• July 13, 2012
    http://www.dead.net/features/blair-jackson/blair-s-golden-road-blog-10-show-plunge
    Blair’s Golden Road Blog — The 10-Show Plunge

    Recently, I’ve been on a kick of listening to big chunks of certain Grateful Dead tours in chronological order. It started after I lauded the summer 1991 tour in this space a few weeks ago. I decided to check out the last 10 shows of that jaunt—from Charlotte through Sandstone (Kansas), to see if they were as good as I remembered. I realized I hadn’t actually heard half of them since I listened to them for my 1991 year-in-review article in Issue 26 of The Golden Road 20 years ago, and none of the others in the last several years. The ones I remembered best and most fondly—RFK 6/14, Giants Stadium 6/16-17, Soldier Field 6/22 and Sandstone 6/25—all held up amazingly well. The 6/25 show, which I’d remembered mostly just for the “Scarlet” > “Fire,” really knocked my socks off from beginning to end. Well, almost to the end. After a near-perfect show, Jerry forgets to sing the critical last verse of the “Baby Blue” encore! Aaaugh!

    The previous night’s concert at Sandstone (6/24) was probably the greatest revelation, with its explosive “Help-Slip-Frank,” China-Rider,” “Supplication” jam and “Other One” > “Morning Dew.” Definitely the Bruce era at its best! But all the shows had bountiful exploratory passages and much adventurous playing.

    OK, that was some great late-era GD. But what really got me jazzed recently was my 10-show plunge into the summer of 1982, from Ventura (7/17-18) through the Starlight in Kansas City (8/4). Wow! I’d forgotten how consistently fantastic the band sounded that year, and a number of the shows in this batch were ones I don’t recall ever hearing before, so I was like a kid on Christmas opening presents.

    Ventura ’82: Palm trees, the beach and hot, hot music. Photo: Bob Carey

    I’ll always have a sentimental attachment to the Ventura shows. It was Regan’s and my first Grateful Dead road trip (about a year into our marriage) and we had more fun than I believed was humanly possible—outstanding shows, nice room at the Holiday Inn on the beach, partying with friends into the wee hours. I thought: “We should do this whenever we can.” And we did! (I later used descriptions of these Ventura shows as the opening of my first book about the Dead, The Music Never Stopped, which came out in 1983.)

    Day Two is known primarily for being the show at which “Crazy Fingers” was played for the first time in six years (and it’s a killer version), but there’s lots to love in both shows, including the only “Samson” > “Franklin’s” combo the band ever played (to open the second set of 7/18), a surprise “Truckin’” to end the first set of 7/17, and plenty more. If you don’t know these shows, check ’em out on Archive.org.

    After Ventura, some of our friends went on to Red Rocks (skipping Compton Terrace in Tempe—by far the weakest of the 10 in my view; Jerry has serious lyric amnesia), and then hitting Texas and Oklahoma. But the Ventura shows were our last until the band’s maiden voyage at Frost Amphitheatre on the Stanford campus in October ’82 (more on that in a few months).

    All three ’82 Red Rocks shows are solid, with many high points. The first night (7/27) features a superb “Sugaree,” “China Cat-Rider” (always special in Colorado) and an expansive second set that opens and closes with “Playing in the Band” and stuffs a whole bunch of tasty treats in between: “Terrapin,” a second “Playing” jam, “The Other One” and a “Stella Blue” that is a thing of pure beauty. Bob unleashes some unique vocal adlibs before the first “Playing” jam, repeating the word “Playing” over and over, sometimes in falsetto, and inspiring Brent to join in at one point; pretty cool. This is my kind of show.

    Night Two gets off to a roaring start with “Shakedown,” followed by the extremely rare Weir duo of “Beat It On Down the Line” > “Greatest Story Ever Told” (played together just once previously), and has a powerful mid-second-set sequence with “Let It Grow” > “He’s Gone” (lovely post-song jam!) > “Truckin’.” The final night at the Rocks, in a driving rain, the band acknowledges the inclement weather with “Looks Like Rain” in the first set and “Cold Rain” to open the second. “Crazy Fingers” isn’t quite up to the standard established in Ventura, but the backside of the second set is fantastic, with a propulsive “Other One” followed by “Goin’ Down the Road,” “Wharf Rat” and “Around and Around” > “Good Lovin’” to close.

    But two of the strongest shows of the tour are still to come. The 7/31 concert at Manor Down in Austin is one of those beginning-to-end romps where the band can seemingly do no wrong. There’s nothing at all unusual about the set list, but everything is so alive and well-played, from first-set choices such as “Candyman,” “Bird Song,” “All Over Now” and “The Music Never Stopped” to the second-set “Scarlet-Fire” and “Estimated-Eyes” pre-“drums,” and the four that come out of “space”: “Uncle John’s” > “Truckin’” > “Morning Dew” > “Saturday Night.” And although “Don’t Ease Me In” was a too-common encore in this era, it was never more geographically appropriate—it’s a Texas blues from the ’20s.

