, ks: under the “sweet william he is dead” verse of PEGGY-O, unexpected glassy, ethereal volume swells by mydland. 20-minute DANCING IN THE STREET > FRANKLIN’S TOWER. “winter’s here & the time is right,” but not for long. the last DANCING ’til ’81. too bad. half-smooth gearshift into FRANKLIN’S, which doesn’t quite unlock, but drummers find groovy plateau. 50-minute LET IT GROW > HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > SPACE > WHARF RAT is an old-fashioned sequence that could’ve happened (sort of) in ’73-’74. 2nd LET IT GROW of mydland era, still finding its legs. last peak of TRUCKIN’ is legit mammoth. band in-joke leaks into off-mic commentary during DRUMZ, kreutzmann: “this one’s for bobby, he’s running for president, too!” big SPACE synth washes resolve to pipe organ-like lead-in to WHARF RAT. mydland’s falsetto on JOHNNY B. GOODE is pretty, uh, extra.

12/11/79 kansas city, ks: entire show is deeply enjoyable because of weird ultra-democratic mix, all instruments basically as loud as garcia’s guitar, especially lesh’s bass. it’s pretty glorious! some good off-mic drummerly chatter throughout, too. 59-minute TERRAPIN STATION > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BLACK PETER is a bit disjointed but has some brilliant jamming. cool echoed percussion during LOST SAILOR, buried in the psychedelic mix like a studio production. band kersplats on the transition into SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE, leading to half-effective improvised prelude. when song proper ends, drummers drop beat & band tumbles into kinda dinky groove but cohere into floating hippie reggae & eventually a keyboard/drummer jam. BLACK PETER is especially over the top with the new mix, but it sounds that way on stage, too. band empties the tank on rare double-barreled encore closing the tour with the usually show-opening pair of ALABAMA GETAWAY > THE PROMISED LAND.

12/26/79 oakland auditorium arena: big shows all around: a new healy/ultrasound/@MeyerSound PA (with parts of the wall of sound), DIY taper innovations, the unveiling of @SEVA_foundation with wavy gravy & ram dass, the birth of shakedown street (see below), & a late batch of betty cantor-jackson tapes. weir’s C.C. RIDER cover moves to its permanent home, adding blues-rock drag to 1st sets through much of the next decade. hometown debut for ALABAMA GETAWAY fares better. deep nonstop 2nd set led by 82-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > ESTIMATED PROPHET > HE’S GONE > THE OTHER ONE > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > BROKEDOWN PALACE, bookended by bust-outs. 1st UNCLE JOHN’S since 10/77 latches effortlessly back into happy garcia flows during solos, perfect segue. after well-developed ESTIMATED jam, garcia butterflies away & changes channels several times (shaking off lesh’s attempt to segue into HE’S GONE) while band catches up & attempts to re-shape behind him. cool co-leads by weir in places. following the thundery DRUMZ, echo-touched percussion leads into textured (& almost ‘90s-sounding) SPACE, cymbals tapping around feedback & beep-waves & blobs of decoherence. fresh-feeling alien solo variations in the back half of NOT FADE AWAY, swelling & speeding & pulling back kinda awkwardly into 1st BROKEDOWN PALACE since 10/77. rather different with mydland’s high harmony & B3. slightly faster & drummier, too. weir’s chuck berry double-shot feels extraneous, but the 17-minute SHAKEDOWN STREET > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND is just exactly generous. even if it’s more a burp than a segue, it feels like a summation of the new version of the band that solidified on fall tour. 40 years ago tonight, as well, was the unofficial birth of shakedown street, the vending/camping bazaar outside grateful dead shows. lots of big offstage action during the 1979 new year’s run, which i wrote about extensively in “heads.”

12/27/79 oakland auditorium arena: notably short 1st set, barely 45 minutes, a taste of days to come. BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (with 12-beat intro) is mydland’s 1st. for a few minutes, currently the warlocks. 1st bay area CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER since ’77. 52-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > LOST SAILOR > SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE > DRUMZ > SPACE > BLACK PETER. once again, garcia starts EYES from a clean break & once again it’s a nice chill tempo. doesn’t travel far (or segue well) but the conversation feels substantial & thoughtful. SAINT ends almost cleanly & after a pause everyone takes off jamming again, nearly 8 minutes of high-speed conversation, going back into SAINT briefly (sort of). when garcia exits, mydland/weir/lesh stay engaged & keep improvising on thick new dyna-rhodes-driven changes. during quiet parts of DRUMZ, mickey’s nagging of weir & monitor mixer harry popick come through the PA on audience tape. thought that was only a soundboard thing! bells & cymbals continue into short SPACE as lesh & weir (i think) layer on old-fashioned feedback & squalls.  2nd encore is BROKEDOWN PALACE, 2nd version in 2 days after being revived the previous night & it’s much tighter already. i don’t think anyone was complaining. garcia sounds great. hearing mydland’s voice in the mix is still weird, though.

12/28/79 oakland auditorium arena: beautiful SUGAREE opens with lush weir colors before & after atrocious slide. after listening to a bunch of HIGH TIME ’69, it’s striking how differently garcia occupies the song a decade later. different highs, different times. 50-minute TERRAPIN STATION > PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. satisfying multi-section 17-minute PLAYING. weir & mydland dive into descending pattern that sets tone for high-energy jam that’s never quite predictable. deep in jam, weir uses slide with delay pedal & sounds alright. love all the beautiful bells (or little gongs?) that continue to show up DRUMZ as well as whoever seems to making shapes tonight on a pennywhistle. UNCLE JOHN’S doesn’t grow naturally from SPACE, but the ending is peak ’79 energy.

12/30/79 oakland auditorium arena: another short 1st set, contiguous & not-that-long 2nd set. 20-minute SCARLET BEGONIAS > FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN reaches deep during SCARLET especially, garcia honing in on new space, switching over to rhythm for a moment, as if claiming it. 44-minute LET IT GROW > DRUMZ > SPACE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT. LET IT GROW dances through high-speed garcia/mydland needlework before winding down. hand percussion under SPACE swirls, garcia edging on middle eastern modes before good noise swells. after yet another chuck berry oldies twofer by weir to close 2nd set, garcia takes over encore & offers a much more elegant way to finish a show with DON’T EASE ME IN / BROKEDOWN PALACE double-shot.

12/31/79 oakland auditorium arena: after JACK STRAW opener, 16-minute FRANKLIN’S TOWER is perfect for the ratcheted-up new year’s energy, garcia surfing & soaring through sing-song melodies while heads dance into the ‘80s. 2nd set starts at midnight with SUGAR MAGNOLIA & bill graham descending from the rafters in a butterfly costume with stealies on the wings. SUNSHINE DAYDREAM will bookend the 3rd set, a classic new year’s move. straightforward show, chaotic mood. only jam is 3rd set 50-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > DRUMZ > SPACE > NOT FADE AWAY > STELLA BLUE. UNCLE JOHN’S is keyed up, too, outro unfolding into triumphant mutant inversions & melts. hand-DRUMZ-y SPACE is pretty much NFA from the start, slowly cohering.

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

#deadfreaksunite 1969

#deadfreaksunite 1969
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]

1/17/69 santa barbara: with santana at a long-mysterious venue. 17-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opener starting to space just slightly. pig’s a bit slurry at the start, but he & band really starting to click on moves between sections. garcia & lesh get with the pretty locked-in riffs. 2 box back nitties cues. with this begins the 6-year golden age of DARK STAR suites where virtually everything is reliably magical, here a 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. during 13-minute DARK STAR, mickey (i think) hits tom-tom accents during 2nd jam, but still no kits. TC’s organ is (as will be the usual) barely audible, sometimes floating through as vague but pleasing ambience. DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY is starting to get spare & gothic, a song i never quite appreciated fully until @amirbarlev’s @LongStrangeDoc. pretty sure pigpen kept playing organ on this one. 26-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE. 8-minute OTHER ONE with 3D pre-verse nebula. 1st dead version of COSMIC CHARLIE after the hartbeats’ 10/68 debut. raw & unnecessarily complicated comix-y fun. hard not to see mr. natural in title role.

1/18/69 los angeles:  the grateful dead occupy playboy after dark & allegedly dose the coffee urn & hef’s pepsi with LSD, a story i’d believe slightly more if any of the dosed ever told it. aired in july ’69. at a fake playboy mansion, jer raps with hef & the dead play 3 songs not yet on their albums. a studio set with “books not even worth stealing,” according to TC. “that’s the big one up there at night,” sez jerry, introducing MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON & looking fuzzy without his glasses. beautiful, thoroughly baroque, & totally hifalutin (or just totally high) acoustic/harpsichord version, with weir on 12-string. ST. STEPHEN edited heavily & TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT in background under the credits. both play more like ‘60s montages than actual performances. fun crowd shots. does maybe seem like a real party is starting?

1/23/69 avalon ballroom (rehearsal): run-through of THE ELEVEN 3 days before the “live/dead” take. apparently, someone’s taken TC outside & gotten him stoned. DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES rehearsal the day before its proper debut has full drums, closer to the later versions.

1/24/69 avalon ballroom: early set opens with 30-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE. increasingly rare CABOOSE never clicks. vocals frayed, awkward bass solo, jam in 13 doesn’t fly. whole night slightly too ragged for live album. earliest live taped versions of 2 “aoxomoxoa” songs: DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES & DOIN’ THAT RAG. pig plays harmonica on DUPREE’S, threading it to the jug band. RAG has tasty jerry outro. i adore this early garcia/hunter period, surrealism similar to the scene’s posters/comix. 19-minute standalone DARK STAR opens late set. cloud-bursting post-verse jam peaks with dense bass leads, cymbal action, & nifty inverted rhythms by weir. TC’s circus organ still buried except when band gets quiet. garcia pops string, aborts 2nd verse, jams more, tries again. TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT missing song verses, mostly just garcia shreds. at one point, voices cheer in swells, just off mic. plug gets pulled (or power fails) & pig continues mic-less: “fuck it.” total hippie chaos ensues. chants, incoherence, DRUMZ, etc. the 3 shows are also the reopening of the avalon ballroom by a new family dog splinter group, the somewhat ironically named soundproof productions. for a dose of the san francisco ’69 DIY scene politics.

1/25/69 avalon ballroom: occasionally off-kilter mix, irresistible music. getting right to it, set 1 is 52-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. TC’s organ is way overdriven in places & sounds boss but too loud. late show begins with the 2nd proper versions of the 3 newest songs, all well improved over their debut takes, especially COSMIC CHARLIE, buoyant & exuberant. funny that it recycles “hung up waiting for a windy day” from ALLIGATOR. of early dead tunes, ALLIGATOR may’ve undergone the most wee tweaks in sections/lyrics/parts/tempos, now with kinda goofy vocal jam. 22-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT greeted with enthusiasm. weir & pig take solo vocal lines during closer.

1/26/69 avalon ballroom: stoned crosstalk as band gets ready, lesh quoting REVOLUTION 9. 1st set is 37-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > CLEMENTINE > DEATH DON’T HAVE MERCY. mix is borked ’til midway into OTHER ONE. garcia immolates during CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro. last known CLEMENTINE, lesh/hunter moodiness forgotten ’til resurfacing in the ‘90s. 1st since 2/68 & rewritten. REVOLUTION 9 callback during new quiet section earns laughs from crowd. listen as the song disappears from memory during segue into DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. TC has no swing whatsoever, but he sounds convincingly psychedelic on CLEMENTINE. nor does not he have an ominous blues setting, playing organ on this take of DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, a task he will be relieved of soon. late set is 40-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. perhaps playing to the 16-track (& LP side limitations) 10-minute DARK STAR is shorter than recent takes. it’s a solid edit, garcia glides through episodes quickly/dramatically in 2nd half. ST. STEPHEN slightly rough in places, but then band turns corner into just-exactly-perfection, even the vocals, with both THE ELEVEN & LOVELIGHT at full snarling speed, & soon constituting a side-and-a-half of “live/dead.”  listened to this LOVELIGHT gazillions of times but never noticed phil singing off-mic response vocals during the 2nd verse ’til just now. great version that moves quickly from idea to idea, landing naturally at big finale. phil: “and leave it on!!”

2/2/69 minneapolis: the opening of new psychedelic venue. local band blackwood apology leads off with rock opera “house of leather.” 90-minute set is band’s archetypal “compact” approach when coming to a new town, with long pigpen rave-ups bookending psychedelic suites. crowd not buying at first. walk-outs & heckles. lesh & garcia heckle back. jerry: “we come all the way across the country & leave the comfort & beauty of california & come out in the cold miserable rain & snow & what do we get? people who can’t dig it. too weird!!” garcia pretty much rips into 16-minute DARK STAR, which is charged & beautiful, with early feedback clouds, aggressive for a song with only hand percussion. 20 more sharp minutes of ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, with ugly tape cuts. TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT entering its own golden age, with rolling pigologues deep inside the groove while the band turns effortless corners & surfs weird pockets atop circular double drumming. the 1st reference to “pocket pool,” i guess?

2/4/69 omaha: a small club on their first trip to omaha. opening act was the unknown, from st. louis. another night of the dead getting hassled. garcia heckling a heckler: “hey far out man. this is too much. this is the lamest trip we’ve been taken on in our entire career, absolutely the lamest.” people calling requests, too. off-mic, garcia suggests MORNING DEW. phil: “is that what somebody wants to hear?” jerry: “it’s what *i* want to hear.” weir, getting in tune: “close enough for progressive rock…” tight, powerful DEW follows. 37-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. tape is sped up, making DARK STAR sound particularly strident. DEATH DON’T remains extra-atmospheric, pigpen back on organ, though cut-off again. 36-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > CAUTION. 1st taped instance of band dropping the CRYPTICAL epilogue, someone onstage calling an audible, a nice move. drummers use chant for reentry before action-packed CAUTION. gets to deep blissful spot, turns noisy & atmospheric while pig is still singing, reforms, peaks, & zooms off the rails. tape cuts out mid-feedback.

2/5/69 kansas city, ks: first visit to kansas, opening for the iron butterfly. missing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opener & dropping right into the suites, mainly a fantastic 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. beautiful gliding DARK STAR, but the more pummeling jams win the day & audience. a perfect shift into pretty ragin’ CAUTION. pig’s section is short. garcia & weir sing long drone tones over feedback before short screamo vocal jam. a cool development in the post-CAUTION meltdown is TC matching garcia/weir/lesh’s feedback with organ drones. friendly ovation early in BID YOU GOODNIGHT. crowd gets into it. long version, garcia hitting the weird lines about the child-eating beast.

2/6/69 st. louis: st. louis debut, their 2nd night opening for the iron butterfly. MORNING DEW is prelude to 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. fantastic shimmering peak to DARK STAR with lead bass & chiming weir, along with twisting garcia threads. LOVELIGHT only sort of gels. the dead get some extra time & burn through THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, exiting upwards into feedback (TC leaning on the organ, phil looking for melodies) & into BID YOU GOODNIGHT, earning a nice reception.

2/7/69 pittsburgh: incredibly heavy triple bill of the grateful dead, the velvet underground, & the fugs, each playing an early & late show, MC’d by paul krassner. 48-minute early set is DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. typically lovely neon skywriting in DARK STAR. power failure almost kills flow before fluid & bombastic THE ELEVEN. LOVELIGHT scrambles midway & never fully ignites. late show capped by half-hour ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT that peaks as much as ambles. cooking CHINA CAT squigglies after drum break & gradual float before CAUTION. feedback starts conversational & dissolves slowly. handy overview of the checkered relationship between the ex-warlocks.

2/11/69 fillmore east: early & late shows opening for janis joplin, her post-big brother NYC debut. maybe because they’re sharing a bill with janis, early show is blues-heavy. 1st taped KING BEE since ’66, a pigpen standard for the next 3 years. the debut of the short-lived pig-sung HEY JUDE. charming but silly, especially the nah-nahing coda. late set begins as mickey presents bill graham with the cowbell that graham played on the night he “became part of the grateful dead,” aka when the dead dosed him & graham jammed. “welcome to the band, bubby,” mickey says. a monster late show, 1st time adding new acoustic songs to front of suite, a powerful sequencing with quiet transition to electricity. 54-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DRUMZ > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. middle DARK STAR jams fully conversational, phrases & ideas spread between musicians, TC starting to get into the weave, often punctuated by garcia soaring over the top with a crystal lead.  garcia keeps pulling out peaks in CAUTION. they even earn an encore, far from the usual in early ’69. big ’n’ bright COSMIC CHARLIE, particularly violent tape cut after 2 minutes.

2/12/69 fillmore east: missing the beginning, 34 minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. pro deceleration into ultra-quiet DEATH DON’T. big reception from NYC heads afterwards. 32-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT has the most sustained bliss of the set, big jams swelling/receding after the drum break, basslines pulling cool harmonies from garcia’s wilding. CAUTION hovers at the edge of chaos after the vocals, splitting open methodically & surrendering to chaos. feedback codas developing a nice arc with miniature episodes, here cosmic TC noise blurps “peak” with garcia’s volume swell melodies.

2/14/69 philadelphia: the 1st of 2 nights at the original electric factory. 53 minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. even with beginning cut, DARK STAR is longer than usual, garcia extra-lit & lyrical throughout. the 2nd set is probably missing some parts afterwards after the DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY ending, but i’m really starting to see why it was such a band favorite, a quiet/spacious non-pigpen landing after a good freakout.

2/15/69 philadelphia: fantastic show start to finish. new songs really clicking, beginning with opening DOIN’ THAT RAG, with a few nice lyric variations. surprisingly assertive & worked-out harmonica part by pigpen throughout COSMIC CHARLIE. only time, i think? big cheer for MORNING DEW, its 1st time punctuating a big psychedelic suite. set-closing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with long early stretch of archetypal explosive garcia blues breathlessness while conversations spin behind him. 2nd set flow exquisitely, beginning with 49-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. during MOUNTAINS garcia solos confidently on acoustic right up til switching off. 1st DARK STAR to crack 20 minutes, though could be ‘cuz garcia pops a string & disappears for 4 minutes, resulting in a lush weir/lesh/TC jam. nice window on weir’s playing, which is great. jazzy, spacious, & filled with strange movements & occasional lead flourishes. 47-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT also stretches extra-wide & extra-gnarly. instrumental BID YOU GOODNIGHT jam acts as bridge into CAUTION & prelude to beautiful set-closing vocal version. big cheers. grateful thanks from garcia.

2/19/69 fillmore west: part of an acid test-like event called the celestial synapse, with an appropriately weird & anarchic tape (often misdated 6/19/68). icky buzzes ’til midway through sloppy 35-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT > NOT FADE AWAY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 1st recorded NOT FADE AWAY since ’66. pigpen sings 1st line & weir takes rest, doing it in the choppy ’66 arrangement, ala the stones. tape rolls during break. naked tripping commune leader raps. audience oms for 22 minutes, led by stephen gaskin, later leader of the farm. various heads (& kids?) take mic, babble over om, jam on dead’s percussion. stage takeover, chanting. fascinating field recording. 2nd set is fantastic & ranging 47-minute jam, slowly coalescing into 1st version of THE MAIN TEN (the theme that would become the PLAYING IN THE BAND intro), a vivid DARK STARish episode, unidentified flying shapes, & OTHER ONE variations.

2/21/69 vallejo: luxurious 73-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. thrilling new episode in DARK STAR, the sputnik jam spiraling into an overdriven garcia peak with busy movement & the drummers shifting to their kits. the longest version of THE ELEVEN, i think, just over 20 minutes. doesn’t necessarily go many new places (garcia once called the song a “trap”), surfing the big strange groove because they can & maybe practicing for the live album they’re recording next week. during deep-pocketed TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, maybe the only time i’ve ever heard pigpen refer to himself in the 3rd person. as in, “wake up, ‘cause the pig is hungry.” MORNING DEW to close.

2/22/69 vallejo: trying new setlist tweaks at out-of-town gig. powerful 54-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. 22-minute DARK STAR turns alien after the sputnik jam again, making cover for cool drum entrance. 2nd set has 56-minute DOIN’ THAT RAG > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. another extra-long THE ELEVEN (as per usual this month, seems), with dug-in bass solo.

2/27/69 fillmore west: can hear how amazing the sound quality is during a few of the tech breaks during the early show as the stage creaks in stereo. love the sound of garcia counting off songs with reverberating boot stomps. delightfully high garcia banter, better heard: “it’s really too weird up here, man, it really is… beyond the pale.” my favorite part, off-mic, “beyond the fuckin’ pale.” then, a stomp into the perfect THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE. great dynamics, packed with mini jams. the late show (following sets by sir douglas quintet & pentangle) begins after 1 in the morning on a thursday night. DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES sets up 56-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR glows from the start, all the episodes developed over the past year & even the past week combine for perhaps the single classic take. also a break through: for 1st time, kreutzmann adds exquisite whispered drums from early on, going in/out as song peaks/recedes. (a pretty astounding comparison of the 4 different mixes of the 2/27/69 dark star.) TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT has a few idyllic “goin’ to the country” references but, more, a document of pigpen getting confident in pushing his vocal tics between speaking & singing with band improvising with him. hey, maybe the all-time COSMIC CHARLIE, too?

2/28/69 fillmore west: their 2nd night of 4 with sir douglas quintet & pentangle, each playing early/late sets. early show is pigpen special, getting 3 tunes. long late set introduced by bill graham: “the last of the gay desperados…” 19-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE is prelude to 53-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. epic 20-minute DARK STAR moves away from pulse after the 1st verse, disintegrating after the sputnik jam & out into quietly swinging weir/lesh/kreutzmann space jazz (hart on guiro) before garcia enters quietly & builds back towards song. mickey shoots off small cannon during ST. STEPHEN. drums fade entirely halfway through THE ELEVEN while everybody else keeps ripping, then return. sounds great. jam digs in deep. conversational flows. 39-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. fantastic ambient vibrations by TC during post-CAUTION feedback. mickey shoots cannon again. noise-squelched BID YOU GOODNIGHT. “goodnight from all the electronic mice,” sez jer.

3/1/69 fillmore west: bill graham introduces the band, “the american version of the japanese film ‘the magnificent seven’…” whole early show is deliberate 44-minute suite. no real jams to connect the songs, just short purposeful pauses. last recorded THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > NEW POTATO CABOOSE combo, as paired on “anthem of the sun.” bass-led 13s jam in NEW POTATO is fuzzyblissy, before a peaceful crossfade to DOIN’ THAT RAG & COSMIC CHARLIE. garcia, before the late show, charmingly, “hey, this is gonna be good, you guys!” (collective band laughter, but he’s right!) bill graham: “the great high hope…” & band starts into an hour of purposefully sequenced music, beginning with DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES. 58-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR is bolder by the night. kreutzmann’s drums enter subtly, cymbals first, under dense conversation & vanish again. spiky sputnik meltdown & resolution before 2nd verse. ST. STEPHEN has mickey’s cannon & a good cosmic aside by weir, “except in california.” garcia/drummers jam leads into LOVELIGHT, which hits weave. TC starting to fit in. his playing isn’t bluesy but colors the jam under pig’s raps in a very deady way. encore is the 2nd & final HEY JUDE, lost ’til the ‘90s. this time, the 1st half is tentative & it’s the coda that works, achieving primal liftoff with gang chorus (& presumably a singalong) with garcia shredding.

3/2/69 fillmore west: hard to tell what’s happening, but i think bill graham comes out to introduce the band, garcia declares “free turf!” & launches into 57-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, the entirety of the early show. another night, another amazing & sensitive 20-minute DARK STAR. kreutzmann’s cymbal-masked drum entrance in the post-verse jam is starting to solidify. natural feeling TC organ runs. sputnik episode deconstructs into jagged secret codes. “help, help we need some organized minds up here,” garcia begs before late show. DOIN’ THAT RAG showing signs of developing jam. way powerful 34-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, the latter perfect from the start & chosen for “live/dead.”  54-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT takes its sweet time getting to CAUTION with slow deliberate bass jam. a showstopping combo since ’67 (& on “anthem of the sun”), ALLIGATOR > CAUTION becomes a rarity after this. post-CAUTION feedback highlighted by sublime minute-long volume swell coda by garcia, on “live/dead” along with BID YOU GOODNIGHT, which cuts on master after 36 seconds. beautifully sung, but too bad they didn’t have a full take with all the verses.

3/15/69 san francisco hilton: on phil lesh’s 29th birthday, the grateful dead at the black & white symphony ball at the san francisco hilton, annual benefit for the SF symphony. weir’s mom was on the entertainment committee. short charming onstage soundcheck, all band members conversing with owsley. show opens with debut of otis redding’s 1968 hit HARD TO HANDLE, sung by pigpen. both pig & band almost have grip on song, equally feeling their ways through the jam. 58-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. mushy tape, but i think both drummers come in midway through 15-minute DARK STAR for the 1st time, soaring in through big garcia note cloud, only fading during final chorus.

3/28/69 modesto: 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. long DARK STAR takes 15 minutes before drums enter. tom toms flare briefly, dissolving & reforming several graceful times behind garcia’s guitar. band aborts set break after realizing they only have a little time. ken babbs or some other weirdo jabbers & 22-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE ensues. CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT’s reprise rushes past peak into chiming coda, woozy climax, & feedback landing.

3/29/69 las vegas: las vegas debut & only show there ’til ’81. rare mickey talk. “the next thing we’re going to do is something we wrote especially for the ice palace here in las vegas, we wrote it this morning.” cue 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 15-minute DARK STAR feels particularly forceful, with big bold lines over the pre-verse jam, & a spiky (even icy) post-sputnik disintegration near the very end that phil leads back towards prettiness as drums swing quietly. signs of a budding head scene in las vegas, 2 years before hunter s. thompson’s arrival, though the promoter was apparently a san francisco computer programmer, temporarily in las vegas for work.

4/4/69 avalon ballroom: the dead’s last weekend at the avalon ballroom, freak staple since ’66, with the flying burrito brothers & aum. perhaps already influenced by sneaky pete’s pedal steel with the burrito bros., garcia plays slide guitar during the intro to THE OTHER ONE. mega-allmansy 1st 90 seconds or so. very present TC throughout 22-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, doing his best to get funky, with mixed results. cool & confident atonal organ burps. more slide guitar by garcia. 40-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN. after intro, DARK STAR locks on jaunty shaker/guiro groove & kreutzmann’s drums enter before vocals for 1st time. post-verse rides brighter, drums accenting sputnik jam before disintegration into gongs, space, & resolution. nice stereo drum mix, good for untangling drum parts on ST. STEPHEN & what’s happening as they spool into THE ELEVEN, kreutzmann in the left channel & hart in the right, & eventually break apart into chaos & noise to close the show.

4/5/69 avalon ballroom: 1st set is the psychedelic special, DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES as prelude to 46-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, now the third time they’ve played this whole sequence. 17-minute DARK STAR has bold post-verse garcia lines. kreutzmann finds an entrance point, taps a cymbal for a bit, & eventually drums come in for spell, exiting just as naturally. quiet/savage harmonic weirding by garcia before double-drummer swell into 2nd verse. attention “william tell” truthers (including the person who labeled this recording): here’s a version of ST. STEPHEN with the “william tell” ending that jumps right to TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with no sign of THE ELEVEN until they actually play it in the 2nd set. after the fantastic berserker early versions of COSMIC CHARLIE, band has slowed it waaaaay down, & i can’t say it’s working super well vocally or otherwise. 1st taped CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER in a year, debuted in early ’68, set aside for some reason, & revived for “aoxomoxoa.” less manic & a l’il stiff, but garcia’s solo instantly blooms into the familiar CHINA CAT jam. awkward modulation to DOIN’ THAT RAG, now with vocal reprise. end of CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT downshifts with astonishing smoothness into THE ELEVEN & accelerates from there. jam opens up into the return of the garcia-sung IT’S A SIN, played by the hartbeats in ’68, pigpen on harmonica.“whaddya wanna hear that’ll last 10 minutes?” garcia asks, which results in 20-minute ALLIGATOR > BID YOU GOODNIGHT with drum interlude, dense feedback, bells, volume swell melodies, organ whistles. wonder how “sound proof productions” did with all that.

4/6/69 avalon ballrom: 1st proper date since late ’68 with no DARK STAR. weir asks for requests. 1st recorded BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE since 3/68 & 1st IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE since 12/66, slowed down & lovely. “what else do you wanna hear that we used to do?” garcia asks. deep DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, fantastic guitar tone & stark responsive organ by pigpen. more third person from pig during TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT: “tell ‘em pig said it was okay.” 1st VIOLA LEE BLUES since early ’68. big cheers. smashing until after 1st jam’s big peak when the amps go out. “somebody’s trying to tell us something,” observes weir before vocal/drums reprise. farewell, avalon ballroom!

4/11/69 tucson: the grateful dead begin a 2-week cross-country tour with their only ever gig in tucson, at a WPA auditorium. again coming out of THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, a restrained & spacious IT’S A SIN with pigpen’s harmonica getting nearly equal billing with garcia’s guitar/vocals. more garcia slide on HARD TO HANDLE, getting tighter. 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, with gaps in middle. after jamming on it in february, THE MAIN TEN (future PLAYING IN THE BAND intro) arrives during the DARK STAR drum swell. TC dials in the swirls.

4/12/69 salt lake city: the dead play utah for the 1st time, at the student ballroom, presented by the students for a democratic society. an early & late show.weir’s yellow dog joke, his perennial tech break time killer, makes its on-tape debut in two parts, with GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL in the middle. pigpen charmingly hijacks all the punchlines. “you don’t have to laugh. nobody does.” HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE, always rare (at least on tape), returns to the rotation & jams out for the 1st time, crossing 10 minutes as garcia’s fuzzy curlicues spiral upwards & back to a whisper. opening the late show, 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. as drums become more fixed part of DARK STAR, new spaces emerging, like garcia’s alien toned extrapolation, here backing off to give extra jam space to TC. garcia brings slide over to LOVELIGHT. also some gonging. nice drums/guitar breakdowns. one rap culminates in a solid mid-song grunt-fest. gettin’ freaky in mormon country. jam lands into feedback session but tape cuts out after a minute.

4/13/69 boulder: 25-minute (& incomplete) TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opens & takes its sweet time warming up, building to pigpen crowd work to get the vibe on for the evening. a mellow contrast with the busy show-closing version the night before. 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. stunning 24-minute DARK STAR with harsh gap during post-verse acceleration. kreutzmann rides cymbal for a bit before bringing in kit for swingin’ bliss jams with garcia, lesh, & weir. breakthrough! while still totally shredding, THE ELEVEN is relaxed, almost laidback, getting quiet in the middle. sweet landing into DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, perfect dynamic & delightful quiet guitar tones. after almost 2 hours, band takes set break. 14 minutes of ALLIGATOR, with a short garcia/drummers jam, chanting, peaks, & BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme before the tape cuts off.

4/15/69 omaha: presented by radio free omaha. compact HARD TO HANDLE opener effective in new role as pigpen icebreaker, as are a few familiar songs from their first album, including recently-returned BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, confident & driving. another great CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER again downshifts haltingly into DOIN’ THAT RAG, its most frequent destination for the next little while. 27-minute set-closing TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT starting to hit marathon proportions, wee bit tiring here. apparently revived a few days previous, 1st taped SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD in over a year, the old reliable post-jugband zig-zagger, pretty much unchanged since ’66. love this groove. 29 fuzzy minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN before tape runs out. strident garcia throughout. TC comes alive, leaning into organ noise & adding blossoming crystal infinities under garcia arpeggios. quick MAIN TEN theme before 2nd verse.

