Grateful Dead

February 22 - February 28, 2010

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

A warm welcome back to the Tapers' Section, where this week we'll cover 15 years of Grateful Dead history from 1972 to 1987.

Our first couple of stops this week are at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, MO, with our first selection being the end of the second set of the first night of a three night run in St. Louis on 10/17/72. From that excellent show, we have Ramble On Rose, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, Sugar Magnolia, NFA>GDTRFB>NFA. as good as this show is, the next couple of nights are even better. from the second show on 10/18/72, we have a couple of great first set songs, Bird Song, Big River, with the bird song being particularly grandiose. please note that there is plenty of dead air/tuning between these two tracks, so don't give up; the big river rocks!

Next up, from 12 years later in Hartford, CT on 10/15/84, we have the entire first set made up of Hell In A Bucket > Sugaree > El Paso, Bird Song, C.C. Rider, Tennessee Jed, Jack Straw> Keep Your Day Job, starting and ending with two of the then-quite new tunes, Bucket and Day Job. Between RatDog, Phil and Friends, The Other Ones and The Dead since 1995, one of the only songs in the entire Grateful Dead repertoire never performed by any of these bands is Day Job. I wonder why that is…

Finally this week is another complete first set from the 1980s, from the opening show of a five night run at Madison Square Garden on 9/15/87. I was fortunate to attend this and the next night, and I was already a huge Meters fan thanks to my buddy Swinny making me a cassette featuring their two albums Cabbage Alley and Rejuvenation, a tape that was in my car for years. So, when the band opened with Hey Pocky Way, I was thoroughly blown away. The entire set, made up of Hey Pocky Way, New Minglewood Blues, When Push Comes To Shove, Me And My Uncle > Mexicali Blues, Row Jimmy, Queen Jane Approximately, Tennessee Jed, The Music Never Stopped. There's a nice, well-developed Beer Barrel Polka tuning break in there, too, after Brent's communist friends sabotage Weir. I was always a fan of When Push Comes To Shove, which only had a couple of years left in the repertoire. To digress, another In The Dark track I love is My Brother Esau, which would be gone from the repertoire just a couple of weeks after this show.

Be sure to stop by next week for more great music. Feel free to write to the email address below with questions or comments about the Tapers' Section, or anything Grateful Dead-related.

David Lemieux


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Joined: Aug 6 2007
Day Job

I was at the first performance of Day Job, in Veneta in August of '82... LOVED IT THEN, and STILL THINK IT'S A GREAT SONG. I understood why my brothers and sisters in Deaddom didn't like it, but was and still am embarrassed by the narrow-mindedness this represents. Come on, gang, you loved Death Don't Have No Mercy, as real and dark as it gets, but couldn't take a little boogie-ing, melodic, humorous jab from Hunter and Garcia? Some sort of disconnect here...

"If you ask me, which I know you don't,
I'd tell you to do what I know you won't..."

Joined: Nov 8 2007
Hey David: If my memory

Hey David:

If my memory serves me right (and it often does NOT!), isn't that Hartford set from 10/14/84 the first set of dick's pick #5? - With the kooky-great Scarlet w/ Brent on the "xylophone" sounding keys?

10-15-83 second set is what we need -- China>Rider>Playin'>cryptic jam>(eeerey)China Doll>D/S>Stephen>Throwin' Stones>One Mo'Psychotic Night enc. Brokedown. This one is burnt into the depths of my mind. (I suppose I can go there to listen to it anytime!)

jacksteel's picture
Joined: Sep 16 2008
Cross the Rio Grande Oh my...

That's some dreadful singin' there Donna Jean!!

sheik yerbones's picture
Joined: Feb 5 2008
sheik yerbones Thanks David

sheik yerbones
Thanks David . Great MSG show. say hello to the Meters & N Orleans from France. I love Brother Esau and Push CT shove too, not played in GD peak years... but good a hanful of forgotten tunes (PO Cucamonga, Unbroken chain, Here C Sunhine & L Lucy not played for 20 years...Please David, Keep your dead job...

Joined: Aug 21 2007

A good show. I really enjoyed the enthusiasm, energy, and togetherness of 87 performances, even if it missed some of the longer jamming of previous and subsequent years.

Joined: Jun 7 2007
My Brother Esau

I always hated that they dropped Esau. It was the "got it" song at my first show (4/14/84). It was unlike anything I had ever heard. At the time, the only way I could describe it was it sounded they were all playing different songs. I had not heard Estimated yet, all I knew were the Workingman's & American Beauty songs. It is still one of my favorites, I would love to hear Furthur take a crack at it.
Thanks David for putting it up today.

dstache's picture
Joined: Sep 10 2007
black muddy river

According to, it was played 66 times. It was first played in December 86 and last played in 95. It became a popular song for the encore slot in early 87. It was predominantly played btwn 87 and 89, only appearing 8 times in the 90's (and not at all 92-94). It definitely is one of the great late-era songs.

mandolinking's picture
Joined: Oct 15 2009
In The Dark.

May Your Grass Be Green and Your Tides Be High.

My fave track from "In The Dark" is Black Muddy River. As I am still new to all of this, I am finding stuff out all the time. Was BMR ever played live and if so how often? I think it is possibly one of my all time fave songs by any band, never mind the `Dead.

Joined: Jun 7 2007
Well done in selecting

Well done in selecting 10/15/84. The prior night and this one were very good and unique shows, as you will hear during CC Rider. The seconds set were excellent, with 10/15 featuring a very long (for the time) Playin'. Thanks David for digging below the surface for this one.


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