    The other show that blew me away was 8/3 Starlight Amphitheatre (Kansas City), which I would deem release-worthy (if solid masters exist). The 11-song first set is positively smokin’—it includes “Half-Step” > “Franklin’s” as the opening pair, a lilting “Peggy-O,” “Cumberland,” “Cassidy,” “Man Smart, Woman Smarter” and “Might As Well.” The awesome second set has a couple of wrinkles, including “To Lay Me Down” > “Let It Grow,” “He’s Gone” out of “space” (very unusual placement) and one of just two versions of “Casey Jones” in ’82 (and the last until ’84). Another rippin’ “Other One” leads into one of the best-sung versions of “Stella Blue” you’ll ever hear, and I must note the two jams on each side of “drums” and “space.” The first is a jazzy foray by Bob and Brent; the second is an inventive, one-of-a-kind, full-band excursion that goes in many directions before arriving at “He’s Gone.”

    Part of the fun of the 10-shows-in-order immersion is you really get a feel for what the tour was like—you experience it as it unfolds show to show and savor the nuances that make each one special (or not). You also get to experience the Tour Rat’s occasional frustration—yes, there really were four versions of “Black Peter” in 10 shows (at least they were all really good!). Why did Weir cut off that jam at its peak? No, Jerry, that’s the second verse, not the first. The picky Dead Head’s lament.

    But overall, it’s an impressive run of shows, and there were another four I didn’t get to—in St. Paul, Alpine Valley (two) and the University of Iowa. As I like to say: so many shows, so little time. And listening to these 10 reinforced my long-held opinion that the early ’80s are grossly underrated by many Dead Heads. I’m not trying to compare them in any way to the best of the late ’60s or the ’70s; merely suggesting it’s another strong era with its own personality and many exciting peaks.

    Let’s hear what you have to say about the early ’80s. Should there be more official releases from that period? Any suggestions for my next 10-show plunge (from any year, except ’77, which I already know is epic start to finish)?

    356011
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

9 years 7 months

Recently, I’ve been on a kick of listening to big chunks of certain Grateful Dead tours in chronological order. It started after I lauded the summer 1991 tour in this space a few weeks ago. I decided to check out the last 10 shows of that jaunt—from Charlotte through Sandstone (Kansas), to see if they were as good as I remembered. I realized I hadn’t actually heard half of them since I listened to them for my 1991 year-in-review article in Issue 26 of The Golden Road 20 years ago, and none of the others in the last several years. The ones I remembered best and most fondly—RFK 6/14, Giants Stadium 6/16-17, Soldier Field 6/22 and Sandstone 6/25—all held up amazingly well. The 6/25 show, which I’d remembered mostly just for the “Scarlet” > “Fire,” really knocked my socks off from beginning to end. Well, almost to the end. After a near-perfect show, Jerry forgets to sing the critical last verse of the “Baby Blue” encore! Aaaugh!

The previous night’s concert at Sandstone (6/24) was probably the greatest revelation, with its explosive “Help-Slip-Frank,” China-Rider,” “Supplication” jam and “Other One” > “Morning Dew.” Definitely the Bruce era at its best! But all the shows had bountiful exploratory passages and much adventurous playing.

OK, that was some great late-era GD. But what really got me jazzed recently was my 10-show plunge into the summer of 1982, from Ventura (7/17-18) through the Starlight in Kansas City (8/4). Wow! I’d forgotten how consistently fantastic the band sounded that year, and a number of the shows in this batch were ones I don’t recall ever hearing before, so I was like a kid on Christmas opening presents.

Ventura ’82: Palm trees, the beach and hot, hot music. Photo: Bob Carey

I’ll always have a sentimental attachment to the Ventura shows. It was Regan’s and my first Grateful Dead road trip (about a year into our marriage) and we had more fun than I believed was humanly possible—outstanding shows, nice room at the Holiday Inn on the beach, partying with friends into the wee hours. I thought: “We should do this whenever we can.” And we did! (I later used descriptions of these Ventura shows as the opening of my first book about the Dead, The Music Never Stopped, which came out in 1983.)

Day Two is known primarily for being the show at which “Crazy Fingers” was played for the first time in six years (and it’s a killer version), but there’s lots to love in both shows, including the only “Samson” > “Franklin’s” combo the band ever played (to open the second set of 7/18), a surprise “Truckin’” to end the first set of 7/17, and plenty more. If you don’t know these shows, check ’em out on Archive.org.

After Ventura, some of our friends went on to Red Rocks (skipping Compton Terrace in Tempe—by far the weakest of the 10 in my view; Jerry has serious lyric amnesia), and then hitting Texas and Oklahoma. But the Ventura shows were our last until the band’s maiden voyage at Frost Amphitheatre on the Stanford campus in October ’82 (more on that in a few months).

All three ’82 Red Rocks shows are solid, with many high points. The first night (7/27) features a superb “Sugaree,” “China Cat-Rider” (always special in Colorado) and an expansive second set that opens and closes with “Playing in the Band” and stuffs a whole bunch of tasty treats in between: “Terrapin,” a second “Playing” jam, “The Other One” and a “Stella Blue” that is a thing of pure beauty. Bob unleashes some unique vocal adlibs before the first “Playing” jam, repeating the word “Playing” over and over, sometimes in falsetto, and inspiring Brent to join in at one point; pretty cool. This is my kind of show.

