Mid-winter occasionally saw the band playing shorter runs of shows around the country, including the exceptional six show tour in the Midwest in 1978, consisting of the three shows at the Uptown Theatre in Chicago, plus stops in Milwaukee, Madison and Cedar Falls, IA. It should be pointed out that, unfortunately, the entirety of the earlier January west-coast tour (1/6/78 to 1/22/78) is missing from the vault. The Madison and Cedar Falls shows have been enshrined as one of the most popular Grateful Dead releases, Dick’s Picks Vol. 18. The other four shows on this min-tour, though, also contain some exquisite music, with a few highlights from 2/1/78 (the third night in Chicago) being Jack Straw, Cassidy and Sugaree from the first set, and from the second set this version of The Other One>Space. Although not as intense as The Other One from 2/5/78 (on DP 18), this rendition hits some great peaks and spaces. From Milwaukee on 2/4/78, this exceptional version of Terrapin Station is the heart of the second set, along with this rocking little Beat It On Down The Line and Row Jimmy from the first set. Jerry’s voice shows some of the lingering effects of the laryngitis that prevented him from singing any songs a couple of weeks earlier at the San Diego shows on 1/7&8/78, but the playing is excellent. There is a distinct change in the band’s sound, and the format of the shows, after this short six show tour, with the next Grateful Dead after this tour, 4/6/78, presenting the next phase of Grateful Dead music. The best way to explain this change is sonically: compare Dick’s Picks 18 with Dick’s Picks Vol. 25, recorded three months later. Same band, radically different sound.
This week, we’re also very pleased to play some music that we didn’t have room for last month, specifically some outstanding music from 1970. From 12/23/70, the Bear Benefit at Winterland, Cold Rain & Snow and Dancing In The Streets. This version of Dancing In The Streets takes a little bit to get rolling, but once it hits its stride, it is clearly an inspired version. And from a week later at Legion Stadium in El Monte, a great little Hurts Me Too, with Pigpen in fine form. Lastly, something we missed a few weeks ago is this version of Hard To Handle from 1/10/70 in San Diego, one of my favorite non-1971 versions of this song.
Check back next week when we’ll play some interesting music from 1966, a great early-1970 jam, some surprising rehearsal music from 1975, and a little bit from 1978. Looking ahead a few weeks, coming up we’ve got a never-before-heard live sequence from 1968, some powerful 1990 performances, and a good range of music from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Feel free to get in touch with questions or comments, or if there is any particular show about which you’re curious of 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] dead.net