4/17/69 st. louis: outdoors. tape begins with lost dog announcement & promoter introduction, kreutzmann & hart’s intro dictated by weir: “thumpy & dropstick on drums.” HARD TO HANDLE opener with lyrical garcia slide. “i understand this is tornado weather,” weir says, almost excited. 50-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > IT’S A SIN > ST. STEPHEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. dramatic kreutzmann drum entrance in DARK STAR, riding cymbal under feedback/gong, snare snapping in just as garcia starts lyrical solo, the whole jam growing ever more conversational. 1st split-open ST. STEPHEN replaces the “ladyfinger” bridge with IT’S A SIN with pigpen harmonica spotlights. clever, but a little bit of a momentum killer. after the “william tell” ending, they again skip THE ELEVEN, upshifting into LOVELIGHT. after 23-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE they segue perfectly into CAUTION, which ends after 49 seconds. “they’re taking our road manager to jail if we play any longer, so fuck you…” says phil to the fuzz. more polite so-longs from other band members.

4/18/69 lafayette: indiana debut. experimentalist george stavis opened. wonder if he & garcia interacted? nice spooky film soundtrack playing as band tunes up. no real jam suite, just a smooth & apparently spontaneous phil led segue out of CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT into another groovy SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. another marathon 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. the 1st taped BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE with flexible intro count, 13 beats.

4/20/69 worcester: rescheduled from 4/19. rahsaan roland kirk pulled a gun & demanded to headline. as the band sets up, garcia: “last time we were here, it was a colossal disaster, this time it’ll be worse.” weir: “we gotta start with something good to make it bad.” (apparently it involved multiple power outages.) 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. muffled tom toms accent DARK STAR middle before sputnik jam draws in cymbals & pivots briefly to flaring chaos. as 2nd verse is about to drop, garcia adds soft, beautiful melodic thread. acoustic DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES & MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON close the set, their 1st time not serving as prelude to DARK STAR & co.. MOUNTAINS gets a short outro solo.

4/21/69 boston: set 1 closes with 22-minute ALLIGATOR > DOIN’ THAT RAG, connected by drum break, garcia/drumzers jam, garcia/lesh/kreutzmann segment, & BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme. garcia keeps turning it around & uses it as half-effective bridge into DOIN’ THAT RAG. short FOXEY LADY tune-up noodle opens 2nd set, instigated by garcia/hart/lesh, i think. 66-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. glassy glockenspiel chatter by hart before/during sputnik jam during DARK STAR. brief drums. revived VIOLA LEE BLUES sounding a l’il woozy (or maybe just out of tune) as the encore, though gets better as it goes, finally blowing out into feedback with gonging, garcia leads, more glockenspiel, & TC organ colors before the tape cuts out.

4/22/69 boston: band maybe starting to realize the value of lead with familiar songs, opening 1st set with the recently revived SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD & 3 others from the 1st album. they sort of take requests. monitor hassles & feedback-laced DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES, then extra-long 81-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. 4th & final time band played this 6-song full-set sequence & a rare repeated setlist. lush 27-minute DARK STAR is longest yet, 9 minutes pre-verse, with quiet drum episode. after pause for mickey’s gong, kreutzmann jumps on kit & everyone surfs. following sputnik jam, lesh hints at CAUTION, band goes abstract, lands drumless, & peaks again before verse 2. 29-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT is also the longest yet, getting into band improv, including nice zapped-out garcia & swelling CAUTION jam before final vocal reprise. someone popped a string & sounds like end of show is missing.

4/23/69 boston: a legend-cementing show in boston to close a 3-night midweek run at the ark & begin a new era of setlist hijinks. garcia: “this guy’s gonna make a little speech…”  promoter: “monday night i didn’t know how to introduce the people up here, because i’d never heard them live, [now] i know even better. this is the best fucking rock & roll band in the whole world…” floating HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE opens. someone requests MORNING DEW. “no,” says garcia to general laughter. requester responds inaudibly. garcia, droll: “fuck you.” phil: “you gotta stick around to hear MORNING DEW.” jerry: “yeah, ’til morning. ha, ha, ha,” & counts off… well-plotted 47-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > IT’S A SIN > ST. STEPHEN > THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. only hand percussion ’til 2/3 into 21-minute DARK STAR. little cloud of abstract wilding after the sputnik jam. harsh tape flip midway, but ST. STEPHEN drops “william tell” end for 1st time, bridging right to CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT. loving the happy bounce of SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD as a destination in the jam suite. garcia accedes to request & MORNING DEW opens set 2. big cheers. 48-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > JAM > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. rare flying mid-jam segue into THE ELEVEN. an audible, i think. drummers cue time signature change with joint pattern. band hits rising chords without single-note figure usually used as pivot. extra-long 17-minute THE ELEVEN with mega-tight post-verse shred jam that turns into a gradual deconstruction into CAUTION by way of melodic garcia & lesh dialogues, a BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme that edges into MOUNTAIN JAM, & more. CAUTION is fantastic, too, peaking big & folding back in half-time for more pigpen, with sweet garcia volume-swells. glockenspiel floats through feedback before BID YOU GOODNIGHT. crowd going just absolutely bananas for encore on a wednesday night in boston. drummers tease at NOT FADE AWAY, but IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE. over-emotive garcia leans into it, starting to turn into a great singer. maybe it’s the new monitor system.

4/25/69 chicago: the battle of the ex-warlocks. 1st of infamous 2 nights with the velvet underground & detroit band SRC. conflicting stories. based on the tape, i have a new theory. popular version is that the velvet underground played an extra-long opening set, leaving the dead only an hour, & that the dead opened 2nd night & retaliated. doug yule tells it several ways: but the tape says… strangely humdrum. 5 of the 6 songs are covers. pigpen gets 2/3 of the mic time. can see serious R&B-head lou reed deeply not digging this. no hint of jams/psychedelia/weirding. forceful 23-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. after LOVELIGHT, weir announces “we’re gonna come back & do a 2nd set in a little while & we’re gonna bring on 2 other real good bands & they’ll blow your minds anyway…” so, based on that… i think the shows were scheduled fillmore-style, alternating acts, with early & late sets for each. on night 1, the dead opened & the velvets played so long that the dead couldn’t do a late set, which (in turn) the dead did to the VU the next night.

4/26/69 chicago: night 2 of the formerly-the-warlocks battle with the velvet underground, in which the dead take their revenge. after the velvet underground blew through the dead’s late set the night before, the dead do the same to the velvet underground. a firsthand report, culled from ye olde dead.net. 21-minute MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > DOIN’ THAT RAG. only taped instance of an acoustic/electric transition after MOUNTAINS into anything besides DARK STAR. a nice alt-universe suite, even if it’s barely a segue into DOIN’ THAT RAG. 25-minute CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > THE OTHER ONE > THE ELEVEN > THE OTHER ONE > IT’S A SIN. maybe ‘cuz of impending segue, OTHER ONE is one of 1st to turn inside out, imperceptible A+ time signature shifts. quick 2nd verse, using CRYPTICAL tag as a transition. back-to-back revivals by weir, 1st taped NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES & SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES since ’66. former is yet another 1st album tune revived. on latter, sounds like garcia’s itchin’ to get home & play his new pedal steel. the shift to LSDC&W begins (again). garcia still can’t quite get all the words to IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE, but singing them with more conviction. really great. ST. STEPHEN again drops “william tell” ending into 33-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, pig & phil doing, uh, crowd work. wild 40-minute VIOLA LEE BLUES > WHAT’S BECOME OF THE BABY > WE BID YOU GOODNIGHT encore. 20-minute VIOLA LEE has fierce CAUTION JAM as last peak before dissolving into feedback, the studio BABY played on top. breathtakingly psychedelic. only done once. kinda like the high harmony part someone (presumably not a band member) is singing off-mic during BID YOU GOODNIGHT.

4/27/69 minneapolis: set bookended by TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, opening with 28-minute LOVELIGHT > ME & MY UNCLE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, both perfect segues. 1st taped UNCLE since ’66, maybe closer to rolling ’80s groove than what it would become before that. hour-long DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > LOVELIGHT. 26-minute DARK STAR has beautifully developed pre-verse jam(s). post-verse gongs lead into wild kreutzmann-fired space with most celestial TC organ playing yet & new corner after new corner. the 2nd LOVELIGHT is a bit redundant, though does yield more jam pockets than pigpen raps, which is a nice balance change. MORNING DEW on the other hand is a jawdropper. fantastic vocals by garcia.

5/3/69a rocklin: an hour-long afternoon set at the sierra college pop festival, their 1st of 2 gigs that day. some of my fave jerry banter: “we’ll mention that nobody here is made of sugar & nobody will melt if it rains. the worst thing that could happen is that we might be electrocuted en masse & that’s not so bad, shit.” also: “hey man, we’re just hassling up here, can’t you understand? we’re in the middle of a hassle. if you want, you can hassle along with us… this is just life. this is no show. this is the way we live. we’re just hassling here in an attempt to make some simple music.” more great tech break theater, including jerry on phil’s broken strings, eric clapton references, & weir inviting a dog onstage. weir also tells what seems like a puzzling & tasteless joke but i think is connected to real rock & roll lore, though can’t verify weir’s bit. anyway, solid MORNING DEW opener, a favorite of dick latvala. most of set is 25-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with a few gnarly guitar jams & not a whole lotta pig raps. all pretty low stakes, including BABY BLUE & BEAT IT DOWN THE LINE.

5/3/69b winterland: alternating sets with mongo santamaria & the jefferson airplane.
lesh: direct from the sierra pop festival, here’s bill graham.
garcia: direct from bill graham, the gospel truth!
crowd (led by weir?) sings “come all ye faithful… to winterland.”
graham: san francisco’s own seven samurai, the grateful dead…21-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE with the action shifting from the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro to the OTHER ONE middle jam, sailing & diving & thinning out in the middle. muddy tape, but cool garcia dialogues with TC’s B3 & then phil’s bass.

5/7/69 polo field: a wednesday afternoon in golden gate park with the jefferson airplane, just ‘cuz. loose & lovely & audibly lysergic. definitely the end of an era, the last free san francisco park gig ’til ’75. coming out of jam, only hart drums on ME & MY UNCLE. charming garcia announcements about lost kids & found car keys. dude asks heads to stop standing in front of speakers. “aw, go away, ya cop,” sez jerry. much other trippy crosstalk. it’s bill the drummer’s 23rd birthday & he shows up properly late, missing the opener, i think here sporting his pigpen shirt. almost 3 minutes of a mystery instrumental, possibly just improvised. weir starts fingerpicking chord changes & rest of band gradually joins. can anybody identify it? gets cut off as it starts to pick up speed. a tape gap, probably with some songs missing, cutting into 13-minute THE OTHER ONE > SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING. dense pre-verse OTHER ONE peak & thinning in the middle. 1st taped SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING since 3/68, only the ending, perpetual pigpen rarity. 1st taped GOOD LOVIN’ since ’66, with jerry on vocals instead of pig, singer on the utterly manic early versions. the only dead song to have 3 different lead singers at various points. and i think mydland sometimes took verses in the ‘80s, too? 55-minute DARK STAR > DRUMZ > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT to close. languid 1-verse DARK STAR moves adjacent to usual motifs without hitting them directly, veering into many short & melodic garcia pockets, with subtle, supportive vox organ & chiming lead bass.

5/10/69 pasadena: opening for “cream’s farewell concert” movie. a hippie introduces the band, leading the crowd in a long “gong bong,” a breathing exercise to get you hiiiiiiiiiiiiigh “without all the dirty dope.” power failures interrupt HARD TO HANDLE & MORNING DEW & i still dig it more than cream. 72-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. mushy sound in parts of DARK STAR, but garcia’s guitar peaks & turns throughout, kreutzmann’s drums flocking around it. before last verse, a quiet space builds back to fierce swirl.

5/11/69 san diego: an afternoon bill (& FM broadcast) with canned heat & santana. raging MORNING DEW opener. 29-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL with smooth segue & radio crosstalk about canned heat, mostly confirming it at 5/11. 30-minute ALLIGATOR > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with much of santana seemingly joining. percussion interludes extra drumzers drumzing, making chaos, a vocalist, & supposedly carlos, but i don’t hear him.

5/16/69 morago: a high school in the east bay. not a great set, but good stories. after the grateful dead get hired to play a high school, they open with the most appropriate/inappropriate song in their repertoire, pigpen singing GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL. fairly tame set, including a lightly jammed DOIN’ THAT RAG & a 22-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with pig exhorting people to get their thumbs out of their asses. someone’s shouting for ST. STEPHEN. principal supposedly turns lights on mid-song.

5/23/69 hollywood reservation: the  dead headline (i think) the first rock festival held on native american land to avoid local laws, including joe south, muddy waters, & more. another big MORNING DEW. many sets now open with pig/jerry/weir alternation. ME & MY UNCLE is weir’s 1st new cover in a bit & will become band’s most played song ever. always garcia who signals it so far. love the big spaghetti western leads. 68-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. languid pre-verse rambles but band jumps confidently into post-verse noise/swell/launching before thinning back out. a few icy, spiky episodes by garcia provide lift-offs. cohesive half-hour LOVELIGHT finale, feeling like an equal balance between big colorful garcia leads & extended pigpen parts, including a cool pig/drummer breakdown.

5/24/69 hollywood reservation: on one hand, the dead seem determined not to repeat what they did the night before. on the other, they open with a 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, which they’d played for half an hour to close the previous set. some fun new turns within. alternate universe suite #1: 28-minute HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, all magic segues. great acceleration into the brightness of CHINA CAT, which opens into (a slightly flat) THE ELEVEN via a different path than ’68. i’ll admit to having a soft spot for weir’s joke about the yellow dog, told during tech breaks, but this is a particularly terrible & painfully slow iteration & rightfully bombs. after he says “shit,” concerned non-dead voice off-mic remarks “did he just swear?” alternate universe suite #2: 24-minute ALLIGATOR > ST. STEPHEN > BID YOU GOODNIGHT is less successful, but still fun. extended ALLIGATOR drumz segment slams into ST. STEPHEN without the chiming intro & exits to feedback without the “william tell” ending.could be wrong, but i think the big rock pow wow was the last time the grateful dead & timothy leary shared a stage. pretty sure i’m not buyin’ anything tim’s selling.

5/30/69 portland, OR: springer’s, a hippie ballroom. ripping: ’77 MORNING DEW. rippinger: ’69 MORNING DEW. another show-opening gong rush. mickey never should’ve gotten rid of it. jerry pops strings. “you can talk amongst yourselves, or maybe it’s ‘talk amongst yourself’ or ‘you can talk to yourself.’” 23-minute DARK STAR > COSMIC CHARLIE. band rushes out into DARK STAR jam, which stays bright (& mildly out of tune), with a fracturing post-sputnik freakout, before ignoring the 2nd verse, dissolving purposefully down to quiet, & back up into COSMIC CHARLIE. 39-minute ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, cutting off (maybe) at the end. THE ELEVEN gets up into peak flows & LOVELIGHT stays vibrating, bouncing between garcia jams & pigpen scenes. once again, from michael lydon’s great 1969 rolling stone cover feature.

5/31/69 eugene: 1st recorded COLD RAIN & SNOW since 10/67, pretty much still in early/speedy LP form with pronounced guitar break. long tech hassle with ken babbs stand-up babble. “remember, there’s more of us in this room than anybody else!” student tries to get people to dance.
garcia: it’s free turf. anybody can do anything they wanna do.
babbs: we can take it, we’ve been stoned!
garcia: *been*?
shift continues: 1st tape of weir doing curly putman’s GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME, c&w hit in ’65 for porter wagoner, global #1 in ’66 for tom jones, & solid lol about weed for heads in ’69. tape sez garcia’s playing pedal steel, but it’s just faux steel licks on 6-string. 20-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. properly berserker THE OTHER ONE jam, starting to explode outwards from the middle of its suite. prankster chaos continues throughout, people shouting onstage during music. babbs grabs mic during 30-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with decidedly mixed results, though occasionally amusing crosstalk. 2nd set opens with (i think) the longest ever HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE, almost 15 minutes. occasional windows of sweet & brilliant garcia solos, but whole jam never quite comes into focus, or perhaps tune. 29-minute DARK STAR > DOIN’ THAT RAG. free drummin’ post-verse weirdness opens into crisp-phrased sputnik jam & further abstractions. babbs’s voice occasionally pokes through as jam coalesces prettily. tape cuts before DOIN’ THAT RAG jam & the segues might continue. some spun prankster (not kesey or babbs, i don’t think) takes the mic at the beginning of IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE for pseudo-heavy rap & tries to sing with garcia throughout. not a keeper take.

6/69 pacific high recording (maybe): jerry garcia solo demo featuring 3 future grateful dead classics, all debuted that june & included on “workingman’s dead” the following year. garcia & robert hunter’s 1st real forays into americana. all 3 songs are breakthroughs in different ways & begin a new, simpler phase in garcia & hunter’s songwriting. a few takes of DIRE WOLF. some are pretty chipper, garcia overdubbing spritely & fluid acoustic leads. only one pass through CASEY JONES, garcia & hunter’s update of the old ballad. fully formed, intro lick already there. a few subtly different flourishes, jerry shifting into a sweet & winning falsetto in places. love the folk feel, before the dead made it gigantic. a 5-minute blues instrumental with garcia overdubbing slide guitar. generic, but with enough chord changes that it sounds like a song sketch. unfinished garcia, but not terribly compelling either. HIGH TIME is another major new move for garcia & hunter, a relationship song that’s neither psychedelia nor overtly building on folk tradition. more forceful than the fragile dead versions to come. also new: garcia’s beautifully wounded, quiet vocals. will be more fragile & beautiful when it slows down even more. #deadfreaksunite [x/x]

6/5/69 fillmore west: opening an eventful 4-night run at the fillmore west, alternating sets with jr. walker & warner bros. labelmates the glass family. early show closes with 25-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, another wild middle jam, but the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro is still where the jam’s at, with an unusual & patient organ-padded section early on & soaring upwards from there. sweet landing. alternate universe mini-suite: punchy 8-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD. the segue works just exactly dandily & the jug/folk/rock destination is similar in concept to I KNOW YOU RIDER if not quite as cathartic. 67-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR continues to dissolve earlier pathways, weir adding great mini-leads during post-verse jam, contributing to peak. THE ELEVEN ends with thoughtful, quiet conversation.

6/6/69 fillmore west: the night jerry garcia showed up late & bill graham made the band go on with another guitarist, ome of many random june ’69 guest appearances. probably. the result is a preview of dead & co., garcia replaced by a blues hammer, in this case wayne ceballos of aum. after SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING, people shouting “where’s garcia?” lesh: “[we’re] sadly depleted…” in response to crowd, “well, one guitar player’s pretty much like another.” ceballos joins ragged BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE & leads sonny boy williamson’s CHECKIN’ UP ON MY BABY. bulk of set is interminable 47-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. garcia returns midway through. maybe. hard to tell what’s going on, but sounds like a mega-jam to me, at times bordering on a shreds video.

6/7/69 fillmore west: show begins with live debut of DIRE WOLF, mostly just a peppy solo acoustic performance by garcia with the band (kinda) following. MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON set ups the DARK STAR suite for the 8th & final time, one ending of the “live/dead” era. 46-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY maybe missing between last two. dreamy but rapt DARK STAR intro. post-verse slashes, weir digs into sputnik jam. nearly solo garcia space feeds into outro variations. boffo entrance to THE ELEVEN, fierce & detailed, as is SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, its last version serving jam-suite duties ’til ’72. janis joplin comes out for concise, screamodelic 20-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, one of 2 tapes of her with the dead. lots of sweet & funny answer vocals between janis & pig. not transcendent but better than the other guest versions from this run.

6/8/69 fillmore west: an infamous show in internal band lore. the most fun set of the run, before garcia & lesh (& others) get too dosed & sit out much of the late show. early set opens with 13-minute DANCING IN THE STREET, 1st since spring ’68. drummers are ready, locking in immediately. jam gets deep & bright, garcia pulling out neon threads, weir working gear shift, band moving together. slowed-down mutant reentry. no real segues, but set keeps flowing. HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE is perfect, with languid garcia phrasings. last recorded version of NEW POTATO CABOOSE, 13 minutes & a doozy. some grunge, but bass jam surges into sustained bliss exactly as designed. vocals almost sound okay. late show is a mess, multiple accounts of LSD-dosed apple juice below. on tape, it begins with 36-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT fronted by aum’s wayne ceballos, elvin bishop on guitar. tag-team superjam features some decent chaos & probably increasingly fewer dead members. elvin bishop & pig duet on THE THINGS I USED TO DO & WHO’S LOVING YOU TONIGHT, with the dead drummers & probably other musicians, before garcia rematerializes for slightly woozy but happening 21-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE. multiple people dosed the apple juice at the 6/8/69 dead show with an estimated $50,000 worth of LSD crystal, led by notorious acid dealer goldfinger. unsurprisingly, accounts differ. first up is from dennis mcnally’s official bio. a long account of the 6/8/69 dosing by phil lesh, from his memoir. jerry garcia & mountain girl remember the 6/8/69 mega-dosing to dennis mcnally (in “jerry on jerry”), the bad trip that would inspire robert hunter to write “black peter” (& stop doing LSD for a while), & perhaps the story of CSN’s true influence on the grateful dead, when garcia/hunter listened to the band’s first album over & over as hunter was coming down.

6/11/69 california hall: most of the grateful dead at san francisco’s california hall, at a scientology-related benefit, billed as bobby ace & the cards from the bottom of the deck. no tape, but a songlist exists from an early deadhead whose other lists match up to tapes. a prototype of the new riders of the purple sage, one of jerry garcia’s first outings playing the pedal steel, besides coffeehouse gigs with john dawson, playing a slew of songs that would make their way to dead sets soon & a bunch that wouldn’t. the show was a “quasi-benefit” for… scientology. according to dennis mcnally’s bio, weir was ending his brief dalliance under TC’s tutelage & was exiting with a benefit to, uh, get clear.

6/13/69 fresno: everything is a bit frayed. nice to hear TC’s keyboards distinct in the mix during an otherwise sloppy HARD TO HANDLE, though. maybe he’d’ve been better served by a rhodes, or something more percussive? aum’s wayne ceballos comes out for GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL, not ronnie hawkins, despite deadbase’s claims. 15-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > MORNING DEW settles down easily, but DEW loses some oomph without the dramatic gong intro. with no DARK STAR, a 42-minute ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. could be the recording, but feeling a little edgeless. ceballos & sanpaku flautist gary larkey (probably) hang for LOVELIGHT.

6/14/69 monterey: in the college gymnasium at @mpcmonterey, with aum & the bitter seeds the 1st “electric” DIRE WOLF, mostly garcia solo again, guitar a bit out of tune. lesh picks it up as it goes along, the drummers accent occasionally. except for the great new song in the middle, just an absolute mess, really. 53-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. pre-verse DARK STAR jam is big & assertive over hand percussion, chunky & rhythmic garcia leads, hard-fuzzed (with aggressive lesh) as drums enter. wayne ceballos of aum comes out again for LOVELIGHT, the 4th time in a week, & doesn’t add a whole lot. mercifully short, with a 5-minute drum break (plus chanting).

6/20/69 fillmore east: a 2-night stand at the fillmore east with savoy brown, the buddy miles express, & @joshualightshow, celebrating the release of “aoxomoxoa” & instead debuting a virtually new grateful dead. it’s not bill graham introducing the band. instead of the nitrous-hosed psychedelia from their brand new album, the band opens their big NYC gig with george jones’s OLD, OLD HOUSE, sung by bob weir. garcia’s on pedal steel for the 1st time with the dead. nice! one of two known dead versions. garcia on pedal steel for DIRE WOLF, too, 1st version of briefly lived arrangement with weir on lead vocals. he & the song sound great except for weir’s affected cowboy drawl. garcia’s back on 6-string for debut of merle haggard’s MAMA TRIED, sung by weir, playing acoustic. then, holy crap, the 1st version of garcia & robert hunter’s HIGH TIME. garcia’s vocals sound almost perfect & fragile & quiet, jumping easily into upper registers. a spare drum part that sometimes seems almost non-existent. weir’s harmonies are rough but sweet. eventually, they get to DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES, the 1st song of 2 songs featured from the new album. garcia calls his 12-string a “dozen wire.” 52-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR itself is missing a chunk, not even 8 minutes. perhaps because of a popped string, garcia switches to an acoustic during one of the LOVELIGHT breaks & it sounds boss.

6/21/69 fillmore east: GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME opens, garcia on pedal steel. “there’ll be a brief pause while we allow you to consider the new development,” he notes. no one shouts “judas!” but there’s some chatter in the room. wish the audience tape was less muffled! ME & MY UNCLE makes a lot more musical sense in a set with pedal steel & songs like HIGH TIME, which is sublime even on this shitty tape. garcia’s voice & TC’s keyboards whisper through the murk. starting to build transitions from americana to psychedelia. 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > MORNING DEW, a more forced segue than the other iteration of this combo, the latter getting polite applause when it starts. (also an indication of how polite/quiet the crowd is the rest of the time.) 22-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > OL’ SLEW-FOOT is perfectly mid-’69. engaging post-DRUMZ jam continues into deep OTHER ONE. a big tape flip in CRYPTICAL, but comes back in time to catch garcia switching over to pedal steel & weir counting off into the 1st recorded version of crockett/webb’s OL’ SLEW-FOOT, probably picked up via porter wagoner. wild steel licks.

6/22/69 central park bandshell: a sunday in the park with the grateful dead, their last free show there, appearing each june since ’67 at the naumberg bandshell. legendary show for the parkies, the LSD-dealing graffiti artist longhairs who hung around the bandshell throughout the ‘70s, because it was the day owsley came to the park. 12-minute DANCING IN THE STREET opener is all sunshine despite the fuzziness. the 1st recorded CASEY JONES, presumably debuted during an untaped set at the fillmore east over weekend, floating in on a jam that sounds like a slightly brisker ROW JIMMY. sounds more familiar by the time the ending ramps up. 1st taped SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES with garcia on pedal steel, sparkling through the audience tape guck. weir & lesh’s harmonies sounding a little better. 30-minute DARK STAR > THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > IT’S A SIN with some tape cuts/fades. DARK STAR pre-verse jam gets down to stark garcia/lesh space, with quick post-verse shift into 1st OTHER ONE fully severed from CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT segments. using OTHER ONE end tag, band lands in ST. STEPHEN, leaving it unfinished & shifting into IT’S A SIN at the “ladyfinger” bridge, before 22-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer. there will be rumors of free dead shows in central park for years to come. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

6/27/69 santa rosa: with an unnamed prototype of hot tuna & the cleanliness & godliness skiffle band. 1st 9 songs all drawing from folk/americana, almost all new or revived in the past 2 months, featuring occasional acoustic guitar/pedal steel/guests, before shifting over to psychedelia. a little kid introduces the band, “from good ol’ san francisco, the good ol’ grateful dead.” opening OL’ SLEW-FOOT features pete grant on banjo, an old garcia buddy from the palo alto scene. marmaduke might be singing, too? i adore garcia’s harmony on MAMA TRIED. per @corry342, cleanliness & godliness’s tom ralston subbed for a delayed mickey hart early in the show. to my ears, only MAMA TRIED sounds like it has extra percussion. (garcia played pedal steel with c&g, too.) 2nd taped version of CASEY JONES, again starting with short jam, garcia still figuring out intro lick. but vocals come in so forcefully that it’s a surprise not to hear the crowd cheer in recognition. some rhythmic discombobulation & extra chords, but shaping up quickly. in the context of all the other folkiness, the 1st taped version of pigpen doing BIG BOSS MAN since early ’67 plays like a labor song (which it totally is!) & a seemingly clear antecedent to EASY WIND. cool, loose feel. but they’re still weirdos: 40-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN JAM > GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME. long DARK STAR has rhythmic swells & post-verse flows. hart’s jackhammer snare pushes up/out, lesh teases LOVELIGHT, weir hits new patterns, & all land gracefully. once again, the band exits from psychedelia with garcia shifting to pedal steel for a weir c&w tune, getting as far as THE ELEVEN transition jam before attempting a crossfade into GREEN, GREEN GRASS. IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE going well before tape cut.

6/28/69 santa rosa: chaos prevails as show starts, bordering on a hootenanny. phil introduces OL’ SLEW-FOOT winking to owsley: “this song is about bear drops. does a bear drop in the woods, that is the question?” pedal steel, pete grant on banjo, onstage fireworks. grant plays banjo for 1st few songs, mostly inaudible. enjoying the bright combo of the pedal steel & TC’s glassy keyboards, though. someone is audibly talked down from setting off further fireworks. a voice off-mic, maybe jerry, “you see what they were going to light?!” garcia switches back to electric for MAMA TRIED, played extra slow (yes, slower than the recent dead & bro debut), which sounds nice in places but doesn’t quite hold together. maybe it would with pedal steel? john “marmaduke” dawson doubles weir on ME & MY UNCLE with his odd, high voice, which almost kinda works. it’s marmaduke’s 1st official appearance with the dead. garcia’s been backing him on pedal steel at coffeehouses, soon to be the new riders of the purple sage. no real psychedelic jams & just one song from their brand new album, DOIN’ THAT RAG. only improv is a 28-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer, pulling out all the stops, downshifting into a mini swing episode. many electric garcia shreds en route.

7/3/69 colorado springs: sharing a bill at reed’s ranch with alice cooper & beginning an 11-day jaunt to the east coast. indoors, despite the venue name. a 90-minute set opening with another pedal steel double-shot. 2 c&w covers by weir that never made it into the dead’s canon (& are ignored by even deep cut cover bands): SLEWFOOT & GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME. zero songs from the last 2 albums. hart (audibly) playing kit on HIGH TIME for 1st time & wow is it a mess. sweetest jam is melodious & bittersweet 13-minute HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE, a keeper. unusually, TC leads start of 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT jam, which goes off the rails in a mostly good way around halfway through, into propulsive guitar, but can’t quite recover the groove or momentum for the finale.

7/4/69 chicago: with the buddy miles express & the sir douglas quintet at the kinetic playground. owsley is not having it anymore with weir’s lame jokes, pausing the tape in the middle of the yellow dog story & later during some other joke that i don’t think i’ve heard on another tape. two pedal steel double-shots, including the late set debut of gene crysler’s 1966 song LET ME IN, sung by weir, learned (as usual) via porter wagoner. onstage firecrackers (by mickey?) during OL’ SLEW-FOOT, effective & dramatic from a psychedelic/musique concrète POV. using the post-verse tag, THE OTHER ONE lands in HIGH TIME, replacing the CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro. an early iteration of a garcia ballad following a big frothing jam. i like TC’s chugging organ on the still-developing CASEY JONES. weir watch: “someone in the front row is wearing a heapload of suntan oil & it sure smells weird up here & i thought i’d tell you.” ST. STEPHEN drops “william tell” ending & jumps right to 25-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, more firecrackers, though no sign anyone realizes it’s july 4th. it could easily be someone lighting shit on fire just ‘cuz, shockingly common at ‘60s dead shows.

7/5/69 chicago: after crashing MORNING DEW opener, 44-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE. DARK STAR folds into sparse, questioning abstraction after sputnik jam. less a segue than a dissolve into a lovely but hissy/garbled BABY BLUE. the CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER jam keeps getting more raging & the band is still looking for a destination, trying out songs like puzzle pieces. tonight, it’s HIGH TIME. nope, next! another slow MAMA TRIED. mega-extended TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT feels like its own country, 34 minutes tonight, with cool improvised bridge/turnaround that pig latches onto.

7/7/69 atlanta: for free in atlanta’s piedmont park with spirit, chicago, allman brothers, & hampton grease band. the dead’s 1st gig anywhere between virginia & florida. the day after the atlanta pop festival, many of the bands play in piedmont park. the dead didn’t play atlanta pop, but show up & close the night with a 2-hour set anyway. another big MORNING DEW opener relies more on the band’s propulsive groove than garcia’s dramatic solos, though they’re that, too. garcia hits big vocal notes in HIGH TIME, his range almost audibly expanding. crowd is audibly way into it, with big cheers/claps at DARK STAR’s peaks &, later on, a few different spontaneous chants & clapalongs during TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. monster 84-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. lush 27-minute DARK STAR, half before 1st verse, weir & lesh planet-hopping with garcia from the start & avoiding the usual byways. chaotic but awesome 37-minute LOVELIGHT finale has gregg allman on keys, probably duane on guitar, & perhaps the hampton grease band, spirit, & chicago horns. cool “shine on me” harmony. l’il breakthrough for pig, drawing out many new & unfamiliar phrases.