Night Two gets off to a roaring start with “Shakedown,” followed by the extremely rare Weir duo of “Beat It On Down the Line” > “Greatest Story Ever Told” (played together just once previously), and has a powerful mid-second-set sequence with “Let It Grow” > “He’s Gone” (lovely post-song jam!) > “Truckin’.” The final night at the Rocks, in a driving rain, the band acknowledges the inclement weather with “Looks Like Rain” in the first set and “Cold Rain” to open the second. “Crazy Fingers” isn’t quite up to the standard established in Ventura, but the backside of the second set is fantastic, with a propulsive “Other One” followed by “Goin’ Down the Road,” “Wharf Rat” and “Around and Around” > “Good Lovin’” to close.

But two of the strongest shows of the tour are still to come. The 7/31 concert at Manor Down in Austin is one of those beginning-to-end romps where the band can seemingly do no wrong. There’s nothing at all unusual about the set list, but everything is so alive and well-played, from first-set choices such as “Candyman,” “Bird Song,” “All Over Now” and “The Music Never Stopped” to the second-set “Scarlet-Fire” and “Estimated-Eyes” pre-“drums,” and the four that come out of “space”: “Uncle John’s” > “Truckin’” > “Morning Dew” > “Saturday Night.” And although “Don’t Ease Me In” was a too-common encore in this era, it was never more geographically appropriate—it’s a Texas blues from the ’20s.

The other show that blew me away was 8/3 Starlight Amphitheatre (Kansas City), which I would deem release-worthy (if solid masters exist). The 11-song first set is positively smokin’—it includes “Half-Step” > “Franklin’s” as the opening pair, a lilting “Peggy-O,” “Cumberland,” “Cassidy,” “Man Smart, Woman Smarter” and “Might As Well.” The awesome second set has a couple of wrinkles, including “To Lay Me Down” > “Let It Grow,” “He’s Gone” out of “space” (very unusual placement) and one of just two versions of “Casey Jones” in ’82 (and the last until ’84). Another rippin’ “Other One” leads into one of the best-sung versions of “Stella Blue” you’ll ever hear, and I must note the two jams on each side of “drums” and “space.” The first is a jazzy foray by Bob and Brent; the second is an inventive, one-of-a-kind, full-band excursion that goes in many directions before arriving at “He’s Gone.”

Part of the fun of the 10-shows-in-order immersion is you really get a feel for what the tour was like—you experience it as it unfolds show to show and savor the nuances that make each one special (or not). You also get to experience the Tour Rat’s occasional frustration—yes, there really were four versions of “Black Peter” in 10 shows (at least they were all really good!). Why did Weir cut off that jam at its peak? No, Jerry, that’s the second verse, not the first. The picky Dead Head’s lament.

But overall, it’s an impressive run of shows, and there were another four I didn’t get to—in St. Paul, Alpine Valley (two) and the University of Iowa. As I like to say: so many shows, so little time. And listening to these 10 reinforced my long-held opinion that the early ’80s are grossly underrated by many Dead Heads. I’m not trying to compare them in any way to the best of the late ’60s or the ’70s; merely suggesting it’s another strong era with its own personality and many exciting peaks.

Let’s hear what you have to say about the early ’80s. Should there be more official releases from that period? Any suggestions for my next 10-show plunge (from any year, except ’77, which I already know is epic start to finish)?

Display on homepage featured list
Off
Custom Teaser

Recently, I’ve been on a kick of listening to big chunks of certain Grateful Dead tours in chronological order. It started after I lauded the summer 1991 tour in this space a few weeks ago. I decided to check out the last 10 shows of that jaunt—from Charlotte through Sandstone (Kansas), to see if they were as good as I remembered. I realized I hadn’t actually heard half of them since I listened to them for my 1991 year-in-review article in Issue 26 of The Golden Road 20 years ago, and none of the others in the last several years. The ones I remembered best and most fondly—RFK 6/14, Giants Stadium 6/16-17, Soldier Field 6/22 and Sandstone 6/25—all held up amazingly well. The 6/25 show, which I’d remembered mostly just for the “Scarlet” > “Fire,” really knocked my socks off from beginning to end. Well, almost to the end. After a near-perfect show, Jerry forgets to sing the critical last verse of the “Baby Blue” encore! Aaaugh!

dead comment

user picture

Member for

11 years
Permalink

I went back and listened to Summer '82 not too long ago myself as I added it to my iTunes. I caught the Greek in May, the Ventura July shows and the next ones for me were also The Frost shows. Gone are the days...and YES more early '80's. 8-3-82 and 8-10-82 certainly deserve a release.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I recently delved into a few shows from the mid-west portion of the '84 Summer tour starting with 6/21 in Kingswood through 7/7 Alpine Valley. I love the chimy sound Brent got from his keys that particular summer. Sure, Jerry's voice had a particularly eerie quality at the time, but his guitar playing was top notch.
user picture

Member for

6 years 8 months
Permalink

Not a great fan of 82 in general but you point to many highlights. What you didn't get to is pretty special, at least the Field House and St. Paul. I guess the summer tour that year was the highlight reel. Starlight for sure! Wore that tape out.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years
Permalink

