Grateful Dead

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December 4 - December 10, 2006

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

One of the most intriguing short tours in Grateful Dead history took place in the first two weeks of December, 1971, and featured the return of Pigpen, who had been resting himself the previous couple of months, allowing Keith to work his way into the band’s sound on the October, 1971 tour. The short December run included many shows Dead Heads can merely refer to by name and be greeted with a smile: Felt Forum; Ann Arbor; Boston Music Hall; Fox Theatre. Unfortunately, the vault doesn’t contain all of the shows from this tour, but what is there includes some of the best material, including the terrific “Run Run Rudolph”, heard here from 12/4/71 in New York. There were also a few surprises on this little tour, including the return of “Smokestack Lightning” and the only performance of “Muddy Water,”, heard here from the 12/5/71 show also at the Felt Forum in New York from the 10” reel-to-reel master.

The masterful Fall Tour of 1973 continued during this week, and amongst many highlights is the “Dark Star” from 12/6/73 in Cleveland. If not one of the best “Dark Stars,” it certainly is one of the longest and deepest spaces.

The 1989-1990 period is well-represented on official albums, with most of the June, 1989 to April, 1990 shows recorded to multi-track audio tape by our esteemed colleague, John Cutler. The first live document to be released from this period, of course, is Without A Net, followed by others including Nightfall of Diamonds and Dozin’ at the Knick. One run of shows recorded to multi-track was the LA Forum shows on December 8, 9 and 10, 1989, with the “Bird Song” well-known as the version on Without A Net. Just like the February, 1989 shows at the Forum, special guests showed up, including Bruce Hornsby and Spencer Davis. On 12/8, the band played a terrific version of Brent’s “Blow Away,” complete with end-of-song rap reminiscent of the stellar version on 7/7/89 in Philadelphia.

One run of shows that is unfortunately absent from the vault in reel-to-reel format is the December 4, 5 and 7, 1969 run from the Fillmore West. At least the run was recorded by Bear on cassette, and although the tapes mightn’t be of the quality usually associated with reels from the era, they do sound remarkably good considering the source format. Certainly good enough to study and analyze.

Feel free to get in touch with questions or comments, or if there is any particular show about which you’re curious about the vault source (if any), don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll try to address your curiosity in future entries, date-appropriate, of course.

David Lemieux

vault [at]


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GratefulGooner's picture
Joined: Oct 15 2007
Glad I went back deep into your tapers sections logs....

"Blow Away" was cosmically delicious.

Thanks for the tunes...

New to the Dead, raisin' little Deadheads and even the wife is coming around!

canimAl's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007
everything ill give you everything u need for a new years ticket

This is when i started MY TAPERS SECTION FROM ok wait deer creek 92 drumz < is better then infrared roses any day Find some indiana concert for THIS awesome 1 year anyversery , take a look at my awesome cigars they'll make you forget who you are. ciggy pot pie 2 -3 mg little cigar pot pie 160-400mg nicotine > PLUS 10 pennies cheep new years much .,

Joined: Jul 20 2007
birthday show!

12/05 is my birthday show.. thanks for posting! just found the downloads today ... amazing work David!

EstimatedEyes's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2007
This Week

Run Run Rudolph is not one of my favorites, but I see why David included it. Every Deadhead needs one version of it, at least for posterity's sake. I can see Bobby delivering it better than Pig though, and it certainly is a fun song. Oh, and I do like Godchaux's tickling of the ivories in this song.

I can see why Muddy Water was only played once, Jerry doesn't seem comfortable playing it. It kind of reminds me of You Win Again, and the Dead certainly didn't need two Win Agains in the lineup. But hey, this is no Victim we're talking about, and it's a good song to listen to occasionally.

Blow Away has always been one of my favorite Brent tunes. Jerry's solo is very well done, but this song is about Brent. Brent's rap in Blow Away was always the closest the Dead ever got again to Pigpen (NOT Bobby's raps in Good Lovin' ;) ) and I always get excited when Brent yells "Wait a minute!" and the band stops playing behind him. Of course, his rap is stupid when just considering the lyrics, but his vocal performance and energy are unparalleled.

CincyDeadhead's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
Laguna Seca Raceway 1988

When you get to the July period, please touch on these shows! The China-Crazy-Rider would be a gem to have. Although the Playing which follows was released on "So Many Roads", it would be nice to have them all meshed together. The Midnight Hour encore on one of the 3 days was a quite tasty surprise for that time period.

What ever you do, this resource you've provided is so greatly appreciated.

I'm not sure this is the right forum to address the following, but WHEN are we going to see more mid 80's and on be released on DPs? Albeit a different magic than the 60's and 70's... the magic was there.


GrayFolded's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007

43min long....LAST MONSTER!!!!!!!!!

Dead to the Core


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