7/11/69 new york state pavilion: on the site of the 1964 world’s fair in queens, across from shea stadium. the closest thing to an east coast acid test, according to nyc dead freaks. long tech break to begin the tape, in case anybody is making a mix of weir’s nonlinear jokes. garcia on 12-string electric for opening DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES & DIRE WOLF. last DUPREE’S ’til 1977 revival. garcia reclaims the DIRE WOLF lead vocals from weir with gusto, no longer playing pedal steel. but HARD TO HANDLE features garcia on pedal steel for the only time, a lovely twist. CASEY JONES allllmost has intro lick in place. fun alternate suite: 52-minute ALLIGATOR > THE OTHER ONE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. nearly 15 minutes of garcia shreds after ALLIGATOR drum break, twisting into triplets. LOVELIGHT cuts after 8 minutes & could conceivably be 4x longer.

7/12/69 new york state pavilion: last tape with a pedal steel segment to open. fare thee well to MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON, too, the last recorded version, & the only one with a jam, gentle & modal. too bad about tape quality. can occasionally hear jets whooshing over from LGA. 11-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > MAMA TRIED. because of the tape quality, severely underrated CHINA CAT with extended intro & perfect segue out of the now-familiarly raging jam. the 2nd c&w/folk tune to work in the slot, MAMA TRIED is now creeping back to a faster tempo. 61-minute DARK STAR > THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR drops in post-verse, kreutzmann already on drum kit, good swells, sputnik jam that sounds headed to the second verse, but swerves into THE OTHER ONE instead. after THE OTHER ONE post-verse tag, someone onstage (phil?) shouts for more DARK STAR, but garcia’s already into the ST. STEPHEN intro. shouty & participatory LOVELIGHT, with pig pulling people onto the mic, including mickey hart.

8/1/69 family dog: on his 27th birthday, jerry garcia refuses to cross the picket line of the light artists’ guild strike at the family dog. the dead play without him. garcia & others retreat to van, smoke jerry’s “superweed,” & plan community meetings for DIY scene. the subsequent meetings, “the commons,” are part of a complex summer in san francisco, including the conception, planning, collapse & cancellation (!) of the utopian wild west festival. to be held in golden gate park, it would’ve rivaled woodstock. according to one news report in local paper good times, the dead (minus garcia & hart) played a set, “jamming with two flautists from the audience & a conga drummer off the beach.” the meetings go well enough until jawdropping blow-out between local spiritual guru stephen gaskin & promoter bill graham.

8/2/69 family dog: with the light show strike suspended, the grateful dead make their full debut at the family dog at the great highway, the collective’s new venue in old ballroom at playland by the sea, on the ocean “at the edge of the western world.” a fun & confident set, the new songs are both tight & playful. opening CASEY JONES is filled with forceful miniature jams, lots of TC’s keys. HARD TO HANDLE warps & woofs conversationally. david nelson adds b-bender solos to MAMA TRIED & SLEW-FOOT. pedal steel mini set features the dead debut of george jones’s SEASONS OF MY HEART, TC gamely adding some lovely organ colors. garcia gets a sweet dive-bombing fuzz tone for 2nd half of his OL’ SLEW-FOOT solo. only out jam is 25-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE, though the most psychedelic part of the recording is when tape-heads go amiss near peak of 27-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, leading to some far-out whooshing & image distortion.

8/3/69 family dog: a violinist & saxophonist join, identified by deadbase as david laflamme + charles lloyd respectively, but almost certainly neither. “hey, the bear’s got a banjo,” garcia remarks before 1st song. (“get away with that thing!” someone adds.) owsley did own a banjo. his copy of pete seeger’s “how to play the 5-string banjo” with his name inscribed is now in ned lagin’s collection. maybe he wanted to jam? violinist plays on nearly every song, fitting in casually, starting with opening HARD TO HANDLE. A+ chaos, especially BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (with 28-beat intro), a candidate for mickey hart’s most wonderfully anarchic drum performance. sax joins for 1st taped dead version of HI-HEELED SNEAKERS since ’66, garcia & pig sharing vocals, violin adding hot jazz vibes. violinist stays for HIGH TIME. sure sounds like a rumbling synth in places, too, but how? fuzzed b-bender solo by david nelson on MAMA TRIED. a ranging, raging 72-minute DARK STAR > ALLIGATOR > THE OTHER ONE > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT with the saxophonist & violinist, who both seem to know what they’re doing & fit shockingly well. besides side jams, the 1st time anyone’s joined for DARK STAR. 23-minute DARK STAR has full sputnik meltdown before 1st verse. the usual motifs are there, but guests drive new textures & new peaks. the saxophonist spins around garcia & adds active themes in every zone. violin is more atmospheric, but usually on point. who are they?! OTHER ONE continues epic hippie-jazz free melts. sax gets honky but freaky as jam deconstructs, almost floats back to DARK STAR, & becomes fire music as CAUTION erupts. americana themes by guests in last feedback swirls before garcia reclaims stage.

8/16/69 white lake: after mountain & before credence clearwater revival. @andyzax & @briankehew’s new mix of the dead’s woodstock set features 14 new minutes of pristine stage chaos before & after the music. chip monck & ken babbs tag team on the mic. can’t hear getting weir getting knocked by shocks from the microphone, but hear some of his complaints. “kinda zappy up here.” great pre-set raps by babbs, tripping face, including a nice “this land is your land” reference.” terrible dead set. 1st ever show-opening ST. STEPHEN. weir skips 2nd verse & garcia follows before fizzling into sleepy MAMA TRIED at “ladyfinger” bridge, inexplicable even on film. were they going to segue back? was it a tech issue? was jerry too high & forgot? on a pure chaos level, the woodstock tape is highly entertaining, if awkward. babbs, keeping together relatively well, tries to hold crowd during 11-minute break. most of his psychedelic raps stop landing, but still less insufferable than monck. country joe offers an acid warning. excellent stoned crosstalk with weir & owsley as they try get the microphones on. weir also starts to tell the YELLOW DOG STORY but doesn’t get going, which is surely for the best. fashion watch: garcia wore his faded pigpen shirt. only 19-minute DARK STAR gels, halfway through, sliding into a dazzling post-verse jam with bright garcia/lesh/kreutzmann peaks but skipping 2nd verse & petering into HIGH TIME. ambitiously quiet song under circumstances. walkie talkie chatter via lesh’s bass. as band kicks into interminable 37-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, rando grabs mic & starts trip-babbling about “the third coast,” interrupting pigpen. for a rando, he’s kinda great! ken babbs sez he led the dude away by dangling a joint like a carrot.

8/20/69 seattle: rained out at the seattle aqua theater, the dead play their 1st post-woodstock show at el roach, a local bar & “favorite movement hangout,” according to the seattle helix. no tape.

8/21/69 seattle: playing in front of a moat. rained out the night before & rescheduled. 1st co-bill with the new riders of the purple sage. 1st taped version of EASY WIND, sung by pigpen. 1st dead song written solely by robert hunter, band alternating between a pair of rolling blues grooves. fantastic HIGH TIME, garcia singing confidently, group vocals/harmonies coming together. rare NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, the last taped version ’til 5/70, featuring sanpaku’s gary lackey on flute & vocalizin’. lackey sticks around through CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER, staying enthused, a very period sound. ultra-compact 29-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > DARK STAR > COSMIC CHARLIE. DARK STAR is shortest of the era. with both verses & no apparent cuts, it doesn’t break 7 minutes, though the jam flows & finds a quiet destination. like an update to the 7-inch version. the real news is that the slow version of COSMIC CHARLIE is finally working, with confident vocals & tight playing, as well as a good tape flutter dissolve at the end. a virtual b-side to DARK STAR.

8/23/69 mount st. helens: the tiny & entirely forgotten bullfrog 2 festival, featuring the dead, taj mahal, & a bunch of bands that sound like they were invented by thomas pynchon. assume new colony is not new colony six?  a week after woodstock, another festival set that’s way better. again, very present organ playing by TC; HARD TO HANDLE solo underscores its similarities to the VIOLA LEE BLUES groove. rare dedication by pigpen, “for calypso joe, from new york.” intro lick now in place, the last appearance of the looser CASEY JONES with pre-verse solo & mini jams. 2nd EASY WIND swerves into blues-choogle & crosses the 10-minute mark. they’ll rein it in soon. 73-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. long DARK STAR has important new move, dropping the pulse & going free/percussionless after the 1st verse, then voiding, gonging, arpeggiating, building, surfing, peaking, peaking, peaking. 27-minute LOVELIGHT seems somehow reasonable, with inventive pockets & grooves before pigpen turns over the mic to randos & then it’s less interesting. perhaps the new post-woodstock policy of allowing randos their turn?

8/28/69 family dog: a thursday afternoon jam session at the family dog, minus TC & pigpen. making his first appearance on a dead-related tape, a.b. skhy’s howard wales on organ, soon a regular garcia collaborator. band warms up with 2 early dead standards, IT’S A SIN & HI-HEELED SNEAKERS. not coincidentally, both soon jump into the garcia solo songbook. wales is hyperactive, almost cartoonishly shreddy. 64-minute DARK STAR > THE ELEVEN JAM. wales runs rampant over song parts (& even over garcia), short circuits usual jam patterns & kicks band into wild new spaces. the least deferential guest ever. occasional dead air, but mostly busy mad scientist inventions. there’s a mystery flute player in the mix, too, but virtually impossible to hear. wonder if it’s the same mystery flute player as 8/3? once owsley levels the mix & garcia starts following wales, zig-zag improv thrills ensue, wales & garcia clearly finding conversational ground.

8/29/69 family dog: with the new riders of the purple sage, the rubber duck co., & commander cody, with bands alternating sets from stages on opposite sides of the room. CASEY JONES tightens up. still a bit of a mini jam, but mostly hard charging confidence. (maybe too confident in the case of mickey’s chattering cowbell midway through.) screams for HEY JUDE are met with giggles. “HEY JUDE is a lost cause,” weir says. “the first request that blows our mind, we’ll do,” offers jerry, which yields an exuberant (& short) medley of early dead/warlocks covers: 11-minute NEW ORLEANS > SEARCHIN’ > GOOD LOVIN’. gary “u.s.” bonds’s NEW ORLEANS is solid, great dual lead by weir & pigpen. too bad it didn’t stick around. 1st recorded SEARCHIN’ comes back raucously, too. lesh charges into GOOD LOVIN’ but garcia takes over. the old crazed jerry-sung version. 1st taped DIRE WOLF since the july east coast tour, slowed down slightly & with less of a rock feel. sung solo by jerry, again with no harmonies. skittering drums, but closer to its familiar & comfortable form. messy but quite charming. 30-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT is great for half. rare instance of pigpen trying to get the crowd to shout louder. seems to be ending for, like, 10 minutes. “thanks for keeping us high,” jerry says genuinely.

8/30/69 family dog: kinda iffy performance for the most part. the last of 5 pretty awkward CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > DOIN’ THAT RAG pairings. they’ll get there yet! 54-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > ELEVEN JAM > DRUMZ > HIGH TIME. another pathbreaking DARK STAR, dropping pulse & building from silence towards gorgeous melodies. garcia pops string & weir jams briefly on TIGHTEN UP, 1st of several great DARK STAR themes over next years. sweet feedback solo by garcia before last verses of ST. STEPHEN. after the “william tell” outro, band shifts time signature but loses the thread despite lesh’s attempts to steer. confused DRUMZ segment lands in not-fully-convincing HIGH TIME.

9/1/69 prairieville: the new orleans pop festival, held at the international speedway near baton rouge, playing after lee michaels & before the jefferson airplane. labor day festival set in front of ~25,000 people. perhaps the most passive-aggressive stage intro ever: “if you will, one of the slowest fucking groups, but one of the finest in the world, the grateful dead…” mostly quite compact, including an enthused CASEY JONES opener. one of the only versions of EASY WIND played anywhere near an actual bayou. still tightening, but swells to convincing swampiness. 60-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. DARK STAR drops briefly to pulselessness after the verse but doesn’t quite find a coherent path back to the peak, though nice garcia/TC conversation. during LOVELIGHT (& i might be reading too literally) pigpen seems to attribute the “wake up in the mornin’ ‘bout a quarter-to-five” bit of his rap to chuck berry, perhaps “reelin’ & rockin’.”

9/6/69 family dog: a surprise show with the jefferson airplane at the family dog. more craziness out by the pacific. a few warm-up tunes, including rare HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE & then a bunch of warlocks-style rarities, goofing around & half-accidentally workshopping. 1st taped BIG BOY PETE since ’66, olympics cover with exuberant group vocal by jerry/pigpen/weir. sharpest of the ’69 garcia-sung GOOD LOVIN’s. 1st ALL OVER NOW maybe since ’66, band figures it out onstage. much like the late ‘70s versions, but with more swingin’ drums. 1st “modern” NOT FADE AWAY, led by weir with pigpen on harmonica. pulled out earlier in the year at manic ’66 speed, it slows down enough to emphasize the pulse. garcia hits bliss zones before an almost-crisp pullback segue into EASY WIND. MIDNIGHT HOUR also returns to rotation in the closer slot, 1st on tape since 8/68. not a super snappy version, but pigpen does some heavy crowd-work, apparently targeting anyone sitting on the floor. according to this intel by somebody who worked at the family dog, the bands played on the venue’s two stages at the opposite sides of the room & then jammed back & forth from them. maybe that’s what happens at the end, but i’m skeptical. triumphant post-woodstock jefferson airplane in a small club. powerful at times. closer is frequently enthralling 30-minute VOLUNTEERS with garcia & hart, apparently longest jam in taped airplane history. spencer dryden is a monster! what a great drummer.

9/7/69 family dog: delightful sunday hang with members of the grateful dead & the jefferson airplane at the family dog, playing oldies & oddities. no real noodles, just rock songs! garcia/kaukonen/casady/kreutzmann/covington, if i had to guess. loving the garcia/kaukonen vocal tandem on buddy holly’s PEGGY SUE & jimmy reed’s BABY WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO & garcia’s solo vocals on THAT’LL BE THE DAY & JOHNNY B. GOODE. only times for all of them, i think. garcia asks for requests, someone calls for WIPE OUT, & the drummers & garcia launch into a big surf rumble that’s not quite WIPE OUT but all fun. lands (briefly) in a fragment of BIG RAILROAD BLUES, which would jump into the dead repertoire the next year. things are petering out by the time someone (joey covington, supposedly) takes the mic for garage-slop 6-minute LOUIE LOUIE > TWIST & SHOUT > BLUE MOON. the latter is a chill coda, led by jorma, i think. miraculous how concise everything is.

9/17/69 alembic: rehearsal at alembic, the new sound workshop in novato inspired by owsley & still one of the world’s premier guitar/bass makers. tape begins with garcia, lesh, & constanten (i think) running through a generic R&B instrumental that would sound like a vamp if not for lesh shouting out occasional section changes. run-throughs, arrangement, & 3-part harmony work on 2 songs with garcia on pedal steel, SEASONS OF MY HEART & mel tillis’s SAWMILL. garcia will soon abandon trying to sing & play pedal steel at the same time, but not yet. band spends half-hour figuring out themes & tags from various classic cartoons & get deep into it, some with pedal steel, presumably as many joints circulate. TC excels. a lot of extremely quality garcia giggles, as entertaining as the music. 20 minutes of slowing the tempo & spacing out the feel of old staple COLD RAIN & SNOW, removing the harmonized guitar break. the pivot between the amphetamine version on the debut album & the arrangement they played through ’95. mickey hart might be the only drummer here? a few casual passes of DIRE WOLF, slowly firming up. 22 minutes of jamming on THE ELEVEN, apparently experimenting with new rhythmic variations. garcia & lesh give hart shit for losing track of the pulse, the only tense part of the tape.

9/26/69 fillmore east: opening for country joe & the fish, plus sha na na. 45 minutes of DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > KING BEE > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. the recording of DARK STAR is murky af, but the post-verse space-out is as lush as a liquid light show, spinning into the 1st FEELIN’ GROOVY jam. so blissy. far-out tape bleed during DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, the ghost of some opera singer or blues belter on some earlier layer of tape.

9/27/69 fillmore east: last time as an opening act, playing 1st at the early show before country joe cedes the late headlining slot to them. bill graham introduces the band, “the magnificent 7 of san francisco…” before a straight-forward set for the early saturday crowd. highly condensed jams & miniature choogles, presumably saving the real freakiness for the untaped late show. NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME resurfaces for 1st time on tape since 3/67. set’s most open moment is soaring jam in CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > HIGH TIME, the last taped version before the arrival of I KNOW YOU RIDER. more a dissolve than a segue. 1st great DIRE WOLF. just as they joked on previous week’s rehearsal tape, the band is now dropping miscellaneous cartoon-ish themes into tuning breaks sets. here they include TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME, 3 days after the mets clinched the national league east.

9/29/69 cafe au go go: newly reopened cafe au go go in the west village, where they played on their 1st trip to NYC in ’67, a single alluring tape side includes fascinating & thrilling alternate universe suite with 26-minute DOIN’ THAT RAG > THE SEVEN > GOOD LOVIN’, both segues clearly planned-out next-beat pivots. this must’ve happened other times. 1st of only 2 surviving versions of THE SEVEN, instrumental sequel to THE ELEVEN, plotted carefully with intricate garciaing. final taped version of the jerry-sung GOOD LOVIN’, too, here just a platform for a drum break.

9/30/69 cafe au go go: sharing a bill for the only time with the holy modal rounders. 1st taped CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. 9 minutes, missing beginning. short & undeveloped jam compared to last few versions of CHINA CAT, but can’t argue with that landing. group vocals only on RIDER & big sparkling garcia breaks. tape warp/speed issues get pretty unbearable during 24-minute ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE. lots of great OTHER ONE themes, though, some adjacent to SPANISH JAM. clean end after the 2nd verse tag, no sign of CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT.

10/24/69 winterland: between the jefferson airplane & sons of champlin. band opens with 4 freshest songs, all destined for “workingman’s dead,” followed by big new CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER combo, weir’s transition sounding like GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. much yelling at bear about monitors & mics. 9 minutes of THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE, an obvious but dizzying segue that’s almost too much, peaking & peaking & peaking before pulling back slightly into the verse of COSMIC CHARLIE.

10/25/69 winterland: 59-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. brilliant weir-driven DARK STAR, playing co-leads & pushing band through blissed new FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP themes while garcia soars, & more co-leads before last verse. stephen stills joins band on guitar/vocals for LOVELIGHT & energy level seems to dip a bit, perhaps cuz stills’s guitar is buried in the mix. hard to pick out stills all the time, but jam hits some moody non-blues.

10/26/69 winterland: long soundcheck/tuning instrumental by weir that sounds fully formed enough to be a song. 1st taped live version of the slowed-down COLD RAIN & SNOW, still stumbling a little. garcia dedicates DIRE WOLF to the local serial killer: “this song is dedicated to the zodiac cat & also to paranoid fantasies everywhere… & everybody can sing along if they feel up to it, it’s real easy to sing.” lazy sunday vibes. garcia: “this is a sunday night, everybody try to remember that. it’s been a long, weird weekend.” great 11-minute EASY WIND gives weir a chance to flex his solo skills, finding a nice casual weave with jerry.

10/31/69 san jose: student union ballroom. not terribly halloweeny on tape tbh, but every day was probably halloween in the ‘60s. standard issue set with a batch of the new tunes & a few wee jams. DIRE WOLF is a warm singalong with almost nonexistent drums. can really hear garcia turning into a fantastic singer on HIGH TIME. big, soulful ache. 25-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE surfs a powerful jam corner before the 1st OTHER ONE verse but mostly lays low, besides wild psychedelic gonging by hart during outro. half-hour un-spooktacular TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with big happy garcia jams.

11/1/69 family dog: opening 2 nights on the great highway with danny cox, as well as the golden toad (feat. steal your face logo artist bob thomas). well-paced 2-hour set with nice balance between the new americana, psychedelic jams, & pigpen rave-ups. garcia keeps trying to sell DIRE WOLF as a singalong, “this is a song about… what you do when the wolf comes to the door.” the slowed-down arrangement of COLD RAIN & SNOW clicks up the tempo slightly & works much better. 1st taped version of GOOD LOVIN’ with pigpen singing lead, garcia still doubling him occasionally, with drum break & brief jam. no pig rappin’ yet. 15-minute HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE swells & recedes several times with beautiful volume swells by garcia. after returning to chorus, a trailing fade into glorious CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. (too bad, the actual FRIEND > CHINA CAT segue on 5/24 was boss.) big 31-minute ALLIGATOR > UNCLE JOHN’S THEME > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. with BID YOU GOODNIGHT melody as cue, garcia leads high-speed instrumental coda/verse/chorus/coda of not-yet-finished UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, clearly rehearsed, bridging to LOVELIGHT.

11/2/69 family dog: one of only 3 surviving versions of MIDNIGHT HOUR for ’69, notable (kinda) for weir-led jam. doesn’t quite take off. only taped SEASONS OF MY HEART with garcia on 6-string instead of pedal steel. 1st DANCING IN THE STREET since june is way truncated. nearly 10 minute GOOD LOVIN’ is great, its new arrangement borrowing from ALLIGATOR with a drum break followed by garcia/drummers jam & rest of band piling back on for speedy fun. an instant staple. 60-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY. epic DARK STAR, settling post-verse into silence/gonging/pick scrapes/noise before the sputnik arpeggio sets up a perfect & gradual combobulation into triumphant FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP jams. stunning DEATH DON’T with intense dynamics & deeply present garcia vocals. also the last time it appears (on tape) in the DARK STAR sequence, perhaps not coincidentally as it is on “live/dead,” released the week after this show.

11/7/69 fillmore auditorium: back at the original fillmore auditorium, briefly returned to freak control & booked by the flamin’ groovies & co. as “the old fillmore.” good ol’ stage chaos (thankfully tracked out individually). someone plays the STAR SPANGLED BANNER on penny-whistle. new jams, CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER & the tightly turning GOOD LOVIN’, are compact platforms for sunshine. 67-minute DARK STAR > UNCLE JOHN’S THEME > DARK STAR > CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. after post-verse DARK STAR gonging, slow-motion bassline makes shapes as drums slowly enter. brilliant rhythm guitar colors & round lead bass. after return to DARK STAR theme, a pass through the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam transitions to another worked-out instrumental UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, the whole song compacted into 100 seconds. a harsh tape flip misses the move back to DARK STAR, but it goes right back to soaring. next beat segue from DARK STAR into THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE suite, short & fierce, phil calling audible segue into LOVELIGHT before the last verse. big bass & conversational jams ensue, the sprawling LOVELIGHT dipping occasionally into zonk.

11/8/69 fillmore auditorium: possibly the night garcia was tripping so hard he thought assassins were after him. fierce CASEY JONES with audible italics from garcia on “take my advice you’d be better off *dead*” & followed by DIRE WOLF, with its “don’t murder me” chorus. wild & semi-disorienting co-leads by garcia & weir on EASY WIND. deeply present garcia vocals on the 1st great CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, over the top & intense, the 1st of many suite-ish pairings with HIGH TIME, equally intense. extra-charged GOOD LOVIN’, too. in the middle of all this, 1st recorded version of CUMBERLAND BLUES, rare garcia/lesh/hunter co-write, sung by garcia/lesh/weir over hot-rodded country-psych groove. 96-minute mega-sequence DARK STAR > THE OTHER ONE > DARK STAR > UNCLE JOHN’S THEME > DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > CAUTION > THE MAIN TEN > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT just keeps giving & giving. post-verse DARK STAR rises up through the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam & straight into a far-out OTHER ONE, riding back into a DARK STAR peak before lesh leads the charge into the most realized UNCLE JOHN’S THEME, filled with triumphant garcia licks. slammin’ 37-minute CAUTION, depending how you count it, driving the late jam energy level way into wider spaces than TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, filled with walking bass heaviness & sparkling 8-minute feedback/organ/volume swell coda. a mid-CAUTION reel flip makes the sequence a bit confusing when an unidentified rando suddenly appears on mic to read a poem before band slips into 3 minutes of THE MAIN TEN, proto-PLAYING IN THE BAND jam. no idea. one of mickey’s friends? BID YOU GOODNIGHT feels slightly more crackling, too, with the fuller set of lyrics. was this the night garcia was extra-dosed? who knows? maybe it was one of the more discombobulated sets from december, but i hope not.

11/15/69 crockett: a moratorium day benefit. highlight is mini-suite with the 2nd CUMBERLAND BLUES bouncing right into CHINA SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, followed by the now-customary breath-pause segue before HIGH TIME. enjoying TC’s bright B3 between the beats on CUMBERLAND, especially. 43-minute (ack) TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT with long amp outage. weir is of no help when enlisted for crowd-work, leading bad singalong. pig grabs harmonica, jams with drummers & keeps going when the guitars come back. sounds boss! wish he did this more often.

11/21/69 sacramento: 1st birthday party for sacramento freeform FM station KZAP, with the now-ubiquitous commander cody & plus a.b. skhy (feat. howard wales). 2 45-minute sets with a tech intermission. CUMBERLAND BLUES & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER are subtle anchors, great high-energy pivots between americana & psychedelia that make the whole flow more coherent. the compact GOOD LOVIN’ continues to yield subtle wonderfulness in its post-DRUMZ pocket, tonight driven around an ambiguous jazzy mode & building back to chorus.

12/4/69 fillmore west: 1st of scheduled 4 nights with flock & humble pie. stage announcements about the free festival with the rolling stones scheduled for saturday at sears point, including where to meet by the golden gate bridge for a bike pool. by the end of the night, organizers will be on the hunt for a new location. 1st BLACK PETER, garcia & hunter’s existential masterpiece, lyrics stemming from a notoriously bad trip by hunter. the song/structure are formed, the arrangement/dynamics are not. kinda herky jerky. great confident vocal by garcia, though. 38-minute DARK STAR > HIGH TIME. DARK STAR opens almost aggressively fast with drum kit from the start, a rarity. could be the mix, but feels disjointed. a few lovely bass leads. post-verse space builds & edges on joyous FEELIN’ GROOVY jam without ever resolving.
jerry: seeing as how we blew most of the set just remembering how to play…
phil: …so we’re gonna blow this part of the set remembering how sing a song we just learned last week.
the debut of UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, casually dropped at the end of a show. a little fast, no intro solo, but the verses & lilting/uplifting harmonies are worked out & stunning. outro jam curls alluringly, before last chorus & reprise of 1st verse as ending.

12/5/69 fillmore west: the last night of the ‘60s, the evening before altamont. with the venue nailed down for the next day’s free festival, more pre-altamont chatter. sez weir, “bear wants me to tell you to bring dope.” 2nd version of BLACK PETER feels more formed already. taper snaps along with CUMBERLAND BLUES & sings badly with COSMIC CHARLIE. less amusingly, in order to save tape/battery, he also pauses between songs (& during THE OTHER ONE drum break!), losing potential snippets of altamont banter & tantalizing bits of music. big: 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is longest yet, with a tiny taste of CAUTION during the transition. bigger: the 1st RIDER with jerry’s solo “i wish i was a headlight on a northbound train” verse. alluring sliver of UNCLE JOHN’S BAND followed by tiny fragment of THE MAIN TEN & a clean move into a gorgeous (& prescient) IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE. “that was me tying my shoelaces, in case you’re interested, folks,” the taper announces during segue.

12/7/69 fillmore west: opening with the 3rd version of BLACK PETER, a perfect post-altamont dirge, 10 minutes & taking its time. wonderful stark full group playing, so stark that the B3 is almost prominent. the sunshine is way compact, including the revived DANCING IN THE STREET, GOOD LOVIN’ (with garcia & weir co-leads), plus CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER (garcia’s “headlight” solo verse gone again) bridging to ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. might be the weird mix, but lots of back-channel full-group jams/conversations make an otherwise standard 27-minute LOVELIGHT fairly enjoyable, including lots of TC’s B3.

12/10/69 thelma: a tiny & briefly-lived club on the sunset strip called thelma. 5-song guest appearance by stephen stills, his 2nd of year, playing guitar on 5 songs & leading 1. he’s mildly discernible on CASEY JONES & shreds with garcia on GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL & EASY WIND. someone’s playing harmony lines & it sounds cool. stills leads BLACK QUEEN, from his self-titled 1970 debut, which will return the next time stills does, in another 14 years. TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT cuts off after 3 minutes, which i think i’m fine with. late show cuts off after 27-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE, which is too bad because it’s a pretty decent audience tape for the era.

12/11/69 thelma: BLACK PETER starting to explore ways to get from dirge to big garcia solo. drums disappear from DIRE WOLF, traded in for hand percussion, tightening up & paving the way for acoustic sets to come. early set closes with 46-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > CUMBERLAND BLUES. DARK STAR is almost by-the-book, imploding & following a glowing path upwards, flowing into peaks via the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam. transition into THE ELEVEN feels extra-exploratory with misterioso bass leads. 1st time CUMBERLAND BLUES comes out of a segue, which also seems to really lock in its manic LSDC&W groove. late show highlighted by intricate DANCING IN THE STREET, rapidly becoming a centerpiece again with good flow between drummers. never long enough. set capped by 26-minute THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE > COSMIC CHARLIE.

12/12/69 thelma: over both shows (& 3+ hours of music), the dead play 7 of the 8 songs that will comprise “workingman’s dead,” with great dynamics from dramatic HIGH TIME to drumless DIRE WOLF, where TC’s B3 sounds vaguely garth hudson-y. in late show, 12-minute UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > HE WAS A FRIEND OF A MINE, garcia kinda blows through the UJB outro & covers with vocals. jam spirals smoothly into 1st verse of the penultimate HE WAS A FRIEND, an eloquent coda rather than a springboard of its own. call for requests yields 54-minute show closing ALLIGATOR > CAUTION > BID YOU GOODNIGHT, the jams getting good after the ALLIGATOR drum break & better during CAUTION. controlled mayhem but mayhem nonetheless.

12/13/69 san bernardino: with the flying burrito bros. & country joe & the fish at the swing auditorium. a decent showcase with occasional odd vibes. deep garciaing on HARD TO HANDLE. BLACK PETER has moved almost instantly from dirge to dramatic showstopper. garcia digs into his falsetto there & on CUMBERLAND BLUES. deep jams & expansive pigologues during TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, including discourse on pocket pool vs. real pool. pig gives shit to weir: “why don’t you tell somebody a stor-ay?” plug gets pulled after 24 minutes.

12/19/69 fillmore auditorium: 1st ever acoustic grateful dead acoustic set opens their last stand at the original fillmore auditorium. lesh is late, so garcia & weir do 4-song acoustic set, all dead debuts. the taper (bear?) pans voices/guitars around weirdly at first. weir does MONKEY & THE ENGINEER, a kids song learned via jesse fuller, formerly done by mother mccree’s. garcia’s LITTLE SADIE (via clarence ashley) is dark & gothic. lovely harmonies on stovall/george’s country standard LONG BLACK LIMOUSINE. BEEN ALL AROUND THIS WORLD feels well-worn. before latter, weir plays part of a tune that sends both into giggles. can anybody ID it? when lesh shows, band debuts the short-lived MASON’S CHILDREN, garcia & hunter’s 1st altamont answer song & maybe the dead’s last garage-psych blaster. cool 3-part lesh-heavy harmonies & questing solos. slight lyric difference, 1st line is “*the* mason died on monday…” so many new songs! UNCLE JOHN’S BAND starting to get slightly tamed. beautiful minimal intro solo by garcia with a vaguely calypso lilt & B3 counterpoint. mickey seems to be playing hand percussion during the verses, which keeps groove light.