1982 was the year the bus came by for me, so the early 80's are very special indeed for me -- the initial "learning curve" of "turning on, tuning in and dropping out" is special for everyone. Two quick points: 1983 for me was great -- 16 years old. First show outside of a hockey arena was Saratoga Performing Arts Center w/ the often talked about thunder & lightening during Space>Wheel and the Monster Dew); Stephen Stills w/ the Boys at the Byrne Arena; the 3 ST. Stephens (caught the Hartford one on 10/15 -- whole show is freaking fantastic); previous night 10-14-83 is Dicks Picks 5 or 6 (I forget) which I snuck off to despite having a football game the following day (coach knew about it too and still played me all game (cool coach -- we won the game too!); the following Monday 10-17-83 Lake plACID -- great stuff from Sugarreee opener to Revolution encore . . . 1983 has some great stuff as I'm sure you know. Point #2: 1988 spring tour I caught 6 shows . . . Black Peter played at 5 of the 6. I kid you not. Love the tune -- great tune -- but dang 5 of 6! What are the chances?! As always, Blair, love reading your articles and books. Take care, Eagle
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

... that I have a friend who refers to summer '82 as the "Black and Blue Tour," because just about every show had "Black Peter" and/or a "Baby Blue" or "U.S. Blues" encore.
user picture

Member for

10 years 3 months
Permalink

"But the Ventura shows were our last until the band’s maiden voyage at Frost Amphitheatre on the Stanford campus in October ’82 (more on that in a few months)". Dave's Picks Volume 4?
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

Well, Mr. Blair, I never counted the shows, but it appears there are just exactly ten in my favorite era. It was the time Keith was a newbie, but Donna was not as yet a member, and Pigpen was back from his break. Jerry had apparently sworn off Gibsons and dedicated himself to his Strat. Billy was the drummer. Phil was the bassist. And Bobby's flavor. Ten by six. 12/01/71 thru 12/15/71. Cool venues with the anticipation of the chance of playing more in europe. Radio broadcasts. "Bertha", "Greatest", "Johnny B. Goode", "Loser", "Playin'", "Wharf Rat", "Deal", "Mr. Charlie", "Sugaree", "Brown-Eyed Women", "Tennessee Jed", "Jack Straw", "Mexicali", "Comes A Time", "Saturday Night", "Ramble On", the return of "Top of the World", "You Win Again", final "The Rub", "Run Rudolph Run", and the one and only "Muddy Water". 12/31/71, of course, would make it the eleven, but I haven't heard a recording that does it justice ... yet, no? Happy Friday the 13th!
user picture

Member for

10 years 10 months
Permalink

Munching ten-strips as a summer diet. Me likey! Howzabout October 80 in two sessions, The West and then The East. I think there's 10 a side there, if memory serves. Too bad somebody let Betty have a bulk eraser handy...
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years
Permalink

I've really been enjoying a bunch of shows from Fall of '79. How about starting with 10/25/79 New Haven (KILLER Shakedown Passenger set II opener!) and then going through to Cape Cod, Nassau, Providence, Philly. How about the very weird Scarlet Begonias jam on 11/1/79? The Dancin'>Franklin's from Cape Cod ? The Eyes>Estimated>Franklin's from Philly? L There are some seriously awesome funk jams in there when Brent was really starting to gel and was using all those crazy-good late 70s electronic keyboard sounds. I love that shit!
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

Been a long time since I've revisited Cape Cod and Philly. I dug that period of Brent's playing, too. I was sorry he sort abandoned synth sounds so early in his time with the Dead. Maybe the others in the band didn't dig them...
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

Ugh. I really think the majority of people who are into 82 shows are the ones who were on the road then and associate that period with all sorts of happy memories. And why not? That is a huge part of the deal. For me, sitting here in 2012 listening to the band in 1982 ...just does absolutely nothing for me. I was 11,12 years old. Wasn't there. So what I hear is all I have. I dont care for the overall sound of the band, especially Phil. Was he even playing half the time? Part of it is the sound of the board tapes from that period...it just sounds flat and not much in the way of dynamics. The early versions of the new tunes aren't compelling. I just don't get it. One thing I relate to... I almost ALWAYS listen by tour. It's so cool. I will have a few tours going at any one time in iTunes. And to go a step further into freakville I will often go as far as listening to shows corresponding to the current month. So...this is Summer tour time in my headphones usually...when fall comes I get out the fall 90 and fall 73! I will give some 82 another try. Thanks for this post...interesting as always.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

...the tape quality can be dodgy. This was the cassette era for masters and they definitely did not capture Phil as well as reels did, and, as you say, the overall dynamics are lacking. But most '82 sounds better recording-wise than '81 to me. So many shows in '81 are really lacking in Bob.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years
Permalink

I agree with ya, Blair, early 80s has a lot to offer. Fall '83 Mountain/Western States tour (Boise, those Santa Fe shows, WOW!) and then East Coast Fall '83, Greek '84 Fall East Coast '84. I don't think the best of those years has been released officially yet. Its hard to pinpoint what it is about those years that feels so good to me when I listen. Objectively there are many reasons NOT to like those years, but somethin' was going on that made many special nights that ya gotta be turned on to or search for if you weren't there in those years, like me. Finding the hidden gems in the early 80s is really rewarding, maybe because of the challenge of the search? I say release more 80s Dead!
user picture

