Grateful Dead

March 7- March 13, 2011

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

Welcome back to the Tapers' Section, where this week we're going to be spanning almost two full decade of Grateful Dead music.

Our first stop this week is at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, where we have music from the first of a six night run, featuring Bertha, Truckin', Hurts Me Too, Loser, Greatest Story>Johnny B. Goode. a few things to note are that these are the debuts of bertha, loser and greatest story, and more importantly, this would be mickey's last show with the grateful dead for more than three years.

Next is music from Chicago on 2/26/81, featuring the first set: Feel Like A Stranger; Althea > Little Red Rooster ; Bird Song; Me And My Uncle> Big River ; Peggy-O ; Passenger ; Tennessee Jed ; The Music Never Stopped. Please note that there is a fade out at the end of Music Never Stopped, on the reference material we sourced from, but rest assured the master is intact, should we ever decide to release these terrific shows on CD.

Lastly this week is the end of the second set from 2/6/89, the second-last show ever to take place at the Kaiser in Oakland. Enjoy this excellent sequence of The Other One > Stella Blue > Turn On Your Lovelight, Black Muddy River.

Be sure to stop by next week for more great material from the Grateful Dead's vault. And as always, we encourage you to write to us with questions or comments, sent to the email address below. Be sure to include “Grateful Dead” in your subject line to make sure it gets through our state-of-the-art spam filters.

David Lemieux


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Joined: Mar 8 2011
2/18/71 - more

yeah, the 11/5 and 11/8/70 shows were wonderful. I was lucky. in one of those shows Weir ciomes up to the mike and says 'anyone have any good election jokes'? cuz we just had the Nov 70 elections .... after a few seconds of audience noise, Garcia walks up to the mike and says 'hey, we didn't come here to talk politics, man' with this perfect little sarcastic edge to his voice.

bam, I was hooked. I liked these guys. they were like friendly older brothers.

and mossonello, congrats on being in a cover band. I used to be a pretty good guitarist, went to the Berklee College of music a very long time ago. got arthritic fingers and they don't move the way they used to, but it was great fun. I hope you get the time to listen to the 2/18 show and REALLY listen, because there is so much good stuff Garcia did that night you can pick up, and not only rifs (which were great) but his sense of timing, musicality, etc.

and thanks wilfredtjones for the tip about Deadpod, didn't know about it, and I spent a little time checking it out. cool site, and the blogger is probably around my age (60) so I could have run into him back there.

this has been fun for me folks, writing about my favorite show, and it has occurred to me that there is one big part I've left out, and that was the REAL first set, of the New Riders with Jerry on pedal steel .... Marmaduke, Torbert, Spencer Dryden (Charlie Chaplains nephew, btw) and of course Dave Nelson, with his machine gun style leads.

I mentioned that I came to the show with a brand new sony cassette deck (new technology!) smuggled under my denim jacket somehow, and taped the show. my older brother posted the NRPS set on dimeadozen, so I've been slightly famous for a few minutes of my life. the recording wasn't high fidelity by any stretch, especially by todays standards, but you can here Marmadukes sweet voice, Garcia and Nelson trading riffs, etc. a decent audience tape ... I'd give just about anything to get a soundboard of it, after all these years. and unfortunately, for some reason it isn't on dimeadozen any longer.

like the next two sets from the Dead, the NRPS were especially good. perhaps that's one of the reasons Garcia played such a fabulous version of Bertha right out of the box, he was well warmed up from the NRPS set.

Then again, he seemed raring to go and in fine form from the first notes of the NRPS set. there were many highlights from the set, I Don't Know You, Six Days, Portland Woman, Glendale Train, Henry, Last Lonely Eagle ...

fond musical memories of a vanished time ....

and .... without love in the dream .... Dov

Joined: Jun 4 2007

This show was posted in its entirety at the Deadpod 2 and 3 weeks ago (just google Deadpod to find it). It's purported to be a new source tape as well. Agreed Dov, why this show was overlooked in favor of 2-19-71 for 3FTV still baffles me as well.

Joined: Aug 31 2009
very nice write up Dov!

to quote you: "His playing was just superb, precise, emotional, appropriate yet uninhibited."
that is the best, most poignant description i've read of Jerry at his finest!
as a guy who loves to play Jerry in a GD cover band, 'appropriate yet uninhibited' is the MOST challenging combination of attributes to attain, and it's where Jerry truly shines as a jewel amongst ALL guitarists of the electric age!!!

Joined: Jan 13 2010
Thank you for the report, Dov.

This show will get another listen very soon.