12/20/69 fillmore auditorium: band opens with brand new MASON’S CHILDREN for 2nd night in a row, feeling their way between the verses. that & CUMBERLAND BLUES are the only songs played all 3 nights. 14 are only played once. 51-minute DARK STAR > ST. STEPHEN > THE ELEVEN > NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. post-verse quiet builds into impressive B3/gong cloud & exquisite builds & valleys, including FEELIN’ GROOVY jam, en route to 2nd verse. great constanten throughout. debut of NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE, garcia/hunter’s 2nd altamont song, ominous & doom-laden & timeless. but a mess tonight, trying to find the tempo. the fairly involved answer vocals by weir & lesh don’t work, either, especially weir’s falsetto. its only time in the jam slot. pig & band don’t sync on 35-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, the band (intentionally?) blowing through several “now, wait a minute”s, collected as supercut at end of “dave’s picks 6.” nice ending with mickey’s cannon, though. anyone ever seen a picture of it?

12/21/69 fillmore auditorium: short sunday set opens with 16-minute SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING > NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. 1st SMOKESTACK since june. i think weir is trying to play slide in places? wrong year, buddy! 2nd SPEEDWAY has better executed answer vocals, soon toned down. another raging MASON’S CHILDREN. after slopping it up at the family dog in late summer, NOT FADE AWAY returns for good. weir counts it off & begins with vocal, buddy holly-style. pigpen does answer vocals & harmonica. 27-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > CUMBERLAND BLUES. not many zags in centerpiece OTHER ONE, floating in place, but still enjoyably conversational.

12/26/69 dallas: bill the drummer’s plane is late, so garcia & weir stall with 40 minutes of acoustic tunes, apparently not entertaining the idea of playing with only mickey. repeating 4 from last week at the fillmore, they introduce 3 new ones, jerry trying to hold crowd. a heckler complains that LONG BLACK LIMOUSINE sounds like country music on TV & garcia replies with one of my favorite all-purpose responses to anything: “hey, it’s not my fault if you watch TV, man!” (weir: “i watch all the country music i can on TV.”) only version of GATHERING FLOWERS FOR THE MASTER’S BOUQUET, bluegrass/gospel from 1948, led by weir, “more or less in keeping with the spirit of the season.” 1st acoustic BLACK PETER & thrilling UNCLE JOHN’S BAND, lesh joining on vocals, hart on light percussion. electric portion is a little rough around the edges & crowd doesn’t seem to be into it. during tuning break, garcia: “man, this place is really quiet, no kiddin’, are you people all sitting in the dark watching us goof around up here? …anybody want a microphone?” 24-minute DARK STAR veers into spare tangent before 1st verse. drums enter gradually with the sputnik figure &, amid dubby percussion noise, jam ascends on deep garcia inversions & fuzzed bass into the FEELIN’ GROOVY & TIGHTEN UP themes. tape flips at end of DARK STAR & cuts back after 1 verse of NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. maybe nothing missing or (as on 12/19) the rest of a suite. brief 14-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT closer. promoter: “you’ve just had it done to you by the grateful dead.”

12/28/69 hollywood, FL: the middle day of the miami rock festival, billed as the last rock festival of the ‘60s. very festival energy, opening midway through BLACK PETER, slightly less dirge-like for festival duty, mostly pumping through big bouncing new tunes. CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER feels keyed up. punchy banter as pig urges the crowd to come closer & chaos ensues. pig: “if them things fall down it’s in *TROUBLE CITY* for you…  if you stay, you might get smashed, so it’s your decision.” apparently one of the light towers actually does falls over? (i absolutely adore the expression “in trouble city.”) MASON’S CHILDREN busts deliciously into jammyland. another “compact” 17-minute TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, this one getting abstract just before the ending, with gongs & garcia inversions & new pig melodies to match.

12/29/69 boston: maybe the 1st weather-themed opener, with COLD RAIN & SNOW. BLACK PETER & EASY WIND feel sluggish this evening. MASON’S CHILDREN soars into mini-quest, though no destination. over 2+ hours, only 2 songs played during 3-show run in boston in april. before the 2nd set, garcia: “okay, is everybody ready to boo-gie?” (big cheers.) i can’t tell if garcia is being ironic or if he’s using the british pronunciation & we should’ve been calling it “new speedway boo-gie” all along? indistinguishable offstage screaming during GOOD LOVIN’ drum break, followed shortly by rando grabbing the mic, “I’LL GET THE FUCKING MICROPHONE–“ & sounds of rando being hauled away. thankfully, @internetarchive user Renegade53 provides an explanation. closing the show, 1st of many ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY pairings, here segueing at the “william tell” ending. jerry replaces pigpen as 2nd NFA vocalist during verse, though pig is still playing harmonica & howling during various refrains.

12/30/69 boston: with the introduction of the final “workingman’s dead” tunes, the band now enters the very brief half-year where the primal psychedelic repertoire lives side-by-side with the new americana at its full power. 2nd set opens with an early stunning version of UNCLE JOHN’S BAND. excellent harmonies & a beautiful middle solo that seems like it’s briefly made of light. MASON’S CHILDREN starting to sound big with good dynamics & punchy bass. delicious 45-minute DARK STAR > ALLIGATOR > DRUMZ > THE ELEVEN > ALLIGATOR > BID YOU GOODNIGHT. last ‘60s DARK STAR. ambient glockenspiel jamming before verse. long gorgeous noise-space precedes a jam that takes a thoughtful & unpredictable path to a quietly blissed peak. tape flip sadly misses the 1st segue of the suite & most of ALLIGATOR, but THE ELEVEN goes way deep, escaping its circular jam & eventually moving back to ALLIGATOR by way of the BID YOU GOODNIGHT theme & a beautiful SPANISH JAM-like rumination.

12/31/69 boston: the grateful dead ring in the ‘70s at the boston tea party, their only new year’s gig outside of san francisco. new year’s energy is palpable & band has even less planned than usual. “did you hear that, man?” jerry asks weir during a tech break. “it’s a request for the joke about the dog.” “i’ll tell you at midnight,” weir tells the crowd & that’s just what happens. at midnight, the grateful dead begin the new decade by having bob weir tell a terrible joke, while TC offers comedic organ commentary. “well, it looks like the ‘70s are gonna be weird,” garcia announces. the midnight set gets into gear with 2 semi-connected suites, both with moments of big primal thrills before trailing into nothingness, 31-minute ALLIGATOR > CAUTION & 18-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > DRUMZ > THE ELEVEN. night closes with 30 minutes of loose garage/country that sound like a late night at the family dog, opening with a stomping BIG BOY PETE & an early standalone NOT FADE AWAY. kind of enjoying TC’s absurdist B3 parts. C&W mini-set led by weir, feat. george jones’s SEASONS OF MY HEART & 1st THE RACE IS ON, which will last on/off ’til ’95. final OL’ SLEW-FOOT & last electric SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES. garcia finds slipstream during set/year-closing DANCING IN THE STREET.

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

#deadfreaksunite 1976

#deadfreaksunite 1976
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]

5/28/76 orpheum theatre: 1st of 3 circulating rehearsals from sessions that seem to have started in mid-april. crisp 2-drummer mix. could be stockholm syndrome, but i might like parts of LAZY LIGHTNING, 1st rehearsed in ’75. really feeling the jam into SUPPLICATION. 1st ATTICS OF MY LIFE since ’72, not played onstage ’til ’89. almost convincing, minus mickey & keith’s reggae. phil critiques donna. recorded in ’72, played once in ’74, weir seems to write new & final CASSIDY intro on the spot & everyone else knows just what to do. 1st COSMIC CHARLIE since ’70. despite alleged ’76 lethargy, think it’s actually at same tempo as earlier versions.

5/29/76 orpheum theatre: 2nd circulating 45 minute rehearsal fragment, split evenly between EYES OF THE WORLD & PLAYING IN THE BAND. ’76 has reputation for slowness, but EYES is faster & busier, lazy gait turned to a gallop. nice quiet places, plus mickey cowbell. PLAYING definitely slower & tentative as they relearn. 1 full take, 2 subdued donna wails, good spacin’, meh reentry.

5/30/76 orpheum theatre: last pre-tour rehearsal. WHARF RAT kept earthbound by too many cymbals/drums. round-toned overdrive solo. 1st recorded run-through of THE WHEEL, released on garcia’s solo debut in ’72 & losing the spaced pedal steel & but getting dreamier. CANDYMAN is few clicks faster than ’74, donna’s harmony replacing phil, but the intimacy & urgency seem gone.

6/3/76 portland, OR: the grateful dead return to road after 19-month break. debuts, bustouts, rearrangements, & new M-E-L-L-O-W vibe. big part is the mix, but so much feels mushy & imprecise & sedate. mickey’s drums busy up everything & redraws center of band. 3 party-starting debuts (MIGHT AS WELL, SAMSON & DELILAH, LAZY LIGHTNING/SUPPLICATION), though psych/prog ambition seems nearly gone. 1st CASSIDY since 3/72, 2nd ever, doesn’t have a jam yet. dead debut of THE WHEEL, which kind of *is* a jam but doesn’t get to do so. rearranged THEY LOVE EACH OTHER goes reggae-y & works. DANCING IN THE STREET (1st since 1970) goes disco, jams, & is very silly. gravity-free moments in DANCING, burbling 10m SCARLET BEGONIAS (a fine place for mickey, for now) & elsewhere, but little flow. 33 minute late show HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER opens into big exploration, loses way, hints at ’73/’74 EYES ending. weir’s between-verse disco-soul grunts on HELP ON THE WAY are totally unacceptable.

6/4/76 portland, OR: 1st slowed-down FRIEND OF THE DEVIL, which is beautiful, but just not as fun & folky as earlier. debut of garcia/hunter’s magnificent MISSION IN THE RAIN, played only briefly by the dead. not there yet. hoping to find a keeper. weir repeats 6 of his 9 songs from 1st night, garcia only MIGHT AS WELL & HELP/SLIPKNOT/FRANKLIN’S, getting into legit space again. 1st COSMIC CHARLIE since ’70. no slower, just less bounce. already mellow before, ’76 STELLA BLUE now too sleepy.

6/9/76 boston music hall: 1st east coast dead show since 8/74, 1st of 4 in boston & start of month-long tour sold by mail order only. counting bust-outs, just under 1/2 of 3-hour show is new to the band’s repertoire since last time through town. sloppy starts/ends. beginning of SCARLET BEGONIAS jam is mickey’s cowbell versus donna’s wail. cowbell wins but we all lose. settle down beavis! (he doesn’t.) great 11 minute CRAZY FINGERS, richly developed & dipping into denser & darker territory before collapsing suddenly. bummer, man. much clearer soundboard mix than portland shows. great singin’ on SHIP OF FOOLS. can just hear garcia’s voice starting to fray. 1st ST. STEPHEN since 10/71. crowd freaks. the tempo is only a l’il slower but is tamer & muted. bridge now a waltz. new jam, too. EYES OF THE WORLD bucks ’76 trend of slowness & gets speedy/messy. cool nooks & jam before vocals, but losing some earlier elegance. 1st HIGH TIME since 7/70. well suited to slower dead & even donna’s voice, though definitely one too many drummers.

6/10/76 boston music hall: odd & enjoyable mix with keith godchaux’s piano near front. sweet jams with garcia on expanding SUGAREE. [sold myself on the idea that LAZY LIGHTNING/SUPPLICATION is actually tasty, well-rehearsed disco-prog. just hope the jam opens up. stellar 2nd version of MISSION IN THE RAIN, underrated brooding hippie soul by garcia. besides a few drummerly nits to pick, a keeper. why couldn’t they ever count off HELP ON THE WAY & start together? SLIPKNOT! opens up wide & resolves gracefully & dramatically. LET IT GROW establishing its place as reliable portal to detailed high-speed dead jazz, with new DRUMZ break & blustery weir drama. good deep space in PLAYING IN THE BAND once mickey chills out, reconstructing to great full-band jam with all contributing. PLAYING almost becomes 1st great segue of ’76, falls apart, & then is just that, slinking into DANCING IN THE STREET.

6/11/76 boston music hall: big cheer after “tell everyone you meet that the candyman’s in town” in CANDYMAN. jerry’s a cartoon now. 1st show with cheers for meta-lyrics identified with the musicians. happens on “band beyond description” in MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, too. band finds excellent quiet spot in SCARLET BEGONIAS, give or take beavis-y cowbell. lovely coos & ooos by donna late in the jam. some quick-cut segues, including seemingly planned late-set EYES OF THE WORLD/STELLA BLUE inside SUGAR MAGNOLIA/SUNSHINE DAYDREAM. EYES darts coolly & confidently, ending drama deleted, & dissolves to STELLA BLUE, tom-tom clunk creeping like kudzu.

6/12/76 boston music hall: another great MISSION IN THE RAIN vocal by garcia. quizzical & just-exactly-imperfect solos, but a stunner. LAZY LIGHTNING & SUPPLICATION is one of the dead’s more underrated post-’76 platforms for fast-n-squiggly garcia jams. despite general unpredictability of ’76, open-ended improv is far reduced & virtually absent from this show except in small blurps. garcia adds extra “true to me” in WHARF RAT, start of soul belter era, & a twinkling 5 minute jam. due to FM mix, hi-hats sound like casios. 1st COMES A TIME since 10/72, with big solo & delivery. one more split-up SUGAR MAGNOLIA (with U.S. BLUES) as encore.

6/14/76 beacon theatre: 1st grateful dead show in NYC proper since 3/72. fan club only tix. mini-riots ensue. can’t tell what’s the bass-less ’76 mix & what’s the music, but PLAYING IN THE BAND has lost some warmth & its old weird & easy flow. band still trying to figure out what to do with THE WHEEL, lonely-seeming as a standalone 2nd set opener. what a great song, though. an A+ weir intro after long tech break: “we’re going to try to answer the musical question, ‘what happens if the music ever starts?'” another nice 10 minute CRAZY FINGERS, losing some delicacy but brushing into SPANISH JAM turf. happy to discover that it’s a ’76 thing, too! effective full-stop “segue” before well-placed post-jam COSMIC CHARLIE, getting successive cheer ripples as crowd recognizes it. 13m SLIPKNOT! dissolves in good & bad ways. real discombobulation but also a thread-dissolving float into garcia space & new zones. garcia seems to lose steam midway through drooping FRANKLIN’S TOWER. there’s always the next show.

6/15/76 beacon theatre: TENNESSEE JED isn’t that much slower than earlier versions & this one has a charming slow-motion bop. band’s heavier ’76 groove isn’t just hart. kreutzmann also switched from matched grip to overhand to better telegraph snare hits. return of old easy ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY pairing. former has beautiful spacious jam, latter folds shakily into STELLA BLUE. after being so perfect in ’72-’74, plodding 6/76 versions of STELLA BLUE are especially hard to listen to, fragile tension seems MIA. just a wee bit blustery, but SAMSON & DELILAH is consistently popping, a tight platform for all to noodle around barest song-groove. following DANCING IN THE STREET, THE WHEEL makes it into 2nd set post-jam slot, though they don’t quite figure out to jam into it yet. 5 minute SCARLET BEGONIAS goes in middle of SUGAR MAGNOLIA. cute idea that could work, ragged in execution. plus, no jam.

6/17/76 passaic: and off to 3 nights in scenic passaic at the other capitol theater. much video circulating. drum mics picking up charming mickey crosstalk. “the whole band’s too fuckin’ loud,” as garcia counts off THEY LOVE EACH OTHER. weir reins in developing space jammin’ in SLIPKNOT!, though not that gracefully, audibly counting off but most miss initial cue. funked up DANCING IN THE STREET always seems about to launch free, never does. smooth & maybe-too-easy segue into SAMSON & DELILAH. nice SHIP OF FOOLS (quiet donna!), though 2nd drums continue to subtly pull quieter songs’ dynamics away from garcia.

6/18/76 passaic: dig the double drumming on cowboy songs like MAMA TRIED & BIG RIVER, locked grooves & no space for tom-tom thunder. another 13 minute 1st set CRAZY FINGERS (with relatively soft post-jam landing, even) but that’s it for open-ended improv in this show. 1st few listens suggest this could be my keeper take of MISSION IN THE RAIN, good vocal & big performance. will revisit. uneventful EYES OF THE WORLD deletes end jam (sigh), opts for DRUMZ & 1st segue into THE WHEEL (yay), unjammed (boo).

6/19/76 passaic: sweet rolling garcia/godchaux mini-jam in TENNESSEE JED. pure “electric dixieland,” as david crosby put it. 18 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND doesn’t do much. nifty outro in LET IT GROW; cool keith figures, & smooth slide into DANCING IN THE STREET. this charming mickey, cont.: “hey, weir! how about some rock & roll?! hey, phil, why don’t we do ST. STEPHEN! yeah, let’s do that!” they don’t. endless 20 minute boogie, starting with AROUND & AROUND. weir tells drummers to slow down. they aren’t pleased.

6/21/76 philadelphia: excellent SCARLET BEGONIAS with nice non-ridiculous double-drummer peak & freakishly smooth landing. keeper version of CANDYMAN, garcia soulfully yo-yo’ing around the melody, mostly controlled & awesome, sometimes less so. well-placed IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES, rare garcia ballad as second set closer. one of my favorite underused dead moves. off-mic, band using shorthand before encore. phil: “JBG?” weir: “teargas?” (?) garcia: “sugar mag?” (they do JBG.)

6/22/76 philadelphia: big nifty jam in CRAZY FINGERS, spiraling up & semi-naturally back down into a fairly devastating COMES A TIME. 22 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND gets solidly & convincingly weird for 10+ minutes, thrilling dead-brand space jazz going in & out of focus. lesh/drummers trio leads almost-smoothly into 1st great use of THE WHEEL, slow build intro & swift effective jam into PLAYING reprise. another non-languid hyperspeed 12m EYES OF THE WORLD, heavy mickey, eventually settling in (sort of) for nice jerry-isms. no EYES outro, instead sliding into DANCING IN THE STREET, with its 1st gorgeous & semi-out between-verse jam.

6/23/76 philadelphia: thought it was dead, but weir’s 1st YELLOW DOG JOKE since ’72. like much else, doesn’t quite pack its old punch. crowd now cheering for every reference to “the band” in THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, an audible shift from a general audience to a niche. a few isolated cosmic portals in ST. STEPHEN & DANCING IN THE STREET, but an earthbound evening at the tower. very early audience clapalong in NOT FADE AWAY, though heads don’t sustain it & it disintegrates quickly.

6/24/76 philadelphia: mushy audience tape. cowbell loud & clear, especially on SCARLET BEGONIAS that cuts new space just before peak. fantastic build & short soaring jam from WHARF RAT, a fine reminder of how DARK STAR is sometimes only a breath away, even post-’74. and a pretty lifeless SUGAR MAGNOLIA, a reminder of how energetic the song legitimately was on most nights.

6/26/76 chicago: what a difference a nice soundboard makes. old-style phil/jerry conversations instantly clear in 9m SUGAREE. sweet ’74ish SCARLET BEGONIAS filled with intricate curlicues & sunlight, edging on free space, mickey’s drums pleasantly contained. PEGGY-O returns, perfectly suited for the ’76 slow burn. near total crash in MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. not sure i’ve heard one that bad? faith-rejuvenating 36m PLAYING IN THE BAND > ST. STEPHEN > THE WHEEL > PLAYING with well-developed meltdown & rolling WHEEL outro. short but cool CRAZY FINGERS improv, though steam disappears during a dynamic-free STELLA BLUE.

6/27/76 chicago: 17 shows in, band, mixes & new songs (MIGHT AS WELL, slow FRIEND OF THE DEVIL) getting tighter & more relistenable. 1st exciting & spaced-out DRUMZ segment of ’76 in 17 minute LET IT GROW. big explosion back into song, almost instantly melting back to jam. satisfying oceanic swirl & smooth return in 9m SLIPKNOT. garcia takes FRANKLIN’S TOWER into quiet with long lay-outs.

6/28/76 chicago: donna now adding yeahs/woos to songs where there weren’t previously yeahs/woos, on TENNESSEE JED & EYES OF THE WORLD. SCARLET BEGONIAS finds moment of pure zone-warp in the middle, resolving into beautiful glide. ’74 delicacy paved over by hi-hat. good news: band finally finds a nice beginning-to-end DRUMZ-linked segue-flow for 2nd set. bad news: whole set is barely an hour. zippy 16m EYES OF THE WORLD wanders on pre-verse detours, outro has 1st ’76 bass/drumz weird-out, short off-mic discussion, & then debut of blissed 2-chord HAPPINESS IS DRUMMING jam, instrumental prototype for FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN, from mickey’s then-new “diga” LP. garcia gets knotty in 10 minute encore NOT FADE AWAY. on audience tape, disconnected outro clapalongs, but none coalesce.

6/29/76 chicago: end of 19-show tour before return to san francisco. verdict: magic is sporadic, but far more mojo than i expected. last grateful dead MISSION IN THE RAIN, a soulful keeper. garcia kept playing it solo. best original to get dumped so quickly? why? tiny windows of jam-space opening up in CASSIDY & MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. garcia would clearly keep going, but weir brings songs back. all kinds of great slow motion pockets in ROW JIMMY & garcia even remembers most of the words. donna sounds just exquisite. satisfying full spectrum 36m PLAYING IN THE BAND > THE WHEEL > PLAYING. THE WHEEL gets deserved jam. nice drawn-out PLAYING reprise. garcia finds A+ martian loop-riff midway through NOT FADE AWAY. band builds & dramatically ties it back to song. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

7/12/76 orpheum theatre: the grateful dead’s 1st bay area show in 8.5 months, longest break since band formed. opening night of 6. long soundcheck (with video). much work on STELLA BLUE. minus audience, weir revives “form a big long line” in DANCING IN THE STREET. after a month, band is plenty crisp in places with only details changed, like donna’s BROWN EYED WOMEN vocals. i miss phil’s singin’. weir’s 1st NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES since 4/71, a song i definitely never missed, though can see how it’d be fun to play with 2 drummers. more excellent deep dives & dead jazz intimacy in SUPPLICATION. always shocking how quickly they can just drop into that zone. 10 minute 2nd set opening SUGAREE wanders, finds cool garcia nooks. weir tests out new corny blues growl in SAMSON & DELILAH & elsewhere. listened to 14m FRANKLIN’S TOWER 2x on headphones. 1st time seemed boring & sleepy; 2nd time, filled with details & mini-jams. YMMV. DRUMZ gets nicely weird & free as a prelude to THE WHEEL but the show never quite achieves space. no keepers?

7/13/76 orpheum theatre: the band must’ve read fans bitching on twitter about the lack of jamming on 7/12 cuz things escalate quickly. night 2 opens with 1st MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP since 10/74, thankfully pretty intact, though lazy river jam rolls a l’il too lazily. PEGGY-O is gorgeous & garcia does some serious singing, but mickey’s infinite marching snare subdivides it from ballad into a groove. 30 minute 1st set CRAZY FINGERS > LET IT GROW; former with unhurried cascades, latter with space DRUMZ & 2nd jam that goes even further. another odd ’76 mix, but lots of killer keith godchaux piano colors. 2nd set not as cool, though NOT FADE AWAY gets spaced again. rehearsal paid off: STELLA BLUE regains many of its dynamics & is only mildly awkward wedged btwn SUGAR MAGNOLIA & SUNSHINE DAYDREAM. encore DANCING IN THE STREET nearly hits 16 minutes, longest yet, & (while still goofy) goes out & pretty much sails away.

7/14/76 orpheum theatre: not a lot of drums in mix, but that’s cool, especially on SHIP OF FOOLS, which has nice quiet vocals up top. more good 1st set jamming in 35 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > THE WHEEL > PLAYING. not much swing but flows nicely to space & back. another speedy, cluttered, unsatisfactory 12 minute EYES OF THE WORLD, dissolving into a beautiful 60 seconds of solo garcia before WHARF RAT. 1st OTHER ONE of ’76, 8 minutes & 1st verse only. escapes triplets just before choppy bass bridge into MUSIC NEVER STOPPED.

7/16/76 orpheum theatre: gorgeous soundboard, courtesy of a recent “dave’s picks,” though still never enough of kreutzmann’s snare. monster 49 minute 2nd set sequence of PLAYING IN THE BAND > COSMIC CHARLIE / SPANISH JAM > DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > PLAYING. adventures aplenty. except that dave of the “picks” has graciously excised SAMSON & DELILAH from the middle, brilliant move from a vibe perspective. thx! restless PLAYING until lesh hits not-quite-STRONGER THAN DIRT bassline & band remembers their space jazz moves. A+ CHARLIE placement. SPANISH JAM builds slowly from unusual mid-set start-from-zero space-out, as great (or better) than any earlier take.

7/17/76 orpheum theatre: killer newish “dave’s picks.” great piano mix. MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP back to form, focused & biting. bonkers 59 minute set 2 jam: COMES A TIME > OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > OTHER ONE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, with much weirdness to spare. 16 minute COMES A TIME must be longest ever, drifting almost imperceptibly from solo to inventive improv, like falling into a dream. gnarly OTHER ONE with many corners & 10 minute old-style space-out. odd not to hear phil singing, which garcia keeps forgetting to do. big story of set is properly chill 15 minute A+ EYES OF THE WORLD that veers into odd-timed & purposeful “blues for allah”-like mini-jams. the EYES jam evolves gracefully into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, though detours nicely into a rare 2nd OTHER ONE verse before veering back. pretty sure donna isn’t onstage for set 2, leaving bobby free to do bobby, which (by the end) he does quite handily.

7/18/76 orpheum theatre: finale of 6 shows at the orpheum & last of the post-comeback small theater shows. garcia opens with another purposeful MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP. 1st LOSER since 10/74, l’il more subdued. donna takes over phil’s vocals. nice momentum-building cut from SUPPLICATION into LET IT GROW. cool post-DRUMZ jam finds new changes, dissolves, & reforms elegantly. short but deep DARK STARry jams bracket WHARF RAT, which has beautiful quiet donna vocals & some proto-TERRAPIN pomp. rest of show has crazy setlist moves & new suite combos, but not quite coherent improv magic of previous 2 nights. way fun, though. i mean, THE OTHER ONE > ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > ST. STEPHEN > THE WHEEL > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

8/2/76 hartford: 1st big post-hiatus east coast gig. bit flat. only an audience tape; many ugly clap-alongs. 10 minute MIGHT AS WELL 2nd set opener turns into nifty jam (!), uptempo space-boogie that suggests lots of places but just sort of ends. 55 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > WHARF RAT > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD > PLAYING IN THE BAND has a few killer moments, but lacks revelation. PLAYING takes ~12 minutes to coalesce & find its weird. WHARF RAT opens to bass solo & conversational grooving, eventually turning generic. donna-hating revisionists be damned, crowd sure seems to love her PLAYING screams & AROUND & AROUND wailing.

8/4/76 jersey city: end of summer tour & last of 6 ’72-’76 shows at roosevelt stadium. 1st set filled with slow songs & long equipment breaks. tape isn’t great. only overblown NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES seems to gel. also the beginning of the era of out-of-breath garcia, notable on chorus of LOSER, & much of why post-’75 dead remains hard for me. 30 minute HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT!/FRANKLIN’S TOWER feels clunkier than usual, but lots of great quiet slow-motion turns in SLIPKNOT! brisk & semi-functional next-beat segues between FRANKLIN’S/DANCING IN THE STREET/THE WHEEL/SAMSON & DELILAH, mini-jams in the middle. generous 2-hour second set, but the mojo seems evaporated by time of 36 minute NOT FADE AWAY > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > SHIP OF FOOLS. change in garcia’s voice & approach on display on SHIP OF FOOLS, quiet sweetness traded for quiet soul melodrama.

9/23/76 durham: fall tour opener. i chose grotty mono PA tape over terrible audience recording. tough to dig. 1st RAMBLE ON ROSE since 10/74 & 1st with mickey hart. one of the few ’71-’74 songs not to lose something with a 2nd drummer. EL PASO makes post-hiatus return, too, with nice garciaing, but band now solidly into the sloppy rock endings phase of their career. lyric crashes for garcia in CRAZY FINGERS, which unspools into nifty winding jam (sorely needing a better mix) & oddly smooth landing. confident & brilliant full-band intricacies in SLIPKNOT! lively/awake keith godchaux piano throughout, especially on FRANKLIN’S TOWER. after finally slowing back down in july, EYES OF THE WORLD returns to harsh high-speed chug, restrained until quickly-collapsed jam. 13 minute OTHER ONE with muffled space-out drops into 1st post-hiatus MORNING DEW, rusty but glorious. great keith.

9/24/76 william & mary: vivid audience tape. big energy & lots of piano. not what i expected from ’76 dead! ugly cowbell clonk early, but tight & adventurous PLAYING IN THE BAND makes fun surprise turn into SUPPLICATION & back, one time only. laser sharp HELP ON THE WAY/SLIPKNOT! dissolves into DRUMZ & builds perfectly back into song until comically overshooting reentry. majority of the 2nd set is made up of songs debuted over the previous 2 years, increasingly a rarity, & feels more alive for it. even STELLA BLUE is brisk &, more importantly, dramatic/dynamic, great decorative color by keith throughout.

9/25/76 landover: 1st BERTHA since 10/74, less swing but huge & locked in, the sound of ’77 finding itself. nice jaunty PEGGY-O. garcia’s voice sounds better than spring/summer. adding occasional vocal asides in every show of tour so far. 1st known ALL OVER NOW (on stones’ 2nd US LP), likely sung by weir in ’65/’66, now a platform for his awful blues growl. hard pass. not much by way of out jamming, but SUGAREE, SCARLET BEGONIAS, & DANCING IN THE STREET all briefly achieve total sunshine flow. last COSMIC CHARLIE ever. awkward energy, but garcia/weir/donna jean approach a sweet sleepy vocal blend. toodle-oo, COSMIC CHARLIE. NOT FADE AWAY almost spaces but falls into DRUMZ, a bass solo, & back into ST. STEPHEN by way of oversized bass tag.

9/27/76 rochester: nice soundboard mix. sloppy double drumming feels punchy & charming instead of sludgy. ever-so-slightly brisker tempo on 1st fall THEY LOVE EACH OTHER cancels faux-reggae & restores a little bit of the ’73 bounce. now that weir is playing ALL OVER NOW, he has to play it every night. feels regressive & bland. dead don’t bring much new to it. right-on bass solo preludes full drop into 60m HELP ON THE WAY > SLIPKNOT! > DRUMZ > OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > SLIPKNOT! > FRANKLIN’S. SLIPKNOT! keeps going to wild places, a brilliant set centerpiece. such a bummer they stopped opening it up like this after this tour. THE OTHER ONE recovers some dizzying pre-’71 2-drummer swirl. lots of full-steam-ahead bass. almost breaks free, always snaps back. 18m FRANKLIN’S TOWER is fun but maybe runs out of ideas. succeeds wildly as dance music for twirling hippies, though.