Member for

8 years
Permalink

It's a bummer that supposedly so many tapesfrom these shows were barteded away or poorly made to begin with. I always looked over at Healy, Howard and Don and assumed the recording was under control. If only someone had let us know it going to be an issue we would have taken up a collection ... I was never very well connected, but people I knew routinely got low gen boards fairly quickly and they sounded great at the time. 08/03/82 and the Frost shows are favorites from '82 for me. The Starlight won the smile meter factor - never seen so many people so happy! For those who claim not to get this year, Jerry was still of strong voice thru out the year, something that would soon be all over the radar. All three Greek shows from July of 1984 are worthy of being released as well.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

Was just listening to 7-4-81, great show, can't believe there has only been one official release from 1981. (5-6-81 DP13) Hell yeah we would buy any official release from the 80's, kinda bummed that the last three Dave's Picks have been all from the 70's, hopefully the next will be a huge upgraded show from 1981-85. Currently have 4-27-85 on deck, nice first set.....
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 10 months
Permalink

Excellent call on that. I have been listening to 12/10/71...sehr gut (auf Deutsch, bitte.) 12/5 DARK STAR 12/4 12/1 12/14 (I wish I had a way to demonstrate an experience I had with that...flying into Chicago ( I think) late in the afternoon, listening to a tape on a walkman while 'smile smile smiling', seeing the sun reflect in a glorious shade of orange and other colors off of several buildings) 12/15 DARK STAR others
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years
Permalink

i would take early 80 releases, as i agree with your sentiment blair that the era is underrated. At least that's the vibe i always got when reading reviews while downloading shows and reading books about the band - it's an era that always seems to get glossed over, and little love. it always confounded me a bit, because i love the music from these years. i always hear that the boys (especially jerry it seems to my ears) were invigorated by the addition of that "new guy" mydland. i have often on this blog expressed my love for both the fall of '79 and the spring of '81, and would recommend shows from those tours to anyone. as far as a ten show run goes, well, how about a thirteen show run? from 2/26-2/28/81 at chicago's uptown theatre, to 3/2-3/3 at cleveland, to 3/5-3/6 at pittsburgh, 3/7 in maryland (MONSTER Bird Song), 3/9-3/10 at msg, 3/12 at boston, 3/13 in utica, and wrapping up with 3/14 in hartford. of these shows i'd say i know half of them pretty well, but i'm now feeling up to the challenge of getting to know the rest of them better to get the feel for the whole run. good idea blair. thanks again to my fellow bloggers for the suggestions...happy listening folks
user picture

Member for

11 years 3 months
Permalink

Double T, I agree about board tapes, but try listening to Starlight in the AUD version. If you don't like that, there's no need to try any other from '82 :-) I have the same issue as far as my age goes - I actually lived in KC, but was 13 and totally oblivious to the Dead. So I did not make the 20 minute trip to Starlight to see them. The first concert I saw was when I was 14 - Men At Work! (at Starlight!). Anyway, I never saw any '82 Dead and I like it a lot... In fact - okay, I'm finally going to admit it out loud: I NEVER saw the Dead live. I had some studio albums, Europe 72, Skullfuck, etc, liked them, even did lots of psychedelic exploration from 87-92 mostly, but somehow never got onto that particular scene. What finally got me "on the bus" was Dick's Picks. Not until around 2000 did I finally listen to things like the HCS on DP1 and go, OH!!!! Alas, too late. (Not sure if I can use the phrase "on the bus" - I imagine there are some who think not).
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

in my view, if you say you're on the bus that is fairly determinative... Realistically, we are not that far, in the evolution of all this, when there will be far more Dead Heads who never saw the band than Heads who did. I don't think it's for the temporally fortunate to dis those who came along later.
user picture

Member for

10 years 10 months
Permalink

There's nobody still around who saw Mozart live either... And it's not like he left behind a Vault or a plethora of performances preserved on Archive. In fact, every time you hear his music, it's because of ... wait for it ... a cover band!
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years
Permalink

I'm a big fan of 1985 (if you can still consider that early 80s) so its not hard to find a bunch of ideas for good runs of 10 shows that year. How about: 6-15-85 to 6-30-85 gives you all three Greeks, the excellent SPAC & Hershey Park shows and the very good Shakedown on the first night of Merriweather. Drums with the Beam was so spooky good this year and I don't usually get too excited for drums/space. East Coast Spring '85 is also good. 3-27-85 to 4-8-85 gives you the Nassau and Philly runs. I love the first set of 3-28-85 with the Truckin'>Smokestack opener and the very hot China>Rider to end the set. The stuff in the middle is fantastic, as well. I also dig the first sets in Philly, short but very good . Tons of Steel>supplication>Might As Well and Bird Song, Dancin', Deal, nice!
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

10 years 9 months
Permalink

Thanks Blair. I have decided to do a major listening project. I'm going to start with the Cal Expo run and go all the way the Europe 1990. Here I will hear the end of the Brent era and the beginning of the Vince and then Bruce era. That is a total of 42 shows. Wow!! I better get my dancing shoes on
user picture