You were at 11/5/70 and 11/8/70, as Napoleon Dynamite says, "Lucky."

cosmicbadger's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007

for the show report Dov. Really enjoyable reading that. Now I shall have to go listen :)

Joined: Mar 8 2011
2/18/71 second set

thanks stoltzfus .... the first set was really special, the first Bertha, the first Loser, first Greatest and JBG, and the first Wharf Rat. the second set was right up there too!

after attending few hundred shows and 40+ years of listening, what stands out about this show was not just that there were so many firsts, although that makes it special too, but the absolute excellence of the music, the many evocative moods and soundscapes, and the uncanny musical communication between the boys when they were really on.

for me personally, it was my third show. I had seen them on 11/5/ and 11/8/70, also at the Capitol ... and for this show it was the first time I experienced the group from a certain mental perch I hadn't had before, thanks to the miracle of modern chemistry.

so, many things came together in a perfect electric storm.

anyway, they came on stage for the second set and were kind of joking around about the lights, and Phil said something about 'Lucky Lager Dance Time' and they all cracked up ... inside joke I guess, but it was fun to see them so relaxed and happy, so obviously at ease and in communion with their fans.

and then ... Casey Jones to open the set. Well played, not too heavy, with a light touch, everyone singing along.

then into the first Playing in the Band, which was a bit underwhelming and long, but still played well, definately an early version.

from there into Bobby McGee, and one of the best ones I'd ever heard from them. I guess Janis was still on their minds, and Garcia did this amazing little riff after the very last lyric that I've tried to find on other versions, but never did, so it is unique.

then an absolutely lovely Candyman, vocals nice and an exquisite Garcia guitar break followed by a mellow and satisfying vocal oooohhhhhh.

so we hippies were blissing from Candyman and out struts Pig to take the stage and tear things up with a short but powerful Big Boss Man .... sure git stoned at night had everybody howling.

Garcia plugs in the wah wah and into Sugar Magnolia, an early and very tasty version with a nice long jam at the end.

and then the closing sequence St. Stephen> NFA> GDTRFB> NFA> Uncle John .... just went on and on with some great great telepathic jamming, very melodic, a complete absence of meandering noodling, very pointed music as if every note had been rehearsed and yet it was obviously live and spontaneous ...

those were the days they didn't do encores, they just went directly into UJB and it was long and powerful and moving. definatley my favorite UJB ... then again, this was a night of favorites. I have never heard a Bertha, Loser, Wharf Rat, Bobby McGee, Candyman, GDTRFB, NFA or UJB I liked more in any other show.

This one one of Garcias finest nights. His playing was just superb, precise, emotional, appropriate yet uninhibited. really amazing. even though my first two shows were wonderful, this is my desert island show, this cemented my love of their music till this very day.

I always hoped they would release the show. When we were all waiting for Skullfuck to come out, I was disappointed they skipped this show but figured the Dead did so many shows, it was unlikely they would pick my favorite.

but when 3 From the Vault came out, I was disappointed to see they released the next night, which was ok, but mediocre in comparison.

I have had all six shows from this run for a very long time. All them have their plusses and minuses, but the first night, 2/18/71, stands out way above the rest. Perhaps one day someone will get the bright idea to release all six nights as a box set, with 2/18/71 being the crown jewell of a great series.

my recommendation is to find a good download somewhere, turn it on, turn it up, and groove.


Joined: Jan 13 2010
You are a lucky man, Dov.

2/18/71 in the flesh.

The first set is what makes it truly special.

Thanks for the tale; do tell about the second set.

Joined: Mar 8 2011

My third show, and one of my all time favorites. smuggled a brand new fangled sony cassette machine in (before the taper section days) and taped the show, including the NRPS set with Jerry on pedal steel, so i've had the pleasure of listening to this show for 40 years now. this one should've been skullfuck and then should have been 3 from the vault, but nobody asked me, what do I know?

what a fabulous evening. 19 years old, great music, long show, Capital Theater at Port Chester, maybe 2000 people, 3/4rs tripping, Jerry still skinny and his beard still black ... as a matter of fact, Maramaduke announced him as 'Blackjack' but I don't know if that was because of the beard.

the first Bertha to open the show and when they cut into the first break, Jerry's lead had EVERYBODY jumping up out of the seats and howling, literally, and had a little coda ending that they never did again.

Then right into Truckin, also smoking. It Hurts Me Too, was soulful, even though it dragged a little. Then a long tune up and into Loser, very spacey ... Greatest Story, ok with a nice little jazzy break, and bam right into a hot Johnny B Good.

A very tasty Mama Tried, then Pig mentions the microphone looks like it has a rubber on it, and then into an excellent Hard to Handle .... and then .... wait for it ...

... Dark Star! a little meandering, but not really .... and it got real quiet and almost sounded like the band was losing it, but again, not really, just teasing us .... and into Wharf Rat, unkown, lovely, mystical, earthy and ethereal at the same time with a beautiful telepathic jam at the end and then back into Dark Star ... and then Jerry plays with the crowd as we are all expecitng St Stephen, but the first set is already long so how could they go into St Stephen ..? and then Bobby jumps forward and into Me and My Unle with a vengence .... and we're gonna take a short break, everybody gets to take a break, and you can watch our dust .... and the first set was over.

got to run ... later I'll write about the second set.


zepthompson's picture
Joined: Nov 1 2010

1) Hunter originally wrote this as "Moses come riding up on a guitar." That was what Weir sang in very early versions, but he subsequently changed the lyrics to "... on a quasar" - having also used "car" in intermediate versions. Thanks to Brian Poronsky for this information.

Joined: Apr 24 2008
Greatest Story

Is it my imagination or in 'Grearest Story...' did Bob sing the original first line with Moses on a guitar rather than a quazar?



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