9/28/76 syracuse: left turns, some real surprises, & even more ample keith godchaux piano. for 1st time, BERTHA seems driven by drummers instead of garcia’s rhythm guitar, which is now slightly more staccato. unsettling. likewise, languorous ’76 FRIEND OF THE DEVIL morphs into more of a spacious hippie reggae groove than a song, lots of weir & hart. breakneck LET IT GROW is fun overkill. big bass & hyper-intricate jam evaporate to mega-rare 1st set GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD. 2nd set bracketed by PLAYING IN THE BAND, punctuated by 2 excellent jams that start from near standstills, & excitement throughout. 28 minute PLAYING > THE WHEEL > SAMSON & DELILAH notable for patient improv & perfect segues, especially the gradual upshift into SAMSON. after clean SAMSON ending, band jumps back into 6m of PLAYING-like jam before stumbling half-gracefully into confident COMES A TIME. DRUMZ falls into a waaay too fast EYES OF THE WORLD, hiccuping/pausing before garcia leads way into miraculous & moody thematic jam. dick latvala named it ORANGE TANGO JAM for “dick’s picks 20.” only one, i think. like a mature post-“blues for allah” SPANISH JAM. speedy DANCING IN THE STREET ends before a standalone PLAYING REPRISE. weir even sings JOHNNY B. GOODE well. wtf?
9/30

9/30/76 columbus: flat soundboard & fuller/noisier audience tape transmogrified into nice sounding matrix mix. show-opening MUSIC NEVER STOPPED has more pronounced MIND LEFT BODY break than usual (3:52-5:00), highlighting how jam got repurposed. 15 minute CRAZY FINGERS with lovely corners that seem like they’re going to emerge into new changes, but don’t. last version ’til ’82. sad! 11 minute SCARLET BEGONIAS stays contained, as usual, though garcia gets into some big spaces & invents elegant denouement before reprise. fun to be had, but not much adventure in 40m ST. STEPHEN > NOT FADE AWAY > DRUMZ > WHARF RAT > NOT FADE AWAY > ST. STEPHEN. even played crisply, i’m just not into slowed-down ST. STEPHEN, though garcia pushes EYES-like prettiness en route to NOT FADE AWAY. last MORNING DEW encore. whispering final solo finds sublime jerry/keith dialogue. existential respite today/any day.

10/1/76 indianpolis: warm soundboard mix. not into the new clipped rhythmic feel on BERTHA opener, but groovy garcia vocal ad-libs. chattering cowbell prevents 11 minute SCARLET BEGONIAS from gliding into full chillness. some sweet off-mic vocalizations by donna jean. another epic SLIPKNOT! with aggressive big-eared weaving. eventually keith locks into quiet melancholic changes while garcia sketches. 1st split-open DANCING IN THE STREET goes into DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > SHIP OF FOOLS before a full stop & standalone DANCING reprise. THE WHEEL lands in more tangled garcia/lesh/godchaux conversations before dissolving perfectly into SHIP OF FOOLS.

10/2/76 cincinnati: only dead show at riverfront arena, site of ’79 Who stampede. drab audience tape leaves plenty to imagination. BROWN EYED WOMEN kept the same non-jammy form from ’71-’95, but garcia’s solo restating the melody getting more abstract post-hiatus. not much freshness, even in 13 minute LET IT GROW, though 2nd set opening MUSIC NEVER STOPPED has another cool MIND LEFT BODY break. 2nd set jam sequence is 39m DANCING IN THE STREET > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > THE OTHER ONE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. weak bass drop into 10m THE OTHER ONE, but crowd audibly perks up at energy. donna now singing on chorus. not much happening in jam. sleepy STELLA BLUE now regularly over 10m, gorgeous piano & brief but surprising outro jam into OTHER ONE reprise. #deadfreaksunite [6/6]

10/3/76 detroit: last night of 9-show eastern swing. bright soundboard with punchy bass via “30 trips” box. 1st set bounces right along, lots of ’71-’72 songs. very present lesh. drummers may’ve claimed BERTHA, but garcia still owns SUGAREE. rolling groove on SCARLET BEGONIAS swells inventively. impeccable MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, continuing to peak after MIND LEFT BODY break. 67 minute 7-song segue in 2nd set has multiple surprises but begins with 10m PLAYING IN THE BAND that dissolves to DRUMZ without doing much. left turns begin in THE WHEEL, which has 5m of high-speed excitement before 1st GOOD LOVIN’ since 10/74, only 2nd since pigpen era. weir’s GOOD LOVIN’ is my definition of a boring twirl-ready oldie, but here veers into PLAYING-like mode, driven by godchaux’s piano. graceful landing in beautifully sung COMES A TIME. 90 second spiraling guitar outro makes an easy bridge into DANCING IN THE STREET.  DANCING, too, drops into uncharacteristic dense jam with busy piano clouds, eventually a 14m NOT FADE AWAY that feels like a breather. weir segues into CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER intro, which gets cheers but no musical traction, just the ending to DANCING.

10/9/76 oakland coliseum stadium: 1st of 2 shows with the who, the dead opening on saturday, starting at 11am. SCARLET BEGONIAS is all afternoon sunshine, godchaux on rhodes, cowbell mixed pleasantly low, garcia finding new jam grottos. pleasant 1st set. magnificent 11 minute SUGAREE closer builds to ecstatic crest & slow descent into sweet quiet valley before final chorus. not always into ST. STEPHEN/NOT FADE AWAY/ST. STEPHEN, but band achieves a deep & creative choogle midway through & hits big reprise. crisp no count-off HELP ON THE WAY in THE ELEVEN’s former spot, garcia’s solo finding fresh & dramatic loopholes & pathways. SLIPKNOT packs in 5m of riveting improv action (& cool drop-down) before DRUMZ/SAMSON & DELILAH & long purposeful SLIPKNOT reprise. FRANKLIN’S TOWER hits escher-like flow, somehow always rising back into itself. 2 songs that follow seem unnecessary.

10/10/76 oakland coliseum stadium: 2nd day on the green with the who. stage set involves a phone booth? over 2 gigs, dead only repeat chuck berry’s PROMISED LAND. pete townshend supposedly shocked; who’s been playing same set for a year. 1st set capped by 15m DANCING IN THE STREET, which garcia pushes into exciting mini-jams, smoothly into WHARF RAT & back to DANCING. 52 minute sequence in 2nd set is almost paint-by-numbers, PLAYING IN THE BAND > DRUMZ > THE WHEEL > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE > PLAYING. groovy messy space-jazz textures on PLAYING, but feels reined-in by 2nd drums. 10 minute WHEEL bends into exhilarating exchanges. STELLA BLUE impressively quiet for a stadium, but getting stiffer. still unclear why mickey hart couldn’t just sit out occasionally? set’s most thrilling & coherent improv comes in 3 minutes of post-STELLA BLUE confusion before gelling into PLAYING ending.

10/14/76 shrine auditorium: 1st LA show since 7/74 & 1st at shrine since ’68. 1st set is murky audience tape. triumphant SCARLET BEGONIAS. weir & drummers peak but jam keeps going. garcia & lesh blow through & find gorgeous minute-wide vista. the MIND LEFT BODY jam has left the MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. when crisp soundboard kicks in, MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP still feels a l’il sluggish, ditto SHIP OF FOOLS, though donna nails outro part. big jam is 30 minute DANCING IN THE STREET into WHARF RAT & back, 2nd in 2 shows. more purposeful. garcia unties knots under bass chords. jam peels back to kreutzmann & garcia, who slow down together & land perfectly in WHARF RAT before huge reprise.

10/15/76 shrine auditorium: last touring show of ’76 comeback. pleasant 1st set, 2nd filled with nice surprises. vibey garcia tunes with fine singin’ & full-band punctuation, especially on dramatic LOSER & long, lazy SUGAREE that unfolds over 10 minutes. rare EYES OF THE WORLD 2nd set opener immediately jumps into 3 minute garcia/phil jam, underscoring how rare that mode has become. [great EYES all ’round, a click uptempo, spidery dialogues & short rich outro that weir upshifts smoothly into MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. 1st HE’S GONE since 10/74 (& mickey’s return) does a gospel sway into DRUMZ & then great 14m OTHER ONE filled with bliss tangents. soulful, dynamic COMES A TIME in ballad slot. ultra-lyrical & expressive garcia solo blooms unexpectedly into bright FRANKLIN’S TOWER. well-earned SUGAR MAGNOLIA (with tiny coda jam) ends with shrieks that i thought were donna ’til she started singing.

12/31/76 cow palace: 1st new year’s since ’72, a co-headline with santana, & 1st of 16 consecutive NYE gigs. soundcheck reported to be RIVER DEEP, MOUNTAIN HIGH (covered by keith & donna with garcia on 1975 LP), which woulda been something. questing 23 minute PLAYING IN THE BAND fights free, finds ample room to get lost & (i think) garcia’s 1st use of delay & mu-tron pedals. bill graham leads a very bill graham midnight countdown, impossible to count with. SUGAR MAGNOLIA to ring in ’77, palpable big energy. speedy EYES OF THE WORLD sails into beautiful interlocking jam by garcia/weir/lesh/keith before clearing into starlight of WHARF RAT. GOOD LOVIN’ sprouts 2 short bright jams like it’s still the pig era, 2nd turning into SAMSON & DELILAH (played at 37 of 41 ’76 shows). garcia & co. get down to incredible drumless quiet during SLIPKNOT. phil tries to start STRONGER THAN DIRT during DRUMZ, but no bites. for encore, 1st UNCLE JOHN’S BAND & BID YOU GOODNIGHT since 10/74. 1st UJB without phil vocals. donna sounds nice. hefty outro. garcia fully committed on great GOODNIGHT, almost possessed, while keith & drums comp along.

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

#deadfreaksunite 1966

#deadfreaksunite 1966
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, though ’66 is kinda messy. Consult LIA’s post before doing any heavy listening. 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]

1/8/66 fillmore auditorium: the fillmore acid test! the earliest known grateful dead live recording & utter psychedelic comedy gold. fade in on chaos. phil sings along with tuning. pigpen to babbs: “HEY MAN STOP YOUR BABBLING & FIX THESE MICROPHONES. WE NEED POWER.” earliest versions of all songs except for dense CAUTION. not terribly far out, but garcia’s early blues-noodle turns spiky & menacing. dig garcia’s grease on leiber/stoller’s HOG FOR YOU BABY, b-side to current #9 primitives hit. babbs interrupts. but not sure i ever quite bought garcia doing DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY, which feels a bit rinky-dink with pigpen’s farfisa. 27 minutes in, the cops arrive & shut down the acid test, resulting in LOL-packed 4:27 of LSD-abetted confusion. an all-time favorite. babbs (?) moves sound-source between mics & narrates in real-time, cops make announcements, sirens wail, weir raps, somebody moans & OMs. phil conducts band in national anthem, dude screams “fuck you,” garcia stays chill while his face melts, tape cuts.

1/??/66 “acid test #3”: a chaotic soundcheck of some sort. occasional yelling, merry pranksters, & bass jams that almost coalesce. most charming part is bright-eyed bushy-tailed band chatter. phil: “i’m tired of playing in warehouses” & jerry playing the optimist. weir, spacily: “i’d like to play in the grand canyon.” phil (?): “well, as long as it’s with you guys, i don’t care…”

1/??/66 berkeley: VIOLA LEE BLUES rehearsal, probably the 1st owsley tape. garcia is clearly the leader, phil is clearly the asshole. pigpen can’t figure out vocal or harmonica part. cool at first, eventually he leaves drunk, hounded by phil. nobody goes after him. owsley, i think, sings verses on track 19. then, cool 15m VIOLA LEE jam on early arrangement, 1st big improv on tape.

1/??/66 berkeley: fuller VIOLA LEE BLUES rehearsal tape at owsley’s pad, with 2 early slower takes of phil’s awkward CARDBOARD COWBOY. drumless/keyless CARDBOARD COWBOY practice is more interesting/graceful than the 3 surviving live recordings. awkward even by phil standards, drumless vocal practice gives me new pop appreciation for the song.

1/28/66 the matrix (maybe): 14m of early dead from a badly dated owsley reel. earliest known versions of all songs. good banter. only the ending of YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK/OTIS ON A SHAKEDOWN CRUISE: last of 3 always-shifting verses, short solo, & 1st weir shouts. band returns for a late set after the loading zone plays. shaky VIOLA LEE BLUES has alternate swing-blues jam, not yet modal/crazy. management clearly wants the dead off the stage. “let ’em throw us out,” phil says as band plow into speedy I KNOW YOU RIDER. so the plug gets pulled 40 seconds into MIDNIGHT HOUR. band sounds completely used to it & mostly amused. garcia: “shut us off again.” lesh: “g’night ladies & gentleman & you too, you pricks.” last SF gig before dead, owsley, & pranksters move to LA.

2/5 or 6/66 los angeles: likely a fragment of band’s 1st show after moving to LA, but (based on crowd) not the northridge acid test. 1st known TASTEBUD, generic blues & generic blues lyrics by pigpen & 1st live MINDBENDER, doofy but crisp nuggets-style garage-psych. 1st known BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, a jug band holdover. spiraling guitar intro, spiky solo, early backing vocals, & heavier backbeat. if anyone has the 2 missing tunes or another theory on the date, hmu. more on ’66 mysteries.

2/13/66 (maybe) youth opportunities center: 15 or so minutes of watts acid test. begins with bob weir tripping & testing out microphones. on a distant mic, girl starts flipping the fuck out, screaming “WHO CARES?” etc., & pigpen sings/talks her down, occasional drum hits. a capella pigpen/drum duet. bob weir: “some day ron will take acid.” pig tells weir to get something going, but weir’s face seems to be melting too hard. nonetheless, billy/pigpen only version of NEW ORLEANS, with weir joining on vocals, someone else honking harmonica, the only “dead” version until 1970. phil joins but also seems to be melting. 7 minutes worth of the sole dead take of TWIST & SHOUT, sung by pig, not the beatles arrangement, with (presumably) tripping guest harmonica player. if garcia’s face is melting, it’s not impeding his shredding. then the song falls apart. no applause, just residual acid test noise. phil: “our drummer flashed, we’ll be back later.” can hear the tape being played back elsewhere in the room.

2/66 pink house: earliest tape of garcia doing HI-HEELED SNEAKERS, played occasionally with the dead & turning up in garcia/saunders setlists ’72-’74. more work on VIOLA LEE BLUES. weir gets yelled at for starting it too fast, actually the tempo they’d end up playing it at. plus, it speeds up. getting closer to the multi-jam structure, with some nifty dancing garcia guitar parts. “popssssicle break” someone announces. end tape.

2 or 3/xx/66 pink house (maybe): wow! mystery ’66 tape: phil & jerry demo a gorgeous folky & previously unknown dead original with cool harmonies. “wandering man“?

2 or 3/xx/66 pink house rehearsal (maybe): a few high fidelity slices via the “rare cuts & oddities” CD (& a few others on the hell’s honkies’ comp “san franciscan nights”). only early dead version of rufus thomas’s WALKING THE DOG, sung by weir, showing up again in 1970, good bee-sting garcia leads. likewise, only early dead version of chuck berry’s PROMISED LAND with garcia on vocals, becoming a staples with weir singing in ’71. adore this alternative universe. pig’s 1st real original, YOU SEE A BROKEN HEART, fun response vocals by jerry. 1st taped version of BIG BOSS MAN, weir’s rhythm guitar sounding present & cool & vaguely like a normal human guitarist. BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE still has the jerry guitar intro, but the earliest backing vocals have morphed into the more familiar arrangement. earliest taped dylan cover, IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE, & garcia’s version of ONE KIND FAVOR.

2 or 3/xx/66 pink house: moar “rare cuts & oddities.” an early version of NOT FADE AWAY, a lot closer to the stones version during the verses (with teenage weir clearly doing his best jagger) & a rolling CAUTION-like groove elsewhere, kinda awkward & falling apart, with alternate lyrics about how “i’m gonna be your candyman” that were maybe written by weir (?), not turning up again on a dead tape until 1969.

2 or 3/66 unknown venue: from “rare cuts & oddities,” the only early dead version of BIG RAILROAD BLUES, pig doubling garcia’s lead vocal on harmonica, done with a jug band bounce that would disappear when revived in ’70. doesn’t totally work, but i’m still charmed by pig singing fats domino’s SICK & TIRED. the only taped version of the very early stones’ original EMPTY HEART, sung by pig & doubled by jerry in places, another example of the forgotten early jerry/pig tandem, cool jagged garcia rhythms under 1st harmonica solo, playing co-lead under 2nd.

2 or 3/66 pink house: a 5 minute early example of the earliest SPACE jam, mostly just garcia & weir. doesn’t sound too different from the 2-guitar SPACE jams of the ‘70s/‘80s/‘90s. then a tape jump into the beginning of some blues song they’re rehearsing with vocal parts, but which i can’t identify.

2/23/66 pink house: 12 minutes of a blues jam that winds into something that might be LA BAMBA but is also sort of GOOD LOVIN’ (a segue they would do ~20 years later), the pulling back into a half-speed jam on IT’S A SIN. the sound of a band learning to play together.

3/2/66 pink house (presumably): from “rare cuts & oddities,” the tremolo-heavy electrified folk tune BETTY & DUPREE, a candidate with DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY for the 1st jerry ballad & the traditional origin point for DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES in ’69. on an alternate timeline, garcia revived this in the late ‘70s & figured out how to make it graceful. earliest STEALIN’, presumably played by the jug band, too.

3/9/66 pink house rehearsal: another unknown song, sung by pigpen. maybe a cover, but enough odd changes to make it a dead original? a few takes working on WHO DO YOU LOVE. pigpen to billy: “remember when we used to do it at magoo’s? the way we did it at magoo’s?” 13m jam starts as thin blues noodle but grows into some cool & almost substantial weirdness before tape runs out.

3/10/66 pink house rehearsal: another owsley tape (vocals panned hard) from band’s pad in LA, downstairs from LSD tabbing operation. SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD practice, electrified jug band tune, recorded in ’67 & unchanged til ’72, besides stabbing organ part. tantalizing just-off-mic chatter about songwriting/lyric transcription? maybe could be deciphered with a level boost.

3/12/66 danish center: 1st dead tape that’s more than a fragment. 2 sets, 67m of excellent owsley soundboard. not technically an acid test, but based on the band’s memories that they took acid *every* saturday night in spring ’66, well… both set openers are only surviving takes of not-terribly-compelling instrumental warm-ups: STORMY MONDAY & freddie king’s HEADS UP. 1st known live version of pigpen’s 1st real original, YOU SEE A BROKEN HEART. generic, but clever call/response with garcia on verse. earliest IT’S A SIN & 1st live versions of ONE KIND FAVOR (jerry blues, meh) & NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME (instant pig staple, already coolly swingin’). 1st full MIDNIGHT HOUR & 1st taped pigpen raps. it achieves grease, if not much else. tasty jerry licks & not-tasty blues screams. amusingly trippy setbreak banter, implying they’re alternating slots with another act. wonder who? weir plugs ice cream man outside. tape closes with 1st VIOLA LEE BLUES featuring multi-jam structure. at 11m, 1st big dead improv. raw but right on.

3/25/66 trouper’s hall: all-night harmonica store. poster by acid chemist owsley stanley, photos by @rosiemcgee12. A+ sound. earliest live STEALIN’, electrified jug band boogie recorded for 1st single. and then a still-unidentified 9m R&B instrumental jam. before they play it, weir says the mystery jam’s title fast, garbled, & off-mic. anyone wanna slow that down and/or have a guess? 1st HEY LITTLE ONE by dorsey burnette, garcia crooning rockabilly-pop. gorgeous twang-psych solo. outro belting hints at ’80s ballads. 1st complete YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK, meticulously overwritten & ambitious psychedelic garage pop with changing keys & vocal parts, wild guitaring. 30m set, a break, then the earliest COLD RAIN & SNOW, on 1st album & staple for next 30 years. a herky jerky thrill.

4/66 “studio demo”: via “rare cuts & oddities,” the earliest versions of STANDING ON THE CORNER & CREAM PUFF WAR (with alternate chorus, slightly slower tempo, & a few more arrangement tricks). neither shows up on live recordings until the band’s return to san francisco in may. manic GOOD LOVIN’ has pig on lead & super-charged almost beach boys-like gang vocals.

4/22/66 longshoreman’s hall: 23m from hyped trips festival knockoff, 1st gig since return from LA. nice sound. 1st BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE with multi-beat intro (6, in this case). still some lyric differences & semi-written guitar break. earliest GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL (with mucho bass counterpoint) goes into willie cobb’s YOU DON’T LOVE ME, jerry sung, & back. the two songs are basically interchangeable, but it’s the earliest recorded grateful dead segue.

4/24/66 longshoreman’s hall: solid 35m (maaaaybe) from 3rd night of fake trips fest, recently surfaced radio ad sadly taken down. 7m VIOLA LEE BLUES still a work-in-progress, but already more jam than solo, clean-toned jerry weirdisms & double-time swing. also in-progress: owsley’s mix. semi-audible garcia/lesh jams in MIDNIGHT HOUR’s quizzical breaks & pretty spaces behind pig’s rap. BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE has guitar figure intro but written solo, so maybe date is wrong? forensics here. almost 8m of blues jam with jorma kaukonen & jack casady; unremarkable adventures in unpleasant double bass fuzz.

5/??/66 unknown venue: formerly “ivar theater 2/25/66.” song arrangements seem to date it from may or june. earliest recorded dead version of SHE’S ON THE ROAD AGAIN, garcia-sung jug band holdover with prominent lead harmonica by pigpen. 1st I KNOW YOU RIDER with “muddy water” & “sun will shine” verses. everybody sings everything, phil loudest. no northbound train yet. unison riffs & drum breaks of COLD RAIN & SNOW way more together than earlier version, but garcia’s voice still fluttering all over. effective not-quite-segue from greasy KING BEE into CAUTION, latter with nifty dual guitar/harmonica & mini-jam.

5/19/66 avalon ballroom: the dead’s avalon debut & 1st real tape from the ballroom era, early & late sets. big drums. many firsts. earliest STANDING ON THE CORNER, dead original. lyrics seem like garcia doing dylan. last version of b-grade garage-psych MINDBENDER. 1st great VIOLA LEE BLUES, kretuzmann & lesh shifting casually into a jam under garcia solo, unfolding smoothly into the modal fringe. earliest CREAM PUFF WAR, rare song with words/music by garcia, & earliest original to survive until 1st album. solo stays just inside. earliest SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD, too, surprisingly in exact same arrangement & tempo they’d stick with until dropping it in ’72. aaaand 1st taped version of weir’s electrified jugband tune NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES, too, most of the 1st album repertoire now in place. rare pigpen joint: 2nd & final surviving so-so take of fats domino’s SICK & TIRED. also, 1st taped version if elmore jame’s IT HURTS ME TOO, a pigpen standard unchanged through his last tour, sad & sweet. earliest SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES, weir’s 1st country tune (cool phil harmony) & earliest live version of garcia’s BABY BLUE, only live ’66 version of insanely way-too-fast GOOD LOVIN’  (plus the “new ending,” per stage banter), gone ’til ’69.

7/3/66 fillmore auditorium: independence ball, with love. vocals brutal throughout. swingin’ boogie, though. band dedicates set to “the sundancers of ignacio, colorado, out there doin’ it.” garcia plugs mnasidika, local head boutique. earliest versions of half-dozen tunes, including HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE (properly mark spoelstra’s JUST A HAND TO HOLD) & NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE, both pretty straight. 1st known DANCING IN THE STREET, staple for next 5 years, already an enthused (if contained) jam platform, garcia testing the edges. VIOLA LEE BLUES sounding immensely assured. not as wild & out as 5/16, but all lean in hard & stay together in the jam, even pigpen. earliest live version of BIG BOSS MAN, slinky & hep, pig fave thru ’72. 1st of 2 known versions of KEEP ROLLING BY, pig-led stones-y original with neat gang vocals. only DON’T MESS UP A GOOD THING, his/her soul re-set for pig, & j. “guitar” watson’s GANGSTER OF LOVE, unconvincingly sung by jerry. 1st CARDBOARD COWBOY (aka NO LEFT TURN UNSTONED), overwritten phil lesh mod-psych, stiffly sung. waiting to be covered gracefully. YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK gets drum intro. instrumental break now guitar/key duo. with CREAM PUFF WAR, most accomplished original so far. pig’s MIDNIGHT HOUR rap still half-baked, but rare & sweet shout to longtime girlfriend, vee. 1st bill graham band intro.

7/16/66 fillmore auditorium: alternating sets with the airplane. being a 1966 saturday, probably tripping, too. vocals getting better. off-mic intra-squad reminders to watch tempos before BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, YOU DON”T HAVE TO ASK, & others. only known take of leadbelly’s IN THE PINES, sung by garcia, & not wholly successful. more like a drinking song than a murder ballad. 1st of 2 versions of allen toussaint’s PAIN IN MY HEART, learned via otis redding, sung by pigpen. the ’72 dead would’ve crushed this. kreutzmann’s drums starting to really move with garcia’s guitar, seeking destination on CREAM PUFF WAR, finding it on VIOLA LEE BLUES. late set begins with a cute bill graham intro & for 1st time, short-lived full band pre-intro to VIOLA LEE. gang vocals sound big. only surviving ’66 live version of DON’T EASE ME IN, electric jug bounce & b-side for 1st single, released locally that summer. forensics dept.: off-mic voice asking “otis?” before tight YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK helps confirm alt. title, OTIS ON A SHAKEDOWN CRUISE. weir not getting DANCING IN THE STREET lyrics yet, adds own verse. jam doesn’t go far, but sure goes. tape cuts off.

7/17/66 fillmore auditorium: nice big sound. another good miniature jam on CREAM PUFF WAR that doesn’t break through, exactly, but the band (& billy, really) starting to swing/flow during solos. nice reverb-y atmosphere during slinky 9-minute KING BEE. last KEEP ROLLING BY. unlike the version earlier in the month, this one is nearly 8 minutes, feels like it should have stax horns, & has a misterioso maybe-kinda-modal jam in 1st half before pig-style rave-up. definitely some alternate universe dead, a pigpen tune with a psych jam. adios!

7/29/66 vancouver trips festival: despite the event’s name, the grateful dead’s 1st real trip out of town for purposes other than acid tests. band’s garage-prog phase coming to an end. last known versions of 2 early originals, including opener STANDING ON THE CORNER. farewell to the awkward grooviness of CARDBOARD COWBOY. a bouncy BABY BLUE, same day as dylan’s motorcycle crash in woodstock. short locked-in garcia/kreutzmann improv in CREAM PUFF WAR. plus, the a-side to the band’s brand new single STEALIN’, released only in san francisco. probably no merch table in vancouver. set-closing VIOLA LEE BLUES is 2nd of 2 versions with descending circusy pre-intro. big noise for the canadian n00bs. (my full essay on the dead’s adventures at the vancouver trips festival is available now in rhino records’ 50th anniversary reissue of the band’s first album.)

7/30/66 vancouver trips festival: last show with (& stereo-panned tape made by) owsley’s proto-wall of sound. as event MC comes on, phil: “we’ll use a simple syllable to test our microphones tonight. the syllable is narc. narc. narc. narc.” 9m DANCING IN THE STREET opener pushes fleetingly into a modal peak & back via garcia, giving jam graceful sense of movement. last known version of dorsey burnette’s #48 1960 hit HEY LITTLE ONE. tasty inside guitar solo, but not much of a loss. on the other hand, goodbye to the too-clever-for-this-world structure of YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK. and off go owsley stanley & tim scully with the dead’s equipment truck to establish a new LSD lab.

late ’66 rehearsal: on “rare cuts & oddities” collection. love weir’s early version of SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES, brought back in ’69.

11/19/66 fillmore auditorium: solid soundboard is 1st full tape since summer, most polished & confident yet. lothar & the hand people! debate over if this is 11/19/66 or 3/17/67, but weir’s “autumn” in DANCING IN THE STREET suggests former. cute one-by-one bill graham intro ala “one from the vault”: “on the bass, mr. philip lesh… on the far left, on lead guitar & vocals, the charles atlas of the psychedelic set.” only surviving ’66 live version of HI-HEELED SNEAKERS. honky blues vocals by garcia. tasty licks, though. enticing guitar/organ swirl on CREAM PUFF WAR. 2nd of 2 versions of allen toussaint’s PAIN IN MY HEART, learned via otis redding, sung by pigpen. the ’72 dead would’ve crushed this. earliest SAME THING by willie dixon, sung by pig. moody 11m jam. early jazzy comping by weir under organ solo & double-time build. weir finally gets lyrics to DANCING IN THE STREET & band gets jam. soaring garcia, spiraling further out as tape cuts off around 6m. set ends with 34m of pig. 1st known SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING (with fine guitar/harp toodle) downshifts into KING BEE. nice flow on dynamic 19m MIDNIGHT HOUR. pig works crowd & briefly raps about “TCB”. elvis to the courtesy phone.

11/29/66 the matrix: 1st of 2 nights & 3.5 hours of music. many otherwise undocumented corners of mysterious ’66 repertoire. 80m of sets 2/3, beginning with earliest ME & MY UNCLE, only song played every year 1966-1995 (except ’68?). speedy. drum roll intro. musicologist graeme boone pegs weir’s modal playing on 12m SAME THING as 1st sign of mccoy tyner influence. 1st known version of the olympics’ BIG BOY PETE is big group-sung fun. matrix co-owner marty balin seemingly shouting requests. at marty’s request, only extant live take of phil-sung EARLY MORNING RAIN. more involved harmonies/arrangement than ’65 studio demo. set 3 opens with 1st of 2 BEEN DOWN SO LONGs, jerry-sung original, like a lost jug band tune. 1st try at writing americana? more rare pig: 1st of 2 SOMETHING ON YOUR MINDs (not dino valente’s). only I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU ’til weir’s ’95 revival. garcia & weir get juggy & doofy with 1st taped OVERSEAS STOMP, done by mother mccree’s in ’64 but only 3 known late ’66 dead versions (& a fragment from ’67). band signs off with short full-band arrangement of vaudeville themes. not the looney tunes’ MERRY-GO-ROUND BROKE DOWN/”that’s all folks” outro (as its often labeled), but cartoonish just the same.

12/1/66 the matrix: another remarkable slice of 1966. 3 sets, 2 hours, & many oddities from a hole-in-the-wall club in san francisco. band’s repertoire continues to turn over rapidly. on the 3 shows from late ’66, 9 songs (plus 2 with a guest) appear nowhere else. garcia promises “cold beer on tap, lurid night club atmosphere, & beatniks! more beatniks than you can count on two hands.” only live BETTY & DUPREE, demoed in march. folk tune converted to rock ballad, vibrato crooning by garcia matched by guitar tremolo. last known versions of ONE KIND FAVOR, SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND, & charming BEEN DOWN SO LONG, semi-lost neo-jugband original. sole extant live ALICE D. MILLIONAIRE, garage pop named for 10/66 “LSD millionaire” headline about owsley, though lyrics don’t have much to do with it. sung by pig. clever vocals/arrangement. weir starts new-to-them ME & MY UNCLE, which falls apart quickly. they try again with garcia leading & succeed. hyper farfisa/guitar. only taped DEEP ELEM BLUES from the era. nifty chorus harmony & arrangement abandoned with acoustic/electric revival in 1970. 2nd set punctuated by rando singing/harmonicaing YONDER’S WALL & MY OWN FAULT. pass. last ON THE ROAD AGAIN ’til 1980 acoustic sets. superb feral jams in each set! 1st set closes with longest ever CREAM PUFF WAR (at 9m), 3rd with untethered 11m DANCING IN THE STREET. in the 2nd set, ecstatic 15m VIOLA LEE BLUES expands to white hot peak, garcia blazing louder than drums. wish the bass was audible. at tape’s end, another ME & MY UNCLE. either filler from same period or band drilling song. i like to think latter.

12/23/66 avalon ballroom: released in 1970 & ’71 as quasi-bootlegs “vintage dead” & “historic dead”. unclear what’s from which night. sounds great, though. again, weir’s seasonal lyric change in DANCING IN THE STREET rounds down the date, december not september. last recorded BABY BLUE ’til ’69 & last uptempo version. no solos, just guitar breaks. only surviving dylan cover from early years. nice bright moments, including action-packed 7m DANCING & final farfisa-driven STEALIN’, revived acoustic by garcia/grisman in ’92. last known version of strident electrified jug standard of I KNOW YOU RIDER, MIA until getting paired with CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER in ’69. solidly 2/3 of the 2 LPs is pigpen, including side-long MIDNIGHT HOUR that won’t win over haters but has chill conversational garcia. can see why band wasn’t into these LPs, but can only imagine how stoked deadheads must’ve been when they came out.