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

August 3, 1982 sure was a good show. I'm listening to the matrix recording from LMA, compliments of Paul Hogan and Chris Chappell. I'd just been laid off from my job, and KC was experiencing another 100 degree cooker, but by nightfall it was enjoyable. Jerry's 40th birthday show was 2 days prior at the Zoo in Oklahoma City, which I understand was even hotter. I'll listen to that show after I finish the Starlight 1st set. Althea is absolutely terriffic: " I was born to be a bachelor" !! Cassidy really rocked. Friends Gary and Debbie have a beautiful daughter named after this song..... Time warp ahead 9 years, and yes, Ted's in Bonner Springs with a warm keg of Boulevard Wheat beer and bags of ice that were melting as fast as the glacier in Montana. Bruce Hornsby certainly put a positive jolt into the performance. Both shows were excellent. The China > Rider, from 6/24, and the 6/25 Scarlet > Fire with the Baby Blue encore are outstanding. Thanks Blair for the KC mentions!
user picture

Member for

10 years 11 months
Permalink

Summer 82 I saw 2 shows. Drove all the way from Worcester to Alpine Valley. Spent several days at the Lake Geneva Resort before the show enjoying the Wisconsin summer. The first show was monumental with the Music-Sugaree-Music start and the Dew! I still remember the second night because the weather was amazing(it rained the night before). Special guests John Cippolina and Zakir Hussain made the concert unforgettable. I became a "dead head" at that point and It's been a long strange trip ever since.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

9 years 9 months
Permalink

I posit a 16 show run for the perusal of all: 3/14/90 through 4/3/90 which comprises the 1990 East Coast Spring Tour. The range of this run is from above average to sublime. My personal favorites are 3/19 Hartford and 4/2 Atlanta. The Branford show at Nassau, while great, is just a tad overrated IMO. I was talking to a friend recently about the relative merits of 1982 GD. I've always pretty much skipped over 1982-84. For the most part, I am simply underwhelmed by that period of GD music. Not that there isn't some great stuff there, just that there are far better periods IMO.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

9/6/91 is a show that deserves attention. http://archive.org/details/gd1991-09-06.sbd.miller.95314.sbeok.flac16 Everything they played at this show was as good, and dare I say, even better than almost everything they played throughout their entire 30 year career. Use Birdsong as the starting point and you'll hear what I mean. Not a single missed lyric, Jerry was in fine voice and actually leading the band around every corner with the utmost confidence, the Bruce/Vince combo outdoing themselves. It truly is a Grateful Dead "wall of sound". If they were to release this, I'd recomend everything from Birdsong on from this night, and as filler, the first set and the Scarlet>Fire from the first night 9/4. The Dark Star Jam out of Space from 9/6 is unique in the way it geniusly rolls into Watchtower. The first half of the second set is the same setlist as Dick's Picks 17 from 9/25/91, but the playing from 9/6 by far outshines Boston Garden. 9/6/91 is the way the Dead should have played every night throughout their entire career! I don't often boast about Vince/Bruce era stuff, but what they performed on this particular night should be regarded by all Deadheads as a "this may be the finest show they ever played, bar none" moment. Even the Victim is possibly the best version ever performed, and people who generally hate that song won't be able to deny that Garcia shreds the crap out of this one. Jerry was a man possessed that night.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

Hello All, Great comments and great shows mentioned. I had to chime-in about 80-82, which was solid! As official releases, I would drop the cash for the mid-April '82 Baltimore (The Raven) and the Hartford (Phil's Earthquake Space) shows. In addition, the Warfield from that year (February 16 and 17) would be awesome! The best Women Are Smarter ever! Also, any New Years footage from '79 into '80; '80-81; and '81 into '82 would be great to see. Lastly, years ago I heard for the first time the Essen, W. Germany show and thought that was a strong show. Of course, it is subjective hearing, but I was happy to hear the energy. My favorite periods remain 'late '68-early '78; however, as the band played into the '80s and the roller coaster of high and low times accelerated, back then, we were dancing at the shows-- good and not as good ones. I miss seeing the good ol' Grateful Dead all together-- right there (and with Jer and Billy as the only gray-haired ones). There was tremendous excitement as a song, which started-out rocky, finished up magical. We were right there to catch them too when the near flawless tune came unhinged. What gets me to part with cash these days for Dead music is the interesting scenarios under which the show fell, or the out of the ordinary (for the time) songs. One of the gems from the DP series was the Bo Diddley set from '72. "I just want to be more than a little star. All you've got to do now; is hang up there and shine." from Bob Star/Little Star.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I agree with AlexJ... #17... that end of Winter/ beginning of Spring run in 1981 was filled with stellar jamming... IMHO they really were hitting their stride best with Brent.My personal fav of course was the 3/10/81 show from MSG... My frst, shared with two older brothers and our younger sister (8th grader)... I've had the tapes of that show since two days after and worn it out ! The Garden was truly ROCKIN' that night... From the tapes I've heard, the Chicago run and Pitt were blistering as well... I'd love to hear pristine copies of those shows... Great topic Blair! Thanks...
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years
Permalink

May 11, 1981 -- my first show -- bought a ticket at the booth at 6 pm that night for somethin like $12 bucks! See link to archives below: http://archive.org/details/gd1981-05-11.nak300.friend.andrewf.102085.fl… Also, a little off topic, but in late spring/early summer of 1982 there was a Bobby & The Midnites (eek!) & JGB tour (w/ Billy Kreutzmann drumming for Jerry). Saw this show in New Haven (Bobby's band wigged me out); Jerry Band came on and everything settled in just right. (It also happened to my first forray into "innerspace" if ya catch my drift at the trender age of 15 -- never looked back -- knew from the get-go that I was cut out for this stuff! ). I was so "green" I never heard the tune "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" -- didn't know it was Dylan, didn't know clapton (and just about everyone else) covered it -- knew nothing of the tune whatsoever . . . until Jerry played & sung it LIVE about 30 feet from me (I had a great seat on the floor). BLEW ME AWAY like ya read about -- I mean the authentic stuff -- the REAL DEAL! Then as a 2 tune encore Bobby came out w/ the JGB and did Women are Smarter>Deal. It was really cool, Jerry, Bobby and Billy w/ Melvin & Co. Would really like to see some JGB releases or Legion of Mary stuff w/ the horns (especially Jerry coveing "Tough Mama" -- what a great tune w/ absolutely kooky lyrics that somehow work twistedly fantastic -- only Dylan . . . well, Hunter too can do that!) Gracias, Garcia & Co.!
user picture

Member for

7 years 5 months
Permalink

I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say about late June and early July of 1976.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

I thought that there were some pretty good rumors that this might happen this year.... Any hints Blair???
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

Not gonna go there, Mike. Wouldn't be prudent. BTW, wanted second the suggestion a while back of Warfield 2/17/82, the aud. version of which was a favorite of mine back in the day. (Been years since I've heard it; thanks for the reminder!) We had front row loge seats and desperately wanted to trade them at the break for good ones on the floor--which was not nearly as sedate--but couldn't find anyone to trade with! We survived. Great second set!
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 7 months
Permalink

How about April of 71- some mighty fine playing during this stretch. September-October and November of 72: How the 10 show plunge turns into a 3 month deep sea dive.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

Fair enough Blair, talking about something that may or may not happen in the future is probably not wise, especially when it comes to GD music..... Thanks for the response, though :)
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

Man, if you put that out as a box ....you've gone about as far as you can go with the best of the best (Winterland 73, Europe 72, 69 Fillmore East). I can't imagine it happening for awhile. I need time to get my finances in order and the kids taken care of so I can buy some of the Europe 72 still! Slow down! :) Spring 90 is the greatest late period Dead hands down (for me)...if you put June in there too it's unbeatable.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 2 months
Permalink

The band burned hot and got me going plenty in those years, so much fun to chase and connect with friends. I liked the adventure of trying for and getting into theater shows (8 total from Dec-79 to Mar-81), and college campus shows were usually extra fun and mellow. After '83, I needed a little extra incentive, thus outdoor shed shows and traveling longer distances for a few shows in one spot became somewhat normal mode. I'd like to see a definitive compilation of white-hot, below-radar '80 and '81, I know it would kill.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

9 years 3 months
Permalink

The sportitorium pembroke pines late november 1980 great show first satisfaction next night in lakeland pretty good too but the next night in gainsville has got to be heard by all one of the all time greats shakedown franklins only time played this way and the franklins so sharp i think these shows were better than all of warfield and radio city combined oh and dont forget atlanta right after gainsville.No i mean it go back and hear that truckin drums space the other one stella from gainesville and you tell me what ya all think.Also late summer 83 at the hult center all three nights so nice and boise idaho only dead show in idaho and a hot show at that.Park west utah ok but red rocks all three nights late summer 83 and new mexico.Or the whole spring tour from 85 or the whole summer tour 85 the shakedown at merriweather has got to come out on cd also all the saratoga shows 83 84 85 88.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 10 months
Permalink

bravo fred garvin. good call on all those. gotta listen to 11/29/80. NM 9/10 & 11/83. I would LOVE to hear a pristine 6/18/83 sometime.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I would love a box set that had those Hult shows in it. That was really an amazing time.
user picture

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

Last three nights of the 9 night run @ MSG kill this and get pretty damn close to killing Boston. In the end it is all subject to opinion. Thanks I will check it out again.
user picture

Member for

10 years 1 month
Permalink

1980 was a great year and those shows thru the south in the fall were all excellent. This is the only year I was fortunate enough to catch both the spring tour (April, Fox Theatre, Atlanta) and the fall tour (Lakeland in Nov) We had seen a great show in april and were surprised when the band came back in the fall for more great shows. It's a fuzzy memory but I recall the ride to gainesville for the show, we had no tickets, we were still out there from the night before and drove up to catch the gators play and wanted to see the dead too. Never did make the show, but the lot was crazy. Would love to see those shows released, what a great time had by all, if I remember right, the gators lost and it was a homecoming game too with a huge party planed by student council, those were the days when you could book the band for your homecoming party. And what a party it was :)
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 10 months
Permalink

Good stuff indeed (jam out of truckin' into drums) rich full sound.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 2 months
Permalink

Fall 1980 4 show mini tour, London and East Coast Spring '81, Fall '81 3-show mini tour, Europe Fall '81, New Year's Eve '81. Some (much?) of this was pretty special, even by highest post retirement standards, this music came after the tame and famous Warfield, Saenger, and Radio City shows. I saw good shows from '82 to '84, but not like '80 and '81 when Jerry seemed much sharper and lively.
user picture