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

#deadfreaksunite 1965


#deadfreaksunite 1965
show-by-show notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. All 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]

11/3/65 golden state recorders: 18m 5-song demo by the emergency crew, formerly the warlocks, soon the grateful dead. the only known ’65 tape & earliest recorded electric music, 6 months after band’s founding. amazing recording, hinting at the dead’s undocumented early months, an alternate universe with phil as lead singer.

CAN’T COME DOWN: dylan-y rave-up about gettin’ real high, lyrics/vocals by garcia, tight harmonica breaks. no surviving live versions.

MINDBENDER: stilted but ambitious pop, vocals & dense lyrics mostly by lesh. mystic farfisa. sweet spaghetti western licks by garcia.

ONLY TIME IS NOW: the dead’s lost sunshine-pop gem. cool beatles-y tremolo. lyrics by jerry pal dave parker, future dead bookkeeper.

CAUTION: cribbed from Them’s MYSTIC EYES. blues-clang condensed into ultra-busy & well-packed 3m. already they’re all soloing at once.

I KNOW YOU RIDER: brighter/faster than iconic later arrangement. slop-rock guitar chug. lead singin’ by phil. but who’s on tambourine?

EARLY MORNING RAIN: gordon lightfoot tune, sung by lesh. groovy fun with a good urgent bounce. phil’s vocals are goofy, but i can dig.

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

#deadfreaksunite 1974


#deadfreaksunite 1974
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 anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. All 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]

2/22/74 winterland: a long soundcheck spent working on 3 new songs, the retired ATTICS OF MY LIFE, & a proto-ESTIMATED PROPHET jam. show opens with the proper debut of U.S. BLUES, ex-WAVE THAT FLAG. nice & punchy, though band doesn’t seem quite done practicing it. the 1st IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES, the only GD tune credited solely to hunter, is an instant winner, though fast & a bit clunky. garcia plays fully articulated SLIPKNOT! inside PLAYING IN THE BAND, uncharacteristically forcing it discordantly into the jam. 1st SHIP OF FOOLS, a major new jerry tune, is likewise uptempo compared to future versions, but dramatic & funny & wonderful. not a lot of compelling jamming, the band’s overexcitement best encompassed by non-sequitur bass bombs in CHINA DOLL.

2/23/74 winterland: final HERE COMES SUNSHINE until the (shudder) ’90s revival. farewell big blissy jam, we hardly knew ye. ’74 model mellowness seems way less lethargic & more pleasing than the ’73 version, probably mostly due to the warm piano/rhodes mix. even-keeled LET IT GROW with sweet weird-swing by kretuzmann. subtle jerry/keith SLIPKNOT! counterpoint in OTHER ONE.

2/24/74 winterland: another U.S. BLUES opener, clearly the new anthem, more confident than its debut, now beaming & exuberant & goofy. great show all around, with vivid foregrounded piano/rhodes in CUMBERLAND BLUES, PLAYING IN THE BAND, WEATHER REPORT SUITE & more. 1st DARK STAR of ’74 starts & stops a few times before coalescing into a short, jaw-dropping coda & a long, drippy MORNING DEW.  1st IT’S ALL OVER NOW BABY BLUE since 9/72 & last ’til ’81. slightly uptempo, but graceful, unrushed, & nice. g’bye.

3/23/74 cow palace: hello, wall of sound! the 1st proper show for owsley’s legendary, crystalline PA. greetings, as well, to SCARLET BEGONIAS & CASSIDY, last major pre-hiatus debuts. SCARLET’s open-ended bounce is sloppy & irresistible. CASSIDY, released 2 years earlier on “ace,” has even more potential. a real shame they shelved it again ’til ’76. my fave weir song? final PLAYING IN THE BAND  > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > MORNING DEW > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND sequence, led by magical soft-edged garcia attack that could last forever. unexpected beatles-y counterpoint vocal on SHIP OF FOOLS’ final chorus, not articulated during 3 previous versions.

5/12/74 reno: the wall of sound hits the road. 3-set outdoor show amid crazy washoe zephyr winds that phil references. lulz whenever the dead use gazillion-watt WoS to play polka-boogies. appropriately surly lesh vocals on MEXICALI BLUES & everywhere. high-speed details & thrilling MIND LEFT BODY-like descent before the only lyric-mangled verse of quick-dissolving OTHER ONE, a fully developed MIND LEFT BODY jam & 2 more jerry ballads, though SHIP OF FOOLS is sly & perfect in early uptempo version.

5/14/74 missoula: 1st & only time the dead played montana. “sweet susie” returns to LOSER for 1st time since ’72. garcia sounds confused. bubbling SCARLET BEGONIAS jam, too short, kreutzmann pushing the band outside the structure. a pleasant landing into IT NUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. 27m DARK STAR features unparalleled space-swing, highwire JG/BK dazzle, stereo fuzz conversations, flexatone, & ample cosmic boredom. dense & unsettling CHINA DOLL with insane overloaded guitar solo amid a drippingly psychedelic soundboard mix. fratboy hits weir on head with plastic beer pitcher & weir responds appropriately with cheesiest ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT yet.

5/17/74 vancouver: debut of a new faster arrangement of LOOSE LUCY. still a throwaway, but now with refreshing bonus pep. weir’s MONEY MONEY, on the other hand, is unsafe at any speed. the worst dead tune not written by a keyboardist? IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES & SHIP OF FOOLS both slow down even more & get even better. played almost every night & rightly so. top notch PLAYING IN THE BAND & TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL jams but, except for hard-driving EYES outro, nothing exceptional.

5/19/74 portland: big cheer for 3rd ever SCARLET BEGONIAS. does the crowd possibly know it or is it just instinctual 1st reaction? band makes a point of cutting off the SCARLET jam (why?!) & ending together crisply, an oddity by itself. thankfully, it won’t stick. 4 big garcia ballads, including beautiful 1st PEGGY-O of ’74 & a powerful CRYPTICAL-like WHARF RAT that keeps expanding as it spirals. fast, fun TRUCKIN’ unwinds into an unusual funk-slop MIND LEFT BODY, the closest kreutzmann ever got to breakbeats.

5/21/74 seattle: a monster show highlighted by a 46-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, 3rd longest standalone jam in the band’s history. good omens: donna jean’s SCARLET BEGONIAS wail is kind of nice & low-key, karen dalton style. last of 3 MONEY MONEYs. fuck that song. no, really. it’s so hateful & un-deady. 1st set ends on unusual elegiac note with an unfussy CHINA DOLL. works really well. A+ PLAYING soars with bizarre internal logic, earns its brief space-outs & is bookended by some of the more brutal donna screams ever. the 23m EYES OF THE WORLD > WHARF RAT that follows might be seen as unnecessary by some. i am not among them.

5/25/74 santa barbara: one of my 1st killer soundboards (thanks, compuserve tape tree!) & my personal definitive CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER segue. TRUCKIN’ bends swiftly from blooze boogie to fast zagging & drumless space where keith plays subtly sun ra-y monophonic synth & into the only ’74 LET IT GROW unattached to rest of WEATHER REPORT SUITE & capped by 3rd big WHARF RAT in 3 shows. also the show where a taper snuck in his deck by burying it in the stadium the night before.

6/8/74 oakland: a sun-stroked bill graham day on the green at oakland stadium w/ the beach boys, new riders, & commander cody opening. strong candidate for the all-time most of out-of-tune dead show, due to heat. for mucho excellent baseball banter, check @NotBobWeir. SCARLET BEGONIAS feels slightly off-kilter, with garcia unwinding a cool inverted version of the melody to signal the end of the jam. 40m PLAYING IN THE BAND > WHARF RAT > PLAYING IN THE BAND wanders early but goes molten. even keith steps up during A+ darting full-band improv.

6/16/74 des moines: 4 hours over 3 afternoon sets at the state fairgrounds. pictures show grand piano, but keith plays mostly rhodes. good fun throughout. SCARLET BEGONIAS is short but big. sounds like it could go anywhere. uncharacteristically clangy CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. bodacious EYES OF THE WORLD > BIG RIVER segue. refreshing to hear the band keep uptempo momentum instead of resolving into a ballad. weir & donna finally nail nifty beatles-y SHIP OF FOOLS outro harmony. 30m PLAYING IN THE BAND with chiming disassembly & abstruse zapping. keith uses fuzzed rhodes for garth hudson-style country-funk on ME & MY UNCLE. many-themed TRUCKIN’ capped by smooth MIND LEFT BODY as a confident bridge into sweeping WHARF RAT. weir loses his voice & doesn’t sing after the big jam. also refreshing.

6/18/74 louisville: a stone classic. rich sound, punchy bass, mucho piano, quiet dynamics. like my old tape, slightly sped up. PSA by weir: “you’re probably wondering why we called you all here tonight. the upshot of it is that one of you is a Venutian spy.” an all-time great EYES OF THE WORLD, crisp & roaring, godchaux taking the 1st solo & adding triumphant harmony to the 7/8 outro. 20m LET IT GROW sparkles into mutant swing & a 19m OTHER ONE, dissolution, odd pockets, & space-blooze prelude to STELLA BLUE. rare MORNING DEW encore. long & exquisite quiet valley before the final peak, filled with piano/guitar/bass droplets.

6/20/74 atlanta: debut of the weir/garcia guitar harmony intro to JACK STRAW. 1st TO LAY ME DOWN of the year. ineffable LSDC&W. more sweet godchaux piano throughout. especially breathtaking quiet filigrees on MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. you were right, @jimmyjacktoth. EYES OF THE WORLD opens into a runaway garcia solo; an early version of SLIPKNOT, everyone else half-successfully figuring it out as they go. CHINA DOLL features the return of the awesome overloaded split-signal feedback guitar solo from the missoula version.

6/22/74 miami: super-fine 29m PLAYING IN THE BAND with shimmering jazz dance, soft-fuzz guitar, & sudden invention in the clouds of unknowing. comfortably far-out CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER with a half-baroque rhodes part. odd tempo disagreements on BERTHA, WHARF RAT, more.

6/23/74 miami: only dead version of chuck berry’s LET IT ROCK. started by phil, sung by jerry, outside garcia/weir rotation. fun but wut? the 1st setbreak SEASTONES duet between phil lesh (on quad bass) & ned lagin (on e-mu modular synth) zapping thru the wall of sound. 13m of disorienting & increasingly piercing full-body biomusic burble & scream around the jai-alai fronton. deadheads applaud politely. lagin plays rhodes on JAM > SHIP OF FOOLS & is fully present on a wordless 22m DARK STAR > SPANISH JAM, conversing with garcia & lesh. or this is the busiest godchaux playing ever? garcia deploys split-signal feedback-fuzz during SPANISH JAM & destroys.

6/26/74 providence: A+ mix of soundboard with jerry moore audience tape. dude in the crowd really wants people in front to sit down. frenetic LET IT GROW jam cooks for 4m & evaporates. SEASTONES is mostly gentle bio-voltage. heads seems receptive, even enthused. another abnormally long CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER, starting with a noodle-y prelude & a quizzical diversion before garcia starts to sing. big thumpin’ TRUCKIN’, but quad bass solo, OTHER ONE riffage, SPANISH JAM, other themes feel restless & disconnected.

6/28/74 boston garden: an old fave with setlist shenanigans & a fun, consistent up-ness; big jam is more scattered than i remembered. split-up SUGAR MAGNOLIA/SUNSHINE DAYDREAM bookends a set for 1st time. SCARLET BEGONIAS moves to 2nd set & nearly breaks free. short soundboard SEASTONES excerpt erupts from vivid oceanic static to screaming flares. crisp TO LAY ME DOWN; best since its revival 42m WEATHER REPORT SUITE > MIND LEFT BODY builds, hovers near DARK STAR with brilliant themes, fuzzy dead air & long build to U.S. BLUES. surly phil intros SHIP OF FOOLS: “a quiet, tender, meaningful, sympathetic, heavy-duty ballad in the key of b-flat.”

6/30/74 springfield, MA: superb PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND delights with mondo keith, dime-turn transition, & thoughtful reprise. 2 more spots where almost all drop out but garcia, including a jerry/phil feedback-fuzz bridge into UNCLE JOHN’S BAND & 6m prelude to STELLA BLUE. most cogent SEASTONES yet courtesy of the 1st complete soundboard. seems like phil harshing the noise & ned bleeping more consonantly. nice l’il charge from U.S. BLUES > TRUCKIN’. killer EYES OF THE WORLD (again: keith!) with wild kreutzmann drumming during end break.

7/19/74 fresno: right-on 30m PLAYING IN THE BAND marked by straight jazz, dancing rhodes by birthday boy keith, flowing de- & reconstruction. annoyingly chatty audience-only tape of SEASTONES punctuated by friendliest taper ever. “are you taping this?” “absolutely!!” 1st HE’S GONE since february is long & shaky, with dixieland blues coda by garcia that is sweet & mournful but never takes off. LET IT GROW, peaks atop peaks, a brief space-canyon, glorious patient SPANISH JAM, full-flight EYES OF THE WORLD. enthralling.

7/21/74 hollywood bowl: generally sweet audience tape with another lazy summer MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES & another talk-marred SEASTONES. 21m PLAYING IN THE BAND with brisk note-chasing & a mini-MIND LEFT BODY/NOBODY’S FAULT/SPANISH JAM collision to set up WHARF RAT.

7/25/74 chicago: just noticing that ROW JIMMY has gradually sped up since slow-ass ’73 versions, back to refreshing SUGAREE-ish lilt. a pleasant vocal-less DARK STAR. nothing jarring, just satisfying linked jams, harmony guitars, drum/keys break, proto-SLIPKNOT, more. JOHNNY B. GOODE has weir shouting like it’s already the ’80s. donna gets brassy on a new part of SHIP OF FOOLS. :(.

7/27/74 roanoke: besides conversational 25m PLAYING IN THE BAND & garcia forcing U.S. BLUES into uneventful 5m boogie jam, oddly improv-less show. weir sings 5 songs in the 2nd set, all covers, 4 from the ’50s. no ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT even though it was a saturday. thanks?

7/29/74 landover: rare DC area show. the hep place to be for swinging beltway liberals at the height of watergate, per reports. straight-ahead & great. many enthused whoops throughout U.S. BLUES. especially assertive IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. missing SEASTONES. compact & articulate 49m HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > NOBODY’S FAULT > OTHER ONE > SPANISH JAM > WHARF RAT & bonus PEGGY-O.

7/31/74 hartford: 3 sets, all cracking & on point. 1st SCARLET BEGONIAS show opener, purdy rhodes cascades, concise but far-reaching. extraordinarily animated & delightful garcia vocals throughout. 1st time he punches the line “let my eyes no LONGER see” in ROSES. 1st onstage acknowledgment of SEASTONES? “we’ll be for another set in a few moments,” sez jerry. “…& additional weirdness,” adds phil. 2nd full SEASTONES soundboard is the harshest phil/ned custy blastage yet. “get off the stage,” someone yells audibly. #noiselife. curling, primo 40m TRUCKIN’ > MIND LEFT BODY > SPANISH JAM > WHARF RAT. even ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT kinda glows a little.

8/4/74 philadelphia: fairly ripsnorting JACK STRAW thanks to strident phil vocals, a completely tasty solo, & over-saturated mix. 20m LET IT GROW churns, goes supernova, & reforms for a fast, weird 2 minutes before garcia slashes into WHARF RAT.

8/5/74 philly: sparkling soundboard. another golden MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES. not a natural segue, but a nice pairing. nearly gentle SEASTONES, woman desperately screaming “jerrrrrrry!” on audience tape. last 3m is a burbling annihilation & denouement. big bouncing SCARLET BEGONIAS, 1st to break 10m. half-hour TRUCKIN’ thrills & opens up without resorting to jam motifs.

8/6/74 jersey city: summer tour finale ends an era: the last east coast show (& final U.S. jaunt) ’til mickey hart’s return in ’76. 2 big 1st set jams. jeweled 19m EYES OF THE WORLD with atypically mellifluous bass solo. weir PSA: “don’t climb on the fence, idiot!” PLAYING IN THE BAND bubbles into syncopated space-funk & a totally-like-WOW segue into a semi-off-kilter SCARLET BEGONIAS & on back to PLAYING. rare HE’S GONE prefaces a 31m TRUCKIN’ swerve through SPANISH JAM & only the 5th OTHER ONE of ’74, bookended by SUGAR MAGNOLIA/SUNSHINE DAYDREAM. U.S. BLUES’s “summertime done come & gone” refrain caps the tour & the epoch. see you in a month for europe ’74.

9/9/74 london: the wall of sound takes europe! 1st of 3 nights at alexandra palace starts hours late, earning ill-will from UK heads. 1 set, scant improv. ugly coked-up vibes, per mcnally’s bio. nice SCARLET BEGONIAS, though, with audible cheer for “grosvenor square” line. 16m TRUCKIN’ packs big & bigger thrills with aggressive OTHER ONE bass orbits but instead parachutes into WHARF RAT.

9/10/74 london: excellent 1st set garcia, including dramatic LOSER & nuanced PEGGY-O. LET IT GROW finds edge of space & pulls back. weir opens show with tepid AROUND & AROUND & hijacks early 2nd set with interminable & ultra-lame 16m NOT FADE AWAY. thankfully, 31m DARK STAR flashes between heaviness, confusion, & killer keith. serious post-verse meltdown into bass-crazed MORNING DEW.

9/11/74 london: good: SCARLET BEGONIAS getting longer & more intricate. bad: donna now wailing/whoaing/la-la’ing deeper into the jam. set 2 consists of 69m SEASTONES > EYES OF THE WORLD > WHARF RAT. probably my all-time most-played sequence, still rewarding & weird. garcia & kreutzmann join for deep, lysergic SEASTONES, jagged figures transforming to silver valleys, floating blurps, buddha-guitar. ned’s strident melodic piano dominates EYES, unrushed themes unfolding before a 10m SEASTONES reconstruction into WHARF RAT. lagin remembers garcia erupting into “a prolonged loud belly laugh” after the jam’s conclusion, totally audible on tape. bonus 3rd set. garcia/weir/donna master the counterpoint on final SHIP OF FOOLS chorus, setting up dramatic finish.

9/14/74 munich: weirdly off. SCARLET BEGONIAS has cool counterpoint & high-speed garcia but awkward grooves & rare sloppy ending. SEASTONES achieves a mellow vibration & builds to quad-fuzz detonation finale. germans sound way riled. PINBALL WIZARD comes on PA. last of 6 lovely MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP / MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES pairings, always a nice oasis in a desert of bob weir cowboy songs. no big jam, though 16m TRUCKIN’ hits laser focus for last few minutes, resolving to uptempo MIND LEFT BODY descent into WHARF RAT. more quicksilver garcia during EYES OF THE WORLD encore, but not enough to save show. backstage, bad vibes. http://bit.ly/X3M0HQ

9/18/74 dijon: smallest dead show in years, only a few hundred people. 1st set is ragged but even UNCLE JOHN’S BAND opener stretches casually. tiny french crowd even gets 1st FRIEND OF THE DEVIL since 12/72. jerry ballads aplenty & jam delights all over. both SEASTONES & 2nd set drums/bass break have lesh playing something like free jazz. EYES OF THE WORLD dips into a magical mood, wistful & quiet, lots of gorgeous lead bass & hints of SLIPKNOT; CHINA DOLL grows cool busy drum part. HE’S GONE burns into my new fave TRUCKIN’: 23m of fuego garcia, free DRUMZ, stereo bass, & a “CAUTION JAM” that’s something even better: 10m of shifting, sustained invention & cracking snare turnarounds, melting to SHIP OF FOOLS. thrilling, cohesive set.

9/20/74 paris: a shaggy night in the city of light. midtempo & loose FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. overheard on drum mic pre-BEAT IT DOWN THE LINE: “are you crazy? i can’t count that high, you dumb shit.” 14(?)-beat intro nearly collapses. bizarre SCARLET BEGONIAS gets quiet with slide guitar, off-mic donna la-la’s, off-key monophonic synth (ned?), subtle cowbell details. TRUCKIN’ fans out into squiggly space with neat results, eventually a long garcia/kreutzmann duet, & noise bass bridge into EYES OF THE WORLD. does EYES have bad mix or is it falling apart? unrelated(?), billy k. throws moped through a window. http://bit.ly/1rbjqQV

9/21/74 paris: a sometimes brutal conclusion to 7-show europe ’74 tour & the last dead show outside of san francisco ’til 6/76. or it could be another weir-less mix that just feels off. solid EYES OF THE WORLD outro sounds ready for “blues for allah” sessions. full band on 11m SEASTONES, a fun & dense mess that loses steam. great shattering-glass blasts & a nice ned/keith piano duet, though. 18m PLAYING IN THE BAND stays low stakes with small lurvely garcia/lagin dialogues, dissolves into DRUMS, & screeches awkwardly into final chorus. kreutzmann starting to get into cowbell, including on ROW JIMMY break. maybe the ’80s weren’t only mickey’s fault?

10/16/74 winterland: 1st of 5 eventful “retirement” shows, longest all-time gig (4+ hours of music) & probably the furthest out. camera crew starts shooting “the GD movie.” last ME & BOBBY McGEE. always dug the way garcia bark-crooned the high part on the chorus. weir’s 27th birthday, but happy overbalance of jerry songs; back-to-back TENNESSEE JED & crackling CUMBERLAND BLUES both stretch subtly. 24m SEASTONES, ambient washes sound like (or possibly are?) nearby humans screaming; into dope 25m garcia/lesh/lagin/kreutzmann quartet. too much even for SF deadheads, who clap impatiently during last space-out &, disbelieving maybe, slow to cheer when WHARF RAT starts. and then: 36m WHARF RAT > EYES OF THE WORLD, each with an elliptical solo jerry break. on EYES, thick double keys by lagin & godchaux. and still 45m more: TRUCKIN’ mini-suite &, before encore, phil endearingly & atonally singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to weir.

10/17/74 winterland: the last shows before mickey hart’s return, containing final streamlined 1-drummer versions of many faves. last RAMBLE ON ROSE ’til 9/76. goodbye phil vocals, goodbye subtlety on the bridge. rare FRIEND OF THE DEVIL sounding comfy. last kreutzmann-only OTHER ONE, forever the best jam for his inside-out gang-of-one free drumming. it really tied the room together. 30m OTHER ONE gets both verses, quick SPANISH JAM & MIND LEFT BODY (last ’til 12/83). last BK-only STELLA BLUE. :(.
10/18

10/18/74 winterland: final 1-drummer SUGAREE & PEGGY-O, spare & uncomplicated tunes served well by spare & uncomplicated drum parts. last WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE/PART 1. among my fave weir songs, sad & autumnal no matter the season. love garcia’s faux steel. last of 4 jams out of SEASTONES with ned lagin on keys. kreutzmann comes out swingin’, leading modal jazz dances that fold back into the last DARK STAR ’til 12/78. end of an era. quiet & lilting 1st half & post-verse jam that stays mostly inside, almost funky. nice bounce. and into patient MORNING DEW that goes supernova, last ’til 9/76. 3rd set seems unnecessary, but why not? g’bye billy-only SHIP OF FOOLS. an audience mic isn’t synced or this is worst-clapping crowd in dead history, often just totally unrelated to music.

10/19/74 winterland: almost too many comings/goings to note. final fast, crisp version of FRIEND OF THE DEVIL before ’76 slowdown. last LOOSE LUCY & BLACK THROATED WIND ’til 1990. final 1-drummer SCARLET BEGONIAS. sigh. randomly, 1st MAMA TRIED since 8/71. sloppy! rare BIG RAILROAD BLUES, fun bakersfield break in intro. final TOMORROW IS FOREVER (1st since 12/72), underrated garcia/donna C&W. so many songs go on ice: CHINA DOLL (until 5/77), UNCLE JOHN’S (12/76), RACE IS ON (10/80), DIRE WOLF (9/77), BLACK PETER (10/77). before vocals, TRUCKIN’ (9/77) veers into 1st legit CAUTION JAM since pig’s death (fire!), DRUMZ, & solo jerry space.

10/20/74 winterland: “the last one” before the dead’s break from the road, end of the 1st epoch. sweet typo on the ticket, even. as usual, bill graham both cheered & booed but nails intro: “as it should be on a sunday night in san francisco, the grateful dead.” weir garbles every single syllable of the 1st verse of MAMA TRIED, psychedelic in its own way. besides that, whole 1st set sparkles. lesh getting raspy, but BROKEDOWN PALACE (last ’til 5/77) is a stunner, final “american beauty” tune sung with its original harmonies. SEASTONES (last at a GD gig) starts with ned solo, making tangible bleep grids, moist & tonal. then phil & white noise washes arrive. garcia joins for last 15m of SEASTONES, adding subliminal melodic swells & noodles to lesh & lagin’s unsettling, sparse vibrations. mickey hart returns for last 2 sets, quietness refined since ’71 instantly swallowed by big busy beat. band’s balance audibly shifts. new possibilities in propulsive hippie fusion & deep messiness emerge in 61m 4-song PLAYING IN THE BAND sequence with lagin on aggressive 2nd keys. 1st GOOD LOVIN’ since pigpen’s death, led by weir, only dead cover with 3 lead singers at different times (garcia in ’66/’69, pig in ’69-’72). and it’s way blown-out, the dawn of a new era of rhythmic clusterfuck, drifting between locked-in brilliance & aimless textural float. last EYES OF THE WORLD with 7/8 ending break. SLIPKNOT! riff links into STELLA BLUE, now swollen with overbearing tom-tom fills. cutting in mid-solo, a jawdropping MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP 2nd encore. perfect call with nearly every lyric apropos. it even reigns in hart. WE BID YOU GOODNIGHT to close it out, the last until new year’s ’76. dudes in crowd still shouting for ST. STEPHEN.

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

#deadfreaksunite 1973


#deadfreaksunite 1973
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 anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. All 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]

2/9/73 stanford: 1st gig in band’s actual hometown of palo alto since ’66, testing new PA & 7 new songs, most ever debuted at once. PA blowout on 1st note sadly not included. garcia almost immediately debuts ROW JIMMY, more subtly boisterous than later incarnations. weir’s using a nice new organ-y compression, notably on 1st LOOKS LIKE RAIN since 7/72, now unbearable without pedal steel & phil harmony. new boogie-outs LOOSE LUCY (with alternate lyrics) & WAVE THAT FLAG (the proto-U.S. BLUES) are the 1st 2 garcia songs that i find mostly disposable. 1st HERE COMES SUNSHINE near end of 1st set, 4-part vocals ragged & effective, bright changes perfect for glorious rainbow noodling. garcia’s 3 2nd set firsties begin with sweet emphatic groove of THEY LOVE EACH OTHER, song #1 in the deadhead wedding band fakebook. 1st EYES OF THE WORLD, instantly a major new tune, 19m debut dances between ambling & rambling, loses steam three times, picks up, misses the 7/8 ending & melts into 1st heartbreaking CHINA DOLL, the roughness of the rest of the show highlighting garcia’s buddha-croon.

2/15/73 madison: debut of loretta lynn’s YOU AIN’T WOMAN ENOUGH, donna’s 1st solo lead vocal, nice flash of ’72-style C&W. gentle cymbal-heavy DARK STAR, lots of garcia volume-knob violin twirls, pre-verse drift, & a lovely but clunky bass solo segue into 25m EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL, phil sketches the 7/8 transition. the 1st big new piece for 2nd set suite-spot since ’67, really.

2/17/73 st. paul: drowzzzzy 20m early set HE’S GONE / LOOKS LIKE RAIN with, um, scatting by multiple suspects during former’s outro. punchy ROW JIMMY would fit on “Europe ’72.” terrifying ululation/flutter by donna throughout YOU AIN’T WOMAN ENOUGH. almost jamless 2nd set, save a short, buoyant HERE COMES SUNSHINE with a perfect, liquid segue into CHINA > RIDER.

2/19/73 chicago: amazing 2nd set. magical, soft-snared mix. 70m 5-song segue, starting with HE’S GONE. thankfully only phil scats. spiral splice from OTHER ONE into 1st essential EYES OF THE WORLD, lesh & weir darting lazily with garcia, 7/8 section fully formed.

2/21/73 champaign-urbana: garcia playing new tunes in his 1st slot at nearly every show. gang harmonies sound nice on ROW JIMMY. phil’s LOOKS LIKE RAIN harmonies return for final chorus. still figuring out the segue into EYES OF THE WORLD, 2 false stabs out of TRUCKIN’ (including a breakneck bass solo) before they achieve crossfade. the EYES gearwork loosens into a blissful open space, recombining a bit clumsily into a magnificent STELLA BLUE.

2/22/73 champaign: DARK STAR with flexatone(?!) & purposeful dissolve into another confident & blazing EYES OF THE WORLD. gigantic peak.

2/24/73 iowa city: 45m worth of bits/bobs. reluctantly starting to dig the brute force BOX OF RAIN vocals. consonant & opaque PLAYING IN THE BAND. tantalizing 5m post-TRUCKIN’ bass solo fragment verging on FEELIN’ GROOVY/BEAUTIFUL JAM (labeled as NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE?)

2/26/73 lincoln: 25m brightly traced DARK STAR, phil playing at SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD, meanders into EYES OF THE WORLD via finally-graceful bass segue. MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP is jaunty & surprising in the now-gentrified post-suite jerry ballad slot, billy on top the segue all the way.

2/28/73 salt lake city: great dick’s picks mix. can really hear keith/weir interaction, especially nice on SUGAREE. 2nd verse & end tag shaved off THE OTHER ONE for ’73, collapsing instead into EYES OF THE WORLD, with alternate lyric about a “lazy country home.” sequence of languid EYES dissolves ends in 1st ’73 MORNING DEW. 1st BID YOU GOODNIGHT since 8/71 to close out 1st tour-leg.

[ during the dead’s 14 days off between 2/28 & 3/15/73, garcia played 12 times: 3 shows with merl saunders, the 1st 8 old & in the way gigs, & pigpen’s wake. not going to make a habit of tweeting garcia solo joints, i promise, but maaaaybe occasionally…

3/7/73 garcia/saunders at keystone berkeley: w/ ex-frumious bandersnatch/founding journey guitarist george tickner, who is oddly great, comping cool/responsive stuff under garcia & holding his own during great space-spirals out of MERL’S TUNE. subtle segue into GEORGIA ON MY MIND. garcia sounds genuinely & genially bummed to have to stop when the bar flips on the house lights. ]

3/15/73 uniondale: 1st gig since pig’s death, 1st at nassau coliseum, band wearing nudie suits, ala 12/72. phil’s 33rd birthday. weir’s outro freak-outs ramping up show by show; a slippery/hilarious slope. hard to reconcile the utter long island chaos of the audience tape with the quiet swing evidenced when source switches to A+ soundboard. spacious layouts in 24m PLAYING IN THE BAND jam. jerry ballads bookend EYES OF THE WORLD suite with wild OTHER ONE. 3+ hours, the new normal.

3/16/73 uniondale: nice jammy 1st set with BIRD SONG / PLAYING IN THE BAND combo to close. 1st local cheer for “just like New York City” in RAMBLE ON ROSE. jerry: “all you people throwing joints on the stage, why don’t you light ’em up & pass ’em around?” phil: “we’re ALREADY high, thanks.” return of the PROMISED LAND/BERTHA/GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD next-beat segue suite from 9/72, some decent cowboy boogie, & then… DARK STAR, with odd intro harmonies establishing a sustained dreaminess, moody tangents, & an atonal high-step into TRUCKIN’ > MORNING DEW.

3/19/73 uniondale: inaudible drums, indoor fireworks, & off-time crowd clapping on audience-tape portion make everything woozy. 1st HE’S GONE since pigpen’s death, crowd inventing a new meaning with small successive cheers during outro. last time in the 1st set. 1st TAKE A STEP BACK, lesh/weir-tandem dead-style crowd control. funnier than weir’s YELLOW DOG JOKE. PSA from garcia: “there are some krishna consciousness people out there passing out good things to eat. it’s okay to eat it.” 1st THE RACE IS ON since 5/70, excepting weir’s sit-ins with the new riders. half-smooth half-segues from HALF-STEP > STELLA BLUE > JACK STRAW. again, band doesn’t jam into EYES OF THE WORLD, opting for a clean next-beat start after THE OTHER ONE & easily hitting the thoughtful, lazy gait. at all 3 nassau gigs, 1st big drug busts by undercovers, apparently audible on some tapes. band won’t return til ’79.