Member for

11 years 3 months
Permalink

All early 1980’s Dead is underrepresented with official releases when comparing to what has been released from the 70’s. The Summer ’82 shows are definitely worth a listen and possible release. I was on the end of the tour, driving from Vermont to St. Paul, (“Meet Her Accidently in St. Paul Minnesota”, did bong hits with Mississippi River water) and then on to Alpine Valley I actually like the 8/8 Alpine show over 8/7 released as Dick’s Pick’s 32. The tour ending 8/10 Iowa City show, (which we did not make) with the great Iko Iko> Truckin’> Stella Blue> Sugar Magnolia, (with major Phil Bombs) should be released and well as 8/3 Kansas City. I have also started to listen to complete tour or at least big chunks of consecutive shows; Winter ’79- MSG through New Haven, Spring ’79- Lafayette College through Portland, Maine and Spring ’83- Hampton through Philly choosing these mainly because I was on these tours, know how they were playing and have a grasp on the quality of what is out there. Sure would like some addition info on tours / three night runs where I don’t know “what’s up”. The first part of the Summer ’82 would fall into that “not knowing” category, so I will give it a listen, (I am missing the Ventura show and the first 4 shows of the tour, through Red Rocks, will have to scan archive.org to see what is there), but I have the remainder of the tour starting in Manor Downs. There seems to be a lot of interest in an early 80’s box set or at least a Dave Pick’s from this era, hopefully soon, until then, thanks for the insight.
user picture

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

Took Julie to her first dead show for her birthday July 13, 81 at McNichols Aud. in Denver. She has been a lifelong deadhead ever since. Hadn't thought much about that show until I stumbled across a soundboard copy I had a while back and it blew my socks off. Scarlet Fire Estimated Terrapin was epic and the show surely deserved of a release. It was the Man Smart/Woman Smarter that sold Julie on the boys. Give it a listen and see what you think!! Listening to it now and it still is a get up and dancer........
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 10 months
Permalink

I just had one of THOSE moments with this show's Fire, Playin'. 10 shows from one GD83 tour? I can't do THAT, but I can suggest: 5/13/83 5/14/83 5/15/83 6/18/83 6/20/83 9/10/83 9/11/83 10/11/83 10/14/83 10/15/83 Of these, MUST-HAVES are 6/18, 6/20, 9/10, 10/11, and 10/15.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 10 months
Permalink

the compendium has a tepid review of this, but every time I listen to it I rediscover its potency. I have only the first set, and the sound quality is far from pristine, but it has excellent material. "10-show plunge" this with more GD71: 1/24, 2/18, 2/19, 2/23, 3/3, 3/24, 4/5, 4/6, and 4/8.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

March '73 - ten shows. Don't believe anything official from it. What d'ya think? I've been listening solely to '73 in the car. Auds sound good in the car!
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 10 months
Permalink

Utica
58 comments
sort by
Recent
Reset
  • Default Avatar
    mrhappyone
    2 years 5 months ago
    St. Paul, Alpine, Iowa City
    St. Paul through Iowa City were a real treat. Alpine 8/7/82 was the best show of the bunch (and is Dicks Picks 32) however Iowa City comes in a close second with Alpine 8/8 not far behind. The Iowa 2nd set was particularly good with some great if weird moments. Out of space the did Iko. Weir looked totally POed when he came out. Like he was mad at the world. You can hear it in the first parts of Iko when he was strumming 3 times per measure instead of once per measure. He really looked pissed at something or somebody. But soon enough he was into the groove again. Stella Blue is my favorite of all time; just a beautiful performance by Jerry. Then the Sugar Mag, which was the best Sugar Mag I ever witnessed in person and I would call the 2nd best Sugar Mag performance of all time behind 6/20/83 Meriweather Post Pavilion. I was blessed that summer with amazingly good seats also...3rd row in St Paul, 3rd row in Alpine 1, and within 20 feet of the stage in Iowa. Nothing ultra spectacular about either St Paul or Alpine 8/8 except very strong and solid shows. A truly unforgettable great summer midwest swing with the Grateful Dead.
  • Default Avatar
    popeye the squirm
    6 years 3 months ago
    gainsville
    hey there thanks for the heads - up on that gainsville show! whew....it is unbelievably good....that other one scorches the earth and the stella is great too...the whole show is inspired.i found a real nice audience tape that is pristine and just exactly perfect.thanks again.really! i also agree about the 85 stuff ofcourse.
  • Default Avatar
    fred garvin
    6 years 3 months ago
    a saratoga party
    a saratoga box set with mud tofuti berries oh the berries will keep us alive.83 84 dancin in the streets 85 and 88 at all four 83 the best.
  • Default Avatar
    stoltzfus
    6 years 3 months ago
    I hereby scream: 6/18/83!!!
    all y'all who clamor for early 80's GD, this is the show. Probably not in the vault, or was recorded on wax paper, or the audience version that I am enjoying on the archive right now isn't up to snuff or whatever. GD83, people. Know it, enjoy it, love it. No matter what crap life throws at you, we are fortunate enough to have the GD. THANK YOU, GD!!!
  • marye
    6 years 3 months ago
    another approach
    Take the same day every year, which in the case of one of my consistent faves, December 28, might be pretty interesting. For some reason it was always my experience that December 28 was good.