3/21/73 utica: 1st properly rehearsed & quite lurvely WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE serves as an intro to DARK STAR. unconvincing space-out but awesomely zapped crossfade into EYES OF THE WORLD, 7/8 outro in full blossom. 1st ’73 WHARF RAT, rare mangled lyrics, nice jam.

3/22/73 utica: lesh & garcia charmingly bait the fire marshal. jerry, giggling: “yeah, try to keep your fires in the fire aisle.” big CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. terrific OTHER ONE with cartoonish stomp intro, busted gearwork, lyrical jerry/phil duet, return of the flexatone. plum excellent archetypal ’73, gorgeous soundboard, with band in absolutely zero rush. solid 106m of jam songs/suites.

3/24/73 philadelphia: A+ 30m TRUCKIN’ that gets lost en route to DARK STAR. breathless uptempo dazzle & 1st SPANISH JAM since 2/70. 4m DARK STAR proper is shortest ever & melts into SING ME BACK HOME, which i thought was retired. happy to be wrong.

3/26/73 baltimore: wolfman jack introduces the band before the 2nd set, which appropriately opens with the WJ-referencing RAMBLE ON ROSE. a poised post-TRUCKIN’ unwind into a warm WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE that picks up steam, sparkles almost reluctantly, & dissipates into WHARF RAT. then, another long jam (EYES OF THE WORLD) into the set’s 3rd jerry ballad (MORNING DEW) to go with ’73’s 1st CANDYMAN. nearly 4 hours of music.
3/28

3/28/73 springfield, MA: phil plugs upcoming “interstate smoke-in” on the steps of hartford capitol building on 4/19. “bring your own.” STELLA BLUE bridge lyric finally changes from “can’t keep from cryin'” to “gonna make ’em shine.” 63m WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE > DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD > PLAYING IN THE BAND dream sequence also contains anxious & unfocused night terrors.

3/30/73 rochester: crackling CUMBERLAND BLUES. i want to know why somebody (weir?) clearly says “BEEP!” at the 1:10 mark of I KNOW YOU RIDER. amicable drop from EYES OF THE WORLD into NOT FADE AWAY, a ’73 rarity, but it feels out of place in the post-EYES gloaming.

3/31/73 buffalo: predictable apeshitness at the right moment in the 1st buffalo TRUCKIN’. PROMISED LAND/BERTHA/GREATEST STORY choppy as ever. THE OTHER ONE contains a breakneck SPANISH JAM & a post-meltdown FEELIN’ GROOVY into the only CHINA CAT-less I KNOW YOU RIDER between ’70 & ’85.

4/2/73 boston garden: fried ‘n’ frayed tour closer. atrocious vocals. band sounds off, too. still, typically devastating PLAYING IN THE BAND. the only fully jammed HERE COMES SUNSHINE: rich post-outro weaving loses thread quickly & reverts to insect-space & then ME & BOBBY McGEE. last WEATHER REPORT SUITE-less PRELUDE to tired EYES. SUGAR MAGNOLIA freakout nearing peak weir. BID YOU GOODNIGHT now features donna. no thx.

5/13/73 des moines: 3-set/4-hour (plus breaks) lazy marathon. 1st jam (besides CHINA > RIDER) doesn’t come ’til end of set 2. perhaps due to tape degeneration, the 28m PLAYING IN THE BAND is a pleasant unceasing rain that never quite breaks into a storm. beautiful stasis. pre & post-verse, the band glides adroitly out of THE OTHER ONE triplets into consonant & constantly renewing churn.

5/20/73 santa barbara: the spring of 3-set stadium gigs continues. garcia’s voice is thrashed. sounds kind of cool, albeit painful. jerry’s renewed interest in banjo via old & in the way is obvious in crystalline, articulated runs in BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE. the nuanced, piston-like PLAYING IN THE BAND jam & spare post-verse OTHER ONE ruminating are both hard to imagine in front of 17K people.

5/26/73 kezar stadium: 1st show in the haight since 3/68. A+ bettyboard with gorgeous stereo separation & a high circulation staple. still a good starter tape. everything glows with spring sunshine. FEELIN’ GROOVY JAM now firmly built into CHINA > RIDER. final run of the very ’73 HE’S GONE/TRUCKIN’/OTHER ONE/EYES OF THE WORLD/CHINA DOLL sequence with deep quiet & a thrilling EYES peak.

6/9/73 RFK stadium: gang harmonies impressive on LOOSE LUCY, even donna, voices blending indistinguishably. BIG RIVER = primo boogie. garcia cycles through MORNING DEW & HERE COMES SUNSHINE licks during a discombobulated post-TRUCKIN’ dissolve. eventually, a nice count-off segue into PLAYING IN THE BAND. after 2 sets & 3.5 hours (following 2 openers), jerry announces that the dead are done & it’s time for the allmans.

6/10/73 RFK stadium: a stone summer classic with endless highlights. effortless 1st set glides to a weaving BIRD SONG & cymbaly PLAYING IN THE BAND. set 2 opens with EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE (featuring an accidental(?) new melody) & rarely lets up, though AROUND & AROUND is weir at his dinkiest. a satisfying 26m DARK STAR filled with high-speed pre-verse maneuvers & a thorough bass meltdown into a WHARF RAT where kreutzmann lays out entirely during the bridge, wonderfully quiet music in a big, big stadium. a 3rd set superjam with dickey betts, butch trucks, & allegedly merl saunders, totally inaudible. mega hippie bullshit, but also great. lurvely GD debut of TRAIN TO CRY & then moldies: 1 elvis, 1 buddy holly, 2 chuck berry. likely the only decent grateful dead version of JOHNNY B. GOODE cuz the betts/garcia & kreutzmann/trucks combos are totally sweet. a delightful melding of the dead & allmans vibes.

6/22/73 vancouver: opener of 1st proper tour since march. 4 hours with a solid half devoted to jam songs & suites. my kinda dead. keith’s rhodes back in action with chiming, unexpected peaks in BIRD SONG finale. 1st tour with both rhodes & grand piano? 1st BLACK PETER since 10/72. l’il shaky with nobody’s strongest vocals, but band’s instinctual dynamics shine. lots of nice space. (sidenote: weir’s standard HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ transition is one of the few places where a count-off & segue mark can co-exist.) 5m semi-farty bass solo & near-ambient drumless jam as prelude to THE OTHER ONE with shattering arthropodal zap sesh.

6/24/73 portland: phil, maybe half-snickering post-THEY LOVE EACH OTHER: “and now we’re going to put you folks into a MELLOW mood.” cue LOOKS LIKE RAIN. miasmic DARK STAR ’til phil hits on bass theme. quickly, jerry counterpoints, sketching pre-verse cloud-shapes with weir.

6/26/73 seattle: until this project, i’d thought of ROW JIMMY as the lethargic, poor brah’s version of the SUGAREE slow roll. but, man, there are just endless worlds within that perfect, ‘luded-out stillness. often pretty good harmonies, too.

6/29/73 universal amphitheater: noncommittal OTHER ONE, garcia oddly uninspired ’til short, radiant detonation into MORNING DEW.

6/30/73 universal amphitheater: after a small onstage electrical fire, garcia: “don’t panic, folks, this is the movies, remember?” shitty vocals everywhere. buttery combo of keith’s rhodes & garcia’s attackless wah tone on BIRD SONG & PLAYING IN THE BAND. wish keith used the rhodes more. lots of piano in ultra-patient (but by no means mellow) EYES OF THE WORLD end jam with sudden, decisive drop into STELLA BLUE.

7/1/73 universal amphitheater: warm front-of-board audience tape that trades ugly whooping & off-time clapping on quiet songs for totally fat ’60s garcia guitar tone on a way-out OTHER ONE that almost veers into EYES end jam. A+ zonked melt into WHARF RAT & effortless crossfade into BOBBY McGEE. best early ’70s audience tape i’ve heard, but gentlemen still prefer boards.

7/27/73 watkins glen: 2-set 90m “soundcheck” in front of 250K people. lesh: “this whole thing is a fraud, we’re really clever androids.” 16m BIRD SONG (longest ever?) with semi-free breakdown & one of the few non-obnoxious pinched harmonics solos in musical history. casual & legendary 20m DARK STARish standalone improv with multiple themes, including a proto-FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN jam.

7/28/73 watkins glen: the dead had a rep for botching big shows. at 600,000, WG was the biggest ever. not the greatest, but way solid. last BOX OF RAIN ’til ’86. i’d finally learned to love the barked harmonies. especially going to miss garcia’s faux-steel filigrees. 24m PLAYING IN THE BAND with fantastic freak flights by jerry & gang-of-one drumming by kreutzmann, dropping onto martian plateau near end. unidentified organ player on AROUND & AROUND. a bit bouncy, more garth hudson than gregg allman. either way, why only on one song?! lots of jams in 2nd set, but no long space-outs, defined by 2 decent weir half-segues: TRUCKIN’ > EL PASO, EYES OF THE WORLD > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. recording (especially the guitars) gets sadly muddy for the set with the allmans. super-blissed 24m MOUNTAIN JAM & WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN coda.

7/31/73 jersey city: back at roosevelt stadium. surviving tape by @RelixMag co-founder jerry moore. recording is great. killer snare. another extraordinary PLAYING IN THE BAND, 1st jam is unusually rhodes-driven. kreutzmann in full free-dance mode. plus, he got a glockenspiel? 2nd set is boogie all the way down, minus 2m of smooth TRUCKIN’ fusion & when BLACK PETER achieves a nice, sad soar.

8/1/73 jersey city: jerry’s 31st birthday. perfect 24m DARK STAR. sparkling lunar rain as prelude to spacedust curlicues & thumb piano. the rest of jam is great. even EL PASO cooks. huge MORNING DEW with garcia soloing in joyous, apocalyptic paragraphs.

9/7/73 nassau coliseum: A+ tour opener. 6 righteous jams, weir mixed warmly enough to justify his “mccoy tyner’s left hand” claims. guy yells incessantly for ME & MY UNCLE(!?). finally, irritated dude replies “YOU & YOUR SISTER!”, predating chris bell by 5 years. rare show with keith on occasional B3, only audible on audience tape. (thru stage amp only?) well used on LOSER, TRUCKIN’ & thrilling 1st LET IT GROW, minus preludes, giddy with high-speed aero-flips as band explores new spaces, landing at STELLA BLUE.

9/8/73 nassau coliseum: debut of full WEATHER REPORT SUITE with perfect autumnal PRELUDE & surprise EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL to close 1st set. 1st LET ME SING YOUR BLUES AWAY, sole keith-sung dead tune. Europe ’72 bounce can’t redeem hunter’s litest lyrics & keith’s non-voice. neato co-lead guitar by weir on spiraling TRUCKIN’. more ghosts of cool organ parts via keith’s undermixed B3.

9/11/73 william & mary: dang, @mountain_goats, you’re right, this IS an exquisite LOOKS LIKE RAIN. intricate quiet garcia detailing.  never thought i’d say this, but starting to dig these spare, 1-drummer versions. still can’t take the street cats & the freak out. horns join for 2 songs & it’s suck city, getting extra ham-handed/honky/unnecessary atop the lattice-like LET IT GROW jam. 1st fall DARK STAR. busy & melodious without really going anywhere. more weir leads & lovely spider skitters.

9/12/73 william & mary: allegedly, the band had such a good time the previous night that they came back & played for free. the BIRD SONG middle improv opens into a soaring cathedral space, keith’s electric piano undermixed but twinkling like a celeste. big energy fun, especially the high-velocity garcia/lesh weaves during LET IT GROW & a proto-SLIPKNOT EYES jam.

9/15/73 providence: another glorious BIRD SONG with typical quizzical garcia lyricism & atypical assertive electric piano. last BIRD SONG ’til the ’80s. why?!? ugh. satisfying 2nd set with 2 30m suites. horns stay for all of it & sound far more integrated, albeit a big sunshiny mess on TRUCKIN’. WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE gets tasty LOL-flute. LET IT GROW gets squonk ululations & a nice solo garcia bridge into STELLA BLUE.

9/17/73 syracuse: with horns more or less in line, a confident & peppy 55m TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > WEATHER REPORT SUITE > STELLA BLUE. keith’s B3 seems to be gone, but is it possible the he’s playing an ondes martenot on WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE & LOOKS LIKE RAIN?!

9/20/73 philadelphia: 1st flat show of tour. ondes martenot is gone already. strident EYES OF THE WORLD outro. schmaltzy SUGAR MAGNOLIA with horns.

9/21/73 philadelphia: 1st OTHER ONE since 7/1 unspools from wind-up toy spins into 1st MIND LEFT BODY in a year. same venue, too. final LET ME SING YOUR BLUES AWAY, abandoned after 6 performances. cool with me.

9/24/73 pittsburgh: an off night at the civic arena. band crashes GREATEST STORY three times (with a LOONEY TUNES interlude) before starting. garcia sings 1st NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE since ’66 after teasing it in post-TRUCKIN’ blooze noodles for months. bleh.

9/26/73 buffalo: last of 8 gigs with horns (phew), final SING ME BACK HOME (laaame), dense jazz freefloats in LET IT GROW (!)

10/19/73 oklahoma city: DARK STAR is notably slower than summer versions. the band almost doesn’t know what to do with all the space & out comes the most developed & dramatic MIND LEFT BODY JAM yet, escher-like chromatic knots, simultaneously descending & ascending. thoroughly satisfying EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE encore that weir feels compelled to play JOHNNY B. GOODE after.

10/21/73 omaha: weir announces the A’s world series victory over the mets (“another baseball year endeth”) & garcia responds w/ LOSER. 1st BLACK THROATED WIND since 2/9. PLAYING IN THE BAND > MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > BIG RIVER > PLAYING IN THE BAND with planned-sounding hard-splice segues. high-speed DMT drop into deep space PLAYING reprise. low-key HE’S GONE, garcia’s solo finding a sad sweet place, to kick off an hour of unflashy & effective song-suiting.

10/23/73 bloomington, MN: keith plays venue’s wurlitzer, including soundcheck noodling on 1st WANG DANG DOODLE, jerry singing off-mic. a short & not particularly compelling show. keith adds some nice wurlitzer on a lazy TRUCKIN’ & oddly upfront piano on LET IT GROW. CASEY JONES aborted due to fight. kreutzmann allegedly tackles security guard while phil freaks (“ALRIGHT ASSHOLE!!”)

10/25/73 madison: warm, light-drenched HERE COMES SUNSHINE. weir keeps tinkering with lyrics of already-recorded BLACK THROATED WIND. sleepy gossamer dialogues in 23m DARK STAR, articulated MIND LEFT BODY, ondes martenot blurps, an hour of otherness.

10/27/73 indianpolis: efficient PLAYING IN THE BAND > MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > BIG RIVER > PLAYING IN THE BAND. less thrilling than previous take, but great 1st segue.

10/29/73 st. louis: 1st COLD RAIN & SNOW since 2/28, 2nd of only 3 ’73 versions. super-pro next-beat build from BERTHA into GREATEST STORY. TRUCKIN’ downshifts into low flying jazz; OTHER ONE stumbles & ambles to similar happy place of quiet chord tracings. weir finally articulates the alternate BLACK THROATED WIND lyric: “but i can’t deny the time that’s gone by / full of babies and bottles and mountains of debt.”

10/30/73 st. louis: DARK STAR jam animated by weir’s chatty staccato patterns & an almost standalone MIND LEFT BODY before the verse. despite a gripping EYES OF THE WORLD, band is archetypally mellow, lulling & lolling. a fine line between warm comfort & sleep.

11/1/73 evanston: superb drip from rare MORNING DEW 2nd set opener into torrential 1st PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND.

11/9/73 winterland: 1st TO LAY ME DOWN since 9/70. off-key, plodding, new donna vocal part. still, hushed C&W swing is breathtaking. no big jam, but locked-in idea-filled LET IT GROW outro is A+ prelude to EYES OF THE WORLD’s microscopic rhythmic conversations.

11/10/73 winterland: PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > MORNING DEW > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND is more party trick than improv but the sleight of hand is riveting. excellence carries through standalone STELLA BLUE & properly choogled TRUCKIN’. WHARF RAT is kind of a struggle, though.

11/11/73 winterland: DARK STAR does its thing ’til post-verse space-out when kreutzmann drops into a beat & shit gets really real. major key drama, ricochet crosstalk, dissolution, & double-time MIND LEFT BODY as an almost-perfect bridge into EYES OF THE WORLD.

11/14/73 san diego: one of the all-time great 2nd sets. TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > BIG RIVER > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. wonderful drumless zone in 1st OTHER ONE. EYES omits 7/8 break for last OTHER ONE verse & a jammy, dreamy WHARF RAT.

11/17/73 UCLA: nearly flawless PLAYING IN THE BAND >UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > MORNING DEW > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND. swarming jams, lush valleys, masterful segues. a packed 14m EYES OF THE WORLD. everyone totally together for precise, successive explosions in 7/8 outro. no exit strategy, though.

11/20/73 denver: surprise turn from MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP into 1st DIRE WOLF since 10/72. smooth segue, sluggish song. much of set feels likewise. airy circular jams as OTHER ONE winds into MIND LEFT BODY. again, a near-perfect bridge, this time to STELLA BLUE.

11/21/73 denver: even on the audience tape, no reaction to “i’m as honest as a denver man can be” in ME & MY UNCLE opener. another sweet half-melt out of HALF-STEP, this time into a mammoth PLAYING IN THE BAND > EL PASO > PLAYING IN THE BAND > WHARF RAT > PLAYING IN THE BAND > MORNING DEW. EL PASO flowers briefly into DARK STAR before WHARF RAT (with a drumless bridge!) after which garcia & lesh hit peak fuzz.

11/23/73 el paso: only ever el paso gig and, unlike denver, the crowd DOES freak when weir sings the city’s name. a few nice OTHER ONE drifts but distant drum mix makes the whole show disconcertingly placid, even by dead standards.

11/25/73 tempe: brilliant 17m PLAYING IN THE BAND, a mirrored infinity room of free snare dances & cascading guitar diamonds. 1st credible BID YOU GOODNIGHT since its february revival thanks to restrained (& even tasteful) donna jean vocal.

11/28/73 palace of fine arts: debut of seastones, ned lagin’s group with garcia, lesh, hart, & croz playing modular improv structures. dream wails, processed voices, quadrophonic balaphones. an avant-dead necessity. A+ recording: http://bit.ly/1brMQUt

11/30/73 boston music hall: rare 3-show theater run. band apparently doesn’t know of the 1st show & arrives/starts extremely late. donna jean gone on maternity leave through year’s end, huzzah! the band’s harmonies are appropriately winterly, austere, & pleasing. LET IT GROW glitters divinely into a short shape-shifting DARK STAR jam & a happy, lumpy post-thanksgiving EYES OF THE WORLD.

12/1/73 boston: magical BROKEDOWN PALACE, in part because of bedraggled harmonies, in part because of extra-warm soundboard mix. nightmarish extended segments of mojoless crowd control failure. weir promises they’ll relearn ST. STEPHEN. phil angrily cuts him off. “besides, the cops are from heaven! they’re from heaven!” chirps jerry, sounding like he might actually be having a bad trip. 34m PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND with a curling UJB intro, & a stark donna-less ROW JIMMY in the jerry ballad slot.

12/2/73 boston: more testy banter, though band’s mojo has returned. phil gets pissed at audience member: “what are you, the heat??” 2nd set is a mofo, solid 80m of attempted suite-linkage, starting with 1st & only WHARF RAT opener. iffy singing, but heaviness awaits. 1st unfinished PLAYING trails to guitar laughter & piercing biofeedback. weir arpeggiates listlessly & eventually cues MIND LEFT BODY. new spaces everywhere. cool rhythmic MIND LEFT BODY outro permutations, messy BIRD SONG-like flutters in HE’S GONE.

12/4/73 cincinnati: late start (by 5 hours?), short show (47m 2nd set), even more surly phil (“where the fuck did you say we were?”) tremendous 24m EYES OF THE WORLD with deep phil/jerry noise canyon ’til billy drops a beat & band builds to a chaotic swing-stomp.

12/6/73 cleveland: approaching peak donnalessness on ROW JIMMY. longest ever HERE COMES SUNSHINE dances with VIOLA LEE-like ecstasy. an all-time DARK STAR. one of the longest (43m) & oddest, beginning with a slow coalescence from tuning into theme. extremely uncharacteristic assertive, uptempo electric keys by keith, in full conversation with garcia, melting into fuzz-bass nebulae. more top-speed ultra-melodic inventions & a perfect EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE comedown with one final bass feedback punchline.

12/8/73 durham: nice spidery piano during BLACK THROATED WIND bridge. lovely lulling weave-waves in HE’S GONE outro jam. in & out of focus 28m OTHER ONE ending with more visceral post-seastones biofeedback, weir noodles, & 2 jerry ballads.

12/10/73 charlotte: 1st PEGGY-O! quite brisk, almost in the mold of DIRE WOLF. someone sets off fireworks between verses. incredible EYES OF THE WORLD with hyper tonal, almost smooth, over-the-top bass leads, total full-band precision, & ace BROKEDOWN PALACE coda. for 2nd show running, garcia upends song alternation with weir. 1st split-up SUGAR MAGNOLIA  with GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD in middle. with donna jean still on pregnancy leave, weir’s SUNSHINE DAYDREAM freakouts have gone next level.

12/12/73 atlanta: another jaunty PEGGY-O. frictionless gearshift segue from MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP into ME & BOBBY McGEE. not much flow to the 2nd set, but a long MORNING DEW gets down to a stretch of delicate quiet & sparse piano colors.

12/18/73 miami: great mix, excellent playing throughout. fabulous, extra-crackling LET IT GROW as prelude to final ’73 DARK STAR. labyrinthine 1st jam teases & builds to post-verse bass-zap brain-blastage. “we’ve got a blown speaker!” jerry shouts off-mic. in my college house, whenever we wanted/needed unstoppable laughter, we’d play the last 1m of this SUNSHINE DAYDREAM.

12/19/73 miami: “dick’s picks, v. 1”! funny to hear complete version finally. weir sneezes during 1st line of PROMISED LAND opener. always wondered why MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP faded out. it’s another lovely melt segue into ME & BOBBY McGEE, turns out. 2nd & final time that happened. penultimate HERE COMES SUNSHINE & one of the best, 14m of curling lightbeam solos. PLAYING IN THE BAND somersaults into the spectral wah-wah void. 5m bass solo is excised from this version, too. on the audience tape, it’s fully ridiculous, but also has a neat melodic shape. (audience tape also has a great pre-show warning by the band about security. garcia: “remember your hippie training, folks: be cool!”) last 5m of OTHER ONE is the band’s most sustained fszszszzt-out so far, dripping with absolute grace into STELLA BLUE.

…and so concludes the grateful dead’s 1973 & the #deadfreaksunite broadcast year. see you at winterland in february.

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

#deadfreaksunite 1972


#deadfreaksunite 1972
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 anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. All 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]

1/2/72 winterland: a post new year’s sunday at winterland, announced the day before, with the new riders, yogi phlegm, & the heavy water lights. bill graham intro, “when you stop to think how many groups could get any of us out on january 2nd, there’d very few of them. there’s only one that can do it for me & i hope for you, the grateful dead.” 21-minute GOOD LOVIN’ > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > GOOD LOVIN’ is pigpen’s last bay area showpiece. rolls from full-service rap into moody proto-MIND LEFT BODY theme. instead of just teasing CHINA CAT, garcia jumps full into it, 1st RIDER-less version since ’69, last ’til ’85. 16-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY swells gently at edges but never shifts course, through totally burning GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD finale, & pig gets in on the NOT FADE AWAY scream-out.

3/5/72 winterland: pig’s last san francisco show, big GOOD LOVIN’ with new falsettos & MIND LEFT BODY hints. debut of BLACK THROATED WIND & return of GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD.

3/21/72 academy: still no donna jean. 1st LOOKS LIKE RAIN, garcia on pedal steel, cool phil harmony. not yet my 1st skippable GD tune. 1st THE STRANGER (TWO SOULS IN COMMUNION), final (best?) original by still very active pigpen. nice split between pig/garcia/weir at all these 3.5 hr shows. 1st jammed PLAYING IN THE BAND (finally!), dripping psych/fusion middle section tripling to 3m. hello, 1972!

3/22/72 academy: 1st CAUTION since 3/71. highwire digressions & intricate outro jam. nearly smooth actual segue into UNCLE JOHN’S BAND

3/23/72 academy: great standalone 23m DARK STAR, exquisite/quiet garcia pre-verse, jagged space into MIND LEFT BODY JAM.

3/25/72 academy: private party for hell’s angels booked as jerry garcia & friends, 1st set backing bo diddley on 9 songs, later dick’s picks, v. 30. the diddley set is sleepy at times, especially on the unedited audience version, but nicely popping on tunes with the bo diddley beat (HEY BO DIDDLEY, MONA). topic for next #PopCon: bo diddley leading angels’ mamas in sing-along on TAKE IT ALL OFF on especially anthropological audience tape. then: the 2nd appearance of donna jean. only GD versions of HOW SWEET IT IS & garcia-sung ARE YOU LONELY FOR ME (freddie scott, A+ except for ugly chorus).

3/26/72 academy: sublime PLAYING cuts off as band goes drumless/free. still no donna jean wail. [my full essay about this show is available as liner notes for dave’s picks, v. 14.]

3/27/72 academy: 1st donna jean wail in PLAYING. crowd eats it up. all love to her muscle shoals bona fides, but #headdesk.

3/28/72 academy: last of 7 great gigs at the academy. donna now screaming on GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD, too. the garcia/weir/lesh harmonies on BROKEDOWN PALACE are just sloppy enough without her. another 3+ hour show, almost half new songs since ’70. band relaxed & at ease. europe here we come.

4/7/72 wembley: the bolos & bozos have landed. band (& official mix) sound incredible, rich Band-like piano/organ combo. even bobby/jerry/pig alternation in 1st set, unbroken hour-long sequence in 2nd. scattered OTHER ONE into stately WHARF RAT. europe ’72 mood so fleeting & special. mega-improv, ecstatic & clean 1-drummer arrangements. i’m ready.

4/8/72 wembley: band does a phish-like vamp under weir’s YELLOW DOG JOKE. CUMBERLAND BLUES maintains tendrils of speedfreak ’66 garcia in solos. DARK STAR is among best ever. BK anchors freeness, B3 bursts, & brilliant melodic crests. rare fluid segue into SUGAR MAGNOLIA. equally fluid steamroll into crackling R&B/psych CAUTION. ’72 might be pig’s best year, too. the band destroys it every time he steps up.

4/11/72 newcastle: garcia & weir clearly taking turn calling the opener this tour. band slightly more sluggish than london. GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD now with bouncy summer wah-wah from garcia & 1st non-ridiculous donna jean vocal part. rambling but wonderful 50m TRUCKIN’ > OTHER ONE, with fully developed FEELIN’ GROOVY jam dissolving into dark garcia/lesh duo jam. and finally a near-perfect live BROKEDOWN PALACE, pig on organ, nice keith part, harmonies in ragged-but-right place.

4/14/72 copenhagen: last onstage pedal steel by garcia ’til ’87 & thus final LOOKS LIKE RAIN i’ll (likely) ever care about. bummer. drifty 29m DARK STAR. drumless pre-verse zones, hyperspeed FEELIN’ GROOVY jam, one of 1st ugly/abrupt weir “segues” into SUGAR MAGNOLIA. big GOOD LOVIN’ (with CAUTION & only post-’66 WHO DO YOU LOVE inside) gets narrative, sharp pig/garcia call/response.

4/16/72 aarhus: no donna scream on PLAYING. is this the show where she was having a bad trip under the piano & couldn’t sing? TRUCKIN’ tumbles into solid 20m of OTHER ONE jamming. 1st phil/jerry duo develops into magical full band tangent, dissolves instantly. band veers into ME & MY UNCLE, 1st (& only) verse of OTHER ONE, and nifty 15s BK turnaround into NOT FADE AWAY. bonus: far-out electronics from aarhus university, roughly contemporary to dead’s visit. high-larious doors quote on track 3. http://mutant-sounds.blogspot.com/2010/10/svend-christiansenfuzzy-electronic.html

4/17/72 copenhagen: 1st HE’S GONE, lazy river vibe/tempo intact, minus “wind don’t blow so strange” bridge & endless chorus outro. another hour-long DARK STAR > SUGAR MAGNOLIA > CAUTION. very deliberate playing throughout, especially modal free jams in DARK STAR. HQ video of whole 4/17 show (not in GD’s new DVD box?!), featuring clown masks on BIG RAILROAD BLUES. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EY-_sEgO_Y

4/21/72 bremen: hour-long TV taping. garcia genially stops SUGAREE: “somebody played the wrong changes in there.” (pig, i think?) more false starts, 2 takes of PLAYING. 6m post-OTHER ONE jam arcs nicely from space to structure, dissolves.

4/24/72 dusseldorf: nicely odd GOOD LOVIN’, drumless & dissonant mid jam. pig quotes james carr’s “pouring water on a drowning man.” 40m DARK STAR (ME & MY UNCLE in middle) shatters/coalesces half-dozen times in 1st half, brilliantly motionless 2nd half until liquid major key jam & garcia slashes into WHARF RAT instead of the 2nd verse of DARK STAR. 3 set show, doofiness to spare.

4/26/72 frankfurt: easily best show of tour so far. high energy, great playing, inventive segues, face-melted banter, bust-outs. 1st 10m & last 10m of 36m OTHER ONE are flawless, song’s internal triplets combusting under oblique improv. middle 16m bitchin’, too. 1st TWO SOULS IN COMMUNION of europe, pigpen’s final original. less developed, but the soul heartbreak is nearly as epic as WHARF RAT. 1st LOVELIGHT of tour, too, darting & way-up psych-funk, a short NOT FADE AWAY jam, a bunch of odd gorgeous changes (go weir!?) into GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD, whose use of the BID YOU GOODNIGHT bridge to drop into SATURDAY NIGHT makes latter bearable. bonus: robert hunter’s great liner notes to “hundred year hall,” the edited CD release of this show. http://www.gdreferencesite.com/hundred.html

4/29/72 hamburg: 1st “wind don’t blow so strange” bridge in HE’S GONE. alternate phrasing, particularly undramatic “smile, smile, smile.” another night, another 30m DARK STAR. high-octane garcia free-fall throughout + FEELIN’ GROOVY jam.

5/3/72 paris: 1st SING ME BACK HOME since 11/71 & pleasantly the first effective & cool donna/garcia pairing. TRUCKIN’ unspools into boldly out-there OTHER ONE. elegant miniatures & actual lesh solo. he gets the hang of it halfway thru. never previously realized how codified TRUCKIN’/OTHER ONE & DARK STAR/SUGAR MAGNOLIA/CAUTION were as every-other-show jam-suites on this tour. CSN-grade garcia/lesh/weir harmonies on JACK STRAW. garcia sings alternating bridge lyrics for 1st time. hell yes. [ed. note: turned out to be the europe ’72 version of JACK STRAW with overdubbed vocals.]

5/4/72 paris: 1st DARK STAR jam is unusually uptempo, developed, & consonant. full-band dynamic shifts & rhythmic through-lines. whole 40m version is an A+ choice for a record store day LP, minus the record store day part. finally heard. sounds so insanely good. mythbusters: donna’s alleged bad trip under the piano doesn’t seem to have incapacitated her at either paris show.

5/7/72 bickershaw festival: UK mudbath. fireworks audibly whoosh by onstage mics. weir: “we’ll want to aim those a little higher.” uncharacteristically sparkling festival performance, closing 3 day event (also featuring the kinks & late-night beefheart) with their usual 2 sets/4 hours. only ’72 gig with both DARK STAR & OTHER ONE. latter has much eventless free noise without 26th b-day boy BK. killer reprise jam. back to weir-only JACK STRAW, for some reason. in the crowd, 17-yr old elvis costello decides to start his own band.

5/10/72 amsterdam: was the weed THAT good? garcia uncharacteristically zonked. hoarse vox & rare lyric/guitar part slips throughout. 35m OTHER ONE is decent but uninspired, formulaic roll from space into structure. big TWO SOULS, but no pig showstopper. aha. McNally, p. 433: “the Concertgebouw was a jewel of a theater [&] the cocaine was far too good.”

5/11/72 rotterdam: garcia back on JACK STRAW duty. first MORNING DEW since 8/71. tentative at first, great 4m coda jam. 48m DARK STAR, longest ever. lazy/floating in all the right ways, garcia/lesh themes pass like ripples. 3rd in a row w/ short DRUMZ. logical DARK STAR wind down and clean stop pre-SUGAR MAGNOLIA. final version of CAUTION (fare thee well) with WHO DO YOU LOVE inside. uneventful late-set TRUCKIN’. bonus: beach boys thru rotterdam 2 nights later en route to record holland LP. bootleg sadly nuked in megaupload purge: http://eatapoop.blogspot.com/2010/06/43-1972-work-in-progress.html

5/13/72 lille: free outdoor gig makes up for 5/5 cancellation/riot. “sounds like homemade shit” sez weir re: monitors. fugs reference? another show without a big pigpen song. cool minimalist organ by pig during 1st drumless OTHER ONE segment. going to miss his exchanges with garcia between lines of the verses.

5/16/72 luxembourg: soundcheck includes 1st BIG RIVER since NYE ’71 debut. garcia sings! misses some verses, but a nice alternate reality. wish i knew enough about luxembourgian politics to dissect the appearance of radio luxembourg’s kid jensen. earnest vibrations. 1st PROMISED LAND since 8/71 & 1st of the keith era. again, no pig showstopper. rare for a radio broadcast. 20m OTHER ONE feels short. 10m SING ME BACK HOME feels just totally correct.

5/18/72 munich: house lights off, garcia tokes spliff, sets on amp, hitler-mustached fire marshal with brass helmet dumps water on amp. power outage, mini riot, roadies beat up fire marshal. (cutler, 309.) not on tape. rare SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD, 1st of tour. 1st & seemingly unplanned DARK STAR > MORNING DEW. lovely/dense volume-swelled atonality en route, mostly successful.

5/23/72 lyceum: back to london for tour closers. 1st ROCKIN’ PNEUMONIA & THE BOOGIE WOOGIE FLY (why?) & HEY BO DIDDLEY (inside the NOT FADE AWAY sequence), both sung by JG. garcia plays B3 the under GOOD LOVIN verses, as he did several times throughout tour. nothing crazy. quick switch back to guitar. another DARK STAR > MORNING DEW. decent movement post-DRUMZ (from pig, too), but the dissonant segue feels forced & the song is shaky.

5/24/72 lyceum: A+ post-verse OTHER ONE jam coalesces over 16m from oort cloud zaps to quizzical bop mediations & deep fuzz bliss. heavy: final TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT. brief 12m, mucho tasty licks. pigpen obviously struggling. pulls it together by end of TWO SOULS IN COMMUNION, also the final version. no, you must be mistaken. bob weir most certainly did NOT revive TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT in the ’80s. i said good day.

5/25/72 lyceum: final BIG BOSS MAN & GOOD LOVIN’ (see: weir/LOVELIGHT), more garcia on organ, no pigpen rap at all, crackling jam. odd inverted 2nd set. UNCLE JOHN’S with odder tentative post-outro jam, legit segue into unusually phrased WHARF RAT, on into 35m DARK STAR. starts quiet, bands snaps into post-verse FEELIN’ GROOVY jam, skittering wah & saturated bass chord disintegration. final SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD & the last of pigpen’s ’66-style bouncy garage B3. g’bye.

5/26/72 lyceum: pigpen’s last proper show. fare thee well to MR. CHARLIE, NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME, TWO SOULS, CHINATOWN SHUFFLE. PLAYING IN THE BAND jam finally tops 10m, garcia meltdown heaven. garcia & phil’s voices particularly ragged, especially noticeable on JACK STRAW. for the 1st time, the audience claps the NOT FADE AWAY beat & the band responds with the song song, the bo diddley beat perma-tied to band, heads, & drum circles everywhere. messy OTHER ONE. rare clammed opening, double back via DRUMZ, try again. jam into MORNING DEW sounds schizo in context, but brilliant when excerpted into europe ’72. garcia’s DEW vocals are truly atrocious, saved by overdubs.

6/17/72 hollywood bowl: after delicious europe multi-tracks, a rude welcome back to US soil with totally debauched audience recording. pigpen’s final show. i’ve always been puzzled by stories of him only playing on 1 song. turns out that’s not quite true, but he’s barely audible on shitty tape. 1st STELLA BLUE. ghostly, slow, & graceful from the start, garcia deeply inside vocal. almost literally haunting B3 part, pig’s last. tape-warp sounds bitchin’ on the PLAYING meltdown, though also the most brutal donna scream yet. g’bye pigpen.

7/16/72 hartford: east coast summer stadium gigs. band notably less lush without pig’s B3. the 2nd STELLA BLUE is heavy, awkward in 1st set. 1st MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP (!), sly & strident. 1st sing-along outro to HE’S GONE (yuuugh) inside OTHER ONE, whose ending gets blurrier. 1st steel-less LOOKS LIKE RAIN, also without phil vox. blech. okay NOT FADE AWAY/HEY BO DIDDLEY powerjam with dickey betts & berry oakley.

7/18/72 jersey city: i can see why a non-deadhead WFMU DJ hated this 3-set stadium gig, especially if the heat was anything like today. band sounds seriously mangled early on, garcia & weir blowing lyrics, lots of gear breakdowns, shaky dynamics, odd pacing. still, sweet PLAYING & great DARK STAR with a killer 2nd jam that never spaces out & a post-verse dissolve into a soulful COMES A TIME. 1st BIRD SONG since 8/71, confident new arrangement with spidery keith piano part, snare-flutter false ending, & curling, lyrical garcia solos.

7/21/72 seattle: band tries early version of WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE. atrocious & abandoned. by-the-numbers OTHER ONE.

7/22/72 seattle: bear is out of jail apparently. lots of zonked banter & zonked playing. warped high-octane PLAYING IN THE BAND jam. very unflattering soundboard. archetypal donna awfulness on HALF-STEP outro underscores garcia’s breathtaking STELLA BLUE soul belts. dashing BIRD SONG. last(?!) YELLOW DOG JOKE, with doofy HARPUA-like accompaniment.

7/25/72 portland: brilliant 27m OTHER ONE that never loses its homey, unrushed swing. even during the space-out, garcia stays melodic. semi-rare jerry slide jam, A+ improvised changes. phil’s short semi-wanky deconstructive bass solo stays groovy, too.

7/26/72 portland: woolly 30m DARK STAR, awesomely responsive free drumming during 2nd meltdown.

8/12/72 sacramento: big cheer as still-new STELLA BLUE starts. exquisite & correctly labeled by taper with double exclamation points. donna now sings on HE’S GONE verses, too. endless outro leads into jam segment for 1st time. the birth of arena dead?

8/20/72 san jose: 1st FRIEND OF THE DEVIL since 4/71, crisp & uptempo, but far more than 1/2 songs new to repertoire in past 1.5 yrs. gnarly OTHER ONE into the 1st STELLA BLUE in the post-jam slot, affixed neatly to still-useful CRYPTICAL appendix.

8/21/72 berkeley: 1st bay area gig since january. only one verse of DARK STAR, with keith oddly taking charge in pointillistic meltdown. jerry’s segue into MORNING DEW even more oddly overruled by lesh & weir’s atonal slashes. then, more keith & a sleepy EL PASO.

8/22/72 berkeley: downtempo & moody variations on OTHER ONE theme & series of great responsive mini-jams. not sold on the bass solo. final of 3 bo diddley-less HEY BO DIDDLEYs. garcia doesn’t try verses this time, but finds a sly take on the groove.

8/24/72 berkeley: 27m DARK STAR, 1 verse, now the norm. sparkling & dense resolution to meltdown dissolves into magical MORNING DEW.

8/25/72 berkeley: incomplete. slowburn BLACK PETER, only 3rd version of ’72. bass solo into OTHER ONE instead of drumz. uneventful.

8/27/72 veneta: 3 sets. magical start to end. given setting (oregon, field, merry pranksters) & playing, likely THE quintessential GD show. tape quality is warm & magical, slight delay on everything. garcia & lesh push CHINA > RIDER jam past usual bounds in 100 degree heat. pranksters almost accidentally invent ween’s shit-mister before they realize the fire truck is filled with sewage. PLAYING IN THE BAND now fully a 2nd set tune, exquisite wah-wah action. lithe & serene 12m BIRD SONG, perfect flutter on false ending. maybe the greatest DARK STAR. oddly static 1st jam & 15m of free-flight that shines with transfixing highness, even bass solo. & then (give or take EL PASO) a gargantuan SING ME BACK HOME. suggested reading: j. dwork’s essay in the deadhead taper’s compendium, v. 1; an anthropological-linguistic study of googly deadhead heaviness. required viewing: sunshine daydream movie. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UHpx72ifdE

9/3/72 boulder:3 set stadium show. the anti-8/27, no nuance. lots of shouted, aggro vocals & annoyed banter at song requests. with a nice alternate lyric in MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP (“pappy sat down & died”) & an extra-curlicued solo, they make the anti-subtlety work for them. cannot. handle. donna. 1st real HE’S GONE jam, neat 2m outro turnaround culminates in odd ’67ish whammy trills from garcia into OTHER ONE.9/9/72 hollywood:1st show (i think) with keith on electric piano, zonked wah-wah distortion on 35m THE OTHER ONE. jerry/phil space-out evolves into dashing full-band improvised changes, all 5 darting/weaving at top conversational speed. band returns for 2nd encore & tune, but weir & garcia giggle that bassist has left with “cute little filly.” end show.9/10/72 hollywood:david crosby holds his own during buoyant DARK STAR manicness, though no croz harmonies on SING ME BACK HOME.9/15/72 boston: keith’s new electric piano is a subtle but major change in the band’s sound, especially on an abstruse 18m PLAYING.

9/16/72 boston: 1st BIG RIVER since new year’s (& 2nd ever) & 1st DON’T EASE ME IN since 11/70 (& only 2nd electric version since ’66). right decent segue from DARK STAR meltdown into MEXICALI BLUES, but band sidetracks into productive polka-boogie instead.

9/17/72 baltimore: hitting arenas for the 1st time outside the west & sounding a bit lost. stasis-ridden 38m OTHER ONE.

9/19/72 jersey city: 2nd gig at roosevelt stadium in 2 months. cruddy but tolerable audience recording captures crowd more than music. fireworks, clapalongs, requests for rolling papers. hell’s honkies taping crew clearly amped for new songs.

9/21/72 philadelphia: crystalline owsley soundboard, garcia in the left channel, weir in the right. 1st proper HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’. mammoth post-verse unfolding in 37m DARK STAR. flurrying atonal TIGER jam, brief MIND LEFT BODY theme drips into MORNING DEW.

9/23/72 waterbury: terrible vocals. band tries next-beat segues for 1st time. fun if not fully successful PROMISED LAND > BERTHA. then, the 1st(?) bust-out fest. 1st AROUND & AROUND since 4/71 followed by 1st IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE since 11/70. garcia sings well, mangles words. and then the 1st CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT since 11/71 & the last ’til the cringe-y ’80s. pretty sloppy. oh, well. g’bye.

9/24/72 waterbury: yup, weir definitely using light, funky compression, most notable on BIG RIVER, played every show since re-debut. 2nd set again opens with sequence of next-beat segues. debut of TOMORROW IS FOREVER by dolly parton, a mellow garcia/donna duet. assured DARK STAR immolation with sweet rhodes, 3m BEAUTIFUL JAMish denouement, DRUMZ, & liquid segue into CHINA CAT.

9/26/72 jersey city: at the stanley theater on journal square, where my grandpa saw movies in ’30s/’40s, now a jehovah’s witness temple. churning dissolve from the TRUCKIN’ boogie into jam-land & a confident (if mildly jumbled) BABY BLUE, last ’til ’74.

9/27/72 jersey city: a legendary DARK STAR. 18m of bright swing before 1st verse & a jaw-dropping segue into CUMBERLAND BLUES. 1st ATTICS OF MY LIFE since 12/70. ragged but still stunning. then weir insists on more chuck berry covers.

9/28/72 jersey city: another brilliant bear ‘board, perfect bass. poetic rhythmic opacity in typically dazzling PLAYING.

9/30/72 washington DC: FM soundboard with ghost seepage from neighboring frequencies. surprising phil/keith/billy jam in free-ass OTHER ONE.

10/2/72 springfield, MA: garcia bridges the MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP ending to the descending STELLA BLUE intro. it almost works. 20m TRUCKIN’ with 1st NOBODY’S FAULT jam since 11/70, DRUMZ, & fast’n’thrilling UNCLE JOHN’S jam, dissolving into DEW.

10/9/72 winterland: 1st BOX OF RAIN since 9/70 (& 2nd ever). 1st donna-“enhanced” GD classic. phil’s vocals flirt with headdeskdom. obliterated grace slick jabbers over a loose jam. bill graham retrieves her. grace: “get that bitch off the stage.”

10/17/72 st. louis: great thin-out in PLAYING IN THE BAND. oddly jamless second set with 40 minutes worth of closers.

10/18/72 st. louis: like every show since may, a chuck berry cover. unlike every show since may, chuck’s birthday in his hometown. 1st split-open PLAYING, which segues (via DRUMZ) into DARK STAR with a bright phil-led sequence & FEELIN’ GROOVY jam into MORNING DEW with an opulent meltdown out of the crescendo that eventually gets to the 1st PLAYING REPRISE. nice!

10/19/72 st. louis: fat-toned BIRD SONG. last COMES A TIME til ’76. messy DIRE WOLF, 1st since europe & last for a year.

10/21/72 nashville: long & winding pre-verse in OTHER ONE, atmospheric free drums behind garcia arpeggios & loud/proud bass.

10/23/72 milwaukee: the last (& probably best) of 4 choogly & generally bland versions of ROCKIN’ PNEUMONIA & THE BOOGIE WOOGIE FLU. a vividly river-like 28m DARK STAR, unusually focused on one contiguous theme & transcending the murky audience tape.

10/24/72 milwaukee: BOX OF RAIN finally enters the song rotation, vocals improved all around. or it could be the audience recording. thankfully, a soundboard for set 2 with fully articulated PHILO STOMP in THE OTHER ONE, bright jam led by chordal bass.

10/26/72 cincinnati: nice pre-verse major-key cloud-swells in DARK STAR & uneventful drums/bass fizzle into SUGAR MAGNOLIA.

10/27/72 columbus: decent audience tape by owsley. so much clapping. in a nice variation, HALF-STEP in the post-jam slot.

10/28/72 cleveland: BOX OF RAIN confident, almost aggro. still surreal to hear. primo free meltdown in PLAYING. great drum mix. last ATTICS OF MY LIFE ’til 1989. bye! first CANDYMAN since 11/71, a little rusty, but unchanged & with extra-soulful garcia vocal. hyperreal 28m billy-powered DARK STAR with unceasing movement, PHILO STOMP, TIGER noise, & A+ wah tone.

10/30/72 detroit: another warm owsley audience tape. cool cubist blooze in TRUCKIN’. no big jam, mucho weir-boogie. help.

11/12/72 kansas city, KS: 1st show since release of europe ’72. extra-wacky 1-beat BEAT IT ON DOWN intro. drab vibes & mix.

11/13/72 kansas city, KS: stunning DARK STAR. intricate architecture, endless translucent peaks.

11/14/72 oklahoma city: effortless throughout. sleight-of-hand cascade from HE’S GONE into TRUCKIN’ & crisp 15m OTHER ONE.

11/15/72 oklahoma city: 1st set only. 30m PLAYING achieves lush, delicate drift, electric keyboards particularly warm.

11/17/72 wichita: the only JACK STRAW played in wichita, no cheers for title lyric. THE OTHER ONE heavy on underwater swing & odd phil.

11/18/72 houston: full-speed 26m PLAYING. endless chattering bass, dizzying garcia ellipses, & proto-SLIPKNOT moves.

11/19/72 houston: weir strums through 1st WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE as coda to listless DARK STAR. band seems unsure what to do. TRUCKIN’ conspicuously absent both nights in the city too close to new orleans.

11/22/72 austin: garcia in exceedingly mellow mood, calls ballad after ballad. way soulful CANDYMAN, despite missed lyrics. oh, hey, donna jean now singing co-lead on BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE.

11/23/72 armadillo world headquarters: thanksgiving jam w/ garcia, lesh, sir doug sahm, & leon russell. unlimited C&W/tejano choogle. #headnecksunite

11/24/72 dallas: utterly magical PLAYING. breathless dialogues, quiet wah-wah peels, eloquent disintegrations/landings.

11/26/72 san antonio: gravity-free pre-verse DARK STAR tangents. later, a FEELIN’ GROOVY jam & joyous garcia annihilation.

12/10/72 winterland: warm & vivid soundboard. can practically feel winterland bouncing on uptempo tunes, esp. DEAL & SUGAR MAGNOLIA. supremely cracked garcia phrasing in PLAYING, carried into instinctive full-band knottiness during THE OTHER ONE.

12/11/72 winterland: pretty & wending 11m HALF-STEP to open odd & awesome jerry-heavy second set. last TOMORROW IS FOREVER ’til ’74. 35m DARK STAR with 15m build into sonorous clank followed by 15m of uninterrupted space-dread & an angelic STELLA BLUE.

12/12/72 winterland: phil hints at EYES OF THE WORLD ending in bass solo pre-OTHER ONE, with choppy, peppy post-verse jam.

12/15/72 long beach: nice slow implosion from TRUCKIN’ into last ’72 DARK STAR. soaring 1st jam. then, insect communiques.

12/31/72 winterland: new year’s chaos. shouty vocals, though band basically keeps it together in what sounds like total pandemonium. otherwise sober-seeming KSAN DJ describes “motion picture holo-grams” on venue floor that don’t seem documented elsewhere. david crosby joins on 12-string electric for sloppy/fun OTHER ONE > MORNING DEW.

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

stella blue’s maiden name

In a bit of synchronicity/convergence that often seems to happen around the Grateful Dead, my beach reading this weekend was Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.

Though not on the beach, I also spent some time listening to the Dead’s June 17th, 1972 show at the Hollywood Bowl as part of my ongoing #deadfreaksunite project. It’s the first show post-Europe ’72 and likewise Pigpen’s final performance. He doesn’t sing, and his B3 is mostly inaudible on the truly shitty audience recording, with the very big exception of the debut version of “Stella Blue,” which is near-perfect. Music writers (myself probably included) toss the word “haunting” around with abandon, but Pig’s performance on “Stella Blue” is one case where it’s almost literally applicable.

And here’s where the Nabokov comes in:

Line 627: The great Starover Blue

…neither his first nor second name bears any relation to the celestial vault: the first was given him in memory of his grandfather, a Russian starover (accented, incidentally, on the ultima), that is, Old Believer (member of a schismatic sect), named Sinyavin, from siniy, Russ. “blue.” This Sinyavin migrated from Saratov to Seattle and begot a son who eventually changed his name to Blue and married Stella Lazurchik, an Americanized Kashube. So it goes.

And there it is, Stella Blue’s maiden name: Stella Lazurchik. Sounds like a hippie to me. (I was pretty excited to make this discovery but, naturally, David Dodd & Annotated Grateful Dead Song Lyrics site is all over it.)

And here it is, an mp3 of the first version of “Stella Blue.” Note the alternate lyric post-“dust off those rusty strings.”

“run rudolph run,” 12/14/71, hill auditorium, ann arbor, MI

Download here. [MP3]

The Dead played “Run Rudolph Run” seven times between December 4th and 15th, 1971. Pigpen sang. The tune was a #69 hit for Chuck Berry in 1958, written by Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie. Unquestionably the best Dead version is the second-to-last, from December 14th at the Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. They played it twice in Chuck Berry’s hometown of St. Louis on December 9th and 10th, and it’s too bad not one of those, but the first night in Ann Arbor has the best mix of any of them. Keith Godchaux’s strident Johnnie Johnson-style piano is full and rich, like the familiar warm balance of Europe ’72, Garcia’s lines darting around it. Besides the following night, where he’s too loud, Godchaux is buried in most of the other recordings, Garcia and Weir’s guitars clanging against each other.

It’s a showcase for Pigpen, returning to the band after sitting out the fall tour, the first sign of weakening for the 26-year old alcoholic, who would die less than two years later. At times on the December east coast run, 11 shows from Boston to Ann Arbor, Pig is spotty. In Boston, the band pulled out his show-stopping “Turn On Your Lovelight,” and he faltered, unable to martial the gang into the weirdly psych-funk nooks they were often able to improvise behind semi-improvised patter about “box back knitties and great big noble thighs,” and they only revisited it one other time on the trip.

But by the end of the run, he seems almost back to form, though the big closers wouldn’t return with regularity until the band shuffled off to New York and then Europe the next spring. One lesson of my Dead listening project–revisiting every show close to its 40th anniversary, #deadfreaksunite, etc.–has been a constant reevaluation of the Dead as a working, aggressively evolving band, often marked by the unrelenting, constant expansion of their songbook. Most lately, this involved an appreciation of Pigpen’s still very active role in ’71 and ’72. Even for Deadheads, Pig is sometimes easy to write off in these later years, so often relegated to un-mic’ed sidestage congas.

While he didn’t exactly crank out tunes like Garcia and Weir, he had two new numbers to do for the December run, “Run Rudolph Run” and a new original, “Mr. Charlie,” which would go along fine with “Empty Pages,” introduced earlier in the year, had he not already abandoned that. Early ’72 would see two more Pig tunes go into rotation, “Chinatown Shuffle” (whose pick-up would get jacked for “U.S. Blues”) and the lost masterpiece “The Stranger (Two Souls in Communion).” Even after he left the road following the Europe ’72 tour, he continued to write, producing a set of home demos, which has circulated as Bring Me My Shotgun.

With its “Love & Theft”-like cadences on half-sensical tumbles about some heretofore unknown reindeer named Randolph (?!) and archaic constructions like “girl-child” and “boy-child,” it’s sort of mystifying that avowed Chuck Berry freak Bob Dylan didn’t record “Run Rudolph Run” for his Christmas in the Heart. But it’s a nice little novelty from the Dead’s brief two-keyboard lineup, where Pigpen and Godchaux got a nice Hudson/Manuel-like B3/piano blend on some of the recordings from those tours. Though Pig doesn’t play organ here, Godchaux’s presence gives him the chance to belt over straight-up boogie-woogie piano, a rare pleasure in itself only possible during these few tours.

All of which totally ignores the song’s holidayness, which really has no narrative and is, in an admirably teen-pop way, more about describing the apparent giddiness of the Christmas season in the post-War years. “Shopping is a feeling,” David Byrne said later in True Stories, and there’s maybe some of that in here (infused with holiday spirit, no doubt), with the subtle ’50s consumerism behind lyrics like “all I want for Christmas is a rock & roll electric guitar” and the girl-child’s wish for “a little baby doll that can cry, scream, and wet” (plus perfectly period automotive dreams about Santa speeding down a freeway). Not that Pigpen was signifyin’ or anything. He was–and thanks to the perpetual present tense of the recording is–just singing. The Dead may’ve been hippies, but by late 1971, they were mostly just a rock band.

“Run Rudolph Run”–at least the fifth or sixth Berry tune in rotation–is Pig in his element, and a vibrant little tick in Dead history. But it’s something maybe even more unique than that. In the Dead’s massive unofficial catalogue, it’s one of the very few versions of anything I’d happily call “definitive” with any measure of confidence. And, hey, that’s something to feel good about this holiday season.

all tomorrow’s parties, today.

The most stunning thing about the decay of Kutsher’s Country Club, the site of the American edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties, is perhaps its sheer attention to detail. In every corner of its 1,500-acre spread, something askew: peeling paint on a windowsill, an abandoned skating rink (the Kutsher’s Teenareena, per the signage, replete with Olympics logo), an out-of-order tag on a pull-out bed, a flooded baseball diamond, a stairwell with non-chronological floor numbers, a fire door off its hinges next to a forgotten and overflowing room service cart. One friend got stuck in the elevator, the car stuttering 250 times between the fifth and sixth floors before righting itself. We took the stairs for the rest of the weekend.

The result is one of the most singular places one can imagine seeing music. The fact that the Stardust Room, the site of All Tomorrow’s Parties main stage, is also a great-sounding, well-designed space–with gentle tiers, a spacious floor, and a twinkling moonscape on the wall–is gravy. Amid the decay, though, it also felt a bit like abuse. We wandered Kutsher’s freely, removing the cover of a jacuzzi, discovering a working sauna in the women’s locker room, totally unsure where we were allowed to be. In the basement, we found a stash of Paul Anka and Helen Reddy eight-track tapes in the winding, cluttered hallways beyond a room of ancient exercise bikes and stairmasters.

And the music? A peculiar continuum of nostalgia and indie noise of the moment. Headlining on Friday, Iggy Pop–63 and ripped–pulled his version of the James Brown cape routine: constantly diving headlong into the audience, only to be grabbed instantly by his own security guard and yanked back. There was a lot of crowd surfing and stage diving, for that matter. Hard to say where that act falls in the nostalgia continuum, but it’s back with a vengence. The next night, also featuring a host of stage interlopers, Sonic Youth–in their classic quartet lineup, with Mark Ibold still on Pavement detail–played a set entirely of ’80s tunes. Much like their Prospect Park gig over the summer, the concept scans uncomfortably, but was/is bitching in practice, with fierce improv, drawn-out transitions, and the usual explosive arrangements. Thurston Moore’s solo Sunday set, in the 1:45 pm bloody mary slot, hit the spot, too: three new tunes, played on a 12-string acoustic, followed by a Northampton Wools improv with Bill Nace.

The pleasures of ATP go on and on: a surprisingly incredible DJ set by hip-hop inventor Kool Herc late night at the poolside bar, filled with deep cuts, killer transitions, overlaid beats, and a few classics; the ear-blowing wall of sound belonging to the Sunn O)))/Boris supergroup with power chords cascading from amp stack to amp stack like minimalist blocks of orchestral sound; a mellow pick-up hardball game hosted by Shellac’s Bob Weston in a pasture abutting the flooded baseball diamond, bordered by a brook, and a shady knoll for spectators; the room-clearing obliteration of Lee Ranaldo and Alan Licht’s Text of Light; Wooden Shjips’ surf-kraut jams. Besides the occasional six-flight stair-climb, there were few downsides. (The second stage is too low, impossible to see the musicians except from the front row.)

Even the lack of internet and Twitter access was kind of nice. I got my news from the New York Times for the first time in years (and remembered my great uncle Herb’s sage summary of their sports section: “yesterday’s scores tomorrow”). Hell, if I’d had Twitter access, I probably wouldn’t have written a blog post.

No corporate sponsorship, good vibrations, and arguably the most fun music festival in the world.

Rebecca Kutsher:

sudden ylt

Yo La Tengo at Rififi
Invite Them Up with Eugene Mirman and Bobby Tisdale
26 February 2008
no Georgia, Todd Barry on drums

Come On Up (The Young Rascals) (download)
Mr. Tough
Big Day Coming (fast)
Bobby’s Girl (Lesley Gore) (download)

yo la tengo in port washington, 10/19

“Ripple” – Yo La Tengo (download)
recorded 19 October 2007, Landmark on Main Street, Port Washington, NY

(file expires October 29th)

Yo La Tengo at Landmark on Main Street
Port Washington, NY
19 October 2007
Chris Brokaw opened.

The Landmark being (as we discovered) across the street from Finn MacCool’s, the watering hole of choice for the 1986 Mets, many of who resided in Port Washington, we naturally had to toast Danny Heep en route to the show. Via Jeff Pearlman’s The Bad Guys Won:

Strawberry did much of his damage at Finn MacCool’s, a tavern in Port Washington where many of the Mets hung out. One night Henry Downing, the bar’s manager, concocted a drink for the Mets that he named The Nervous Breakdown. It was a potent combination of vodka, cranberry juice, tequila, and schanpps, and the twelve Mets sitting around the table eagerly devoured pitcher after pitchers. Among the participants were Ojeda, Mitchell, Dykstra, and Backman — guys who could hold their own. Yet the one who drank the most was Strawberry. ‘I remember he really took to that,’ says Connie O’Reilly, MacCool’s owner. ‘I guess he liked the taste.’ … ‘The next afternoon we were watching the game from the bar, and the broadcaster said Darryl wasn’t playing,’ O’Reilly says. ‘They showed him sitting on tbe bench… something about a twenty-four-hour virus.’

Tom Courtenay
Beanbag Chair
Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House
Fog Over Frisco
Mr. Tough
Ripple (Grateful Dead)
Surfin’ With the Shah (The Urinals)
Cone of Silence
Sloop John B (trad/Beach Boys)
Black Flowers
Luci Baines (Arthur Lee)
Decora
I Found A Reason (Velvet Underground)
Oklahoma USA (The Kinks)
Story of Yo La Tango
Detouring America With Horns
Speeding Motocycle (Daniel Johnston)
You Can Have It All (George McCrea)
*(encore, with Chris Brokaw on guitar)*
A House Is Not A Motel (Arthur Lee)
Tell Me When It’s Over (Dream Syndicate)
I Feel Like Going Home

yo la tengo at the new yorker festival, 10/6

“Autumn Sweater” – Yo La Tengo (download)
“This Man He Cries Tonight”- Yo La Tengo (download)
recorded 6 October 2007, Brooklyn Lyceum, Brooklyn, NY

(files expire October 15th)

Yo La Tengo at Brooklyn Lyceum
6 October 2007
New Yorker festival
between song Q&As moderated by Ben Greenman

The Cone of Silence
Stockholm Syndrome
Story of Yo La Tango
Magnet (NRBQ)
Madeleine
Autumn Sweater
I Heard You Looking
Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind
This Man He Cries Tonight (The Kinks) (live debut)
Sugarcube

“in the craters of the moon” & “autoclave” – the mountain goats

“In the Craters of the Moon” – The Mountain Goats
“Autoclave” – The Mountain Goats
recorded 2 October 2007, Studio B, Brooklyn, NY

[Downloads removed at the polite request of JD.]

Mostly, this was an experiment to see how long it would take to record a show with the aforementioned iTalk, up it to my computer, and extract a few segments, as well as to see how much juice it would take, both in terms of power and memory. The answers: with laughable ease and laughably little.

So, here are two new Mountain Goats songs, performed this evening at Studio B in Brooklyn, a dance club a few blocks from the kielbasa parlors and bright-eyed/enchanting Polish girls of Greenpoint. The frame and drama are pure Mountain Goats, as hard-boiled and stylized as Bukowski or the Coen brothers. Some lines, especially on “In the Craters of the Moon,” feel like stock John Darnielle: “I think I’m gonna crack, I can’t live like this any more.” Others are perfect and inventive: “We swim in the dark until our bodies are numb, clandestine (?) rats in the moonlight, too far from the shore.”

Differentiating good & bad lines seems a tad silly, though, especially at this stage of the game. Darnielle found his voice a long time ago, and he’s sticking to it. They’re new songs. If you like the Mountain Goats, you’ll probably dig ’em. (An autoclave, as Darnielle pointed out, is a device built to sterilize medical instruments and kill all lifeforms, except — as recently discovered — one particular type found at the bottom of the ocean, near volcanic seabeds, which not only survives the process, but multiplies.)